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January 24, 2022

CZU Complex now state’s 9th-most destructive fire ever recorded

CZU August Lightning Complex Fires
SCOTTS VALLEY—The CZU August Lightning Complex has destroyed 1,483 structures as of Tuesday morning, making it the ninth-most destructive fire ever recorded in the state. The majority of those structures are single-family homes in the Santa Cruz mountain towns of Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon,...

Covid-19, fires taxing service providers

Second Harvest Food Bank food distribution
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—The CZU August Lightning Complex fires have so far destroyed more than 500 homes and forced 77,000 people to evacuate from their community. Those people have flooded evacuation centers throughout the county. That, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended the economy...

Cabrillo sees enrollment drop following fires, pandemic

Cabrillo College enrollment
APTOS—When Covid-19 began to sweep the U.S.—and brought with it an economic recession—Cabrillo College officials expected a jump in enrollment that typically comes with a battered economy. But the college is now seeing a significant drop in those numbers, which it pins on the double...

More than 700 structures destroyed by CZU Complex fire; now 24% contained

CZU August Lightning Complex fires
SCOTTS VALLEY—The level of containment in the CZU August Lightning Complex fires continues to increase, and so does the number of confirmed destroyed and damaged structures. The blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains has destroyed 746 structures and is still threatening more than 13,000 others...

Sheriff’s detectives arrest wallet thief

SCOTTS VALLEY—Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s detectives on Wednesday arrested a Live Oak man suspected of using credit and bank cards stolen from a firefighter’s truck to make thousands of dollars in purchases. Brian Lee Johnson, 34, has been charged with using stolen credit cards, receiving...

County’s budget cuts to Sheriff’s Office eased

County of Santa Cruz budget
SANTA CRUZ— The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an $874 million budget for the coming year that includes cuts and position reductions to every department in the county. According to County Budget Manager Christina Mowrey, the reductions include furloughs of 5-10%,...

Most Santa Cruz County schools close for the week

Cabrillo College name change
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Cabrillo College on Monday joined most school districts across Santa Cruz County when officials announced that classes will be canceled through Aug. 28. The move came after the CZU August Lightning Complex fires forced the evacuation of teachers and staff. In making the...

Covid-19 economic restrictions expected to remain in place

Watsonville coronavirus
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—The economic restrictions imposed on various Santa Cruz County businesses are not expected to be loosened this week, according to Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency spokeswoman Corinne Hyland. That’s despite the fact that the county will have spent its 14th day off...

State prioritizes farmworkers for Covid-19 vaccinations

CALIFORNIA—As California deals with a surge of Covid-19 cases, hope is in sight as the vaccine begins to be administered to healthcare workers and long-term care residents. And on Jan. 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that farmworkers would be included in the next tier. The announcement...

Santa Cruz County health officer says mask order won’t change behavior

mask order
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Saying that she has not yet seen reliable data that a countywide masking mandate would alter personal behavior or lower Covid-19 cases, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said she does not plan to issue a new order any time...