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

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Exiting the Main Gate to Vandenberg AFB, I again saw protestors with banners, waving slogans that told passing motorists, local news and our military men and women that “weapons don’t bring peace.”

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.

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. …

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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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.”

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

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.

A Delta 2 rocket carrying NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explore satellite lifts off at 6:09 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Len Wood/Staff

After waiting out a series of storms last week and overcoming a technical snafu, a Delta 2 rocket blasted off early today from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Representatives of the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) will be available for free Medicare Prescription Drug Plan counseling from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Anderson Recreation Center, 125 West Walnut Ave.

Our days buzz with computer clicks and electronic gadgets, our nights turn alive with bright lights and fancy entertainments. At their basics, however, these diverse inventions have one thing in common: an electrical connection.

Last month, on what otherwise would have been a quiet Monday afternoon, Santa Maria police officers attempted to make what probably seemed to be a routine traffic stop. Routine quickly turned dangerous, however, as the suspect vehicle sped off, resulting in a high-speed chase through the city.

During the last couple of City Council meetings there has been a plea by council members for public input. But do elected officials really want to hear from us?

Jake Morehart was a standout for the Lompoc Braves during the recently completed high school football season. Morehart, a senior, had an outstanding year as a receiver on offense and as a linebacker on defense.

Cabrillo’s Tyler Chard scores on a backhanded throw in this file photo. Chard was recently named the Los Padres League water polo MVP.//Bryan Walton/Staff

“I am the Athletic Director that allowed that soccer tournament to take place last weekend,” said Cabrillo athletic director Bob Lawrence about the Cabrillo Central Coast Classic, while speaking Monday at the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Roundtable luncheon at Giavanni’s Pizza in O…

Two inmates who apparently decided it was time for a night out walked away from the minimum-security camp at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, and haven’t been seen since.

The following arrests, incidents and information are from reports by law enforcement and other public safety agencies from 4 p.m. Friday to Saturday.

A Santa Maria man died and another was hospitalized in serious condition after they were stabbed late Saturday night in what police are calling a gang-related altercation in northwestern Santa Maria.

Museum docent Clarice Carnahan stands outside the Artesia School, which adjoins El Camino Middle School.//Staff file

Rebeckah Villa-Lopez holds a stack of presents she and Valley Haven workers including, in back, Mayela Rubio, Araceli Pena and Connie Alfaro collected and packaged for elderly shut-ins this holiday season.//Len Wood/Staff

For homebound seniors, many struggling to survive on fixed incomes, some suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year.

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite launches Monday morning from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This was ULA’s 16th successful and final launch of 2009 and 37th launch in 36 months of operation. WISE …

After days of delays, a Delta 2 rocket blasted off early Monday on a mission to deliver a space telescope that astronomers hope will provide exciting new views of the universe.

Lompoc police announced this morning that they will hold a press conference this afternoon to release new information in the gang-related shooting death of 14-year-old Danny Rodriguez in January in the 700 block of North E Street.

Keith Sullivan, left, and Ricardo Reyes have been arrested in connection with the January murder on Daniel Rodriguez, 14, in Lompoc. Contributed

If celebrity couple Randy and Evi Quaid are spotted, they could have a lot more to worry about than camera flashes.

Students from Arellanes Junior High in Santa Maria, along with staff and friends, donated some of their hair to the Locks of Love program. //Len Wood/Staff

Looking at Raquel Quintanar’s long black hair, there was no way to tell she just had nearly a foot of it expertly trimmed away.

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