News

Two men have been convicted of second degree murder charges in what Ventura County prosecutors call a gang related slaying.

Franky Magana and Omar Ruiz could each get life sentences for the May, 2013 killing of Ulises Virto in Santa Paula . Detectives say Magana, Ruiz, and a third still unidentified gunman drove up to a street corner where the victim was standing. The trio opened fire, hitting Virto with seven bullets. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two Santa Paula men will be sentenced for the killing in March.

Ventura County’s Sheriff has announced he plans to retire.

Sheriff Geoff Dean told Sheriff’s Office employees that he won’t see re-election this year. His term ends next January, but in an e-mail to Sheriff’s Office employees, Dean says he’s planning to step down in November.

A month to the day after it started, firefighters are continuing efforts to contain the huge Thomas brush fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The fire’s statistics haven’t changed much in the last few days, with nearly 282,000 acres burned, and 92% containment.

The focus remains on the northeaster corner of the blaze, in the Los Padres National Forest, where helicopter water drops are being used to control hot spots in some inaccessible mountain areas.

Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives say they’ve arrested some teenage boys for a string of home burglaries in the eastern part of the county.

Deputies were called to an Oak Park home early Tuesday morning by reports of an attempted break-in. They found and arrested a teenage suspect nearby, and recovered a number of stolen items. The investigation led to the arrest of a second teenage boy, and the discovery of yet more stolen items.

Detectives believe the 16 and 15 year old boys were responsible for a half dozen burglaries in the Oak Park area.

After years of pleas from many residents, retailer Target will open a store in Santa Barbara.

That store, however, will not be like a traditional store.

(Image courtesy Raw Science Film Festival)

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie.

UC Santa Barbara researchers are talking about using laser propelled microchips as tiny spacecraft, to explore the closest stars. The research is one of the projects being highlighted at a unique South Coast film festival this weekend.

Two community meetings are set for this week on a state sponsored program to fast track debris removal from buildings destroyed, or damaged by the Thomas Fire.

(Ojai Music Festival photo)

A world famous music festival based on the South Coast has announced the Music Director for its 2020 event.

Matthias Pintscher will serve as the Ojai Music Festival’s Music Director in two years.

A storm system which has created widespread cloud cover and some showers for parts of the Central and South Coasts isn’t expected to pose a risk for recent brush fire burn areas. But, there could be a bigger system which could create problems in the Thomas, and Whittier Fire burn zones next week.

The crackle of the Thomas Fire is gone from Ventura and Montecito.

But, besides the destruction it’s left behind, the largest brush fire in modern day history in the state created a new threat: Flash flooding, debris flows, and mudslides.

President Trump approved a federal natural disaster declaration for California to help with the Thomas Fire, a move which opens the door for federal assistance in recovery efforts.

The declaration clears the way for federal funds to go to state and local government agencies in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Non-profits involved in relief efforts will also potentially be eligible for federal funding.

The estimated cost of fighting the fire has crossed the $200 million dollar mark. More than a thousand structures have been destroyed.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A major brush fire on the Central and South Coasts is finally out, but it’s not the huge fire that’s been in the news for the past month.

It’s the Whittier Fire, which started July 8th near Lake Cachuma, in Santa Barbara County. The blaze destroyed 16 homes, and 30 other buildings as it burned south over the Santa Ynez Mountains to threaten homes on the coast.

Investigators are trying to figure out why a woman led law enforcement officers on a wild, more than 60 miles chase in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties.

The pursuit started at about four a.m. Tuesday on Highway 126 near Newhall.

(USFS Photo)

Milder weather continues to help firefighters trying to get full containment of the huge Thomas Fire, burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Containment remains at 92% on the nearly 282,000 acre blaze. The containment and acreage burned figures haven’t changed significantly in the last few days.

Cooler weather is supporting efforts by firefighters to get full containment of the massive Thomas brush fire.

The nearly 282,000 acre brush fire is 92% contained.

One person is dead, and a second wounded following a shooting on the South Coast.

It happened at about 3:30 a.m. New Year's Day, near De La Vina and Victoria Streets in downtown Santa Barbara.  Detectives are still trying to unravel what happened, but officers were called to the scene by reports of multiple shots being fired.  The names of the victims haven't been released.

(Photo courtesy Tom Zasadzinski, Cal Poly Pomona)

A Central Coast university continued its tradition of winning big honors at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, with its 70th anniversary float in the New Year’s Day tradition.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students once again teamed up with Cal Poly Pomona students to build a parade float.

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)

The New Year's weekend is a holiday for most people, but not for more than 600 people who continue to battle the Thomas Fire.

The fire has shown no significant growth for the last few days, with containment at 92% and the amount of land burned at just under 282,000 acres.  The northeast corner of the fire deep in the Los Padres National Forest is still showing some activity.

Photo by Kerri Frangioso

A researcher on the Central Coast is leading an international group of scientists to help prevent the global problem of dying forests.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Richard Cobb says forests worldwide are dying at an accelerated pace mostly due to drought and heat from climate change. So, he collaborated with 20 researchers around the world to develop a framework to help minimize future forest mortality rates.

(Los Padres National Forest photo)

Containment continues to move forward on the massive Thomas brush fire, which is still burning in backcountry areas.

Firefighters say despite temperatures 10-20 degrees above normal, efforts to fully corral the fire are going well. The amount of acreage burned has hovered at just under 282,000 acres for the last few days. Containment is now at 92%.

Firefighters continue their efforts to close in on full containment of the massive Thomas brush fire.

The blaze is now at 91% containment, and still stands at around 281,000 acres burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The focus remains on some rugged, back country areas on the northeast corner of the fire.

Ventura County Steps Up To Help Thomas Fire Victims

Dec 27, 2017

Ventura County is taking part in a state program to help people who’ve had their homes destroyed, or seriously damaged by the Thomas Fire start the rebuilding process.

The County will offer the California Office of Emergency Services Debris Removal Program. CalReycle will coordinate the removal of home debris, the building slab, and topsoil at no upfront cost to the property owner, with government agencies getting reimbursement from the owner’s insurance company.

(Ventura Ciunty Fire photo)

Firefighters say efforts to contain the massive Thomas brush fire continue to go well, with no additional forward progress of the fire expected.

Containment is up to 89%, with 281,000 acres burned. The little remaining active fire continues to be in back country areas. There are a few hot spots on the northeast corner of the fire, in the Bear Haven area.

The U.S. Forest Service has named a new supervisor for the Los Padres National Forest.

Kevin Elliott will fill the vacancy created by the promotion of Bob Baird to another Forest Service post. Elliott is currently the Forest Supervisor for the Sequoia National Forest in Porterville. He’s worked on a half dozen national forests over his nearly four decades with the agency.

Photo by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

A central coast university is teaming up with a major tech company to try to find technological solutions to problems that organizations face.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Amazon Web Services have created the Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub where they’re helping government, education and nonprofit sectors.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters say the efforts to get full containment of the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties are going well, with the only mildly active flames in a wilderness area miles from communities.

Containment is up to 88% on the 281,000 acre blaze.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters say they have been building on previous gains, and have reached 86% containment on the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Firefighters are continuing efforts on Christmas Eve to try to get full containment of the 273,000 acre Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Containment is at 70%.  U.S. Forest Service officials had reported containment at 78% yesterday, but they say that was a mistake, and the number was actually 70%.

Firefighters say they've made big progress towards total containment of the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Containment hit 70% Saturday night on the fire, which began December 4th.  The fire has burned 273,400 acres.  On Friday, it became the largest fire in modern California history, surpassing the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County.

Photo by Downtown Ventura

With chilly temperatures hitting the South Coast, there’s a place to keep warm this winter.

The West Ventura Winter Warming Shelter – which serves the entire county – is now open at the Ventura National Guard Armory. It provides a safe place to sleep, a hot meal and shower facilities for the homeless during the winter months.

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