Santa Barbara County

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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Health
7:48 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Central Coast prepares for possibility of local Ebola case

The Ebola Virus as seen under a microscope.
Credit Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Concern over the possibility that the Ebola virus could makes its way to the Central Coast has local health agencies working on outbreak plans. 

Santa Barbara County Public Health says it has new protocols in place and is teaming with local airports to help identify potential patients. County Health Officer, Dr. Charity Thoman, says the infrastructure put in place could deal with a number of different infectious diseases.

While Ebola is the headline maker currently, because it is so mysterious, Thoman says there are other, more serious health concerns we should address;

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Weather
11:32 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Critical fire weather expected this weekend

Portions of the Central Coast are looking at the possibility of critical fire weather later this week.

The National Weather Service says an offshore flow is expected Thursday through the weekend ushering in hot dry air for much of Southern California up into the Central Coast.

The strongest winds are expected late Wednesday into Thursday with temperatures peaking on Saturday.

Strong winds are also expected Monday evening along Santa Barbara County's Gaviota Coast.

Santa Barbara County
6:13 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Charges filed in crash that killed UCSB student, cyclist

Charges were filed this week against the 16-year-old driver of a truck involved in an accident that killed cyclist Matthew O'Neill last month near Santa Maria.

It happened on Foxen Canyon Road on August 9th.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office says the boy is facing misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges. He is also charged with two infractions; driving a commercial vehicle without a license; and non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions.

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Environment
5:43 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Unusual items among tons of trash collected on Central Coast beaches

Volunteers in Santa Barbara County during Coastal Clean-Up Day
Credit Project Clean Water Facebook Page

The Central Coast numbers for this weekend's Coastal Clean-up Day are starting to come in and Santa Barbara County looks like it had an increase in the number of volunteers and trash collected.

Project Clean Water says more than a thousand people came together Saturday at sites county-wide, collecting roughly 4,800 pounds of trash and recyclables. 

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Santa Barbara County
5:48 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Missing swimmer at Arroyo Burro Beach prompts large rescue effort

Credit Santa Barbara County

Rescue teams were searching for a missing swimmer at Arroyo Burro beach in Santa Barbara County Friday afternoon.

Witnesses tell authorities that a male swimmer was seen going in the water with his dogs this afternoon. The dogs were seen returning to shore, but not the man.

Santa Barbara County Fire says a helicopter was called in to search the area in addition to a Harbor Patrol boat and jet ski. Two rescue swimmers also combed the area for about a half an hour, but found nothing.

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Weather
9:08 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Hot weekend ahead for Central Coast has some local officials on their toes

The lakebed of a nearly dry Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo can be seen surrounded by brown hills.
Credit KCBX News

Some hotter than normal temperatures have arrived on the Central Coast and are expectd to peak this coming weekend. As a result, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Richard Abrams with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management says the agency works closely with public health and county fire at times like this.

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Energy
6:13 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Cuyama Solar Project gets unanimous support from Board of Supervisors

Solar panels similar to the ones planned for the Cuyama Solar Project.
Credit First Solar

Plans to build a large solar project in the Cuyama Valley now have the unanimous support of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors voted on the project Tuesday afternoon after hearing from several speakers in favor of the project and none against, according to Jefferson Litten with the Community Environmental Council, an organization supporting the solar field.

This marks the first utility-scale solar project for the entire county.

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Agricuture
5:21 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Threat to citrus industry moves farther up the California coast

Credit Citrus Research Board

San Luis Obispo County agriculture officials say a dangerous pest is moving farther north and causing fear among citrus growers.  Ag Commissioner, Martin Settevendemi, says the pest has now been found as far north as Cayucos, following recent sightings in San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande.

All locations have a surrounding quarantine affecting nurseries and commercial citrus to prevent further spread. The public can also help by not transporting fruit with stems and leaves still attached. All of Santa Barbara County is under quarantine. 

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