Nina Simon, former director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and now author of "Mother-Daughter Murder Night"
Nina Simon, former director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and now author of “Mother-Daughter Murder Night.”
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Targeting opioid funds, Atre case update, Nina Simon’s novel journey & on aging

Another day, another set of challenges and opportunities. It’s Thursday, Aug. 31, and it’ll be a much cooler one around Santa Cruz County, with coastal spots in the 60s and the mountains in the 80s, and some of the smoky haze we saw Wednesday lingering (about which more later).

You ain’t got no time for no stinkin’ tour? Well then, dissect Lookout’s latest as you like.
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Max Chun is carrying us to start the day, with a pair of stories. He listened in on a virtual town hall Wednesday evening at which officials discussed plans for around $26 million that’s coming to Santa Cruz County from a national settlement with the opioids industry. As Max reports, community feedback has focused the list and order of priorities.

Max was also in a Santa Cruz courtroom for the latest steps in the case of the 2019 murder of Pleasure Point entrepreneur Tushar Atre. Wednesday saw a judge deny a request by an attorney for one of the defendants to toss surveillance footage on grounds that investigators made misleading statements in obtaining a search warrant.

Wallace Baine is in the mix, too, speaking with former Museum of Art & History director Nina Simon about her new novel. “Mother-Daughter Murder Night” grew out of the time Simon has spent caring for her mother after a 2020 cancer diagnosis, and she’ll talk about it next week at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section brings the debut of Aging in Santa Cruz, an occasional series from columnist Claudia Sternbach. Read on for her perspective on the seasoning that comes with growing older.

The headlines also include Hillary Ojeda on what’s behind the smoke we saw (and, as I can attest after some time outdoors, felt) around Santa Cruz County on Wednesday, plus a look at tech billionaires buying up land in Solano County to build a whole new city. Read on, won’t you?

Santa Cruz County readies to spend millions from opioid settlement funds starting next year

County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci shows data that indicates opioid deaths trending upwards locally.
(Via County of Santa Cruz)

As Santa Cruz County awaits about $26 million in funds stemming from national lawsuits against pharmacies, drug manufacturers and distributors, residents say they want to see that money go toward treatment facilities and supporting vulnerable groups as the dollars roll in over the next decade. Details here from Max Chun.

OPIOID CRISIS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: Find Lookout’s ongoing coverage here

Nina Simon’s new path: A daughter’s story of love, told in the form of a murder mystery

Nina Simon, former director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and now author of "Mother-Daughter Murder Night"
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Nina Simon, former director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, put her life and nonprofit leadership on pause in 2020 to care for her mother after a cancer diagnosis. What “started out completely like a fantasy or a distraction” evolved into “Mother-Daughter Murder Night,” a mystery novel she’ll discuss Tuesday at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Wallace Baine traces the journey.

WEEKENDER: Sign up here for Wallace’s recommendation-packed newsletter, coming later Thursday


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

You should be just about ready to charge out into this final day of August, but before you go, a reminder that you should stay connected with Lookout so you don’t miss anything. There’s of course the social media way; follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads. We also offer breaking news alerts via text and email, not to mention all of our other newsletters — including Weekender, Wallace Baine’s weekly stroll through Santa Cruz County’s arts and entertainment scene, coming in mere hours. Click here to avail yourself of all that goodness.

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

Enjoy the coolth, as I’ve seen this face of our local clime described — and when we meet again, it’ll be September.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz