Donnelly Chocolates ice cream bars on a record player
(Laura Sutherland / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Overdoses spike, chocolate for Father’s Day, sheepish about cheese & Student Lookout

Good morning, Santa Cruz County. It’s Friday, June 9, and after that gorgeous Thursday, it’ll be more clouds than sun for most of us, with high temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s.

It’s a busy Friday as Lookout caps off the workweek; right this way if you’d rather scope it all out yourself.
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After another overdose death this week in Capitola, Max Chun reports on Santa Cruz County’s overall opioid numbers, finding that overdoses hit triple digits in May, well above the average for the previous months of 2023. He talked to local health officials about what might be behind the spike. That’s part of Lookout’s continuing coverage of the opioid crisis and its local impact, which you can find here.

Switching gears into happier news, Laura Sutherland is along with some sweet ideas for gifts for Dad as we head toward Father’s Day next weekend. She’s got a guide to pairing the fathers in your life with chocolates from local makers, whether it’s chocolate-covered bacon for your favorite grillmaster, a cacao passport for the world traveller or confections for the sports fan. (And don’t forget to check out the wide-ranging selection of Lookout Guides covering Santa Cruz County’s food and drink scene, neighborhoods, parenting and more.)

It’s another Farmers Market Friday, and Jean Yi brings us a taste of Garden Variety Cheese, which leans on the sheep at owner Rebecca King’s Monkeyflower Ranch for its namesake product plus yogurt and more.

The Friday headlines also include news from Wallace Baine on a new CEO for the Santa Cruz County Fair, not to mention Wallace’s recommendation-packed weekly jaunt through our arts and entertainment scene and the latest Student Lookout. Let’s roll.

Opioid overdoses hit their highest rate in more than a year in Santa Cruz County in May

Naloxone, used to treat narcotic overdoses, are seen at a safe injection site
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Santa Cruz County recorded 101 opioid overdoses in May, spiking above the monthly average of 70 to 80 for the previous months of 2023. County Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci points to a changing street drug supply as a possible culprit, as the county expects to see more than $20 million in opioid settlement funds over the next decade. Max Chun has more.

OPIOID CRISIS’ LOCAL IMPACT: Find all of Lookout’s coverage in one place here

Cocoa-nuts rejoice: Santa Cruz County chocolatiers have a match for every dad this Father’s Day

Dads fawning over treats in a chocolate shop
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Got a dad in your life who’s a griller? A rocker? Sports fan? Practical joker? Father’s Day is nearly upon us, and Laura Sutherland has a guide to pairing Dad with offerings from local chocolate makers Marini’s, Tiny House, Donnelly, Mackenzies and Ashby Confections. Check it out here.

LOOKOUT GUIDES: From food and drink to neighborhoods and parenting, we get you more connected to Santa Cruz County

Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

Midtown Fridays @1111 Soquel Ave.
Embroidery Workshop @Wallflower Santa Cruz
Zayante Fire Fundraiser @Felton Music Hall
Stephen Marley @The Catalyst Club
Bodhi Mojo @Woodhouse Blending & Brewing
Frequency Festival @Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Santa Cruz Elks Oktoberfest @Santa Cruz Elks Lodge
Foodie Fruity Wreath Making Extravaganza @Scotts Valley farmers market
Vegan Italian Cooking & Wine Pairing Class @Flipjack Ranch
Teen Kitchen Project Everett Farm Dinner @Everett Family Farm
Echos Of Empire @Civic Auditorium

For the love of dogs @Chaminade Resort & Spa
41st Santa Cruz Triathlon @Depot Park
Music at the park @Skypark
Jean Dawson @The Catalyst

That’s what I know this Friday morning, folks. Lookout is always keeping our eyes on Santa Cruz County, so be sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you know what we know when we know it. To that end, we offer breaking news alerts via text and email, which you can sign up for here; that link can also get you subscribed to all of our other newsletters, including the specially curated Sunday Reads and In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s Monday look at local politics and policy.

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

Here’s to an easy lift this Friday and a safe, relaxing weekend — I’ll see you on the other side.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz