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Dia de Los Muertos Festival is Sunday -- The lives of passed loved ones will be celebrated during the Dia de Los Muertos Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Center, 313 W. Tunnell St.

The free family-friendly event will feature entertainment, activities for youth, food and crafts vendors.

Each year, participants create colorful altars (ofrendas) to honor a passed loved one, family member, friend or celebrity in the Dia de Los Muertos tradition. The offerings are the centerpieces of the festival and participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible. 

There will also be a Catrines and Catrinas Contest. Dress up in the spirit of Day of the Dead. Awards will be given to the best catrin/catrina ensemble. Registration will take place on-site.

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

Discover your ancestry, DNA -- The Santa Maria Valley and San Luis Obispo County Genealogical societies with the Santa Maria Public Library will present three nationally recognized speakers at the Central Coast Genealogy Seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at the library.

Three experts in family history and DNA research will present a variety of sessions in Shepard Hall, Altrusa Theater and Nelson Room.

Angie Bush works as a genetic genealogy researcher with Ancestry ProGenealogist in Salt Lake City and will present four sessions on DNA: "The Professional Toolbox," "Testing," "Understanding Ethnicity and "Adoption and Unknown Parentage."

Dr. Michael Lacopo, author of numerous books and journal articles as well as the popular genealogy blog, Hoosier Daddy? will offer sessions on “Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving,” “Using Social History in Research,” “Deconstructing your Family Tree” and “More than the Census.”

Nancy Loe is a professional genealogist and local researcher whose website offers research articles, a newsletter and more. She will present three sessions that help new researchers get started, including “Your Family Tree Smart Start,” “Discovering Immigrant Ancestors” and “Top Ten Skills Every Genealogist Needs.”

Preregistration is required by Tuesday.

The cost is $40 for those who are members of either society or $55 for nonmembers. Registration forms are available at the library or online at

For more information, call the library's Reference Desk at 925-0994, ext. 1511.

Applications available for Parade of Lights entries -- Applications for participants in Santa Maria's annual Parade of Lights are being accepted through Nov. 10.

The parade, with the theme "The Joy of Giving," will begin at 5:20 p.m. Dec. 2 and will only be canceled in the event of heavy rain.

The parade is organized by the Rotary Clubs of Santa Maria and Nipomo. Applicants will be notified of their place in the parade by Nov. 17. The parade is limited to 103 entries in order to keep it down to two hours in length. Each year, there are a number of entries on the waiting list.

The criteria used for selecting participants includes timeliness of the application, completeness of the application (include a well-thought-out script for the announcers to read along the parade route in the application) and, for returning participants, the quality of prior year's entries, including use of lights, enthusiasm and creativity.

Rotary has increased the size of the cash prize awards to the best entries to $4,500 with a $350 and $150 first- and second-place award in each of seven categories, along with a $1,000 overall sweepstakes award.

Viewers and participants are asked to bring canned goods to the parade for collection at the event to benefit the Salvation Army.

There is no charge to participate in the parade. Apply at

New city Twitter page -- The city of Santa Maria has created a new City Twitter page at

Content focuses on the wide variety of city services, programs,and opportunities. The Twitter page supplements city news releases, which are posted on the city’s website at

For more information, call 925-0951, ext. 2372.

New adult coloring program -- The Los Alamos Branch Library is offering a new adult coloring program on the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The coloring activities are designed to relieve stress and provide a creative and artistic outlet for adults of all ages. Participants  are offered a choice of designs to color and all materials are provided for use during the program. A similar coloring program at the Santa Maria Public Library has been a success since its introduction 17 months ago.

Sign-ups are not required for this free program. Seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Los Alamos Library.

Call the library, at 405 Helena St., to confirm dates and times.

Library hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.

For more information, call 344-1025 or 925-0994, ext. 8562. 

Historical calendars on sale: The Santa Maria Valley Historical Society has published a 2018 calendar. In addition to marking various national holidays, it marks various historic events that took place locally. The 13 pictures include many sites that have long since disappeared, like the American Bakery. The cover shows Antonio Ascarate working on the northeast corner of Broadway and Main Street. The calendars are on sale at the museum for $12 each or $20 for two. Information: Call Cindy at 922-3130.

Holiday cards to go on sale: Twenty-three member artists contributed 37 original holiday-themed images to raise funds for the nonprofit Valley Art Gallery. The cards feature Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's-related artwork. The gallery recently relocated to 125 W. Clark Ave. in Orcutt.

Guadalupe library offering coloring program for adults -- A new coloring program for adults, sponsored by the Friends of the Guadalupe Library, continues at the Guadalupe Branch Library from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month.

The free coloring activities are designed to relieve stress and provide a creative and artistic outlet for adults of all ages. Participants are offered a choice of pictures to color, and all materials are provided.

Sign-ups are not required, but seating is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Attendees are encouraged to call the library to confirm the dates and times.

The library, located at 4719 W. Main St., Suite D, in Guadalupe, is open 12:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.

For more information, call 343-1405 or 925-0994, ext. 8562.

City offering fall hike for teens -- The next hike for teens in grades seven through 12 will be offered Oct. 28 by the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department.

Youths who participate in the city’s Fall Teen Trails Hiking Club 2017 will earn incentives for each free Saturday hike.

The hike will be the Point Buchon Trail in Los Osos, an easy to moderate level trail with minimal elevation change and excellent views.

Transportation to the trail will be provided to and from the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center at no charge. Departure is 9 a.m.

A waiver must be signed prior to each hike. Participants can register online at or at the Youth Center, 600 S. McClelland St., or the Recreation and Parks Department, 615 S. McClelland St.

For more information, call 925-0951, ext. 2260.

After-school homework help offered -- The Santa Maria Public Library, 421 S. McClelland St., is offering free after-school homework help for grades K-6 from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No appointment is necessary.

Elementary school students will be assisted by volunteer tutors in completing homework assignments or practicing skills for improved mastery, according to the library. Participating students will also have access to Chromebooks, computers, study aids, databases and will be introduced to online tutoring options students can use at the library and at home.

Homework help is also available at Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Orcutt library branch locations. For more information, call 925-0994.

This program is provided with funding assistance through the Santa Maria Public Library Foundation.

For branch locations, visit

For more information, call Dawn Jackson, Library Youth Services, at 925-0994, ext. 2319.

Library receives photograph display -- The Cuyama Valley's history is now represented in a series of historical photographs displayed in the Cuyama Branch Library.

Thanks to the research and efforts of two longtime residents, Jane Slama and John Mackenzie, eight photographs from local family archives have been located, reproduced, enlarged and donated for permanent display. The photograph series dates from the 1920s to the present and reflects eras in Cuyama’s history, including homesteading, ranching, farming, oil discovery and community activities.

The donors hope that the collection will inspire other local residents to search their family archives and donate historical photographs to enhance the display.

The photograph series adds to the Cuyama library’s local history collection of books, newspaper and magazine articles, and the Cuyama Valley living history DVD series that Slama and Mackenzie recorded and donated in 2015. In the DVD series, 24 longtime Cuyama inhabitants talk about their history and past experiences in the valley, its changes and its diverse community. The DVDs are available to library users outside of Cuyama Valley via interlibrary loan request from any library branch.

To view the historical photographs, visit the Cuyama library Mondays from 2 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. or Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. The Cuyama Branch Library is located at 4689 Highway 166. 

Library announces NASA resource partnership -- The Santa Maria Public Library has partnered with the Library Initiative for Teachers and Students Program, which provides a variety of NASA materials and resources to the library.

The partnership with the library will provide materials such as a collection of NASA Aeronautics books that are now available for checkout, NASA Aeronautics Education Curriculum guides and materials, unique learning experiences and access to NASA e-books. A library card is required for checkout.

The adult collection of NASA materials can be found on the second floor of the downtown library next to the Information Desk, and a special collection of educator guides for teachers and parents can be found in the Youth Services room on the first floor.

The goals of the partnership between the library and NASA are to promote innovation, critical thinking, foster community interest, explore problem solving skills and generate excitement in science and technology.

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

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

New online service at library branches -- The Santa Maria Public Library, and all the branch locations at Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Orcutt, offers Hoopla, a free service available to library cardholders through the Black Gold Cooperative System.

Online streaming movies, television shows, music, comics, eBooks and eAudiobooks are available to library patrons 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through Hoopla. Patrons can check out up to 10 items per month, and there are no late fees.

Patrons will need to download the free app onto a smartphone or device, and a current library card is required. For information about how to set up a free account, visit and click on the Hoopla icon or, download the Hoopla app from the Apple Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire HDX. For any questions regarding the new service, contact the Santa Maria Public Library at 925-0994, ext. 8562.

City offering free mattress recycling for residents -- The city of Santa Maria has implemented a residential mattress recycling program at the Santa Maria Regional Landfill. Residents may now bring up to five mattresses or box springs to the landfill for free.

This program is designed to recycle -- instead of bury -- the more than 400 mattresses, on average, brought in to the landfill each month. Over 80 percent of each mattress is recyclable and can be transformed into other useful products.

The landfill is located at 2065 E. Main St. and open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The following items are not eligible under this program and will continue to incur disposal fees: waterbeds, sleeping bags, pillows or cushions, loose bedding, blankets or sheets, futons or sofa beds, air mattresses, loose mattress pads or toppers, playpens or infant carriers.

Businesses are not eligible for free mattress recycling under this residential program. Businesses should call 481-9213 for business mattress disposal information.

For more information on the residential program, call the Utilities Department, 925-0951, ext. 7270. 

Outdoor pickleball for all ages -- The City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department is offering open play pickleball for all ages and skill levels on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Minami Community Center courts, 600 W. Enos Drive in Santa Maria. Pickleball is a low-impact sport that resembles tennis but is played on a smaller court using a paddle and wiffle ball. Loaner equipment is available for newcomers. For more information, call Elise at 818-512-2774.

SMAT offers online trip planner -- Santa Maria Area Transit is partnering with Google Transit to make using public transit in Santa Maria more convenient.

Riders now can plan their trips using a smartphone, tablet or desktop using Google Maps Transit, a popular web-based application that uses data provided by SMAT. The trip planner is posted at

The online trip planner allows riders to customize their routes, view interactive maps and get walking directions to the nearest bus stop and to their destination once they leave the bus. When riders enter their starting location and ending destination, Google Transit provides step-by-step directions and information, including the closest bus stop and departure times, route names and numbers, transfer locations, trip fare and how long the trip will take.

Riders can plan trips on SMAT, the Breeze Bus, the Guadalupe Flyer and the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority Route 10.

For more information, call 925-0951, ext. 2480.

Evening Zumba class -- The City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department is offering adult Zumba classes at the Elwin Mussell Center, 510 E. Park Ave. 

Ongoing monthly classes for participants 40 years of age and up start at the beginning of the month and are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Participants are asked to register for the four-week session as soon as possible. The fee is $25 for residents and $31.50 for nonresidents. Registrations are accepted at the Recreation and Parks Department, 615 S. McClelland St.

From more information, call 925-0951, ext. 2260, or visit 

BigBelly solar compacting unit installed -- The city of Santa Maria has installed one of the first BigBelly Solar Trash and Recycling compactor units at the Santa Maria Transit Center, 400 E. Boone St. 

BigBelly compactors have five times the capacity of regular trash cans, are more sanitary, require fewer pickups, and are equipped with wireless technology to automatically notify city staff when the bin is full and needs to be emptied.

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These units use solar panels to power a motor that automatically compacts contents, which requires fewer bags and results in lower fuel emissions from less pickups.

The BigBelly Solar Compactor is another step in expanding recycling in public spaces, and was purchased with a Beverage Container Recycling Program grant through CalRecycle.

Fore more information, call the Utilities Department at 925-0951, ext. 7270.

Extended Fitness Center hours for teens -- The Fitness Center at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, which is open for all teens in the seventh through 12th grades, has extended hours from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Trainer Robert "Bobby" Harper is the new Fitness Center technician. He is certified through the National Association of Sports Medicine and as a health and wellness coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

For more Fitness Center information, call to Adam White at the Youth Center at 925-0951, ext. 519.

Book Club in a Bag expands -- Readers are invited to come to the Santa Maria Public Library, or any branch library location in Orcutt, Cuyama, Guadalupe or Los Alamos, to check out new titles. The Santa Maria Public Library has provided Book Club in a Bag kits for local patrons to use for book club groups since September 2013. The library is expanding and revitalizing the collection of titles to be offered.

Four new titles have been purchased, and will soon be added to the collection. They are: "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, "The Martian" by Andy Weir, "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara and "The King" by Kader Abdolah. Funds for these and other titles in the collection are provided by the Friends of the Santa Maria Public Library and the Friends of the Orcutt Library.

The Santa Maria Public Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

For more information, call the Santa Maria Public Library Reference Desk at 925-0994, ext. 8562.

Enhanced transit telephone services -- More live and recorded information about Santa Maria public transit is now available to the public by telephone. This applies to Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT) bus service in the city, and the regional Breeze service.

Transit phone numbers remain 928-5624 and 1-800-417-2137. Callers are able to obtain general information and hours of operation, reach a dispatcher, and get information about ADA bus service, the Breeze bus, SMAT administration, and SMAT employment opportunities. Spanish information will be available at a later date.

The Santa Maria Transit Center is located at 400 E. Boone St. SMAT offices are located at 1303 Fairway Drive. Public transit information is online at

Minerva Club images online -- A selection of Minerva Club digitized photographs are now available through the Santa Maria Public Library’s website at

Photographs include images of Santa Maria's first librarians, Minnie Stearns and Dorothea Nelson, as well as many more well-known women in the community, including Minerva Thornburg, the club’s namesake. Directly link to the images at

The Minerva Club is one of the oldest continuously operating women's clubs in California, founded in 1894 by 25 pioneer women. In 1906, it incorporated as the Minerva Library Club, and with funding from the Carnegie Foundation, built and opened Santa Maria’s first public library in 1909.

The club images have been added to the Black Gold Cooperative Library System “Luna” database of local history resources, thanks to a partnership with the library.

For more information, call the Reference Services Desk at 925-0994, ext. 827.

Participate in F.R.E.E. after-school program -- The Fun Recreation Education and Enrichment (F.R.E.E.) After School Program operated by the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department offers a quality after-school program at no charge, and provides parents a safe place to leave their children after school. The program includes homework assistance, a variety of arts and crafts, science and cooking activities, along with indoor and outdoor organized games.

On school days, the program is open from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and an additional hour (1:30 to 5:30 p.m.) on Thursdays. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. for all early dismissal days. The F.R.E.E. program is located at 1619 S. Thornburg St. in Santa Maria. The program is available for school-age children ages 5 to 12. Each family can design a flexible schedule to fit their needs.

On-site registration is required and available on any school day between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.  There is no charge to attend, but registration paperwork must be completed before your child starts the program.

For more information, contact Barbara Wiley, Youth Programs administrator, at the Recreation and Parks Department at 925-0951, ext. 264.

Water Usage Calculator available on city website -- In response to the current drought, the City of Santa Maria Utilities Department has issued a new Water Usage Calculator on its website. 

Residents can use the calculator to estimate their daily water use in gallons per person. It is easy to use, and the only information needed is the number of people in the household, units of water used (from utility bill), and the number of days in the billing cycle. 

In addition, the website contains information on water saving features, including water conservation tips and an online pledge to save water. The city also has a special telephone hotline at 925-0951, ext. 802, to voice water concerns, report water misuse or leaks, request water conservation information, or arrange for a free home water visit. 

Visit the city's website at Questions may be directed to the Utilities Department, 925-0951, ext. 7270.

Help beautify Santa Maria -- The city of Santa Maria is forming  a Code Compliance Volunteer Patrol. Through this program, residents will work together with the city to preserve and improve residential neighborhoods and make Santa Maria a better place to live and work. Santa Maria residents who want to pitch in to help keep neighborhoods clean and presentable are encouraged to apply.

Code Compliance Volunteer Patrol members will assume tasks similar to those performed by Code Compliance officers. The volunteers will help uphold community standards by expressing enthusiasm for improving and motivating the community through educational events and projects.

Members of the Volunteer Patrol will be trained prior to assuming duties. Generally, they will be assigned field work with a partner. Necessary supplies will be provided by the city. Selected volunteers will donate several hours per month. Work schedules are flexible but will generally consist of four to eight hours per week. Volunteers must have a high school diploma or equivalency, an ability to read and write and a valid California driver’s license.

The City’s Code Compliance program operates through the City Attorney’s Office. Through its successful “Walk and Talk” program, the Code Compliance Division staff directly meets with and educates thousands of households about quality of life issues as they relate to Municipal Codes violations. This program received the Best Innovative Program Award for 2014 presented by the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers.

Volunteer applications are available on the city’s website at

For more information, call the City Attorney’s Office at 925-0951, ext. 420.

Resident rates extended to active military -- Active military members and their families are eligible to use city parks, facilities and recreational programs at the same rate available to Santa Maria residents. Since June 2013, the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department has extended its resident rates to include active military and their families. Complimentary admission to the Paul Nelson Aquatics Center, Los Flores Ranch Park and the fitness center at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center is also included.

Recognizing the stress and sacrifice those military members and their families encounter, the Recreation and Parks Department strives to provide opportunities for physical, social, and psychological enrichment through diverse programs and activities. These services can provide stability during a family member’s deployment or help to acquaint a newly relocated service member with the community.

For more information, call the Recreation and Parks Department at 925-0951, ext. 260.

Orcutt Certified Farmers Market — Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors are welcome to the Oak Knolls Shopping Center at the corner of Clark Avenue and Bradley Road to buy fresh local produce, plants and flowers. For more information, call 305-9829.

Santa Maria Farmers Market — Visitors can choose from the all organic berries and vegetables at the Rancho La Familia stand. Baked goods, including gluten free as well as range free eggs, homemade jams and jellies, heirloom tomatoes, organic apples, raw honey and gourmet mushrooms are also available. Visitors are welcome Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to the Town Center Farmers Market located just outside Macy’s. For more information, contact Amber Lease at 922-7931.

Chordsmen seeks talent — The Central Coast Chordsmen singing troupe is currently accepting new volunteers. They rehearse Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior at Bradley and Patterson roads in Santa Maria. For more information, contact Robert Maurer at 925-9263 or

Santa Maria Valley Historical Railway Museum — Twice per month, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, come out to the Santa Maria Transit Center, located at the corner of South Miller and East Boone streets. Three train pieces from the Santa Maria Valley Railroad are on permanent display. Visitors can see the engine up close and board the box car and caboose to take a look around and see other exhibits inside. Special tours are available by arrangement. For more information, call 714-4927.

Santa Maria Valley YMCA — Many programs and activities for families, singles and seniors. You can join online and pick up your membership card at the front desk at 3400 Skyway Drive when you visit for the first time. For more information, call 937-8521.

Core Correct Class at Treetop Yoga — Every Monday from 5:45 to 6:45 a.m, teacher Nikki Pool will lead you through a practice that is current with the health and fitness industry standards as she has a passion for continuing education. She offers cues and suggestions to improve personal form, therefore improving the overall effectiveness of the workout. Pool will coach attendees to be the best they can be. Treetop Yoga is located at 2771 Santa Maria Way in Santa Maria. For more information, call 266-6391 or visit

Los Flores Ranch Park Walk — The City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department invites nature enthusiasts of all ages to a free community walk at Los Flores Ranch Park at 6271 Dominion Road. Participants will be led by knowledgeable docents while walking along the park’s most popular scenic trails. Join this morning of exercise and nature while viewing one of Santa Maria’s most unique parks. Light refreshments will be provided. No preregistration is required. For more information, call 925-0951, ext. 260.

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