Santa Maria

Carol Tangeman/KCBX

In the Central Coast city of Santa Maria, there is a community college-based conservatory that teaches students everything they need to pursue a professional career in theater. For decades, the Pacific Conservatory Theatre has offered a two-year vocational program, and alumni include stars like Robin Williams and Kathy Bates.

Flickr/Omar Bárcena

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced this week new efforts to reduce wait times, such as a new text notification program, self-service kiosks and extended hours. On the Central Coast, part of that reprieve is new Saturday hours at the Salinas and San Luis Obispo offices. San Luis Obispo County specifically has seen a huge jump in wait times over the past year, almost doubling. They’re not the longest wait times in the state, but long enough to have customers lining up outside every morning.

Anita Ritenour/Flickr

With a heat wave on the horizon, public safety officials along the Central Coast are reminding residents and visitors celebrating Independence Day that all fireworks are completely illegal to use or even possess. Except where they are legal.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

On the same day Americans demonstrated across the country to protest migrant family separations, hundreds of protesters gathered in a Santa Maria industrial area, about a block away from a residential neighborhood. The group was chanting and singing in front of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility opened in the summer of 2015.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest gun violence in communities and schools. Local March For Our Lives events coincided with a national rally in Washington, DC.

Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County was no exception. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

Central Coast high school students joined their cohorts around the nation Wednesday in organizing walkouts to support gun control and protest gun violence.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Customers of the water corporations California Water Services, Golden State Water Company and California-American Water may soon be seeing rate increases on their monthly bills. The three companies provide water to areas of Salinas, Monterey County, Los Osos and Santa Maria on the Central Coast, and all have asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve rate hikes. 

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. 

http://bit.ly/2oW40GV

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. 

http://bit.ly/2gUrq87

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

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