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Winter’s first storm, a new police chief for Salinas, and a new pathway for fire survivors.

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Jerimiah Oetting /KAZU News
A group of onlookers check out the high surf in Santa Cruz following Sunday night’s storm

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 10/29/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.

This week started with a storm and ended with sunshine. Sunday night’s atmospheric river hit the region hard, with 3,300 homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains placed under an evacuation order due to the risk of debris flows.

“We’re seeing basically every kind of advisory you can have,” said County Spokesperson Jason Hoppin on Sunday night. A wind advisory, flood watch and high surf warning were all in effect during the storm.But by Monday morning, sunny skies prevailed. And thankfully, no destructive debris flows were reported in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Jerimiah Oetting / KAZU News
Dave Reid, the director of the Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience, working from his office in Santa Cruz.

Fire survivors in the Santa Cruz Mountains have traveled a long, difficult road towards rebuilding their homes. Now after months of demanding the county make the journey easier, a new directive might finally provide some relief. The CZU Rebuild Directive aims to help fire survivors bypass the strict geology requirements in the county’s building code. It leans on the Atkins study — a recently completed analysis that described the debris flow risk in the CZU burn area.

KAZU’s Jerimiah Oetting spoke with Dave Reid, the director of Santa Cruz County’s Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience, about the new directive, and how it might help fire survivors. You can find Jerimiah’s story here.

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Workers inspect a rockslide on Highway near the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line. The rockslide has closed the scenic highway in both directions until at least next Wednesday.

Parts of U.S. Highway 1 could be closed until at least next week due to a rockfall. The closure is between Ragged Point and Gorda, straddling the Monterey-San Luis Obispo county lines. Clean-up and repairs have already begun amid concerns over unsupported rocks on the hillside above the roadway. Crews and equipment will work through the weekend to reopen the scenic highway.

Motorists can still travel from Carmel to Gorda.

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City of Salinas Police Department
The City of Salinas's new police chief, Reberto Filice

After a nationwide search, the City of Salinas picked one of its own to serve as its new Police Chief. The selection of Former-Assist. Chief Reberto Filice as interim chief was announced Tuesday by Mayor Kimbley Craig. Filice has been with the force since 2017. Prior to that he worked for the Marina Police Department.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium
Visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entering starting Nov. 1

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is reminding visitors that beginning Monday, proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result is required for entry. The requirement is for all visitors over the age of 12. Test results must be obtained at least 72 hours before the visit. All guests age 3 and older are required to wear masks.

All Monterey Bay Aquarium staff and volunteers are required to be vaccinated and wear masks while inside.

The State of the Pandemic

Overall, case rates have been on the decline in the tri-county region over the last two weeks, following a trend throughout the month of October

This table is created with data from the CA Open Data Portal – the same database that informs the California COVID-19 Data Tracker. KAZU News independently calculates the values in this table to monitor for discrepancies. Though the CDC defines community transmission tiers, multiple sources have told KAZU News that the state database is the most accurate source of information.

Numbers in the state database often do not align with the CDC’s data. This week, California’s data places Santa Cruz and Monterey in the “moderate” tier, while the CDC’s data places both counties in the “substantial” tier. Because many local and federal agencies use the CDC’s tiers to determine policy, we include both measures of community transmission in this table.

That’s it for this week! You can sign up to receive the Friday News Roundup from KAZU, right to your inbox. Just visit to subscribe.

Until then,

The KAZU Team