Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 09:00 External News

Sherry Villanueva’s family of Santa Barbara restaurants employed 350 people before the pandemic took hold and darkened dining rooms across California. Now, with the state’s economy officially reopened, about 250 workers are back on the job.

Villanueva would hire 100 more if she could – but she can’t find people to take the openings.

“We are in the midst of a very severe labor shortage,” said Villanueva, owner and managing partner of Acme Hospitality, which operates eight eateries in the popular seaside destination, though two remain closed. With staffs stretched paper-napkin thin, the employees “are doing the job of two people.”

Tags: California, Labor
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 08:45 External News

California’s weather moderated after a long siege of extreme heat but firefighters still faced the difficult task of trying to contain a large forest fire in rugged coastal mountains south of Big Sur.

The Willow Fire covered 4.4 square miles of Los Padres National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service said. More than 500 firefighters were on the lines, aided by planes and helicopters.

The fire broke out Thursday evening in the Ventana Wilderness and burned near the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, a Buddhist monastery located in a remote valley.

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 11:00 External News

Thousands of Central California farmers were warned Tuesday that they could face water cutoffs this summer as the state deals with a drought that already has curtailed federal and state irrigation supplies.

The State Water Resources Control Board notified about 6,600 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed who have rights to use water from the Central Valley estuary of “impending water unavailability” that may continue until winter rains come.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 09:45 External News

A heatwave already punishing parts of the U.S. Southwest on Monday was expected to move into California this week, prompting the forecasters to warn of health and fire dangers.

A high-pressure ridge that built over southwestern deserts over the past few days is responsible for the unusually blistering heat this early in the year, National Weather Service meteorologist Karleisa Rogacheski said.

“Today last day of seasonable weather in California,” Rogacheski said.

California saw balmy weather on Monday, with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s Fahrenheit (30-35°C), but forecasts called for warming on Tuesday, spiking into the triple digits by Thursday and lasting several days.

Monday, June 7, 2021 - 11:00 External News

A moderate earthquake struck near the Salton Sea in Southern California on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed.

The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was reported at 10:55 a.m. and centered about 6.8 miles west of Calipatria, the USGS said. It was the biggest among a cluster of earthquakes reported in the area since 1 a.m.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 07:15 External News

Californians headed to campgrounds, beaches and restaurants over the long holiday weekend as the state prepared to shed some of its coronavirus rules.

Southern California beaches were busy with families barbecuing and children playing in the sand and surf. Business owners said they were scrambling to hire workers to keep up with the stream of customers eager to get out since virus cases have fallen and vaccinations have risen.

“It feels very, very close to normal,” Bob Alfera, a resident of seaside Santa Monica, told KCBS-TV.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 12:30 External News

As California sinks deeper into drought it already has had more than 900 additional wildfires than at this point in 2020, which was a record-breaking year that saw more than 4% of the state’s land scorched by flames.

The danger prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to propose spending a record $2 billion on wildfire mitigation. That’s double what he had proposed in January.

“Clearly we recognize we need to step up our efforts here in the state of California and that’s what we began to do early this year,” he said Monday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 12:30 External News

Things look bad with California’s ever-sooner wildfire season seemingly approaching and what’s shaping up to be a severe drought across the Western U.S.

The plague of wildfires in the past few years in California have made things tough for residents and businesses, and in the last few years, larger and more frequent wildfires have been particularly bad for utilities.

One business segment that’s getting some bad breaks are contractors that work for utilities or that work in wildfire-prone areas.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 06:15 External News

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year.

In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. The agency announced last month that hundreds of irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be completely shut off instead.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 08:15 External News

California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week expanded a drought emergency to a large swath of the nation’s most populous state while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending as one of the warmest, driest springs on record threatens another severe wildfire season across the American West.

The Democratic governor said he is acting amid “acute water supply shortages” in northern and central parts of California as he called again for voluntary conservation. Yet the state is in relatively better shape than it was when the last five-year drought ended in 2017, he said, as good habits have led to a 16% reduction in water usage.

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