The 235-acre Pescadero Marsh is the largest and most biodiverse wetland on the San Francisco Peninsula.
(Ashley Spencer / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Newel retires, Pescadero day trip roadmap, housing bond workshop & Weekender

Greetings and salutations. It is Friday, May 19, and a familiar pattern is in store for our Santa Cruz County weather: clouds gradually giving way to sunshine and temperatures from the 60s to around 80. Rinse, repeat and appreciate through the weekend.

There’s a full slate to explore from Lookout as we cap off the workweek; if you’re called to explore it on your own, here ya go.
JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles | Obituaries

Dr. Gail Newel, a familiar face and voice as we navigated the pandemic these past three years, is calling it quits as Santa Cruz County’s top health officer, Max Chun reports. “I’m really grateful that I got to use my experience, my education and, dare I say, wisdom to help serve my community in this way,” says Newel, who will retire June 23 after a 30-year career.

Max was also on hand Thursday evening for the first of three gatherings to workshop a housing bond measure to put before voters in the city of Santa Cruz in 2024. Every group of participants listed building low- and middle-income workforce housing and working to close a gap in financing affordable workforce housing as priorities.

And Lookout isn’t about to send you into the weekend without some ideas for fun things to do in and around Santa Cruz County. Ashley Spencer is along with a roadmap for a day trip up the coast to Pescadero — think Año Nuevo State Park, goats at Harley Farms, Sante Arcangeli wines and a stop at Duarte’s. (I, for one, could bathe in the tavern’s cream of green chili and artichoke soup.)

From the arts and entertainment scene comes Wallace Baine, whose latest Weekender is packed as usual with recommendations, plus a look at Rio Del Mar’s new mural and local playwrights letting audiences in on the process. Step this way to the Friday headlines ...

Three decades, 10,000 babies and one pandemic later, county health officer Gail Newel announces retirement

Gail Newel is set to retire in June after more than 30 years of working in health care.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Dr. Gail Newel is officially making her four-year stint as Santa Cruz County health officer the final chapter of her 30-plus-year career in the health care sector. Though the COVID pandemic made the role more challenging than she could have ever thought, she says she’s grateful that she could finish her career serving the community through hardship: “I was the right person, at the right place, at the right time.” Read more from Max Chun here.

MORE FROM NEWEL: Quelling the ‘stigma of shame’: The county’s top doctor opens up about the pain of losing a child to fentanyl

Sea lions at Año Nuevo, an award-winning tavern and baby goats

Looking south from Pigeon Point
(Ashley Spencer / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The 30-mile stretch of coast north of Santa Cruz between Año Nuevo and Pescadero offers a wealth of options for families and groups, couples or those flying solo. With spring bird migration, sea lion molting and goat kidding seasons at their peak, Ashley Spencer offers a variety of ways to enjoy a day away.

HEADED THE OTHER DIRECTION? Santa Cruz road trip: A day away in Monterey


Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

The Lost Boys feat. James Durbin @Bruno’s Bar and Grill
Tyler Rich @Felton Music Hall
CreateAbility Hour @Felton Branch Library
G Perico @The Catalyst
OS Muntates @Moe’s Alley
Pipe Down Official: Pipe Down w/ Koosh @Crow’s Nest Restaurant

Bike Month Community Ride @Watsonville Cyclery
#GOATyoga w/piglets @Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House
Fae Masquerade Ball @Brookdale Lodge
FALCON! with Kettle of Hawks @The Crepe Place
Afrobeats Nite Santa Cruz @Moe’s Alley
Poi Rogers @Fruition Brewing

Brown Babes Brunch with Dr. Terence Lester @Oswald Restaurant
Big Richard Band @Moe’s Alley
Hella Queer Market: Pride! @Greater Purpose Brewing Company
Mae Powell @The Catalyst
Poi Rogers @Malone’s Grille

Veteran Surf Alliance Memorial Day Paddle Out @Capitola Beach

Give that all a good look, as you have been all week ... right? Because among what’s yet on tap from Lookout is the latest weekly news quiz from Wallace Baine. That’s coming later, so be sure you’re following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to you don’t miss that and everything else we’ve got up our sleeve. Also great ways to stay informed with Santa Cruz County goings-on (and stay in top form for Wallace’s quiz) are with Lookout’s breaking news alerts via text and email and with all our other newsletters, including the specially curated Sunday Reads and In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s weekly look at local politics and policy, coming Monday. Click here to sign up for all of that.

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

I can see it in your eyes that you’re ready for the weekend, and goodness knows you’ve earned it. Have a smooth Friday and enjoy what lies beyond.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz