Santa Barbara-Goleta, Friday, October 24, 2014

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Judy Crowell: The Queen Mary — Ghostly, Gorgeous and Going Nowhere

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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The floating hotel and museum docked at Long Beach offers an eerie visit back in time

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Named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most haunted places in America, The Queen Mary, docked at Long Beach, remains a fabulous and eerie visit back in time.

Completed in Scotland in 1936, it was built to be the grandest oceanliner in the world, with the most modern staterooms and lavish art deco interiors, two indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, libraries, children’s nurseries, a music studio, a lecture hall, outdoor paddle tennis courts, dog kennels and telephone connections to anyplace in the world. And that’s for starters.

Nicknamed the Ship of Woods, more than 56 wood veneers (many now extinct) represented the 56 protectorates of the British Empire at that time, and were used to create beautiful panels and intricate marquetry both inside and out.

In the day, celebrities like Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Wallis Simpson and her prince, and Winston Churchill were frequent passengers. Often compared to the Titanic, there is no comparison. The Queen Mary was twice as large, faster, had three more decks and completed 1,001 North Atlantic crossings. The Titanic set off on its maiden voyage and sunk. Case closed.

Her finest hours were the World War II years, when, painted a camouflage gray (including all windows and portholes), The Queen Mary unceasingly ferried Allied troops to and from Europe, shortening the war by at least one year. On one crossing, 16,082 soldiers were aboard ship, a standing record for the most passengers ever transported on one vessel. On another crossing, she accidentally sliced through her escort ship, the HMS Curacoa, killing 239 people. And that leads me to the ghosts.

And there are many — not white-sheeted figures floating around, but photographed, documented orbs (spirit energies) in all areas of the ship. Not surprisingly, in the area that cut through the Curacoa, screams and sounds of metal ripping apart have been heard. A fireman who died in the engine room, crushed to death by one of the ship’s watertight doors, is a frequent ghost. A young girl slid down the banister near the first-class pool and died. The crew named her Jackie, and she haunts the pool.

In Room M107, a man in a white suit sitting in a bedside chair watches hotel guests sleep. In Room B492, guests have reported blankets being pulled off while sleeping, and in Room A119, the antique fan keeps going off and on even though it’s not connected. Hundreds of these paranormal experiences have been compiled, listing each room number and what one may expect if reserving a particular room. You can ask at the front desk as you check in. Or not.

In 1967, when the jet age prevailed over ocean travel, The Queen Mary was brought to port in Long Beach, becoming a floating hotel and museum. Several owners have supervised it since then, and today it boasts 346 original (and I stress that word, original) first-class staterooms and suites, truly unique shops, several restaurants and fascinating tours. Don’t miss the Ghost & Legend Tour, the WWII Tour, the Paranormal Ship Walk and the Diana: Legacy of a Princess Tour.

I didn’t expect much on this Diana tour and could have spent an entire day there, breaking for an authentic British afternoon tea in the Queen Mary Tea Room. I had the same expectations with the restaurants and was amazed at the five-star dining at Sir Winston’s and fish house tradition of Chelsea Chowder House & Bar. In fact, I have to confess. I really expected a typically tourist, somewhat carnival-like atmosphere and, instead, I was amazed at the respect for history and the diligence in preserving and restoring this icon. Simply polishing all the brass handrails is a labor of love.

As for the ghosts, you’re either a skeptic or a believer. I’m sure many a skeptic has checked into this hotel, unlike any other hotel, and walked out a believer. I dare you to try it!

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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Luis Villegas Joins Heritage Oaks Bank as Goleta Branch Manager

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Luis Villegas
Luis Villegas

Simone Lagomarsino, president and CEO of Heritage Oaks Bancorp, is pleased to announce that Luis Villegas recently joined Heritage Oaks Bank as vice president and branch manager of the Goleta office at 5738 Calle Real, which will open later this year.

“Luis is a great addition to our management team,” Lagomarsino said. “His outstanding leadership skills, commitment to customer service and banking experience will serve our clients well as we continue to expand our presence throughout Santa Barbara County.”

Villegas’ banking management and business development experience is extensive, including many years as a senior relationship banker with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. Previously, he served as the Hispanic segment market manager for Pacific Capital Bancorp.

Villegas is a graduate of Santa Barbara City College, received his bachelor of arts degree from UCSB and did graduate work at UCSB and the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.

“The new Heritage Oaks Bank full service banking office in Goleta will complement our downtown Santa Barbara full service office, adding convenience for our customers,” Villegas said. “Goleta is a great place to do business, and I’m excited about serving our customers with the special attention for which Heritage Oaks Bank is well known.”

Villegas is active in the community, serving on the Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees, the Antioch University Board of Trustees and on the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He previously served on the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees, and has served on the boards of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Channel Islands YMCA.

— Kevin Moon is the marketing director for Heritage Oaks Bank.

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Righetti High School Lockdown Blamed on Altercations

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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An altercation at Righetti High School on Friday prompted a lockdown of the Orcutt campus that lasted for slightly more than an hour. 

The incident began with a small altercation between two students earlier Friday, leading to “a larger disruption where food was thrown,” according to a statement from the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

The lockdown started about 12:50 p.m. and was lifted about 1:55 p.m., a district spokesman said.

Teachers were advised to step outside their classrooms during passing periods to show a presence amid the heightened tension on campus.

No injuries were reported, officials added.

Righetti High officials will work with the campus school resource officer to determine the cause the original fight. 

Parents were advised of the lockdown, officials added.

District officials said they would not release additional information at this time.

The lockdown came as news began spreading about a shooting at a high school north of Seattle.

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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Organic Soup Kitchen to Lease Space in Veterans Memorial Building

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has granted the Organic Soup Kitchen a five-year lease at the Veterans Memorial Building kitchen.

Executive Director Anthony Carroccio stated that the Organic Soup Kitchen will be increasing its meals and services to veterans within the next few months after some minor alterations and new equipment gets installed.

— DiAnna Joiner represents the Organic Soup Kitchen.

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Montecito Bank & Trust Reports Strong Growth in Loans and Deposits

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Janet Garufis, president and chief executive officer of Montecito Bank & Trust, has announced the bank’s third-quarter financial performance.

As of Sept. 30, year-over-year gross loans grew by $36.8 million, up 6.5 percent, ending the quarter at $599 million; total deposits grew $70.2 million, up 7.3 percent, ending the quarter at $1.03 billion; and total assets grew by $76.6 million to $1.16 billion, up 7.06 percent.

Net income year to date was $9.8 million, down 5 percent from $10.4 million a year ago, which was enhanced last year by the collection of non-accrual interest from troubled loans. Total risk based capital ended the quarter at 14.12 percent, well above the 10 percent regulatory minimum required to be considered well capitalized.

“We are extremely pleased with our third-quarter financial results and the bank’s strong performance in all segments, coupled with impressive overall growth," Garufis said. "Of particular note is the continued year-over-year growth in market share in both Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. During the period from June 30, 2013, to June 30, 2014, total bank deposits in the markets we serve collectively grew by just under 4 percent, while deposits at Montecito Bank & Trust grew by well over 7 percent during the same period.

"We are delighted to have been selected as the 'Best Bank' for the second year in a row by the readers of the Santa Barbara Independent as well as a new recognition as the 'Best Bank' by the readers of the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Santa Ynez Valley News. Knowing that we are making a positive difference in the financial lives of individuals and local businesses simply strengthens our resolve to make the communities we serve better places to live and work."

Montecito Bank & Trust received a 2013 designation of a Premier Performing Bank by The Findley Reports, an independent service which rates the annual financial performance of California banks. The Findley Reports has designated Montecito Bank & Trust as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 28 times in its 39-year history.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura and Westlake Village, and a Financial Services Center in Camarillo, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust and estate services for all branch office markets.

— Carolyn Tulloh is the marketing director for Montecito Bank & Trust.

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Crane Country Day School Hosting All-Alumni Reunion This Saturday

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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This Saturday, Oct. 25, Crane Country Day School will host its fourth annual All-Alumni Reunion from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Come visit with former classmates and faculty members, and enjoy a taco dinner while looking over old yearbooks and photo albums.

In addition, come see the new physical improvements to the campus, such as the new parking lot, soccer fields and entrance to the school, located at 1795 San Leandro Lane in Santa Barbara.

For more information, contact Debbie Williams at 805.969.7732 x105.

— Debbie Williams represents Crane Country Day School.

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Mark James Miller: Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and Why Writing Matters

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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More than 2,000 years ago, in The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle outlined “The Rhetorical Triangle”— Ethos, Pathos and Logos. These were, he said, the best methods to persuade an audience: Through the credibility of the speaker or writer (Ethos), by an appeal to the emotions (Pathos) or by appealing to logic (Logos).

While these principles are as valid now as they were in the 4th century B.C.E., recent tests indicate that 21st-century American students are struggling with them, and with the subject upon which they are most directly related: writing.

Writing is one of the most basic of all skills. But only a quarter of American students write “proficiently,” according to a study commissioned by the Education Department, and a meager 3 percent write at an “advanced” level.

This is not news to a writing instructor. After more than 20 years of teaching writing, I know too well that students often come into my classroom clueless about forming a thesis statement, have no idea of the difference between expository and persuasive writing, and are certainly not familiar with the concepts of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Quite often they don’t even realize how important writing is to their futures, to their success in college and then in the working world.

It isn’t that they cannot learn. I have seen students make amazing progress in their writing skills when they are given the proper instruction and assignments. But teaching good writing should begin long before students reach college.

Why are American students having difficulty with something so fundamental? You can point fingers at plenty of places: According to a 2003 study by the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges, writing is the neglected “R,” and for many years has not been given its rightful place as an important part of a school’s curriculum. Teachers have not been trained in teaching writing. Social media and texting ignore all rules of spelling and grammar, let alone sentence structure. But much of the problem also lies with the foisting of the “business model” on education.

The trend toward organizing and administering education as if it were a corporation began in the President Ronald Reagan era, and has since been pushed even harder by the so-called “reformers” who want to see public schools run as a business, rewarding schools whose students do well on standardized tests and punishing those whose students do badly.

This approach to education leaves little room for teaching writing, a labor-intensive process that requires a great deal of time spent not simply on instruction but also in grading the student’s compositions. Reading and grading a single 700- to 1,000-word essay, making corrections and suggestions for improvement, can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, even for someone who is a faster-than-normal reader. Multiply that times 30 for an average-sized class and you’re talking about anywhere from 2½ to 7½ hours spent on one assignment.

And to truly help a student with his or her writing, a teacher needs to not only point out the mistakes that have been made — such as a fragmented sentence, a logical fallacy or a simple error in punctuation — but also make suggestions on how to improve a faulty paper at its core so that it accomplishes whatever purpose the author intended — such as persuading the audience to take action on an issue confronting the community or explaining a process that the reader needs to understand.

In 1978, with a groundbreaking study titled “How Writing Shapes Thinking,” researchers concluded that because the connection between writing and thinking is so closely connected, giving students tough, challenging writing assignments is an ideal way for them to explore deep and serious thought in any subject they might be studying.

Writing, in other words, can be seen as exercise for the brain. Writing an essay about Hamlet’s obsession with his mother or the shadows on the wall in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave may not appear to have much practical value at first glance, but seeing them as the mental equivalent of a 10K run places them in a much different light.

Writing is more important today than ever before. Two thirds of salaried workers in the United States have jobs that require writing. Writing has become so critical that a majority of employers are requiring a writing sample from job candidates, not simply to assess their writing ability but also to get an idea of how well they can communicate their thoughts and ideas. According to Forbes.com, good writing skills are among the seven “universal” talents modern employers are looking for.

What can be done to reverse this downward trend? Writing must be restored to an important place in the K-12 and higher education curriculum. Teachers have to be given more instruction in how to teach writing, and they must be given the time needed to do it correctly. Whenever possible, students should be given writing assignments on topics that interest them.

Students can learn to write clearly and logically. A student of mine once wrote, “I have come a long way — from not being able to write a paragraph to being able to write eight pages on a topic. Of course I have a lot to learn, but I am now willing to go the extra mile to get to where I want to be.” Said another, “The more passion you put into your writing the more interesting it will be.”

Not all students are going to write brilliantly. Not all people are going to enjoy the writing they have to do at the job. But we all need to acknowledge how important writing is in today’s world, that it will become even more important in the future, and that it needs to once again be an important part of today’s curriculum.

If that happens, someday more students will arrive in my classroom knowing how to write a thesis statement, how to tell expository from persuasive writing, and will know the difference between Logos, Pathos and Ethos.

— 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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Captain’s Log: The Joy of Creating New Fishing Lures

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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When big swells or high winds keep anglers off the ocean, creative juices sometimes flow and we create new lure designs during the downtime. Some new designs pan out and some don’t, but they are all fun to create and then go try out when sea conditions improve.

I’ve come up with plenty of new things to try to catch fish, but one day many years ago, I came up with a unique lure design that has served me and others exceptionally well ever since. The goal of the design was to make a better lingcod lure. It was fun because I knew that lingcod are fatally attracted to flash, they chase down things that move and sounds can annoy the dickens out of them.

So I put together a lure that puts it all together into something those lingcod have great trouble ignoring. I call it the Lingslayer.

I’m a firm believer in putting things together to create presentations that lure manufacturers haven’t thought of or cannot mass-produce profitably. That’s the strategy I used when I put together three things, one of which I have made exclusively for Lingslayers. It takes some doing to put together a Lingslayer, and most folks would rather have me do it, so I began assembling them at my bait and tackle shop, Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara, so that people can come in and buy them. I also offer it through our website by clicking here.

Now here we are at the height of the season for catching big lingcod, which aboard my charter boat, WaveWalker, I call “Lingasaur” because it is the only fish I nickname after a dinosaur because of their teeth and nasty disposition. These are pretty good size fish, which must be over 22 inches before they can be kept for dinner. Speaking of which, they make fabulous table fare. Lingcod is a rich meat, ranking up there with halibut and white seabass and red snapper in terms of good taste.

The Lingslayer is fun to fish. Once the boat is over a rocky reef zone where lingcod live, drop the lure to the bottom, lift it up about a foot above the rocks, jig it actively two or three times, pause for a few seconds and jig it again. The lure has plenty of flash, it is articulated, so it has great action when jigged and it also has an alluring soft plastic twintail, so it does indeed have great fish attraction going for it. What really seals the deal is that two pieces of metal bang together noisily as the lure is jigged actively.

Now whether a mean ol’ lingasaur bites it because it is attracted by it or annoyed by it, I don’t really care — as long as it bites hard!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com 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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Fire Damages Home on Santa Barbara’s Eastside

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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First crews on scene reported black smoke coming from lower level of building

Firefighters responded Friday to a structure fire on Santa Barbara's Eastside, and were able to quickly quell the flames.

The blaze was reported at about 11:40 a.m. by residents who were inside a home in the 1400 block of Lou Dillon Lane, according to Santa Barbara City Fire Battalion Chief Lee Waldron.

The first crews on scene reported black smoke coming from a laundry room on the first floor of the three-story structure, Waldron said. 

Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze in about 10 minutes, and three residents inside when the fire started were uninjured, he said.

One small dog, which had been kept in a kennel inside the laundry room, was immediately set free and also OK, authorities said.

The fire may have started in a stacked clothes dryer and washer unit, but Waldron said investigators were still trying to confirm the cause.

The laundry room sustained smoke damage, but a cost estimate was not immediately available.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff reported from the scene.

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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Marymount of Santa Barbara Provides Day of Learning, Fun with Maker Fair

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the children or the adults, at Marymount of Santa Barbara's recent Maker Fair event.

The well-attended Sunday event drew people of all ages from across Santa Barbara and offered more than 25 hands-on activities that were both fun and educational.

The maker fair offered a variety of experiences from learning about polymers while making bouncy balls to making lava lamps with alginate. Particularly popular were the 3D printing, the catapult building, and DNA extraction where you could see real DNA and learn about the structure of DNA while building a model from licorice and mini-marshmallows.

Students were also seen using powerful telescopes, large format printers (zar plotters), cutting glass, and coding. Others expressed their creativity through art projects using unusual materials, making hula hoops, building Lego structures, and creating wallets out of duct tape.

Junior high students embodied the creative innovator mindset while building some of the stations like the spin art machine built from an old fan.

The Maker Fair embodies the spirit of the creative design and engineering class offered to all Marymount Junior high students where they express their creativity solving problems and design innovative solutions to real world problems through 3d printing, coding and robotics.

"This is more fun than the Exploratorium in San Francisco," said one mother in attendance. Another attendee asked, "Can the hours of the event be extended to allow the adults more time at all of the stations?"

The success of many of the stations can be attributed to the expertise of several Marymount teachers, including Rodney Lee, director of science, technology, engineering and math, and Jannine Tuttle, director of creative design and engineering as well as science teachers Hannah Senner and Tim Pearson, and art teacher Jessie Haney. Community members from organizations such as EduCraft, Bruker Nano, Zar plotter, Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit Telescope Workshop and Skyberry’s Electroluminescent Gear also helped to make the event an exciting and enriching experience for attendees and appeared to love the opportunity to interact with kids enthusiastic about learning.

Importantly, every station at the Maker Fair was not just a fun activity, but a true learning experience. For students particularly attracted to a certain station, there were ample opportunities for students to delve deeper in their learning with the guidance of a teacher with expertise in that particular area of learning.

Unlike traditional school fairs, Maker Fairs are specifically designed to celebrate the arts, engineering, science and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.

"Marymount's Maker Fair was not only a fun day of learning," Marymount Head of School Andrew Wooden said, "but a great example of the cross curriculum teaching, experiential learning, innovation, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration that are so central to our programs at Marymount."

The event, which was free of charge and open to all ages, took full advantage of Marymount's new innovation labs and design thinking learning spaces, but spilled out into other parts of Marymount's historic Riviera campus as well. The popularity of the event prompted one grandparent in attendance to ask, "Can you please do this again?" His grandson was quick to back him up, "Yes, could you?"

Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera.

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

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The Fund for Santa Barbara Toasts Its Success at ‘Bread & Roses’ Fundraiser

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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The nonprofit achieves its 21st sold-out benefit event, with live and auction silent auctions supporting 'Change, Not Charity' recipients

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The Fund for Santa Barbara exceeded expectations again this year with its successful Bread & Roses event, which is now in its 21st year of the magnificent venue that was the beautiful oceanside QAD campus on the top of Ortega Hill in Summerland, as the event was sold out.

“The 21st $200,000,” The Fund’s website touted the day after the fete.

The nonprofit community foundation is dedicated to addressing the causes of social, economic, environmental and political challenges in Santa Barbara County and provides grants to grassroots organizations that support these causes.

"The Fund for Santa Barbara is having a great year," Executive Director Geoff Green said when he addressed the assembled crowd. "We distributed $600,000 in grants this year. When I started 17 years ago, we distributed $60,000. I thank you for being here to support our effort."

A robust silent auction and animated live auction helped garner these funds for the "Change, Not Charity" recipients. Event co-chairs JoAnn Bell and Margaret Lazarus directed the 100-plus volunteers who made the event such a success. More than 800 supporters maxed out the capacity.

Denise Eschardies and the auction committee of Jill Johnson, Kathleen Scott, Judith Bennett, Stephen Schweitzer and Jane Brody garnered hundreds of auction items, including a week in Kauai donated by Dennis Allen and Jennie Cushnie, two nights at El Capitan Canyon, a week in Golden Bay, New Zealand, donated by Lee Heller, VIP Marquee series donated by UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Orfalea Foundation, a Maine Coast getaway from Gordon and Sheila Morell, and a generous package donated by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Respectful of its history, Green acknowledged The Fund's founder and staff members Nancy Weiss, Gary Clark, Cristina Gonzalez and Elena Richardson. The Fund was batting nearly 100 percent with the local elected officials in attendance, including Rep. Lois Capps, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Assemblyman Das Williams, county Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Janet Wolf and Doreen Farr, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, and Santa Barbara City Council members Gregg Hart, Cathy Murillo and Bendy White.

Top sponsors who supported Bread & Roses included Deckers Outdoor Corp., the Hutton Parker Foundation, Mesa Lane Partners, Antioch University, QAD, SAGE Publications, Fielding Graduate University, Heritage Oaks Bank, Vertical Change, Classic Party Rentals, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Impulse Advanced Communications, MarBorg Industries, Mullen & Henzell, ParentClick, Rabobank, Silsbury Wealth Advisors, SEIU Local 620, Montecito Bank & Trust and many others.

Attendees enjoyed the varied and generous food and beverage fare donated and served by Arch Rock, Arlington Tavern, China Pavilion, Goodland Kitchen & Market, Harold’s Caribbean Kitchen, Nimita’s Cuisine, The Pasta Shoppe, Del Pueblo Cafe, Flying Goat Cellars, The Secret Ingredient (desserts), Kalyra Winery, Marmalade Café, Opal, Palace Grill, Piedrasassi Wines, SOhO Music & Restaurant Club, Telegraph Brewing Co., Patrick and Donna Will, Piedrasassi and Via Maestra 42.

The Fund for Santa Barbara is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community foundation dedicated to addressing the root causes of social, economic, environmental and political challenges in Santa Barbara County. The Fund raises money through donations of all sizes in order to provide grants and technical assistance to local grassroots efforts. It supports community-based projects working for "Change, Not Charity" through a variety of strategies, including community organizing, direct action, popular education, legislative advocacy and the arts.

For 30 years, The Fund has provided responsive philanthropy in the community, distributing more than $4 million to more than 800 grassroots projects working for social justice, fair and affordable housing, accessible education, economic renewal, and a clean and healthy environment. For more information, call 805.962.9164 or click here.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at rrose@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Sansum Clinic Now Offering FDA-Approved Automated Ultrasound System for Women with Dense Breasts

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Sansum Clinic is on the leading edge of breast care by now offering the Invenia ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound System), approved by the FDA for breast cancer screening as an adjunct to mammography for asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue and no prior interventions.

“We are excited to add the Automated Breast Ultrasound system from GE Healthcare to our comprehensive breast cancer screening program. By offering ABUS in addition to mammography for our patients with dense breast tissue, we anticipate improving detection for small cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram alone in these women. We believe ABUS will become an integral part of our practice for the detection of breast cancer,” said Jim Benzian, M.D., Sansum Clinic radiologist.

Dense breast tissue not only increases the risk of breast cancer up to four to six times, but also makes cancer more difficult to detect using mammography, according to multiple large studies. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed mammography sensitivity is reduced by 36 to 38 percent in women with dense breasts, as density masks the appearance of tumors (Boyd, et al, NEJM 2007:356:227-36M). As breast density goes up, the accuracy of mammograms goes down (Kolb et al Radiology, October 2002).

“Mammography is an effective tool for the detection of breast cancer; however, it doesn’t work equally well in all women, particularly those with dense breast tissue,” Dr. Benzian added. “Designed and built specifically for screening, research shows that ABUS technology as an adjunct to mammography has the potential to find 35.7 percent additional cancers that would not have been found with mammography alone.”

The unique challenges of breast cancer screening led to important technology innovations that result in high resolution images that can be acquired rapidly. Clinically, this offers an efficient option that provides enhanced resolution and contrast, making the Invenia ABUS system well positioned to address the workflow challenges of breast cancer screening and improve the detection of breast cancer, in women with dense breasts.

Dr. Benzian recommends that women get regular mammograms as suggested by their doctor, and if they have been notified that they have dense breast tissue, they should talk to their doctor about their specific risk and additional screening tests that might be appropriate.

Sansum Clinic is following the State of California legislated guidelines relating to dense breasts and inconclusive mammograms. Unfortunately, although our legislature has issued guidelines around this additional screening, insurance companies have not yet updated their coverage definitions and still consider this screening to be investigational. At this time, this service is not covered by insurance and patients are asked to make a payment of $225 prior to a screening exam.

The Invenia ABUS was made possible by a generous gift to Sansum Clinic from an anonymous family foundation.

The Invenia ABUS is the first step in Sansum Clinic's enhancement of its Women's Health Program, including expanding 3-D mammography in 2015. If you would like to be involved in this phase, please contact Dru A. Hartley, director of philanthropy, at 805.681.1879 or dhartley@sansumclinic.org.

Click here for further information about Invenia ABUS.

— Jill Fonte is the marketing director for Sansum Clinic.

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Select Staffing Steps Up as Title Sponsor of Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Select Staffing is pleased to again serve as title sponsor for the annual Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half, to be held Nov. 8.

Select has sponsored the prestigious event in each of its six years. For the past four years, Select Staffing has also sponsored a charitable component during the Registration Expo, to be held on Nov. 7 at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

This year, Select Staffing is once more partnering with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara for a Food & Funds Drive. In previous years, Select has helped raise more than $34,000 and 2,600 pounds of grocery items for the Foodbank during the Expo event.

Race registrants are invited to bring nonperishable food items such as peanut butter, rice, pasta, cereal, canned meats, vegetables and fruit. As a thank you to contributors, Select Staffing is offering a free runner’s pace tattoo (a temporary tattoo that helps runners track their pace and project their final time) to registrants who bring their food donations to Select’s booth at the Health & Fitness Expo, where runners pick up their registration packets and browse exhibits on health and fitness, travel and more.

Other ways to donate include purchasing Select Staffing goodies, such as USB car chargers, earbuds, slinkies and other items. All proceeds from the sale of these items will go to the charity. In addition, the Foodbank will be bringing its bike blender, creating fruit smoothies with pedal power for a donation. For every dollar donated, the Foodbank can provide eight meals to needy community members.

Select is issuing a special invitation to all its clients and colleagues to run in the event as the company’s VIP guests. Thus far, nearly 100 clients and colleagues are scheduled to participate. Select will pay their registration fees, as well as treat each participant to:

» Customized training emails from race director Rusty Snow

» VIP tent at the finish line with recovery food and drink and a post-race massage

» Select Staffing “running goodies” bag

“We are excited to partner up with the Foodbank to help local families put food on the table,” Select CEO Steve Sorensen said. “Our local Select Staffing branch provides jobs for thousands of local families — in effect, allowing them to ‘bring home the bacon,’ and Foodbank provides real groceries for thousands more.”

— Wendy Ballard represents the Select Family of Staffing Companies.

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Letter to the Editor: Latinos — What Fracking Means to Us

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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No oil company shill can represent to us what Latinos actually think of the consequences of high-intensity drilling in their communities. Here in their own words are the real thoughts and experiences of Hispanic citizens.

Los Latinos tenemos una participatiόn importante in esta lucha.

Rodrigo Romo (en Espańol): “When they were fracking, about 300 to 400 away from the playground, [my daughter] came home every day with terrible headaches.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH1W9HXne7I

Arturo Carmona: “Make no mistake — fracking will disproportionately affect Latino communities by draining our water sources, poisoning our families, and fueling climate change. ... We will closely watch who stands with us and who votes to poison Latino communities ... .”

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2014/05/28/latino-group-urges-ca-senate-pass-moratorium-fracking

Refugio Mata: “Now, the Latino advocacy organization, famous for helping push Lou Dobbs off CNN over his anti-immigrant sentiments, is focusing on fracking as an environmental justice issue.”

http://uprisingradio.org/home/2014/05/30/latino-communities-decry-fracking-and-climate-change-concerns/

U.S. Latinos and AirPollution: “On a daily basis, we are exposed to carbon, lead, nitrogen oxides … . Latinos are especially vulnerable because they live in regions with the worst air contamination.”

http://www.nrdc.org/air/latinoairreport.asp

Lupe Anguiano: “I am a Latina ... What is Gov. Brown doing destroying California’s agricultural economy? Petroleum by its very nature destroys living organisms ... there’s his rhetoric on climate change, but he continues to stand behind dirty fossil fuels. Gov. Brown’s lack of action to stop fracking and drilling could destroy California’s position as a leader in renewable energy.”

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/the-fight-against-fracking-is-a-fight-for-social-justice/ 

Rosario Dawson: “We’re trying to keep fracking out of our watersheds and our communities … it contaminates the water-wells of homes and communities”

http://www.votolatino.org/blogs/rosario-dawson-water-fracking-voting-and-her-heroes

Javier Sierra: “The water and food supply of millions of Americans has been compromised by this reckless method of gas extraction. … Across the country, we Latinos have a major stake in this fight. And fracking should no longer sound like a foreign concept to us. It's right here at home and indeed can harm us all.”

http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2013/06/what-we-latinos-dont-know-about-fracking-can-harm-us.html

“Protesters in Argentina have set US flags afire at the headquarters of the country’s national oil and gas company YPE, denouncing its impending deal with major American energy corporation Chevron. … 1,000 indigenous Mapuche residents occupied two oil wells at Vaca Muerta on Tuesday, to protest against the deal ... ” (July 2013).

http://theunhivedmind.com/wordpress3/protests-in-argentina-slamming-oil-deal-with-u-s-firm/

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Discover Successful Self-Publishing Strategies at CLL Class This Saturday

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Greg Sharp
Greg Sharp

This Saturday, publishing executive Greg Sharp will lead Center for Lifelong Learning course "Successful Self-Publishing — Strategies and Tactics to Avoid Pitfalls," a one-day workshop for writers, artists and photographers to grasp an overview of the steps involved in self-publishing a book.

Whether you are ready to go to press, or need help developing a book idea, this class is for you.

The class will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 31 of the Santa Barbara Schott Campus. The cost is $95. Click here to register. For more information, email infoCLL@sbcc.edu.

Sharp lends his 30-plus years of expertise to help authors bring their ideas to fruition and navigate the publishing process.

“The publishing process can be a confusing one — there are many, many different levels," said Sharp, publisher and president at Sea Hill Press. “Understanding the process is half of the job.”

His one-day class will cover everything from manuscript preparation to social media marketing, and will give students a solid understanding of the many levels involved in self-publishing. Other topics of discussion include cover design, interior layout, digital and traditional printing, e-books, book sales, marketing, publicity and distribution.

Authors of all levels of experience are invited to attend "Successful Self-Publishing — Strategies and Tactics to Avoid Pitfalls" to explore the many decisions the will face on their endeavor to self-publish a book successfully.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

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UCSB Professor Shuji Nakamura to Receive Japan’s Prestigious Order of Culture Award

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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UC Santa Barbara Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura has been selected to receive one of Japan’s highest honors: the 2014 Order of Culture Award.

The medal, which recognizes contributions to the nation’s culture, will be presented by Emperor Akihito in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 3, which is also Day of Culture in Japan.

Nakamura, UCSB professor of materials, was among several award candidates selected by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Chosen from a list of people designated as Persons of Cultural Merit, the recipients of the Order of Culture award are decided by the Cabinet of Japan.

“It brings me great pride to congratulate Professor Nakamura on this prestigious honor bestowed by the emperor of Japan,” UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang said. “The Order of Culture award is a significant acknowledgement that Professor Nakamura’s invention of the first bright blue light-emitting diode will continue to be recognized the world over for its long-lasting and far-reaching impacts on our global society. By making white LED lighting a reality, he has opened the door to affordable, energy-efficient lighting for every person in every nation — a monumental contribution to all of humankind. He also has advanced the frontiers of science with his unparalleled breakthroughs in physics, materials science and technology.”

“This is the most prestigious award in Japan,” Nakamura said. “It is my great honor to receive it for recognition of my work in the invention of bright blue LEDs and energy efficient white light sources.” Nakamura is widely recognized as the world pioneer in light emitters based on the wide-bandgap semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) and its alloys with aluminum and indium.

The Order of Culture award comes in the wake of Nakamura’s win of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, an honor he received in recognition of his invention of the blue light emitting diode (LED). The blue LED, in turn, paved the way for the white LED, a breakthrough in energy-efficient lighting that has the potential to improve the quality of life for the people of the world who have little or no access to electricity.

“As one of Shuji’s closest colleagues and friends I am very proud that Professor Nakamura is receiving the most prestigious Order of Culture medal from his homeland in recognition for his work in changing the world with energy efficient lighting,” said Steven DenBaars, co-director of UCSB’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC).

Hiroshi Amano, who is also credited for the blue LED and is also a 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics, also has been selected for the 2014 Order of Culture medal. Isamu Akasaki, who also won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, was awarded the Order of Culture in 2011.

Other friends and colleagues at UCSB expressed their pride and joined in the celebration of Nakamura’s selection for the important Japanese award. Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering, called his selection “a wonderful and very fitting recognition and honor for the tremendous impact on people’s lives.” Tresa Pollock, chair of the Department of Materials, said the department is “tremendously proud of Shuji and his research accomplishments.”

Nakamura received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tokushima, Japan. He spent the early years of his career in research at Japan’s Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd., and then spent a year at the University of Florida as a visiting research associate. In 1989, he initiated the research of blue LEDs using group-III nitride materials. In 1993 and 1995, he developed the first group-III nitride-based blue/green LEDs. He also developed the first group-III nitride-based violet laser diodes (LDs) in 1995. Nakamura is currently co-director at SSLEEC, where he continues to develop GaN thin-film technology.

Nakamura joined the faculty at UCSB in 2000 as professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering. He was appointed to the Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting and Display in 2001. Six years later he and his team of researchers at what was then known as the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center at UCSB achieved lasing operation in nonpolar GaN semiconductors. Their demonstration of the the world’s first nonpolar blue-violet laser diodes represented a breakthrough in laser diode development.

“This is a great day for Shuji, Japan, the U.S. and UCSB,” said colleague and fellow GaN researcher Umesh Mishra, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We are proud to share in this great moment.”

Nakamura has been the recipient of numerous other awards and honors, including the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Nishina Memorial Award (1996), the Materials Research Society Medal (1997), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize (1998), the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2002), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), The Harvey Award (2009), the Technology and the Engineering Emmy Award (2011) and the LED Pioneer Award (2012). He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2003.

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Bill Macfadyen: Deputies Encounter a Déjà View During High-Speed Chase of 3 Burglary Suspects

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 learns things aren’t well and good with Montecito’s trucked-in water, bites on another shark attack, coughs up concerns, and says goodbye to John Bissell

There were 75,949 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. High-Speed Chase Ends in Crash, 3 Arrests in Santa Barbara

A trio of lowlifes was captured after a high-speed chase that started in Buellton and ended in a wreck in the foothills above Santa Barbara.

The pursuit began the afternoon of Oct. 17 after an incident at an Avenue of the Flags gas station in Buellton. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a guy armed with a knife and banging on the windows of a black Jeep Cherokee.

Deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene, but the Jeep had headed south on Highway 101. The chase was on.

Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi told our Giana Magnoli that the pursuit topped speeds of 110 mph, with the Jeep using all lanes and both shoulders to pass other vehicles as it raced east along the Gaviota coast.

“It was probably one of the most unsafe pursuits I’ve ever seen,” said Arnoldi, who expressed amazement that there were no collisions or injuries to other motorists during the 40-minute, 50-mile run.

At some point, deputies realized they were pursuing the same Jeep that had been involved in a previous high-speed chase, on Oct. 3, from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez to Cathedral Oaks Road in Santa Barbara, where a driver finally surrendered.

In that escapade, authorities had been trying to arrest a fugitive from Los Angeles County but the suspect, a woman whose name was not disclosed at the time, jumped in the Jeep and took off, before apparently stopping and getting out of the vehicle atop San Marcos Pass — and then eluding a manhunt.

But more on that in a moment. First, back to our pursuit in progress.

The Jeep took the Turnpike Road exit, narrowly missing a pedestrian, and raced north and then east on Cathedral Oaks Road/Foothill Road. In San Roque, the driver turned north onto Alamar Avenue, which dead-ends at Willowbrook Ranch, better known as the home of McMullen Stables.

Come with us. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Come with us, homeboy. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

The SUV continued onto the ranch, followed by a line of patrol cars like a scene out of Beverly Hills Cop.

“Upon reaching the main ranch entrance, which had been blocked by law enforcement vehicles, (the driver) rammed into an unoccupied sheriff’s patrol unit, then struck a pepper tree and the main ranch gate overhead sign, causing it to fall down,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

As the driver tried to reverse course, she said, a deputy backed his patrol car into the Jeep, trapping it against the tree.

Believe it or not, the suspects refused to get out of the vehicle, so deputies broke out the windows with their batons and arrested them without further incident.

Hoover said the alleged driver, Camilla DePerna, 24, of Los Osos, and Shane Lydick, 34, of Thousand Oaks, were charged with felony evading with a motor vehicle.

They and the third member of the gang, Kristy DeLaCerna, 36, of Thousand Oaks, also were charged with possession of burglary tools, she said.

During the chase, Arnoldi said, the suspects were seen throwing items, believed to be narcotics, out of the Jeep. That material was recovered by authorities, he added.

But it’s a small world, after all, and it turns out that DePerna, aka Jessica Walters, was the alleged fugitive from two weeks before. Further, DeLaCerna was the relief driver who finally was pulled over on Cathedral Oaks Road, where she was arrested for possession of narcotics.

Oddly, the Jeep had been impounded after that traffic stop, but somehow ended up back in the possession of the suspects. Maybe they burgled it out of the impound lot.

What’s the latest high-end service provider in Montecito? Water delivery trucks. (Urban Hikers photo)
What’s the latest high-end service provider in Montecito? Water delivery trucks. (Urban Hikers photo)

2. Water Agencies Trying to Stop Private Water Sales in Carpinteria, Montecito

California may have a drought going on, but you wouldn’t know it from the lush green of some Montecito lawns — mine being a notable exception.

For months now, dark green water tanks have been popping up all over and water trucks are ubiquitous. We asked our Josh Molina to figure out what the deal is, although I’ll admit I may have had ulterior motives for my own curiosity.

What Josh discovered is a willingness by many homeowners to pay good money to bypass the Montecito Water District’s emergency drought restrictions, which include severe fines for residents who exceed their reduced monthly allotments.

Nothing wrong with that; supply and demand is an American way. But where is that water coming from? In a dire statewide water shortage, who has extra water? 

As it turns out, much of the trucked-in water is coming from wells in the Carpinteria Valley next door, where farmers apparently are tapping into wells in the groundwater basin.

Charles Hamilton, general manager of the Carpinteria Valley Water District, estimates that private water companies have hauled more than a half-million gallons of Carpinteria water into Montecito. He’s not happy about it.

“You have to stop it some time, and the time to stop it is now,” he said. “In the long run, something like this would really be a detriment to the groundwater basin because it can really add up.”

Hamilton accuses well owners of exporting water “for personal profit,” and says the result is a depletion of the groundwater basin that other users depend on.

The trend has caught the attention of Santa Barbara County, which has warned four Carpinteria Valley growers that selling water to private landowners actually is a zoning violation. In fact, Josh reported, extracting water for transport and commercial sale is not allowed in the coastal zone and requires a conditional-use permit in noncoastal areas that are zoned for agriculture.

“It’s a form of mining,” explained Glenn Russell, the county’s planning and development director. “Whether you are mining water, gravel or other substances, these activities are regulated by zoning for the social good of the community.”

He says no one has a conditional-use permit to sell water for commercial use.

In case you’re one of my neighbors buying the wet stuff on the black market, don’t worry. The zoning violation applies to the property owner selling the water, not the buyer or the transportation company.

At least for now. 

A shark sank its teeth into this outrigger canoe ama, but it apparently wasn’t to its taste. (Dan Seibert photo)
A shark sank its teeth into this outrigger canoe ama, but it apparently wasn’t to its taste. (Dan Seibert photo)

3. Woman Reports Shark Attack on Outrigger Canoe in Santa Barbara Channel

A woman on a leisurely Sunday afternoon voyage in her outrigger canoe got quite the surprise Oct. 19 when a 6-foot blue or gray shark surfaced to clamp its jaws down on the outrigger’s floatation arm.

According to Larry Neufer of the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, the woman said she was paddling about three miles offshore from La Mesa Park when the shark began biting the vessel’s ama.

Except for the teeth marks, the shark did no damage and the woman was not injured. She paddled back to shore and reported the incident about an hour after it happened.

Blue sharks are common in the Santa Barbara Channel and in the area where the woman was canoeing, Neufer said.

Earlier this month, three shark attacks were reported in the vicinity of Vandenberg Air Force Base, including an Oct. 2 incident in which a surfer was bitten by a 10- to 12-foot shark just off Wall Beach. The man was treated for a puncture wound at a local hospital.

There were no serious injuries in the two other incidents.

4. Five Cases of Whooping Cough Diagnosed at Waldorf School of Santa Barbara

Five students have been diagnosed with pertussis, aka whooping cough, at The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara.

As our Giana Magnoli first reported, cases have been confirmed at Waldorf’s Early Childhood program, which is housed on the Vieja Valley School campus near Hope Ranch, and at Waldorf’s Grades campus, located at Goleta Union School District headquarters.

The highly contagious disease is generally spread through respiratory droplets among children who are in close contact. You know, like in a classroom, packed with kids who often don’t take proper precautions when they cough or sneeze.

So that’s their excuse.

In this age of Ebola and the potential threat from global pandemic, less justifiable is the decision by parents to not take proper precautions to protect their own children — as well as other people’s children — from diseases that can be easily thwarted by readily available vaccines.

According to Waldorf officials, only 53 percent of the school’s Early Childhood students are fully immunized against pertussis, 16 percent are partially immunized and 31 percent are not immunized ... at all.

After a parent reported the first case on Oct. 10, the school immediately contacted the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Students with pertussis symptoms are required to stay home and see a doctor while those being treated for pertussis are required to stay home until a five-day course of antibiotics has been completed and verified by a doctor. If alternative treatment is pursued instead, the school says the students must stay home for 21 days from the date of diagnosis.

Waldorf officials say they enforce state law that requires students to be immunized before attending school or have an exemption on file. Waldorf “adheres to this law and concurs that the decision to immunize is one that should be made by parents and their physicians,” the school said in a statement.

No cases of whooping cough have been reported at schools in either the Goleta Union or Hope Elementary School districts.

5. John Bissell of Santa Barbara, 1981-2014

John Bissell died Oct. 8 after a brief illness. He was just 33 years old.

To John Bissell, Yosemite National Park was heaven on Earth. (Bissell family photo)
To John Bissell, Yosemite National Park was heaven on Earth. (Bissell family photo)

According to the obituary his family shared with Noozhawk, Bissell was “a sweet and gentle young man. He was truly a computer genius and learned everything on his own. ... Whatever he found interesting, he put all his heart into it.”

Judging by the overwhelming traffic his obituary has been attracting, it’s clear that his friendships were one of the things he put all his heart into. That measure is a remarkable facet of the Internet age.

“John fought a courageous battle for one week to stay alive, but in the end the Lord had a different plan and took him home,” his family wrote in his obituary. “We are thankful that he is now free of all his earthly struggles.”

Bissell is survived by his parents, Anna and Steve Bissell, the latter an acclaimed surf photographer whose work has appeared in Noozhawk and on Santa Barbara Surfer, and by his brother, Rio; his sister, Sunday, and her husband, Carl Rylander; and by a host of family members.

The family concluded Bissell’s obituary by citing 2 Timothy 4:7, one of the Bible’s best verses: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Not as often quoted is the very next verse: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”

Enjoy it, John. R.I.P.

                                                                 •        •        •

As you know, Noozhawk turned 7 on Oct. 16. We share a birthday with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, which celebrated the big 3-0 with a shindig of its own. Congratulations to SBEF and thank you for the wonderful work it’s been doing in our community for more than four decades. Full disclosure: I’m privileged to serve on the SBEF board.

(Santa Barbara Education Foundation video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

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Montessori Center School Celebrates Autumn with Harvest Picnic

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Montessori Center School’s elementary play field was transformed last weekend into a fall wonderland as it celebrated its annual Harvest Picnic.

Offering a two-story-tall inflatable slide, face painting, hair coloring, pumpkin crafts, carnival games, sports games, glitter tattoos, a sleeping giant’s cave with treasure, bake sale and catered dinner, this year’s picnic was a huge hit with both children and parents.

While the inflatable slide had a line over 20 children long, others were petting chickens or watching a giant turtle walk about! Parents laid out blankets on the field and soaked in the perfect Riviera weather as music played relaxing tunes.

There was food aplenty with baked goods generously cooked at home by MCS parents for sale featuring cookies, chocolate, baklava, pies and cakes. Dinner was catered by Country Catering and Meat Market of Goleta serving up its famous tri-tip, grilled chicken and vegetarian lasagna.

Picnic goers were encouraged to purchase lemonade that was hand squeezed by volunteers from lemons brought in from home trees. Students and parents volunteered at activity booths, which provide children a view into running a small operation.

The picnic gave MCS students freedom to play and the whole event really represented what the school stands for — the generosity of the entire Montessori Center School community coming together to work and play together. This was a great way to start off the school year.

Special thanks to the Harvest Picnic committee chairs Michelle Taylor and Christina Ryan, along with committee members Annie Braunheim, PJ Carmean, Diane Gulotti , Gaile Haslem,  Danae Liechti, Laurie Montee, Erin Neil, Peggy Polos and Rashmi Sethi.

— Garrett Durand is the marketing director for Montessori Center School.

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Garden Street Academy Completes New Student Recording Studio

By | Published on 10/24/2014

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Garden Street Academy, a K-12 private school, announces the opening of its new student Recording Studio.

An invitation-only opening event on Tuesday will bring together student musicians, teaching staff, guests and luminaries in the music business.

The new recording studio was developed by Ian Putnam and Bryan Kerr, the music and technology directors of the school, in association with student musicians from the Songwriting and Recording program at the school. Performing arts has been a strong focus of the school for many years, and recent course development has incorporated entrepreneurship and aspects of the music industry into the curriculum. The studio grew out of a need for students to learn hands-on aspects of the recording industry.

In spring 2014, the school’s Business of Music class visited two local recording studios, Playback and SB Sound Design. The interest and excitement generated by these visits led to a visit to the school by Dom Camardella from Sound Design, who generously gave his advice and input on the fledgling project. This ultimately influenced the layout of the studio, which uses isolation booths by the internationally renowned “Whisper Room” company. Engineering and recording gear was recently installed to create a professional grade environment in what is a former library.

Kerr used his expertise to install latest version of ProTools and clones of legendary microphone pre-amps such as those from Neve and API. The studio is outfitted with the Fender Deluxe Reverb classic tube amp, the Yamaha MOX8 composing and recording keyboard featuring the Motiv soundbank, a Fender Stratocaster and Precision bass, an Epiphone Les Paul Standard and new DW acoustic drums to help create the most amazing recording experience for young artists.

Further support was provided by the DW drum factory in Oxnard, a site that students in the class have visited twice. DW donated the new acoustic drums that are front and center in the new space. Bob Terry, pro drummer and consultant for Yamaha electronic drums supported the space with a new Yamaha DTX 532K electronic kit that will be used to give students knowledge and practice in MIDI recording.

Garden Street Academy is a K-12 college preparatory school serving the Santa Barbara community.

— John Dewey is the head of school for Garden Street Academy.

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Shark Attack Victims’ Families Find Solace in Each Other

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Commemoration of Francisco Solorio Jr.'s 2012 death will include the dedication of a new bench at Jalama Beach

A colorful array of balloons sailed above Surf Beach on Thursday as more than a dozen people stood on a dune and looked skyward to remember a pair of men killed in separate shark attacks.

Thursday marked the anniversary of the attack that killed Francisco Solorio Jr., 39, of Orcutt in 2012.

A day earlier, the family of UCSB student Lucas Ransom, 19, remembered him on the fourth anniversary of the attack that took his life.

Standing above the beach entrance Thursday, Lucas’s dad, Matthew Ransom of Romoland, gazed across the landscape.

“Just being here and to spend time at this beach, it’s comforting in a way,” he said.

Huge waves pounded the shoreline, but the marine layer was absent.

“This is really pretty today,” he said.

Along with releasing balloons, the families put Celtic crosses and Buddha statues in the sand. 

After the Surf Beach celebration, the Solorio family headed to Jalama Beach, where dozens of Fran’s friends and relatives plan to camp through Sunday and dedicate a new bench in Fran’s memory Saturday morning. 

Before returning home to Riverside County on Thursday, the Ransoms intended to visit Jalama to see the bench location. 

Larry Kase, father-in-law of Francisco Solorio Jr., pauses before a memorial to the men killed by shark attacks at Surf Beach two years and a day apart. He is joined by Fran's daughter, Frankie, and his niece. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Lucas’ mom, Candace, said she recognizes the value of such a memorial since a Monterey cypress tree with a plaque sits at Sea Lookout Park in Isla Vista to remember Lucas, who was studying chemical engineering at UCSB. 

“It holds special meaning,” Candace Ransom said. “They will be there forever, and they will bring beauty, and people will be able to enjoy that tree, to sit underneath it. It’s like the tree of life. It’s special for us to go up there.”

His friends decorated the tree on the first Christmas after Lucas died, and she continues the tradition each year for the holiday season. The Perris High School graduate who was a junior at UCSB had hoped to attend graduate school to study pharmacology.

For Fran’s family, the bench will serve as a spot they can go and feel tranquility while looking at a place that was special to the surfer, Candace said, much like Lucas’ memorial sits at a park overlooking the ocean he also loved.

“I can feel the spirit of Lucas,” she said. “I’m sure for them, they will feel the spirit of Fran when they’re at the bench.”

The families first met in 2013, and share the bond of losing loved ones to shark attacks while doing ocean sports they loved.

“We know the pain that they’re going through,” Candace Ransom said. “Something that horrific, that is so incredible you don’t believe something like that has event happened. It’s so rare that it does happen.”

Thirteen people have died due to shark attacks off the California coast since 1952.

Having Lucas and Fran die at the same beach two years and a day apart, “It’s almost surrealistic,” Candace Ransom added. 

“It’s important to be here to honor their memories,” Candace Ransom said. 

While Lucas moved to the Central Coast for college, Fran grew up in the Santa Maria Valley, graduated from Righetti High School, attended Allan Hancock College and worked at Central  Coast Playgrounds.

Survivors include his wife, Kasey; two daughters, Monique and Frankie; parents, Francisco and Consuelo; several siblings and more.

Fran’s sister, Patricia Solorio, said the family appreciates the support of the Ransoms, who understand the shock and oddness of the loss.

“They’ve been so supportive of our family. We’re just so grateful to them,” she said.

But Solorio also worries others aren’t heeding the danger.

“I wish that people wouldn’t take it so lightly,” she said. “It’s very obvious something’s going on out here.

“I’m not saying don’t go in the water. I’m saying maybe not here, maybe not in October.”

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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UC Santa Barbara Panel Dissects Solutions in Honor of National Food Day

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Faculty and staff gather to discuss sustainability and social justice

A growing number of UC Santa Barbara students are taking advantage of resources offering free food to those in need, and a panel of university stakeholders Thursday considered ways to halt the trend — locally and abroad.

In honor of national Food Day, which is Friday, select UCSB faculty and staff gathered in a room in the University Center to discuss food justice and campus efforts to embrace sustainable food and feed the hungry.

The panel culminated a week of events leading up to the day reserved for Americans to consider changing diets and food policies.

“There is a rising need among our students,” said Tuyen Nguyen, director of UCSB’s Associated Students Food Bank. “Some of them could be heads of households.”

The Associate Students Food Bank is feeding more than 1,000 students, she said, noting a large increase over the summer and an overall rise in nontraditional university students.

About 34 percent of households choose between buying food and paying to get to work, and more than 27 percent decide between paying for housing and food, according to statistics presented in a Feeding America video Nguyen showed.

A majority are also buying less healthy food because it’s cheaper, she said, explaining that two UCSB students created the Food Bank more than three years ago to feed struggling students and to teach about available resources.

Less predictable eating habits and schedules contribute to the problem, along with students not knowing how to cook the pantry food once they get it, she said.

“It’s hard for them to plan,” she said. “We can only be successful if we’re decreasing that number.”

When an attendee asked how to donate extra fruit and vegetables from her own trees and garden, Nguyen suggested giving to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Kristen LaBonte of UCSB’s Greenhouse and Garden Project for staff, faculty and students briefly spoke before environmental studies professor David Cleveland, who wrote a book on the subject of food justice.

He said agriculture businesses contributed the most greenhouse gas emissions — 30 percent.

“That’s the problem, but it also presents the solution,” Cleveland said. “The problem is our food supply. Our diets are unhealthy. Diet has an incredible potential.”

Cleveland’s research showed that eliminating less healthy red and processed meats and certain grains from a person’s diet lowered the rate of illnesses and overall costs to the U.S. healthcare system.

“What’s going to encourage people to do that?” he said. “The trouble is our diets change now based on for-profit corporations.”

History professor Nelson Lichtenstein offered an incremental solution, calling on large grocery chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which serve more organic foods, to let their employees unionize so they can make a fair wage — something he called democracy rather than food justice.

Grocers such as Vons and Albertson’s already allow unions, Lichtenstein added.

“The people involved in them have something to say about them,” he said.

Attendees wondered aloud if employee-owned grocery stores could provide an answer, but Lichtenstein said he’d rather see larger level chains change because they have more stores that impact more economies.

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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Richard Adam Sr., Santa Maria Farmer and Ag Water Advocate, Dies at 84

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Richard “Dick” E. Adam Sr., a member of a pioneering farming family and a man who fought hard to protect groundwater rights for agricultural users in the Santa Maria Valley, died Thursday at age 84.

Adam was a longtime vegetable grower in the Santa Maria Valley, farming first with his brother, Jack, as Adam Farms for more than four decades.

Richard “Dick” Adam Sr.

In 1994, Dick Adam joined forces with his sons — the family’s fifth generation — who still farm under the name Adam Bros.

One of his sons, Peter Adam, currently represents the Fourth District on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and remembered his dad as an "extraordinary man."

“He was a guy that wanted to see things done,” Peter Adam said. “He wanted to see improvements. He didn’t stand around and wait for somebody else to do something.”

Richard Adam made a lot of improvements in the lives of people working in the fields, and held two patents for his creations, one of which was a special implement for cutting beans. They were inventions born of necessity to make his farming and harvesting operations more efficient, Peter Adam said.

"He worked on hundreds of little things,” Adam said. “I couldn’t even begin to tell you all of things.”

His dad would “hold court” at whatever local restaurant they ended up at — the lunch location depended on where they were farming at the time, Adam said. 

Through the years, Richard Adam served as a mentor, offering free advice and a few times money, land or other support.. 

“He was just a generous guy and our family, and I think many others, certainly loved him,” Adam said.

Richard Adam served on the boards for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District and the Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District

But he was especially influential in the adjudication of the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin. The resolution came after a 16-year, massive legal battle in a dispute between agriculture users and public water purveyors.

Additionally, Adam was a pilot and enjoyed flying his Cessna 206 and 337, inline twin-engine aircraft, which was featured in the magazine for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association,

Adam was a great-grandson of William Laird Adam, one of the founders of Santa Maria. An elementary school in Santa Maria is named for the family's ancestor.

His death comes slightly more than three months after his brother, John “Jack” Adam Jr., died at age 86.

Richard Adam attended local schools and then both UC Davis and UC Berkeley, where he graduated with a degree in agricultural economics.

He served in the Air Force before returning to Santa Maria to farm and raise a family with his bride, Bernadette Florence Lippert of San Francisco.

A Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church, corner of Harp Road and East Clark Avenue in Orcutt. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project in his name.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Bernadette; sons Peter (Amy), Kerry (Diane), Richard Jr. (Carrick) and Dominic (Hala); and grandchildren, Victoria, Joseph, Olivia, Mattie, Meryl, Audrey, Kate, Henry, Jacob, Austin and Luke.  

In addition to his brother, he is preceded in death by his parents, John and Hester Adam, and grandson Carl Peter.  

Arrangements are being handled by the Magner-Maloney Funeral Home and Crematory. Click here to read his obituary.

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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BizHawk: Piano Riviera Lounge Brings New Flavor, Sound to Downtown

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Hot Spots closes, Brian Johnson hired at Marcus & Millichap and Longoria Wines opens a new tasting room in Lompoc

[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 news@noozhawk.com.]

Two local hospitality and entertainment veterans have helped create a new restaurant concept featuring a Mediterranean-influenced menu, music that plays five nights a week and a baby grand piano.

Faced with the task of turning the former French Table into something more casual and fun, Stephen Goularte and Fabrice Allain played key roles in opening the Piano Riviera Lounge at 129 E. Anapamu St.

With prime real estate across the street from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens, the manager duo earlier this year combined their knowledge of the local restaurant and nightlife scene.

Restaurant owner Michael Ganz was happy with the end result, a dining and drinking experience that incorporates live music — solo pianist, an eight-piece jazz band or DJ, depending on the night — along with rotating displays of local artwork.

Ganz opened the French Table in that location nearly two years ago, which then became the Piano Gastro Lounge briefly before remodeling and changing the name again. The lounge hosted a grand opening earlier this month.

“We’re just trying to make this vibe standout,” said Goularte, general manager and chef at the lounge. “We’re like a jazz place.”

But that’s not the only music patrons will hear, and Mediterranean style food won’t be all diners see. The menu also incorporates French, Italian, Spanish and California influences.

“We want people to feel like it’s an extension of their living room,” Allain said.

Hot Spots Closes

Per plans to develop La Entrada de Santa Barbara, local joint Hot Spots Coffee has closed its doors on Lower State Street.

The building at the corner of Mason and States streets is slated for demolition by the end of the year, according to plans from Los Angeles-based developer 35 State Street Hotel Partners.

Hot Spots owners could not be reached to share whether the businesses were closing permanently or relocating somewhere else.

Brian Johnson Leaves Radius Commercial

Brian Johnson has been hired as a senior associate at Marcus & Millichap’s new real firm office in Ventura, which will cover from Thousand Oaks to Paso Robles.

Johnson, who most recently served as senior agent and general manager for Santa Barbara-based Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments, will focus on multifamily investments after specializing in commercial property sales along the Central Coast since 2002.

Johnson previously co-authored the South Coast Commercial Vacancy Report for the annual UCSB Economic Forecast Project while still at Radius.

Longoria Wines Opens Lompoc Tasting Room

Family-owned Longoria Wines has opened a new winery and tasting room in downtown Lompoc, fulfilling a 32-year-old dream to own a production facility.

Owners Rick and Diana Longoria have been making wine under their own label since 1982, opening their first tasting room in Los Olivos more than 16 years ago before finding the perfect fit for their own winery.

The couple had been making small-batch, ultra-premium wine at a leased building at the Sobhani Industrial Complex on Industrial Way in Lompoc.

In 2012, they bought that historic nearly one-acre industrial building lot at 415 E. Chestnut Ave. — a former union hall and community center — and completed construction earlier this year, according to Diana Longoria.

The four large rooms of the historic clubhouse were converted to a tasting room, a lounge area featuring the social club’s original fireplace, office space, a separate dining room area for wine club members and a temperature-controlled barrel room, with outdoor patio and garden.

The Los Olivos tasting room at 2935 Grand Ave. will remain open daily, and the new room in Lompoc will be open Fridays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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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Return of Goleta Water District’s Rebate Program Already Generating Interest

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Approved just last week, water rebates at the Goleta Water District are already generating interest, and officials say the program will repay people up to $1,000 to update their yards with more water-efficient plants and supply systems.

Customers can send an application into the district, and staff will conduct a site visit to determine what improvements could be made to save water.

Those include landscape design, irrigation equipment, water-wise plants and other improvements, and the district will cover 50 percent of those expenses, up to $1,000 for a single-family home or up to $4,000 for multifamily or commercial buildings.

The district takes before and after photos, and after the initial visit the customer has 120 days to make the pre-approved changes. After the district reviews receipts, a rebate will be issued within 60 days.

Ryan Drake, the district's water supply and conservation manager, said about 150 people are on the list to have an official come out and evaluate their yards to see if they qualify.

"It's a very popular program," he said. 

The district also had a rebate program from 2008 to 2011, which was was also very successful, and Drake said customers have been asking for the program to return.

"For every acre-foot of water we can save that way, that's another acre-foot of water we don't have to purchase as a district," he said.

Originally, about 200 people indicated they were interested in the program, but about 50 or so went ahead and updated their yards, so those people won't qualify for the rebate, he said.

The district has a full-time staffer working on the rebates with the help of several interns to evaluate the customers on the waiting list.

"We're out in the field already with customers," he said.

The Goleta Water District began mandatory water restrictions on Sept. 9, which include watering during certain times of day and limit outdoor water use.  

For more information on the rebate program, customers are encouraged to call the district at 805.964.6761 or email conservation@goletawater.com.

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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Hip-Hop Artist MC Hammer Returning to Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Hip-hop great MC Hammer, who dazzled a sold-out crowd last year at the Chumash Casino Resort, will make his triumphant return to the Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13.

Tickets for the show are $35, $45 and $55.

Last year, concertgoers were treated to a high-energy show that left audience members buzzing about the performance, which featured MC Hammer’s greatest hits and creative dance moves that ignited the stage.

Before he rose to fame as MC Hammer, he was Stanley Kirk Burrell from Oakland. In the mid-1980s, while rapping in small venues, MC Hammer started his own record label and kept money coming in by selling singles out of the trunk of his car.

He eventually signed with Capitol Records and released his first official full-length record, Let’s Get It Started. The album went double Platinum with tracks that included “Pump It Up,” “Turn This Mutha Out” and “Let’s Get It Started.” His follow-up album, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’Em, would become certified 10 times Platinum thanks to the pop culture phenomenon “U Can’t Touch This.”

His rapid rise to fame made MC Hammer a household name and had millions imitating his flashy dance moves and wearing his trademark Hammer Pants. He has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and continues to bring audience members to their feet during his live performances.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this one-of-a-kind performer when he returns to the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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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Draw Out Your Inner Artist at the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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The SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning will quickly become the center of all your creative pursuits.

Affordable classes span the studio arts, crafts, design, sewing, singing, music, acting and more. Find yourself in a supportive community of beginners, enthusiasts and working professionals, making the world a more beautiful and fascinating place. CLL teachers are highly qualified professionals who are dedicated to sharing their knowledge with their students — including our extraordinary artists.

Here is a sampling from the many art classes available at the CLL now and coming up next term:

Dusk to Dawn: A Plein Air Nocturnal Experience: This unique 12-hour painting class gives the artist an opportunity to completely capture the luminous and glorious full "Cold Moon" of December. Witness and capture the moon in its orbit from one beautiful setting, from sunset through to sunrise. The class will set up in a lovely, comfortable and safe location that allows you complete visibility, while our resident master of night painting, Thomas Van Stein, helps you master night painting techniques, and help you create a series of Nocturnal masterpieces. Click here to register.

Landscape Oil Painting From Photos: Good photographs are just the jumping off point for creating great landscape paintings. Paint with more dynamic colors by applying one of the three great color schemes. This course includes instruction and demonstration of creating an oil painting from a photo from start to finish. Students will analyze their photos through drawing, color mixing and completion. Students will then will create paintings from their own photos, with individual hands on help and critique from the instructor. One class meeting will be a field trip to take photographs and learn to compose with your camera. This class will be offered in the CLL’s winter term.

Portrait Drawing for the Absolute Beginner: Beginning artists receive instruction on portrait drawing from instructor and professional artist Lauren Manzo. Students learn how to break down the forms of the face to the simplest shapes, and how the facial features relate to each other and form with light and shadow. This class will be offered in the CLL’s winter term.

Beginning Outdoor Sketching in Pen, Ink and Watercolor: Beginning artists have the opportunity to discover the transformative effects of adding color to their link sketches while painting many of Santa Barbara’s picturesque scenes. Students receive individual instruction from instructor Tom Henderson on how to find their own style and improve their skill. This class will be offered in the CLL’s winter term.

Animals Alive: Drawing at the Zoo: Looking for a new type of drawing class outside of the classroom? Drawing animals and birds is an exciting and fascinating type of portraiture, and involves unique skill sets. Enjoy meeting your class and teacher, professional artist Lauren Manzo, at the Santa Barbara Zoo to draw rare and exotic animals live, rather than from photography. Learn how to break down the structure of an animal with basic shapes, develop the ability to capture animals' gestures in their movement and enhance your drawings with varying forms and textures. This class will be offered in the CLL’s winter term.

Chinese Brush and Mediating: Students learn to draw, paint and write Chinese calligraphy while using bamboo brushes with ink and watercolors on paper. Each class starts off with a quiet mediation to begin the creative process and includes a lecture on the symbols of common Chinese subjects, including: bamboo, floral, bird, fish and landscape. Award-winning instructor Suemae Lin Willhite briefly explores the art of calligraphy in one of CLL’s Look and Learn Videos, a growing collection of free, short (one to two minutes) online videos of useful how-to’s and tips from CLL teachers. This class will be offered in the CLL’s winter term.

How to Sign Up

Fall class schedules are available at the SBCC Wake and Schott campuses, at newsstands throughout Santa Barbara and online by clicking here. There are still many fall classes starting between now and Dec. 6. CLL winter term registration begins on Dec. 8, with classes starting on Jan. 12.

About the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning

The SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning mission is to be responsive to the diverse lifelong learning needs of adult members of the Santa Barbara Community. CLL aims to be the educational, cultural and social hub for the Santa Barbara community, continuing a nearly 60-year tradition of excellence. CLL is online at www.sbcc.edu/CLL, and on Facebook (sbccCLL), Twitter (@sbccCLL) and YouTube.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

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Latest Santa Barbara Crime Statistics a Mixed Bag

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Attached 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.

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response time to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening) calls for service met the performance objective of seven minutes or less for this call type. The average response times, however, for Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening), Priority 3 (non-emergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service did not meet performance objectives, but only by a small margin. State-mandated officer training requirements negatively impacted patrol staffing during this period, resulting in longer response times.

» Positive trends: The rate of robberies has been experiencing a downward trend. Year to date there has been a 34 percent decrease in robberies compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 51 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2012. The rate of residential burglaries is significantly lower than previous years. Year to date there has been a 37 percent decrease in residential burglaries compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 31 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2012.

The rate of burglaries and thefts from vehicles is also significantly lower. Year to date there has been a 32 percent decrease in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 53 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2012.

» Areas of concern: The yearly figure for aggravated assaults has been trending up since 2011, with 2013 having the highest number of the last five years — 325. The year to date number of aggravated assaults in 2014, however, is 3 percent lower than that of 2013 with 226. Most aggravated assaults are alcohol- or domestic violence-related.

The rate of bicycle traffic collisions continues trending up. Year to date there has been an 18 percent increase in bicycle traffic collisions compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 29 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012.

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

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Storyteller Children’s Center’s ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’ Non-Gala Pays Off

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Long known for its fun but elaborate fundraising galas each fall, Storyteller Children’s Center did something different this year: It requested your absence at a “Home Is Where the Heart Is” gala.

That’s right, Storyteller wanted you to stay home and not attend a gala, so that every penny donated to the nonprofit would go directly to the homeless and at-risk children it serves instead of the food, drinks and other trappings of a gala.

Many Storyteller supporters loved the idea of not having a gala, which meant the preschool for homeless and at-risk children reach was able to reach its event fundraising goal by the deadline of Oct. 18.

“It was great that we could achieve a goal in a different way,” said Storyteller board member Lizzie Peus, who co-chaired the effort with Jill Chase. ‘It was an experiment, but I think we earned a lot of goodwill doing it. The message resonated with a lot of people, and some supporters contributed even more because they liked the concept so much.”

Because the Storyteller gala has a long history of success, the decision to skip a gala this year was difficult and risky. The Storyteller board decided to try a “no gala” approach this year for several reasons — not only had the organization spent a tremendous amount of time and energy on last year’s huge 25th anniversary gala, it also quickly and quietly raised money last winter to purchase a permanent home for its preschool for homeless children at 2121 De la Vina St.

“We felt it was the right thing to do,” said Tiffany Foster, chair of the Storyteller board of directors. “Our organization was focused on securing a permanent home for the children, and we are so thankful for the incredible show of support we received.”

Over 100 families a year are served by Storyteller. Although it expanded from one school to two in 2007 to meet the overwhelming demand for preschool for low-income families, Storyteller has a waiting list of approximately 100 children hoping to earn a spot in the tuition-free school. Storyteller takes a comprehensive and therapeutic approach, providing therapy to children and families in crisis. While children are enrolled at Storyteller, parents must work or be in school and they take parenting and life skills classes at Storyteller.

Longtime supporters of Storyteller applauded the idea of the stay at home effort.

Storyteller
Storyteller Children's Center board members Kelly Bilek, left, and Dinah Calderon. (Rob Grayson photo)

“I think it’s very cool — I’ve always loved the idea and I encouraged Storyteller to do it,” said Ken Saxon, founder and president of Leading From Within, which helps develop non-profit leaders in the Santa Barbara community. “With an effort like this one, all the conversations with your supporters are mission-driven, which isn’t always the case at a gala.”

Although Storyteller reached its goal on Oct. 18, supporters can still make a donation online by clicking here.

“There are always needs at Storyteller,” board member Carrie Towbes said. “Just because we met a goal doesn’t mean that the needs of the children go away.” The event contributes about 15 percent to the organization’s annual budget.

On the day of the non-gala, Storyteller board and gala committee members delivered goodie bags to donors of the “Home Is Where the Heart Is” effort, which included a bottle of wine, cookies, popcorn and a soft, fuzzy blanket. That night, about 60 longtime supporters of Storyteller gathered at the home of board member Kelly Bilek for a “comfy casual” party; a drawing was held for a gift certificate to The Lark restaurant.

In addition to asking for donations, the Home Is Where the Heart Is effort included an online auction that featured a one-week stay in Vail, a Santa Barbara food & wine weekend, a Mattei’s Tavern private party and beach house “staycation.”

The wine for the goodie bags and comfy casual party was donated by Babcock Winery, which is producing a Pinot Noir called GrapeHunters. It will be used for the variety of charitable causes the Babcock family supports, including Storyteller.

“They do such great work. It’s an important cause and they do it really well,” said Bryan Babcock, who credited his wife with coming up with the idea of a special wine that would benefit charities. “The name, the label and everything it represents is really a reflection of Lisa’s heart.”

In addition to donating the wine for the goodie bags, Babcock Winery is having a 30th anniversary Harvest Festival this Sunday, Oct. 26, from noon to 5 p.m. at its winery 5175 E. Highway 246 in Lompoc. Ten percent of the proceeds from the Harvest Festival and future sales of the GrapeHunters 2013 wine will benefit Storyteller and another local charity, AHA!

— Julia Rodgers is a Noozhawk contributing writer and 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.

Storyteller
Two longtime Storyteller Children's Center supporters, Daryl Stegall, left, and Laura Shelburne, right, with Tiffany Foster, chairwoman of the Storyteller Board of Directors. (Rob Grayson photo)

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Startup Weekend Santa Barbara Returning Nov. 14-16

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Calling all Santa Barbara entrepreneurs, hackers, hucksters, and hipsters, and makers. Startup Weekend Santa Barbara is back!

On Nov. 14-16, the fourth installment of Startup Weekend Santa Barbara will take place in downtown Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry, Workzones and the Blind Tiger. Participants will come together for 54 hours to develop business ideas, create innovative products and launch new businesses all while learning methods to help create successful startup companies and networking within the Santa Barbara business community.

Startup Weekend is a global nonprofit organization and network of leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and communities. The Santa Barbara event will bring together the local community to celebrate new ideas and make new connections. We will compete again with over 250 Startup Weekend locations around the world in the Global Startup Battle that takes place over two weekends in November.

How does Startup Weekend work? Beginning on Friday evening, participants present business ideas, then everyone in attendance votes on their favorite teams to continue over the weekend. From there teams are formed and fueled by mentors, hands on learning, great food and drink and amazing networking with the local and global startup community. On Sunday, each team presents their new business to a panel of judges.

In the coming weeks, Startup Weekend, and StartupSB a network of local startup enthusiasts, will be announcing additional judges, speakers and sponsors as well as a number of events leading up to Startup Weekend.

“We are excited about the community’s involvement in the weekend,” said Kyle Ashby, Startup Weekend Santa Barbara organizer and global facilitator. “We have great venues and a great group of mentors, organizers and community support to help teams build their businesses. This year’s event is looking to be our biggest yet!”

Individuals interested in participating in Startup Weekend Santa Barbara can register for the event by clicking here. A $100 entry fee confirms your place among the 150 participating entrepreneurs as well food and drink for the weekend and an opportunity to learn from the mentors. The past events sold out, so get your tickets soon, as they are going fast!

The public is invited to attend the opening event at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry, to network with participants and the business community, see the ideas being pitched, hear from a number of guest speakers, and help select the ideas they would like to see get built over the weekend. Sunday evening’s final team presentations and judging at Blind Tiger is also open to the public beginning at 5 p.m.

Tickets for both the opening and closing events can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

— Kyle Ashby is an organizer of Startup Weekend Santa Barbara.

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Simple Topography of Dryland Channels Presents Interesting Paradox for UCSB Scientists

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Volatile rainstorms drive complex landscape changes in deserts, particularly in dryland channels, which are shaped by flash flooding. Paradoxically, such desert streams have surprisingly simple topography with smooth, straight and symmetrical form that until now has defied explanation.

That paradox has been resolved in newly published research conducted by Michael Singer and Katerina Michaelides, associate researchers at UC Santa Barbara’s Earth Research Institute. The pair show that simple topography in dryland channels is maintained by complex interactions among rainstorms, the stream flows these storms generate in the river channel and sediment grains present on the riverbed. Their findings appear today in the journal Geology.

Desert streams flow only during infrequent but intense rainstorms, and when they do, only parts of the channel contain water, making the flow irregular and erratic. One rainstorm may erode sediment grains in one section of the channel, while another storm moves sediment in a different area.

“Given this localized sediment movement during rainstorms, one might expect desert channels to contain mounds of sediment that undulate down the stream course reflecting the irregular flow, but they don’t,” Singer said. “The water produced in the channel only flows partially down the stream and then stops because it seeps into the riverbed, and there’s not enough water from upstream to replace it, so it just disappears.”

Because desert river channels do not feature the river bars, pools or riffles common in perennial streams, they decline in elevation downstream very smoothly. According to the researchers’ findings, feedback between two variables — complex water and sediment movements — shape such basins.

Singer and Michaelides used data collected from the Rambla de Nogalte in southeastern Spain to model these dryland channel variables. The area has a semi-arid climate with mean annual rainfall of around 14 inches, which occurs during convective rainstorms, producing large floods that recur about once a decade.

They found that dryland channel width fluctuates downstream. Their observations show that grain size (roughness) also fluctuates from sand to gravel a downstream direction.

“There’s feedback between this fluctuating width and fluctuating grain size,” Singer said. “The stream flow is generated in a discontinuous pattern along the channel. Some rainstorms produce a bit of topography in some parts of the channel. Other spatial configurations of flow generated by storms destroy that topography so the variability of the rainstorms interacting with this channel are creating and destroying the topography constantly to keep it in this simple form.”

Singer and Michaelides also produced simulations of extreme flows to determine the volume of flow necessary to reshape the channel completely. They examined the longitudinal variability of sediment flow as well as sediment storage to find the channel-shaping threshold. This threshold reshapes the entire channel and makes it smooth again. “It’s a really significant threshold that tells us the magnitude of the flood necessary to reshape the channel,” Singer said.

“Semi-arid and arid river systems are extremely important to the populations that live around them,” he concluded. “Water resources are obviously a huge limitation in the development of societies, and a lot of water is being progressively diverted for irrigation, water use and other purposes, so those can further affect the spatial patterns of where flow is in these channels and potentially impact the processes of where topography develops in the river channel. Humans can inadvertently have an impact on the shape and form of river channels like these.”

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

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$65 Million Gift From Charles Munger Marks Largest in UCSB History

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Berkshire Hathaway exec's donation will pay for Kavli Institute housing

A billionaire corporate executive at Berkshire Hathaway has donated $65 million of the company's stock to UC Santa Barbara, making it the largest gift in the university's history.

Charles Munger, vice chairman at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway, made the donation to the university by gifting Class A shares in the company led by Warren Buffett.

The money will be used to fund a housing facility for physicists in a project that should be complete in two years.

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, or KITP, will run the building, which will be a three-story residence for visiting scientists and preeminent physicists from around the world who participate in KITP programs each year.  

The building's design will feature a variety of common areas meant to foster informal gatherings and scientific collaboration.

“There is no place like KITP anywhere else — and no better programs — so it’s a great thing to be able to give them a nice home of their own,” Munger said in a statement issued Thursday night, adding that the building will foster interdisciplinary conversations about physics.

Construction of the KITP Residence by The Towbes Group Inc. is expected to commence this October, and should be complete in two years, the statement said.

The project will be built near the San Clemente Villages graduate-student apartments on El Colegio Road.

Munger came to the project, and to KITP, by way of close friend Glen Mitchel, who lives in Santa Barbara and is a regular visitor to institute events and public talks.

Mitchel first heard about the housing project from KITP Director Lars Bildsten, and shared it with Munger during a fishing trip, the statement said.

Munger's grandson, Charles, is also a UCSB alumnus.

“This residence is going to be hugely helpful to UCSB. This building will be about as good as it can get, and offer as good an experience as a physicist can have — and I don’t think you could have a better place on earth to do it," Munger said.

Up until Munger's contribution, the 2012 donation of $50 million by UCSB alumnus and Oracle chairman Jeff Henley was the largest single gift in the school’s history. That donation was earmarked for the fields of science and engineering at the university.

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said that KITP has been hosting thousands of the world's top scientists since 1979. 

“We are absolutely thrilled and honored that through Charlie’s vision, unbelievable generosity, his love of physics, and his unique architectural and engineering genius and passion, we have been gifted such an unimaginable guesthouse for the visitors of KITP to enjoy and to enable them to continue their groundbreaking research at the endless frontier of physics," Yang said.

KITP Director Lars Bildsten called the donation a "game-changer" for the institute.

“KITP’s mission is to bring together the world’s leading scientists to collaborate on the most challenging and exciting questions in theoretical physics and related fields,” he said. 

“Charlie’s commitment to this mission is profound. Our visitors now spend their day in Kohn Hall, the center of interactions, but once the Residence is complete they will continue those interactions into the nights and weekends. I’m confident we will see an increased number of collaborations and scientific progress.”

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: Learning to Say No and Feel Good About It

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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We are flooded with requests daily. They come from strangers, acquaintances, friends and family.

For example, we are given the “opportunity” to buy an item from a telemarketer, donate our time or money to an agency, join a group for dinner, help out our sibling, or assist a colleague with a work-related issue. The deluge of asks can feel overwhelming.

To combat this request overload, we tend to adopt a characteristic pattern of responding to them. For many of us, the pattern is to try to say yes to the request or some part of it. We endeavor to please people and say something along the lines of: “I think I can,” “I am really busy, but if you really need me, I will do it” or “I am not sure if I can do all you are asking, but I will try.” All these responses tend to decrease the initial surge of anxiety we anticipate we will feel if we decline a request.

After agreeing to help, we are typically reinforced by the person seeking our assistance, will probably believe that the person asking for our help now holds us in high esteem. We also may experience a sense of relief that we have made a decision to help and no longer need to ruminate about what to do. However, in short order we may start to feel annoyed that we have said yes to something we may not have wanted to do or had the time to do. The initial relief can be replaced with regret.

Some people speak of feeling victimized by their need to say yes and inability to say no to requests. They report feeling irritable with those who made the request and annoyed every time they are reminded that they could have said no. Feeling powerless to say no can lead to a lack of sense of control, which is compounded when we are busy and stressed.

The drive to avoid saying no to a request, even to strangers, is strong and is borne out in research. Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that participants in a study were so eager to respond positively to a request from researchers that they were willing to engage in unethical behavior (deface a library book by writing a word on one of the pages). While some of the participants initially protested, the drive to please the researcher was so strong that 50 percent complied with the request. In addition, researchers have found that when the request is made face-to-face, people experience more regret about saying no and are more likely to say yes.

The mechanism driving us to say yes is our inherent human need/desire to connect with others. We are programmed to please and connect with others. In addition, we hold an attribution bias that we will be judged more harshly than we actually are if we say no to a request. Thus we assume others will see us in a very negative light if we say no, when in fact, the others will really not judge us so negatively. Our drive to connect and our attributional belief combine to push us toward pleasing others and avoiding saying no.

Research by Julianne Wurm and colleagues show that there is difference along gender lines in the likelihood we will say no to a request. Her research found that women anticipate it will be harder to say no to a request and actually experience more regret when saying no. This is especially the case if the request comes from another woman. In contrast, men anticipate they will not feel badly about saying no, and report after the fact that they did not feel badly about saying no. The gender differences may be the result of differential conditioning and reinforcement afforded to men and women whereby women feel they need to please others more.

Given our inherent drive to say yes, what can be done to swim against this current that pushes us toward saying yes, when we really want or need to say no? Although it may be initially hard to change how we respond to requests and still feel as though we are good people, we can begin to examine our response pattern and evaluate if we want to make a change. We can exert change in our characteristic response pattern and move toward one that is more flexible and responsive to our needs and wants.

Below are some principles to consider when you are confronted by a request.

» Be aware of your characteristic pattern for responding to a request, and know that while this may feel most comfortable, it may not be healthy. Journal or list recent occasions in which you have agreed to a request and how you have felt as a result of it. List the negatives and positives of the experience to truly explore how it made you feel.

» Try to anticipate a request and mentally prepare for it. Consider if your friend will ask you again to help with an event and begin to think about if you want to help.

» Practice saying no to requests so that you become more comfortable with hearing yourself say this.

» Be mindful and focused on what is being asked when a request is made. Often times we become anxious and start thinking about what will happen if we say yes or no and fail to fully attend to what is being asked.

» Do not rush to make a decision. If you are unsure about what you want to do, ask for more time to think about it. Do not be pressured into making a decision before you feel ready.

» Recognize that a no may not be heard or initially accepted. Practice being tough and sticking with your no by repeating the word no in your response.

» Make sure your facial expressions and tone of voice match the message you are sending.

» Remember that you will overestimate the upset someone will feel if you say no.

» Affirm yourself for saying no. Reinforce yourself for making a choice that is initially uncomfortable by saying no but one that may be better for you in the long run.

— Winifred Lender, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Santa Barbara and can be contacted at drwinifredlender@gmail.com. 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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Country Singer Mary Chapin Carpenter Graces the Lobero Theatre Stage

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter (Gary Lambert / Noozhawk photo)

Friday, Oct. 10 marked a sold-out concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. The reason? Mary Chapin Carpenter was in town!

Carpenter dominated the 1990s country music scene with multiple awards.

The Academy of Country Music voted her Top New Female Artist in 1990 and Top Female Artist in 1992. She also received the Country Music Association's 1992 and 1993 Top Female Vocalist award.

There's more. Carpenter also racked up five Grammy awards, one being for her famous "Shut Up and Kiss Me" performance. In October 2012, she was inaugurated into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Pretty darn good, if you ask anyone.

Special guest Tift Merritt opened the show with earthy, heart-hitting lyrics along with perfect comedic timing in her between-song banter.

When Carpenter finally took the stage, her famous purrrs and growls that put most cats to shame filled the Lobero. Ahhhh, well worth the wait for us die-hard fans.

Multiple folk ballads proved a little slow and out of steam, but once she sang "Passionate Kisses" and "Shut Up and Kiss Me," the words "country diva" rang loud and clear. 

— Gary Lambert is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Letter to the Editor: We Need Chris Mitchum for 24th District

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Lois Capps, the present 24th Congressional District Democratic representative, is now running for re-election to a 10th term. Do you all remember when she promised us never to go more than three terms? She is already vested in the congressional retirement plans.

Ms. Capps gets re-elected and then becomes a stealth representative back in the woodwork of Congress in Washington.

As a Democrat, she supports and goes along with everything Democratic, but you never hear about anything she has done for her district. Probably because there is not much. Ms. Capps is part of the Democrat Congress that has gotten us Obamacare, has increased our taxes and our national debt by a trillion dollars in the last six years, and wants to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. She is in the hands of her California Democratic director, Nancy Pelosi, and a lockstep drone for them but not for us back here in California.

Her staff has fallen on its face in Santa Barbara trying to distance themselves from an employee’s personal mistakes resulting in the death of a woman, and then her staff tried to cover up the “whole affair.”

Now Capps and her same staff are running an “I approve of this” TV smear campaign ad against her opponent Chris Mitchum, asking, “What do we know about Chris Mitchum.” She sent her nasty little staffer to photograph Mitch at his forums and campaign speeches. We all asked her to stop and invited her in for food and drinks. She said no and left. Now we know why. Capps is using the TV ad as a screen to cover her tracks so we in the 24th will not know.

We should instead ask, just what do we know about Lois Capps? What she does or does not do seems to be a secret. Ms. Capps will not debate at a forum with Chris Mitchum so we will not know.

We in the 24th District have had enough of these Democrat’s antics and need a new course and change that can be represented for us by Republican Chris Mitchum.

Please elect Mitchum on Nov. 4 to help stop the Democratic financial disaster before us from getting worse.

Concerned Taxpayers, I.N.C.

Justin Ruhge
Lompoc

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Robert Bernstein: Humanist Society Talk Explores Possibility of Death with Dignity Law in California

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act 20 years ago, and it was enacted in 1997. Why don't we have such a law in California?

Toni Broaddus
Toni Broaddus

Toni Broaddus of Compassion & Choices gave a talk on Saturday to the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara telling us the history and her hope that we can soon have such a law.

The case of 29-year-old brain tumor patient Brittany Maynard is putting this front and center in the news. As a young, attractive woman with a supportive family, she stepped forward to promote the cause.

Her six-minute video accompanies this article. In just a few weeks it had 8 million views, and the C&C website was overwhelmed for a while.

Brittany and her husband moved from California to Oregon just to have the peace of mind of knowing she has the option to end her life on her own terms, rather than waiting for the tumor to cause intolerable pain and complete loss of control.

The Oregon law is quite conservative. It requires a doctor to certify the patient is mentally competent and has a terminal illness with less than six months to live. The doctor can prescribe medication for the patient to take to end his or her own life. The doctor does not assist.

Between one-half and one-third of patients don't use the meds. Having the meds gives all of them a sense of control, though.

California has tried six times for such a law. Twice by proposition. One time they failed to get enough signatures. The other one lost. Four more times it was tried in the Legislature. The last time was 2007.

Politicians are usually followers, Broaddus explained. It is up to the people to lead. A C&C poll shows that 64 percent of Californians support the right to die with dignity. Overall U.S. figures are similar.

Who opposes the law? The California Medical Association and the California Conference of Bishops.

The church went after Latino legislators in the past. Called them out at Mass. Threatened with possible excommunication.

Many doctors do support end-of-life choices. The classic Hippocratic Oath seemed to forbid taking a life. But the current 1964 version does not. It just says to "tread with care in matters of life and death". It also emphasizes the importance of "sympathy and understanding."

Disability rights organizations are also concerned. Broaddus thinks this is misplaced. Many disabled people want this choice.

For many, palliative care works. But for some, pain can be untreatable and unendurable.

People can be arrested and put in jail for minor roles in a person ending his own life. 60 Minutes had a segment on Barbara Mancini in Pennsylvania. She had handed her father his morphine which he took for pain relief. He drank the whole bottle and she followed his directive not to send him to the hospital. She was arrested and he was sent to the emergency room against his wishes. He suffered greatly in mental distress for several days until he died.

Broaddus is optimistic that the time is right to pass the Oregon law in California. They selected Santa Barbara as an important action center. It is not "too easy" like San Francisco or Berkeley. Nor is it impossibly conservative.

Cecily Hintzen was hired to coordinate action in Santa Barbara.

Action will happen at all levels. Locally, prosecutors are asked not to prosecute such cases. Doctors and nurses are being asked to stand up and say the California Medical Association does not speak for them. At a state level, the hope is for a law.

Our own Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson is a great advocate and is one of the few who met with C&C in person in Sacramento. She shared her own personal story.

Small choices of wording can matter a lot, as C&C's polls indicate. "Death with Dignity" polls well.

What does not poll so well is talk of "rights" as Broaddus learned from her previous work with HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues.

"Family, love and commitment" are words everyone can relate to. Talk of "people" not "patients" also makes people realize it could be about them.

C&C came together from several previous organizations working on end of life issues, including the Hemlock Society. They are a compromise of different views, avoiding euthanasia and focusing on the terminally ill.

They also are careful to distinguish between death with dignity and any form of "suicide". Broaddus explained that suicide is a term generally associated with mental illness.

Celebrity support has come from Olympia Dukakis, "Dear Abby," Archbishop Desmond Tutu and had been coming from Joan Rivers until her unexpected death.

Personally, you should all have an advance directive. POLST (Physician's Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) is a form your doctor can complete and is the most effective. The C&C website has all of this information.

Broaddus also asked us to contact our state legislators (Das Williams and Hannah-Beth Jackson locally) to support an Oregon type Death with Dignity Law in California. The time is right!

Robert Bernstein is a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara High School Theatre Offering Free Performance of ‘Big Fish’ for Seniors

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara High School Theatre department is offering a free Performance of Big Fish to the senior community of Santa Barbara.

Large groups are welcome. Please call to make arrangements for the preview performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the Santa Barbara High School Performing Arts Center, 700 E. Anapamu St.

For more information, call 805.966.9101 x5052 or click here.

Big Fish is directed by Otto Layman, now in his 19th year at SBHS, and the longest tenured high school theater director in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. He is joined by Dr. Jon Nathan (UCSB Jazz Ensemble and multiple productions both locally and nationally) as the music director, Bonnie Thor, costumer (How to Succeed in Business), Jessica Hambright, choreographer (SB SOPA and many local productions), with technical direction by longtime collaborator David Guy and production stage management by Beau Lettieri.

Big Fish features the music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Other performances will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 13-15, at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 16.

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Letter to the Editor: Yes on Measure P, No on Measure S

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Yes on P

Water, water, water; 500-degree water and caustic chemicals injected into the earth leaking into the watershed. 1969 Santa Barbara oil disaster, 1989 Exxon Valdez, Greka, Venoco, BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Germany and many other countries and American states have banned fracking.

Earthquakes caused by fracking might destroy the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant!

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that" — Thomas Edison, 1931.

No on S

One-third of a billion? How many desalination plants could that buy? Pay off school loans, fight cancer, diabetes, reopen Casa Esperanza.

Like politics and religion, education is big business. The chancellor of the university got a 20 percent pay raise — $400,000 with benefits. For doing what? A recent retiree of the university made $300,000 a year with benefits. For doing what?

"Thirty-three different vice presidents each earning $200,000 a year/$110 million lost last year. I'll bet half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. Wall Street — greed is good."

Matthew Hubbard
Santa Barbara

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Bellosguardo Foundation Names Founding Members of Board of Directors

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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After a little over one year of working with the New York Public Administrator’s office and the N.Y. Attorney General’s Charitable Division Bureau, the process of creating a new Bellosguardo Foundation under the late Huguette Clark’s settlement agreement has been completed.

As per the settlement agreement, the foundation's Board of Directors consists of three named individuals and seven others nominated by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

As part of the process, the mayor, public administrator and the board agreed that the foundation would best be served by seating a total of 19 individuals to the initial Board of Directors.

The founding members of the Bellosguardo Board of Directors are:

Members

» Stephen Clark — vice president and general counsel of J Paul Getty Trust

» Joshua Conviser — author/film producer

» Robert Day — chairman, Keck Foundation; chairman, Trust Company of the West

» Ian Devine — Clark family representative

» Perri Harcourt — investor/community philanthropist

» Jim Hurley — retired attorney for the late Huguette Clark

» Peter Jordano — president/CEO of Jordano’s Inc.

» Morris Jurkowitz — investor/community philanthropist

» Robert Lieff — of counsel/founder for Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein LLP

» Diane McQuarie — co-founder MapFrame (retired)

» Sandi Nicholson — community philanthropist

» Jack Overall — Dantz Development Corp. (retired)/community philanthropist

» Charles Patrizia — Corcoran Gallery representative

» Jim Petrovich — investor/community philanthropist

» Ron Pulice — former chair/CEO of Pulice Construction/community philanthropist

» Joan Rutkowski — retired opera singer/community philanthropist

» Gary Tobey — president of Haworth Marketing & Media Co.

» Anne Smith Towbes — community philanthropist

» Dick Wolf — film and television producer

This foundation will oversee Clark’s Santa Barbara Bellosguardo property once probate is completed in New York State. At that time, this foundation will also take possession of Bellosguardo’s furnishings and artwork, and Clark’s extensive doll collection.

Negotiations between the Internal Revenue Service and the estate’s executors are ongoing, and are estimated to take another 12 to 18 months. During this transition, the estate will continue to provide management of the Bellosguardo property.

“I have full confidence that this group of 19 stellar individuals will engage in a process that will give the Bellosguardo Foundation every chance to reach its full potential,” Schneider said. “As soon as the foundation receives ownership of Bellosguardo, the board can start transforming this 23-acre property from the mysterious mansion on the hill to a place that will foster and promote the arts for the public good. I know the Santa Barbara community has dreamed about this opportunity for decades, and I am very appreciative of everyone’s assistance and patience since the settlement was announced in September 2013.”

“I am very pleased that this important milestone in the settlement of the estate of Huguette Clark has been reached," stated Hon. Ethel Griffin, Esq., public administrator of New York County. "The Public Administrator’s office looks forward to working with the Board to ensure that the property is successfully transferred to the foundation."

Helene Schneider is the mayor of Santa Barbara.

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Sansum Clinic Receives ‘Most Improved’ Award from Integrated Healthcare Association

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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On Sept. 23, Sansum Clinic was honored at the 2014 Annual Pay for Performance (P4P) Stakeholders Meeting as Most Improved by the Integrated Healthcare Association.

The Integrated Healthcare Association is a statewide leadership group that promotes quality improvement, accountability and affordability of health care in California. The P4P program is the largest nongovernmental physician incentive program in the United States, which measures and promotes improved quality among healthcare providers in California.

Awards are based on performance in three P4P quality measurement areas: meaningful use of health information technology, patient experience and clinical quality measures that include priority conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases and prevention.

In addition to celebrating the top performers, IHA honored the physician organizations that demonstrated the most quality improvement from 2012 to 2013, which included Sansum Clinic for the second consecutive year.

“Sansum Clinic strives to provide our patients with the highest quality healthcare, along with an enhanced patient experience,” said Marjorie Newman, M.D., assistant medical director of Sansum Clinic. "This award recognizes the medical expertise and compassionate care that our staff and clinicians provide each day to ensure patients in our community continue to choose Sansum Clinic for their care."

“Most Improved” award winners are determined by calculating the relative improvement for each physician organization on the overall composite score for this year compared to the overall composite score for last year. The physician organization in each of the eight P4P regions that has the highest relative improvement score for overall quality performance — and does not decrease performance in any quality measurement domain — is recognized as the most improved group in that region.

— Jill Fonte is the marketing director for Sansum Clinic.

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HICAP Partners with Sansum Clinic to Offer Free ‘Medicare Open Enrollment Choices’ Seminar

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) will sponsor a free seminar for people interested in better understanding Medicare.

The "Medicare Open Enrollment Choices" presentation will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18 at Sansum Clinic, 215 Pesetas Lane in Santa Barbara.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand their choices during the Medicare open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7,” said Jim Talbott, president of the Board of Directors for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

Even those who currently have Medicare coverage can benefit from this presentation.

Topics will include an introduction to Medicare including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance, how to evaluate and choose the best Part D prescription coverage, and Medicare Advantage plan options.

HICAP is pleased to partner with Sansum Clinic in presenting this important information to the community.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company or health plan.

The presentation is a service of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, HICAP with financial assistance, in whole or in part, through a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medical services, the federal Medicare agency.

For more information about the "Medicare Open Enrollment Choices" presentation and to reserve a seat at this seminar, contact the local HICAP office at 800.434.0222, 805.928.5663 or seniors@kcbx.net, or RSVP online by clicking here.

— Bill Batty represents the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.

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Jackie Ruka: How to Stop Running in Heels and Get a Life You Want

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Are you a woman running heals, frantic to figure out your time with career, money, family and social life, but end up not doing anything at all to resolve this feeling of disarray? Well, join the club.

Jackie Ruka
Jackie Ruka

I coined this phrase: “Women running in heels,” as we tend to do it all, want it all, try to make it all happen and end up stressed and simply exhausted. That was me about two years ago: giving, giving and giving to others with barely enough time to renew myself or adjust to a life worth creating, without falling short on quality people time, sleep and a life outside of my career.

The American Psychological Association stress-gender survey reports that stress has been significantly more on the rise for women than men. Forty-nine percent of the women surveyed reported an increase in stress during the past five years. As women, we are all too willing to please others while holding a false belief that handling it all will be easier than delegating the details to someone else. So, how is that working for you?

The bottom line is: Life is running you, instead of you creating the life that you desire and deserve. So, what do you really want, or better yet, what do you want to get out of life right now?

The one constant that we can never capture again is our time. Perhaps it's time to just stop the crazy life treadmill and determine what feels right versus what is wrong? Step back and begin to get clear and envision your happiness, as this will attract the abundance, joy and desire you deserve.

I learned this the hard way with a “come to Buddha moment,” where my company car almost crashed after going out of control and landed in front of two 8-foot Buddha statues outside a furniture store in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Talk about a wake-up call to the antithesis of my chaotic life careening me to the edge of no return. I certainly would not want this to happen to you.

In hindsight, what I learned was the best choices are the ones we make consciously, not from reactive measures or societal demands. We are human and the universe has a funny way of journeying back to self to test if we are practicing self-love and self-care.

My story, as a woman running in heels, was an opportunity for me to go deep, recognize my soul calling and begin to consciously transform myself into the writer, and now published author and inspiration coach that I deeply yearned to be.

I invite those women, who have so much magic within them and are running from their own soul calling, to take a listen to how I turned my challenge into opportunities in an interview with psychologist Dr. Laura Ciel, on her radio show, empowering individuals going through life transition.

It's short and to the point, however, I would love your feedback. Take a listen to “The Happiness Journey with Jackie Ruka.”

Inspirational Quote: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” — Eleanor Roosevelt 

— Montecito-based Jackie Ruka is America’s Happyologist and lifestyle strategist. Click here for more information.

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Local Students Draw Crowds on State Street with Sound of Music

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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For the fifth consecutive year, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and its collaborators have once again pulled off another successful community project with the widely popular Pianos on State, attracting tourists, locals, and amateur and professional players of all ages to sit down and play music.

On Sunday, passersby stopped in their tracks as three local students performed together, utilizing one of the pianos available for the public through the annual Pianos extravaganza.

Anna Sung-Park, a fifth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary, Joshua Park, a seventh-grader at Santa Barbara Junior High, and Thomas Everest, a ninth-grader from Santa Barbara High School, played together for their families and pedestrians on heavily traveled State Street.

“My favorite thing about playing music is that there are infinite possibilities,” said Park, who was playing the trumpet.

“I think everyone should be exposed to music and have the opportunity to play,” Everest said after a solo on the piano.

His piano in front of Marshalls on Canon Perdido and State streets was one of 11 being put to use over the last 10 days as part of Pianos on State for the public to enjoy, a collaborative musical experiment coinciding with the 2014 New Noise Music Festival.

pianos
Fourth-grade student Audrey Harmond attracts more than a dozen people with her music Sunday on downtown State Street. (Daniella Alkobi photo)

Pianos on State is supported by the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the New Noise Music Foundation, the Downtown Organization, the City of Santa Barbara and Notes for Notes, all sharing valuable resources to bring this community project to an exciting reality.

Sung-Park and Park have both been involved in the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s BRAVO! program, an after-school program run by district music teachers for students with at least one year of experience on a band or orchestra instrument. Twice a week, students from local elementary schools board the bus after school and get dropped off at Santa Barbara Junior High to make music with new friends.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation, a local nonprofit, raises funds for vital programs that benefit all students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, including BRAVO!

“My favorite thing about the program is that it’s fun and also challenging,” said Sung-Park, who is currently in the BRAVO! program and plays the oboe.

Just a block farther down on State Street, more than a dozen pedestrians had crowded around another piano to listen to the mesmerizing sound of another young talent in the making, fourth-grade student Audrey Harmond.

“She’s incredible,” a passerby said.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

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GVJHS Band Brings Halloween Spirit to Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool

By | Published on 10/23/2014

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Halloween at Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool. (Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool photo)

We don't know how this partnership began, but for the past 20 to 25 years the marching band at Goleta Valley Junior High School has been visiting the Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool, at 380 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta on Halloween from approximately 11:20 to 11:40 a.m.

The event includes refreshments, costumes, dancing preschoolers and prancing band members.

— Betty Rosness represents Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool.

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Families Mark Anniversaries of Shark Attacks that Killed Two Men

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Longtime researcher believes several factors most likely contributed to incidents earlier this month off the Central Coast

As the families of two men united by shark attacks two years apart remember their loved ones on the anniversaries of their deaths this week, Ralph Collier of the Shark Research Committee is especially busy. 

He has reviewed two shark encounters involving kayakers off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier this month, another in the Santa Barbara area this week and is still waiting for further investigate yet another incident where a surfer suffered a knee injury in early October.

These come as the families of Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old UCSB student from Riverside County, and Francisco Solorio Jr., a 39-year-old Orcutt resident, remember their loved ones who died in attacks two years and a day apart — Oct. 22, 2010, for Ransom and Oct. 23, 2012, for Solorio.

The families are expected to meet up Thursday morning at Surf Beach to remember both men and release balloons. In a commemoration the Solorio family dubbed “Franfest,” the celebration of life will continue through the weekend with camping and the dedication of a bench at Jalama Beach.

Solorio’s family and friends spent last weekend prepping the bench site for its installation.

“It will be nice place to go,” said his sister, Patricia Solorio of Santa Maria. “Jalama was his favorite surf spot.”

Collier suspects a number of reasons for the attacks — and emphatically says it’s not one rogue shark roaming the ocean every other October.

“Historically, if we look at records of these interactions with humans, they occur in all months of the year,” said Collier, who has studied sharks for more than 50 years. “What we’re looking at today is a lot of it has to do with population dynamics. By that I mean the white shark has now been protected for more than 15 years.”

The great white shark population is slowly rebounding with the protections, he said. At the same time the number of ocean users has climbed in recent years. 

“We have more people today out kayaking than we had 10, 20 years ago,” Collier said. “We have people surfing. We have more people swimming simply because the population has gone up. When you increase those numbers you also increase the probability that there’s going to be an interaction between those two species.”

Several other factors most likely have contributed, including unusual oceanographic conditions this year, he added.

The Discovery channel show Great White Serial Killer, which debuted in 2013 and reran this summer, tried to prove one shark is at fault for the killer attacks. Collier, who was interviewed in the show along with an FBI profiler, rejected that theory, although he noted wryly that many viewers apparently overlooked their opinions.

“One of the major things we pointed out is … there is no scientific evidence to support a rogue shark theory. None,” he said. 

Collier has the credentials to back up his confidence. He has been involved in shark research since 1962 and is director of the Global Shark Attack File of Princeton in New Jersey. The file contains more more than 6,000 cases of shark-human interaction dating back hundreds of years.

Collier said “more than 50 percent of the shark attacks that occur along the California-Oregon-Washington coast” happen at a place of a previous attack. “So this thing with Surf Beach is not uncommon,” Collier said, adding one location north of San Francisco has seen nine shark attacks since 1980.

If a rogue shark existed, the number of attacks would be much higher, he said.

“A shark who’s going to consume human beings that’s what they do — they consume them,” Collier said. 

None of the victims he has examined from 1962 to the present showed evidence the shark attempted to consume the human.

“We had no massive tissue loss or anything like that,” Collier said, explaining that instead the victims has “unfortunate bites” in areas that severed arteries.

Rather than feeding, Collier suspects the sharks this month were protecting their territory or investigating — “they’re curious little fellows.” 

“It’s something other than feeding,” Collier said. “Because in a feeding attack, a shark knows immediately whether or not this is food. If it’s food they’re going to continue to consume it.”

For instance in the Oct. 3 attack of kayaker Ryan Howell, the animal knocked the man 10 feet into the air. Collier’s review of vessel and tooth marks makes him certain what size of animal attacked the kayaker.

“I can tell you emphatically positively that the shark was at least 20 feet in length,” Collier said, adding he has measured dozens of white shark teeth still in the jaw and said the spacing reveals the animal’s size.

Another incident less than hour earlier likely did involve the same animal due to timing and distance of the two attacks, according to Collier.

A day earlier, a shark rammed a surfboard north of Wall Beach, injuring the government civilian employee.

“In his opinion, he did not think the shark really attempted to bite him,” Collier said, explaining the shark’s ramming caused the man to slide off the board while his leg hit the shark in the mouth.

Earlier this week, a woman reported a 6-foot shark bit her outrigger canoe while she about one mile off the coast of Santa Barbara. Harbor Patrol officials initially said the incident likely involved a 6-foot blue or gray shark.

But Collier said a colleague, Peter Howarth, director of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, talked to the woman about the incident and relayed the information.

“Peter seems pretty confident it was probably a white shark based on the description,” Collier said Wednesday night.

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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Bureau Finds ‘No Significant’ Camp 4 Environmental Impacts

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Chumash take another step toward placing valley acres into federal trust

A proposed tribal housing development has “no significant” environmental impact on the surrounding area of a parcel near the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians reservation, a federal agency announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” based on the tribe’s final environmental assessment for planned development on Camp 4, a 1,433-acre agriculture parcel near the 138-acre valley reservation along Highway 246.

The Chumash bought the land in 2010 from the late Fess Parker, and has said it wants to build homes there for tribal members.

The tribe has been working to place Camp 4 into federal trust, a move that would effectively remove the land from the county’s tax rolls and from the oversight of the county planning processes.

The BIA finding, signed last Friday, is not a determination of the Chumash’s fee-to-trust application, and cannot be appealed, according to Chad Broussard, an environmental protection specialist with the BIA’s Pacific Regional Office.

A final BIA decision and accompanying notice will come at least 30 days after issuing the latest finding, Broussard said.

In its ruling, the BIA allowed the building of 143 residential units ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, an on-site wastewater treatment plant, roads and other infrastructure after also evaluating environmental comments from officials and the public.

An environmental impact statement is not required, the BIA determined, months after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors slammed the tribe’s environmental review of Camp 4 in a letter to the agency in July, pleading for the area’s oak woodlands and active agriculture.

“What it means is that we’re one step closer to bringing this land into trust,” Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta told Noozhawk. “I think this decision by the bureau speaks very loud and very clear to the legislators up in DC. Just because Santa Barbara County doesn’t think it’s right, doesn’t mean it’s not right. They refused to work with us.”

Because the county has fought the fee-to-trust process, Armenta expects officials would likely appeal a final BIA decision, something he hopes could be determined by the end of 2014.

The Chumash could also bypass the county, since a bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives nearly a year ago. HR 3313 would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Interior to take the land into trust for the benefit of the tribe and other purposes, and outlaw gambling, a main concern for valley residents.

Beyond being referred into the House Committee on Natural Resources, HR 3313 still awaits a hearing on the floor.

Armenta said he expects that to change soon, possibly after the November election.

He said he hopes the county respects the lengthy, federal process the tribe has gone through, and noted he was glad the county's attorneys advised the Board of Supervisors this week that it has no avenue to sue the Chumash over the planned expansion.

The decision to forgo legal action was reached in closed session Tuesday, another disappointment, said Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents the valley.

Farr said she hadn’t yet seen a county notice of the BIA filing, but has requested that the supervisors discuss the latest Camp 4 development with county counsel in closed session at the board's next meeting on Nov. 4.

“Clearly it’s very disappointing, but I think, unfortunately, probably not that unexpected,” she said. “We have been very vigilant on this issue from the very beginning. This is an issue that affects the entire county.”

Farr wouldn’t say whether the supervisors would appeal an eventual BIA decision, but noted it would be a board decision and that most of her colleagues have already publicly expressed their concerns with placing Camp 4 into trust.

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 Maria Empty Bowls Helps Fill the Coffers for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Hundreds of hungry attendees feast on soup provided by local restaurants; the Santa Barbara Empty Bowls fundraiser is set for Nov. 2

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores ladled bacon cheddar beer soup, using his best courtroom voice to lure hungry attendees with empty bowls needing to be filled.

Nearby, TV news anchor Jeannette Trompeter touted the healthier, although less enticing, chicken noodle soup, telling attendees, “It cures what ails you.”

Flores and Trompeter were two of the soup servers at the 13th annual Santa Maria Empty Bowls event Wednesday.

The fundraiser for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County took place at the Santa Maria Fairpark, where this marked the first time the Santa Maria event has held two seatings for attendees.

“It’s been a wonderful event,” said Judith Monte, North County development manager for the Foodbank, noting the varied sectors of the community to show up at the event.

In addition to community leaders and elected officials, those who attended included groups of office workers and parents with children, showing the broad support for the Foodbank, Monte said.

Organizers expected to serve 800 people during the two seatings, with the first at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m. Soups came from various restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley.

The two serving sessions aimed to address long waiting lines attendees encountered at previous Empty Bowls benefits in Santa Maria, according to Monte.

“We tried to make sure the second seating has the same experience,” Monte said, adding that the soups and bowls matched those of the first hour.

Bowls came from a variety of sources, but Monte said that Allan Hancock College contributed a record number this year.

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Empty Bowls attendees get bowls filled with soup served by Judge Rogelio Flores. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

For a donation of $25, attendees selected a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, enjoyed a meal of gourmet soup and bread, and took home the bowl as a reminder of the event’s purpose: to help feed wholesome and hearty food to needy people in the community.

The Foodbank served 60,000 in the Santa Maria Valley last year, Monte said, adding, “That’s a lot of people.”

Because of the drought, the nonprofit organization had to pay $200,000 more to purchase food for its clients this year, Monte said.

Wednesday’s event was one of three held annually to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. 

The 17th annual Santa Barbara Empty Bowls is set for Nov. 2 at the Page Youth Center, 4540 Hollister Ave., with three seating times of 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased for $31 per person by clicking here.

For more information, sponsorship or raffle details, contact events manager Diane Durst at 805.967.5741 x104.

Lompoc’s Empty Bowls fundraiser is held on the fourth Wednesday of March each year. 

The Foodbank also is poised to launch its Thanksgiving turkey drive on Nov. 1.

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.

Empty Bowls
Savannah, left, and Dana Moody make their selections from a variety of handcrafted ceramic bowls at the Empty Bowls fundraiser on Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Candidates for Goleta Water District Board Weigh In on Drought, Billing

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Water agencies are a frequent topic of discussion during the ongoing drought, and the Goleta Water District has drawn attention as being the last local jurisdiction to put water use restrictions into effect and struggling through more than a year of technical difficulties with a new online customer billing system.

Four candidates in the Nov. 4 election are vying for two seats on the water board: Bert Bertrando, Jack Cunningham, Charles "Chuck" McClure and Meg West.

Bertrando and Cunningham are both running for re-election while the challengers McClure and West are local landscape architects, both with experience on local public agency boards and commissions.

Bertrando, a retired engineer and director of La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, has served on the board since 2006. He did not attend either of the candidate forums or respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

Cunningham, a retired United Airlines employee and former airport commissioner, has served on the water board since 1995. McClure has local experience as a contractor, architect and businessman and serves on the Goleta Cemetery District board. West serves on Goleta’s Planning Commission and has experience as a contractor, landscape architect and business owner.

The candidates agree that the ongoing drought will be the district’s biggest challenge in the next four years.

West mentioned the importance of drought planning and digging into lessons learned from the current drought to get prepared for the next one.

“That’s a silver lining to these crises, every time we get better prepared and learn something,” she said.

No new meters are being approved because of the district’s SAFE Ordinance, which triggers water use restrictions once Lake Cachuma’s deliveries are reduced, as they are for the water year that started Oct. 1.

In times of plenty, however, “water meters are issued without apparent limit,” McClure said. “Droughts are cyclical. … Therefore with each drought, well, the drought becomes more severe because we have more faucets and fixtures out in the community.”

McClure believes new meters can only be issued with a sustainable water source, such as desalination, reclaimed water that changes wastewater to potable water or a piping system from the more water-abundant north end of the state.

“People often say that it’s too expensive, it can’t be done,” he said. “Not true — we need vision and goal setting and the perseverance to achieve that goal. We can and will do it.”

Looking into the current drought, the district plans to take more recycled water from the Goleta Sanitary District and deliver it by tanker truck to areas that can use it but aren’t connected to the recycled water system, Cunningham said.

“The infrastructure for recycled water doesn’t reach their property so what we’re going to do is take recycled water to their property and let the use it," he said, "and of course we’ll charge but it’ll free up their usage of potable water which makes it better down the road for everybody.”

Additionally, Cunningham pointed to maintaining oversight of the district’s $32.5 million budget and making sure the fines and penalties for violating water use restrictions are administered properly. The more people conserve now, the better off the district will be for the next drought, he added.

“It sounds like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth because I’m preaching conservation while, the less water that’s used, the less water comes into the district bank account," he said. "That’s not the name of the game — the name of the game is for us trying to live up to our mission, which is to provide an adequate supply of quality water at the least possible price.”

The next big step for the district to cut back on water use will probably be the tiered rate system scheduled for spring, West said, adding that tiered systems have been shown to help cut back water use by making water more expensive or people using a lot of it.

“I’m very committed to keeping water rates low for low water uses like myself and many others who put effort into conserving,” she said.

She supports expanding the rebate programs that encourage drought-tolerant planting and wants to focus on customer service.

“I think a lot of relationships have been damaged with billing issues,” she said. “There’s a long history of the Goleta Water District behaving in ways people don’t like and I’d really like to see a little more effort made in customer service.”

West also wants the district to work more closely with the City of Goleta, saying the two agencies don’t coordinate enough now. She believes her experience with the Planning Commission would help in that regard.

“People are really upset when they’re being asked to let their lawns die and they see a big development going up down the street,” she said. “I think there needs to be a lot better coordination and transparency with the public, why these things are being built during the drought.”

In a more long-term perspective, West supports expanding the reclaimed water lines and looking into a groundwater infiltration program.

McClure said the next drastic step for the district to cut back on water use would be to disallow landscape irrigation, starting with lawns.

“We sincerely hope it does not come to that, but if it should, we must be practical, and exterior water for aesthetics would be the place to make the cut,” he said. “I think the people in the district are responding to the request to use water carefully, though some are still maintaining lawns. The upcoming tiered billing system should help with that.”

However, he does not support “the water police” and fines for people violating the rules.

“I suppose very egregious violators must be reckoned with, but by and large I think compliance should be mostly voluntary unless our situation drastically worsens," he said. "Perhaps it has worsened to the appropriate drastic level, remember I am a challenger not privy to the workings of the agency, other than the meetings I have been attending this year.”

In the long term, the district needs to be proactive about conservation and expanding its water supplies, McClure said.

“I have been writing letters to the editor and talking about de-silting of the reservoirs for years now. Crickets," he said. "Now is the time to dig silt out of the reservoirs.”

He also wants to expand Lake Cachuma’s capacity by gouging out the north and east sides and raising the dam by 1 foot.

He also suggests directing more storm water to the groundwater supply to recharge the aquifer and expand the reclaimed water system.

“Currently, 50 percent of the reclaimed water is sent into the ocean, due to a lack of distribution pipes. That’s sad and should be addressed," he said. "Treat that water one more time and pump it underground and our wells would never run dry.”

All four candidates will be vying for the two seats available on the Nov. 4 ballot to win four-year terms.

“I’d just like to add that, for everyone who hasn’t voted yet — vote for me,” Cunningham said. “I’d like to remain on the board so I can help have these things happen, the aforementioned things.”

West pointed to her long list of endorsements.

“They know that we need informed people who are going to be fair and open to public input and they’ve endorsed me because they think I can do this job,” she said. “I really see in the end, if elected, that there are a lot of opportunities for improvement and I want to look at what opportunities there are for working with the university because their growth is an issue as well, it’s not something the City of Goleta has control over.”

McClure said he is the candidate who wants to encourage conservation and pursue new sources of water for the community.

“The challenge is to create a new, permanent source of water without burdening the ratepayers with large new fees,” he 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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Jim Hightower: Going from One Bad War to a Worse One

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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In 2004, Stuart Bowen of Texas was asked by a friend to take on a difficult and important job, which he did.

Bowen's friend was President George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country's fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the United States to Baghdad — totaling some $14 billion!

The bales of cash were delivered to the care of L. Paul Bremer III, a laissez-faire ideologue who'd been installed by the Bush-Cheney regime to rebuild Iraq as a regulation-free corporate utopia. It was quickly obvious to Bowen that the utopia included no accounting of where the $14 billion went, though during the next decade he determined that "billions of dollars (were) taken out of Iraq illegally." But he couldn't get the Bushites to mount a full-fledge investigation and prosecution.

Finally, in 2010, he and his team got a break, learning that about $1.5 billion had been stolen and stashed in a bunker in rural Lebanon. However, the Obama administration wouldn't pursue this lead. Neither did the CIA, FBI or the Iraqi government.

Then, Bowen was stunned that the U.S. embassy in Lebanon was resisting his own attempts to visit the bunker, actually preventing him from entering that country. When two of his investigators did get into Lebanon, our embassy denied them permission to see the bunker, claiming it was too dangerous.

And here we go again — into yet another war in a wide and tumultuous swath of the world involved in centuries-old religio-ethno conflagrations that Euro-centric Americans don't comprehend and cannot resolve. For a clue about what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, with our high-tech fighter jets, drones and ultimately with our soldiers on the ground in this new war against ISIS, let's remember Afghanistan.

Beginning in the yesteryear of the Cheney-Bush regime, the promise was that our Afghan excursion would promptly dispatch the Taliban, train an effective Afghan military force and create a stable democratic government. But it turned out to be both the longest war in American history and a dismal failure on all counts. After 13 years, more than 2,000 U.S. deaths, nearly 20,000 of our troops horribly maimed and over a trillion dollars spent — what have we won?

Far from defeated, the Taliban is again on the offensive, Afghanistan's elections are a farce, government corruption is rampant, the infrastructure we built is already crumbling, there is no national unity, and more than $100 billion of the money we sent for reconstruction and training was simply stolen by the elites and shipped in suitcases to their foreign bank accounts.

The good news is that our nation's Afghan debacle is scheduled to end this year. The bad news is that it won't — a contingent of U.S. troops will remain, we will keep paying $5 billion a year to sustain the Afghan army and police, and we're on the hook for billions more each year to fund that country's bankrupt government.

So hi-ho, hi-ho — off again we go to Syria, Iraq and beyond to conquer ISIS in what is already being called "a long war." Last year, Bowen's office was formally shut down, with none of the missing cash recovered or accounted for. Remember Bowen's 10 years of frustration as Washington starts shoving new billions of dollars into the morass of its newest ill-defined war. The tab just for the direct military cost of this latest ISIS, et al misadventure will be as much as $22 billion — a year.

How much of our cash for this misadventure will be stolen or "missing"? And just think how much good that money would do if we invested it here in our own people?

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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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s Paul Berkowitz to Perform All-Schubert Piano Recital

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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UCSB piano meister Paul Berkowitz will perform an all-Franz Schubert piano recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, in the UCSB Music Building.

Paul Berkowit
Paul Berkowitz

Professor Berkowitz's program will include Schubert's Six Moments Musicaux (1828), D. 780, the Twelve German Dances, D. 790 (1823), the Piano Fantasy in C-Major, D. 605a, "Grazer Fantasy" (1818) and the Three Piano Pieces, D. 946 (1828).

Berkowitz is in the middle of a large-scale Schubert recording project that is likely to become as definitive a vision of the composer's piano works as we are likely to get in our generation. Certainly a coherent treatment of any genre of Schubert's compositions — especially by an artist as sensitive and intelligent as Berkowitz — will be most welcome, for there is much that is baffling about this composer. About the only thing about him that is easy to understand is his enduring popularity.

Schubert's fans form as distinct a group of music lovers as those obsessed with Italian opera. Many of those devoted to classical music — including most of the musicians I know — put Johann Sebastian Bach at the summit of composers. Yet they only aver that Bach is the greatest composer, not the only one.

Many of the Schubertians I know, on the other hand, seldom listen to anyone else: He fulfills all their requirements. They aren't so much music lovers as Schubert lovers. Still, while I have many quarrels with Bach supremacists, when I encounter an ardent Schubertian, no grounds for argument ever present themselves. The Schubertians enjoy an irreducible bond with their idol, and there is nothing to be said about it.

Schubert's music, indeed, inspires little in the way of intellectual activity. You need no educational background or wide musical experience. He is as accessible as Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Mainly, he is a songwriter, whether there are words being sung or not. Emotional simplicity is his strongest suit, and he is best appreciated in these small works, as in his songs. He puts you immediately inside the emotional landscape of each piece, and makes it impossible to do anything but let yourself be carried along. Generally, when a piece ends, we wish it would go on.

Schubert's difficulties with larger scaled works are well-documented. When a musicologist says that the symphonies of Bruckner are influenced by Schubert's symphonies, he is not complimenting either composer, but saying that the works of both are shapeless and sprawling.

It seems to me that Schubert had very little influence as a piano composer. Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann were the movers and shapers there. In the seemingly fundamental matter of thematic development, Schubert usually gets a C-. But, when one musician asked Igor Stravinsky if Schubert's rambling developments didn't put him to sleep, Stravinsky replied, "Yes, but what does it matter if, when I wake up, I am in Paradise?"

Tickets to Berkowitz's Schubert recital are $10 for general admission and $5 for all students except UCSB students, who will be admitted free.

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

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Washington Elementary Cooking Up Inaugural Lobster Boil to Benefit Programs, Services

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Washington Elementary School on the Mesa is hosting its inaugural Lobster Boil at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

“We are so thankful to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club for hosting our first lobster boil,” said Tara Haaland-Ford, Washington School PTO president. “We can’t think of a more appropriate way to raise funds for our educational programs and services than a lobster boil on our beautiful Santa Barbara waterfront.”

Guests will feast on fresh lobster and crab while enjoying the evening’s program of live entertainment, music, dancing and a live dessert auction.

Seating for the lobster boil is limited. Tickets are available by invitation only. Please contact development director Linda Rosso at llindarosso805@gmail.com or 209.601.8918 if you are interested in receiving an invitation.

Sponsorship of the lobster boil includes event tickets and visibility among 600 Washington school families and 200 event guests. Sponsorship opportunities include:

» Wildcat Sponsor $10,000 — includes 25 tickets, VIP parking and premier seating ocation

» Big Cat Sponsor $7,500 — includes 20 tickets

» Top Cat Sponsor $5,000 — includes 15 tickets

» Cool Cat Sponsor $2,500 — includes 10 tickets

» Alley Cat Sponsor $1,000 — includes four tickets

For more information, contact Rosso at 805.845.5143, 209.601.8918 or lindarosso805@gmail.com.

— Linda Rosso is the development director for Washington Elementary School.

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PathPoint’s Residential Support Services Creating Real-Life Success Stories

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Embraced by PathPoint’s Residential Support Services, Nina is now feeling right at home at her downtown Santa Barbara apartment. (PathPoint photo){
Embraced by PathPoint’s Residential Support Services, Nina is now feeling right at home at her downtown Santa Barbara apartment. (PathPoint photo)

After careers as a young woman in the Navy and a professional boxer, “Nina” fell into drugs and alcohol and was homeless for 23 years. With the support of PathPoint’s Residential Support Services, a result of the Behavioral Health Division’s partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, Nina was housed and receives ongoing services from PathPoint.

Celebrating 50 years in 2014, PathPoint provides life skills, vocational training and placement services to the underserved who require special assistance. PathPoint’s Behavioral Health Division works side by side with the medical community to improve the lives of our members through housing; supportive services for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless; the mentally ill; and those struggling with substance abuse.

PathPoint’s Residential Support Services provide integrated and individualized treatment, rehabilitation and support services to individuals such as Nina. PathPoint collaborates with the Santa Barbara Housing Authority on three innovative projects: El Carrillo, Artisan Court and Bradley Studios. All of these projects are affordable-housing developments in downtown Santa Barbara that provide housing for the formerly homeless and individuals with mental illnesses.

These programs are evidence-based in nature, and support research findings demonstrating that individuals challenged by the disabling effects of mental illness benefit from successful daily life pursuits, including regular, competitive employment; meaningful relationships; and stable, permanent and affordable housing.

During her long history of survival on the streets, Nina used her fighting skills to defend herself, spent time in jail and prison, detoxed from drugs and alcohol and experienced recovery alone, slept in a carport for several years, and lived off of recycling income and whatever resources she could find. When eventually housed after years of homelessness, she found it to be a challenging transition. She could not sleep at night, and would sometimes sleep in her old carport shelter to ease her anxiety.

After meeting weekly with the Residential Support Services coordinator, Nina adjusted to having her own home, was connected to the Veterans Affairs Department, now has full medical services, and her diabetes is under control. Nina has great insight into the spiral of addiction and the trauma of street life, and recognizes that she is no longer isolated thanks to her community of supporters and the PathPoint services she receives with her housing — something she would not give up for anything.

October marks the kick off of PathPoint’s fall 50th anniversary celebrations. PathPoint participants, donors, sponsors, family members, community members and employees will gather to commemorate the special milestone of 50 years of service to adults with special needs Saturday, Oct. 25, at La Cumbre County Club. Call 805.961.9200 x1100 to purchase tickets.

Click here for more information about PathPoint, or call 805.966.3310.

— Corinne Hayhurst is communications manager at PathPoint.

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Jeff Moehlis: Erasure-head — A Chat with Vince Clarke

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Synth wizard talks about the band's upcoming show in Ventura

In the synthpop world, there aren't many artists who have enjoyed the artistic and commercial success that songwriter/synth wizard Vince Clarke has.

As a founding member of Depeche Mode, he wrote the early singles "Just Can't Get Enough," "Dreaming of Me" and "New Life," and spearheaded the band's 1981 debut album Speak & Spell before making a quick exit. Next came the short-lived band Yaz(oo) and songs including "Only You" and the dance masterpiece "Situation."

In 1985, Clarke joined forces with singer Andy Bell to form Erasure, a band that has been going strong ever since. They have sold over 25 million albums, and have an amazing list of hit singles including "O L'amour," "Sometimes," "Victim of Love," "Chains of Love," "A Little Respect," "Blue Savannah" and "Always." Just over a month ago, they released their 16th studio album, The Violet Flame, which has been getting favorable comparisons with their recordings of decades past.

Erasure will be performing at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Sunday, Oct. 26. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Clarke talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show and more. The full interview is available by clicking here.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming concert?

Vince Clarke: The show's about an hour and a half long, and we'll be playing mostly stuff from our back catalog, a lot of which has been kind of manipulated and extended for this show. And then, obviously, we'll be playing some songs from our new record. It's a bit of a disco show.

JM: Sounds great! You mentioned the new record. How do you view that album in relation to the rest of the Erasure catalog?

VC: Once you've made the record, it's very hard for me to put it into context with everything else that I've done, because it's so new. I think certain songs take on different meanings as we grow older.

That's certainly been true for the songs we've done in the past. Or something that you don't really understand, perhaps, suddenly takes on its own kind of meaning when it's performed live.

JM: I find it amazing that you found Andy Bell just by putting an advertisement in a music newspaper. Do you remember what stood out about him compared with the other people that responded to the ad?

VC: The thing that we noticed immediately was the fact that Andy could sing the songs with such emotion. His emotional interpretations of the songs just seemed to be perfect.

JM: Obviously it worked out — you guys have been making music together for almost three decades now. Do you have a secret that you think has helped you to stay together, and seemingly get along with each other, all these years?

VC: I think the secret really is the amount of trust that we have between us. We both write the songs together, and I think writing songs is a very personal thing. You have to have the right person to work with to do that. You have to work with somebody you trust, and that's something that Andy and I have had between us, that we've learned over the years.

JM: If you don't mind going way back in time, what initially drew you to electronic music and the synthesizer as an instrument?

VC: I guess I was just inspired by people like Gary Numan, The Human League, you know, the first Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark record. They were so unique and different from anything else that was happening. I really felt I wanted to be a part of that scene.

JM: Technology has advanced immensely since you first started writing and recording music. How has that affected the way you approach making music?

VC: I don't think it's changed the way we approach music, because me and Andy still sit down and write songs with guitars. That, for us, is the priority. I mean, all the toys come later. But I guess as far producing a record is concerned, it's a lot easier and there's a lot more choices. And it's good and bad [laughs].

JM: My favorite Erasure song is "A Little Respect." Can you tell me a little bit about how that came together?

VC: That was written ... I had a house in London, and Andy came around and we were just messing about on the guitar, really, and I came up with this guitar riff or this guitar pattern. Andy just started singing little bits of melody into the tape recorder. It was pieced together like that. It's one of those songs that really didn't mean anything in the beginning, and then once it was played and performed, especially performed live, then it started taking on a meaning.

JM: I hope you're finding that America is still receptive to your music.

VC: It's been great. It's been really great. A lot of people come to our concerts that have been coming to our concerts for years, so that's always lovely to see. And nobody's asked for their money back.

JM: You're clearly doing something right!

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Laurie Jervis: Spicy Black Bean Soup for Fall Nights, Hearty Reds

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Despite the recent triple-digit heat wave, the Central Coast's version of autumn has indeed arrived. The afternoon light is softer, winds have mellowed and morning temperatures are cool.

The bulk of Santa Barbara County's winemakers have harvested their 2014 fruit in what some are calling as one of the earliest and "quickest" harvests on record. To be sure, some slower-to-mature red Bordeauxs remain on the vine, but will likely see a cellar by at least the end of October.

We mortals are not the only ones to discern the change in seasons: Vines, when picked clean of grapes, enjoy a proverbial seventh-inning stretch and look ahead to hibernation, known in the plant world as senescence.

Once green leaves' chlorophylls break down and the sugars, proteins and starches are transitioned to storage inside the vine for winter's dormancy, the hues of yellow, orange and brown become clearly visible.

Like many others, I view autumn as a vineyard's prettiest season, and spend most of my commutes admiring the contrast between vines' orange and yellow leaves and the bright green carpet of cover crops that sprout between the rows. 

If by day I admire colorful vineyards, by evening I celebrate autumn with a longtime favorite recipe, Zesty Black Bean Soup. 

I first tried this in 1986 at the Off Broadway Cafe, a Captiva Island, Fla., restaurant that, to the best of my knowledge, no longer exists. No matter. I have a torn, ragged paper copy of a March 1987 column by longtime writer Jeremy Iggers, who then wrote about food for the Detroit Free Press. 

In his column, Iggers highlighted this bean soup as one that doesn't result in the gas that creates havoc with diners' digestive systems. 

Some of the more difficult-to-locate ingredients are likely available in Asian or Indian markets, he noted. 

Ingredients

2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil

½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, finely minced

2 tbsp. fennel seeds

1 tbsp. black mustard seeds

1 tbsp. cumin seeds

1 medium onion, diced

½-inch piece fresh ginger root, minced

Six plump cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (or more to taste)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. curry powder

½ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Three 15-ounce cans black beans

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with puree

Juice of one lemon

One bunch cilantro, minced

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: In a large, heavy pot, heat oil slightly and add coconut, fennel seeds, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Saute two minutes, until slightly brown (don't burn). 

Add onion, ginger and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and cayenne pepper. Add beans and tomatoes. 

Mix well and simmer for one hour, covered, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with corn chips. Yield: Six generous servings.

This soup is an ideal match for hearty red wines such as syrah, cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel. 

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via winecountrywriter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are her own.

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3 Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Home-Invasion Robbery

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Investigators were searching for three men who committed a "home-invasion style" robbery early Wednesday in Isla Vista, according to UC Santa Barbara officials.

The incident occurred at about 1:45 a.m. at a residence in the 700 block of Camino Del Sur, according to an alert sent out by UCSB.

"Three suspects entered a residence and demanded property," the alert said. "One suspect brandished a knife, and there was a threat of a gun, however, no gun was seen. The suspects were last seen heading towards El Colegio Road."

The suspects were described as a Hispanic male adult with a heavy build and pony-tail, and wearing a gray shirt; a male approximately 30 years old, with a slender build and pock-marked face; and a male white adult, approximately 20 years old, 6-foot-2, with a slender build and a chin-strap beard.

Anyone with any information about this incident or any other crime is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 805.681.4171 or at the following link: www.sbsheriff.org/anonymoustips.html.

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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Steven Crandell: Funding Locally, and the Story Behind the Well

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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In philanthropy, as in most human endeavors, lasting change is elusive.

But when donors act to replace local dependency with local capacity, they can empower a locally led and stakeholder-supported evolution of service. Responsive growth can become part of a project’s DNA. And change, fed by local needs and local dreams, becomes both durable and flexible.

Santa Barbara County is full of generous people who give because they perceive genuine need. There are many nonprofit organizations that exist to fill that need. But we all benefit — donors, nonprofits and the communities being served — when we ask a simple question: Are we building capacity as well as serving immediate needs?

I believe we can all draw inspiration from an African example. The town of Makutano, Kenya, “transformed itself from a poor, inaccessible and arid ‘outback’ into a thriving hotbed of people-led development,” according to a 2011 report.* Part of the story of Makutano’s success depended on its partnership with a key external funder, the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) working in concert with the Makutano Community Development Association.

The former leader of the KCDF put the key issue beautifully in the following quote, which leads the report:

“Development is the story behind the well ... you can have a community that wants a well to get better water, and most development agencies are happy to just help a community sink a well, get a water pump and say, ‘Hurrah, we have clean water, we have done our job’ ... We were arguing that just getting the well is not enough — because that isn’t the development.

“The development, we were arguing, is the story behind the well; it’s how you get the well that’s important.

“Did you build local capacities? Did you change attitudes? Did you help the community to think differently?

“Did you help them to see that you are not going to be there to repair the well?”

        — Monica Mutuku, founding director, Kenya Community Development Foundation

Here are six factors that helped make the Makutano philanthropy work:

Common Vision and Approach

The donor-community relationship is based on an understanding that residents are owners and agents of their own development.

Harness Local Contributions, Build Local Assets

Encouraging local giving is part of building local infrastructure. And local infrastructure — whether physical, social, organizational or educational — is the key to self-determination.

Build Software and Hardware

This means supporting organizational capacity as well as concrete action plans. Analysis and planning can be funded as well as tangible assets and financial management.

Give Consistently and Consistent with Community Change

Keep your funding at a scale that doesn’t undermine community ownership or overwhelm capacity. Smaller amounts given consistently over a longer term can be very helpful.

Foster Long-Term Sustainability

Mobilize local resources as a means of increasing independence. Use matching funds to encourage other donors to contribute.

Patience

Accept that change takes time and requires multiple participants.

Source: Funding Locally, a guide created by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

* Halima Mahomed and Brianne Peters (2011) “The Story Behind the Well: A case study of successful community development in Makutano, Kenya.” Published by the Global Fund for Community Foundations and the Coady International Institute.

Additional Resources: A 2014 update on Makatuno from PartnershipsInAction, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation

— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at stevencrandell@noozhawk.com, or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Cox Communications Doubling Internet Speeds in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Cox Communications on Wednesday began doubling the speeds on two of its most popular Internet service packages, Cox High Speed Internet Preferred and Cox High Speed Internet Premier.

These packages represent more than 75 percent of Cox’s high-speed Internet customers. Internet service speeds also will be increased on Cox High Speed Internet Ultimate service package.

The rollout of the new speeds will be completed by Thursday for customers in the Santa Barbara area.

With speeds as fast as 150 megabits, Cox continues to provide its customers with the fastest residential speeds. The increased speeds come on the heels of the company’s announced plans to offer gigabit speeds in all of its markets by the end of 2016.

Cox High Speed Internet Preferred will increase from 25 megabits per second to 50 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Premier will increase from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Ultimate will increase from 100 megabits to 150 megabits per second.

“Internet usage is doubling every two years, and this increase marks the 10th consecutive Internet speed increase in 11 years for our customers,” said Suzanne Schlundt, vice president of marketing for Cox Communications in California. “Consumers are adding more and more devices to their Wi-Fi networks to stream movies and TV shows, download music and share photographs. We’ll continue to invest in our network to offer a broadband experience that not only meets our customers’ needs, but exceeds them.”

Examples of what customers can do with the new speed increases (depending on the service plan):

» Download an email attachment — in less than a second

» Download 10 MP3 songs — in less than a second to one second

» Upload 30 vacation photos — in less than a second up to two seconds

» Upload a video clip up to 35MB — in two to eight seconds

» Download a full-length movie in one minute up to less than four minutes

In addition:

» Cox offers a wide array of broadband service packages designed to suit anyone’s needs, from the casual email user to power gamers and households with multiple family members using the Internet simultaneously.

» All Cox Internet customers receive free cloud storage, and the Cox Security Suite Plus and McAfee Family Protection, a comprehensive package of Internet security tools to help ensure online safety with anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, parental controls and more.

» Cox customers with the Preferred or higher packages have free access to 300,000 Wi-Fi hotspots when they travel to cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., so they can stay connected on the go.

Customers interested in experiencing the new Internet speeds can click here or visit a local Cox Solutions Store to test drive the new speeds.

— Ceanne Guerra is the media and public relations manager for Cox Communications.

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Falcon Vision of Santa Barbara Launches New Online Ordering System

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Locally owned and operated business Falcon Vision of Santa Barbara will now provide an online ordering service for pre-employment screenings and background checks.

Todd Malesky
Todd Malesky

Employers can now receive the results of these screenings online without signing a contract. All you need is a name and a credit card.

“It’s a more intuitive and provocative system,” said Falcon Vision owner Todd Malesky, referring to the site’s aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use interface.

Malesky understands the pains of getting a background check done. When Malesky created a software prototype for pre-employment screenings in 2009, the goal was to make the pre-employment screening process as simple as possible.

Because of this approach to the product and to customer service, it’s no surprise that Falcon Vision has never lost one of its 50 customers during its five-year run.

"It's a confusing process for many," Malesky said. “I can confidently say that we have saved them money and made the process much easier for them.”

Malesky is excited to provide a simple way for one-time users to receive background checks. The user-friendly system is great for the private employer or small business.

With this strong foundation in building easy-to-use products customer, Falcon Vision is projected to have 50% growth in the next year.

“There have been so many wonderful advances," Malesky said, "and we are really happy to be at this point of growth and development so we can support the community.”

Falcon Vision can be reached by clicking here, or by email at info@falconvision.com or phone at 805.755.4717.

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Author/Human Rights Activist Stella Pope Duarte to Receive UCSB’s Luis Leal Award

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Author Stella Pope Duarte is this year’s recipient of UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.

Stella Pope Duarte
Stella Pope Duarte

The award will be presented during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Science Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Duarte is the author of the highly praised novels Let Their Spirits Dance and If I Die in Juárez, as well as two collections of short stories — Fragile Nights and Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories.

“Stella Pope Duarte is a powerful writer about Mexican American barrio life in the Southwest and about the role of women in Chicano culture,” said Mario García, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Duarte is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Her novel If I Die in Juárez earned a 2009 American Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. It won the Southwest Book of the Year Award in the Top Pick category, and was named the Arizona Book of the Year in the category of Best in Popular Fiction. The novel also garnered the Foreword Book of the Year award and the Independent Publisher’s Book of the Year award, as well as receiving an honorable mention in the International Latino Book Awards.

Duarte’s novel Let Their Spirits Dance was nominated to Oprah’s Book Sense List and received the AZ Highways Fiction Award. It also was nominated for ONEBOOKAz, a statewide project aimed at promoting literacy and fostering a sense of community.

In 2008, Duarte earned first prize in the 34th Annual Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine for her short story collection Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories.

Born in and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix, Duarte is a recipient of the Women In American History award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in 2013 was selected to be part of the Public Broadcasting System’s production “Makers: Women Who Make America.” Twice awarded creative writing fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Duarte is also the author of Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The Memoir of a Writer’s Soul.

The Leal Award is named in honor of Luis Leal, a professor emeritus of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCSB, who was internationally recognized as a leading scholar of Chicano and Latino literature. Previous award recipients of the award include Demetria Martínez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Graciela Limón, Pat Mora, Alejandro Morales, Helena Maria Viramontes, Oscar Hijuelos, Rudolfo Anaya, Denise Chávez, Hector Tobar and John Rechy.

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

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Dead Bird in Santa Ynez Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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A western scrub jay collected in Santa Ynez has tested positive for West Nile virus infection.

An alert local citizen reported the dead bird to the West Nile Virus Hotline.

This is the only WNV detection in Santa Barbara County this year. No human WNV cases have been reported in Santa Barbara County this year. West Nile virus has been detected in Santa Barbara County in previous years. This year has been a record year for WNV detections in other counties of California.

"This is a particularly late detection that reminds us that mosquitoes and West Nile virus are still active despite the drought and cooler weather," said Kenneth Learned, vector biologist for the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.

The district routinely looks for West Nile virus in adult mosquitoes, in the district's sentinel chicken flocks and in dead birds.

Most people who get infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Some people will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches and recover after a few days to several weeks. However, the elderly and individuals with suppressed immune systems are at increased risk for more serious, and potentially life-threatening illness.

West Nile virus is passed primarily between birds by mosquitoes. Humans, horses and other animals can become infected with WNV if bitten by an infected mosquito. Human-to-human transmission of WNV does not occur.

The public is advised to take the following precautions to reduce the risk mosquito-borne disease transmission: Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and dawn. When outdoors, wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and use mosquito repellants. Ensure that door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair. Eliminate standing and stagnant water to prevent mosquito breeding. Vaccinations are available for horses from your veterinarian.

More information about West Nile virus is available by clicking here. Dead or sick birds can be reported to the West Nile Virus Dead Bird Hotline at 877.968.2473.

— David Chang is general manager of the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.

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UC Santa Barbara Foundation Welcomes New Trustees for New Academic Year

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Five new trustees have been elected to the board of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation, a leadership body that promotes the university by increasing philanthropy, and managing and growing the endowment.

As UCSB’s principal fundraising organization, the nonprofit foundation generates and administers private gifts to the campus, including support for students, research and instruction. It also ensures the appropriate use of all private funds.

Helping to forge links between the professional and business communities and the campus to increase private support for university programs, the foundation plays a critical role in promoting and achieving fundraising goals and priorities. The board consists of philanthropic leaders sharing a commitment to advance UCSB’s mission and sustain its reputation for excellence.

“We are honored and thrilled to welcome these five visionary and dynamic leaders — all accomplished alumni of UC Santa Barbara — to our foundation board,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “Our academic community is continually inspired and uplifted by the tremendous vision, devotion, guidance and philanthropic support of our outstanding trustees.”

Board chair Marcy Carsey added: “Our new UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustees will add another extraordinary layer to our already stellar board. Collectively and as individuals, our members are devoted to advancing the mission of this great university through private giving, advocacy and engagement. This new group raises the bar yet again. We welcome their vision and leadership.”

The new trustees for the 2014-15 year are:

» Robert Ballard ’65 — Professor of oceanography, University of Rhode Island; Earth Science Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB, 1998; Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB Alumni Association, 1985 (Narragansett, RI)

» Elizabeth Gabler ’77 — President, Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment; member, UC Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center Advisory Board; UCSB commencement speaker, 2006 (Santa Barbara)

» Ambassador Marc Grossman ’73 — Vice chairman, The Cohen Group; Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB Alumni Association, 2001 (Arlington, VA)

» George Holbrook, Jr. ’53 — Managing partner, Bradley Resources Company; member, UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency Director’s Council; honoree, UCSB Engineering Exemplary Service Award, 2012 (Santa Barbara)

» Michael Koch ’89 — Surgeon and partner, New York Group for Plastic Surgery; member, New York Campaign Committee (New York)

“The university is so fortunate to welcome these outstanding leaders to our foundation board,” said Beverly Colgate, executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. “Our trustees bring unique external perspectives to our campus, and we so value their contribution of time, vision and leadership. Our new group of trustees are notably accomplished nationally as well as internationally and we are thankful for their commitment and investment in the university.”

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Max McCumber: Time to Salute the Obscure in Sports

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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One doesn't need a Halloween costume to be acceptably obscure, this time of year or ever. Sometimes all that is necessary is a sports jersey. The same athletic costume worn performing a entirely different task than usual suffices.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

Although its not their primary role, some standing 7 feet or taller on basketball courts have been fair outside shooters. Not Shaquille O'Neal, who could barely sink free throws. I seem to recall a game staged in New Jersey — well before the Nets moved over to Brooklyn, of which the visiting Los Angeles Lakers had all but clinched the victory. In the final minute or so, Shaq fired a shot from the three-point line. I remember broadcaster Chick Hearn half-jokingly saying, "OK, don't shoot the three, Shaq." Whether or not it was an airball has escaped me, but it didn't come close to a swish.

In high school, I threw the shot put and discus on the track team. Most of the throwing event participants are the slowest ones on the roster. As a joke, we sometimes held a throwers 4x100 relay at the end of meets. Vice-versa, a few wiry distance runners tried their hands at the throwing events at some dual meets.

Kids who pitch in Little League baseball are rarely restricted to such activity; it's customary for them to switch field positions. Not so at the big league level, where pitchers are now specialized down to starters, left-handed one-out, set-up and closers.

Which is why the sight of a position player on the mound in an MLB game is regarded as awkward and comical. It only happens if a team is on the losing end of a blowout score, say 16-1, and a prime opportunity to give the bullpen a rest. Then, or a seemingly never-ending affair that lasts 15-20 innings.

Had the marathon 18-inning Division Series game featuring the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals taken place in the regular season a few months prior, a position player would have been more likely to pitch. The Giants' Hunter Pence would be the most amusing one to assume this role. Considering how unorthodox his style of play is, Pence would probably have a herky jerky windup.

One of the most notable position players to record a pitching appearance has been Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs. On a few occasions, Boggs came in relief as a knuckleballer. His stuff may not have been on the same level as R.A. Dickey or the Niekro brothers, but he got the job done.

On the flip side, a pitcher is often the weakest offensive player in a big league lineup. Sure, I like the traditionalist argument against the designated hitter, as the National League lends itself more to strategic intrigue with double switches. Beyond that, though, it's more amusing to see a hurler at the plate with a goofy, upright stance.

In 1967, St. Louis Cardinals hurler Bob Gibson impressively hit a home run. It caught everyone by surprise. Yes, I'd rather see a pitcher bat than just another offensive weapon in the DH spot. However, I would prefer the American League keep the DH and it stay out of the National. This way, if a Junior Circuit pitcher ekes out a hit in an interleague or World Series game, it stands out as something the crowd least expects.

In the World Series this year, the Giants' Madison Bumgarner may not bat in a game if he's not due to start in San Francisco, but he's no slouch. If not for Clayton Kershaw. he would be a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award. Bumgarner is not too bad of a hitter either, with four homers in the regular season.

The mere sight of the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs is surreal enough for someone my age. Since I was born the year after their last trip in 1985, it was something I had never been alive to see before their thrilling victory in the AL Wild Card Game. To me, its akin to the Chicago Cubs appearing in the Fall Classic.

Last but not least, yet another Derek Jeter salute, but I must mention the flip play. What he accomplished against the Oakland Athletics in the 2001 playoffs is an enduring piece of baseball lore due to its obscurity. When else has a shortstop nailed a runner at home from the first base line?

What if athletes were all automatons programmed to stay the same spot and perform the same function repeatedly? It sounds more like a science fiction premise than a sporting event. Sports would be deprived of too much character without breaks in routines.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Fetes Longtime Supporters at ‘Evening in Bloom’

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s second annual fundraiser, "An Evening in Bloom," brought together nearly 250 people on Saturday at Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria for a glamorous evening filled with beautiful orchids, generous supporters and heartwarming stories.

The gala honored local flower growers with deep roots in community involvement, Ed Van Wingerden, owner of Ever-Bloom, and brother Win Van Wingerden, owner of Maximum Nursery and an honorary member of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s board of trustees. The honorees are both longtime supporters of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and also served as auctioneers for the event.

“Each year, our fall fundraiser recognizes people in the community who have made a powerful impact on the lives of young girls, and reminds us why it is important that we each do our part as well,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Ed and Win are outstanding supporters who are dedicated to our mission to grow healthy, educated and independent girls. We thank them for all they have done and continue to do for Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.”

All proceeds supported the organization’s mission to empower girls and women to achieve personal, social, economic and political success and cultivate confident, successful girls.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 700 girls each year through a variety of programs, motivating them to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

Guests were greeted with a red carpet entrance followed by a cocktail reception, dinner buffet, live and silent auctions, and dancing to The Rincon’s later in the evening, in a unique setting among long rows of stunning orchids.

This year’s event co-chairs were Donna Baird of Baird Wealth Strategy Group and Stefanie Herrington, an estate planning attorney at Bartlett & Herrington in Carpinteria. Carpinteria Unified School board president Andy Sheaffer served as master of ceremonies.

Bloom
Former Girls Inc. of Carpinteria member Graciela Rodriguez speaks at “An Evening in Bloom,” sharing her story of how the organization changed her life. (David Powdrell photo)

Ruthie Tremmel, former executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, introduced Ed and Win Van Wingerden and presented the honorees with plaques of recognition. The brothers were honored to be longtime supporters of the organization.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria board president Clyde Freeman recognized Mary Crowley, former president of the board of trustees who served for seven years with the organization. She was presented with a certificate of recognition and Freeman graciously thanked her for the many years of leadership and dedication.

Graciela Rodriguez, a first grade teacher at the Adelante Charter School in Santa Barbara and Girls Inc. alum, shared her story about how the organization helped her discover her potential and opened her eyes to endless possibilities, crediting Girls Inc. for being her lifeline.

“It wasn’t until I received counseling and got involved in Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s teen programs that my life changed dramatically,” said Rodriguez, who shared her struggles with body image as a teenager and her fight with anorexia and bulimia. “Girls Inc. challenged me to make something positive out of my struggle and gave me the opportunity to do so.”

Rodriguez has been part of the Girls Inc. family for 30 years, as a member, employee, and currently a member of the Girls Inc. National Latina Advisory Board. She holds a master’s degree in multiple-subject education and special education. Rodriguez said she feels blessed for the opportunity she has to inspire young children to pursue their dreams and believe that anything is possible, just as Girls Inc. did for her.

“I wanted to share this with all of you to thank you on behalf of girls everywhere for everything you do,” Rodriguez said to the crowd. “As you think about the future of girls and the future of Girls Inc., please remember that the seeds you plant blossom into generations of strong, smart, and bold women. I am a product of Girls Inc.”

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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Bill Cirone: Voting Remains Our Shared Responsibility

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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As the world situation becomes ever more worrisome, we are reminded once again what sets us apart as one of the greatest powers on Earth — our democratic system of governance and our freedoms. Neither comes without a price — and that price is the responsibility to vote. We all know voting is our right. We sometimes forget it is our duty as well, as citizens in a democracy.

Throughout history people have sacrificed their lives for the freedom to vote, and throughout our shrinking world they continue to do so in an effort to elect leaders and influence policies. Yet many in our communities continue to take that right for granted, or relinquish it all together. Statistics from the last California primary show that only 18 percent of registered voters took part in this important civic responsibility.

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, or by absentee ballot in the weeks leading up to that date, citizens will once again have the chance to make their choice among candidates for federal, state and judicial offices, as well as school district, special district and city offices. The ballot will also contain important state and local measures. Once again, apathy or lack of participation will be the greatest threats to the outcome.

I view elections and initiatives through the lens of what is best for children. Because they can’t vote, it is up to us to determine how best to ensure a strong, healthy promising future for this next generation.

Many of the candidates have very clear-cut positions on children’s issues and programs. Plus, several ballot measures and propositions will have direct impact on the children of this state and our community. Several school board seats are also up for election, with direct influence on local school districts.

Parents and adults who advocate for young people can make sure, by their vote, that government will make children a priority in policy matters. As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a democracy, agreement is not essential, but participation is.”

What kind of a nation would we become and what kind of government would we have if people no longer participated?

As we cast our votes for candidates and initiatives, we will be setting priorities for this decade and beyond.

As an educator, I am a strong supporter of school districts’ efforts to support and serve the children and young people in their charge. In this election, several school bonds will appear on the ballot, including Carpinteria, College, Montecito, Santa Maria-Bonita and Santa Barbara City College. Some of the state propositions will also have a direct or indirect effect on school districts. I urge you to get the details of the measures that will affect your family, and cast an educated vote on the various measures.

Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorder Joseph Holland maintains an informative voting website at sbcvote.com. The California League of Women Voters also provides current voting guides at votersedge.org.

I urge all members of our community to learn the positions of various candidates and the details of the various measures, and to use that knowledge to take part in this important aspect of our democracy. Exercise your right to vote and encourage others to do so as well. It’s the price we pay for our freedoms.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Ynez Football Teams, Booster Club to ‘Go Pink’ for Cancer Awareness at Friday’s Games

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Boys Will Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a tribute to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School varsity and junior varsity football teams will don pink socks at their game on Friday when they play Pioneer Valley High School.

The game time for junior varsity is 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. for the varsity team.

The Football Booster Club will sell pink cupcakes and run a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds going toward the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic-Solvang Oncology Department. The cupcakes will be donated by the Solvang Bakery.

“They were a huge success last year,” said Charlene Hiatt, Football Booster Club treasurer and coordinator for the “Go Pink” fundraiser. “Last year we had some very generous people paying up to $20 for a cupcake! We’re hoping to see those same generous people embrace our efforts this year.”

Hiatt’s own mother is a breast cancer survivor.

Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz (oncologist) and Mary Fox (manager of the Solvang Oncology Department) were tickled pink to hear that the teams were going to do this again this year. Last year the Booster Club donated $1,500 for oncology programs and services in the valley.

While Hiatt heads up the SYHS Go Pink fundraiser, it is the football players and coaches who are the driving force behind the mission, the pink socks and the theme.

“Some of our current players and coaches have family members who have recently battled cancer," she said. "It has touched our football program personally.”

The teams will take a moment during the game to recognize and support those in their fight against cancer. Both teams want to show their support and do something to help their local community. While the boys are playing hard on the field, Hiatt and the Football Booster Club will work equally as hard off the field selling cupcakes and running the fundraiser.

— Liz Baker is a marketing coordinator for Sansum Clinic.

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Legislature Approvals Proposals to Improve Residential Care Facilities for Elderly

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County is pleased to note that Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have approved several state legislative proposals addressing problems in residential care facilities for the elderly in the recent session.

"Our communities have changed in the past 20 years, including the residents of assisted living facilities,” said Joyce Ellen Lippman, facilitator of the Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County. “As our community has aged, so has the resident population. The population in assisted living facilities has aged, grown frailer and with more chronic and disabling health conditions."

“Needs of senior citizens are increasing due to numerous factors, such as increasing numbers of the old-old, reduced personal incomes due to the continuing recession and increasing health care costs,” Amy Mallett said. “As chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, we support efforts to meet these needs, including improving care for residents of long-term care facilities.”

“Several bills that made it through the state legislative process are of specific interest to the Abuse Prevention Council,” Lippman said.

These bills include:

» SB 1153, authored by state Sen. Leno, gives the State Department of Social Services the ability to ban new admissions at RCFE’s with significant problems

» SB 911, authored by state Sen. Block, increases requirements for staff and administrator training

» SB 1382, authored by state Sen. Block, raises licensing fees by 20 percent

» SB 895, authored by Sen. Corbett, requires Department of Social Services to post inspection reports and the annual inspection report

» SB 2171, authored by state Sen. Wieckowski, creates the first statutory bill of rights for residents of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly

» AB 1572, authored by Assembly Member Eggman, strengthens family and resident councils

» AB 1523, authored by Assembly Member Atkins, requires liability insurance for RCFE licensees

» AB 1899, authored by Assembly Member Brown, calls for a permanent lifetime ban for licensees who abandon residents

» AB 2044, authored by Assembly Member Rodriguez, ensures every RCFE has a manager or designee present 24 hours a day

“These bills, when enacted, will improve care of RCFE residents, which is our goal," Lippman said. “There are still several issues that remain due to bills that were unable to make it through the state legislative process. These unsuccessful bills would have allowed expedited inspections, created an online consumer information system and mandated annual inspections of RCFEs.”

“During the next legislative session, we will work with our local legislators to address these three issues,” Mallett said. “It is important to protect the residents and ensure their safety.”

For more information, please call 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

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Letter to the Editor: Highway 101 Is Just a Ploy

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Are you surprised at Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schnieder and the City Council majority over Highway 101? Choice is not the end game!

The latest uproar over SBCAG and the lawsuit is only the tip of the iceberg with the mayor and council majority.

Cars Are Basic warned voters if they voted for council members and mayors who advocate for street narrowing, taking of traffic lanes, backing "Bulbout Hell," and other anti-car planning that the end game would be "taking" of your option to drive. The city declared open war on auto drivers.

Voters rebelled in 2009 when faced with "Bulbout Hell" and changed the Santa Barbara council majority. The new majority passed resolutions not to obstruct streets and truck routes. The voters falsely believed they won. Thinking they were protected at the 2011 election, they voted for the old tired majority. This old school majority, in open defiance of resolutions of the past council, steam-rolled ahead with anti-car planning.

Business as usual as if the rebellion never happened. Their anger is directed at the public who dared speak against destruction of city streets and free travel. Back came "Bulbout Hell," narrowing of streets and more. Then came the devastating change in the General Plan allowing for high-density overlay and the authority to declare "overriding" issues ignoring CEQA.

CEQA is the California Environmental Quality Act. CEQA is intended to obstruct and prohibit all interests from "despoiling" the State of California. The left has plowed head long into their own brick wall. Their answer? Ignore it. The high density creates ghettos of housing and businesses without critical parking or street access. Congested parking and streets leading to noise, and pollution in "violation" of CEQA!

Senior traffic planner Rob Dayton (as listed by the city directory) has a 15½-year history of distortion and deception regarding transportation issues. Multiple mayors including Mayor Schneider have refused to demote or fire him. It is important the reader understand this is documented history in destroying your freedom of choice.

Joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting of September 2014: Mr. Dayton presented the "City of Santa Barbara Traffic Impact Study," stating the following. The intersection at Cliff Drive and Montecitio Street is completely saturated (as is the traffic load on Castillo underpass). Conditions of one of three primary reasons CAB worked to stop the city's takeover of Cliff Drive. When asked the outcome of the approved high-density infill allowed by the new city General Plan and future density, Dayton's statement was it will significantly increase congestion. Destroying your right to drive is finally revealed as the true intent of 40 years and the council majority.

The city "outed" itself. No longer is there a pretense of "choice" of transportation.

There should be a chill down the spine of every reader who believes in a free society. The openly admitted impacts of this planning (above joint meeting) will create difficult conditions for businesses, making average traffic a nightmare for everyone (not rush hour) and destroy single family neighborhoods. Congestion will significantly increase costs of goods and services, and degrade living. This planning will forever change the very reason people move to Santa Barbara and south county. When informed of the joint meeting presentation, business owners and operators in the city shake their heads and state this is the long-term end of what they do.

Scott Wenz
Cars Are Basic

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Kimberly Horn: Estate Planning Dos and Don’ts

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The term estate planning can be intimidating when thrown around in conversation. However, it is a vital process that everyone must embrace to eliminate uncertainties associated with the administration of your property. With the proper planning and executed strategies, you can reduce taxes and other expenses while also controlling the distribution of your legacy.

Kimberly Horn
Kimberly Horn

Outlined below are several popular components of estate planning.

Estate planning documents: A will, advance health-care directive, durable power of attorney for finance, durable power of attorney for health care, and a living trust are the typical and key documents to establish. Appropriate titling of your assets is crucial as well. It is important to have a full list of assets and review them with your advisor and attorney every year.

Employer legal insurance: If you work for a large institution, for example UCSB, look into their legal offerings. Typically they offer a discount for employees to secure estate documents. Additionally, they will provide you with a list of approved local attorneys.

Gifting real estate with debt: Beware of unintended consequences when leaving real estate to heirs with mortgages attached to them. This will be important to review with your attorney to ensure that your intentions are properly outlined. For instance, if you are leaving two properties; one to each child and one property has debt associated with it, this should be taken into consideration. Depending on your goals, and if you intend to equalize your assets to your two children, this could become a major entanglement without addressing it in your estate documents.

The one child left behind: Often estate documents are created before a couple is done having children and the “final” child is unintentionally left out. This can easily be addressed by reviewing your documents every few years and updating them with your estate planning attorney.

The one child purposely left behind: If you are intentionally leaving out a child or family member in your living trust and will, please discuss with your attorney to take the appropriate precautions. It is commonly advised to leave $1 dollar as opposed to not mentioning the relative altogether, as it demonstrates it was intentional and not an oversight that can later be contested. An attorney can help with the wording so the language is written in such a way that future legal concerns are avoided.

Successor trustee: Identifying a successor trustee can be an anguishing decision. A family member, friend or corporate trustee are all viable options. Although there are pros and cons for each, I recommend thinking twice before naming all of your children equally. Naming one or two delegates can truly simplify matters. Losing a parent is very painful and difficult. Expecting all your children to be amicable after your death can sometimes be an unrealistic expectation. Family disputes arise even amongst the closest of siblings while working through the complexities of executing a family estate. It is best to communicate your successor trustee plans openly with your children before your demise regardless of your selection.

Bequeathing inhabited properties: Do you have real estate properties which currently have tenants? If so, then consider a clause in the tenants’ lease that will allow your heirs to evict and sell if they should see fit. This can avoid hassles for your heirs down the road should you pass away while holding tenant-occupied properties.

Bank deposit box: Look into labeling your bank deposit box in joint name so that the bank does not seal it closed upon your passing.

Spousal IRAs versus inherited IRAs: It is typically optimal to roll your deceased spouses IRA into a spousal IRA in your individual name and not into an inherited IRA. Not only is this a “free pass” from the IRS so that you can avoid the required minimum distributions of an inherited IRA (and the associated federal and state income taxes), but you are also avoiding a commonly unrecognized risk. Inherited IRAs are not protected from creditors in the event of a bankruptcy case.

Lifetime gifting: Gifting during your lifetime is both admirable and a strategic estate planning technique. But truth be told, it is important to not sacrifice your own retirement plan in the process.Reviewing your retirement plan with your financial advisor is paramount in these situations.

Beneficiaries: Review your beneficiaries on 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, annuities and life insurance to confirm they are up to date. Otherwise, these assets could transfer to an unintended recipient. Take the time to update them accordingly.

— Kimberly Horn, M.B.A., CFP, AAMS, AWMA, is a client advocate at Monarch Wealth Strategies. She can be reached at kimberly@mwsus.com or 805.564.0800 x123. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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PacWest Bancorp Reports Net Earnings of $62.3 Million for Third Quarter

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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PacWest Bancorp announced on Wednesday net earnings for the third quarter of 2014 of $62.3 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the second quarter of 2014 of $10.6 million, or 10 cents per diluted share.

When certain income and expense items described below are excluded, adjusted net earnings are $68.4 million, or 66 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2014 and $63.8 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2014.

"The operating metrics of our third quarter are outstanding," President/CEO Matt Wagner said. "We originated $975 million of loans and leases resulting in annualized portfolio growth of 14 percent. Core deposits grew $269 million during the quarter, with $85 million of such growth coming from CapitalSource division borrowers. At Sept. 30, CapitalSource division borrowers had $193 million on deposit with us and our team continues to have a strong pipeline.

"On the earnings side, we posted a robust adjusted earnings of $68.4 million, or 66 cents per share, that represent a 1.73 percent return on average assets and a 15.8 percent return on average tangible equity. Our credit quality remains strong, with substantial reductions in nonaccrual and classified loans and leases. These strong operating results, along with the asset generation momentum from the CapitalSource merger, position us well for continued growth and success."

Vic Santoro, executive vice president and CFO, said, "Our net interest margin and expense control were strong in the third quarter. Our core net interest margin remains quite solid at 5.64 percent. The third quarter adjusted efficiency ratio at 43 percent held steady with the second quarter. We continue to build capital, with a tangible common equity ratio of 12.2 percent at the end of September."

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Westmont Observatory to Open for Partial Solar Eclipse

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Westmont Observatory will open for a partial solar eclipse from 2:15 to 5 p.m. Thursday.

At its peak, the moon will cover more than 30 percent of the sun at 3:30 p.m. The viewing is free and open to the public.

Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor, and two members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit will set up three special telescopes in front of the observatory for the viewing.

“We will have white light scopes, which are equipped with neutral density filters, as well as scopes that will view the sun in hydrogen-alpha, the red line of hydrogen,” he says. “Just for fun, I will also bring a colander from the kitchen to project multiple images of the chunk taken out of the sun onto the wall of the observatory. When viewed this way, these images are a show stopper.”

The moon slid into the Earth’s shadow in April and October, giving us two total lunar eclipses this year. Interestingly, nowhere on Earth will this solar eclipse be a total eclipse.

The observatory opens its doors to the public every third Friday of the month in conjunction with the SBAU, whose members bring their own telescopes to Westmont for the public to gaze through.

The observatory sits between Russell Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex at Westmont. Parking is free for guests, but may be limited since classes are in session.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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Letter to the Editor: A Poem for Election Season

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Election time is upon us. A small, poetic offering — Don Basilio's Aria from The Barber of Seville — to go along with the season.

Let me teach you the art of slander,
So ethereal you scarcely feel it.
Not a motion will reveal it,
Till it gently, o so gently,
Almost imperceptibly begins to grow.
First a murmur, slowly seeping,
Then a whisper, slowly creeping,
Slyly sneaking, softly sliding,
Faintly humming, smoothly gliding.
Then it suddenly commences,
Coming nearer, reaching people's ears and senses.
First a mere insinuation,
Just a hinted accusation,
Slowly growing to a rumor,
Which will shortly start to flow.
What began as innuendo
Soon is swelling in crescendo;
Gossip turning into scandal,
Stopping nowhere, hard to handle;
Louder, Bolder, brazen sounding,
Stomping, beating, thumping, pounding,
Shrieking, banging, booming, clanging,
Spreading horror through the air.
Rising higher, overflowing,
Whipped to fury, madly growing,
Like a stream of lava pouring,
Like a mighty cannon roaring.
A tremendous tempest raking,
A tornado splitting, shaking,
Like the day of judgment breaking,
Pandemonium ev'rywhere!
And the victim, poor accused one,
Has to slink away in shame
And wish he never had been born.

Russell W. Newby
Goleta

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Santa Barbara Transient Occupancy Tax Continues Growth in September

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Santa Barbara lodging establishments collected and remitted $1.61 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) during September, which is 6.9 percent higher than September of last year.

In total, more than $6.1 million in ongoing TOT revenue has been collected through September, 8.5 percent ahead of this point last year and ahead of the 4.9 percent growth needed to meet the adopted budget.

The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 each year. The fiscal year 2014 TOT budget is $17,641,400.

Click here for additional information on TOT.

— Genie Wilson is the treasury manager for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Goleta Council Discusses Parking Plan, Law Enforcement for Isla Vista Halloween

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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City officials say they're concerned that the threat of citations won't be enough to deter out-of-towners from parking in residential areas

With Halloween just days away, Goleta city officials on Tuesday discussed a plan they hope will control parking issues, but only after a somewhat prickly exchange between City Council members and law enforcement.

The City of Goleta is enacting street parking restrictions in neighborhoods around Isla Vista that have been used in years past as parking for the thousands of out-of-town revelers attending Halloween festivities in the largely student-populated community. For a map of the impacted area, scroll down.

This year, the city is implementing a resident-only permit parking program in the restricted area.  The permits, which will be mailed to the residents, will allow them to park on the street.

Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department Lt. Butch Arnoldi, who is Goleta's police chief, said that a total of 18 personnel will be in the area over the weekend. 

"Citations will be issued and arrests will be made," he told the City Council on Tuesday.

Some friction arose, however, when council members pressed Arnoldi about the towing of vehicles that would be taking place on Halloween weekend.

Because the purpose of the parking restrictions is to avoid disruptions to the neighborhood, Arnoldi said that revelers returning to the neighborhoods to find their cars missing "would raise heck," most likely causing a scene early in the morning. 

On top of that, towing would cause more paperwork for a staff already stretched thin, he said.

"If the car is blocking a driveway or a fire hydrant, then those people will be towed, but our primary purpose will be citations," Arnoldi said.

Citing the parked cars would be the first line of defense, he said, but the citations issued will only amount to $37.50 apiece, which Councilman Roger Aceves countered was cheaper than a cab ride from downtown Santa Barbara to Goleta.

Halloween parking
Planned parking restrictions for Halloween weekend in Isla Vista. (City of Goleta map)

"Thirty-seven dollars to these kids is not going to be anything," Councilman Jim Farr said, adding that he hopes the fee can be raised in the future.

Perhaps most critical was Mayor Michael Bennett.

"I'm sorry it inconveniences people," he told Arnoldi. "We want the inconvenience. We want tows."

Vyto Adomaitis, director of  the neighborhood services and public safety department for the city, assured the council that staff heard their concerns and would act accordingly.

Another area of concern arose when several council members asked about the patrol shifts deputies will be working. The shifts are from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., and if any activity is continuing to take place at the end of the shift, Arnoldi said deputies will be required to stay longer to deal with that.

"We will stay as long as we need to stay," he said. "In the past we've towed anywhere from five to 12 vehicles each night, so that will probably be the same, if not more. ... Every sworn deputy will be working that weekend."

Signs will go up next week letting people know about the restricted streets, and tow trucks will be stationed all around the city as a warning.

Permits for residents will be mailed out starting this week, according to Adomaitis.

"They'll probably start going out on Friday and throughout the weekend," he said.

Permits will be delivered to residents in the area before Oct. 27, and if residents do not receive their permit before then, they should contact the city's Neighborhood Services Department at 805.961.7556.

The permits must be requested by noon on Oct. 31 and should be kept in the vehicles parked on the street until 6 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.

If a vehicle is spotted without a permit on the street, residents can call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher will take the information and route it to a deputy for action.

Road access won't be restricted and the parking lots at Girsh Park and Camino Real Marketplace will be open to the public during daytime hours.

If this year's effort is successful, the city may consider expanding the restricted parking area next Halloween.

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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Goleta Council Considers Options for Adding Parking Lots in Old Town

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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City officials vote to move forward with discussions to lease or buy certain parcels near Hollister Avenue

Where to add parking lots in Old Town Goleta — and whether to charge patrons — took center stage Tuesday night at the Goleta City Council meeting.

After looking at several options, and disagreeing slightly about when more parking for the downtown area would actually be needed, council members voted 4-1 to direct staff to pursue discussions to lease or buy certain parcels near Hollister Avenue.

City Councilman Roger Aceves voted against the motion in favor of first tackling a better outline for developing the area through the Old Town Revitalization Plan.

The Goleta City Council was also supposed to approve some policy changes to the Old Town plan Tuesday, but tabled discussions to gather more information.

Staff came to the council for guidance after the city’s Economic Development and Revitalization Standing Committee hosted three public meetings on the subject, focusing on where cars could park if spaces are removed from along Hollister Avenue.

Economic development coordinator Jaime Valdez told the council he identified the six most promising parking lots that could be turned into city lots, either through a lease agreement or sale with property owners.

He quoted studies showing a net deficiency of 69 spaces in Old Town Goleta, where residents and customers can currently park in one-hour spaces that often aren’t enforced.

“The Economic Development Committee was really hoping to focus on low-hanging fruit,” Valdez said. “This tends to move really quickly, the real estate world.”

Council members were most receptive to Sites C and D, located south of Hollister, closest to the heart of Old Town.

Site C (5841 Hollister Ave.) currently contains an auto sound shop and is for sale at $1.75 million, and Site D (5827 Hollister) could be leased and shares a corner with Community West Bank and a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department substation, Valdez said.

Council members also showed interest in Site E (5777 Hollister), which shares a lot with Santa Cruz Market and could be leased or purchased.

Those options could offer between 37 new spaces (Site C) to 65 (Site E).

Other potential leased lots included a vacant parcel on Orange Avenue north of Hollister near Natural Café, a vacant lot south of Hollister on Orange Avenue and a Fuel Depot lot at 5755 Hollister Ave. that’s currently leased for three more years.

Valdez said staff hadn’t yet proposed how much the city could charge to park, saying most lot owners would prefer a pilot-parking program instead of entering into a long-term agreement with the city.

City Councilman Tony Vallejo and Valdez agreed Site C would be a lot of money, but Mayor Michael Bennett encouraged them to save cost questions for later.

Vallejo suggested focusing more on finding parking options on the north side of Hollister, a tough street for pedestrians to cross.

“I personally am not in favor of charging for parking for that particular area,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Paula Perotte, who used to work in Old Town.

Business owner concerns with where residents and employees parked prompted the need Valdez said, although he didn’t survey any of them when considering lot locations.

“Parking lots are always very expensive,” Aceves said. “Did we take into consideration the current type of businesses on Hollister and what their needs are? I would think that would be the next step.”

Bennett said he was tired of waiting to fix parking problems, suggesting that by directing staff to look into three sites, more property owners could come out of the woodwork.

“I look at all these as potential opportunities,” he said. “If you provide the parking, they will come. There are challenges no matter what we do. If we don’t do anything, we’re never going to get there.”

City Councilman Jim Farr agreed, noting worst-case scenario would be Old Town having more parking and a slower development.

“I think it’s time,” Perotte said. “Parking has always been an issue.”

Council members directed staff to also look into what charging for parking would look like and different funding mechanisms to maintain lots.

“I understand we all want to start somewhere but we’re not starting with a real plan,” Aceves said. “Now we’re building around (business owners) without their input.”

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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Council Gets Update on Western Goleta Overpass

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Reducing congestion in western Goleta by adding a highway overpass has been under discussion for more than half a decade, and City Council members got an update on the progress of the project on Tuesday.

Planners have been searching for a way to alleviate traffic congestion at Storke and Glen Annie roads and add another access point across Highway 101, which splits the city in two sections above and below the highway.

Adding an overcrossing would improve emergency response times to the area, while giving more access for cyclists and pedestrians, said Rosemarie Gaglione, the city's interim public works director.

The overpass would have a sidewalk, bike lanes and traffic lanes. 

"Originally, it was looked at as just pedestrian and bike traffic," she said, but for a bit more money, vehicle traffic could be accommodated and could allow development impact fees to be used in the process. 

The city has conducted a feasibility study, and will next work with Caltrans on finalizing the project study report, which looks at different options of where the overpass could be placed.

The three likeliest options are located in the Brandon School area.

One option would connect the Hollister Avenue and Entrance Road intersection south of the freeway to the Calle Real and Brandon Drive intersection north of the freeway.

A second would start at the Entrance Road intersection and connect to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive, and the third would connect Hollister Avenue and Ellwood Station Road to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive.

Two public workshops were held at Brandon School early in the process.

"We blanketed the area with mailers and we promised lots of public interaction," she said.

The project will take two to four years just to go through the design and environmental review process, but remains a priority for the council.

The city has $7 million programmed for construction, but doesn't have enough money available for design of the project, and is looking for possible grant funding.

The cost for the bridge, whichever option is chosen, will be between $22 million and $26 million, according to Gaglione, adding that the city will be fully exploring options for the area.

"We've talked about doing this for years," said Councilman Roger Aceves, adding that city staff must have a shovel-ready project so that they are more likely to be approved for grant funding.

Councilwoman Paula Perotte said she was excited to see an update on the project.

"Whatever we can do to get this going. … It's only going to cost more and more as the years go by, and it's much needed," she 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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Car Wash Conflict for Downtown Santa Maria Resolved

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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A possible roadblock threatening plans to modernize an old car wash within the Downtown Specific Plan area has been removed as the Santa Maria City Council took another step Tuesday to allow the renovation project.

Greg and Sheri Jordan, owners of the East Chapel Street car wash, had sought to upgrade the facility, but discovered the Downtown Specific Plan required conditions they feared would make the project too costly.

In August, the City Council took the first step to allow the modernization project, but delayed the second reading of the ordinance for two months because the car wash’s owners balked about what they feared would be burdensome conditions.

In the weeks since, the Jordans have met with city staff and gained help from Dave Cross with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Commission to appease the concerns. 

“I believe those questions have been answered,” Larry Appel, director of the Community Development Department, said Tuesday night. 

Greg Jordan offered praised for the help received from city staff and Cross.

“Everyone has been stellar,” Greg Jordan said. “They’ve come together and things look pretty good. I appreciate that.”

On Tuesday night, the council approved the second reading of the ordinance creating an amendment to allow the car washes in the area with a conditional use permit. The amendment takes effect Nov. 20, and Appel said he expects his office will receive the application soon after that date.

Councilman Jack Boysen said he applauded the City Manager’s Office and Community Development Department for working to solve the concerns.

“I think this is a prime example of where we’ve run into a situation where we ended up with an unintended consequence and we figured out a way to make it right,” Boysen said, also thanking the Jordans and chamber. “It’s a great partnership we have.” added.

Because of its location within the Downtown Specific Plan and not a commercial district, the car wash project requires a conditional use permit instead of a more basic building permit. Complicating matters is the fact the current car washes in the Downtown Specific Plan area are considered legal non-conforming uses.

The amendment now allows new car washes to be built plus existing car washes to be rebuilt.

“Reconstruction of older, existing facilities could be viewed by the surrounding neighborhood as a positive change,” Appel said in his staff report.

On the other hand, a new car wash in the area could be viewed as negative, he added.

Any car wash project would require a conditional use permit which would include neighborhood notification and a public hearing, Appel said in his staff report. 

“This will allow the city to approve or deny individual proposals based on a case-by-case basis depending on neighborhood impacts,” Appel said in the staff report. “In addition, the five-year sunset clause allows the city to prevent proliferation of too many car wash uses in the Bungalow District.”

In another matter, Phil Alvarado, superintendent of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, outlined the need for Measure T, a $45 million bond on the Nov. 4 ballot to build a new school and complete projects at 19 campuses.

He told of overcrowded conditions at the district’s schools amid skyrocketing growth in recent years. Most Santa Barbara County schools average a student population of 441, while several of Santa Maria-Bonita’s have topped 1,000. This means a campus like Adam Elementary School has eight shifts to serve lunch to all of its students, he added.

The measure needs more than 55 percent of the voters' approval to pass, Alvarado said.

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 Native Riley Berris Takes Over the San Marcos High School Stage

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Berris, who succeeds longtime theater teacher David Holmes, will make her directorial debut with Picasso at the Lapin Agile in November

For her first directorial offering, San Marcos High School theater teacher Riley Berris is introducing the community to Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein.

Students are busily rehearsing for the debut of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which hits the stage in November.

“It’s a short and sweet comment on the connection between science, art and music,” Berris said. “It’s just a very smart play, and I think it’s hilarious.”

Berris, who was a student teacher with longtime theater legend David Holmes before he retired in the spring, took over the theater department this fall.

Upon retirement, Holmes said he was glad to pass the torch to someone he mentored, just as it was passed to him in the 1980s.

Berris is a Santa Barbara native and alumna of Santa Barbara High School, Loyola Marymount University and UCSB, where she recently finished her master’s degree in education and teaching credential.

Like Holmes, she worked with a theater company and pursued professional acting after graduating college and before getting into teaching.

She chatted with Noozhawk during a break in rehearsal this week and seemed right at home directing the students and coordinating with other performing arts staff.

“I am surprised by just how much fun I’m having,” she said.

Berris knew she had big shoes to fill coming after Holmes, but says the students have accepted her, and the classes and directing are going very well.

“I was afraid, for sure,” she admitted.

She teaches beginning acting, stagecraft and play production classes in addition to choosing and directing the fall play, spring musical (it will be Crazy for You next year) and managing the one-act play performances and talent show.

She got to know all but one of the 11 students in the upcoming show last year when she was a student teacher.

“They’re all pretty astoundingly professional and fun to work with,” she said.

A lot of research went into choosing the very first play for fall.

“I honestly read probably 20 plays over the summer,” she said.

Within the first 10 pages of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, she was cracking up and knew she had a winner.

“I think audiences will love the characters we developed together,” she said.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a comedy play written by Steve Martin about Picasso and Einstein meeting in a Paris bar as young men.

It debuts at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and has additional shows on Nov. 14 and 15 at the school's performing arts center. 

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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Councilman Hotchkiss Shares Community Input on Santa Barbara’s Bicycle Master Plan

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Before the City of Santa Barbara starts its official community outreach for updating the Bicycle Master Plan, Councilman Frank Hotchkiss solicited ideas with an opinion piece printed in local media.

He believes the city shouldn’t lose any parking capacity or driving lanes to make room for bicycles.

Hotchkiss and Councilman Dale Francisco are concerned that the public outreach workshops will only be attended by cyclists and biking advocates so the city would get a “skewed result.”

Hotchkiss received more than 200 responses to the op-ed and presented the results at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He said everyone agreed that the city should work to make it safer for bicyclists but disagreed over how to do that.

In his proposal, the city would focus on specific streets to become designated bike routes without reducing any car traffic.

He presented a map of the downtown core and suggested that some streets become major arterial routes for bicyclists, which would make motorists expect the bike traffic and create a sort of “freeway for bikes,” he said.

The city has narrow roads with no room to widen, so the city needs solutions that make biking safer and more accessible without reducing car traffic, he said.

He also briefly talked about staging separation between cars and bike lanes to promote biking in certain areas of the city.

There were only four public speakers at Tuesday’s meeting, but there’s no doubt more people will come out to give input as the city works to update its Bicycle Master Plan.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was pleased with Hotchkiss’ initiative because it started the discussion, Sam Franklin said, adding that the year-long public input process will hopefully lead to an inclusive plan.

“Biking should be something that people can do without feeling like they’re taking their life into their hands,” said Michael Chiacos of the Community Environmental Council.

Surveys continually show that more people would like to bike but don’t feel safe, he said.

The City Council listened to the report and took no action.

Since the Bicycle Master Plan was last updated comprehensively in 1998, the city has expanded to 40 miles of bike lanes from 13 and added 2,000 new locations to lock a bike, according to city staff.

The City Council voted to hire a public relations consultant to develop the community engagement strategy for the plan update, including interviews, an online survey and meetings with various stakeholders.

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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47,000 Marijuana Plants Destroyed During Eradication Season in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the results of the 2014 marijuana eradication season.

For the past several months, the Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), the U.S. Forest Service and the California National Guard have been working together to locate and eradicate illegal marijuana grows in Santa Barbara County.

This year, most of the illegal grows were discovered on national forest land by Santa Barbara County Air Support with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Bureau. In all, 10 marijuana eradication operations were conducted resulting in the destruction and removal of 47,000 plants in 18 separate illegal marijuana gardens. The destroyed plants are worth an estimated street value of $131 million.

An additional estimated 18,000 marijuana plants were either harvested prior to eradication or found dead/dying due to the drought. During the marijuana eradication operations, functional high-powered rifles were located in the empty camps used by the marijuana growers.

Large-scale marijuana cultivation is a serious and increasingly widespread problem on public lands in California, including the Los Padres National Forest. These illegal operations threaten the safety of the residents and visitors to the forest, as well as harming the environment. The illegal growers may camp for extended periods of time, leading to large piles of garbage, human waste and the dumping of unregulated pesticides, much of which finds its way into the water table.

Many of these camps are also host to campfires and open flame stoves that are banned in the high-fire danger areas of the forest. The 2009 La Brea Fire, which burned more than 90,000 acres in North Santa Barbara County, is blamed on a cooking fire at a camp within an illegal marijuana grow.

The increasingly large and sophisticated marijuana plantations are very often the work of dangerous drug cartels; forest visitors or residents who happen upon them, may be harassed or assaulted. The growers are usually armed, sometimes with automatic weapons and high-powered rifles, and they have been known to place booby-traps designed to seriously maim or kill intruders.

Over the years, evidence recovered at locations where illegal marijuana grows has been located, indicate that Mexican nationals were living in the gardens and tending to them. Mexican nationals have had an increased presence in illegal marijuana cultivation in the Los Padres Forest, where they grow marijuana and transport it to the Southern and Eastern United States for resale.

The public can assist law enforcement by immediately reporting suspicious activity on forest land such as individuals carrying irrigation tubing, gardening supplies or large amounts of packaged food. If you see someone who seems out of place and may be involved in illegal marijuana grows, do not make contact with them as they may be violent.

Anyone with information is asked to call 805.681.4175 or send a fax to 805.681.4316. You can also send an email to weedinfo@sbsheriff.org. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171. Please provide as much detail pertaining to dates, times, locations (GPS if possible) and subject/vehicle descriptions.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Would Do Far More Harm Than Good

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Every time I see a news report about ISIS and their latest atrocities and military advances, I can't help thinking about how vital it is for us to reduce our dependence on imported foreign oil.

In the last decade, California has tripled the amount of foreign oil shipped in from overseas — 20 percent of that comes from Iraq!

So why on earth would we deliberately choose to deepen that dependence by approving Measure P, which would end up shutting down the onshore oil and gas production that has been safely occurring in Santa Barbara County since the early 20th century? The less oil and gas we produce here, the more we have to import from unstable and war-torn countries with far less stringent environmental regulations than we have.

Measure P is a misguided and deceptive feel-good ballot initiative that will do far more harm than good.

Rhonda Huesgen
Santa Barbara

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Jeff Moehlis: A Massive Attack of Sound and Vision

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Trip-hop pioneers return to the Santa Barbara Bowl

It was glorious sound and vision overload at Massive Attack's return to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday night, with the trip-hop pioneers — originals Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall along with a couple of incredible singers and a killer but mostly anonymous band — showing that they are still relevant over two decades after their first groundbreaking releases.

The show kicked off strong with "Karmacoma," with the band silhouetted by bright lights and the screens behind the stage getting their first workout with rapidly changing footage of the likes of O.J. Simpson, Rodney King, Lady Diana and problem spots such as Kabul. This was followed by the trancey "Battle Box" from 3D's recent project of the same name and featuring the first of many appearances of the evening by the mesmerizing singer Martina Topley-Bird. Here the screens flashed names of presumably made-up (or future?) drugs, along with different dosages.

Next up was the frenetic "United Snakes," with logos of corporations including Walmart, Facebook and AIG rapidly flashing on the screens. Some crazy-bright white flashing lights were synched to the rhythms, arguably fusing hearing and seeing into a single super-sense, while simultaneously making me wonder if I missed the warning for people who suffer from epilepsy or migraines.

A sensory breather came with the deconstructed reggae of "Paradise Circus," sung by Topley-Bird. This was followed by a mid-set heavy on songs from the band's landmark 1998 electronica album Mezzanine, namely "Risingson," "Teardrop," "Angel" in DJ mode because singer Horace Andy apparently didn't make his plane, and "Inertia Creeps."

For the latter, the screen showed timely headlines about celebrities and local stories like the "Gatorboy" mural and toxic lobsters found in Ventura. As an admitted over-consumer of news both serious and not-so-serious, I found it somewhat  unsettling how many of these stories I was familiar with. Do I really need to know about all this stuff?

Mixed in with the Mezzanine songs was "Jupiter," also from 3D's Battle Box project, made more intense by the screen showing an unfolding transcript of a disturbingly clinical discussion about an unspecified aerial attack, presumably in the Middle East.

The band's first album, 1991's Blue Lines, which is credited with launching the trip-hop genre, got its first nod with the last song of the main set — "Safe From Harm" sung by Deborah Miller. Behind her the screen showed a freakout of social media-inspired text including commands to Like, Follow, Accept, Delete and Connect, along with statements like "Privacy is no longer a social norm."

The encore had Topley-Bird back to sing "Splitting the Atom," with the vibe of a twisted Leonard Cohen song and the screen continuing a not-so-subtle commentary-by-example on the silliness of the modern plugged-in age. This was followed by the sparse "Pray for Rain" in only its second-ever live performance, with Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio on vocals. (Speaking of TV on the Radio, they performed a wonderful, diverse opening set of their brand of indie rock.) The show closed with Miller singing Massive Attack's early hit "Unfinished Symphony," its dance vibe contrasting with the text on the screen about refugees from the crises in Iraq and Syria.

Massive Attack's sound throughout the evening was amazing, and the lighting and text-commentaries were clever, over-the-top and thought-provoking. One could argue that there were many meta moments as people shot camera photos and videos — no doubt to send to "friends" — of a show which often seemed to be calling out our obsession with sharing everything.

But this was one show that was best witnessed in person, because the sound and vision overload couldn't possibly be fully captured on a 4-inch screen. Or a concert review.

Setlist

Karmacoma
Battle Box
United Snakes
Paradise Circus
Risingson
Psyche
Future Proof
Teardrop
Angel
Jupiter
Inertia Creeps
Safe From Harm

Encore

Splitting the Atom
Pray for Rain
Unfinished Sympathy

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Mona Charen: Ebola Response Underlines Obama’s Indifference to Our Well-Being

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Can you walk out on the messiah?

Appearing at a campaign rally for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown in Maryland on Sunday, President Barack Obama sought to capture the magic that had electrified audiences in 2008 and, to some considerable degree, even in 2012.

Obama isn't doing much stumping this year. He limits his campaigning mostly to fundraisers. This is the year, after all, when Democratic candidates are announcing how important it is in our system of government to have honest disagreements with the president. They're hastening to say that they would be tougher than he is on ISIS. They are declaring that a travel ban from West Africa is only common sense. It's the year when some have discovered a sacred constitutional right to keep silent about whom they voted for in 2008 and 2012.

Maryland is an exception. It's about as safe a Democratic state as you can find, and the president was welcomed. The audience at the rally was largely African-American. And yet, according to Reuters, "a steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke ... and a heckler interrupted his remarks."

Could it be that even loyal Democrats — even those who want to see Obama in the flesh — feel that they've heard it all before? Their actions send a clear signal: We think you're a historical figure worth laying eyes on, but your words no longer interest us.

In 2012, reluctant to encourage a referendum on the first four years of his leadership, Obama successfully turned attention away from his record and toward Mitt Romney and the Republicans. The race became (with the unwitting cooperation of several cloddish Republican candidates) not about the economy or jobs or debt or America's global retreat, but about saving American women from medieval inquisitors and shielding Hispanics from mass deportation.

Democratic candidates in 2014 are, if anything, even more eager to turn attention away from the president's performance in the past two years. The economy has not improved. Obamacare's debut was a debacle. Foreign policy is a shambles, government agencies from the IRS to the Secret Service are loose cannons, and Ebola threatens.

Democrats are attempting to reprise some of the themes that worked in 2012, notably the "War on Women." But not even that fright mask seems to be working anymore. Sen. Mark Udall's campaign in Colorado was wall-to-wall gynecology — to the point where he was ridiculed as "Mark Uterus." The Denver Post was so disgusted that it endorsed his opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner. Like other "war on women" attacks, Udall's accusations were false. He asserted that Gardner had run an "eight-year crusade to outlaw birth control." Gardner swatted the lie away with ads touting his support for selling contraceptive pills over the counter (a technique originated by Bobby Jindal).

Democrats are struggling not just because the economy is stagnant and the world is in chaos. They are paying the price for something else. Obama has squandered the greatest asset he had: the perception among Americans that he cared about their problems.

Obama telegraphs indifference to Americans' well-being. When the Benghazi compound was overrun and our ambassador killed, he first dissembled (blaming a video) and then thundered about retribution and justice, but what happened? With the exception of one arrest, Benghazi has been dumped. No one has paid a price for that attack on the United States.

The president permitted the ISIS menace to metastasize and dismissed the terrorist army as "jayvee," even as his national security advisers were testifying before Congress that the group was a profound worry. When stories surfaced later that the president attended only 40 percent of his intelligence briefings in person, it fed the impression that Obama doesn't take the time to evaluate threats to the country. He now blames the intelligence community, but a man who goes golfing after an American is beheaded is signaling a certain coldness.

The response to Ebola underlines all of these tendencies in thick black ink. His instinct has been to tamp down fears rather than address threats with alacrity. He is willing to send U.S. troops to Africa to fight Ebola but not to Iraq to fight ISIS. The administration's resistance to a travel ban makes no sense if the top priority is the safety of Americans.

In 2012, most people still believed that Obama cared. How many do today?

Mona Charen is a columnist with National Review magazine. Click here to contact her, follow her on Twitter: @mcharen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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New Residence for Low-Income Seniors Breaks Ground in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Low-income Santa Barbara seniors will soon have an additional housing option.

After several years in the architectural planning and permitting process, Community Achievement Enterprise, headed up by its president, Pastor Wallace Shepherd Jr., broke ground this month on a new seniors-only apartment complex on East Mason Street in Santa Barbara.

CAE, a local nonprofit and subsidiary of Second Baptist Church, will be the managing agent for the new development.

The new building, referenced as H. B. Thomas Manor, was approved by the City of Santa Barbara as a project-based voucher, Section 8 development.

The six one-bedroom apartment units will each have a private terrace and will feature energy star-rated appliances. Their  location — close to downtown and other public services — will make travel easier, enabling residents to be less dependent on the use of private automobiles.

“The new residence will contribute toward decreasing the local housing crisis, and hopefully will act as a model for other organizations, businesses and places of faith that have underutilized space," Shepherd said. "It will be constructed on Second Baptist Church property, which has served the Santa Barbara community for over 100 years. Residents need not be members or attendees of the church.”

CAE anticipates project completion prior to summer 2015.

For more information, contact Shepherd at 805.636.8133.

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing Community Achievement Enterprise.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Is Not Right for Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The onshore oil and gas industry has been a part of the Santa Barbara County economy for more than 100 years, and there has never been any evidence of harm to our water supply.

Additionally, experts and scholars agree that Measure P's sloppy language will be harmful to our quality of life by shutting down the onshore oil and gas industry that helps fund our public safety services, schools and other vital services. The oil and gas industry supports more than 1,000 very high-paying, skilled industrial jobs.

Measure P is not right for our economy and is not right for Santa Barbara County.

Please join me in voting no on Measure P.

Donald Dick
Santa Barbara

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Letter to the Editor: My Experience with No on Measure P Focus Group

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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I want to tell you my experience with a Measure P focus group.

The focus group took place at the end of September at the Fess Parker hotel and resort in Santa Barbara. They paid everyone $125 for over an hour to watch No on P commercials. There were about 50 people in a room and two groups, therefore paying approximately $10,000 to watch these commercials and tell them what we thought.

Many people in the focus group had questions what this measure was and why they were watching all these No on P ads and no Yes on P. We wanted to know in more detail what this measure was. We wanted to know if they were going to do fracking in Santa Barbara County.

The lady in charge said she couldn't tell us and that she was only hired by a company to do the focus group. I asked again if they were going to do fracking in the county and this one man in the group said they were only going to do fracking in North Dakota. So I was going to vote no. But once I researched this and found out they will frack in Santa Barbara County, I changed my mind to vote yes on P.

I just wanted to share my experience. If they did that to us on the focus group, how much more they will try to confuse and fool the whole county? I am voting yes on P.

Angela Althen
Goleta

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Santa Barbara Seeks Community Input in Recruitment of New City Administrator

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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In September, the City of Santa Barbara's top administrator, Jim Armstrong, retired. The City Council will be appointing the city’s next city administrator and has hired the executive search firm of Ralph Andersen & Associates to conduct the recruitment.

The City Council is interested in receiving public input and has authorized a community survey. The purpose of this open survey is to gather input from the community regarding the challenges and opportunities that will face the new city administrator, as well as the competencies and areas of experience needed for him or her to be successful. The information will be used in the selection process by the recruiting firm and the City Council.

The survey can be located on the Ralph Andersen & Associates website. Community input is requested by Oct. 30. Should members of the public wish to submit their thoughts in hard copy, they may submit them to the City Clerk’s Office at Santa Barbara City Hall by 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and they will be provided to the recruiting agency.

The survey will ask two basic questions:

» 1. What will be the primary challenges and opportunities for the new city administrator?

» 2. What competencies and areas of personal experience will be most important in a new city administrator?

Click here for the community survey.

— Kristine Schmidt is the administrative services director for the City of Santa Barbara.

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John Daly: How to Stress Someone Out with Your Cell Phone

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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It’s a great evening. You’re having dinner with a friend. You are just about to tell your friend about this amazing new job opportunity. Just part way through the lead-up to your exciting news, your friend’s cell phone rings. He holds up his finger, stopping you in midsentence, and answers the phone. You’ve lost him. He’s off on another conversation with someone else, and he stays on the phone for more than 10 minutes. You become bored, somewhat agitated and more than a little stressed out.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you been on either side of the table? Do you wish you had a list of rules to follow when it comes to cell phones? Probably not, but I’m going to give them to you anyway. If you don’t want to be rude, hurt someone else’s feelings or stress them out, use this list to temper your behavior with your cell phone.

» Don’t order food or drinks while on your cellphone. If you’re in a line and your phone rings just when it is your turn to order, don’t carry on a conversation. Don’t answer the phone until after you’ve completed your order. Why? Because if you are having a conversation and ordering at the same time, you are being rude to your server and inconsiderate to those in line behind you. Return the call after you are out of line.

» Don’t keep checking your cell phone during dinner with family or friends. How do you feel when you’re having a conversation and the other person pulls out his or her cell phone and checks it? You might as well set off a flare gun that signals you aren’t really listening to the other person. If this is a problem, leave your cell phone in the glove compartment of your car!
When you are with your children, don’t look at your phone. If you keep fiddling with your phone while they are trying to get your attention, you are teaching them a) that someone else is more important than they are and b) that this is the behavior they should imitate.

» If you are having a fantastic experience, stay focused on the experience and not taking a photo of it with your cell phone camera. Learn to be in the here and now and enjoy it. Once you have, then get out your phone and take a picture.

» During meetings, movies or large events, put your phone on silent. Do you realize how disruptive and annoying you being on your phone can be to others? If something urgent occurs, silence your phone, leave the meeting, movie or event and call back once you are in a quiet place where you won’t disturb others.

» Never ever use your phone while driving. It is as worse as drinking and driving, and responsible for just as many accidents. If you must use your phone, pull over, stop the car and make or answer a call. The same goes for walking and texting on your cell phone. Don’t walk down the sidewalk playing Angry Birds and not look where you are going. It could mean a trip to the hospital, or worse.

» If you are getting a haircut, a manicure or interfacing with a service person, don’t be disrespectful to the professional providing you service by talking on your phone. Put your phone on airplane mode and leave it there until the professional has finished providing you the service.

Cell phones didn’t become popular until 1998. We were all able to somehow live without them up until then. Putting them aside for an hour or two won’t be the end of the world.

Cell phones are great convenience factors, but they can have good and bad applications. For many it becomes a source of stress instead of a helpful tool.

The Dangers of Texting While Walking

(Associated Press video)

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 johnkeyclass@gmail.com. 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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EnergyPartners Fund Awards $119,000 in Grants for STEM Programs in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The EnergyPartners Fund, a committee advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, awarded $119,000 in grants for educational programs focusing on STEM. The grants were presented in early October at Presqu’ile Winery in Orcutt.

Grants from the fund support programs from simple to complex — all with the goal to foster learning and enthusiasm in STEM. While most of the grants went to elementary and secondary schools in Santa Barbara County, a few reached as far as Fillmore and Nipomo. EnergyPartners Fund representatives presented awards to teachers and administrators for equipment including interactive computer projectors, iPads and air quality probes, as well as for programs to support math and robotics teams, teacher training and curriculum development.

For the first time since its inception in 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund awarded two large grants that exemplify the benefit of community-based partnerships. The first of these grants went to support the Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights at UC Santa Barbara. This program supports underrepresented students and their families to gain familiarity with the practice of science, its importance in education, and its promise of exciting career options. At FUSE events, students and their families rotate in 30-minute sessions through three bilingual activities related to physics, chemistry, and biology. The activities are led by UCSB undergraduate and graduate students.

A second grant was jointly funded by the EnergyPartners Fund and Highland Santa Barbara Foundation, Inc. to support Reasoning Mind, a pilot program in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Reasoning Mind is an interactive, computer-based mathematics program designed to engage elementary students in the development of strong critical thinking, reasoning, and logic skills. The focus on deep conceptual understanding and computational fluency prepares students for success in higher level math courses. Implementation in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District began this fall and is expected to impact about 500 students.

Phil Alvarado, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent, applauded the support of EnergyPartners and the willingness of teachers to embrace change.

“Teachers are living in a sea of change with common core standards, a new assessment system, and technology that requires skillful users,” he said. “Since 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund has been key to our STEM efforts by supporting teachers and allowing them to experiment with learning while increasing student engagement. We look forward to our continued partnership with the EnergyPartners Fund — a model of what the corporate world and public education can be when collaboration is student-centered, teacher-empowered, and invested in the workforce of the future.”

To date, the EnergyPartners Fund has awarded more than $850,000 to local classrooms, schools, districts and nonprofit organizations with a cumulative impact exceeding 50,000 students.

2014 Grantees

» Allan Hancock College — Event expenses for STEM Week of Discovery
» American Association of University Women, California Special Projects Fund — One scholarship for an eighth-grade girl to attend camp at UC Santa Barbara
» Arroyo Grande High School — Materials for eight laboratory investigations in AP Biology
» Blochman Union School District — Interactive computer projector
» Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley — Professional development, materials, and competition travel
» Brandon Elementary School — Civil engineering curriculum units
» Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation — FIRST Robotics Team
» Los Olivos School District — Paper circuits that light up as an art project
» Nipomo High School — VEX Robotics
» Ontiveros Elementary School — Engineering kits
» Orcutt Academy High School — FIRST Robotics Team
» Pioneer Valley High School — Air quality monitoring probes
» Peoples’ Self-Help Housing — Two computers and 30 calculators
» Providence, A Santa Barbara Christian School — Materials to support a new elective course
» Santa Barbara Community Academy — Trained teacher with Play-Well TEKnologies 
» Santa Barbara Unified School District — Supplies for six Science Olympics projects
» Santa Maria-Bonita Elementary School — Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
» Santa Maria-Bonita Junior High School — Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
» Santa Maria-Bonita School District — Reasoning Mind elementary math program
» Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum — Three iPads and stands
» University of California, Santa Barbara — Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights

— Lynn Penkingcarn is a marketing officer for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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City Receives Helen Putnam Award for Goleta Prepare Now Program

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The California League of Cities presented the Goleta City Council with the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence for the city’s Goleta Prepare Now program.

The Goleta Prepare Now program is designed to increase the level of overall awareness and emergency preparedness for residents, visitors and local businesses.

“The league is proud to recognize the Goleta Prepare Now program as the 2014 Helen Putnam Award of Excellence recipient in the category of public safety. This award recognizes outstanding achievements by California’s cities and Goleta is certainly deserving of this recognition,” said David Mullinax, regional public affairs manager for the California League of Cities who presented the award at the City Council meeting.

Mayor Michael Bennett said, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award and appreciate the work of our dedicated staff. Because of their efforts, we now have a greater number of residents who are prepared to help in the event of an emergency.”

The City Council has placed a high priority on emergency preparedness and this is achieved through bilingual public education, the provision of emergency preparedness materials and the training of volunteers as well as continuing training opportunities and outreach for program graduates.

This is Goleta’s second Helen Putnam Award. The first was received in 2005 for the city’s role in preserving the Ellwood Mesa.

For more information, please contact Luz Reyes-Martin, management analyst in the city’s Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department, at 805.961.7558 or lreyesmartin@cityofgoleta.org.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.

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To Frack or Not to Frack? Researchers Studying Best Practices for Oil, Gas Development

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Hydraulic fracturing is a polarizing issue, one that will be addressed at the polls in several California counties — including Santa Barbara — in November. Better known as fracking, the process releases gas or oil trapped in shale by injecting water, sand and chemical additives under high pressure.

Chemicals used in the extraction process pose potential risks to water quality, and the industry’s demand for water can create conflicts with residential and agricultural water users as well as ecological communities. However, the overarching problem is a lack of integrated knowledge.

“Right now, a lot of the decisions and debate about hydraulic fracturing, unconventional oil and gas development, are taking place in the press and the court of public opinion with very little data and information informing that,” said Joe Kiesecker, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Conservation Lands Program. He is part of a two-year working group organized under the auspices of Science for Nature and People (SNAP) that aims to change that.

SNAP is a scientific collaboration among UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“There are thousands of news articles that have been written about hydraulic fracturing or fracking but only a handful of scientific papers that seek to inform how and where and what the risk is around it,” continued Kiesecker, who is a co-lead of the SNAP working group.

Consisting of specialists from academic institutions and conservation organizations across the United States, the group, Grounding Hydraulic Fracturing Policy in Science, meets twice yearly at UCSB’s NCEAS. There, group members discuss how they can provide better science on the potential effects of water withdrawals and chemical contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing.

“Hydraulic fracturing can be very contentious and part of it is the lack of information and data,” said Sharon Baruch-Mordo, a spatial scientist with The Nature Conservancy and one of the leads of the SNAP working group. “So that’s exactly where we want to come in as objective researchers and collect information and ask the questions a lot of citizens and regulators are asking.”

Rather than conduct primary research, this interdisciplinary group of ecologists, hydrologists and legal experts is synthesizing fine-scale information from the 48 contiguous states and reviewing existing water use and waste management plans. The group's final report will be used to inform best management practice recommendations for states and countries with emerging fracturing industries.

The History of Fracking

Fracking began as an experiment in 1947, and the first commercially successful application followed two years later. According to the Department of Energy, as of 2013, at least 2 million oil and gas wells in the U.S. have been hydraulically fractured, and up to 95 percent of new wells being drilled are hydraulically fractured. In California, fracking is used to recover oil rather than gas.

“When fracking is done improperly, problems arise, particularly if wells aren’t properly completed,” said David Valentine, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science and an expert in microbial geochemistry. “In that case, there is a high potential for chemicals to get into the drinking water supply or into the groundwater. But if things are done properly, chemicals are released so far down in the subsurface that they’re not going to be coming up any time in the foreseeable future.

“One of the big issues is that every operator does things differently,” Valentine added. “There are big operators and there are small operators, so it’s very hard to maintain the same level of quality in how things are done.”

In Santa Barbara County, a process similar to fracking called cyclic steam injection is being used to access oil in pockets that cannot be reached directly. Both processes use water and chemicals to liquefy the oil in order to make it flow more easily into the well. In addition to the potential for chemical contamination, water use is another issue, particularly in drought-stricken states. For example, in 2010, water use in Texas’s Barnett Shale represented 9 percent of water use in Dallas, one of the 10 most populous cities in the U.S.

Because many of the risks of hydraulic fracturing are still not fully known or quantified, the SNAP working group fills a gap in existing research and policy work. The investigators’ goal is to identify the risks, determine which risks should be priorities and then specify policies that better address those risks.

“We will produce a document that investigates various risk or impact pathways and the types of activities at shale gas and oil sites that could lead to problematic consequences for humans, wildlife and habitat,” said Hannah Wiseman, an assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Law who is part of SNAP’s hydraulic fracturing working group. “We will then, after identifying those potential impact pathways, look at policy options for mitigating those impacts or preventing them from the start and provide some sort of menu of policy options for states as well as other countries to use as potential models.”

Secondary Effects

Another concern, according to some scientists, is the potential for fracking to create small earthquakes. Climate change expert Catherine Gautier, professor emerita in UCSB’s Department of Geography, notes that because fracking pushes water into the ground under high pressure, it creates cracks that can affect seismic activity.

“It’s not the process itself that generates earthquakes, it’s putting the water back into the ground,” she explained. “What happens to the water depends on where it is and what cracks exist where it can come back up. The research is not there to know how fast it will come back and where it will migrate.”

As a climatologist, Gautier is also worried about the secondary effects of releasing methane into the atmosphere, an event largely overlooked in the ongoing fracking debate. “No matter how oil or gas is extracted, there is methane that leaks,” she explained. “Methane is really, really bad for the climate because it has high potential for contributing to the greenhouse effect.”

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the warming effect of methane is 30 to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide, scientists say.

“There is research being done on what happens to the methane, but it depends on whether it can be tracked and the time scale examined,” Gautier added. “If you look at methane over a 20-year period, it’s much more powerful than if you look at it over 100 years. On the other hand, carbon dioxide — the primary driver of global climate change — is problematic at the 100-year time scale.”

Reduction of carbon emissions is important to both the state of California and Santa Barbara County. “Our county has a plan to decrease carbon emissions consistent with the state of California,” said Corrie Ellis, a sociology graduate student and community activist. “These techniques, including cyclic steam injection, are really carbon intensive. Their emissions are not really compatible with the county’s plan.”

While the SNAP working group is careful not to take sides on the issue of fracking, Kiesecker noted that potential benefits in using unconventional oil and gas development exist.

“Clearly the potential is there for reductions in CO2 emissions relative to coal if we can figure out issues such as methane emission,” he said. “The reality is that in the next 20 to 30 years energy demand is going to increase dramatically. And we’re going to have to find a variety of ways to meet those growing energy needs.

“Traditional forms of energy are still going to be in the mix. The debate is really about how we develop those energy resources and where. Any kind of energy development has an impact, so the question is: How can we do a better job as we develop unconventional oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing as well as wind energy or solar energy? All can be done better.”

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

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Moscow Ballet to Perform ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The Moscow Ballet will return to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom for a special performance of Romeo and Juliet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6.

Tickets for the show are $25, $35 and $45.

Alisa Voronova will make her U.S. debut and portray Juliet, while Anatolie Ustimov returns to play Romeo following his 2011 debut to critical acclaim.

Romeo and Juliet is the tragic tale of two lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. The Moscow Ballet pre­miered Shakespeare’s classic love sto­ry in 2011 with bold new choreogra­phy by ballet master Andrei Litvinov. The 2014 North American tour premieres in select cities throughout the U.S. before it arrives in Santa Ynez. Children 8 and up are welcome to attend at regular event prices.

Set to the famous score of Russian composer Pytor Tchaikovsky, the lavish production features all new opulent costumes designed by nationally renowned expert and Moscow ballet resident designer Arthur Oliver. The sets are hand painted and created in the style of the Italian Re­naissance in one of St. Petersburg’s oldest theatrical shops.

The company of nearly 40 award-winning dancers has won over audiences and critics alike. Ron Hubbard of the Twin Cities Daily Planet in Minneapolis says, “When per­formed by masters like these, ballet seems effortless, elegant and easy.”

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this world renowned ballet company when it takes the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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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Lou Cannon: GOP Dominates Legislative Races But Democrats Take Aim at Governorships

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The last four years have been golden for Republicans in the nation’s statehouses, and GOP fortunes appear to shine brightly in the 2014 state legislative elections. But Democrats have hopes of dulling the Republican luster in the Nov. 4 balloting by taking several governorships away from the GOP.

Entering the election, Republicans have a 29-21 edge in governorships. The GOP controls both legislative chambers in 27 states compared to 19 for the Democrats. Legislative control is divided in three other states.

Republicans are better off than these numbers. Nebraska has a unicameral Legislature that is technically nonpartisan but Republican in all but name. Coalitions favorable to Republicans control the state senates in New York and Washington, even though Democrats have slight majorities in these chambers.

Democrats hope to win an extra Washington Senate seat, which would enable them to scrap the coalition. They are also striving to win the Iowa House, which Republicans now control by three votes.

But Republicans have more opportunities in this year’s legislative elections, said Tim Storey, a political analyst for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislators. GOP prime targets include the state senates in Colorado, Iowa and Nevada and the state houses in Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia, all held now by the Democrats.

History is on the Republican side. Since 1900, the party in power in the White House has never gained legislative seats in the sixth year of a president’s term. A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll put President Barack Obama’s approval rating at a record-low 40 percent, the same as President George W. Bush when Democrats swept the 2006 midterm elections. GOP candidates are also often helped by low voter turnout, which Gallup predicts will be the case this year.

Nonetheless, Democratic prospects are bright in several governor’s races, especially in Pennsylvania, where Democratic businessman Tom Wolf leads incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett by a wide margin. The average of polls by RealClearPolitics, a political website, puts Wolf ahead by 15 percent.

In normally Republican Kansas, polls say that Democrat Paul Davis, a leader of the House of Representatives, is virtually tied with incumbent GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The conservative Brownback cut taxes deeply but was forced to slash spending when anticipated revenues didn’t materialize, igniting a bipartisan backlash.

Democrats are competitive in five other states — Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin — now governed by Republicans.

Republicans are favored to win the governorship in Arkansas, an open race in a state now in Democratic hands, and have opportunities in five other states governed by Democrats: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Of the GOP-held states, Georgia is most problematic for the Democrats because of a state law requiring a majority for victory. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is slightly ahead of state Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, but third-party candidates may prevent either from winning a majority. Deal would be favored in a Dec. 6 runoff because Republican turnout is usually higher in such elections.

The race in Florida between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist — a onetime GOP governor turned Democrat — is tied in recent polls.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has received high marks for fiscally reviving Michigan and helping to rescue bankrupt Detroit but has received a stiff challenge from former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, backed by organized labor because Snyder signed “right-to-work” legislation. Snyder leads by 3.5 percent in the RCP poll average.

Even more disliked than Snyder by organized labor is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who in 2012 survived a union-led recall effort. Nipping at his heels is Democratic challenger Mary Burke, a wealthy businesswoman and member of the Madison school board. Recent surveys show a virtual tie.

In Maine, Democratic state Rep. Michal Michaud is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite. Michaud would be the first openly gay candidate to be elected governor of any state. His task is complicated by the presence of independent Eliot Cutler, who narrowly lost to LePage four years ago. This time Cutler seems cast in the role of spoiler. Recent surveys put Michaud slightly ahead of LePage but well within the margin of polling error.

Maine demonstrates the potential liability to Democratic candidates of Obama’s low approval ratings. Obama overwhelmingly carried Maine two years ago but now has a high disapproval rating among the independents Michaud needs to win. First lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton have campaigned for Michaud, who has not asked Obama to do the same.

Among Democratic-held states targeted by Republicans, Arkansas seems most likely to change partisan hands. The candidates are two former congressmen, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross. Hutchison has led all the way; Ross trails him by a commanding 6.4 percentage points in the RCP average.

Beyond Arkansas, the best chance for a GOP gubernatorial victory in a Democratic state may be Connecticut, where Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland, are staging a rematch of their close 2010 race. Gun control is an issue. After the Newtown school massacre in 2012, the Legislature passed strict gun-control laws that Foley wants repealed. Malloy, slightly ahead in recent polls, has struggled to unite his own party after raising taxes and cutting pension benefits for government workers.

Republicans also have a chance in normally Democratic Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick is retiring. The race pits two 2010 losers, Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost a U.S. Senate race, and Republican Charlie Baker, who lost to Patrick last time. The lead in this race has switched hands several times in the polls.

Party loyalty could be decisive in Democratic-leaning Illinois, where polls show Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn to be unpopular. He nevertheless holds a slight lead over his Republican challenger, businessman Bruce Rauner.

Colorado is another tossup. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been on the defensive in a campaign focusing on a reprieve granted by Hickenlooper to the murderer of four Chuck E. Cheese employees in 1993. Hickenlooper favored capital punishment when he was elected but now opposes it. His challenger, Republican Bob Beauprez, who lost a race for governor in 2006, said he will let the execution proceed if he wins. The two candidates have traded leads in recent polls.

In Hawaii, perhaps the only competitive state in which Obama is not a liability for Democrats, state Sen. David Ige routed Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary. He leads Republican Duke Aiona by 3.6 points in the latest RCP poll average. But the presence in this race of independent Mufi Hannemann adds a note of uncertainty, as does the lack of recent polls.

Alaska, normally Republican, could be lost to the GOP but won’t go Democratic. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell was so far ahead of his Democratic opponent, Byron Mallott, that Mallott withdrew and threw his support to independent Bill Walker. Recent polls put Walker slightly ahead.

Democrats overall stand better chances in governors’ races than in the battle for control of legislative chambers because Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas, while Republican voters are dispersed in smaller towns and rural areas. This helps Democrats in statewide races but gives Republicans an advantage in district elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Republicans won many legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections and padded their advantage in 2011 with skillful but partisan redistricting.

Illustratively, Republicans control both legislative chambers in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states twice carried by Obama in which Democrats are now mounting strong gubernatorial challenges. Storey observes these states are politically similar to Iowa, another state twice carried by Obama.

But Iowa, unlike the other three states, has nonpartisan redistricting. As a result, legislative control is split, with Democrats narrowly holding the Senate and Republicans the House. Both chambers are in play in this election.

National media attention is understandably focused on Republican efforts to win the U.S. Senate, but the state elections may matter more. Regardless of which party controls the Senate, Republicans seem assured of holding onto the House of Representatives. This means divided government in the nation’s capital and the gridlock it produces for at least the remainder of Obama’s second term. In contrast, in a convincing demonstration of federalism, states with single-party control have shown in the past four years that they are willing and able to act.

Republican-run states have cut taxes, limited abortion, tightened voting rules and restricted unions. Democrat-run states have expanded health care under Medicaid, granted in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants and raised the minimum wage. Republican-run and Democratic-run states alike have authorized massive new spending for transportation and higher education and attempted prison reform.

The domestic direction of American government in the next two years will be determined most by the governors and state legislators voters will choose in next month’s elections.

Lou Cannon, a Summerland resident, is a longtime national political writer and acclaimed presidential biographer. His most recent book — co-authored with his son, Carl — is Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. Cannon also is an editorial adviser to State Net Capitol Journal, which published this column originally. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Assemblyman Williams Gets Perfect Rating on Sierra Club California Report Card

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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When it comes to votes on key environmental protection bills, the 2014 Sierra Club California Report Card found that Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, has sided with environmentalist 100 percent of the time.

The group gave Williams a 100 percent score for supporting bills of importance to the environment. Each autumn, Sierra Club California staff advocates review legislator’s voting records for the year on key issues affecting the environment.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a lawmaker who stands up to protect and restore our environment,” Williams said. “I will always be an advocate and fighter for environmental reforms.”

Sierra Club California was established in 1986 to help ensure that the club speak with one strong voice on statewide environmental policy issues before the legislature and state agencies. California is unique among states that it has 13 chapters representing nearly 150,000 members.

Among the bills that Williams is noted for casting the correct vote for the environment is the Single-use, Carry Out Bags (SB 270), which is a statewide policy for restricting the use and distribution of plastic bags at grocery stores and other similar retail outlets. Williams also voted favorably on behalf of the environment in support of Assembly Bill 2188, which would bring together best practices from solar permitting procedures currently used throughout the state to create a streamlined process for the permitting of small residential solar systems.

Click here to view the entire 2014 Legislative Report Card for the Sierra Club California.

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Dos Pueblos Students Participate in First-Ever All-School Lip Dub

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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More than 1,800 Dos Pueblos High School students participated in the first-ever All-School Lip Dub as part of the Macy's $50,000 lip dub contest.

Students showed their spirit by spending their lunch running the halls and following the camera crew managed by the DPNews media team. The event served as a start to the Homecoming week events at the school, and was described as "The most spirit I have ever seen on our campus" by principal secretary Marietta Sanchez, class of 1973.

The school has created two senior class lip dubs in the past, but this was the first time that the whole school was involved. The voluntary lunchtime activity was packed, and students clearly loved the event, as can be seen in the video. Contest rules stated that it had to be one continuous take from one camera, and that provided more challenges for the media team used to blending multiple angles and shots. All entries also had to use the song "Be True to Your School" by the Beach Boys.

The video can be seen by clicking here along with one shot for Brandon Elementary School last Thursday.

Last week the team also completed their third senior class lip dub, which will be released later this week on the DPNews.org site. The seniors chose to perform their event to the song "We're All In This Together" from the High School Musical movies.

Results from the Macy's contest will be announced at the end of the month with three winners among all entries in the nation from elementary to college.

— John Dent represents Dos Pueblos High School.

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Ron Fink: Lengthy Lompoc Council Meeting Produces Huge Utility Rate Increase

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Lompoc City Council meetings have been notorious over the last four years for going well past the 11 p.m. deadline that council members agreed to when they amended their Council Handbook.

Mayor John Linn likes to hear himself talk. Take a look at the video of the council meetings — any council meeting — and you’ll see the mayor overselling his point of view at almost every meeting. Instead of trying to move the agenda along, allowing for staff reports and council members’ comments, he dominates every council meeting. Since he controls the flow of the meeting, no one can shut him up.

He has been timed at taking an average of 20 minutes every time he offers his sage advice on how matters should be handled. Routine matters that had previously taken only a few minutes to discuss now take well over an hour — most of the time being consumed by the mayor.

Frequently some very important items are moved to the end of the meeting as the mayor changes the order of the agenda to accommodate his favorite topics. So members of the public who may want to participate get fatigued after sitting for several hours in the uncomfortable audience seats only to find out that the item they wanted to address won’t be heard until well past the 11 p.m. cutoff time.

This is what happened on May 6, when the council approved an item referred to as “Financial Reserve Policies and Follow-up to Midyear Review.” This sounds a lot like a very wonky policy that may make the average person cringe at the thought of having to read it.

But in true Linn style, he moved a controversial item to discuss annexing a piece of property ahead of the reserve policy. Normally, annexation requests are made by the property owners who submit a development plan and pay for all the costs associated with the annexation. These documents include a cost-benefit analysis to see if the city will generate enough revenue from the proposed project to provide needed services.

In this case, the property owner had not requested annexation and had not submitted any development plans, and that’s why this was controversial.

Linn had requested that the planning staff commit a significant amount of time to preparing a staff report even though they had told him this wasn’t the way any other annexation had ever been handled.

There were numerous technical issues associated with the mayor’s request. First was that some parcels would be divided by the proposed annexation and the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) would reject the request out-of-hand. Not to mention that the property was in both the airport approach zone and the flood plain, and this would severely limit future development.

Then there was the cost to the General Fund, estimated at $177,000, which the staff pointed out didn’t include the cost of preparing the financial analysis that was required by the General Plan.

After a lengthy discussion of Linn’s proposal, the council wisely decided that this was a bad idea and directed that no further action should be taken.

Then after midnight to an empty council chamber came the discussion of the “Financial Reserve Policies and Follow-up to Midyear Review.” Local print media had an extensive report concerning this item.

During a presentation three months earlier, there had been a 47-page chart flip, but at this late hour maybe council members forgot that a substantial water and wastewater rate increase was on page 31 of this highly technical presentation.

During the May 6 meeting, the finance guru began by saying he wouldn't go over the resolutions they were about to adopt because they were essentially unchanged from March 25. This turned out to be an error because the rate increase appeared in a newly minted council resolution.

But apparently not all council members even read what they were approving, specifically Mayor Linn, who admitted during a recent forum that he hadn’t bothered to read them.

One council member abstained from voting on the matter saying that this was simply too much technical information for her to digest after an 18-hour day, which included this meeting — now lasting a staggering six hours.

Council members had previously said that when rate increases were the specific topic that they wanted to discuss it in detail. One of the things they wanted was an in-depth analysis and full justification for the rate increase — something that was missing from the initial action they took.

Once ratepayers started getting their new bills — mine went up $24 for the same amount of water over last year and my sewer rates went up $12 — they started calling their council members!

In this case, the mismanagement of the council meeting and wasting staff time to accommodate a personal agenda led to a significant rate increase — which translated to more money out of our pockets.

Increasing utility rate discussions should be scheduled when the public is still awake — and not after midnight!

— 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 news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Tom Donohue: Elections Have Consequences; What’s at Stake This Year?

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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For better or worse, elections have consequences. That’s good news if engaged voters exercise their civic duty and thoughtfully send qualified men and women to Washington to fix our broken government. It’s bad news if people don’t learn the issues, don’t know the candidates or don’t show up at the polls — potentially deepening our leadership deficit and allowing damaging policies to stand.

Here is what’s at stake in this year’s national elections.

A political system that works. Gridlock and gamesmanship will only come to a stop if we elect leaders who choose constructive leadership. That doesn’t mean tossing aside principle, but it does mean taking a pragmatic approach.

We should pay close attention to what candidates plan to do if sent to Washington — is it their goal to shut the place down or to get something done? Their commitment, or lack thereof, to the hard work of governing and legislating matters, and it should matter to voters as well.

A government that knows its size and role. We’ve seen government pushed well beyond its intended limits through massive, misguided legislation like the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and Obamacare. Rampant overregulation has empowered unelected bureaucrats to reach farther into the lives and affairs of individuals and businesses.

And executive power grabs blur the lines dividing our branches of government. Bureaucracy will continue to balloon if Americans elect politicians who believe that the government knows best. Electing leaders committed to creating a limited, modern and transparent government will give businesses confidence to hire, invest and innovate.

An economy that can grow. We need to elect policymakers who understand that a growing economy is essential to job creation, higher incomes and greater opportunity for Americans. Leading up to the elections, a lot of emphasis has been put on policies to slice up the economic pie into smaller and smaller pieces. What we need to do is grow the economic pie! The right policies on energy, trade, taxes and education could contribute to a strong and growing economy. Economic growth won’t solve all of our problems, but we won’t be able to solve any of them without it.

It’s easy to be cynical in this political environment. Some think that our problems are too big and that our politics are too small. Some wonder if voting is worth the bother or if it will make a difference.

But every vote represents a voice, and every candidate represents a choice. Make yours heard — and choose wisely. Elections have consequences. Visit GOTV.VoteForJobs.com to find the tools you need to vote, whether early, absentee or in person on Election Day.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure Q Is for Questions

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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We are long-term residents of Montecito who care about the educational mission of Montecito Union School and, above all, the safety of the children in its care.

The school is in evident need of upgrading, but Measure Q provides for far more than this: It involves a good deal of new construction, some of which appears to be unnecessary and inappropriate for our community, and which does not address the educational needs of our children. We are concerned that the project’s significant impacts have not been properly addressed, and we expand on a number of them.

The absence of acceptable regulatory review. The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) makes environmental review a mandatory part of the decision-making process. The proposed expansion project at MUS would have significant impacts to the local residential community, public lands (Manning Park) and the YMCA, including impacts to traffic/circulatio/parking elements, noise, air quality, open space, nuisance (odors) and visual resources. The lack of an EIR has been brought up on many prior occasions, but now, even though the Board of Trustees approved the MUS District Bond Master Plan on May 27 of this year, no progress on an EIR or environmental review has been reported.

The funded project would proceed over time in three phases. Notably, the first phase incorporates the construction of the cafeteria/multipurpose building, this in 2015, while the last is mainly devoted to the upgrading and retrofitting of the historic main building, in 2019.

The cafeteria/multipurpose building. This is to be a 6,000-square-foot structure that peaks at 27 feet. It is to sit on the west boundary of the school grounds, above the level of the surrounding residences, and significantly so above its immediate neighbors. The number of meals served per day is conjectured to be 250 per day, significantly more than the number of meals regularly dispensed at present. There are plans to mitigate the effects on theschool’s nearest neighbors of the noise and smells associated with its food processing. However, without formal evaluation, their success will only come to be known over time. The cost of administering the cafeteria function, as against the contracting of food service now in place, has not been made clear.

The high priority that this aspect of the project has been accorded seems hardly consonant with the fact that the provision of a food service, and not a cafeteria, is what the state mandates. The multipurpose nature of the building ensures that the student body, staff and faculty can gather together, something not now possible. It is unclear how this large space will otherwise be utilized and, in the surrounding neighborhood, there is considerable concern about the traffic, air quality impacts, excessive noise and night lighting that can results from additional functions held there. Such impacts of the proposed expansion need to be evaluated and mitigated to insignificance.

Upgrading and retrofitting the main building. In a November 2013 phone survey financed by MUS, in conjunction with a bond feasibility study, voters were “more interested in renovating deteriorating and aging plumbing systems, upgrading inadequate electrical systems and making energy efficiency and water conservation improvements.” Even with this guidance from the community, much of this work is to be delayed until the third phase. It is not at all clear to us why such work, identified long ago, should come under the heading of deferred maintenance.

Traffic and parking. The San Ysidro and Santa Rosa intersection is presently chaotic during the hours that students arrive and depart the school, as is the School House Road curve behind the school. Parking along School House Road, adjacent to the school, is overburdened during school hours. The lack of an adequate shoulder, in conjunction with parked cars, creates a dangerous situation for students and residents alike. The project suggests that the School House Road parking lot is to be eliminated, and more parking added to the San Ysidro lot. Queuing lines, set for the San Ysidro lot, are expected to ease traffic flow at drop off and pick up times, with quite limited vehicle access from School House Road.

The impacts of these proposed changes have not been adequately addressed or analyzed. They should be addressed in an environment document that accounts for air quality (URBEMIS model) and traffic safety. The district implicitly assumes that parent parking on School House Road and surrounding streets will not be a problem, although a circulation analysis has not been presented to address the situation. We are concerned that parents will drop off and pick up children at the already dangerous School House Road curve in order to bypass the San Ysidro queuing lines. It is not clear how this can be mitigated.

After decades of neglect and code changes there is little doubt that much of the improvement work needs to be done. Such work and the expanded wish list needs to be better thought out, independently reviewed via an EIR and discussed openly before being put to a vote.

We are more than willing to support a revised bond measure that will help the school and address the concerns of the community.

Signed,

Barbara Loebman
Stephen Beck
Louise Janis  
John Kelly  
Don Ylvisaker
Judy Blankenship
Kay Stern
Ted Stern
Anna Ylvisaker
Cliff Scholle
Nicola Hesketh

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Phone Scam Targets SCE Customers in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Southern California Edison has notified the Santa Barbara Police Department of a telephone scam that has recently targeted customers in the Santa Barbara area.

In the fraud, victims receive a telephone call informing them that they are past due on their bill and that their electricity will be disconnected if they do not pay over the telephone with the purchase of a prepaid debit card.

Southern California Edison does not demand payment and threaten customers with disconnection of service in this manner.

Customers who receive a suspicious phone call should not provide personal information or payment over the telephone. Instead, they should call SCE’s Call Center at 800.655.4555 to report suspicious activity and to verify information.

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

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Crane School’s Annual Country Fair Saddling Up for ‘Harvest Hoedown’

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Dust off your boots and saddle-up for Crane Country Day School’s annual Country Fair, which embraces a “Harvest Hoedown” theme when it opens its fields to the community on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Offering line dancing, kid-powered game booths and the return of the Haunted House, this year’s fair promises old-fashioned fun and a small dose of fright.

The Crane Country Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the school’s 11-acre campus at 1795 San Leandro Lane in Montecito. Admission is free, and the fair is open to the public, with tickets available on site for booth activities and an impressive raffle.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Haunted House,” said Erin Eberhardt Spence, who is co-chairing this year’s event alongside Crane moms Tasha Marlow and Susan Monaghan.

Crane has incorporated the creation of the Haunted House into its Upper School theater tech curriculum, which means that kids are responsible for conceptualizing and building sets, creating sound effects, engineering scare tactics, designing makeup, distressing costumes and acting in the cast. The Haunted House is kid-friendly and age appropriate, with options to tone down the terror for toddlers.

The preschool set will also enjoy Coyote Cub Corner, with its own petting zoo, toddler bouncy and Wahooo pets, a new addition of electric ride-on animals. Older kids will appreciate the jousting booth, giant slide, football throw, obstacle course and dunk tank. New booths this year include sack races, an old-fashioned candy booth and country line dancing, in keeping with the hoedown theme.

In fact, the day will be filled with music, as well as food. Musical performances will include Crane students, music teacher Konrad Kono, the Figueroa Mountain 4 and the Young Singer’s Club. And there will be food aplenty — those with a sweet tooth will find satisfaction with Scoop ice cream, cotton candy and delicious homemade goods at the Country Kitchen. There are also nearly 200 cakes used as prizes for the cakewalk, if you’re lucky enough to win one.

Conversely, the Healthy Hut will serve vegetarian cuisine while Big Daddy’s BBQ prepares tri-tip, hot dogs and chicken. There will also be tamales and a pig roast, so be sure to come hungry.

Fairgoers are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, which can easily be refilled, at one of several filtered water dispensers provided by Matilija Pure Water Systems.

This is the first year that Crane moms Spence, Marlow and Monaghan have chaired the fair, and they said they volunteered because it’s one of their favorite events at the school.

“The fair gives the children so much freedom and the whole event really represents what the school stands for — the generosity of the entire Crane community coming together to work and play on the safe, open fields,” Marlow said. Spence agrees: “This is a great way to start off the school year.”

Key committee members and donors include the Caleel Family, Erika Delgado, Janet Friesen, Suzanne Garrett, JC Gordon, Linnea Haddock, Emily Jones, Mia Morphy, Mari Powell, Nancy Sheldon and Sarice Silverberg.

For more information about Crane Country Day School, contact the admissions office at 805.969.7732 or click here.

— Ann Pieramici represents Crane Country Day School.

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Three Reported Hurt in Wreck Near Santa Maria

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Three people reportedly suffered moderate injuries Tuesday in a vehicle accident west of Santa Maria, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision, involving an SUV and a big-rig, occurred shortly after 7 a.m. at West Betteravia Road at Brown Road, the CHP said.

Reports from the scene indicated the three people hurt were taken by ground ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Brown Road was reported blocked for a time by the wreckage.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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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Water Agencies Trying to Stop Private Water Sales in Carpinteria, Montecito

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Some Montecito landowners are paying to have water trucked in from agricultural wells, but officials say they're depleting the groundwater basin for everyone else

Where there's a will there's a way, and for some homeowners of Montecito, the way to water is through wells in the Carpinteria Valley.

At a time when people throughout Santa Barbara County are letting their yards turn brown to save water during the drought, some Montecito property owners have discovered a way to use as much water as they want, without getting penalized for overuse. 

An unknown, but significant, number of people in Montecito are buying from farmers, who are tapping into wells in the Carpinteria groundwater basin, then trucking the water back to their homes to keep their lush landscapes bursting with color. 

"You have to stop it some time, and the time to stop it is now," said Charles Hamilton, general manager of the Carpinteria Valley Water District. "In the long run, something like this would really be a detriment to the groundwater basin because it can really add up."

Hamilton estimates that private truck companies have hauled more than 500,000 gallons, about 1.5 acre feet, of Carpinteria water out of the city and into Montecito. 

Well owners are exporting water "for personal profit," Hamilton said, and in doing so are depleting the local groundwater basin "to the disadvantage of all other groundwater users" in the area, including the Carpinteria Valley Water District.

But sellers beware: Santa Barbara County is coming after you.

The county has sent letters to four growers in Carpinteria who may have sold water to private landowners, which is a zoning violation.

Extracting water for transport and commercial sale is not allowed in the coastal zone, and still requires a conditional-use permit in non-coastal areas that are zoned for agriculture. 

"It's just not allowed," said Glenn Russell, the county's planning and development director. "It's a form of mining. Whether you are mining water, gravel or other substances, these activities are regulated by zoning for the social good of the community."

Russell said it is likely that there are more growers selling the water to people on the black market.

"Given what I hear about the demand for water to be trucked into the county, I would not be surprised," Russell said. 

No one has a conditional-use permit that allows them to sell water for commercial use, and the zoning violation applies to the property owner selling water, not the truck company or the buyer, he noted. 

Local government agencies are scrambling to crack down on the practice, but doing so is not as easy as it may sound. The county is not actively searching for offenders and is relying on others to report the practice. 

"We're not omnipresent," Hamilton said. "We can't see everything that is going on. The only way we know about this activity is if someone calls us."

Hamilton says he knows which growers in the Carpinteria Valley have sold the water, but he wouldn't disclose who they are.

There are other concerns. The Montecito Water District has no jurisdiction on the importation of water, but can step in if it feels that there are health concerns.

"We are now looking into protecting the potable water supply to the community and are preparing a letter that will be provided to those customers we discover are importing water," said Tom Mosby, general manager of the Montecito Water District. "If we determine that a health threat exists, we can shut off a customer's meter."

Still, some people believe that government officials are out of line for cracking down on the private sale of water.

"I'm saving plants," said John Cook, owner of Aqua Truck in Santa Barbara. "Water has always been a commodity," adding that he's going to continue doing what he's doing. "I have been in business for 28 years, so why do I need to stop now?"

Cook told Noozhawk that his Montecito clients have million-dollar investments in their landscaping, and they are going to do what they need to do. 

"People's landscaping is like their pet dog," Cook said. "Some people go home to pet their dogs. Some people go home to read their newspapers. Some people enjoy spending money on their landscaping."

Cook wouldn't reveal how much he charges to truck in water, but said he is busy with weekly deliveries. 

"It's not like I am making bank on it," he said. 

Cook said government should stay out of it and let the private transactions happen, or practice what it preaches.

"I think the city should lead by example and let all the trees on State Street die," Cook said, to make his point. 

Cook said he delivers water everywhere.

"All of my clients are just trying to save their plants," Cook said. "I don't really blame people for saving their stuff."

Russell doesn't blame people either, but he still wants the practice to stop.

He said the county is working with the four identified offenders to simply stop the process rather than take any action against them.

"We look at it as an opportunity for us to educate the landowners," Russell said. "We do have groundwater basins in overdraft, and we are in a drought."

First District county Supervisor Salud Carbajal noted that as a whole, Montecito residents have worked hard to reduce their water use.

He said he supports landowners who have obtained permits to sell water, but those in the coastal zone should listen to the county and follow the rules.

"What's legal is what's legal," Carbajal said. "It's hard to single out Montecitans just because they have the resources. This drought creates an issue for all us. People need to be doing what the law allows, and if the law allows for certain people to do certain things, they should be able to do it.

"Certainly there are concerns about appropriate permits that are needed, and if somebody is purchasing water or if the water is being sold, appropriate permits and laws need to be abided by."

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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