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KCBX News Update: Vandenberg launch postponed, and SB County seeks mental health proposals

Unarmed Minuteman III ICBM launch
U.S. Air Force photo by Vandenberg Air Force Base Public Affairs
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Digital
An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 2, 2020.

Vandenberg Space Force Base missile test launch postponed amid Russia invasion of Ukraine

A missile test launch scheduled for this week out of Vandenberg Space Force Base has been postponed amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby made the announcement yesterday that the launch of the Minuteman III missile would not go forward as planned so as to not send a message that Russia could misinterpret as aggressive.

"We did not take this decision lightly, but instead to demonstrate that we are a responsible nuclear power," Kirby said.

Kirby called Russia’s invasion “dangerous and irresponsible,” while Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed without evidence that the Ukrainian government is perpetuating genocide against ethnic Russians in the country.

Kirby did not announce a new date for the Vandenberg launch.

Santa Barbara County wants to hear residents’ suggestions for better mental health services after community survey

Santa Barbara County is accepting proposals from the public on how it can improve its mental health services after a community survey highlighted the toll of COVID-19 on county residents.

The survey, presented to the Board of Supervisors this week, found that 60.5% of residents surveyed reported their mental health declining due to the pandemic, while 35.3% reported no impact and 4.2% reported an improvement.

Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart praised the county’s use of “trusted messengers” with cultural and linguistic expertise to deliver the survey.

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Greta Mart/KCBX
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Many of the Latino residents surveyed were essential workers, like field workers in the Guadalupe and Santa Maria areas of the county.

“I really think that this idea of using trusted messengers that people access daily is a great way to get this information to people who need it, when they are really open to it from a different, non-traditional way," Hart said during Tuesday's meeting.

Latino residents of the county were hit hardest by the pandemic, representing 54% of the total cases and 49% of the deaths in the county.

The survey reached over 5,000 people and was available in both English and Spanish. The county also said field outreach providers were able to translate it into the Mixteco language for some participants.

The county is looking for specific proposals for mental health programs by March 7, and the Department of Behavioral Wellness website is linked here.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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