The sound of a bugler playing taps and firing of a gun salute filled the parking lot of the Santa Maria Police Department headquarters Wednesday as 10 fallen officers were honored during the annual Peace Officers’ Memorial ceremony.

The ceremony, which was attended by over 100 people, featured a procession of law enforcement vehicles, a flag-raising ceremony by a multi-agency color guard, horses from the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s mounted unit and bagpipes played by pipe major Bill Boetticher.

Representatives from the Santa Maria Police Department, Guadalupe Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Lompoc Police Department, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the local Federal Bureau of Investigation field office were in attendance for Wednesday’s event.

Righetti's defense blinked in the 11th inning, and Bakersfield Frontier will play for the CIF Central Section Division 1 baseball championship.

With two outs in the top of the 11th, a Nick Phair ground ball went between the legs of Righetti third baseman Zak Taylor. Kobe Silva scored the go-ahead run from second base, closer Kris Anglin, a Cal State Bakersfield commit, finished the job and the No. 8 Titans edged the No. 4 Warriors 2-1 in a semifinal at Righetti that began Wednesday afternoon and ended Wednesday night.

Frontier scored in the 11th without getting a hit. Righetti did the same in the seventh, the last regulation inning.

The Lompoc City Council on Wednesday night inched closer to adopting a budget that could see significant staffing cuts, including some within public safety departments.

During a lengthy — and at times contentious — public workshop, the City Council voted unanimously to direct staff to develop a draft of the 2019-21 biennial budget that includes several positions either left as unfilled or eliminated altogether, and to present that draft at a special meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, at City Hall.

Battles Elementary School was given new shades of color and a makeover on Wednesday using a grant aimed at enhancing local schools through campus improvements.

More than 100 volunteers put on their work gloves, grabbed paint or helped with landscaping as part of the beautification project funded by a Give and Grow grant through Safran Seats, which bought Zodiac Aerospace in 2018.

Give and Grow is the nonprofit leg of the company.

Mike Garza said he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night heading into Highland’s Central Section Division 3 semifinals on Wednesday.

But that was more of a positive indication of things to come than being worrisome for the second-year head coach.

“I told the boys (before the game) that I have a gut feeling, and I said, ‘You know me, I have a pretty big gut,’” Garza said with a chuckle. “So when I get that gut feeling, it’s pretty big.”

Community Partners in Caring will conduct a countywide “Walk the Block” awareness campaign from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday to raise awareness about the needs of the elderly, an agency spokeswoman.

The event, planned in honor of Older Americans Month in May, is designed to “help our community learn simple steps they can take to help break isolation and loneliness among our senior population,” the spokeswoman said.

A coalition of individuals opposed to the way cannabis is being handled in Santa Barbara County has filed a lawsuit seeking to block a new ordinance regulating the hoop structures used for growing a variety of crops.

A petition seeking a writ of mandamus against the county was filed May 9 by Marc S. Chytilo, attorney for the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis.

The petition charges the Board of Supervisors, the county and Does 1 through 10 “prejudicially abused their discretion and failed to proceed in accordance with law” in certifying the environmental impact report for the proposed hoop house regulations.

A California appellate court has reversed a $450,000 judgment against the city of Guadalupe, ruling the city’s urgency ordinance banning the conversion of apartment buildings into boarding houses was lawful.

The original suit was filed in late 2014 following the city's passage of a 45-day ban on the conversion of apartments to boardinghouses.

The ordinance was written after a discussion labor contractor Steve Scaroni had with former Mayor Frances Romero and then-City Attorney David Fleishman about the La Plaza Villa apartments, which he planned to buy and use partly to house H-2A worker.

Norah Mason's cursive handwriting is textbook perfect.

Her steady hand and flawless strokes create uniform shapes and slants. Tall and short letters, even in height and width, brush up against the headline, resting on the baseline. Spacing between letters, words and sentences is perfectly consistent.

But even after a panel of judges named the Santa Maria third grader's cursive handwriting the best in the nation for her grade, Norah is not convinced.

"It's kind of nice," the 8-year-old said, "but I think my sister's is a little better."

The game of baseball can turn into an arms race at this point in the season and it's remarkable how much impact a single extremity can have on a game.

Just look at Wednesday's semifinal between Righetti and Frontier. Well, in this example, there were actually two limbs that impacted the game in the same way: The pitching arms of the starters for each team.

Righetti ace Caleb Dulay did what he's done all season, keeping his Warriors in the game with a splendid mix of pitches that had Frontier batters way out in front and spraying ground balls all over the park.

A 2-year-old boy who was reported missing Wednesday after his mother drove off with him has been located with public help, a Santa Maria Police Department spokesman said. 

The 2-year-old, named Robert David Laverdure Jr., was brought by his father from Arizona to visit his mother, Catrina Dolores Gonzalez, 24, the spokesman said.

Gonzalez then left with the boy in a white Chevy Colorado with a white truck bed cover.

After putting out a call to the community, detectives received information that led to the discovery of Gonzalez and Laverdure in Santa Maria, the spokesman said.  

Laverdure was found unharmed. Gonzalez was arrested on a probation violation.

Strengthening the city’s financial condition and prioritizing parks and recreation were among the broad goals the Guadalupe City Council adopted Tuesday as it begins development of the two-year budget to cover fiscal years 2020 to 2022.

The overarching goals, which will guide city staff as they begin to develop the budget for the next budget cycle, include improving the city’s financial stability, re-establishing parks and recreation as a city priority, revitalizing downtown and developing partnerships with other agencies.

On Tuesday, the council approved the goals in a 4-0 vote. Councilman Eugene Costa Jr. was absent.

The next superintendent for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District should be a respectful and engaged individual who is committed to improving academic outcomes for all students, school board members on Tuesday told the search firm responsible for finding their new leader.

While the short candidate and district profile executive search consultant Fred van Leuven started to construct will be revised and updated as students, parents and community groups from across the Santa Maria Valley provide their input, it serves as a launching point for the estimated six-month search for outgoing Superintendent Mark Richardson’s replacement.

Two Future Farmers of America teams from Santa Maria High and another from Pioneer Valley High School are now going after a national title in Indianapolis after winning state championships the weekend of May 4 at Cal Poly.

The Santa Maria High teams took the titles in judging poultry and milk quality and dairy products, while the Pioneer Valley group proved to be the best at judging soils.

Two Santa Maria High FFA members also won individual state titles for floral design and light horse judging.

Four third-graders honored for designing posters to promote water conservation

Four third-graders were recently honored by the city of Santa Maria for artwork submitted in the Utilities Department's 10th annual Water Awareness poster contest.

Open to third-graders enrolled in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, the contest asked students to compete by creating colorful posters symbolizing Water Awareness Month and showing the importance of water conservation. 

There were 200 entries in the contest, water conservation specialist Myra Richie said. Judging criteria included the quality of the artwork and the conservation message. 

Student winners, their families and teachers were at the May 7 City Council meeting, where they were formally recognized for their efforts and received certificates and trophies. 

During the meeting, the following students were honored for their posters: 

First place — Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Bonita Elementary School 

Second place — Benito Osio, Miller Elementary School 

Third place — Jiselle Ambrosi, Miller Elementary School

Honorable mention — Angeline Hernandez Alvarado, Alvin Elementary School


A mix of clouds and sun, with gusty winds developing this afternoon. High 64F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Higher wind gusts possible.


Partly cloudy skies. Gusty winds during the evening. Low 48F. NW winds at 20 to 30 mph, decreasing to 5 to 10 mph. Higher wind gusts possible.


Mostly sunny skies with gusty winds developing during the afternoon. High around 65F. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph.

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