Benjamin Short's home sits dangerously close to a landslide that occurred on New Year's Eve, in Lompico, on Jan. 17, 2023.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )
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Morning Lookout: Lompico’s uncertain road, West Cliff atop Santa Cruz to-do list & Cement Ship history

Good morning, Lookout friends. It is Monday, Jan. 23, and the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies around Santa Cruz County, with highs in the mid- to upper 50s.

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Storm recovery is top of mind as things continue to dry out around the county, and it’s an uncertain road ahead for residents of Lompico, Hillary Ojeda reports. “I’m devastated,” said one resident whose home has been red-tagged. “All I really want to do is curl up in a ball and sob.”

In the City of Santa Cruz, meanwhile, the public works department is gearing up for repairs, with battered West Cliff Drive a major focus, officials tell Max Chun. “Regardless of what the future use of West Cliff is,” a senior engineer said, “what has washed away has to get replaced now, or we’ll lose the entire road.”

The SS Palo Alto — better known as the Cement Ship — took another battering during big swells earlier this month, and Wallace Baine digs into the Seacliff landmark’s history ... and what he’d like to have told Joe Biden about it if he’d only gotten the chance when the president was in town last week.

The Monday headlines also include a Community Voices opinion piece on how a passion for skimboarding picked up in Santa Cruz has given one man family across the world, so let’s dig in.

Devastated by storms and denied by insurance, Lompico residents navigate uncertain recovery

Lompico homeowner Benjamin Short stands by the 'red-tag notice' posted on his house, signifying it is unsafe for habitation.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Just days after a first New Year’s Eve storm rendered Lompico resident Benjamin Short’s home uninhabitable, his insurance claim was denied, leaving him on the hook for potentially $250,000 in repairs. It’s a situation that policyholder advocates say is increasingly common as California homeowners contend with more frequent natural disasters. Hillary Ojeda has details.

NEXT STEPS: Damaged by the Santa Cruz storms? Tips from the pros on how to deal with insurance

Public Works gears up for widespread repairs, sees West Cliff as hardest-hit part of Santa Cruz

Portions of West Cliff Drive were closed because of dangerous conditions and damage from this week's storm.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz )

West Cliff Drive took the brunt of the damage within the City of Santa Cruz, which means that it will be the main focus of the beginning of storm recovery. However, there is plenty of work to be done around the city — and it could take quite some time to complete all the repairs. Max Chun reports.

PREVIOUSLY: ‘I have never seen anything this dramatic’: Santa Cruz’s most-tenured ocean observer in awe of storm damage

DAILY DIGEST

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And that’s what I know as a new week dawns. We’ve always got something cooking at Lookout, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep tabs. We also offer breaking news alerts and a bunch of other newsletters, which you can sign up for here.

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Good luck with whatever Monday has in store for you, and I’ll see you back here Tuesday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz