Cabrillo College trustees Christina Cuevas (left) and Donna Ziel at Monday's board meeting in Aptos.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Michael Cheek case back in court, Cabrillo name-change delay, CZU reflections

Good morning, one and all. It’s Tuesday, Aug. 8, and with the marine layer in full effect, it’s likely to be mix of sun and clouds around Santa Cruz County, with highs from the upper 60s to the low 80s.

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A Santa Cruz courtroom will be the site Tuesday of the latest chapter in the story of convicted sex offender Michael Cheek, whose prospective release to a house in Bonny Doon met with a community uproar in 2021. With Cheek’s attorney arguing that the long delay in finding him a home infringes on his civil rights, a judge could consider whether to house Cheek in a recreational vehicle.

As Hillary Ojeda has been reporting, Cabrillo College’s board of trustees voted after a long meeting Monday evening to delay next steps on changing the school’s name. One trustee wants more community engagement: “You don’t change peoples’ minds by being bullies and insulting them,” Rachael Spencer says.

And with the third anniversary nearing of the start of the disastrous CZU fire, Santa Cruz resident Laura Leroy reflects in Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section on the scary time and on a surprising collection of statues that survived amid the otherwise devastated home of a client in Bonny Doon.

Let’s see about those headlines.

Releasing convicted rapist Cheek to live in RV latest possibility in saga returning to Santa Cruz courtroom

Signs outside a Michael Cheek hearing in Santa Cruz in 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Finding a path for convicted sex offender Michael Cheek back into the community has proved challenging, and on Tuesday, a Santa Cruz County court might consider a measure called “transient release,” under which the state would purchase a recreational vehicle for Cheek to call home. The latest hearing comes after an appeals court ruled that Cheek could not be placed in a house in Bonny Doon. Meanwhile, Cheek’s attorney has argued that continued delays are toeing the line of violating Cheek’s civil right to due process. Christopher Neely reports.

PREVIOUSLY: Appeals court orders pause on the placement of a sexually violent predator in Santa Cruz County

After hourslong public meeting, Cabrillo College puts off renaming plans until November amid deep divisions

More than 120 people packed the Horticulture Center at Cabrillo College on Monday night.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Cabrillo College’s governing board voted 6-1 on Monday to delay selecting a new name for the school until at least November after more than 50 speakers weighed in at a divided public meeting. The name Aptos College won an online survey the task force released ahead of the vote. Details here from Hillary Ojeda.

CABRILLO COLLEGE NAME CHANGE: Find Lookout’s continuing news and opinion coverage in one place


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Much to sort through as Tuesday ramps up, but save your appetite — coming later is another helping of Lily Belli on Food. That’s just one of Lookout’s many newsletters, and you can sign up for all of them here along with breaking news alerts via text and email. Another good way to stay current with Santa Cruz County happenings is by following Lookout on social media; we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Your Tuesday awaits, friends — make the most of it.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz