10+ LOCAL stories you need to read for Friday, November 8

  • 6 min to read

The Sears store in Santa Maria Town Center is one of 51 scheduled for closure by February 2020, according to an announcement from Transformco, which purchased virtually all assets of Sears Holdings Corp. in February.

Reports circulating Thursday said the Santa Maria store was closing its doors that day, but a woman who answered the phone in the Sears management office said that wasn’t true.

“No, we’re not closing our doors today,” she said. “We’re not closing and we have no target [date] for closing.”

However, the announcement from Transformco said going-out-of-business sales are expected to begin Dec. 2 at the targeted stores.

It’s high school football playoff time.

St. Joseph, Righetti and Nipomo in the CIF Central Section’s Division 2, Santa Maria in Division 4 and Lompoc in the Southern Section’s Division 5, along with several other Central Coast teams, will play in the first round Friday night, with 7 p.m. kickoffs scheduled.

Orcutt Academy and Valley Christian will be in eight-man first-round action this weekend. Here is a look at some of the games.

Four community members were honored Thursday for their decades of service in the Santa Maria Valley by a crowd of friends and family during the 11th Celebrate Philanthropy luncheon.

The annual luncheon, held at the Santa Maria Country Club, is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Maria Times.

The year’s honorees were Judy and Eric Frost and Frank and Scottie Ortiz.

Santa Barbara County 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who served as the event’s emcee, said the luncheon is about celebrating generosity and charitable giving.

City officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the completion of traffic-flow improvements made along the Betteravia Road and Highway 101 interchange.

Standing in the parking lot for the new CoastHills corporate headquarters, which is located near the interchange, Santa Maria Public Works Director Kevin McCune said the project will improve safety for drivers exiting on to Betteravia Road, which is the city’s most traveled street with over 40,000 vehicles traveling along the corridor on any given day.

Officials from the city of Santa Maria, California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol and Santa Barbara County Association of Governments were present for the ribbon-cutting.

The growing number of businesses around Betteravia Road at the Crossroads and Enos Ranch developments has driven more traffic to Betteravia Road in recent years and the drivers would get backed out into the highway due to the high volume of cars, said city spokesman Mark van de Kamp.

The Warriors have their sights set on creating a little history at Righetti High School.

The girls volleyball team is one win away from hanging a banner inside the Warrior gym.

Righetti cruised past Reedley Immanuel and into the CIF Central Section Division 3 championship match inside that very gym Thursday night.

After the 25-22, 25-10, 25-21 win over the Eagles, Righetti will play Saturday at the College of the Sequoias. The Warriors will face top-seeded Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, which swept Madera South in the other Division 3 semifinal.

California Highway Patrol officials said Thursday they believe a driver intentionally crashed his car into an oncoming vehicle on Highway 154, killing a Solvang woman and her two young children.

At an afternoon press conference, Cindy Ponce, commander of the Santa Barbara Area Office of the CHP, outlined the investigation into the Oct. 25 crash and subsequent arrest of John Roderick Dungan, 28, who was charged with three counts of murder Wednesday.

“You know that our community is still hurting and will be for a very long time,” Ponce told reporters. “I will assure you that the CHP will not rest until we have thoroughly investigated the case.”

Dungan was driving his 2014 Chevrolet Camaro westbound on Highway 154 near Cold Spring Bridge when he allegedly slammed his car head-on into a 2013 Chevrolet Volt, driven by 34-year-old Rebecca Vanessa Goss Bley.

 At least seven inmates at Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex have tested positive for mumps, and an additional three cases are likely to emerge, a Bureau of Prisons official confirmed Monday.

 A case of mumps was identified in the facility as early as Oct. 3, according to Bureau of Prisons emails obtained by the Santa Maria Times.

 At least two housing units were affected inside the complex at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), which is one of two prisons at the complex and the lowest security of the two.

 According to an email sent to the Times by prison officials, the inmates who had mumps were quarantined inside the two housing units. The prison's other housing units are unaffected and operating normally.

Emily Wilson hit a second serve service winner Thursday, and the St. Joseph girls tennis team had officially played itself into the CIF Central Section Division 2 championship match.

Her winner wrapped up a 6-0, 6-2 win for Wilson and partner Shianne Gooley over Bakersfield Centennial’s Aleyna Young and Kate Yackovich in the No.1 doubles match that gave the Knights their clinching fifth point.

The Knights (16-2) ultimately beat the No. 3 Golden Hawks (14-15) 6-3 at the Santa Maria Country Club.

Top seed Sanger defeated Atascadero 6-3 in the other semi and will host the final Tuesday. The start time is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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 today.

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.

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A public hearing will be held Monday, Nov. 18, to discuss a new petition regarding the existing Stipulated Order of Abatement 17-01 requiring a reduction in particulate pollution from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

Dunes fencing-1

Wind fencing stretches across 55 acres of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to block sand movement as part of the effort to reduce the level of dust blowing onto the Nipomo Mesa, where it poses a health threat.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the South County Regional Center at 800 W. Branch St. in Arroyo Grande.

Stipulated Order of Abatement 17-01 was issued to the California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division in April 2018 by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.

The APCD Hearing Board will consider either modifying the existing order or issuing a new order to address violations of state and local air quality standards and regulations, an APCD spokesman said.

The hearing will give the public the opportunity to make general comments about the Oceano Dunes particulate emissions and address specific items being considered by the board, the spokesman said.

Written public comments may be submitted in advance of the hearing to info@slocleanair.org.

All documents related to the hearing and information about efforts to mitigate dust emissions from Oceano Dunes SVRA are available by visiting SLOCleanAir.org/air-quality/oceano-dunes-efforts.

Supervisor Joan Hartmann to hold local office hours Nov. 15 in Guadalupe

Members of the Guadalupe community are invited to meet with 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann at her regularly scheduled “County on your Corner” office hours Friday, Nov. 15.

Hartmann will be at the Guadalupe Cafe at 860 Guadalupe St. from 10 a.m. to noon.

Open office hours provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions about county governance, share ideas and learn about community projects and Hartmann's work on the Board of Supervisors, a spokeswoman for her office said.

Drop-ins are encouraged, the spokeswoman said.

For more information, contact Gina Fischer, district representative and scheduler, at 805-568-2192.

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Your Central Coast Weather Forecast 


Foggy early, becoming sunny this afternoon. High 72F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.


Mostly clear. Low 47F. Winds light and variable.


Mainly sunny. High near 80F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Areas of fog early, becoming sunny this afternoon. High 69F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Generally clear skies. Low 44F. Winds light and variable.


Sunny skies. High 76F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Sunny. High 83F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.


Clear skies. Low 42F. Winds light and variable.


Sunny skies. High near 85F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.



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