trees cut along Highway 1 between 41st Avenue and Soquel Avenue
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Felling trees along Highway 1, Aptos High stabbing lawsuit update, water crisis persists

Top o’ the morning to you, Lookout friends! It is Thursday, Feb. 9, and we could see 70s in some parts of Santa Cruz County under mostly sunny skies.

There is lots of news on Lookout, so if you want to unearth it yourself, be my guest.
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If you’ve traveled Highway 1 recently (at a crawl during rush hour, maybe?), you’ve surely noticed that a number of trees have been removed between the 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive interchanges. That’s a prelude to groundbreaking in April for projects including auxiliary lanes and a bike/pedestrian overcrossing, Max Chun reports.

We’ve also got an update on the aftermath of the 2021 stabbing that left an Aptos High School student dead, with Hillary Ojeda reporting that a judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit against administrators at the school and the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, though other claims are proceeding.

On the local literary scene, Wallace Baine checks in with a pair of writers who will be talking about their new memoirs in an event at Bookshop Santa Cruz, and finds that 1960s and ‘70s California counterculture is a common thread in their experiences.

And in our Community Voices opinion section, Rosemary Menard worries about “weather memory whiplash,” with the City of Santa Cruz’s water director laying out what residents should know about what’s still an ongoing water crisis and plans to secure the city’s water supply.

Oh, and before we hit the headlines — you can catch Lookout’s own Kevin Painchaud at the Scotts Valley Library on Thursday evening as he joins a panel of local photographers to talk about their work and how it contrasts with that of Dorothea Lange, whose Depression-era “Migrant Mother” image you’ve surely seen. Find more here on the event, and check out this story from Wallace Baine on the wide-ranging “Our Community Reads” program it’s a part of.

And now, the headlines.

Major Highway 1 tree removal making way for new lanes, pedestrian overcrossing

Tree stumps along Highway 1
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Highway 1 will begin to look a bit different starting in April, with partial bus-on-shoulder lanes and exit-only auxiliary lanes set to break ground between 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive. Though the goal is to improve efficiency for Santa Cruz County car and bus commuters alike, some have raised concerns that the projects will bring little to no traffic improvement. Get details from Max Chun.

RELATED: Road, transit projects face delays and millions in storm damage, but rail trail avoids major impact

I’m in charge of water for 98,000 people in Santa Cruz. Here is what I’d like you to know.

The Loch Lomond reservoir in drier times in June 2022.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Water Director Rosemary Menard is worried about our memory, specifically about what she calls our “weather memory whiplash.” That’s when we think our water crisis is over because of a few storms, like the ones we had in January. It’s not, she writes in a Community Voices opinion piece. In fact, ongoing climate change means our water crisis will likely get worse. “Future water rationing will allot only half as much water to families as water rationing of the past, and future rationing will include businesses,” she says. “That might be easier for an accountant, but not so much for a restaurant, brewery or hotel.” Read Menard’s op-ed here.

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? Make your voice heard with a letter to the editor


toad fitness group

Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’s a packed Thursday slate already, and from my perch here on the Lookout flight deck, I can tell you there’s more coming. A proposed Ocean Street development project goes before the community on Thursday evening, so stay tuned for our story on that — following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will keep you in the know. And we’re mere hours away from Wallace Baine’s Weekender newsletter, which you can sign up for here, along with our other newsletters and breaking news alerts.

Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Here’s to a pleasant Thursday, and I shall see you Friday a.m. as we roll toward the weekend.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz