Farmworker infected with coronavirus dies in Santa Maria guest-worker housing

By Joe Payne On the day that advocates and community members called for protections for Santa Maria Valley farmworkers hit hard by COVID-19 infection rates, Leo Begario Chavez-Alvarado passed away. A guest worker who worked in Santa Maria for Alco Harvesting, Chavez-Alvarado was tested for coronavirus after he died July 7. The test came backContinue reading “Farmworker infected with coronavirus dies in Santa Maria guest-worker housing”

Advocates call for regulation as Santa Maria farmworkers suffer most from coronavirus infection

By Joe Payne The two most direct governing bodies to the Central Coast’s current coronavirus hotspot, Santa Maria, received a dire warning from a community advocate for the local farmworker and indigenous immigrant population regarding the COVID-19 infection rate: “We are literally a ticking time bomb.” Hazel Davalos, the organizing director for CAUSE (Central CoastContinue reading “Advocates call for regulation as Santa Maria farmworkers suffer most from coronavirus infection”

Santa Maria gyms fail to enforce facemasks as coronavirus infections spike

By Joe Payne As the coronavirus infection rate in Santa Maria continues to rise, several local gyms are lax on state-mandated face covering requirements for members. When called and asked if visitors needed facemasks, staff at four prominent gyms along Broadway confirmed that customers could remove their masks once beginning workouts and were only requiredContinue reading “Santa Maria gyms fail to enforce facemasks as coronavirus infections spike”

Santa Maria gun stores cleaned out of inventory since Sunday unrest

At Get R Gun in Santa Maria, there’s barely a single firearm left in the display case that earlier this week was filled with handguns. Ever since Sunday, May 31, the day a large Black Lives Matter protest downtown was followed hours later in the evening by a scene of unrest, some violence, destruction ofContinue reading “Santa Maria gun stores cleaned out of inventory since Sunday unrest”

Santa Maria NAACP and police prepare for peaceful Thursday vigil as community groups targeted for Sunday’s unrest

BY JOE PAYNE On the day George Floyd was senselessly murdered in Minneapolis, Minn., the Central Coast’s branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held multiple vigils, but not for Floyd. They were meeting to raise awareness of police brutality over the killings of Amaud Arbery, who was shot downContinue reading “Santa Maria NAACP and police prepare for peaceful Thursday vigil as community groups targeted for Sunday’s unrest”

A Sense of Proportion in Santa Maria’s Response to Sunday’s Protest and Unrest

It’s about 24 hours since glass was smashed at the Santa Maria Town Center and a dozen thrill seekers tore through the building, smashing liquor bottles and windows, with a couple even getting away with merchandise looted from at least one store. I’m typing this from home where I have been since before the 9Continue reading “A Sense of Proportion in Santa Maria’s Response to Sunday’s Protest and Unrest”

Live coverage: Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California, May 31, 2020

The Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California today went marching by my home, so I did what any self-respecting journalist would do and ran outside! My phone had enough battery for about 30 minutes of live streaming, which includes the march along Broadway back to the Santa Maria City Hall where protestors satContinue reading “Live coverage: Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Maria, California, May 31, 2020”