The 32nd annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival is set to open Friday, promising to bring festivalgoers a weekend full of music, cooking demonstrations, extreme motorsports and tons of the little red berries that have become the region’s largest cash crop.

Held at the Santa Maria Fairpark, this year’s festival, which will run through Sunday, will feature new activities as well as the some of the most-loved acts of previous years, said Shelly Cone, public relations manager for the Fairpark.

Cone said organizers are expecting around 70,000 visitors during the course of the three-day festival, which will be open from noon to 10 p.m. each day.

The Fine Arts Complex at Hancock College is one step closer to completion this month after the district successfully sold $23 million in bonds through Measure I, the remaining amount needed to finance the project.

Eric Smith assistant superintendent/vice president for Finance and Administration, said the bonds received significant interest from investors when they went up for sale April 16. Morgan Stanley, the company which purchased the bonds from the college to resell to investors, received $46 million in orders over an hour-and-a-half, according to Smith.

Around 30 people attended a workshop in Guadalupe Monday night to weigh in as the city aims to develop a plan that would make its downtown streets more walkable and bikeable and spur economic development in the area.

Held at the American Legion Post 371, the meeting was preceded by a walk around Guadalupe with members of the consultant team hired to assist in the development of the plan.

The meeting was attended by interim City Administrator Bob Perrault, interim Public Works Director Steve Kahn and Mayor Ariston Julian.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ Environmental Department will host its annual free Chumash Earth Day celebration Saturday at Kitiyepumu’ Park on the tribe’s Santa Ynez reservation at 100 Via Juana Lane.

The zero-waste event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature activities for all ages, including tree plantings, arts and crafts, special appearances by Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear, a live performance by local musician Dewey Roberts, raffle prizes and a food truck with items for sale from Point Break Pizza.

Santa Maria's star fighter was cornered by a throng of media just moments after scoring another knockout victory in yet another dazzling performance on national television.

And, of course, Balderas didn't pull any punches while being jabbed by the media.

A reporter asked Balderas if he has the ability to become one of the "faces of boxing."

Balderas didn't hesitate in answering.

"No doubt. I'm THE face of boxing," Balderas responded.

A Lompoc man was arrested Sunday after allegedly being involved in a shooting, then attempting to flee from police.

Salvador Lemus, 18, was booked into Lompoc City Jail on charges that include shooting at an inhabited dwelling, hit-and-run, willfully resisting a peace officer, and participation in a criminal street gang.

The Lompoc Police Department reported it received several 911 calls around 5 p.m. Sunday regarding shots fired and/or heard in the area of West College Avenue and North T Street. Some callers provided a description of two vehicles suspected to have been involved, police reported.

A short time later, Lompoc Police officers located two vehicles matching the description near the intersection of H Street and Ocean Avenue. The driver of one of the vehicles reportedly flagged down an officer and implicated the other vehicle in the shooting.

Police ultimately caught up with the suspected vehicle, an SUV, near the intersection of Hickory Avenue and North F Street after it had collided into multiple parked cars. The driver of that vehicle, Lemus, reportedly exited the vehicle and ran into the 300 block alley between South F and G streets, according to Lompoc Police.

“The driver was seen by a witness slow down as he entered the alley and throw a shiny object into a nearby backyard, which was located and discovered to be a handgun,” read a portion of a report released Monday by the Lompoc Police Department.

Bullet casings located in the 500 block of the North T/U alley matched the caliber of the handgun that was recovered, according to Lompoc Police.

There were no reported injuries.

Anyone with further information regarding the incident is encouraged by the Lompoc Police Department to call 805-736-2341.

More than 4,000 Lompoc homes and businesses were without electricity for about an hour on Saturday after a Mylar balloon got caught in power lines, according to a city spokeswoman.

The outage affected 4,142 homes and businesses in the central and southern portions of the city. The power outage was reported at 2:34 p.m. Saturday, and power was fully restored by 3:35 p.m.

The reported cause of the outage was a Mylar balloon that made contact with power lines near Maple Avenue and North M St.

The area affected by the outage, according to the city, was from Pine Avenue south to San Miguelito Canyon Road, between A and O streets.

“The city of Lompoc wants to remind our community to avoid releasing balloons, as they can become caught in power lines and are a hazard to the environment,” read a portion of a statement from Samantha Scroggin, the city’s public information officer.

Electricity in Lompoc is provided by the city.

The Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center at 600 S. McClelland St. in Santa Maria is extending its hours temporarily this week due to spring break. 

The center will be open from noon to 8:30 p.m. through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through April 27.

There will be games and activities, such as Nerf Wars, access to the fitness room, pool tournaments, drones, connect four tournaments and movie nights on Fridays. 

Participants must be in the seventh through 12th grades and youth center membership, which is free, is required.

For more information, call the Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.

It wasn’t 10 strong like previous Easter Golf Tournaments at La Purisima on Monday – but the yearly event still brought out six teams and ended with Righetti producing the medalist.

The Easter tourney held off of Highway 246 in Lompoc still brought out some of the top golfers in the Channel League and featured two CIF Central Section schools in RHS and Atascadero to play under 65-degree weather.

The Warriors’ Joe Moles earned medalist honors by shooting 73 on the course. He was one of five golfers who stayed underneath 80 for the day.

The Central Coast Condors 2001/U18 boys soccer team won the championship at the 2019 Cal South State Cup in the Presidents Division and will play in the regional tournament in June in Norco.

There was 40 teams in the Condors' age group and they were top team in their group with two wins and a tie. The Condors then advanced to the round of 16 and won 3-0, advancing to the quarterfinals. There, the Condors played to a 3-3 tie in regulation and then won with 5-3 on penalty kicks, moving on to the semifinals. That's where the Condors won 3-2 to go on to the final. The Condors won 5-1 against California Rush.


A clear sky. Low around 50F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph, becoming SE and decreasing to less than 5 mph.


A clear sky. Low around 50F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph, becoming SE and decreasing to less than 5 mph.


Mainly sunny. High near 80F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

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