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Cloud Seeding Gives Mother Nature A Boost

We have another shot at rain tonight and another chance to give Mother Nature a boost.

Matt Naftaly, manager of Santa Barbara County's Water Agency, hopes Tuesday's storm system will bring ideal conditions for cloud seeding.

A grove of so-called "flare trees" -- metal, tree-like sculptures -- sits high above Santa Barbara and Goleta off West Camino Cielo. Each cylinder contains a flare-like device that shoots silver iodide into the clouds, which helps create rain.

"The silver iodide acts as a nucleus for the vapor to freeze to," said Naftaly. "Once that process has started, it grows and grows as an ice crystal. Around here, it normally ends up melting as rain."

During Monday night's storm, a county weather expert stationed in Santa Maria used a remote system to shoot off twenty three flares from the grove, aimed toward the Twitchell Reservoir and Cachuma Lake.

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Chefs Compete in 2nd Annual Buellton Chili Cookoff

It was the battle of the best chili and salsa masters this weekend in Buellton.

This is the second year the Buellton Chamber of Commerce has put on it's Wine and Chili Festival.

Competitors ranged from local residents and business owners to restaurant chefs.

Contestants competed in 3 categories: red chili, chili verde, and salsa.

This years first place winners included Willows, Creekside Buffet, the Santa Ynez Marriot, Standing Sun Wines and Becca's Mom.


Cattle Ranchers Getting Federal Drought Relief

Central Coast cattle ranchers are expected to apply for federal disaster relief to help them survive the economic impact of the drought.

It may not be enough to keep some ranchers from getting out of what has become a very expensive business.

Time is running out for Central Coast cattle ranchers caught between a rock and a hard, dry place due to the drought.

"I can't afford to keep feeding these cattle", says cattle rancher Janet Burback, "I will have to get out of the business otherwise, I can't continue to do it, can't afford to."

It's a similar story for cattle ranchers across the state as the effects of the drought settle in.

Cattle ranchers are having to spend thousands of dollars more every month to feed their herds that are running out of areas to graze.

On his recent visit to the Central Valley, President Obama pledged $100 million in emergency disaster relief for distressed cattle ranchers.

Fee Free Weekend at Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest officials have designated February 15-17 as a "Free Free Weekend" for visitors to the forest.

In all areas of the forest where an Adventure Pass is normally required, the fee will be waived in celebration of Presidents? Day.

An Adventure Pass is typically required for day use activities and camping at many recreational facilities in the Forest. This ?Fee Free Weekend? applies to all Adventure Pass areas except the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area on the Santa Barbara Ranger District, where the fee remains in effect.

Other fees such as reservation fees and group site fees will also still apply. Forest visitors who unknowingly validate a daily Adventure Pass�February 15-17 can have the pass replaced free of charge at most Forest Service offices.

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Former Santa Ynez High School Student Dies Following Highway 1 Crash

Former Santa Ynez High School Student Dies Following Highway 1 Crash

A former Santa Ynez High School student has died following last week's deadly car accident on Highway 1 near Lompoc.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies say Ricky Santos, 18, passed away after being in the hospital for nearly a week. Santos was a student at Santa Ynez High School and ran track and field, according to his Facebook.

As of Wednesday evening, Santos' sister is still in the hospital with major injuries.

The crash happened the morning of January 31 on Highway 1 north of Jalama Road. According to the California Highway Patrol, Santos' sister was driving a PT Cruiser when a Honda Civic, driven by Mirella Hernandez, crossed the center line and hit them. Hernandez was pronounced dead the scene, according to CHP.

Investigators believe the slick roads and speed played a factor in the crash.

Carmen... 2014!

Carmen... 2014!

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Music Academy of the West will present a new production of Georges Bizet’s immensely popular opera Carmen next season in honor of legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday, campus officials have announced.

Ms. Horne, who has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997, lent her shimmering voice to numerous critically acclaimed performances of Carmen throughout her illustrious career, defining the title role as few other singers have before or since.

“Such was her prowess in the role that Marilyn came to be identified with the character of Carmen. We can’t think of a more fitting tribute to this extraordinary artist and Music Academy advocate,” said Academy President Scott Reed.

Get Your Poinsettia's

Get Your Poinsettia's

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal Poly's annual poinsettia sale, with more than 2,800 plants and more than 30 different varieties and colors, has begun and will run through mid-December at the Poly Plant Shop on Via Carta Road.

The flowering holiday plants are grown by students in the university’s Poinsettia Agriculture Enterprise Project, which begins every spring. This year’s poinsettia project offers traditional red and white flowers as well as many novelty colors, including pink, orange, marble, maroon, and speckled and unusual leaf forms.

Sizes range from small plants in four-inch pots to poinsettias up to 4-feet tall, ranging in price from $5 to $55.