Santa Barbara County

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.

U.S. Geological Survey, July 24, 2014

Officials in California are hoping Labor Day boaters will help keep invasive quagga and zebra mussels in check this Labor Day holiday weekend.

“Californians have a unique opportunity to enjoy numerous natural resources,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Doing your part to clean, drain and dry before heading out to recreate will help keep them free of quagga and zebra mussels, as well as other invasive species.”

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Marie became a Category 4 storm Sunday morning as it moved north, hundreds of miles off the West Coast of Mexico and farther out into open ocean.

The National Weather Service predicts potentially damaging surf generated by the storm to impact south and southeast facing beaches of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, with surf building on Tuesday and peaking Tuesday night into Thursday.

There is potential for some of the highest surf seen in recent years for a southerly event, with max sets of 10 to 15 feet possible.

Santa Barbara County OES

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services (OES) issued an Urgent Public Health Issue advisory Friday morning regarding a case of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

"Agustin Zeferino, a 24 year old male, has a contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis," the advisory said. "Without proper treatment, Mr. Zeferino’s condition poses a serious health risk to individuals who come into close contact with him, as tuberculosis is spread through the air from one person to another."

Twitter feed for Carrie Kelly ‏@CarrieHKelly

Increased numbers of blue jelly fish—known as velella velellas—are washing up on Central Coast beaches according to scientists with California State Parks. Reports out of Southern California show a similar situation.

This summer the large colonies have been spotted at several state beaches in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.

"The numbers have been large enough over the past several weeks to get people’s attention," said Vicky Waters, Deputy Director for Public Affairs with California State Parks.

Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Counties all saw the median price for homes jump significantly in the latest year-over-year sales figures.

San Diego-based DataQuick says Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties had gains of more than eight percent, while Monterey County jumped nearly 12 percent for July.

The year-over-year number of homes sold is down in all three counties with Santa Barbara County seeing the largest drop.

Flickr member HereStanding

Thousands of residents on the Central Coast may find their tap water has a rank taste and smell this summer.

The offending compound is known as MIB (2-methylisoborneol), and can give water an earthy, musty essence.

Several communities in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties that supplement their supplies with state water are affected by the seasonal change, which recently registered higher than expected for this time of year.

San Luis Obispo County Water Laboratory Manager Faith Zenker says despite its unpleasant qualities, its not a health hazard.

Stock photo: Flickr member Tex Texin

UPDATE: August 13, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County man accused of killing his parents and two young boys Monday night made his first appearance in court Wednesday afternoon, but did not enter a plea.

A continuance was granted in the case against 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer at the hearing.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced the charges against Holzer Wednesday morning, saying he faces four murder counts and one count of felony animal cruelty. 

Broadcast date: 8/6/14

Over a quarter century ago, the non-profit Family Care Network started as a program to offer foster care services in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.  Since then the organization has expanded to provide family support, transitional and independent living services, early intervention to keep children and youth out of the foster system, educational and mental health support, and much more.  Marisa Waddell talks with the Family Care Network's CEO about how the non-profit is making a difference in our local communities.

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.

Flickr member Mike Baird

Santa Barbara County will begin work on the process for implementing a ban on certain forms of oil and gas drilling, should Measure P pass this November.

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday to start the process.

Measure P calls for a ban on new forms of high intensity extraction, including fracking. Current oil and gas operations in the county should not be affected by the proposal according to the group that got it before the voters, the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

An investigation into Monday night's apartment explosion in Goleta shows it was caused by a process used to extract oils from marijuana.

One person was badly injured during the incident and was being treated for third degree burns immediately following the event, according to Santa Barbara County Fire spokesperson Capt. David Sadecki.

It happened at a two-story complex on Elwood Beach Drive in Goleta.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department says the process known as Butane Honey Oil conversion resulted in a flash fire.

First Solar

UPDATE: July 22, 2014 at 5:53 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to approve plans for a large solar project in the Cuyama Valley.

The proposal passed with a couple of amendments aimed at protecting California condors.

Jefferson Litten with the Community Environmental Council says public comment ran 19 to 2 in favor of the project.

The issue now heads to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

Original Story

The state Employment Development Department said Friday that California gained more than 24 thousand jobs in June, with education and health services seeing the largest increase. The state's construction industry saw the weakest growth. 

Olga Hernandez is a research analyst for the department and says the unemployment rate is measured by the number of people who are not actively part of the labor force and who receive unemployment insurance.

KCBX News

San Luis Obispo County Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello, who lost to Dan Dow in a heated June primary race for the office of District Attorney, is headed to Santa Barbara County.

An announcement Thursday afternoon from current District Attorney Gerry Shea's office says Shea supports the decision, and he praised Covello for his time as a county prosecutor.

According to the announcement, Covello will continue to be a prosecutor with the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office.

Flickr member Damian Gadal

Strawberries continue to be Santa Barbara County's largest crop based on gross earnings, but wine grapes are quickly gaining steam.

The county's wine industry knocked broccoli production out of the number two spot for 2013 with a total value of $163 million.

The Agricultural Commissioner's office released the most recent crop report late Tuesday afternoon. It shows total value of all the local crops at more than $1.4 billion, up nearly ten percent from 2012.

U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson

Santa Barbara County's Surf Beach will be closed from June 27 to Sept. 30 because the maximum number of violations tolerated to protect the nests of the federally-listed Snowy Plover was exceeded.

Beach restrictions are enforced yearly on Wall, Minuteman and Surf beaches during the snowy plover's nesting season. If a pre-determined number of violations are detected, the beaches are closed for the remainder of the nesting season.

This week there were 11 violations reported, putting the number at Surf Beach more than 50, the pre-determined limit.

GIVE Project in Isla Vista Facebook Page

The sales numbers for last weekend's Give Sale in Isla Vista show the event raised a record $43,000—$6,000 more than last year.

That money will be dispersed at an event this Friday to the local participating organizations that provided volunteers for the event.

The items sold each year come from students who are moving out of the area, and include clothing, furniture, and books.

Organizers estimate more than 30 tons of merchandise was sold this year, keeping those items out of the local landfill.

The Give Sale has been a part of the community since 1990.

Unemployment rate continues to drop on Central Coast

Jun 23, 2014

The unemployment rate continues to fall along the Central Coast with Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties down to 5 percent for the month of May.

Monterey County's rate is higher at 7.4 percent, but that's down more than a full point from a year ago.

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties have consistently been among the top performing locations in the state in terms of job growth, following the recession.

California's overall rate is 7.1 percent, which has also seen a downward trend this year.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

The issue of fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil and gas extraction in Santa Barbara County is headed to the November ballot.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors met Friday for a special session in Santa Maria to discuss an oil drilling measure brought by the group Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, who collected roughly 16,000 valid signatures this spring.

An overflow crowd, both for and against the proposed ban, turned out for the public comment period.

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.

A Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report published Tuesday highlights budget concerns over the future operations of the proposed North County Jail.

The facility, just outside the Santa Maria city limits, was designed to help with the county's jail-overcrowding problem. Construction is expected to start next year with completion estimated for May of 2018.

The jury's report says there is an "uncomfortably high probability" that funding the jail's future operation could require new revenue sources, a cut in county services, or both—based on the county's budget plan.

Transit Unlimited Wiki

Students grades k-12 will have a free ride this summer on public transit throughout San Luis Obispo County. They just need to show their school ID in order to take any fixed route without having to pay cash.

The program includes RTA, SLO Transit, South County Transit, Paso Express and Morro Bay Transit.

Monterey-Salinas Transit offers a youth pass for $38, which is good for rides throughout the summer.

Santa Barbara County does not currently offer a summer student deal.

Paddy Langlands, SB County staff

Orange mesh safety fencing is going up along the cliffs in Isla Vista, as Santa Barbara County officials search for a better option to keep residents and visitors safe.

It began going up Wednesday at Pelican and Pescadero Parks along the bluffs. The installation should be complete by next week, according to the county.

All eyes on November for winners of Tuesday's election

Jun 4, 2014
Jeremy Raff/KQED

A new round of campaigning is just beginning for the candidates involved in three separate Central Coast races that have been extended to November as a result of Tuesday’s primary elections.

Longtime incumbent and Democrat Lois Capps secured her spot in the race for California's 24th Congressional District. She faced a record number of challengers under the state's new "top two" primary system.

Representative Lois Capps' 24th District congressional seat serves all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and had a wide range of challengers on this year's primary ballot with eight different people, including Republicans, Democrats and one Independent.

Capps has held the seat since 1998, taking over for her late husband who held it prior to her.

As of Wednesday morning, Capps took in the highest number of votes on Tuesday with 44.5 percent. Her challenger this November will be Republican Chris Mitchum who garnered 15.6 percent of the vote.

Oscar Flores - Twitter @oflores

UPDATE: May 26, 2014 at 5:36 p.m.  

Seven people are dead, including the suspected gunman, and several people are still recovering from injuries following a series of shootings and stabbings in Isla Vista on Friday night. One of the hospitalized victims was still in serious condition as of Saturday.

Investigators believe 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, a Santa Barbara City College student from Woodland Hills who was living in Isla Vista, started his killing spree by stabbing to death his two roommates and a third man.

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has ordered a report to detail how a ban on specific methods of oil extraction would affect the local economy, and any legal ramifications that might stem from implementing such a ban.

The board will meet again next month in Santa Maria to finish discussing the proposal, and whether it will end up on this November's ballot.

If passed by voters, the ban would target newer forms of oil and gas extraction, including fracking.

The Santa Barbara County Clerk says a local group has collected enough signatures to qualify a proposed ban on fracking for a public vote. Santa Barbara County Water Guardians has been working on the issue for the last couple of months. The county's board of supervisors now has the option of either vote the initiative into law directly or bring it to voters on the November ballot. Members may also decide to order a report on the impact of the initiative.

Twitter: @CALFIRE_SLO

THURSDAY UPDATE: 6:11 p.m.—Santa Barbara County Fire Department investigators have concluded that the Miguelito Fire was started when untrimmed trees came into contact with a live power line.

Investigators say a 12,000 volt power line feeding the plant located at 2500 San Miguelito Rd. in Lompoc, contacted a tree causing embers to drop down and ignite the dry brush along the hillside.

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