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Local News

County: No Official Word Yet On Public Memorial for Jackson

Officials scale back planning efforts amid reports that a service will be held outside the area

If a viewing of Michael Jackson’s body at Neverland Ranch is scheduled for Friday, no one has told Santa Barbara County officials.

The county has had no direct contact with the Jackson family, and there is no official information regarding a funeral or memorial service in Santa Barbara County, county communications director William Boyer confirmed in an e-mail sent late Wednesday.

The California Highway Patrol has heard of a public memorial being pushed to next week, most likely Wednesday, and perhaps being held farther south at a venue such as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Staples Center, CHP officer Rich Sapikowski said.

Boyer said the county on Wednesday continued with its limited planning efforts to ensure that certain logistics and resources could be made available should an event take place in Santa Barbara County, but that most of those efforts were placed on hold later in the day as the situation unfolded and it appeared that the focus for any such public activity appears to have shifted to other areas.

Increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Figueroa Mountain Road near Neverland Ranch prompted public safety officials to request that the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department close portions of Figueroa Mountain and Happy Canyon roads on Wednesday afternoon, according to Boyer.

The temporary closure lasted for less than two hours. Those roads and other roads in the area could be subjected to additional temporary closures on short notice throughout the weekend, Boyer said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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