Paleontologist Wayne Thompson holds up a pair of sunglasses to give an idea of the size of the mastodon tooth found recently.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Slowing home sales, mastodon tooth’s clues & opinion on homelessness crisis

Hello hello. It’s Tuesday, June 27, and the June pattern continues for Santa Cruz County — clouds in the morning, sunnier skies come afternoon, temps in the 60s and 70s.

Prefer a solo jaunt to my guided tour through Lookout’s latest? Jaunt this way.
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The local real estate market gets the spotlight first, with Max Chun reporting on recent data showing that sales hit a 15-year low in May. Inventory remains low, with homeowners electing to stick with mortgage rates they locked in before recent rises.

The discovery of a mastodon tooth on an Aptos beach recently made waves well beyond Santa Cruz County, and Christopher Neely catches up with a paleontologist who helped it wind up at the Museum of Natural History. This latest find could tell us plenty about what our area looked like during the Ice Age, Wayne Thompson says in our latest Lookout Q&A.

And in our Community Voices opinion section, Santa Cruz resident Sheila Carrillo writes about opening her door recently to find the daughter of an old friend, begging for help in getting off the streets.

To the headlines we go.

Santa Cruz County homes for sale hit lowest level in more than 20 years

The drop in home sales and new listings in Santa Cruz County can partly be attributed to the “mortgage lock-in effect,” or the reluctance for a homeowner to sell their home when they have a low interest rate locked in. Buyers took advantage of low rates during the pandemic, and are now choosing to stay put as a result. And the building of single-family homes hasn’t kept pace with demand. Max Chun reports.

MORE: ‘Mentally, physically, financially exhausting’: Santa Cruz County now the most expensive rental market in the U.S.

Recently discovered mastodon tooth may hold ancient secrets about evolution of Santa Cruz County

Paleontologist Wayne Thompson holding up the mastodon teeth while collections manager Kathleen Aston looks on.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Wayne Thompson has been fascinated with ancient animals since his family owned Scotts Valley’s now-closed Lost World attraction. He’s been on the trail of Ice Age mammals in Santa Cruz County since a juvenile mastodon skull turned up in Aptos Creek in 1980, and the May find of a tooth on a Rio Del Mar beach has the Museum of Natural History paleontologist excited anew. Check out his Q&A with Christopher Neely here.

LOOKOUT Q&As: Hear from local newsmakers in their own words


Santa Cruz County Job Board

Plenty to chew on, but we’ve got more cooking here at Lookout. Tuesdays bring the latest in Santa Cruz County food and drink news, and Jessica M. Pasko will be along later with her last newsletter before she hands the reins back to Lily Belli. Sign up here for that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, not to mention breaking news alerts via email and text. We’re on the socials, too, so follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current with Santa Cruz County goings-on.

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I’m taking a few days off, but rest assured, you’ll be in good hands. See you next week!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz