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  • Len Wood

Shoppers walk through the rain at Vons on North H Street in Lompoc Monday morning.//Len Wood/Staff 12/7/09 photo

Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum at today’s annual holiday party. //Contributed

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I loved all the holiday events happening in town this past weekend — the parade, Master Chorale concert, Lompoc Pops concert, and the Creche Community Concert at the LDS church.

  • Steve Petty/Look Again

Ten more days until the solar cycle renews and the sun starts its return to the northern hemisphere; winter solstice is the darkest day for us up here north of the equator.  We hardly think of it in today’s world of eternal electric light, but ancient people held this day in holy reverence. …

Have you noticed, when you’re within a dozen or so feet of a smoker outdoors, the smoke seems to fly into your face — no matter which way the wind is blowing. It’s a complete violation of the laws of physics, but it happens.

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  • By Raiza Canelon/Staff Writer rcanelon@lompocrecord.com

The gray rain clouds mirrored the somber emotions Thursday as the final alarm was rung for Dean Moore, a heavy-equipment operator with Santa Barbara County Fire Department, who died Nov. 29 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.

The lifeguard at the girls water polo match Thursday between Lompoc and Righetti high schools in Orcutt sits in the cold and rainy weather. //Bryan Walton/Staff

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  • Staff report

A faulty steering system on a Delta 2 rocket engine prompted a three-day delay for a mission to launch a NASA satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, officials said Thursday.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@lompocrecord.com

Two men whose brush-clearing efforts along a local trail allegedly sparked the devastating Jesusita Fire in May have been charged with misdemeanor violations of county codes, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Red Kettle Campaign Chairman Cozetta Blow greets customers as she rings a bell at the Vons in Lompoc. At left, Maurita Jaurequi of the Salvation Army rings a bell for donations in Santa Maria. //Ian Gonzaga/Staff

  • By Sam Womack/Staff Writer swomack@lompocrecord.com

They’re not jingle bells or silver bells, but the ding-a-ling chime from Salvation Army bell ringers heralds the coming of Christmas just as effectively.

  • Phil Klein

Nipomo’s Cami Castillo try’s to take the ball from Cabrillo’s Taylor Wagonseller during the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic Thursday. //Photo by Phil Klein

  • By Kevin Klein /Sports Writer kklein@lompocrecord.com

In the closing minutes of the Cabrillo/Nipomo girls basketball game, Cabrillo head coach Mark Tasch was yelling, “Anybody but her! Anybody but her!” from his side of the gymnasium.

Lompoc’s Erica Elenes tries to shoot over Righetti’s Linsey Avila during non-league girls water polo action at Righetti High. Elenes scored two goals and even played goalie in the first quarter, saving six shots. //Bryan Walton/Staff

  • By Brad Memberto/Sports Writer bmemberto@lompocrecord.com

With two new head coaches, the Lompoc and Righetti girls water polo teams are still trying to get used to changes in the learning curve.

  • Staff report

The annual Nativity Pageant scheduled for tonight at Solvang's outdoor Festival Theater has been canceled because of rain, and this evening's Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band concert has been moved from tonight to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Solvang Park.

Concerning the jogger hit by a car on West Ocean and Bailey, I travel West Ocean almost daily, and have had many close calls with joggers and others walking or riding bikes on this road.

  • Doris O’Brien/If I May Say So

Conflicting claims from both sides of the health care debate can produce side effects of confusion and  irritability. On the one hand, we are told that the pending health care  bill will be “deficit neutral.” On the other, we hear that over time it would add billions of dollars to America’s …

Weekends are for kicking back and relaxing, but for millions of Americans — including many of our neighbors here on the Central Coast — this is a good day to scour the Record’s classified pages and the Internet, searching for a job.

  • By Glenn Wallace/Staff Writer gwallace@lompocrecord.com

A proposed expansion of the McDonald’s at 835 North H Street was approved by the Lompoc Planning Commission this week, but the $105,000 in fees the city is asking for final approval may slow, or even kill, the fast-food restaurant giant’s project.

  • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@lompocrecord.com

With the number of deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus in Santa Barbara County climbing to six this week, the Public Health Department has scheduled two vaccination clinics open to all residents.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian speaks about the Jesusita Fire charges at a press conference Friday morning in Santa Barbara. At right is Acting District Attorney Joshua Lynn. //Lara Cooper/Contributor

  • By Lara Cooper/Contributing Writer

Officials remained tight-lipped Friday about what led them to file misdemeanor charges against two men whose brush-clearing efforts are suspected of causing the devastating Jesusita Fire earlier this year.

  • By Julian J. Ramos/Staff Writer jramos@lompocrecord.com

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced Friday that it has inked an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to study the feasibility of a wave-energy project off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@lompocrecord.com

National Weather Service forecasters have no doubt that there will be rain tonight on the Central Coast, but the showers shouldn’t last past the weekend.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@lompocrecord.com

There’s always a risk of wildfires, but local agencies have announced that danger is significantly less with winter settling in.

  • Len Wood

Lighted decorations, including a trumpeting angel, made the house at 511 W. Locust Ave. Lompoc’s Sweepstakes winner in the city’s annual Holiday Decoration Contest. //Len Wood/Staff

  • Phil Klein

Arroyo Grande's Rachel Ventura try's for basket over Cabrillo's Alyssa Sharp and Taylor Wagonseller during the girls basketball game of the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at Morro Bay High School on Friday.//Phil Klein

  • Phil Klein

Arroyo Grande's Rachel Ventura try's for basket over Cabrillo's Alyssa Sharp and Taylor Wagonseller during the girls basketball game of the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at Morro Bay High School on Friday.//Phil Klein

  • Kevin Klein/Sports Writer kklein@lompocrecord.com

On day three of the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at Morro Bay High, the basketball tournament’s elite have revealed themselves.

Cabrillo High School’s Miguel Gomez (10) battles for the ball against Nordhoff High School during Friday’s boys soccer match in the Central Coast Classic at Cabrillo High School. Gomez scored Cabrillo’s only goal in the 1-1 tie. //Bryan Walton/Staff

  • By Brad Memberto/Sports Writer bmemberto@lompocrecord.com

School administrators were running around under big umbrellas — some in an open and very wet golf cart — trying to ge]t a campus full of students safely from buses, vans and cars bringing soccer players.

  • By Allie Kay Spaulding/Contributing Writer

The Hmong community of Lompoc celebrated the coming New Year on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Clarence Ruth Elementary School with festivities beginning in the morning with songs and speeches, followed by a free lunch prepared by the Hmong women.

  • Jeff York/Sound Advice

Many individuals have great ideas for businesses but can never get their business off the ground. The reason? No business plan.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@lompocrecord.com

Saturday’s showers caused storm-related troubles across Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

  • Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@lompocrecord.com

Mother Nature was able to hold the rain to a drizzle just long enough for the 48th annual Orcutt Christmas Parade to go marching by Saturday afternoon.

Gloria Willis, left, and event Chairwoman Gloria Montague stand with a poster of Martin Luther King Jr. inside the Lompoc Valley Youth Center building last year. The 25th annual Carousel of Cultures will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18 at the LHS gymnasium. //Staff file

  • Len Wood

Rev. Robert Kee, the pastor at Riverview Church of God, has helped force the issue of what type of language, and content Lompoc City Council will accept during their traditional meeting invocation prayers. //Len Wood/Staff

  • By Glenn Wallace/Staff Writer gwallace@lompocrecord.com

A three-letter word has revealed what one local pastor says is a contradiction in the meeting policies of the Lompoc City Council — that word being “God.”

  • Kevin Klein/Sports Writer kklein@lompocrecord.com

When the Lady Conquistadores’ leading scorer Tati Dunlap fouled out with just under seven minutes remaining against the SLO Tigers, no one in Tiger Gym knew who on the team would step-up.

Lompoc and Cabrillo soccer players shake hands after their game at the Central Coast Classic Soccer Tournament finale at Huyck Stadium. //Ian Gonzaga/Staff

  • By Brad Memberto/Sports Writer bmemberto@lompocrecord.com

It may not mean as much as a regular season game played at Huyck Stadium, but when the Cabrillo and Lompoc boys soccer teams get together, the game is always big.