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Friday News Roundup

Monterey Supes Say No To Mandatory Masks, Ironman Stops Traffic In Santa Cruz and Copious Crooked Contaminated Cannabis

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Monterey County District Attorney’s Office
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Some of the eighteen tons of illegal cannabis seized over the past 30 days in Monterey County and destroyed by law enforcement.
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Doug McKnight
Sign in the doorway of a Pacific Grove florist reminding shoppers to wear a mask. An effort to make masks mandatory in Monterey County by the Board of Supervisors failed to pass this week.

“Nay” to mandatory masks in Monterey County, at least for now. At a special session this week, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors did not have the requisite four out of five votes to pass an urgency ordinance that would have required face coverings for everyone in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Supervisors Alejo, Adams and Root Askew voted in favor, with Phillips and Lopez opposed. Last week, the board signaled unanimous support for the ordinance.

The supervisors opposed said that such a measure would be premature because case rates are currently declining in the county. They also said the measure would conflict with the position of County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno, who said last week that less restrictive methods could effectively reduce spread. Board Chair Root Askew said she will introduce a similar measure again in the future when “our cases inevitably rise.”

Santa Cruz County imposed a mask mandate on Aug. 16. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masks in all counties with high or substantial transmission.

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Doug McKnight
An empty football field at Carmel High School. Practice was suspended and Friday’s game cancelled after 15 students in 14 days tested positive for COVID-19.

Fifteen students are confirmed with COVID-19 at Carmel High School. The outbreak was announced in a letter from the District Superintendent Ted Knight. He said some of the cases, reported over the past two weeks, appear to be connected. The district has confirmed six of the 15 were members of the football team. The remaining students are associated with other areas of campus.

Football practice for the rest of the week including tonight’s game against King City is cancelled.

Knight said the district’s goal is to continue “full in-person” learning for the more than 850 students at Carmel High School. The school is rechecking ventilation systems and beefing up sanitation efforts. It will also increase testing and contract tracing.

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Jerimiah Oetting
The parking lot at Depot Park in Santa Cruz was already buzzing with pre-race energy on Friday afternoon.

The 2021 Santa Cruz Ironman is this Sunday. Triathletes will be on the move…and that means traffic won’t be. Traffic on northbound Highway 1 will be stopped at Western avenue starting at 7:20 a.m. until approximately 9:30 a.m., as cyclists race towards Pigeon Point in Pescadero. A pilot car will guide traffic behind the final biker. Then, as the cyclists return to Santa Cruz, the southbound portion of the highway will be closed from Pigeon Point Rd onward, starting at around 8:20 a.m.

At 70.3 miles, the Santa Cruz Ironman is half the total distance of a typical Ironman race, and winds along some of the most scenic stretches of road and trail in the county. In addition to the 56 miles of biking between Pigeon Point and Santa Cruz, the race includes a 1.2 mile swim around Santa Cruz Wharf and a 13.1 mile run along West Cliff drive and Highway 1 to Wilder State Park and back. For those of us not participating in the race it’s probably best to avoid all that scenery, and especially the epicenter of the race at Depot Park, driving around the Boardwalk and West Cliff Drive will not be for the faint of heart. More information on the race here.

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Monterey County District Attorney's Office
Cannabis flower with mold found at illegal cultivation site in Monterey County.

Eighteen tons of illegal marijuana has been confiscated and destroyed by Monterey County’s Cannabis Enforcement Unit in the last 30 days. Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said the cannabis is not only illegal but also contaminated with toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals.

The Cannabis Enforcement Unit includes the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations and other state and local law enforcement agencies. It targets illegal cannabis cultivators, processors, distributors and unlicensed laboratories.

Preliminary testing indicates that 90% of the cannabis seized was contaminated.

That's it for this week's Friday News Roundup. Sign up to receive the news roundup right to your inbox. Just visit kazu.org/newsletter to subscribe.

See you next time,

The KAZU News Team

Corrected: September 14, 2021 at 2:33 PM PDT
A previous version of this newsletter included several COVID-19 metrics from the CDC Data Tracker. That data proved to be inaccurate for Monterey County. We removed our analysis of this data as we investigate the issue.