Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz
Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Cowell Beach’s clean turnaround, fast food franchise politics and restaurant reopenings

Hiya, friends and neighbors. It’s Wednesday, June 21, and it’s looking to be another sunny day in Santa Cruz County — a happy coincidence indeed since it’s our longest of the year as summer officially arrives — with high temps into the 70s.

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After years on one environmental advocacy group’s list of dirtiest California beaches, Santa Cruz’s Cowell Beach has earned its fourth consecutive “A” grade, Max Chun reports. What’s behind the turnaround? More precise water sampling and a concerted effort to improve the situation.

If you’ve turned on your TV or opened your mailbox lately, you might’ve gotten an eyeful of ads opposing the Fast Food Franchisor Responsibility Act. If Assembly Bill 1228 becomes law, it would make corporate fast food franchisors jointly liable for labor-rights violations at their franchise locations, and Beki San Martin has more on what both sides in the statewide battle are arguing.

The hump day headlines also include the latest in Santa Cruz County food and drink news, including the reopening of a pair of local restaurants, plus an in-depth survey of California’s homeless residents and just how water much the wet winter put into the state’s biggest reservoirs. To the headlines we go ...

Cowell Beach, once among California’s most polluted, gets ‘A’ for cleanliness for fourth straight year

A surfer prepares to enter the water at Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

For the fourth consecutive year, Cowell Beach received a high grade on nonprofit Heal The Bay’s annual beach report card, keeping it off of the “Beach Bummers” list of notably dirty beaches. Changes in infrastructure at the wharf and Neary Lagoon have made the difference, says environmental compliance manager Akin Babatola. Details here from Max Chun.

FROM 2021: Capitola Beach bummer: After popular spot gets unhealthy F, is it safe to swim there?

Santa Cruz County finds itself on front lines of statewide battle over fast food franchisor liability bill

McDonald's is among a number major fast food corporations which would be impacted by this California bill.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

No on AB 1228, a coalition opposing a California bill that would make fast food franchisors liable for labor violations at their franchise locations, is running a heavy campaign in Santa Cruz. But proponents of the Fast Food Franchisor Responsibility Act say the bill would benefit franchise owners and workers. Beki San Martin reports.

RELATED: Fast food industry pushes to halt AB 257, a California law that could raise worker wages


Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

“Ten” exhibition @Radius Gallery
Poetry Series @Boulder Creek Branch Library
Dylan Rose: Father & Son @Bargetto Winery
The Latin Dead @Felton Music Hall
Sofia Talvik @Ugly Mug Coffeehouse

Midtown Fridays @1111 Soquel Ave.
Food Truck Friday @Skypark
Mountain Film on Tour Santa Cruz @Rio Theatre
Roosevelt @The Catalyst

Out of The Darkness Santa Cruz County Walk @Skypark
Community Crafters-Basic Earring Making Workshop @Boulder Creek Branch Library
Farm Dinner @1481 San Miguel Canyon Rd.
Big Mountain @Moe’s Alley
MaMuse, WildChoir & The Feelings Parade @Rio Theatre

Halloween Pop-up Event @Little Trends
Rail & Trail Festival @Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
David Luning @Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Marc E. Bassy @The Catalyst

That’s the lay of the land around Santa Cruz County as summer arrives — and with more coming from Lookout, we’ve got a bunch of ways for you to stay on top of all the local news and views. Follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up here for breaking news alerts via text and email, plus all of our other newsletters (up Thursday: Wallace Baine’s Weekender, packed full of recommendations for things to do plus news and notes from our arts and entertainment scene).

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

Remember those dark, rainy days of winter when you longed for a gorgeous, long sunny day? It’s here, so get out there and drink it in.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz