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By Eric Johnson
Published May 22, 2023

CALocal Wins Two Big Journo Awards

You probably know that The Newsletter goes out only to California Local members and subscribers—folks like yourself who’ve signed up to join our family and support our work. Today I am writing to bring the good news that we have just been given two big awards by the California News Publishers Association (CNPA). 

We learned Thursday morning that our Santa Cruz Rail Trail ‘Tracker’ won a Third Place award for Public Interest Journalism. This is a category that many people in our industry care the most deeply about, because it involves having a real and demonstrable impact in our community—and as you are no doubt aware, that’s why we are in this game to begin with.

The  award-winning “Tracker,” by the way, is a news product devised by our co-founder Chris Neklason, who defines it like so: “Article that acts as a portal for information about an ongoing process, tracking it and adding and updating information over time.” And here’s what the CNPA judges said about this one.

One-stop shopping for readers interested in this local issue. A model for presenting comprehensive information on a subject of public interest—a contentious one—from all kinds of angles and all kinds of sources. Allows readers to access journalism as well as primary sources, a nod to the “do your own research” approach. All of it is in easily digested writing and images. Informative and inviting through expert use of media.

We are deeply honored that our industry peers have given us this recognition. Speaking of which.

California Local Wins First Place CNPA Award for Story Presentation Page Layout & Design

My friend and colleague Chris has thought long and hard about the best ways to present news and information in a way that helps keep people engaged; NewsOS, our Content Management System, is a result of years of his work toward that end. Kara Brown, our designer, has decades in the biz, and is committed to creating a user experience that inspires feelings of delight. Apparently their collaboration is golden.

I am pleased as punch to tell you that we have been named the best-looking journalism website (in our 100,000 uniques-per-month division) in the state of California. And here, “best-looking,” as in all online endeavors, includes functionality. 

We are fiercely committed to creating something good in the online world—by bringing you news you can trust and helping you stay connected. 

As you will see below, there is more on its way.

New Feature: Find Your Reps

Our work is guided in part by our motto: “We make it easy to citizen.” (I hope I don’t need to remind you that “citizen” is a verb.) This week we made it even easier by rolling out a new feature that puts your local elected officials one click away. Here’s how that works, and some tips on effective civic communications.

Conveniently Contacting Your Elected Representatives

Time to step up and speak out.
We've made it one-click convenient for members to contact their elected representatives.

Tips on Contacting Your Elected Representatives

Your elected representatives want to hear from you.
Voting is just the beginning. Stay connected with your representatives to make sure your government is working for you.

Longtime Public Official Talks to Local Leaders

Politics is the family business for Ryan Coonerty, and after years serving as an elected official in Santa Cruz, he is hosting a podcast focused on local electeds.

An Interview With Ryan Coonerty

Then-Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty speaks at a TEDx event in 2020. “As a local official, every day I get to wake up and try to take action to make our community a little bit better place.”
On the Santa Cruz City Council, then as mayor, and then as county supervisor, Ryan Coonerty learned to love politics.

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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

Santa Cruz Baroque Festival logo Santa Cruz Baroque Festival

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has been active since 1974, presenting early music as it sounded in its own era. Members strive for artistic excellence while transmitting the joy of Baroque music to future generations.

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From Our Media Allies

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The Pajaronian logo Santa Cruz County Health Officer Announces Retirement

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel announced she will retire in June. Newel led the county through the Covid pandemic, considered to be the largest public health crisis in Santa Cruz County history.

Santa Cruz Local logo Agencies Aim to Increase Controlled Burns in Santa Cruz County

State task force leaders anticipate delayed fire season as grasses dry.

San Lorenzo Valley Post logo Welcome, Sergeant Kyle Matson

Kyle Matson is the San Lorenzo Valley’s new Sheriff’s Community Policing Sergeant, a role previously held by Sergeant Jason Dunn.

Monterey County Weekly logo After 122 Years, King City’s Casey Printing Is Under New Ownership

Casey Printing—the family-run commercial printer which operates one of the last publication-style printing presses on the Central Coast—has been sold and will continue to operate under new ownership.

Good Times logo UCSC’s 2023 Deep Read Features Elizabeth Kolbert’s ‘Under a White Sky’

The Pulitzer Prize-winner talks Anthropocene, how science reporting usually includes a socioeconomic component and New Journalism.

Good Times logo The Cultural Tapestry of the Beach Flats, Santa Cruz’s Most Diverse Neighborhood

Looking back on the history of the multicultural community as it moves into the future.

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Recent Local News

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• Enrollment Drops in Santa Cruz County Public Schools Amid Demographic Changes, Affordability Woes

With Santa Cruz County’s K-12 schools seeing the largest annual decline in enrollment in almost 30 years, officials at the county and district levels are examining cost-saving strategies and ways to keep families in neighborhoods and to maximize resources.

(05/18/2023) → Lookout Santa Cruz

• Problems at Your Mobile Home Park?

California officials depend largely on residents filing complaints to find out about health and safety problems at mobile home parks. Here’s how to file a complaint.

(05/18/2023) → CalMatters

• 36 North Playwrights Let Audience in on the Process

The collective of local playwrights under the 36 North banner kicks off a series of staged readings of new plays—a chance to interact with a live audience and get a sense of what works and what doesn’t.

(05/18/2023) → Read the full Lookout Local report

• Pajaro: Past. Present. Future.

The Pajaro flood on March 11 was not the first time the river broke through the levee. The news team of KSBW 8 investigates the current crisis and past problems in the small agriculture community.

(05/18/2023) → Read the full KSBW NBC/ABC report

• Sempervirens Fund Expands Big Basin Conservation Area

The Sempervirens Fund announced that the land trust recently purchased a 16.5 acre patch of forest adjacent to Big Basin Redwoods State Park known as the Sterrenzee Ridgetop.

(05/16/2023) → Santa Cruz Sentinel
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Recent Statewide News

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• Which Big California Bills Were Shelved in ‘Suspense File’?

In their twice-a-year exercise, legislators killed hundreds of California bills in the process known as the suspense file. They included ones on abortion access, climate and homelessness. The state budget deficit also made an impact.

(05/18/2023) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/19/2023)

5/19/2023 - Call to Artists - Public Art Project

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/18/2023)

5/18/2023 - Limited Time Dog and Puppy Adoption Special

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/18/2023)

5/18/2023 - Santa Cruz Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel to Retire

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/16/2023)

5/16/2023 - Poetry in The Park

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/08/2023)

5/8/2023 - County to Host Annual Career Fair

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/05/2023)

5/5/2023 - Public Meetings for 2023 Housing Element

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/05/2023)

5/5/2023 - Hello ADU Construciton Assistance Program Launches

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (05/04/2023)

5/4/2023 - County Releases 2023-24 Proposed Budget

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (04/26/2023)

4/26/2023 - 60 Local Businesses Recognized 2022 Responsible Alcohol Merchant Award Winners

Image of County of Santa Cruz seal. County of Santa Cruz   (04/25/2023)

4/25/2023 - Application Period Now Open for Live Oak Affordable Housing