Joby Aviation's aircraft flying during its production launch on June 28, 2023 in Marina.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Feds tour Santa Cruz, Meals on Wheels eviction delay, Lily Belli is back, July 4th fun

Good morning, dear readers! Today is Friday, June 30th. Get ready for sunny skies for the next couple days as we head into the July Fourth weekend, with highs in the low-to-mid 70s.

Now let’s head on over to the latest news.

JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles

Ariel Marshall, a senior official with the U.S. Department of Energy, toured the all-electric Pacific Station South housing project this week, encouraging Santa Cruz city officials to make full use of funds for climate-friendly projects in President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill. Marshall met with Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley, the city’s Director of Economic Development Bonnie Lipscomb, a representative from PG&E and other officials on Wednesday.

Hillary Ojeda has the latest on the ongoing tensions between Live Oak School District and two seniors services operating in a district-owned building. This week, the school district gave Meals and Wheels and Senior Network Services an additional two-month extension on their eviction notices. The board is aiming to turn the building on Capitola Road in Santa Cruz into housing for teachers and staff.

Ahead of Independence Day on Tuesday, Wallace Baine brings you details about some of the Fourth of July events happening around the county (none of which involve fireworks.)

And Lily Belli is back with a brand new Friday newsletter, coming to your inboxes later today. Expect a deep dive into the awkwardly but accurately named Numbing and Spicy Dan Dan Noodles at Special Noodle, a Bay Area chain that recently opened a location on Ocean Street south of Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz.

All those headlines — and more — are below.

As Santa Cruz plots an electric future, U.S. energy official tours city with offer of federal funds

Joby Aviation's CEO JoeBen Bevirt sitting in one of Joby's aircraft at the Marina airport.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Ariel Marshall, a top bureaucrat with the U.S. Department of Energy, met with senior Santa Cruz officials this week, bringing a message for the city’s rapidly redeveloping downtown: the federal government is spending big money on climate-friendly infrastructure projects and cities like Santa Cruz should take advantage.

Marshall also toured the downtown Santa Cruz Metro Station redevelopment, one of several all-electric housing and mixed-used projects under development in the city. Santa Cruz suspended its ban on natural gas in new construction this month after a federal appellate court struck down a similar ban in Berkeley. City officials told Lookout’s Beki San Martin that they planned to bring a revised ordinance supporting all-electric buildings back before council. Read the full story here.

MORE CHANGING SANTA CRUZ COVERAGE: For 2024, downtown Santa Cruz’s changes will be nothing less than transformational

A field guide to downtown Santa Cruz’s many in-progress housing developments

Live Oak School District extends Meals on Wheels eviction to Aug. 30

A parcel at 1777 Capitola Road owned by Live Oak School District
Live Oak School District officials are in the early stages of developing workforce housing at a site the district owns at 1777 Capitola Road.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Live Oak School District approved a two-month delay of their plans to evict Meals on Wheels and Senior Network Services from a district-owned building on Capitola Road in Santa Cruz. The school district is planning to build between 60 to 70 housing units for teachers and staff on the site. But, as Hillary reports, the sides are working to explore options for the seniors services providers to stay.

“It’s our hope that over the next two months we can come to an agreement on a long-term extension of at least two years that will be beneficial for all parties involved,” said Tony Nuñez, spokesperson for Community Bridges, a local nonprofit that runs Meals on Wheels. Read Hillary Ojeda’s story here.

MORE: ‘This will be a game-changer’: Live Oak School District in very early planning stages for workforce housing

Plenty to do on Fourth of July in Santa Cruz County — even without fireworks

Peter Wu, Elizabeth Butler's partner, stands with the fallen oak.
(Photo by Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Scotts Valley, Watsonville and Aptos are all holding their traditional observances of Independence Day with parades and festivities, despite many jurisdictions holding the line against illegal fireworks.

Given the potentially grave fire danger as well as the annual anxieties about loud noises and their effects on pets, it’s clear that fireworks are slowly edging toward oblivion, at least in Santa Cruz County. But many community groups benefit from funds raised by sanctioned fireworks stands in places like Watsonville, and traditionalists insist that Independence Day is not the same without exploding plumage in the sky. But that sounds more and more like a losing argument.

Wallace Baine brings you all the firework-free Fourth of July events across Santa Cruz County (and a few fireworks shows over the hill.)

MORE INDEPENDENCE DAY: There was no shortage of smiling faces at ‘World’s Shortest Parade’ in Aptos


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 all the news that’s fit to print on this Friday morning. Watch out for Lily Belli’s brand new Eater’s Digest newsletter in your inbox this afternoon. Not signed up? Head this way for that and to sign up for all of Lookout’s other newsletters, along with breaking news alerts via email and text. We’re also social media, too, so follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current with what’s going on in Santa Cruz County.

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

Happy Friday!

Tamsin McMahon
Lookout Santa Cruz