Central Coast roundup

By El Latino Newsroom
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This week the virtual channel DPNews, a student-run news station at Dos Pueblos High school, was named one of the top programs in the US in Long Beach.

Last weekend, DPNews won five awards and was honored as one of the top news and podcast programs in the country at the annual competition Student Television Network in Long Beach.

They won the Daily morning news show – Top 20 shows in the country 

The Goodland Podcast – 2nd best high school podcast in the country

The DPNews program participants have been attending the conference for 16 years, and have won only 3 awards over that time.“Each team produced some great quality work and submitted them in a tight deadline, pressure-filled environment. Win or lose, they all gained a ton of experience, and we are so proud of what they created,” said John Dent, DPNews teacher. 

The national convention/ competition featured 2,700 students from media programs all over the country.

DPNews brought 34 students who participated in 16 contests, most contests are given a prompt and then 3 hours to film and 3 hours to edit. 

Students were challenged to find stories in the community, interview strangers on the street, find the stories of Long Beach, and tell them in a deadline-driven environment.  

“Producing high-quality content like DPNews provides is tough in any setting, especially in a school. But these students do it each and every day. We are proud of the quality work they do to keep DP students informed and to see the hard work be recognized. This program teaches broadcast news skills at a time when quality journalism is more valued than ever before. We thank DPNews teachers John Dent and Doug Caines for their work to prepare students for graduation,” said Dr. Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent.

You can watch the daily editions of DPNews on


Also, Dos Pueblos High School’s Mock Trial team won second place in the state finals over the weekend, when at the championship round, the DP team was narrowly edged by the prosecution team from Menlo School in San Mateo County. 

There are over 300 mock trial teams from across California that compete for county championships to earn a coveted berth in the state tournament. 

This year’s state finals took place in downtown Los Angeles. 

“To say we are proud of these students is an understatement,” said Superintendent Maldonado.

At the competition, Dos Pueblos senior Jacob Molina was named an “Outstanding Attorney” for defending the fictional robbery and battery case of People v. Franks. 

After each round, the teams chose an MVP from the opposing team, those awards went to Theo Evans, Mackenzie Kelly, Amelia Mendro, and Molina.  

The Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team competed at the state level after winning the Santa Barbara County competition earlier this month, edging out crosstown rivals San Marcos High School. 

The DP Mock Trial team also celebrated a third-place finish at the Empire Mock Trial invitational tournament in Baltimore, Maryland, earlier this school year.

“We know the teachers and coaches work hard to teach the lessons learned through this competition, like critical thinking, public speaking, and law. These skills will serve these students well throughout their life. They make SB Unified proud,” said Maldonado.

Attorney coach Lisa Rothstein noted that the team had shown resilience. 

“We coaches are consistently amazed by this group of students. They’ve survived two Covid seasons and come out stronger. They’ve written, re-written, argued, objected to, and practiced this case until I imagine they were reciting the definition of hearsay in their dreams. We are fortunate to have inherited a great mock trial legacy at Dos Pueblos, and this team is proud to continue that tradition of excellence,” said Rothstein.

Dos Pueblos has enjoyed a long history of success in this competition. 

The team has won three state titles since the competition began 42 years ago and has earned a trip to the final championship round a record eight times.

Senior Edo Barel, one of the team captains, said he was surprised when he heard his team was headed to the championship round.

 “I don’t think I’ve ever been as shocked as I was at that moment. We were already happy to win County, but I’m so proud of us for taking second place at State. The experience is something I’ll never forget, and I got to have it with the best teammates in the world,” said Barel. 

The varsity mock trial team captains are Edo Barel, Amelia Mendro, Jacob Molina, Maxfield Steele, and Io Zhu. Additional team members are seniors Mackenzie Kelly, Elyssa Crutchfield, Koi Liechti, Daniel Nickolov, Rachel Lenchner, juniors Charlotte Choi, Anastasia Li, Tobin Bohley, Alok Thakrar, Victoria Chen, sophomores Liam Avolio, Theo Evans, Sienna Valentine and first-year student Jonathan Yang. 


District Attorney Erik Nasarenko testified before the California Senate Committee on Public Safety this week in support of Senate Bill 442 (SB 442). 

SB 442 seeks to amend section 243.4 of the Penal Code, relating to sexual battery, the new amendment would expand the criminal definition of sexual battery and close a gap that currently exists. 

Current law defines a misdemeanor violation of sexual battery as the unwanted touching of the intimate body part of another person. 

SB 442 would make it a misdemeanor for a person to cause a victim to touch an intimate part of the suspect, the victim or a third person.

“The current law doesn’t properly capture the conduct or acknowledge the wrongdoing. By correcting this omission in the law, SB 442 will bring voice to victims and hold individuals who commit sexual battery accountable,” said District Attorney Erik Nasarenko.

SB 442 was authored by local Senator Monique Limόn and sponsored by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

In 2022, Nasarenko was informed of a Ventura County case where the alleged perpetrator took the victim’s hand and placed it onto his groin over the clothing. 

Disturbed that the conduct could only be punished as simple battery because the victim made the physical contact rather than the perpetrator, Nasarenko contacted Limόn to see if she would consider sponsoring legislation to amend the statute.

“Victims feel no less violated when it is their hands forced to touch another person than when another person touches them,” said Senator Limόn during the hearing. 

The Bill was approved 5-0 by the Senate Committee on Public Safety and moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee to focus on potential cost elements to this proposed change in the Penal Code.

“I thank Senator Limόn for bringing this issue to the forefront and I thank the committee for its decisive action moving this Bill forward,” Nasarenko added. 


District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced today that both people responsible for the death of newborn baby Diego Villa have pled guilty to murder charges. 

Diego Villa (DOB 07/15/98), was in a relationship with Andrea Torralba Camacho (DOB 11/30/98), when they moved to Oxnard from Oaxaca, Mexico, in early 2019. Camacho was pregnant from an alleged rape by another man in Oaxaca and did not want the baby.

On July 18, 2019, Camacho went into labor at St. John’s Medical Center in Oxnard and had a healthy baby boy named Diego. That night, Villa and Camacho attempted to kill the baby. When their initial efforts failed, Villa took Diego in his arms and strangled him. Once it appeared Diego was dead, Villa placed him back in the bassinet and called the nurse. Diego was taken to the intensive care unit and pronounced dead the next day.

Villa and Camacho were charged with murder and assault on a child causing death. Camacho showed symptoms of postpartum depression. Camacho pled guilty to second-degree murder on January 20, 2023. She is set to be sentenced on March 29, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 23 of the Ventura County Superior Court. Villa, pled guilty to the willful, deliberate, and premeditated first-degree murder on February 27, 2023. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 23.

“This case is a tragedy that was completely preventable,” said prosecutor Amber Lee. “California’s Safe Surrender Baby Law would have allowed the defendants to walk away from the hospital and leave baby Diego in the care of medical staff. However, Villa chose to take the life of a defenseless infant who was less than a day old. It’s truly heart breaking that baby Diego’s life was so callously disregarded.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee is a member of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Major Crimes Homicides Unit.

The Safe Surrender Baby Law aims to protect babies from being hurt or killed because they were abandoned. The law allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially surrender an infant, three days old or younger, to any hospital emergency room or designated fire station. As long as the baby has not been abused or neglected, the person may surrender the baby without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. The baby will receive needed medical treatment and be placed in adoptive care.


The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) hosted its monthly Healthy Food Pantry event on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Presidio Springs Community Room located at 721 Laguna St, Santa Barbara, CA. The Healthy Food Pantry events are a collaboration between HACSB, 2nd Story Associates, and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, who provides the supply of food. 

Every third Wednesday of the month, the Housing Authority and Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provide local community members with a bag of fresh produce and nonperishables. Approximately 145 bags of food are given out at each event. 

​​”Food insecurity is still prevalent in our community and it is a fundamental need in Santa Barbara. The Housing Authority’s monthly food distribution aims to fill that necessity and continue to provide this important resource to those experiencing a hardship,” said Leticia Zuniga, HACSB Resident Programs Specialist.

The Healthy Food Pantry event is a part of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s commitment to helping families and individuals create a foundation for stability, wellbeing and self-sufficiency. For more information about the Healthy Food Pantry, please contact Leticia Zuñiga at (805) 897-1059.