Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's line up for luncheon honoring their bravery
THOMAS WILMER

Saturday morning july 8th 2017 started out uneventfully at St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Ranch summer camp in the hills above Santa Barbara.

But a puff of smoke on the horizon alerted camp counselors that trouble was brewing. The Whittier wildfire came close to destroying the summer camp and threatened the lives of hundreds of campers and staff.

To honor the first responders who came to the rescue of the campers, St. Vincent de Paul hosted a special luncheon at Old Mission Santa Ines Parish Hall in Solvang, California. Join me for a conversation with David Fields, Executive Director St. Vincent de Paul, Los Angeles.

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week, the California Department of Education released truancy rates for the state’s public schools, organized by county. Truancy is defined as three or more days out of school without a valid excuse. The numbers show Santa Barbara County’s rate was nearly 10 percent lower than the state average, for the fourth year in a row.

Timothy Tsui/Flikr

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Friday 20 people have contacted her office for help after being affected by the mass shooting October 1 in Las Vegas.

Santa Barbara County/http://bit.ly/2xuXN7X

Santa Ynez Valley residents are awaiting a public meeting Monday evening about the land parcel known as Camp 4. Santa Barbara county officials will announce a tentative intergovernmental agreement between the Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash Indians and the county. 

Local government roundup: 09/11/17

Sep 11, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

This week in local government in San Luis Obispo County, the board of supervisors has a full agenda of grant and funding allocation items, such as $755,000 for marketing and advertising for the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Business Improvement District for the next fiscal year. The board will also hold a hearing on issuing bonds to help pay for upgrades to facilities for developmentally disabled people in the county, and review the county’s year-end budget report. 

Tess Whittlesey

KCBX News welcomed Central Coast congressman Rep. Salud Carbajal to the studio this week to talk about a variety of issues: the proposal to decommission the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, what's happening in Washington DC, and the most pressing concerns he hears from his constituents. Here's KCBX News Director Greta Mart in conversation with Rep. Carbajal.

County government contracting bill reduces local control, say opponents

Aug 29, 2017
Ttoolan/Wikimedia Commons

Opposition is growing against a bill in the California Legislature that would add strict new requirements before any counties can contract out for government services.

Becerra and Carbajal host Santa Barbara town hall

Aug 25, 2017
Courtesy of https://carbajal.house.gov/photos/

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Central Coast congressman Rep. Salud Carbajal are hosting a town hall Saturday in Santa Barbara. Joining them will be California Assemblymember Monique Limon and California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. 

After Santa Maria's Foster Road Jail closed last year, people arrested in northern Santa Barbara County are now taken to the Santa Barbara County Jail - 60 miles away.  The county did have a contract with a cab company to transport those people back to Santa Maria upon release, but the company went out of business. Most detainees simply don't have a way to get to back to North County, especially late at night when the buses aren't running. 

Pride comes to Santa Maria

Aug 11, 2017
Courtesy of Audy Macdonald

The Santa Maria LGBTQ community is celebrating its first ever Pride event this weekend. 

Update: Alamo Fire 100% contained

Jul 20, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire

The Alamo Fire burned for two weeks near the Twitchell Dam east of Santa Maria. On Thursday, CalFire reported firefighters have totally contained the blaze and will spend the next few weeks mopping up. The fire destroyed 45 square miles of oak woodland and one home.

Vegetation fire ignites on Foxen Canyon Road

Jul 18, 2017
David Zaniboni/Santa Barbara County Fire

UPDATE 7/18/17 11 A.M.: As of Tuesday morning, 40 percent of the wildfire is contained, as firefighters held back the flames from burning more than 40 acres. Foxen Canyon Road is open.

UPDATE 7/17/17 6 P.M.: Forward motion on the fire stopped at 35 acres. 

Greta Mart

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is encouraging those who have six or more cannabis plants for non-personal use to register the plants online.

The county says it would use the information to collect data for future studies. The registry program asks people to provide information on the scale of their past cannabis growth and plans for the future. 

Wikimedia Commons/Ixitixel

The commercial strawberry crops grown in Santa Barbara County were worth almost a half a billion dollars last year alone. That’s according to the 2016 Crop Report, released Monday by the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. The report lists the acreage, yield and gross dollar value of each of the county's crops.

Greta Mart/KCBX

In late May the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved an “area code overlay,” meaning phone companies will start issuing numbers with a new area code on the Central Coast - and beyond - starting in the summer of 2018. 

Courtesy of Ashley Spratt/USFWS

Friday marked the anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill. On May 19, 2015, a two-foot-diameter underground pipeline named Line 901 ruptured near Santa Barbara County’s Refugio State Beach. By the time the line was shut off, over 100,000 gallons of crude oil spilled over coastal bluffs and into the ocean. It took hundreds of workers more than two months to clean up - at a cost of over $100 million dollars. 

Courtesy of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District.

The deadline for Isla Vista voters to cast their ballot in that district’s May 9 special election is Tuesday at 8 p.m. The all-mail ballot election is for the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District.

Greta Mart/KCBX

A legal settlement this week will make it harder for the Trump administration to open federally-owned public lands to oil and gas development, particularly on the Central Coast.

Local government roundup: 05/01/17

May 1, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

Bree Zender

Although the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians succeeded in their efforts to fold the 'Camp 4' property into the Chumash reservation through a federal land trust, opponents throughout the Santa Ynez Valley continue to oppose it.

Bree Zender/KCBX

Residents in the Santa Ynez Valley are holding a public meeting Thursday to discuss their efforts to block the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians from annexing property into the tribe’s reservation. 

Trenton Ulysses Rock/Flickr

New residents and property owners in Isla Vista, in Santa Barbara County, have until midnight to register to vote for the May 9 special election. The election is an all-mail ballot for the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District.

Mark Moz/http://bit.ly/2oIGvzG

The most recent market report from the Century 21 real estate company says the housing shortage on the Central Coast is at an all-time high. 

Glenn Beltz/http://bit.ly/2onJwBU

The energy company Venoco announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company told the California State Lands Commission it no longer has the financial means to continue operating its oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. 

http://bit.ly/2oW40GV

A Santa Barbara County grand jury determined a recent fee hike by the Laguna County Sanitation District was justified. The district provides sewer service to about 12,000 residential and business customers in Orcutt and unincorporated areas of Santa Maria.

The grand jury looked into the increase because service charges have increased by 87 percent since 2011. The independent jury came to the conclusion that all was above board after interviewing Santa Barbara County public works staff, reviewing paperwork and reports and visiting the sanitation district’s treatment plant. 

Some cities around California and the country have been declaring themselves as sanctuary cities, claiming a type of social and seemingly lawful refuge from Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents. Last week the Soledad City Council voted unanimously to officially establish the city as a safe haven. But other cities, and police departments, are more concerned with the safety of all than political assertions.

Local government roundup: 03/13/2017

Mar 13, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

On local government agendas this week, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will continue the hearing that began Monday morning on the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project appeal. A handful of supporters spoke in favor of the oil company’s plan to build a rail spur to its Nipomo Mesa refinery; dozens of speakers stated their opposition to the project. The Board will resume hearing public comment on Tuesday morning.

Local government roundup: 03/06/2017

Mar 6, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

On Central Coast county government agendas this week, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on the Phillips 66 Rail Spur project set to go before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on March 13, next Monday. Santa Barbara officials are urging their San Luis Obispo counterparts to reject a Phillips 66 appeal of the 2016 San Luis Obispo Planning Commission decision to deny the project. 

Tess Whittlesey

Central Coast congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) held a town hall meeting in Arroyo Grande Wednesday evening, attracting hundreds of people. KCBX asked Carbajal his reaction to the meeting and the most prevalent concerns voiced there.

“The most pressing concerns I heard last night were the concerns of repealing the Affordable Care Act, especially the attempts to repeal it without replacing it,” Carbajal said.

Greta Mart/KCBX

A powerful storm brought heavy rains, gusty winds and pounding waves to the Central Coast Friday and early Saturday morning. Power outages across the region closed schools and businesses Friday morning in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties, and as of Saturday morning, many customers remain without power. Weather forecasters say another storm system will arrive Monday, President's Day. Here's an update on Central Coast storm-related news:

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