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Henry Galvan photo

Slideshow: Highway 33 Brush Fire

Firefighters are currently battling a brush fire that broke out along Highway 33 just before 2 p.m. south of Casitas Springs in Ventura County.

Dave Alley photo

Slideshow: Hancock College Holds First Ever College Signing Day

The official slogan at Allan Hancock College for the past several years has been,"Start Here. Go Anywhere." It has long served as an inspiration to students that they're academic dreams can begin at the college's Santa Maria or Lompoc campuses before they move on a four-year university or employment opportunities.

John Palminteri photo

Slideshow: A Taste of Local Wines Draws a Big Crowd in Buellton

Wine lovers had a chance to taste the newest and the premier pours from our area over the weekend.

The annual Vintners Festival took place at River Park in Buellton.

Many winemakers from Santa Barbara County were there in person to talk about their latest creations, and also how the unique region continues to grow in popularity worldwide.

Source: Ventura County Sheriff's Office

Slideshow; Bear Spotted in Fillmore Tranquilized

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said the bear was first spotted just before 4:30 a.m. Thursday near Fillmore Middle School on 2nd street.

When deputies arrived the bear took off, leading them on a several block chase.

The bear was safely tranquilized by California Department of Fish and Wildlife authorities at 6:30 a.m. in the 600 block of Valley Vista.

Amanda Valdes photo

Slideshow: 'Grim Reaper' Visits Lompoc High School

The California Highway Patrol is with working with students at Lompoc High School to show them the negative affects drinking and driving can have on their lives.

It's all part of the "Every 15 minutes" program started back in the 1990s that focuses on speaking to high school juniors and seniors about teenage drinking.

Full story here.

Oscar Flores photo

Slideshow: Comedian Conan O'Brien in Santa Barbara

Comedian and Late-night talk show Conan O'Brien was in Santa Barbara over the weekend.

O'Brien got personal with a few thousand UCSB students and others at the Arlington Theater on Saturday, April 16.

The event was part of UCSB's Arts and Lectures series, aptly titled, "An Afternoon with Conan O'Brien."

The event was hosted by Law & Order producer Dick Wolf.

Photos by Oscar Flores.

Vicky Nguyen photo

Slideshow: Large Oak Tree Blocking Roadway in Mission Canyon Area

Santa Barbara County Fire and Edison crews are on scene of a large oak tree that fell across the roadway in the 1000 block of Tunnel Road Friday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the oak tree fell into nearby electrical lines and blocked the roadway at about 12:45 p.m. Tunnel Road between Montrose Place and Mission Canyon Road was closed off while crews remove the tree and power lines.

Zaniboni said that removing the large oak tree will be an extensive operation and expects Tunnel Road to be closed for a few hours.

Keith Carls photo

Slideshow: Deadly Mother-Daughter Argument at Santa Maria Toys "R" Us Parking Lot

A Santa Maria mother has been taken in by police for questioning in the death of her daughter Friday afternoon outside the Toys "R" Us store parking lot located at 1411 S Bradley Road.

Investigators with the Santa Maria Police Department say that the unnamed mother was reportedly involved in an argument with her daughter prior to the incident.

Witnesses say the mother was inside her Jeep Cherokee with her daughter partially inside the vehicle.

At some point, the mother allegedly began driving off and her daughter was sucked underneath the car, according to police.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of her injuries.

Slideshow: Day of Hope Fundraiser Held in Santa Maria

The streets of the Santa Maria Valley were buzzing with activity Wednesday morning. On dozens of street corners, hundreds of volunteers donated their time to participate in the annual Day of Hope fundraiser. Now in its third year, the 5-hour event raises money to assist patients at Mission Hope Cancer in Santa Maria.

"It's rewarding, it's nice to help and see the people come in and help support the cause," said Jesus Manriquez, Rancho Harvest owner. "We all get touched by cancer, whether family or friends, we all get touched for it, and it's a rewarding to help out."

More than 40 teams representing various local businesses, organizations, charities, churches, schools, offices and other groups sold special edition Santa Maria Times newspapers for $1.00. All of the money raised will directly benefit cancer patients, such as Melissa Soto, who purchased a newspaper herself while on her way to work.

"They (Mission Hope) do an amazing job," said Soto. "They make you feel so welcome there. They make it fun, you don't ever feel like you're going through something rough. It's really an amazing place. They're loving people."

While the newspapers cost just $1.00, volunteers noted many people who donated gave much more.

"People are giving us $20, $50 dollar bills, it's really cool. I'm glad that they know it's for a good cause," said volunteer Alex Vazquez, with CoastHills Credit Union.

For many who purchased a newspaper, their donation to the cause was particularly personal.

"I'm supporting this because a little over a year ago my dad passed away from cancer and Mission Hope really helped us," said Anna Lopez.

Organizers emphasize the fundraiser stays in the community to help out patients at Mission Hope in a variety of ways, such as assisting with grocery bills, rent payments and transportation issues.

"Every single penny of that money stays here and it goes directly to helping our patients," said Dr. Robert Dichmann, Medical Director, Mission Hope Cancer Center. "We're not looking for this money to be used for new equipment or things like that. We put this money directly to patients needs, not necessarily medical needs."

Created two years ago in the Santa Maria Valley, the Day of Hope has expanded its scope each year since. Last year, the event included volunteers selling papers in Lompoc, while this year marked a move north into San Luis Obispo County, with papers sold along Tefft Street in Nipomo. The Nipomo location was such a big success, newspapers sold out in just over an hour.

Courtesy: Santa Barbara City Fire Dept.

Slideshow: Santa Barbara Carport Fire Prompts Evacuations

Santa Barbara City firefighters say no one was hurt and no pets injured in a carport fire that occurred in the 1100 block of Laguna Street at about 1:22 p.m.

The first fire engine company to arrive located a car inside the carport that was fully involved in flames, according to fire officials.

Santa Barbara police assisted fire crews in evacuation nearby residents, and Animal Control was called to help with pets.

Firefighters pulled a 275-foot hose line to the carport, which was located to the rear of a deep residential lot, and managed to put out the fire within 10 to 15 minutes.

Dave Alley photo

Slideshow: Santa Maria Company Revitalizes Local Elementary School

More than 100 volunteers filled the campus at Tunnell Elementary School in Santa Maria on Thursday. Starting before sunrise, the volunteers were there taking part in an annual program provided by Zodiac Aerospace.

"At Zodiac we have the program "Give and Grow," and it's a community non-profit that we do these projects around town," said Zodiac co-event lead Kiel Carreau.

The "Give and Grow" program includes a "Create Event" once a year, where the company gives a local elementary school essentially an extreme makeover.

"We're getting new benches, we're getting new tables, we're getting murals painted," said principal Linda Muranaka. "They're also going to donate a marquee. It's just amazing."

Muranaka noted this was the fourth year Tunnell Elementary had applied for the grant. After being passed up the previous three years, she was thrilled to learn the school was chosen this time around.

"None of this would be able to happen (without it)," said Muranaka. "It's just amazing what they're giving to our school and I'm so thankful."

The most visually dramatic changes made to the school were the handful of murals on classroom walls, which gave the aging campus a much needed splash of color.

Oscar Flores photo

Slideshow: 2016 NASCAR in Fontana

Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson used his boost from the "Superman vs. Batman" movie promotion to over power Kevin Harvick in the overtime laps at the Auto Club 400 Sunday in Fontana.

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