And now for some stories that I think Californians should read:
A jarring photograph: The Times published a photo this week showing a family lying bloodied and motionless, killed by mortar fire outside Kyiv, Ukraine. (You can see the photo here, but be warned that it’s very upsetting.)
The Times profiled the family and interviewed the husband who lost his wife and two children, all depicted in the photo. As my colleague wrote, the image “encapsulates the indiscriminate slaughter by an invading Russian Army that has increasingly targeted heavily populated civilian areas.”
The woman killed, Tetiana Perebeinis, was an employee of a Palo Alto company called SE Ranking. Half of the company’s employees are based in Ukraine, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“For me as her colleague it’s a tragedy to see those pictures,” Ksenia Khirvonina, the company’s spokeswoman, told The Chronicle. “They show that it’s real. On the other hand, they prove that (the) Russian Army and Putin himself are monsters who deserve no mercy for their doings.”
California reviews contracts in light of sanctions: Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered state agencies to terminate contracts with companies or individuals subject to U.S. sanctions because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.
Newsom signed an executive order directing all state agencies and departments under his authority to review contracts and agreements valued at $5 million or more. He said the state should halt financial transactions with Russian entities.
Californians head to Ukraine’s front lines: Andrey Liscovich, a Harvard-educated tech entrepreneur, left his life in San Francisco several days ago to fight in Zaporizhzhia, his hometown.
Liscovich is one of a growing number of Ukrainians in the U.S. who have heeded President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the front line against Russia. Fellow soldiers have nicknamed Liscovich “the American.”
“I’ve never held a gun, besides maybe a water pistol,” he said.
Read the full article from The Times on U.S. fighters bound for Ukraine. Many of the details, including Liscovich updating his will during his flight to Europe, are gutting.
What we’re eating
Twelve wines from South America to drink now.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Tyler Shaw, who recommends the rural city of Winters near Sacramento:
“I stumbled upon it on a road trip from the Bay Area to Redding, and was amazed. It has a gorgeous, historic, walkable downtown area, excellent restaurants and a brewery, and a long creek trail for hikes. It definitely has that ‘quaint small town’ feel that doesn’t feel fake or manufactured, which only a few places in California can really claim. Worth more than a stop, I’d spend an afternoon here and unwind.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
Over the next 15 months, the city of Berkeley is hoping to plant 1,200 to 1,800 trees in residential neighborhoods on the city’s west and south sides.
These lower-income, more diverse communities tend to lack tree cover, which can improve air quality and keep neighborhoods cooler in the summer.
City staff will work closely with residents to determine where and what to plant, Berkeleyside reports. There will be curated lists of possible trees to choose from.
“You get to pick what you think looks cool,” said Ian Kesterson, the city arborist. “There’s usually an evergreen option or deciduous fall color tree, maybe something with showy flowers. It is a public utility, but it’s also your thing. There’s a lot of emotional attachment to our trees.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back Monday. — Soumya
Briana Scalia, Mariel Wamsley and Geordon Wollner contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.