10+ LOCAL stories you need to read for Wednesday, October 16

  • 8 min to read

Wednesday is here, and so are our morning headlines. Go through this collection to get a look at the news of the day for Wednesday, October 16.

The Santa Maria City Council asked city staff on Tuesday to halt the conversion of a baseball diamond and softball field to multi-use fields after dozens of athletes and supporters expressed dismay about the decision.

The council’s direction, which preserves two ballfields at Minami Center and Simas Park, follows a Monday evening meeting about the lack of available fields for local softball and baseball players.

During Tuesday's meeting — which drew over 60 athletes, coaches and parents — community members said they did not understand why baseball and softball fields were being taken away to make room for other sports.

Beginning Thursday, more than 100 restaurants, wineries, wine tasting rooms, vineyards, ranches, breweries, and entertainment venues will welcome Santa Ynez Valley visitors and locals for the inaugural four-day foodie adventure Taste of the Valley, slated for Oct. 17 to 20.

The festival will also feature more than two dozen individual events throughout the region.

New additions to the lineup include three different, hands-on wine country cooking experiences: a class at The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez, featuring selections from Chef Robin Goldstein’s cookbooks, wine pairings from Max Hoetzel's F2 Wines, and bread from The Baker's Table owner/baker, Amy Dixon; a Ballard-based class led by Chef Budi Kazali at his countryside Ballard Inn and The Gathering Table restaurant; and a Cutting, Casing and Curing Cooking Class, to include lunch, with chef/owner Jeff Olsson of Buellton’s Industrial Eats, and chef/heritage pig breeder Jake Francis of Valley Piggery.

Jose Trejo

Jose Trejo, shown behind the grill at his Lompoc restaurant, is the second nominee for this year's Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Jose Trejo, owner of the Super Grill restaurant in Lompoc, has been announced as the second nominee for this year's Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

"I was 5 when we came from Mexico," Trejo said in explaining his motivation for donating to dozens of causes. "I saw my parents struggle. I think it's good giving back to the community."

Trejo graduated from Lompoc High School in 2001 and immediately after began a job with UPS. Four years later he started a second job in a family food truck with his cousin. Later on, he left UPS to work for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County while still working for the family food business. It was with the foodbank that he spotted a scene which he has not forgotten.

Five girls who attend Lompoc-area middle schools recently got a preview of college life while immersing themselves in math and science as part of the Tech Trek Science Camp at UC Santa Barbara.

The student participants from Lompoc included Brianna Privett, Gabriella Quinionez and Avery Torres, all of whom attend Lompoc Valley Middle School; as well as Jessie Teegarden and Natalya Ramirez, who attend Vandenberg Middle School. The students were nominated by their teachers to attend the camp, and members of the Lompoc-Vandenberg Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which sponsored the girls, interviewed the candidates to make the final selections.

The students attended the weeklong summer program at UCSB that is uniquely designed for girls entering the eighth grade. Their costs were covered by the local AAUW branch, along with support from SpaceX.

Proposed application and selection periods for the Santa Barbara County Independent Redistricting Commission may be extended or delayed to attract as many applicants as possible and reduce the pressure on those chosen to serve.

County staff said they would look into adjusting the proposed timeline Tuesday after hearing those concerns during a report to the Board of Supervisors in Santa Barbara.

The redistricting commission was authorized in 2016 when voters approved Measure G, which specified the method of appointing a commission and key dates for the process of redrawing supervisorial district boundaries based on the 2020 census.

The Lompoc Public Library is once again offering homework help for local students, free of charge.

The library invites kindergarten through 12th grade students to take part in its Homework Club, held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the 2019-20 school year in the children’s department at the Lompoc Public Library, 501 E. North Ave.

The club is not held if Lompoc Unified School District schools are on break. Homework Club is a drop-in program, and there is no need to register.

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Congressman Salud Carbajal and Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, pose for a photo with Raytheon employees on Oct. 9 at the company's Lompoc facility.

After getting his first look inside Raytheon’s Lompoc facility, Congressman Salud Carbajal described the experience as “mind-blowing.”

Carbajal, who also serves on the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, traveled to Lompoc on Oct. 9 to tour the local research and development labs for Raytheon, a major U.S. defense contractor that produces products and technologies for a wide range of weapons systems.

“I can tell you, when you see that technology and all the high-tech work they’re doing, and the systems and the research, it just blows your mind,” Carbajal said after trekking around the facility. “These are the types of things you see in movies and on TV.”

Senior Night was a happy start to the Santa Ynez Pirates’ week when the Pirates swept the Lompoc Braves 3-0.

It wasn’t just a happy homecoming, it was a joyous one as senior tri-captain and defensive specialist Amanda Krystkowiak made her season debut in the Pirates’ 25-16, 25-13, 25-12 victory.

Krystkowiak was lost for the season after tearing her left ACL during a powder puff football game back in May.

A week after nearly 100 people marched to protest changes to sports fields at Simas Park and Minami Center, nearly 40 people packed a classroom at the Westgate Neighborhood Building on Monday to share concerns about field space for softball and baseball.

The meeting, hosted by Santa Maria Recreation and Parks to discuss field availability, equipment storage, playing conditions and other issues, drew softball moms, board members, youth baseball coaches and parents, who directed their questions to Parks and Rec supervisors Gabe Velasco and Ryan Heath.

The Recreation and Parks Department is in the process of converting a softball field near the Minami Center and a Little League baseball diamond at Simas Park to all-grass surfaces for multiple sports.

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Spectators watch an F-16 flight demonstration during the 2nd annual Central Coast AirFest Saturday at the Santa Maria Public Airport.

The Central Coast AirFest wrapped up this Sunday and thousands of people attended the two-day airshow at the Santa Maria Public Airport.

This year's AirFest marked the second year that Santa Maria has hosted a major airshow since the dismantling of the "Thunder over the Valley" event three years prior. With the city's historic ties to aviation, especially military aviation, local organizers worked hard to get a good show off the ground.

After a successful inaugural event, they wanted to try and bring a bigger show back for a second year. And the acts, the parade grounds and the airshow proved that they could do just that; but was it too much?

So, following the theme of the comments from our Facebook post we have a few questions about the AirFest that we would like you to answer.

Joe Schumer, a defensive back on the Lompoc High football team, has spent his senior year defending the Brave end zone.

After high school, Schumer plans on defending something else entirely.

"My brother is in the Navy, one of my grandfathers was in the Navy another was in the Army," Schumer said after last week's 56-0 win over Dos Pueblos. "It's a long lineage of military tradition and service in my family. I love football, but I think I'm meant for something bigger in my life and in my career going forward."

The arraignment for a Santa Maria man arrested after a standoff with SWAT police last June in Grover Beach was continued on Tuesday to allow more discussion with the prosecution.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Voysey agreed to an Oct. 28 arraignment on information hearing for Michael Paul Aldaco, 32, who is accused of trying to set an ex-girlfriend on fire after breaking into her Orcutt home and threatening her with a pistol.

Aldaco was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, first degree burglary, dissuading a witness, false imprisonment, corporal injury to a spouse or co-inhabitant and two firearm enhancements.

The Santa Ynez Pirates Homecoming week got off to a fast start Tuesday.

The Pirates began the day with a 14-4 Channel League tennis victory over the visiting Cabrillo Conquistadores.

The match was also a homecoming, of sorts, for girls tennis coach Jennifer Rasmussen, who was back on the sidelines for Monday’s non-league match at St. Joseph and for her first home match Tuesday, replacing Edwin Portillo.

LOS ANGELES — The western Joshua tree needs protection under the California Endangered Species Act because of threats from climate change and habitat destruction, the Center for Biological Diversity said in a petition Tuesday to the state's Fish and Game Commission.

The petition comes amid rising concern about the future of the crazy-limbed trees with spikey leaves that have come to symbolize the Mojave Desert and draw throngs to Joshua Tree National Park.

"The state has to step up for these trees," center conservation director Brendan Cummings said in a statement.

The Solvang City Council on Monday night took steps toward providing for tourism marketing efforts and denied two appeals from cannabis business applicants, among a number of actions items on the agenda.

They also took flack from residents miffed by the addition of demarcated bike lanes on Fjord Road and agreed to look at alternatives to that route.

After a tumultuous summer of budget cutting, contract terminating, backpedaling and layoffs that essentially laid waste to a 33-year partnership between the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau and the City of Solvang, the council directed staff to move ahead with rebuilding the city’s online marketing tools.

It wasn’t marketing campaigns or water projects, cannabis dispensaries or any number of other hot topics on the Solvang City Council agenda that drew residents out of the woodwork Monday night.

Instead, it was a newly painted bicycle lane and a master plan that called for a riverside pathway, safer cycling routes, perhaps even a pump track for off-street cycling play.

After more than 90 minutes of staff reporting, public comment and brief council deliberation, the city council voted 4-1 to adopt the Solvang portion of the Santa Ynez Valley Bicycle Master Plan; directed staff to forward comments on recent bike lane striping on Fjord Drive for consideration on River Trail alignment alternatives; directed staff, in partnership with Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation and County Parks, to clean up the northern portion of Alamo Pintado Creek Trail; and authorized up to $25,000 in initial contributions to related projects.

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See a full horoscope for each sign online.


Some clouds this morning will give way to generally sunny skies for the afternoon. High 73F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Some clouds. Low 48F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.


Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High near 70F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Partly cloudy skies. High 73F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.


Partly cloudy skies. Low 47F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.


Mostly cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High 68F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.


Partly cloudy skies. High 83F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.


A few clouds. Low 46F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.


Partly cloudy. High 82F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.



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