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DA Seeks to Re-file Charges Against Orcutt Rap Singer

Santa Barbara County prosecutors were not successful in court last month charging a 20-year-old aspiring rap artist with felony threats against a witness.� Now those prosecutors have returned to court to ask another judge to reconsider the case.

Anthony Murillo of Orcutt saw charges against him dismissed last month.� He had written a rap song posted to the Internet with lyrics referring to a rape case against his friend Shane Villalpando.

"The basic argument is that the song was a true threat and not protected by the First Amendment", says prosecutor and deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian.

Last month the first judge in Murillo's case dismissed the charges against him.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office is now asking another judge to review the same evidence in the case.

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Inaugural "Day of Hope" Fundraiser Taking Place Today

KCOY 12 Central Coast News is proud to participate this year in the inaugural "Day of Hope" taking place today.

It is a first of a kind fundraiser in the Santa Maria Valley that was created to battle cancer and give a big boost to those fighting the deadly disease. More than 300 volunteers were busy all morning selling a special edition of the Santa Maria Times for one dollar paper at more than 35 locations. The goal for the first year is $75,000 in contributions.

Day of Hope Chairwoman, Dr. Monica Rocco, said "The Day of Hope is our first annual benefit to help raise money to benefit patients that are treated here at Mission Hope Cancer Center."

"People were more than willing to not only give more than just one dollar. They were giving five, ten, very grateful. A hundred dollars! A hundred dollars, someone stopped by and gave a hundred dollars", said Hector Rodriguez, a Day of Hope Volunteer.

Recent Rains Fail to Soak Drought Declaration

The rain has been a sight for dry eyes on the Central Coast.

The string of recent rains is helping ease the harshest impacts of the drought for farmers and ranchers.

"We're getting a relatively wet March and April", says Rick Sweet, Utilities Director for the City of Santa Maria, "but we started out extremely far behind, March wasn't really that wet, April is looking to be a little wetter than normal but we're so far behind at this point that its unlikely that its going to make a major change on our water supply for this year."

Sweet is among Central Coast municipal, county and special district water managers keeping close watch on the recent rainfall locally and across the state.

"They are still at 31 percent of snow pack so its still pretty low for water supply", Sweet says, "we're still looking at one of the ten driest years on record so it's a really dry year."

The Real Dangers of Distracted Driving

Eric Okerblom?s life was cut short. He was home in Santa Maria �from UC Berkeley, during the summer of 2009.

Eric?s mom, Eilene Okerblom tells hers son?s story at least 60 times a year. It?s difficult for her to tell the story of how her son died, but she does it to show the very real danger of distracted driving.

"He was home on break, it was such a wonderful time in his life, he was looking forward to going back to Berkeley. He would've been leaving in about three weeks."�

Eric was on a straight road in broad daylight when he was hit and killed by a distracted driver.

"He was really the kindest companionate gentle soul, what killed him was the opposite of who he was; the most mindful person," Eilene said.

On April 1st, the California Highway Patrol kicked off ?Distracted Drivers Awareness? month with Eric?s story.

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Community-based Group Says Fight Against Santa Maria ICE Facility Isn't Over

The recently approved Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility has met with intense criticism from the local immigrant community, farmers, and homeowners. Today a community-based group says their fight against ICE isn't over.

Several community organizations stood in front of city hall to respond to the city council's decision last week on the controversial ICE building. The local immigrant community has spoken out against the new facility in fear of deportation and raids. Community organizers at the press conference promised to continue fighting to stop the facility and explore legal options to do so.

We spoke with an ICE representative by� phone who again said the ICE employees will only process undocumented convicted criminals, and the facility will benefit all of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria Veteran?s Barbecue

Hundreds showed up to the American Veterans United Inc. welcome home ceremony and barbecue in Santa Maria.

The fundraiser was to honor local heroes.

Seoany De Leon and her uncle Pedro Torres were attending. Torres, a marine veteran who served in Korea and Vietnam said the ceremony is special to him.

The ceremony was held to honor the veterans who have returned� from Iraq and Afghanistan, but Torres said it?s also for all veterans to feel loved and appreciated.

Among those attending and speaking at the ceremony were Santa Maria city Mayor Alice Patino, 24th District Congresswoman Lois Capps, 5th district Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, 35th district Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and 19th district Representative Joyce Howerton speaking for Senator Hannah Beth Jackson.

Opponents Disappointed ICE Facility Was Approved

After two months of battling on the issue, the Santa Maria City Council approved plans to build a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility.� The 3-2 vote disappointed several groups opposed the project from the beginning.

Hazel Davalos spoke Thursday night during the 8-hour special City Council meeting on behalf of a group that appealed the Planning Commission's approval of the new ICE processing facility.