Santa Barbara County

Courtesy of US Chamber of Commerce

Before a system outage hit the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday morning, the deadline for filing federal taxes was April 17 at midnight. Now the deadline has been postponed until midnight April 18 for most taxpayers. But Santa Barbara County residents and businesses qualify for a further extension from the IRS.

Evacuations lifted for Santa Barbara coast

Mar 13, 2018
Courtesy of UCSB

As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the county sheriff's office has lifted the mandatory evacuation orders put in place on Monday afternoon. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

After nearly two months of cleaning up after the January 9, 2018 debris flow, this week's rainstorm brought more stormwater flowing down Montecito's creek's and drainage areas. 

As homeowners and businesses continue to clean and rebuild, county officials are reminding people to follow the set guidelines for clearing properties. KCBX's Tyler Pratt sat down with Thomas Fayram of the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department to learn more.

Santa Barbara coast evacuations cancelled

Mar 2, 2018

As of 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, county emergency officials have lifted the mandatory evacuation orders for the Santa Barbara coastal areas; residents are free to return home. The storm has passed with no major damage reported. 

Santa Barbara County

UPDATE 3/2/18 AT 7:00 A.M. Montecito and other areas of the Santa Barbara coast remain under mandatory evacuation orders this morning, but the bulk of the storm has passed with no major damage. The flash flood warning for Santa Barbara County has expired. The CHP is reporting minor debris flows on SR 192 and Romano Canyon, and a short section of Highway 33 near Ojai is closed due to sliding. 

Anjalie Tandon/KCBX

Santa Barbara County officials sent out a warning Tuesday evening of a coming storm that could bring more debris flows to areas scarred by recent fires.  But late Wednesday afternoon, the county said it doesn't plan to upgrade that evacuation warning to mandatory. Instead county officials issued a flash flood watch. 

Flickr/Kelley Minars

New voter registration figures show the number of Californians identifying as “no party preference” has nearly caught up with registered Republicans. GOP registration as of last month stood at 25.4 percent – just four-tenths of a point higher than “no party preference.”

Greta Mart

Santa Barbara County officials are asking Montecito residents to suggest ideas on how to rebuild. After the January 9 mudslides and debris flow destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least 21 people, crews have been working around the clock to remove hundreds of tons of mud, dirt and boulders from Montecito’s streets. In the process, county staff are trying to make longer term decisions about what’s next. 

Greta Mart

Besides having to rebuild their homes and community, survivors of the January 9 Montecito debris flows are now wrangling with their insurance companies. 

SB County

Heavy rainfall triggered destructive mudslides in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, around 2 a.m. on January 9. Officials confirm at least 21 people died after being caught in crushed homes, flash flooding or debris flows. Two weeks after the disaster, Highway 101 is now open in both directions between the junction of SR 150 and Milpas Street in downtown Santa Barbara. 

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Trump Administration has announced a plan to open up California waters to offshore oil exploration and drilling. Intending to replace a current plan in place through 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior said it will release a new draft proposal for offshore lease sales starting in 2019. 

Influenza cases spiking on Central Coast

Jan 4, 2018
Greta Mart

Hospitals around the Central Coast are seeing a huge influx of patients suffering from flu symptoms

Thomas Fire at 89 percent containment

Dec 27, 2017
http://bit.ly/2l8a7UZ

A brush fire exploded on December 4 into a fierce wildfire burning over 440 square miles from Santa Paula to the hills above Santa Barbara, and eastward into the Los Padres National Forest. This week, several hundred firefighters remain on the scene working to extinguish all flames and mop up; containment is now at 89 percent. 

Local government roundup: 10/30/17

Oct 30, 2017

This week in local government around the Central Coast: Camp 4; a new SLO county administrator; and a months-old agreement among San Luis Obispo County’s seven cities to join forces in building a new animal shelter has apparently disintegrated. 

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. 

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