The former operator of a mortgage business in Ventura County who offered to help homeowners in financial trouble, but instead stole their money has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Patrick Iturra was sentenced after being convicted of five counts of foreclosure consultant fraud, and grand theft.

Prosecutors say he was a partner in a company called Mercury Business Group which had eight documented victims.  Seven of them lost their homes.

In addition to the year in jail, Iturra was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.

(Ventura County Fire Department Photo)

A key section of Highway 101 on the South Coast is closed by storm flooding, stranding thousands of motorists.

Northbound lanes of the 101 between Ventura and Carpinteria, near La Conchita were closed at around 2 p.m.  CHP officers say there's two to three feet of water and mud on the highway.

Northbound traffic is being stopped at Seacliff, and turned around back to Ventura.  With other mountain roads like Highway 150 treacherous because of the heavy rainfall, there are no practical alternatives at this point for northbound traffic.

The Channel Islands are famous for the tiny island fox. But, did you know that they were also home to mammoths – weighing anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 pounds?

Researchers are now preserving a rare mammoth fossil that was discovered on the Channel Islands, and you can get a firsthand look as they try to learn more about it.

This is a story about a pair of sandals.

They aren’t just any sandals. To a Santa Barbara man, they are the symbols of an unjust ordeal his family went through 75 years ago, an ordeal they faced just because of their Japanese ancestry.

Now those sandals are in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Institution, as is Mike Takeuchi, whose grandfather made them, and whose father owned them.

The major storm predicted to hit the Central and South Coasts arrived in force Friday morning, with the heaviest rainfall occurring south of Point Conception.

One of the biggest impacts has been the closure of Highway 154 from Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley.  The closure starts at Cathedral Oaks Road on the Santa Barbara side of Highway 154, to the Highway 154-246 intersection the the Santa Ynez Valley. 

An evacuation warning is in effect for the Sherpa Fire burn area, near Gaviota.  El Capitan and Refugio State Parks have been closed.

(Department of Energy photo)

It’s been a controversial issue in eastern Ventura County, and the western San Fernando Valley for years. What needs to be done to clean an old nuclear testing and rocket lab facility near Simi Valley? A draft report on options to clean up part of the pollution at the Santa Susana Field Lab has been released, and is up for public comments. The Draft Environment Impact Statement looks at proposals for nearly 500 acres of land east, and northeast of the lab site.

Insect infestations, dangerous electrical wiring, and severe mold are just some of the issues building inspectors say they found in some South Coast housing.

Now, a real estate owner and landlord in Santa Barbara County who’s been at odds with government agencies for years over the safety and cleanliness of some of his properties is facing a major new government lawsuit.

A screening of a documentary about Debby Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher will be one of the highlights of the 23rd annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, which has just announced its 2017 lineup.

This year’s festival runs March 14th through 19th.

Image courtesy Gareth J. Funning and Scott T. Marshall.

An earthquake fault in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties may be much more dangerous than thought.

A team of researchers has just completed a study about the makeup of what’s called the Ventura-Pitas Point fault. They say it’s closer to the surface than previously believed, which means stronger shaking and more damage during a major quake.

Authorities are asking for the public help in identifying some young men who are suspects in a hate crime in Ventura County.

Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives say four young men distributed anti-Semitic notes at a half dozen homes and a synagogue in Oak Park. Investigators think there are at least four young men involved, and they may be teens or young adults.

They are looking at surveillance video from some of the homes where the notes were distributed last week, to see if they can identify the men.