A rainbow appears out of stormy skies over Pleasure Point on Monday morning.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Returning the Capitola love, hope in fight against bullying and a disaster declaration

Hello, Lookout friends. It is Monday, Jan. 16, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day forecast around Santa Cruz County calls for continued rain, with thunderstorms possible, though we should see far lighter precipitation than we have recently – less than a tenth of an inch. And other than a bout of precipitation Wednesday, a mostly dry stretch is ahead of us.

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Citing the rainy forecast and the ongoing emergency situation around the county, NAACP Santa Cruz has canceled the MLK Day Parade set for downtown Monday; you can find more information here.

Lookout is watching developments closely, so check our Santa Cruz County Storm Central to stay current. President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for Santa Cruz County on Saturday. The declaration came hours after federal officials toured the region over the weekend, following a visit from Rep. Jimmy Panetta. You can find details on that, too.

Capitola Village is just one local spot that has been battered by the ongoing storms — but, Wallace Baine writes, we can all pitch in and return the #capitolalove the village has kindled in so many of us over the years.

And in our Community Voices opinion section, Scotts Valley High School ninth grader Madelyne Rutherford writes about the bullying she has experienced, and the organization that’s giving her and many of her peers hope.

So let’s get to those headlines ...

Capitola Village’s magic has taken a beating, but you can help rekindle the #capitolalove

Capitola Village from the air
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

It’s hard to visit Capitola Village and not come under its spell — and that makes it even harder for anyone who’s felt the magic to see it in its current storm-ravaged state. And while our Santa Cruz County gem will always be vulnerable, we can all do our part to help the healing process by returning that love now. Read Wallace Baine’s latest column.

MORE: Storm damage tops $36 million across Santa Cruz County, but local officials warn estimates could double

Biden declares major disaster for Santa Cruz County as FEMA head tours region amid more flooding and evacuations

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, center, views damage to Seacliff State Beach with state and local officials.
Left to right: Second District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County Zach Friend, Chief Deputy director of Cal OES Lisa Ann L. Mangat, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Deanne Criswell and Deputy District Superintendent of Santa Cruz State Parks Jordan Burgess, view the heavy damage done to Rio Del Mar and Seacliff State Beach on Saturday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for Santa Cruz Saturday night, hours after FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and members of her staff, toured storm-damaged pars of the region. Local and state officials had been urging the White House for the declaration, which is set to unlock federal dollars for local governments and residents to pay for storm recovery. Criswell visited parts of Rio Del Mar and Capitola on Saturday and was expected to tours areas of the San Lorenzo Valley.

That visit came as another atmospheric river hit the county on Friday and Saturday, filling already-swollen creeks and rivers, the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for Felton Grove, Paradise Park, parts of Soquel Village and Rio Del Mar. Read the latest here.

I’ve spent years being bullied in school, but now I’ve found hope. I want to bring it to others.

Scotts Valley High School student Maddy Rutherford
(Via Madelyne Rutherford)

Maddy Rutherford is a ninth grader at Scotts Valley High and says she has been bullied since elementary school. Her experiences filled her with self-doubt and made her not want to go to school. This year, her first in high school, she was selected to be in a new program at Scotts Valley High called Hope Squad, which makes her part of a team of students who help students in need of friendship or someone to talk to. Scotts Valley is the only Santa Cruz County school with this program. She thinks that should change. Read her Community Voices opinion piece here.

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And that’s where things stand this Monday morning. Keep tabs on all that’s going on around Santa Cruz County by following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up here for breaking news alerts and our other newsletters.

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Have a good Monday and stay safe out there — we’ll see you back here Tuesday.

Lookout Santa Cruz Staff