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Inside Lookout: High profile series launch & new local job board

OK, it may not be the burning question of the moment, but… is it Midtown or Seabright or both?

Newcomers to Santa Cruz are often amazed by the proud nativism shown by locals about the neighborhoods they live in. For a relatively small county of 276,000, we take pride in what makes each of the places we live special and unique, sometimes to be celebrated and sometimes to just be noted. Felton and Corralitos? Bonny Doon and Capitola? The Westside and The Eastside? All odd couples to some degree, right?

This year, as we come out of the pandemic shadows with tempered optimism, Lookout finally gets to explore more deeply – and sometimes whimsically – the places we call home.

First, there is Places. Come the first week in March, Places, our housing section, is expanding with area profiles of all the communities we call home – and what makes them unique, identifiable and visitable. You’ll get a sense of what makes each place special, and some tips on finding fun and history in them if you’re an “outsider.” Look for more on Places soon.

What do all places have in common? Icons. And that’s why Wallace Baine has launched a new series only he could do. “Icons of Santa Cruz: The centurion of West Cliff Drive,” recently launched the initiative.

Up next, in March: ‘Hermanita’ is the latest in a series of enormous art pieces in downtown Watsonville made from mosaic tiles. Who is she? And what do she and the adjoining murals say about Watsonville’s cultural heritage?

Don’t be surprised if you see Wallace – in between his journeys reporting on the reviving arts scene – poking around your neighborhood. As always, we want to know the icons you’d like to see recorded for posterity. Write us at wallace@lookoutlocal.com or news@lookoutlocal.com – and always remember to send news tips there as well.

When talking about this place we call home, let us not forget all the displaced people in our county. We deeply appreciate all of the great feedback we’ve gotten on our three-part Unhoused series, which launched last Sunday. It marks a new foundation for us in tackling the most persistent and increasingly pervasive problem before us: homelessness. Our Mark Conley and Grace Stetson have gotten well ahead of the soon-to-happen “point-in-time” count of the homeless population here. Last Sunday, they caught us all up on what we know going into that count, with “Unhoused Santa Cruz: Three universal truths about why this county remains among the capitals of homelessness.” It’s a must-read if you missed it.

Coming this Sunday, in Part 2: We’ll meet and hear the journey of Leticia Sandoval, whose family lived out of a 17-foot trailer for much of the pandemic, but was able to find help and housing. She represents one of the identifiable successes in the local homelessness story, as families and children now receive priority for help. The following Sunday, we’ll break down the next day’s point-in-time count itself. And all of this is a prologue as this year Lookout deeply reports and engages with all our communities on better and more immediate solutions.

That series is just one of the high-profile launches you’ve recently seen or will see during the next several weeks. It’s been a busy month at Lookout. Like many of you, we were forced to be mainly remote since the beginning of the year, but our crew never stopped for a moment building what Lookout does for you and Santa Cruz. We are back in the office and looking forward to inviting members to our (postponed) Open House. And the reminder: Only members get all of Lookout as they proudly support Santa Cruz’s fastest-growing local news company that makes Unhoused-like reporting possible. If you haven’t yet become a member, please join us today.

Just last week, we launched another timely service for Santa Cruz County: the new Lookout Job Board. Ashley Holmes, our sales and marketing director, put the finishing touches on this exciting new product that hosts local jobs for local people in a local jobs marketplace, and it’s easily found in our newsletters and on Lookout. Share it with those who will find it useful, and if you have jobs to post, here you go. There hasn’t been such a stressed recruitment and jobs market for a long time. We believe this local-for-locals service can be of great help this year and hope you all check it out.

We’ve kept you informed about our major student engagement program, rolling out at both UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo this year. It’s a first-of-its-kind program, we’ve been told, and we’re proud to be figuring out new ways to both get students trustworthy local news, and to increasingly include their voices in Lookout. Now, we’ve newly assembled a Student Lookout team, which is planning something new. The team is led by Jamie Keil, our director of membership and student engagement, and Giovanni Moujaes, our director of audience growth, and includes correspondent Max Chun and UCSC interns Christian Abraham and Lara Aguirre-Medina, and Cabrillo intern Aidan Warzecha-Watson.

In early March, the team will begin publishing Student Lookout, delivered free each week by text message. Student Lookout will deliver the scoop on both things to do and local news, right to students’ phones. If you’d like to be involved, get early word on it or advertise in it, just shoot us an email at studentlookout@lookoutlocal.com. And if you’re a student (or you know one) and haven’t signed up yet for our free student membership, click here.

Student access banner image
Keep your eyes out for our newest Santa Cruz METRO bus ad sharing this exciting student program.

Last, as our relentlessly local initiatives multiply, look for Ask Lookout. We wonder what you wonder. So in the next couple of weeks, you’ll see us adding another new feature, “Ask Lookout.” Here we’ll field your complex, quirky, or hyper-specific inquiries. “Where do those musicians come from who play on Pacific Avenue?”, “What is that big building going up on my corner?”, “Was there really a Seabright castle?” It’s all about knowing our county better and having some fun along the way.

Thanks again for being a Lookout reader. Please spread the word about Lookout by sharing this newsletter with friends, family and anyone else you think would be interested in supporting local journalism. And see you out and about soon.

Ken Doctor
Lookout CEO & Founder

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