Santa Maria

Water Issues and Drought
6:24 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Nipomo's water soon to have noticable change in odor, taste

A piece of water pipeline ready for installation, connecting the Nipomo Community Services District with Santa Maria.
Credit Nipomo Community Services District

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.

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Water Issues and Drought
4:55 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Water rates set to jump significantly as Nipomo hooks up to Santa Maria water

Installation of a portion of the Nipomo pipeline in November, 2015.
Credit Nipomo Community Services District

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.

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5:59 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Santa Maria students connect with Mexican culture through music and dance

Righetti High School's 2014 Folklorico "Big Show" dancers
Credit Righetti High School


  • 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
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6:16 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Whooping cough case reported at Santa Maria's Righetti High School

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.

12:04 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Teacher Laurie Woodward’s Anti-Bullying insights

Credit 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.

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5:55 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

New DMV field office proposed to handle surging numbers in Santa Maria

The Department of Motor Vehicles field office in Santa Maria was built decades ago for a population just a fraction of the city's current size.
Credit 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. 

Local State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson helped get more than 15 million dollars added to the Governor's budget proposal to build a new DMV facility. 

The current field office was built in 1969 and since then the city's population has tripled. Senator Jackson says the city needs a new DMV now more than ever.

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Pets & Animals
3:52 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Tortured coyote pup found last summer in Santa Maria, released back into the wild

"Sierra" soon after being discovered in a Santa Maria alley way back on July 31, 2014.
Credit 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.

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5:22 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

State Water Board says Santa Maria River is 'highly toxic'

Oso Flaco Lake and other estuaries fed by the Santa Maria River are sensitive habitat areas affected by toxic levels of pesticide runoff from surrounding agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley.
Credit 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.

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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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6:22 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Santa Maria police release route kidnapper used to molest girl

Credit 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.

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Pets & Animals
2:39 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Deadly dog virus surging in Santa Barbara County

Credit 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.

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4:43 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Secret Service investigating Central Coast Counterfeiting operation

Credit 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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6:16 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Several Central Coast Costco stores part of EPA settlement

Costco stores in Oxnard, Goleta, Santa Maria, and Salinas will be updating their refrigeration systems under a new settlement with the EPA.
Credit Flickr member Chris Potter

Several Costco stores along the Central Coast will soon need to update their refrigerator systems under a company settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Costco will pay $335 million in penalties for federal Clean Air Act violations and will fix refrigerant leaks, among other improvements, the agency said in a media release.

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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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Santa Barbara County
5:57 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Fatal crash involving Abel Maldonado family still under investigation

Back on Saturday, August 9, a cyclist was killed on Foxen Canyon Road in the Santa Maria Valley after he was hit by a truck driven by a 16-year-old.

Matthew O'Neill was a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara and avid cyclist. He was 33 years old at the time of the crash.

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