Space force

County Lines: Motorcyclist dead after crash near Vandenberg Space Force Base |


Biker dies after crash near Vandenberg Space Force Base

A multi-vehicle crash Thursday left a motorcycle fatal and an SUV driver slightly injured near Vandenberg Space Force Base, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Crews responded at 7:49 a.m. to a report of an accident on Highway 1 involving a GMC Yukon, Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Cherokee, Subaru Legacy and Aprilia Tuono motorcycle.

Authorities located the motorcycle driver, who died, 40 feet above the road. The identity of the driver has not yet been released.

The driver of the GMC Yukon – identified by the California Highway Patrol as Natalia Mesa, 21, of Santa Maria – was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, a spokesperson said.

Initially, Mesa’s injuries were believed to be fatal, but were later described as minor by CHP officials.

According to the CHP, the crash occurred when Mesa’s GMC Yukon swung from the south lane to the north lane, colliding head-on with the motorcyclist, according to the California Highway Patrol. The Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Legacy were hit by debris or swerved to avoid the crash, and these drivers were not injured.

While the collision is still under investigation, officers do not at this time believe alcohol or drugs were a factor and no arrests have been made.

Highway 1 was closed between Vandenberg’s main gate and the South Y for more than four hours after the crash.


Cyclist dies after fatal collision on Main Street

A cyclist succumbed to her injuries after a fatal traffic accident on Monday on Main Street.

According to the Santa Maria Police Department, officers responded to the collision at 5:07 a.m. in the 1300 block of West Main Street. Upon arrival, they located the 38-year-old cyclist, who was on the roadway with serious injuries.

No other details were released on the circumstances of the accident.

The victim, who was not identified, was airlifted to a local hospital where he later died, officials said.

Police say drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor at this time, although the investigation is ongoing.


Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA appoints Kathryn Thompson Branch General Manager

Stuart C. Gildred YMCA has promoted Regional Wellness Manager Kathryn Thompson to Branch General Manager.

Thompson, who was born and raised on the Central Coast, began her career with the Santa Barbara County YMCAs in 2019 at the Lompoc branch, and in 2020 joined the Stuart C. Gildred family branch located in Santa Ynez.

Thompson, who took office in May, said she was thrilled to have the privilege of continuing to work in her community.

“I’m so lucky to be part of such a special community – the Valley is an amazing place with a wonderful YMCA,” she said. “Please stop and say ‘hi’.”

For more information about the YMCA and membership options, visit or call 805-686-2037.


Library organizing weekly activities until August

The Solvang Library will host community activities through August, including weekly story times, a children’s book club and a support group.

Beginning August 1, outdoor story time for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers will take place at 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday under the sycamore tree on the Solvang Library Lawn.

Space is limited and reservations can be made at Participants are encouraged to bring a blanket.

At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 11, the “Memory, Coffee, and Compassion” support group will be hosted by Certified Dementia Practitioner Lauren Mahakian, who is an educator and founder/CEO of Family Connect Memory Care. The group is for people struggling with memory problems and cognitive impairment. The meeting will be held outdoors on the Solvang Library patio.

Reservations can be made at

At 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, August 17 and 31, an online book club for children ages 8 to 11 will be hosted by library staff.

August’s book is “Roll With It” by Jamie Sumner.

The story is about a girl named Ellie, who tells it like it is, which surprises some people who see a child in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: she might eat Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’ll become a professional baker. But when Ellie and her mother move to help care for her sick grandfather, Ellie must start all over again in a new town at a new school.

To join the group, go to The first 10 readers to register will receive a free copy of the book.