Santa Barbara-Goleta, Saturday, January 31, 2015

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Teen Girl Killed, 2 Hurt in Santa Maria Crash

By | Published on 01/30/2015


A teenage girl was killed, and two other people were injured Friday night when a car slammed into a light pole in northeast Santa Maria, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

The crash occurred shortly before 9 p.m. on East Donovan Road at Suey Crossing Road, said Battalion Chief Ed Hadfield of the Santa Maria Fire Department.

Emergency personnel arrived on scene to find two people trapped in the wreckage, requiring extensive extrication, Hadfield said.

Five teenagers were in the car when it crashed, and they were believe have been coming from a basketball game at nearby Pioneer Valley High School, said police Sgt. Steve Lopez.

The 17-year-old driver of the vehicle was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Lopez said, but succumbed to her injuries.

Two other patients were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, Lopez said.

Details on their injuries and conditions were not available.

The name of the girl who was killed was not released pending notification of relatives.

The accident was being investigated by the Santa Maria Police Department.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Jennifer Aniston Honored with SBIFF’s Montecito Award for Her Role in ‘Cake’

By | Published on 01/30/2015


A tribute presentation at the Arlington Theatre begins with a montage of clips showcasing the actress' 25 years of work

Santa Barbara was able to have its cake and eat it, too, as the Arlington Theatre was buzzing on Friday night with the presentation of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Montecito Award to Jennifer Aniston for her recent role in the movie Cake.

The sold-out audience was captivated by her charm and showed strong support for her performance in the challenging role as Claire Bennett in the film.

“For me, I was so excited for the challenge. I felt it was such a beautiful written script. Claire is so complex — it’s an actor's dream role,” Aniston told Noozhawk from the red carpet, wearing a black Tom Ford jump suit.

The 45-year-old Aniston began her career in television, receiving her most notable break in 1994 with the role of Rachel Green on the show Friends. A raucous group of fans sang along to the tune from the hit show, “I’ll Be There for You,” while waiting for autographs.

During the 10-year success of the comedy series. she also moved into movies such as Office Space and The Good Girl. Other performances in film have included Horrible Bosses, Along Came Polly and a vocal performance in the animated film The Iron Giant.

It’s her latest role in Cake that has attracted the attention of film festivals, including a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival after the screening of the film.

“Once in awhile a performer who we thought we knew gets outside of his or her comfort zone and shows us the unexpected,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said. “When that happens it is cause for celebration — and this is why the 2015 Montecito Award is bestowed upon Ms. Aniston.”

The tribute presentation began with a montage of clips that showcased her 25 years of work, bringing laughs, breathless moments, tears and cheers from a sold-out crowd at the Arlington.

Aniston quipped that the montage with all of the applause was “just amazing. This has taken my breath away. It was so beautiful. “

Actress Jennifer Aniston talks about her career and her role in the movie Cake. (Fritz Olenberger / Noozhawk photo)

The beloved actress discussed her early struggles in acting while working as a bike messenger and waitress in New York. And how her father, John Aniston, also an actor with a role on Days of Our Lives, tried to persuade her not to get into the field. Aniston, however, “had this deep feeling in my gut that someday something special was going to happen.”

SBIFF board chairman Jeff Barbakow presented the Montecito Award to Aniston for her entire body of work and the transformation that the actress took for her role in Cake, dressing down from her usual glamorous persona to a gritty, scarred and drug-addicted character struggling with the pain of losing a child, who drives away her friends, husband and support group.

Aniston shared with Noozhawk from the red carpet how she prepared for the role and what were some of the difficult moments that she had to overcome.

“It was really important that I portrayed correctly and I had an amazing team — from people that are doctors to women and men suffering from chronic pain, to doctors explaining drugs and the combination of them and the use of them,” Aniston shared. “I just learned a boatload and I have such a deep, deep passion for people suffering from chronic pain.”

Her well-documented romantic life has included a relationship with Brad Pitt, but it was her current squeeze and fiance, Justin Theroux, who was beside her Friday night on the red carpet and during the tribute. Theroux is also an actor known for his work in Mulholland Drive and the HBO series The Leftovers, and also starred with Aniston in the 2012 film Wanderlust.

An upcoming film in development for Aniston is Mean Moms with director Beth McCarthy-Miller, who has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards for her work on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.

A Southern California native, Aniston’s list of international recognition includes 32 wins and 67 nominations for awards from an array of categories, including the Directors Guild of America, Independent Spirit Awards, the MTV Movie Awards and many more.

Aniston was gracious for the honor from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and shared how she’s been coming to Santa Barbara since she was a baby and has memories of building sandcastles and making dreams.

The Montecito Award was created in recognition of a performer who has given a series of classic and standout performances throughout his or her career and whose style has made a major contribution to film, and Aniston’s notable work in comedy and drama fit the bill in this 10th anniversary of the award. Previous recipients of the Montecito Award include such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening, who was the award’s first recipient in 2005.

The Tribute Awards continue on Saturday night with Michael Keaton set to receive the Modern Master Award.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Letter to the Editor: Let Business Owners Decide on Santa Barbara Improvement District

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Recently, there have been comments and concerns voiced about the effort to create a business improvement district (BID) for Santa Barbara’s Eastside. Misconceptions about what a BID is and what it’s not are hampering reasonable discussion.

I am in a BID downtown, pay annual dues and serve on the Board of Directors. Decades ago, downtown businesses formed a coalition and agreed to assess themselves membership dues in order to promote downtown Santa Barbara and to have a unified voice with a local government. This coalition (Downtown Santa Barbara) also performs sidewalk cleaning and landscape maintenance in the BID under contract with the city.

Of the various business organizations I have participated in during four decades of operating the Paradise Café, it is by far the most useful and provides tangible benefits to the district. In short, the downtown BID functions well for its stakeholders, and fosters cohesion and cooperation.

I do not have a business on the Eastside, and so have no part in either advocacy or opposition to these efforts. I do, however, wholeheartedly support any neighborhood’s attempt at formalizing unity, agreeing on a common purpose and exercising self-determination. The desire of the stakeholders to pay dues for such purposes will be measured by the their votes on the initiative.

Certainly the Milpas Community Association, the organizing force in the Eastside BID, is to be admired for its efforts in promoting the Eastside business area and organizing homeless outreach and other programs over the past few years.

Whether the proposed idea successfully launches will be up to the participants. We should keep all politics and personalities out of this, and let the business owners decide.

Randy Rowse
​Santa Barbara business owner and city councilman


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Hundreds of Volunteers Administer ‘Point in Time’ Count of Homeless

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Volunteers fan out across Santa Barbara County to assess and aid those living on the streets

More than 600 volunteers woke up before dawn this week, braving the morning cold and darkness to reach out the county's most vulnerable residents in an effort to gather data and move the homeless into housing and services.

On Wednesday and Thursday, volunteers went out to survey the county's homeless as part of a "point in time" count, an event done every two years.

In 2013, more than 500 volunteers took part in the effort, and since that time more than 800 people have been housed, including children, veterans and people at risk of an early death, according to numbers from Common Ground Santa Barbara County, the group that organizes the effort along with the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness.

This year, volunteers were able to use a smartphone app to gather data instead of filling out paper forms. Volunteers asked a variety of questions about the person's housing situation and health history in order to help get those most at risk into housing.

Volunteer Barry Taugher was assigned to interview people at the Salvation Army on Wednesday.

"What a huge impact," he said of the experience that had him interviewing a handful of people that ranged in age.

By asking questions about their drug histories, whether they were victims of domestic abuse, and other intensely personal topics, "you get little glimpses into their stories," he said.

Taugher said he's "probably more hopeful" about solving homeless after administering the surveys, adding that the national Common Ground group just exceeded its goal of housing 100,000 people.

He called seeing the hundreds of volunteers show up for trainings "amazing."

"It was people just wanting to do the right thing and solve the problem," he said.

Another volunteer was Ashley Tidey, a teacher at Laguna Blanca School.

Her ninth- and 10th-grade classes have been reading "Of Mice and Men" and "Antigone," and Tidey was able to weave themes of vulnerability and freedom into a class discussion about homelessness and the role of society.

Tidey, 11 Laguna students, and faculty and parents participated in the survey, and Tiday's group was assigned to canvas Oak Park for people to participate in the survey.

"It's one of the most transformative experiences I've had," she said. "It was beautiful and intense and a little scary. It pushed us outside of our comfort zone."

Tidey said the students conducted interviews with some of the individuals they discovered camping in the park, an eye-opening experience for the young teens.

Tidey has been able to bring in Dr. Mimi Doohan, who practices street medicine in addition to primary care, to speak her classes about the homeless and what it means to be vulnerable in the community.

As for the surveys, "It's bringing visibility to a part of the community in Santa Barbara that can go unseen," she said. "It was about opening our eyes and doing so together."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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New Industrial Technology Complex Opens at Allan Hancock College

By | Published on 01/30/2015


$17.6 million facility on the Santa Maria campus includes the Blaine Johnson Memorial Engine Lab

Allan Hancock College celebrated the opening of its new $17.6 million Industrial Technology Complex on Friday afternoon, including an automotive lab remembering a top drag racer from Santa Maria.

The complex, Building O on the Santa Maria campus, includes more than 35,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space for the eight industrial technology programs.

Those programs are apprenticeship training, architectural drafting, auto body technology, automotive technology, electronics technology, engineering technology, machining and manufacturing technology, and welding technology.

They had been housed in facilities some 50 years old, and both staff and students welcome the additional space.

Eric Mason, department chairman, said he's partial to the auto body section since that’s where he teaches.

“But I’m pretty excited about the whole Industrial Technology Complex,” Mason said, adding they waited a long time for the facility,

The complex is the last major project funded by bond Measure I, which was passed by area voters in 2006.

Some of the labs in the former facility were inadequate for the number of students and equipment they needed to accommodate, Mason said.

Lack of space wasn’t the only problem with their former home. They battled frequent power problems that interfered with equipment.

AHC industrial
Allan Hancock College celebrated the grand opening of its new Industrial Technology Complex on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Guest speakers at Friday’s ceremony also included Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers; AHC Board of Trustees President Greg Pensa; Pam Johnson, Blaine Johnson family representative; as well as machining and manufacturing technology graduate Francisco Navarro.

Blaine Johnson, a Santa Maria resident, was a professional drag racer who died from injuries he received in a crash Aug. 31, 1996, in Indianapolis. He had already won several top championships. 

His family made a donation to the Industrial Technology Program to provide equipment in the Blaine Johnson Memorial Engine Lab. 

Both Blaine and his crew chief brother, Alan, who has carried on in the racing sport and won more championships while earning global recognition for his performance engineering, attended Hancock College, their sister Pam Johnson said. 

“We knew that if there was going to be a way to keep Blaine’s memory alive, we wanted to put it into something that he loved,” said Pam Johnson, who lives in Phoenix. “And he loved being here in the program.”

The family holds a golf tournament and auction fundraiser to also provide scholarships in Blaine Johnson’s name. In all, approximately $500,000 has been donated his memory of Blaine Johnson.

The grand-opening event concluded with a raffle drawing of items built and created by industrial technology faculty and staff, as well as a unique ribbon cutting ceremony with a metal ribbon created by welding instructor Gabriel Marquez.

The complex is the last major project funded by bond Measure I, which was passed by area voters in 2006. The $180 million bond has resulted in the college’s new track and fields, Student Services and Administration buildings, Children’s Center, all in Santa Maria. 

It also funded the Public Safety Training Complex at the Lompoc Valley Center along with millions of dollars in new technology for the community college.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Library Waiting on Building Permit to Start Construction of Children’s Library

By | Published on 01/30/2015


A building permit is the last piece needed to begin construction of the new Children’s Library within the Santa Barbara Central Library downtown.

The issue of obtaining that permit — involving certain Americans with Disabilities Act requirements related to the number of bathroom plumbing fixtures — shouldn’t delay a building timeline much, though, library director Irene Macias said at a library committee meeting.

She also presented board members at the monthly meeting Tuesday with a progress report on the Library Plaza project and with the possibility of lessening late fees for borrowed DVDs.

Construction of the Children’s Library was slated to start in February after city officials granted final approval late last year, awarding the contract to Viola Inc. for $1,497,296.

The project requires relocating the existing children’s section from the main level to the lower level, where a state-of-the-art Children’s Library can provide youngsters with a space more than four times the current 1,500-square-foot spot.

Completion was tentatively set for mid-2015 at the main library at 40 E. Anapamu St. — a branch that hasn’t been remodeled since 1980.

Because some private library office space will be freed up for public use, and since a main-level boys and girls restroom will be converted for adults and vice versa, Macias said the staff needs to reexamine the appropriate number of toilets, urinals, etc.

“We’re still, unfortunately, without our permit,” she said. “We’re pretty confident that, in the end, it’s going to work out.”

Contractors were still making changes to a stormwater management plan for the Library Plaza project this week, Macias said, and staff also asked for a cost analysis of phasing the work or doing it all at once. 

Improvements include removing the plaza’s walls to improve visibility and ADA access to the library’s south entrance facing the city's parking garage.

The Library Plaza project received design approval from the Historic Landmarks Commission in June 2014, and the total project cost was estimated at $3.9 million.

Scott Love, library services manager, said revenue fell about $2,500 below projections — largely because patrons can now check out a DVD for three weeks instead of one, paying fewer fees.

Although expenditures were also up a bit because of several library projects, Love said he expected that number to level out.

A new color-copier machine could help. Patrons can pay 20 cents per copy — a lot cheaper than Kinko’s, board members agreed.

With a library budget due to the city Feb. 25, Macias said staff was considering one change to fees, which involved charging a 25-cent daily fee for late DVDs instead of $1.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Sacramento Couple Arrested in Santa Barbara Robberies Suspected of ‘Multi-State Crime Spree’

By | Published on 01/30/2015


The man and woman arrested in connection with the Jan. 5 armed robbery of Santa Maria’s Cool Hand Luke’s restaurant have been accused of a "multi-state crime spree," according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Chanzie Cox, 27, and Michael Angelo Ortiz, 33, both of Sacramento, are in custody in Sacramento County and are suspected of committing at least 11 armed robberies throughout California and Colorado.

That includes an armed robbery at a Los Alamos residence Jan. 4 of this year — the day before the Cool Hand Luke’s robbery — and two residential burglaries in Goleta on Oct. 17, 2014, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Last October, police officers in Sacramento County discovered Cox and Ortiz in a parked car with stolen property in their possession, including items from two burgled Goleta homes on the 1500 block of Holiday Hill and the 200 block of La Patera Lane.

Chanzie Cox

ox and Ortiz were both booked into the Sacramento County Jail for possession of stolen property at the time.

Cox also had two outstanding warrants and possessed burglary tools, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

On Jan. 20, out of custody, they were both arrested again, this time by the Roseville Police Department in Sacramento County for being in a stolen vehicle.

Ortiz had a concealed loaded firearm — also stolen — on his person and they had stolen property from a Jan. 4 armed robbery of a Los Alamos residence, Hoover said.

Michael Angelo Ortiz

“In that case, the victim had recently met Cox and let the suspects into his home around 5 a.m. to use the phone. Once inside, they held the victim at gunpoint and robbed him,” she said.

The suspects committed an armed robbery at Cool Hand Luke’s restaurant in Santa Maria the next day, Hoover said.

Investigators say Cox and Ortiz committed 11 armed robberies throughout California and Colorado and there could be more victims in those states as well as Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Utah. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Mark James Miller: Fear of Public Speaking in the Age of Anxiety

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Everyone knows we live in an “age of anxiety.” The English poet W.H. Auden coined the term in 1947 and, in the years since, it has become a catchphrase.

Americans are anxious about being the victim of a mass shooting; they fear walking alone in the dark; they are afraid of snakes and spiders; many suffer from fear of the number 13 — “triskaidekaphobia.” But survey after survey reveals that topping our list of fears is “glossophobia” — fear of speaking in public.

So many Americans are afraid to speak to an audience that comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked, “Speaking in front of a crowd is the No. 1 fear of the average person ... No. 2 was death. That means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Seinfeld may have been given to overstatement, but not by much. As a teacher I have noticed that for most students, getting up in front of the class to make a presentation is a torturous experience.

For some, simply answering a question aloud from the relative safety of their desk is difficult. So it was no surprise to learn that for as many as 75 percent of Americans, the thought of making a speech is “scarier than rattlesnakes,” in the words of a communication professor, and is “the number one fear reported by people in the U.S.”

Why is public speaking so frightening to so many people? It is a fear akin to panic disorder. People freeze, perspire, tremble, experience a tightening of the throat, faint or nearly faint.

The reasons behind these physical symptoms are fear of looking foolish, of forgetting what they intended to say, boring the audience, fear of failure, fear of being judged, and fear of rejection — a kind of social ostracism that may be “hard-wired” into our makeup.

For those who do not have or have overcome glossophobia, the ability to speak to an audience is empowering, enabling them to communicate their ideas (and perhaps get the audience to act upon them) in a way that others cannot.

The spoken word connects with its audience on a deeper, more visceral level than the written word does. While the written word certainly can move people and cause them to have an emotional reaction — think of the Nazi book burnings in 1933 and the burning of the Koran by a fundamentalist church in Florida in 2011 — these are nothing compared to the screams of a crowd when a speaker moves them.

Shakespeare alluded to this in Julius Caesar, when Mark Antony addressed the mob of Romans by saying, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears/I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” Antony’s emotional speech has a far greater effect on the Romans than does Brutus’ less emotional and more rational approach.

Great speeches, like great writing, endure (and it is well to remember that all speeches begin with written words). The ability to reach an audience through the spoken word can have long-lasting consequences. In 1960 Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass., began his presidential campaign considerably behind Republican Vice President Richard Nixon. But Kennedy was more articulate than Nixon (as well as better looking) and in the televised debates ran circles around him. This was the decisive factor in Kennedy’s come-from-behind victory that year.

Three years later, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. moved the nation’s conscience with his “I Have A Dream Speech” in Washington, just as, 100 years before, President Abraham Lincoln made the most famous speech ever given by an American at Gettysburg, beginning with the memorable words, “Four score and seven years ago ...”

But the ability to move an audience emotionally is a two-edged sword. The same year King spoke of having a dream, Alabama Gov. George Wallace brought an audience of white Southerners to a fever pitch by declaring “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

We have only to think of the hysterical mobs at the Nuremberg rallies, or of Benito Mussolini on the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome on June 10, 1940, to realize the truth of this: As the crowd below chanted, “Duce! Duce! Duce!” Mussolini announced, “An hour marked by destiny is striking the sky of our fatherland!” Italy, he told the crowd, was now at war, a war that would have disastrous consequences for the Italian people.

In spite of how frightening public speaking is — or perhaps because of it — it is a popular topic. Go to Google and type in “books on public speaking” and you will get more than 40 million responses! Amazon lists 4,500 books on public speaking, many of which are dedicated to or at least deal with how to overcome the fear that it brings along with it.

How can people overcome their fear of speaking to a crowd?

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain,” in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and while that may be an oversimplification of how to get over some deeply ingrained feelings, this is in essence what most of the experts on this topic advise.

If someone wants to get past their fear of public speaking then the way to do so is to get up in front of an audience and say something — “Just do it!” as the cliché says. Of course, careful preparation is important, realizing that public speaking is a skill that can be mastered, and knowing your audience all play a role.

Not everyone wants to speak in front of a crowd, and most people go most of their lives without doing so. Living in an age of anxiety, people see no need to add to their stress levels by taking on an extra-stressful task.

But conquering a fear — any fear, from the fear of heights to walking under a ladder — is empowering, and can help people, in the words of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, find “the better angels of our nature.”

Perhaps if this happened, we could move on from the Age of Anxiety to another Age of Reason.

— Mark James Miller is a teacher and writer, and has been a part-time English instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria since 1995. He is president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, California Federation of Teachers Local 6185, and is an executive board member of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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New Burtness Auditorium Opens at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital recently celebrated the opening of the New Burtness Auditorium with a dedication event held Wednesday.

Nearly 41 years ago, the first floor auditorium at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital was named after the esteemed physician Dr. Hildahl Burtness. Dr. Burtness, who arrived in Santa Barbara in 1929, was well known for his work in diabetes research at the Sansum Diabetes Center.

As construction progresses on the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to meet state-required earthquake safety standards, several of the original buildings have had to be closed and demolished to make way for new buildings. This includes the closure and upcoming demolition of the original Burtness Auditorium.

The sons of the late Dr. Burtness — George, William and Robert Burtness, and their families — participated in the dedication event and were honored for their generous commitment that allowed for the creation of the auditorium. The new meeting space, totaling 2,100 square feet, is now located on the sixth floor of the hospital building facing Bath Street. With a spectacular view of the Santa Barbara hills, the new Burtness Auditorium provides vital meeting, teaching and event space for the hospital.

A portrait of Dr. Burtness, which previously graced the outside of the original auditorium, will now hang in the entry vestibule to the new Burtness Auditorium. The new plaque, framed with the portrait of Dr. Burtness, reads:

Burtness Auditorium

Originally dedicated May 21, 1973, to Dr. Hildahl I. Burtness by the Medical Staff and Board of Directors with the respect and affection of his colleagues and friends. Rededicated in this location on January 28, 2015, in loving memory of Dr. Hildahl and Luella Burtness through the generous support of their sons, George, William and Robert.

The original bronze dedication plaque will be displayed in the future museum space at the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

— Maria Zate is a spokeswoman for Cottage Health System.


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CAMA Elects Jill Felber to Board of Directors

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Jill Felber

The Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara (CAMA), celebrating its 96th concert season in 2014-15, has elected Jill Felber to its Board of Directors.

Felber is a professor of flute and chair of the Department of Music at UC Santa Barbara.

She has performed solo recitals, chamber music and concertos on five continents and has held residencies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Brazil and the United States.

Felber has inspired many composers to write solo and chamber works for her and for her flute duo ZAWA!, and is currently engaged in several commissioning projects. She has premiered over 400 works for the flute and has released world premiere recordings for Centaur Records, CRI, Neuma Records and ZAWA!MUSIC.

CAMA, Santa Barbara’s oldest arts organization, brings the finest classical musicians from around the globe to Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre and Lobero Theatre.

— Justin Rizzo-Weaver represents CAMA.


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Lompoc Valley Medical Center Named Among ‘Top 100 SafeCare Hospitals’

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Lompoc Valley Medical Center was notified this week that it has received the honor of being named one of the “Top 100 SafeCare Hospitals 2014-15” for achieving the best overall performance among 3,500 acute care, nonfederal hospitals.

This distinction uniquely identifies the country’s best health-care institutions based on robust, evidence-based criteria of the Affordable Care Act.

LVMC was specifically named for Overall Best Processes of Care; Best Outcomes of Care and Best Efficacy of Care.

Only the 100 hospitals under 100 beds with the highest scores made the “100 SafeCare Hospitals Under 100 Beds” list. Only five other hospitals of this size in California achieved the rating.

“There are a total of 3,500 hospitals in the country under 100 beds and this is a remarkable acknowledgement of the dedication and skill of Lompoc Valley Medical Center staff,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Raggio said. “We are proud of our accomplishment.”

The unsolicited honor, from the SafeCare Group, analyzed hospitals for the overall lowest risk-standardized Day Mortality rates, lowest 30-Day Readmissions, lowest Complications Rates in Medical and Surgical Care, lowest in-hospital Medical and Surgical Infections, highest Medical and Surgical Processes of Care measures for Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia and Surgical Care Improvement Rating and highest Patient Satisfaction scores.

The 100 SafeCare Hospitals survey utilized a methodology that is firmly rooted and grounded on nationally recognized, evidence-based metrics and data.

To produce a meaningful ranking of U.S. hospitals, The SafeCare Group  looked to the Affordable Care Act for guidance of an evidence-based framework for the 100 SafeCare Hospitals  rankings. The medical and legal experts who designed, developed, and implemented the Affordable Care Act believed that a listing of outperforming hospitals in the areas of Hospital Value Based Program (HVBP), Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program (HACRP) would promote strong incentives to improve care.

“The ranking from The SafeCare Group uses the same data from all hospitals surveyed and SafeCare also uses current statistics,” Mr. Raggio stated. “That provides a more valid rating and is a more appropriate indication of LVMC’s capability and quality of care than other surveys.”

The SafeCare Group was founded in 2010 to help hospitals excel in the areas of Patient Safety, Quality, and Efficiency through best-in-class PQE software, high quality people, and value-added services.

Dr. Yisrael Safeek, founder and chairman of The SafeCare Group, said in a statement that if all U.S. hospitals attained the 100 SafeCare Hospitals level, more than 400,000 hospital deaths and close to 5.1 million preventable complications would have been prevented.

The SafeCare Group produces the Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation Readiness App for Joint Commission compliance. Between 2005-14, Dr. Safeek was intermittently employed by The Joint Commission, holding certifications in the Hospital Accreditation Program and the Outpatient-Based Surgery Program. He also served as Chief Quality Office and Chief Medical Officer for some of the largest, most respected hospital systems in the nation.

— Nora Wallace is a public relations coordinator for the Lompoc Valley Medical Center.


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Trent Benedetti: Answering Gov. Jerry Brown’s Challenge on Oil

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Gov. Jerry Brown recently challenged California to reduce by half our dependence upon oil for transportation by 2030.

Brown did not limit his audacious goal-setting to reducing oil usage. He challenged us to fund education, provide health care, ensure public safety and deal with liabilities totaling hundreds of billions of dollars, including pension obligations, deferred road and bridge maintenance, and debt.

In simplest terms, Brown challenged us to work together for a stronger economy and a cleaner environment.

One of Brown’s environmental concerns is climate change, a concern shared by millions of Californians. It may not be your concern but why not work together to reduce our collective carbon footprint? The fact is, we have been doing that for several years and making impressive reductions in our carbon output.

In acknowledging progress to date, Brown said “California has the most far-reaching environmental laws of any state and the most integrated policy to deal with climate change of any political jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere.” He specifically cited AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) as an example of California’s leadership.

So how do we take additional carbon out of our economy without taking out our economy? There is a way.

According to Brown, it will require conservation and cooperation. imagination and innovation, technology and transformation, and, along with everything else, a healthy dose of pragmatism.

Every day in 2013, California used approximately 1.7 million barrels of crude oil. Some was used to make consumer products — for example, almost all cell phones are protected in plastic made from oil — but most was used for transportation.

Transportation is vitally important. It is integral to tourism, farming and manufacturing. To national defense. In fact, it is integral to education. After all, children must get to school.

California imports most of the oil it uses. California imported approximately 1.1 million barrels daily throughout 2013 and produced in-state about 600 thousand barrels each day, mostly from onshore fields.

As part of meeting Brown’s challenge, we should resolve to stop importing oil. Imported oil is not developed and produced according to the same environmental standards as oil developed and produced in California.

They are not the only standards where others fall short. Consider Saudi Arabia, from which almost 30 percent of our 2013 foreign imports came. It is a place where women are treated differently than they are in California. King Abdullah’s recent death has focused attention upon what Saudi women can and cannot do.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times story, women in Saudi Arabia are “forbidden from accessing higher education, marrying, obtaining a passport or traveling without the approval of a male guardian.” Women have been arrested for driving.

Why purchase oil from a repressive regime when it could be produced here?

Halving our oil usage will leave us using approximately 850,000 barrels per day. We should produce every single barrel in-state. We can. All we need do is increase in-state production by approximately 250,000 barrels a day.

There would be many benefits to increasing in-state oil production and many more from decreasing money spent to buy oil abroad. Our economy would be stronger. Our nation would also be more secure.

And by subjecting every single barrel of oil we use in California to our environmental laws, our environment would be cleaner. Since our laws include AB 32, there is also no doubt that our carbon footprint would be smaller.

Brown wants to halve our need for oil, improve education, health care and public safety, and reduce our long-term liabilities. If we work together, we can do it.

— Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a longtime local business owner. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Experience Mardi Gras Magic at Friendship Center 16th Annual Festival of Hearts

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! Get ready for an afternoon of merriment, mirth and Mardi Gras magic at Friendship Center’s 16th annual Festival of Hearts.

Dreyfus art
A silent auction at Friendship Center's Festival of Hearts will feature Heart-Art, including this piece created and donated by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Friendship Center photo)

This fun-loving luncheon with local wines, Heart-Art and live auction benefits the nonprofit Friendship Center, providing adult day services to aging and dependent elders as well as support to their family caregivers since 1976.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, enjoy an elegant lunch with a Cajun twist and Fess Parker wines (naturally) at The Fess Parker, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. Festive Mardi Gras attire welcome!

The silent auction will feature unique Heart-Art created and generously donated by Jeff Bridges, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rod Lathim, Judy Nilsen, Karen Stancer, Steven Gilbar, Janice Gilbar Treadwell, Stacie Bouffard, James Dow, Penelope Gottlieb and other local artists and celebrities.

Heart-Art makes perfect Valentine’s Day gifts for your sweetheart! For a sneak peek at the hearts, stop by Renaissance Fine Consignment in La Arcada downtown — they are displayed in the window now through the day before the event.

As a party favor, each guest is invited to choose a hand-decorated papier-mâché heart created by local high school art students.

The live auction, conducted once again by emcee and auctioneer extraordinaire Gail Rappaport, will include magical travel and adventure packages for all tastes.

Favorites each year include: Magic of the Mark, a San Francisco weekend getaway with two nights at Nob Hill’s tony Mark Hopkins Hotel with a gift certificate for the Top of the Mark Skylounge; Staycation Shenanigans with a night at The Fess Parker, four tickets to “It’s Magic” at the Lobero Theatre on Feb. 15, including dinner after the show with cast and crew at Intermezzo, Santa Barbara Zoo adventure package for four, and dinner at The Palace Grill; Enchanted Valley Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez Valley with tastings at Sunstone, Zaca Mesa and Foxen with lunch, and limo provided by DeeTours; Dump & Dine Disappearing Act includes a MarBorg roll-off box for your spring cleaning or remodeling and gift certificates for Harry’s Plaza Café totaling $100; Palm Springs Escape includes three nights at a luxury condo with all the amenities and welcome basket.

New to our auction this year: Hocus Pocus at the Magic Castle includes a visit to the fabled institution donated by owners Milt and Arlene Larsen, along with one night’s hotel accommodations in Los Angeles; Santa Barbara Mysteries Revealed when noted local historian and author Erin Graffy, the Hidden History Detective offers an entertaining and informative historical talk at private Mission Canyon home with wine and hors d’oeuvres; a Razzle-Dazzle Day includes a half-day sailing tour on private vessel with barbecue included, Santa Barbara Zoo adventure package for four, 75-minute professional massage, and a gift basket with wine and tasty treats.

To top it all off is “Big Easy”-going, a four-day/three-night New Orleans trip with choice of accommodations, $100 gift card for dining and three-hour culinary class.

All proceeds from the event support Friendship Center’s H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elders At Risk Today) Program, subsidizing the cost of adult day services for low-income aging and dependent adults and their families.

Top sponsors include Casa Dorinda, HUB International Insurance Services Inc., MarBorg Industries, Union Bank, Louise and David Borgatello, Cal-Western and Pacific Tree, Nancy and Thomas Crawford Jr., Inge Gatz and Steven Gilbar, Susan and John Hanna, Penny Mathison and Don Nulty, Dana and Randall VanderMey, Boone Graphics, Coastal Home Care & Senior Planning Services, Karolyn Hanna, Media 27 and Montecito Bank & Trust.

Festival of Hearts tickets are $100 per person. Click here or call 805.969.0859 for tickets or more information on Friendship Center’s programs.

— Justine Sutton is the grants and development coordinator for Friendship Center.


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Anacapa School Invites Prospective Families to Feb. 5 Open House

By | Published on 01/30/2015


You can choose a school for your kids, or an astonishingly vibrant educational experience that starts their life on an exuberant path. Anacapa is the first step toward extraordinary: rigorous academics, unparalleled civic involvement from our downtown location, arts and humanities, intimate class size. Anacapa is building America’s leaders.

Join us for an open house on Thursday, Feb. 5, where you will have the opportunity to see our cozy downtown campus and hear directly from some of Anacapa's well-spoken, kind, inquisitive students.

Student-led tours begin at 5 p.m. followed by a formal one-hour program starting at 5:30 p.m.

Founded in 1981, Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC-accredited, college preparatory day school for students in grades 7 through 12. The school's historic campus is located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.


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Captain’s Log: Tips for Capturing High-Quality Outdoor Photos, Cover Shots

By | Published on 01/30/2015


A feller sent me a fishing photo for a publication I write fishing reports for. It was a photo of a fisherman standing at the edge of a river, smiling and holding a big steelhead. The scenery was nice and the fish was big, but that’s where the good parts of the photo ended.

I shrugged and forwarded it to the editor, whose job it is to choose which pictures to include in the publication. A few minutes later, the feller sent me another message wanting me to ask the editor if his photo can be the cover shot. I grimaced but dutifully forwarded the message to the editor, who I was beginning to feel sorry for.

The editor sent me a note back saying that the fish was washed out with no color to it, the fisherman’s face had shadows across it and the light was from a bad angle, but the scenery behind him was great. Besides, it was just a simplistic grab-and-grin shot with no character whatsoever.

Grinning sardonically, I replied to the editor, “Yup, and if you don’t use this guy’s mediocre shot on the cover, you’ll be the bad guy. That’s why you get paid the big bucks and have the mahogany corner office. You DO get the big bucks and have the mahogany corner office … right?!  He wrote back, “LOL … I’m working on my sofa at home and I can see a pine tree out the window. Does that count?”

OK. Let’s talk about what kind of picture gets selected for publication. And let’s talk about what kind of photo makes the cover. Publications absolutely love to get good photos. Mostly they get junk, sadly. A publication-worthy photo must first be technically good, with helpful lighting, no shadows across the subject and adjustments set just right so that colors are vivid. Beyond the technical side, a publication-quality photo must help the reader understand what a special story the adventure was.

Now to cover shots. Of the thousands of photos I’ve had published over the years, there have been only a small handful of cover shots. I use a professional camera and I know what I need to capture. But cover shots are where everything planned and unplanned come together perfectly. It is a rare and blessed event that usually includes something almost magical that couldn’t be seen or even expected through the lens.

It may even be possible to take a cover shot with modern cell phones, though the chances are lower than a flat tire. But to make it happen, get back to the basics of good photography and snap enough photos (dozens, at least) that the magic things have a fair chance of creeping in. I’m talking about something like a humpback whale breaching unexpectedly in the background or a hawk swooping in on a ground squirrel. And you can pretty much forget about selfies with the cell phone or iPad. Chances of a selfie cover shot are probably one in a million. They are mostly for social media, where quality is not the important thing.

But the most important advice of all, no matter what device you use, is to align everything you can and then keep snapping lots of photos. Upload them to a device with a larger screen and then delete all but the one single best one. When you look at your photos, be critical and recognize what is mediocre about them — and please don’t put some poor editor in a tough situation.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Police Seek Suspects in Santa Barbara Jewelry Store Robbery

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Police say two suspects entered the Churchill Jewelers store on State Street, and at least one was sitting nearby in a getaway car

Several suspects are being sought by police after a Friday morning robbery at Churchill Jewelers in downtown Santa Barbara.

Two suspects entered the store on the 1000 block of State Street and at least one was sitting nearby in a getaway car, Sgt. Mike Lazarus said. 

The two people inside the store wore masks and police have no description of the suspects.

A handgun was brandished during the robbery, and the suspects used hammers to break the glass display cases and took merchandise, Lazarus said, including some high-end watches.

Police were called at 10:18 a.m. and responded to the scene. They were not releasing information about the suspect vehicle at this time. 

There were no injuries in the incident, and police have no suspects in custody, Lazarus said. 

The store is reportedly closed for the rest of the day. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Bill Macfadyen: Paralyzed Santa Barbara Teenager Now Being Treated at Denver Hospital

By | Published on 01/30/2015


NoozWeek’s Top 5 fills up at a landmark gas station, has its fill of a property dispute, catches a wave at the Rincon Classic, then catches a catamaran fire at the Harbor

There were 85,296 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. Santa Barbara High Student Stricken by Paralysis

Over the span of just a few hours just before Christmas, 17-year-old Gracie Fisher went from numbness in her hands to near total paralysis.

As her condition rapidly worsened late on the afternoon of Dec. 21, Fisher’s mom rushed her to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. By the time she arrived, she could hardly move. By 10 p.m., she had been intubated because she could barely breathe.

Doctors have since diagnosed the Santa Barbara High School junior with acute flaccid myelitis, a neurologic children’s illness that exhibits polio-like symptoms such as focal limb weakness and breathing difficulty.

Since August 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 107 such cases in 34 states. A possible cause remains a mystery.

While their daughter has been hospitalized, Debbie and Bill Fisher have been relying on their faith, family and friends, and all of the therapy techniques they employ at Via Real Physical Therapy, the practice they own in Carpinteria.

“I have to keep myself in a constant state of prayerfulness and mindfulness,” Debbie Fisher told our Lara Cooper.

On Jan. 28, Fisher was transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., which specializes in brain and spinal cord injuries.

“We really believe it’s the right place for Gracie to start her rehabilitation,” her mom said.

“I know your prayers will continue to support us, and I look forward to continuing to share Gracie’s progress,” Debbie Fisher wrote on, the website she’s been using to provide updates on her daughter, as well as the family’s move — including Gracie’s 14-year-old sister, Emily — to temporary quarters in Colorado.

Back in Santa Barbara, the support system is hard at work. A benefit luncheon was held Jan. 25 at the family’s church, First United Methodist Church. Personal trainer Jenny Schatzle is hosting Bring a Donation for Grace Fisher workout on Jan. 31. And a Concert for Gracie fundraiser is planned for Feb. 15 at The Blind Tiger, 409 State St.

Meanwhile, friends of the Fishers have opened a bank account to help the family. Checks to the “Gracie Fisher Fund” can be mailed c/o Jennifer Oakley, 308 Paseo Del Descanso, Santa Barbara 93105.

The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station on the far west end of Hollister Avenue is a Goleta landmark. Tom Modugno wants it to be treated as such. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station on the far west end of Hollister Avenue is a Goleta landmark. Tom Modugno wants it to be treated as such. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

2. Goleta Man Driving Campaign to Save Historic Gas Station on Hollister Avenue

For decades, the Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station has sat as an empty, lonely sentry at the far west end of Hollister Avenue. If Tom Modugno has his way, it will be restored and given a new lease on life.

The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station in its full-service heyday. ( photo)
The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station in its full-service heyday. ( photo)

Modugno, owner of Santa Cruz Markets, grew up in the nearby Santa Barbara Shores neighborhood, and he remembers sneaking into the boarded-up building as a kid. There’s just something fascinating about its mosaic dome and detailed ornamentation. You don’t see that kind of artistry in gas stations these days.

“It’s basically the same as it was,” Modugno told our Lara Cooper as they stood outside the chain-link fencing around the property, which backs up to Sandpiper Golf Club at 7925 Hollister Ave.

Modugno wants to connect the gas station’s past with the present, and he’s launched an online petition calling for the restoration of the property.

“Everybody I’ve talked to loves this building,” he said. “The hard part is getting something done.”

Modugno — who also runs and — says the gas station was built in 1929, and was one of the last of the legendary Pearl Chase’s beautification efforts on the South Coast. The station was abandoned by the 1950s, but it made an appearance in the 1981 remake of the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson.

Santa Barbara County had designated the station a historical site, but that declaration lapsed when the City of Goleta incorporated. Although Goleta’s general plan lists the place as a historic resource, the city apparently would need to form a historical preservation committee and then implement an ordinance designating historical landmarks within city limits.

Modugno, a frequent contributor to Noozhawk’s Photo of the Day feature, would like to see the building restored to its former glory and opened to the public, perhaps as a “mini-museum” with photos and an exhibit explaining some of the area’s history.

Click here to sign the petition.

Want to know the status of this proposed house on Brosian Way in Santa Barbara? Read on and we’ll fill you in. (Cearnal Andrulaitis Architects rendering)
Want to know the status of this proposed house on Brosian Way in Santa Barbara? Read on and we’ll fill you in. (Cearnal Andrulaitis Architects rendering)

3. Brain Surgeon Cleared to Build Ocean-View House in Santa Barbara

A brain surgeon — otherwise known as an “applicant” — has won the right to build his family’s dream home overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel after the Santa Barbara City Council rejected an appeal from a handful of opponents.

Dr. John Park and his wife, Dr. Grace Park, want to build a home for their multigenerational extended family on 2.2 acres of vacant land they own in the 500 block of Brosian Way, above Cliff Drive west of Las Positas Road. To get an ocean view, however, architect Brian Cearnal designed a 5,900-square-foot, two-story residence built on about 3,500 cubic yards of imported fill dirt.

Although most of the Parks’ immediate neighbors support the project, a few residents several blocks away protested, saying the fill dirt situation sets a bad precedent. They wanted the house lowered by about five feet.

The project has been grinding its way through Santa Barbara’s notoriously glacial approval process, often winning unanimous votes at every step. On Jan. 27, the City Council gave its unanimous consent, voting 7-0 to turn down an appeal of the latest approval.

For reasons that escape me, Cearnal made an issue of Park’s profession — he’s a neurosurgeon with the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Hospital — which definitely has been a topic of conversation in Noozhawk’s comments section.

Park and his wife, herself a physician at Sansum Clinic, are building the house for their extended family, which includes their three children, Grace Park’s parents and John Park’s mother.

With spectacular conditions, scores of surfers were on board at the 2015 Rincon Classic. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)
With spectacular conditions, scores of surfers were on board at the 2015 Rincon Classic. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

4. Surf Set Finally Takes to the Waves at 2015 Rincon Classic​

After a couple of weeks of delays while waiting for just the right swell, hundreds of surfers and spectators packed Rincon Beach the weekend of Jan. 23-25 for the 2015 Rincon Classic. When it was all said and surfed, Montecito’s Conner Coffin had all the right moves to take the title.

Coffin outsurfed ​Cory Arrambide of Ventura, Tarik Khashoggi of Santa Barbara and Mike McCabe of Ventura to win the Rincon Brewery Pro Final.

Other weekend winners:

» Jeff Knell, Men’s

» Demi Boelsterli of Santa Barbara, Women’s

» Eric Ronning of Ventura, Juniors

» Tommy McKeown, Boys

» Jabe Swierkocki of Ventura, Gremlins

» Adam Virs of Ventura, Masters

» Tony DeGroot of Summerland, Grandmasters

» Steve Hanson, Legends

» Abby Brown of Santa Barbara, Wahine

» ​Evan Trantvein, Longboard

Click here for the complete standings from the 2015 Rincon Classic. Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.

(Noozhawk video)

5. Fire Engulfs Catamaran at Santa Barbara Harbor

A catamaran caught fire in the Santa Barbara Harbor the night of Jan. 27, and the flames and commotion could be seen and heard from the Riviera.

Santa Barbara firefighters were dispatched at 9:30 p.m. to Marina 2, where the 36-foot Wizard of Bristol was ablaze at its mooring.

Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said SBFD crews, assisted by the Harbor Patrol, were able to put out the fire fairly quickly — while keeping it from spreading to nearby boats in the dock’s tight quarters.

Five fire engines, a truck and two Harbor Patrol boats responded to the scene, along with an American Medical Response ambulance.

McCoy said it wasn’t clear if the vessel was occupied when the fire broke out. He said there were no injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

                                                                 •        •        •

With sensible products like this, how in the world could SkyMall file for bankruptcy? HT to my friend, Mick Guinn, at Mick’s Macs. BTW, I’m pretty sure he has one in his kitchen.

(SkyMall video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Anna Corbett Hired as Senior Portfolio Manager for PSSH’s Duncan Group

By | Published on 01/30/2015


Anna Corbett
Anna Corbett

Anna Corbett has been hired as senior portfolio manager at The Duncan Group, the mission-based property management affiliate of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

Corbett will manage more than 15 affordable housing properties as well as two single-room occupancy hotels located throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Previously, Corbett was area director of property operations for Mercy Housing in Seattle, Wash., and portfolio manager for Coast Real Estate Services in Everett, Wash. She worked for the Housing Authority of the City of Seattle as a senior property manager for seven years.

She has more than 14 years of experience in the nonprofit and for-profit property management industry.

Corbett has earned several professional certifications, including tax credit compliance specialist, certified public housing manager and certified occupancy specialist.

She has volunteered for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Catholic Community Services in Portland, Ore. A resident of Lompoc, her hobbies are reading and hiking.

“We are very pleased to have Anna Corbett join our team," said John Fowler, president/CEO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. "She brings a great deal of knowledge and experience, as well as passion for our mission of providing affordable housing.”

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.


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Attorney Drew Maley Joins Price, Postel & Parma Law Firm

By | Published on 01/30/2015


The law firm of Price, Postel & Parma LLP is pleased to announce that family law attorney Drew Maley has joined the firm.

His practice will focus on guiding clients during major life events such as prenuptial agreements, marital dissolutions and post-judgment disputes, and the establishment and modification of support and custody orders.

The expansion into family law alongside the firm’s prominent estate planning and tax practices will allow PP&P to provide comprehensive representation no matter what developments arise in the lives of its clients.

In addition to the highly technical issues that can arise, family law matters are often complicated further because of the potential for highly contentious proceedings.

“In a typical marital dissolution, the family law attorney has a great deal of influence over the level of conflict in the case," Maley said. "My approach is based on learning about my clients’ needs, providing an idea of what to expect from the outset of a family law matter, keeping my clients informed throughout the process and achieving their goals as efficiently as possible.”

Prior to joining PP&P, Maley was an associate at a boutique family law firm in Los Angeles. His practice included the representation of working professionals, prominent public figures and their partners during all phases of family law proceedings.

Maley received his J.D. cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Ill., and also holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication from the University of Colorado. Before becoming an attorney, he lived and worked in Santa Barbara as a product manager for an Internet marketing company.

— Linda Ford is an administrator for Price, Postel & Parma LLP.


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Tenant Chosen for Elephant Bar Restaurant Space at Santa Barbara Airport

By | Published on 01/29/2015


The Airport Commission approves a deal with High Sierra Grill House; the City Council will have the final say Feb. 10

A new restaurant — with a new vibe and owners familiar with its predecessor — is set to open in the old Elephant Bar Restaurant at the Santa Barbara Airport.

Three longtime restaurateurs and friends with Santa Barbara ties want to lease the large restaurant location at 521 Firestone Road from the Santa Barbara Airport, which owns the property that has been vacant since August 2013 when the Elephant Bar closed its flagship after 30 years.

After the Airport Commission approved the deal this month with High Sierra Grill House, all that stands in the way is final OK from the Santa Barbara City Council, which is scheduled to consider the contract Feb. 10.

The restaurant could open as soon as this summer, according to co-owner Manuel Perales, or nine months to a year depending on renovations, Airport Director Hazel Johns said.

Revitalizing the location would be an honor for the hopeful owners, who have been business partners for 10 years after meeting 20 years earlier while working in Santa Barbara Carrows Restaurants ­— a chain also founded by Elephant Bar creator David Nancarrow that has since closed up shop locally.

Together, the trio have opened six restaurants, including three Yosemite Falls Cafés and the first High Sierra Grill, all in Fresno.

Local co-owner Mario Medina has owned and operated Mulligans Cafe & Bar at the Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Course since December 1993.

Paul Ybarra, who grew up in Santa Barbara, opened Paul’s Place in Merced, where he now lives. Perales resides in Fresno.

“We’re all familiar with Santa Barbara,” Perales told Noozhawk on Thursday. “We’re going to take advantage of the banquet rooms. The menu is going to be different in Santa Barbara (than in Fresno).

If the City Council approves, the High Sierra Grill House will open in the former Elephant Bar Restaurant space at the Santa Barbara Airport, possibly as early as this summer. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

“It’ll probably be a little bit closer to the Elephant Bar’s menu when they first opened up. When they closed, they were more stir-fry. Whatever you’re craving, we’re going to have something for everybody.”

As a popular venue situated between the airport, Goleta’s business parks and UC Santa Barbara, Perales said, High Sierra Grill would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring a full bar, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and a Sunday buffet.

California coastal cuisine will influence comfort foods such as smoked pulled-pork sandwiches, tri-tip, burgers, pizza, salads, fresh mango fish tacos and even some “Gaucho”-themed dishes.

Owners also want to pursue catering and continue a tradition of opening large banquet rooms up to local organizations as luncheon spaces.

“We’re all really excited about this,” Perales said.

The size of the restaurant — 8,700 square feet, believed a deterrent to the average-sized eatery — fits in nicely with the group’s other restaurants, Perales said.

He said they’re eager to clean up the outdoor patio to add a gas fire pit, along with plans to reupholster booths, remove existing carpet, paint, and replace existing non-native plants with drought-tolerant varieties.

High Sierra Grill's owners are targeting an opening in August, which would be about a year after they began negotiating for the Santa Barbara property with Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.

Johns guessed the city would need more time to replace the restaurant roof, among other facility upgrades.

She’s hoping to sign High Sierra Grill to a 10-year lease, with three five-year options, effective upon completion of city improvements, for a monthly rent of $12,694.

“The owners have extensive experience in restaurant management,” Johns said. “I think having breakfast, lunch and dinner is very important for this part of Goleta. I think (they’ve) got a real, solid feel for Santa Barbara.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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BizHawk: Bizerk Costume Shop on State Street Closing; Owners Seeking New Location

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Pizza Hut opens in Goleta, Los Agaves cracks the top-100 list of restaurants on Yelp and downtown Carrillo Plaza is sold

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing]

The future of the Bizerk costume shop in downtown Santa Barbara remains uncertain since receiving an unexpected eviction notice this month, and its owners are feverishly working to keep the store from closing completely.

Co-owners David Sampanis and Michelle Dalton said they were told to close up the space they lease on a month-to-month basis at 432 State St. by Saturday — an unexpected order from a landlord who hopes to go a different direction with the space.

The property manager could not be reached to explain why Bizerk was evicted or what might soon be moving into the space.

The owners are trying to sell six years worth of vintage costume, movie prop, wig and other accessory inventory by then, offering 75 percent off everything to make a next step easier.

“Just moving the stuff is at least a two-week job,” Sampanis told Noozhawk. “We’ve been looking for another place, but we haven’t found anything that makes sense yet. For sure, we’re going to do Halloween. Everything is up in the air still.”

An online-only store or a by-appointment sales model were also among options the owners will keep patrons abreast to from its Facebook page.

“The love and support we’ve been getting from people has been really overwhelming,” he said. “It’s not just a business, it’s really a relationship and a business.”

Pizza Hut Opens in Goleta

A Pizza Hut has opened in Goleta at 5915 Calle Real, Suite A.

The large national chain, which was founded in 1958, has just one other Santa Barbara County location, in Santa Maria.

Yelp Ranks Los Agaves

Yelp has released a list of the nation’s top 100 places to eat in 2015, and Santa Barbara’s Los Agaves has made the cut.

Los Agaves, which opened its original location seven years ago at the corner of Milpas and Cota streets, came in at No. 64 — the only local restaurant on the list.

Yelp analyzed nearly 10 years of restaurant reviews before highlighting Los Agaves, which is about to open its fourth location this spring at the Shoppes at Westlake Village.

Two other locations opened within the past year at 2911 De la Vina St. and in the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta.

“We are extremely grateful for our loyal customers and your continued support of Los Agaves,” owner Carlos Luna said in a statement.

Carrillo Plaza Sold

Santa Barbara’s Carrillo Holdings LLC has sold Carrillo Plaza downtown, according to Savills Studley, the private commercial real estate firm that handled the sale.

New Group-Santa Barbara LLC — a private Los Angeles-based real estate company — bought the Starbucks-anchored plaza at 210 W. Carrillo Blvd. for approximately $12.2 million.

The property at the corner of De la Vina Street and Carrillo Boulevard is comprised of a mix of neighborhood businesses, including Tino’s Italian Grocery, which recently moved from the De la Guerra Street location it occupied for more than 40 years.

Freeman’s Expands Delivery Zone

Freeman’s Flying Chicken has expanded its delivery area to include Fairview Avenue in Goleta to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.

Open from 4 to 9 p.m. daily, Freeman’s Flying Chicken is located at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real.

The family-focused, quick casual takeout or delivery eatery opened late last year.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Brother of Murder Defendant Testifies About Gang-Related Attack on Anthony Ibarra

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Robert Stan Sosa, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, takes the witness stand in the Santa Maria Valley courtroom

A 21-year-old man told a Santa Maria Valley courtroom about witnessing part of the gang-related torture of Anthony Ibarra two years ago, recalling later seeing the sad, scared victim looking bruised and swollen while in the shower where blood mixed with water went down the drain. 

Six men are now on trial for Ibarra’s death in March 2013. One defendant, Reyes Gonzales, is the older brother of the witness, Robert Stan Sosa, who testified Thursday as part of his plea deal in the case.

Ibarra, 28, was brutally attacked March 17, 2013, in a house on West Donovan Road due to drug debts, and his body was later found in a U-Haul truck parked on an Orcutt street, according to authorities.

While testifying Thursday morning, Sosa recalled entering a bedroom where several defendants — identified as Ramon Maldonado, his father David Maldonado, Santos Sauceda, Jason Castillo and Anthony J. Solis — surrounded a naked Ibarra, who was on a shower curtain on the floor. The bleeding victim was on his hands and knees, and had a belt around his neck.

“I seen all of them striking Anthony Ibarra,” Sosa, now 21, said, identifying five of the six defendants in the room.

Sosa, who had just returned to the house after running an errand, recalled seeing the sixth defendant, his older brother, sitting with a man and woman who lived in the house. Gonzales appeared intimidated, putting up his hands and shrugging when his brother re-entered the residence, Sosa testified.

That prompted Sosa to move toward the back bedroom where Ibarra and the five other defendants were located. 

Under questioning from Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen, Sosa said he knew his longtime friend was in trouble for “messing up.”

Bramsen asked if Ibarra had been “greenlit,” the term for when a gang orders a hit on someone.

“He was,” Sosa said.

He spoke of seeing Ramon Maldonado striking the victim numerous times in the head and face.

A screaming Ibarra shouted, “I’ll pay you. I’m sorry,” according to Sosa.

A sweaty and angry Maldonado reportedly responded, “You’re going to pay up. You’re going to pay up. You f—d up,” Sosa testified, adding other insults focused on the victim’s genital size.

“David Maldonado wasn’t saying anything. He was just standing there looking at the ground,” Sosa said, adding that the man held the victim’s clothing.

Ramon "Crazy Ray" Maldonado talks to his attorney, Michael Scott, on Thursday. Maldonado is one of six men now on trial for the slaying of Anthony Ibarra in March 2013. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The witness also testified about the involvement of the other defendants in the room. Solis allegedly held the belt around Ibarra’s neck as if it were a leash. Sauceda reportedly stood nearby with widening eyes. Castillo grabbed the belt nearly causing the victim to lose his balance, before grabbing a machete in the room, Sosa said.

Ramon Maldonado, armed with what Sosa called a piece of scissors, allegedly began poking Ibarra in the back with the weapon more than once, Sosa said.

“I can’t count. I just know numerous times,” Sosa said in response to a question from the prosecutor.

After being in the room for a few minutes, Sosa was pushed out, given a pair of gloves, ordered to get rid of Ibarra’s cellphone and handed a machete he noted had blood on it. The witness recalled stashing the machete in his pants.

Sosa testified that Ramon Maldonado told those in the house “that everything’s going to be fine, that we were gangsters. This is what we do.”

To get rid of the machete, Sosa said he went to the house where his daughter’s mother lived and put the weapon under a shed. She asked what was wrong.

“I was crying,” he said. “Cause I was scared and I didn’t know if I was ever going to see them again.”

Once back at the Donovan Road house, Sosa heard the shower running and entered the bathroom after learning Ibarra was inside. The victim appeared sad, scared and hurt, Sosa said, adding Ibarra turned around to show a big gash on his back.

Sosa said he told Ibarra he would try to get help. However, Castillo refused, saying it was up to Ramon Maldonado.

Sosa tracked down Ramon Maldonado, recalling telling him, “This guy’s really hurt. I think he might be dying.”

“He said no, that I couldn’t take him to the hospital. That he was piece of s—t and he had to die,” Sosa said.

“I was scared. I was shocked that somebody I was friends with at the time would tell me that,” Sosa added.

Upon returning to the Donovan Road house, Sosa recalled Ibarra was sitting in the bathroom, with his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. 

“He started getting pale. He was telling me he couldn’t breathe,” Sosa said, adding Ibarra pleaded for help but Castillo again said Ibarra couldn’t go to the hospital.

Sosa left again, walking several block to Broadway with two of the people who lived in the house to fetch food and beer. When he entered after that excursion, Sosa noted his brother and Castillo had been cleaning. 

“The house smelled like bleach,” Sosa said. 

The man who rented the garage showed up and Sosa met him outside, advising that the tenant leave because “something happened in the house” and the cops were going to come. 

“It wasn’t good to be there at that point,” Sosa said. 

Later that night, Sosa went with others to Ramon Maldonado’s residence, where the alleged shot-caller was laughing and cooking, Sosa testified.

Bramsen asked why Sosa didn’t call 9-1-1.

“Because I was scared,” he said.

The man's testimony corroborated much of what two earlier witnesses who were in the house that day said, including that many of the defendants wore gloves. 

Sosa was among 11 people indicted by the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury two months after Ibarra’s death. He and three others have accepted plea agreements in the case.

A teenager, Ramon Maldonado Jr., will be tried as an adult later. He is the son and grandson of two of the defendants. 

Also accepting plea deals were Verenisa Aviles, Pedro Torres and Carmen Cardenas.

The trial is scheduled to continue Friday in the Santa Maria Juvenile Court, where it's being held due to the large number of participants.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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The Fab Four’s Beatles Tribute Returning to Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 01/29/2015


The Fab Four, following a string of sold-out appearances at the Chumash Casino Resort, are returning to the Samala Showroom for another memorable tribute to the Beatles at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19.

Tickets for the show are $25.

With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles songs performed by incredible look-a-like singers in meticulously re-created costumes, The Fab Four will make you feel like you’re watching John, Paul, George and Ringo live on stage. The stage production includes costume changes that reflect every era of the Beatles' ever-changing career.

The Fab Four has traveled the world performing such classic Beatles hits as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Twist and Shout,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Hey Jude.”

In 2013, the group won a Special Events Coverage Emmy Award for their PBS special The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute.

The Beatles, of course, hold the record for the most No. 1 singles on the Billboard Top 40 chart with 20. For one week in 1964, the Beatles held the top five spots on the Top 40 with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me.”

Relive the “British Invasion” through The Fab Four as the group’s unparalleled precision recaptures the excitement and sounds of this legendary band in the 1,400-seat Samala Showroom.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 18-or-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash or online by clicking here.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.


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In Marymount Talk, Parenting Expert Shares Tips for Fostering ‘Individual Flourishing’

By | Published on 01/29/2015


One of Marymount of Santa Barbara’s core values is Individual Flourishing. The value of Individual Flourishing emphasizes teaching students to advocate for themselves; nurturing natural passions and strengths; experiential learning and exploration; fostering creativity and confidence in self-expression; and fostering the development of personal character and qualities such as resilience, determination and adaptability in students.

On Tuesday, Marymount’s commitment to Individual Flourishing also led to a visit and talk by renowned clinical psychologist and bestselling author Wendy Mogel, Ph D., whose books The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus are considered by many to be transformational in helping parents navigate the challenges of parenting today.

In his introduction of Dr. Mogel, Andrew Wooden, Marymount head of school, talked about Marymount’s alignment with much of what Dr. Mogel discusses in her books and the honor of having someone with Dr. Mogel’s experience not only talk about what children need to be successful, happy and healthy, but how parents and schools can help children achieve this outcome.

In addition to being a clinical psychologist and bestselling author, Dr. Mogel serves on the scientific advisory board of Parents Magazine, is a research and policy advisor for Children Success, a child advocacy program of the Stanford University School of Education, and an international public speaker.

Dr. Mogel’s interactive talk immediately had the crowd at Marymount mesmerized. Her humor and insight into the challenges of raising children today drew nodding heads and laughter as well as gasps of surprise from the audience.

The guest of Marymount’s Speaker Series, a series designed to build positive outcomes for children through education, innovation and thought leadership, Dr. Mogel’s talk on Tuesday resonated with the audience. Guests left feeling they had received practical guidance, a deeper understanding of what a healthy childhood and adolescence looks like, and new tools to use in raising their children.

Marymount annual Speaker Series are open to the public, free of charge and have involved the larger community in a Community Read in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library system for the last several years. Dr. Mogel’s talk on Tuesday was full of valuable information for parents. A Marymount communication to school families highlighted the following five parenting tips:

» 1. Don't confuse a snapshot taken today with the epic movie of your child's life. Kids go through phases, glorious ones and alarming ones.

» 2. Work up the courage to say a simple "no." Don't try to reach
 consensus every time.

» 3. Before you nag, remind, criticize, advise, chime in, preach or over-explain, say to yourself, "W.A.I.T.," which stands for, "Why am I talking?" Listen four times more than you talk.

» 4. Allow your child to do things that scare you. Don't mistake vulnerability for fragility. If you want your daughter to grow increasingly independent and self-confident, let her get her learner's permit when she comes of age; don't offer a nuanced critique of her best friend or crush.

» 5. Treat teachers like the experts and allies they are. Give your child the chance to learn respect. It's as important a lesson as Algebra 2. Remember how life-changing a good relationship with a teacher can be.

Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera. For more information, please contact Molly Seguel at

— Molly Seguel is the admission director for Marymount of Santa Barbara.


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David Harsanyi: President Obama Keeps Bowing in the Middle East

By | Published on 01/29/2015


At the World Economic Forum last week, Secretary of State John Kerry argued that though extremists may cite Islam as a justification for terrorism, the world should refrain from using the term "Islamic radicals." Extremism, Kerry maintained, is apart from Islam, and the millions who support or engage in violence in its name are driven by "criminal conduct rooted in alienation, poverty, thrill seeking and other factors."

This soothing, half-baked philosophy is cant in the Obama administration. So when the Islamic State group took credit for the beheading of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, it shouldn't have been surprising that the most important thing Rick Stengel, undersecretary of state for happy thoughts, could think to tweet to his followers was that there was "nothing religious about it."

We've gone from incessantly offering (appropriate) distinctions among factions of Islam to fantasizing that terrorists are a bunch of shiftless, underprivileged adrenaline junkies with no particular philosophy at all. Religion is an organized collection of beliefs that makes sense of existence. Under no definition of "faith" is there a stipulation that it must be devoid of any violence. And whether or not violence used in Islam is a distortion of the faith is for people of that religion to work out for themselves.

If the administration is interested in seeing how this works, we don't have to look further than our good allies in Saudi Arabia, where the national flag features an inscription of an Islamic creed — "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God" — which is neatly underlined by a sword. This, I think it's fair to say, may insinuate that a coupling of violence and faith is indeed possible in modern religion.

Perhaps President Barack Obama can ask King Salman, the new leader of Saudi Arabia, when he pays his respects (an honor the victims in Paris did not receive) what the deal is. He could ask whether women being thrown into the streets for public beheadings has anything to do with religion and violence. The Saudi government, after all, has defended the recent decapitation of a Burmese woman (caught on video) as compulsory to "implement the rulings of God." It's the ninth such execution this year. (All these beheadings sure are a weird coincidence, no?) Perhaps Saudi monarchs are driven by alienation and poverty when they are induced to flog writers who insult them. And perhaps Kerry has a better grasp of Islamic law than the Wahhabi sect running the religious police force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. I imagine he thinks he does.

I don't propose invading the Arabian Peninsula — or anywhere else, for that matter. But President George W. Bush, another House of Saud coddler, used to claim that the U.S. fight in the Middle East was about promoting democracy. Obama has talked about how important it is for our diplomacy to mirror our values. In reality, of course, friendly autocrats help us fight stateless Islamic extremism and offer stability. The late King Abdullah and his successor have also acted as a counterbalance to Iran — a precarious situation we helped establish.

So everyone understands why we ignore the fact that King Abdullah's Saudi Arabia became the world's largest source of funds for Salafist jihad and the fact that religious state institutions are the leading voices perpetuating that jihad. Obama will pay his respects to the government in a nation that has no real elections, political parties or dissent. We ignore that, too.

But surely, there is some kernel of moral duty among American leaders to promote liberal values around the world. Juxtapose how this administration treats allies with how the president admonishes and undermines an elected leader he doesn't particularly care for and, at the same time, reveres and celebrates the life of a dictator. The president said that King Abdullah — who had "about" 30 wives and fathered "about" 35 children, according to sources — was a "candid" leader who "had the courage of his convictions," including "his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East."

While this administration is having a meltdown over the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking to Congress about the threat of Iranian nuclear ambitions, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is sponsoring an essay competition in the United States to honor the former Saudi king. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, president of the National Defense University, wants to use the opportunity to challenge future students while honoring the late king.

"This scholarly research competition presents NDU students with a unique opportunity to focus their research and writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of U.S. security interests and the Arab-Muslim world," Padilla said.

It's fair to say that every administration has gone out of its way to avoid insulting these immoral dictatorships. It's just that so few have been as consistent and obsequious as this one.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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UC Santa Barbara Names New Athletic Director

By | Published on 01/29/2015


John McCutcheon, UC Santa Barbara's newly named athletic director, is interviewed during his tenure at the University of Massachusetts. (Contributed photo)

The athletic director from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has been tapped to take over the same post at UC Santa Barbara.

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang announced the appointment of John McCutcheon Thursday afternoon, citing his experience leading NCAA Division I athletics departments.

McCutcheon, who was athletic director at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for 12 years before heading to UMass, is tentatively set to start the new job March 2, pending approval from the UC Office of the President, Yang wrote in a letter to the UCSB campus community.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” McCutcheon said in a statement. “When this opportunity presented itself a few months back, my wife (Sue) and I knew it was something we had to look into. Because of family situations, we left the Central Coast 11 years ago, and we very much look forward to getting back.

“I am extremely thankful to Chancellor Yang and all the members of the committee, and I can’t wait to get to Santa Barbara and get to work.”

The new director of Intercollegiate Athletics will be formally introduced at a UCSB press conference Tuesday.

Details about his salary were not immediately available.

The permanent athletic director position has remained open since last summer, when Mark Massari left after six years to lead the athletics department at Oregon State University.

Gary Cunningham has served as interim UCSB athletic director since early August, returning temporarily to the job he held from 1995 until 2008 — when Massari took over.

At UMass, Yang said McCutcheon was responsible for the campus’s 21 varsity sports and the recreation program, in addition to a large fundraising push that helped bolster new athletic facilities.

“He has led their Athletics Department through several key facility upgrades due to his work in increasing the levels of annual donations and corporate sponsorships, and has spearheaded a historic move in transitioning the football program from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision,” Yang said.

“UMass student-athletes have also had great success outside of their sport, due in part to an increased focus on academic support and a greater emphasis on student-athlete well-being through programs that he has put in place.”

Since he was hired in 2004, UMass has gained a new boathouse for the women’s crew team, a $34.5 million football performance center and press box at the UMass track and field complex, and a $38 million campus recreation center.

The Champions Center, a dedicated practice and training facility for men’s and women’s basketball, is scheduled to open later this year.

While he was there, UMass won 38 conference titles and reached 29 NCAA Tournaments, with several teams making major contests for the first time in years.

Prior to Cal Poly, McCutcheon, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania., served as associate athletic director for business and operations at Boston College and as assistant athletic manager at the University of Maine.

He will oversee 20 sports teams at UCSB, where Yang hopes McCutcheon will continue his streak of success.

“We have all been impressed by his enthusiasm and his commitment to supporting our coaches and student-athletes in reaching their academic and athletics goals,” Yang said. “Please join me in welcoming John and his wife, Sue, to our UC Santa Barbara family.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Police Warn of Rise in Thefts from Vehicles

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Property crimes detectives from the Santa Barbara Police Department are advising that the rate of burglaries and thefts from vehicles has increased over the last four months, rising to a level that has not been experienced in the city since mid-2013.

The majority of these crimes are thefts from unlocked cars involving valuables that have been left in plain sight. Purses, backpacks, computers and other electronics are popular targets for thieves.

These incidents have been occurring citywide anywhere vehicles are parked outside — on the street, in residential driveways and carports and in parking lots.

To reduce incidents of theft residents, when parking their cars, are urged to double-check that the doors are locked and that the windows are up. Valuables should not be left in plain sight nor left unnecessarily in vehicles.

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.


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Southern California Edison to Begin Infrastructure-Improvement Work in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 01/29/2015


To ensure continued reliable electric service, Southern California Edison will begin infrastructure-improvement work this year to upgrade distribution circuits that serve parts of Santa Barbara.

A number of projects have been planned for this year with many targeting downtown Santa Barbara.

The first of these projects will take place early Friday morning near Castillo Street and West Cabrillo Boulevard near the Santa Barbara Harbor and across the street from Santa Barbara City College. Buried underground switches will be installed, which allow the utility to energize and de-energize segments of circuits. It also lets SCE crews perform grid maintenance safely and helps isolate and minimize any potential repair outages to a smaller area.

Rondi Guthrie, public affairs region manager for Santa Barbara, said SCE recognizes its responsibility to keep the lights on.

“Upgrading the circuits in Santa Barbara will help minimize the likelihood of unanticipated and extended outages,” Guthrie said. “We’re not only improving reliability, but building a smarter grid that can handle the needs of customers for decades to come.”

SCE is amid a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment plan to strengthen its territory-wide distribution grid, which serves nearly 14 million people. The work in Santa Barbara is only one of many infrastructure-improvement projects that will take place.

SCE will provide the latest information about outages at its website and on Twitter.

— David Song represents Southern California Edison.


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Santa Barbara County Child Tests Negative for Measles

By | Published on 01/29/2015


A child suspected of having measles had laboratory tests return negative, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced on Thursday.

The news comes just a day after the county announced it was investigating a possible case of the disease.

"The results are negative; the patient does not have measles," according to a statement sent from Public Health. "We are happy for this patient and family and others who were potentially exposed.

"All will be notified directly and immediately released from any quarantine or isolation status."

On Wednesday, a press conference was held to notify the public that the county was investigating a possible case of measles.

"We will continue to take seriously any request for measles testing from our community providers, although at this point the handful of children being tested have a very low likelihood of being positive," the statement said.

The California Department of Public Health states that 50 of the 73 cases of measles that have been reported in the state are epidemiologically tied to an outbreak at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.

Measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease that typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, and within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreading downward to the rest of the body, according to the CDPH.

Children are encouraged to get the vaccination as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and if a household contains a young child, "it is essential that others in the household get vaccinated to protect the young who are not old enough to have all recommended vaccinations," according to Santa Barbara County Public Health.

Dr. Takashi Wada, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, told reporters Wednesday that in addition to measles, the state is in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic as well.

"These are serious illnesses, and a clear reminder of the importance of vaccinations," he said.

Though the case is negative, public health officials urged the public to get vaccinated and wash their hands frequently to prevent the circulation of many of the viruses that are in the community.

People should reach out to their primary care physicians with their vaccination history, and those people can be advised about whether they need a booster or whether they are immune.

A phone line has also been set up by county Public Health to give out information on the measles during regular business hours and can be reached at 805.681.4373.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Boy Scouts Reach Settlement with Santa Barbara Sex-Abuse Victim

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Just a few days into trial in Santa Barbara Superior Court, a settlement has been reached in a sexual-abuse case between the Boy Scouts of America and a 20-year-old man who was molested by a troop leader in 2007.

The settlement, announced Thursday, comes just days before senior members of the Boy Scouts of America were to take the stand, according to the victim's attorney, Tim Hale.

Had the trial continued, Hale said, evidence would have been presented, including sealed "perversion" files that documented sexual-abuse allegations over multiple decades. 

Because of the settlement, those files will remain unpublished.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

The victim was abused by former volunteer troop leader Al Stein, who was charged with abusing the victim as a 13-year-old and two other victims.  

Stein pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment, and was later found to have violated parole from that case by having photographs of nude children on his cell phone. He was released early after being sentenced to two years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry, Stein is listed as a sex offender living in Salinas.

In a statement sent to Noozhawk, Deron Smith, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America, said that the group "is pleased that this matter has been resolved and that we reached a settlement. The behavior included in these reports runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands."

“While we can’t comment on the specifics related to this matter, even a single instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. We regret there have been times when the BSA’s best efforts to protect children were insufficient, and for that we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families."

Smith said that nothing is more important than the organization's youth members, and that the files "exist solely to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting, and Scouts are safer because those files exist."

“The BSA has always cooperated fully with any request from law enforcement. While a majority of files indicate the involvement of law enforcement, in 2012 the BSA National Council reviewed all Ineligible Volunteer Files from 1965 to the present and reported to authorities any files that did not clearly indicate a prior report.”

Hale stated Thursday that the victim was "really courageous" for testifying during the trial and bringing the case forward in the first place.

"From the moment he reported what happened to him, he was viciously attacked by former members of the troop and their parents, doubting what had happened to him," Hale said of his client.  

"It was five years of people questioning his credibility. I can see the relief he feels."

Hale, who has also worked to make public files documenting clergy abuse in the Franciscan order, an effort that took 12 years, said the fight to publicize the BSA perversion files "is not over."

"You'd like to think they do the right thing and publish those on their own," Hale said of the BSA.

Hale said the case has made parents more vigilant, and that awareness about the abuse may make it more likely that other people come forward.

"That's what wasn't available to my client," he said, adding that the BSA files document a sordid past.

"It's a significant history of abuse."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Hopkins’ Rose Sea Slugs Blooming in California Tide Pools

By | Published on 01/29/2015


The warm ocean temperatures that brought a green sea turtle to San Francisco in September and other southern species north of their usual ranges on the Pacific Coast have triggered a population explosion of a bright pink, inch-long sea slug in tide pools along the central and northern California coast.

Jeff Goddard
Project scientist Jeff Goddard of UCSB's Marine Science Institute.

The Hopkins’ Rose nudibranch (Okenia rosacea) is common to Southern California but found only sporadically in Central California and rarely north of San Francisco. However, in the past few weeks, researchers from UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, the Bodega Marine Laboratory and the California Academy of Sciences have reported densities of up to dozens per square meter in tide pools from San Luis Obispo to Humboldt counties. These are the highest numbers and northernmost records of this species seen since the strong El Niños of 1998 and 1983.

Only this year, there’s been no El Niño to speak of. Zoologist Jeff Goddard, a project scientist at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, equates the current population bloom of Hopkins’ Rose to the one he observed on the Central Coast starting in early 1977.

“Last week, during routine monitoring near Morro Bay, I was astonished by the numbers of Okenia present,” Goddard said. “I remembered 1977 and decided to sample my old study sites on either side of Monterey Bay. Both also had exceptionally abundant Okenia, plus other southern nudibranchs not typically present, including at one site the stunning purple and orange Spanish Shawl. We’ve also had a reliable report of California Sea Hares on the outer Sonoma coast, far north of the usual range of this large herbivorous sea slug.”

The 1977 bloom occurred also during a weak El Niño and coincided with a major climate shift in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This triggered range deviations in numerous coastal species, including gastropods, barnacles, fishes and dolphins.

During those warm decades, fluctuations in the abundance of intertidal adults of Hopkins’ Rose and other nudibranchs in Central California were driven by regional oceanographic influences on currents and larval recruitment. This is what Goddard — along with lead author Stewart Schultz and colleagues John Pearse and Terry Gosliner among others — argued in a 2011 paper in Limnology and Oceanography. They predicted high recruitment of these nudibranchs when warm temperatures, northward-directed currents and weak upwelling occur — and that is exactly what is happening now.

While southern fishes, birds and mammals have appeared in Northern California as swimming or flying adults, the sea slugs differ, Goddard explained; they are carried northward and onshore by coastal currents as microscopic planktonic larvae. When the larvae have fed and grown large enough — typically over a period of a month or two — they settle to the bottom. They metamorphose into juvenile slugs when they encounter the prey of the adults. For Hopkins’ Rose, this prey comes in the form of a rose-colored encrusting bryozoan — a type of colonial invertebrate commonly known as a moss animal. The Hopkins’ Rose nudibranch not only feeds exclusively on this pink bryozoan during its entire bottom-feeding life but also derives its own colorful pigmentation from it.

This perennial bryozoan is locally abundant on the Pacific Coast as far north as British Columbia. However, cold temperatures and ocean circulation patterns normally keep it out of reach of the Hopkins’ Rose nudibranch north of San Francisco.

Because Hopkins’ Rose nudibranchs are fast-growing, live for a year or less and move little as adults, they are potentially useful in tracking relatively rapid changes in ocean conditions, according to Goddard. He and other researchers wonder whether they are currently signaling another major climate shift from cold to warm.

Although the index values of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — a long-lived El Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability — have recently jumped to the highest levels observed since 1997, scientists say it is still too early to be certain that a major climate shift is in progress, at least until they become better at decoding the physical and biological signals. If a decadal shift is in progress, Goddard notes that there is a good chance the next El Niño will be major — on par with the 1983 and 1998 events — and bring with it myriad surprises from the south.

For now, good locations to view the current bloom of Hopkins’ Rose in Central California include rocky shore tide pools and beneath ledges at Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos, Asilomar State Park near Monterey and Scott Creek Beach, Pigeon and Pillar points and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, all between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Goddard advises checking local tide predictions and visiting during a minus tide, preferably when both the swell and wind are low. He recommends treading lightly and wearing shoes or boots that can get wet.

— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Allan Hancock College Community Ed Offering Two-Course Green Gardening Certificate Program

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Are you interested in learning resource-efficient gardening techniques for your gardening and landscaping business or home garden?

Allan Hancock College Community Education offers a two-course Green Gardening certificate program that will teach you green gardening and landscaping techniques and help you become a green gardener trained in resource-efficient landscape maintenance practices.

Learn about irrigation efficiency, green waste reduction, pest and fertilizer management, proper plant maintenance and other sustainable landscaping topics. Build on existing skills to create landscapes that are efficient, functional and beautiful. You will also learn about resource conservation and preventing pollution in the landscapes.

In addition, learn how to make your green gardening business and services truly distinguishable in a competitive market.

Classes are both lecture and hands-on and are bilingual in English and Spanish. A certificate of completion is issued once all the requirements are met. Gardening business owners who complete the program benefit from special promotion to homeowners through the preferred Green Gardener list distributed by the Santa Barbara County Water Agency.

Green Gardening: Beginning class meets Tuesday and Thursday, Feb. 10 through March 12, from 6 to 8:15 p.m. on the Santa Maria campus, Room K-23. A materials fee of $12 is required for this class. Course number is 41825.

Green Gardening: Advanced class is the second of the two-part session and meets Tuesday and Thursday, March 24 through April 23, from 6 to 8:15 p.m. at the AHC Santa Maria campus, Room K-23. Course number is 41826.

Instructor Julie Andrews-Scott is a bilingual educator and has a bachelor of science degree in nutritional science and a master of arts degree in cultural aspects of food systems. She specializes in workable, sustainable gardening and landscaping.

Register online 24/7 at Log on to myHancock and click the Student tab to proceed. Classes are listed as Vocational Community Education (VOCE) in the class subject area. Students may also receive registration assistance in person at Community Education (Building S) on the Santa Maria campus. View the Spring 2015 Spectrum schedule of Community Education classes for admissions and registration information online, or pick up a print copy at all campus locations.

For more information, call 805.922.6966 x3209.

— Gina Herlihy for Allan Hancock College.


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Gerald Carpenter: Westmont Stages One-Act Operas of Pergolesi, Menotti

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Westmont College Theatre Arts and the Music Department have joined forces to produce an evening's entertainment that should please and delight just about anybody who has their full compliment of senses.

Soprano Emmalee Wetzel will sing works by Gian Carlo Menotti at Westmont College this weekend.

They will be offering “An Evening of One-Act Opera Classics” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan 30-31, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1 in Porter Theater on the Westmont Campus.

The two classics in question are La Serva Padrona/The Servant Turned Mistress (1733) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736), with a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico; and The Old Maid and the Thief, “A Grotesque Opera in One Act” (1939), with music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007).

La Serva Padrona will be sung by Wendy Kent, Robert Huff and Matthew Maler; The Old Maid and the Thief by Emmalee Wetzel, Serena Lee, McKenna Kleinmeier and Walter Dyer. Ingenious John Blondell will stage the operas; Celeste Tavera will direct, with sets by Yuri Okahana, costumes by Miller James and lighting by Jonathan Hicks.

“The operas couldn’t be more different,” Blondell said. “Where La Serva is bright, comic and whimsical, Old Maid is more overtly psychological, and emotionally and musically demanding. We have worked hard to present the rich detail of each opera, and to unify them in such a way that creates a vivid and compelling evening of great music theater.

"The student performers are doing a fantastic job, and the theater and music faculty hope that this will be just the beginning for an exciting tradition of opera at Westmont.”

As you can tell from his dates, Pergolesi died young — of significant composers, even those killed in a war, only Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (1806-26) died younger — and La Serva Padrona was so popular that you could publish anything with his name on it and make a profit. After his death, a flood of spurious “Pergolesi’s” came on the market, and scholars have been trying to sort them out ever since.

La Serva Padrona is Pergolesi’s, all right, and it’s about 20 years ahead of its time. (Also indisputably his was the Stabat Mater (1736), whose manuscript was practically found clenched in his dead fist.)

Menotti did not die young, and his life in no way typifies the life of a musician in the 20th — or 18th — century. Nature showered gifts upon him and was always unhooking the rope to let only him through. He used his gifts shrewdly, but never cynically. He composed a good deal of lovely music and wrote many an effective drama. He wrote a wonderful violin concerto, a sparkling piano concerto and a wickedly sensuous ballet (Sebastian), but it is his operas that made him famous, and justly so.

Music historians and journalists tend to assume now that Menotti’s first opera as a professional, Amelia al ballo (1937), was, if not a stinker, an underachiever. In fact, it was so successful that it inspired NBC to commission Menotti to write a radio opera. The result was The Old Maid and the Thief. And that was so successful that NBC later commissioned Menotti to write the first opera premiered on television, Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors and children. You can reserve them by calling 805.565.7140 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.


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Lompoc Man Accused of Embezzling More Than $150,000

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Juan Flores

A Lompoc man has been arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $150,000 from a local business, according to the Lompoc Police Department.

Juan Flores, 41, turned himself in the Police Department Thursday, police said.

Flores was booked on suspicion of felony embezzlement and released on $50,000 bail, police said.

He is accused for embezzling while an employee of McIntosh Distributing, where he had worked for several years, police said.

The arrest was the culmination of an investigation that began in early 2014.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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SBPD to Conduct Skateboard, Bicycle and Pedestrian Enforcement Downtown

By | Published on 01/29/2015


On Thursday, officers from the Santa Barbara Police Department will begin a series of directed patrols to take place during the coming weeks targeting skateboard, bicycle and pedestrian violations in Santa Barbara’s downtown corridor.

This is an effort to increase public safety and to reduce the rate of bicycle and pedestrian related collisions. It also is in response to numerous complaints received by the Police Department regarding these offenses and the impact that they have on the quality of life downtown.

During the directed patrols, all laws will be enforced, but with particular emphasis given to the following violations:

» 10.06.010 SBMC — Skating prohibited within the area bounded by Sola Street, Chapala Street, Santa Barbara Street and Cabrillo Boulevard (including the perimeter streets)

» 10.52.130 SBMC — No person shall ride a bicycle on any sidewalk except at a driveway or on a designated bikeway

» 21453(d) CVC — Pedestrian facing a red signal shall not enter the roadway

» 21456(b) CVC — No pedestrian facing a flashing or steady “Don't Walk” signal shall start to cross the roadway

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.


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Delta Launch Delayed Until At Least Saturday for Repairs

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Rocket will carry an Earth-observing satellite into space for NASA

Some minor repairs to the Delta 2 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base will make NASA wait until at least Saturday for the departure of the Earth-observing satellite after upper-level winds that exceeded limits foiled the first liftoff attempt Thursday.

The United Launch Alliance rocket, standing some 13 stories, was to blast off early Thursday, but now will next try for liftoff on Saturday from Space Launch Complex-2, officials said late Thursday night.

The three-minute launch window is from 6:20 to 6:23 a.m.

With minutes to go before liftoff Thursday morning, mission managers scrubbed the attempt due to winds.

“Obviously it’s a slight disappointment to the team that we weren’t able to launch today but we understand the factors in upper level winds,” Tim Dunn, NASA launch manager, said.

He added that the rocket remains in good condition, and that 30th Space Wing had a “clean and green range” ready to support the launch.

Throughout a countdown, large balloons are released regularly to collect data on wind speed and direction to ensure a rocket can safely fly.

“We did everything we could at the last portion of the countdown to try to manipulate that upper level wind data against a number of curve fits that we can fly differently through those regimes,” Dunn said. “And none of those would accommodate our flight path and trajectory today.”

Later Thursday, while preparing for another launch attempt Friday morning, technicians conducting inspections spotted "minor debonds" to the booster insulation. 

"These insulation debonds are associated with cryogenic conditions experienced during tanking operations and a standard repair will be implemented," the ULA statement said.

Saturday's liftoff attempt is "pending completion of minor repairs to the vehicle," officials said.

The booster is set to carry NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, craft to join more than a dozen other spacecraft monitoring Earth’s vital signs. 

Specifically, SMAP is expected to deliver detailed data about about the amount of water in dirt. This information will help in a variety of ways, including drought monitoring, flood control and more.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Teen the Victim of Strong-Arm Robbery in Santa Maria

By | Published on 01/29/2015


Santa Maria police are searching for a suspect in a strong-arm robbery Wednesday night that left a 17-year-old girl with minor injuries.

Police say officers were called about 7:11 p.m. to the area of the riverbend levee near Seaward and Carlotti drives.

The victim told police she was running on the levee when she was approached from behind by a man on a bicycle. The man pushed her to the ground and took her cell phone.

The girl declined medical attention for her minor injuries.

The suspect was reportedly wearing a dark-colored shirt and pants and riding a dark-colored bicycle. No further description was available.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Lee & Associates Negotiates $5.3 Million Industrial Building Purchase in Fremont

By | Published on 01/29/2015


The Oakland office of Lee & Associates, the nation’s largest broker-owned commercial real estate firm, negotiated the purchase of the Bayside Technology Park, a 46,944-square-foot industrial facility at 46107-46127 Landing Parkway in Fremont.

Chris Schofield, a principal for Lee & Associates Oakland, represented the buyer, Crest Properties.

“The purchase of Landing Parkway will allow Crest Properties to expand its operation today as well as allow for future growth,” Schofield said. “They acquired a high-image, high-identity property that is well suited for their lab and office needs.”

The building, which is a free-standing R&D structure, sits on 3.07 acres and includes roughly 10,000 square feet of lab space.

Steve Kapp of Cornish & Carey Newmark Knight Frank and Jim and Craig Kovaleski of Cassidy Turley represented the seller.

— Erik Hamilton is a marketing coordinator for Lee & Associates.


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Cousteaus Accept Attenborough Award for Nature Filmmaking at Premiere of ‘Secret Ocean’

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Jean-Michel Cousteau reflects on his father, ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, at a screening for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Jean-Michel Cousteau remembers people asking his father, legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, what he expected to find while diving under the ocean.

"He would always respond, 'If I knew, I wouldn't go,'" Cousteau recalled to a packed audience at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday night, where he and his children, Fabien and Celine, received an Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

That spirit of exploration is alive and well, if Wednesday's event is any indication.

Wednesday was the world premiere of Secret Ocean, a 3D film produced by Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, and gave viewers a look at some never-before-seen footage of life at the bottom of the ocean.

The film began with black and white footage of Jacques Cousteau diving in 1945, and Jean-Michel narrated over the scenes, calling his father "the skinny Frenchman."

The movie then transitioned from Cousteau's foundation of early sea exploration to the cutting edge of ocean filmmaking today, with opening scenes showing the building blocks of ocean life, phosphorescent plankton, shimmering in 3D on the big screen.

Sea creatures from the bizarre but beautiful Basket Star to the patterned Sea Hares to an octopus captured between shimmering colors and striations all delighted the audience, which had filled the Arlington Theatre almost to capacity.

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling recalled the Attenborough Award's inception, and remembered the life of Mike DeGruy, a famed cinematographer who had won multiple Emmy Awards for his work capturing life under the ocean on film before his death in a helicopter crash in 2012.

DeGruy was instrumental in the Attenborough Award coming to be, Durling said.

The Cousteaus participate in a panel discussion after Wednesday night's screening of Secret Ocean. (Gary Lambert / Noozhawk photo)

"We passionately loved Mike," Durling told the audience. "We can feel him tonight."

DeGruy's widow, Mimi, was on stage Wednesday to present the award to the Cousteaus.

Actor Tim Matheson, who had been close friends with DeGruy and Durling, moderated a panel discussion with the Cousteaus after the film's screening, where Jean-Michel led off, talking about the first time he went scuba diving, when his father pushed him over the edge of a boat at 7 years old.

Celine is also working on a documentary, expected to come out in the fall of 2016, that documents the life of indigenous people in the Vale Jo Davari region of the Amazon Rainforest, and some of her work to those tribes was showcased to the audience.

Fabien's work was also on display, including his Mission 31 project, in which he lived for 31 days in an underwater habitat, exceeding his grandfather's record. The effort wasn't to break the record, he said, but to refocus attention back on the ocean, and he was able to "invite the world" into the project by hosting Skype sessions with school classes and Google hangouts.

"The goal was to get people immersed into this last frontier on our planet," he said.

At the heart of the family's mission is education, about ocean care and conservation and the message that human beings are interconnected with their environments.

"How can people change their behavior if the don't know what's going on? Education is key," Jean-Michel said.

Hope in that the younger generation will embrace conservation is what keeps him going each day, he told Matheson: "I'm a believer that the generation of tomorrow will make much better decisions."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The Cousteau family. (Gary Lambert / Noozhawk photo)


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Santa Maria Police Honor Top Officer, Recognize Several Lifesavers at Awards Luncheon

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Sgt. Russ Mengel is named Officer of the Year for his work developing the department's Incident Command System

An officer who saved a child’s life, a citizen who administered first aid to a critically-injured coworker, and a sergeant who set up a vital mobile command system now sought by other agencies were among the honorees Wednesday at the Santa Maria Police Department Awards Luncheon.

More than 200 people attended the luncheon held at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge which was sponsored by the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau.

“Today we’re going to be honoring some very special individuals for outstanding accomplishments and acts of heroism over the course of the past year,” Police Chief Ralph Martin said. 

Sgt. Russ Mengel, recently promoted to community services supervisor, was named Officer of the Year for 2014, a recognition that he serves the department with excellence on a regular basis.

Mengel developed and implemented the Incident Command System, ensuring patrol supervisors’ vehicles are properly equipped to served as mobile command posts during critical incidents, Martin said. 

Other agencies have requested Mengel’s assistance as they attempt to develop a similar program, Martin said. 

“Our department has been described as the model to follow for other agencies trying to implement the ICS system in their own jurisdictions, and much of this is due to Sgt. Mengel,” Martin said. 

Officer Roberto Ruiz was presented the Lifesaving Award for his role in saving a toddler who swallowed a marble and stopped breathing. In May, Ruiz was flagged down by a hysterical man who said he and his wife were transporting their 3-year-old child who swallowed a marble and wasn’t breathing.

“Realizing the child was not breathing, the airway was completely obstructed, Officer Ruiz performed the Heimlich maneuver in an attempt to dislodge the marble. After a few minutes, and probably some terrifying times for everyone involved, the child began to breath on his own,” Martin said.

Members of the Santa Maria Police Department Record Bureau, pictured with Chief Ralph Martin, receive the agency's Distinguished Team Award. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

An X-ray taken at the hospital revealed the marble had entered the child’s stomach. While the chief joked that the Heimlich should get the lodged item out of the patient, Martin added, “Either way you did a great job.”

A doctor later credited Ruiz’s efforts for dislodging the marble from the child’s airway.

“You were at the right place at the right to save this child’s life. You immediately identified the problem. You remained calm and effectively performed the maneuver as you were taught,” Martin said.

The chief also gave out Distinguished Citizen Awards for people involved in two different incidents in 2014.

One went to Aurelia Vega, a neighborhood sales representative for Heritage Square development, for her lifesaving measures Dec. 8. 

Hearing a construction worker’s cry for help, Vega instantly responded to find a man had been badly injured on his thigh by a hand-held Sawzall reciprocating saw. 

“While other employees seemed a little confused and unsure what to do, Ms. Vega wasted no time,” Martin said. “She took a belt from one of the other employees. She used it as a tourniquet on the victim’s leg.”

Additionally, she grabbed towels to apply pressure on the wound to stem the bleeding until rescuers arrived and transported the man to the hospital.

“Ms.Vega’s immediate response and efforts were instrumental in saving the man’s life,” Martin said.

The chief also recognized three city landfill workers — Robert Cossa, Douglas Shearer and George Torres — for their critical roles in helping locate a missing student with special needs last year. 

Carla Amado was named the winner of the Dispatcher of the Year Award. Amado, hired in 2008, delivers strong customer service in the role as “the Vin Scully of the department,” Martin said. 

She also represented the agency at several job fairs, decorating the booth using her own resources and talking to hundreds of people about the career.

Records Bureau worker Nina Toedte was given the Support Employee of the Year Award for being a steady influence amid big changes, the chief said. She also took on the efforts of revising data after the discovery of some erroneous numbers and worked to ensure the errors don’t continue.  

She also received a Certificate of Commendation for her performance while serving as acting police records supervisor.

These honors came as the Records Bureau coped with a heavy workload. To put it in perspective, Martin said, the agency arrested approximately 3,000 people. In 2014, the number climbed 62 percent to 4,800 — the highest probably in the history of the department and something police attribute to having more officers on the streets, Martin said.

The Records Bureau staff earned the Distinguished Team Award, recognizing their role in processing more than 12,000 police reports, maintaining records, answering phone calls and dealing with people who come into the station. 

“They have performed their duties unselfishly, often working addition hours to maintain mandated deadlines and have increased the operational hours at the front window, providing additional service to the public,” Martin said. 

The chief also spotlighted the department’s employees of the quarter for 2014 as those who served in an exceptional manner for the three-month period — Officer Andrew Brice, Officer Ernie Salinas, Officer Scott Casey and Detective Herminio Rodriguez.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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NASA Satellite’s Mesh Antenna Built in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Astro Aerospace responsible for unique spinning reflector antenna on craft to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base

A big component tightly tucked into a small package aboard NASA’s soil observatory can trace its roots to Santa Barbara County. 

Northrop Grumman Astro Aerospace, which has facilities in Carpinteria and Goleta, designed and manufactured the unique reflector antenna and the boom on NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.

SMAP is sitting inside a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket set to blastoff from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base between 6:20 and 6:23 a.m. Thursday. 

For now, SMAP’s unique reflector antenna remains stowed away for launch and is scheduled to start being deployed two weeks after arriving in orbit. Fully deployed, the reflector antenna built by the Astro Aerospace looks like a backyard trampoline.

“This is very exciting. It’s a big milestone for us,”  said Edward Keay, director of business development and former program manager for SMAP.  “This is the first of a new product line for us.”

SMAP marks the firm’s ninth reflector using its AstroMesh technology, and the previous ones “worked worked flawlessly on orbit,” Keay said. 

The NASA satellite employs the firm’s new AstroMesh-Lite series of reflectors ranging from 3 to 8 meters to accommodate small satellite applications.

“This one happens to be six meters, so it’s the first of that genre,” Keay said. 

At six meters or nearly 20 feet in diameter, SMAP's rotating mesh antenna “dwarfs the size of the instruments and spacecraft, and is the largest rotating antenna of its kind that NASA has yet deployed,” the space agency said.

A unique reflector antenna made by Santa Barbara County-based Northrop Grumman Astro Aerospace will be part of a satellite set to launch Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Contributed image)

SMAP will measure moisture in Earth’s soil, producing a global map every three days. This data, scientists said, will be useful for flooding, droughts, disease control and more. 

Some of the Astro Aerospace staff — the firm has 75 employees in the county — began working on the SMAP’s early studies in 2008. They spent more than two years designing and manufacturing the structure.

In the past year, Astro Aerospace staff has supported Jet Propulsion Laboratory staff readying the craft for flight.

The SMAP mission marks the first time the firm’s mesh deployable reflector will be used for a science satellite, added Daniel Ochoa, product development manager. It’s also the first time a large antenna will be spinning atop a spacecraft.

“For us to have product on something like that is very exciting,” Ochoa said. “Everyone here at Astro Aerospace is excited and proud to work with JPL on the mission.”

For launch, the entire antenna is packed into a cylinder 1 foot in diameter by 4 feet to fit inside the rocket’s payload fairing. In all, it weighs approximately 125 pounds.

“That’s really our bread and butter — trying to figure out how to fit these large structures in these tight small packages,” Ochoa said.

AstroAerospace also must ensure the deployed antenna is stiff enough to keep the shape needed so the energy is correctly reflected off the mesh surface into the proper pattern.

With spaceflight costly, satellite builders struggle to make components small to keep the program price lower. Yet Astro Aerospace has successfully conquered the engineering challenge to create the deployable mesh technology, Astro Aerospace officials noted.

“If you’re going to put something into space that’s very, very large, it needs to be able to fold down,” Keay said, adding the mesh looks like a nylon stocking. The system also uses a light graphite epoxy structure that helps hold its shape. 

“This particular application was very challenging,” Keay added. “In the past, the reflectors we’ve built have been for communication satellites so they mount to the side of the spacecraft and they stay there during the whole life on orbit.”

In addition to the actual launch, deployment of components is one of the riskiest aspects of the business, Keay noted. 

SMAP isn’t the firm’s only NASA mission. It also will provide components on the James Webb SpaceTelescope, scheduled to launch in 2018.

For now, it is focused on SMAP and thrilled at the chance to tell their story.

“We’re just really excited to see this go, and it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our hardware,” Keay added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Don Donaldson Sworn In for 2nd Term as Board President for Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Host Deckers Outdoor Corp. showcases its new building as local business leaders gather for annual membership meeting

A beacon for business in the Goodland opened its doors Wednesday night to the annual membership meeting of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Situated in the heart of the Cabrillo Business Park, Deckers Outdoor Corp. gave some business professionals their first look into the new, glass-encased building, where chamber board members were sworn in, old ones were wished well and leaders outlined the organization’s triumphs and plans for 2015.

Goleta Valley chamber president and CEO Kristen Miller welcomed the business-focused group as most of its 450 members snacked on hors d'oeuvres and enjoyed sips of wine.

Nearly 60 new members joined the chamber in 2014, which represents businesses employing 35,000 locals.

Don Donaldson, who served as 2014 board chairman, was sworn in for his second term — a duration determined by his fellow board members, who believe he did a good job last year.

He remarked on some crowning achievements in 2014, including the opening of the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet incubator in Old Town Goleta.

The office space within the ATK Space Systems building at 600 Pine Ave. serves as the first physical space devoted to GEM, the chamber’s year-old partnership with the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara to attract and foster local tech startup businesses.

“That was a big deal,” Donaldson said.

A half-dozen businesses moved into the incubator last summer, where GEM hosted its inaugural Summer Accelerator Program.

David Hunt, who was hired last year as the chamber’s director of business development, announced the 2012 Ambassador of the Year as Christine le Bon, who was honored for 20 years of service volunteering at Santa Barbara Airbus and in the community.

The Chairman’s Award went to Tony Vallejo, a Goleta City Council member and former chamber board chairman.

Donaldson said he was looking forward to again working with an awesome group of people, focusing on advocating for members, visitor services, GEM, the Highway 101 widening project and future private-public partnerships.

2015 Board of Directors

» Rod Alferness, UC Santa Barbara

» Hallie Avolio, Latitude 34˚ Technologies

» Leslie Brickell, Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta

» Warren Butler, Marketing Express

» Bill Banning, Goleta Union School District

» Peter BrownBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

» Dave Clark, Impulse Advanced Communications

» Kathleen Cochran, Bacara Resort & Spa

» Francois DeJohnHayes Commercial Group

» Don Donaldson, Penfield & Smith

» Steve Greig, Occidental Petroleum Corp.

» Hazel Johns, Santa Barbara Airport

» Trevor LargeBuynak Fauver Archbald Spray

» Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk

» Dave Messner, ATK Space Systems

» Steve Nicholson, Citrix Online

» Eric Onnen, Santa Barbara Airbus

» Anne Pazier, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets

» Marty Plourd, Community West Bank

» Susan Rodriguez, Brown & Brown Insurance 

» Cynder SinclairNonprofit Kinect

​» Dawn Sproul, Cox Communications

​» Rachael Ross

​» Bill Terre, FLIR Commercial Vision Systems

» Emma Torres, Union Bank

» Jim YoungsonTerrain Consulting

» Craig Zimmerman, The Towbes Group

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Court Schedules April Trial for Santa Barbara District Elections Case

By | Published on 01/28/2015


The question of whether Santa Barbara has violated the California Voting Rights Act by holding at-large City Council elections is scheduled to be heard by a Superior Court judge in April.

Judge Donna Geck set an April 6 trial date for the case, which was brought by several Latino registered city voters who allege the at-large system dilutes their votes.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Barry Cappello, points to the lack of Latino representation on the City Council despite that fact that 38 percent of the city’s population is Latino or Hispanic.

The two sides have had case management conferences for months, and Cappello said the April trial date seems firm.  

Council members decided to put the issue on the November 2015 ballot, asking voters whether they support an election voting system with six council districts and one at-large mayor. If voters support district elections, they would take effect for the November 2017 election.

Plaintiffs want a nonjury trial soon so they can get a judgment before the city’s next at-large election in November. The five named plaintiffs are Frank Banales, Sebastian Aldana Jr., Jacqueline Inda, Cruzito Herrera Cruz and Benjamin Cheverez. 

The City of Santa Barbara filed a general denial in October, denying all allegations of the complaint, and recently hired brought on special counsel to serve as co-counsel for this case. Marguerite Leoni of Nielsen Merksama Parrinello Gross & Leoni specializes in civil litigation related to elections, redistricting and voting rights law.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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RRM Design Group Welcomes New Manager of Engineering to Santa Barbara Office

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Mike Hamilton recently joined RRM Design Group’s Civil Engineering Group as manager of engineering of its Santa Barbara office.

As a licensed civil engineer, Hamilton has more than 15 years of local experience in municipal, commercial, institutional and residential project types. His diverse project experience will complement RRM’s multidisciplinary team of professional architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects and surveyors.

His previous engineering experience includes work on the Santa Barbara City College New West Campus Building, the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology, Bell Riviera workforce housing in Santa Barbara, and The Loop mixed-use development in Isla Vista.

As a native to Santa Barbara and an alumnus of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Hamilton has an extensive knowledge of the Central Coast. He is currently an officer with the Central Coast chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a certified Qualified Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Developer/Practitioner (QSD/P).

“RRM Design Group has established themselves as local firm with a reputation for providing sustainable and innovative spaces within our community," Hamilton said. "As nearly a lifelong resident of this beautiful area, I relish the opportunity to contribute to this vision. I look forward to bringing years of local engineering experience to the RRM team to build on their reputation throughout the Central Coast.”

Hamilton can be reached at 10 E. Figueroa St., Suite 1 in Santa Barbara, or 805.883.5217.

— Nicole Stephens is the senior marketing coordinator for RRM Design Group.


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Santa Barbara County Housing Authority Selects New Executive Director and Finance Director

By | Published on 01/28/2015


The Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the selection of Robert Havlicek Jr., CPA, to fill the position of executive director effective Jan. 1.

Havlicek has considerable experience with the Housing Authority, including 19 years as director of finance and operations. Havlicek and HACSB have gained the respect of industry colleagues over the years through strong commitment and dedication to getting the job done.

Havlicek replaces Frederick Lamont, who recently retired after serving 13 years as executive director of the HACSB.

The board is also pleased to announce that Irene Melton has been selected as director of finance for the agency.

With an operating budget of approximately $45 million, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara employs 92 employees in Santa Barbara County, the majority of them living and working in the Lompoc area. In addition, the Housing Authority maintains service and construction contracts with a number of local businesses.

Along with its associated nonprofit Surf Development Co., the HACSB owns and/or manages 1192 rental units in the County of Santa Barbara. Its largest program, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, provides rental assistance for approximately 3,700 families throughout Santa Barbara County.

— Jackie Bordon is executive secretary of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara.


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Henry Schulte: UCSB Gets Special Treatment from Coastal Commission

By | Published on 01/28/2015


[Note: Part three in a three-part series. Click here for the first part. Click here for the second part.]

A few final observations and opinions regarding our community, our neighbor UCSB, and its friend and ally the California Coastal Commission.

The students: This time I’m coming to the defense of the defenseless students. Granted, I still feel transient voters should never control and dictate what happens in a community in which most will never reside full time, but in this world of muddled government where things move slower than lava, it will never change.

We, the community at large, just need to step up and use our own voting power to make the changes we deem necessary. Unless we do that we get what we deserve.

Back to the students: Last year, the UC Regents made two big decisions, one to increase the UC chancellor’s pay by 20 percent and then, apparently to help pay for those raises, agreed to increase the students' tuition. You barely heard a peep when the chancellors, who will now average $400,000 a year (UCSF chancellor $750,000 a year) just faded into quiet acceptance. And the students who tried to rally against the tuition increase, their voices gradually went silent.

The Coastal Commission: Over Christmas weekend I took my daughters and grandkids to visit Hearst Castle. I wanted to stay at the Cambria Pines Lodge because they put on a beautiful Christmas light display around the grounds and I wanted to show the kids. At first I was dismayed when I was told the lights wouldn’t be coming on that evening one day after Christmas. And then I was stunned to read the reason why posted at the check-in counter.

The Coastal Commission (remember, an unelected body of ideologists) had decided to only allow the lights to be displayed for a certain number of days. I can’t even begin to fathom where they get the authority and even further more why. Attributing to climate change? The colors are too much for the squirrels to handle? With the addition of over 900 new laws enacted this year in California, we add to that the unsupervised Coastal Commission running amok.

Meanwhile, UCSB is gobbling development steroids. Remember the dirtiest word you could ever be called in Santa Barbara has always been “developer.” Wait until someone else tries a new major project and see what happens.

Goleta Beach: A golf driver away, environmentalists and the CCC want to take away Goleta Beach and UCSB throws the public crumbs for beach parking access, and we still have to pay for it. I’d like a logical, common-sense explanation why rocks can’t be placed to protect the beach, but hundreds of thousands of square feet can be built across the bay almost unchecked. And the “take way the sand down the coast” argument doesn’t hold against a high tide. Everything south of Rincon is revetment and L.A. has some of the longest stretches of beaches in the world, all covered with tons of sand.

Farming: As someone who’s been involved in farming and raising avocados for over 40 years along our coast, I’ve watched as multitudes of regulations have been imposed to strangle agriculture. Now, the Coastal Commission, in bed with our supervisors (or the other way around), has added even more layers recently.

You take each of these hundreds if not thousands of regulations imposed over the years and you have to ask yourself: Who even thinks of them or has the time? It’s of course the self-appointed environmentalists who always know better and have the backing of the CCC, our local supervisors and our democratic Legislature. The handcuffs that have been imposed are costly and in most cases stupid and in many cases purely politically motivated.

But in the case with liberal institutions of higher learning such as UCSB, there just doesn’t seem to be any of these same restraints and regulations. In a community where an EIR is required to add a toilet, it’s the old cliché: “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Silverado Stages Receives United Motorcoach Association’s Vision Award

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Lauded for its overall excellence, Silverado Stages Inc., which has about 300 employees serving Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles/Orange County and Las Vegas with charter, tour, shuttle and fixed-route service, has received the 2015 United Motorcoach Association Vision Award.

Voted on by industry peers, the annual Vision Award honors companies that are instrumental in setting standards that advance the motorcoach industry.

At its annual trade show in New Orleans on Jan. 21, representatives of UMA’s 900 coach company members and 250 manufacturer and supplier associate members honored Silverado Stages for its business practices, high safety standards, innovative operations approach, social responsibility and community dedication.

The award was presented during the dinner gala at the UMA EXPO trade show in New Orleans. In accepting the award, Jim Galusha, chairman of Silverado Stages Inc., acknowledged the company’s executive team, staff and drivers, and promised to stay cutting-edge.

“It’s important to stay up on and pay attention to the new technologies that improve coach performance, passenger comfort and driver’s ease,” Jim Galusha said.

Silverado Stages was commended for its establishment of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which has, over the last two years, transferred ownership of 11 percent of the company to its employees.

“We’re dedicated to giving something back to our employees, more than a paycheck, which assists their well-being and that of the company’s,” Galusha said.

— Cory Medigovich represents Silverado Stages.


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17 Student Artists Awarded Scholarships from Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Seventeen promising student artists were recently awarded scholarships at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s 36th annual Art Exhibition and Reception.

These financial awards are part of the Art Scholarship program, which invites high school seniors from the southern part of Santa Barbara County to submit their artwork to be judged by a panel of prominent local artists. The judges this year were Whitney Abbott, Anthony Askew and Patti Jacquemain.

Students applied to the Art Scholarship program in November. Those selected to compete presented a portfolio of their best work to the judges at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House on Jan. 15. One week later, the winners were feted by their families, Scholarship Foundation supporters and local art patrons at an exhibition and reception in their honor.

“For many students, these scholarships help launch the trajectory of their careers in art. We are not just granting financial awards, we are giving opportunity and encouragement to incredibly talented members of our community,” said Janet Garufis, president of the Scholarship Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Julia Kupiec from Santa Barbara High School was awarded the Rick and Regina Roney Art Award and the Schall Family Best of Show Prize. The other 2015 Art Scholarship winners are Juliana Cooper (Providence School), Gabriella Craviotto (Dos Pueblos High School), Hannah Croshaw (Santa Barbara High School), Nichole Francia (Anacapa School), Anthony Hernandez (Carpinteria High School), Miles Hogan (Santa Barbara High School), Sam Kilpatrick (San Marcos High School), Kela Johnson (Laguna Blanca), Amanda Kirk (San Marcos High School), Sierra Lopez (Bishop Diego), Cambria Metzinger (Dos Pueblos High School), Socorro Martinez Ortiz (Dos Pueblos High School), Marguerite Shraiman (Dos Pueblos High School), Mirra Tubiolo (Santa Barbara High School), Sofia Vermeulen (Santa Barbara High School) and Benjamin Weininger (Santa Barbara High School).

Students and art teachers interested in learning more about the Art Scholarship program should visit the Scholarship Foundation’s website by clicking here. To become an Art Patron, contact Raissa Smorol, director of development, at 805.687.6065.

— Raissa Smorol is development director for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


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UCSB Establishes Confucius Institute with Emphasis on Chinese Language, Culture, Political Economy

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Partnering with Shandong University in China, UC Santa Barbara is establishing a Confucius Institute on campus that will be dedicated to teaching and research related to Chinese language, culture and history.

Mayfair Yang

“There are at present over 400 Confucius Institutes around the world,” said Mayfair Yang, the UCSB institute director and a professor of East Asian language and cultural studies and of religious studies. “Practically every country in the world has at least one.”

Joining with Shandong University to create a Confucius Institute seems particularly appropriate given that Confucius himself lived in the province in northeastern China.

“It’s a very ancient culture up there,” said Yang. “For much of the 20th century, Confucius was put down by modernizers of China. But more recently, people have wanted to go back to the cultural heritage of Confucius and he’s being taught in the schools and in intellectual research institutes. There is also a renewed interest in Buddhist and Daoist philosophes and religions across all walks of life in China today.”

Funded by the Office of Hanban in Bejing — which is supported by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education — along with matching funds from UCSB, the institute aims to be a campus center for China studies and education about China.

“The world doesn’t really know a lot about China,” Yang explained. “China kind of closed itself off for a long time in the 20th century, so there’s kind of a catch-up game. People know the country has become influential and is in the news, but they don’t know enough about the history and culture.”

And it’s a very long history, indeed.

“China is a very dynamic place today,” Yang said. “And as a professor engaged in teaching about China, I have found that in the United States people don’t know enough about the country. What the media presents is only a partial view.”

The institute, she continued, will provide the academic means to make people more aware of the complexities of China.

“China also has many social and environmental problems, and the world can help China address them. And China is pretty ready to engage with different ideas coming from the rest of the world.”

At the UCSB institute, a premium will be placed on academics and research. Intellectual exchange is the focus, but the institute will offer Chinese language courses; academic outreach with lectures on topics such as political economy, U.S.-China trade, Chinese religion, Chinese history, philosophy and literature; film screenings; and cultural events.

Yang also anticipates the Confucius Institute will provide assistance in the form of fellowships and grants to UCSB graduate students and faculty members whose work in China studies requires them to travel to China to conduct field work, interviews or research in archives.

The institute will celebrate its grand opening Feb. 1-3 with a series of events that includes a film screening, opening ceremony and two lectures. Events are free and open to the public.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, the film The Golden Era will be shown in the Isla Vista Theater, 901 Embarcadero del Norte. Directed by Ann Hui, the Chinese-Hong Kong drama examines the life of Xiao Hong, one of China’s most famous 20th-century novelists and poets, whose progressive thinking was far from common during the 1930s.

On Monday, Feb. 2, the Confucius Institute Opening Ceremony will take place in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Speakers include UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang; Shouxin Li, chairman of the University Council at Shandong University; and the Honorable Jian Liu, the consul-general in Los Angeles. The event will begin at 10 a.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, two keynote lectures will be given beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Mosher Alumni House’s Alumni Hall. Kenneth Dean, the Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair of Chinese Cultural Studies at the National University of Singapore, will speak on “Globalizing Regions: The Spread of Southeast Chinese Daoist Ritual Traditions to Southeast Asia.”

Dean will be followed by Robert Rogowsky, professor of trade and development at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California and adjunct professor of trade and commercial diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Rogowsky will give a talk titled “U.S.-China Trade Policy: Productive Collaboration or Managed Rivalry?”

More information about the UCSB Confucius Institute can be found by clicking here.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Upgrades to Begin Early on Aquatics Center in Santa Maria

By | Published on 01/28/2015


The Paul Nelson Aquatics Center at 600 S. McClelland St. in Santa Maria is about to receive a few improvements during a month-long update.

The project timeline has been adjusted so the work will commence sooner.

Starting on Monday, Feb. 2 and through Thursday, March 5, the pool will be closed as it undergoes several renovations. Normal swim hours will resume on Friday, March 6.

A previous city news release issued on Jan. 21 stated the project would last from Feb. 16 to March 17.

The 50-meter pool will receive new boilers and pool grates. The deck will also see some improvements and portions of the pool’s shell will be patched. All of the improvements will create a more enjoyable swimming experience for the community.

The Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center will remain open during the pool’s closure.

Questions may be directed to the Recreation and Parks Department at 805.925.0951 x260.

— Dennis Smitherman is a recreation supervisor for the City of Santa Maria.


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Botanic Garden Seed the Future Campaign Exceeds Goal, Raises $14.9 Million

By | Published on 01/28/2015


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce that the Seed the Future Comprehensive Campaign exceeded its goal and raised $14,944,536.

These funds are already being used to expand and renovate gardens; enrich work in conservation and education with new, modern facilities; and increase the garden’s long-term sustainability.

“We are so grateful to the nearly 400 people who showed their support for the garden by donating to this campaign,” said Dr. John Wiemann, garden trustee and co-chair of the Seed the Future campaign.

“It shows tremendous faith in the garden’s future and the importance of its conservation mission,” added co-chair Dr. Ed Birch.

Several early gifts to the campaign are already being used for construction, research and preservation:

A $2.5 million gift from Mrs. John C. Pritzlaff focused on building the garden’s first new structure in more than 20 years — the Pritzlaff Conservation Center. The center will consolidate the garden’s research, administration and exhibition areas, including laboratory space, expanded herbarium and a rare plant seed bank. The building is designed to be highly energy efficient, will incorporate photovoltaic panels to produce most of its annual power demand, capture stormwater for use in garden irrigation, and achieve a Gold Level LEED certification. Currently under construction, the Pritzlaff Conservation Center is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

The garden created its first endowed position, a plant Systematist, thanks to a $2.3 million contribution from Drs. Ken and Shirley Tucker. The Systematist will continue the garden’s work in plant taxonomy and add the capacity for DNA based research. Dr. Shirley Tucker, a botanist, and Dr. Ken Tucker, an entomologist, knew firsthand the challenges of funding basic research as federal money decreased and private institutions filled the gap.

Major funding from John and Martha Gabbert was an expression of their dedication to the garden’s mission.

"We only have one planet and one of the things that makes this planet such an amazing place to live is the vast diversity of living things. We gave to the Seed the Future campaign because the work the garden is doing in education and research is vital to protecting this wonderful, diverse planet we call home,” enthused John Gabbert.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's rare books will be available in the University of California Santa Barbara Library’s new Special Collections facility beginning in 2016, thanks to the Seed the Future gift of SAGE Publications chair and co-founder, Sara Miller McCune.

"My goal in making this gift is to ensure the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s important collection of rare books is preserved for generations to come," Miller McCune said.

Dedicated donors were inspired to give significant gifts at the beginning and end of the campaign. A million-dollar challenge match organized by garden trustee Peter Schuyler, with campaign supporters Gay Bryant, Connie Harvie, Chapin and Cynthia Nolen, Gerry and Bobbie Rubin, and Jack and Judy Stapelmann, helped inspire many of those additional gifts from previous donors.

“It was a real community effort and we are thankful to everyone who made this possible” said Dr. Steve Windhager, executive director of the garden.

In addition to the Pritzlaff Conservation Center, improvements funded by the campaign will include renovation of existing buildings that will expand classroom areas, provide for a fire-safe library on site, and enhance the visitor experience with a new visitors’ gallery. Five gardens are being planted or renovated including: the Home Demonstration Garden, the historic Meadow, the Wooded Dell display around the historic Campbell Bench, a new Island Section, and the Centennial Maze, which commemorates the Garden Club of Santa Barbara’s 100th anniversary.

The garden will remain open to the public while construction is under way on the Pritzlaff Conservation Center on its property east of Mission Canyon Road.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.


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Jury Finds for Cab Company in Death of Simon Chavez

By | Published on 01/28/2015


[Noozhawk note: An earlier version of this story reported that a jury found Absolute Cab co-owner Joshua Klein negligent and co-owner Thomas Rhyne not negligent. The corrected version is below.]

Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury on Wednesday found an Absolute Cab co-owner and driver negligent, but determined the actions did not contribute to the death of Simon Chavez.

Simon Chavez

Chavez, 22, was hit and killed by a driver in the southbound lanes of Highway 101 near the Ortega Street footbridge on Jan. 15, 2013.

According to the wrongful-death case filed by his family, Chavez's friend paid a cab to take him home the night of his death, but Chavez got out near Carrillo Street when he felt sick.

He didn't get back in the cab, and the cab driver left the area, according to the complaint. 

Witnesses said Chavez was seen staggering in traffic before he was struck. 

After a two-and-a-half-week trial, the jury presented its verdict to Judge Colleen Sterne, who thanked the attorneys for a "case very well presented."

Jurors found Absolute Cab co-owner Joshua Klein not negligent but they did find negligence on the part of Thomas Rhyne, a co-owner and the cab's driver the night of Chavez's death. However, they did not find that negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to Chavez. 

Because negligence was determined not to be a substantial factor in causing Chavez harm, no damages were awarded.

Rob Bergsten, who represented Absolute Cab in the case, called the case "very sad and very tragic."

Though the jury admitted some of the things the company had done were negligent, "none of them lead to his death," he told Noozhawk Wednesday afternoon.

Bergsten said that jurors ultimately could not connect the actions of the cab company to Chavez's death, which occurred half an hour after the cab driver let him out of the vehicle.

"It was too remote, in both location and time, for them to feel there was a causal connection," Bergsten said.

Barry Cappello and Leila Noel were the attorneys representing Chavez's family, which had asked for $8 million in damages.

Chavez's mother, Ana Quintanar, and her husband, Luis, were in court Wednesday, and Cappello told reporters they are "devastated" by the verdict.

He stressed that the case was not about the money, but about justice for Chavez.

"No cab in this town should ever let the people out," Cappello said, adding that the cab company's own rule book stated passengers should not be let out of the vehicle before reaching their destination.  

"(Chavez) stepped out of that cab and was lost forever," Cappello said.

Cappello called the judge "extremely fair," and noted that the jury had spent a lot of time on the verdict.

It's unclear whether the family will choose to appeal the verdict.

After Chavez was killed, authorities arrested Lau Van Huynh, 78, of Murrieta on felony hit-and-run charges. 

Huynh pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in the Santa Barbara County Jail and three years of probation.

The Coroner’s Office later released toxicology results that showed Chavez had a blood-alcohol concentration of .256 percent, more than three times the point at which a driver would be considered drunk.

Chavez’ family, who describe the former Santa Barbara High School baseball coach as a great big brother and die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers fan, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit against the driver’s family and Absolute Cab. 

Van Huynh’s family settled the case in January 2014 for a $30,000 payout from their insurance policy.

The complaint filed in Superior Court last year describes the hours leading up to Chavez’s death, and begins by stating that Chavez met up with a group of friends at the Uptown Lounge on State Street, where he became intoxicated.

Just after midnight, the bartender called Absolute Cab, and driver Rhyne arrived to pick Chavez up at 12:30 a.m.

A friend of Chavez paid Rhyne $20 to take him to his Cota Street home, and Rhyne acknowledged that the amount would be enough for the trip.

“By doing so, Rhyne, as an agent for Absolute Cab, assumed a duty to safely transport Chavez to his final destination,” the complaint states.

Chavez asked the driver how to open the cab in the area of Carrillo and De la Vina street, indicating he would be sick, and got out of the vehicle.

The complaint said the driver observed Chavez stumble backward as he walked away, and Rhyne left the area without calling for help.

The complaint states that Chavez walked west on Carrillo Street, then turned left onto the southbound ramp, then was struck by Van Huynh on the highway.

At the time of the filing, Bergsten told Noozhawk that his client, Absolute Cab, acted appropriately, and that forcing Chavez back into the cab could have constituted false imprisonment.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Laurie Jervis: One Year After Leasing Curtis Vineyard, Andrew Murray Excited About Future

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Five days into 2015, I joined Andrew Murray at a table under gnarled oak trees outside his new tasting room at the former Curtis Winery on Foxen Canyon Road.

The day was warm, and the winery’s semi-feral cat, christened “Curtis” by Murray and his staff, lounged at our feet, soaking up the winter sun.

One year has passed since Murray and his wife, Kristin, finalized a lease agreement with the Firestone family, one that would give the Murrays responsibility for the 100-acre Curtis estate vineyard, winery and the adjacent tasting room, all on Foxen Canyon Road.

The original tasting room for Murray’s wine label, Andrew Murray Vineyards, is located in downtown Los Olivos, and the Murrays are “absolutely keeping” that site as well, he said.

After selling its Firestone Vineyard brand and 300-acre estate vineyard to Foley Wine Estates in 2007, the Firestone family kept Firestone Walker Brewing Company and the Buellton restaurant Rock Hollow Vineyard on Ballard Canyon Road and Curtis Winery, named after Brooks Firestone’s mother, Polly Curtis Firestone.

By 2013, with the beer label consuming most of the family’s time and energy, Adam Firestone approached Murray with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — the chance to lease the vineyard, winery and tasting room.

As part of the deal, Murray would be responsible for the tasting room, and overseeing the production of both the Curtis and Jarhead labels for the Firestone family. He could use the vineyard’s various Rhône grape varietals for his Andrew Murray Vineyards’ label, and the other grapes would go toward wines for the Jarhead and Curtis labels.

In January 2014, I emailed Murray to arrange an interview about the transaction, but between our schedule conflicts and his desire to let the dust settle in the wake of the lease, an entire year passed.

So early this year, under the oaks, Murray reflected on how 2014 was the year of transition, with command gradually shifting from the Firestone family and Curtis, and its employees, to Andrew Murray Vineyards and his staff.

Murray wine
Andrew Murray's passion continues to be Rhône grape varietals, and in particular, syrah. (Laurie Jervis / Noozhawk photo)

“Last year, we worked to manage the vineyard alongside Coastal Vineyard Care Associates,” for more than five years the company the Firestones used to farm the site, Murray said.

Chuck Carlson, general manager of Curtis Winery and a Firestone winemaking employee since 1993, “was the point person” during the 2014 transition, Murray noted. Ernst Storm, Curtis’ winemaker since the 2011 vintage, left in early 2014 to focus on his own wine labels, Storm and Notary Public.

“This year, we’ll manage everything — we’ll take over the day-to-day management” of the vineyard, and with that added responsibility will come a bit more freedom to “be a little more exploratory” with the Firestone family, Murray said.

He likened his plans for the Curtis vineyard to “a tuning, of sorts, by acre.” Taking the reins at an established vineyard requires researching the yield rate per block or acre, the optimal percentage of shoot and grape cluster thinning, and looking for any restrictions or disease risks facing particular vines.

Experimentation with the vines, water and soil is key to overall vineyard management and day-to-day farming, and Murray is no stranger to hands-on cultivation of vines.

When he launched Andrew Murray Vineyards in 1990, he made wine from grapes grown on his family’s estate on Foxen Canyon Road, which now belongs to Demetria Estate Wines.

In 2005, Murray’s parents, looking to retire, sold that vineyard, and Murray began sourcing grapes from other vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley and on the Central Coast.

He continued to focus on his passion: Rhône grape varietals, and in particular, syrah. Today, Murray said, he sources grapes from Alisos Vineyard, Watch Hill Vineyard, Oak Savannah, all of the available syrah from Great Oaks and a few tons from Tierra Alta.

While he describes the Firestones as “hands off” as far as Murray’s direction for the vineyard, the weight of the responsibility he’s shouldered is not lost on him: “Our relationship assumes a lot of trust,” and he brought “tremendous humility” to the table when lease negotiations started in 2013.

Murray voiced his admiration for the Firestone family’s longtime dedication to red and white Rhône grape varietals at Curtis Vineyard.

“The vineyard has older roots, and it’s a proven location” for the Rhône staples of syrah, viognier and mourvedre.

In that respect, slowly making vineyard improvements will be similar to “turning the Titantic,” since he expects he’ll need three full years “to really be able to track vines and get results,” Murray noted.

Early this month, one year into the lease, Murray described himself as “just as excited, exhausted, scared and energetic as I was during my first years in the wine business 25 years ago.”

To honor his quarter-century making Andrew Murray Vineyards’ wines, Murray this year will release two new 2013 red blends from the Curtis estate grapes. Both will have proprietary names (“we’re still deciding”), and both will be comprised of mostly Rhône grapes with a percentage of another varietal, he said.

Jarhead Wines are the brainchild of Adam Firestone, eldest son of Brooks and Kate Firestone and a former Marine captain. Proceeds from the sale of Jarhead Wines benefit the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund, which provides for the children of fallen soldiers. Adam Firestone’s son, Nick, is also a Marine and currently stationed in Afghanistan, Murray said.

“Nick wants to be involved in the 2015 vintage, and he’ll be home around October. He has an awesome energy level, and we’re so proud to be involved” with the Jarhead project, he said.

The Jarhead label consists of Jarhead Chard, Jarhead Red and Jarhead Reserve, a red blend, and annual production is between 1,500 and 2,500 cases, Murray noted.

His own Andrew Murray Vineyards label comprises nearly 16,000 cases, plus “a few thousand cases sold as bulk wine,” he said. Nearly 10,000 cases of that total represent his award-winning signature Tous les Jours Syrah, sourced from the Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles, he added.

The current Andrew Murray Vineyards’ releases include a viognier, a rosé, a white blend, a red blend, single varietals of cinsault, mourvedre and grenache, the Tous les Jours and three single-vineyard syrahs. However, all but the viognier, red blend, white blend and grenache are already sold out, according to the company website.

And then, there’s the Murray’s newest wine project, “This is E11even Wines,” the winemaker’s nod to the cult film This is Spinal Tap, which he saw as a high school sophomore in 1988.

Why E11even? In “Spinal Tap,” all things that were awesome became an ‘11’ — just one better than a ’10.’” In other words, saying “turning it up to 11” reflects taking something to an extreme.

Take a listen to Murray explaining how he created “This is E11even Wines” by clicking here.

Under “This is E11even Wines,” Murray has a 2011 Pinot Noir sourced from a Santa Maria Valley vineyard he leases; and two 2012 vintages, both already sold out — a white blend and the “Big Bottom” Cabernet. Total case produce of “E11even” is just “a couple thousand,” he said.

While he has no plans to consolidate the downtown Los Olivos and the Foxen Canyon Road tasting rooms, Murray said he’s leaning toward eventually making “This is E11even Wines” the focus of the downtown site.

Murray spent most of last year familiarizing himself with the Curtis Estate Vineyard, and updating and remodeling the tasting room. He relocated his label from Area 51, the production facility located behind Firestone Vineyard, to the former Curtis winery, just steps from the tasting room. By his admission, he spent part of every single day either at the winery, in the tasting room or in the vineyard.

“When the power went out on Christmas Day, I came out,” he said.

Murray expanded Curtis’ original tasting room into a portion of the adjacent winery’s barrel room, creating a “Members’ Lounge” with both lounge-style seating and a bar, as well as a glass-wall enclosed “Educational Room.” Outside lies the oak-shaded “Members’ Terrace,” as well as additional outdoor seating that features Figueroa Mountain in the distance.

With the additional rooms and seating, and Kristin Murray working fulltime on the “hospitality side of things,” the two hope to put the additional space to use for special events, he said.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via The opinions expressed are her own.


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Bill Cirone: Cal Grants Pave the Way to Higher Ed for Lower-Income Families

By | Published on 01/28/2015


More than 40 years ago, the state of California set a goal of providing access to higher education for low- and middle-income students. That goal became a reality with the passage of funding for Cal Grants. These are cash awards for college aid, and the application window is now open; 2015-16 Cal Grant applications are accepted through Monday, March 2.

For a great many students in our state, there has sadly been very little incentive to do well in school. Many of these students come from low- and middle-income families with no realistic capabilities of affording higher education. These students know from a young age that they will have to work to support themselves or contribute to the family as soon as they are able.

Though some of these students still summon the inner motivation to study hard and do well in school, many others are handicapped by this motivation barrier. It’s easy to see why the typical stresses and distractions of adolescents can loom larger for those who see no promise of any academic advancement in the future. The good news is Cal Grants are still making college dreams a reality.

Cal Grant A Entitlement awards can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges as well as some private career colleges. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system wide fees up to $5,472 and $12,192 respectively.

Students attending any private nonprofit college or a for-profit college accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges receive up to $9,084 toward tuition and fees. For students attending most other career colleges, it pays up to $4,000. For 2015-16 new applicants, these funds are provided to high school graduates with a 3.0 (B) or higher grade point average whose maximum income ranges from $32,000 for recipients who are independent to $100,800 for students from a family of six or more.

Cal Grant B Entitlement awards provide low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,473 for books and living expenses. After the freshman year, Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees in the same amount as a Cal Grant A. For a Cal Grant B, your coursework must be for at least one academic year.

Cal Grant C awards help pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career technical schools. This $547 award is for books, tools and equipment. An additional $2,462 may also be awarded for tuition at a school other than a California Community College. To qualify, students must enroll in a vocational program that is at least four months long at a California Community College, private college, or a career technical school. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of the program.

Cal Grant B Competitive Awards are for students with a minimum 2.0 GPA who are from disadvantaged and low-income families. These awards can be used for tuition, fees, and access costs at qualifying schools whose programs are at least one year in length. A Cal Grant B Competitive Award can only be used for access costs in the first year, including living expenses, transportation, supplies and books. Beginning with the second year, the Cal Grant B Competitive Award can be used to help pay tuition and fees at public or private four-year colleges or other qualifying schools.

It’s clear that the availability of these grants has had the potential to change lives. It provides students with the motivation to focus even harder on their studies. If students do their part and earn good grades, money may no longer be a barrier to higher education.

This has been a landmark accomplishment and it has spurred many students to work hard in school and fulfill their family’s dreams and their own potential.

With all these programs in place, the state has made a strong commitment to higher education and accessibility for students. We will all reap the benefits of an educated workforce and an educated consumer base that can attain the job skills to earn the money to afford the goods and services produced by our economy. Truly these grants are a win-win situation for all.

Information about the grants can also be found online at: and

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Core Principles of Design Thinking Focus of Library Workshop Series

By | Published on 01/28/2015


The Santa Barbara Public Library’s Makerspace Open Lab has partnered with a local design research expert to offer one-hour workshops focusing on design thinking in startups, small businesses and the corporate environment.

The following sessions of the series, Core Principles of Design Thinking, will be held on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

» Feb. 2 — How to Build a Startup using Design Thinking: The Toolbox

» Feb. 9 — How to Build a Startup using Design Thinking: Field Testing & Product Iteration

» March 2 — Design Thinking at Work: Corporate Intrapreneuring

» March 16 — Design Thinking at Work: Problem Solving

» March 30 — Design Thinking at Work: Small Business Enterprise

“Design Thinking” is a human-centered approach to solving problems. This series of workshops will discuss not only classic Design Thinking tools such as journey mapping and brainstorming, but will also include the importance of “your story” in the marketplace. Throughout all sessions, participants will learn to apply Design Thinking concepts in a hands-on approach focused on thinking about business challenges relating to growth, product development and market value.

Participants must be 18 years or older to register and are not required to attend all sessions. All participants will be awarded a “Design Thinker at Work” certificate to commemorate their attendance.

For more information or to register, call or email Hong Lieu at 805.564.5670 or The class is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The library is hosting these free sessions as part of a continued focus on empowering the community through classes and outreach.

The library’s Makerspace Open Lab is open every Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public of all ages. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at for information about library locations, hours, services and events. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Hong Lieu represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.


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Jackson Introduces Bill to Prohibit Drones from Invading Private Property

By | Published on 01/28/2015


State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has just introduced a bill that would prohibit drones from trespassing on private property and invading Californians’ privacy.

California law already prohibits someone from entering someone’s private property — their home or backyard, for example — without their permission, and prohibits them from photographing or recording conversations. Senate Bill 142 clarifies that the rules pertaining to trespassing and the physical invasion of privacy also apply to entry by remotely operated aerial vehicles known as drones.

“Drones have a lot of potentially useful and extremely innovative uses. But invading our privacy and property without permission shouldn’t be among them. When we’re in our backyards, with our families, we have an expectation that we have a right to privacy," Jackson said. “This bill would extend these long-established definitions of trespassing and privacy, and bring them into the 21st century, by applying them also to drones.”

SB 142 would not impact of the use of drones in public spaces or in the navigable airspace approximately 400 feet above ground, which is subject to federal regulation.

Jackson’s bill was introduced days after a drone was flown onto the White House lawn. Following the incident, President Barack Obama has called for more regulation of drone use.

Often, drones are equipped with video cameras and sound-recording equipment. As they become more widespread, the potential for colliding with established privacy rights increases.

“This bill is about anticipating and preventing problems before they occur,” Jackson said. “Drones are an emerging and exciting technology. But because they can easily travel over fences and other structures, we need to take extra precautions to ensure they don’t compromise our privacy and blur long-standing boundaries between public and private space.”

Jackson is chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees legislation on privacy issues. She represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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A Commitment to Diversity: UCSB Officially Recognized as Hispanic-Serving Institution

By | Published on 01/28/2015


For as long as she can remember, Jocelyn Ramirez enjoyed tinkering with electronics and, in general, figuring out how things work. So as a Paloma Valley High School honors student, it made perfect sense that she would set her sights on an engineering-related degree, and that she would choose UC Santa Barbara as the place to make it happen.

Jocelyn Ramirez (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

Now a senior at UCSB, Ramirez is completing her bachelor’s degree in computer science. A first-generation college student, she credits UCSB with providing not only tremendous educational opportunities, but also with the academic resources and services that helped her succeed. After graduating in June, Ramirez will begin her career with a job at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems division in Long Beach.

“Immediately after starting at UCSB I joined Los Ingenieros,” she said. “It gave me an opportunity to meet people from similar backgrounds and with similar interests.”

These led to her involvement in two internship programs — California Alliance Minority Participation and the Summer Applied Biotechnology Research Experience. She also joined UCSB’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program, which enabled her to take part in outreach activities.

“It was only through Los Ingenieros that I realized how possible it was for someone like me to gain an engineering degree,” Ramirez said.

In recognition of its commitment to students like Ramirez, UCSB has been named a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities. With six Nobel Laureates and a ranking among the top 10 public universities in the country, UCSB is the only HSI that is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

HSI’s are defined as colleges or universities in which Hispanic enrollment comprises a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment. Total enrollment includes undergraduate and graduate students, both full- and part-time.

As an HSI, UCSB may compete for grants and funding for a variety of initiatives, including support services for all students, faculty development, and the acquisition of scientific or laboratory equipment for teaching.

“I am extremely proud that UC Santa Barbara has been recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “This milestone achievement reflects our vision and decades of collaborative effort and commitment to enhance excellence and diversity at UC Santa Barbara and to provide the best possible educational opportunities for all of our students.

“During this journey, I have had the privilege of seeing our Hispanic student population grow from 11 percent to 27 percent today, along with many other splendid achievements. For example, our highly regarded Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies became the first to establish a doctoral program in the field. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni work tirelessly to make UC Santa Barbara a place that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds, and with this designation, we celebrate our shared commitment.”

Said David Marshall, UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall, “The designation reflects our longstanding commitment to diversity and excellence. It also will open doors to new opportunities for all of our students.”

As much as the HSI designation means for UCSB, it also represents a degree of success for education in California as a whole. “As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, UCSB is perfectly positioned to play a central role in educating the future leaders of California and in developing much needed research about one of the state’s most important and fastest growing demographic groups,” said George Lipsitz, professor Black Studies and of sociology. “But it is not just a victory for Latinos. It would be a mistake to make it that small. Everyone benefits from the ways in which the HSI designation bolsters the university’s ability to blend cosmopolitan inclusion with academic excellence.”

Noted Carl Gutierrez-Jones, professor of English and UCSB’s acting dean of undergraduate education, “UCSB’s standards for admission are very high, and the quality of our students has been rising steadily. To achieve this milestone — having an undergraduate population of more than 25 percent Latino students — is a testament to the success of the pipeline that is preparing all of our youth to compete at the very highest level.”

Gutierrez-Jones added that UCSB is committed to giving the best education possible to the brightest and most motivated students, regardless of family income or background. “Most of all, our undergraduate education is driven by the value we place on intellect and hard work,” he said. “Gaining HSI status confirms that we have made important headway against biases and stereotypes that made a university education an unreachable dream for many in the past.”

María Herrera-Sobek, associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and academic policy at UCSB cited the campus as a leader in diversity issues. “The fact that Hispanic and Latino students choose to enroll here demonstrates that they are aware that UCSB is a diversity-friendly community, that we have a welcoming social environment for all students — including students of color — and we will continue to work to make this even better in the future.”

While the designation of UCSB as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is a great honor, it presents an even greater opportunity, according to Lipsitz. “A changing university in a changing world has the opportunity to explore new possibilities, to develop new research projects, to design new classroom pedagogies, to propose new curricular innovations and to negotiate new definitions of community service that draw on the experiences, energies and imaginations of a diverse campus.”

The HSI designation is, in many ways, both the result of — and a benefit to — UCSB’s outreach efforts. “It shows that we’ve accomplished our goal of making the student population of UCSB more reflective of the California population,” said Lisa Przekop, director of admissions.

Among fall 2014 incoming freshmen, Hispanic students were more than twice as likely to be first-generation college students (75 percent) compared to non-Hispanic students (32 percent). In addition, they were more likely to have a diverse language background (only 29 percent are English-only speakers) as opposed to non-Hispanic students (55 percent English-only).

What’s more, Hispanic and non-Hispanic students had same high school grade point averages.

When asked about their experiences at UCSB, graduating seniors and recent alumni are overwhelmingly positive in their responses. Similar to their non-Hispanic classmates, over half of Hispanic students (55 percent) report engaging in research or creative activities with faculty members while at UCSB. Also, a higher proportion of Hispanic graduating seniors (87 percent) plan to pursue graduate education compared to non-Hispanic students.

“I felt [very] comfortable as a member of the campus community because the various resources and services available to students helped me gain confidence in my ability to succeed,” said alumna María Reyes. The recipient of the 2014 Storke Award, Reyes graduated in June and is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern California.

“The fact that faculty, staff and administrators embraced diversity was something I found to be the most beneficial in welcoming students of different ethnic backgrounds, and, in particular, those members of underrepresented groups,” she continued.

Since 1999, UCSB has awarded baccalaureate degrees to more than 12,000 Hispanic students, and the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded has increased from 12 percent that year to 22 percent in 2014.

UCSB’s Office of Admissions has been conducting student outreach throughout California for many years, making sure to connect not only with schools that have traditionally sent students to UC campuses but also to economically disadvantaged schools to encourage first-generation college-bound students to consider higher education.

“This fall we participated in more than 600 school visits and college fairs at high schools and community colleges and spoke with over 80,000 students and parents,” said Przekop. “Many people have a stereotype about the Santa Barbara community, and, in fact, we regularly hear from school counselors who visit UCSB that they are surprised to see the campus is so ethnically diverse.

“This new designation will help significantly with our outreach efforts,” Przekop continued. “We will make a point of ensuring that word of this special designation reaches families across the state as well as school guidance personnel.”

UCSB is the fourth UC campus to be recognized as an HSI. The others include UC Merced, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Possible Case of Measles Reported in Santa Barbara County Child

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Officials say the source of the infection has not yet been determined, and the affected household has been quarantined

With more than 70 people reportedly affected by a measles outbreak in California, local Public Health officials are reporting a possible case in a Santa Barbara County child.

Public health officials spent time to brief the media Wednesday afternoon about the possible case and what residents can do to stay healthy.

Dr. Charity Dean, public health officer with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, was one of several experts who spoke, and said the department could have the test results on the possible case back within the next week, hopefully sooner.

"If this is a confirmed case, we will be letting the community know," she said.

The department has provided a vaccine for members of the impacted household, quarantined them to their home and is reaching out to others who may have been exposed.  

The California Department of Public Health states that 50 of the 73 cases of measles that have been reported in the state are epidemiologically tied to an outbreak at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.

The source of the Santa Barbara County measles case has not yet been determined, and officials said there are a number of respiratory viruses in the community and the department will continue to test cases to determine whether they are confirmed cases of measles.

Measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease that typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, and within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreading downward to the rest of the body, according to the CDPH.

Children are encouraged to get the vaccination as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and if a household contains a young child, "it is essential that others in the household get vaccinated to protect the young who are not old enough to have all recommended vaccinations," according to Santa Barbara County Public Health.

Dean couldn't disclose whether the child who could have measles had been to Disneyland, but currently there were no epidemiological links to those at the theme park.

A person with measles can potentially infect 12 to 18 people in a population that is not immune to the disease, i.e., those who haven't been vaccinated.

Other suspected cases have been reported but it's unlikely those cases are measles, because many other illnesses have similar symptoms, like fever and rash, Dean said.

People should reach out to their primary care with their vaccination history, and those people can be advised about whether they need a booster or whether they are immune.

Dean said people worried about their children having measles should call ahead of time to a clinic "so they don't expose a potential waiting room to a highly contagious disease."

Dr. Takashi Wada, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, said that in addition to measles, the state is in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic as well.

"These are serious illnesses and a clear reminder of the importance of vaccinations," he said.

Most of the cases have occurred in children that are unvaccinated or under vaccinated, and Wada said while some parents may be concerned about vaccines, "countless research studies have found no links between vaccines and autism," he said.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. David Fisk said that if people continued to vaccinate themselves and their children, diseases like measles would be largely eradicated in the U.S.

The current outbreaks of whooping cough and measles are definitely related to lack of vaccination, and Fisk said there's been an increase in recent years of parents making "personal belief exemptions" and choosing not to immunize their children.

"People who choose not vaccinate are putting others at risk of serious illness," he said.

With the concept of herd immunity, usually about 95 percent of the population must be vaccinated to control the spread and recurrence of these illnesses, he said.

The idea is that those who can be immunized should be in order to protect those who may not be able to receive a vaccine, like those with weakened immune systems or are too young to receive vaccines, like infants.

Adults over the age of 19 and born in or after 1957 are recommended to get one to two doses of the Measles Mumps and Rubella, or MMR, vaccination. People with weakened immune systems, who are pregnant or have HIV should not receive the vaccine.

People are not at risk if they were born prior to 1957, have been diagnosed in the past by a physician, served in the armed forces, have written documentation with dates of receipt of at least one of the vaccine doses, or have a documented IgG+ test for measles, the county said.

A phone line has also been set up by county public health to give out information on the measles during regular business hours and can be reached at 805.681.4373.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy Recognized as Nonprofit of Year, Receives $7,500 in Donations

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Justin Dees, president of the Young Professionals Club, presents a check to the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy. (Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy photo)

The Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy was recognized as the Nonprofit of the Year by the Young Professionals Club, and received donations from three prominent Santa Barbara organizations in December: the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, the Young Professionals Club and the law firm of Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy LLP.

In early December, a $2,500 check from the Santa Barbara Bowl was gratefully received from Kai Tepper, the Bowl’s program manager, by William Fiedtkou, music director, at SBYMA’s music studios on South Quarantina Street.

On Dec. 11, the SBYMA was recognized as the Nonprofit of the Year by the Young Professionals Club at the Blind Tiger Restaurant and Lounge on State Street.

Justin Dees, president of the Young Professionals Club, and Tylor Dobson, charity liaison, presented a $5,000 check to William Fiedtkou, Peter Muzinich, Barbara Moseley, students and staff of the SBYMA.

The SBYMA will utilize the funds in its innovative after-school programs and its Young Musicians Scholarship fund.

In late December, Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy LLP, a prominent Santa Barbara law firm, also made a significant donation to the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

SBYMA wishes to express its gratitude to each of these donors for their generosity and support of the organization.

Since 2011, the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund has provided full or partial scholarships to music students whose families are experiencing financial hardship. This fund is critical for SBYMA to continue to grant scholarships and musical performance opportunities to underprivileged youth in the Santa Barbara community.

— Ed Seaman represents the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.


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‘Live Well’ Series Continues Saturday at Santa Barbara Public Market

By | Published on 01/28/2015


With the start of a new year comes the chance to reboot, re-energize and re-evaluate health and wellness goals — a clean slate to strive to eat and live cleaner.

To help the community kick off the year in a healthy way, the Santa Barbara Public Market will continue its “Live Well” health and wellness series this Saturday, Jan. 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit the Public Market this Saturday for a series of health and wellness activities!

» 11 a.m. — free pop-up yoga workout with fitness expert Nora Tobin at 11 a.m. (space is limited, first-come, first-served, sign-ups begin at 10:30 a.m.)

» Noon to 3 p.m. — healthy food samplings from Public Market merchants in The Kitchen

Demos from local vendors:

» Skin Deep Salon, which will be doing mini-makeovers

» Salt Cave Santa Barbara, which will sample signature Himalayan Salt bath and body products

» Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association, which will bring an observation hive and share about beekeeping practices

» Nest Integrative Medicine Spa will offer quizzes for adrenal fatigue, diet, and thyroid and interpretation

» And much more!

The Santa Barbara community is invited to the Live Well series at the Santa Barbara Public Market to participate in free workouts, enjoy healthy food samples from merchants and to get tips on how to shop the market in a healthy way. For more information about Live Well at the Public Market, please call 805.770.7702 or click here.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Public Market.


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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Paula Theater’s ‘Heroes’ Moves to Simi Valley

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Last fall, the Santa Paula Theater Center mounted a funny and moving production of Tom Stoppard's translation/adaptation of Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras. Now, the Santa Paula production is moving south — lock, stock, cast and crew — to the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center for a special four-day run.

Tom Puckett, David Ralphe and Richard Winterstein star in Tom Stoppard's Heroes at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center.

Directed by Eric Stein with sets by Mike Carnahan, costumes by Barbara Pedziwiatr, lighting by Gary Richardson, and starring Tom Puckett, David Ralphe and Richard Winterstein, Heroes plays this Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29 and Jan. 31-Feb. 1, in the center’s intimate black box space The DownStage.

The French title of Heroes is Le Vent Des Peupliers. This means "The Wind in the Poplars." Because that was too close for comfort to "The Wind in the Willows," the English producers urged Stoppard to come up with a different title for his adaptation.

The play is set in 1959, in a home for veterans of World War I. The three main characters are all veterans, and "to tell you the truth," Stoppard observed, after the play had opened, "if Charles Wood hadn't written a play called Veterans [in 1972], we would have called it that." So, he called it Heroes — almost certainly intending irony.

While the characters have a certain eccentric dignity, and are not cowards, they are more enduring than heroic; and anyway, Heroes is a comedy not a tragedy, and the "heroes" of comedy tend to be mock-heroes at best.

Like Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov, Stoppard is a master of English prose who was born speaking something else. Novelists Conrad and Nabokov might have envied Stoppard's success as a playwright, since they both gave it a shot. (Nabokov's The Walz Invention is an amusing read that would not, I think, play very well.) Playwright Stoppard's one novel, Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon (1966) was — and is — too esoteric, not to say ironic, to gain any traction on the bestseller lists.

In a way, though, Stoppard’s achievement is more impressive, since it depends on his ability to catch and reproduce to perfection the incredibly intricate nuances of spoken English.

Sibleyras' characters are mere outlines — even their war experiences don't seem to have had a shaping influence — but Stoppard puts dialogue in their mouths that keeps us paying attention and laughing at all the right places.

Heroes plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $18 for seniors, students and military; and $15 for children. For reservations, call the SVCAC box office at 805.583.7900, or purchase online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.


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Andrew McCaffery of Santa Barbara Elected to Omicron Delta Kappa at Washington and Lee University

By | Published on 01/28/2015


Andrew John McCaffery of Santa Barbara, a student at Washington and Lee University, has been elected to Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership fraternity for men and women.

McCaffery, a major in chemistry-engineering, was "tapped" during the annual Founder's Day/ODK Convention at W&L on Jan. 19.

Founded at Washington and Lee in 1914, Omicron Delta Kappa recognizes superior leadership among students in various aspects of campus and community life.

— Julie Cline represents Washington and Lee University.


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Santa Barbara International Film Festival Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Opening Night

By | Published on 01/27/2015


30th annual event kicks off 11 days of screenings, panels, and acting awards to celebrities including Michael Keaton, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Locals and visitors looking to get a glimpse of the celebrities usually hiding away in the hills above Montecito and Hollywood harnessed that excitement Tuesday night for the kickoff of the 30th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The 11-day celebration of cinema rolled out the red carpet at the Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara for the U.S. premiere of Desert Dancer, headlining a list of more than 200 films from 54 countries featured during the UGG Australia-sponsored event, which runs through Feb. 7.

The occasion typically draws more than 85,000 film enthusiasts to several historic downtown theaters for tributes, panel discussions and more — thanks in no small part to attracting some big names.

The 2015 edition will feature 24 of this year's Academy Award nominees, including actor Michael Keaton, who will receive the film festival’s Modern Master Award on Saturday night at the Arlington Theatre.

On Wednesday, the action will return to the Arlington Theatre, where the Cousteau family — Jean-Michel, Fabien and Celine — will receive the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking.

Jennifer Aniston is sure to draw a crowd Friday night when she accepts the Montecito Award at the Arlington, where Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones will have received the Cinema Vanguard Award the night before.

Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are set to receive the American Riviera Award on Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Arlington Theatre.

Actor Steve Carell will cap off celebrity honors, receiving the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Friday, Feb. 6 at the Arlington Theatre.

The 2015 panel series begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with “It Starts with the Script,” and the film festival will also offer free public screenings at the Lobero Theatre throughout the event.

Organizers say tickets and passes are still available for locals — not just film students and industry professionals.

A complete list of films, dates and times can be found by clicking here

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara School District Cracks Down on Junk Food with New Policy for On-Campus Stores

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Nancy Weiss is taking away the Pop-Tarts and the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

As food services director for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Weiss has strong opinions about such “crap.” School stores run by PTAs and student programs have been selling snacks and drinks for years, but a new district policy puts on-campus food sales under the purview of the food services department.

The Santa Barbara school board adopted a new food sale policy Tuesday night and deleted “obsolete” former policies regarding competitive (non-district-run) food sales.

New federal regulations require districts in the National School Lunch and/or Breakfast Program to only sell food on campus that complies with nutrition standards, according to the district.

The food services department is now supplying the food for some on-campus stores that were formerly run independently. This new policy doesn’t allow candy sales for fundraisers either, and food-related fundraisers now have to be approved by the food services department.

There was a loophole in Santa Barbara Unified policy that allowed Regional Occupational Programs and other organizations to sell items that weren’t on the nutritional compliance list, such as 22-ounce Gatorades and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but now those stores have to abide by the same rules as the National School Lunch Program, Weiss said.

“Now we enjoy the parent volunteer force and basically we are supplying the food that’s served to kids in student stores, so there’s no competitive problem and the nutritional guidelines are being met,” Weiss said. “It also leveled the playing field with students who did have money and those who didn’t.”

The Santa Barbara High School Multimedia Arts & Design Academy’s store is one of the many impacted by the new rules. Parent volunteers work in the store, which used to sell snacks between class periods and lunches — purchased from the district — to students.

A state audit determined that was a competitive food sale and now all the food is supplied by the district, while parents still work the store.

Selling food was a major fundraiser for the MAD Academy — it usually brings in $15,000 a year from the store — so they fought the changes at first, MAD Academy director Dan Williams said.

The district recognized the importance of the fundraiser and agreed to make a donation to the MAD Academy at the end of the year to help with the lost revenue, Williams said. It will also be a thank you for providing the parent volunteers and increasing the number of students the food services department is serving, he said.

“I think that in the long run it’ll work out in everyone’s favor, but there are definitely some growing pains figuring it out,” Williams said.

All the students at Santa Barbara High School qualify for a free breakfast or free nutritional snack, so the store is another point of sale for the program, he said.  

“Now we actually get more healthy food into the hands of the kids, which is great,” he said.

Most of the store’s snacks were given the OK by Weiss, though she nixed a few items, including some that meet state nutritional standards but the district isn’t allowing — like Pop-Tarts.

There was some pushback with the changes and “the kids were pissed off” when Pop-Tarts were taken out of the stores, Weiss said. “They’re theoretically compliant because they only have 10 grams of sugar but the rest of ingredients are unpronounceable, so I don’t support Pop-Tarts in our district.”

Weiss’s goal is to get the most wholesome food available and present it to students in an appealing way, making tasty dishes that are whole grain, low in sugar, low in fat and low in sodium.

The district’s 10 kitchens provide about 7,500 meals a day from scratch and Weiss called the new policy a “big and serious wake-up call.”

“We’re killing our kids with the kind of food they’re able to procure outside the school day,” she said.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Fire Engulfs Catamaran at Santa Barbara Harbor

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Firefighters are able to keep flames from damaging nearby vessels

City firefighters battle flames on a catamaran Tuesday night at the Santa Barbara Harbor. (Urban Hikers photo)

City firefighters responded Tuesday night to a catamaran that was reported to be engulfed in flames at the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Crews were dispatched at about 9:30 p.m. to Marina 2, where the 36-foot "Wizard of Bristol" was burning, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department

Fire crews, assisted by the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, were able to knock down the fire fairly quickly, and kept the flames from spreading to nearby boats, Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said.

[Scroll to the bottom to see video of the fire]

Five fire engines, a truck and two Harbor Patrol boats responded to the scene, and an AMR ambulance was on standby. 

Since boats in the harbor are so close together, exposure is always a big concern, McCoy said.

Fire crews put the fire out quickly and a safety officer was on hand to make sure no one fell in the water, he added. 

One injury was reported over the radio, but McCoy wasn't aware of anyone hurt from the incident.

It also was unclear if the catamaran was occupied at the time of the fire. 

A fire investigator was on the scene as of 10:15 p.m. and there was no known cause at that time. 

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Catamaran Fire at Santa Barbara Harbor from Noozhawk on Vimeo.


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Delta II Rocket, NASA Satellite Set for Blastoff Thursday from Vandenberg AFB

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Spacecraft’s two instruments to collect vital data about Earth's soil moisture

A Delta II rocket and its cargo, a NASA satellite to study soil moisture, stand ready for launch early Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base as the first blastoff from the Central Coast for 2015.

Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance rocket is planned from Space Launch Complex-2 during a three-minute window extending from 6:20 to 6:23 a.m. 

The nearly 13-story-tall rocket, with three solid rocket motors, will carry NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft for a mission with a $916 million price tag, including design, development, launch and operations.

Mission managers met Tuesday to review the readiness of the rocket, satellite and support systems, and gave the “go” for the team to complete the final chores needed before starting the countdown.

“In summary, the Delta 2 rocket and SMAP spacecraft are ready, and the launch team is prepared and excited to be here at Vandenberg Air Force Base to launch this important mission for our nation,” said Tim Dunn, NASA launch manager. 

Wednesday evening, the team will load the first-stage fuel and roll the mobile service tower away from its place sheltering the rocket.

Weather shouldn’t pose a  problem for the departure, with launch weather officer 1st Lt. John Martin calling for only a 20-percent likelihood conditions will prevent liftoff.

The container carrying the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite is lifted for placement atop a Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier this month. (NASA photo)

Thick clouds at upper levels are the key concern.

If the launch is delayed 24 hours, conditions should improve to just a 10-percent chance of a postponement due to surface winds.

ULA crews began erecting the rocket at SLC-2 last summer. The launch will be the first NASA mission and the first for ULA at Vandenberg in 2015. It’s also the first blastoff for the base this year.

Upon liftoff, SMAP will join more than dozen other Earth-observing satellites that, along with air and ground sensors, monitor the planet’s vital signs. 

“SMAP, or as we call it the Soil Moisture Active Passive project, will be monitoring the water that lives and moves through the soil,” said Christine Bonniksen, SMAP program executive at NASA Headquarters

“Soil moisture is a key part of the three cycles that support life on this planet — the water cycle, the energy cycle and the carbon cycles,” she added. “These things affect human interests — floods, drought, disease control, weather.”

The satellite will use two instruments — a radar to provide high-resolution data plus a radiometer to deliver high-accuracy information. 

In addition to SMAP, some student-built satellites will hitch a ride aboard the rocket under NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa).

Three Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployers carrying four CubeSats are mounted on the rocket’s second-stage and will be deployed after SMAP is released.

The PPODs were designed and built at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Additionally Cal Poly is responsible for the ExoCube space weather mission.

Other nanosatellites are FIREBIRD-II, which has two CubeSats, plus the GRIFEX mission.

This will be the 370th Delta rocket to launch since May 1960. SLC-2 has hosted 82 of those launches. 

SMAP represents the 153rd Delta 2 mission and the 52nd for NASA..

“The SMAP project is absolutely thrilled to be catching a ride to space on the Delta 2 vehicle, a vehicle with a very long and well-proven history,” said Kent Kellogg, SMAP project manager with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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March Trial Date Set for Young ‘Deltopia’ Reveler

By | Published on 01/27/2015


A jury trial could begin in late March for an 18-year-old Los Angeles man accused of hitting a UC Santa Barbara police officer in the face with a backpack during Isla Vista's "Deltopia" street party last spring.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill set a tentative trial start date of March 24 during a hearing Tuesday, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron.

Desmond Edwards, who was 17 at the time of the alleged crime during the Deltopia street party in April 2014, faces felony charges of assault, resisting arrest and causing great bodily injury.

Edwards is being charged as an adult and hasn’t been in custody since last July, when Hill dropped bail and allowed his release over objections from the prosecution.

Edwards, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of leading law enforcement officers on a foot pursuit along the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista during the unsanctioned, alcohol-fueled event of Deltopia on April 5.

When members of the Sheriff’s Department's Isla Vista Foot Patrol and UCSB Police chased after suspects involved in a fight, Edwards allegedly ran down the street and threw his backpack — containing a large glass liquor bottle — into the face of UCSB Officer Tony Magaña, who testified at a preliminary hearing last summer.

Magaña ended up at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital emergency room with a concussion and received 30 stitches above his right eyebrow.

Authorities allege the incident involving Edwards helped spur the violent rioting that followed.

Barron said Hill scheduled another hearing for Feb. 27 — the last chance to reach a settlement before trial.

She couldn’t discuss details of the negotiations, saying prosecutors didn't believe the case could be settled.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Officials Still Mulling Future of Municipal Golf Course

By | Published on 01/27/2015


More official discussion took place on Tuesday about how best to put Santa Barbara's municipal golf course on stronger financial footing, but the sticking point remains whether to contract out maintenance, which could save the city $200,000 a year, according to the city's Parks and Recreation Department director.

The City Council's three-member Finance Committee ultimately voted to recommend that the full council consider increasing marketing of the course, as well as refinancing the course's debt.

However, committee members Bendy White and Dale Francisco also supported looking at contracting out maintenance in the future.

Committee member Gregg Hart couldn't agree on that last point, and the vote was 2-1 with Hart dissenting.

The decision will ultimately be up to the City Council, which had asked city staff to bring forward more information about how to bring the course back into the black.

Mark Sewell of the Parks and Recreation Department said that the course's revenue is down by about 10 percent as compared to the same six months in the previous fiscal year.

"We've seen a real decline in the first six months of the year, which we think we can attribute to drought impacts," he said.

The course has reduced the amount of water it has been using, perhaps a bit too much, he said, causing use of the course to decrease.

The course has a total of $1.37 million in debt, which includes the money that was needed for a clubhouse remodel and a loan from the city's General Fund.

The way things stand, the golf course will be debt-free by 2022.

Refinancing the debt is an option, and improves the course's finances in the short term, but wouldn't resolve the long-term outlook.

Sewell said the course was looking to increase its spending on marketing. He noted that courses of similar size spend about $50,000 on marketing each year, while the muni course only spends a third of that.

"We want to make sure we spend it on the right things," he said.

The city has been working on a golf course marketing plan, and enhanced marketing is expected to roll out by spring. The plan should be completed by the end of January.

Staff feels there's a limited opportunity to convert permanent maintenance positions to hourly ones, he said.

"Some of the guys start at 3 in the morning," he said, adding that the staff are "extremely skilled."

There's a 1,000-hour limit on contract employees, which means staff hired under contract could work full-time but only for six months, which creates a challenge for management to hire people invested the long-term well-being of the course.

There's no certainty where the golf industry will go in the meantime, and if the financial picture doesn't improve, the course could siphon anywhere from $60,000 to $500,000 annually.

The golf course currently has 11 full-time positions, but eight of those will be eligible for retirement by 2016.

"Timing is important in that regard," he said, as employment contracts last for five years.

Hart said that he was optimistic about the course's growth ability, particularly with youth programs. And being able to use recycled water this year might be an option to get the course back up to par.

"I think we're just going to have to monitor it," he said. "There's no silver bullet."

White said he is concerned about the potential costs to keep the course operating.

"In my view, the golf course needs to get darn close to breaking even," he said, adding that he's open to contracting out maintenance, although "it's not where I want to go." 

Francisco said that he wants to make sure the course is "financially self-supporting."

"I don't see how we can avoid looking at that," he said of contracting out maintenance. "If that is the only realistic move for keeping the golf course self supporting … it's pretty obvious to me which choice we have to make."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Winifred Lender: Refining New Year’s Resolutions to Make Them Attainable

By | Published on 01/27/2015


It has been about a month since the new year began. The ball dropping in Times Square, the Rose Parade, and the new year’s sales are fast becoming distant memories. Most of us are moving through the start of 2105 at a frenzied pace and have our plate full with many obligations.

As the days fly by, many of us may momentarily recall the new year's resolutions we made or thought about making. It is common to put these resolutions on a back burner and attend to the day-to-day necessities. However, taking some time now to revisit the resolutions you hoped would guide your year is important.

If you found that you haven’t been able to invest in your new year’s resolutions, don’t despair. While it is often the case that we lack the time or motivation to commit fully to resolutions, it is also the case that some of the resolutions we select are not actionable. We often choose broad goals that are not specific or attainable and end up feeling unsuccessful and unmotivated. Some modifications in the goal can make a big difference — moving us from a situation of likely failure to one of more probable goal completion. Taking some time now to evaluate your resolutions can put you on the road to success.

Research has shown that there are several key factors that influence the likelihood of success or “sticking” to a resolution.

Dr. John Norcross’ work shows that we are more successful when setting goals that follow the SMART acronym. This refers to seeing goals that are specific (clearly defined), measurable (based on some reliable measurement), attainable (realistically possible to achieve), relevant (meaningful to you) and time-specific (contain a specific start and stop time).

Instead of saying I want to lose weight this year, resolve to lose two pounds each month by walking for 15 minutes four times a week and passing on desserts for all but three meals each week for one month and then re-evaluate your progress with the goal of making any needed changes. Likewise, the goal of “being more connected with others” is not likely achievable, but the goal of “scheduling one social contact per week" (i.e., a hike, lunch or dinner) with a friend each week for eight weeks and then re-evaluating progress, is more likely to lead to success. Success in small, well-defined goals can lead to achieving larger goals over time.

Here are specific tips for refining resolutions to make them workable goals:

» 1) Use “SMART” goals. According to Dr. Norcross, we will be more successful if we set goals that follow the SMART acronym, which refers to setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific.

» 2) Limit your focus to one or two goals at a time.

» 3) Keep track of your progress. Monitor your progress on a calendar or an app where you can record your progress and be aware of any slips.

» 4) Reinforce small achievements. Plan to reinforce yourself for reaching interval goals. When you lose the first two pounds toward your goal or clean out the first closet in your house, give yourself a reward.

» 5) Anticipate that motivation will decrease. Research shows that the farther away from the resolution setting, the harder it will be to maintain your goals. To remain focused on the importance of your goal, try visualizing it daily, organize reminders (a photo of the new jeans you hope to wear soon on your bathroom mirror, a picture as your screen saver of the vacation site you hope to visit when you save enough money) and reciting the goal to yourself daily when you awaken.

» 6) Restructure routines that don’t support your goals. If you find yourself succumbing to a pastry on your way to work, change the side of the street you walk on to avoid the pastry shop. Likewise, try changing the time of day you work out to see if you might have more energy at another time.

» 7) Make your goal public. By letting your family, friends and work colleagues know about your goal, you are making yourself accountable to them and increasing the chances you will be successful.

» 8) Invite others to join in your goal. Research shows that people who work with others to reach a goal are generally more successful in attaining it.

» 9) Be kind to yourself. Even successful resolution-setters report they experience some plateaus and slip-ups. Expect that these will come, and don’t beat yourself up about them. Instead, use these experiences as an opportunity to refocus on your goal and its importance.

— Winifred Lender, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Santa Barbara and can be contacted at She is the author of A Practical Guide to Parenting in the Digital Age: How to Nurture Safe, Balanced and Connected Children and Teens available at Chaucer’s and Amazon. Dr. Lender completed her undergraduate work at Cornell University and received her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and is a past president of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Jim Hightower: A Whining Wall Street Banker Pleads for Pity

By | Published on 01/27/2015


J.P. Morgan was recently socked in the wallet by financial regulators who levied yet another multibillion-dollar fine against the Wall Street baron for massive illegalities.

Well, not a fine against John Pierpont Morgan, the man. This 19th-century robber baron was born to a great banking fortune and, by hook and crook, leveraged it to become the "King of American Finance." During the Gilded Age, Morgan cornered the U.S. financial markets, gained monopoly ownership of railroads, amassed a vast supply of the nation's gold and used his investment power to create U.S. Steel and take control of that market.

From his earliest days in high finance, Morgan was a hustler who often traded on the shady side. In the Civil War, for example, his family bought his way out of military duty, but he saw another way to serve. Himself, that is.

Morgan bought defective rifles for $3.50 each and sold them to a Union general for $22 each. The rifles blew off soldiers' thumbs, but Morgan pleaded ignorance, and government investigators graciously absolved the young, wealthy, well-connected financier of any fault.

That seems to have set a pattern for his lifetime of antitrust violations, union busting and other over-the-edge profiteering practices. He drew numerous official charges — but of course, he never did any jail time.

Moving the clock forward, we come to JPMorgan Chase, today's financial powerhouse bearing J.P.'s name. The bank also inherited his pattern of committing multiple illegalities — and walking away scot-free.

Oh, sure, the bank was hit with big fines, but not a single one of the top bankers who committed gross wrongdoings were charged or even fired — much less sent to jail.

With this long history of crime-does-pay for America's largest Wall Street empire, you have to wonder why Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's CEO, is so P.O.'d. He's fed up to the tippy-top of his $100 haircut with all of this populistic attitude that's sweeping the country, and he's not going to take it anymore!

Dimon recently bleated to reporters that, "Banks are under assault." Well, he really doesn't mean or care about most banks — just his bank. Government regulators, Dimon snarls, are pandering to grassroots populist anger at Wall Street excesses by squeezing the life out of the JP Morgan casino.

But wait, didn't JPMorgan score a $22 billion profit last year, a 20 percent increase over 2013 and the highest in its history? And didn't those Big Bad Oppressive Government Regulators provide a $25 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008 to save Dimon's conglomerate from its own reckless excess? And isn't his Wall Street Highness raking in some $20 million in personal pay to suffer the indignity of this "assault" on his bank. Yes, yes and yes.

Still, Dimon says that regulators and bank industry analysts are piling on JPMorgan Chase: "In the old days," he whined, "you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it's five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is," the $20-million-a-year man lectured reporters, "how fair that is."

Well, golly, one reason Chase has half a dozen regulators on its case is because it doesn't have "an issue" of illegality, but beaucoup illegalities, including deceiving its own investors, cheating more than 2 million of its credit card customers, gaming the rules to overcharge electricity users in California and the Midwest, overcharging active-duty military families on their mortgages, illegally foreclosing on troubled homeowners and ... well, so much more.

So Dimon, you should ask yourself the question about "how fair" is all of the above. Then you should shut up, count your millions and be grateful you're not in jail.

From John Pierpont Morgan to Jamie Dimon, the legacy continues. Banks don't commit crimes. Bankers do. And they won't ever stop if they don't have to pay for their crimes.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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John Daly: Conflict Resolution — How to Solve Disputes, Part 2

By | Published on 01/27/2015


[Noozhawk’s note: Second of two articles on solving conflict resolution. Click here for the previous article.]

Last week’s column outlined the theories of Conflict Styles and the Interest-Based Relationship Approach. Based on these theories, a starting point to deal with conflict is to identify your own overriding conflict style and that of your team and your organization.

Over time, people’s conflict management styles tend to mesh, and a “right” way to solve conflict emerges. However, make sure that people understand that different styles may suit different situations. Always consider the circumstances and the style that may be appropriate.

Then use the process below to resolve the conflict:

Step One: Set the Scene

If appropriate to the situation, agree to the rules of the Interest-Based Relationship Approach (or at least consider using the approach yourself.) Make sure people understand that the conflict may be a mutual problem, which may be best resolved through discussion and negotiation rather than through raw aggression.

If you are involved in the conflict, emphasize the fact that you are presenting your perception of the problem. Use active listening skills to ensure you hear and understand the positions and perceptions of others.

» Restate.

» Paraphrase.

» Summarize.

And make sure that when you talk, you’re using an adult, assertive approach rather than a submissive or aggressive style.

Step Two: Gather Information

This step helps you get to the underlying interests, needs and concerns. Ask for the other person’s viewpoint and confirm that you respect his or her opinion and need his or her cooperation to solve the problem. Try to understand his or her motivations and goals, and see how your actions may be affecting these.

Also, try to understand the conflict in objective terms: Is it affecting work performance? damaging the delivery to the client? disrupting team work? hampering decision-making? Be sure to focus on work issues and leave personalities out of the discussion.

» Listen with empathy and see the conflict from the other person’s point of view.

» Identify issues clearly and concisely.

» Use “I” statements.

» Remain flexible.

» Clarify feelings.

Step Three: Agree on the Problem

This sounds obvious, but often different underlying needs, interests and goals can cause people to perceive problems differently. You’ll need to agree upon the problems that you are trying to solve before you’ll find a mutually acceptable solution.

Sometimes different people will see different but interlocking problems — if you can’t reach a common perception of the problem, then at the very least, you need to understand what the other person sees as the problem.

Step Four: Brainstorm Possible Solutions

If everyone is going to feel satisfied with the resolution, everyone must have fair input in generating solutions. Brainstorm possible solutions, and be open to all ideas, including ones you never considered before.

Step Five: Negotiate a Solution

By this stage, the conflict may be resolved: Both sides may better understand the position of the other, and a mutually satisfactory solution may be clear to all.

However, you may also have uncovered real differences between your positions. This is where a technique like win-win negotiation can be useful to find a solution that hopefully satisfies everyone.

There are three guiding principles here:

» Be Calm

» Be Patient

» Have Respect

Key Takeaways

Conflict in the workplace can be incredibly destructive to good teamwork.

Managed in the wrong way, real and legitimate differences between people can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in damaging situations in which cooperation breaks down and the team’s mission is threatened. This is particularly the case where the wrong approaches to conflict resolution are used.

To solve these situations, it helps to take a positive approach to conflict resolution. This means discussion is courteous and nonconfrontational, and the focus is on issues rather than on individuals. If this is done and if people listen carefully and explore facts, issues and possible solutions properly, conflict can often be resolved effectively.

Click here for a related article.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Simple Steps to Declutter Your Closets, Cabinets and Countertops ... Now

By | Published on 01/27/2015


By applying the Three Gs of organizational tips, you’ll have that mess at bay before you know it

Most of us struggle to keep our homes organized, and there may be no bigger setback than holiday hosting and decorating — especially when it comes to our long-suffering closets. The urgent need to plunge back into work schedules and family routines often means that we jam our holiday decorations into any available hiding place and forget about them for another 11 months.

Knowing that a fresh nightmare lurks behind every door may make winter seem like the worst of all times to de-clutter your closets, but it can be one of the best — especially if you can see that holiday hangover of disorganized decorations and unwanted gifts as motivation, rather than an obstacle.

Why do our closets suffer such indignities?

“For starters, closets seem like an afterthought ... they’re not seen by friends who come over,” said Lindsay Gabbard, a designer with California Closets in Santa Barbara.

From both personal and professional experience, she has seen the difference an organized closet can make. She clearly recalls the days when her closet was nothing but “a pole and a top shelf.” It’s no wonder that people struggle, she notes, when all a closet has is one high shelf and they “have to lob stuff up.”

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for people who can’t get their closets organized, though, is more basic: “They don’t know there’s a better way,” she said.

In addition to her design services, Gabbard endorses strategies such as donating things that haven’t been worn recently.

“Some people say they turn the hangers backward, and if it’s still backward a year later, then they give that clothing away,” she added.

Writing in The Washington Post, Jura Koncius gives 10 practical tips for conquering the demons that seem to lurk not only in our closets but also in our cabinets and on our countertops. Her advice can be grouped into three categories: getting ready, getting it done and going forward.

Don’t know where to begin? How about scheduling a cleanup date on your calendar? (Dave Bemis / Noozhawk photo)
Don’t know where to begin? How about scheduling a cleanup date on your calendar? (Dave Bemis / Noozhawk photo)

To get ready, set goals. List specific things you want to tackle and, equally important, attach each one to a date on your calendar. Don’t be afraid to start small, whether that’s with a kitchen junk drawer, a single shelf or countertop, or the corner of a room. Some people intentionally break down their lists into things they can accomplish in no more than a half-hour. Succeeding at one small task can build momentum by rewarding you each time to see the results.

Once you’ve started, use a few simple techniques to help you keep going. Label four boxes with “Trash,” “Store,” “Donate” and “Sell.” Be honest about the things you don’t want or need, and get them out of the house first.

One step that can make a huge difference is to start with bulky coats and sweaters. How many do you and your family members really need? How long since they have been worn? Winter is the best time to donate warm clothing to homeless shelters, thrift stores and other social-service organizations.

To keep yourself from falling behind on the new clutter as you focus on the old, set up a 2015 box or file for each family member. Rather than this year’s papers, projects and memorabilia becoming clutter, they can create a future time capsule in their own box or file.

Also in the spirit of looking ahead, consider a “one in, one out” rule for books. For every book you bring into your home, set one aside in a box for donation to a library or thrift store.

Scheduling a home pickup date with a local charity can help keep you focused until the job is done. An even stronger motivator? Schedule a party so you can proudly show off the results of your labor.

Clean Break

If posting a simple checklist helps keep you going, here is a condensed version of Jura Koncius’ advice:

» Set specific goals and put them on a calendar.

» Identify small projects that will give you big satisfaction.

» Clear horizontal surfaces that you see constantly.

» Compartmentalize clutter by sorting it into boxes labeled “Trash,” “Store,” “Donate” and “Sell.”

» Share unwanted warm clothing right now, while the less fortunate have the biggest need for it.

» Honestly examine other things you truly don’t want or need, and get rid of them immediately.

» Use the “one in, one out” rule for books.

» Set up a 2015 memo box or folder for each family member.

» Schedule a home pickup date with a local charity.

» Set a date and invite people over.

Noozhawk contributing writer Dave Bemis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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UCSB Film Historian Receives Fellowship to Study Hollywood’s Strategy of Operating Movie Theaters

By | Published on 01/27/2015


It has all the makings of an action thriller straight out of a Hollywood studio. In reality, though, the story is Hollywood itself and its aggressive strategy for operating movie theaters around the world from 1925 to 2013.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick

With a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, UC Santa Barbara film historian Ross Melnick is exploring the sprawling history of American studios not only exporting American movies but also building, buying and operating theaters in more than two dozen countries throughout Asia, Africa, South America, the Middle East, Australasia and Europe.

In his book project Screening the World: Hollywood’s Global Exhibition Empires, the assistant professor of film and media studies examines the strategy that, while proving a financial success for the studios, also generated considerable controversy, charges of cultural imperialism and occasional violence.

Melnick’s current work follows — and was partly inspired by — his previous book, “American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935” (Columbia University Press, 2012). The origins of his current project date to 2003, when Melnick was conducting research on Rothafel, one of NBC’s earliest radio stars and the impresario of numerous movie palaces, including New York’s eponymous Roxy Theatre and Radio City Music Hall. “I discovered that some of the people he was working with and who were working for him were traveling back and forth to Paris, and I couldn’t figure out why they were going there or who was sending them,” Melnick said.

As he dug deeper, Melnick uncovered a deal between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios’s parent company, Loew’s, Inc., and the Gaumont Film Company in France that enabled Loew’s/MGM to operate all of the company’s distribution and exhibition operations in France and its numerous colonial outposts, such as Syria and

Tunisia. “That led to a full-scale investigation of how prominent this was and how long it went on,” Melnick explained. “Through research conducted over the last dozen years, I’ve discovered that U.S. operation of foreign cinemas was once an important mode of industrial expansion for Hollywood and one that only accelerated after the breakup of the vertically integrated U.S. film industry in the 1940s and 1950s.”

However, tracing each studio’s operations and the cultural, industrial and political impact of that expansion didn’t follow one particular pattern, according to Melnick. “Every country presented a different challenge and opportunity, and every corporation operated differently,” he said. “There are significant reasons, for instance, why MGM and Fox opened cinemas in Egypt in the 1940s and in Israel in the 1950s, and why the company expanded its operations in South Africa but not in Nigeria.”

Given the scale of these enterprises, Melnick uses a series of cases studies — some of which will appear in forthcoming articles in Cinema Journal and Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television — to understand various facets of this global campaign: MGM’s expansion throughout Latin America; Fox’s dramatic takeover of exhibition and distribution in sub-Saharan Africa; Paramount’s complex European operations before and during World War II; and Warner Bros.’ efforts to expand into Cuba before the Revolution and into China during the 21st century.

The studios’ global operations certainly produced their share of political intrigue and social unrest, Melnick noted. In one case, the apartheid government of South Africa warned MGM in 1952 that if it turned a book with interracial themes into a movie, the studio would never be able to release another film in the country. “There were a number of films that didn’t make it to a variety of markets for any number of political or cultural reasons,” he said.

The theaters themselves were often just as controversial. They were designed to be what Melnick calls a “cultural embassy” that enabled local moviegoers “to step onto Hollywood soil.” “Many were modeled on existing U.S. cinemas and had the same architectural styles, interior aesthetics and air conditioning as the company’s U.S. movie theaters,” he explained. “Opulent lobbies featuring uniformed ushers and doormen as well as promotional material for forthcoming Hollywood films sold American movies using a quintessentially American moviegoing experience.”

However, Melnick pointed out, this very American patina also caused them to be highly symbolic targets of industrial, political and cultural resistance, leading to economic boycotts against Paramount cinemas in England in the 1920s, physical attacks on Fox and MGM-owned cinemas in Egypt in the 1940s and 1950s and racial protests against segregated cinemas in Colonial Zimbabwe in the 1950s and 1960s.

For some studio executives, global expansion was also an opportunity to spread American values during the Cold War. “This excitement was matched by the U.S. State Department, which noted that these cinemas could help secure additional venues abroad for U.S. films as well as newsreels that could expand the ideological battle against Communism in contested regions around the world,” Melnick explained.

He added that the ongoing 12-year project has been an invaluable endeavor for his research and teaching.

“I’ve had tremendous opportunities to conduct extensive research overseas in countries like Brazil and Italy,” Melnick said. “And each new market has led to invaluable discoveries about the local film industry — and Hollywood operations abroad — that I can share with my students and that will undoubtedly lead to additional research projects in the years to come.”

— Jim Logan represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Paul Casey Named Santa Barbara City Administrator

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Paul Casey

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to appoint Paul Casey to the position of city administrator.

Casey was former city administrator Jim Armstrong's protegé, and had been considered the front-runner for the position.

The city of Santa Barbara on Tuesday said Casey's new salary had not been finalized, but that he made $230,205 annually as Assistant City Administrator.

"I really appreciate the opportunity," Casey said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. "We have a lot of issues to face, but I am thrilled and I am excited, and I will do my best."

More than 37 people applied for the position, which has been open since Armstrong's retirement in September. Casey will oversee the city's $277 million budget.

"We’re very pleased that Paul emerged as the top candidate, with a wealth of experience and knowledge of local government issues,” said Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, who added at the meeting that she was "going to put him to work right away."

Casey, 49, has worked for the city for the last 17 years. He spent most of the time as the city's community development director, before working as assistant city administrator for the last four years.

Prior to joining Santa Barbara, he worked with the city of Santa Monica as the assistant to the director of Planning and Community Development, senior planner and transportation planner.

Casey received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the UC Irvine and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Mary McMaster, and their three daughters, Natalie, Claire, and Katherine.

Casey, known for his calm, easy-going demeanor and ability to explain complex issues to the City Council and the public, took over the community development director position from Dave Davis more than a decade ago, and then spent eight years as the city's top planner.

During that time, he led the city through battles over community issues, such as updating the neighborhood-preservation ordinance, the general plan and decisions about downtown redevelopment.

Four years ago, Armstrong moved Casey over to serve as assistant city administrator, splitting his time between the Community Development Department and City Hall.

As assistant city administrator, Casey's job description broadened, and he provided oversight to the Finance, Parks and Recreation, Library and Airport departments.

He also served as interim public works director. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Teen Star Singing Competition Selects 10 Finalists

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Blake Brundy

Zoë Lynn Burritt

Kaitlyn Chui

Olivia Huffman

Isabella Illescas

Azalea Kemp

Gwennie McInnes

Dylan Ortega

Sydney Shalhoob

Cheyanne Yang

Ava Burford

Kelly Cody

The top 10 finalists have been announced for this year’s Teen Star singing competition, which will be held Feb. 21 at the Granada Theatre.

Teen Star held auditions at Deckers Outdoor's facility in Goleta and Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria to evaluate talent from throughout Santa Barbara County.


» Blake Brundy, senior at Lompoc High School

» Zoë Lynn Burritt, junior at Cabrillo High School

» Kaitlyn Chui, freshman at Cabrillo High School

» Olivia Huffman, freshman at Santa Ynez High School

» Isabella Illescas, senior at Santa Barbara High School

» Azalea Kemp, junior at Carpinteria High School

» Gwennie McInnes, senior at Dos Pueblos High School

» Dylan Ortega, junior at Santa Ynez High School

» Sydney Shalhoob, freshman at San Marcos High School

» Cheyanne Yang, senior at Dos Pueblos High School


» Ava Burford, eighth-grader at Santa Barbara Junior High School

» Kelly Cody, eighth-grader at Los Olivos Elementary School

It was an even split between North and South County in Santa Barbara with five finalists from each area and representing more than 24 schools.

These finalists will be competing for the title of Teen Star and a prize package that includes a $1,000 scholarship, a recording session in the world-class studio at Santa Barbara Sound Design, radio and TV appearances, training with casting director and celebrity judge Wendy Kurtzman, and opening performances at The Durango Songwriter Expo.

“We attribute the success of the Teen Star program to the fact that we provide an exceptional vehicle for youth to showcase their talents, instilling lasting benefits for them and our entire community ... at a time when students are hungry for opportunities to excel as individuals and to express their passion,” said Joe Lambert, founder and executive producer.

“Teen Star teaches kids what it takes to pursue their dreams — passion, commitment and courage are all on stage for us to enjoy,” said Angel Martinez, chairman, president and CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corp.

New this year as a celebrity judge will be actress and recording artist Margo Rey, a Montecito resident. As an actress, she is known for Bridegroom (2013), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) and Desperate Housewives: The Game (2006). She replaces Catherine Remak, who has been with Teen Star since its inception in 2010. Remak had a conflict this year and will be building houses for the poor in Guatemala as a project with her Rotary Club.

New to the team this is year is Ike Jenkins, who will provide mentoring to the finalists at Playback Recording Studio.

The vision of Teen Star is to provide a platform and venue where teens can flourish and showcase their talents in a healthy, supportive environment. It was founded in 2010 as a benefit for the performing arts programs in Santa Barbara County schools.

Teen Star is presented by Deckers Outdoor Corp. and other lead sponsors Claudia Lapin with Sarah Jane Lind.

Purchase tickets by clicking here. Visit or write for more information.

— Laura Lewis is a producer for Teen Star.


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CenCal Health Announces Lynda Tanner as New Board Member

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Lynda Tanner
Lynda Tanner

CenCal Health is pleased to announce Lynda Tanner, RN, MSN, as a new board member.

Tanner is the president and chief executive officer of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, and she is responsible for planning, coordinating, managing and directing all the nonprofit’s activities and programs.

Tanner graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and also holds a master’s degree in nursing administration.

Prior to joining VNHC, Tanner served as a surveyor for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and as the chief clinical executive for Sutter VNA and Hospice.

In addition to serving on the CenCal Health board, Tanner also serves on the California Association for Health Services at Home Board of Directors, the CHAPCA Board of Directors, the Alliance for Living and Dying Well board and the Casa Dorinda Board of Directors.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing CenCal Health.


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Rain Totals Back Below Average in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Latest storm does little to alleviate drought as region falls to 81 percent of normal precipitation

When it comes to rainfall, so far 2015 is providing only the proverbial drop in the bucket in Santa Barbara County.

January historically is the county's wettest month, but precipitation totals for the month thus far are well below average — providing little relief from the ongoing drought.

The storm that moved through the region Monday dropped only small amounts of rain — generally less than a quarter of an inch — and made hardly a dent in the rainfall deficits, according to the county's Public Works Department.

As of Tuesday, Santa Barbara County as a whole was at 81 percent of normal precipitation for the rain year that began Sept. 1.

Totals ranged from a high of 96 percent of normal in the remote Cuyama Valley to 65 percent in Carpinteria.

Goleta and Lompoc were at 93 percent of normal, while Santa Barbara stood at 88 percent and Santa Maria was at 91 percent.

Santa Barbara receives an average of 3.98 inches of rain in January, according to the National Weather Service.

However, so far this month, Santa Barbara has seen only 1.56 inches, or about 39 percent of normal.

Santa Maria on average gets 2.53 inches in January, but thus far has recorded a meager 0.19 inches, or 7.5 percent of normal.

With January just about over, weather watchers will be looking to February, which is historically the area's second wettest month, for drought relief.

Santa Barbara's average rainfall in February is 3.86 inches, while Santa Maria typically gets 2.73 inches.

March averages are 2.97 inches and 2.31 inches, respectively, and after that the totals drop quickly.

With the lack of rainfall, local reservoir levels remain near historic lows.

Lake Cachuma, which provides water for much of the South Coast, is at 28.4 percent of capacity, and nearly 65 feet below spill level.

Gibraltar Reservoir and Jameson Reservoir on the Upper Santa Ynez River are at 20.7 percent and 21.9 percent full, respectively.

Mostly sunny skies are forecast through early next week, with highs in the low to mid-70s and overnight lows in the 50s.

[Click here for the latest weather forecast]

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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DramaDogs to Tell ‘Tales of Woo and Woe’ at Center Stage Theater

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Love is complicated. It can take us to soaring heights and deep dark depths. No other playwright explored all the facets of love better than William Shakespeare. With Valentine’s Day coming up, the timing for DramaDogs Theater Co. to bring this newly devised play, Tales of Woo and Woe, to life is perfect — playing Feb. 6-14 at Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara.

“We have all made complete and utter fools of ourselves in the name of love, in pursuing a relationship and we have all in our own way yearned and felt loss so deeply, so to the marrow of our bones that we had no words," said E. Bonnie Lewis, co-director/choreographer. "Shakespeare, gives us words and they still ring true.”

Playwright Jinny Webber said, “This script has been in the works for some five years: Ken and Bonnie loved the idea of 'wooing' and 'woe' in Shakespeare's works, and I've played with ways to engage the actors and audience with these emotions from a universal perspective. It's daring to pick and choose among Shakespeare's many wonderful lines to create a whole new structure, but that's what Tales of Woo and Woe does; it creates an emotional arc which, rather than being the story of any particular pair of lovers, follows the feelings and stages of any of us in our own experiences of love. The play takes us on a journey through the varieties and perplexities of love, flowing from one play or poem into the next.”

Body-centered acting is the style DramaDogs has championed and made its own. Co-founder/director Ken Gilbert said of the production, “As with all of our projects the process unravels and evolves with the ensemble of individuals’ talents and skills. We demand the actors to work in the physical realm that evokes and provokes imagery and emotion. This is challenging in any language; especially with the richness of Shakespeare. Each performer is finding his/her way with connecting the words to physical and emotional action, which brings the words to life in unique ways. All of the movement in the rehearsal stimulates the actors’ breath, movement, sound, voice into the words of a sonnet, a monologue, a scene or a song.”

The show runs about 80 minutes, without an intermission, and staging has the cast on stage throughout.

“Our actors are sublime. Delving into the work fearlessly. As director/choreographer it is inspiring and actually pushes me forward,” Lewis said.

There will be live music on stage. Three actors, Jennifer Marco, Josh Jenkins and Hylla Fischer, are guiding the music.

“As an actor, I savor taking on the challenge of making sense of and speaking the truth through this language," Lewis said. "We don’t speak like this and there is a bawdiness partnered with gorgeous imagery and poetry, if you will, that I personally find exciting. I’m thrilled about creating a person speaking these thoughts, with this language. Working with someone like our Jinny who has this great love and understanding of the times and the language makes my task easier, but is also quite infectious.”

This is the company’s second play by Webber. The first was Queen Undaunted, a solo show created for Lewis that played to great critical and public acclaim. It was also culled from several of the Bard’s plays where Queen Margaret was a minor character but Webber found a through line and followed it.

Audiences don’t need to be familiar with Shakespeare, said the playwright; in fact, she added, “some of the audience may want to return for another viewing of the play (and we're making a special ticket offer to those who do), but our intention is to evoke the eternal feelings Shakespeare expresses for everyone who attends, regardless of what they know or don't know about Shakespeare as they walk through the doors of Center Stage Theater.

“The fun of putting this show together is to transform powerful emotional moments of Shakespeare's works into a unified whole with wide appeal, particularly during the Valentine's season when thoughts turn towards love,” Webber said with a knowing smile.

Tales of Woo and Woe collects words from 15 plays and eight sonnets by The Bard to be presented in its world premiere by DramaDogs at Center Stage Theater, 750 Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara from Feb. 6-14. Call 805.963.0408 or go online by clicking here to order tickets anytime.

Center Stage is wheelchair accessible and has the Assistive Listening System in place for people who are hard of hearing.

This project is funded in part by the Community Arts Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. It is also funded in part by the Center Stage Rent Subsidy Program.

— Maureen McFadden is a publicist representing DramaDogs Theater Co.


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Letter to the Editor: Assemblyman Calls Out Adam Over Comments About Tribes, Sovereignty

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Dear Supervisor Peter Adam,

I was disappointed to read your comments in a recent Lompoc Record article questioning the sovereign nation status of Native American tribes. It is unbelievable that such statements would be made in any context, but I am especially disappointed to see them come from an elected official.

I appreciate and respect free speech and the freedoms that come with being citizens of this great nation of ours, but publicly espousing such misinformed views only serves to minimize the very real and brutal history of repression that Native Americans have endured.

The ugly truth is that Native people were placed on reservations that look nothing like their original homelands. In regards to the Chumash Nation, I would remind you that their original land base spanned from Paso Robles to Malibu and inland to Bakersfield. But that is not the land they live on today. Instead, they were provided with 99 acres of land of which a large percentage was and remains a river bed.

As for the tribal sovereignty, I could not be more appalled by your statements. Long before European settlement changed the landscape into what is now this great country of ours, tribes lived on their land as sovereign nations with unique and rich histories and customs. A long body of federal statutes and case law have recognized and upheld the sovereignty powers of Native American Nations.

As the chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, I stand with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and urge you to apologize for your hurtful remarks.


Luis A. Alejo
Chairman, California Latino Legislative Caucus
Assemblyman, 30th District


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Ron Fink: It’s Time to Stop Just Mowing the Grass at Lompoc Parks and Get Creative

By | Published on 01/27/2015


The park system in Lompoc is in need of some serious help. As each new housing project is approved, more parks are added to an overabundance of park land — land and facilities that the city can’t afford to maintain.

Three large park venues come to mind. The first is River Park on the east end of Ocean Avenue. This city park is located on county property and has a combination of tent and recreational vehicle camping, a lake and some walking trails.

This is no Waller Park (a beautiful, well-maintained county park in Santa Maria); instead, it’s the poster child for neglect of the park system. At the entrance on the left is a large pile of stale grape crush residue on some private property, which gives you a sense that you are entering a dumping ground not a public park.

As you move through the park hang on because the roadways are in bad shape. Large speed bumps are frame benders, tree roots create even more difficult driving conditions and the grassy areas have become fields of weeds.

Ryon Park on West Ocean across from the post office isn’t much better. It is the site for all of the major festivals and also hosts sporting events. The vegetation along Ocean Avenue is in need of a major overhaul, the turf is pock marked with gopher holes, and the sports fields and infrastructure need some serious rehabilitation.

River Bend Bike Park is situated in the northeast corner of Lompoc. It was supposed to be home for a large sports complex, and a local press report in March 2003 said, “Plans for a larger park at the River Bend site date as far back as 1983. The city bought several acres to expand the park during the past 10 years, with hopes of building a sports field complex.”

The site sat mostly empty except for a Babe Ruth little league field for 20 years. A mud bog that drew hundreds of out-of-town participants and spectators who shopped and stayed in Lompoc hotels was held at the site for a couple of years, but somehow this very popular activity was stopped.

On May 3, 2005, only 20 years after they started thinking about it, city leaders adopted a master plan for the long-awaited sports complex that was to house soccer, football and little league fields and a very lengthy multi-use bike/hiking trail. It seemed that the city was finally on the right track.

It was a different political time then, deals were made and many rules were circumvented so elected leaders could show the community that “progress was being made” to address their recreational concerns. Most notably were well-established construction standards for parks.

A volunteer group soon began work on parts of the new park; land was graded and grass was planted for the soccer fields but they didn’t have a lot of money, so much needed gopher wire was not installed. This was short-sighted because today there are scores of gopher mounds and holes that young players must navigate through each week.

They also failed to provide the parking areas that were a part of the master plan instead opting to put in what could best be described as an undersized temporary parking area, so families were forced to park anywhere they could and trudge to the playing fields.

So, even though there was a “plan” to develop the River Bend Park, it appears that the city didn’t require the volunteer developers to provide detailed plans like they do for every other project in town.

If the city had stuck to the original plan and applied adopted development standards to all of the volunteer projects on this site as they do today we could have had the sports complex that many people have been clamoring for.

In 2001, there were briefly plans for a BMX-style bike park, but it was never completed and wasn’t included in the master plan. It wasn’t until last year that a well-organized volunteer group was able to develop the bike park, which is nearing completion. This group followed the rules and submitted and corrected their plans, and city inspectors made sure that they built the area according to plan.

The city needs to take a hard look at the parks system as an enterprise. The various venues are one piece of the economic development pie that has been overlooked. A comprehensive plan is need, one that was requested by the City Council over 18 months ago, to address current and future recreational needs.

This plan must not simply focus on need but also on how the system can be rehabilitated and then maintained for future generations.

It’s time to stop just mowing the grass and get creative.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at The opinions expressed are his own.


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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Needs Volunteers to Help Track Effects of Climate on Plant Life Cycles

By | Published on 01/27/2015


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is seeking volunteers to help track the effects of the changing climate on plant life cycles.

Volunteers will be trained to observe and record seasonal phenomena such as leaf emergence, flowering and pollen release to be included in a national database. A free hands-on workshop will turn you into a citizen scientist.

Free citizen scientists training for the national climate change tracking project will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 at the garden.

Please register as space is limited by clicking here or calling 805.682.4726 x102.

For further information, contact communications coordinator Rebecca Mordini at 805.682.1132. Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.


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Capps Applauds Decision to Protect California Coast from New Drilling

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday applauded the decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to prohibit any new offshore oil or gas lease sales in the Northern California, Central California and Southern California Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Planning Areas by excluding these areas from the draft proposed 2017-22 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

In July, Capps led a letter from members of the California congressional delegation to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to take such action. The decision from BOEM and the Department of Interior specifically cites the opposition of Pacific Coast states to new oil and gas development off their coasts as the reasoning for not including the Pacific Coast in the draft proposal.

“I am pleased that the Department of Interior and BOEM heeded our request to prohibit new offshore oil and gas lease sales off the coast of California,” Capps said. “As residents of the Central Coast are well aware, offshore oil drilling can have devastating environmental consequences, and I believe these risks far outweigh any potential benefits. Instead of focusing on the fuels of the past, we should foster and support the sustainable energy industry which has grown to be an important part of the Central Coast economy.”

Capps has led the fight in Congress to stop offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. For example, she has authored the California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act, which would ban new exploration and drilling for oil and gas off the California coast, every year since 2006.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.


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Historian Adam Hochschild to Discuss Battle on Homefront Between War Advocates, Opponents

By | Published on 01/27/2015


The First World War marked a scale of conflict and bloodshed unprecedented in history. From 1914 to 1918, rival alliances sought to crush one another, primarily in Europe, but the fighting spread in pockets around the globe. By the war’s end, several empires had fallen and the world had become a very different place.

Historian Adam Hochschild

While most people are familiar in one way or another with the mobilization to the Great War, many do not know of another global battle that was taking place at the time, in town centers and workplaces, universities, places of worship and inside peoples’ homes. This struggle put those who supported the movement to fight in opposition with dissenters who protested mandatory conscription and war. Both sides rallied around patriotism, whether they saw it manifested in going to war to fight for their country, or in avoiding conflict to protect their country and its citizens from the ravages of war.

To mark the centenary of World War I, historian Adam Hochschild will delve into this domestic battle in an illustrated discussion at UC Santa Barbara titled, “Warriors and Dissenters: The War Within the War of 1914-1918.”

The award-winning writer will take on the different faces of this conflict, which touched various elements of society and caused people to re-examine concepts of patriotism, sedition, free speech and other civil liberties. Tension between pro- and anti-war advocates existed everywhere, but Hochschild will focus on Britain, where war was fiercely advocated and fiercely opposed.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2 in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building at UCSB.

“As recent events have poignantly demonstrated, the issues of freedom of expression and international violence are intimately linked,” said Salim Yaqub, associate professor of history and director of the UCSB Center for Cold War Studies and International History (CCWS). “Adam Hochshild’s scholarship vividly reminds us that this linkage is at least a century old.”

Following the talk, Hochschild will answer questions from the audience and sign copies of his book, “To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918.”

“Warriors and Dissenters: The War Within the War of 1914-1918” is co-sponsored by the UCSB Department of History and CCWS.

An acclaimed historian, essayist and travel writer, Adam Hochschild writes stories of real-life men and women and their struggles against historical injustices. A former civil rights worker, he also participated in the movement against the Vietnam War, and went on to co-found the magazine Mother Jones in 1970. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the PEN/Spiegelvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay; the J. Anthony Lukas Award; the Duff Cooper Prize; and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. In addition to writing, Hochschild lectures on journalism at UC Berkeley.

— Sonia Fernandez for the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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‘1st Thursday: After Hours’ at Granada to Toast Upcoming Performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Keep the evening going with 1st Thursday: After Hours from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Granada Theatre.

Join the Santa Barbara Symphony, State Street Ballet and the Granada Theatre for an evening of lively entertainment with a nod to the upcoming performance of Alice in Wonderland at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Granada Theatre.

Three venerable performing arts organizations have teamed up to offer a unique night of excitement to round out an enriching evening of 1st Thursday fun. The community is welcome to take photos with State Street Ballet’s costumed Alice in Wonderland dancers, sing epic karaoke love ballads with the Santa Barbara Symphony upstairs in the McCune Founders Room, nibble on delicious bites from Benchmark Eatery, and mingle among friends with complimentary wine tasting from Summerland Winery.

As part of Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District’s 1st Thursday: After Hours program, the partnership between the Granada Theatre, the Lobero Theatre and the Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic is thrilled to welcome the Arlington Theatre to the Historic Theatre District 1st Thursday After Hours program, a series of night-time parties following the cultural 1st Thursday experience, that will be held at a different theater each month, and offers a chance for Santa Barbara arts and culture patrons to enjoy these historic spaces as never before!

The schedule for the 1st Thursday: After Hours program for the remaining winter/spring season will be as follows:

» Feb. 5 — Granada Theatre

» March 5 — Arlington Theatre

» April 2 — The New Vic

» May 7 — Lobero Theatre

For more information about this 1st Thursday: After Hours event or any performance at the Granada Theatre, click here or call 805.899.2222.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


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Inogen of Goleta Donates Portable Oxygen Device to Holocaust Survivor

By | Published on 01/27/2015


Inogen Inc., a Goleta-based medical technology company offering innovative respiratory products for use in the home-care setting, announced Tuesday that in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2015, the company is donating an Inogen One G3 portable oxygen concentrator to Holocaust survivor Ben Fainer.

Inogen was founded on the belief that oxygen therapy users deserve independence and, as a result, have developed innovative portable oxygen concentrator technology that eliminates a patient's concern of running out of oxygen in a tank.

Fainer endured six different Nazi concentration camps between ages 9 and 15 before he was liberated. As a Jew in Bedzin, Poland, in 1939, Fainer was separated from his mother and siblings, whom he never saw again. He endured "death marches" of considerable distance each time he was moved to another camp.

Fainer was selected to clean the SS quarters and was able to survive by finding leftover food which he would often hide to bring back to others in the barracks. Other times he would stave off hunger by smoking chestnut leaves, which most likely was a contributing factor to his lung disease realized many years later.

Fainer has been held prisoner by oxygen tanks that severely restrict his independence. Now an author and traveling speaker, he has had his quality of life impaired by traditional forms of oxygen therapy.

"We are proud to honor Mr. Fainer today and hope that the Inogen One G3 helps to restore freedom so he can live life how he sees fit, surrounded by family and sharing his courageous testimony with others around the country," said Byron Myers, Inogen founder and vice president of marketing.

Fainer added: "I know something about freedom — about losing it and how it feels to regain it. I can't thank Inogen enough for the gift of freedom they are providing to me in the Inogen One G3."

Inogen has used, and intends to continue to use, its Investor Relations website,, as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Click here for more information.


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Lompoc YMCA to Kick Off Annual Campaign; Santa Ynez Chumash Named Honorary Chair

By | Published on 01/27/2015


The Lompoc Family YMCA Annual Campaign kicks off Feb. 5, and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation has been named the honorary chair for the 2015 campaign.

Over the years, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has played a key role in supporting the Lompoc Family YMCA and the Channel Islands YMCA by providing grant funding opportunities, as well as volunteer leadership. Most recently, the Lompoc Family YMCA was one of four agencies named beneficiaries of the 2014 Chumash Charity Golf Classic.

“We are proud of the support we’ve given to this organization throughout the years, and we’re honored to be recognized as the Lompoc Family YMCA’s honorary chair,” Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta said.

Since 2007, the foundation has contributed over $115,000 to support the YMCA’s Open Door program. The YMCA’s Open Door financial assistance programs ensures that no individual or family are ever turned away from YMCA services due to financial hardship.

“The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians understands the importance of having safe environments where members of the community can enjoy healthy activities," Armenta said. "The Lompoc Family YMCA is a vital resource because it provides engaging programs for both children and adults who are looking to improve their lives.”

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation makes grants available to help support community organizations that help to meet the needs of the region. The goals for the foundation is to help improve the community it serves for all of its residents, placing particular value on activities and programs that expand opportunities for the least advantaged, protect the environment or enhance the lives of youth.

“We truly appreciate the collaboration and partnership that has been developed through the years with the Foundation,“ YMCA Executive Director Tommy Speidel said.

The Lompoc Family YMCA Annual Community Campaign kicks off on Feb. 5 at the YMCA. The YMCA will be hosting a variety of events throughout the month including several Dine For a Cause Events, which help to support the Annual Campaign. In 2013-14, the Y provided over $87,000 in financial assistance to families and individuals for membership or programs such as child care, camp, sports and after-school programs.

— Stephanie Saucedo represents the Lompoc Family YMCA.


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MAD Academy at Santa Barbara High School Hosts 3rd Annual Benefit

By | Published on 01/27/2015


On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the MAD (Multimedia Arts & Design) Academy at Santa Barbara High School will host its third annual gala, at the Summerland campus of QAD. The festivities — “That’s Amore, An Evening on the American Riviera” — get under way at 5:30 p.m.

» Enjoy cocktails, appetizers and dinner catered by Olio e Limone Ristorante and Olio Pizzeria

» Sponsored in part by QAD at its breathtaking Summerland facility, which offers an amazing setting and views of the Santa Barbara Channel

» Special guests Billy Baldwin and Michael Imperioli

Proceeds from this event — generated by a silent auction, a live auction, ticket sales, donations, group tables and sponsorships — will be used to purchase 34 new PC and Mac computers for the Computer Labs. Money raised will also provide funding so all students who wish to participate will be able to join the MAD Academy.

Please show your support by attending and becoming a sponsor at this year’s third annual fundraiser.

For 2015 sponsorship levels and ticket information, contact Kendra Kenyon at

Click here for more information about the MAD Academy.

— Kendra Kenyon is development director at the MAD Academy at Santa Barbara High School.


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Injuries Reported in Highway 101 Crash Near Buellton

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Emergency crews responded late Monday night to a multi-vehicle accident with injuries on Highway 101 south of Buellton.

The crash, involving as many as five vehicles, occurred shortly before 10 p.m. in the northbound lanes in the Three Bridges area, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported four people injured, but details were not immediately available.

Two vehicles came to rest about 30 feet off the roadway, the CHP said, and three others ended up in the center divider.

One vehicle struck the wreckage of the initial collision, the CHP said.

At least one person was trapped in a damaged vehicle and had to be extricated, the CHP said.

Light rain was falling in areas of the county at the time, but it was not known whether that was a factor in the crash.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Goleta Man Driving Campaign to Save Historic Gas Station on Hollister Avenue

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Tom Modugno launches an online petition calling for the restoration of the 1920s-era Barnsdall Rio-Grande property

Tom Modugno recalls, as a kid, sneaking into the boarded-up 1920s gas station that sits near the western end of Hollister Avenue in Goleta.

Modugno, who grew up in Santa Barbara Shores, just down the street from the old Barnsdall-Rio Grande Gas Station, remembers climbing in through the windows of the distinctive building with friends.

They would find old newspapers from the 1950s and explore the station's tiny interior.

Since then, the building, with its detailed ornamentation and bejeweled mosaic dome, appears relatively unchanged, boarded up and behind fencing warning the public not to trespass. But time and weather continue to take their toll.

"It's basically the same as it was," Modugno said Monday, standing just outside the chain link fencing that encircles the old gas station.

Most things around it have changed, though.

The station now backs up to the Sandpiper Golf Course, and across Hollister Avenue a condominium development is in various stages of construction. Bacara Resort & Spa was built just up the road, as was a new overpass over Highway 101.

Now, Modugno has begun an effort to connect the station's history with the present.

He has launched an online petition calling for the restoration of the property.

A vintage photo shows the Barnsdall-Rio Grande Gas Station closer to its prime. (Photo courtesy of

Last week, Modguno's signature count was several hundred, but by Monday, it had grown to more than 1,500. The goal was to get 1,000 signatures, but since they've now exceeded that, "I guess we'll go for 2,000," he said.

"Everybody I've talked to loves this building," he said. "The hard part is getting something done."

Modugno, the owner of Santa Cruz Markets who also runs and, is encyclopedic about Goleta's history.  

While standing near the gas station, he spoke about another building that sat nearby, a restaurant named Wheeler's Inn that was doing well until a Japanese submarine attacked the Ellwood area during World War II.

A shell even lodged in the Ellwood Pier, the only mainland attack during that war, which caused business at the restaurant to plummet and eventually move to downtown Santa Barbara.

As for the gas station, it was built in 1929, and is considered the last of the Pearl Chase-inspired fuel stations, a project that the legendary Santa Barbara civic leader to took on as a beautification effort. 

Looking at the building today, her touches are obvious, and the structure looks closer to something seen in downtown Santa Barbara than the Goodland with its red tile roof, white plaster walls, blue and white tiles and Spanish colonial revival touches.

The station sits near the Ellwood Oil Field, which was extremely productive in the early part of the 20th century.

The station was abandoned by the 1950s, but got another moment to shine in 1980, when it was used in the remake of the movie "The Postman Always Rings Twice," which starred Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange.

Santa Barbara County designated the station a historical site, but after the City of Goleta incorporated, that designation was no longer in place. The city's general plan does list the gas station as a historic resource.

Modugno has been told that the city would need to form a historical preservation committee, and then create an ordinance designating historical landmarks within city limits.

The Pearl Chase Society and Goleta Valley Historical Society have tried to designate the building in the past, but with no luck.

Ideally, Modugno sees the building restored to its former glory and opened up to the public, perhaps with a "mini-museum" inside, with photos and an exhibit explaining some of the area's history.

To get there, he's working to reach out to property owner Ty Warner, who also owns the Sandpiper Golf Course. If Warner shows interest, presumably a first step would be for someone to make an assessment of the building's condition and what it would take to restore it.

In the meantime, Modugno will continue collecting signatures, and may make a presentation to the Goleta City Council at some point in the future.

"A lot of people feel really strongly about this," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Lake Cachuma Emergency Pumping Facility Operational But Still in Standby Mode

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Staff with the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board now believe the lake will be pumped starting in April or May

More than $2 million in grants have been finalized for the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board’s emergency pumping facility project at Lake Cachuma, which is operational but still in standby mode.

The large project will be essential to pump water into the Tecolote Tunnel — which supplies Santa Barbara County’s South Coast with water — once reservoir levels drop too low to gravity-feed the intake towers of the water distribution system.

Current estimates show the system may not be turned on until April or May, COMB general manager Randy Ward said at Monday’s Board of Directors meeting.

COMB received $2 million in state funding for the project from the Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board and additional grants from the United States Bureau of Reclamation to pay $300,000 worth of electrical power costs for the pumping project, starting Jan. 23.

To date, the emergency pumping facility project has cost $4.3 million. 

Ward also updated the board on the poor condition of the COMB administration building, which had major roof leaks during a November storm. It’s a modular building behind the board meeting building and will need to be replaced, he said.

“The short story is that building is toast,” he said.

The COMB board went into closed session Monday afternoon to discuss whether the agency should intervene in a lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the Hilton Creek pumping system. The bureau is responsible for maintaining water in the creek for steelhead trout and a series of pump failures last year lead to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

A backup pump system project is under way and should be completed by mid-February, according to COMB.

There was a “little incident” Jan. 14 with no creek flow and COMB employees responded quickly to rescue a few fish, COMB’s fisheries division manager Tim Robinson said at Monday’s meeting.

Pumps were up and running again within an hour and a half, which was a good collaboration between the two agencies, he added.

Duane Stroup, a Bureau of Reclamation representative present at Monday’s meeting, said the agency is working to get the system online and identify any solutions to increase reliability.

COMB directors are still concerned about releasing water from Lake Cachuma for the fish, but the Bureau of Reclamation doesn’t recognize a “critical drought” until the lake levels drop to 30,000 acre-feet, Robinson said.

“And we have no control over that,” Ward reminded the board.

As of Monday, Lake Cachuma reportedly had 54,790 acre-feet of water, which represents 28.3 percent of capacity.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Carpinteria Council Initiates Environmental Review of Venoco’s Paredon Project

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Carpinteria officials soon will take a fresh look at an old issue — whether to allow Venoco Inc. to pursue a slant drilling development called the Paredon project.

The Carpinteria City Council unanimously voted Monday night to pay $477,398 to Ventura-based Marine Research Specialists to prepare an environmental impact report studying the project.

Venoco, which submitted its most recent project plans in June 2013, proposes to drill up to 22 extended-reach (or slant) wells to recover oil and gas resources from onshore and offshore reservoirs at the Carpinteria Oil and Gas Processing Facility the company owns on Dump Road.

Officials discussed the EIR, aware that Venoco has attempted to get around the public process before.

The Measure J ballot measure, which residents voted down decisively in 2010, sought to qualify the Paredon project as a private development not subject to environmental review.

Marine Research Specialists began an EIR on the Paredon project previously, but the process was never completed.

City staff informed the council that Carpinteria would also partner with the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission to establish a joint review panel reviewing the EIR to better share information and input.

Carpinteria has never created this type of partnership before — nor is such a panel required — but the city’s community development director, Jackie Campbell, said Santa Barbara County staff members use the collaboration to increase efficiency.

“It just allows us to work closely together,” mostly via email and phone, Campbell said.

The Carpinteria council is the lead agency on the project, but state agencies will rely on the EIR for permitting actions related to Venoco’s coastal-development permit application.

Campbell said the public would get its first look at the proposed EIR in late July, with a draft EIR coming before the council Sept. 28 and receipt of a final proposed EIR by Dec. 7.

The EIR will examine water use, noise, traffic, biological and cultural resources and more.

Venoco and prior owners have operated the Carpinteria Processing Facility near the Carpinteria Bluffs area since the 1960s. Chevron established the slant operation at the facility decades before Venoco bought the site in 1999, and the area currently handles production from the company's Platform Gail and Platform Grace.

City staff estimated the Paredon project area contains recoverable reserves of approximately 20.5 million barrels of oil and 30.8 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.

Venoco proposes to integrate facilities with existing onshore oil and gas processing, pipeline transportation and storage facilities — with peak production rates estimated at 9,000 barrels of oil per day and 13 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The project life would be dependent on future commodity prices and actual reservoir performance, although Venoco officials estimate production would be viable for 20 years once begun.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Public Market Merchants Prepare for Film Feast

By | Published on 01/26/2015


The Visit Santa Barbara event shows off local restaurants that are creating movie-themed dishes during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Thinking about the Santa Barbara International Film Festival propelled Pasta Shoppe head chef Brian Dodero back to a memory from studying abroad in Italy.

The Santa Barbara native pictured a heaping bowl of pasta — much like the one shown in the old film An American in Rome.

Dodero plans to re-create that vision this week as part of Film Feast, a promotion involving several local restaurants, wine tasting rooms and hotels that coincides with the 30th anniversary of the film festival.

Locals and visitors can catch special menus and discounts during the Visit Santa Barbara-organized program, which corresponds with the festival’s kickoff Tuesday and ends along with the event on Feb. 7.

“I had an image in my head as soon as I heard we were going to do some type of prix fixe,” Dodero said this week of the prearranged meal option offered inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, just a stone’s throw from where much of the festival unfolds at the Arlington Theatre.

The Paste Shoppe will sell $30 meals based on Italian-themed films, such as Lady and the Tramp (bucatini with beef and pork bolognese sauce) or An American in Rome (wild mushroom gnocchi).

“I know people are on the go,” Dodero said, noting meals could be boxed up for later. “To be right here behind it … I’m excited.”

The Pasta Shoppe expects to experience an increase in business during the film festival, a sentiment shared by all 15 merchants within the public market, which was recently vandalized during a break-in spree of downtown businesses.

Bucatini with beef and pork bolognese will be part of a Film Feast special at the Pasta Shoppe inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, which will offer a fixed-price menu based on Italian-themed movies. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Dodero said the merchants rallied around each other to open after the early-morning burglary Jan. 17.

The merchants first opened up shop last April, which makes 2015 the first year all of them will encounter the film festival. 

Belcampo Meat Co. is trying to keep the mood light, offering a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs sandwich. Customers who remember to mention the film by name even get 30 percent off the sub.

The butcher shop was glad to participate in Film Feast alongside Eladio’s “Planet of the Cakes” dessert trio for the three Planet of the Apes films and other dishes inspired by The Goonies and more, said Belcampo general manager and head chef Carrie Mitchum,

“We’re right in the middle,” she said of the market’s proximity to film fest activities. “It’s fun.”

For a complete list of offers, and for information about Visit Santa Barbara’s special social media contest, click here

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Human-Trafficking Trial

By | Published on 01/26/2015


A Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury has returned guilty verdicts in the first human-trafficking jury trial in county history, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Brannon Lawrence Pitcher was found guilty Monday of two counts of human trafficking of a minor, along with the special allegation that he used force, fear, fraud, deceit and violence while trafficking a 16-year-old girl, according to Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen, who prosecuted the case.

Pitcher also was found guilty of one misdemeanor count of possession of methamphetamine, and 73 counts of disobeying a court order.

Nguyen was reticent to give details about the crimes since a sentencing date has not yet been set.

She did say that the human-trafficking crimes occurred between May 2013 and August 2013, and again from Nov. 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2013, when Pitcher continued to traffic the girl from behind bars after his arrest on Aug. 22, 2013.

Pitcher, who is not from the area, brought the girl, also not a local, to different cities throughout California, including Santa Barbara, she said.

The victim did testify and take the stand during the jury trial, Nguyen said.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley released a statement on the case Monday, calling child sex trafficking a "silent but pervasive problem in all communities across our nation," which leaves victims to suffer the psychological and physical impacts.

In addition to the work of her office, Monday's jury verdict was a result of the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santa Barbara Police Department, Dudley said.

"The evidence that became public during this trial confirms the fact that human trafficking is occurring in the County of Santa Barbara," Dudley said, adding that anyone with information about victims of human trafficking should call 9-1-1.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Arrest Attempt Leads to SWAT Standoff in Santa Maria

By | Published on 01/26/2015


An attempt to serve an arrest warrant Monday afternoon on the western edge of the city led to a standoff involving the Santa Maria Police Department's SWAT team.

William Mark Kargle

The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when bail agents tried to serve the warrant at an RV parked on La Brea Avenue near A Street, police said.

They believed the wanted suspect — William Mark Kargle, 55 — was inside the RV.

After knocking on the door, the agents and accompanying police officers heard what sounded like someone racking a weapon inside the vehicle.

"For the sake of safety, they backed off," Cmdr. Phil Hansen told Noozhawk.

One person exited the vehicle, police said, and at least one other person was believed to still be inside.

Officers attempted to contact by phone one person believed to be in the RV, and blasted public-address messages to encourage those inside to leave the vehicle voluntarily.

Hansen said police also were seeking a search warrant for the RV on the basis of "public safety considerations." With a search warrant in hand, Hansen said, police would decide whether to use chemical agents "or something along those lines to try to get their attention and get them to comply with us." 

"We're taking it nice and slow, by the numbers," he said, adding it's the safest approach for all those involved.

The standoff ended at approximately 9 p.m. after the search warrant was obtained and executed, police said.

During the search warrant service, a BB/pellet rifle was located.

Kargle was taken into custody for outstanding warrants.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Stats Show Continuing Drop in Robberies, Rise in Traffic Accidents

By | Published on 01/26/2015


The following is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.

» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening), Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service all remained within performance objectives. The average response time to Priority 3 (non-emergency) calls for service exceeded the performance objective of 30 minutes by six seconds.

» Positive trends: The rate of robberies has experienced a strong three-year downward trend. In 2014, there was a 30 percent decrease in robberies compared with 2013, and a 46 percent decrease compared with 2012. The rate of residential burglaries also decreased for the third year in a row. In 2014, there was a 28 percent decrease in residential burglaries compared with 2013 and a 35 percent decrease compared with 2012. Burglaries and thefts from vehicles have also followed a similar decline. In 2014, there was a 17 percent decrease in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared with 2013, and a 39 percent decrease compared with 2012.

» Areas of concern: The rate of injury traffic accidents rose for the third year in a row with 2014 having the highest number in the last six years — 570. In 2014, there was a 2 percent increase in injury traffic accidents compared with 2013 and a 12 percent increase compared with 2012. Bicycle traffic collisions also experienced a three-year upward trend. In 2014, there was an 18 percent increase in bicycle traffic collisions compared with 2013 and a 32 percent increase compared with 2012.

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.


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$826,065 in Donations to County’s Aviation Support Unit Raises Concern Among Supervisors, Auditor

By | Published on 01/26/2015


A seemingly routine donation raised some eyebrows among county supervisors last week, after they were asked to approve an $826,000 donation from a nonprofit that raises money to maintain and upgrade helicopters used for search and rescue and law enforcement efforts in the county.

The supervisors were asked to approve $826,065 in donations that were raised by a nonprofit called Project Rescue Flight, which raises money to keep the county's Aviation Support Unit, which is home to five helicopters, operating at its best.

The helicopters are used for search and rescue operations in Santa Barbara's back and front country, a large role in firefighting efforts in the county, as well as for law enforcement operations, including recent marijuana camp cleanups in the Los Padres National Forest.

About $307,556 of the money was raised in 2013-14 for maintenance and improvements to four helicopters. Another $500,000 was raised in 2014 to make upgrades to Copter 4, including more than $300,000 for an external rescue hoist.

The organization has donated millions of dollars to the Aviation Support Unit for years, but the size of the donation as well as the fact that it was split over multiple years raised some concern from Santa Barbara County Auditor Bob Geis.

The makeup of the board was also a concern to Geis, and he said staff had noticed three of the boardmembers Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department employees.

"That's a significant issue in our eyes," he told the Board of Supervisors.

Noozhawk has confirmed that four of the six boardmembers are SBSO employees.

The donations being reported after the books were "closed" for a given year was concerning to him, as departments are to bring those numbers forward every quarter.

Supervisor Doreen Farr said the size of the donation made her "nervous" and questioned whether it was sustainable to depend on private donations to keep the unit operating.

After Supervisor Peter Adam asked Geis whether he should vote to approve the donation, Geis said that while the county shouldn't turn away a gift, more research needed to be done.

"We don't want to kill that goose, but we want to make sure these expenditures are on the county books," he told the supervisors, adding that "we really should revisit how this nonprofit is working."

The supervisors ultimately voted to revisit the donation at their Feb. 17 meeting.

Geis told Noozhawk that his biggest concern was that the board of Project Rescue Flight is made up of a majority of Sheriff's Department employees.

"You want their board of directors to be independent from the supervisors and department heads," Geis said.

Sheriff Bill Brown said his department is working with the auditor's office to establish a mechanism to have the board accept the awards in a more timely manner and maintained that the organization is completely independent from the department.

"Project Rescue Flight was established by two of our deputies on their own time. Its board also includes civilians," he said. "Per its charter, it exists and raises funds solely for county aviation, so we do not feel there are any issues or conflicts re: independence.

"We were trying to rectify a few donations for work done by PRF that we hadn't reported in a timely manner at the same time we sought approval for the current donation. The Controllers Office was upset — understandably — because the books had been closed and will have to be reopened," he said, adding that Brown's and Geis' staff would be meeting to resolve the donations.

The organization's 990 Form states that the group's mission is "to assist the Sheriff's Department of the County of Santa Barbara to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, by providing airborne law enforcement and and search and rescue capabilities" and to raise monies for maintenance and replacement of the rescue helicopters.

Project Rescue Flight board president Gregg Weitzman, who also works for the Sheriff's Department as a pilot in the Aviation Support Unit, sat down with Noozhawk last week to talk about the foundation. The Aviation Support Unit was formed in 1996, and Weitzman recalled going to the Board of Supervisors in 1999 to ask that they begin setting aside money for the helicopters, which had previously be coming from the Sheriff's Council.

"They said, 'We don't have the cash so you're going to have to think outside the box,'" Weitzman said of the county.

The nonprofit was established in 2000, and yes, Weitzman said, four of the board members are current employees of the Sheriff's Department.

"Our attorneys said there was no conflict," he said.

Four of the board members are Weitzman, Jon Simon, Michael Arend, Adam Reichick, all full-time employees of the Aviation Support Unit, and two of the board's members are civilians, not employed by the department.

They are Jon Wilczak of the Sheriff's Benevolent Posse and James Cameron, Weitzman said. 

Weitzman said the group gets most of its funding from a local non-profit "that wants to remain anonymous," and he estimates Project Rescue Flight has raised $3 million since its formation.

"We've informed the department of everything we've done," he said. "There are no secrets."

Since the nonprofit was formed, the unit has obtained five helicopters, three of which are currently in service.  

The helicopters are used Army aircraft that had to be rebuilt and require constant maintenance; 100 percent of what is raised goes towards the aircraft, he said.

The Project Rescue Flight board decides together what to spend the money on, Weitzman said.

"We have the expertise," he said. "We know what we need."

Some of the costs that went before the board last Tuesday went toward putting an external hoist on Copter 4, which is a safer way to lift people into the air during a rescue. 

Before the helicopters were introduced, search and rescue crews would hike in on foot and search for a person solely by ground, without any air support.

"The hoist can make a one-day rescue operation into a 10-minute one," he said.

It was also spent on aerodynamics for the tail boom of the helicopter.

Three helicopters got new paint jobs, "and that was $100,000 right there," he said.

Whether the Aviation Support Unit would be self-sustaining without Project Rescue Flight, "that's the big question," he said.

For now, Weitzman said the organization will continue working to keep the helicopters running and conducting operations in the county.

"We want the best equipment to make things safer for us and the community," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Michael Barone: Are Today’s Millennials a New Victorian Generation?

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Public policymakers and political pundits tend to focus on problems — understandably, because if things are going right they aren't thought to need attention. Yet positive developments can teach us things as well, when, for reasons not necessarily clear, great masses of people start to behave more constructively.

One such trend is the better behavior of the young Americans of today compared to those 25 years ago. Almost no one anticipated it, the exception being William Strauss and Neil Howe in their 1991 book, Generations, who named Americans born after 1981 the Millennial generation and predicted that "the tiny boys and girls now playing with Lego blocks" — and those then still unborn — would become "the nation's next great Civic generation."

The most obvious evidence of the Millennials' virtuous behavior is the vast decline in violent crime in the last 25 years. The most crime-prone age and gender cohort — 15- to 25-year-old males — are committing far fewer crimes than that cohort did in 1990.

Statistics tell the dramatic story. In two decades the murder rate fell 49 percent, the forcible rape rate 33 percent, the robbery rate 48 percent and the aggravated assault rate 39 percent. Government agencies report that sexual assaults against 12- to 17-year-olds declined by more than half, and violent victimization of teenagers at school declined 60 percent.

Binge drinking by high school seniors is lower than at any time since 1976, and sexual intercourse among ninth-graders and the percentage of high school seniors with more than three partners has declined.

There has been much ado about rape on college campuses today, with President Barack Obama among others stating that one in five women students will be raped or sexually assaulted. But that statistic is based on a bogus survey, covering just two colleges, with self-selected rather than randomly selected respondents and a laughably broad definition of "sexual assault." A recent Justice Department report showed that the rate rape on campus was not 20 percent but 0.6 percent.

And today's young are better behaved despite what blind statistical trends might seem to hint at. Compared to the young Americans of 1990, their ranks include a higher percentage of Hispanics and blacks, who statistically tend to have above-average crime rates. Today's young are also more likely to come from single-parent households — another high-risk factor. Demographics suggested there would be more bad behavior. Instead, there is much less.

What accounts for this virtuous cycle? I am inclined to give some credit to better police tactics and welfare reform, the great positive conservative policy successes of the 1990s. Others might credit the Clinton administration's increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit or bipartisan-supported education reforms. But partisan explanations, though plausible, seem inadequate.

I think what we are seeing is a mass changing of minds, something like the movement in Victorian England toward what historian Gertrude Himmelfarb described as "the morality that dignifies and civilizes human beings."

My theory is that young people do what is expected of them, in two senses of the word "expected." One is statistical expectation. Americans in 1990 expected young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to commit lots of crimes. They had been doing so, after all, for 25 years. But Rudy Giuliani and others adapting his methods reduced crime dramatically, and statistical expectations rapidly changed.

The other sense of the word "expected" is moral expectation. A parent tells a boy he is expected not to shoplift, bully, rob, rape or kill. She tells a girl she is expected not to sleep around or get pregnant. The parents of the last 25 years grew up in years of high crime, high divorce and high unmarried births. Evidently they wanted — expected — something better from their own children.

It's true that unmarried parenthood has risen. But teen births, like violent crime, have been in sharp decline. Now the latest statistics tell us that birth rates are, unusually, up among married women and down among unmarried women.

There remain stark differences between the experiences and behaviors of high-education and -income and low-education and -income Americans, as Charles Murray showed in his 2012 book, Coming Apart. But perhaps they are starting to converge.

Liberals and conservatives often assume that moves away from traditional moral rules must inevitably continue. How can you keep them down on the farm once they've seen "Paree"?

But today's America, like Victorian England, shows that virtuous cycles are possible as well. People can learn from experience, and those who have seen the downside of bad behavior may choose to behave better.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Resident Suffers Smoke Inhalation in Orcutt Home Fire

By | Published on 01/26/2015


One person suffered minor smoke inhalation Monday after attempting to rescue two cats from a fire at an Orcutt home, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

County fire crews responded at 2:40 p.m. to a structure fire at a single-family dwelling in the 100 block of Siler Lane, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke showing from the one-story home, where fire was contained to the kitchen, Sadecki said.

Crews knocked the blaze down within 20 minutes, he said.

“We had smoke damage throughout the house,” Sadecki said.

A resident, who was home at the time, was treated for minor smoke inhalation after trying to rescue two cats from inside the home, but he said no one else was injured.

Sadecki didn’t know whether the cats were saved, but he said Santa Barbara County Animal Control had been called to the scene, along with the American Red Cross to assist residents.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Goleta Mayor Appoints Katie Maynard to Serve on Planning Commission

By | Published on 01/26/2015


Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte has appointed Katie Maynard to serve as her Planning Commission representative.

The position became available when Perotte’s former planning commissioner, Meg West, resigned to serve on the Board of Directors for the Goleta Water District.

“Ms. Maynard’s experience will be very beneficial as proposed projects come before the commission,” Perotte said. “It’s wonderful to have someone with her background working in this role, and I am grateful she is willing to serve our community in this way.”

Maynard is a sustainability coordinator at UCSB in the Geography Department. Her responsibility is to identify ways that the campus can reduce its environmental impact and collaborate with the community to ensure a healthy environment.

She has lived in Santa Barbara County for the last 13 years and in Goleta for the last two.

Planning Commission terms coincide with the terms of the appointing council member.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘In Plain Sight’

By | Published on 01/26/2015


4 Stars — Powerful

The evil of manipulating and coercing children and teenagers into prostitution is appalling. Known as human trafficking, we often assume this occurs primarily in developing countries and only rarely in nations like the United States. But we are wrong to make such an assumption. In Plain Sight is a documentary directed by Noah Lamberth and David Trotter depicting what is actually happening in such cities as Nashville, Dallas and Houston.

Without commentary, this documentary allows those involved in this horrific experience to speak for themselves. The testimonies of the women who were abused in their homes only to run away and become enslaved to a pimp are not only enlightening but also emotionally powerful. We hear woman after woman explain how she was manipulated and groomed by her pimp until she was physically threatened and beaten in a dehumanizing process.

Woven throughout these first-person accounts, Lamberth and Trotter bring in the people who are trying to free these girls from this hell. From police officers to FBI agents, from pastors to counselors, from former trafficked women who are now helping others get free, to wealthy women who used their resources to create safe houses where healing and new lives could begin, we look at this complex problem from all sides.

For a moment, we even hear from the darkened inside of a car the empty words of a man whose addiction to sex is financing the pimps’ enslavement of these victimized women.

The film also explains the relationship between pornography addiction and acting on the addiction by buying and selling masochistic and sadistic sex.

Although it is clear that the safe homes and recovery ministries are motivated by the compassion of Christians, the film reveals how everyone is becoming aware of the slavery of vulnerable young women and how we as a nation can make changes so this modern slavery can be greatly impeded if not stopped. Working to stop sexual slavery is something that all people of good will can work together to accomplish.


» The all-too-common experience of being abused as children is horrendous in itself. That there are people who take advantage of these vulnerable young women when they flee from their homes only multiplies the abuse. Healing both of these traumas requires not only safe homes that become their new families but also professional counseling and spiritual guidance. If that is true, what part of this multilayered solution can you help to provide?

» If pornography creates a sexual addiction that then progresses to the addicted acting on their desires by paying the pimps to provide a person they have enslaved, then what can we do to stop the foundation of this crime? Do you believe pornography should be protected by free speech? Why or why not?

» When these ministries are exposed as they are in this film and people’s real names are used, do you think that makes their ministries vulnerable to retaliation? Why do you answer as you do?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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