The Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: New damage to BLM mural, local COVID uptick and supervisors’ priorities

Hello again, Lookout friends. It is Monday, July 31, and the forecast calls for a mostly sunny day around Santa Cruz County (your marine-layer mileage may vary) with highs in the 70s and 80s.

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Just over a month after it was repainted following vandalism in 2021, the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall suffered new damage over the weekend, Max Chun reports. After paint was spattered across two of the mural’s letters, police are investigating and city leaders denounced this latest incident.

Max also reports on a nationwide summer COVID spike whose effects are being felt in Santa Cruz County. The good news, one official tells him, is that health agencies are much better prepared and that infections aren’t generally translating into hospitalization.

I’ve also got a sneak peek at the latest In the Public Interest newsletter from Christopher Neely, as he talked with all five county supervisors ahead of their return next week from summer recess. Among what they see as priorities are housing and rebuilding and recovery from the CZU fire and this winter’s storms. (And if local politics and policy is your jam, sign up here to get In the Public Interest delivered right to you.)

The Monday headlines also include Wallace Baine’s check-in with local author Lara Love Hardin ahead of the release of her latest novel, so let’s get to it.

Santa Cruz police investigating new damage to Black Lives Matter mural

Paint splattered on the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Via City of Santa Cruz / Instagram)

The City of Santa Cruz received a report Saturday evening of blue paint spattered on the Black Lives Matter mural in front of City Hall. The mural was repainted just in late June. Max Chun has details.

FROM JUNE: ‘I will do everything I can to make things right’: BLM mural vandals apologize; mural repainted

A summer COVID spike is underway in Santa Cruz County, but officials say it’s a mild one

a busy Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The impact of COVID on society looks very different these days when compared to much of the past three years, with a current mild summer spike showing hospitalizations nowhere near surges of previous years. The disease will never go away, but both public health agencies and our immune systems are as prepared as ever, says Santa Cruz County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci. Read more here.

COUNTY’S TOP DOC: New Santa Cruz County health officer Lisa Hernandez on how data can help solve our biggest health challenges


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(United Way of Santa Cruz County)

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And that’s what I know this last day of July. As mentioned earlier, coming later Monday is Christopher Neely’s dispatch on Santa Cruz County politics and policy, In the Public Interestsign up here to get that and all of our other newsletters sent right to your inbox, and while you’re there, take advantage of Lookout’s breaking news alerts via text and email. You can also stay current on local news and views by following Lookout on social media — we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Cheers to finishing July in style!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz