Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter general manager Amber Rowland.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Fairgrounds shelter closing; inside county animal shelter; on ‘performative activism’

A pleasant good morning to you. It is Monday, May 15, and the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies (eventually) around Santa Cruz County, with highs ranging from the mid-60s to the upper 70s.

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Monday will mark the closing of the emergency shelter set up at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to house evacuees from the devastating flooding in Pajaro, Hillary Ojeda reports. The handful of people still left there would have emergency housing provided, a spokesperson said, though the path ahead is still uncertain for many evacuees.

Meanwhile, Max Chun paid a visit to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, finding that the economic and social impacts of the COVID pandemic and its aftermath are being felt there, too.

Monday’s headlines also include Wallace Baine’s look at one local couple’s lovingly crafted farewell to a disappearing lagoon and opinion from a UC Santa Cruz student about what he calls “performative activism,” so let’s get to it.

Monterey County shelter at Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to close Monday

A Pajaro Valley Unified School District bus leaves the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds after dropping off students.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

As of Friday, 17 people remained at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds shelter that opened to accommodate residents displaced by the devastating flooding in nearby Pajaro, down from a peak of 435 on March 21. A spokesperson said all 17 would have emergency housing provided before the shelter closes Monday. Hillary Ojeda has details.

MORE: Pajaro Middle School to remain closed through next school year after damage caused by levee breach

Santa Cruz County’s animal shelter grapples with post-COVID economic and social changes

A dog peers out from a cage at the Santa Cruz County Animal shelter.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter might not be in a “crisis” situation, but from high numbers of pet surrenders and a veterinarian shortage to inflation and a ballooning cost of living, the pandemic has been hard on animal shelters across the country. Max Chun takes us inside.

SHELTER’S UNSUNG HERO: More than just a pound


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’ll get you started, but there’s more coming from Lookout as we move into the new workweek. That includes our Monday staple covering local politics and policy, In the Public Interest from Christopher Neely, which will be arriving in inboxes in the not-too-distant future. Sign up right here for that and all of our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via email and text. And don’t forget to follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay abreast of goings-on around Santa Cruz County.

COMING THURSDAY: Christopher Neely is moderating a discussion later on the housing squeeze in Santa Cruz County, part of Housing Santa Cruz County’s Affordable Housing Month programming. On hand for the Zoom session will be Keeley, Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino, Scotts Valley Mayor Jack Dilles, Capitola Mayor Margaux Keiser, and County Board of Supervisors Vice-chair Justin Cummings. Get more information here.

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Now get out there and grab this mid-May Monday by the horns!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz