Michael Cheek's defense attorney, Stephen Prekoski, making a point Tuesday in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
Michael Cheek’s defense attorney, Stephen Prekoski, making a point Tuesday in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Hate crime focus in Capitola flag theft, Michael Cheek next steps, Felton tavern closes

Mornin’, mates, time to unravel the world’s latest puzzles. It is Wednesday, Aug. 9, and the temperate stretch continues for Santa Cruz County, with highs from the 60s to low 80s for another couple days before Mother Nature turns up the heat slightly headed into the weekend.

Lookout’s got much bubbling as we hit midweek, and if that’s enough for you to skip the guided tour, slide in here.
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Vandals have again struck a Capitola Village store, and police are investigating the latest theft of a Pride flag from Lumen Gallery as a hate crime, Max Chun reports. It’s the second time in two months Lumen has been hit.

Civil rights were a focus of Tuesday’s hearing in a Santa Cruz courtroom involving convicted rapist Michael Cheek, with Christopher Neely reporting that the state and county are still struggling to find a place for Cheek to live after he was cleared in 2019 to reenter society under close watch.

The Wednesday headlines also include news from Lily Belli on the sudden closure of a Felton dining spot; we’ll head that way after a snapshot from Lookout photojournalist Kevin Painchaud.


Buildings under construction in downtown Santa Cruz
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

It’s a contrast downtown as construction continues in the area around Pacific Avenue and Laurel and Front streets. The facade of the building at Pacific and Laurel (left) is taking shape, with the building at Laurel and Front not far behind. Read more about ongoing downtown development in Lookout’s Changing Santa Cruz coverage.

Lumen Gallery in Capitola Village.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Lumen Gallery’s Pride flags were stolen this past weekend for the second time in just two months. Capitola police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and weighing options for how to prevent future theft and vandalism. Max Chun has more.

PREVIOUSLY: Capitola Village businesses double down on support for LGBTQ+ community after Pride flag vandalism

Cheek pushes civil rights as state, Santa Cruz County continue search for a place to release convicted rapist

Twice-convicted rapist Michael Cheek videoconferences in to Tuesday's hearing from the state hospital in Fresno County.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“I don’t know why my due process or liberty interest rights are not being considered here,” Michael Cheek told a Santa Cruz court Tuesday. The hearing ended with Judge Syda Cogliati denying his request for transient release, under which the state would purchase an RV for Cheek to call home. Cheek, twice convicted of rape, was cleared by state doctors in 2019 to reenter society under tight watch; Cogliati wants stakeholders to return Sept. 12 with options. Christopher Neely reports.

FROM 2021: A test of ‘Bonny Doon Strong’: Why a ‘sexually violent predator’ should not be this community’s next battle


United Way of Santa Cruz County newsletter ad
(United Way of Santa Cruz County)

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

Food for thought as we launch into Wednesday. Keep it tuned to Lookout for the latest in Santa Cruz County news and views — we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads. We also offer a host of other newsletters and breaking news alerts via email and text, which you can sign up for right here.

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

Best of luck to everyone doing the back-to-school thing, and I’ll see you on the flip side.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz