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Mudslide sediment is being dumped onto local beaches and some environmentalists are concerned. Elementary school students in Montecito deal with displacement and losing fellow classmates. And a Chumash family refuses to leave their damaged and destroyed homes.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Bastian

Is the mudslide sediment safe for our ocean? 5 MIN, 4 SEC

State officials estimate as much as 2 million cubic yards of fire and mudslide debris still need to be removed from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The sediment from last week’s mudslide in Montecito is being dumped at two state beaches in Carpinteria and Goleta. County officials say they are inspecting each load that is delivered, and refusing any load that contains unpermitted material. But environmentalist are doing tests to make sure the sediment is indeed clean and organic.

Ben Pitterle collects sediment samples at Carpinteria State Beach. Photo credit: Jonathan Bastian

Ben Pitterle, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

Montecito elementary school students, displaced and grieving 5 MIN, 5 SEC

At one public elementary school in Montecito, students went back to school this week without two of their classmates, a kindergartener and 6th-grader who died in the mudslides. Another elementary school is still in an evacuation zone, forcing teachers and administrators to find creative ways to make alternative classrooms.

Photo credit: Kathryn Barnes

5th-grader Noa Lurie-Firestein has been displaced from her home and classroom for more than four weeks because of the Thomas Fire and mudslides in Montecito.

Montecito Union School Superintendent Anthony Ranii decided to create makeshift classrooms at the MOXI Museum, the Santa Barbara Zoo and Santa Barbara City College when he found out his students wouldn’t be able to go back to their campus for weeks.

Gym class at the Santa Barbara Zoo


Kathryn Barnes, Coordinating Producer, KCRW Santa Barbara

The first residents of Montecito refuse to leave 4 MIN, 8 SEC

In the middle of Montecito, surrounded by multi-million-dollar mansions, is a collection of humble wooden houses. They belong to a group of Chumash Indians. Many of their homes were completely damaged by the catastrophic flooding, but one group says their family has been there for more than 150 years and that they aren’t going to leave now.

Marcus Victor Lopez (center) and his sons, Victor Chimaway Lopez (left) and Marcus Victor Oliver Lopez (right). Photo credit: Jonathan Bastian

Marcus Victor Lopez, Montecito resident

Rebuilding without flood insurance 7 MIN, 25 SEC

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, only 58 of the some 3,200 homes in Montecito have flood insurance. That means many homeowners will either be getting a lawyer to argue the Thomas Fire caused the mudslides and should be covered by fire insurance, or will need to rebuild without insurance. Federal disaster assistance only pays up to $35,000.

Amy Bach, United Policyholders

Public transportation becomes the new normal in Santa Barbara 3 MIN

Every day, thousands of people who would commute to work via Highway 101 have been taking the train. It’s one of the only ways to get around with the freeway closed. We speak with passengers about what’s it’s been like adjusting to a new commute.

Commuters wait for the train at the Santa Barbara Amtrak station. Photo credit: Jonathan Bastian

Jonathan Bastian, Morning Anchor, Santa Barbara (@jwbastian)


Jonathan Bastian

Kathryn Barnes

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