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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 21, 2024

Earth Day: Resilience vs. Disaster

Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrate the efforts our fellow humans (including some powerful Californians) have made and are making to help heal our planet and connect us, while we simultaneously consider what we must do to protect our communities as the climate crisis worsens. We begin with a tribute to a man who is given credit for lighting the spark that led to this holiday.

Below, as always, find a carefully curated selection of local news; a short tribute to a local nonprofit, and a tasty recipe.

Seeing the World Anew

Just a few months before Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders took the "Earthrise" photo above, Stewart Brand convinced NASA to release the first color photo of the earth that had ever been seen. He believed people would be deeply affected by that image and he was right: The founders of Earth Day cite that photo as their inspiration. Here are several other ways this former Merry Prankster changed the world.

Stewart Brand’s ‘Whole Earth’ and its Place in the Universe

Meet the hippie intellectual who changed the world with the first published photograph of our entire planet.

Organizing Against Disaster

Worsening winter storms and the lengthining wildfire season are forcing us to confront unprecedented challenges. Here's how communities are coping and some ways you can help.

Budgeting for Resilience

West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California, following a storm in January 2023. Throughout the state, communities are being forced to budget for disaster.
California communities are focusing resources in response to the effects of climate change and other challenges.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.

These scones won’t curb your enthusiasm

These strawberry and cream scones are perfect for a spring brunch or tea.
NEW Strawberries and cream scones with orange zest

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Santa Cruz County's Homepage

Our overview page for Santa Cruz County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Santa Cruz County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

Get to Know a Group

Friends of the Rail and Trail logo Friends of the Rail and Trail

FORT advocates for an integrated walk/bike/train transportation network utilizing the 32-mile rail trail.

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From Our Media Allies

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The Pajaronian logo U.S. Army Corps Seeks Public Input on Pajaro River Levee Environmental Study

The agency responsible for the rebuild of the Pajaro River Levee has completed an environmental assessment for Reach 6 of the project, and is seeking public input before finalizing it.

The Pajaronian logo ‘Nuisance’ Homeless Camp on Airport Blvd. Approved for Clearing, Cleanup

In a weed-strewn, vacant lot on Airport Boulevard Tuesday, Bryan Hilgeman was busy around his makeshift tarp dwelling where he lives, along with about 40 people in the unsanctioned homeless camp.

KSQD logo Low-Impact Camping Ordinance Raises Questions in Fire Zone

The Low Impact Camping Ordinance drafted by the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission took some rural residents by surprise.

Santa Cruz Local logo Transportation Commission Reaffirms Support for Rail Trail

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission on Thursday reaffirmed its support for a paved path parallel to the train tracks through Capitola and Seacliff.

Hilltromper Santa Cruz logo Science Spotlight: Why Do Humpbacks Breach?

More than 40 feet long and weighing up to 40 tons, adult humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are formidable giants. But their immensity doesn’t hinder their athleticism.

Good Times logo Fall Creek Hike

It’s dawn and I’m the first to park in the Henry Cowell State Park parking lot up Felton-Empire Grade Road.

Good Times logo Remembering John Sinclair — Poet, Protestor and Pot Activist

Activist, poet and music manager John Sinclair died last week at 82. He was someone about whom everybody concerned about cannabis reform, of any age, should know.

Hilltromper Silicon Valley logo Peak Whale Watching in Northern California Can Be Now

Humpback whales return to our waters just in time for Earth Day and WhaleFest in Pacifica, while whale watchers in Monterey Bay are seeing cetaceans in droves.

Santa Cruz Local logo State Money for Rail Trail Could Transfer to Regional Transportation Commission

At a special meeting Thursday, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission could step toward takeover of a $68 million state grant awarded to Santa Cruz County to help construct the rail trail through Live Oak, Capitola and Seacliff.

San Lorenzo Valley Post logo AmeriCorps Team Improves San Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat

An AmeriCorps team led by San Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration Program founder and advisor Linda Skeff weeded invasive plants from the native plant demonstration beds at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum Grace Gallery in Boulder Creek on a rainy …

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Recent Local News

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• Supervisor Responds to Rail Trail Vote Criticism

Following his recent vote against approval of two segments of the Rail Trail, Supervisor Manu Koenig explains his decision.

(04/20/2024) → Lookout Local

• Outdoor Dining Changes Postponed

In its April 18 meeting, the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission agreed to postpone a decision on rule changes to restaurant outdoor seating for 60 days.

(04/20/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• School District Considers Hosting Farmers Market

The Live Oak School District will consider hosting the farmers market at a school site, but the soonest that would happen is still months away.

(04/18/2024) → Lookout Local

• District Trustee Resigns

Member Pal Garcia resigned from the Live Oak School District governing board.

(04/18/2024) → Lookout Local

• Pilot Street Sweeping Plan Moves Forward

The City of Santa Cruz is set to begin a pilot program of neighborhood street sweeping, including a provision to tow vehicles not complying with posted parking limits.

(04/17/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Capitola Eyes Sales Tax Increase

The Capitola City Council are considering a November ballot item to increase 2016's Measure F sales tax rate from %9 to %9.25.

(04/17/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• Santa Cruz Assistant City Manager to Resign

Laura Schmidt is resigning from her position as assistant city manager for the City of Santa Cruz, effective August, to consult in the private sector.

(04/16/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• May 3rd Small Business Summit Approaches

The Santa Cruz County Small Business Development Center will be hosting the all day Small Business Summit on the Cabrillo College Campus

(04/16/2024) → Lookout Local

• Police Chief Finds No Violation in Cyclist Arrest

An initial review of body cam footage indicated no violations of department policy or the law in the arrest by multiple officers of a lone Black cyclist on the Santa Cruz Westside, according to the police chief.

(04/15/2024) → Lookout Local

• Dune Resilience Project Begins

California State Parks and partner Friends of California State Parks are working together on a project to rehabilitate a number of dunes at Rio Del Mar State Beach to reduce erosion, increase resilience and restore wildlife habitat.

(04/15/2024) → Santa Cruz Sentinel

• UCSC Camper Park Update

An update of meetings held between UCSC staff and Camper Park residents.

(04/15/2024) → City on a Hill
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Recent Statewide News

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• Newsom Calls Out Republican Abortion Policies in New Ad Running in Alabama

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new ad blasts GOP efforts to make it harder for people to leave states with abortion bans and seek treatment elsewhere.

(04/21/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• As Salmon Are Released Into the Klamath River, Tribal Leaders See a 'Symbol of Hope'

California has released 500,000 salmon into the Klamath River. As dams are removed, the fish will be some of the first to return to a free-flowing river.

(04/20/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• A Private Calif. Ranch Holds Important State History — And It Might Be in Danger

Some residents fear development could destroy parts of the historic land.

(04/19/2024) → SF Gate

• After Previously Being Cleared, Three Alameda Police Officers Now Face Manslaughter Charges

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has charged three East Bay police officers with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 death of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez.

(04/19/2024) → SF Gate

• A Plan to Change Your Utility Rates Is Dividing California Environmentalists. Here’s Why

The California Public Utilities Commission will consider on May 9 a new proposal that would change how Californians pay for electricity.

(04/18/2024) → CalMatters

• California Sets Nation’s First Water Standard for Cancer-Causing Contaminant

Water suppliers say the costs will be massive, with rates increasing for many consumers. Known as the “Erin Brockovich” chemical, hexavalent chromium is found statewide.

(04/17/2024) → CalMatters

• Senate Impeachment Trial Begins for Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant who grew up in California, is the first U.S. Cabinet official impeached in nearly 150 years.

(04/17/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• Paris Hilton Speaks Up for California’s ‘Troubled’ Teens

Heiress Paris Hilton is on a mission to shine a light on the "troubled teen industry," a largely unregulated multibillion-dollar industry that is gaining public scrutiny for alleged abuse of vulnerable youths.

(04/17/2024) → California Healthline

• In San Francisco’s Chinatown, a CEO Works With the Community to Bolster Hospital

Chinese Hospital, located in the heart of this city's legendary Chinatown, struggles with many of the same financial and demographic challenges that plague small independent hospitals in underserved areas across the country.

(04/16/2024) → California Healthline
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (04/20/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for ground beef products that may be contaminated...
Image of Santa Cruz County Office of Education seal. Santa Cruz County Office of Education   (04/19/2024)

Earth Day & Environmental Literacy

Dear community member, Earth Day, falling each year on April 22, provides an important opportunity for our schools to reflect on the importance of environmental education and stewardship of our planet. In addition to the inspiring Earth Day celebrations returning to Santa Cruz and Watsonville, I want to share a little about some of our upcoming events and environmental [...] …
Image of City of Scotts Valley seal. City of Scotts Valley   (04/19/2024)

HouseKeys Low Income Ownership Opportunity

Please see the flyer regarding a low-income home ownership opportunity in Scotts Valley.
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (04/19/2024)

Gail Pellerin CA Assembly 28:
Support AB 1850 to make the Banana Slug the State Slug

Support AB 1850 to make the Banana Slug the State Slug robbee Fri, 04/19/2024 - 13:38 Monday, April 15, 2024
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/19/2024)

Primal Kitchen Issues Voluntary Recall of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil (750mL Glass) Due to Packaging Issue

Primal Kitchen is announcing a voluntary recall of approximately 2,060 cases of three code dates of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil (750mL) because the glass may be prone to breakage, causing the product to spill.
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/19/2024)

Infinite Herbs, LLC Expands Recall of Fresh Organic Basil to Include Melissa's Brand Organic Basil Received by Illinois and Missouri Retailer

Infinite Herbs LLC of Miami, Florida, is expanding its April 18th recall to include Melissa's brand fresh organic basil in 2.0 oz ( 96 packages, UPC 0 45255 14142 9) and 4.0 oz packages (24 packages, UPC 0 45255 14439 0) available for sale at Dierberg's stores in Illinois and Missouri between Febru
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/18/2024)

Sammy's Milk Providing a Warning Against the Use of Goat Milk Toddler Formula as Infant Formula

Newport Beach, California - Sammy's Milk, a local company, has been asked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide a warning against the use of its Goat Milk Toddler Formula as an infant formula because the FDA is concerned that the formula may not meet all FDA requirements for infant fo
Image of City of Watsonville seal. City of Watsonville   (04/18/2024)

WPD hiring new and experienced Officers

Image of Santa Cruz County Office of Education seal. Santa Cruz County Office of Education   (04/18/2024)

Bay View Elementary School Hosts a Stellar Computer Science Family Night

In an era where technology shapes the future, Bay View Elementary School distinguished itself by hosting an innovative Computer Science Family Night on February 29. This event saw a vibrant assembly of students, families, and educators immersed in an evening of engaging, hands-on computer science activities. With a dynamic blend of plugged and unplugged interactive stations, participants [...] The post …
Image of United States seal. United States   (04/18/2024)

Infinite Herbs, LLC Voluntarily Recalls 2.5-Ounce Fresh Organic Basil Sold From February 1 Through April 6 Because of Possible Health Risk

Infinite Herbs LLC of Miami, Florida, is voluntarily recalling 2.5-ounce packages of Infinite Herbs fresh organic basil sold between February 1 and April 6, 2024, and bearing the UPC 8 18042 02147 7 (see photos below) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella