Santa Barbara-Goleta, Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weather: Fair 71.0º Logo

Red Flag Warning Added to Wind Advisory for Santa Barbara Area

By | Published on 08/30/2014


With gusty sundowner winds expected, a Red Flag fire warning has been added to a wind advisory issued Saturday for Santa Barbara County's South Coast and the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Northwest winds of 20-30 mph are expected, with gusts to 45 mph, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service.

"Initially winds are expected to be strongest near the Gaviota area late this afternoon, then become focused from San Marcos Pass to the Montecito area this evening through late tonight," forecasters said.

The Red Flag Warning and wind advisory will extend from 3 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or will begin soon. One is typically issued when above-normal temperatures, very low humidity and winds are expected.

Motorists were urged to use extra caution on affected roadways, including highways 101, 154 and 192.

Sunny skies were expected Saturday, with highs near 90 on the coast, and warmer in some inland areas.

Winds should diminish overnight, with highs near 80 on Sunday and Labor Day.

Next week should be cooler, with highs in the mid-70s.

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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Students, Teachers Gather to Mourn and Remember Slain Holzer Brothers

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The young boys, found dead in their home allegedly at the hands of their father, came to school each day with 'joy in their hearts'

Students and teachers alike shed tears on Friday at La Colina Junior High School as they gathered to remember the lives of brothers Sebastian and Vincent Holzer.

S Holzer
Sebastian Holzer

Gathered in the school's courtyard, several hundred students, staff and community members met in the sunshine to recall each of the boys and the small details of their lives, their love of fishing at East Beach, Pokemon and root beer floats.

The community has been reeling since learning of the deaths of Sebastian, 13, and Vincent, 10.

The boys were found dead in their home on Aug. 11, along with their deceased grandparents, Bill and Sheila Holzer.  

The boys' father and the Holzers' son, Nicolas Holzer, 45, told deputies he had stabbed all four people to death as well as the family's dog, Dixie, in the Walnut Park Lane home they shared. He was arrested without incident and is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 9.

Many questions remain about Holzer's mental health history and the events leading up to the deaths, but on Friday, the hurting community gathered to try to remember the boys who showed up to school each day with joyful hearts.

Betsy Meagher, PTA president at Foothill School, where Vincent attended, took a moment to share several reflections from Vincent's teachers.

He was an avid reader, an expert on Emperor Penguins and lover of Pokemon cartoons with an inquisitive nature and eager to learn, his teachers said.

Meagher said he loved his brother as well and loved spending time with him.

Among the notes classmates wrote on the first day of school at Foothill, students remembered Vincent in sweet details, like as a boy who wore orange and green almost every day, loved to play kickball and as a child who was always hungry, even after devouring a plate full of food.

Both boys had a keen interest in history and science, which they loved to share with others, Meagher said.

"Vincent was well respected by his peers and made the adults he interacted with truly special," she said.

Meagher described grandparents Bill and Sheila as "wonderful and kind" toward the boys, and attended every back to school night, play and function that the children were involved in.

"Vincent was a great treasure to us and his presence will be missed every day," she said.

V Holzer
Vincent Holzer

Maureen Granger, an English teacher at La Colina, read a poem in which Sebastian had written about his coin collection given to him by his grandfather, a gift that Sebastian seemed to treasure.

Granger encouraged those in attendance to remember the family and hold their memories close.

"It would be easy and convenient for all of us to slip the Holzer family into a plastic sleeve like Sebastian's coin collection," Granger said. "It might be more difficult to view our time with Sebastian and his family as a gift."

P.E. teacher Chrystee Bradley said Sebastian had no shortage of friends at the school.

"Almost every kid knew him," she said.

Student Michelle Qin read a letter Sebastian had written to incoming seventh-graders in June as an English assignment, and said that meaningful lessons can be taken from it for everyone.

"Let us honor Sebastian and his family and do just what he wanted and have a great year," she said.

Principal David Ortiz recalled coming together as a staff for the first time last Thursday, the first time the school leaders had been together since the summer ended. He described the meeting, full of teachers who regretted not intervening earlier and having no idea that something was wrong in the Holzer home.

It was an emotional meeting, and one of the teachers "said repeatedly, 'I didn't see, I didn't see,'" Ortiz said.

He responded that no, the teachers had seen the boys in a real way and that they came to school each day, happy and well-adjusted.

"There was joy in their hearts. … You did see," he told the crowd. "May our dear friends rest in peace."

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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Local Commercial Fishermen Honor Patrick Becker, One of Their Own

By | Published on 08/29/2014


In a show of solidarity, boats float out near Leadbetter Beach in remembrance of the 21-year-old Santa Barbara man

Dozens of local commercial fishermen and their families began gathering at the Santa Barbara Harbor around noon Friday, a number that gradually grew to hundreds.

Some clutched colorful flowers, but most wore black, a show of solidarity and respect for the 21-year-old Santa Barbara man they all came to honor one last time.

Like most members of the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, urchin diver Stephanie Mutz had never known Patrick Thomas Becker, a 2011 graduate of Dos Pueblos High School who passed away unexpectedly nearly two weeks ago in a manner his family did not wish to share.

Mutz knew his father, Mark Becker, a longtime local who fished lobster and salmon, often with his son Patrick at his side, and sometimes in Alaska for weeks at a time.

Patrick’s mother, Martha, works at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, and his younger brother, Matt, is a pro surfer.

“The family is pretty phenomenal,” Mutz said, glancing around. “I’ve never seen so many fishermen in collared shirts.”

News of Patrick’s death hit home for members of the community-based fisheries organization, prompting thoughts of their own sons, many of whom help out as deck hands from time to time.

Per tradition, the organization arranged for its members to boat out near Leadbetter Beach for a memorial and interment of ashes.

Patrick Thomas Becker

“He was following his dad’s footsteps as a fisherman,” family friend Karen Purdue said. “He’d always come and jump on me and give me a big hug. He grew up around boats. His life was all about the ocean.”

Friends said Patrick’s end-of-summer plans had fallen through, so he fittingly spent the last few weeks of his life with his family, traveling to Hawaii with his parents.

Purdue’s son, Trae, 18, knew Patrick from school as a member of the surf and water polo teams. He was loyal to friends and subsequently had a lot of them — evident from the number assembled Friday.

“He was always a happy, joyful person,” he said.

After a ceremony at Free Methodist Church on Cliff Drive, where the Beckers are members, lei-wearing locals yelled for all family and friends gathered at Navy Pier near Harbor Way to find a boat. They had nearly 50 to choose from.

On cue, the Becker family boat, “Martha Jane,” began leading a processional out past Leadbetter to waters just below the cliffs at Shoreline Park, where another crowd waited.

“Do a big circle, Mark, there’s a lot of boats,” a fisherman called over the radio.

Boats form a circle around the "Mary Jane," the Becker family boat, on Friday for a ceremony near Leadbetter Beach honoring Patrick Becker, who passed away two weeks ago. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Hooting and hollering could be heard as the fishing fleet circled Becker’s boat, which idled in the middle before some of its passengers jumped into the ocean and spread some of Patrick’s ashes.

“I want to tell you once again I appreciate everyone being here,” Mark Becker said over the radio. “Patrick is honored, I know he is.”

A pastor offered a prayer, and Patrick’s brother and mother also thanked their friends.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he would’ve been blown away,” Martha Becker said. “Thank you. This is a beautiful sight.”

Boats blew horns, set off flares, sprayed water and shared memories of Patrick over the radio, calling the organization a “tribe” they were fortunate to take part in.

“Rest in peace, Patrick,” one said.

The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes before boats turned back to the harbor, and celebrants continued on to a barbecue on the beach.

The fleet happily left part of Patrick in the ocean, where he could go on catching the fish and waves he so enjoyed.

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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Friendship Center Welcomes New Board Members Jacqueline Duran, Patricia Forgey

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Jacqueline Duran
Jacqueline Duran

The Friendship Center welcomes two new board members, Jacqueline Duran and Patricia Forgey.

Duran is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara.

She owned and operated her own business for five years before joining the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management team in Montecito as a financial advisor. She has 10 years of experience in real estate investment.

She is a supporter of the Santa Barbara Foundation, a board member of Friendship Center, a committee member for the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center and a board member for the Santa Barbara Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Committee.

Duran enjoys playing golf, hiking, skiing, performing arts and spending time with her family.

Forgey, MA, MBA, earned a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis in Marketing from San Diego State University.  She also holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Kansas, and was awarded the Certificate of Clinical Competency following a Clinical Fellowship Year at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Forgey has developed inpatient and outpatient speech/language services at The Toledo Hospital (now Promedica Toledo Hospital), a 900-bed tertiary care hospital, and served as director of outpatient services and as vice president of planning and business development for Rehabilitation Institute at Santa Barbara (now Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital).

Patricia Forgey
Patricia Forgey

Most recently, she was director of community and organizational development for Tri-Counties Regional Center, and has also held managerial and clinical positions in other organizations such as Children’s Hospital of San Diego (now Rady Children’s Hospital.)

In January, Forgey launched an organizational development consulting firm, Path Forward. Strategic planning, executive coaching and facilitating group decisions are among the firm’s services.

Forgey is a graduate of the California Naturalist Program, a UC California Naturalist certification course in partnership with the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. She is a member of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and the Association for Women in Communications.

She and her husband have three adult children and enjoy hiking and traveling together.

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


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Penfield & Smith of Santa Barbara to Be Sold to Stantec

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Santa Barbara-based civil engineering firm Penfield & Smith has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Stantec, an international consulting and design firm based in North America.

The transaction takes effect in October, according to Stantec.

Penfield & Smith has about 90 employees in its California offices, which include Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Camarillo and Lancaster.

Stantec wants to boost its presence on the Central Coast, President/CEO Bob Gomes said in a statement.

“California is an important market for our firm, and Penfield & Smith strengthens our community development presence in the state with talented practitioners that share our passion for serving clients through exceptional work,” he said.

Penfield & Smith’s portfolio includes many major and visible Santa Barbara-area projects such as UC Santa Barbara Sierra Madre family housing, the Shoreline Drive bike path and the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital expansion.

By joining Stantec, Penfield & Smith will have more combined creativity to apply to clients, the firm said in a statement.

“Our reputation in integrated engineering, surveying, traffic, planning, and construction management services and Stantec's global strength, knowledge, and relationships, allow us to go anywhere and meet our clients' needs in more creative, personalized ways,” the firm stated on its website.

President/CEO Hady Izadpanah added: “We’re proud of the heritage we’ve steadily built in the surrounding California communities and we’re inspired to increase support to our local clients through Stantec’s global network, while creating new experiences for our team members.”

Penfield & Smith was founded in Santa Barbara in 1946 and offers engineering, traffic, planning and construction management services to public and private clients.

Stantec, a publicly-traded company, has 14,000 employees working in more than 230 international locations, including 1,000 employees in California.

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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Sansum Clinic Celebrates Opening of Foothill Road Medical, Surgical Center

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Elings Pavilion, named for donor Virgil Elings, features 60,000 square feet of health-care space

The last time Sansum Clinic built a new facility, its clinic on Pueblo Street, it was 1976 and the first Rocky movie was in theaters, Don Sutton was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers and televisions had external antennas.

So stated Sansum CEO Kurt Ransohoff when he introduced several hundred people to the newly-completed medical and surgical center and the Sansum Eye Clinic Center at 4151 Foothill Road. 

The Elings Pavilion, named for Virgil Elings who donated $1 million to support health care at the new facilities, will house an outpatient surgery center and offices for several departments, including orthopedics, podiatry, physical therapy, radiology, urology, audiology, and ear, nose and throat. 

Elings previously provided financial support enabling Sansum to complete the largest free colonoscopy program in the country, Ransohoff said, adding that Eling's gift would continue to help provide surgical services for those who can't afford them.

Across the parking lot, a second building houses ophthalmology services, including a surgery and procedure room, pediatric ophthalmology as well as cataract and glaucoma specialties.

Ransohoff said he expects 118,000 patient visits to take place at the Foothill Center over the next year of operation.

Donor Virgil Elings speaks at this week's ribbon-cutting event. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The clinic's other two locations on Pueblo Street and Pesetas Lane will remain open.  

The Foothill Road buildings are providing additional capacity at the Pesetas Clinic so that primary care services can be expanded as well as be the potential site of a new Urgent Care location, said Ransohoff.

The project made impressive time to completion under the helm of developer Michael Towbes — the effort broke ground 16 months ago.

The event was well-attended by community members, Sansum doctors, donors and business owners, and each got a chance to take a tour of the new facilities.

There are some personal touches throughout the new buildings, including a waiting room decorated with picturesque photographs taken by Sansum staff.

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

The Foothill Road medical and surgical facilities are completed, and Sansum Clinic expects 118,000 patient visits at this location in the first year. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)


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Westmont College Student Researchers to Present Summer Findings

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Twenty Westmont College student researchers, who have worked over the summer with their professors in the fields of art, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology, will present their findings from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 in the Winter Hall Rotunda and Darling Lecture Hall.

The Summer Research Celebration, co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts, is free and open to the public; please RSVP to Barb Kennedy at

The celebration begins with a reception and poster display. Students will explain their research, which features a range of topics, including Rembrandt and the Jews in 17th century Amsterdam, the effect of drought on blood glucose levels in garter snakes, anxiety and the effect of education on older adults’ cognitive abilities and generating a DNA vaccination against herpes simplex virus 1.

A panel discussion, which begins at 4:15 p.m. in the Darling Foundation Lecture Hall, will feature professors Michael Everest (chemistry), Frank Percival (biology), Steve Contakes (chemistry), alumnus Luke Patterson ’14 and students Jacob Warren ’15 and Elizabeth Simoneit ’15.

Westmont has a long tradition of providing opportunities for students to partner with their professors on cutting-edge research.

“Just as internships in fields like business or medicine give students real-world experience that prepares them for future study or careers, research with faculty gives them a taste of collaborating with peers to solve real problems that matter to their disciplinary communities,” says Patti Hunter, vice provost and chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. “The skills they develop equip them to work in teams, talk with others about their ideas and tackle unsolved problems.”

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.


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‘Flamesniffer’ Fire-Detection Sensors Being Installed in Mission Canyon Area

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Santa Barbara County Fire will test infrared thermal sensors in a one-year pilot program

Santa Barbara County will pilot the first-ever “flamesniffer” early fire-detection program, which would place nine sensors primarily in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon area.

The more than $40,000 worth of equipment was donated to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, an action approved last week by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

FlameSniffer Pty Ltd. reached out to the County Fire Department with the idea five years ago, which is how long the Australian-based company has been around.

The plan is for nine infrared thermal sensors to be installed on tall existing Southern California Edison power-line transmission towers in the county’s front country and foothills, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Each 14-pound sensor has a range of about one mile, which is how far they will be spaced apart for the 12-month pilot program, Sadecki said.

“The timing is great because we’re in the middle of our high fire season, and then with our drought conditions," he said. 

The flamesniffers stream live weather conditions to two communication hubs — a Mission Canyon station and county fire’s dispatch center — and begin taking pictures every 17 seconds once an ignition source is detected.

The idea of course being that fire crews could more quickly react and put out flames.

“Right now we have no such device,” Sadecki said. “Weather conditions there are very dynamic. Each detector acts as remote weather station. Then we get an idea of what exactly is going on.”

Nine of these 14-pound "flamesniffer" detectors will be placed around Mission Canyon. (Flamesniffer photo)

Sadecki said dry vegetation and low moisture levels on the hillsides cause the most concern for high-fire season, which typically begins in May or June and lasts through December when the rainy season starts.

“We really never went out of high fire season,” he said. “The major thing about the outlook is that we’re about a month and a half ahead of where we would be. It’s dryer than it would normally be. Even though it’s late August, the plants think it’s mid-October.”

Flamesniffer plans to install the fire-management sensors in the third or fourth week of September, according to the company.

Sadecki said the department hasn’t yet discussed what would happen to the sensors after the 12-month pilot period.

As the drought continues, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that Level IV fire restrictions are in effect. 

Restrictions prohibit wood or charcoal fires in all areas of the forest (include camp sites), recreation target shooting without a special permit, smoking outside a designated camp fire and fireworks.

Violators could face a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail, and could be liable for the full cost of fire suppression activities resulting from their actions.

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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Mark James Miller: American Higher Education a System Built on Sand

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The American system of higher education is widely regarded as the world’s best. More than half of the top 100 universities in the world are American. In 2013, Fareed Zakaria proclaimed in Time magazine that American higher education is “the envy of the world.”

But beneath the congratulatory façade lies a darker reality: The American college and university system is built on a foundation of sand. It contains within its ivory towers a fatal flaw:  The over-reliance on and exploitation of what is euphemistically known as “contingent” faculty. These men and women are part-time, nontenured instructors who are just as qualified as their full-time counterparts but are typically employed semester to semester, paid on average one-half to one-third of what a tenured professor earns for teaching the very same classes, with no health benefits, no offices to work in, and they’re expected to meet their students, prepare their classes, and grade their students’ work on their own time.

In 1960, 75 percent of the instructors in American colleges and universities were full time. They had regular salaries, medical insurance, retirement, sick leave, offices, sabbaticals — in short, all the perks normally associated with a full-time job in academia. In 2014, that figure has reversed itself. Now, 76 percent of the teachers in American higher education today are “contingent” faculty.

Some are graduate students tasked with teaching undergraduate courses, and some are full-time faculty who have yet to receive tenure. But the vast majority are “part-time” or “adjunct” instructors — fully qualified to teach at the college level, but typically employed semester by semester, never knowing if they will have work in the same place next term or if they will be forced to scramble at the last minute to try to line up another teaching job.

The credits a student earns when taking a class from an “adjunct” are of the same value as those received from a full-time professor. The students do not pay more to take a class from a tenured teacher, nor do they pay less when they sit in a classroom taught by an adjunct. The part-time instructor is expected to provide the same quality education the student would receive from a full-time teacher, and few will deny that they do exactly that.

And yet these part-time instructors are paid the academic equivalent of minimum wage, for they are compensated strictly by the classroom hours they teach. Two hours of grading and prep time are normal for each hour spent in the classroom, and if the course is one that requires a more than average amount of writing, such as English composition, even more uncompensated hours can be added to the equation. While prep time and office hours are factored into the salary the tenured instructor receives, the adjunct must do this for free.

Added to this is the fear of the class being canceled due to low student enrollment, or taken by a full-time instructor to meet their contractual obligation or because they want to teach “overload” and earn extra money. A part-timer may spend many hours preparing a class for the semester — a syllabus, lesson plans, assignment lists, course outline, quizzes, tests — only to learn, a few days before the class begins, that it has been canceled or will be taught by someone else. At most colleges, they receive no pay for all the prep work they have done.

Then there is the lack of respect and appreciation for their efforts. Part-timers often labor in obscurity, coming to a campus to teach a class and then leaving, alienated from the campus community that is often virtually unaware of their existence.

But part-time teachers — as well as part-time counselors, librarians, coaches and others — have become essential to American higher education. Colleges and universities “build their budgets on the backs of part-time faculty,” as an administrator once cynically confessed to me. Each year the budget is planned with the expectation that at least half of the courses offered will be taught by poorly paid part-time instructors, whose average pay is $2,700 per course. They are the basis upon which the system is founded. If no part-timers were available, half of the classes would go untaught. Likewise, if colleges went back to the 75-to-25 ratio of 1960, they would quickly go bankrupt.

This exploitation of contingent faculty strikes at the very heart of American higher education. What sort of system allows and enables this kind of exploitation, and watches it go on year after year, decade after decade, and does nothing to alleviate it? What sort of system stands idly by while thousands of talented people, with a great deal to offer their students and the educational community, are used like interchangeable parts, expected to toil in anonymity, called on when they are needed and told to go away when needed no longer?

In August 2013, an 83-year-old adjunct professor at a university in Maryland died penniless and homeless. The university where she had taught for 25 years had cut her classes, leaving her unemployed. She had cancer, huge medical bills and no health insurance. She earned $10,000 per year; the president of her university earns $700,000. When asked to comment on her death, the university’s response was “We treat our part-timers the same as other universities.”

What kind of system treats its teachers this way? What kind of institution pays its president $700,000 a year but takes no responsibility when a loyal employee dies in such abominable circumstances? What kind of system proclaims itself to be the world’s best but turns a blind eye to stories such as this? How long can such a system go on, and how long can it continue to excel?

These and other related questions need to be addressed soon if American higher education expects to go on being the world’s finest. No system built on this kind of exploitation can continue to thrive. Eventually there will be a reckoning, and in the end it will be the students and the nation as a whole that will pay the price.

— 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. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Vocal Coach Heidi Jacobs Forming Contemporary Choir for Teen Girls

By | Published on 08/29/2014


For singer/songwriter and vocal coach Heidi Jacobs, finding her passion was the easy part.

Heidi Jacobs
Heidi Jacobs

“I think I was probably 5 years old,” the Santa Ynez Valley-based voice teacher said. “I would come home from school and all I wanted to do was practice singing.”

She would sing along with the Annie soundtrack, belting tunes out at the top of her lungs. And when Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 album She’s So Unusual came out, Jacobs knew that no matter what else she did with her life, singing had to be a part of it.

But there was work to be done, she said. Her voice, though pleasant, had not reached its potential. It was through the work of years of vocal coaching from various teachers that Jacobs’ own pipes matured and acquired the versatility to handle song styles from arias to pop and rock vocals. In the process, she went from being a shy student to a confident performer.

After years of coaching in and around the valley — with several students who have gone on to perform in the popular youth regional vocal competition Teen Star, and have also become successful in the professional arena — Jacobs wants to give the gift of voice to young ladies who are in the position she was in not so long ago: wanting to sing, and wanting to be a better singer.

To answer that calling, Jacobs is forming Mystique, a contemporary choir for girls ages 12 to 18, and is looking for teen female talent and enthusiasm to participate.

The age group is special to Jacobs. Young girls in their formative years need an outlet for their creative energies as well as a place to find their inner strength and confidence, she said. And the release from the often stress filled grind of the school day is a significant bonus.

Jacobs’ unrelenting positivity is also contagious, and her ability to put her students at ease can turn even the most timid newbie singer into an enthusiastic — and finely tuned — vocalist.

“I want my students to believe in possibilities,” Jacobs said.

Many of her students start out feeling like they can’t sing well, only to surprise themselves by aligning with the strengths and working on the weaknesses Jacobs can find for them.

“Singing, to me, connects us to something larger than ourselves," Jacobs said. "It allows us to tap into deep parts of who we are and show it to the world, which I think is super brave and amazing.”

Auditions for Mystique will be held at St. Mark's in-the-Valley in Los Olivos from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3 and Wednesday, Sept. 10. Auditions are by appointment only. Mystique will focus largely on a cappella performance. Rehearsals for this unique choir begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 at St. Mark's in-the-Valley.

To schedule an audition appointment, for tuition information or other questions, please contact Jacobs at 805.448.9659 or Click here to learn more about Jacobs.

— Sonia Fernandez represents Mystique.


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Lompoc District Awarded $411,000 to Expand Safe Routes to School Program

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The Lompoc Unified School District announced this week that it had been awarded a $411,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation to expand its existing Safe Routes to School program and enhance safety for students traveling to and from the district’s campuses.

The grant ensures that the Safe Routes to School program will remain an important component of the district’s comprehensive efforts to improve academic achievement for all students.

Not only has the district invested heavily over the past year in strengthening its curriculum, technology and professional development initiatives to help boost student performance in core subjects like math and language arts, but district leaders have also placed a high priority on strengthening support programs that enhance students’ health and well-being, understanding that student success is determined by a number of factors, all of which need to be addressed collectively in order to impact student outcomes.

“To move Lompoc Unified forward and prepare our students for college and career success, we must take a holistic approach to improving our students’ academic experience,” Superintendent Trevor McDonald said. “Increasingly in education, that involves expanding our focus beyond classroom instruction and looking to address key areas of our students’ health and wellness that can impact their ability to perform at a high level in the classroom. If students are being bullied or are afraid for their safety, if they have not eaten a nutritious breakfast, or if they have unaddressed medical or dental issues, all the technology and curriculum enhancements in the world are not going to help them achieve their full academic potential.”

In 2013-14, his first academic school year as superintendent in Lompoc Unified, McDonald led successful efforts to launch anti-bullying initiatives known as the Stand Tall Program; the conflict resolution programs Art of Peace and Imagine; health and wellness partnerships with the Orfalea Foundation and Breakfast in the Classroom; and a community health collaborative with the El Camino Community Center.

The Safe Routes to School program, also launched last year, relies upon the support of parents, schools and community leaders to enable and encourage students to walk and bicycle to school by providing safe, accessible routes between neighborhoods and the district’s campuses. With the help of local, state and federal government funding, the district has helped implement a number of efforts to reduce and calm traffic around its campuses to enhance student safety while walking or bicycling to and from schools, helping to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age.

The latest grant from the California Department of Transportation represents an acknowledgement of the district’s successful implementation of the Safe Routes to School program and opens new opportunities to expand the program to only further enhance student safety and wellness.

“We have enjoyed so much external support for the innovative initiatives we have implemented here in Lompoc Unified, and are strengthened by our communities' buy-in to what we are starting to accomplish in our classrooms,” McDonald said. “We have already made tremendous progress across on a number of fronts, all aimed at boosting student performance and preparing them as best we can for success in college and in the increasingly competitive 21st-century economy.”


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Captain’s Log: Ancient Rocks Reeled In from the Depths of the Santa Barbara Channel

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Ancient rocks from a pressure-built seamount at mid-Channel come up periodically, attached to hooks dropped down by fisherfolk. They are different from other rocks I’ve seen and quite fascinating.

One rock, in particular, came up rather spectacularly. Some years ago, we were fishing the area we call the 12-Mile, which is a bulging seamount roughly 12 miles from Santa Barbara. I just love these simplistic naming conventions. You can probably guess how far out the 4-Mile reef is!

We are currently unable to fish over 300 feet down, so we cannot fish this spot now; however, fisheries managers are seeing the effort that recreational anglers are putting into releasing rockfish at depths where they recover from barotrauma and live and thrive, plus best available science is showing that rockfish and especially lingcod populations are very strong, so we may again soon be able to fish the 12-Mile.

My passenger, Joe, lifted his sturdy rod and felt something heavy, so he swung and set the hook as hard as he could (not a good idea). He yanked and tugged and pulled against the heavy weight and finally began to gain some line. He then wildly lifted his rod and reeled down in rapid movements without cadence or slowing to feel what was on his line. He hooted and hollered about how big this fish was and how it was fighting him hard. He kept pumping and reeling like a wild man.

Capt. Tiffany Vague (my crew member) and I looked at each other and smiled. We both knew that there hadn’t been any telltale head tosses from a fish. What Joe was feeling were the results of his own wild actions.

When it finally came to color (came close enough to the surface that we could see it), Capt. Tiffany quietly slid her net under Joe’s catch and brought aboard … (drumroll, please) … a 10-pound rock. Joe was dumbfounded and wondered how his fish could turn into a rock. I doubt his buddies will ever let Joe live that one down!

I kept that rock on my boat for a long while because it was fascinating. It was very porous, with holes and crevices, which helped explain why it was fairly light for its size. For the rest of the day, as the rock dried, critters kept climbing out of the many openings. Some of the critters I knew, such as brittlestars, but others I had never encountered, which added to the fascination of the rock.

I just love most of the surprises the sea gives up.

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


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Santa Barbara Airport Flights Nearly Sold Out for Labor Day Weekend

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Travelers advised to come early and plan ahead for security checks

With Labor Day flights nearly sold out, Santa Barbara Airport Director Hazel Johns said those who haven't pinned down their travel arrangements yet are probably out of luck.

“More than 92 percent of seats are currently filled, so if you haven't already purchased a ticket you may have to take your chances with walk-up fares, which are expensive,” she said. “Travelers are generally advised to make travel arrangements 10 to 14 days in advance.”

Since Labor Day weekend is a busy time for travel, the Santa Barbara Airport recommends that travelers taking peak-period flights arrive at least 90 minutes before their scheduled departure time and use the short-term parking lot for shorter trips. 

Short-term parking is available for $20 a day at 500 Fowler Road, with $12 long-term lots adjacent to the terminal.

Travelers are also advised to come prepared for security checks or obtain a TSA precheck

No new flight advisories have been posted, although the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens planning to go to Mexico due to safety issues.

Santa Barbara Airport departure and arrival times can be found by clicking here.

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Lompoc Health Care Center Awarded $229,000 in Affordable Care Act Funding

By | Published on 08/29/2014


Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Takashi Wada on Friday announced receipt of $229,000 in Affordable Care Act funding to support the Lompoc Health Care Center’s patient-centered medical home project through new construction and facility renovations.

“The Lompoc Health Care Center is the health-care home for more than 8,400 patients, providing access to quality health care for the residents of Lompoc,” Dr. Wada said. “The renovations afforded through this opportunity will enable the LHCC to provide even higher quality services to the patients that rely upon them.”

The patient-centered medical home delivery model is designed to improve quality of care through team-based coordination of care, treating the many needs of the patient at once, increasing access to care, and empowering the patient to be a partner in their own care.

“This award will create a patient resource center that will provide training and education; a centrally located case management area for team consultations; a behavioral health environment; and an increase in the number of exam rooms. The renovations will lead to improvements to patient flow, case management, and patient education,” said Jeanie Sleigh, LHCC Health Center administrator.

The Santa Barbara County Health Care Centers continue to play a critical role in helping the public learn about new coverage opportunities under the Affordable Care Act, by conducting outreach and enrollment activities that link individuals to affordable coverage options available through Covered California. This award helps support high quality care and updated facilities for the more than 4,200 newly enrolled into health care coverage by the Public Health Department.


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Williams’ Yard Composting Bill Clears Legislature, Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The Legislature has passed a bill authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, to eliminate the loophole that gives local governments recycling credit for landfilling trimmings and other green waste.

Assembly Bill 1594 is now headed to the governor’s desk to be considered for a signature.

“Despite California’s robust recycling infrastructure for traditional recyclables like bottles and cans, the state continues to landfill organic materials, like yard trimmings, at an alarming rate,” Williams said. “We need to stop incentivizing this polluting practice.”

Currently, landfill operators are required to apply a daily cover to their landfill. In most cases, yard trimmings are used as a cover because local governments get recycling credit. This counter incentive discourages actual recycling and returning the green waste to the soil through composting.

“The use of recovered yard trimmings and other green materials as alternative daily cover at California landfills is the largest single impediment to the development of robust composting industry in our state and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas production,” said Bill Camarillo, an executive committee member of the California Compost Coalition and CEO of local company, Agromin. “The expanded use of compost here will not only aid global warming efforts, but will enhance the quality of California soils through the introduction of organic matter, preventing soil erosion, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and enabling water retention at a time when we need it most.”

AB 1594 is also being described as a job creator. Cal Recycle has estimated that recovering organic material through composting and anaerobic digestion can create 14,000 new jobs in the State by 2020.

California is one of the only states to allow the use of green waste as landfill cover and the only state to count cover material as diverted, nearly half the states in the country have banned the landfilling of this material all together. Eliminating this wasteful practice will help the State meet its environmental goals, support the growth of agriculture and create jobs.

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.


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Bill Macfadyen: Deadly Wrong-Way Crash Brings Out the Worst in Internet Trolls

By | Published on 08/29/2014


NoozWeek’s Top 5 finds a body after a 12-hour search, plumbs the depths of the Holzer family custody saga, repeats myself, and issues a BOLO for a highly contagious TB patient

There were 80,920 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Teen Killed in Wrong-Way Crash That Shut Down Northbound Highway 101

A wrong-way driver was killed when he crashed his Ford Mustang into a big-rig near Bates Road in Carpinteria the night of Aug. 27. As it turns out, the dead motorist was a 16-year-old boy driving by himself.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Daniel James Perez of Santa Barbara entered the northbound freeway lanes from the Highway 150 exit ramp just before 10:40 p.m. The teenager proceeded south before colliding with a northbound Volvo tractor-trailer near Bates Road, about a mile away from where he started, Officer Jonathan Gutierrez said.

Dan Perez, a junior at San Marcos High School, was described as a stellar and selfless student carrying a 3.66 grade-point average. (San Marcos High School photo)
Dan Perez, a junior at San Marcos High School, was described as a stellar and selfless student carrying a 3.66 grade-point average. (San Marcos High School photo)

He said the Mustang flipped on its roof and skidded across the freeway, with Perez ending up underneath the wreckage.

Perez, a junior at San Marcos High School, was declared dead at the scene. The truck driver, Willie H. Lonie Jr., 56, of Pearl, Miss., was not injured.

Gutierrez said all northbound lanes were shut down overnight during the crash investigation. The closure stretched past dawn Aug. 28, causing a miles-long traffic jam for commuters driving up from Ventura County.

It has not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, Gutierrez said.

San Marcos High Principal Ed Behrens told a news conference the campus community was “shocked and saddened” by Perez’s death.

“He was a stellar scholar/athlete,” Behrens said of the Royals baseball and lacrosse player with a 3.66 grade-point average. “Pretty much all day we’ve been working on creating a plan to provide assistance to the school community and to the community at large.”

With the help of the Santa Barbara County Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services, the school set up a campus compassion center where students and teachers could talk and grieve. A moment of silence was held during first period Aug. 29, and another was scheduled for the school’s home football game Friday night against West Ranch High of Santa Clarita.

Several of Perez’s coaches and teachers described him as a team player who was well-loved.

“He was willing to do whatever it took to help his team,” said Sergio Castellanos, Perez’s freshman baseball coach. “Danny was always upbeat and positive, he got along well with all of his teammates, and everyone admired him and loved him for the person that he was.”

Chemistry teacher Kimberly Tilton said Perez was a gifted student with a sense of humor, an “exceptional young man” who had the potential to become a great scientist.

“It was truly a pleasure getting to know him,” she said. “My heart goes out to all of his family and friends for their terrible loss.”

Not feeling that loss — or any compassion at all, for that matter — were a couple of Noozhawk commenters who made no effort to hide their scorn for the death of a young man, regardless of the circumstances. Bravely, they were man enough to hide their identities behind screen names.

I’ve said this on numerous occasions over the years, but it clearly remains lost on a handful of our commenters: We believe story comments are an important part of Noozhawk’s engagement with readers and are happy to provide the platform for that interaction. But we expect our readers to be respectful of others and of the online forum we’re providing for you.

While I generally take a libertarian view of free speech and am not easily offended, we won’t allow our site to be hijacked by verbal terrorists. If you can’t clean it up and play by our rules, we will shut you down.

If you’re half as clever as you think you are, you’ll be able to adopt a modicum of civility. If not, go start your own website.

Rugged terrain appears to have hindered the search for a fatal car wreck that was reported more than 12 hours before. (Urban Hikers photo)
Rugged terrain appears to have hindered the search for a fatal car wreck that was reported more than 12 hours before. (Urban Hikers photo)

2. Body Found In Car That Plunged Off Highway 154 Near Top of San Marcos Pass

An 82-year-old Santa Barbara man was found dead in the wreckage of his car, which apparently plunged off Highway 154 near the top of San Marcos Pass late on the night of Aug. 23.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Donald Newsam was driving south on the highway when his sedan drove off the roadway, struck a traffic sign, and landed about 30 feet down a steep embankment north of Kinevan Road on the Santa Barbara side of the pass.

County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said the crash was reported late Saturday but it took authorities until midday Sunday to locate the vehicle, which was wrapped around an oak tree in the rugged terrain.

The crash remains under investigation, CHP Officer Jonathan Gutierrez said.

Nicolas Holzer, accused of killing his parents, his sons and the family dog, is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Sept. 9. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)
Nicolas Holzer, accused of killing his parents, his sons and the family dog, is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Sept. 9. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

3. Bitter Custody Battle May Offer Clues in Holzer Family’s Gruesome Mass Murder

Since Nicolas Holzer’s Aug. 11 arrest as the suspect in the fatal stabbings of his sons, his parents and the family’s dog, many locals have been asking themselves how it could have happened.

Vincent Holzer
Vincent Holzer
Sebastian Holzer
Sebastian Holzer

Sheriff Bill Brown told an Aug. 12 news conference that “Holzer told detectives that he had killed his family to fulfill what he believed was his destiny.” That’s certainly one explanation, although it remains to be seen whether anyone believes it.

While we wait the eternity before the case goes before a judge and jury, we decided to have our Lara Cooper dig through the court files from the 45-year-old Holzer’s bitter 2006 divorce from his wife, Juana, to see if there might be clues pointing toward such a tragic outcome.

What she found was as breathtaking as the mass murder was heartbreaking.

According to the documents, most of the evidence appears to be circumstantial, although there are clear red flags that prosecutors and defense attorneys will be chasing as they build their narratives. Yes, the marriage seems to have been a volatile one almost from the start. Yes, both sides made vile, vicious accusations against the other, including an allegation by Holzer that his ex-wife and her sisters sexually abused their children, and an allegation by Juana Holzer that her ex-husband had mental-health issues. 

What Lara really uncovered, however, is an abominable and dysfunctional family-court system that any community this side of Rotherham, England, ought to be ashamed of. At almost every step of the way, a process that one would think was designed to protect the two most vulnerable people in its clutches instead allowed them to be used as pawns in a cruel game of keeps and keep away. You just know this isn’t an isolated case.

In their short lives on this earth, it’s remarkable that 13-year-old Sebastian Holzer and his 10-year-old brother, Vincent, achieved as much as they did and with as much kindness and determination as they had. That clearly is a testament to the “normal” life their grandparents — Sheila and Bill Holzer — appeared to try to provide them at their neatly kept home on Walnut Park Lane not far from Foothill School. If only the man in the middle had been removed from the picture, they would all be alive today.

4. Bill Macfadyen: What’s In Store at Trader Joe’s Was an Unfortunate Surprise

More than a week later, readers were still going back to and forwarding the story of a Goleta woman who apparently tried to take her life in a restroom at Trader Joe’s in Goleta. I’m guessing that was behind the stronger-than-usual traffic this past week on my Best of Bill column. I know it wasn’t the writing.

Although the woman was found alive, she later died of her injuries after being rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The case remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

Click here for suicide-prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.

5. Public Health Searching for Contagious Tuberculosis Patient

A 24-year-old migrant farmworker with a highly contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis is on the loose, and authorities have issued an arrest warrant in an urgent attempt to find him.

Agustin Zeferino: You definitely want to keep your distance from this guy. (Santa Barbara County Public Health Department photo)
Agustin Zeferino: You definitely want to keep your distance from this guy. (Santa Barbara County Public Health Department photo)

Officials say Agustin Zeferino, whose last known location was in the Santa Maria area, has been consulted and treated by the county Public Health Department in the past but he’s discontinued treatment and his whereabouts are unknown, prompting the arrest warrant.

“Without treatment, it (TB) is often fatal and poses a public health threat due to airborne transmission,” said Dr. Charity Thoman, the county’s health officer.

“This is particularly due for drug-resistant cases. If Mr. Zeferino is contagious and he is out in our community, it is a public health emergency.”

If you spot Zeferino, call 9-1-1. Then see your doctor.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bring it in for a hug.

( video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Researchers at UCSB, Griffith University Identify Origin and Purpose of the ‘Anger Face’

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The next time you get really mad, take a look in the mirror. See the lowered brow, the thinned lips and the flared nostrils? That’s what social scientists call the “anger face,” and it appears to be part of our basic biology as humans.

Leda Cosmides
Leda Cosmides

Now, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and at Griffith University in Australia have identified the functional advantages that caused the specific appearance of the anger face to evolve. Their findings appear in the current online edition of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

“The expression is cross-culturally universal, and even congenitally blind children make this same face without ever having seen one,” said lead author Aaron Sell, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia. Sell was formerly a postdoctoral scholar at UCSB’s Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

The anger expression employs seven distinct muscle groups that contract in a highly stereotyped manner. The researchers sought to understand why evolution chose those particular muscle contractions to signal the emotional state of anger.

The current research is part of a larger set of studies that examine the evolutionary function of anger.

“Our earlier research showed that anger evolved to motivate effective bargaining behavior during conflicts of interest,” Sell said.

The greater the harm an individual can inflict, noted Leda Cosmides, the more bargaining power he or she wields.

Cosmides, professor of psychology at UCSB, is a co-author on the study along with John Tooby, UCSB professor of anthropology. Cosmides and Tooby are co-directors of the campus’ Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

“This general bargaining-through-menace principle applies to humans as well,” Tooby said. “In earlier work we were able to confirm the predictions that stronger men anger more easily, fight more often, feel entitled to more unequal treatment, resolve conflicts more in their own favor and are even more in favor of military solutions than are physically weak men.”

Starting from the hypothesis that anger is a bargaining emotion, the researchers reasoned that the first step is communicating to the other party that the anger-triggering event is not acceptable, and the conflict will not end until an implicit agreement is reached. This, they say, is why the emotion of anger has a facial expression associated with it.

“But the anger face not only signals the onset of a conflict,” Sell said.d “Any distinctive facial display could do that. We hypothesized that the anger face evolved its specific form because it delivers something more for the expresser: Each element is designed to help intimidate others by making the angry individual appear more capable of delivering harm if not appeased.”

John Tooby
John Tooby

For our ancestors, Cosmides noted, greater upper body strength led to a greater ability to inflict harm; so the hypothesis was that the anger face should make a person appear stronger.

Using computer-generated faces, the researchers demonstrated that each of the individual components of the anger face made those computer-generated people appear physically stronger. For example, the most common feature of the anger face is the lowered brow. Researchers took a computerized image of an average human face and then digitally morphed it in two ways: One photo showed a lowered brow, and the other a raised brow.

“With just this one difference, neither face appeared ‘angry,’” Sell said. “But when these two faces were shown to subjects, they reported the lowered brow face as looking like it belonged to a physically stronger man.”

The experiment was repeated one-by-one with each of the other major components of the classic anger face — raised cheekbones (as in a snarl), lips thinned and pushed out, the mouth raised (as in defiance), the nose flared and the chin pushed out and up. As predicted, the presence by itself of any one of these muscle contractions led observers to judge that the person making the face was physically stronger.

Aaron Sell
Aaron Sell

“Our previous research showed that humans are exceptionally good at assessing fighting ability just by looking at someone’s face,” said Sell. “Since people who are judged to be stronger tend to get their way more often, other things being equal, we concluded that the explanation for evolution of the form of the human anger face is surprisingly simple — it is a threat display.”

These threat displays — like those of other animals — consist of exaggerations of cues of fighting ability, Sell continued. “So a man will puff up his chest, stand tall and morph his face to make himself appear stronger.

“The function of the anger face is intimidation,” added Cosmides, “just like a frog will puff itself up or a baboon will display its canines.”

As Tooby explained, “This makes sense of why evolution selected this particular facial display to co-occur with the onset of anger. Anger is triggered by the refusal to accept the situation, and the face immediately organizes itself to advertise to the other party the costs of not making the situation more acceptable. What is most pleasing about these results is that no feature of the anger face appears to be arbitrary; they all deliver the same message.”

According to Sell, the researchers know this to be true because each of the seven components has the same effect. “In the final analysis, you can think of the anger face as a constellation of features, each of which makes you appear physically more formidable.”

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


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Santa Barbara’s Transient Occupancy Tax Up 5.7% in July

By | Published on 08/29/2014


In the first month of the new fiscal year, the City of Santa Barbara collected more than $2.1 million in transient occupancy taxes (TOT), resulting in growth of 5.7 percent over the same month last year.

The fiscal year 2015 TOT budget is $17,641,400, and assumes an overall growth of 4.9 percent in relation to fiscal year 2014.

The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 each year.

The transient occupancy tax table can be viewed by clicking here.

— Genie Wilson is the treasury manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Santa Barbara Dance Institute Celebrates 10 Years of Service

By | Published on 08/29/2014


The Santa Barbara Dance Institute is celebrating a decade of helping low-income, at-risk children throughout the county learn critical life skills, build confidence, improve their health and set a new standard of excellence for themselves through its unique educational dance programs.

Ten years ago, SBDI’s founder, Rosalina Macisco, created an expressive outlet for Santa Barbara’s underserved children using methods developed by the National Dance Institute. Since then, over 3,000 students have participated in SBDI’s programs.

Starting with just two schools and 80 students, SBDI has grown quickly to serve 12 schools and organizations with over 550 students per year.

“Every year more students attend our classes, more teachers see the positive effect of our programs and more schools request our services,” said Rosalina Macisco, executive and artistic director.

What We Do

Through highly structured educational dance programs, SBDI helps children discover their potential by empowering them to believe in themselves, work together in a team and develop a personal standard of excellence. We teach high energy, joyful, physically and mentally demanding classes that instill confidence, pride, work ethic and a mentality of never giving up. Our programs increase neuroplasticity in children’s brains through the utilization of medically proven movement sequences and dance routines (e.g. cross-boy moves).

In SBDI’s Partner Programs, classes are held weekly over a 30-week period.

Children experience an immersion in dance and music to promote achievement, teamwork and dedication. SBDI’s Residency Programs are held either during the school day or after-school for six-eight weeks. For every program, no matter the length or number of participants, SBDI has a close working relationship with the school.

All SBDI programs conclude with a performance event. SBDI’s Event-of-the-Year is a professionally written original show involving students who attend SBDI’s full-year programs to perform for their community, family and friends at the Marjorie Luke Theatre.

Bill Cirone, county cuperintendent of schools says about the performance, “This is one show you won’t want to miss!” The show has been coined the “feel-good show of the year,” by county arts commissioner Ginny Brush.

Past themes include:

» 100 Years of American Music and Dance
» Literature
» Imagination and the possibilities it brings
» Bullying

— Kaila MacKenzie is a producer for the Santa Barbara Dance Institute.


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San Marcos High School Community Grieves Loss of Student Killed in Car Crash

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Dan Perez, 16, who died when his vehicle collided with a big rig on Highway 101, is remembered as an exceptional scholar and athlete

San Marcos High School students and teachers were grieving the loss of local teenager Dan Perez on Thursday after news of his fatal car accident spread across campus.

Dan Perez
Dan Perez

Perez, a 16-year-old junior, was killed Wednesday night when his vehicle collided with a big rig truck on Highway 101 near Bates Road.

The California Highway Patrol said Perez entered the northbound freeway lanes from the Highway 150 off-ramp, driving the wrong way until his Mustang clipped a tractor-trailer and his vehicle landed on its roof.

Perez was declared dead at the scene, and it has not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

On Thursday, San Marcos Principal Ed Behrens said the school is grieving Perez's death. He said he heard the news of Perez's death from the school resource officer Thursday morning.

"We were all shocked and saddened to hear about the tragedy that had occurred," Behrens said.

Perez played on the school's baseball team his freshman and sophomore years at the school and was looking forward to playing lacrosse this semester.

"He was a stellar scholar/athlete," Behrens said, adding that Perez had a grade point average of 3.66. "Pretty much all day we've been working on creating a plan to provide assistance to the school community and to the community at large."

On Thursday, the school set up a compassion center on campus with the help of the county's mental health department where students and teachers could talk and grieve.

Members of the school's baseball team found each other and came together to the compassion center, Behrens said.

On Friday, the center will also be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the school's career center, located at 4750 Hollister Ave. 

The school will also be holding a moment of silence during first period on Friday morning and during the school's football game on Friday night.

Several of Perez's teachers remembered him on Thursday, describing him as a team player who was well-loved.

"From a coach's point of view, he was willing to do whatever it took to help his team," said Sergio Castellanos, baseball coach of Perez's freshman team. "Danny was always upbeat and positive, he got along well with all of his teammates, and everyone admired him and loved him for the person that he was."

Perez's chemistry teacher, Kimberly Tilton, said Perez was a gifted student with a sense of humor.

"I can still see Dan laughing at one of my corny jokes from the back corner of my class," she said. "It's hard to accept that I won't be celebrating his walk across the graduation stage."

Tilton said Perez was an "exceptional young man" and had the potential to become a great scientist.  

"It was truly a pleasure getting to know him," she said. "My heart goes out to all of his family and friends for their terrible loss."

Lauren Meier, program facilitator with the school's special education department, said it's important for parents and family members of grieving students to allow them to talk about their grief.

"It's really important to listen to the students," she said. "And keep in mind that all children grieve differently. … Keeping the open line of communication is key."

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


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Santa Barbara City Fire Department Shows Off New Equipment

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Largest grant in organization's history pays for purchase of breathing apparatuses

Battling blazes in the city of Santa Barbara is about to become a safer, more-efficient occupation with the addition of brand-new firefighting breathing apparatuses.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department unveiled its new expensive, donated equipment during a demonstration Thursday afternoon at its downtown training center.

Two firefighters showed off the self-contained breathing apparatus units, donning devices before entering a building filled with artificial smoke billowing from a machine.

All 85 members of the department should have the equipment within the next six to eight months, thanks to a $591,311 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The grant was the largest in department history, and the third one Homeland Security has awarded city fire in the same number of years — bringing the total to more than $1 million, according to Fire Chief Pat McElroy.

Last year, a grant funded a region-wide radio upgrade, and in 2012 the department purchased Plymovent, which captures and removes the diesel created when engines are started up below firehouse living quarters.

The latest tools allow the department to upgrade current breathing apparatuses, which are 20 years old and provide just 30 minutes of oxygen compared to 45 minutes for the new units.

Breathing apparatuses should be replaced every 10 years, said Battalion Chief Michael de Ponce, who was recognized for helping secure the grant, along with fellow grant writer Ron Liechti, the department’s administrative services manager.

A $591,311 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has allowed the Santa Barbara City Fire Department to purchase new breathing apparatuses for its firefighters. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s an absolute win-win for our firefighters,” Ponce said.

Firefighters wear the units when battling structure fires, vehicle fires, during confined space rescues and hazardous material spills, and in potential hazardous environments.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, whose office helped secure the grant, was in attendance, as well as Mayor Pro Tempore Cathy Murillo, who said she hopes firefighters don’t have to use the equipment too often.

In addition to more air time, the new apparatuses better warn firefighters when oxygen is low and emit a chirping sound when someone hasn’t moved in 30 seconds, gradually getting louder the longer a firefighter is still.

Ponce said the communication within the new mask will also be better, and might soon allow in-mask exchanges. Currently, firefighters have to pull out a radio and put it up to their mask to speak to each other.

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 CHP Officer Heralded for Saving Boy from Near Drowning

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Mark Naylor's training kicked in as he performed lifesaving measure on 8-year-old

Seeing a man carrying a limp boy from a swimming pool, off-duty California Highway Patrol officer Mark Naylor’s training immediately kicked in, and he began performing lifesaving measures on Alex Huffman in late May.

For his quick actions, Naylor, obviously uncomfortable with being in the spotlight, was recognized with the CHP’s Lifesaving Action Award on Thursday afternoon in Santa Maria as his fellow officers and top-ranking CHP officials gathered along with the family of the rescued boy.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank the man who saved your son’s life — no better feeling,” said Orcutt resident Larry Huffman, Alex's father. 

Law enforcement officers often have to defend their actions and rarely get celebrated for them, noted Lt. Alex Carrillo, commander of the CHP’s Santa Maria office.

“When we have the opportunity to recognize and commend one of our own, it’s really a pleasure,” Carrillo added.

Local residents notified CHP commanders about Naylor’s actions deserving of recognition, and the approval of the award went up the ranks from the local office to the division office to CHP Commissioner Joseph A Farrow.

Chief Reggie Chappelle of the CHP’s Coastal Division, which spans from Santa Cruz to Ventura counties, presented Naylor with the certificate of commendation.

Chappelle noted that law enforcement officers are never off duty.

“Usually that means you behave yourself because people are watching, but on a day like today, it also means that it if it wasn’t for Mark Naylor’s training, things could have turned out a lot worse,” Chappelle said.

“For me personally, I’ve never had the opportunity to present an award like this,” Carrillo said, noting he has been with the CHP for 30 years. 

Naylor was at a private barbecue and pool party in Orcutt where he noticed a man suddenly diving into a pool and resurfacing while holding an apparently lifeless 8-year-old Alex. 

Naylor acted immediately, noting the boy wasn’t breathing and that his eyes were fixed and dilated. He gave several rescue breaths and felt for the boy’s pulse, Carrillo said. 

Naylor continued giving rescue breaths and pulse monitoring before Alex revived and began breathing on his own.

A Santa Barbara County Fire Department crew, including firefighter Paul Christensen, arrived, and Alex was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

He has since fully recovered. 

“Without Officer Naylor's immediate response and lifesaving actions, it’s unlikely this child would have survived the incident,” Carrillo said.

Doug Coleman, representing Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, presented a certificate of recognition to Naylor, calling him a “true hero of this community and this young boy over here.”

Carrillo also recognized Alex’s brother, 11-year-old Aric, for his actions that day.

The boys' parents, Cindy and Larry Huffman, sat in the audience.

“When he noticed that his younger brother was at the bottom of the pool, he’s the one that really reacted, really showed some bravery, because many of us wouldn’t have known what to do,” Carrillo said, noting Aric alerted his father. “It really showed a lot of bravery, because like I said, many of us would freeze, not know what to do, not react at all, but he did.”

“You did a real outstanding job, I think everyone around here agrees with me,” Castillo told Aric before pinning a small CHP badge on the boy’s collar and later giving Alex one also.

CHP officers spend 20 to 30 percent of their time in training, which includes lifesaving measures that must be retained until needed, Chappelle noted. 

“I really appreciate this very much. It means a lot. It’s overwhelming to me having everybody here like this,” Naylor said as his family watched. “I feel very grateful for the training we got, and I was able to help. I really don’t know what else to say. It’s really overwhelming. I didn’t expect all this.” 

The “real heroes” of the rescue, Naylor added, were the boy’s father and brother.

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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Suspect in Death of Santa Maria Man Faces Different Charge at Arraignment

By | Published on 08/28/2014


The man arrested on suspicion of homicide Saturday night in Santa Maria faced a different charge Thursday morning at an arraignment hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Ismael Jacinto-Cruz, 24, was arrested after Santa Maria police officers responding to a fight found the victim inside a residence in the 1000 block of West Orange Street late Saturday night.

Police on Friday said the victim was Roberto Villa Rojas, 45, of Santa Maria.

The suspect, whose name is listed as Ismael Cruz Jacinto on a court website, was arraigned on a felony charge of resisting an officer with force and violence, according to Mag Nicola, chief deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in the North County.

The suspect is scheduled to return to court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Nicola said his office is awaiting the results of the autopsy before filing additional charges related to the man’s death. 

While the preliminary autopsy has been conducted, it typically takes more time for the toxicology reports to be completed.

This was the first reported homicide in the city of Santa Maria for 2014.

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: Invoca Plans to Expand Into Nearby Downtown Space

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Indigo boutique moves next door, ONTRAPORT plans annual event and Heeluxe wins nationwide award

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

Invoca's rate of growth is catching up to the Santa Barbara business, which will expand into a second downtown building later this year.

The cloud-based, inbound call marketing company, which was founded locally in 2008, will take over the lease at 15 W. Figueroa St., current home of HG Data and within eyeshot of Invoca’s 1025 Chapala St. headquarters.

The move-in could happen as soon as November, and HG Data is working diligently to be out of the space — the tech company is moving (and growing) as well — by Dec. 31, when its lease is up.

Invoca took over the second floor of its headquarters not too long ago, but a three-year revenue growth of 1,200 percent from 2010 to 2013, the addition of 100 new jobs and an 82 percent gain in customers has prompted the expansion.

Earlier this year, CEO Jason Spievak told Noozhawk he was considering whether to scoop up another office space or to lease a new larger building somewhere locally.

Invoca, which was recently named as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies in Inc. Magazine’s annual 5000 list, plans to maintain its headquarters near the corner of Chapala and Figueroa streets.

Indigo Makes Move Next Door

Santa Barbara interior design boutique Indigo is moving to 1321 State St. — just a storefront down from its current location at 1323 State St.

After 26 years in its downtown space, Indigo will occupy a slightly larger next door location that housed the Alma del Pueblo development’s sales team until last spring.

Owner Genny Cummings and her husband, Tom, closed the business a couple weeks ago and hope to have everything moved to open the new space on Tuesday.

The longtime locals say nothing will change except a number of the address.

ONTRApalooza 2014 Comes to Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara-based ONTRAPORT, creators of an all-in-one small-business automation platform, will host its third annual ONTRApalooza business building conference for entrepreneurs in October at Lobero Theatre.

ONTRApalooza 2014 will take place Oct. 1-3, bringing together small-business owners and business consultants from around the world to interact in hands-on training, workshops, social events and more.

Keynote speakers will include Santa Barbara resident Jack Canfield, originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and America’s No. 1 success coach, and more.

ONTRAPORT is offering a special discounted price for locals, with tickets at $299 — half off the regular price of $599.

Heeluxe Wins Award

Goleta’s Heeluxe has been named the grand prize winner of the BizClips Small Business Productivity Makeover Video Contest.

The local business, which provides shoe research, development and lab testing for footwear companies, took top honors after creating a video titled “A Revolutionary Approach to Footwear.” 

After winning the contest, sponsored by SCORE and Brother International, Heeluxe was honored at a gala this month in Washington D.C. and will receive a business makeover to include new tools and technology.

Two Properties Sold

Lee & Associates announced that two properties on Lillie Avenue in Summerland have been sold this month to new owners.

The location of Summerland Winery and Bonita at 2330 Lillie Ave. was one of those properties. The 4,344-square-foot landmark building also includes two residential units in the building. No other information about the sale was available.

A local family bought the 12,000 square-foot lot at the corner of Hollister and Lillie, which is zoned for commercial. The new owner, whose name was not disclosed, plans to develop the property.

A final sales price was also unavailable.

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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UCSB Student Arrested, Gun Seized at Isla Vista Apartment

By | Published on 08/28/2014


A UCSB student who was reported to be armed and suicidal was apprehended by Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies were called to an apartment in the 700 block of Camino Del Sur at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

They were responding to a report that Joshua Hillsburg, 20, had a gun and wanted to kill himself, Hoover said.

"Sheriff’s deputies responded to the apartment, secured a perimeter, and attempted to make contact with Hillsburg," Hoover said. "After a short amount of time, Hillsburg came to the front door, and when he saw deputies, he attempted to retreat into a back bedroom."

Deputies were able to prevent Hillsburg from reaching the bedroom and detained him, Hoover said.

A records check did not show any weapons registered to Hillsburg, Hoover said, but deputies learned there was a handgun in a back bedroom.

They subsequently found a loaded .357 revolver under a pillow, and seized it pursuant to a section of the state Welfare and Institutions Code pertaining to weapons in the possession of people with mental-health issues, Hoover said.

The weapon was registered to a family member, she said.

"While deputies were inside the residence, they saw multiple sets of brass knuckles in plain view," Hoover said, adding that Hillsburg was arrested on suspicion of possessing brass knuckles, and those weapons also were seized.

Hillsburg was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $20,000.

"The Isla Vista Foot Patrol commends the reporting party in this case for calling 9-1-1 to report the subject’s erratic behavior which ultimately could have saved his life," Hoover said.

Click here for suicide-prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.

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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Letter to the Editor: Increased Threat to America

By | Published on 08/28/2014


As Sept. 11 nears, America is in increased danger from the threat of Islamist terrorism.

There are two reasons for this: open borders/immigration issues and ignoring the rise of ISIS/ISIL.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the ISIS possesses an "immediate threat" due to lax border security. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has warned that Iraqis have already illegally crossed the southern border. Drug cartels are also talking with ISIS.

Who is ISIS? It is a barbaric, well-financed Islamic army that has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq, setting up an Islamic State (caliphate). They kill anyone who disagrees with them, especially Christians.

When did ISIS appear? According to the West Point counterterrorism center, "ISIS did not suddenly become effective in early June 2014. It had been steadily strengthening and actively shaping the future operating environment for four years." The report said that the "shattering" of Iraq's security forces in June is a "case-in-point, the result of years of patient preparatory operations."

Furthermore, there were warning signs along the way, and the intelligence agency warned the White House at least two years ago about the growing ISIS threat.

Stunningly, President Obama chose to ignore this growing threat and recently compared ISIS and related groups to a "jayvee team."

Clearly, ISIS needs to be destroyed. Will President Obama act to protect America?

Diana Thorn


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Letter to the Editor: ISIS Is Dangerous

By | Published on 08/28/2014


ISIS is not your run-of-the-mill Islamic terrorist group. They are a highly successful movement with an apocalyptic, nihilistic philosophy. They mean business when they say, "Convert, join us or die."

There are nine reasons why they are such a threat to Iraq, the Middle East, the world and the United States.

» 1) More sophisticated, excel in using the social media.

» 2) Rich. Use extortion, selling electricity, exploring oil and gas, and have looted five banks.

» 3) Other al-Qaeda-like groups are pledging allegiance to them, giving them access to a global network of terrorists.

» 4) Control territory the size of Maryland in the heart of the Arab world.

» 5) Evolved into a pro-state, with its own army, civil administration, judiciary and propaganda operation.

» 6) Most heavily armed Islamist extremist group in history.

» 7) Out-recruiting other terrorist groups, pulling in westerners.

» 8) Its leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, claims he is descent from the Prophet Mohammed.

» 9) Declared the rebirth of the Caliphate and its leader to be Caliph Ibrahim.

President Barack Obama got it wrong. ISIS is no "jayvee team." It must be destroyed.

Diana and Don Thorn



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Susan Miles Gulbransen: Santa Barbara at Home in the Works of Local Authors

By | Published on 08/28/2014


In the eyes of beholders, the Newbery Medal award for the most distinguished children’s book each year is akin to an Oscar for moviedom, Tony for Broadway or Emmy for television.

Named after a British 18th-century bookseller, John Newbery, the list began in 1922 as a superb guide for family reading and gift choices. My own all-time favorite children’s book, King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, was the 1949 winner among other years of favorite books.

Up until now, winning book covers displayed the award's bold gold seal, a top priority and honor above all others. Not anymore, it appears.

After 18 years of efforts, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, The Giver by Lois Lowry, is now a movie. The media have covered it with reviews and interviews in recent weeks. In a good marketing move, a movie tie-in book edition came out. The cover features star and backer of the movie Jeff Bridges, with his young counterpart in a utopian-becomes-dystopian drama set in the future.

Instead of the big familiar gold Newbery Medal above or next to the title, a gray circle catches your eye. It saysm “Includes exclusive Q&A with Taylor Swift and others!” Swift has a cameo role in the movie, not a major one. One small line at the bottom states, “Winner of the Newbery Medal.”

Author Lowry, winner of Newbery Medals in 1990 and 1994, stated her pragmatic attitude in a Los Angeles Times interview: “I’m kind of sorry we have to have Taylor Swift label instead of the Newbery Medal, but that’s OK. I think it’s an appealing cover. I think in a bookstore someone will gravitate to it and pick it up.”

Do you know any of these men: John Crowe, Michael Collins, Dennis Lynds, William Arden, Dan Fortune, Mark Sadler, Carl Dekker? If you say yes and name the late Dennis Lynds, then you know the real name. The others were some of his pseudonyms, except for Dan Fortune, one of Lynds’ fictional characters written as Michael Collins. By the way, Fortune ends his days in Summerland.

The other popular series has been John Crowe's Buena Costa novels. The William Arden in Lynds wrote children's series. He also published some short stories under other names. Why pseudonyms? When you’ve published more than 80 novels and who-knows-how-many short stories, writing under other names is a way to market and separate the books.

All of this is to say that Lynds was a prolific author, outstanding teacher and lived a good portion of his adult life in Santa Barbara. When I failed to mention his name among other outstanding local authors in a recent column, I twisted and turned over the omission.

Our community has historically been home to creative literary minds and does not lack for numbers. Just ask Steve Gilbar, editor of several books on local authors and/or Santa Barbara stories. My arbitrary favorite is Red Tiles, Blue Skies, second in his collection. Gilbar also founded Speaking of Stories, the series produced each winter at Center Stage with professional actors reading stories. These evenings make for dramatic and effect entertainment as you sit in the darkened theater losing yourself in excellent stories, the kind that stays in your head and heart a long time.

The other brain expert on numbers of Santa Barbara writers is book freak and former publisher of Noel Young's Capra Press, Robert E. (Bob) Bason. For several years, he had a hobby of collecting books by local authors. I visited his house once when the garage door was open. Instead of the usual closed cupboards, tool kits and workshop benches, the garage had loaded bookshelves — so many that one car had to be out on the driveway. He eventually compiled a paper titled "The Robert E. Bason Collection of Santa Barbara Authors and Books About Santa Barbara."

The project started in 1980 took off like a giant’s beanstalk. "The collection definitely outgrew storage space in my house and I was faced with 'marital discord.' When it reached over 1,000 (not even counting the tomes from UCSB professors), I realized that there was no end to this collection and gave up. I donated the whole collection to Special Collections at UCSB. They now maintain it — and the list is HUGE. It turns out that everyone in Santa Barbara is writing a book!"

By the time he called a halt to the project, he had 1,186 books, manuscripts and other related items. It ran from Michael Ableman's From the Good Earth to David Wyatt's Thrifty Gourmet. The catalog of books itself was 144 typed pages long.

He says, "Collecting Santa Barbara authors is an occupation that can easily take up your remaining time on this Earth. I had been at it for years and only cracked the surface."

While creating his hobby, Bason came across several ways writers refer to Santa Barbara in fiction, an entertaining sidebar. Perhaps the most famous was Ross Macdonald, one of the country's earliest mystery authors with his Lew Archer series. He called it Santa Teresa. Sue Grafton in her "alphabet mystery series" used the same name as a tribute to him but added Montebello to the east and Colgate to the west. Sound familiar? Her books are full of other named references.

Ron Ely and Tony Gibbs kept the real name Santa Barbara. William Campbell Gault called locations in the area San Valdesto, Montevista and Slope Ranch. Lynds (also as John Crowe) used San Vicente and Buena Costa County to describe our town.

Were you an author, what names might you use?

Noozhawk columnist Susan Miles Gulbransen — a Santa Barbara native, writer and book reviewer — teaches writing at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and through the Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education Division. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Letter to the Editor: Oil Industry Arguments Against Measure P Are Absurd

By | Published on 08/28/2014


The oil industry arguments against Measure P are absurd and an insult to our intelligence.

They say “there is no fracking now,” carefully limiting what they say to this very minute. But they leave out that fracking is permitted in Santa Barbara County and has been used in the past. Also notice that they are using this half-truth to retain the right to do it in the future.

They say “we haven’t contaminated any groundwater in Santa Barbara County,” but the rest of that sentence is “yet.” They leave out that they have contaminated surface water in our county hundreds of times, and contaminated groundwater in countless other places, including next door in Kern County.

They say “we have clean air already,” leaving out that what they want to do will unquestionably add significant amounts of pollutants and greenhouse gases to the air.

The whole point of Measure P is to prevent these problems before they happen!

Just like the tobacco industry’s false campaign about the health effects of tobacco, the oil industry is using denial, half-truths, and personal attacks to try to to confuse voters. Their goal is private profit at the expense of public risk.

Unfortunately, we will all have to suffer through $2 million worth of this stuff over the next two months. Their disingenuous campaign proves that they are not to be trusted.

To protect the public’s interests, vote yes on Measure P.

Rebecca Claassen​
Santa Barbara


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City of Goleta Seeks Student Member for Parks and Recreation Commission

By | Published on 08/28/2014


The City of Goleta is seeking one student member of the community to serve on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

The purpose of the commission is to provide citizens a platform to discuss the needs, opportunities and current offerings of parks and recreation activities in the city. The commission also advises the City Council on all issues related to parks and recreational opportunities in Goleta.

The Parks and Recreation Commission is a seven-member body with one student member (15 years or older). Members of the commission must reside in Goleta and not be employed by the city. The student commissioner is appointed for a one-year term.

Meeting schedule: The Parks and Recreation Commission meets bi-monthly, or as needed starting at 6 p.m. at the Goleta City Council Chambers.

Compensation: Members receive $50 per meeting. However, the student commissioner may choose to waive their compensation to receive community service credit.

Applications/deadline: Applications may be obtained from and must be returned to the City Clerk, City of Goleta, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, Goleta, CA 93117. An application form is also available at the city’s website by clicking here.

Additional information can be provided by calling Deborah Lopez, City Clerk, at 805.961.7505. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8.


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Letter to the Editor: A Proven Resource for Prison Reform

By | Published on 08/28/2014


We don't need to pay the tab for high-level county officers to jet to Scandanavia to study recent advances in incarceration.

We have an acknowledged expert, Jeffrey A. Beard, Ph.D., secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, whom we can and ought to invite to consult with our county officials regarding good, up-to-date practices guaranteed to radically reduce jail numbers.

Across America we have many jurisdictions experiencing remarkable results with reform. Dr. Beard has been instrumental in some. He's been around the country, not just around Santa Barbara. Let's get his expertise for our plight.

To read the facts about our county's record on incarceration, click here.

Joe Cain
Santa Barbara


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Ed Fuller: With Homes at Risk for Wildfire, Take Time to Review Your Insurance Policy

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Although the last few fires burned most of the mountains spilling into the Santa Barbara area, I am told there is still plenty of fuel for new fires. As fire season continues, what is the extent of the danger?

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

One major insurer has defined it by refusing to write new fire insurance in the 93108, 93103 and 93105 ZIP codes. Several years ago, another major insurer refused to write any new fire insurance in the state.

As fire insurance is a requirement of any home loan, the lack of competition can add an another burden for a buyer.

For those with homes at risk, it’s time to review your policies.

A local insurance broker pointed out that many policies will only provide full replacement cost if the property is insured “to value.” In other words, the amount of insurance must equal all or a large percentage of the cost to rebuild. If not adequately insured, the policy will default to a formula that only insures for the “depreciated” (actual cash) value of the improvements, not the full replacement cost.

The catch here is that after a major fire, construction costs tend to rise dramatically. This new, increased cost to replace your home could wind up defeating your full replacement coverage, leaving you on the hook for a substantial amount of the cost to rebuild.

The best thing to do is read your policy before a fire happens. If it’s unintelligible, visit a licensed insurance broker for a translation.

For a map of the fire and flood dangers on the South Coast of Santa Barbara, the county has a very informative map available by clicking here.

Fire safety information can be found at the State of California website by clicking here or the Santa Barbara County Fire Department website by clicking here.

Be safe!

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Biologist/Author Rupert Sheldrake to Deliver CLL ‘Mind & Supermind’ Lecture

By | Published on 08/28/2014


On Sept. 8, the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning will welcome visionary English biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., for the 35th anniversary of the CLL’s Mind & Supermind lecture series.

Sheldrake is known for his theory of “morphic resonance” and is named among “The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2014” by Watkins Books, London.

The lecture, titled “Extended Minds: Recent Experimental Evidence,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8 at The New Vic Theatre, 33 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, or $50 for a VIP Meet and Greet (includes lecture and private reception; tickets are limited). Click here for lecture registration. Click here for the VIP Meet and Greet registration.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with special guest Rupert Sheldrake,” said Andy Harper, executive director of SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning. “Sheldrake embodies the tradition of Mind & Supermind, to bring the community together with top minds to explore and question the nature of human psychology and consciousness.”

Sheldrake’s theories are sometimes controversial, as demonstrated in the discussion of his TEDx talk. One theory posits that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even when all normal sensory clues are eliminated. Intentions can have effects at a distance and can be detected telepathically. Minds are also extended in time. Just as memories connect us with our pasts, precognitions and presentiments sometimes connect us with our futures.

Sheldrake, Ph.D., is a biologist and author of more than 80 papers in scientific journals and 11 books, including Science Set Free. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, and from 2005-10 was Director of the Perrott–Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a visiting professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He lives in London.

For more information, email or call 805.687.0812.

The popular, long-running Mind & Supermind series is now part of the CLL’s lecture and special event series “CLL Presents Major Issues.” Notable guest speakers throughout the long-running series have included Deepak Chopra, Fritjof Capra (author of The Tao of Physics), energy-based healer Judith Oroloff, M.D., and quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf. Through the series, the CLL invites the community to meet and hear from leading experts about timely local and global topics.

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


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Foundation Invites Golfers to Take a Swing at Tournament Benefiting Guadalupe School District

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Golfers are invited to take a solid swing for the future: Guadalupe youth and education.

The Guadalupe Kids Come First Foundation will hold its first Golf Tournament Fundraiser on Sept. 20 at Monarch Dunes at Trilogy Golf Course in Nipomo. Corporate sponsors and community partners can also make a "Hole in One" with donations.

The funds are earmarked for 1,200 students attending the Guadalupe Union School District. The goal is to raise $10,000 to begin saving for learning tools such as laptops, iPads and other technology for the young learners in Guadalupe. The purpose of the nonprofit foundation is to support the district's academic, athletic and cultural programs.

"I am looking forward to golfers, businesses and the Santa Maria Valley supporting the foundation's efforts that are designed to provide extra support to students and their needs so they can make the most of their education,'' said GUSD Superintendent Ed Cora, who started the foundation last year. "The educational learning model has changed, creating an urgent opportunity for our students to have this technology. Our students are motivated about education and will richly benefit from the support they receive.''

The golf tournament starts with registration from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and an 11 a.m. "Shotgun" start in a scramble format. The cost is $110 per person, which includes 18 holes, green fee, cart, a goodie bag and lunch. There is a maximum of 144 golfers for the educational challenge.

Corporate sponsors are urged to support students, who after graduating from GUSD, enter higher education in the Santa Maria Valley. Sponsors can make a $500 or less donation to meet the foundation's goal. For others, participation is designed to meet advertising objectives. A hole can be sponsored for $100 and that includes your company's name on a tee sign.

For more information, please contact GUSD for a registration form at 805.343.2114 or click here. Donations can be made to GUSD, P.O. Box 788, Guadalupe, CA 93434-2114.

— Kenny Klein is the media contact for the Guadalupe Union School District.


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Granada Theatre Opening the Curtain on ‘Monday at the Movies’ Series

By | Published on 08/28/2014


The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts is proud to announce the launch of Monday at the Movies!, a special series of films that will be screened throughout the year in the majestic Granada Theatre, on the only state-of-the-art 4K, rear-projection digital cinema system on California’s Central Coast.

The first in the film series will be Bugsy Malone at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8. Bugsy Malone is a 1976 British musical gangster film, directed by Alan Parker. Set in Chicago, the film is loosely based on Chicago events from the early 1920s to 1931 in the Prohibition era, specifically the exploits of gangsters like Al Capone and Bugs Moran, as dramatized in cinema.

Dates and film titles for the inaugural Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series are:

» Sept. 8 — Bugsy Malone

» Nov. 24 — To Kill a Mockingbird

» Jan. 26 — Magnificent Seven

» March 30 — The Great Escape

This season’s filmed entertainment programming features the Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series, established by the SBCPA to honor the life and work of noted film composer and Santa Barbara resident Elmer Bernstein. The series presents an annual selection of films noteworthy for the importance of their musical scores to the telling of each film’s unique story. A guest curator is selected each year to program the series, host the screening, discuss each film and moderate a question and answer session with the audience and other special guests.

“Elmer’s greatest passion was creating music for the arts, and it is truly an honor to have his legacy in film be memorialized in Santa Barbara, a city he called home,” said Elmer Bernstein’s widow, Eve Bernstein.

The inaugural series features selections by guest curator Paul Williams, one of the most beloved and respected music creators in the world today. Williams is a lyricist and composer, Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner, member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as president and chairman of the Board of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Sober 23 years, his humorous observations of life, love and creativity, augmented by the education and knowledge he gained through his studies and certification from UCLA as a certified drug rehabilitation counselor, will be shared in his new book co-written by Tracey Jackson, titled Gratitude and Trust; Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be the first guest curator for this extraordinary cinematic series,” Williams said. “The first film Bugsy Malone holds a special place in my heart as I wrote many of the lyrics in the original film. This program will be a fantastic collaboration of impressive musical scores with the most advanced level of technology in the 21st century.”

The vision of providing the Granada Theatre with a first-class, state-of-the-art digital cinema system came from SBCPA Board President Sarah Chrisman and her husband, Roger Chrisman. Thanks to their generous support, as well as that of the Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation’s gift in memory of Mike DeGruy, the Granada Theatre is now able to provide Santa Barbara audiences with an inspiring filmed entertainment experience that cannot be found anywhere else on California’s Central Coast.

Screenings will be preceded by a conversation with Williams and other special guests about each film and its musical score. An informal post-screening discussion with Williams in the Granada Theatre’s McCune Founders room will take place for SBCPA Premiere Patron members and their guests. RSVPs will be required for post-screening event attendance.

Tickets range in price from $9 to $20, and are available through the Granada Theatre’s Box Office. Click here to purchase online or call the box office at 805.899.2222. Dates and film titles are subject to change.

For all sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristi Newton, director of development, by phone at 805.451.2932 or via email at

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


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Santa Barbara Crime Data Show Robberies Down, Aggravated Assaults Up

By | Published on 08/28/2014


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 times to Priority 1 (emergency life threatening), Priority 2 (emergency non-life threatening), Priority 3 (non-emergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service all remained within performance objectives.

» Positive trends: The rate of robberies has been experiencing a downward trend. Year to date there has been a 44 percent decrease in robberies compared with the year-to-date figure from 2013, and a 49 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2012.

The overall rate of property crimes continues to remain low. Year to date there has been a 25 percent decrease in total property crimes compared with the year-to-date figure from 2013, and a 33 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2012. The rate of residential burglaries is significantly lower than last year. Year to date there has been a 38 percent decrease in residential burglaries compared with the year-to-date figure from 2013. The rate of burglaries and thefts from vehicles has also experienced a significant downward shift. Year to date there has been a 42 percent decrease compared with the year-to-date figure from 2013, and a 56 percent decrease compared with 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 is 3 percent higher than that of 2013 with 174. Most aggravated assaults are alcohol or domestic violence related. Also, the rate of DUI traffic accidents remains high. The year-to-date rate of DUI traffic accidents is roughly even (1 percent decrease) with that of 2013 and is up 45 percent compared with the same period in 2012.

Additional Santa Barbara crime information and statistics can be found by clicking here.

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


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Santa Barbara Airport Gearing Up for Busy Labor Day Weekend

By | Published on 08/28/2014


The Santa Barbara Airport anticipates another busy Labor Day weekend Thursday through Monday.

Passengers should arrive 90 minutes prior to their departure to ensure an easy and enjoyable experience.

There is plenty of convenient parking within a short distance of the airline terminal. SBA’s Short Term Parking Lot, located directly across from the terminal entrance, at 500 Fowler Road, is a convenient option for those dropping off or picking up passengers.

Those who travel for short durations may also wish to consider this parking option at $20 a day ($2 for the first hour and $1 for each additional). Long Term Parking Lot 1, located adjacent to the terminal, is but a short walk to ticketing — $12 a day ($2 for the first hour and $1 for each additional).

For those picking up passengers who do not wish to park, please use our cell phone lots at the WWII Memorial off James Fowler Road or the Slough Overlook off William Moffett Road.

Due to TSA security regulations in place since Sept. 11, 2001, vehicles are not permitted to park at the terminal curb unless active loading or unloading is taking place.

We encourage all passengers to visit the Transportation Security Administration’s website page “What to Know Before You Go.”

Santa Barbara Airport offers flights to six nonstop destinations: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and one-stop travel to everywhere in the world.

SBA is a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City Santa Barbara and serves nearly 710,000 passengers annually.

— Hazel Johns is director of the Santa Barbara Airport.


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Teen Killed in Crash That Shut Down Northbound Highway 101

By | Published on 08/28/2014


Daniel James Perez, 16, of Santa Barbara was wrong-way driver who died at the scene after colliding with big-rig, according to CHP

A fatal accident involving a big-rig and a wrong-way teenage driver shut down northbound Highway 101 overnight between Santa Barbara and Ventura, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Although the roadway was reopened shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, the closure caused a massive traffic tie-up throughout the night that extended into the morning commute.

The crash, involving a big-rig and a white Mustang, occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday on the freeway near Bates Road, the CHP said.

The driver of the Mustang, Daniel James Perez, 16, of Santa Barbara, entered the northbound freeway lanes from the Highway 150 offramp, said CHP Officer Jonathan Gutierrez.

The Mustang proceeded southbound until it clipped the left front of a Volvo tractor-trailer.

Daniel James Perez

The Mustang landed on its roof, and Perez ended up underneath and was declared dead at the scene, the CHP said.

The driver of the big-rig, Willie H. Lonie, Jr., 56, of Mississippi, was not injured.

The southbound lanes of the freeway remained open.

Some 20 gallons of diesel fuel spilled and had to be cleaned up.

Gutierrez said it had not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

Perez was a student at San Marcos High School and a member of the school's baseball team, according to Barbara Keyani, a district spokeswoman.

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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High Surf Continues to Rock Santa Barbara County Beaches

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Waves up to 10 feet hit local shores Wednesday; advisory lasts through Friday

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

High surf has been a blessing for local surfers but a nuisance for some Santa Barbara boat owners, who have called for a tow or found their boat run ashore on East Beach.

Waves peaked at 6 to 10 feet Wednesday, the riskiest levels expected during the high surf advisory the National Weather Service issued this week.

The advisory, which began Tuesday and remains in effect through 6 p.m. Friday, was prompted by big waves pummeling the coastal areas of southern Santa Barbara County and further south — courtesy of Hurricane Marie, which was moving through the eastern Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s Baja California coast.

Forecasters expected damaging surf with strong rip current and significant erosion of south-and-southeast-facing beaches from Santa Barbara to Rincon Point.

An unoccupied 24-foot boat anchored year-round east of Stearns Wharf was thrown onto shore at East Beach just before high tide at 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to Harbor Patrol Supervisor Steve McCullough.

Harbor patrol has towed a handful of other boats into the harbor, including one small vessel that flipped overnight, McCullough said.

A swimmers-in-distress call Wednesday turned out to be unfounded, he said, since they got themselves out of the water.

Harbor Patrol closed the breakwater because surf spilled over onto the walkway. McCullough said a sign is up, but people could still go out, so he advised using caution.

A sailboat that broke loose from its mooring is battered by large surf at East Beach in Santa Barbara. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

“The surf was picking up,” he said of high tide around 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. “Hopefully (the tide) starts backing off in the next 24 hours. It’s just a beautiful day for surfing.”

McCullough said Harbor Patrol would monitor conditions through the weekend.

Other areas of Southern California coastline haven’t been so lucky.

Port Hueneme Pier in Ventura County was pounded with historically high waves, knocking loose two support beams late Tuesday, according to the Ventura County Star.

Facilities officials there say the pier, which is closed to the public, could weaken enough to collapse if conditions continue.

The Malibu Pier was also closed Tuesday after a surfer was pulled unconscious from the water near Surfrider Beach just after high tide, later dying from his injuries.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department posted a message on Facebook warning local surfers who sought the perfect wave near UC Santa Barbara’s Campus Point.

“Hundreds of Americans drown in the ocean each year due to high surf, rip currents and other hazards. SBC reminds you, ‘When In Doubt, Stay Out!’ Please remember to only enter the water when it's safe, and you’re capable of handling the rough water, and you understand the risks.”

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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Jobs Focus of Measure P Presentation in Santa Maria

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Opponents of the anti-fracking initiative say it would reduce employment and harm the county

Measure P, a countywide anti-fracking initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot, would lead to the loss of current and future jobs in the oil and-gas industry, along with other sectors, at time when the North County already struggles with poverty.

That was the message driven home Wednesday by speakers at what was billed as a "Job Wars Conversation" in Santa Maria.

The lunchtime session at Church for Life on Skyway Drive attracted approximately 100 people.

Speakers urged those in attendance to vote against Measure P, saying it will take a high toll on jobs.

“It is a plan to shut down the onshore oil-and-gas industry in Santa Barbara County,” said David Pratt, president of Santa Maria Energy.

Measure P would ban high-intensity petroleum operations. Its backers call it the "Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking."

Opponents of Measure P contend it would do much more, including shutting down operations on wells now in production, costing a thousand jobs.

“Measure P will affect existing operations just as surely as it will affect future operations,” Pratt asserted, adding that existing wells require maintenance that wouldn’t be allowed under Measure P.

Measure P proponents claim oil-and-gas production will harm air quality and water resources.

But Pratt cited reports contending air quality in the county has improved, and said allegations about water are an attempt to exploit the drought. 

He also says hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, isn’t planned for the county. 

“Simply put, Measure P is deceptive,” Pratt said. “I thought long and hard about what word I would use, and that’s the most polite one I could come up with.”

If oil production increases, property valuation would increase, giving more money for schools, firefighting and law enforcement services, he said.

In 2011, the oil and gas industry in Santa Barbara County had a $291 million economic impact, opponents of Measure P said. Additionally, oil and gas sites in 2014 are expected to generate $20.3 million in property taxes, or 3.1 percent, of the county’s total property taxes, Pratt added. 

Increased production would only see those numbers rise, Pratt added.

“Unless Measure P is defeated, it will destroy jobs and leave a big hole in the economy,” he said, urging people to vote no and drawing applause from the crowd.

Kevin Walthers, president/superintendent of Allan Hancock College, discussed the “Snapshot on Poverty in Santa Barbara County.

The report noted that 65 percent of the children living in poverty in the county reside in North County.

“Poverty is a big worry,” Walthers said. “I think we need to be very mindful of policies that exacerbate it.”

A community’s other problems, such as crime and illiteracy, often are tied to poverty, he noted.

“We’re very much worried about what happens when you limit the amount of jobs …,” Walthers said.

Of the nearby community college districts with one school, Hancock ranks at the bottom for property valuation behind Santa Barbara, Cuesta, Monterey and Hartnell. This affects the local college’s ability to issue bonds to fund new projects, he added.

Shannon Seifert, executive director of the Santa Maria Valley YMCA, recalled the high toll the recession took on the organization’s members, with jobs lost and houses going into foreclosure. 

Recounting the stories she heard from members “almost makes me cry just thinking about it,” she added. 

“I am really scared about this happening again if this measure goes through,” Seifert said. “I’m so scared of that. And it’s my own personal terror … . I don’t want to lose our quality of life, you guys.”

Several speakers noted that in addition to the lost jobs in the oil and gas industry, a multiplier effect would mean fewer jobs in other sectors.

Representatives of the Yes on Measure P campaign didn’t speak at the event. 

Later Wednesday, Katie Davis, one of the supporters of the measure, said the initiative would not affect current jobs because existing wells are exempt. 

“Oil is a tiny fraction of jobs in the county, less than 1 percent of our workforce, and extreme extraction puts the other 99 percent of jobs at risk,” Davis said. “Our economy is based on ag, tourism, tech, and a healthy environment where people want to live and do business.”

She added that increased oil production would create temporary jobs, and that it would involve specialized, imported workers at the cost of other jobs. She contended studies show that counties that rely on oil extraction have lower wages and job growth.

“Using fracking and other extreme techniques brings little benefit at high cost, and is not worth the risk for our county,” Davis added.

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


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Santa Barbara Gets $8.6 Million to Fund Eastside, Las Positas Biking and Walking Projects

By | Published on 08/27/2014


The State of California has awarded the City of Santa Barbara $8.6 million to fund biking and walking transportation projects on Santa Barbara's Eastside and in the Las Positas Valley

"Funding transportation projects is increasingly difficult as people drive less and gas tax revenues reduce over time with inflation," Rob Dayton, the city's principal transportation planner, told Noozhawk. "This grant, though small in comparison to the need, is huge for Santa Barbara, and particularly for Lower Eastside residents."

The California Transportation Commission awarded the funds through the state's Active Transportation Program, which is designed to fund projects that do the following:

» Increase biking and walking trips

» Increase pedestrian and bicycle safety

» Reduce greenhouse gases

» Improve public health

» Help disadvantaged, minority and low-income communities

Santa Barbara has long pursued alternative transportation projects designed to encourage residents to use their automobiles less and pursue walking, bicycling and bussing.

The city is also currently engaged in a bicycle master plan project, intended to increase bicycle options and improve safety in the city. 

The city received $1.1 million for the installation of sidewalks and lighting on lower Milpas Street and Calle Puerto Vallarta. New sidewalks will connect Milpas Street from the train tracks to the beach.

The city also received $3.4 million to use some of the money for sidewalks as part of the Montecito Street Bridge Replacement project. 

In addition, the city plans to spend $2.7 million for lighting as well as pedestrian and bicycle bridges on Cacique and Soledad streets, over Sycamore Creek. 

Finally, $1.4 million will go toward the Las Positas Road Pathway. The pathway would extend from Cliff Drive north to Modoc Road along Las Positas Road and west along Modoc Road, connecting to the Obern trail. The total cost of that project would be about $15 million.

“We are delighted with the outcome,” Public Works Director Rebecca Bjork said. “With increasingly fewer resources available, grant opportunities such as this are critical to making community transportation projects possible.”

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


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Santa Barbara, Goleta Students Head Back to School

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Administrators and teachers welcome children for the start of a new year

Just after 8 a.m. Wednesday at Harding University Partnership School, new Principal Veronica Binkley was walking the Santa Barbara campus, greeting students and welcoming them back to school.

It was the first day of the year for Binkley and the 400 or so students enrolled this year at the school, located at 1625 Robbins St. on the city's Westside.

"Are you excited?" she called to several children sitting at a picnic table in the school's courtyard, waiting for their classrooms to open up.

They nodded her direction, though some still looked a bit sleepy and were helped along by their parents.

Binkley popped into the sixth-grade classroom of teachers Lindsay Alker and Jennifer Lindsay and introduced herself to the students.

"We're looking to you to be leaders at this school," she told them.

Several doors down, first-grade teacher Jamie Stratford was introducing herself to her students, who sat on a brightly colored rug, eager and attentive, as their parents looked on after dropping them off.

Binkley said Harding's teachers, coupled with the International Baccalaureate curriculum, are the reason for the school's quality of education.

back to school
Students at Harding University Partnership School head to class on Wednesday for the first day of the new school year. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

"I would challenge anybody to present me a more internationally-minded, action-oriented program than what's at Harding," she said.

Schools in the Goleta Union Elementary District and Santa Barbara Unified School District started class Wednesday, giving students a three-day week to transition back to school.

Most of the public K-12 districts started classes this week in southern Santa Barbara County.

At La Patera Elementary School in Goleta, Principal Ricardo Araiza spent the morning excitedly welcoming students and parents. It’s his second year at the campus, located at 555 N. La Patera Lane, and he hopes to develop more relationships between the two groups of families — those who live nearby and those who bus in their students.

The school is trying out a new intervention strategy for struggling students this year, with certificated tutors helping teachers take aside students who fall behind, Araiza said. 

La Patera teachers Tara Svensson and Laura Buratto, shown with Principal Ricardo Araiza, prepare for the first day of classes Wednesday. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Fifth-grade teacher Laura Buratto will spend the first few days having students get to know each other and do some team-building, she said.

Her class can look forward to a curriculum filled with math and science projects, field trips and U.S. history projects, such as transforming explorer reports into board games for classmates to play.

“What’s cool about teaching is you get a new group of kids and families every year — it’s like restarting your battery,” said Buratto, who has been teaching at La Patera for 21 years.

Second-grade teacher Tara Svensson agreed, saying every first day of school is like starting a new job.

“We’re so excited,” she said.

She’s worked at La Patera for her entire 19-year teaching career and said her longevity speaks highly of the school community.

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

La Patera Principal Ricardo Araiza welcomes students on the first day of school. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)


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Man Pleads No Contest to Fishing-Related Thefts

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Wednesday that John Anthony Wilson pleaded no contest to four felony counts of grand theft of aqua-cultural product.

The case arose from a California Fish & Wildlife investigation whereby Wilson was caught stealing crabs from other fishermen’s holding tanks in the Santa Barbara Harbor on multiple occasions.

In addition to his felony plea, Wilson pleaded to five various misdemeanor Fish & Game Code and California Code of Regulations violations stemming from his conduct of: fishing species out of season, failing to service traps within the appropriate amount of time, and failing to maintain proper accounting records and landing receipts of his commercial catch. Wilson would then transport and peddle his stolen or undocumented catch at the Hollywood and local fish markets.

In exchange for his plea, Wilson agreed to three years of felony probation and 180 days in the County Jail. The terms and conditions of his probation will also require Wilson to pay restitution to the victims and investigation costs to California Fish and Wildlife.

Sentencing is set to occur Oct. 28, after which time Wilson will not be allowed to fish, commercially or otherwise, until any pending Fish & Wildlife Fishing Commission action related to this case is completed.

“This case demonstrates Santa Barbara County’s dedication to our fishing community, and to those fishermen who do their utmost to abide by all the laws and regulations in the course of their profession that help protect our local resources,” Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod said.


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Bill to Ban Offshore Drilling at Tranquillon Ridge Fails on Assembly Floor

By | Published on 08/27/2014


A bill seeking to ban offshore drilling in an area off of Vandenberg Air Force Base went before the California Assembly on Tuesday night, but could not get the needed votes to move forward after facing significant opposition from the oil industry.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson put forward Senate Bill 1096, which sought to ban offshore drilling at Tranquillon Ridge, located in state waters, but the bill garnered only 29 votes in favor, while 41 were needed to pass the item. Thirty-six people voted against the bill, with many saying they wanted to keep authority with the State Lands Commission.

The vote ends the bill's chance of passing this year because the deadline for both houses to pass legislation ends Sunday.

In 2007, Tranquillon Ridge was designated as a Marine Protected Area, and was been the subject of high-profile brokering between environmentalists and Plains Exploration and Production, or PXP.

The oil company had agreed to directional drill into the area's reserves until 2022, when it would have withdrawn from the operation and donated land as a permanent conservation easement. That deal ultimately fell through when the State Lands Commission voted against it with a 2-1 vote in 2009.

Energy company Sunset Exploration also has been researching a directional drilling operation in the area with ExxonMobil as a partner and maintains no infrastructure would be placed in the marine environment.

The company's president, Bob Nunn, said in a statement Wednesday that the company is prepared to meet the environmental standards put forward by the State Lands Commission and the Coastal Commission.

“We are grateful that the California Legislature recognized the wisdom of not preventing local and state government and regulatory bodies the opportunity to evaluate this project on its merits," Nunn said. "We’re confident that once these bodies recognize we are using safe and proven technology to develop California resources for the benefit of California, support for our project will continue to grow.”

Jackson said in a statement she was "disappointed" by what happened Tuesday night, but remains committed to protecting that area of the coastline from new offshore drilling "for the long haul."

Assemblyman Das Williams, who co-authored the bill with Jackson, argued on the Assembly floor that the bill would have disallowed offshore drilling "in the last place in the state where a lease could potentially be issued."

"I believe that the sensitive marine habitat off the Santa Barbara County coast deserves the same protection as the rest of California's coastline," Williams said, adding that he will continue to fight for protection of the marine environment.

Both cited the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, which states that offshore oil and gas production in certain areas poses an "unacceptably high risk" of damage to marine environments.

Jackson and Williams maintained that the bill would close a loophole in state law that left Tranquillon Ridge vulnerable to offshore drilling, because it extends into state and federal waters, where reserves are being tapped at Platform Irene.

That "loophole" states that a lease could be entered into for oil extraction if the oil is being drained to producing wells on adjacent federal lands and "the lease is in the best interests of the state."

“Even the slightest chance of an oil spill in a Marine Protected Area far outweighs any potential benefit to the state,” Jackson 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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Ken Williams: Those Who Made a Difference — Sinners and Saints, Part II

By | Published on 08/27/2014


[Click here to read part one.]

As usual, there is another side to this story: the hidden heroes of Santa Barbara who shined brightly in the shadows.

John J. ran the Salvation Army in the beginning of this crisis. He was also the manager of one of the hotels mentioned earlier. This man was deeply religious. His problem was that he took the teaching of Christ to heart. For him, the homeless neighbor was neither a bum nor transient, but rather a child of God in need of help.

His compassion was endless. When he ran the shelter, he never came up with creative ways to deny services to the poor. Instead, he would throw open the doors of the shelter during savage rainstorms to offer a helping hand, even though the powers that be threatened to shut him down. I remember climbing over a prone mentally ill woman once so John and I could strategize how to get mental health to offer her services.

Rosemary V. worked at Catholic Charities. She would always call me “My Kenny.” She was the most kind-hearted woman I have ever known. In her gentle way, she would insist on government agencies helping the increasing flood of homeless refugees she found sleeping in her parking lot and on her steps. This remarkable woman helped me establish a children’s soup kitchen, Maritza’s Cosina, and a home for pregnant mentally ill homeless woman, AMBR House.

Throughout the years, Dr. Bloom worked quietly to help war-damaged veterans at the V.A. Clinic. Dr. Gaines, chief medical doctor, did the same. He also volunteers weekly to help the homeless in general at a feed program. Both men treat veterans with dignity and respect that is often lacking within Veterans Affairs. If one truly wants to fix a dysfunctional V.A., duplicating these caring men would be an excellent start.

Several years back, one of Santa Barbara’s premier oncologists approached me. She wanted to volunteer to go out on my rounds, to offer her services free of charge to those who needed medical help. For years, on a weekly basis, this incredible woman did just that. Countless lives were saved, and compassion and dignity were shown by this woman to those who usually go without. She affectionately won the nickname Dr. J from those she touched.

Then there were the countless nurses who never forgot why they had chosen nursing as a calling. Jan F., Linda H., Kathy M. and Donna W. come readily to mind. (Disclosure: Donna is my wife.) More than any other profession, nurses as a whole hold onto their humanity and caring hearts regardless of the strait-jacketing, mind-numbing bureaucracies they work for. For seven years I was privileged to run Project Healthy Neighbors — a mobile medical clinic for the homeless and poor. The real backbone of this project were the nurses from Public Health, Cottage Hospital and the private section who worked countless hours making it a success.

Over 30 years ago, I was introduced to Chuck, a philanthropist who wanted to help not only the homeless and poor but also those who served them. I was warned that he might be a CIA plant. (Luckily, I chose to ignore such flights of fancy.) Little did I know then that that meeting was the beginning of a deep and ongoing friendship, and that he was the first of many well-off individuals who cared deeply for those less fortunate than themselves and would do anything to help: Merryl B., Roger H., Leslie R., Sara M., Nancy A., Ken S. and the FUND families, and my Jewish saints who insist on remaining nameless.

I must also acknowledge the local media that chose and choose freedom of speech, and the right for the homeless and poor, for a voice by running my articles. First and foremost is Noozhawk, but also the Independent — Nick Walsh and Marianna Partridge — and most surprisingly, the News-Press, which, back in the day, ran my article for years. If the harsh emails and rejoinders that I received are any indication of the pressure that it was under to silence my voice, it took real courage and dedication to the ideas of a free press for it not to do so. In fact, one of the editors told me that every time they ran anything approaching a compassionate article on the homeless, a delegation from the business community would find their way into his office the next day.

I know there are people not mentioned in this article who should be, and I apologize. At the end of the movie Platoon, Charlie Sheehan, riding on a chopper out of battle, commiserates on how his soul was being torn between the two sergeants he fought with. At times I find myself in the same dilemma. On the one hand are the saints I have been privileged to know and work with. Finer people, more compassionate people simply don’t exist. On the other hand are my journals and memories of hundreds of our neighbors without homes, many without hope who died on these cold and unforgiving streets. Their memories, their plight, their faces lacerate my soul.

I know the truth lies somewhere in between. Pain and gratitude battle on their own terms. And Death becomes the arbitrator of good versus killing indifference.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Jim Hightower: Gov. Perry’s Clown Show

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Trial lawyers will tell you that any good prosecutor could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

Well, meet that ham sandwich! Here in my burg of Austin, Texas, a grand jury has just indicted Gov. Rick "Rooti-Toot-Toot" Perry, a real ham — only not as smart.

He's charged with official abuse of power — specifically, threatening to veto all state funding for a public integrity unit that, among other things, was investigating corrupt favoritism in one of the governor's pet projects. Perry was trying to muscle out of office the woman who is the duly elected head of that unit, presumably to halt its inquiry. Leave office, he publicly barked at her, or I'll take away all your money. She didn't, and he did.

Not smart, for that's an illegal quid pro quo, much like linking a campaign donation to an official favor. This led to a judge, a special prosecutor, a grand jury and now the indictment of the gubernatorial ham sandwich.

Perry and his Republican operatives quickly denounced and even threatened both the special prosecutor and the jurors as partisan hacks who, in Perry's words, "will be held to account." Thuggish as that is, the national media have mostly swallowed Perry's hokum that he's the victim, indicted for nothing more than exercising his veto power. It's crude politics, he howled. But political candidates should avoid getting defensive — as old-timers put it, any candidate who's explaining, is losing.

So it's a hoot to watch Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry try to explain away his felony indictment for abusing his gubernatorial power. His first ploy has been to try dodging real questions by turning the indictment into a circus.

He literally mugged for the cameras when getting his mugshot taken as he turned this courthouse moment into a raucous Republican political rally. Image consultants had advised him to ditch the horn-rim glasses that previous image makers had told him to wear so he'd look smarter. Also, he wore a light-blue tie, for the consultants said that color conveys trust. Of course, he always coifs his trademark hair, but they also told him to apply skin makeup to avert any sweaty look and to put cool packs on his eyes on the morning of the shot so he wouldn't look haggard or ... well, guilty. Think pleasant thoughts as the picture is snapped, they instructed, and smile — but a humble smile, not an overconfident one.

Perry did all of the above, except the humble smile, giving his usual arrogant smirk instead. The day before his courthouse circus opened, Ringmaster Rick brought in the clowns — a whole troupe of $450-an-hour, hotshot lawyers wearing red power ties, came blustering onstage with Perry from out of a back room, as though tumbling out of a tiny clown car. Introduced as the indictee's legal dream team, each tried to outdo the other in a slapstick show of resumes, puffing themselves up as junkyard-tough lawyers who would shred this prosecutor and his flimsy case.

Meant to show how strong Perry is, the pack of lawyers only raised another question for Perry in the public mind: If the charges against you are nothing, as you keep saying, why do you need so many heavyweight, extremely pricey lawyers?

Perry has hornswoggled the pundits, but don't let them fool you — Perry clearly abused his power as governor. Again, the issue is not Perry's veto, but his linking of a veto threat to his effort to oust an elected public official. As for his hamming it up about being a poor victim of Democrats, the judge who appointed the prosecutor is a Republican, and the prosecutor himself was nominated to federal office by President Bush I, and endorsed by the Texas' Republican senators. This indictment is not a show. It's way more serious than Perry is, and the real explaining he'll have to do will be in a somber courthouse — under oath.

To keep up with Perry's circus, go to Texans for Public Justice by clicking here.

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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Harris Grade Fire Declared Fully Contained

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Some 20 acres were charred in blaze blamed on vehicle's malfunctioning catalytic converter

Firefighters worked through the night to contain a vegetation fire that charred some 20 acres on the Harris Grade near Lompoc on Wednesday, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze was declared fully contained at 3 p.m. Thursday, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.​

Crews will be patrolling the fire area through Friday morning, Sadecki said.

Firefighters were dispatched shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday to the blaze, which broke out near the top of the grade, apparently sparked by a passing vehicle's malfunctioning catalytic converter, Sadecki said.

When the fire broke out, it was burning at a moderate rate in heavy brush on the east side of Harris Grade, Sadecki said, adding that no structures were threatened.

"The fire was slope driven and burned in pine trees," Sadecki said.

There was light wind in the area, and temperatures were in the high 70s, he said. 

Eleven engines, three bulldozers, four hand crews, eight air tankers, and two helicopters responded.

County crews were assisted by the Lompoc Fire Department, the Vandenberg Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Harris Grade Road was shut down at Highway 135 and Burton Mesa Boulevard, and parts of it remained closed Thursday afternoon, Sadecki said.

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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Artificial Intelligence, Real Vision: UCSB Professor Matthew Turk Recognized for His Work

By | Published on 08/27/2014


UC Santa Barbara computer science professor Matthew Turk has been elected Fellow by the International Association for Pattern Recognition.

Matthew Turk
UCSB professor Matthew Turk

He is cited by IAPR for his “contributions to computer vision and vision-based interaction.”

Turk was chosen from a select group of IAPR members: Only 0.25 percent of the organization’s membership is eligible for election to Fellow in any given two-year period. He received his award at a ceremony of the International Conference on Pattern Recognition in Stockholm, Sweden.

“This award for Professor Turk is a well-deserved, prestigious recognition from colleagues in computer vision around the world,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering. “His significant contributions to the field of vision-based interaction are highly valuable to the global research community and to the UCSB campus.”

Computer vision and vision-based interaction are facets of artificial intelligence that study how machines can process images as data and respond according to that data. Examples of such technology are ubiquitous in our society, from machines that inspect food for quality during processing, to surveillance systems that can recognize faces, to  more recent and futuristic developments, such as Google Glass and self-driving cars.

“I’m honored to be joining this group of IAPR Fellows who are distinguished leaders, mentors and colleagues in the field of pattern recognition,” Turk said. “Their contributions have advanced research and enabled new capabilities and products in computer vision, biometrics, document analysis, multimedia, data mining, machine learning and many other areas.”

Key application areas of Turk’s work include augmented reality, computational photography, mobile computing and vision-based and multimodal interaction. His work is largely interdisciplinary, including collaborations with researchers in areas such as psychology, geography, electrical engineering, art and music.

He joined the UCSB faculty in 2000 and served as chair of the Media Arts and Technology (MAT) graduate program from 2005-2010. He currently co-directs the Four Eyes Lab, a research unit of both MAT and the Department of Computer Science.

Turk’s research has been recognized by leading organizations in his field. In 2000, he received the “Most Influential Paper of the Decade” award at IAPR's workshop on machine vision applications. He went on to receive several more top paper awards in subsequent years from the International Communication Association, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the  International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality.

In 2011, he received the Fulbright-Nokia Distinguished Chair in Information and Communications Technologies and in 2013 he was elected to Fellow of IEEE for “contributions to computer vision and perceptual interfaces.”

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


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Letter to the Editor: Mother Urges Cottage Hospital to Obtain Baby-Friendly Status

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Dear pediatricians of Santa Barbara,

I am writing to ask you as a local mom to support Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital obtaining official Baby-Friendly status as defined by the World Health Organization.

Most of the hospitals that surround us, including those in Ventura, Santa Paula, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Los Angeles (with Santa Maria in progress) are official WHO Baby-Friendly hospitals. Many concerned members of this community believe Santa Barbara families deserve this designation as well and have shown their support by signing the petition on

What would becoming Baby-Friendly mean for our only maternal provider within a 60-mile radius of our town? Among many wonderful and critical things, Baby-Friendly hospitals provide ample training for their staff in the latest practices that support breastfeeding, including putting babies to breast within one hour after birth, even in the case of C-sections. And contrary to what many in our local medical community assume, Baby-Friendly hospitals are still allowed to give formula where medically indicated or at the request of the parents. (Click here to read more about the 10 steps Baby-Friendly hospitals implement.)

As part of the ongoing local effort to encourage positive change and raise awareness, I hope you will accept my invitation to a special screening of The Milky Way, a newly released, award-winning documentary about breastfeeding in America. The screening will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

As respected local pediatricians, your support of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital becoming Baby-Friendly is critical. I hope you will show your support by signing the petition or letting Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital know in some other way that you support them securing official Baby-Friendly status.

Thank you for your commitment to the health and well-being of our community's most vulnerable. I hope you will accept my invitation to the Santa Barbara premiere screening of The Milky Way at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History this Thursday.


Kristen Walker, resident and mother
Santa Barbara


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Laurie Jervis: How Diverse Is Your Wine Palate?

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Diverse (adj): "Various, varied, varying, sundry, all means of, different, differing, assorted, mixed, unlike, dissimilar, contrasting, miscellaneous, separate, several, distinct."

During the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Growers' Alliance Wine and Fire seminar earlier this month, wine writer and reviewer Josh Raynolds noted that experienced wine drinkers have "diverse" cellars because, over time, their palates change.

In their cellars, there's a bit of this, a bit of that. Sometimes: Lots of that, and none of this. Other bottles lie in wait, gathering dust, until they return to favor with the cellar master.

Why? Because the palates of prolific wine consumers evolve over time. What we loved back when, we don't necessarily even sip anymore.

Take my cellar: Therein lie about 10 bottles of cabernet sauvignons, zinfandels or red Bordeaux blends. All are more than five years old.

My palate currently tolerates only pinot noir, grenache, rosé or sauvignon blanc, so the heartier red wines — and all the other grape varietals bottled into wine — might as well not even be in my cellars. 

Backstory: More than 30 years ago, a friend introduced me to red wine. Across the board, the reds we consumed were cabernet sauvignon, and most of it hailed from Chile and Napa County.

Today, I couldn't swallow a big cabernet sauvignon, even were it paired with hard cheeses and chocolate, a hearty beef stew, and served before a roaring fire on a snowy night.

Or, as Sommelier Rick Bakas says: A wine drinker morphs from "Boone's Farm to chardonnay to buttery chardonnay, to chardonnay with acid, to Grand Cru chardonnay, and finally, to Champagne. 

Not that buttery chardonnay is a bad thing, mind you, if that's what your palate appreciates.

Because your palate has taught you what to appreciate in a wine, and as long as you continue to taste wines, your palate will continue to say "yes" or "no" with every sip you take.

So trust that palate of yours, and it will never let you down.

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


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Pop Legend Engelbert Humperdinck to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 08/27/2014


International pop sensation Engelbert Humperdinck brings his North American tour to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.

Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck will entertain fans at the Chumash Casino Resort on Sept. 18.

Tickets for the show are $25, $35 and $45.

Humperdinck, who has crooned his way into the hearts of adoring fans worldwide, will appear in the intimate, 1,400-seat Samala Showroom just days before the U.S. release of his latest album, Engelbert Calling.

The longtime Las Vegas icon has become a legend in the music industry, compiling 63 gold and 24 platinum records, four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year (1988) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

His classic hits include “Release Me,” “After the Lovin,” “The Last Waltz,” “The Way It Used to Be,” “A Man Without Love” and the unforgettable “Quando, Quando, Quando,” among others.

In the past decade, he has joined an elite group of musical artists, such as Tony Bennett and Burt Bacharach, who have crossed over successfully to strike a new chord with a younger generation in addition to their core audiences.

Humperdinck recently completed recording his first duets CD, Engelbert Calling, which features tracks with Sir Elton John, Willie Nelson , Shelby Lynne, Charles Aznavour, Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard, Neil Sedaka, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers and Gene Simmons, to name a few.

The CD is scheduled to be released in the United States on Sept. 30.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this legendary performer when he 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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Steve Jacobsen Joins La Casa de Maria as Co-Director

By | Published on 08/27/2014


La Casa de Maria announces the selection of Steve Jacobsen, Ed.D., to fill a new position of co-director.

Jacobsen will join Stephanie Glatt, IHM, to lead the retreat and conference center, with Glatt focusing on internal operations and continued facility renewal and Jacobsen focusing on program development, community relations, and fundraising.

“Everyone is thrilled to have Steve step into this new leadership role,” said Glatt, who has been at La Casa for 37 years. “With his 20 year service as a member of our board and his background in nonprofit leadership, spirituality, interfaith activities, education, and community service, Steve brings a unique set of skills and relationships to La Casa de Maria and its unique potential to have a powerful impact on our society.”

Prior to this position, Jacobsen was executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara for 5½ years and a Presbyterian pastor for 27. He holds degrees from UCSB, Princeton Theological Seminary and Seattle University, and was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB in 2000.

Glatt, a member of the Immaculate Heart Community, has served as director of La Casa since 2005.

“La Casa has an extraordinary history of being a place where many diverse individuals and organizations find healing, hope, inspiration, and wisdom,” Jacobsen said. “This is a dream come true for me to help La Casa write its next chapter as we seek new opportunities and partnerships to make a difference in the world.”

The nonprofit organization has just concluded two successful capital campaigns: paying off its mortgage and funding the update of its facilities.

“With major improvements now completed to our facilities and infrastructure, we now look to expand our influence in the local community and beyond and Steve’s critical role in this new chapter,” Glatt said. “I look forward to working with Steve, our staff and board to preserve La Casa’s legacy and explore these new and exciting directions.”

Founded in 1956, La Casa de Maria and its Center for Spiritual Renewal are situated on 26 acres in Montecito. It hosts approximately 12,000 people a year who come either as individuals or as part of educational, nonprofit and spiritual groups for learning, reflection and renewal. La Casa de Maria was recently featured  in The New York Times and in 2006, was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top retreat centers in America.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing La Casa de Maria.


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Gun Violence Restraining Order Bill Passes Last Hurdle in Senate

By | Published on 08/27/2014


The Senate has passed a bill authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, and Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which would allow for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are at-risk for committing acts of violence.

Assembly Bill 1014 is moving on to the Assembly for a hearing and full vote of the house before the end of the month.

“This is a huge success for our community,” Williams said. “The tragedy in Isla Vista is a horrific example of how our mental health laws and gun laws are not working together. This bill will help close the gap and provide the necessary legal tools to empower immediate family members and law enforcement to protect loved ones and the public from the dangers of gun violence.”

Under the provisions of this bill, a gun violence restraining order would be signed by a judge, and temporarily prohibit a named person from owning, purchasing or possessing firearms (or ammunition) who has proven to be at risk for committing acts of violence. Immediate family can request an ex parte GVRO, which lasts 21 days, and can extend it up to a year, after a notice and a hearing. In addition, law enforcement would have the ability to investigate threats and ask a judge to grant an emergency GVRO, which would last 21 days.

"Nothing can bring back the life of my son, but there are common-sense solutions that can help ensure other loved ones aren't killed by preventable gun violence," said Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista shooting victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez. "This bill will save lives and spare other families from suffering the anguish we experience each day."​

Just like a domestic violence restraining order, a GVRO is temporary. The person who is affected by the order cannot possess or purchase a firearm while the order is in effect, but regains his or her right to possess firearms when the order expires or is revoked by the court. AB 1014 also makes it a misdemeanor to petition for a GVRO knowing the information in the petition to be false or with the intent to harass the named individual.

Earlier in the day, family members of three college students who were killed in the recent Isla Vista shooting joined lawmakers at the state Capitol in support of AB 1014 and released a letter asking legislative leaders and Gov. Brown to support AB 1014. The letter can be found here.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson joins Williams and Skinner as a principal co-author of AB1014. The bill now goes to the Assembly, to be heard in the Committee on Public Safety.

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.


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Santa Barbara Family YMCA Offers Healthy Living Tips for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

By | Published on 08/27/2014


September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Santa Barbara Family YMCA offers the following tips to help families in Santa Barbara incorporate regular physical activity and healthy eating into their lives.

The following tips will not only help families live healthier together but help prevent childhood obesity as well:

» Eat healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate portions of 100 percent fruit juices and low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options. Feel free to mix and match fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables to provide variety.

» Play every day/go outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity.

» Get together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible with kids involved in meal preparation and cleanup. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

» Reduce screen time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours per day.

» Sleep well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule — 10 to 12 hours per night for kids and seven to eight hours for adults.

Click here for more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life.

— Andrea Opfer is the marketing director for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.


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UCSB Professor’s Research Examines 13,000-Year-Old Nanodiamonds from Three Continents

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Most of North America’s megafauna — mastodons, short-faced bears, giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats and American camels and horses — disappeared close to 13,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene period. The cause of this massive extinction has long been debated by scientists who, until recently, could only speculate as to why.

A group of scientists, including UC Santa Barbara’s James Kennett, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Science, posited that a comet collision with Earth played a major role in the extinction.

Their hypothesis suggests that a cosmic-impact event precipitated the Younger Dryas period of global cooling close to 12,800 years ago. This cosmic impact caused abrupt environmental stress and degradation that contributed to the extinction of most large animal species then inhabiting the Americas. According to Kennett, the catastrophic impact and the subsequent climate change also led to the disappearance of the prehistoric Clovis culture, known for its big game hunting, and to human population decline.

In a new study published this week in the Journal of Geology, Kennett and an international group of scientists have focused on the character and distribution of nanodiamonds, one type of material produced during such an extraterrestrial collision. The researchers found an abundance of these tiny diamonds distributed over 50 million square kilometers across the Northern Hemisphere at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB). This thin, carbon-rich layer is often visible as a thin black line a few meters below the surface.

Kennett and investigators from 21 universities in six countries investigated nanodiamonds at 32 sites in 11 countries across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Two of the sites are just across the Santa Barbara Channel from UCSB: one at Arlington Canyon on Santa Rosa Island, the other at Daisy Cave on San Miguel Island.

“We conclusively have identified a thin layer over three continents, particularly in North America and Western Europe, that contain a rich assemblage of nanodiamonds, the production of which can be explained only by cosmic impact,” Kennett said. “We have also found YDB glassy and metallic materials formed at temperatures in excess of 2200 degrees Celsius, which could not have resulted from wildfires, volcanism or meteoritic flux, but only from cosmic impact.”

The team found that the YDB layer also contained larger than normal amounts of cosmic impact spherules, high-temperature melt-glass, grapelike soot clusters, charcoal, carbon spherules, osmium, platinum and other materials. But in this paper the researchers focused their multi-analytical approach exclusively on nanodiamonds, which were found in several forms, including cubic (the form of diamonds used in jewelry) and hexagonal crystals.

“Different types of diamonds are found in the YDB assemblages because they are produced as a result of large variations in temperature, pressure and oxygen levels associated with the chaos of an impact,” Kennett explained. “These are exotic conditions that came together to produce the diamonds from terrestrial carbon; the diamonds did not arrive with the incoming meteorite or comet.”

Based on multiple analytical procedures, the researchers determined that the majority of the materials in the YDB samples are nanodiamonds and not some other kinds of minerals. The analysis showed that the nanodiamonds consistently occur in the YDB layer over broad areas.

“There is no known limit to the YDB strewnfield which currently covers more than 10 percent of the planet, indicating that the YDB event was a major cosmic impact,” Kennett said. “The nanodiamond datum recognized in this study gives scientists a snapshot of a moment in time called an isochron.”

To date, scientists know of only two layers in which more than one identification of nanodiamonds has been found: the YDB 12,800 years ago and the well-known Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary 65 million years ago, which is marked by the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, ammonites and many other groups.

“The evidence we present settles the debate about the existence of abundant YDB nanodiamonds,” Kennett said. “Our hypothesis challenges some existing paradigms within several disciplines, including impact dynamics, archaeology, paleontology and paleoceanography/paleoclimatology, all affected by this relatively recent cosmic impact.”

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


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Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce Opposes Measure P

By | Published on 08/27/2014


At its meeting on Monday, the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region approved the following statement:

The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce urges its members to vote no on Measure P on the November ballot. This position was taken following two lengthy presentations to the chamber’s Government Relations Council from the proponents and opponents of Measure P. The GRC voted unanimously to recommend that the chamber oppose Measure P.

The chamber’s position is based on the following concerns:

» First: The ballot measure is written in a way that is likely to mislead voters. Its title says that it is a ban on “fracking.”

This is misleading for two reasons: There is no fracking in Santa Barbara County, and the ballot measure also prohibits many other forms of oil and gas extraction. A voter would have to read the entirety of the lengthy and complicated measure to understand that its impact is far greater than suggested by the title.

» Second: Measure P is not necessary or appropriate. It prohibits oil and gas production techniques that have been used safely and responsibly in Santa Barbara County for many decades. There is no significant evidence that these techniques — including using steam made from undrinkable water — are likely to cause adverse environmental or health impacts.

» Third: Measure P is likely to result in shutting down existing oil and gas operations in Santa Barbara County. An impartial analysis prepared by Santa Barbara County found that 100 percent of the active oil and gas wells currently use one or more of the production techniques prohibited by Measure P.

While the proponents of Measure P assert that existing oil and gas operations are not going to be closed, the ballot measure’s language does not support this claim. If the drafters of the measure intended to allow existing operations to continue, they could and should have included language clearly so stating. It is unfortunate that this major defect in the language of the ballot measure cannot be cured.

» Fourth: Measure P is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the local economy. The energy industry estimates that Measure P could result in a loss of $291 million to the local economy. More than a thousand jobs — mostly well-paid blue collar positions — would be lost. There is a ripple effect when an industry loses so many jobs, because the newly unemployed can no longer buy groceries, pay rent, buy clothes, and otherwise contribute to the local economy.

» Fifth: Measure P will have a significant impact on public services. The county’s impartial analysis found that in 2013 the county received $16.4 million in revenues from onshore oil and gas production. Of this amount, the schools received $10.2 million and fire services received $2.1 million. Legal experts — including Santa Barbara’s own county counsel — are predicting a great deal of litigation over Measure P, which will cost the county a great deal of money to defend. In addition, the county is facing substantial liability from the owners of mineral rights who have a legal right to claim that Measure P results in a “taking” of their property, thus entitling them to sue for damages. The county’s liability for damages and litigation expenses could exceed $100 million.

For more information on this position, please contact Ken Oplinger at 805.965.3023.


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CHP Schedules ‘Start Smart’ Driving Class in Buellton

By | Published on 08/27/2014


The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart classes scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their sons or daughters (ages 15 to 20) for this free one-time, two-hour class can make reservations by calling the Buellton CHP area office at 805.688.5551.

The class will be held at the California Highway Patrol office at 166 Industrial Way in Buellton.

Start Smart addresses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers in a way no other program does. Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians.

Some of the topics of this class include collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities, local collision trends and a viewing of Red Asphalt V. This 15-minute film emphasizes the necessity to drive responsibly and the consequences drivers face when they don’t.

For reservations, information or questions please contact the Santa Maria CHP office at 805.688.5551.

— Officer John Ortega represents the California Highway Patrol in Buellton.


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Kristen Miller: No Election Needed for Goleta City Council, But There Are Other Races to Watch

By | Published on 08/27/2014


This year, the Goleta election story is unique. Three seats on the City Council were up for election (there are five seats total) and Roger Aceves, Michael T. Bennett and Paula Perotte filed papers to run for re-election. No challengers opted to run, so the election is canceled and the three incumbents will retain their seats.

So what does this mean? From the perspective of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce this is good news. We have been satisfied with the council’s direction for the past several years, noting that the council has a balance of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints and, in general, their decisions have been logical.

Gone are the days of cliques and voting blocs. We have enjoyed a council that is open to discussion, proactive, thorough and conscientious. It also means that our community avoids a possibly contentious election and the resulting hyperbole and divisiveness.

But does it mean that nobody cares? I don’t think so. Goletans tend to be very engaged and passionate about local government. Seven candidates applied for the open seat that was appointed recently. And last year’s poll, conducted by the City of Goleta to learn about constituents’ views on the revenue-neutrality agreement with Santa Barbara County also asked questions about right-track/wrong track and general approval rating. In that survey, the city’s performance scored very well.

Interestingly, the Goleta Union School District has the same situation with its Board of Trustees. Three seats were up for election on a five-member board. Rich Mayer and Luz Reyes-Martin indicated their desire to continue to serve. Valerie Kushnerov decided not to run again and Carin Ezal filed, so all three candidates will be appointed in lieu of election. Similarly, they had six community members apply for an open seat that was filled by appointment in March.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has a similar story with no challengers, as does our local Goleta West Sanitary District.

The Goleta Water District has a different story, as not surprisingly water issues are top of mind for everyone right now. The district has two incumbents and two challengers running for two seats. The incumbents are Bert Bertrando and Jack Cunningham and the challengers are Meg West (currently on the Goleta Planning Commission) and Charles McClure. In the fall, the Goleta Valley chamber will hold a forum to hear directly from these candidates about their priorities and plans for serving during a vitally important time for water service in Goleta.

And the Goleta Sanitary District has a race — incumbents Jerry Smith and Steven Majoewsky are being challenged by two names familiar to chamber members — Ed Easton, our former mayor and city councilman who recently resigned because he moved to a new home outside the city limits, and Phebe Mansur, an Old Town business owner who has volunteered on several community committees. Beverly Herbert is also running, which makes five candidates competing for two seats.

There are surely many factors in the equation that resulted in no election for some of these agencies, including the City of Goleta. Analysis from the Goleta Valley chamber’s perspective is that this is a positive endorsement of the city’s direction, and we agree with the assessment.

— Kristen Miller is president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are her own.


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SBCC Students Attend Summer INSET Program

By | Published on 08/27/2014


Six Santa Barbara City College students were among the nine participants in the Internships in Nanosystems Science, Engineering and Technology (INSET) program this summer on the UC Santa Barbara campus.

The program brought together science and engineering community college undergraduates who gained firsthand research experience in a dynamic, collaborative research environment.

The interns were matched individually with UCSB faculty and graduate student laboratory mentors who provided training and support. They also attended weekly meetings and special seminars, and had the opportunity to develop their presentation skills.

The INSET program is hosted by the California NanoSystems Institute, a collaborative effort established by the State of California and located on the UCSB and UCLA campuses. It targets the scientific and technological possibilities of working at the molecular scale drawing upon a broad scope of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, materials science, computation and media arts.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.


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Bill Cirone: Budget Reserve Decisions Should Remain with Local School Districts

By | Published on 08/27/2014


For as long as I can remember, the common wisdom was that school districts should be run more like businesses.

The arguments against this are many and persuasive: To use the language of business, school districts have no control over their “raw materials,” over the length of time each “unit” remains in the production line, over the regulations that govern how they operate and so on.

But one way that schools seem to surpass business practices year after year is their agility in dealing with rapidly changing and daunting budget constraints. One tool districts utilized to adapt so quickly to changing circumstances was the careful creation of budget reserves that proved critical in dealing with cash flow issues and emergencies.

Many districts worked long and hard to build up sufficient reserves beyond the minimum required by the state so that they could continue to react to changing needs. Most people agree that building and retaining reserves for emergency purposes and cash flow issues is essential, and should be rewarded and applauded. It is simply good business practice.

The reserve restriction included in budget trailer bill SB 858 turns that wisdom on its head. It is bad legislation that needs to be changed. In essence, it restricts school districts’ reserves and chips away at the whole premise of local control — having local school boards make the decisions critical to the well-being of the district of which it is their responsibility to help manage. I agree with those experts who warn that it actually puts fiscal solvency at risk. Reducing reserves is certainly a poor way to run a business.

The language that creates this change was inserted into this year’s state budget, enabling legislation at the last minute, and was therefore never discussed in budget subcommittees where public analysis and discussion could take place. It was not a part of the governor’s May Revision and did not appear in the final budgets adopted by the Senate and Assembly.

It’s not clear why or how this language became part of the budget, but the rationale is tied to the Public School System Stabilization Account, sometimes referred to as the “rainy day fund.” If the state deposits money into that account for schools, the theory is that those funds will be sufficient to cover district needs in times of hardship. The way the language is written, however, means that even if a small deposit is made by the state into that fund, districts statewide would have to spend down billions of dollars in the reserves that they worked so hard to build.

The reality is that it will take years for our state to build enough funds in that stabilization account. But in one year, districts would be forced to spend down their reserves and ending balances to levels many believe could jeopardize their fiscal solvency.

The ironies should be clear to all: If voters approve a measure on the November ballot to establish a very worthwhile rainy day fund for the state, statutory changes would bind school boards statewide from exerting that same form of fiscal responsibility.

The language of this bill ignores the critical role that budget reserves play in the ability of districts to maintain fiscal solvency, and it ignores how districts have used their reserves during the recent recession to avoid even greater cuts to education programs and staffing.

What kinds of numbers are we talking about? The state’s minimum reserve requirements are based on the size of a district and usually are set at 3 percent of the overall budget. Well-managed districts have generally felt more secure carrying more than that in reserve because a 3 percent reserve represents between six and eight days of payroll for an average district. The new requirement transforms this minimum reserve into the maximum allowable for districts.

Some more numbers: Between 2008 and 2011, school districts had to manage $6 billion in ongoing revenue reductions, including $2.85 billion in unexpected midyear cuts. Many districts would not have been able to stay solvent without the prudent fiscal management of healthy budget reserves. That was their safety net.

People ask what factors determine what level of reserve a district considers healthy. Those factors include the district’s size, its source of revenues, the trends of those revenues, projections for student attendance, pending litigation, state cash deferrals and many more. School boards and district administrators always try to identify the key priorities for the district, the students and the staff. One size does not fit all.

We all know that our state’s revenues are volatile and often uncertain. Those uncertainties directly impact school districts, because the major portion of their funding comes directly from the state. Strengthening the state’s rainy day fund is a worthy goal. It simply makes no sense that that same prudence would be undermined for school districts.

I join those urging the governor and legislature to rethink this problematic mandate on such a crucial portion of school district budgets, and return budget reserve control to local school boards who know best the economic uncertainties facing their local districts. It is the right thing to do.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Jackson Bill to Allow Voter Pre-Registration at Age 16 Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/27/2014


A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that would allow voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 passed off the Senate floor Tuesday and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The vote was 21-12.

Senate Bill 113 would not change the voting age, which is 18, but it would allow young people to fill out the necessary online or paper application to get ready to vote beginning at age 16. They could pre-register online, by mail or at the DMV when they get their driver’s licenses. Pre-registration could also become a part of high school civics classes, taken when students are 16 and 17 years old. Once they turn 18, their registration would become active.

“It’s clear we must do more to get young people voting, and one way is to do that is to give them sufficient time and ample opportunity to get ready to vote,” Jackson said. “Studies show that pre-registration is a powerful way to encourage young people to become lifelong, engaged voters — which is what we need for a healthy democracy.”

Youth ages 18 to 24 stand out as an age group that is registering at far lower rates than any other age group. Even in the presidential election year of 2012, while nearly 80 percent of all Californians registered to vote, only 62 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds were registered.

The bill is contingent upon the enactment of VoteCal, California’s new voter registration database, which is expected to be launched in 2016.

Thirteen other states allow voter pre-registration before age 18, including Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wyoming. A 2009 George Mason University study found that pre-registration programs in Hawaii and Florida encouraged young people to start voting and keep voting.

The governor has until Sept. 30 to take action on the bill.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘If I Stay’

By | Published on 08/27/2014


3 Stars — Thought-provoking

For all of us who have been with someone struggling to recover from life-threatening injuries or illness, we recognize the importance of the individual's "will to live." How powerful this can be as well as the impact of what family members and visitors say to the person to help them choose to stay or to pass is difficult to assess. Although a commonly reported experience in near-death experiences, it is also difficult to understand how the soul and body can separate such that one's soul can view their own body or go to other locations and hear or see friends and loved ones. Although it is useless to use scientific instruments to measure such experiences, our artists give us a different type of insight as they create fictional tales based on actual reports.

This is what director R.J. Cutler provides for us in his emotionally charged love story If I Stay.

Based on a novel by Gayle Forman and adapted for the screen by Shauna Cross, the story focuses on high school student Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz).

Born into a bohemian musical family, Mia's father, Denny (Joshua Leonard), had been in his own rock band, and her mother, Kat (Mireille Enos), had been his most loyal fan. Though their parental guidance is lacking, they are well-intentioned and loving of their children, who also includes a beloved younger brother Teddy (Jakob Davies).

Her dad recognized Mia's genius on the cello at a young age and had willingly sacrificed to encourage her gift. Mia was entranced by the far different style of classical music and lost herself in her music.

It is Mia's beauty and love for music that caught the attention of Adam (Jamie Blackley), also a person who found music to be the defining experience in his life, though in the rock style. It is their young love story that weaves together the emotion of this tale.

Though we won't spoil the plot, it is obvious that the story is about Mia's accident that places her life in the balance. The assumption of the film is one of spiritual continuity of life after death and the ability of each of us to exercise some will in the moment of death.

Christian theology supports the first assumption, and common experience supports the second. But the question the film raises is, why would we choose to stay or to go? What is it that makes life worth living, and what gives us a release from life? Does overwhelming sorrow or loss justify choosing to leave, or does love compel us to stay? And if we choose to go, have we rejected love or chosen love in a new and greater form?

In the final analysis, these are not just theological questions to be debated but rather decisions to be experienced. It is in our own moment of choosing that we will know how we will answer them.


» When you have been with a person who was dying, how did you experience their passing? Were you aware of them in ways that did not fit your normal senses?

» With modern medicine, there is a whole new field of near-death experiences. One of the most intriguing is written by a neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander in his book Proof of Heaven. As a person who did not believe in God or life beyond death, his experience convinced him of both. How do you deal with the evidence of NDEs — near-death experiences? Do you believe them to be hallucinations or actual? On what basis do you make your statement?

» The parenting of Mia provided no spiritual guidance and encouraged her to move away from innocence. Do you believe this to be a common experience in the families in your community? What do you believe is appropriate parental guidance, and why do you answer as you do?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Solvang School Administrator John Karbula Appointed to Committee for Statewide Association

By | Published on 08/27/2014


John Karbula, superintendent/principal of the Solvang School District, has been appointed a member of the Small School Districts Committee for the Association of California School Administrators.

As a member of the committee, Karbula will work to advocate small school district issues within ACSA and provide the association’s Legislative Policy Committee with information on legislation that could affect small school districts. He will also help provide training and information to administrators in small school districts.

Prior to his position with the Solvang School District, Karbula served as an administrator in Colorado. He was an assistant superintendent in Weldon Valley, a principal in Mapleton and a principal in Fort Collins.

In addition to his active membership in ACSA, Karbula serves on three boards of directors: the Santa Barbara County United Way, the Solvang Rotary Club and Solvang Arts & Music. He is also a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Karbula’s bachelor’s degree was received from the University of Northern Iowa. He has earned both a master’s degree in administration and a doctorate in educational leadership from Colorado State University.

The Association of California School Administrators has 29 councils and committees and represents more than 16,000 superintendents, principals, vice principals, classified managers and confidential employees throughout the state. It is a member-driven organization committed to improved student performance and educational leadership in California’s public schools.

— Naj Alikhan represents the Association of California School Administrators.


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Robert Half Hosts Suit Drive to Help Unity Shoppe Support Job Seekers

By | Published on 08/27/2014


The Santa Barbara office of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, recently hosted a suit drive in partnership with the Unity Shoppe, a local organization supporting low-income women and men seeking employment.

As a result of the drive, more than 75 business-appropriate items, including suits, separates, shoes and accessories, were collected and will be donated to the Unity Shoppe.

From Aug. 11-22, participating Robert Half offices teamed up with nonprofit organizations, like the Unity Shoppe, to participate in a North American Suit Drive to provide disadvantaged job seekers with interview-appropriate attire.

Robert Half is committed to being an active participant in the communities in which we live and work. The suit drive aligns with our company’s mission of providing people the resources they need to land satisfying new jobs.

Click here for more information on the drive.

— Kellie Shadle is the public relations manager for Robert Half.


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Santa Barbara County ADMHS Hosting Free Medi-Cal Enrollment Event in Carpinteria

By | Published on 08/27/2014


The Santa Barbara County Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services will host a free Medi-Cal enrollment event in Carpinteria from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

It will be held at Carpinteria Community Church, 1111 Vallecito Road.

The event is open to the public.

Certified enrollment counselors who speak English and Spanish will provide information, answer questions and assist individuals to quickly enroll in Medi-Cal.

Free pizza will be available. A drawing for gift cards will be held every half hour.

For more information, please call Nancy Pludé at 805.884.6896.


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Water Guardian Rebecca Claassen Awarded $15,000 Cox Conserves Hero Award

By | Published on 08/27/2014


At a reception Monay night at Carpinteria City Hall, Rebecca Claassen was awarded first place in the Cox Conserves Hero Awards for her work as one of the founders of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians and its massive grassroots effort to fight back against a huge proposed increase in extreme oil extraction.

The Water Guardians' efforts culminated in qualifying Measure P, the Healthy Air & Water Initiative that would ban fracking, steam injection and acidization in Santa Barbara County for the November ballot.

Representatives from Cox Communications presented the $15,000 award, along with Mayor Brad Stein and Carpinteria City Council members.

The award was based on nominations, selected by Cox Communications and voted on by the general public.

"This is a great honor, and I'm grateful to Cox for their generous support," Claassen said. "I am dedicating all of my time on a volunteer basis to protect our water, air, health and climate from expansion in risky oil extraction in our county."

— Katie Davis represents Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.


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Jackson Bill to Ban Offshore Oil Drilling in Tranquillon Ridge Stalls on Assembly Floor

By | Published on 08/27/2014


A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to ban offshore oil drilling from an area of state waters in the Santa Barbara Channel known as Tranquillon Ridge stalled on the Assembly floor Tuesday evening, effectively killing the bill for the year.

The vote was 29-36.

“I’m disappointed in what happened tonight, but remain committed to protecting this area of our Santa Barbara coastline from the impacts of new offshore oil drilling for the long haul,” Jackson said. “I will continue to pursue avenues to protect Tranquillon Ridge, which inspires us with its beauty and biological diversity, and helps drive our local economy with tourism and hospitality jobs and thousands of visitors to our area.”

“I’m proud to be a co-author of SB 1096, because I believe that protecting our sensitive coastal habitat is of the utmost importance to our economy and our environment,” said Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Carpinteria. “I will continue to work with Sen. Jackson to fight for those protections.”

In 1994, declaring that “offshore oil and gas production in certain areas of state waters poses an unacceptably high risk of damage and disruption to the marine environment of the state,” the California Legislature banned any new offshore oil and gas leases when it passed the California Coastal Sanctuary Act. But a loophole in state law left Tranquillon Ridge, which extends into state and federal waters, with reserves that are currently being tapped in federal waters from Platform Irene, uniquely vulnerable to offshore drilling.

Senate Bill 1096 would have repealed this loophole, found in Public Resources Code 6244.

“Even the slightest chance of an oil spill in a Marine Protected Area far outweighs any potential benefit to the state,” Jackson said.

The bill had the support of dozens of environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Center, its sponsor, but faced significant opposition from the oil industry.

Over the years, oil companies have made numerous attempts to tap into Tranquillon Ridge’s offshore reserves from state waters. Since 2003, an oil development proposal has been pursued by Sunset and Exxon to drill into Tranquillon Ridge reserves from an onshore location at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Slant drilling from onshore into offshore waters raises significant concerns about possible oil spills, impacts on marine life, air and water pollution, and contributions to global climate change.

In 2007, Tranquillon Ridge was designated as a Marine Protected Area because of its sensitive marine ecosystem. Fishing, as well as public entry, is restricted there.

In 1969, 35 miles of Santa Barbara County’s pristine coastline was devastated by an oil slick resulting from offshore oil extraction. This disaster gave rise to the modern environmental movement and the yearly international celebration, Earth Day.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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Corvette Totaled in Crash That Sends Man to Hospital

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Accident occurred on Cliff Drive near Hendry's Beach, according to Santa Barbara police

One person suffered minor injuries Tuesday night in a crash near Hendry's Beach that totaled a late-model Corvette, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The accident occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Cliff Drive, said police Sgt. Aaron Baker.

"The Corvette was coming out of Hope Ranch, heading toward Hendry's, and went over a guardrail and ended up in the bushes just above the parking lot," Baker said.

A male passenger sustained minor injuries, and was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Baker said.

He added that the male driver, whose name was not released, was not hurt.

Baker said the vehicle, a 2011 model, was worth $90,000 to $100,000, and was totaled.

Alcohol and drugs were not believed to be a factor in the crash, he said.

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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Santa Barbara School Board Renews Contract for Drug-Detection Dogs

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Despite members' mixed feelings about the program, canines will search local high school campuses for the third straight year

The Santa Barbara Unified School District board expressed mixed feelings about having drug-detection dogs search high school campuses, but members approved the contract Tuesday for the third year in a row.

No board member changed his or her mind from last year, so the contract was approved again with a 3-2 vote, with members Gayle Eidelson, Ed Heron and Kate Parker in favor and Monique Limon and Pedro Paz opposed.

“It sets a precedent that we’re not tolerant of drugs on campus and we’re willing to put resources toward that, therefore I’m still in favor of it,” Eidelson said.

“There’s no disagreement up here as to keeping drugs off the campuses,” Heron said after the vote. “There may be a difference in opinion in how we do that, but we all agree we want drugs off our campuses.”

Santa Barbara Unified will pay $13,500 for the year’s contract, which includes two visits per month per campus for Dos Pueblos High School, La Cuesta Continuation High School, San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara High School.

Data from the past six school years show that Hispanic and Latino students are consistently overrepresented in drug-related offenses, including the possession, use or sale of drugs, alcohol or paraphernalia.

Latino and Hispanic students were involved with 69 percent of the controlled substances cases over the years, while they make up just over half the total student population.

The same overrepresentation applies to paraphernalia cases, which have stayed relatively flat over the years, but not to drug sales cases.

Santa Barbara Unified’s drug-related offenses peaked in 2009-10 and have been decreasing ever since, with record lows for the past two years.

Santa Barbara Unified School District’s drug-related cases have decreased over the past six years, including the two years when drug-detection dogs were used on high school campuses. (Santa Barbara Unified School District photo)

Last year, there wasn’t a single “hit” from the drug dogs, meaning every drug case was reported or detected by someone other than the drug detection canine contractor, according to the district.

There were 147 drug-related cases last year, 119 of which involved controlled substance possession and use. 

District officials say the dogs serve as a deterrent to keep drugs and alcohol off campus, but the two school board members who voted against the contract say it doesn’t address the core issue of drug use and prevention.

The overall drug cases were declining before the drug dogs were introduced, so the data aren't convincing that the dogs are working as a deterrent, Limon said at the last meeting.

“I would rather put our financial resources into finding ways to get students off drugs rather than students finding different ways to hide them,” she said.

Paz agreed, saying the data show no causation between the drug-detection drugs and the continuing downward trend of drug cases on high school campuses.

Drugs still feature prominently in student discipline cases, including suspensions and expulsions, they noted.

All the board members said they were concerned with the overrepresentation of Latino and Hispanic students in drug discipline cases, and Superintendent Dave Cash said the district has “work to do” in the area of cultural proficiency.

“The elephant in the room here is, are we searching backpacks of Latino students more often?” Parker asked.

Interquest Drug Detection Canines started searching district schools in the 2012-13 year, with dogs patrolling common areas lockers, student automobiles, vacant classrooms and other school grounds.

The dogs can detect illicit drugs, prescription drugs, alcoholic beverages and gunpowder.

Students can remove all of their belongings, including backpacks, from classrooms before the rooms are searched.

“Anecdotally I would say no, it’s not as effective as requiring to leave the backpacks,” Cash said. “Some district have made that decision, but we’ve been advised by (legal) counsel not to do so.”

One person spoke during public comment Tuesday to support the contract.

“It helps educators be educators and not have them have to identify students under the influence,” said Dr. Darryl Joseph, who is a local parent. 

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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Three North County Judges Get New Assignments

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Three North County judges played musical chairs this week as they were given new assignments. 

Newly appointed Judge James Voysey, a former assistant public defender, will now preside over cases in Lompoc, according to Darrel Parker, Santa Barbara County Superior Court executive officer.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Voysey as a judge late last year to fill the Santa Maria vacancy created by the death of Judge Edward Bullard.

Voysey spent the first few months on the bench in Santa Barbara Superior Court to fill an empty seat there and avoid possible conflicts of interest with his previous job, Parker said. 

In Voysey’s role with the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office, he was involved in most of the cases handled there, and likely would have had to recuse himself frequently if he worked as a new judge in Santa Maria.

“As a supervisor, he reviewed most cases that went through that office,” Parker said.  

With the June 18 appointment of Deputy District Attorney Michael Carrozzo to the Santa Barbara vacancy, Parker said, court officials decided to move Voysey to the North County, assigning him to Lompoc to decrease the likelihood of a conflict.

Carrozzo isn’t expected to encounter many conflicts since he wasn’t a supervisor, according to Parker.

Lompoc’s previous judge, James Iwasko, moved to Santa Maria Department 9 to handle arraignments. Iwasko has served as a judge since October 2002.

Judge John McGregor moved to Department 6, a trial court, after previously overseeing arraignments in Department 9.

Because of the workload, Judge Rick Brown, who retired from Santa Barbara County but returned to help out, will continue temporarily.

He is presiding over seven-defendant trial involving the gang-related torture and slaying of Anthony Ibarra in Santa Maria last year.

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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Lompoc Chamber of Commerce Seeks Donations for Annual Airmen Appreciation Barbecue

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Free lunch will be served Sept. 19 for military members and their families stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Members of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau are gearing up to again host a free lunch for military members at Vandenberg Air Force Base

The chamber’s Military Affairs Committee is seeking donations for its annual Airmen Appreciation Barbecue, planned this year for Sept. 19 at Cocheo Park on base.

Committee members typically serve more than a 1,000 free meals to airmen and other military members stationed at Vandenberg in addition to the families of deployed airmen.

The lunch is a way to say thank you to the military members. 

“Our committee is trying to foster closer relations between the base and the people of Lompoc, and familiarize them with all the businesses and organizations who contribute to this event,” said Sylvia King, chairwoman of the Military Affairs Committee. 

The Military Affairs Committee raises thousands of dollars to buy the food for the event, and expects to need $7,000 to $8,000 this year “since meat prices have risen dramatically,” she added. “We have had quite a bit of success so far, but more is still needed.”

The committee also collects gifts from merchants to give away to military members during a raffle drawing held during the barbecue.

The Vandenberg Non-Commissioned Officers Association typically cooks the meal, while Chamber of Commerce volunteers act as servers. 

The Military Affairs Committee has put on the Airmen Appreciation Barbecue for more than a dozen years, according to organizers.

Donations may be sent to the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, Attn: Airmen Appreciation Barbecue, 111 South I St., Lompoc, CA 93436.

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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County Supervisors Disagree with Grand Jury Report on Northern Branch Jail Costs

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors responded Tuesday to a Grand Jury report issued earlier this summer that questions how the county plans to pay for operating costs of a new jail.

The county has plans in the works to build a new $136 million Northern Branch Jail just outside Santa Maria, to which the state is contributing almost 90 percent of the total cost to build.

The jury questioned whether the county can afford to fund ongoing operating costs without gouging other services, since the costs are estimated at $18 million per year.

The jury report stated that an increase of 3.5 percent a year in property taxes was needed to make the plan work, but the county disagreed.

The plan requires less than 1 percent growth in the county's discretionary general fund revenues, said Tom Alvarez, the county's budget director.

Alvarez pointed out that only one year out of the past 30 years of property tax data had growth below 1 percent. That year was in 2010-11.

He also said that monies set aside for the fire department from property tax are not included in growth projection.

The board partially agreed with the jury's finding that discipline would be needed to execute the plan and to allocate roughly 28 percent of the property tax increases to the reserve fund through 2022.

However, the board believes the property tax growth needed is 26 percent, not 28 percent as the jury suggested.

Reductions in other departments haven't been necessary and the process continues to be discussed in public meetings, according to Alvarez.

"It is going to affect other departments," Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino. "We'll be spending $18 million a year that we aren't spending now."

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said the county still has a reserve for years that do not reach target goals, which could be beefed up with more money if needed.

Ultimately, the board agreed unanimously with most of the jury's recommendations, including displaying budget data on the county website and that the supervisors should communicate with constituents about service cuts that might be necessary to fund the jail.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam recommended broadening the tax base, rather than wait for higher revenues to appreciate.

"We need to be more open-minded about the projects that come before us," he said.

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


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Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team Assists Search for Backpacker in Monterey County

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Big Sur — Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team were deployed over the weekend to assist in the search for a missing backpacker in the Big Sur area of Monterey County.

Arvin Nelson, 55, of Big Sur began hiking Aug. 6 at the China Camp trailhead in the Los Padres National Forest and was expected to arrive at the Big Sur Station trailhead on Aug. 14.

When Nelson, an experienced hiker, failed to show up by Aug. 16, his friends contacted the Monterey County Sheriff's Department and a search was initiated.

During this past weekend, more than 100 search and rescue personnel from throughout the state participated in the search, which stretched over 20 miles from the point where the backpacker was last seen to where he was scheduled to end his trip.

SBCSAR team members were flown by helicopter Saturday morning from the search staging area to the Ventana Wilderness east of Big Sur. From there, they performed an area search of Bear Basin north to Pine Valley, where they were flown out Sunday afternoon by a California National Guard Blackhawk helicopter back to the staging area.

As of this date, Nelson is still missing and the search is continuing.

The sheriff’s Search & Rescue team is an all-volunteer branch of the Sheriff’s Department trained to handle a variety of emergencies, including high-angle rock rescues, car-over-the-side accidents, downed aircraft, swiftwater rescues and medical emergencies.

The team is currently recruiting new members. If you are interested in giving back to your community in this important way, you are encouraged to attend a no-obligation recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 66 S. San Antonio Road in Santa Barbara. Click here for more information.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.


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Mona Charen: Charles Rangel Persists in Peddling the Republican Racist Myth

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The unsinkable Charles B. Rangel appeared on C-SPAN over the weekend. Why unsinkable? Well, the House of Representatives censured the New York Democrat in 2010 by a vote of 333-79 (when the body was still majority Democrat) for violating 11 ethics rules and "bringing discredit to the House." The New York Times called it a "staggering fall" for the senior Democrat. But fall-schmall, he's since been re-elected and will retire at his leisure.

While chatting with Brian Lamb, Rangel dropped a few falsehoods as casually as cigar ash.

This isn't to pick on Rangel. He's just illustrative. His assertion — that the Republican and Democratic parties "changed sides" in the 1960s on civil rights, with white racists leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans — has become conventional wisdom. It's utterly false and should be rebutted at every opportunity.

It's true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd and J. William Fulbright.

The Republican presidential candidate in 1964 also opposed the Civil Rights Act. Barry Goldwater had been an enthusiastic backer of the 1957 and 1960 civil rights acts (both overwhelmingly opposed by Democrats). He was a founding member of the Arizona chapter of the NAACP. He hired many blacks in his family business and pushed to desegregate the Arizona National Guard. He had a good-faith objection to some features of the 1964 act, which he regarded as unconstitutional.

Goldwater was no racist. The same cannot be said of Fulbright, on whom President Bill Clinton bestowed the Medal of Freedom. Fulbright was one of the 19 senators who signed the "Southern Manifesto" defending segregation.

OK, but didn't all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic Party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic Party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.

Former racists of both parties renounced their old views (as Kevin Williamson points out, Johnson himself voted against anti-lynching laws and poll-tax repeals), and neither party has a perfect record on racial matters by any stretch. But it is a libel to suggest that the Republican Party, the anti-slavery party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, and the party that traditionally supported civil rights, anti-lynching laws and integration, became the racist party after 1964.

The "solid South" Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights, but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to "turn Lincoln's picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.") In the 1940s, the GOP garnered only about 25 percent of southern votes.

The big break came with Dwight Eisenhower's victories. Significant percentages of white southerners voted for Ike, though the Democratic Party remained firmly segregationist and though Eisenhower backed two civil rights bills and enforced the Brown decision by federalizing the National Guard. They also began to send GOP representatives to the House.

These Republican gains came not from the most rural and "Deep South" regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. If the new southern Republican voters were white racists, one would have expected that Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia would have been the first to turn. Instead, as Gerard Alexander notes in The Myth of the Racist Republicans, the turn toward the GOP began in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. Eisenhower did best in the peripheral states. Alexander concludes: "(T)he GOP's southern electorate was not rural, nativist, less educated, afraid of change, or concentrated in the ... Deep South. It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least 'Southern' parts of the south."

Rangel is peddling a libel, and Republicans should say so, loudly and often.

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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Santa Barbara-Based Pensionmark Retirement Group Expands to Pittsburgh

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Axios Advisory Group has affiliated with Pensionmark Retirement Group, creating the new Pensionmark Pittsburgh location.

The office will continue to service its Pennsylvania and Arizona clients and will focus on both retirement planning as well as wealth management.

Kevin Buckley and Mero Capo are the new managing directors of the Pensionmark Pittsburgh office.

“We are excited to become part of the Pensionmark family," Buckley said. "We are confident that our affiliation with the team at Pensionmark will enable us to take our services to plan sponsors and participants to a whole new level.”

Buckley and Capo’s firm have been offering retirement plan services for over 35 years, and the new transition will allow them to offer enhanced services to their clients.

“The affiliation with Pensionmark to create Pensionmark Pittsburgh was natural for us," Capo said. "We’re confident that the services we now offer to plan sponsors, plan participants and wealth management clients are second to none in the industry.”

"Kevin, Mero and the team at Axios exemplify the Pensionmark commitment to exceptional customer service and industry-leading client support," said Troy Hammond, president/CEO of Pensionmark. "In addition, they bring additional administrative capabilities to our TPA alliance program. We are excited about this great addition to the Pensionmark family of advisors.”

Pensionmark, with its national headquarters in Santa Barbara, expects to add 10 to 15 new advisors in the coming months.

— Devyn Duex represents Pensionmark Retirement Group.


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Dream Foundation to Grant Dying Woman’s Wish with Visit to Bacara

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The Dream Foundation, the only national adult wish-granting organization for individuals and their families suffering life-threatening illness, will fulfill Allison Anderson’s dream to abandon the daily struggles of life with terminal illness and relax by the beach with her family.

Recently diagnosed with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a rare genetic predisposition to cancer, Anderson has also had the disease in her thyroids, skin, liver and brain. Her life expectancy is two months or less.

“For our dreamers battling advanced conditions, their lives often revolve around a calendar of treatments and doctors’ appointments, leaving them little to no time to dream,” Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer said. “Fulfilling a final dream at the end of their journey gives them the ability to make the most of the time they have left and celebrate a life lived.”

Anderson’s dream will take her and her significant other, mother, sister and brother-in-law to the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, where they will stay four nights beginning Tuesday. She will be participating in a sunset photo shoot to honor her life and family with Kacie Jean Fowler, founder of the nonprofit Portraits for Causes.

Bacara Resort & Spa — a Dream Foundation In-Kind Partner in Dreams — will donate a four-night stay for Anderson.

“We are honored to open our doors and heart to Anderson and her family,” said Kathleen Cochran, general manager of Bacara Resort & Spa. “Bacara has been a proud partner of Dream Foundation for more than 10 years; we will continue to do all we can to help turn dreams into a reality.”

According to Anderson, her dream came from a simple desire to “read, relax to the sounds of the ocean, watch the sunset and enjoy a short walk on the beach. This will be a much-needed week of rest and relaxation. It’s not just a trip, it’s a little vacation from cancer.”

Last year, the Dream Foundation served 2,344 final dreams nationwide. The organization receives no federal or state funding, relying solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has never turned down a qualified dream request.

“Year after year, we continue to see a rise in dream requests, and our goal is to continue to be there for those in need,” Heyer said. “After 20 years, our dream recipients continue to inspire us to do the important work of providing comfort during the end-of-life journey. We hope that sharing the stories of our dreamers can help inspire others to reach out to those in need with open hearts.”

— Dani Cordaro is a publicist representing the Dream Foundation.


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SBCC, Allan Hancock College Receive Nearly $1 Million for Hispanic-Serving Programs

By | Published on 08/26/2014


On Tuesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that two Central Coast community colleges received nearly $1 million in federal funding to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

Santa Barbara City College received $511,338 and Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria received $469,872 through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program.

The grants are designed to expand and enhance the academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country. Institutions of higher education must qualify as an HSI under the Higher Education Act and have an undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment of at least 25 percent Hispanic students. Together these colleges and universities are educating the majority of Hispanic college students.

At Allan Hancock, this grant will support the creation of a virtual science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for remote advising and online tutoring, faculty training opportunities, and increased access to academic support through technology. At SBCC, the funds will be used to develop a highly structured series of curriculum pathways leading to an associate degree and/or student transfer to a four-year institution within two years for full-time students and three years for part-time students.

“These grants will allow our community colleges to continue to pave the road to success for thousands of Central Coast students,” Capps said. “Education helps open the doors of opportunity and economic success in America, and these grants will help more students achieve their goals.”

“This award comes at a perfect time for Allan Hancock College, our students, and this region,” said Kevin Walthers, Ph.D., Allan Hancock College superintendent/president. “It will allow us to devote significant resources to streamlining the pathway from basic skills to transfer level courses. It will also allow us to integrate the college’s resource development components to ensure support for underserved students and change the odds of them meeting their educational goals. We want high school students and the community to know that choosing Allan Hancock College to begin their postsecondary education will prepare them to succeed in college and career throughout their lifetime.”

He added that, “as the only point of access to public postsecondary education in northern Santa Barbara County, AHC has a responsibility to ensure students are prepared to pursue technical and professional careers and have the resources to do so.”

“I believe this innovative program will result in the college having the highest degree completion and transfer rates among all of its students and for its Hispanic students in the state by the end of the five year period of this grant,” said Jack Friedlander, SBCC executive vice president of educational programs.

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Changes Its Name to William Sansum Diabetes Center

By | Published on 08/26/2014


To better reflect its founder, legacy and services, the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has officially changed its name to the William Sansum Diabetes Center and created a new logo representing its mission and future.

Seventy years after Dr. William Sansum founded the organization, the name change to the William Sansum Diabetes Center not only pays homage to the first physician in the U.S. to administer insulin in the treatment of diabetes, it better reflects the organization's ongoing mission in research, education and care. In the local community, the name also serves to create further distinction from Sansum Clinic.

While research continues to be a primary focus, the center has significantly contributed to diabetes and nutrition education and clinical care programs in pediatrics and diabetes complicated by pregnancy.

The previous name did not convey the organization's significant role in education and clinical care.

Along with a new name, the center released a new logo of two interconnected rings representing collaboration as well as the organization's legacy in — and infinite focus on — improving the lives of those impacted by diabetes.

"Our new name reflects the idea that 'Sansum' is not just a brand or an entity; he was a man with a vision to improve the lives of those with diabetes. We continue to carry on that vision — and that charge — under his full name," William Sansum Diabetes Center Executive Director Rem Laan said. "2014 is not only a milestone anniversary year for the center, but it also marks a new era for us."

This year saw the expansion of the center's team with the additions of Director of Research & Innovation Dr. David Kerr; Senior Research Physician and Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Jordan Pinsker; Director of Clinical Research Operations Leonie Bradford; Director of Education Sandy Andrews; and Director of Development Ada Conner.

— Nick Valente is a publicist representing the William Sansum Diabetes Center.


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Tara Jones: Reds Bin Melds Art and Science in Funk Zone

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Art show features various distillation processes of Cutler’s Artisan Spirits

Reds Bin, located in The Funk Zone, is where art and science meet.

Hosting a new art show featuring the various distillation processes of Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, curated by the Santa Barbara Arts Fund’s Marcello Ricci, Reds is taking the passion of science and art and seamlessly blending them into a collaborative exhibition that feeds both body and soul.

With pop-up stores, tasting rooms and gastropub-style bites around every corner, the Funk Zone is rife with one-of-a-kind events making hipsters and foodies feel as though they’ve stumbled into an epicurean-like Disneyland.

Other places like Seven Bar & Kitchen, just around the corner from Reds, serving up farm-to-bar drinks and neighbor The Lark offering custom cocktail and food pairing nights have made the Funk Zone not just another place to order a drink. It’s a place for an experience.

Every 30-something artisan shop owner, tasting room manager, and bartender in the neighborhood, like Marcello Ricci and Ian Cutler, have not only perfected their craft, but are now combining their passions and taking it to the masses.

Ricci met Cutler while working at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, next door to Cutler’s Artisan, where both discovered a symbiotic love of art and spirits, which led to their dream of combining both passions into a curated 8-month exhibition, Spirits.

Verbatim, the blueberry-and-lemon-flavored signature Spirits cocktail at Reds Bin in the Funk Zone. (Tara Jones photo)

Reds, formerly dubbed a coffee shop in the early 2000s, is one of the Funk Zone’s original inhabitants offering artisan cocktails, beers from around the world, wine, and small bite plates in a charmingly eclectic space.

As I was led around the room by Ricci, drinking in the photography, print making, paintings, films, and assemblage interpretations of the distilling process, I slowly sipped the art show’s signature drinks, Verbatim and the Tipsy Jalapeno.

Made with Cutler’s seven times distilled vodka, Verbatim’s blueberry and lemon flavors fed my senses while the eclectic art pieces depicting the various ideas and processes behind distilling spirits fed my intellect.

The Tipsy Jalapeno’s mildly sweet grapefruit and lemon juices were balanced perfectly with the spicy ginger, jalapeno and savory rosemary.

Ricci’s unique approach to his premier art show was risky as he took a chance on the unknown giving the commissioned artists free reign on their interpretive art pieces, hoping they would all seamlessly fit together.

The savory and spicy Tipsy Jalapeno, created exclusively for the Spirits exhibition at Reds Bin in the Funk Zone. (Tara Jones photo)

From Dan Levins’ Willy Wonka-style assemblages to Nik Blaskovich’s photography and film footage reminiscent of a lava lamp showing magnified pictures of the actual distilling process overhead the other pieces, this happy accident, complete with complimentary cocktails, is a fun and funky way to shake up the cocktail hour.

The vodka portion of this collaborative art show will be shown until early October.

Cutler’s gin, apple pie liqueur, and bourbon exhibitions will be showing in the following months with a portion of the proceeds going to the Santa Barbara Arts Fund.

Reds, at 211 Helena Ave., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Entry to this event is free and open to the public until 9 p.m., when it becomes 21-or-older only.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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John Daly: Interview Tips for Older Candidates

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Being 50+ and out of work is stressful. Often, that stress sends the wrong message in interview situations. The best way to handle anxiety and present oneself well is to be prepared! Here are some great tips from business and etiquette coaches and HR specialists.

» Look your professional best.

» Don’t forget that with 50 years comes a wealth of experience.

» Smile and remember that your potential employer will feel more comfortable having you represent his company if he or she feels at ease in your presence.

» Don’t try too hard. 50 is the new 30!

» Be prepared to work with people younger than you, so be flexible and have a youthful mind while carrying the elegance of a 50-year-old. Emphasize your ability to work with generational differences.

» Be positive and real, not desperate. Your experience and carriage should speak for you. Understand that employers value older workers because of their experience and ability to work within a team as well as their understanding, knowledge and practice of business etiquette and observance of company policies.

» Prepare three questions to ask about the company or job that are well-researched and will serve to impress the interviewer with your preparedness and interest.

» Be optimistic. Positive thinking is imperative. A “this next job is mine” attitude is essential.

» If you’ve been out of work for some time, don’t focus on it with the interviewer.

» Refer to your résumé; don’t treat it as a disconnected document, but tie it in to the interview.

» Don’t give up or be dismayed if the process of interviewing for jobs takes longer than expected.

» Young or “old,” first impressions are crucial. Be the best you can be.

What HR Specialists Say

» Research new jargon and the prospective company.

» Focus on your experience, not your years.

» Determine the hard-to-answer questions and how you will respond ahead of time. Example: When asked, “Aren’t you overqualified?” respond, “I’m uniquely qualified.”

» Assure the prospective employer that you are in tune with the latest computer and technical skills (and be sure you are up-to-date).

» Be prepared to answer questions about specific situations in your previous jobs.

» Never air the dirty laundry from past jobs.

» Never bring up money. If the interviewer does, ask what he or she is looking for. Research salary levels so that you have an idea of the going rate for the specific job.

» Don’t show up early; you’ll look too eager. Show up on time or just five minutes prior to the interview.

» Always send a handwritten thank-you note. Wait a week, and follow up with a phone call to ask when you might expect to hear back.

Links to More Great Advice

» Six Tips for the Over-50 Job Seeker

» Search Tips for the Over-50 Job Seeker

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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County Supervisors Scrutinize Tribe’s Chumash Casino Expansion Plans

By | Published on 08/26/2014


County staff will pass on recommendations over aesthetics, water supply, law enforcement and more during a meeting set for Thursday

Santa Barbara County officials are not particularly fond of a planned expansion of the Chumash Casino Resort — or the accompanying impacts of a new 12-story tower — and on Tuesday they passed those concerns on to staff, which will meet with tribal leaders later this week.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to direct staff to relay concerns about air quality, aesthetics, water supply, law-enforcement resources and more to representatives of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians on Thursday.

The recommendations were made reluctantly, however, since officials know the tribe, which owns and operates the casino and resort on its federally-recognized reservation at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, does not have to adhere to the county’s planning process.

The tribe plans to add 215 hotel rooms, 584 parking spaces, more gaming floor space, and other improvements to alleviate overcrowding and circulation issues at the 190,000-square-foot complex, with construction slated to begin as soon as this fall.

Tribal chairman Vincent Armenta, who was in the audience at Tuesday’s meeting in Santa Maria, has said expansion is necessary because the hotel was dramatically downsized during a previous tribal environmental review process — hampering the tribe’s long-term revenue.

The tribe opened the original casino in 1994 in a small building, adding two temporary buildings in subsequent years before consolidating into one complex that opened in 2004.

The proposed project would be built over two years, and would create 250 new jobs, according to the tribe.

Locals were given a chance to present concerns at a meeting last month, although few spoke on the project’s environmental evaluation, a process consistent with tribal government rules.

County staff presented the Chumash plans, which will allocate approximately $165 million to add to the existing 106 guest rooms and 17 luxury suites at the resort hotel.

Concerns included potential air-quality impacts, an increase in traffic (especially for special events), proximity to the Santa Ynez Airport, and fire and safety concerns with the 12-story tower and hotel rooftop pool deck near the existing four-story hotel.

Sheriff Bill Brown noted the possibility of hiring another deputy to patrol the area, which also adds a new six-tier parking structure adjacent to current parking. One around-the-clock position is equivalent of hiring five deputies. 

The tribe estimates it would serve 10,000 patrons per day instead of the current daily average of 8,800.

“I think the height of that tower is going to be a significant issue,” said Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, who questioned availability of water resources.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents the valley, read a letter from the governor’s office, asking that an additional environmental impact statement be conducted to address water concerns, visual impacts and alternatives to the tall tower.

Most public speakers objected to the expansion, calling the proposed tower “outrageous” and worrying that the tribe will build more than representatives have let on.

Water remained a main concern, especially after Chris Dahlstrom, general manager Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, said no new water service was allowed to be issued because of the drought.

He said the tribe has not yet applied for a service increase.

“Nothing is going to get solved in the valley until we establish a government-to-government relationship with the tribe,” said Orcutt resident Andy Caldwell.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal made a similar comment, lamenting loss of that dialogue.

County CEO Mona Miyasato said nothing in state law requires the county and tribe to reach a mitigation agreement. The state just has to decide the Chumash made a “good faith” effort to listen to concerns, she said.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam asked whether Thursday’s meeting would be open to the public, but Miyasato said there was no requirement that it should be.

Farr said she agreed with staff concerns, and motioned they be forwarded along.

“This is a land-use issue,” she said. “These concerns are exacerbated because this is a project on tribal land. Clearly, if it did (fall under county planning), it would require a massive environmental impact review.”

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


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Goleta Valley Historical Society Awarded $50,000 Grant for Arboretum Restoration Project

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The Goleta Valley Historical Society is excited to be the recipient of a $50,000 from the Hind Foundation of San Luis Obispo for support of its Arboretum Restoration Project at Rancho La Patera.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this significant grant from the Hind Foundation.” GVHS President Karen Ramsdell said. “The funds will go directly toward the final phases of the multiyear project to restore the beautiful gardens around Stow House to their late 19th- to early 20th-century glory.

GVHS Director Amanda De Lucia adds, “The Hind grant provides a major boost to our final fundraising efforts for the arboretum restoration.”

The Historical Society has raised more than $100,000 so far over the last two years for the project.

“The community is already enjoying the dramatic improvements to the gardens around Stow House,” she said, “yet the landscape work is continuing as we speak, and we have about $110,000 left to raise to reach our fundraising goal.”

The Arboretum Restoration Project has opened up areas of the gardens around Stow House for additional use and enjoyment that had previously been inaccessible due to dense, overgrown foliage. Historically insignificant plant material has been removed, specimen trees have been replanted and/or treated, and drainage issues have been resolved around the house. Period pathways, lawns, and other groundcovers have been restored, replanted or re-created.

“Our goal is to simultaneously enhance the beauty and functionality of the community parkland while investing in the preservation of a significant botanical treasure,” Ramsdell said. "We’ve been so pleased with the progress so far and are eager to complete the work, thanks to generous grants like the Hind award.”

The society’s Arboretum Restoration Project has also received generous grants from the Ann Jackson Family Foundation and the Santa Barbara Foundation for this final phase of work.

For more information, contact the Goleta Valley Historical Society by clicking here or calling 805.681.7216.

— Dacia Harwood is the marketing coordinator for the Goleta Valley Historical Society.


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UCSB Literature Scholar Examines Meaning of Materialism and Everyday Objects

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Some scholars suggest that when Prospero spoke those words in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, he was referring to the things that help create an illusion.

Maurizia Boscagli
UCSB English professor Maurizia Boscagli

Things creating an illusion and things as an illusion — and a very powerful one — are at the heart of a new book by Maurizia Boscagli, a professor of English at UC Santa Barbara.

Stuff Theory: Everyday Objects, Radical Materialism (Bloomsbury/Continuum, 2014) traces the genealogy of 20th-century materiality: flashpoints of one kind of minor matter in a succession of cultural moments. Boscagli asserts that in modernity, stuff becomes a rallying point for a new philosophy of materiality and for a new kind of interaction between people and things.

“The book considers modern culture’s specific focus on stuff,” Boscagli writes. “Not on matter in general, but on stuff more specifically defined as those things which we own but which have shed their glamour as shiny commodities yet which we are unwilling to dispose of and relegate to the trash heap.”

With roughly 48,000 self-storage facilities in the United States, according to the Self Storage Association, the industry’s official trade organization, that makes for a lot of “shiny commodities.”

“We like our stuff,” Boscagli said. “Oftentimes we need it, but sometimes we don’t and it just becomes an accumulation. I was interested in why we have all this stuff, why we need it, what we do with it and how we get rid of it.

“We cannot forget we live in a culture of — now, perhaps, reduced — consumption. The stuff we own is always a commodity, produced, bought, consumed and discarded. In a culture of expenditure and planned obsolescence like ours, the individual object we desire and buy is always on the verge of becoming stuff, and stuff is always on its way to becoming junk, waste, garbage.”

When a bought object loses its price tag and its allure and is about to become another piece of clutter or waste, it starts speaking a different language, according to Boscagli.

“It assumes another meaning, another function, another way of interacting with us,” she said.

It’s this new meaning that is at the center of Stuff Theory.

“Why can’t we give away our stuff when we know we don’t need it anymore?” she asked. “I started thinking about the functions of objects and how we connect to them. In a culture of abundance, stuff is everywhere. It now needs a theory that might make us aware of what we do when we buy, discard, recycle, or simply why we cannot let stuff go. Or why it cannot let go of us.”

Boscagli’s project in Stuff Theory is twofold. By interrogating the relationship between people and their objects, the book intervenes in the ongoing critical discussion of what materialism is and what materiality is today. Over the past 20 years or so, she noted, scholars across disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and environmental science have developed a great interest in this kind of materiality. In Stuff Theory, Boscagli brings the discussion of what is called “New Materialism” back to the everyday, to the level of the street and of common experience.

“Instead of the ‘clean,’ objective language of the sciences, Stuff Theory turns to the messiness of our intimacy with things, our psychological investment in objects and our desire to dispose — by disposing of the clutter in our pockets, purses and lives — of an excess that is our own,” she said.

While a great deal of attention is paid to techno-nature, Boscagli suggests techno-aesthetics is equally important: Culture, art, literature and film are spaces where stuff is created, portrayed and critiqued.

“These objects make art, appear in art and contribute to art and literature. During the early 20th century, objects enter art through the cubist collage, for example,” she said.

Boscagli references Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, and Woolf’s description of clothes left behind in a summer house when the owners are no longer there.

“The clothes actually retain the shape of the body of the person who wore them,” Boscagli said. “Memory becomes a wrinkle in a used coat.”

Clothing, fashion and the power to memorialize that objects possess is one example of materiality Boscagli studies in her book. Her discussion includes the time capsule as memory object, gleaning and recycling as practices of “materiality management” objects left on the battlefield during World War I and 1960s gadgets.

The relationship between art and stuff is further demonstrated by Boscagli’s discussion about “arte povera,” a modern art movement in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s. It introduced a period of upheaval, when artists were taking a radical stance and began attacking the values of established institutions and of art itself as an institution.

The image of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s 1967 sculpture “Venus of the Rags,” which shows the Venus, in all her beauty, facing a gigantic pile of rags, becomes a poignant example of both the protest over “arte povera” as well as an example of wasted abundance of memory objects.

“There’s so much accumulation of stuff you don’t see what it is anymore,” explained Boscagli. “The rags are part of the art, but they’re also part of everyday reality.”

Also the author of Eye on the Flesh: Fashions of Masculinity in the Early Twentieth Century, Boscagli is the translator of Antonio Negri’s Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State. She is an expert in cultural studies, literary theory, literature and film theories of gender and sexualities, and 20th-century Anglophone literature.

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


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Los Padres National Forest Elevates Fire Restrictions

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials on Tuesday announced that Level IV fire restrictions will go into effect immediately.

The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until the end of the declared fire season:

» Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest, including designated Campfire Use sites; however, people with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel within the designated Campfire Use Sites only. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website. You must clear all flammable material for a distance of 5 feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.

» Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the national forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the forest; however, hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.

» Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated Campfire Use Site.

» Fireworks are prohibited at all times and in all locations within Los Padres National Forest.

» Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail, and could be liable for the full cost of any fire suppression activities that result from their actions. For further information regarding current conditions as well as safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website by clicking here.

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.


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Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Endorses Measure S

By | Published on 08/26/2014


At its meeting on Monday, the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region approved the following statement.

“After a thorough review of Measure S, which will appear on SBCC District ballots across southern Santa Barbara County in the upcoming November general election, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region has chosen to endorse the measure.

"The chamber strongly agrees with leadership at Santa Barbara City College that many facilities at the campus are in dire need of remodeling, rehabilitation or outright replacement. While we believe those efforts are the responsibility of the State of California, and in full acknowledgement of the potential for a statewide facilities bond that could provide some of the needed funding, there is no question that the top community and city colleges in California have all looked at facilities bonds as the way to make these necessary improvements.

"That said, the chamber is concerned that the majority of the requirement to maintain this important, statewide asset is being placed on local residents and businesses. We believe that SBCC and similar institutions cannot continue the status quo of being all but abandoned by the State of California, while at the same time being given little to no control over who is admitted to the campus.

"Therefore, we will support efforts in future legislative sessions to have the State of California resume their responsibility of funding the infrastructure at community and city colleges, or in lieu of that, pushing for greater control of admissions so that local communities are funding schools that serve local students and do not have a negative impact on issues such as transportation and housing.”

For more information on this position, please contact Ken Oplinger at 805.965.3023.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

By | Published on 08/26/2014


3 Stars — Intriguing

Woody Allen is legendary for his writing about and often portraying neurotic characters who bumble through crazy and exotic tales. In his more recent films, he has ventured beyond his favorite New York haunts to include Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love and Blue Jasmine, which was based in San Francisco. This time he brings us first to Berlin and then to the south of France during the 1928 heady days of the Roaring Twenties.

Magic in the Moonlight is a confection filled with tasty morsels of intrigue, romance and beautiful vistas of the French coastline. Like most of Allen's movies, every scene provides a cornucopia of characters whose faces, costumes, mannerisms and witty insights create a constant smile on your face. This is, after all, a farce, and not to be taken seriously.

Leading the cast is Stanley (Colin Firth), who performs magic on stage under the name and costume of the mysterious oriental Wei Ling Soo. Stanley is a legend in his own mind. He not only sells himself as the greatest illusionist on Earth, but he fancies himself as one of the greatest debunkers of fraudulent magicians that he believes prey on the rich to gain their favor and wealth.

Stanley is approached after one of his performances in Berlin by his dear old friend Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), who solicits Stanley's help in rescuing a rich friend of his from the clutches of a beguiling young woman named Sophie (Emma Stone).

Sophie and her mother have wormed their way into his wealthy French friend's family and twisted their heads with séances to communicate with their deceased relatives. Howard knows that if anyone could see through Sophie's tricks, it would be Stanley. Stanley bites the bait and joins Howard for a weekend with his friends, and the mystery begins.

Without giving away the story, Stanley is amazed at Sophie's skill, and she openly challenges Stanley to try to either expose what she is doing or accept it for what she claims it to be — namely, the mysteries of life beyond the grave. Not only is Stanley taken by Sophie's skill but also with her beauty. For the first time in his life, Stanley questions the premise he has held all his life that there is no "afterlife," and that people who believe in such things are the weak and gullible.

Needless to say, nothing is as it seems. There are frauds to be exposed, but not the ones we had come to expect. There are metaphysical and spiritual questions to be answered, but only to the depth that will engender a good laugh. Love is in air, but it requires letting go of a life of self-importance that has fueled Stanley's sense of self-confidence.

Recognizing that this is a comedy, a farce, gives one the freedom to enjoy the laughs for what they are. Nevertheless, it is an interesting insight into human behavior to see how often people will reject traditional Judeo-Christian religious beliefs that have had 2,000 years of teaching and testimony, and then accept without question someone's mysterious interpretation of mystical and magical tricks. A Ouija board or tarot cards chosen at random are a simplistic substitute for centuries of sacrifice, prophetic insight, and stories of grace and love lived out in the lives of transformed people.


» The maturation of wisdom moves from magic to law to faith. How have you experienced the difference between magical thinking, the laws of science and transcendent faith?

» Why do you think humans have a fascination with magic even when the individual explains it is all illusion? What is it within us that seeks for the miraculous?

» Love has the ability to find us in our deepest places. How has that been true for you?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Anacapa’s Grape Stomp Scholarship Fundraiser to Honor Ex-Board Member Barney Berglund

By | Published on 08/26/2014


On Oct. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m., Anacapa School and Fess Parker Winery will host the school’s third annual Grape Stomp scholarship fundraiser at Fess Parker Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley.

This year the event will benefit the school’s scholarship program created in memory of former Anacapa board member Barney Berglund.

The Grape Stomp is an event for the whole family. Attendees can participate in a real, live, roll-up-your-pant-legs, barefoot grape stomp! Guests will also enjoy Fess Parker wines, a Santa Maria-style barbecue and live music by The Lowdown Dudes.

Santa Barbara's own legendary John Palminteri will be the master of ceremonies for the day, which will include a drawing of fabulous prizes such as a stay at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, a charter jet flight, spa packages and more.

“Barney and his family were always very supportive of our program,” said Gordon Sichi, the school's founding headmaster. “When we launched our first endowment campaign in 2003, the Berglunds hosted a festive kickoff party and made a generous leadership donation. Over the years that he served on Anacapa’s Board of Trustees, Barney devoted his time and expertise to guiding the school and providing wise counsel, so it seems fitting now to honor him with this special event.”

Grape Stomp tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Adult tickets are $65 online in advance and $75 at the door. Designated drivers and guests ages 6 to 20 are $35, and children through age 5 are free.

Thanks to the generosity of Grape Stomp sponsors Eli Parker and Fess Parker Winery, Alta Orthopaedics, Sol Wave Water and Bill Terry Insurance, ticket sales this year will benefit the Barney Berglund Scholarship Fund at Anacapa School.

The Barney Berglund Scholarship Fund is intended to offer the Anacapa School experience to students of merit, who would not otherwise be able to attend the school due to financial considerations. Ideal candidates for this scholarship will have excellent grades and conduct, solid standardized test scores, good school attendance, and the strong recommendation of their teachers. Contact Anacapa School for more information on the Barney Berglund Scholarship.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC-accredited, college preparatory day school for junior high and high school students in grades 7 through 12. Founded in 1981 by headmaster Gordon Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.


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Ron Fink: Lompoc vs. Santa Barbara — What Do Pipes and Pumps Have to Do with Economic Development?

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Sometimes staff reports that are presented to the City Council can be laced with minutia that baffles the ordinary person. A few weeks ago, just such a report was presented to the Lompoc City Council by the city’s utility director.

Councilman Dirk Starbuck had requested prior to the meeting that it be pulled from the Consent Calendar so the council could discuss it. If he hadn’t done that, a very important discussion of how the city’s water and wastewater systems work and just what they mean to the future of the community never would have happened.

Allegations had previously been made by one utility commissioner that the water plant wasn’t being run efficiently, which prompted a study of how both the water and wastewater plants were being operated. The study included information developed by the city’s finance and the utility departments, and their data was sent to the American Water Works Association for evaluation.

The translation of this wonky report into language anyone could understand produced an interesting set of facts and conclusions that added some zip to an otherwise difficult-to-read document.

The overall efficiency of any production facility is measured by comparing the cost of production to the revenue generated. The contributing factors to the overall efficiency ratings include the cost of materials, equipment and employee costs for each unit of water sold and wastewater processed.

So, why did this utility commissioner think the plant is inefficient?

One factor that contributes to lower efficiency is California’s unfunded environmental mandates to reduce water consumption by 20 percent. Lompoc currently exceeds this standard; water plants are designed to accommodate 150 gallons of water a day per person, and Lompoc citizens only use 110 gallons during peak summer months and less than a 100 gallons per person in the off season.

This reduced consumption has resulted in several recent rate increases for existing customers who are now realizing what saving the environment costs. And, if you don’t sell what you are capable of producing, then your efficiency suffers.

Councilman Starbuck questioned why water and wastewater rates had such a dramatic increase, or as he put it, had “gone through the roof.” The utilities director responded that prior councils had not raised rates at the appropriate time to support construction of new facilities or to repair old ones.

The current council, wanting to keep rates low, hasn’t created a rainy day fund to replace the aging infrastructure. A recent example of what happens to old pipes occurred when a major water line broke and the city had to pay several hundred thousand dollars to replace not only the water line but also a building and its damaged contents at a flooring business on North I Street.

So, rate increases are to support future needs — some of which are hard to predict because there are always new regulations being sent down from on high — and, old pipes and pumps do break. Another more serious factor concerning rate increases is that sales are reduced due to conservation efforts while operating costs remain the same.

Meanwhile in Santa Barbara, community leaders don’t seem real concerned about the efficiency of their water delivery systems.

In the late 1990s, they completed and then dismantled a $30 million desalinization plant. There had been several years of dry weather, then after the plant was completed it rained for a few years, they signed up for state water and they thought the problem was solved. So, they sold the plant for pennies on the dollar and lost millions of ratepayer dollars.

Producing water using desalinization plants is probably the most inefficient way there is to make water. These plants consume large quantities of electric power, the filtration system requires expensive maintenance and they create large amounts of briny industrial wastewater.

So instead of planning for growth based on the available water supply, Santa Barbara has instead overbuilt and now must rely on a very expensive system to produce water — one it is paying for twice.

As the city administrator pointed out, Lompoc is in a better position to support growth than other communities, like Santa Barbara, that may have to spend millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements to accommodate it. This capacity has also led to improved fire protection ratings, which translate into lower fire insurance rates.

The takeaway from what could have been a boring and tedious discussion was that our water and wastewater plants are being operated at the greatest efficiency considering the design capacity and conservation requirements. Our aquifer, pipes and pumps can accommodate all of the potential growth that is envisioned in the 2030 General Plan without any new equipment, a situation that isn’t equaled in many communities.

I am glad I chose to live in Lompoc because our community leaders planned for a community to grow and don’t have to rely on expensive new water systems to support the future.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at The opinions expressed are his own.


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Big Waves Expected on Santa Barbara Beaches in Wake of Hurricane Marie

By | Published on 08/26/2014


A high surf advisory is in effect through Friday

Santa Barbara County's coastal areas could see some big waves as a result of Hurricane Marie, which is now moving through the eastern Pacific Ocean off of Mexico's Baja California coast.

That hurricane has been downgraded to a category two storm as of Tuesday morning, and is expected to continue tracking northwest but weaken as it moves.

In the meantime, surf of 6-to-10 feet will be likely in southeastern Santa Barbara County from Santa Barbara to Rincon Point, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's going to start building this afternoon and should peak tonight," said Stuart Seto, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"As far as coming up from the south, it's been several years since we've had anything like this," he said, adding that the last hurricane to bring waves of this size occurred in 1997.

A high surf advisory is in effect for the area from 4 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Friday, and forecasters expect damaging surf with very strong rip currents and significant erosion of south-and-southeast-facing beaches.

Those hoping for rain from the hurricane's wake are likely to be disappointed.

Forecasters were hoping for some moisture from the storm, especially in Northern California, but "there's a high pressure system shooting in-between us and the storm and will keep all moisture away from us," Seto said.

Areas likely to see the biggest waves are beaches of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, with the biggest surf peaking Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday.

In those locations, there is the potential for the highest surf seen in recent years with maximum wave sets of 10 to 15 feet.

The National Weather Service listed the highest-risk areas for high surf as Palos Verdes Peninsula including Long Beach, Cabrillo Beach, and Point Fermin, Malibu and Zuma Beaches. Port Hueneme, Point Mugu, Oxnard Shores, and County Line are also at risk.

The service warned that the high surf could result in very strong and dangerous rip currents and minor coastal flooding across low-lying areas.

"The eastern portion of the Santa Barbara South Coast may also see unusually large surf and strong rip currents during this event," the forecast said.

People are urged to stay away from rocks and jetties during the advisory period and swimmers and inexperienced surfers are also advised against entering the water, the service 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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Tom Donohue: If Labor Law Isn’t Broken, Don’t ‘Fix’ It

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Leave it to the National Labor Relations Board to “fix” what’s not broken. There are clear indicators that the NLRB intends to overturn its long-standing “joint employer” standard — a move that could redefine what it means to be an employer and unleash a flood of complications for America’s job creators.

Under the current standard, a worker is usually employed by the company who hired him or her. For example, a food service employee who works at a franchise location works for the franchise owner — not the brand name itself. A contract worker who performs cleaning services at an office building works for the janitorial company under contract — not the building owner.

In some cases, two parties working together are considered “joint employers” if they both have direct control over the employees. A factory owner and a vendor that provides workers might be considered joint employers if the owner disciplines workers and sets the schedule but the vendor signs the paychecks.

This clear-cut standard has been working well for 30 years. It’s given businesses increased flexibility and competitiveness, while creating employment opportunities for millions of Americans.

But two major cases before the NLRB suggest the agency could overturn the standard. In one, the NLRB could hold McDonald’s USA liable for the employment decisions of individually owned and operated restaurants — a case that could redefine the relationship between franchisors and franchisees. And in the case of Browning Ferris, the NLRB could rule to significantly loosen the standard for joint employer status between contractors and subcontractors.

This potential change under the National Labor Relations Act would allow unions to characterize large, well-known businesses as the “employer” of targeted groups of workers who are employed by smaller companies. This would enable and encourage labor groups to launch very public organizing campaigns in hopes that the larger employer would bend to public pressure and recognize the union. Larger companies could also be forced to engage in collective bargaining if the smaller “joint employer” is organized.

Upending the joint employer standard could also set an alarming precedent under other employment laws. For example, a company could be held liable for violations committed by its subcontractor, vendor or franchisee. This could bring major paydays for plaintiffs’ lawyers. Given that damages can be tied to the number of employees a company has, it could be much more profitable to sue a major corporation than a small business.

Changing this long-standing, well-working standard would not be for the benefit of job creators, workers or our economy — it would be for advancement of big labor’s agenda and the enrichment of the plaintiffs’ bar.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Boy Scout Leads Campus Improvement Project at Marian Extended Care Center

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Marian Regional Medical Center, which along with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center are Dignity Health’s Central Coast hospitals, is pleased to announce the completion of a campus improvement project at Marian Extended Care Center led by a local Boy Scout to earn his Eagle Scout ranking.

Andre Pincot, 15, of Boy Scout Troop 86 from Orcutt, planned and carried out the outdoors improvement project at Marian Extended Care Center to provide patients, visitors and employees a peaceful place to relax in a natural environment, as well as to earn his Eagle Scout rank, which is the highest ranking in Boy Scouting.

Pincot started the MECC beautification project last summer, and the plants that highlight the landscaping have since grown into more mature vegetation.

Pincot sought community support to provide both funding and to help with the planning and labor of the campus improvement project.

Boy Scouts from Pincot’s troop, Scout leaders and other volunteers put in hundreds of hours of work to bring Pincot’s idea to fruition.

Boy Scout Andre Pincot, front center, is joined on the Marian Extended Care Center grounds by, front row from left, his mother, Lauren Pincot, and her mother, Georganne Ferini; middle row from left: MRMC Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy Stephanie Grogan, Lauren’s father, Milo Ferini, Lauren’s husband and Andre’s father, Alain Pincot, MECC Senior Director Debra Mockler-Young and MRMC Foundation Board of Directors chairman Al Schultz Jr., M.D., himself an Eagle Scout. In the back row from left are MRMC President/CEO Chuck Cova and Greg Beebe, foundation board member and a mentor for the project. (Marian Extended Care Center photo)

Pincot and the volunteers put in eight custom planter boxes at MECC, provided three new benches, refinished three existing benches, landscaped existing patio plant boxes, planted various shrubs and flowers in the garden, and installed a garden statue of Jesus Christ and one of Saint Francis. Dozens of local individuals and businesses donated money to the project, resulting in nearly $9,000 in contributions.

Pincot is pleased with the result of his project.

“I wanted to do a service for all patients and residents here, because people spend a lot of time at this facility and I thought a garden area would be really nice for them. If they just want to be outside, they can be in a relaxing environment,” he explains. “I really hope they enjoy this.”

Stephanie Grogan, vice president of philanthropy at MRMC, says Pincot’s kindness in beautifying the MECC campus is much appreciated.

“The patio enhancements are a simple, yet meaningful pleasure for residents who are at the facility long-term and for patients who require care for many months,” Grogan said. “Andre’s project that so many generously contributed to is making a difference in providing a beautiful healing environment for their recuperation and relaxation.”

— Samantha Scroggin is a marketing specialist for Dignity Health.


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Peace Day Santa Barbara to Be Celebrated Sept. 21 at SBCC

By | Published on 08/26/2014


In coordination with the International Day of Peace, Peace Day Santa Barbara will be celebrated from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 at Santa Barbara City College (Business Communications Forum West Campus).

Doors will open at 4 p.m.

The event will feature a proclamation from Mayor Helene Schneider, a film titled Peacemakers: Jeremy Gilley in Conversation with Prem Rawat, A Year Without War 2020: “We Are Your Children,” guest speaker Gail Soffer (Operation Mindful Warrior), and music by Becca Solodon and Jeanne Cikay.

The event is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Resource Group.

— Allen Feld represents Peace Day Santa Barbara.


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Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Hosting ‘American Pride’ Trade Show

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Join the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 11 for a trade show event at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Showcase your products and services, and meet business owners to build your business and network with your community.

This year's event lands on Sept. 11, and the theme is "American Pride." Represent a historical event, figure, American hero, branch of the military or anything else that you embodies American Pride for you.

Spaces are first-come, first-served, and they go fast, so please register today.

Exhibitors have a choice of booth location in the Park Plaza Building, Convention Center Building or outdoor booth between the buildings. Please specify your preference with your reservation. Booths are 10 feet by 10 feet. Indoor booths come with pipe and drape. All booths come with skirted 8-foot table, two chairs and access to electricity.

There is a business-to-business hour for exhibitors and their guests from 3 to 4:30 p.m., and the event is open to the public from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Admission is free with a business card or $2 without.

For additional information, please contact Marcy at 805.925.2403 x816 or


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Cinema in Focus Announces 10 New Resources, Changes to Website

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Back in 2001, we started our Cinema in Focus website to house and reference the hundreds of movie reviews that we had written and published since December 1994. We didn’t quite realize it at the time, but by creating this website — something we saw as perhaps secondary to what was being run in the newspapers in which we were published — we began to understand that we had created a great opportunity and resource for people around the world.

We thought we were creating a warehouse. The truth is, through our commentaries and our website, we ended up creating a model to be copied and a conversation to be continued around many different tables. We were contacted by television news agencies wishing to run segments. We were sought out by foreign nationals who asked if they could start their own “Cinema In Focus” for a dialogue about ethics and values portrayed in entertainment.

We participated in very engaging conversations with book publishers, movie directors, producers and actors — many of whom desired the same thing: to portray and talk about something substantial and worthwhile, something meaningful about the human experience or the divine.

As the social media revolution was born and grew, so did the need to expand our channels of reach. We started a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, an Instagram channel; all of these were in addition to our email newsletter.

It’s been 12 years since the start of and hundreds of movie reviews later, many fantastic new web tools have been developed. We have updated our website to take advantage of these fantastic resources  Below are just a few of our recent changes. We hope you enjoy the new website as much as we do!


You can now scroll through our most recently reviewed movies right from the front page.

From the moment you load our new website, you can see our five most recent commentaries. By clicking on the “back and forward” arrows that are located at the top right of this area, you can see our 20 most recent movie reviews.


The website is specially formatted for when you are browsing from your mobile phone.

When browsing on-the-go, automatically formats to a mobile-friendly format. This gives a more stylus- or finger-friendly interface, and creates less of a need for pinching and zooming during navigation.


We have overhauled and brought to the forefront our CIF award winners!

Each year, Cinema In Focus looks back through the reviews of the last 365 days and makes special note of movies that have been the most significant from the vantage points of inspiration, community values, redemption, uplifting narrative, personal growth, sacrifice, hope, healing and faith. In previous formats of this website, these easily got lost in the shuffle. We felt it was time that these select movies got the special treatment they deserve. They can now all be found in a special location on the front page of


One of our most requested features was the ability for visitors to locate all movie reviews of a certain star rating — now you can do this!

Where can I find all of your 4-Star scored movies? What are your favorites? How can I find what your lowest-ranked movies are? For the last several years, we have featured the ability to access our “Best Rated” movies. Now, we have provided the option to locate collections of our 3-Star movies, 2-Star movies, 1-Star movies and incrementally rated movies (rare). This can be found on our front page, but also on any movie review page.


“And the Academy Award goes to ...” — We have collected all of our Oscar-winning movie reviews in one place.

Regardless of whether it was an individual actor or the actual film that took the Academy Award, we decided to give these films and reviews a special place. We believe that Oscar-conferred movies, by their very nature of being award-winners, create viewership and are worth discussing and analyzing for their message and expressed values.


You can locate movies by their MPAA rating.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) represents the major Hollywood studios and administers the movie-rating system that we are accustomed to seeing (G-rated movies, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17). Sometimes we have readers who would like to see our reviews related to children’s movies. Perhaps they are the parent of a younger child, an older child or a young teen and want to know what values are portrayed in a movie designated for their child’s age. The movie ratings system attempts (not always perfectly) to give a broad and simple guide as to the content of a movie. We saw a huge benefit by implementing the ability to locate reviews by their MPAA designation.


Like Sci-Fi? Westerns? Comedies? Now you can find reviews based on their genre.

Are you a fan of Fantasy, War flicks, Dramas? Are you a westerns fanatic or looking for an action movie? If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you’re in luck! We dug deep into our archives and decided it would be worth installing the ability to find whole groups of movie reviews by their film category. It can all be done right from the front page: simply scroll down to the bottom of the homepage and we have provided links to some specifically earmarked movie reviews.

Don’t see what you want? We’ve even provided the option to see all of our category tags.


Still catching up on last year’s movies? No problem! You can use to see our movie reviews of films released within a given year.

Let’s say you are reading the review for The Railway Man. It’s still in Redbox. It looks interesting. And you say to yourself, “What else might be good to watch from last year? Or maybe the year before?” We’ve got you covered! At the bottom of each review, you will find a year tag. (In this example, it looks like “#2013.”) By clicking this tag, you can see every review for that year.

Expert Tip: Want to see a different year? Do the step above and then go to the address bar of your browser and change the year (in this case, “2013”) to a different year. If we’ve reviewed that year, you’ll get our complete list. If we haven’t reviewed it, you’ll just get an error page suggesting that you’re a little lost ...


Find all “Powerful” movies. Search for all “Demeaning”-rated reviews. Now has the resources to tease out reviews of a specific Value Rating.

You just watched 12 Years a Slave and read our review. You’re now in the mood and looking for other movies that we have reviewed as “Powerful.” Or, to take an opposite example, you just watched The Ugly Truth and agree with our review designating that it was “Demeaning” and would like to not see similar movies. You’re in luck! Our library has the ability to find a film review by the value descriptor with which we rated it.

Expert Tip: This tip works like the tip above (No. 8: searching by movie year). Simply go to the bottom of the review that you are reading, click on the value tag (in these examples, it would look like “#Powerful” or “#Demeaning”) and a complete list from our database will compile. The same “Expert Tip” listed above (No. 8) will work for finding value-descriptors, too.


Easter eggs!

What website would be complete without a couple of hidden features or humorous quirks? We’re not suggesting that if you press your up and down arrows in a certain pattern that you’ll find something, but we would be remiss if we failed to mention that this list of 10 changes is not comprehensive! We’ve even hinted at one Easter egg on this page ...

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Openings Available for CHP ‘Start Smart’ Driving Class in Santa Maria

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The Santa Maria office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart classes scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their sons or daughters (ages 15 to 20) for this free one-time, two-hour class can make reservations by calling the Santa Maria CHP area office at 805.349.8728.

The class will be held at the California Highway Patrol office at 1710 N. Carlotti Drive in Santa Maria.

Start Smart addresses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers in a way no other program does. Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians.

Some of the topics of this class include collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities, local collision trends and a viewing of Red Asphalt V. This 15-minute film emphasizes the necessity to drive responsibly and the consequences drivers face when they don’t.

For reservations, information or questions please contact the Santa Maria CHP office at 805.349.8728.

— Officer Craig Carrier represents the California Highway Patrol.


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CrossFit Pacific Coast ‘Strength to Give’ Event to Benefit Nick Johnson Memorial Fund

By | Published on 08/26/2014


When Traver Boehm and Eric Malzone started CrossFit Pacific Coast, they made giving back to the community one of the core tenets of their business. Over the last five years, CrossFit Pacific Coast and its members have raised thousands of dollars for local charities, including over $13,000 at last year's first Strength to Give event benefiting CALM.

This year, CrossFit Pacific Coast is pouring that energy into a nonprofit that hits a little closer to home. Proceeds from this year's Strength to Give event will benefit the memorial fund of Nick Johnson, a UCSB water polo player and CrossFit Pacific Coast member who passed away tragically earlier this year.

The second annual Strength to Give will be held Sept. 13 at CrossFit Pacific Coast and at other Crossfit gyms throughout California. Participants will complete a specially designed workout of the day that includes elements of weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio. All exercises can be scaled based on any level of fitness, and no CrossFit experience is necessary.

The workout will begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a barbecue and raffle with prizes donated by local sponsors. Participants can get involved by signing up to compete in the workout ($30 signup fee with t-shirt), sponsoring an athlete, or simply by donating at the website by clicking here. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Nick Johnson Memorial Fund.

“Strength to Give is our opportunity to give back to a community that has embraced us and our business,” Boehm said. “This year will be particularly special as we remember Nick Johnson, a CrossFit Pacific Coast member whose family is still extremely near and dear to us.”

— Mike McElhaney is a publicist representing CrossFit Pacific Coast.


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Central Coast Literacy Council Opens Learning Center at Evans Park in Santa Maria

By | Published on 08/26/2014


The Central Coast Literacy Council continues to strengthen a long-standing collaboration with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara County. In a combined enrollment effort by both entities, the momentum is high at the Evans Park housing development, 200 W. Williams St. in Santa Maria.

The literacy center will open to its residents and the community at large on Tuesday, and learners are encouraged to attend during open enrollment until Sept. 9.

According to Director Laura Arteaga Davidson, the Evans community-based learning center will be a great addition as learners will have the opportunity to focus on English as a second language in a classroom setting. In addition, the learners will be able to take advantage of a new state-of-the-art computer lab donated by Greka, which offers a computer-based program to assist them with language comprehension and pronunciation.

CCLC has been using the software as a supplement to classroom instruction.

Davidson states that CCLC’s main focus for over 30 years has been to provide the human interaction component first. She believes the computer interface is also key in reinforcing the language learning.

“The enrollment is already at record high," she said, "and thanks to the generosity of our volunteer tutors, we have equipped the center with three tutors.”

Last year, CCLC volunteers provided more than 7,000 hours of free English classes in Santa Maria, Orcutt, Lompoc, Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Solvang.

— Laura Arteaga Davidson is director of the Central Coast Literacy Council.


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Santa Barbara Studio Artists Open Their Doors to Visitors for Annual Tour

By | Published on 08/26/2014


Santa Barbara Studio Artists celebrated their 13th annual Open Studios Tour with an opening reception at the Corridan Gallery.

The Santa Barbara Studio Artists, a local nonprofit dedicated to raising the profile of Santa Barbara as a destination for the arts, presents this unique annual "self-guided driving tour" including locations in Montecito, Santa Barbara, Goleta and north through Santa Barbara’s wine country to Buellton.

The Santa Barbara Studio Artists Open Studios Tour features a treasure trove of world-class original visual art and access to Santa Barbara’s leading artists’ private studios. The two-day event steers visitors to artists’ studios through the stunning back roads, charming neighborhoods and estates of one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the world.

Tour guests discovered an award-winning wonderland of landscape, contemporary, and figurative painting, as well as sculpture and assemblage.

In 2013, the organization also launched a Year-Round Visits program. Subject to the availability of the artist, some artist members are opening their studios, at very short notice, to individuals and groups who may wish for a private visit. For more information, click here.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Studio Artists.


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Company Fined After Ag Commissioner Confirms Bird Poisoning at Fess Parker Resort

By | Published on 08/25/2014


A pesticide used in bird feeders at Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort could have poisoned or killed an unknown number of birds, causing the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner to fine a local pest-control company.

An investigation was launched earlier this year after locals walking their dog past the East Cabrillo Boulevard hotel contacted Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center.

They reported seeing Hydrex Pest Control employees place poison in bird feeders in six areas around the outdoor dining and plaza area, said Brian Trautwein, EDC’s environmental analyst and watershed program coordinator.

After complaints were filed by the EDC and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the agricultural commissioner investigated the matter, and this month handed down a fine to Hydrex for illegally using a bird poison known as Avitrol to control pigeons and sparrows near the hotel’s rotunda.

Up to 21 protected bird species might have been poisoned, according to the report.

The violation alleges Hydrex did not follow directions on the Avitrol labels, which state that “a certified applicator must ensure children, pests and non-target species do not come in contact with the blend during the entire application period.”

Hydrex Pest Control will fight the violation and accompanying fine, the amount of which the company would not disclose, according to Santa Barbara branch manager Joe DiPoalo.

“Fess Parker was having a problem with sparrows getting into their kitchen area and dining area,” DiPoalo said.

He said the bird problem persisted for a number of years, even before bird feeders were added within the past year. After nets and a sticky product put on chandeliers failed to deter birds, Hydrex tried Avitrol — a product he said the company hasn’t used much and won’t use again locally.

“It’s not necessarily supposed to kill the birds,” DiPoalo said. “It’s not a poison unless they eat too much of it. Obviously, it’s hard to monitor that. It wasn’t like we killed a bunch of birds. This was a bad situation that didn’t work out very well.”

He said a Hydrex technician did monitor the pesticide, and noted no fatalities have been reported related to Avitrol use.

When the ag commissioner asked Hydrex to stop using the poison in June, it did, DiPoalo said. Employees removed all bird feeders and cleaned up affected areas.

Fess Parker hotel general manager Matthew La Vine said he wasn’t aware of any poisoning of birds at the hotel, and confirmed the feeders were no longer there.

“If I knew we were poisoning birds, we would’ve stopped this awhile ago,” La Vine said.

The agricultural commissioner found Avitrol in tested birdseed samples, but the report says the number of affected birds is unknown.

“Nobody will ever know,”  Trautwein said. “We’re hoping that by highlighting this concern, these sorts of practices will be halted.”

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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Central Coast Business Community Collaborates Through 805connect Network

By | Published on 08/25/2014


Online directory links entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties

A local financial planner needs help creating a website. A startup is trying to craft a brand or slogan to smartly market its business.

Different problems, but both could find community-based solutions through 805connect, a free online networking platform touting itself as the “official business directory for the 805 region.”

Think of the site as a LinkedIn for locals, designed to showcase all kinds of businesses along the Highway 101 corridor from Paso Robles to the Simi Valley.

The venture highlights entrepreneurial happenings in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties in the name of lasting economic vitality.

805connect launched in April as a public and private effort under the direction of Mark Sylvester, a Santa Barbara entrepreneur who in 2003 founded introNetworks, the software company creating and running the networking platform.

So far, 750 users have signed up for the service.

Individuals, businesses and service groups can create accounts, with each searchable profile outlining skills, what resources or services they can render and eventual aspirations. Users can message through the platform or add to a forum discussion.

“It’s just been organically growing,” Sylvester told Noozhawk. “I want to make a difference. The diversity of interest is phenomenally interesting.”

Sylvester said the idea for 805connect came out of meetings of local business owners, education advocates, government officials, nonprofits and other stakeholders wanting to retain and grow area business.

Local business owner Mark Sylvester has taken the lead creating and promoting 805connect. (805connect photo)

The Santa Barbara Foundation even provided some seed money to get something started.

As someone who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara more than 40 years, Sylvester knows challenges facing business, with the high cost of living at the top.

Sylvester’s background in visualization — he helped found the since-sold graphics company Wavefront Technologies — has shaped the interactive nature of the site.

Local business leaders are still spreading word of 805connect, which will be a priority for the new county-funded Economic Vitality Team of Santa Barbara County, according to Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce President Ken Oplinger.

Because of the nature of some businesses, he said, people don’t always understand what they do or how they could help fellow entrepreneurs, especially in the technology sector.

“I think what Mark’s come up with is a great way to try and provide connections within the Tri-County region,” Oplinger said. “We really do feel like there’s potential for this to be a real benefit for business in the region.”

Other communities across the country have also encouragingly reached out, Sylvester said, calling 805connect a model for collaborative economic development.

The technology powering 805connect has also been used to connect attendees of TEDx conference events, hosted at a local level in communities.

In order for the network to work — and become sustainable, one day down the line — Sylvester said entrepreneurs of all ages must lead the fun, inclusive effort.

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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