Santa Barbara County

Politics
5:48 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Central Coast as wedding destination serves as initiative behind new assembly bill

Local Assemblymember Das Williams introduced a bill Monday that aims to mitigate issues surrounding large events such as weddings.

Williams says the Central Coast hosts many large weddings every year and big events like these create traffic and public safety problems for locals.

He says a lot out-of-towners host these weddings and many of them do not get permits.

The bill proposes that local governments can assess a larger fine for county land use and development code violations.

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Health
5:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

UPDATE: Test for possible measles case in Santa Barbara County comes back negative

Credit Centers for Disease Control

UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.

The Public Health Department in Santa Barbara County said Thursday afternoon that it has received the laboratory test results for a possible measles patient, and says they came back negative.

All those who were potentially exposed will be notified directly and immediately released from any quarantine or isolation status.

The department still wants to urge residents to get vaccinated.

Original Story

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Water Issues and Drought
5:48 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Lake Cachuma emergency water system gets state funding

A boat ramp at Lake Cachuma sits well above the current water line. Nov. 2014.
Credit Randol White - KCBX News

An emergency addition to the water uptake system at Lake Cachuma will allow the Santa Barbara area to continue pumping, even as the lake level continues to drop.

Cachuma's gravity-fed system was near bottoming out due to the historic drought.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson along with Assembly member Das Williams announced Friday that $3 million dollars in state funding was being provided to help pay for the upgrade, with a million of that coming from Prop. 84 grant.

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Business
6:28 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Montecito's Miramar Hotel project passes Planning Commission vote

Developer Rick Caruso wants to build an updated resort where the abandoned blue-roofed Miramar Hotel once stood.
Credit Flickr member Damian Gadal

Plans to re-establish Montecito's Miramar Hotel now have a green light from the local planning commission.

The approved project is smaller than what was originally proposed, and as of Thursday, there was no word on whether developer Rick Caruso plans to move forward with the modified design.

If Caruso Affiliated does continue with the project, it would still needs to go through an appeals period and will also need approval from the Board of Architectural Review. There is no requirement for a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors vote, unless it's appealed to that body.

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Health
5:26 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Several Central Coast cities receive 'F' grades from American Lung Association

Credit Flickr member: Fried Dough

The latest annual report from the American Lung Association shows smoking on the Central Coast is still a problem in many communities.

The report gives mixed grades for Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Not a single city got an "A" grade, but Carpinteria and San Luis Obispo got B grades, as did unincorporated Santa Barbara County.

Vanessa Marvin is a senior director with the Lung Association and says there's still a lot of work to be done by many of the other the area's other communities.

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Environment
3:45 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Volunteers asked to take photos of upcoming King Tides event in California

King Tide on December 12, 2012 at Port San Luis in San Luis Obispo County.
Credit Gordon Hensley - San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper

Volunteers are set to record thousands of images of the California Coast next week as the highest tides of the year are expected to hit the area on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The volunteers are part of an effort to help people visualize how sea level rise will impact the lives of coastal Californians. It's called the California King Tides Project, and Central Coast representatives are on board to help document the event.

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Health
6:45 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Infant becomes Santa Barbara County's first recorded death from whooping cough

California is in the middle of a whooping cough epidemic, the worst the state has seen in 70 years.

The outbreak's latest fatality was a 25-day-old baby in Santa Barbara County. It's the county's first recorded death from the disease—also called pertussis—and only the second death in California since the outbreak started last year.

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Central Coast
2:26 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Safeway Inc. to pay nearly $10 million for environmental violations

Credit Flickr member Your Pal Dave

Safeway Inc. is paying nearly $10 million as the result of an investigation that found more than 500 stores, including some Central Coast stores, were violating environmental regulations. 

District attorneys in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, along with 39 other California district attorneys and two city attorneys announced the settlement Monday.

The settlement resolved allegations that Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and Pak 'n Save stores and distribution centers were improperly handling and disposing of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste.

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Community
5:47 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Homeless housing facility opens in Isla Vista

Santa Barbara County says nearly three dozen homeless individuals will soon have a roof over their heads as a new housing facility has opened its doors in Isla Vista.

It's called the Pescadero Lofts and the first people began moving into their apartments Wednesday. The county's Housing Authority hopes to have everyone moved in by Christmas.

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Weather
5:58 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Santa Barbara County warming shelters set up for this week's heavy rainfall

Infrared satellite image of the West Coast taken Monday evening.
Credit National Weather Service

Tuesday and Wednesday could see the strongest storm to hit the Central Coast since a Pacific storm last March slammed into the area.

The bulk of the rainfall is expected to take place from Tuesday afternoon into the evening hours, with up to five inches of rain possible along the local foothills and mountains.

Maria Long is organizing warming shelters to bring people out of the wet and cold this week, through her organization, Freedom Warming Centers.

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Education
1:05 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Rumors force early release of Santa Maria's Righetti High School for Thanksgiving week

Culminating a week of violence and arrests, Righetti High School students were released from classes early on Friday as Santa Maria Joint Union High School District officials felt rumors—the subject of which have not been disclosed—were causing too much of a distraction.

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Water Issues and Drought
5:52 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Warm weather and lack of rain mean fire danger still high on Central Coast

Dry hillsides near San Luis Obispo are still vulnerable to wildfires despite recent rainfall.
Credit Randol White - KCBX News

There is no sign of rain in the forecast for the Central Coast, according to the National Weather Service out of Oxnard. Temperatures are expected to be above normal through the weekend.

Local emergency officials say conditions are ripe for wildfire despite the rain received over Halloween weekend.

Average fuel moisture levels in Santa Barbara County are at 56 percent—drier than what is considered critical according to County Fire.

The threat of large wildfires will remain high until the Central Coast gets several inches of widespread rainfall.

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Politics
5:53 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Measure P rallies hit the streets of Santa Maria as November vote nears

Yes on P supporters gathered Wednesday in front of Santa Maria's City Hall.
Photo by Jeanne Sparks

Rallies both for and against a proposed fracking ban in Santa Barbara County hit the streets of Santa Maria Wednesday around lunchtime.

The Yes on Measure P supporters initiated the effort to rally North County voters. The No on Measure P side got wind of it and staged their own counter demonstration.

Representatives from both sides tell KCBX the interactions were civil. They say anywhere between 70 and 100 people participated with more more people showing up for the yes side.

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Energy
6:28 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Expensive fight over anti-fracking Measure P in Santa Barbara County

Oil wells in nearby Kern County, where the fracking process is currently used.
Credit Flickr member ben klocek

The latest campaign finance figures from the California Secretary of State's office and the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder show the battle over fracking is a costly one on the Central Coast. And, the contributors footing most of the bill are big oil companies.

This November's Measure P is designed to ban the use of high-intensity oil extraction methods—including fracking, acidizing, and steam injection—by future oil and gas projects on unincorporated Santa Barbara County land.

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Education
5:54 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Creativity with Measure I bonds saves some Santa Barbara County taxpayers nearly $6 million

Buildings on the Allan Hancock campus built with Measure I funds.
Credit Allan Hancock College

A refinancing move by the Allan Hancock College District is expected to save some Santa Barbara County taxpayers nearly $6 million in the years to come. 

Back in 2006, voters approved Measure I, a $180 million bond to pay for facility and technology improvements at Allan Hancock College. Last week, a portion of those bonds were resold at a better interest rate for taxpayers.

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