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  • Janene Scully/Associate Editor

The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, set to launch its 64th edition today, promises a lot for greenhorns not familiar with the sport or its local tradition of fundraising.

  • Jim Bray/Rotarian

For many years, the Christmas Parade of Lights was organized and run by the Lions Club of Santa Maria. During the first years, the parade ran south on Broadway, from Fesler to Boone streets. Surprisingly, traffic was allowed to continue on Broadway, using the western lane, and the parade ran…

  • Contributed

In celebration of the cooperation, camaraderie and BService Above SelfC objectives, the Rotary Clubs of Santa Maria and Nipomo held a Group 12 joint meeting in November.

  • Diane Huie Balay/Rotarian

The petite president of Santa Maria Rotary South, Billie Jo Cravello, is much like the club she leads: smaller than some but possessing a mighty spirit.

  • Glenn Wallace/Staff Writer

The lights of Broadway dazzled and awed Saturday night as the 2007 Santa Maria Christmas Parade of Lights gave the holiday season a grand introduction

  • Jennifer Iverson/Contributor

Dolores A. Doran, founder/director of Coastal Voices has announced openings for sopranos, altos, tenors and basses for the 2006-2007 season. Rehearsals are on Monday nights from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. at Saint Andrew United Methodist Church, 3945 South Bradley Road in Orcutt.

  • Britt Fairchild / Features Writer

It might be one of the smaller churches in town, but First Church of God in Santa Maria has the heart of a congregation twice its size.

  • Elizabeth Rodriguez / Times Staff Writer

The tides of change continued in Guadalupe Wednesday when Herb Sanchez announced he was stepping down from his City Council seat for health reasons.

I see that “Holiday Trees” has returned to Skyway and Highway 135. But, to be fair, it appears the sign refers to the name of the company, Orcutt Holiday Trees.

  • Lorey Sebastian

In this film publicity image released by Lionsgate, Tobey Maguire, left, and Jake Gyllenhaal are shown in a scene from, "Brothers." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Lorey Sebastian)

  • By Brad Memberto/Staff Writer bmemberto@santamariatimes.com

Most times when a European film is remade in the United States, the critics cry foul and the U.S. version is usually not as strong.

In our own little hamlet of Old Town Orcutt, we have the best little market ever. Mark and Wendy Steller have taken the mercantile and transformed it into an perfect one-top venue.

My family and I would like to share a heart-warming story with your readers regarding the kindness, generosity and can-do spirit of the fine people of Santa Maria.

Sen. John Boehner (R-Ohio) unveiled his spiffy old Republican retread of a jobs program, left over from the failed Bush administration, when the U.S. lost millions of jobs and the economy and stock market crashed, heading toward a second Great Depression, in order to try to take attention aw…

Have you noticed, when you’re within a dozen or so feet of a smoker outdoors, the smoke seems to fly into your face — no matter which way the wind is blowing. It’s a complete violation of the laws of physics, but it happens.

Let’s face it, most Americans simply are not ready to accept marijuana as a bona fide medical treatment — at least not with regard to allowing pot dispensaries in their communities.

  • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com

With the number of deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus in Santa Barbara County climbing to six this week, the Public Health Department has scheduled two vaccination clinics open to all residents.

  • By Raiza Canelon/Staff Writer rcanelon@santamariatimes.com

The gray rain clouds mirrored the somber emotions Thursday as the final alarm was rung for Dean Moore, a heavy-equipment operator with Santa Barbara County Fire Department, who died Nov. 29 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.

  • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com

Demi Urias speaks softly, but carries a big message to her peers when it comes to the dangers of drinking and driving.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@santamariatimes.com

Two men whose brush-clearing efforts along a local trail allegedly sparked the devastating Jesusita Fire in May have been charged with misdemeanor violations of county codes, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

  • By Sam Womack/Staff Writer swomack@santamariatimes.com

They’re not jingle bells or silver bells, but the ding-a-ling chime from Salvation Army bell ringers heralds the coming of Christmas just as effectively.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Arroyo Grande High School point guard Michael Escobedo, right, crosses over against Santa Maria during Thursday night’s Optimist Tournament at Dr. Arthur James Gym in Arroyo Grande. Arroyo Grande went on to an 85-48 victory.

  • By Dan Watson / Assistant Sports Editor / dwatson@santamariatimes.com

Arroyo Grande boys basketball players Derick Beasley and Michael Escobedo couldn’t help but get a little flashy Thursday night.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Hancock College’s Brittany Garcia goes up for a shot against Las Positas’ Crystal Florida during Thursday night’s Bulldog Classic at Hancock’s Joe White Gymnasium in Santa Maria. Garcia nailed two key free throws to seal the Bulldogs’ 66-61 victory.

  • By Kenny Cress / Sports Writer / kcress@santamariatimes.com

Brittany Garcia came through down the stretch Thursday night, so Hancock College’s women’s basketball team won its first game in its own tournament.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Righetti High School’s Kaylie Monte (3) shoots over Lompoc High’s Kelly Fletcher (17) during Thursday afternoon’s non-league girls water polo match at Righetti. Monte scored three goals in Righetti’s 13-2 victory.

  • By Brad Memberto / Sports Writer / bmemberto@santamariatimes.com

With two new head coaches, the Lompoc and Righetti girls water polo teams are still trying to get accustomed to changes in the learning curve.

  • Photo by Phil Klein

Nipomo High School’s Missi Ramsey brings the ball upcourt against Cabrillo High during the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at San Luis Obispo High School on Thursday. Nipomo won the game 51-35.

  • By Kevin Klein / Sports Writer / kklein@santamariatimes.com

In the closing minutes of the Cabrillo/Nipomo girls basketball game, Cabrillo head coach Mark Tasch was yelling, “Anybody but her! Anybody but her!” from his side of the gymnasium.

  • Staff report

The annual Nativity Pageant scheduled for tonight at Solvang's outdoor Festival Theater has been canceled because of rain, and this evening's Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band concert has been moved from tonight to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Solvang Park.

If you have an item to list in this calendar, fax to Linda Olvera, 928-5657; e-mail lolvera@santa mariatimes.com or mail to Linda Olvera, PO Box 400, Santa Maria, CA 93456. Include time, date, address of event and contact phone number. Items must be received at least two weeks in advance of …

  • Laurie Jervis/Wine Country

Another national wine magazine has announced its top wines of the year, and Cambria Winery was given top honors for its 2006 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.

It is bothersome that young people would read letters like that sent by the recent writer who in his first paragraph suggested we should stop spending and raise taxes, and be convinced when they vote that he was right.

  • Dan Walters/California Politics

Until legislative term limits changed the game, the speakership of the state Assembly was generally regarded as California’s second most powerful political office.

Weekends are for kicking back and relaxing, but for millions of Americans — including many of our neighbors here on the Central Coast — this is a good day to scour the Times’ classified pages and the Internet, searching for a job.

Ian Gonzaga/Staff Maurita Jaurequi, 62, of Salvation Army asks for donations outside of Spencers Market on Saturday in Santa Maria. 11/28/09

Bryan Walton/Staff Pioneer Valley student Demi Urias is one of a few local kids honored as awesome kids for making a difference. 12/8/09

Ian Gonzaga/Staff The ashes of Santa Barbara County Fire Heavy Equipment Operator, Dean Moore, are brought down from a tractor during the procession at his funeral on Thursday in Solvang. 12/10/09

Amy and Ali are two Dachshund mix females about 5 months old who weigh about 10 lbs each. They are adorable and very affectionate pups who are asking Santa for a new loving home for the holidays. How could you not love these two little girls? Amy and Ali are both spayed and fully vaccinat…

  • Contributed

Amy and Ali are two Dachshund mix females about 5 months old who weigh about 10 lbs. each. They are adorable and very affectionate pups who are asking Santa for a new loving home for the holidays. Amy and Ali are both spayed and fully vaccinated.  All of the animals available for adoption at…

  • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com

With the number of deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus in Santa Barbara County climbing to six this week, the Public Health Department has scheduled two vaccination clinics open to all residents.

  • By Raiza Canelon/Staff Writer rcanelon@santamariatimes.com

The gray rain clouds mirrored the somber emotions Thursday as the final alarm was rung for Dean Moore, a heavy-equipment operator with Santa Barbara County Fire Department, who died Nov. 29 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.

  • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com

Demi Urias speaks softly, but carries a big message to her peers when it comes to the dangers of drinking and driving.

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@santamariatimes.com

Two men whose brush-clearing efforts along a local trail allegedly sparked the devastating Jesusita Fire in May have been charged with misdemeanor violations of county codes, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

  • By Sam Womack/Staff Writer swomack@santamariatimes.com

They’re not jingle bells or silver bells, but the ding-a-ling chime from Salvation Army bell ringers heralds the coming of Christmas just as effectively.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Arroyo Grande High School point guard Michael Escobedo, right, crosses over against Santa Maria during Thursday night’s Optimist Tournament at Dr. Arthur James Gym in Arroyo Grande. Arroyo Grande went on to an 85-48 victory.

  • By Dan Watson / Assistant Sports Editor / dwatson@santamariatimes.com

Arroyo Grande boys basketball players Derick Beasley and Michael Escobedo couldn’t help but get a little flashy Thursday night.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Hancock College’s Brittany Garcia goes up for a shot against Las Positas’ Crystal Florida during Thursday night’s Bulldog Classic at Hancock’s Joe White Gymnasium in Santa Maria. Garcia nailed two key free throws to seal the Bulldogs’ 66-61 victory.

  • By Kenny Cress / Sports Writer / kcress@santamariatimes.com

Brittany Garcia came through down the stretch Thursday night, so Hancock College’s women’s basketball team won its first game in its own tournament.

  • Bryan Walton/Staff

Righetti High School’s Kaylie Monte (3) shoots over Lompoc High’s Kelly Fletcher (17) during Thursday afternoon’s non-league girls water polo match at Righetti. Monte scored three goals in Righetti’s 13-2 victory.

  • By Brad Memberto / Sports Writer / bmemberto@santamariatimes.com

With two new head coaches, the Lompoc and Righetti girls water polo teams are still trying to get accustomed to changes in the learning curve.

  • Photo by Phil Klein

Nipomo High School’s Missi Ramsey brings the ball upcourt against Cabrillo High during the Moriarty Enterprises Holiday Classic at San Luis Obispo High School on Thursday. Nipomo won the game 51-35.

  • By Kevin Klein / Sports Writer / kklein@santamariatimes.com

In the closing minutes of the Cabrillo/Nipomo girls basketball game, Cabrillo head coach Mark Tasch was yelling, “Anybody but her! Anybody but her!” from his side of the gymnasium.

  • Staff report

The annual Nativity Pageant scheduled for tonight at Solvang's outdoor Festival Theater has been canceled because of rain, and this evening's Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band concert has been moved from tonight to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Solvang Park.

If you have an item to list in this calendar, fax to Linda Olvera, 928-5657; e-mail lolvera@santa mariatimes.com or mail to Linda Olvera, PO Box 400, Santa Maria, CA 93456. Include time, date, address of event and contact phone number. Items must be received at least two weeks in advance of …

  • Laurie Jervis/Wine Country

Another national wine magazine has announced its top wines of the year, and Cambria Winery was given top honors for its 2006 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.

It is bothersome that young people would read letters like that sent by the recent writer who in his first paragraph suggested we should stop spending and raise taxes, and be convinced when they vote that he was right.

  • Dan Walters/California Politics

Until legislative term limits changed the game, the speakership of the state Assembly was generally regarded as California’s second most powerful political office.

Weekends are for kicking back and relaxing, but for millions of Americans — including many of our neighbors here on the Central Coast — this is a good day to scour the Times’ classified pages and the Internet, searching for a job.

Ian Gonzaga/Staff Maurita Jaurequi, 62, of Salvation Army asks for donations outside of Spencers Market on Saturday in Santa Maria. 11/28/09

Bryan Walton/Staff Pioneer Valley student Demi Urias is one of a few local kids honored as awesome kids for making a difference. 12/8/09

Ian Gonzaga/Staff The ashes of Santa Barbara County Fire Heavy Equipment Operator, Dean Moore, are brought down from a tractor during the procession at his funeral on Thursday in Solvang. 12/10/09

Amy and Ali are two Dachshund mix females about 5 months old who weigh about 10 lbs each. They are adorable and very affectionate pups who are asking Santa for a new loving home for the holidays. How could you not love these two little girls? Amy and Ali are both spayed and fully vaccinat…

  • Contributed

Amy and Ali are two Dachshund mix females about 5 months old who weigh about 10 lbs. each. They are adorable and very affectionate pups who are asking Santa for a new loving home for the holidays. Amy and Ali are both spayed and fully vaccinated.  All of the animals available for adoption at…

  • By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@santamariatimes.com

A judge on Friday ordered a man to stand trial on charges he committed murder while robbing a Santa Maria residence in July.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian speaks about the Jesusita Fire charges at a press conference Friday morning in Santa Barbara. At right is Acting District Attorney Joshua Lynn. //Lara Cooper/Contributor

  • By Julian J. Ramos/Staff Writer jramos@santamariatimes.com

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced Friday that it has inked an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to study the feasibility of a wave-energy project off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Ian Gonzaga/Staff John and Vicki Mitchell donate some toys during the Toys for Tots cruise night at JR's Burgers in Santa Maria. 12/11/09