Cyclists ride along the San Lorenzo riverwalk, past areas where a city contractor laid grout over native plants.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: San Lorenzo River levee debacle, Watsonville hospital bond measure, CZU survivor art

Happy Thursday, folks,

Max Chun again reporting for duty. Hope everyone’s had a good week thus far and has a nice weekend planned ahead.

Today is Thursday, July 27, and we’re looking at another day of mellow summer weather with a high of 76F in the mid- to late afternoon.

As always, feel free to jump straight to the news by clicking the links below.

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

Beki San Martin reports on a mishap at the San Lorenzo River levee, where river stewards say that the city hired contractors who mistakenly covered 150 seedling holes with grout. The Public Works Department plans to make some changes to the way it chooses contractors in order to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Hillary Ojeda reports on the Watsonville Community Hospital, whose board voted unanimously to push ahead with plans for a 2024 bond and property tax measure. The efforts would raise money to buy the hospital’s land and buildings, which the Pajarao Valley Health Care District currently leases for $250,000 a month.

On the Community Voices side, mixed-media artist and 40-year Bonny Doon resident Linda Levy spreads the word about 23 artists in Bonny Doon, including CZU fire survivors, who are opening their studios to the public this weekend. Though she is frustrated with the slow process to rebuild after the fires, she says that events like these showcases the resiliency of her community.

Let’s move onto the news ...

Swiss cheese? No, please! A rodent hole debacle rocks the San Lorenzo River levee

Cracked cement road.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

San Lorenzo River stewards say the city hired contractors who improperly laid grout along the levee, mistakenly covering 150 seedling holes and damaging efforts to rehabilitate the area’s biodiversity. The Public Works Department says part of the problem has to do with the way the city hires contractors and plans to shift its future processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Read the full story from Beki San Martin here.

MORE NEWS: Rare $1,000 African tree grape plant stolen from UCSC arboretum ‘a real loss,’ says nursery manager

Watsonville Community Hospital’ takes steps toward 2024 bond measure

Watsonville Community Hospital.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Pajaro Valley Health Care District voted Wednesday night to push ahead with plans to raise money to purchase the Watsonville Community Hospital’s land and buildings. The health care district purchased the hospital’s assets for more than $65 million. But it does not own the real estate, which it continues to lease from Medical Properties Trust for $250,000 a month. Details here from Hillary Ojeda.

MORE COVERAGE: Watsonville hospital board appoints interim CEO; search for new leader could take nine months

Bonny Doon is rising up from the CZU ashes with art — come visit 23 artists’ studios this weekend

Linda A. Levy has lived in Bonny Doon for 40 years.
Linda A. Levy has lived in Bonny Doon for 40 years.
(via Linda A. Levy)

Three years after the devastating CZU fire that destroyed 400 homes, the artists of Bonny Doon are opening their studios to the public. Thirty artists, including the author, mixed-media artist Linda Levy, who has lived in Bonny Doon for 40 years. Here, Levy remembers the devastation of the fire, “those terrible August days,” discusses her frustration over the minimal rebuilds and celebrates her community, which she insists is rising from the ashes. Read the full story from Linda A. Levy here.

MORE FROM COMMUNITY VOICES: Stephen Homan has a perfect record fighting for CZU survivors. But why did he have to fight at all?


Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

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 wraps up the morning rundown. Quick reminder that Wallace Baine’s latest Weekender, a recommendation-packed jaunt through Santa Cruz County’s arts and entertainment scene, is coming at you this afternoon. (Click here for a sneak peek at Cabrillo Stage’s production of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.)

You can sign up here for that and all of our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via email and text. Another great way to stay current on local happenings is via our social media accounts — follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Hope you have a great day. Enjoy the sunshine and I’ll talk to y’all on Friday.

Max Chun
Lookout Santa Cruz