Santa Maria

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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5:57 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Central Coast communities gearing up for National Night Out

Credit National Night Out - Evansville

Neighborhoods and police departments throughout the Central Coast are getting ready for Tuesday's National Night Out. 

The annual event is designed for people to get to know there neighbors and local law enforcement in an effort to reduce crime.

Aside from the numerous local get-togethers, Sergeant Chuck Strange with the Lompoc Police Department says a block party will be held in the parking lot of Lompoc High School with free food and activities from 5 to 8 p.m.

In Santa Maria, a similar event takes place at Veterans Memorial Community Park and runs from 4 to 8p.

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6:12 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Santa Maria school year ready to start, overcrowding still a problem

The yet-to-be-named elementary school under construction in Santa Maria is about half way through the construction process.
Credit Santa Maria-Bonita School District

Students in Santa Maria will head back to school on August 12 facing overcrowded classrooms and campuses.

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District is working to address the problem by building 12 new classrooms at its Tommie Kunst Junior High.

A Santa Maria construction company was awarded the bid at a special session of the board of education Thursday. Its bid was the lowest.

A new yet-to-be-named elementary school campus is also under construction. Both projects are being self-financed through loans.

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5:39 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Thieves may have caused Santa Maria gas leak that forced evacuation

Rancho Gardens senior housing in Santa Maria
Credit Google Maps Street View

Investigators in Santa Maria are looking into a major gas leak early Tuesday morning that forced the evacuation of approximately 150 people.

Residents of a large senior housing complex called Rancho Garden were removed from the area while utility crews worked to shut off the gas.

Fire Chief Dan Orr says it appears damage to the main gas line was the result of thieves looking for scrap medal to sell.

He says investigators have a possible lead based on a nearby burglary that happened around the same time.

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1:16 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Santa Maria's organic farmers market is still "hanging in" there

The Santa Maria Saturday morning market in its previous location.
Credit Santa Maria Town Center Farmers Market Facebook page

The Saturday morning farmers market held at Santa Maria's Town Center Mall has struggled to find its vendors and customers, but is "still hanging in" there according to organizer Christy Laschiver.

The outdoor market features all organic fruits and vegetables with a variety of cottage food vendors offering fare, like baked goods and candies.


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6:16 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Fracking, oil drilling, topics of special session on Friday in Santa Maria

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is holding a special session Friday in Santa Maria to consider options for a ban on certain forms of oil drilling.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m.

The Santa Barbara County Water Guardians gathered enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot which, if passed, would ban land uses related to fracking, acidizing, and other high-intensity gas and oil operations within the county's unincorporated areas.

6:26 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Hottest May on record for several California locations

New analysis of last month's record-breaking heat waves along the Central Coast shows the overall average temperature for the month of May was among the hottest in the books for several locations, according to the National Weather Service.

The average of all the temperatures recorded at the Santa Barbara airport last month set a new record of 64.1 degrees. The San Luis Obispo airport tied 2009 as the warmest with an average reading of 64.6.

11:06 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Santa Maria City Council votes to move forward with ICE facilty

Location for the proposed ICE facility in Santa Maria.
Credit Google Maps

A special session of the Santa Maria City Council drew an estimated 1200 people to the Fairpark on Thursday, ending with a 3-2 vote in favor of moving forward with the planning department's recommendation for the development of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility.

The session ran roughly from 3 - 11:00 p.m. with a strong protest presence against relocating the ICE office within Santa Maria.

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