santa barbara county

With a rise in the number of dog attacks in Santa Barbara County, there’s now an updated law intended to bring those numbers down.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services Director Jan Glick says the Board of Supervisors recently unanimously agreed to revise its Vicious Dog Ordinance, making it more restrictive.

Photo by First 5 Santa Barbara County

A campaign has recently launched in Santa Barbara County aimed at boosting early brain development and language skills for young children. 

Media spots are being used to promote the Talking Is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing campaign by First 5 Santa Barbara County. The local branch of First Five is taking the statewide campaign and rolling it out locally.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Two wildfires are continuing to burn on the Central Coast as hundreds of people evacuate.

The Whittier Fire, which is burning in the Santa Ynez Valley, has grown to 7,800 acres. It’s only 5% contained. Firefighters are especially concerned because it’s near hundreds of homes. Santa Barbara County Fire officials say some structures have been destroyed, but it’s not clear if any of those were homes. Mandatory evacuations were issued for homes as well as campgrounds. The brush fire broke out Saturday afternoon off of Highway 154, about 12 miles east of Solvang.

There are ways to make your home more energy efficient. You can learn all about it at a workshop this week on the Central Coast. 

Santa Barbara County has a program called emPower that focuses on helping single-family homeowners achieve energy efficiency. Ashley Watkins with emPower says there are a lot of things you can do.

Firefighters are trying to determine the cause of a brush fire which burned some 250 acres of land in eastern Santa Barbara County, at one point briefly threatening some homes.

The fire was discovered just after 3 p.m. Sunday near Perkins Road south of New Cuyama.

Santa Barbara County firefighters had to deal with strong wind which made the fire initially tough to stop. Two air tankers and a helicopter stopped the spread of the blaze in about two hours.

A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says there are major problems with the radio system used by the County Sheriff’s Department, ones which could create public safety issues.

The report says there are a number of dead spots in both the North and South County, and a special trouble area is the Cuyama Valley.

A South Coast woman has been killed after authorities say her sister accidentally struck her with a car.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says 55-year-old Dora Perez was standing in her driveway on the 1300 block of Vallecito Place in Carpinteria around 7:15 Saturday morning when her 70-year-old sister was moving a nearby vehicle. Officials say the car suddenly sped out of control, hitting Perez and pinning her against the wall of the house.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

A law enforcement agency on the South Coast is mourning one of their own. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve lost a member their family.

Forty-one-year-old Custody Deputy Trevor Carpenter died on Wednesday after a fight with Leukemia. He had been with the Sheriff’s office since 2003. He was an avid photographer, supporter of the Boy Scouts and a huge Dodgers fan. He was also a family man. Carpenter leaves behind his wife of 19 years and four children.

Santa Barbara County has adopted a $1.08 billion dollar budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes some major service cuts.

The balanced budget includes a reduction of 178 full time positions, although a number of the jobs were unfilled. With social service costs exceeding available state and federal funding, those programs are among those facing the biggest cuts.

County officials say despite the social service reductions, the county is devoting a larger chunk of its discretionary spending to those programs.

Photo by Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara

A scholarship fund in Santa Barbara County that’s been helping teens go to college for more than a half century will reach a big milestone this week.

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara will surpass the $100 million mark in scholarships awarded to more than 47,000 students during its 55-year history.

Santa Barbara County is getting an early start on its budget process in the face of potentially major cuts which may be needed for the upcoming fiscal year.

County officials say they are looking at ways to reduce nearly $40 million dollars in spending to balance the new budget.

Many of the cuts could come in social services.

Reductions in projected state and federal funding, additional money needed for public safety operations, and high pension costs are among the factors being cited for the financial concerns.

A CHP officer is recovering from injuries he suffered in a traffic accident in Santa Barbara County.

The 42 year old officer was southbound on Highway 101 between Gaviota and Buellton just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, when he apparently lost control of his patrol car in the rain.

The patrol car slid off the highway, hit a tree, and spun around coming to rest against a second tree.

The officer was taken to a hospital with what are described as minor injuries.

A Santa Barbara County woman could face more than two decades in state prison after being convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly relative.

Santa Barbara County prosecutors say Allyson Maura Cowell was found guilty of more than 50 felony counts, including financial elder abuse, forgery, money laundering and grand theft. The prosecutors say Cowell repeatedly forged the name of an elderly relative so she could steal more than $640,000 from the victim’s investment account.

Cowell will be sentenced next month.

Santa Barbara County is now wrangling with a question that cities and counties around the state are facing, in the wake of voters approving the limited recreational use of marijuana.

County Supervisors are set to consider an urgency ordinance to prohibit marijuana cultivation and sales while the county comes up with a plan on how it wants to handle the implementation of Proposition 64.

Photo by United Way of Santa Barbara County

With tax season underway, some Santa Barbara County residents are getting help filing their returns.

Families and individuals who earned less than $62,000 last year qualify for free tax preparation. The United Way of Santa Barbara County runs this Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.