Santa Barbara County

Surendra Dara - University of California

The ongoing drought is causing headaches for local farmers, but according to numbers released Thursday by Santa Barbara County, it hasn't yet hurt the local agriculture industry enough to reverse overall production values.

2014 was another record year for the county's growers, who grossed nearly $1.49 billion. This number is the total of all ag sales in the county and should not be confused with profits.

Strawberries remain the county's top crop, with wine grapes coming in second. Broccoli placed third.

Flickr member Doc Searls

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is scheduled to hold a special meeting Thursday to update guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions within the County. Specifically, the District is looking at pollution generated by business and industry.

The APCD's Molly Pearson said Wednesday that members will vote on one of two options for updated guidelines. The public will get a chance to speak prior to that vote.

Flickr member Sean MacEntee

Business leaders in Santa Barbara County are coming together Friday in an effort to ensure high speed internet access is available county-wide.

The Santa Barbara Broadband Task Force will meet in Buellton with a goal of expanding the service, says Ken Oplinger with regional Chamber of Commerce.

Assemblymember Das Williams

State Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) announced Monday that he's running for Santa Barbara County's First District Supervisor seat, come 2016.

Salud Carbajal currently holds the First District seat, but Carbajal is one of several candidates now running for Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) congressional office.

Term limits will keep Williams from running for a fourth Assembly term. He easily won re-election back in November with more than 58 percent of the vote.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

    

Santa Barbara County law enforcement is saying a big thank you to the Isla Vista community for its cooperation during Deltopia this weekend.

The sheriff's department estimates the Deltopia crowd at roughly 10,000 people, a major decrease from last year's nearly 25,000 party-goers.

Isla Vista community working toward a riot-free Deltopia weekend

Apr 2, 2015
Santa Barbara County Fire

A crackdown by law enforcement will start Thursday night in the Isla Vista area in anticipation of this weekend's Deltopia celebrations.

Safety preparations are coming from several fronts. More than 200 officers from a variety of local agencies and university campuses statewide  are involved with keeping the peace this weekend in Isla Vista.

Local Assemblymember Das Williams introduced a bill Monday that aims to mitigate issues surrounding large events such as weddings.

Williams says the Central Coast hosts many large weddings every year and big events like these create traffic and public safety problems for locals.

He says a lot out-of-towners host these weddings and many of them do not get permits.

The bill proposes that local governments can assess a larger fine for county land use and development code violations.

Centers for Disease Control

UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.

The Public Health Department in Santa Barbara County said Thursday afternoon that it has received the laboratory test results for a possible measles patient, and says they came back negative.

All those who were potentially exposed will be notified directly and immediately released from any quarantine or isolation status.

The department still wants to urge residents to get vaccinated.

Original Story

Randol White - KCBX News

An emergency addition to the water uptake system at Lake Cachuma will allow the Santa Barbara area to continue pumping, even as the lake level continues to drop.

Cachuma's gravity-fed system was near bottoming out due to the historic drought.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson along with Assembly member Das Williams announced Friday that $3 million dollars in state funding was being provided to help pay for the upgrade, with a million of that coming from Prop. 84 grant.

Flickr member Damian Gadal

Plans to re-establish Montecito's Miramar Hotel now have a green light from the local planning commission.

The approved project is smaller than what was originally proposed, and as of Thursday, there was no word on whether developer Rick Caruso plans to move forward with the modified design.

If Caruso Affiliated does continue with the project, it would still needs to go through an appeals period and will also need approval from the Board of Architectural Review. There is no requirement for a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors vote, unless it's appealed to that body.

Flickr member: Fried Dough

The latest annual report from the American Lung Association shows smoking on the Central Coast is still a problem in many communities.

The report gives mixed grades for Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Not a single city got an "A" grade, but Carpinteria and San Luis Obispo got B grades, as did unincorporated Santa Barbara County.

Vanessa Marvin is a senior director with the Lung Association and says there's still a lot of work to be done by many of the other the area's other communities.

Gordon Hensley - San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper

Volunteers are set to record thousands of images of the California Coast next week as the highest tides of the year are expected to hit the area on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The volunteers are part of an effort to help people visualize how sea level rise will impact the lives of coastal Californians. It's called the California King Tides Project, and Central Coast representatives are on board to help document the event.

California is in the middle of a whooping cough epidemic, the worst the state has seen in 70 years.

The outbreak's latest fatality was a 25-day-old baby in Santa Barbara County. It's the county's first recorded death from the disease—also called pertussis—and only the second death in California since the outbreak started last year.

Flickr member Your Pal Dave

Safeway Inc. is paying nearly $10 million as the result of an investigation that found more than 500 stores, including some Central Coast stores, were violating environmental regulations. 

District attorneys in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, along with 39 other California district attorneys and two city attorneys announced the settlement Monday.

The settlement resolved allegations that Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and Pak 'n Save stores and distribution centers were improperly handling and disposing of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste.

Homeless housing facility opens in Isla Vista

Dec 17, 2014

Santa Barbara County says nearly three dozen homeless individuals will soon have a roof over their heads as a new housing facility has opened its doors in Isla Vista.

It's called the Pescadero Lofts and the first people began moving into their apartments Wednesday. The county's Housing Authority hopes to have everyone moved in by Christmas.

National Weather Service

Tuesday and Wednesday could see the strongest storm to hit the Central Coast since a Pacific storm last March slammed into the area.

The bulk of the rainfall is expected to take place from Tuesday afternoon into the evening hours, with up to five inches of rain possible along the local foothills and mountains.

Maria Long is organizing warming shelters to bring people out of the wet and cold this week, through her organization, Freedom Warming Centers.

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.

Randol White - KCBX News

There is no sign of rain in the forecast for the Central Coast, according to the National Weather Service out of Oxnard. Temperatures are expected to be above normal through the weekend.

Local emergency officials say conditions are ripe for wildfire despite the rain received over Halloween weekend.

Average fuel moisture levels in Santa Barbara County are at 56 percent—drier than what is considered critical according to County Fire.

The threat of large wildfires will remain high until the Central Coast gets several inches of widespread rainfall.

Photo by Jeanne Sparks

Rallies both for and against a proposed fracking ban in Santa Barbara County hit the streets of Santa Maria Wednesday around lunchtime.

The Yes on Measure P supporters initiated the effort to rally North County voters. The No on Measure P side got wind of it and staged their own counter demonstration.

Representatives from both sides tell KCBX the interactions were civil. They say anywhere between 70 and 100 people participated with more more people showing up for the yes side.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

The latest campaign finance figures from the California Secretary of State's office and the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder show the battle over fracking is a costly one on the Central Coast. And, the contributors footing most of the bill are big oil companies.

This November's Measure P is designed to ban the use of high-intensity oil extraction methods—including fracking, acidizing, and steam injection—by future oil and gas projects on unincorporated Santa Barbara County land.

Allan Hancock College

A refinancing move by the Allan Hancock College District is expected to save some Santa Barbara County taxpayers nearly $6 million in the years to come. 

Back in 2006, voters approved Measure I, a $180 million bond to pay for facility and technology improvements at Allan Hancock College. Last week, a portion of those bonds were resold at a better interest rate for taxpayers.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Concern over the possibility that the Ebola virus could makes its way to the Central Coast has local health agencies working on outbreak plans. 

Santa Barbara County Public Health says it has new protocols in place and is teaming with local airports to help identify potential patients. County Health Officer, Dr. Charity Thoman, says the infrastructure put in place could deal with a number of different infectious diseases.

While Ebola is the headline maker currently, because it is so mysterious, Thoman says there are other, more serious health concerns we should address;

Critical fire weather expected this weekend

Sep 30, 2014

Portions of the Central Coast are looking at the possibility of critical fire weather later this week.

The National Weather Service says an offshore flow is expected Thursday through the weekend ushering in hot dry air for much of Southern California up into the Central Coast.

The strongest winds are expected late Wednesday into Thursday with temperatures peaking on Saturday.

Strong winds are also expected Monday evening along Santa Barbara County's Gaviota Coast.

Charges were filed this week against the 16-year-old driver of a truck involved in an accident that killed cyclist Matthew O'Neill last month near Santa Maria.

It happened on Foxen Canyon Road on August 9th.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office says the boy is facing misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges. He is also charged with two infractions; driving a commercial vehicle without a license; and non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions.

Project Clean Water Facebook Page

The Central Coast numbers for this weekend's Coastal Clean-up Day are starting to come in and Santa Barbara County looks like it had an increase in the number of volunteers and trash collected.

Project Clean Water says more than a thousand people came together Saturday at sites county-wide, collecting roughly 4,800 pounds of trash and recyclables. 

Santa Barbara County

Rescue teams were searching for a missing swimmer at Arroyo Burro beach in Santa Barbara County Friday afternoon.

Witnesses tell authorities that a male swimmer was seen going in the water with his dogs this afternoon. The dogs were seen returning to shore, but not the man.

Santa Barbara County Fire says a helicopter was called in to search the area in addition to a Harbor Patrol boat and jet ski. Two rescue swimmers also combed the area for about a half an hour, but found nothing.

Randol White, KCBX News

Some hotter than normal temperatures have arrived on the Central Coast and are expectd to peak this coming weekend. As a result, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Richard Abrams with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management says the agency works closely with public health and county fire at times like this.

First Solar

Plans to build a large solar project in the Cuyama Valley now have the unanimous support of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors voted on the project Tuesday afternoon after hearing from several speakers in favor of the project and none against, according to Jefferson Litten with the Community Environmental Council, an organization supporting the solar field.

This marks the first utility-scale solar project for the entire county.

Citrus Research Board

San Luis Obispo County agriculture officials say a dangerous pest is moving farther north and causing fear among citrus growers.  Ag Commissioner, Martin Settevendemi, says the pest has now been found as far north as Cayucos, following recent sightings in San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande.

All locations have a surrounding quarantine affecting nurseries and commercial citrus to prevent further spread. The public can also help by not transporting fruit with stems and leaves still attached. All of Santa Barbara County is under quarantine. 

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

The man suspected of killing his parents and two sons last month in Santa Barbara County is scheduled to be in court for his arraignment this morning. 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer did not enter a plea during his last court appearance back on August 13.

Holzer faces four murder counts and one count of felony animal cruelty for killing the family dog.

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