Santa Maria’s fourth-quarter financial report noted increases in key revenue sources like sales and property taxes, as well as a regionally high poverty rate — which local officials hope to address by attracting businesses with higher-paying jobs.

Covering the period from June 2018 to May 2019, the report — prepared by Finance Director Mary Harvey — shows sales tax receipts are up approximately 7.4%, or $1.69 million, compared to the last fiscal year.

The Enos Ranch development contributed to the growth of tax revenue in the general consumer goods and restaurant categories. However, the last six months of the year shows a decrease in sales tax in most industry categories.

A full complement of 300 stock and modified cars, trucks and motorcycles will fill the streets of downtown Solvang this Saturday for the 15th annual Wheels ‘n Windmills Car Show that raises funds for a variety of charities.

The show is open to all makes and models of 1980 and earlier passenger and sports cars, hot rods, trucks, Motorcycles and special-interest vehicles.

Vehicles will line the asphalt around Solvang Park and beyond, including Copenhagen Drive, First Street, Second Street, Park Way and others, with many of them owned by locals and others coming from around California and other states.

After arriving at Hancock College on Monday, Miguel Santos stopped at an information booth for a map of the Santa Maria campus so he would be prepared for his first day as a college student.

“I want to know where everything is at so when I come here tomorrow, I know where all my classes are,” the 2019 Pioneer Valley High School graduate said.

Santos was among thousands of students visiting the college campus Monday, the first day of the college's 2019-20 school year. Classes were held at the Santa Maria campus, as well as the Lompoc Valley and Santa Ynez Valley centers.

In its inaugural year in the CIF Central Section, St. Joseph's girls tennis team tied for third place in the Mountain League then went out in the first round of the 2018 Division 1 playoffs.

With a strong core of returners plus two promising newcomers, senior Emily Wilson and freshman Michahjuliana Lundberg, the Knights think they can stick around a lot longer in the post-season this time around.

"We moved from Division 1 to Division 2, so that will help," said St. Joseph senior Katelynn Haskell. Haskell was St. Joseph's No. 1 singles player last year. She is a four-year varsity player.

A Celebration of Life for the late Santa Maria Times reporter Brad Memberto will be held at the South Valley Community Church, 1054 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Memberto, a well-known local media personality and Lee Central Coast News sports and entertainment reporter from 2006 to 2015, died Sunday, June 9, at the age of 63 due to complications from diabetes.

Memberto was in a long-term care facility in Mesa, Arizona, at the time of his death.

The public is invited to attend.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help from the public to locate the rightful home of a “jail bird” that ended up in sheriff’s custody on Monday.

County jail staff in Santa Barbara located a domestic cockatiel inside a fenced secure area near the rear of the Main Jail, the Sheriff’s Office reported Monday afternoon.

“Likely an escapee from its home, the bird somehow found its way into sheriff’s custody,” read a portion of a statement sent out by Lt. Erik Raney. “The bird was hungry and obviously out of place. Staff took in the ‘jail bird’ and provided food and shelter. Staff have fostered the bird, and hope to reunite it with its owner.”

Former Cal Poly basketball star and current NBA player David Nwaba will be hosting a camp at St. Joseph High School on Saturday.

Nwaba, a guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is hosting a camp for seventh-to-12th-grade players at St. Joseph High in Santa Maria. Former Cal Poly point guard Ridge Shipley will also be an instructor at the camp.

The camp costs $100. It begins at 9 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m.

Three suspects were arrested Friday in the murder of an Oceano man in April in what investigators are calling a gang-related killing, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday.

Robert Joseph Garay, 28, and Gabriel Luis Garay, 21, both of San Luis Obispo, and Nathaniel Alexander Jara, 21, of Avila Beach were already in County Jail for an unrelated case when deputies arrested them about 4 p.m. on suspicion of murdering 41-year-old Daniel Fuentes Sr., sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

All three suspects are identified as members of the Oceano 13 gang, and the victim was previously associated with known gang members, he said.

The investigation began April 3 when sheriff's deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 2200 block of Beach Street in Oceano and discovered Fuentes deceased inside a home.

Cipolla said investigators believe Fuentes knocked on the door of a neighbor's house, and when the neighbors opened the door, Fuentes told them he had been shot and died shortly afterward.

Detectives arrested the three suspects based on an extensive follow-up investigation, tips from the public and forensic evidence, Cipolla said.

"This is the result of good, old-fashioned investigative work," Sheriff Ian Parkinson said, adding that detectives “worked countless hours on this case.”

Sarah Ovadia has some big decisions to make.

The first-year head coach of the Santa Ynez High School Pirates’ girls’ golf team, Ovadia and assistant coach Ashley Coelho have at least nine good golfers competing for six varsity spots.

While this is the first year that Ovadia, a PGA golf professional at Lompoc’s La Purisima Golf Club, will be in charge of the program, she's no stranger to the Pirates' golf team. This is her sixth year with the Pirates — the first five as Coelho’s assistant.

The California Transportation Commission allocated $1.86 million for State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects in Santa Barbara County from Senate Bill 1 funds.

The CTC allocated $1.7 million in SB 1 funds to a $4.8 million project to revamp the San Antonio Bridge on Highway 1 near Lompoc, a Caltrans spokesman said.

Another $160,000 was earmarked for a $230,000 project to restore, enhance and preserve the landscape and seed collection for erosion control as part of a drainage system restoration project along US Highway 101 near Gaviota State Park.

Christopher Martin Ramirez was identified Monday as the pedestrian who died Friday in Nipomo after being struck by a car while crossing the street, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

At 6:15 p.m., 29-year-old Erick Sanchez, of Nipomo, turned left on Teftt Street, while facing a greenlight, and struck 53-year-old Ramirez, who was in the crosswalk, a CHP spokesman said. 

Ramirez, also of Nipomo, was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center where he died. 

The collision is still under investigation, the spokesman said. It is unclear if drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.  

Any witnesses to the crash are asked to call the CHP San Luis Obispo office at 805-594-8700.

A Santa Barbara man was killed and a Seal Beach man was seriously injured Friday night when the all-terrain vehicle they were riding crashed into two trees on private property near Los Berros Road and Milton Street in rural Arroyo Grande.

The California Highway Patrol said Nicholas Lee Bozenich, 36, was piloting a 2014 Polaris ATV in a northwesterly direction at an unknown speed about 10:20 p.m. when for an unknown reason he allowed the vehicle to drift off the east edge of the private driveway.

Bozenich lost control of the vehicle, which went down an embankment and slammed head-on into a tree, causing the ATV to spin to the right into a second tree, where it came to rest, the CHP report said.

Bozenich suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene, while his passenger, Brian Bullough, 34, suffered major injuries and was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria for treatment.

The CHP report said the crash is still under investigation, and it’s unknown whether drugs or alcohol played a role.

A DUI and driver’s license checkpoint last Friday in Santa Maria resulted in one citation being issued for driving a vehicle without a license or with a suspended or revoked license, according to the Police Department.

There were no arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or for other criminal charges, a Police Department spokesman said.

A total of 402 vehicles were screened at the checkpoint set up at 600 W. Main St. between 6 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, Police Chief Phillip C. Hansen said in a press release.

Hansen said the Police Department will conduct a DUI saturation patrol this Friday in an ongoing effort to take suspected impaired drivers off the streets and lower the risk of deaths and injuries.

Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DUI checkpoint locations are based on collision statistics and the frequency of DUI arrests, Hansen said.

Last year the Santa Maria Police Department investigated 191 DUI-related collisions that killed four people and injured 32.


Cloudy early with peeks of sunshine expected late. High 74F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.


Partly cloudy skies. Low 56F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Mainly sunny. High 77F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.

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