Santa Barbara

(Phot courtesy Majorie Like Theater)

A historic South Coast theater is one of many in the region closed by the coronavirus crisis.  But, Santa Barbara's Majorie Luke Theater is now being used to create performance webcasts, with its first production premiering this week.

It's one of a series planned for the eight decade old theater, which is on the Santa Barbara Junior High School campus.

(Santa Barbara Fire Department photo by Peter Hartman))

Some residents of a South Coast apartment complex had a close call with disaster, when a malfunctioning wall heater led to a fire and explosion.

It happened at around 5:30 Thursday morning, on West Arrellaga Street in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from a second story apartment. 

We think of Santa Barbara as a place with postcard perfect weather:  Not too cold, and not too hot, with 75 degrees the high on a nice summer day.  But there’s an almost forgotten story about how for more than a half century the city held the record for the hottest place on earth.  The claim is that in 1859, Santa Barbara reached 133 degrees, setting a record for hottest place on earth which lasted more than a half century.

Santa Barbara County announced last week that its beaches will have restrictions over the Labor Day holiday weekend to try to help prevent gatherings which can spread coronavirus.

Now, the City of Santa Barbara is reinforcing that effort by closing most of its oceanfront parking lots next weekend.

(Santa Barbara Police photo)

Some people cleaning out a shed on the South Coast got a lot more than they bargained for, when some bomblike items they found turned out to be real military bombs.

The people were were taking out items from a shed on the 300 block of Ladera Street Saturday afernoon, when they found a half dozen items which looked like old military shells.  Some were the size of a wine bottle.

It’s Saturday night.  In fact, it’s Fiesta Saturday night in Santa Barbara.  Restaurants and bars are busy.

People are wearing masks, and some are social distancing.  It’s hard, with so many people here on what’s become one of the city’s hot spots, the 500 block of State Street, which has become a temporary open air plaza with al fresco dining.

How is Santa Barbara County’s African-American community faring during the pandemic?  That’s the focus of an online community forum this week.

The Martin Luther King Junior Committee of Santa Barbara is sponsoring the Thursday night event, which will specifically look at the pandemic’s impacts on public health, mental health, and housing.

There’s yet another sign of how the coronavirus crisis has put a huge dent in the tourism industry on the Central and South Coasts.  Santa Barbara’s hotel room tax is down by about 20% for the just completed fiscal year, which is a reflection of rooms left empty by the situation.

One of the South Coast’s oldest and longest running community celebrations is underway, but it’s taking on a very different look this year because of the coronavirus crisis.

The traditional parades, and shows which attract hundreds of thousands of spectators have been cancelled, but Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days is still taking place. It’s gone virtual, with a series of live webcasts.

An 82-unit housing project proposed for Santa Barbara's Eastside could be moving forward thanks to an expanded commitment to affordable housing.

The developer on the 711 N. Milpas Street project has offered to make 20% of the project affordable housing, double the city's requirement of 10%.

A South Coast agency has announced plans for a new affordable housing complex specifically focused on helping the homeless.

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is buying two pieces of land on the 100 block of Cota Street for the project.  The plan is to build a three story, 30 unit building on 11,000 square feet of land.

It’s a Saturday night, and a popular downtown Santa Barbara bar is busy.  The Red Piano is open for the first time since March.

Jason Jones is co-owner of the nearly four year old State Street Bar.  He says it's been tough worrying about paying bills while the doors were closed, and not knowing what to tell employees.  But, two days into reopening, business is good, with virutally every indoor and outdoor table occupied.

It’s back to business at a South Coast landmark. Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf wasn’t closed by the coronavirus crisis, but the more than dozen businesses on it were forced to shut their doors. Most of them have now reopened.

Chadillac Greene Westmoreland / Facebook

The protests over the death of George Floyd continue across the nation, and in one South Coast city, murals have begun to decorate the walls of buildings to honor his memory.

A band is playing on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.  Hundreds of people walk up and down the street.  It’s dusk, and business is booming at some restaurants on the 500 block of State Street.