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Vaccinations For Aquarium Employees. Car Week’s Big Success. And The Historic El Camino Real Bells Toll No More.

Jerimiah Oetting
Antonia Bradford stands in front of the foundation where her home once stood near Boulder Creek. Over a year after she lost her home, Bradford said she and many other fire survivors are still struggling to rebuild.

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 8/27/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.

COVID-19 Case Data at time of publishing (from CDC):

  • Santa Cruz County Cases - Case rates (per 100,000 residents) are increasing slightly, with 400 new cases and 8 new hospital admissions within the last week.
  • Monterey County Cases - Cases rates (per 100,000 residents) are decreasing slightly, with 486 new cases and 40 new hospital admissions within the last week.
  • San Benito County Cases - Case rates (per 100,000 residents) are increasing, with 111 new cases and 7 new hospitalizations within the last week.

COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker (from CDC):

  • Monterey County - 65.6% of all eligible residents (12+) are fully vaccinated
  • Santa Cruz County - 73.3% of all eligible residents (12+) are fully vaccinated
  • San Benito County - 58.7% of eligible residents (12+) are fully vaccinated

MB Aquarium.jpg
Doug McKnight
The Monterey Bay Aquarium will require all employees, except those with religious or health exemptions, to vaccinate against COVID-19. The Cannery Row attraction has been operating on a reduced schedule since its reopening in May.

Monterey Bay Aquarium announced it will require all employees, except those with religious or health exemptions, to be vaccinated. The new requirement was announced following Monday’s Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the. The Aquarium said 96% of its employees are already vaccinated.

Since the Cannery Row attraction reopened in May, it has been operating at 75% capacity with reservation-only admission. In addition, all guests three years of age and older, vaccinated or not, are required to wear masks.

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Jerimiah Oetting
Santa Cruz’s last El Camino Real Bell will be removed this Saturday evening.

An Amah Mutsun-led effort will make Santa Cruz California’s first city to purge the El Camino Real Bells from public space. The city’s third and final bell is located at Soquel and Dakota Avenues near Downtown Santa Cruz. The bell will be removed at 5 p.m. Saturday evening, following a public speaking event at Mission Plaza Park, including many tribal leaders from across the state.

Originally created in 1906 to encourage car tourism in California, the bells connected 21 Franciscan missions between Los Angeles and Sonoma. In a statement emailed to the press, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chair Valentin Lopez said the bells “symbolize the enslavement of Indigenous people in the California Mission system” and celebrated “a white-washed, romanticized and distorted history.”

Martin Rizzo-Martinez, the California State Parks Historian for Santa Cruz, said the bell will be on display in the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History following removal. More information about the event is at

Jerimiah Oetting
The first of two yurts Antonia Bradford and her husband are constructing to temporarily house their family. The couple is still awaiting a building permit from the county.

Last summer’s CZU fires destroyed 911 homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Over a year later, many residents are still struggling to rebuild. Antonia Bradford is one of them. She said the county’s restrictive building codes — specifically its requirement to mitigate geologic hazards — is keeping many fire survivors without a home.

“We’re exhausted. I'm personally exhausted,” she told KAZU’s Jerimiah Oetting. “I just wish that they would find ways to alleviate some of the stressors that are being put on us.”

Now, the county is seeking ways to ease those requirements. But changing the county building codes might be easier said than done, and entails risk. Read Oetting’s piece here.

Small Car Event.jpg
Doug McKnight
An entry in the Pacific Grove small car event during Car Week in 2013
Ballot Notice.jpg
Doug McKnight
Notice sent from the Monterey County Election Office that a ballot for the Sept. 14 recall election has been received and counted

This year’s car week produced a $1 million increase in hotel revenue over pre-pandemic 2019. Event visitors spent almost $50 million on overnight stays this year. The increase came despite a slight decrease in the number of room-nights booked. Rob O’Keefe, president and CEO of Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the decrease in room-nights was expected because of restrictions on foreign visitors.

The 10-day celebration of the automobile typically brings 85,000 visitors to the Monterey Peninsula.

Next Monday, Aug. 30, is the last day to register to vote in the Sept. 14 recall election. The election will decide if Gov. Gavin Newsom should be recalled. Registered voters should have already received a mail-in-ballot. Not registered? You can do so online. The ballot asks two questions: should the governor be recalled and, if so, which of the 46 candidates named on the ballot should
replace him. Voters can track their ballots online at California’s “Where’s My Ballot” webpage, where there are options to set up text alerts that follow a ballot through the election process.

That’s it for this week.

Until next time,
The KAZU Team

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