Justin Cummings talks as Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson listens during a Lookout candidate forum.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Shebreh-Justin recount, RSV’s ‘perfect storm,’ county fair retaliation?

Why hello there, friends and neighbors. It is Wednesday, Nov. 16, and Santa Cruz County is in for another mostly sunny day, with temps headed toward the 70-degree mark in some spots.

There’s a bunch of new content on Lookout this hump day, so if you’d like to poke around solo, do it.
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Politics is first up, with Santa Cruz County Clerk Tricia Webber telling Lookout it’s likely she’ll do a full manual recount of votes in the race for 3rd District county supervisor, where Justin Cummings narrowed his deficit to Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson to just 333 votes in a Tuesday update. Another update is expected Wednesday; meantime, you can check out where all the county’s races stand in chart form here.

Recent winters have been marked by a surge in COVID-19 cases, and while this year might be no exception, a wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which hits young children particularly hard, combined with the seasonal flu has local health professionals worried. “There’s the chance of having really a triple perfect storm,” one tells Max Chun.

We’re also continuing to follow the turmoil around the Santa Cruz County Fair, with Wallace Baine digging into whether the termination of two board members was retaliation for their votes not to fire CEO Dave Kegebein.

Also at the intersection of state and local are construction design standards, and Christopher Neely breaks down what a Tuesday vote by the Santa Cruz City Council means for local control.

Wednesday’s other headlines include a new tenant for the old Plantronics headquarters and an acclaimed local brewery now 100% woman-owned, so let’s take ‘em for a spin.

‘Full manual recount’ likely in Shebreh-Justin race for Santa Cruz County 3rd District Supervisor

County supervisor candidates Justin Cummings (left) and Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson at a Lookout forum.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

With new vote totals released Tuesday, Justin Cummings is just 333 votes behind in the race for Santa Cruz County Supervisor, with 48.56% of the vote to Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson’s 50.58%. Will the final vote tallies this week show more tightening — and enough for him to gain the lead? Here’s the latest.

MORE NUMBER-CRUNCHING: Tuesday’s vote tally for all 40 Santa Cruz County races, broken down (Lookout)

A ‘potentially rough winter’: RSV, COVID, flu could spell another difficult season

Dr. Susan Wu chats with Kimberli Samuel and her 7-year-old daughter Amelle Samuel
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

COVID, the seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus, which is particularly dangerous for young children, could cause a big problem in local and national hospitals this winter. What is the situation like in Santa Cruz right now? What can people do to mitigate their risk? Max Chun has details.

MORE: California child dies of flu and RSV as cases soar, hospitals threatened (Los Angeles Times)


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That’s what I know this Wednesday morning. There’s plenty more coming down the Lookout content pipeline, though, meaning you’ll want to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss a beat with what’s going on around Santa Cruz County. We also offer breaking news alerts and a host of other newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

Community support is crucial in making it all happen here at Lookout, and we’d love to have you join in — so please, if you’re not already, consider becoming a Lookout member. And to all of our members, a giant thank-you.

Here’s to a pleasant Wednesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz