10+ LOCAL stories you need to read for Tuesday, November 5

10+ LOCAL stories you need to read for Tuesday, November 5

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Read through this collection of our top morning headlines to get ready for your Tuesday.

Annual Santa Maria water system maintenance could result in temporarily discolored water

Santa Maria water customers may notice temporary water discoloration during the next two weeks as the state performs its annual maintenance of the water distribution system and the city flushes hydrants at dead-end streets.

Through the maintenance work period, which began Friday and will continue until Nov. 17, the city of Santa Maria will provide all of the city's water from its groundwater basin, a city spokesman said. While customers may notice a difference in the water due to the increased hardness and mineral content, the water will continue to meet all quality standards.

In conjunction with this annual maintenance, the city will flush hydrants at dead-end streets throughout the Santa Maria water system from Nov. 11 through Nov. 17 in an effort to keep water lines clean and prolong the life of the city’s water system.

Santa Maria Council to consider budget amendments, hire of additional firefighters

The Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday will consider approving funds to hire six more firefighters than are needed to fill current vacancies as part of a handful of amendments to its 2019-20 budget.

The new hires would be just one of five proposed midcycle budget amendments that make use of money in the Measure U, library, mobile equipment and general funds.

The amendment for hiring the six firefighters seeks to use $332,300 in expected savings to the Measure U fund resulting from grant funding to support the cost of the new employees.

In September, the Fire Department was awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to support the cost of nine previously planned hires over a three-year period to establish a second response unit at the department’s Cook Street firehouse.

No-Shave November: Santa Maria police grow beards for prostate cancer awareness

Male officers with the Santa Maria Police Department aren’t allowed to grow beards or goatees facial hair, but for one month out of the year they can. And they're doing it for a good cause.

This month, officers will participate in No-Shave November to raise money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer. The monthlong campaign is organized by the Prevent Cancer Foundation nonprofit.

The American Cancer Society estimated that more than 174,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 31,000 will die from it in 2019.

For the second year, Santa Maria Police Department officers who participate in the campaign will donate $50 to the No-Shave November fundraiser and, in turn, they’ll be allowed to grow out their facial hair beyond what’s allowed by the department’s grooming standard policy. 

Toys for Tots donation drive kicks off in Santa Maria

Toys for Tots kicked off its annual Santa Maria campaign Monday morning at City Hall.

Started in 1947, Toys for Tots is a national program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to collect new, unwrapped toys each year and distribute them to children whose parents cannot afford to purchase toys for them.

Community members are invited to join in the effort by dropping off new unwrapped toys at Toys for Tots events or at city and county fire departments throughout the holiday season.

Last year, Toys for Tots collected over 6,000 toys that were distributed to nearly 4,000 kids in the county.

Christmas Parade of Lights entry deadline is Friday

Organizers of the 25th annual Christmas Parade of Lights, to be held on Dec. 7 on Broadway in Santa Maria, are reminding interested organizations that the deadline for submitting applications is Friday, Nov. 8.

You can apply online through the parade website at www.smparadeoflights.org. Click on the application button on the website, complete the requested information and submit it. There is no charge to be in the parade.

Organizers report there are just a few openings available to complete the maximum number of entries permitted, so those interested are encouraged to get their applications in as soon as possible. The event is hosted by the local Rotary clubs and the theme is "The Joy of Giving."

Participants and viewers are encouraged to bring canned goods that are collected for donation to the Salvation Army. Santa Claus also will be participating in the parade on the last entry.

Round Table: Orcutt Academy's Alex Sutton and Righetti's Naylea Calderon take Athlete of the Week honors

Alex Sutton has been doing this for years. Naylea Calderon is fairly new to her craft.

Either way, both were first-time Athlete of the Week winners during Monday's Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table luncheon at Giavanni's Pizza in Orcutt.

Sutton, a junior, is a three-time member of the Orcutt Academy 8-man football team. Calderon, a senior, had never ran cross country before this year but she helped guide the Warriors to the Santa Barbara County title last week.

Sutton powered the Spartan football team to a 47-46 win at Fresno Christian last Friday, helping Orcutt Academy earn the No. 3 seed for the CIF Central Section 8-man playoffs. Sutton and the Spartans play at No. 2 seed Riverdale Christian on Friday.

Supplemental EIR clears way for fracking, oil drilling in Santa Barbara County

A supplemental environmental impact report on hydraulic fracturing released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found no significant impacts, and plans for leasing 1.2 million acres for oil and gas development in eight counties, including Santa Barbara County, will not change.

The decision on the supplemental EIR will not trigger oil and gas leasing and will not open up new public lands to oil and gas development, a BLM spokeswoman said, adding most of the acreage available for development has been available for more than 30 years.

“One of the things that I think confuses people is that just because an area is open for oil and gas production doesn’t mean oil and gas production will actively take place there,” said Serena Baker, public information officer for the BLM’s Bakersfield Field Office.

Library to host presentation about human trafficking

Orcutt resident Connie Logeman, who founded a safe house for victims of human trafficking, will give a presentation Saturday at the Santa Maria Public Library. 

The presentation, scheduled for 1:30 to 4 p.m. in Shepard Hall, will discuss Casa of Hope, a newly-established home for girls who have been sex trafficked on the Central Coast.

Seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early to secure their seats.

Logeman established Casa of Hope to provide a location where victims of sex-trafficking can be connected with important resources such as medical services, educational resources and social services. The organization also provides these victims with a secure home-based location in which they can regain their confidence and dignity in a healing environment.

Donations of household cleaning products and/or feminine hygiene products are welcome and appreciated.

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

Those with questions are asked to contact the information desk at 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.

St. Joseph football: Knights are on a roll after 'trusting the process'

The Knights are 7-3.

Not too long ago, that seemed unfathomable.

On Sept. 27, after a 28-14 loss to Lompoc, the St. Joseph football team was 2-3.

The Knights had just suffered their third straight loss. They haven't loss since.

The Knights' current five-game win streak started a week after that loss to Lompoc. St. Joseph routed Pioneer Valley 40-0 on Oct. 4. They then went on the road to San Juan Capistrano and handed St. Margaret's its only loss of the year in a 35-24 win. A week later, they started league play with a 21-20 win over Paso Robles. Then there was the 21-14 win over Arroyo Grande and, finally, last week's 22-7 home win over rival Righetti.

Lompoc gang member convicted of murdering teenager gets retrial after court ruling

A Lompoc man convicted in 2011 for the gang-related murder of a teenager will get a retrial thanks to a 2014 California Supreme Court ruling and a new law that went into effect earlier this year.

Richard Mariano Reyes was one of two men found guilty of the 2009 killing of 14-year-old Daniel Rodriguez in a gang-related shooting. Both Roberto Barrera — who also was convicted of murder in the case — and Reyes are members of the Lompoc street gang VLP, or Varrio Lamparas Primera.

Reyes’ case was petitioned on the basis of the 2014 case of People v. Chiu, according to Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Lynmarc Jenkins, a case which changed the rules regarding how defendants are convicted of first-degree murder. Reyes initially appealed his conviction, but the judgment was affirmed in 2013. He re-petitioned after the Chiu case was decided.

According to Dillon Forsyth, Reyes’ new attorney, the case came back to the Santa Maria Superior Court from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit brought it back on the basis of Chiu, Jenkins said.

Yuri Gomez and her Lompoc Youth Connections colleagues are 7th nominee for Valley of Flowers Peace Prize

Yuri Gomez and her classmates, known collectively as Lompoc Youth Connections, are the seventh nominee for the 2019 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Gomez and her colleagues were spending their Saturdays in Ventura taking classes for their master's degrees in social work. All five of them worked in Lompoc for different nonprofit agencies and they had seen a lot — too much. A graduation project loomed.

"You know what, [the project] is not just for school," the friends said they began to think. "It has to be sustainable. It has to be a community movement, and we want this movement to be infectious."

Your Central Coast Weather Forecast

Santa Maria 

Today

Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.

Tonight

Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.

Tomorrow

A mainly sunny sky. High 73F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

Lompoc

Today

Foggy early, becoming sunny this afternoon. High 73F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.

Tomorrow

Mainly sunny. High 72F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

Santa Ynez 

Today

Plentiful sunshine. High around 80F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight

Clear this evening then becoming mostly cloudy after midnight. Low 43F. Winds light and variable.

Tomorrow

Sunny skies. High 78F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.

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