Santa Maria

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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. 

Courtest of the City of Santa Maria

Santa Maria is transitioning from an at-large voting system to a district-based election process. This week the city is hosting the first in a series of public hearings to explain the process, answer questions and get input from the residents on how the new district maps should be drawn.

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.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office recently retrieved skimmer devices from bank ATMs in Santa Maria and Orcutt. Officers say they discovered the devices before whomever installed them was able to return.

Courtesy of SMJUHSD

Officials at Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria broke ground Monday for a new tech-based building. The $22 million dollar building will house 38 classrooms to replace the mobile classrooms that have been sitting on campus for years. 

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Central Coast farmworkers are invited to a town hall meeting Monday night in Santa Maria. Santa Barbara County supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal are hosting the meeting, and they say the public workshop is intended to be a space for farmworkers to “air grievances” and describe living and working conditions in the area’s agricultural industry.

Santa Maria Swim Club, Michael Ashmore

Dozens of people cheered at a viewing party in Santa Maria Thursday night as hometown favorite Josh Prenot broke an American record for the 200 meter breaststroke. Had his time been just a fraction of a second faster, he would have broken a world record.

South County Transit changes routes, logo and raises fares

Jun 8, 2016
San Luis Obispo Region Transit Authority (RTA) Facebook Page

A Central Coast transit agency is going through a bit of a makeover in an effort to bring fares up to date and adjust routes to fit demand. 

Geovanni Ximénez-García/KCBX News

California’s Central Coast is suffering from an ongoing farm worker shortage.

Santa Barbara County Planning Commission

An effort to help ease a shortage of farm workers on the Central Coast is underway in Santa Barbara County, as plans for a large housing project for temporary field workers are in the final stages. 

Google Maps

Residents of Santa Maria are expressing frustration and grief as a string of murders and gang-related assaults have plagued the city since last summer. 

Pioneer Valley High School

Increased security and grief counseling are being offered to students at a Santa Maria high school after a 15 year old student was killed Monday.

Police said this and two other killings later that day are all gang-related.

PR Newswire

A controversial piece of art at a county building in Santa Maria will remain on public display, but will no longer be in its original location.

Santa Maria Man Arrested on a Charge of Attempted Kidnapping

Jun 26, 2015

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department is asking for help in the investigation of a Santa Maria man facing an attempted kidnapping charge. 

Raising Awareness for Free Summer Food Program in Santa Barbara County

Jun 24, 2015

The No Kid Hungry campaign is raising awareness for its free summer food program.

Today nearly 300 children attended a concert at Grogan park in Santa Maria and got a free lunch of a peach, taco and milk.

Organizers want to get the word out to kids and their parents about the 39 locations around the county where children 18 and younger can get free meals during the summer.

Santa Maria Expands Recycling Program in Parks

Jun 24, 2015

The City of Santa Maria is raising awareness about a new recycling program in its parks. A pilot program has been a success and the city plans to expand. 

So far, Santa Maria has placed 35 blue recycling containers at four of the most used parks including Priesker Park, the location of the Get Recycling Program awareness day on June 24.

The recycling program started in March. Mark van de Kamp with the Santa Maria City Manager's Office says that at first they noticed a sizeable amount of trash mixed in with recyclables.

The city then partnered with the community organization CAUSE to create educational videos about recycling in both Spanish and English. These videos can be seen on the city's website.

UPDATE - 5:53 p.m. on 06/19/2016:

Santa Barbara Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said Friday evening that fire crews had gained 90 percent containment.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Fire crews in Santa Barbara County were working to contain a brush fire burning in the hills just south of Santa Maria, Friday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County Fire said investigators believe a bird flying into power lines could be the cause.

Crews were attacking the fire from the ground and air.

Google Maps - Street View

A new Santa Maria DMV office aimed at relieving the pressures of a growing population will likely be built in the coming years.

Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD)

Residents of the Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD) will soon experience some changes to their local water supply. The chemical used to treat the water will switch from chlorine to chloramine to match what's already used in neighboring Santa Maria.

The reason: starting in July, Nipomo is expected to throw the switch on its new water project bringing in water from Santa Maria.

NCSD Manager Michael LeBrun said there will be a noticeable, positive change in odor and taste.

Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD)

Customers of the Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD) will be paying more for water in the coming months as the District hooks up to an additional water source.

Michael LeBrun is the District's General Manager and says rates will jump by about 30 percent in July when the water starts flowing.

The new pipeline will bring water in from Santa Maria to help diversify Nipomo's options. Currently, the area's sole source is groundwater.

LeBrun says the project has been in the works for decades and is gaining in local support amidst the current drought.

Righetti High School

EVENT DETAILS:

  • Friday and Saturday, March 27, 28, 2015
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Ethel Pope Auditorium, 901 S. Broadway, Santa Maria, Calif.
  • Ticket information - (805) 937-2051, ext 2716 or 2502

A Righetti High School student has been diagnosed with Whooping Cough, according to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (SMJUHSD).

"SMJUHSD officials are urging anyone experiencing Whooping Cough symptoms to immediately seek medical care from their physician," said district spokesperson Kenny Klein.

The student is not attending school currently, according ot Klein.

California is in the midst of a Whooping Cough—or pertussis—epidemic, which peaks every three to five years.

Tom Wilmer

Award winning educator and author, Laurie Woodward speaks with Tom Wilmer about her anti-bullying peace program and books. 

As a peace consultant, she helps educators and parents teach children how to stop bullying, avoid arguments, and maintain healthy friendships.

Google Maps - Street View

Santa Maria may see a new DMV field office in the coming years, if one Central Coast lawmaker has her way.

Animal Rescue Team

The abused baby coyote rescued last summer in Santa Maria is now living back in the wild. It was released Sunday after months of recuperation.

The pup was found by a plumber in an alleyway back in late July according the Animal Rescue Team in Solvang. Electrical cord was wrapped tightly around the animal's neck and arms and it's believed the coyote was tortured with an electrical shock.

It underwent surgery in August to fix a fractured and infected jaw.

Flickr member Rennett Stowe

A new survey by the State Water Board shows the Santa Maria River is highly toxic—and has been for years with some of the highest readings in the state for certain chemicals.

Bryn Phillips is an environmental toxicology specialist with UC Davis who has been working on this ongoing project. He says an increase in pyrethroid pesticide levels is cause for concern.

Recently the river was designated with a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) restriction.

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.

Santa Maria Police Department

Santa Maria Police are looking for a man they believe kidnapped and molested a girl this past Sunday night.

Investigators say the man took the girl from a common area at the apartment complex where she lived and escorted her to nearby Sanchez Elementary School where the lewd acts then took place. School was not in session at the time.

Sergeant Daniel Rios says the department has released the route, day and time that this crime occurred with hopes of generating more leads.

Deadly dog virus surging in Santa Barbara County

Oct 16, 2014
ASPCA

A virus that is deadly for dogs is becoming a growing problem in the Santa Maria area this October.

Stacy Silva with Santa Barbara County Animal Services says the parvovirus often peaks in the fall, but this year's outbreak seems to be larger and more widespread. Dogs infected with the virus are showing up throughout the Santa Maria valley from the far north end at Priesker Park to the southern reaches in Orcutt.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

The United States Secret Service is investigating a sophisticated counterfeit money operation in Santa Barbara County that was busted up this week by the sheriff's department.

Six businesses in Santa Maria and Solvang were victimized earlier this week by what sheriff's deputies describe as a counterfeiting crew.

Four people were arrested and are under investigation for passing counterfeit $100 bills as well as drug possession and felony conspiracy.

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