Santa Maria Sun / Community
Citizen's AlertBenefits, Meetings, Protests, Forums and Public Meetings
Community Notebook 10/23/14-10/30/14
Political Watch 10/23/14
• On Oct. 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $7.8 million in funding for Central California tribes to invest in environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education, and capacity building. “The federal government is committed to protecting human health and the environment in Indian country,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional administrator, in a press release. “This funding will help conserve precious water resources, create jobs, and improve the quality of life on tribal lands.” Central California tribes will use about $5.6 million to continue environmental programs: clean up open dumps, conduct small construction projects, drought mitigation, and community education. The additional $2.2 million will be used for a variety of water quality projects, including watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems. For example: the Yocha DeHe Wintun Nation out of Brooks, Calif., will use funds to support development of a community composting pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of composting and teach residents how to reduce their waste. The press release said that one goal of the funding is to assist tribes to establish environmental protection programs and make informed decisions about the issues that impact human health and the environment. For more information, visit epa.gov/region9/tribal.
• California has the highest poverty rate in the country under an alternative method the U.S. Census Bureau came up with to measure a broader range of income and cost of living variables. The report released in October shows that 23.4 percent of the state’s residents are living in poverty. Under the Census Bureau’s traditional report, the state’s rate is at 16 percent, which isn’t the highest in the nation—New Mexico yields that place with a 21.5 percent poverty rate.
• California’s unemployment rate decreased to 7.3 percent for September 2014, according to data released in October by the California Employment Development Department. The state’s rate was 7.4 percent in August and 8.8 percent in September 2013. Santa Barbara County’s rate decreased to 5.3 percent in September 2014, down from 5.6 percent in August. Lompoc’s unemployment rate was the highest in the county, at 9.6 percent in September. Guadalupe came in second highest with 9.3 percent. Santa Maria’s rate was 8.5 percent. In the southern portion of the county, Goleta and Carpinteria came in at 2.6 percent and the city of Santa Barbara was at 3.7 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate was down from 6.1 percent in August of this year to 5.9 percent in September. In September 2013, the county’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent.
• On Oct. 18, U.S. Rep Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) joined veterans and volunteers at the Santa Maria Fairpark for Santa Barbara County’s annual Stand Down event. The county’s 5th District Supervisor, Steve Lavagnino, organized the event, and it’s the event’s third year running. Stand Down is designed to connect veterans with support services—such as help dealing with legal issues, health concerns, looking for a job, and/or trying to find affordable housing. Vets who attended the event received a free breakfast, lunch, showers, haircuts, and clothing. “Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country,” Capps said in a press release. “We must ensure that the men and women who served our nation have access to the resources they need here at home.”
August and everything after: Locals have struggled to piece together the narrative that's followed six Cal Poly student arrests South County communities plan for low Lopez levels SLO County airport has big plans for a new terminal Cougars & Mustangs Shandon residents say issues with the mail have gotten out of control A dry November: Candidates vying for two Cambria Community Services District seats talk about the town's water woes The SLO City Council is hung up on a decision to override the Airport Land Use Commission on future planning