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More than 100 professional cyclists were greeted with fanfare as they rolled through Santa Barbara County on Thursday as part of the fifth stage of this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

The annual Tour de France-style road race, which began Sunday in Sacramento, picked up Thursday morning in Pismo Beach and wound through Guadalupe, Orcutt and the Santa Ynez Valley as the riders sprinted to the Stage 5 finish in Ventura.

Large crowds lined the streets in Orcutt to cheer on the riders, and spectators also dotted the route along Highway 154 through the Santa Ynez Valley.

Experienced Solvang bush pilot dies in small plane crash near Figueroa Mountain Wednesday

A highly experienced pilot who spent years flying into remote locations in adverse conditions, was killed Wednesday when his small plane crashed into a steep hillside north-northeast of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Pierre Josefsohn, 68, of Solvang, died when his 2006 Aviat Husky crashed, leaving behind a wife and two teenage children.

Fellow pilots were in shock after hearing of the crash because Josefsohn was a capable bush pilot who spent years flying in rugged terrain and remote locations, said Shawn Knight, president of the Santa Ynez Valley Airport Authority and a longtime friend.

Santa Maria Valley Beautiful to honor most beautiful landscaping

Santa Maria Valley Beautiful is set to begin judging for its annual award ceremony to take place later in the summer.

The group, established in 1963, promotes maintaining and improving landscapes and installing neighborhood pride by acknowledging homes and businesses that have beautiful landscapes.

Volunteers with the group drove through neighborhoods in search of the most beautiful homes and businesses and landscapes from April 15 to May 15.

Santa Maria to host workshops to promote complete census count

The city of Santa Maria will hold two public workshops at Shepard Hall in the Santa Maria Public Library to promote the 2020 census.

The public workshops, slated to be held from noon to 1 p.m. on May 29 and June 5, are meant to ensure the 2020 census includes a complete count of every city resident. Spanish translation will be provided.

Much of the difficulty in achieving an accurate census count lies with those persons who are hard to count, which includes people who are unaware of the census or refuse to be counted.

Four arrested, numerous firearms allegedly seized while search warrant executed 

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies arrested four people and allegedly seized a variety of firearms, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine while executing a search warrant Wednesday in Santa Maria.

Around 7:15 a.m., deputies served the search warrant at a home in the 1800 block of Ironwood Drive, said Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

During the search, drug paraphernalia, suspected methamphetamine, numerous rounds of ammunition of various calibers, loaded and unloaded high-capacity magazines, several handguns, long rifles and an assault rifle were confiscated, Hoover said.

Several of the firearms were unregistered, and one of the handguns was found to have been reported stolen in San Luis Obispo County.

Deputies arrested Austyn Fout, 23, Coleton Fout, 26, Justine Garcia, 25, and Laura Burson, 54, Hoover said.

'Not an easy feat': St. Joseph seniors celebrated during College Signing Day ceremony

Amid the cheers and applause of families, friends and supporters, more than 50 St. Joseph High School seniors on Thursday announced their future colleges and universities at a special ceremony honoring the class of 2019.

Seated at tables designated with the name of each school, the students — now clad in shirts, hats and sweaters bearing new names and logos — signed certificates symbolizing their commitment to their future alma maters.

Traffic problems lead list of objections to proposed 60-home subdivision off Santa Maria Way

After concerns about traffic circulation and overcrowding were expressed by neighbors, the Santa Maria Planning Commission voted Wednesday to continue its review of a proposed 60-home subdivision in the southeast part of the city.

The project calls for 60 single-family homes, a drainage basin and a recreational open space built on a 13.2-acre parcel off Santa Maria Way, sandwiched between Valley Christian Academy and an existing residential neighborhood.

The developer, Eric Northman, proposed constructing homes of both one- and two-story on lots that would each be a minimum of 6,000 square feet. The density would be 4.5 units per acre.

More planes, more people expected at Santa Ynez Airport Day

More aircraft and more people are expected to attend the annual Santa Ynez Airport Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, when old military, newer private and local government planes and helicopters will be parked on the tarmac for up-close viewing.

Admission is free for the event at the Santa Ynez Airport, located just off Highway 246 on the east side of Santa Ynez.

Louie Quintana passes the baton to Kenna Wolter, who takes over Hancock's track and field program

Louie Quintana will pass the baton, but he'll keep the clipboard.

Quintana, who's led the track and field program at Hancock College for the past 19 seasons, is stepping down from his head coaching post as one of his former athletes, Kenna Wolter, takes over.

Quintana has made it clear, though, his beloved trademark clipboard is firmly staying in his two hands. Quintana's had the same one for all his 19 years at Hancock, hardly ever seen on campus without it.

Police ask for help identifying suspects in robbery

The Santa Maria Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying suspects of a robbery that took place earlier this month. 

 
On May 5, an alleged robbery involving four subjects occurred at the Taqueria Salsa Brava, located at 1206 S. Broadway, a department spokesman said.
 
The Police Department is asking anyone who can assist in identifying the suspects in the photograph to contact Detective Seann Woessner at 805-928-3781, ext. 1929. 

Three people linked to a used car dealership in Lompoc have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors relating to complaints filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Alysha Marie Hibson, owner of Mid State Motorsports in Lompoc, and two of her ex-employees, Karl Wolfgang Bischoff and Daniel Merlin Davis, allegedly engaged in illegal conduct during several vehicle sales that took place between March and November 2017, according to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Dalbey.

The dealership, which was located at 401 N. H Street in Lompoc, has since closed.

Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint in September 2018, alleging the trio acted as unlicensed vehicle salespeople and stole money or property in excess of $950.

In addition to hiring unlicensed salespeople, a declaration filed by Officer Gabby Rodriguez, a DMV investigator, claims the company failed to return down payments on vehicles that were returned or never provided to customers.

‘Walk the Block’ Saturday to raise awareness of seniors’ needs

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.

It will also give residents an opportunity to honor the elderly during senior citizens appreciation week.

Those who sign up for “Walk the Block” will be provided with a map, a script and other materials as well as a free breakfast donated by community sponsors.

Volunteers can join the movement for 30 minutes or up to the full two hours to spread awareness about the free life-changing services Community Partners in Caring provides to “to help seniors live independently while maintaining dignity, respect and quality of life,” the spokeswoman said.

To sign up for the walk in Santa Maria, call 805-925-0125; to sign up in Lompoc, call 805-925-8000.

The “Land of Troy” now wants Lompoc’s Jacob Nuñez.

The University of Southern California emerged as the latest university to extend a scholarship offer to the Braves’ offensive lineman — now upping his offer total to eight.

Nuñez, who has manned the left tackle spot on the Braves’ offensive line in three years on varsity and has filled his prep football career with All-League and All-CIF accolades, announced USC’s offer on Thursday night. The incoming senior cites offensive line coach Tim Drevno as the man who awarded the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder with the offer to join the Trojans.

Dick Mininger will speak about the history of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight and the Santa Maria Valley Railway Historical Museum during the next Heart of the Valley presentation at 10:15 a.m. Saturday in Shepard Hall at the Santa Maria Public Library.

Mininger, who serves as president of both museums, will share photos from his vast collection during his talk.

The monthly series, produced in partnership with local historian Shirley Contreras, features an expert speaker talking about various aspects of local history. It is designed to educate and delight the public with interesting facts from the past that have shaped Santa Maria and the region.

Suggestions for possible speakers are welcomed and encouraged.

Seating, which is limited, will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The library, located at 421 S. McClelland St., is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Sunday.

For more information, call 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.

Today

Partly cloudy skies. Low 48F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies. Low 48F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.

Tomorrow

Mostly sunny. Becoming windy during the afternoon. High around 65F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

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