Country singer Clay Walker to perform at fair -- During the second day of the 2019 Santa Barbara County Fair, country singer Clay Walker is set to take to the stage on July 11 and play fan favorites like “What’s It to You,” “Live Until I Die” and “If I Could Make Living.”

The Houston resident, who first topped the Billboard country singles chart in 1993 with “What’s It to You,” will perform older singles and as well as songs from his newest album, “Long Live the Cowboy,” which was released Jan. 21.

Walker will perform at the fair — which runs July 10 to 14 at the Santa Maria Fairpark — as part of the Bud Light Concert Series on the KCOY Main Stage. The concert is free with paid admission.

During his decadeslong career, Walker has placed 31 songs on the Billboard’s singles chart.

“Clay Walker is a country music classic,” said Santa Barbara County Fair CEO Richard Persons. “With his energy and those songs-you-know-by-heart, we can’t wait to see the outstanding show he delivers for fair attendees.”

Aside from his lifetime in the music industry, Walker has been involved in philanthropy. He founded Band Against MS, raising more than $2 million to fight multiple sclerosis, and he co-founded Military Warriors Support Foundation, which awards mortgage-free homes to wounded heroes injured during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more information, visit www.santamariafairpark.com.

Cemetery cleanup planned for February -- The Santa Maria Cemetery District will conduct its next cleanup of cemetery grounds from Monday, Feb. 4, through Friday, Feb. 8.

The public is encouraged to remove any flowers that they would like to save on or before Sunday, cemetery manager Becky Badenell said.

During the cleanup, cemetery personnel will be removing all items from graves, including all fresh and artificial flowers, flags, balloons and stakes.

According to cemetery district rules, all flowers must be in the vases of headstones at all times, and any item in violation of the rules will be removed. Badenell said that any objects protruding into the mowing area will be removed, and that no plantings, balloons, stakes, glass, fences or barricades are allowed on the gravesite or in the surrounding trees.

The cemetery, which was established in 1917, is located at 1501 S. College Drive.

Girls' Night Out program to offer DYI Night -- As part of the Girls’ Night Out program, the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department is offering DIY Night on Friday, Feb. 8.

The event, which will be held at Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, will teach teen girls crafting techniques to make their own personalized marble mugs and Valentine’s mason jars.

The cost to participate is $5 per teen.

Those interested can register online at www.cityofsantamaria.org/register or at the Recreation and Parks Department’s office, 615 S. McClelland St.

For more information, call 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.

Rona Barrett set as keynote speaker at fundraiser -- Local celebrity Rona Barrett will be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Santa Maria Public Library Foundation fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Slated to take place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the downtown library, the event will also feature the Tri City Sound Chorus will also perform.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization which benefits all of the libraries in the Santa Maria Public Library system including Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Orcutt and Santa Maria.

In 2018, the foundation worked closely with library staff and local community grantors to fund more than $10,000 in programs and services, including the completion of the local history photo displays, seed libraries and gardening books, STEAM learning kits for children at each library location, two library public service announcements for local television stations, the library’s Volunteer Recognition lunch and prizes for winners of the annual Cowboy Poetry event.

Barrett is the founder and president of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the organization behind the Golden Inn & Village -- Santa Ynez Valley’s first independent living and affordable senior housing project.

A pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer with a career spanning more than 30 years, she was called “the lady who turned entertainment coverage into big biz” by Variety magazine.

The lunchtime event is $50 per person and includes a choice of chicken or beef with rice pilaf or a vegetable pasta, catered by Moxie Cafe. All lunches come with salad and dessert. A no-host wine and beer bar will be provided by Moxie and a special silent auction will feature gifts donated by local businesses and individuals including a two-night stay at Chateau Edelweiss in Arroyo Grande.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Santa Maria Public Library and all branch library circulation desks.

For more information, call City Librarian Mary Housel at 805-925-0994, ext. 2322.

Free tax preparation to be offered -- Free income tax preparation and filing will be offered beginning Saturday, Feb. 2, through March 30 at Hancock College in Santa Maria by volunteers with the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County.

Volunteer tax assistants will provide free help to individuals and families who had a combined gross income of $54,000 or less in 2018, said Sandy Soria Sosa, special projects outreach coordinator for the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way.

Taxpayers can save an average of $200 or more in tax preparation fees by taking advantage of the free service, Sosa said.

To take advantage of the free help provided by volunteers in Building S on the campus at 800 S. College Drive, taxpayers will need to make a reservation by calling 805-922-0329, ext. 103.

Documents that will be needed include Social Security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers for each family member and working adult and W-2, 1099, 1098 and other income reporting forms.

Taxpayers who received a tax credit from the healthcare.gov marketplace will need to bring their Form 1095-A. Those who paid for child care in 2018 also will need their provider’s name, address and tax ID number.

Other information needed includes a bank routing and account number for secure direct deposit of any refunds, last year’s tax return if available and a valid email address.

Individuals and families who had a combined gross income of $66,000 or less in 2018 can file their own taxes for free at www.myfreetaxes.org, Sosa said.

Northern Santa Barbara County United Way is partnering with the United Way of San Luis Obispo County to offer the free tax preparation help at Oceano Elementary School, 1551 17th St., in Oceano, and at the Arroyo Grande Branch Library, 800 W. Branch St., in Arroyo Grande.

For more information, visit www.liveunitedsbc.org.

Dual Language program meetings planned -- The Santa Maria-Bonita School District will hold four informational meetings for parents interested in enrolling their kindergartner in the district's Dual Language Immersion Program at Jiménez Elementary School.

Established during the 2015-16 school year, the program offers students an opportunity to learn to read, write, speak, listen and think in both English and Spanish. Students will continue to receive dual-language instruction as they progress to the next grade level each year.

Now in its fourth year, parents who attend the meeting will receive detailed information about the program and have the opportunity to meet and speak with teachers, administrators, students and families who are currently participating in the program.

Meetings are being held on Wednesdays -- Feb. 13, Feb. 27 and March 13 -- at 6 p.m. Each is conducted in English and Spanish and will be held at the school district office, located at 708 S. Miller St. in Santa Maria.

Due to limited space, 2019 enrollment is limited to incoming kindergarten students who reside within the boundaries of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Parent attendance at one of the four meetings is required as applications are only available at the meetings.

A lottery will be used to determine which students are selected for spots in the program.

'Leading with Love' focus of March women's conference -- A Santa Maria-based women's collective is inviting women from across the Central Coast to participate in a daylong conference designed to "embrace women by sharing stories, building trust and redefining expectations."

Touchstone, a collective co-founded by community members Diane Adam and Emily Smith, will host its inaugural "Leading With Love" conference on March 9 at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria. Admission is $100 per attendee and includes participation in all activities and sessions, coffee breaks, lunch and an after-party featuring food and wine by women winemakers.

"I am so excited to spend the day with 300 women who are eager to learn and grow together," Smith said. "It is my greatest wish that all who participate in the conference would be encouraged to lead with love."

Billed as a "transformative, daylong conference," conference organizers say attendees can expect to feel "enlightened, empowered and energized" after hearing from motivational speakers, engaging in thought-provoking conversation, witnessing moments of inspiration and enjoying cuisine, art and music.

The event is designed for women of all ages and stages. Though organizations are encouraged to use the conference as a professional development opportunity, organizers say it is not intended to be corporate or political.

"Leading with Love" conference tickets, information and sponsorship opportunities can be found online at www.touchstonecc.com. The organization can be reached at 805-619-9010 or by email at touchstonecentralcoast@gmail.com.

Arts Council calls for grant applicants -- 

Applications are now being accepted for 2019 Santa Maria Arts Council grants in the arts competition.

The competition is open to amateur artists 12 years and older and who have studied arts in northern Santa Barbara County for a minimum of two years.

A total of $13,000 will be awarded in categories of dance, drama, music and visual arts: first place, $1,500; second, $1,000; plus $1,000 Ian M. Hassett Memorial Art Grant; $1,000 Valley Art Gallery Scholarship; and $1,000 Nat D. Fast Memorial Performance Grant.

Application deadline is March 15. Applications are available online at www.smartscouncil.org. Auditions and judging are April 6. The winners will be showcased in an event in the Marian Theatre on May 6.

Each year, grants are presented in the name of an individual who has made a significant impact on the arts in northern Santa Barbara County. This year the Arts Council honoree is Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Director Alex Posada, who has been a constant supporter and promoter of the arts.

City Twitter page available -- The city of Santa Maria has created a City Twitter page at www.twitter.com/City_SantaMaria. 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 https://www.cityofsantamaria.org/news. Info: 805-925-0951, ext. 2372.

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 805-925-0994.

This program is provided with funding assistance through the Santa Maria Public Library Foundation. For branch locations, visit www.cityofsantamaria.org/library. Info: Dawn Jackson, Library Youth Services, at 805-925-0994, ext. 2319.

Makerspace expands to twice weekly at downtown library -- The Santa Maria Public Library’s popular all-ages makerspace program is now twice a week. Now on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., there will be free instruction on use of machines and technology in the program, as well as a separate project to complete independently.

The library will continue to host free maker activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Mentoring will be provided, but makers are encouraged to work both independently and with other makers to explore new avenues of creativity. Join library staff, volunteers and Hancock College student interns in the Edwin and Jeanne Woods Learning Center for a variety of projects each week, ranging from technology to crafting.

View upcoming dates and projects at www.cityofsantamaria.org/library. Funding for makerspace program is provided through a grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office in partnership with Hancock. The library is located at 421 S. McClelland St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and closed Sundays. Info: 805-925-0994.

Exercise classes for adults ages 50 and up -- To promote health and wellness among community members, Santa Maria’s Recreation and Parks Department is offering exercise classes for active aging adults 50 and older. Held weekly at the Elwin Mussell Center, the classes are:

  • Build Your Own Body (BYOB) -- The class helps participants maintain cardiovascular health, strength and flexibility. It uses music and handheld weights that are designed to increase muscular strength and range of movement. Sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon.
  • Yoga -- This introductory course is intended for beginning and intermediate yoga students. The class, which will cover basic poses and breathing techniques, will be Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m.
  • Zumba Gold -- The class incorporates a calorie-burning workout for all experience levels. It will be held Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Zumba Gold Chairobics -- The chair exercise class is a combination of low-impact routines designed to increase bone and muscle strength, and flexibility for everyday life and has both sitting and standing exercises. The class is recommended for those with medical or physical limitations with their everyday activities. It will be held Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m.

Participants can register online at www.cityofsantamaria.org/register or at the Recreation and Parks Department administrative office, 615 S. McClelland St. For more information, call 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.

Walk-in Live Scan services offered on Wednesdays -- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is accepting “walk-ins” for Live Scan fingerprinting at both the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara stations.

No appointment will be needed for service on a first-come, first-served basis between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every Wednesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Appointments can still be made for service between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday by calling 805-934-6175 for the Santa Maria Station and 805-681-4357 for the Santa Barbara Station.

The Live Scan fingerprint stations assist the public with pre-employment fingerprinting and can transmit fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Those getting Live Scan fingerprints must bring a Live Scan request form completed by the agency or person requesting the fingerprinting, photo identification, such as a state ID card or driver’s license or a passport and cash for the fee.

Checks and credit cards are not accepted, and the fingerprints can’t be processed without the documents.

With a billing number, the cost is $7. Without a billing number, the cost is $39 for the Department of Justice, $56 for the Department of Justice and FBI and $81 for the Department of Justice and FBI for jobs related to children.

For more information about Live Scan service, call the phone numbers listed above or visit www.sbsheriff.org/home/fingerprinting.

Discovery Museum seeks artists -- The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is in need of creative, patient people to teach hands-on art projects to kids during the Nat Fast Free Children’s Arts Day on Sunday, Jan. 27.

The museum is offering a materials and time stipend of $100 each. Like years past, the day will be split into two shifts from 12 to 2 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Artists are welcome to stay the whole day as well. 

The kids so enjoy learning with the artists. It’s a special day for the community. If interested, contact Amy Blasco, program director at 805-928-8414 or amy@smvdiscoverymuseum.org.

The museum is at 705 S. McClelland St. in Santa Maria. Their website is www.smvdiscoverymuseum.org, and they are on  Facebook at smvdiscoverymuseum.

Cuyama photography 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. 

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. Info: 805-343-1405 or 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.

City portal for council, committee information -- In a bid to make it easier for the public to access important information, Santa Maria has introduced a website portal that connects the community to public meeting agendas, minutes and videos, as well as similar material for various city boards, commissions and committees.

With the portal, residents can use the calendar to find an upcoming or previous public meeting, subscribe to email updates about meetings, view meetings organized by type, watch meeting videos, search the city’s resources for specific topics and read council agendas and minutes.

Email addresses of those who had previously requested to receive City Council agenda updates have been imported into the new system. Those individuals will continue to receive updates until they unsubscribe.

During the transition, the city will discontinue its previous method of sharing information about City Council meetings. In the near future, the existing boards, commissions, and committees websites also will be phased out.

The portal is within Santa Maria’s website (www.cityofsantamaria.org) and can be accessed directly by visiting cityofsantamaria.civicweb.net. Info: City Manager’s Office/Records-City Clerk Division at 805-925-0951, ext. 2307.



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