Santa Barbara County

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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Crime
6:46 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Man accused of murdering sons, parents expected in court for arraignment Tuesday

45-year-old Nicolas Holzer is facing four counts of murder for the slayings of his two sons, mother, and father.
Credit Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

The man suspected of killing his parents and two sons last month in Santa Barbara County is scheduled to be in court for his arraignment this morning. 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer did not enter a plea during his last court appearance back on August 13.

Holzer faces four murder counts and one count of felony animal cruelty for killing the family dog.

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Pets & Animals
5:56 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Santa Barbara County wants feedback on rules surrounding dangerous dogs

Dogs playing at a dog park. Santa Barbara County is revamping rules surrounding cleaning up after pets, and other issues.
Credit Flickr member anneheathen

Santa Barbara County's Animal Services is rewriting its ordinance on dogs and owners rights and responsibilities.

The Public Health Department has already drafted the proposed changes to the existing ordinance and is holding two meetings this week to hear public feedback.

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Environment
4:33 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Quagga and zebra mussels a concern for boaters this holiday weekend

Credit U.S. Geological Survey, July 24, 2014

Officials in California are hoping Labor Day boaters will help keep invasive quagga and zebra mussels in check this Labor Day holiday weekend.

“Californians have a unique opportunity to enjoy numerous natural resources,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Doing your part to clean, drain and dry before heading out to recreate will help keep them free of quagga and zebra mussels, as well as other invasive species.”

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Santa Barbara County
11:13 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Damaging surf possible this week along south-facing beaches in Southern California

Credit National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Marie became a Category 4 storm Sunday morning as it moved north, hundreds of miles off the West Coast of Mexico and farther out into open ocean.

The National Weather Service predicts potentially damaging surf generated by the storm to impact south and southeast facing beaches of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, with surf building on Tuesday and peaking Tuesday night into Thursday.

There is potential for some of the highest surf seen in recent years for a southerly event, with max sets of 10 to 15 feet possible.

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