Kelsey Brugger

Paul Wellman

Kelsey Brugger

Year in Review: Kelsey Brugger’s Favorite Stories of 2017

News Reporter Kelsey Brugger Picks a Few of Her Favorite Articles from the Past Year

As part of our year in review, we’ve asked a few of our writers and editors to suggest a few of the stories they were particularly proud of this year. Here’s what News Reporter Kelsey Brugger told us.

1. ‘Women Roar Back’

Kelsey Brugger

Creative poster-making flourished at the Women’s March on Washington. Katilyn Thomas, 20, marched to have her voice be heard. She called it powerful and beautiful to have all types of people there, and it “really exceeded” her expectations.

I like this piece because I felt as if I were experiencing a defining moment in American history — the Women’s March on Washington the day after President Trump’s Inauguration on January 20.

2. ‘Among the Detainees at Adelanto’

By Paul Wellman

Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County is one possible destination for Santa Barbara’s undocumented immigrants who find themselves in law enforcement’s crosshairs.

For this story, I went to Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County to see firsthand how the United States government locks up immigrants who have not necessarily been convicted of a crime.

3. ‘The Artistic Life of a Con’

By Paul Wellman

For the better part of a year, I talked to Fulton Leroy Washington about his experience in prison, where he was serving a life sentence. One day he picked up a paintbrush and quickly became a renowned artist. This is the story after President Obama commuted his sentence.

4. ‘Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields’

By Paul Wellman

Here, celery is harvested and made ready for market. But last year, farm labor shortages forced growers to let $13 million worth of their crops go unpicked, left to rot in the fields.

You never know which stories are going to get picked up by national news outlets. This story was about Santa Barbara County farmers having to let roughly $13 million of crops rot in the fields largely because of a farmworker shortage.

5. ‘Lompoc — Toke of the Town’ and ‘Pot Fears Grow in Carpinteria’

Len Wood/Santa Maria Times

The city of Lompoc is known for its murals, and the one pictured recalls its past as a temperance colony. Now, Lompoc is lifting its prohibition on pot.

I spent several months in 2017 talking to everyone involved in the cannabis industry—from farmers to bankers to lawyers to politicians. I filed more than 30 stories about all things cannabis. These are two of my favorites.

By Paul Wellman (file)

The amount of marijuana grown in Carpinteria greenhouses remains amorphous; grower estimates range from 20 to 30 acres out of roughly 280 acres total.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Gas Company Asks Consumers to Conserve

Cold spell could stress natural gas heating infrastructure.

Highway 101 to Close Wednesday and Thursday

Removal of bridge supports at Olive Mill Road to divert traffic through Montecito.

Santa Barbara Surfer Chris Brown Dies

Body found just east of Hendry’s Beach.

Damaged Bridge Repairs Delayed

March, June, and July given as possible completion dates by Caltrans for six bridges along the 192 ...

Natural History Museum Begins Vertebrate Preservation Project

The project will move 45,000 specimens into bug-proof conservation boxes.