Santa Barbara-Goleta, Wednesday, May 06, 2015

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Closures Scheduled for Painting of Santa Barbara’s Ortega Parking Garage

By | Published on 05/06/2015

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The Santa Barbara Public Works Department’s Downtown Parking Program has hired a contractor to clean and paint the interior of City Lot 10 (Ortega Garage), located at 621 Anacapa St., to enhance the overall appearance, attractiveness and cleanliness of the Lot 10 parking structure.

During this project, there will be a full closure, partial closures and potential delays while entering and exiting Lot 10. The project schedule is as follows:

» Expected start date: Monday, May 11

» Expected end Date: Friday, June 12.

» Nightly closures (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.): Monday, May 11 through Thursday, May 14

» Full closure: Monday, May 18 through Friday, May 22. The Lot 10 parking structure will be fully open for public parking during Memorial Day weekend, and construction will resume on Tuesday, May 26.

» Limited parking available: Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, June 12

Additional public parking is available in City Lot 2 (914 Chapala St.), City Lot 9 (921 Anacapa St.), City Lot 11 (523 Anacapa St.), City Lot 12 (11 W. Gutierrez St.), and the public parking garage located in the Paseo Nuevo mall.

Click here to view the Downtown Parking Map with all public parking locations in the downtown core.

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SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of New Venture Challenge

By | Published on 05/06/2015

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Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation announced student winners of the fifth annual New Venture Challenge pitch competition held Friday, May 1 at the Fé Bland Forum on SBCC’s West Campus.

The $5,000 collegiate grand prize went to SBCC student John Harmon, for his eco-friendly non-toxic beach tar remover. He formulated his winning product, Oil Slick, after tiring of removing tar from his feet with harsh chemicals after surfing. He launched Oil Slick in the Scheinfeld Center's popular Enterprise Launch program last fall and currently sells his product online and in six stores.

Students in the Enterprise Launch program develop a product or service in a single semester, and the program consistently produces winners of the New Venture Challenge. Last year’s winner, Doni Nahmias, has gone on to launch his own clothing line, Fortune Designs, which he currently sells in six local stores after only one year in development. Nahmias was also a finalist in this year’s New Venture Challenge.

The second-place collegiate award ($3,000) went to the SBCC team of Spencer Shulem and Lincoln Liechti. Their winning product, Onus Retail, is a software application designed for small retail business managers that combines employee communication functionality with a task management system to ultimately increase employee productivity. The mission of their business, Onus Technologies, is to create simple products that make people productive.

The third-place collegiate award ($2,000) went to SBCC student Dan Stroud for his collapsible diving fins. Stroud's business, Wyvern, creates and sells innovative high-quality diving equipment.

In a standing-room-only event, the presenters were polished and ready.

“The hard work, dedication, and innovation of these students were apparent by their high-quality pitches and the diversity of concepts presented. Even more, by advancing their business concepts, these students have gained critical entrepreneurial skills needed for success in our rapidly changing business environment. All presenters have good reason to celebrate their accomplishments," said Julie Samson, Scheinfeld Center director.

The collegiate judges were a formidable team including Lynda Weinman (lynda.com), Kathy Odell (NutraHealth Partners) and Susan Block (business merger and acquisition consultant).

At the high school level, first place went to Santa Barbara High School student Mackenzie Fell presenting Fell Design, a student-run graphic design, marketing and social media management business; second place went to Lompoc High School student Sarahy Guzman for SGC Gluten-Free Bakery; and third went to Lompoc High School student Kadie Pulliam for The Blue Puzzle Project, which designs and sells T-shirts with unique designs to spread awareness and raise funds for special needs education and assistance related to autism. Honorable Mention went to the Finding Common Ground team from Santa Barbara High School (Madalyn Mender, Julia Danalevich, Victor Valdadez and Elizabeth Ramirez) for their international social enterprise venture.

The high school panel of judges brought extensive industry experience with startup ventures: Michael Holliday (Synergy Business & Technology Center), Dan Colbert (Colbert Venture Consulting) and David Goldmuntz (business equity and finance expert).

The winners receive their awards at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on May 8 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. The awards banquet serves as a fundraiser for next year’s awards, and the attendance of the student winners and their guests are generously sponsored by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered pitch competition honoring the business concepts of local college and high school students. $15,000 in cash awards for the collegiate winners is generously supported by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation and Montecito Bank & Trust. The Bank of Santa Barbara has sponsored a $25,000 rolling scholarship fund for the high school winners.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is also co-sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara County Small Business Development Center, a public service offering no-cost one-on-one counseling and coaching to small business owners, and the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board.

For more information, please visit the Scheinfeld Center website by clicking here.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Relay for Life Team Serving Up Benefit Event at Los Arroyos Restaurant in Montecito

By | Published on 05/06/2015

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Celebrity dads will serve you at the second annual Relay for Life benefit at the Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant in Montecito, with 20 percent of proceeds and all tips donated to the American Cancer Society.

The event, hosted by Barbara Reed and the Relay for Life team, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 at 1280 Coast Village Road in Montecito.

Other participants include Tony Arroyo, Dan O'Keefe, Otto Laula, Chrisley Reed and Marcus Kettle.

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Author Michael Cervin Delves Into Current Water Crisis in ‘Our World of Water’

By | Published on 05/06/2015

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The only book about all aspects of water geared for a consumer audience, Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource, discusses water from a historical context to its spiritual element, to the present water crisis and looks to our collective future and the inherent value of water, in spite of it being taken for granted.

Our World of Water
The cover of Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource by Michael Cervin.

Beginning with the essential nutrients that water gives us to keep our bodies healthy, author Michael Cervin walks us through the good that comes from pure water — the minerals and trace elements that keep our bodies running smoothly, to the bad — toxic contamination including specific detailed accounts of Hinkley, Calif. (made famous in the film Erin Brockovich) to North Carolina’s military base disaster, Camp Lejeune.

Along the way Cervin discusses:

» The state of municipal water systems

» Behind the scenes look into the world’s oldest water competition

» Water privatization

» The 411 on fluoride

Plus state-on-state lawsuits, water as a spiritual element, and even some of history’s most destructive water impacts including the little known St. Francis Dam catastrophe, one of the worst civil engineering failures in American history.

Lastly, Our World of Water provides practical information about water conservation; simple steps anyone can do to make our world of water better.

Filled with Cervin’s reporting on water over the last decade, Our World of Water is a call to respect and defend our water — to appreciate its awesome power while recognizing its fundamental importance.

Cervin has been the senior editor of BottledWaterWeb for a decade, water judge at the longest running water competition in the world; his TV appearances include Fox News Health and Oasis TV. His water articles have appeared on FoxNews, Santa Barbara News-Press, The Tasting Panel, Draft, Food & Beverage World, The Pacific Coast Business Times, Goldenseal, Vision Magazine, Offbeat Travel, The Big Blend, Exploracation, and the Ventura County Reporter. He has been quoted as a water authority in various media including FoxNews, FoxNewsHealth, Water Quality Products Magazine, Nature Connection Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine, Big Blend Radio, the Herald Mail, OpEd News.com, The Daily Meal and others.

As a dedicated water professional, Cervin has committed that 10 percent of every sale of every book, every time will be distributed to water charities across the globe.

Our World of Water: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource is available at Amazon.com, Infinity Publishing and select stores, including The Museum of Berkeley Springs in West Virginia, and Tecolote Books and Healing Circle Natural Health, both in California.

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Attorneys Deliver Closing Arguments in Trial of Man Who Shot His Parents in Orcutt

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Prosecutor says Brian Keith Reid should be found guilty of murder; the defense attorney argues for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter

Closing arguments are expected to wrap up Wednesday in the trial of a man who fatally shot his father and wounded his mother at an Orcutt park, with attorneys disagreeing whether jurors should find the defendant guilty of murder or a lesser charge.

Attorneys began delivering their closing arguments Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, winding down the trial of Brian Keith Reid, 42, before Judge Rogelio Flores. 

Reid is charged with killing his father, William Forrest Reid, 73, and wounding his mother, Pamela Reid, then 66, during a Labor Day barbecue at Orcutt Community Park in 2012.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy accused Brian Reid of conducting “vigilante justice” to execute his father, who had admitted inappropriately touching the defendant’s three daughters.

“He decided to be judge, jury, executioner of his father for acts that happened back in 2005,” Duffy said.

Duffy urged the jurors to find Reid guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder for willful, deliberate premeditation in shooting his parents multiple times.

Defense attorney Robert Ikola told jurors that Reid admitted to shooting his parents, but argued the defendant should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

“Brian was driven crazy by what happened,” Ikola said. “He was driven beyond his ability to cope.”

The defense attorney argued that intense emotion provoked Reid to act rashly in shooting his parents.

William Forrest Reid admitted the molestation allegations during a recorded interview with Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies five days before his death.

But the son never saw the video, Duffy said, adding the defendant can’t claim he acted in a heat of passion since the shooting occurred 2,513 days after he learned of the molestation allegations.

The shooting occurred as the trio gathered for a barbecue, where Brian Reid grabbed a .40-caliber Glock from his Jeep, loaded it and began shooting, telling his father, “I’m going to kill you.”

Brian Reid carefully chose an isolated park for the barbecue and retrieved the weapon after making multiple trips to the vehicle, the prosecutor said.

“It’s all very cold and calculated,” Duffy said, claiming the defendant had an intent to kill that day.

The molestation case against William Forrest Reid was moving forward, and Duffy noted the irony is he likely would have handled the prosecution. But Brian Reid’s actions in 2012 mean his father never got to face a jury for the allegations, Duffy said.

“We can’t have a lawless society where you can kill anyone who’s accused of a crime, even if they confess to a crime,” Duffy said. “You can’t kill them. It’s not open hunting season.”

In the months before the shooting, Brian Reid returned from Arizona to Santa Maria and eventually moved back into his parents’ house after losing his job and his marriage.

Duffy questioned how Brian Reid could claim such intense emotion from the molestations yet move into their house.

“What really happened is Brian lost everything that mattered to him,” Ikola said, adding his client had hit “rock bottom.”

In the days before the shooting, the defendant claimed his parents were poisoning him. When he showed up at the hospital after the shooting, nurses and other staff said they thought Brian Reid was a psychiatric patient, Ikola said.

He told the jury that a letter from one of Brian Reid’s daughter spells out how the pressure was affecting him. 

“She said, 'I think my dad is losing it,'" Ikola added. “He ended up killing his dad and shooting his mother because he was crazy.”

The defense attorney urged jurors not to even consider convicting Brian Reid of murder and attempted murder and to instead find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter and attempted voluntary manslaughter.

A conviction of the lesser charges also would prove to Reid’s three daughters that the jury finally believes they were victims of molestation and the effects on their father.

“It’s just. It’s appropriate. Nobody’s getting away with anything …” Ikola said. “He’s going to pay the price anyway. No one’s going to be a winner. But, let those girls win, let them win by accepting their version of what happened to Brian.”

Duffy is scheduled to give his rebuttal closing argument Wednesday morning before the case lands in the jury's hands. The trial began with jury selection in early April.

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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Carpinteria-Summerland Bond to Build New Fire Station Failing in Early Election Results

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Early results show the $10.65 million bond measure to build a new Summerland fire station failing in Tuesday's special mail-only election.

The Santa Barbara County Elections Office had counted 2,875 votes as of Tuesday night and the measure had 54.82 percent in favor, which is short of the two-thirds majority required to pass. 

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District put the Measure Z bond to voters so it could fund a replacement for the Summerland station on Lillie Avenue and major improvements for the main Carpinteria station, making both of the old buildings earthquake-safe.

Initial turnout was 30.97 percent, but County Elections will process all valid ballots that were mailed by Tuesday and are received by the end of Friday, according to Renee Bischof, chief deputy registrar of voters. The final election results will be certified on Monday. 

Tuesday's semi-official election results show 1,576 votes in favor and 1,299 votes against Measure Z. 

"We are deeply disappointed that our community did not take advantage of this incredible opportunity to upgrade and seismically retrofit our firefighters' facilities," said Lisa Guravitz, a former fire district board member and member of the Measure Z SAVES Committee. "It is our hope that with additional education our community can work together with the first responders to try again, as the need will only become more critical. While we did not get the 66 two-thirds percent threshold, we did win a majority of the ballots returned." 

The bond money would be used to replace Station 2 in Summerland, at 2375 Lillie Ave., with a larger, modern station about a block away at 2450 Lillie Ave. That project is expected to cost about $4.8 million, leaving about $5 million for upgrades at the station at 911 Walnut Ave.

The mail-only election applied to all voters within the district boundaries, which are the same as the Carpinteira Unified School District including the City of Carpinteria and unincorporated Santa Barbara County, including the community of Summerland.

Opponents argued that a new station and improvements won’t increase response times or fire protection for the area. The new Summerland station, planned to house eight on-duty firefighters and four apparatus, is larger than necessary, they wrote in ballot arguments.

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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Santa Barbara Council Bans New Groundwater Well Permits, Skips Ban on New Swimming Pools

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday night banned new groundwater well permits, declared a higher-level drought and approved additional drought regulations, putting out the message that the city’s conservation successes need to continue.

Council members approved an ordinance banning new private groundwater well permits for properties served by the city’s water system.There hasn’t been a rush on well permit applications like the one seen in the Montecito Water District, but the council decided to be proactive.

Councilman Dale Francisco dissented, saying he was reluctant to impose regulations if there isn’t an issue — Santa Barbara hasn’t seen a private groundwater well application in several years.

“There’s no rush because we’re not in Stage 4 with really significant watering restrictions, and the best example of where there has been a rush is Montecito, where they did exactly that and had a big rush,” Councilman Gregg Hart said.

The water board in Montecito, which is unincorporated, asked the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to temporarily ban new groundwater wells during the drought but was denied. The number of well permit applications in the county increased almost 300 percent between 2013 and 2014. In 2014, 107 of the 248 permitted new wells were in Montecito.

Council members also declared a Stage 3 drought Tuesday night but decided not to ban new swimming pools or limit commercial auto dealership car washing, two options presented by city staff.

The council instead approved the state-mandated restrictions for water use, including a ban on watering within 48 hours of measurable rainfall (a quarter-inch or more in 24 hours) and not overwatering to the point of causing runoff onto sidewalks and driveways.

Water customers have cut back use by 22 percent based on an average year’s demand and the city is now aiming for 25 percent. A state calculation, based on per-capita use, is expecting Santa Barbara to cut back by 16 percent, water resources manager Joshua Haggmark said.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order wants 25-percent cuts statewide, proof that the city is doing better than most at saving water.

Santa Barbara is expecting no water entitlements from Lake Cachuma next year, an unprecedented situation, and Gibraltar Reservoir is “essentially empty,” city staff said. Even if the seawater-to-potable desalination facility comes online, there will soon be a shortfall in water demand, Haggmark said.

The city purchased water from outside the area this year, but probably won’t be able to again, Haggmark said.

“If this continues, there’s nothing next year to buy — there was nothing really this year to buy,” he said. The recent water purchases were really “renting” the water, since the city has to pay it back in 10 years, he said.

Conservation was encouraged by drought rates adopted in July 2014, and even higher water rates will go into effect this summer. It’s a balance of encouraging conservation and keeping revenues coming in, since 70-80 percent of the city’s water costs are fixed, Haggmark said.

If city residents and businesses cut back by more than 25 percent, the city could have to raise rates again to compensate for the lack of water sales. A 25-percent cut in water sales translates to a $5 million revenue loss, he said.

Since conservation efforts have been so successful, the city only added state-mandated restrictions along with its declaration of a Stage 3 Drought on Tuesday.

City staff had suggested banning new pools and limiting car washing at auto dealerships, but there was pushback from the public and council members so those rules weren’t approved. The pool ban is mostly symbolic since no significant water savings would come from banning new ones, city staff said.

About 14 new pool permits come in per year, water conservation coordinator Madeline Ward said. City rules already require people to cover their pools to cut back on evaporation losses.

Allen Cooper, owner of Pintado Pools, has three pool projects in the city’s review process right now and argued that filling a pool takes less water over time than watering the same square-footage of lawn.

Council members said they’d rather focus on restrictions that significantly impacted water savings, not symbolic cuts. Councilwoman Cathy Murillo dissented, saying she wasn’t sure why the city wasn’t adopting all of the proposed restrictions to cut back on water use.

The city could consider a ban on watering lawns later this year, which Ward said could save about 1,100 acre-feet of water per year, significantly cutting down on the expected shortage in water supplies.

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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Goleta City Council Gives Approval for First Gas Station to Sell Liquor

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Fuel Depot on Fairview Avenue already sells beer and wine but wants a new license classification

For the first time ever, Goleta residents may soon be able to buy liquor at a gas station within the city limits.

The Goleta City Council on Tuesday gave approval to the Fuel Depot at 180 N. Fairview Ave. to sell liquor in addition to beer and wine, voting 3-1 in favor of the gas station and convenience store obtaining the proper liquor license to do so.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr voted no because he worried the decision would set a bad precedent, and Mayor Paula Perotte was absent.

Council members were tasked with determining whether the issuance of a license served public convenience or necessity, and their recommendation will be forwarded to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a final determination.

Along with approval, officials asked that staff bring all future proposed liquor license changes before the council.

Fuel Depot owner John Price is asking the ABC to issue a Type 21 license for off-site consumption at a retail establishment instead of its current Type 20, which allows sale of beer and wine only.

All Goleta gas stations that sell alcohol hold the Type 20 license, and staff said only two gas stations on the South Coast — Fuel Depots on the Mesa and on Carrillo Street, both owned by Price — have the Type 21 license.

There are 19 establishments with Type 20 licenses and 15 with Type 21 licenses in Goleta, for a total of 34 businesses selling alcohol for off-site consumption.

Price said he’s planning on expanding his Fairview Road location, and obtaining the new license was one way to bring in more money.

Councilman Roger Aceves asked whether Price’s Fuel Depots have had problems such as selling to minors, etc.

“In 38 years, we’ve never had tobacco or liquor violations,” Price said, noting an employee-training program and new equipment that soon will let cashiers scan a driver’s license to check its authenticity. “We also have a policy on loitering.”

What type of alcohol someone drinks isn’t the issue, Councilman Michael Bennett said, so much as how responsible that person is while consuming it.

One public speaker questioned whether the council fully examined the heart of the task. He cited ABC materials, which stated an area could limit the number of off-sale licenses issued based on population or on the U.S. Census Tract where the business is located.

Based on Goleta’s population, the ABC determined the number of total licenses was sufficient concentration to support the population — one for every 2,500 people (Type 20) and one for every 1,250 people (Type 20 or 21).

The Census route showed Fuel Depot created an over-concentration of licenses because it’s so close to Albertson’s, CVS, Nikka Japanese Market, Trader Joe’s and Walgreens.

“I don’t see convenience as an issue here,” Farr said.

Bennett countered that liquor licenses are hard to come by, so the city wouldn’t see an influx in these types of requests.

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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Judge Rules Against Defamation Claims of Former Congressional Candidate Chris Mitchum

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The Republican claims incumbent Lois Capps' campaign ads deliberately misled voters about his positions, costing him the election last fall

A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge has ruled against a former congressional candidate who sued Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for defamation.

Former congressional candidate Chris Mitchum announced in February he was suing Capps for defamation, alleging that her campaign ran ads taking his comments out of context, a move he said ultimately cost him the election.

Mitchum, who challenged Capps last fall for the 24th Congressional District seat, lost the race during a close election against the 16-year incumbent.

Judge Donna Geck upheld her ruling Friday, which stated that Mitchum had not demonstrated actual malice.

Capps spokesman Chris Meagher told Noozhawk on Tuesday that the lawsuit had been baseless.

"As the congresswoman has maintained from the beginning, there was no validity to this frivolous lawsuit," he said. "She was pleased to see that the law was applied as it should be."

Josh Lynn, Mitchum's attorney, said that while he respected the court's position, he felt the time was right to have the discussion about truth in political advertising.

"Our goal remains to change the dialogue from this visceral attack between the candidates to something that resembles the truth. Our opinion of the case law is that the county, the state and the country are ready for that," he said.  

Lynn said he suspects appeal will be the next step, but "we will examine our options carefully."

Mitchum's lawsuit had named Capps, Friends of Lois Capps as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as defendants, and maintained that two ads run during the campaign "deliberately edited Mitchum’s filmed and audio comments so as to completely alter and falsify what candidate Chris Mitchum actually said."

Central to the lawsuit was a 2012 interview Mitchum had done with Cal Poly TV, in which he stated, "I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District to bring back baseball fields, that's not why I am going. I am going to fight for my country and I happen to be from the 24th District."

The lawsuit maintains that Mitchum had a narrow lead when the Capps campaign began running ads with a clipped version of Mitchum's statement, in which he only said, "I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District," and then the ad maintains that Mitchum will represent Tea Party advocates.

"The editing changed the meaning of the statement to make voters believe that, by his own words, Mitchum had no intention of doing his job if elected, and essentially stated he would use the elected office for his own purposes, not those of his district," the lawsuit states.

Geck stated in her ruling, however, that campaign ads fell under free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest. Geck also said the statements in the ad were not demonstrably false.

"Clearly the Capps campaign does not think a Tea Party agenda serves the interests of the 24th District. But the ad is not necessarily unfavorable, depending on one’s view of the conservative agenda represented in the ad," she wrote. "The only alleged alteration of Mitchum’s statement was the presentation of an incomplete sentence he uttered. It did not materially change the meaning."

The ads do not suggest, as Mitchum argues, that he was not going to do his job, Geck wrote.

"There are many members of Congress pursuing his goals while doing their job," she wrote. "The ads suggest that the agenda he would pursue in Washington is not in the interests of the 24th District. Whether that agenda is or is not in line with the voters of the district is up to them to decide."

She ultimately wrote that Mitchum had not sufficiently shown that the ad made a materially false statement.

"Since the court does not find the ad false, the court cannot find defendants made false statements with actual malice," she said. "Mitchum’s inability to demonstrate actual malice by clear and convincing evidence is another reason he cannot demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the defamation claim.

Geck said in her ruling that the court doesn't offer an opinion on whether either party's ads in the campaign were admirable or fair.

"Sadly, that is not the standard for a modern campaign in which even good people are not always at their best," she wrote.

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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Orcutt Schools Roll Out the Red Carpet for Inaugural Education Media Innovation Awards

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The event showcases the work of students in the district's first digital media academy

Students, parents and teachers walked the red carpet Tuesday for the Orcutt Union School District’s inaugural Education Media Innovation Awards.

Dubbed EMI — and pronounced “emmy" — the event recognized participants in the district’s first digital media academy. 

Some students and adults donned fancy dresses and ties, walking along a red carpet as “paparazzi” — Orcutt Academy High School photo students — snapped pictures.

Pacific Christian Center hosted the event, which included the airing of student-made productions from the inaugural digital media academy.

Emcees for the night were Bob Hatch, who serves on the school board, and Ashley Tarquin, an Apple Distinguished Educator with the Encinitas Union School District, who helped train Orcutt’s digital media academy instructors.

The school board approved the digital media academy last fall, and district officials implemented an abbreviated program for the first 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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Santa Barbara Police Warn of Active IRS Telephone Scam

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The Santa Barbara Police Department is warning residents that a pervasive Internal Revenue Service impersonation telephone scam is once again active in this area.

Please review the information below from the IRS website regarding this fraud:

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not.  These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. 

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

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

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5 Suspects Arrested in String of Robberies in Isla Vista

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies have arrested five people in connection with a string of alleged Isla Vista armed robberies and a residential burglary, all of which occurred over the past three days and three of which most likely were related. 

Lewis
Brenden Lewis

Horton
Christianna Horton

Deputies believe two alleged armed robberies and one residential burglary — all reported at an apartment complex in the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista — were related in some way, but authorities weren’t ready to make the determination official, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.

Johnston
Tevis Johnston

Roman
Levi Roman

The first robbery was reported about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, when a resident at the apartment complex said three suspects wearing dark hoodies and masks came into his unit and stole his cell phone and laptop, Hoover said.

Arias
Savannah Arias

Two of the suspects, who were reportedly armed with handguns, fled the scene and evaded authorities, she said.

The following morning, at 2 a.m. Monday, deputies and UCSB Police responded to a neighboring unit in the same complex on a report of residents arguing over drugs and money owed, Hoover said.

She said a female victim told authorities that four or five people she was acquainted with stole money from her and that two were armed with knives.

Deputies detained five suspects who attempted to flee, and four of them were charged in connection with that robbery and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, Hoover said.

Brenden Lewis, 21, of Ventura was charged with robbery, burglary and transportation of a controlled substance (cocaine and alprazolam, a Schedule 3 controlled substance).

Christianna Horton, 25, of Ventura was booked on charges of burglary and robbery; Tevis Johnston, 19, of Buellton was booked on charges of burglary, robbery and transportation of controlled substances; and Levi Roman, 20, of Buellton was booked on charges of robbery, burglary and possession of an illegal knife.

The female who reported that robbery — 27-year-old Savannah Arias of Isla Vista — was arrested Tuesday after deputies allegedly found her burglarizing a residence in the same apartment complex just after noon, Hoover said.

She said the Isla Vista Foot Patrol was also investigating a third, unrelated armed robbery that occurred later Monday about 5:30 p.m. 

A male victim, who is a Santa Barbara City College student, was walking in the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde when he was reportedly robbed by four or five black male adults armed with a handgun. She said the suspects took off with an undisclosed amount of cash and were still outstanding Tuesday.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call the Isla Vista Foot Patrol at 805.681.4179 or the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip-line at 805.681.4171.

“The Isla Vista Foot Patrol would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents to keep their doors and windows locked and to always be aware of their surroundings,” Hoover said. “If you are the victim of theft or see suspicious activity, please report it right away to law enforcement.”

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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Ron Fink: Baltimore and Freddie Gray’s Death — Has Justice Been Served?

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The recent death of Freddie Gray while in police custody sparked both peaceful protests and criminal acts of violence in Baltimore last week. Was this the result of a city government run by corrupt white fat cat politicians who hired only white police officers to enforce the laws? Nope.

The city of Baltimore is predominately made up of black citizens, 99 percent of whom just want to live their lives and be left alone. It is the 1 percent of the black people who cause most of the trouble and make up more than 80 percent of the arrests in this city, for everything from stealing booze to murder.

From press reports we gather that Gray, who had a lengthy criminal record, was arrested for fleeing the police and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. We also know from video footage that he was able to stand up and enter the police van at the time of his arrest.

What we don’t know for sure is what happened between then and the time he arrived at the police station.

We do have some firsthand information from another prisoner in the same van. A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by the Washington Post.

But then, according to the Huffington Post, this same guy recanted his previous statements. So this is why we really don’t know what happened. He also said it was a “smooth ride” to the station.

So, does Baltimore have a problem?

The city has had a black mayor for decades and currently the council has nine black council members and six white members. The Police Department is and has been run by a black chief and there are a large number of black officers. So the political/policing makeup in this city is reflective of this community of more than 600,000 residents, of whom 60 percent are black.

We all witnessed the irresponsible actions of Baltimore’s mayor, who very publicly proclaimed that both peaceful protestors and those who want to destroy things should be given the space to do so. I have never heard a politician say that publicly.

Maybe the mayor will go and visit the shopkeepers and the people they employed who lost their livelihood and explain why she directed police to allow looters and arsonists some space. I am sure that they will sympathize with her strategy, but that’s not likely since their livelihood and their employees paychecks are now a thing of the past.

On the positive side, we saw the community come together and start cleaning up the mess even as the hoods were still looting and burning. This gives us hope that the community may solve the problem since they can’t count on the city government to help them.

In another instance, we saw a mother “take charge” of her son when she saw him in a hooded mask and holding a bag of goods. Although her words to him were rather crude and the very public punitive action she took could make some cringe, it still had the positive impact of removing one hoodlum from the streets that day. This lady wasn’t rich, but she took personal responsibility for her child.

From the outset of their recent troubles, Baltimore politicians and other race hustlers have incited their constituents to treat police as the enemy.

Officers are now being “challenged on the street,” according to the boots on the ground. One sergeant reported to his superiors that, “I have been to five calls today, and in three of those five calls for service I have been challenged to a fight. Some of them I blew off but one of them almost got ugly. I don’t want anybody to say that I did not tell them what is going on. This is no intel this is really what’s going on the street. This is my formal notification. It is about to get ugly.”

In the aftermath of his death and amid a highly charged political environment, the city’s police commissioner, who was appointed by the same politicians who were now calling for justice for the decedent, concluded his investigation in less than a week. There was no independent outside agency such as the Maryland State Police involved — just the locals.

Then, in less than 24 hours, the state prosecutor, who had accepted a sizable campaign contribution from the lawyer representing the deceased and was married to one of the council members who was demanding that the officers be charged, miraculously determined that six officers — three black and three white — would be charged with homicide.

Talk about a kangaroo court a la that of Justice of the Peace Roy Bean! Does anyone think that those officers can get a fair trial in Baltimore?

It’s time take a deep breath and allow some sanity to prevail, and it’s time for someone other than the biased politicians of Baltimore to weigh in on this case.

— 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 [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Fire Crews Respond to Gas Line Break at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The museum and nearby buildings are evacuated after a ruptured PVC gas line is found

A gas line break was reported at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Tuesday afternoon, two weeks after another break caused by construction crews working in the parking lot area.

At about 3 p.m., Santa Barbara City Fire crews and the Southern California Gas Co. responded to the 2500 block of Puesta Del Sol, according to Battalion Chief Robert Mercado.

Two engines and a truck responded to the scene, where crews discovered a ruptured PVC gas line, about an inch-and-a-half in diameter, he said.

The museum and nearby buildings were evacuated and firefighters checked on the gas levels to see they were dangerous. Mercado said they did not find high levels of gas in the atmosphere, but requested that the gas company come to the scene.

He said the gas company arrived about 10 minutes later and will be assessing the leak.

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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Jackson to Host Business Seminar and Expo on Thursday in Ventura

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, will host a business resource seminar and expo on Thursday, May 7 to showcase the resources and services available to help start and grow a small business.

The event, sponsored by Jerome Horton, chairman of the California State Board of Equalization, will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ventura College Wright Event Center, 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura.

This business resource seminar and expo will provide information on a number of important topics affecting small businesses including: different forms of ownership, how to avoid common sales and use tax problems, recordkeeping, employee and independent contracting, loan programs and services, preparing your sales and use tax returns, and much more.

The California Board of Equalization serves the public through fair, effective and efficient tax administration.

This event is free and open to the public. Register online by clicking here or by calling 888.847.9652.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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

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Letter to the Editor: The Real Storyline Behind the Muhammad Art Exhibit Attack

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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On Monday, two pro-ISIS terrorists attacked and wanted to kill 200 people who attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas.

The heroes of the day were the police who shot and killed the two attackers.

How did the media, including the New York Times and leftists, handle the storyline? By blaming the promoter of the event.

If we as a nation cannot tell the truth about what is really happening, how can we win the war against radical Islam?

Don Thorn
Carpinteria

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Seventh Patient from Closed Santa Barbara Clinic Tests Postive for Hepatitis C

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Santa Barbara County Public Health officials announced Tuesday that a seventh patient at a local clinic closed down by authorities has now tested positive for hepatitis C.

The department closed the Santa Barbara clinic of Dr. Allen Thomashefsky in March after an inspection revealed that unsafe injection practices may have happened at the clinic. 

An investigation ensued and Public Health is encouraging testing of current and former patients for blood-borne illnesses including hepatitis C. Seven people who were former patients of Thomashefksy's have now tested positive for hepatitis C, six of whom are believed to be new, acute cases. One person had a prior, existing infection, according to Public Health.  

As of Monday, a total of 248 former patients had been tested.

The department is continuing to investigate the exact cause of the disease in the patients and stated last month that five of the newly-infected Hepatitis C patients had injections procedures performed by Thomashefsky on the same day.

"Our investigation has not identified any other common elements between these 5 patients other than their treatment at Dr. Thomashefsky clinic," Public Health said in a statement. No other links between the patients have been found, according to the county. 

All blood samples from the identified cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for molecular genetic testing, which will help find patterns of the disease in infected patients and would support the findings of ongoing investigation.

Public Health spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild said that it will be a few weeks before the tests from the CDC are finalized.

"In the interim, we are continuing to follow up with those who have had positive tests as well as encourage others to get tested," she said. "The infection control breaches were not on a single day so others who received treatment may have been exposed. Testing is the only way to know."

The county has set up an information line for former patients at 805.681.4373.

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

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Rona Barrett: Family Caregivers Serve as Unsung Heroes on the Homefront

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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"The greatest casualty is being forgotten."

Let’s offer a hearty salute to the Wounded Warrior Project for using this call to action as a catalyst in its 12-year battle to bring out from the shadows a disorder suffered by 15 percent of returning veterans — post-traumatic stress disorder, or PSTD.

It’s because of their efforts that we now know people in high-stress positions, including first responders, law enforcement personnel and those exposed to trauma as a victim or eyewitness, can also suffer from PTSD.

But what many of us don’t realize is there is another group of wounded — about 10 percent out of 60 million — who are, or are at risk from, suffering from PTSD. They are our "silent soldiers” — our unsung heroes — our family caregivers.

Fighting their own day-to-day battle on the homefront with the same mettle and valor as our soldiers and first responders, family caregivers — many of them seniors — must often take on their new roles with little warning or no training. They are often unequipped with the emotional tools or support resources to cope with the stress of ongoing care of their ailing loved one.

Consequently, our silent soldiers, like their wounded warrior brethren, must battle the symptoms of PTSD: fear and anxiety, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, irritability, sadness, feelings of isolation, guilt, changes in sleep or eating, crying spells, emotional numbness, nightmares, shock, increased heart rate, muscle tension, rapid breathing, and inability to stop replaying traumatic events.

Take it from this veteran of the caregiver wars, all of this adds up to battle fatigue. How can you not feel helpless, overwhelmed by responsibilities, caught up in the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the disease or illness your loved one is enduring?

The debilitating effect of PTSD on caregivers under the gun is just beginning to be realized. There are some resources and support. And those who need it, those caring for shut-ins, have in some form become the same: emotional and physical shut-ins. So getting the information to those who need it is the challenge.

The Wounded Warrior Project's first attack on PTSD was to raise awareness. It worked because President Barack Obama proclaimed to veterans, "We got your back."

Their second attack is continuing to help veterans realize these symptoms are not a sign of failure or mental fragility. There is treatment for the mind, body and spirit.

Their third attack is providing support, resources, treatment and relief to ensure veterans of all ages are marching on the path to living productive lives.

And what about our silent soldiers? As seniors become the largest population on the planet, the number of family caregivers will grow exponentially.

Last year, November was proclaimed “National Family Caregivers Month.” Let’s not wait until then to offer our appreciation and support to our silent soldiers. Let’s tell them, “I got your back." Because whether selfless soldiers are fighting the good at the battlefield, on the homefront or in their own home, “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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George Runner: Tax Hikes Look Silly as State Gets Financial Windfall

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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It must be silly season in Sacramento. As the state receives billions of dollars in unanticipated revenues, liberal tax-and-spend lawmakers are proposing massive tax hikes, proving once again that they are out of touch with reality.

George Runner
George Runner

One key measure of reality ignored by liberal lawmakers is Tax Freedom Day. Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.

This year, National Tax Freedom Day arrived on April 24, but Californians didn’t achieve tax freedom until May 3. That means Californians had to work nine days longer than the national average to fulfill their tax obligations.

California’s Tax Freedom Day is the fourth latest in the nation. Only Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have later dates.

By proposing higher taxes, liberal legislators are trying to make taxpayers work even longer to pay their tax bill.

The other reality ignored by would-be tax hikers is that state government already has more than enough money. Due to the state’s volatile tax structure, a booming tech sector and soaring stock market, state officials are now swimming in cash.

In the critical month of April, state income tax revenues exceeded budget projections by $1.8 billion.

Just how much money is $1.8 billion? If state officials put the money in $1 increments, they could string those bills together and have a chain long enough to travel the California coastline more than 200 times. The same chain of dollars could wrap around the Earth nearly seven times. It could even stretch more than seven-tenths of the distance to the moon.

And that’s just counting unexpected revenue from April alone. Experts believe unbudgeted surplus revenues for the current fiscal year will exceed $4 billion by June 30, an amount larger than the entire budgets of four states.

With state coffers overflowing, it’s becoming increasingly bizarre that Sacramento spenders are proposing new taxes. Is their appetite for taxpayer dollars insatiable?

Among other schemes, they are plotting how to extend Proposition 30, the “temporary” sales and income tax increases voters approved in 2012. As I’ve observed many times, it’s rare to see a temporary tax go away, regardless of promises made to voters.

Reinforcing how out of touch they really are, prominent Democratic legislators have proposed massive tax increases on driving, gasoline purchases and vehicle registrations (SB 16), insurance policies (AB 1203), real estate documents (AB 1335) and services that could include haircuts, movie tickets and many more (SB 8).

In addition, big spending lawmakers have introduced two constitutional amendments (ACA 4 and SCA 5) aimed at making it easier to approve regressive local tax hikes, including parcel taxes on homeowners. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association warns that these measures are a direct attack on Proposition 13, which voters approved in 1978 to protect homeowners from losing their homes to rising tax bills.

It seems that — regardless of reality — in California another day means another proposed tax increase. Despite our state’s high tax ranking and surging revenues, spending-addicted lawmakers always want more of your dollars.

Instead of ensuring taxpayers receive value for the dollars they send to Sacramento, lawmakers are taking the easy road by simply proposing new taxes. This allows legislators to avoid tough decisions and keep saying "yes" to special interest groups.

Let’s hope there are a few folks left in the state Capitol who have the good sense to say no to their proposals.

George Runner represents more than 9 million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the California Board of Equalization. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Buellton CHP Offering Free ‘Start Smart’ Class for Teen Drivers

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart class scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.

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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Five County Supervisors, District Attorney Endorse Salud Carbajal for Congress

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf and Ventura County Supervisors Steve Bennett, Kathy Long and John Zaragoza have endorsed Salud Carbajal for Congress.

“I am proud of the more than 100 endorsements I’ve received from elected officials, community leaders and individuals,” Carbajal said. "In Congress, I will be a strong advocate for issues that voters care about on the Central Coast — creating jobs, educational opportunity for all, preserving essential safety net services, improving our infrastructure and protecting the environment. I have a proven track record of working in a bipartisan way to get results on these issues in my service as county supervisor and want to bring the same effective and collaborative approach to Congress.”

“I am strongly supporting Salud Carbajal for Congress,” Wolf said. “Having worked with him for many years on the Board of Supervisors, I know his deep commitment to our community and issues including women’s rights, stimulating the economy, protecting our environmental resources and children’s health care. There is no better choice for the Central Coast than Salud Carbajal for Congress.”

Carbajal recently announced that he will run for the 24th Congressional District, which includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and portions of Ventura counties.

Biography

Carbajal has a proven and effective track record of bringing people together to work to make our community stronger. He’s running for Congress to continue fighting for opportunity and security for middle-class families and to protect the unique quality of life we enjoy here on the Central Coast.

He spent his early childhood in a small town in Arizona, where his father moved the family from Mexico so he could work in a copper mine. When the mine closed, Carbajal’s father found work in the fields in Oxnard where the family later moved. Attending junior high and high school in Oxnard, Carbajal applied himself and focused on his education while also working to help the family after school and during summers.

He went on to attend UC Santa Barbara, earning his bachelor's degree, followed later by a master's degree in organizational management from Fielding University. He served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, including active duty service during the 1991 Gulf War, while also working in various roles with several Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organizations and in local government.

In 2004, Carbajal was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. In his tenure, he has demonstrated a commitment to protecting our environment, promoting sustainability, strengthening our schools, and enhancing the health and safety of our community.

A leader in protecting our open spaces, he’s stood up against developments on the Gaviota Coast that threatened preservation efforts and has opposed new offshore oil development along our coastline. He has worked to implement a Climate Action Plan for Santa Barbara County and helped to make solar energy an affordable and efficient option for homeowners. He has promoted innovative solutions to addressing environmental stewardship and sustainability and advocated for quality job creation in this emerging industry.

Drawing upon his own childhood experiences growing up in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood, Carbajal shares a passion for improving the lives of at-risk youth. He found innovative ways to strengthen our schools by creating a job skills and mentorship program for at-risk youth and providing summer programming opportunities for our kids.

He has been an advocate for health programs that help our children and seniors receive the care they need, co-sponsoring an initiative that provided health insurance for all of Santa Barbara County’s children.

Carbjal is married to Gina and they have two children, Natasha and Michael.

He has served on a number of national and regional committees focusing on environmental protection, children and families, and senior issues. He has been awarded for his leadership by a number of organizations.

» 2014 Community Environmental Council Environmental Hero

» 2009 Santa Barbara Public Education Foundation Hope Award

» 2009 Area Agency on Aging Public Official of the Year

» 2008 Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo

» Counties "Sticking His Neck Out" Award

» 2008 Santa Barbara Jewish Federation Ambassador of Freedom Award

» 2008 Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber Elected Official of the Year

» Named a "Community Role Model" by Women's Economic Ventures

— Cory Black is a publicist representing the Salud Carbajal for Congress Campaign.

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UCSB Professor Peter Ford Wins Royal Society of Chemistry Award

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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UC Santa Barbara’s Peter Ford, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received the 2015 Royal Society of Chemistry Inorganic Mechanisms Award for his fundamental contributions to the mechanisms of inorganic photochemistry, homogeneous catalysis and the bioinorganic chemistry of nitric oxide and related nitrogen oxide species.

Peter Ford
Peter Ford

RSC award winners are recognized for the originality and impact of their research as well as the quality of the results shown in publications, patents or even software. An illustrious 47 previous RSC award recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work.

“I am greatly honored to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry Inorganic Mechanisms Award,” said Ford, who is the founding director of the multicampus National Science Foundation Center for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Feedstocks (CenSURF) headquartered at UCSB. “The RSC is one of the foremost scientific societies in the world, and this award is especially meaningful since it recognizes the collective research achievements of the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other colleagues with whom I’ve collaborated here at UCSB.”

Ford’s research has encompassed numerous topics related to quantitative photochemistry, catalysis and transition metal complex reaction mechanisms.

His research group focuses on three major areas: the quantitative reactions of coordinated nitrogen oxides relevant to mammalian biology; the photochemical delivery of small molecule bioregulatory molecules to physiological targets; and the catalytic conversion of biomass feedstocks to chemicals and fuels.

Ford earned his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at Yale University and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University before joining the faculty at UCSB in 1967. His work has appeared in more than 400 publications and he holds six patents.

In addition, Ford has served as a visiting fellow at the Australian National University, a guest professor at the University of Copenhagen, a Humboldt Research Award senior scientist at the University of Regensburg and at the University of Münster, and a guest investigator at the National Cancer Institute.

His many honors and awards include the 2013 American Chemical Society National Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, the 2008 Inter-American Photochemical Society Award in Photochemistry and the 1992 Richard C. Tolman Medal of the American Chemical Society. Ford is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“In a complex and changing world, chemistry and the chemical sciences are vital in responding to some of humanity’s biggest challenges and our prize and award winners are at the forefront of meeting that challenge,” RSC Chief Executive Officer Robert Parker said.

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

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SBCC Student Government to Dedicate Campus Memorial Site for Victims of Isla Vista Tragedy

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Santa Barbara City College’s Associated Student Government will lead a campus memorial tree grove dedication at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 in honor of the victims of last May’s tragic shooting in Isla Vista.

Six red bud trees have been planted in a secluded area near the entrance to SBCC’s West Campus with a commemorative plaque and six individual plaques honoring UC Santa Barbara students George Chen, Katherine Cooper, James Hong, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, David Wang and Veronika Weiss.

Future plans for the site also include a garden-like entrance as well as flowers and handmade beaches in the surrounding areas.

Remarks will be delivered by SBCC Associated Student Government President Colette Brown, Student Senator Grace Katzenson and SBCC President Lori Gaskin.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Santa Barbara Festival Ballet to Perform Scenes from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Libraries

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System invites the public to the Goleta and Central libraries to see several scenes from Alice in Wonderland, performed by students from Santa Barbara Festival Ballet wearing wonderful costumes.

People of all ages will enjoy the classic tale of a girl, a rabbit and a fanciful land, written by Lewis Carroll.

» Goleta Library — Tuesday, May 12 at 4 p.m.

» Central Library — Tuesday, May 26 at 4 p.m.

The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet is a local performing company and dance conservatory.

The Goleta Library is located at 500 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta. The Central Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events and programs is available at SBPLibrary.org. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Jody Thomas represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Drew Wakefield to Emcee Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Charity Golf Tournament

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Wakefield
caption goes here

Drew Wakefield, director of sales and marketing for the Ramada Santa Barbara, will once again be the emcee for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, May 8 at the Glen Annie Golf Club.

We are grateful to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation for being this year's Eagle Sponsor.

We also would like to thank Kenecta Federal Credit Union, the Bar Sponsor; On Q Financial, the Lunch Box Sponsor; and TKG Financial, the Golf Glove Sponsor for supporting this charity event.

The golf tournament is sold out, but tickets are still available to the Cocktail Party, which will start at 5 p.m.

There will be music, an awards ceremony, food and a silent auction. All the money raised will go to support the Alpha Resource Center, specifically Katie’s FUNd.

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Four Selected as Santa Barbara County Classified School Employees of the Year

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Four extraordinary people whose selflessness, work ethic, enthusiasm and compassion have had lasting impacts on the lives of the schoolchildren they encounter every day are being recognized as the 2015 Santa Barbara County Classified School Employees of the Year.

Locke
Cassandra Locke

McGuire
Connie McGuire

This year’s honorees include an “angel.” Another is a “compassionate and supportive self-starter.” There is the peerless career specialist who is known for putting on robust career fairs for a diverse student population, and a “lunch lady” whose “positive rapport with students and families” has benefited multiple generations of Santa Barbara County schoolchildren.

Apple
Karen Apple

Sumner
Leora Summer

Being honored this year in the Support Services and Security category is Connie McGuire of Santa Maria High School. Ellwood School's Cassandra Locke is the winner in the Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance category. The Office and Technical category winner is Karen Apple from Pioneer Valley High School. Leora Summer wins in the Child Nutrition Category. She has been at the Isla Vista School for more than 40 years.

They will be recognized May 14 (about 2:10 p.m.) by the Santa Barbara County Board of Education, and will represent the county for potential selection as California Classified Employee of the Year.

“These professionals’ accomplishments speak to the passion and dedication they bring to work every day,” county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone said. “And they represent all the school staff members who play such a vital role in supporting children’s achievement, safety and health. Classified employees are instrumental to our job of educating tomorrow’s leaders, and we honor them for all they do for children.”

The selection process began with all local school districts being invited to nominate employees from different employment categories. A nominee must be a classified employee of a California public school (preschool through 12th grade), district office or county office of education in a nonmanagement position and have been in the same service category for at least five years. Nominations can come from a superintendent, administrator, principal, supervisor, colleague, student or parent. Recommendations focus on the nominee’s work performance, school community involvement, leadership and commitment. A committee then reviews the nominations and selects the winners.

McGuire has worked nearly 40 years in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, and has changed the lives of thousands of students over the years. A community liaison specialist, she has brought tens of thousands of dollars into Santa Maria High School for the sole purpose of helping underserved student populations.

“Most of the money is brought in through grants that she has networked into our schools,” Santa Maria High School Principal Joseph Domingues said. “There is a reason why we call her ‘Saint McGuire!’”

“If you ask her what she does,” vocational advisor Heather Reese says, “she may tell you that she works to eliminate barriers that keep our students from being successful.” But that is the kind of modesty that comes as second nature to McGuire. “The reality is,” Reese concludes, “she has created a network of medical contacts that donate or offer reduced fees for major and minor dental and medical procedures.” It is little wonder that her tirelessness and concern for others leaves those she works with “in awe.”

“Connie has been with the district for over 36 years,” notes Tammy Rhine, the executive assistant to the district superintendent. “Her commitment to Santa Maria High School and the District is evident through the success stories of the students that she helps.” It is clear from the feedback of her peers and students that McGuire is building a lasting legacy.

Locke, an instructional assistant in the Goleta Union School District, possesses the qualities that make her an “essential piece” of the instructional program, says Ellwood School Principal Abby Vasquez. She is “compassionate and supportive,” Vasquez says, “but she will take no excuses from any child about ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t.’ She develops trusting relationships with each of the children she works with, and they know that Mrs. Locke cares about them and is there to help them to learn.”

But it is not just her actions during the school day that set her apart, says district education and behavior specialist Amanda Martinez-Iqbal. “Cassandra would take home the teacher manuals in order to gain a better grasp on how to teach a Direct Instruction Curriculum,” observes Martinez-Iqbal. “And each morning she would come back, armed with a list of questions she had compiled from her reading the night before.”

It is that kind of relentlessness and drive for self-improvement that many adults have benefited from when they were schoolchildren themselves. Ellwood parents should take heart that such an educator works among their children every day, in the person of Locke.

Apple is a career center specialist at Pioneer Valley High School in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. Apple has been working in this capacity since the school opened in 2004, and her colleagues testify to the growth and enhancement of the program since its inception. The College and Career Fair that Apple organizes for Pioneer students and parents “is a campus highlight each year,” says library technician Jeri Vogt, “that brings valuable resources to the campus.”

But Apple doesn’t simply provide students with information about different courses of study beyond their high school years; she also educates them and their families about the means to pursue those studies. “Through scholarship and financial research,” Vogt adds, “Karen is able to help students make their dreams a reality.”

And she is ever mindful of the “career” aspect of her duties too, sensitive to the fact that not every student is ready or inclined to pursue post-secondary education. “Karen brings a variety of speakers from different professions and training institutions,” says Pioneer Valley High School teacher Tony Ramos. “She also brings military personnel to speak to our students who are interested in military service.” By offering such an array of options, adds her colleague Tami Contreras, she provides her students with information on “all the opportunities and assistance that is available to them to achieve their personal career and educational goals.”

Sumner, a food services cashier at Isla Vista School in the Goleta Union School District, has been positively impacting the school children she encounters every day for over 40 years. With that kind of longevity, Sumner has developed something of a minor celebrity status in town, notes food services director Sharon Baird.

“Students recognize Leora out in the Goleta area for years after they leave IV School,” Baird says, “and finally see her again at school when their children are students at IV.” With a world that is changing as constantly as ours, that kind of stability and consistency can be reassuring. Not to mention exceedingly rare.

“Leora is serving the kids and grandkids of students she had come through her lunch line long ago,” marvels Isla Vista School principal Mary Kahn. But the work is hardly drudgery for the long-time employee. She has “terrific energy,” Kahn continues, and Sumner is key to serving over 340 students each day. “She always has a friendly hello and smile for students and staff that she connects with.”

Indeed, her longevity and her infectious enthusiasm have resonated not just with her co-workers and the children she serves, but with senior school district officials as well. Sumner possesses “the remarkable combination of the loyalty, dedication, and experience of a veteran,” Goleta Union School District Superintendent William Banning notes, “and the positive energy and enthusiasm of someone more recently entering her chosen career.”

It is indeed a special privilege to count the likes of Sumner — and each of this year’s winners — among us. As concerned and involved parents, we enjoy the comfort and reassurance that comes with knowing that our children’s lives are being shaped in positive ways by smart, compassionate adults.

— Kris Bergstom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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Two Hurt in Rollover Crash in Santa Maria; Occupants Flee Scene

By | Published on 05/05/2015

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Santa Maria police are investigating a single-vehicle rollover crash at E Street and Stowell Road on Monday in which all four occupants fled the scene.

Sgt. Daniel Rios said officers responded to the scene about 4:34 p.m. and found the vehicle off the roadway and in an agricultural irrigation canal.

He said two of the passengers, both 17-year-old girls, were located in the area with unknown injuries. One was transported to Cottage Hospital via CalStar, and the other was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Two men, one of them believed to be the driver, fled and were not found, according to Rios.

He said the cause of the accident is under investigation, but that alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the SMPD Traffic Bureau at 805.928.3781 x277.

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

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Aera Energy Looking to Tap Into Its East Cat Canyon Oil Field Near Santa Maria

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The company has applied for a land-use permit for redevelopment of a facility estimated to produce up to 10,000 barrels a day

A Bakersfield-based oil company is looking to re-establish its East Cat Canyon Oil Field, about 10 miles southeast of Santa Maria, and applied for a land-use permit on April 17.

Aera Energy LLC officials say the company would be using the steam injection process to produce oil at the location, and 296 wells would be established on the property. If approved, the company estimates production at the facility would produce up to 10,000 barrels a day and create more than $1.3 billion in economic activity.

It's a 30-year project, and the company anticipates oil production would begin by 2020.

Noozhawk caught up with Susan Hersberger, who is Aera's project manager for public affairs on the project. She provided some background on the company that is hoping to begin its first production project in Santa Barbara County.

Headquartered in Bakersfield, Aera was formed when Shell and Mobil combined their California exploration and production operations.

Aera looks for the oil and extracts it, selling it to larger purchasers. Hersberger said the company produces about a quarter of oil in the state, and has operations in Kern, Ventura, Monterey and Fresno counties.

"We're one of the largest California producers," she said. "We just have not had a presence in Santa Barbara County."

Aera came into ownership of the East Cat Canyon Oil Field in 1997, when the field's former owners, Shell Oil,  transferred the property. Shortly after it was transferred, the wells were decommissioned.

Shell had been operating there since the early 1980s, Hersberger said, and at the time the property was transferred it was not in active production.

"That's why we describe it as a redevelopment of the field," she said, adding that the wells were removed but some of the other infrastructure remains in place, such as the roads and some of the well pads.

The project the company is proposing now would put in 296 wells, including 141 that would be used for oil wells, and a similar number used for steam injection. The remainder would be used for well observation.

The company has long-term contracts with Shell and Exxon-Mobil, the owners of the company now, for the oil.

Hersberger expected the environmental review process, which will include an environmental impact report, or EIR, to take up to two years.

She also stressed that no fresh water would be used in the oil production process. Instead, the company plans to use non-potable water recycled from the oil well, which would be used for the steam-injection process.

The oil in northern Santa Barbara County is a very heavy, thick crude oil, and the heat from the steam would help loosen the oil and facilitate the flow, she said. The company would have some fresh water that would be used for required for dust suppression and sanitation, but "relatively little use of fresh water."

Hershberger said the company hired the UCSB Economic Forecast Project to look at the economic benefits the project would bring, which found that the project could be as much as $1.5 billion in total economic activity.

"There's a pretty significant economic benefit locally," she said.

The company plans to post updates on the project on its website, available by clicking here.

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 Ynez Valley Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Fatal DUI Crash

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Benjamin Bettencourt also loses his license for a year and is ordered to pay restitution for the 2012 accident that led to the death of teacher Jennifer Clark

A judge on Monday sentenced Santa Ynez Valley resident Benjamin Bettencourt to five years in state prison for driving drunk in 2012, crashing his van and critically injuring a popular teacher who died several days later.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores said he chose the midterm sentence for Bettencourt, and noted the devastating effects of the crash on the families.

A passenger in Bettencourt’s van, Jennifer Clark, 39, of Los Olivos died days after the Nov. 24, 2012, crash on Highway 246 between Solvang and Buellton.

The crash occurred due to irresponsibility regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol, the judge said.

“This is something that did not have to happen,” Flores said, noting the loss of the “bright young and energetic woman.”

Bettencourt had faced a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

A jury last month convicted Bettencourt guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

Before handing down the sentence, Flores rejected a defense motion for a new trial.

Bettencourt is expected to serve 85 percent of the time, or slightly more than four years, under today’s sentencing laws. The judge also suspended Bettencourt’s license for one year and ordered him to pay restitution and fees exceeding $23,000.

No sentence would bring Clark back to life or give Bettencourt, a paraplegic from a 1998 accident, the chance to walk again, the judge said, adding his heart went out to both families.

"The justice system is just not designed to handle things like this. You can’t punish people back to life,” Flores said. “You can’t do that.”

The judge added he is convinced Bettencourt and Clark were friends and noted a letter from the defendant expressing “profound sorrow” about what happened.

“That doesn’t bring her back, either,” Flores said.

The victim’s sister, Erin Parsons, read victim impact letters from their parents and herself while the urn holding Clark’s ashes sat nearby.

Afterward, she said she had hoped Bettencourt would receive the maximum sentence after hearing the judge instead pick a middle prison term.

“I’m OK with that,” Parsons said. “I’m just glad that it’s all over.”

The judge also granted a request from Bettencourt’s attorney, Darryl Genis, who asked to be removed and have a court-appointed attorney take over the case to handle the appeal.

During the trial, Genis challenged the breath test and blood tests, and argued that Clark actually was driving, contending she grabbed the steering wheel.

The prosecution contended Bettencourt abandoned his role as designated driver for Clark when he got behind the wheel while intoxicated.

The trial began in early February and ended in April, longer than normal for a similar case.

“As the judge said, it was a very challenging, hard-fought battle,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy said.

Duffy said he felt the midterm prison sentence was appropriate for the case.

“I’m very happy for the victim’s family in that, although it won’t bring back their loved one, they got some closure today and they got some justice,” Duffy 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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Woman Charged with Attempted Murder in Goleta Pitchfork Stabbing

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Madeline Shaw

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies have arrested a young woman they believe was under the influence of methamphetamine when she allegedly stabbed a woman with a pitchfork in Old Town Goleta.

Madeline Shaw, 19, of Santa Maria was arrested Sunday on charges of attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing or resisting arrest, and entering a non-commercial dwelling, according to Kelly Hoover, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Shaw was also on probation at the time of her arrest, and was being held without bail in Santa Barbara County Jail.

At 2:20 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 5600 block of Gato Avenue, where Shaw had been spotted at multiple residences, Hoover said.

The first resident on the street heard a noise outside, and when he walked out of his home to investigate, he spotted Shaw waving a pitchfork she had taken from his yard, Hoover said.

The man ran inside and locked his door, and Shaw proceed to enter the home next door, walking inside and picking up a cell phone she found there, Hoover said.

The resident in that home was able to take her phone from Shaw, who ran out the door and proceeded to a third home, also on Gato Avenue.

A resident there was exiting her vehicle "when the suspect made a threatening comment and stabbed her in the arm and abdomen," Hoover said. "Fortunately, the wounds were superficial and the victim did not need to be transported to the hospital."

The suspect took off on a bicycle in that woman's yard after dropping the pitchfork, and deputies apprehended her on Hollister Avenue at Nectarine Avenue, near the 7-Eleven store, Hoover said.

Shaw was combative, "but they managed to take her into custody."

Hoover said deputies believe the young woman was under the influence of drugs at the time of her arrest.

Shaw is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Tuesday.

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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Third Robbery in 2 Days Reported in Isla Vista

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Residents of Isla Vista were being warned to be vigilant after the third robbery in two days occurred Monday afternoon.

The robbery involving a group of men occurred at about 5:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road, according to an automated alert sent out by the UCSB Police Department.

The suspects, who fled on foot, were described as 4-5 black male adults.

"The suspects are outstanding, so if you are in the area, use caution and be alert of your surroundings," police said in the alert.

Five people were arrested early Monday in connection with another robbery in the community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara.

A sixth suspect remained at large.

That incident occurred at about 2 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

Details on the robbery were not provided.

The remaining suspect was described as a white male in his 20s, 5-foot-11 and 165 ponds, wearing a dark hoodie, and last seen headed towards Trigo Road.

That incident occurred just a day after an armed robbery was reported in the same area.

Three suspects committed a robbery at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, also in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

The suspects in that case remained at large.

Police did not indicated whether they believe any of the robberies are related. All three were being investigated by the Sheriff's Department.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact police at 805.893.3446, or through the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's anonymous tip program.

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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Boys Tennis: Channel League Individual Tournament for Singles in Full Swing

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The Channel League Individual Tournament for singles hosted by San Marcos High School began Monday.

The tournament consisted of talented players from the five Channel League schools — Buena, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Ventura. It was a long day under mild, cool conditions.

We began at 2:30 p.m. and finished around 6:50 p.m.

Seeded

#1 Kento Perrera (San Marcos)

#2 Joshua Wang (Dos Pueblos)

#3 Taggart Mills (Santa Barbara)

#4 Miles Baldwin (Dos Pueblos)

#5 Harry deBoer (Santa Barbara)

#6 Lars Scannell (Santa Barbara)

#7 Logan Lender (Santa Barbara)

#8 Nolan Rucker (Ventura)

Round 1

Perera (SM) def Justin Ross (B) 6-0,6-0

Rucker (V) def Tanner Gray (B) 6-1,6-1

deBoer (SB) def Derek Tilton (SM) 6-2,6-0

Baldwin (DP) def Won Jong (V) 6-1, 6-0

Mills (SB) def Mason Billing (V) 6-0,6-0

Scannell (SM) def Salem Ozaki (V) 6-0, 6-0

Lender (SB) def Quinn Hensley (DP) 6-1,6-2

Wang (DP) def Dan Coulson (SM) 6-3, 6-2

Round 2

Perrera (SM) def Rucker (V) 6-0,6-1

Baldwin (DP) def deBoer(SB) 6-3,6-3

Scannell (SM) def Mills (SB) 6-3,6-7,6-2

Wang (DP) def Lender (SB) 6-2, 6-4

The semifinals will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at San Marcos.

Semifinals

Perrera vs Baldwin

Wang vs Scannell

— Liz Frech coaches boys tennis at Dos Pueblos High School.

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Sheriff’s Deputies Help Save Life of Toddler Found Choking on Chumash Reservation

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Cota
Lah’nee Cota, 18 months, has made a full recovery after choking and becoming unresponsive Saturday on the Chumash reservation. (Courtesy photo)

Two Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies are credited with helping to save the life of an 18-month-old child on Saturday who was found choking on the Chumash reservation.

About 2 p.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to an unrelated call at a residence in the 100 block of Sanja Cota when a neighbor, Amber Cota, came running outside screaming for help holding her daughter, Lah’nee (Lah-nay) Cota.

The toddler was choking, unresponsive and purplish in color.

Sheriff’s deputies Brian Flick and Jorden Walker immediately took Lah’nee from her mother and began efforts to dislodge any items that may be blocking her airway. They conducted a series of “back blows” followed by the infant Heimlich maneuver (or sternum thrust) and then a finger sweep to ensure her airway was clear.

About 30 seconds later, the child was able to breathe on her own even though her breathing was labored. The deputies took Lah’nee inside the residence and stayed with her until personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and American Medical Response arrived.

Lah’nee was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and since then has made a full recovery. Today, her mother expressed appreciation for the efforts made to save Lah’nee’s life.

“We are incredibly grateful to the deputies for their actions," Cota said. "Every second mattered; this was a life or death situation. They did not hesitate and cared for her as if she was their own child. On behalf of the Cota family we thank them.”

In January, a new sheriff’s sub-station opened on the Chumash reservation allowing for not only faster response times on the reservation but for the entire Santa Ynez Valley as well.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

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Freeman’s Flying Chicken Cooks Up New Dinner Club

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Freeman’s Flying Chicken has introduced a new way to do dinner, and it’s one of a kind. Now available throughout the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities, the Freeman’s Flying Chicken “Dinner Club” is a special online service that allows a customer to sign up, select the night of the week that they want dinner delivered and pre-choose what they want to eat dinner.

Freemans
Freeman’s Flying Chicken's new “Southwestern” dinner includes corn tossed with cilantro and bell peppers and spritzed with fresh lime. (Freeman’s Flying Chicken photo)

New “club only” dinners and sides are available, as well as special reduced pricing to club members, and side dishes can be swapped out or upgraded with the click of a button.

Freeman’s goal with this new offering is to make it easier for busy families to bring the family dinner back.

“We’re trying to give mom or dad the ease that not only do they not have to cook, but they can sit down and enjoy the hassle-free and healthful convenience of Freeman’s Flying Chicken on a regular schedule at a time that works for them,” owner Paul Freeman said.

Freeman hopes that others will pick up on the idea, too. Parents can order for hungry college students or people with parents or home-bound relatives can purchase to be sure there is at least one healthy meal delivered each week.

“There are many ways this service could be used,” Freeman added.

As part of this launch, Freeman will be offering a new “Southwestern” dinner that includes corn tossed with cilantro and bell peppers and spritzed with fresh lime, its signature spicy black beans, and new creamy chipotle aioli sauce. The dinner is currently available to club members only. Additional “club only” meals will be released in the coming months, including special dishes for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.

The new club site is club.freemansflyingchicken.com, and it’s free to sign up. Also this month, Freeman’s has expanded its catering service, bringing tasty and healthful food to birthday parties, team dinners, wedding dinners and other events in town.

Noelle Ballew heads up the catering sales team and can be reached at [email protected]. Take out or delivery orders can be placed online or by calling. For walk-up and take-out orders, FFC is located just inside Gate C of Earl Warren, right off of Highway 101 at the Las Positas exit in Santa Barbara.

Freeman’s Flying Chicken is open from 4 to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

— Noelle Ballew is the catering sales director for Freeman’s Flying Chicken.

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Roger Roberts Joins Devereux California Advisory Board

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The Devereux California Advisory Board recently added a new member with a high-tech and big-business background.

Roger Roberts
Roger Roberts

Roger Roberts has more than 20 years of executive management experience in medical device, bio pharm and electronics manufacturing. He brings a broad base of experience having served as an entrepreneur, operations executive and general manager for national and international companies.

Roberts is currently the director of manufacturing for Medtronic in Goleta. Medtronic is a global leader in medical device manufacturing. The Goleta facility specializes in manufacturing medical devices that treat congenital and acquired hydrocephalus including traumatic brain injury.

He has served as a board member of the Orange County Adult Achievement Center for the last six years. OCAAC is the largest rehabilitation center in Southern California serving autistic and developmentally disabled adults.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and has served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

We welcome Roberts to our board and look forward to an active service with great experience in board work.

Established by Helena Devereux in 1912 in Pennsylvania and in 1945 in Santa Barbara, Devereux provides services to thousands of individuals with a wide range of disabilities, from mental retardation and neurological disorders, including autism, to emotional behavioral disorders and mental health issues.

Devereux California provides adult residential and day programs on its Santa Barbara campus, and Independent and Supported Living Services for adults in the communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara and Lompoc, serving a total of 80 individuals with developmental disabilities.

As the largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health care in the country, Devereux operates 15 centers in 11 states, with approximately 6,000 staff serving 15,000 individuals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Devereux California is celebrating 70 years in California this year!

— Cassi Noel represents Devereux California.

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Jackson Bill to Prohibit Drones from Invading Private Property Passes Off Senate Floor

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that would prohibit drones from trespassing on private property without the owner’s permission and invading Californians’ privacy passed off the Senate floor Monday on a bipartisan vote. The vote was 24-9.

California law already prohibits someone from entering someone’s private property — their home or backyard, for example — without their permission, and prohibits them from photographing or recording conversations. Senate Bill 142 would clarify that the rules pertaining to trespassing and the physical invasion of privacy also apply to entry by remotely operated aerial vehicles known as drones.

“Drones have a lot of useful and extremely innovative uses. But invading our privacy and property without permission shouldn’t be among them. When we’re in our backyards, with our families, we have an expectation that we have a right to privacy, “ Jackson said. “We assume that our daughters can swim in a backyard pool without fear of being videotaped. But drones have upended all those expectations, and it’s important that we set reasonable boundaries so that our privacy and security remain intact.

"This bill would extend our long-established definitions of trespassing and privacy, and bring them into the 21st century, by applying them also to drones.”

SB 142 would not impact of the use of drones in public spaces — such as roads, beaches, schools, public utility easements, and other spaces where drone use is not restricted — nor in the navigable airspace approximately 350 feet above ground, which is subject to federal regulation.

Owners also would be free to use drones on their own property, or on property in which they had been given permission by the owners to use drones. In addition, the bill would preserve the ability for commercial drones to be operated between 350-500 feet above ground for commercial drone use, should that use eventually be needed.

Jackson’s bill was introduced days after a drone was flown onto the White House lawn. Following the incident, President Obama has called for more regulation of drone use. In recent weeks, the use of drones near the Golden Gate Bridge has prompted security concerns.

Often, drones are equipped with video cameras and sound-recording equipment.  As they become more widespread, the potential for colliding with established privacy rights increases.

“This bill establishes clear rules so that we can prevent problems from occurring,” Jackson said. “Drones are an emerging and exciting technology. But because they can easily travel over fences and other structures, we need to take extra precautions to ensure they don’t compromise our privacy or security and blur long-standing boundaries between public and private space.”

Jackson is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees legislation on privacy issues. She represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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

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Michael Barone: Clinton Defenders Advance an Unpersuasive Argument

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Some of Hillary Clinton's defenders have taken to saying that voters shouldn't pay attention to the latest Clinton scandals — the gushing of often undisclosed millions to the Clintons and their organizations by characters seeking official favors — because the charges are just one more in a long series: Whitewater, the Rose law firm billing records, the Buddhist temple fundraising, the Lippo Group.

So, the theory goes, because the Clintons have been accused of so many scandalous doings before, people shouldn't be concerned now about Secretary Clinton's actions that helped certain donors turn over 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves to a state-run Russian company.

Common sense might tend to make you more suspicious of those who attract many accusations. But the Clintons' defenders expect and hope in their case that you will instead be suspicious of those who make so many accusations. After all, they're always saying nasty things! In this view, even charges advanced and amplified by the New York Times may be summarily dismissed as the products of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Of course, for some voters, the just-one-more-scandal argument may cut the other way. They may decide that they've endured enough Clinton scandals.

Still, Clinton defenders have some basis for thinking that the just-one-more-scandal argument has worked for the Clintons before. Bill Clinton may have been interrogated and impeached, but he wasn't removed from office. Instead, Newt Gingrich was knocked off the speaker's chair days after Republicans lost seats in the midterm election.

But there's a big difference between then and now. Bill Clinton was the incumbent president when he was impeached. Hillary Clinton is a private citizen who is running for president.

Most voters wanted Clinton to remain in office. He was re-elected in 1996 by an eight-point margin over Bob Dole. Before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, his job approval was in the high 50s. Once he was threatened with removal, that bounced up to 70 percent.

In effect, a crucial number of Americans were saying not to boot him from office. He's been elected to two terms; he's been performing tolerably well — so what if he lies under oath about conduct that is personal and outside his official duties?

(That doesn't mean that Clinton's conduct didn't have political consequences. The Lewinsky revelations put an end to negotiations between Clinton and Gingrich on serious entitlement reforms. They've been delayed now going on 20 years.)

But that doesn't mean voters were necessarily buying the Clintons' defenses. Even as his job approval rose, Clinton's favorable/unfavorable ratings declined. People thought less of him personally, but they also couldn't accept the idea of pushing him aside.

Hillary Clinton is in a different position. She is a candidate, not an incumbent. Candidates are easily dispensed with, as former Sen. Gary Hart learned when the photos of him sailing on the "Monkey Business" appeared in May 1987 when he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His staffers vowed he would hold onto his support, but it wasn't his to hold on to. He quickly withdrew and faded from view.

Hart's position in 1987 was weaker than Clinton's position today. His lead in Democratic primary polls was not overwhelming, and there were other serious active or potential candidates in the field or just over the horizon. That's because even in Ronald Reagan's 1980s, Democrats of varying ideological stripes were winning major offices around the country. Democrats had reason to think they had a good chance of nominating a strong ticket without Hart.

Today's Democrats fear they are not in this comfortable position. They've been losing most elections lately in constituencies beyond those where their core constituencies — blacks, some Hispanics, gentry liberals — are clustered. They don't have many prominent plausible alternative candidates.

Absent Hillary Clinton, they would be faced with a choice of tax-raiser Martin O'Malley, socialist Bernie Sanders, Reagan appointee Jim Webb, former Republican scion Lincoln Chafee or the gaffe-prone Joe Biden. None run as well as Clinton in general election polls.

But how strong is Clinton? Her numbers have been declining, and she runs under 50 percent against lesser-known Republicans in most national and target-state polls. All voters know her, and most don't favor her. She runs stronger in polls of all adults, not just registered voters. That gap suggests she could have a hard time inspiring maximizing turnout.

The argument that the Clintons have always faced scandal charges is intended to shore up her support. But it may have the opposite effect.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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John Daly: Nothing Replaces Persistence As a Formula for Success

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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A recent blog post written by my associate, Carol McKibben, really captured my interest. It outlined how her persistence had brought her success in life.

I have numerous friends who, through hard work and persistence, have achieved great success. I think President Calvin Coolidge stated it best in his famous quote:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

I know that my own persistence has taken me further than I had anticipated. This all got me to thinking about how does a person become persistent? If not really inclined to do so, what will give individuals the ability to develop persistence?

Here’s the action plan:

» Set a definite goal or purpose

This needs to be backed up by a burning desire to fulfill the goal.

» Develop a definite plan

It never hurts to write your plan out. What steps will it take to get from A to Z and achieve the goal? Follow each step to completion — all the way through from beginning to end.

» Keep a positive attitude

Along with that goes a mind that is tightly closed to negativity. Don’t let self-doubt or setbacks stop you. Even if everyone around you is telling you “it can’t be done.”

» Create friendly alliances

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dreams. Find people who will encourage you, support you and help you follow through with both plan and purpose.

Don’t take my word for it. This action plan above is paraphrased from Napoleon Hill’s best-seller, Think and Grow Rich.

Originally published in 1937 and inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie, the title implies that the book deals with how to get rich. According to Hill, however, the philosophy taught in his book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and do or be almost anything they want. (Note: By 2011, this book had sold more than 70 million copies.)

What I’ve outlined above is part of the essence of the book. It’s worked for millions of people. Why not you?

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.

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UCSB Students Spearhead Fundraising to Provide Long-Term Assistance to Quake Victims in Nepal

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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For three UC Santa Barbara students, the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that rumbled through Nepal a week ago hit close to home — literally. For them, the temblor wasn’t some faraway event, but a force that wrought devastation on their homeland — the country where they were born and raised.

Shresla
Pawana Shrestha (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

Kirat
Dhilung Kirat (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

In response to the natural disaster, the students have initiated a fundraising campaign to support ongoing relief and recovery efforts. Monetary donations are being solicited via the fundraising site Crowdrise, with 100 percent of all proceeds going to Shikshya Foundation Nepal. The local nonprofit organization based in Nepal’s Lalitpur district not only provides immediate relief assistance to earthquake victims but also supports long-term sustainable rebuilding efforts.

Paudel
Shekhar Paudel (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

“Thousands of people have lost their lives, tens of thousands have been injured and over a million have been rendered homeless,” said Pawana Shrestha, a doctoral student in UCSB’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Shrestha is from the capital city of Kathmandu, where her family currently resides.

“The situation of many far-flung villages is still unknown,” she continued. “There is urgent need of food, water, tents and medical attention in the affected areas. In the long run, massive amounts of financial and human resources will be required for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructures. The road to recovery for Nepal will be a long and difficult one.”

The need for long-term assistance impelled the students to choose the Shikshya Foundation as the object of their fundraising efforts. “Past experiences of relief efforts, such as during the Haiti [earthquake] relief, have shown that the long-term relief and recovery efforts are more effective when local organizations are empowered instead of international charity brands,” said Dhilung Kirat, a doctoral student in computer science at UCSB.

“I grew up in one of those remote villages in Nepal,” he continued. “I have experienced the remoteness and the disconnect from the outer world while growing up,and I can only imagine the devastated community after such a massive earthquake. I hope our fundraising effort will help ease the current relief efforts and long-term recovery efforts of those remote communities.”

The Crowdrise campaign is designed to raise not only dollars, but also awareness of the plight of the 8 million people impacted by the earthquake. “We want to show capable people what they can do to help,” explained Shekhar Paudel, an undergraduate student in physics who considers himself a Nepali-American. Paudel moved to the U.S. with his immediate family a few years ago. His extended family remains in Nepal. “With a collaboration with the UCSB community we want to be able to channel what already exists — people’s compassion — to something meaningful for those in need,” Paudel said.

Noted Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division and a professor of linguistics whose research focuses primarily on Nepal, “The efforts of these three Nepalese students in the face of the momentous challenges in Nepal are truly impressive. Like so many other UCSB students, they have a strong ethos of service and a deep commitment to their home country.

“I am impressed that they have also used their research skills in selecting a highly regarded Nepalese foundation to receive the funds that are raised,” Genetti added. “People donating can know that their money will be directed by local people to where it is needed most. I know that many want to help but don’t know how to do it or how to choose which organizations to send money to. I’m thankful to our students for making a clear avenue for people that want to do this.”

More information about the Shikshya Foundation can be found by clicking here. Tax-deductible contributions in support of relief efforts can be made by clicking here.

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

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Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts Welcomes Three New Board Members

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The Granada Theatre is pleased to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, which owns and operates the historic theater: Scott Brittingham, Palmer Jackson Jr. and Gretchen Lieff.

Brittingham
Scott Brittingham

Jackson
Palmer Jackson Jr.

Leiff
Gretchen Lieff

The mission of the SBCPA is to serve as a support organization to the resident companies of The Granada Theatre by providing a state of the art venue in an historic landmark, and to promote the overall vitality and sustainability of the performing arts in Santa Barbara.

“On behalf of the SBCPA, we are very fortunate to welcome Scott, Palmer, and Gretchen to the board,” says Sarah Chrisman, President of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors. “They each offer a unique contribution and generous heart that supports our mission to ensure that all of our community members have access and the ideal venue to enjoy the arts.”

Brittingham, a graduate of Williams College (BA) and USC Marshall School of Business (MBA), is a private investor and founder of the Brittingham Family Foundation, which advises and supports nonprofits in Santa Barbara and Southern California.

He brings local leadership experience to the SBCPA, including having chaired successful capital campaigns for leading organizations such as the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Crane Country Day School. He currently serves on the board of public radio station KCRW and is Chair of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at USC Marshall School of Business, along with the capital campaigns for Thacher School and Santa Barbara Children’s Library.

Jackson, a fourth-generation Santa Barbara native, is a graduate of Yale University (BA) and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (MBA), who has spent most of his business career leading marketing teams in Santa Barbara high tech companies. He has previously served as Chairman of the Board of The Lobero Theatre and of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

He currently serves as a Trustee at Cate School, the Ann Jackson Family Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History where he chairs the Museum’s recently announced Centennial Campaign. A life-long musician, Palmer is passionate about the performing arts and can be seen playing around town with his band, The Doublewide Kings.

Lieff is the Founder of the Lutah Maria Riggs Society and Executive Producer of the documentary “Lutah.” Gretchen is passionate about Santa Barbara history and is a staunch supporter of Casa del Herrero, Lotusland, the Pearl Chase Society, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Montecito Historical Society, and the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara. In addition to local history and architectural preservation, Gretchen is a supporter of UCSB Arts & Lectures, Planned Parenthood, Channelkeeper, Human Rights Watch, and Domestic Violence Solutions. Gretchen has worked closely with the Napa Land Trust and Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County where she was instrumental in preserving substantial open space. Currently Gretchen is President of Lieff Wines, and serves on the Members Committee of the Coral Casino. Gretchen is a former KGO Radio/ABC News reporter in San Francisco, and holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from USC.

The 2015 Granada Theatre Board of Directors includes Sarah Schlinger Chrisman, president; Dan Burnham, vice president; Marla McNally Phillips, vice president; Roberta Griffin, treasurer; Mary Tonetti Dorra, secretary; Scott Brittingham; Richard Caleel; Hal Conklin; Patricia Gregory; Palmer Jackson Jr.; L. Robert Johnson; Chris Lancashire; Gretchen Lieff; Philip Marking; Nancy O’Connor; Carrie Ohly-Cusack; Eric Phillips; Sharol Siemens; Rob Sternin; Michael Towbes; H. Wallace Vandever; Carol Wilburn; and Chrisman Executive Director Dr. Craig Springer.

To learn more about how to support the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts or the Granada Theatre, please contact Kristi Newton, director of development, at [email protected] or 805.899.3000 x130, or click here.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.

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Allan Hancock College Foundation to Award Record $537,000 in Scholarships

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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A record-breaking amount of more than $537,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year by the Allan Hancock College Foundation.

The college’s 46th annual scholarship awards banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21 in the Joe White Memorial Gymnasium at the college’s Santa Maria campus.

Nearly 1,000 students, relatives, friends, donors and community members are expected to attend the event.

A total of 424 scholarships ranging from $500 to $10,000 will be awarded to a record 364 students. The number of recipients represents a 38 percent increase from the record of 266 students that was set last year.

The total dollar amount will be a 12 percent increase from the $479,000 awarded by the foundation in 2014, and a 79 percent jump from the $307,000 given in 2013.

“The generosity of our community is inspiring,” said Jeff Cotter, the foundation’s executive director. “It’s amazing how much of a response we have seen this year from our friends and neighbors because they believe in our students and believe in Allan Hancock College.”

Seventeen new scholarships will be awarded this year, including the Presqu’ile Winery and Murphy Family Scholarships, as well as the Bartlett Family Scholarships.

A scholarship committee composed of 15 Hancock faculty and staff determined the recipients from nearly 750 applications.

“Once again we had an impressive applicant pool,” said Toni McCracken, the foundation’s scholarship program coordinator. “Our faculty and staff did an amazing job encouraging students to apply, and our new online application process was a huge success.”

Applicants will be notified in late April that they would receive a scholarship. However, they do not know the specific scholarship or dollar amount, which makes for a night to remember for hundreds of students and donors.

“The awards banquet will be an evening of great moments and memories,” Cotter promised.

“It’s my favorite night of the year,” McCracken added.

The keynote speaker will be former scholarship award recipients Vicky Giese and Allan Hancock College trustee Hilda Zacarías.

— Stefanie Aye represents Allan Hancock College.

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Letter to the Editor: Lois Capps Escapes Once Again

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Once again we see laws that apply to some, but not all. So it is with Lois Capps (and other politicians) who escape penalties for breaking the law, while we common folk would land in jail with the key thrown away for doing the same.

The latest is the court handing down a decision that while purposely leaving out part of a sentence spoken by Chris Mitchum, it's OK to advertise such. Never mind it being misleading by intent so voters will get a completely negative impression of Mr. Mitchum.

This sort of behavior in politics needs to be stopped, regardless of which party you support. It happens on both sides, but that doesn't make it right. Run a clean campaign and your opponent will stomp all over you with deceiving remarks solely intended to defame your good name.

This latest shambles by Capps and her bunch get the support of the court system. Isn't that wonderful? Lawsuits happen with such matters between people and with such a blatant editing of what someone states, the court usually doesn't defend this sort of behavior. However, Capps, being a politician with "benefits," is a person of higher rank than average folk.

As to the misleading campaign advertising against Mitchum, Capps approved the advertising and she now "owns" it. It's quite a stretch of the imagination to actually believe no malice was intended with such purposeful editing of Mitchum's words.

Why the court would think it was harmless and not intended to make Mitchum appear poorly to voters makes me wonder what planet the judge lives on. Of course it was intentional to make Mitchum look bad. Why else would such a piece be edited and run close to the end of the campaign? All of this financed by a last-minute influx of money from the Democratic Party. Silly me, I keep forgetting this is a politician and many aren't held accountable for such evil doings.

Then, there's the Mallory Dies matter. Capps claims Raymond Morua wasn't on the clock at the time he hit and killed Ms. Dies with his car. However, the federal government paid out a big sum of money despite Capps' denial. If one were to believe Morua wasn't working as a staff member at the time, then that is someone who has their head buried in the sand. Staff members of Capps even appear to escape what would land any others behind bars. So far, nothing has come of forged signatures and the filling out of paperwork in an attempt to have the hit and run driver of Dies be protected in a special program. All illegal, but once again it's politics and we must not prosecute. After all, these are the elite who are beyond the laws for the masses.

Loyal defenders of Capps will no doubt come out of the woodwork (not unlike termites) to unleash their destructive furor over anything negative said about Capps. It's expected, as they are also in denial as well and even if it's truth they are facing, they will say it's all lies.

Steve Simpson
Santa Barbara

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Personal/Business Coach Dr. Lynn Jones Adds Online Coaching to Services

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Jones
Dr. Lynn Jones

Certified executive, personal and business coach Dr. Lynn Jones has added online coaching, in real time, to her in-person and phone coaching, consulting, training and retreats services for leaders and organizations.

“Like most of us, leaders and executives don’t have enough hours in their day. With real-time online coaching, implementing strategic positive changes, whether they be personal or for business, is accessible to all,” says Dr. Jones, who has more than 25 years experience in personal and executive coaching and is a faculty member of the USC School of Social Work Virtual Academic Center.

According to the Harvard Business Review, coaching is a popular and potent solution for ensuring top performance from an organization’s most critical talent.

Typically, coaches are hired primarily to work with executives on the positive side of coaching — developing high-potential talent and facilitating a transition in or up.

Dr. Jones is a board-certified coach BCC #1487. To contact her, email [email protected] or call 805.448.7681.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Dr. Lynn Jones.

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Jackson Sproul Earns Military Order of the Purple Heart Award from Army and Navy Academy

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Jackson Sproul of Santa Barbara was presented with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award on Sunday during a Military Review and Awards Ceremony at Army and Navy Academy.

It was the culminating event of the school's annual Alumni Weekend.

The Military Order of The Purple Heart Award is a significant achievement. It is presented annually to a cadet who has an exceptionally positive attitude toward JROTC and his country. He must be active in the school and within the community, muyst have a GPA of higher than 3.0, and must hold a leadership position within the school's Corps of Cadets.

"Congratulations on this major accomplishment," said COL Kevin Batule, USA (retired), and commandant of cadets at the Army and Navy Academy. "You should be very proud of your outstanding performance of duty."

Founded in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy is a private nonprofit institution that provides an academically robust, character-based education for young men, grades 7 through 12. It is the only private boarding school in San Diego County and the only private military academy for high school-age students in California and surrounding states.

— Paige Maslen represents the Army and Navy Academy.

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Montessori Center School to Host Open House on May 13

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Montessori Center School will host an Open House from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 13.

Come and see for yourself the school’s spacious garden campus and beautiful Montessori classrooms!

The tour of MCS will begin at 9 a.m. Bring the whole family! Reservations are appreciated. Drop-ins are welcome.

Montessori Center School, at 401 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

Contact MCS Admissions Director Alyssa Morris at 805.683-9383 x104 or [email protected] for more information about the school or to RSVP for the Open House!

Click here for more information about the Open House.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.

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Union Bank Partners with Local Organizations to Host Free Community Shred Day

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Union Bank, in partnership with Camino Real Marketplace, NewsChannel 3, Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, Victory Outreach, Lompoc Unified School District, Community Environmental Council and Lompoc Police Explorers and Volunteers, will sponsor another free Community Shred Day in Lompoc.

The event will be held, rain or shine, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Lompoc High School, 515 W. College Ave.

Items that can be shred:

» Six “banker box” containers maximum per vehicle

» All types of paper, any color (no need to remove staples, paper clips or rubber bands)

» File folders, any color

» Not able to accept three-ring binders, cardboard, common trash, hazardous materials, plastics or metals, CDs, DVDs or binders.

This is the fourth year that Union Bank has as led the Community Shred Day. As a responsible bank, Union Bank is committed to supporting local communities and Shred Day is a great event where the public can safely discard — at no cost — important documents, help eliminate the risk of identity theft and keep tons of materials out of the landfill.

— Suzanne Crosina-Sahm is a communications consultant for Union Bank.

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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3 Stars — Wholesome

Far from the Madding Crowd, a classic tale written in 1874 by Thomas Hardy, is beautifully portrayed with a new set of fresh faces.

Set in Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer who she has known since her youth and is 6 years older than she; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a reckless, but dashing, military sergeant her own age; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and shy bachelor 14 years her senior.

If the title sounds familiar, it is because Far from the Madding Crowd starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch was nominated for an Oscar in 1967 and won the National Board of Review’s award for Best Picture that year. Author Hardy took the title from Thomas Gray’s poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)." “Madding” means “frenzied” here.

Bathsheba Everdene, or Miss Everdene as she likes to be addressed, inherits a great deal of property at a young age and finds herself having to compete in a Victorian era where women are not expected to be equal with men in business. She is immensely attractive to suitors who would like to take over the management of her property and subjugate her to the role of a wife. However, she is headstrong and holds her own in a world of men. Unfortunately, she is also influenced by her station in life and the one man that she trusts and loves is a shepherd, a position below hers in the social order of the day.

Throughout the story, her longtime trust and affection for Gabriel Oak is entangled in her life when she hired him to watch over the affairs of her sheep and farming operations. Oak protects her from the advances of suitors, even though she fights him every step of the way.

William Boldwood, her prosperous older neighbor, longs to marry her, but she is not in love with him and continues to decline his advances. In a moment of passion she agrees to marry the handsome Frank Troy, who dazzles her with his handsome uniform and charming demeanor, but later comes to realize that he cares little for her and is only after position, money and power.

Without revealing the entanglements that ensue, the romantic undertones that have been built over the years between Miss. Everdene and Mr. Oak cannot be denied, and like any good English novel, all’s well that ends well.

What makes these Victorian tales attractive beyond their romantic gloss, is the fact that the virtues of Victorian England are beautifully portrayed. Virtue is protected, spiritual values are shown to produce a depth of character, and the people involved have their faults without giving into moral failure. In that sense, this is more Pride and Prejudice than Downton Abbey.

Filled with great visuals of 19th century England, this a romantic tale satisfies on many levels. It is a good date night film, but it is also a good portrayal of moral and ethical choices and possible consequences to share with your family.

Discussion

» The leveling of society from the strata of Victoria England only changes the way people rank themselves today. How do you see the community in which you live being stratified? By economics, race, creed or some other distinction?

» When we make a decision out of passion, we often regret it, yet not always. How have your decisions made in passion effected your life?

— 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 www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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City of Santa Maria Hosting Free Seminar on Driving Safety for Seniors

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department will be hosting a free driving safety seminar from 11 a.m. to noon Friday, May 8 at the Elwin Mussell Center, 510 E. Park Ave.

Theresa Thompson, Department of Motor Vehicles ombudsman, will inform the public about driving safety and the rights that seniors have with the California DMV as a continuing effort to keep them driving as long as possible.

The public is invited to this and future seminars taking place the second Friday of each month covering a wide range of informative topics.

Light refreshments will be provided, and no pre-registration is required.

Questions about this event may be directed to Marjorie Gjerdrum at 805.925.0951 x347.

— Cindy Hoskins is a recreation supervisor for the City of Santa Maria.

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‘We Are All UCSB’: Remembrance Events Planned for One-Year Anniversary of Isla Vista Tragedy

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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With a focus on remembrance, reflection and healing, the UC Santa Barbara community is holding several events to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2014 tragedy in Isla Vista that claimed the lives of six students and injured many others.

A community planting, a memorial lighting installation, a candlelight vigil, a public discussion and a paddle-out are among the things set for various dates throughout the month. A concert, an open mic night and an exhibit sponsored by the UCSB Library are also planned.

“The first-year anniversary of a tragedy is so important as a time to reflect on what happened,” said Kum-Kum Bhavnani, a professor of sociology at UCSB and chair of the Academic Senate. “These events are a means of honoring the people who lost their lives and of respecting those who were injured. And through that honoring and respect, I think, as a campus, we will heal more.”

The candlelight vigil will serve as an emotional anchor to the events. An effort of Associated Students, who have taken on a leadership role in all the remembrance planning, the vigil will be held on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Starting at Storke Plaza, participants will then traverse across campus, continue through the Pardall Tunnel and into Isla Vista. The walk will end with an open mic session at People’s Park.

“We hope this won’t necessarily be somber, but that it will give that feeling of community — the solidarity is what we’re trying to convey the most,” said graduating senior Benjamin Simons, commissioner of the AS Program Board. “We want to make it as positive as possible because we’ve come a long way. So many things have happened and the community and the university have taken action.

“We went through something together,” Simons added. “And now we need to build community together, because we are all UCSB.”          

As vigil participants make the stroll to Isla Vista, their handheld candles will have some accompaniment from a new light installation being designed expressly for the occasion. The interdisciplinary endeavor was inspired by UCSB art professor Kim Yasuda, created and designed by both she and Marcos Novak, of the Media Arts and Technology program, and sponsored by UCSB’s Academic Senate, among others.

Starting in mid-May, the installation, “Hesperus is Phosphorus: Light Passages,” will feature solar-powered lights illuminating the trees and populating the grass verges along the main campus walkway to Isla Vista. A motion-activated lighting system will illuminate the Pardall tunnel. Envisioned as a series of art exhibits, the light galleries created through this project are meant to become permanent features of the campus.

“For me the most crucial thing is how do we look forward while recognizing and acknowledging the anniversary of something so painful and tragic,” said Yasuda. “I felt that the bringing of light into Isla Vista was critical, and the whole idea of light, symbolically, as a healing concept. What we envision for the vigil is a river of light coming through the campus and into Isla Vista, a light bridge that connects the campus to the community and demonstrates that we can come together in very visible solidarity.”

It’s a solidarity that will also be reflected — permanently — in a memorial garden one year in the making. Conceived by a UCSB alumnus shortly after the tragedy, the Isla Vista Love & Remembrance Garden at People’s Park was realized through collaboration between local businesses, the university, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District and community members on and off campus. Serving as the garden’s focal point are six commemorative benches, meant to honor the six students whose lives were lost, designed by UCSB art students from Yasuda’s Isla Vista Open Lab class.

A community event on Saturday, May 9, at 10 a.m., invites the public to help plant native trees, shrubs and flowers in the newly created garden. The site will be officially dedicated with a public ceremony on the following Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m.

“The garden is a really beautiful gesture,” said Debbie Fleming, senior associate dean for student life at UCSB. “Even symbolically — it’s community, it’s faculty, it’s staff, it’s alumni, it’s UCSB students — all using their ingenuity and creativity to memorialize the students we lost in a way that fits Isla Vista.”

In addition to the light installation, another prominent remembrance on campus is a memorial exhibit being sponsored by the library and mounted at the Red Barn, or old gym, near the bus loop. Spearheaded by graduate student Melissa Barthelemy, “We Remember Them: Acts of Love and Compassion in Isla Vista,” will feature photographs of planned and unplanned memorials, artifacts and messages left at spontaneous memorial sites and documentation of support from around the globe.

The exhibition is meant to remember those who died and were injured, and to tell the story of a community empowered by its own humanity in reacting to a collective loss. Opening May 20 and running through June 20, it can be viewed Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 3 to 7 p.m. Over commencement weekend, on Saturday, June 13 and on Sunday, June 14, it will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.

Click here for a complete listing of remembrance events.

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Lompoc Crews Contain Travel-Trailer Blaze

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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One firefighter injured battling fire that occurred shortly before midnight in the 200 block of North L Street

A firefighter suffered minor injuries late Sunday while battling a trailer fire in Lompoc, according to the Lompoc Fire Department.

Firefighters responded just before midnight to a trailer fire in the backyard of a home in the 200 block of North L Street, Fire Chief Kurt Latipow said.

Upon arrival, firefighters found one trailer engulfed in flames that were threatening to spread to another trailer and a neighboring structure, he said.

“Crews took aggressive action, knocking down the fire in 10 minutes (and) minimizing the threat to adjacent properties,” Latipow said.

The Santa Barbra County Fire Department and Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire assisted on the fire.

The blaze caused $3,190 in property damage and $500 in content damage, he said, with one firefighter receiving minor injuries during the fire attack.  

Latipow said the cause was under investigation. 

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

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Santa Barbara County Deputy DA Ann Bramsen Named Prosecutor of Year

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Monday that for the first time in the history of the award, the California District Attorneys Association has named a Santa Barbara County deputy district attorney — Ann Bramsen — as Prosecutor of the Year.

"We were thrilled to receive this great news," Dudley said. "Although Ann was proudly nominated by me, her nomination packet was filled with glowing letters of support from Chief Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola, Sheriff Bill Brown, Santa Maria Police Department Chief Ralph Martin, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser and volunteer Amir Tab.

"Ann is being recognized for her unflappable determination to stop gang violence in Santa Barbara County by aggressively prosecuting the most dangerous gang leaders in our communities. I am sure she appreciates this extraordinary honor, but I believe she would be the first to say that she shares it with her colleagues at the District Attorney’s Office, Santa Maria Police Department, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, Lompoc Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Santa Barbara Police Department.

"Ann has never sought the spotlight nor has she shied away from zealously seeking justice and fighting for public safety. She is both admired by her colleagues and deeply appreciated as the ultimate team player."

This is one of two awards for Prosecutor of the Year that will be presented on the evening of July 9 at the CDAA Summer Conference.

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Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara Takes Part in Alzheimer’s Conference

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Highlighted and applauded at the most recent Alzheimer’s conference, “Dementia: Current Trends & Future Directions” held at the Montecito Country Club, architect Jay Blatter, neurologist Dr. Robert Harbaugh and Rosemarie Harris, executive director at Heritage House, along with Julie McGeever of McGeever Management all contributed to the conference.

Oak Cottage is the newest senior memory care community in Santa Barbara, focusing specifically on care and empowerment for residents with age-related cognitive decline. The project is the brain-child of Mark and Valerie Maldonado, who envisioned a family owned and operated project, embedded within the fabric of the Santa Barbara community. They partnered with McGeever Management — which owns and operates the assisted living community Heritage House, also located in Santa Barbara — to bring an elevated approach to care at Oak Cottage.

Hochhauser Blatter working in conjunction with Santa Barbara Neuroligists and Geriatric designers developed a community whereby a safe and engaging environment was as paramount in the design, as is the activity and therapy programs offered to each resident.

Nestled within the residential 1800 block of De la Vina Street, the project has been designed in an art and crafts vernacular, with deep porches, high ceilings and gracious windows allowing maximum access to natural light and beautiful views of the area.

Forty apartments are split into three intimate neighborhoods, each graced with a large grand living area offering immediate access to activities programming, one on one personalized medical oversight, and farm to table dining.

Residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia are given every opportunity to maintain their existing abilities, and to receive assistance with physical ambulation, memory prompts, and whole body wellness.

Oak Cottage’s staff has been trained in the latest care protocols focusing on dementia capable care, the intent of which is to remove frustrating physical and intellectual barriers, and focus instead on those activities a resident can still participate in successfully, and with enjoyment. Oak Cottage has also become certified as part of the nationally acclaimed Music and Memory program, which uses personalized playlists for each resident to use on I-shuffles, or as part of a larger activity within their neighborhood. Oak Cottage has partnered with local vendors wherever possible in creating their dining program, focusing on local farmer’s produce, meats and seafood. Meals are event worthy, welcome the whole family, and include multiple choices to encourage appetite, hydration and overall well-being.

— Joe Franken is executive director of the Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara.

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Letter to the Editor: Yet More Filth from Oil Companies

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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To the never-ending instances of environmental filth — pollution threatening our health and safety — caused by oil conglomerates in our state, add this:

Methylene chloride, classified as a potential carcinogen, and acetone have been found in oil companies' recycled waste water that they are selling to California farmers for use in agricultural irrigation.

The disposal of drilling's wastewater is a pain in the butt for oil companies — more so since the recent disclosure of their illegal dumping of the toxic-laden stuff into 2,500 disposal wells drilled through California aquifers containing clean water.

So “cleaning up” this wastewater and selling it to farmers is a sweetheart deal for them; they get about $30 per acre foot for it, and farmers are delighted to pay only half the open market price.

What's in this recycled water? Over the last two years, Scott Smith, chief scientist for the environmental group Water Defense, “collected samples of the treated irrigation water that the Cawelo Water District buys from Chevron. Laboratory analysis of those samples found compounds that are toxic to humans, including acetone and methylene chloride — powerful industrial solvents — along with oil.”

“Sarah Oktay, a water testing expert and director of the Nantucket field station of the University of Massachusetts Boston, reviewed Smith's methods … 'My next step would be most likely to look and make sure the crop is healthy.'” (Los Angeles Times, May 2)

Who's doing that? Who's testing the crops fed with this water?

Or, to shift for a moment, who in the state is verifying or refuting Mr. Smith's findings?

“Jonathan Bishop, chief deputy director of the State Water Resources Control Board, said that monitoring oil field activities has been a 'low priority' in recent years. He said the onus for disclosure and testing rests on the discharger, in this case Chevron.”

How many replays of this unfunny movie do we have to see? The gluttonous, law-breaking fox is appointed to guard the chickens. And yet another California regulatory agency, charged with seeing to our health and safety, says, “Gee, we just haven't gotten around to that.”

State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, whose efforts have made her a heroine to anyone concerned with environmental matters in the state, said it is “'obviously unacceptable' that oil contaminants are found in irrigation water. 'Anyone would be extremely concerned.'”

Smith, who has consulted for the Environmental Protection Agency, took samples from 10 points along the eight-mile Cawelo Canal, which contained “concentrations [of acetone and methylene chloride] higher than he said he had seen at oil spill disaster sites.”

So is this toxic material getting into the food plants it waters?

Carl K. Winter at UC Davis, who studies the detection of pesticides in foods: “'It's difficult to say anything for sure because we don't know what chemicals are in the water.'”

Seth B. C. Shonkoff, a researcher analyzing hydraulic fracturing for the state legislature: “'You can't find what you don't look for.'”

No kidding!

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara Airport Partners with Thanks Again to Enhance the Passenger Experience

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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The Santa Barbara Airport has joined Thanks Again, the world’s only airport loyalty coalition, to offer travelers valuable rewards when they park, shop or dine at the airport.

Via Thanks Again, SBA is now afforded the opportunity to better engage its passengers and positively impact their day of travel experience.

Thanks Again member passengers automatically earn more frequent flier miles, hotel points or cash back when they park, shop, dine or utilize services at the Santa Barbara Airport. Once enrolled, travelers can also earn the same cherished benefit at 150 other airports and thousands of neighborhood businesses across North America.

Enrollment in the Thanks Again program is free, convenient and secure. Passengers simply register any American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit/debit cards at thanksagain.com/SBA and then use those cards for purchases at participating locations to automatically earn 1 mile or two points per $1 spent. New members will also receive 100 bonus miles or 200 bonus points when they enroll with a mobile device over the web or by texting FLYSBA to 82257.

“In addition to offering a superior day of travel experience, we are excited to recognize and reward our passengers for choosing our airport and utilizing our parking, shopping and dining options,” Santa Barbara Airport Director Hazel Johns said. “It is important that we recognize our passengers and properly engage them with relevant offers and push notifications while they travel through Santa Barbara Airport.”

In addition to the airport, Santa Barbara area merchants can also participate in Thanks Again to enable member passengers to earn their favorite rewards in the local community.

“Frequent travelers tend to be the best customers of both airports and off-airport businesses," Johns said. "We see an opportunity for the airport to further extend its reach into the community by encouraging local merchants to participate in the Thanks Again program. This Santa Barbara coalition loyalty opportunity is seamless, easy to implement and beneficial to everyone.”

“We are excited to partner with Santa Barbara and provide SBA with a turnkey, airport-wide loyalty and engagement solution,” said Jay Ellis, Thanks Again senior vice president of global network development.  “Thanks Again’s partnership with Santa Barbara Airport delivers additional value to SBA, SBA passengers and other airports that participate in our unprecedented Airport Loyalty Coalition.”

— Lynn Houston represents the Santa Barbara Airport.

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Five People Arrested in Isla Vista Robbery

By | Published on 05/04/2015

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Five people were arrested early Monday in connection with a robbery in Isla Vista, according to the UCSB Police Department.

A sixth suspect remained at large.

The robbery occurred at about 2 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road, according to an automated alert to the campus community from the Police Department.

Details on the robbery were not provided.

The remaining suspect was described as a white male in his 20s, 5-foot-11 and 165 ponds, wearing a dark hoodie, and last seen headed towards Trigo Road.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact police at 805.893.3446 or through the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's anonymous tip program.

The incident occurred just a day after an armed robbery was reported in the same area.

That robbery, which involved three suspects, occurred at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, also in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

The suspects in that case remained at large.

Police did not indicated whether they believe the two robberies are related. Both are being investigated by the Sheriff's Department.

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

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Go Vegan Santa Barbara Protests Sale of Foie Gras Outside of Bouchon Restaurant

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Go Vegan Santa Barbara and its supporters held a demonstration Sunday afternoon in front of Bouchon, 9 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara, to protest the sale of foie gras by local businesses.

The foie gras available in our local restaurants is made using a technique called gavage. During this process, a large tube with an auger is shoved down the throats of ducks and geese to force feed them vast quantities of food so their livers grow up to 10 times the normal size.

The production of foie gras causes severe stress and injury to the animals.

Go Vegan Santa Barbara organizers is asking the public to join in taking a stand against this inhumane product and ask businesses to cease its sale.

Protesters were in costume and our local celebrity pet duck, Pomi, made an appearance. Canine companions and children were also in attendance to speak out against the mistreatment of their animal friends.

“Foie gras is a cruel and antiquated ingredient that is simply unnecessary in our modern culinary landscape,” said Sayward Rebhal of Go Vegan Santa Barbara.

“Whether or not you agree with eating animals, there is a line that we can all draw between good farming practices and torture. Foie gras production falls on the wrong side of that line.”

Click here for a faux gras recipe with all of the flavor and none of the torture.

The mission of Go Vegan Santa Barbara is to provide resources and information for current vegans in the Santa Barbara region, as well as to encourage others to oppose cruelty by adopting a plant-based diet.

Click here for more information about Go Vegan Santa Barbara.

— Dawn Gregory represents Go Vegan Santa Barbara.

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Developers Spruce Up Historic Timbers Restaurant In Hopes of Making a Go of Troubled Property

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Among revitalization plans for far-western Goleta location are an organic farm, market, restaurant — and respect for past

The building stands strong and alone, a bit imposing but not enough to scare away the various owners who have tried but failed to keep Timbers Restaurant up and running on the western outskirts of Goleta.

Built in 1953, famously with oil-streaked timbers procured from the nearby Ellwood Pier, where a Japanese submarine shelled the oil platform a decade earlier during World War II, the restaurant has seen several iterations over the years. It’s also been intermittently empty — the state it’s maintained since 2005.

A new developer hopes to revitalize the property at 10 Winchester Canyon Road near Highway 101, planning an organic farm for hands-on vegetable picking, a local market, bakery, commercial kitchen and a reopening of the historic Timbers Restaurant.

Montecito resident Sandy Boyd of the former Fresh Choice Restaurant and Espresso Roma Café chains has a lease on the property, and he’s hired Jeremiah Higgins and his team at HJL Hospitality Advisors to get the job done.

Crews began cleaning up the old, vacant dining hall in March and have planted the 2½-acre farm, hoping to open the market in June and the restaurant this fall.

The prospect is exciting to Goleta residents but sounds all too familiar.

“It’s been sort of hot and cold over the years,” said Ron Nye, a longtime historian with the Goleta Valley Historical Society. “Every few years somebody would open it up or say they would. There’s been 100 ideas; it’s just so big.

“It’s a shame something profitable and useful to the community can’t be done. It’s a terrific building.”

Boyd and Higgins have accepted that challenge, and they hope locals will come on board, too.

                                                                 •        •        •

As the story goes, H.C. “Tex” Blankenship bought 20 acres of Ellwood land in 1953 with the intention of building a restaurant. Oil companies were leaving the area and giving away timber from the nearby platform, so Blankenship bought the wood.

The wood used to build the Timbers probably came from the oil pier, Nye said, but no evidence proves it was from the platform that was shelled in 1942 by a Japanese submarine, the first assault on the U.S. homeland since Pearl Harbor was attacked the year before.

Nye and other historians also haven’t been able to back up whether shrapnel remnants are visible inside the timber — another myth — or if its gigantic fireplace is actually made from stones from the Lake Cachuma Dam project, which was completed around the same time.

But the uniqueness of the architecture and materials has landed the building on a “historic resource” list in the City of Goleta’s general plan.

Timber that size — 12 inches by 15 inches — can’t be found anymore, Nye said, noting Blankenship’s vision of creating a theme park or roadside attraction.

“The fact that it used oil field piers in its construction ... that makes it significant because that was an important part of Goleta history,” Nye said. “A lot of Goletans worked in the oil fields.”

For whatever reason, Blankenship never opened his restaurant. He handed the reins over to Sam Velliotes and his family, who opened the Timbers in 1963.

At some point in the ’70s, the Timbers became a popular steakhouse called Ruby Begonia’s Roadhouse — kind of a “hippie hangout,” Nye said.

The restaurant reopened in 1985 as the Timbers, and business was booming when it was purchased 22 years ago by Hoosh Santa Barbara Real Estate Investments LLC, boasting an on-site café and catering company used by United Airlines.

The owner planned to build lodging nearby until the 9/11 terrorist attacks. United Airlines pulled out of the catering business after that, and the restaurant soon followed, closing in 2005.

The owner, who asked not to be named, has held onto the building ever since, understanding its architectural and historic value enough to not let anyone tear it down.

Over the years, he’s had several offers for the property but wasn’t interested in pursuing any of them.

He likes Boyd’s new concept and hopes it works out.

                                                                 •        •        •

Boyd, whose grandparents moved to Santa Barbara the year the Goleta shore was shelled, has had a lease on the Timbers building for a few years while toying with its possibilities.

He started the Fresh Choice Restaurant chain and still operates four locations, although at one point there were 20. His six Espresso Roma Cafés were born in Berkeley in 1980.

Boyd’s vision is to create a farm where you pick your own vegetables, and check out at a kiosk or purchase the produce from the market, roadside “barns” or stands, or from the restaurant. Cauliflower, kale, romaine lettuce, peas, pumpkins, squash, radishes and carrots are already growing.

A corresponding market will sell 100 percent local fare and drink, such as olive oils, honey, wine, beer, pistachios, avocados, citrus and more.

Kids could visit an on-site petting zoo, and barbecue grill pits are also in the works.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Higgins, a longtime restaurant and hospitality veteran who’s helped open more than three dozen restaurants, including local joints like Blush, Savoy and Tonic in Santa Barbara and Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.

He’s still searching for more local food, beer and wine vendors, and encourages any interested businesses to email him at [email protected].

The developers recognize what the Timbers means to the community and are happy to help preserve its charm.

Before long, they hope the Timbers Restaurant will once again bustle with activity and become a roadside attraction that finally lives up to its potential.

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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Sister Won’t Let Distance, Difficulty Deter Her from Quest for Justice in Jenny Clark’s Death

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Arizona woman to be in court today in Santa Maria to see Benjamin Bettencourt sentenced for felony DUI convictions stemming from 2012 wreck

Erin Parsons has waited nearly three years to see justice for her sister, who died of her injuries a week after the crash of a van operated by a man a jury recently convicted of drunken driving at the time.

This week, the Arizona resident may finally hear the sentence for Benjamin Bettencourt, a Santa Ynez Valley man who was found guilty for his role in the Nov. 24, 2012, crash that led to Jennifer Clark’s death.

On April 3, jurors found Bettencourt guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, felony driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

Bettencourt’s sentencing is scheduled for Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores’ courtroom in Santa Maria. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

As the trial started in early February Parsons said she was committed to ensuring her older sister, known as Jenny, received justice.

“We’re fighting for the truth to be told,” she said. “I’m representing my sister like I know how she would do for me.”

Parsons added that she believed Bettencourt deserved to be punished for his actions.

For most of the trial, Parsons sat in the courtroom’s front row, often accompanied by her husband, Ryan, and other family members and friends, listening as the defense blamed the crash on Clark.

Bettencourt contended Clark, who had a blood-alcohol content of .20, sat on his lap, yanked the steering and caused the wreck. He was represented by attorney, Darryl Genis, noted for vigorously defending his DUI clients.

During the trial, Genis challenged breathalyzer equipment used to measure his client’s blood-alcohol level and contended laboratory workers mishandled the contents.

While the trial reopened the wounds of her loss, Parsons had praise for Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy, who prosecuted the case, calling him “a voice for us.”

She said she also appreciated the work of the District Attorney’s Office, including that of the support staff during her family’s ordeal.

“Their diligent work and their character has been very helpful for my family to get through this,” Parsons said.

Traveling to the Central Coast for the trial gave Parsons, her husband and their sons a chance to visit Clark’s roadside memorial, which sits near the crash site on Highway 246 between Buellton and Solvang.

Clark grew up in San Diego and moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 2004.

At the time of the crash, the 39-year-old served as a physical education teacher at Oak Valley School in Buellton, taught adaptive physical education for the Santa Ynez Valley Special Education Consortium, and coached volleyball.

“She was an incredible person,” Parsons recalled.

Clark “absolutely loved the outdoors,” participating in all sorts of sports, she added.

“She was pretty radiant with her personality,” she said. “She could light up a room with that smile.”

Clark also was known for her sense of humor and “could crack a joke at anything,” Parsons added.

Word of the horrific crash reached Parsons while she was in labor with her second son at a suburban Phoenix hospital.

Clark had been taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major head injuries. A time of celebrating new life suddenly became a moment of mourning a life cut short.

Days after giving birth, Parsons traveled to Santa Barbara, where Clark was being treated for severe brain trauma.

Parsons introduced her unconscious sister to her newest nephew.

“I was able to say goodbye to her,” Parsons said.

Clark died Dec. 2, 2012.

Parsons soon learned that the fatal wreck wasn’t Bettencourt’s first.

He reportedly was involved in a speed contest on Alisos Canyon Road in 1998 when his vehicle crashed, killing 18-year-old Lesley Alejo.

The wreck left Bettencourt a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He was found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, and was sentenced to probation and community service.

When the jury returned the guilty verdict last month, Parsons didn’t just have her sister in mind, noting it also was vindication for Alejo.

“Justice for Jenny is finally served,” Parsons said after the latest guilty verdicts. “God, that makes me so happy to say.”

After the judge sentenced Bettencourt to a mid-term of five years in state prison Monday morning, Parsons said she was OK with outcome.

"I hope that he does feel remorse one day for Jennifer's and Lesley’s lives," Parsons said.

Her family still has not received an apology for the Jennifer's death.

"It adds to the pain," she said. 

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

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Letter to the Editor: The Drought Disaster Before Us

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Gov. Jerry Brown must act now to defend California against the drought disaster before us.

Delta water must be redirected to agriculture and residential use and non-existent fish left out of the use of scarce water until the reservoirs are filled again by natural rain.

The state must arrange ship and tanker truck shipments of water from out of the state to all points in the state.

California must initiate a crash program of desalination plant construction along the coast to provide water now and in the future for other droughts we are sure to have.

The state must initiate a crash program for reservoir construction to capture more of the rain water now running into the ocean.

We have no idea when the drought will end and, if it does, how long it will take to refill reservoirs and the aquifers.

The steps recommended above may be our only solution. Only time will tell.

Are the politicians in California willing to risk everything on continued inaction?

Only bold actions now will head off the looming disaster.

Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C.

Justin Ruhge
Lompoc

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Sansum Clinic Pediatrician Refutes Claim Doctors Are Refusing to Sign Vaccine Waiver, Outlines Steps

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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While public health officials remain concerned about vaccination rates in the Santa Barbara area, doctors from one local clinic say they will still sign personal belief exemptions, provided the person requesting an exemption brings in the child for an exam and a consultation.

Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)
Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)

Noozhawk received a tip last week that Sansum Pediatric Clinic providers were refusing to sign the Personal Belief Exemption form required for children entering school without the necessary vaccinations.

Local doctors and public health officials have expressed concern over the number of parents opting out of vaccinating their children, particularly in wealthier pockets of the South Coast.

Last month, doctors met at a public forum on immunization, and stated that for about 40 percent of schools in the area, there is excellent immunity, but for most local schools, the rates of immunity need to rise.

Dr. Karen Johnson, chairwoman of Sansum’s Pediatrics Department, spoke with Noozhawk last week and said that while her colleagues don’t want to sign the waivers and would rather that children be immunized, “we do sign the documents under certain situations.”

Johnson said doctors in the department will sign the forms if an appointment is made, and the doctor has a chance to counsel the parent about the benefits of vaccination.

If the parent still refuses, the doctor will sign the form, she said.

“People will fax them in or drop them off at the desk when they haven’t had an appointment in the last couple of years,” she said. “That’s inappropriate.”

The doctors will recommend that families without an appointment have the form handled by another qualified signer, which would include nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, naturopathic doctors or credentialed school nurses.

Johnson said parents can also sign the form themselves under a religious belief exemption.

She said she’s had several people fax in the forms rather than come in for an appointment. When she asked why, she said, they replied that they didn’t have time.

Johnson, herself a mother of four, said she understands but doesn’t think it’s a valid excuse.

Of the thousands of children the clinic sees each year, she said those whose parents have opted out of vaccinations make up a small percentage.

“It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she said, with areas like Hope Ranch and Montecito compiling higher rates.

“It’s really the wealthier patients who do it,” Johnson said.

She recalled one father who brought in his children for their check-ups but was refusing vaccination. She said she was able to explain each vaccine, and the father eventually allowed the immunizations.

Johnson said doctors must help parents with the “fear factor” about what they have read or have heard from other sources.

“It takes a lot of energy and time to go through and reverse the hysteria,” she said.

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

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Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Reinvogorates Your Home Décor at a Fraction of the Price

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Nonprofit agency builds a business supplying locals with repurposed building materials, appliances

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

If you find something you like or need at ReStore, the retail store selling items for the home and run by the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, it is best to to move quickly.

The Goleta store advertises and sells a lot of its repurposed items online, and those in the know pick up home décor, appliances and building materials (such as windows, doors and countertops) at discounts of 50 percent to even 80 percent.

Ruairi​ Bateson, ReStore manager, explained that, “ReStore has been in Santa Barbara for eight years and in its current location for two.”

Every week the store receives at least 20 drop-offs from as far east as Carpinteria and as far west as Gaviota. The items come from homeowners cleaning out their attics, but also include less vintage items like ovens, washing machines and cabinetry pulled by contractors and construction crews from remodels.

A quarter of ReStores sales are actually doors.

Bateson is particular about what the store accepts — no upholstered items or hollow-core doors, for example.

“They don’t sell,” he explained, “and every inch of the store is precious in a place with high rents like Santa Barbara.”

Even though the organization cuts costs by maintaining a skeleton crew of staff and relying heavily on volunteers, “our costs are high here,” Bateson added.

“We pay Habitat’s second highest rent in Southern California, but you pay for your location by getting great stuff like we do here,” he said of the site, 6860 Cortona Drive near Camino Real Marketplace.

Making every inch in the store efficient is important to Habitat for Humanity because all of the profits from the store pay for both rent and administrative expenses and local housing projects. Another 10 percent of unrestricted funds goes to Habitat’s international projects.

According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the organization is a “nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds with people in need regardless of race or religion” with the vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live ...”

In the past 10 years, Habitat for Humanity has built 19 new homes and housed nearly 70 local residents and U.S. citizens in the Santa Barbara area, as well as repaired another 19 homes through the A Brush with Kindness program, which provides exterior repairs to low-income families that fit within the organiztion’s guidelines.

The most recent Habitat for Humanity building project was on East Canon Perdido near downtown Santa Barbara.

For anyone remodeling a home or even looking to do DIY home improvements — especially anyone trying to make these improvements on a budget — Habitat’s store in Goleta is an important resource. There are great deals on high-end home furnishings, appliances and building materials, as well as a large selection of practical items such as kitchen sinks and faucets.

Good prices, while also helping those in need in one’s own community, makes purchasing these items a winning proposition.

Hidden in the back of a business park, the Goleta based ReStore may be off the beaten path and hard to find the first time, but it’s well worth the effort. Just bring a truck, a tape measure, some creativity and readiness to shop.

Click here for more information about the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday 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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Michelle Malkin: Debunking Obama’s Bilious Baltimore Babble

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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It’s never enough. American taxpayers have surrendered billions and billions and billions of dollars to the social-justice-spender-in-chief. But it’s never, ever enough.

The latest paroxysm of urban violence, looting and recriminations in Baltimore prompted President Barack Obama on Tuesday to trot out his frayed Blame The Callous, Tight-Fisted Republicans card. After dispensing with an obligatory wrist-slap of toilet paper-and Oreo-filching “protesters” who are burning Charm City to the ground (he hurriedly changed it to “criminals and thugs”​ midword), the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner got down to his usual business: hectoring his political opponents and grousing that America hasn’t forked over enough money for him to make the “massive investments” needed to “make a difference right now.”

If we are “serious” about preventing more riots, Obama declared, then “the rest of us” (translation: all of us stingy conservatives) have to make sure “we are providing early education” and “making investments” so that inner-city youths are “getting the training they need to find jobs.”

Narcissus on the Potomac wheedled that “there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now.” Me, me, me! His laundry list of the supposedly underfunded cures that he can’t get through Congress includes “school reform,” “job training” and “some investments in infrastructure” to “attract new businesses.”

I’ll give POTUS credit: He can lay it on thicker than a John Deere manure spreader.

Let’s talk “massive investments,” shall we?

In 2009, Obama and the Democrats rammed the $840 billion federal stimulus package through Capitol Hill under the guise of immediate job creation and economic recovery. An estimated $64 billion went to public school districts; another nearly $50 billion went for other education spending. This included $13 billion for low-income public school kids; $4.1 billion for Head Start and child-care services; $650 million for educational technology; $200 million for working college students; and $70 million for homeless children.

How’s that all working out? Economists from the St. Louis Federal Reserve recently surveyed more than 6,700 education stimulus recipients and concluded that for every $1 million of stimulus grants to a district, a measly 1.5 jobs were created. “Moreover, all of this increase came in the form of nonteaching staff,” the report found, and the “jobs effect was also not statistically different from zero.”

More than three-quarters of the jobs “created or saved” in the first year of the stimulus were government jobs, while roughly 1 million private-sector jobs were forestalled or destroyed, according to Ohio State University.

Obama later admitted “there was no such thing” as “shovel-ready projects.” But there were plenty of pork-ready recipients, from green energy billionaires to union bosses to Democratic campaign finance bundlers.

About $230 billion in porkulus funds was set aside for infrastructure projects, yet less than a year later, Obama was back asking for another $50 billion to pour down the infrastructure black hole.

In 2010, Obama signed the so-called Edujobs bill into law — a $26 billion political wealth redistribution scheme paying back Big Labor for funding Democratic congressional campaigns. A year later, several were spending on the money to plug budget shortfalls instead of hiring teachers. Other recipients received billions despite having full educational payrolls and not knowing what to do with the big bucks.

In 2012, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act “to encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.”

In July 2014, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to “help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.” (Never mind that a Government Accountability Office review of the feds’ existing 47 job-training programs run by nine different agencies “generally found the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive or restricted to short-term impacts.”)

In December 2014, the White House unveiled nearly $1 billion in new “investments” to “expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America” from “birth and continuing to age 5.”

That’s all on top of the $6 billion government-funded national service and education initiative known as the SERVE America Act, which was enacted less than a month after the nearly $1 trillion stimulus with the help of a majority of Big Government Senate Republicans. The SERVE America Act included $1.1 billion to increase the investment in national service opportunities; $97 million for Learn and Serve America Youth Engagement Zones; and nearly $400 million for the Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund.

The “social innovation” slush fund was intended to “create new knowledge about how to solve social challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures, and to improve our nation’s problem-solving infrastructure in low-income communities.” The biggest beneficiaries? Obama’s progressive cronies.

Apparently, the richly funded “social innovators” haven’t reached the looter-prone neighborhoods of Baltimore yet. But it’s not ideologically bankrupt Obama’s fault. It’s ours.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Dale Francisco: With Santa Barbara District Elections Ahead, Beware the Pros — and Cons

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Santa Barbara was recently sued by plaintiffs who accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

Dale Francisco
Dale Francisco

The law is a great example of how powerful interest groups have seized control of politics in California. While supposedly protecting the rights of minority voters, it in fact further empowers the Democratic Party and two of that party’s main allies: labor unions and attorneys.

The California Voting Rights Act was written by two attorneys: Robert Rubin, senior counsel at San Francisco’s Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and director of its California Voting Rights Institute, and Joaquin Avila, a Seattle University law professor and former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF.

In 2001, the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature on party lines: Every Democrat voted for it, and every Republican voted against it. Gov. Gray Davis signed it into law in 2002.

The law targets “at-large elections” — elections in which all of the voters in a jurisdiction vote for all of the members of that jurisdiction’s governing body (for example, up until very recently, Santa Barbara City Council elections, in which all city voters voted for all members of the City Council).

Most small cities and school districts in California have at-large elections, and thus are potential targets of lawsuits filed under the Voting Rights Act.

An interesting feature written into the law is that a prevailing plaintiff attorney is entitled to have all of his or her attorney fees and expenses paid by a losing defendant, but a prevailing defendant cannot recover any costs.

This creates a tremendous financial incentive for Voting Rights Act lawsuits. In 2009, Michael Blood of The Associated Press found that in the first seven years of the law’s existence, attorneys Rubin and Avila had earned roughly $4.3 million for their firms by suing school districts and cities for violating the Voting Rights Act.

Even if a defendant chooses to settle, the costs of such lawsuits can be crippling for small jurisdictions.

Many of Rubin and Avila’s original targets were Central Valley school districts. In 2010, then-Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, introduced AB 2330, which would have given school districts 30 days to respond before attorneys could file a lawsuit, thus allowing defendants potentially to avoid paying attorney fees.

Unfortunately, Arambula’s bill never made it out of committee. (Arambula, the son of migrant farmworkers, later left the Democratic Party and became an independent over his belief that labor unions had too much control over the party.)

The California Voting Rights Act makes it much easier for minorities to claim that they have been discriminated against. They need only demonstrate that there is “racially polarized voting” — meaning the candidates chosen by minorities (such as Hispanic voters) are different from those chosen by the majority.

Here’s an example of how “racially polarized voting” lowers the bar for proving racial discrimination. Cruzito Cruz, one of the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit against Santa Barbara, has run for City Council three times. Cruz has never raised any money for campaigning, and so has never advertised, and thus is virtually unknown outside of his neighborhood.

In the 2013 election, he did best in his home precinct (105 votes) and the adjoining precinct (109 votes). His vote totals in other precincts were much lower.

Since virtually all of Cruz’s votes came from a minority neighborhood, there was, by definition, racially polarized voting. Under the Voting Rights Act, that is automatic proof of racial discrimination. Yet in his home precinct, Cruz came in eighth out of 10 candidates. So it seems unlikely that even with a new Hispanic majority district that Cruz could have been elected.

To avoid millions of dollars in costs, the City Council decided to settle the Voting Rights Act case before it went to trial. The city is now divided into six districts, two of which are “majority-minority” districts — ones in which Hispanics are a majority of the voting-age population.

This is the payoff for the Democratic Party, and the reason that the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature strictly on party lines.

Let’s compare District 1 (the Milpas area), one of the two new majority-minority districts, and District 4 (Riviera, Upper East and eastern San Roque). The two districts are roughly equal in population. But because District 1 is majority Hispanic, and many of its residents are not citizens, there are only 8,231 citizens of voting age, whereas in District 4 there are 11,369.

The difference in registered voters is even greater: 5,735 in District 1, compared to 10,328 in District 4. Yet each district gets to elect one City Council member. This means that the voting power of each voter in District 1 is effectively twice as great as that of a voter in District 4.

In California, 59 percent of likely Hispanic voters are Democrats and 18 percent are Republicans. Over time one would expect the newly empowered Hispanic voting districts to elect more Democrats. Unfortunately, because most Democratic candidates in California are financed by the public-employee unions, this could mean even greater union control over local politics, which means continued, unsustainable increases in union wages and benefits — at the expense of taxpayers.

How can we fight back? We must reach out to voters, and make sure they understand that continued, corrupt union control of city politics is harmful to whites, blacks, Hispanics — to everyone. A bankrupt California will serve no one’s interests.

Here’s a simple rule when evaluating candidates in this fall’s City Council race: If a candidate has received financial support from the public-employee unions, especially over a period of years, don’t vote for that candidate. Vote for leaders who represent all the people.

Dale Francisco is a Santa Barbara city councilman.

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Michael Rattray: Tide Shifts in Favor of Goleta Beach Park, and Coastal Commission Could, Too

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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[Noozhawk’s note: This article has been updated below to reflect the endorsement from the local Sierra Club chapter, and not another local organization. An earlier version was incorrect.]

By far the biggest decision on the future of Goleta Beach Park will be made May 13 when the California Coastal Commission votes on the fate of the park’s current protection.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

In the last 13 years, Santa Barbara County crews installed rock buffers in front of the park’s lawn and its western parking lots. The intent was to prevent major erosion during the awful El Niño storms that many of us pray for today during California’s chronic drought.

This journey to save the county’s most popular park — which draws 1.5 million visitors a year — has been a long and arduous battle that finally can have a long-term solution.

Now with a unanimous 5-0 vote for permanency from our county Board of Supervisors, support from both the county and Coastal Commission staff, and an endorsement from our local Sierra Club, we — hopefully — can get an agreement of “no change” from the Coastal Commission itself.

Among the counter arguments for removing this protection are that the rocks are set in the surf line, scouring our beaches and depriving sand from naturally moving down coast. But these assertions were put to rest by a factual environmental impact report that proved otherwise.

It was finally documented that the rocks’ placement doesn’t impede normal ebb and flow of surf during high tides, but instead they are truly doing their job of protecting landward park assets when needed most.

Next on the list of arguments against the rocks was the threat of sea-level rise.

But again, the EIR found that when or if such rises materialize in the Santa Barbara Channel, any impact on beach erosion would be after 2050, eliminating the need of removing the rocks today.

And, by the way, the NOAA has been monitoring sea-level changes in our channel since 1974, and in 40 years there has been less than an inch of rise, a far cry from the 2 to 5 feet that computer models continue to predict.

With these arguments out of the way, all citizens of this county finally will be able to enjoy this wonderful beach park without the threat of destruction like we have experienced during past winter storms — before the buried rocks were installed.

But we can’t ease up now. Your support in defense of this position is most welcome, either through writing to the Coastal Commission or by attending the May 13 commission hearing in Santa Barbara. The hearing begins at approximately 4 p.m. in the Board if Supervisors hearing room on the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

— Michael Rattray represents Friends of Goleta Beach Park.

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Steven Crandell: 3 Ways to Reboot Your Spirit

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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Think of it as our human software — the spiritual operating system that orients everything we do. It guides us as we think, work, play, love, create and give. Have you checked what spiritual OS you’re running? Are you happy with its functionality? Would you like to know three ways to update and restart your spiritual self?

The following ideas are ancient and modern, commonplace and mysterious, available and rarely accessed. They can be applied to all belief systems, including atheism.

Breathe

I believe awareness brings connection. And connection brings wholeness and love.

What brings awareness?

Breathing.

To me, it’s a vital sign not only because it keeps our heart beating, but also because it opens our spirit for connection. In a truly wonderful irony, we breathe to keep our body functioning so our spirit can connect far beyond the confines of our cellular structure.

Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh writes that: “Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

And our thoughts connect us to the cosmos — everyone and everything.

Try this: Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowly. Say “Thank you.” (It helps me to think of something about which I feel authentically grateful on the exhale.) Try it three times. See how you feel. Try it five more times. See how you feel. Now try it 10 times. (This will take less than two minutes in total.)

There are many ways that breathing can help connect body and spirit. But sometimes we just need to reverse the negative inertia that can drain our energy so we can direct our own journey in a manner that fits with our most heartfelt values.

Sing

Why do you think everyone sings “Happy Birthday” as a way to celebrate an individual’s entrance on the planet?

Why do faithful folks sing or chant in every spiritual tradition?

Singing transforms language into music. And music is an invitation to emotion and movement. It’s all about connection and community. The vibrations of our vocal chords become vibrations in others’ ears. Feelings become easier to express and understand.

As we hear a good song, the artificial divisions of body, mind, heart and spirit become difficult to keep separate. Do you tap your foot to the beat? Do you want to dance? Does a memory come to mind, revived and made potent by the simplest tune? Do you want to sing along?

Yet so many of us think we “can’t” sing. Or that our voices are somehow “bad.”

This stunts our spirits. When we sing we can find instant connection with the creativity in our own bodies. When we sing with other people, we can feel the instant community that a shared song can bring.

Try this: Find some privacy and then sing your name. To any tune. Make one up. Or just use “Twinkle, Twinkle.” And while you sing, put one hand on your voice box — that’s in the throat area of the neck if you’ve never checked — and the other hand on your heart. You will feel the vibration.

Then put your fingers in your ears and sing again. You will sound different, but you will be able to hear yourself much better.

Then sing a simple song using only the words “thank you” repeated. See how you feel after this. Try it with an understanding friend if you like. Feel their voice as it vibrates in their body. Touch the miracle of another’s voice singing. Then sing along.

Always Have Plan B Ready to Implement

My Plan B is for when things don't work out, for when I suffer, for when my loved ones suffer, for when I feel disconnected and spiritually stuck.

My Plan B is not fancy or complicated.

My Plan B is just to keep trying. No matter what. Learning where possible. Never giving up. I love my Plan B. It’s the ultimate backup.

Try this: When things go badly, think of something you are authentically grateful for. Once you have it in mind, just say, “Thank you.” Say it even though your misfortune may be uppermost in your mind.

Gratefulness can come from the most basic things. That we’re alive. That we have friends. That we have food and shelter. No bonus points for complexity here. The idea is to get a toehold. To keep trying by staying engaged, by staying in relationship with the positive aspects of our lives.

In many ways, our thoughts forge our experience and we mold our thoughts moment by moment through free will. Finding an authentic thank you is a way to exercise our spiritual power to choose integrity, grace and connection.

I often think of the process like this: We go inside to connect outside. We seek our own balance to unite with a balance that transcends our divisions and unites us all.

Our breath, our voices, our ability to keep trying — these are all declarations of our belonging.

Truth is, we humans focus on our differences in blatant disregard for our common biology and experience. Have you ever stopped to consider that we are all sons or daughters, all part of a remarkably long line of humans nurturing other humans?

I believe we just need to let the light of this connection permeate to our deeper selves. That’s why the simple spiritual reboot I’ve proposed can help. It reminds us of what we already have — a shared humanity, a shared legacy and a shared destiny.

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

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Three Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Armed Robbery

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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An armed robbery involving three men occurred early Sunday in Isla Vista, and the suspects remained at large, according to the UC Santa Barbara Police Department.

The robbery was reported at about 4:30 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road, the department said in an automated alert to the UCSB community.

One of the suspects may have been armed with a firearm, police said.

Residents were advised to stay indoors and avoid the area.

Shortly after 10 a.m., police issued the following update:

“The area of the robbery has been thoroughly searched and checked by deputies and officers,” a statement said. “The suspects have not been located, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation into the crime.”

Additional details on the incident were not available.

Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call UCSB police at 805.893.3446.

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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Cinema in Focus: ‘The Water Diviner’

By | Published on 05/03/2015

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3 Stars — Thought-Provoking

Directing himself in the title role, Russell Crowe creates a multilayered romantic tale in The Water Diviner.

Set within World War I when Australia invades the Ottoman empire, the story of a father whose three sons are lost in a particularly brutal battle is true. Based on that fact, Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios work together to create the screenplay from the book of the same name written by Andrew and Dr. Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios.

The romance is both expected and exotic. Joshua Connor (Crowe) lives with his family in the Australian outback, where he has a special skill of identifying where to dig his wells. Deeply in love with Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie), they live an idyllic agrarian life together with their three sons Arthur (Jack Douglas Patterson and Ryan Corr), Edward (Aidan Liam Smith and James Fraser) and Henry (Ben Norris and Ben O’Toole).

Deeply connected to his sons, Joshua nevertheless encourages them when they join the Australian and New Zealand army and soon engage in the Battle of Gallipoli. Using flashbacks and dreams throughout the film, the tale weaves Eliza and Joshua’s sorrow with their sublime past.

When Eliza demands that Joshua go find their sons’ bodies and bring them back to the ranch, he hesitates until she commits suicide and now he goes to Turkey to fulfill her wishes. It is a journey inward as he faces his own complicity in their loss as well as outward as he discovers and recovers life.

As such romantic tales go, Joshua soon crosses paths with a beautiful widowed Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), whose son, Orhan (Dylan Georgiades), helps fill the emptiness in his heart.

In a more complex way, Joshua is befriended by the Ottoman officer who was in charge of the army that killed his sons, Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdoğan). This relationship adds a new level of intrigue and hope.

Being able to divine where water might be available below the surface is a helpful metaphor for the love that Joshua has for others, which also lies beneath the surface. Knowing where to give love and how to reignite his family is a helpful ability for all of us.

Discussion

» It isn’t often that a father sends three sons to war together. Joshua regrets that, in their teens, he had taught them about God and country in romanticizing war. How were you taught about war and what do you teach others?

» When the stern pastor notes that Joshua’s wife prayed weekly for her sons, do you believe this prayer was answered? In what way was it answered?

» Why do you think Joshua rejected God?

» The ongoing war in the Middle East is many centuries long. What do you think will bring peace to that region of humanity?

— 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 www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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Driver Hurt When Vehicle Strikes Utility Pole, Overturns East of Santa Maria

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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Minor injuries reported in crash on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road

A driver escaped with only minor injuries Saturday night when his vehicle slammed into a utility pole east of Santa Maria, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

After the vehicle struck the pole, he said, it continued into an agricultural field, where it overturned.

County fire personnel, assisted by Santa Maria firefighters, had to do extensive work to free the driver from the wreckage, Zaniboni said.

The victim, a man in his 40s who was not otherwise identified, was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center.

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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Former Colleagues Remember Late Santa Maria Police Chief Aubrey Patterson

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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Retired longtime officer, who died last month at 74, served as interim chief in the 1990s

A retired Santa Maria police officer, who served as interim chief for several months in the 1990s, died last month. In spite of his reluctance to take credit, he is being remembered for his role mentoring multiple officers.

The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.
The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.

Longtime Santa Maria Valley resident Aubrey Patterson, 74, died April 22, his family said in an obituary.

He worked for the Santa Maria Police Department for 28 years, starting as a patrolman and finishing as a chief.

Cmdr. Kendall Greene said Patterson’s mentoring continued after the former chief left the police force.

“If it wasn’t for Aubrey Patterson, I wouldn’t be a police officer today,” Greene told Noozhawk.

“Sometimes he was just an ear to which I could vent,” he added.

Patterson shared “invaluable words of wisdom,” and helped Greene learn to deal with disappointment.

“I’m just thankful for the advice he gave me,” he said. “He’s a good man and he will be missed.”

Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant and former city councilman, also considered Patterson a mentor.

“You knew you could trust him and you knew he had high standards that you had to live up to in order to work for him,” he said.

“He was just an all-around great guy,” Cordero added.

Patterson’s friends and former co-workers recalled the retired officer’s love of sports. He played on SMPD’s baseball team.

“He had a great sense of humor, a high standard of work ethic, and he had clear, high demands for the people who worked for him,” Cordero said. “He had expectations and he didn’t hold back in telling you ... I learned a great deal from him and I always felt that I could trust him.”

Patterson also was “an outstanding homicide investigator” when he worked in the detectives’ bureau, he added.

In a cost-saving move, for a time the city made the police chief also manage the Fire Department. At that time, Patterson was named department chief for the law enforcement agency while Dan Shiner oversaw both agencies, according to Cordero.

After Shiner left in 1998, Patterson filled in for several months as police chief until a permanent replacement could be hired. However, his name is not on the official list of chiefs on the department’s website.

Before joining the Police Department, Patterson served in the Air Force for eight years.

While stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Patterson met and married his wife, Mary Sue. They have a daughter, Jeania Ann Reasner, and a son, Joey Patterson, along with three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Patterson also is survived by a brother, Jack.

At Patterson’s request, no funeral is planned.

“He didn’t want a big deal made of his accomplishments in life,” his obituary said. “He also didn’t want a big deal made, he said, when he was called home.

“He wants no funeral. He said he’d like it if his family and friends would remember him once in awhile with a smile and maybe do a favor for someone to try and make their journey just a little better.”

Funeral arrangements were handled by Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary of Santa Maria.

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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Diane Dimond: How to End Cycle of Civil Unrest? Stop Running, Stop Shooting

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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After watching the situation in Baltimore these past couple of weeks — yet another American city strangled by violence stemming from the death of yet another unarmed black man — it suddenly dawned on me. It all starts with one stupid action.

I want to yell advice at the top of my lungs.

Stop running away from police!

But that is only half of the problem.

Stop instinctively shooting or manhandling suspects!

It is clear that both sides in these deadly clashes are to blame for inviting and escalating their situations. President Barack Obama calls it a “slow-rolling crisis” and reminds us that, “We shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”

I agree. Baltimore, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia — among the many American cities with a history of police brutality allegations.

More advice.

Stop assuming every cop is out to get you for something.

Stop assuming every young minority male is guilty of something.

Stop engaging in suspicious or criminal activity that you know will likely attract the police.

Stop giving handcuffed suspects with no seat belt protection retaliatory “rough rides” in the back of police transport vans.

Some young men of color do not respect or trust the police. They often don’t obey commands to stop, show identification or answer questions. These young men only make it worse for themselves.

At the same time, some officers lack respect as well. They see a young man of color and automatically go to extremes. They aggressively approach; they speak to them in a tone that goes against their status as a protector of all citizens. A few officers reach for their guns first and think later, in my opinion.

When these two forces converge, they can create a deadly encounter.

The senseless death of Freddie Gray, 25, of Baltimore, touched off this latest spasm of violence. On the morning of April 12, police on bicycles locked eyes with Gray (likely known to them as a man with a serious drug-dealing record dating back to 2007) on a Baltimore street corner. Gray suddenly began to run. Police followed, caught him and took him into custody on unknown charges. He was tossed into a police transport van for the ride to booking.

Gray’s family says he died after his neck was broken, his upper spine was smashed and his voice box crushed. They believe the injuries happened after he was arrested and given one of those “rough rides.” There is no official confirmation of this, but something happened in that van.

Less than an hour later, Gray was admitted to a hospital, where he went into a coma and died several days later.

Peaceful protests were organized in Baltimore, but they morphed into what can only be called bloody riots. Stores were looted; cars were set on fire; police officers were attacked and sent to the hospital. Dozens of protesters were arrested. Firefighters were outnumbered by rioters — their fire hoses cut by thugs. The governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The mayor decreed a week-long curfew. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts revealed much of the damage was done by rampaging high school kids.

“You had one mother who grabbed their child who had a hood on his head, and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed,”​ Batts said during a news conference. “I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”

That mother’s name was Toya Graham, and video of her pulling her son Michael, 16, away from a group of young thugs — smacking him all the way home — brought hope to my heart.

I am a friend to good police officers, and they are mortified by all the recent deaths of unarmed black citizens.

In Cleveland, Tamir Rice, just 12 years old, was shot dead on the sidewalk after he failed to drop his toy gun fast enough. Walter Scott, 50, of South Carolina, was shot in the back multiple times as he ran away from a traffic stop, apparently afraid his unpaid child support would catch up with him.

Other unarmed black men, like Eric Garner in New York and Ezell Ford, a mentally challenged unarmed black man in Los Angeles, also died at the hands of police.

So let me ask you this. How do we stop this awful cycle? Which side finds respect for the other first — or does neither?

How about starting with a call to all mothers of young men to do what Toya Graham did? Take responsibility for their own progeny and teach them to respect the law whether they are young minorities or police officers with a badge. Stop running. Stop shooting.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Mark Shields: Voters Prefer Governors Over Senators for President

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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In the past 94 years, American voters have elected a total of two U.S. senators — John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Barack Obama — president. By contrast, before Obama, four of the past five men elected to the White House — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — were either sitting or former governors.

Why the electorate’s preference for governors over senators? Governors have to make tough choices about how to balance the state budget, which the governor then has to persuade reluctant state legislators to pass. Senators instead make tough speeches and then issue a news release endorsing an unattainable — and unworkable — constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

Governors, who often deal with natural disasters and public emergencies, can point to real changes in people’s lives — the opening of a new community college or jobs with employers they brought to their state.

Senators, who speak in their own jargon about “lacking a quorum” or “tabling the motion to recommit” that means nothing to most Americans, represent the Congress, a universally disliked institution, and Washington, an unpopular place.

But because a senator is only one of 100 and accountable only for her or his own voting record, most voters don’t get upset when their ambitious senator misses the hearings of the Subcommittee on Weights and Measures to travel to a county convention in Iowa or to a party dinner in New Hampshire. That’s what senators do; they run for president. And it isn’t as though being in the Senate involves real work or heavy lifting.

The disadvantage for a governor — not as the party’s nominee for president in the general election but in leaving the state capitol to seek that presidential nomination by traveling to the primary and caucus states — is that the constituents, though they may take some home-state pride in all the national attention, want their governor on the job full time.

Consider New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state’s credit rating has been downgraded nine times during his administration. By a 2-to-1 margin in a Quinnipiac University poll, New Jersey voters do not think Christie should run for president. And if he does, 70 percent of his constituents believe he should immediately resign as governor.

Wisconsin voters are only slightly less unenthusiastic about the fact that their governor, Scott Walker, who is at the top of many national surveys, may run for the White House. By a 3-to-2 margin in the most recent Public Policy Polling survey, Dairy State voters do not think Walker should run for the highest office.

His job rating — according to the tally of the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker has been out of state about half the days in 2015 — has dropped to its lowest point in four years. A presidential bid by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would also be opposed by about two in three Louisiana voters.

You can hear the identical campaign case against Christie, Jindal and Walker from Republican rivals for the nomination: “Let’s listen to those who know him best, his home-state voters — who overwhelmingly do not want him to run.”

If you are the presidential nominee, it can be good to be a governor. But the real job of being governor can make it difficult to win that nomination.

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Orcutt Schools Roll Out the Red Carpet in Celebration of Inaugural Digital Media Academy

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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Tuesday awards night to showcase range and creativity of students’ new technology skills

Complete with red carpet arrivals, paparazzi and stars — aka students and teachers —the Orcutt Union School District will celebrate the first digital media academy with a Hollywood-style event.

The sold-out event set for Tuesday evening at Pacific Christian Center, 3435 Santa Maria Way, will include showings of student-made productions for the first Educational Media Innovation — dubbed EMI, it’s pronounced “emmy” — Awards.

The academy, led by 30 teachers on campuses in the district, aims to provide the digital literacy skills that today’s students need.

“This is where education is moving,” Superintendent Deborah Blow said. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.”

EMI Awards will be given in 10 categories. Six People’s Choice nominees will be chosen by those at the EMI Awards with voting via text messaging at the end of the night. Two Grand Recognition Awards also will be presented.

In all, 18 student productions will be shown, trimmed from a field of 110 submissions.

The 30 participating teachers applied for the district’s inaugural program last fall.

“It just seemed like a really neat opportunity to integrate technology in the classroom,” said first-year Olga Reed Elementary School teacher Nick Spaht, from a classroom with sixth  and seventh grades.

Orcutt Academy Charter School teacher Michelle Clayton said she applied because the program sounded like an exciting opportunity — both for her and for her students.

“It can never hurt to build technology skills in today’s educational world,” she said.

Clayton said students worked in groups of four to create public service announcements.

“The collaborative piece for them was amazing because I really saw kids working together on a final product and it was something they had never done before …,” she said. “There were kids who ended up being the main videographers and the main editors, but they all had a hand in every part of it, which is great.”

Spaht agreed.

“They did a fantastic job with their videos,” he said, adding that his students’ productions centered around character words such as perseverance, trustworthiness, honesty and integrity.

Clayton’s students’ topics run the gamut but center on “kid issues” — belonging, bullying, making a difference in the world.

Spaht and Clayton were able to collaborate since Orcutt Academy and Olga Reed share the Los Alamos campus. They said they plan to make educational videos to benefit both schools.

From camera angles to voice overs to all kinds of software, eighth-graders Liana Clark, Domeneque Remirez and Thomas Cardona, along with seventh-grader Leticia Ruvalcaba, said they learned assorted skills while working on their productions.

The students said they came away with more than technological lessons.

“Teamwork — definitely teamwork,” Thomas said in describing what he learned.

“Trying to listen to others to see everyone else’s ideas,” Leticia added.

“And being more open to other ideas,” Liana said.

It also boosted students’ confidence with technology, they agreed.

“I think, overall when we were making these videos, I think that we got closer together as friends,” Domeneque added.

Their teacher taught them how to use the hardware and software, but otherwise let the students create without interference.

“It was really nice how she made it our video, instead of a teacher video, and how she let it be a reflection us,” Liana said. “It was learning by experience.”

The students also gained an appreciation for longer productions after seeing how much work went into their one-minute shows.

Some of the students confessed to nerves and excitement for the awards night.

“I’m excited to see what all the other students have done throughout the district,” Leticia said.

When she was hired last year, Blow cited the digital media academy as one her goals for the district.

Teachers were equipped with technology and attended training sessions before taking the lessons into their classrooms. Schools also received carts that carry laptop computers for classroom use across the campus.

Not only does the program give some students and teachers new skills, it also provides infusions of technology for campuses, which often had relied on donated — also known as older — computers, officials noted.

“I think that’s why this program has been such a shot in the arm because the teachers and students were ready for some new technology,” Blow explained. “While we’ve done a great job with what we’ve had, it’s nice to get some current equipment in place.”

Next year, more teachers will be equipped and prepped to lead the academy, with the inaugural group serving as mentors while expanding their own skills.

Approved by the Orcutt school board in October, the $300,000 program was not really launched in classrooms until January, so this year’s academy is abbreviated compared to future versions.

Knowing that, Blow said she’s impressed.

“They’ve just blown me away with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time,” she said.

Spaht is already looking ahead to having a full year and expanding his lessons in 2015-2016.

“I’m super excited to see what else we can do with this technology,” he added.

Blow also expects next year to hold two shows since the venue is expected to be standing-room-only with this year’s group of participants Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to be a great evening,” Blow said of awards night. “I know the films that are going to be shown, and it’s going to be such a nice variety of inspirational videos, educational videos, a lot of innovation and special effects and some humor.

“We’re going make people laugh and we’re going to touch their heart.”

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.

Superintendent Deborah Blow brought the digital media academy to the Orcutt Union School District to boost students' technology skills. “This is where education is moving,” she says. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.” (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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United Launch Alliance Union Workers Vote To Ratify Contract

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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Company urged Vandenberg AFB employees to approve pact, machinists’ negotiating committee declined to recommend

United Launch Alliance employees represented by the machinists union at Vandenberg Air Force Base and in Alabama and Florida narrowly voted Sunday to ratify the company’s final offer, which union leaders had said they couldn’t recommend.

Union officials said Sunday afternoon that 53 percent of the voters approve the contract, which becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday. While workers at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., voted in favor of the contract, the majority of the employees at ULA’s Decatur, Ala., manufacturing plant rejected it, according to a union Facebook post that later was removed.

The favorable vote means ULA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers avoided a strike.

ULA had urged workers to approve the three-year contract.

“In the coming years, ULA will face several daunting challenges, including fierce competition for new launch opportunities, a government-mandated deadline for an American-made engine, and customer demands for a lower-cost rocket,” said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive officer. 

“ULA has a finite window to secure our place as the spaceflight partner of choice for the next generation of government and commercial customers.”

Bruno also appealed to employees’ own interests.

“We believe the proposed contract is fair, recognizes our world-class workforce, offers our IAM-represented employees a wage and benefit package that exceeds what can be found elsewhere in the communities where we live, and enables us to succeed and secure a future we can all be proud of,”  he said.

Noting “these were tough negotiations,” machinists union leaders said they fought hard for members’ priorities, particularly retirement and medical costs. However, ULA remained firm on freezing the pension plan in 2017, union officials added.

“There are good things and bad things in this offer,” union leaders said in a letter to members, urging them to read the union’s summary and discuss it with their families.

“The contract offer fell short of our expectations and what we wanted to bring back to our members. Therefore, your negotiating committee decided unanimously that we cannot recommend this contract. The final decision as ALWAYS, rests with you, our membership.”

Both sides opened contract negotiations in mid-April.

ULA officials said the proposed contract calls for: 

» A 7 percent cumulative pay hike over the term of the agreement

» $6,000 ratification agreement

» $850 lump sum payments annually for supplemental cost of living, three health care plans with ULA paying between 80 percent and 82 percent

» More related to pension and employer-matched savings plans.

Formed in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin and, as of last fall, employs approximate 850 machinists union members, at Vandenberg and facilities in Decatur, Ala., and at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Vandenberg and Florida are the launch sites for ULA’s Atlas and Delta families of rockets while Decatur is home to the manufacturing plant for the company, which has its headquarters in Centennial, Colo.

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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Louise Palanker: Transgender Transitions, Sister Flirting with My Ex-Boyfriend, Paying for Prom Limo

By | Published on 05/02/2015

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Question from Melissa

Hi. I have been thinking to tell my mom I want to really transition right now, but sometimes she tells me wait and I do, but I just can’t wait to be who I want to be, and she knows :( (I’m transgender male to female.)

Weezy

The best thing to do would be to see a specialist. Your mother understands that this is a very important decision and she wants you to be certain, but there is medical wisdom that says the sooner a child starts transitioning, the less he or she will have to deal with adolescence and puberty in the wrong body.

For example, hormone blockers are an excellent initial step as they halt the onset of dramatic changes while also being reversible should you decide that you would like to remain a physical boy.

An expert will help you make your decision. Google the words transgender and the name of your town. Start researching and talking to experts and other families who are grappling with the same issue.

Click here for more information about cross-sex hormone therapy for transgender teens.

To help everyone better understand transgender children, please watch this TED Talk delivered by Dr. Norman Spack:

(TED video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Samantha

Hello Weezy. So ... I am still in love with my ex-boyfriend. I always noticed my sis flirting with him. She knows I love him. She saw me cry my eyes out every single night for eight months and she told me she was not flirting. She would never do that to me.

Well I SAW IT. She finally admitted it last night. She flirted with him.

And the worst part of the story is she said she’s in love with him. Yesterday she cried with me, and said sorry but just ... The heart wants what it wants!

I know I’m depressed when I need sleeping pills and tonight I needed one. I can’t sleep! I can’t stop thinking. I still can’t believe it.

My sister and I are so close and we do everything together. We know everything about each other, so how could she do this to me? I really need an answer.

Please, help me.

Weezy

Tell your sister that when she says, “The heart wants what it wants,” she is quoting Woody Allen, a man who dated and married his stepdaughter, the sibling of his children.

The heart may want to knock over a liquor store, but it doesn’t do that because the head says, “Hey, Heart, that would be wrong.” There are a lot of boys on this planet. Your sister chose to go after your crush. She could have found him very attractive and still decided not to flirt with him until you, her sister, were completely over him.

But do keep in mind that she, too, is growing up and learning that actions come with consequences. You may not feel very close to her right now, so if she experiences you pulling away it is because she decided to romantically pursue your ex-boyfriend.

In doing so, she was not showing a great deal of concern for you. Timing and sensitivity are so important. Sisters really should not be going anywhere near a romantic connection with each other’s exes, unless the coast is completely clear. Meaning, whenever you are ready to move on. Whenever you are prepared to say “I now love him as a brother and I would be happy to see my sister with this guy.”

On some level, your sister understands what she did, so continue to cry with her and also make a request that seems appropriate. You can say, “If you are in love with him and you wish to date him, I will need to distance myself from the two of you. I don’t know how long I will feel angry and hurt but it may be for a long while.”

Or you could say, “Can you please wait a month to date him? By then I may be over him.” But talk to her. Have a dialogue.

We don’t want you getting addicted to pills. Please be careful. These heartaches do fade into memory but right now, as you heal, think about this. A guy who would go after your sister may not be much of a guy.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Sabrina

OK, so me and my friend are going to prom together. My mom is paying for a luxury car. It’s $140. My mom doesn’t know my friend’s parents and she is not going to ask them to help pay.

Now, I am really annoyed because my friend’s parents are telling her that she can’t go with me because they don’t know me or my mom. And they say they can’t trust anybody. So my friend asked if my mom can go over to her dad’s store and talk to him about it!

I’m like WTF! My mom is paying for your stupid ride. Are you serious? Now my mom has to walk all the way to her dad’s store to do him a favor? Like seriously?! Who does she think she is?! Like YOU’RE NOT EVEN PAYING ANYTHING AND YOU’RE BEING SO PICKY!!!

And her parents didn’t even offer a little money at least. Oh, and now they also want to meet the driver! Like WTF! YOU’RE NOT EVEN PAYING ANYTHING!!! It just gets me so mad!!!!!!! What do I say to her? How do I hold my anger? I just feel like I’m so mad.

Weezy

You are angry because you are not aware of the bigger picture. There are things in life that we value. Money is certainly one of them. But money is a human construct and its value has been assigned to it by us as a society.

You refer often in your post to the money being spent to purchase this car as if that trumps all else. It does not. The Beatles have in fact advised us that “Money Can’t Buy You Love.” They should know. They made a lot of money.

Money also can’t buy you wisdom. If it could, you would not have felt a need to post this question.

There is nothing that people value more highly than their children. Prom is a notoriously dangerous night. A LOT can go wrong. Yes most parents want their child to experience prom. But they NEED to hold out hope that their child is safe at prom.

Your paying for this ride has NOTHING to do with these people’s sense of safety and security.

What they are requesting is entirely acceptable and expected.

If you want the pleasure of this girl’s company in a car that is being arranged by you, then it is YOUR responsibility to help her parents feel OK about it. This is no different than you having a party and inviting people over. Are parents supposed to just send their kids over to a raging kegger because you’re paying for it?!

Arrange a conversation between her parents and yours. If a nice ride is commissioned for prom then the family that pays is the family that can afford such luxuries. It is then this family’s responsibility to make the other family feel comfortable about the evening’s plan.

Hopefully, understanding all of this from her parents’ point of view will help alleviate your anger.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Community Organizations Hold May Day Rally in Santa Maria to Protest New ICE Facility

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Protesters say they fear the soon-to-open Immigration and Customs Enforcement office will separate families through deportations

A new Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Santa Maria provokes fear to thousands of families in the Santa Maria Valley, speakers said Friday afternoon while standing yards from a new but not-yet-occupied facility.

“Today, we combat that fear with love and a message welcoming immigrants here in Santa Maria,” said Hazel Davelos from CAUSE, before calling on city leaders to show that immigrants are welcome and treated with respect and dignity.

A coalition of community groups including unions, religious organizations and others gathered near 740 W. Century St. to air their concerns that the facility will lead to separation of immigrant families through deportations. The group numbered approximately 20 people.

Friday evening, about 70 people gathered at the corner of Broadway and Main Street for a May Day rally, noting International Day of the Worker and the role of immigrants in the community.

Drivers in passing vehicles at the busy intersection honked in support of the group, whose members were holding signs saying “No ICE,” “The only ICE we want is in our raspadas” and “Immigrants are workers too.”

Department of Homeland Security officials have said the facility will replace aging buildings at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. The relocated operations have occurred in northern Santa Barbara County since 1996.

Like the Lompoc operations to be replaced, the Santa Maria facility will have “secure space for interviewing and briefly holding individuals who are coming into ICE custody following their release from area jails or prisons,” Homeland Security officials said.

Councilwoman Terri Zuniga attended Friday afternoon’s event, and said immigrants make Santa Maria a vibrant and diverse community 

She pledged to do her best to hold federal officials to their assurances regarding the number of people who will be processed at the Santa Maria site, the scope of the operations and their hours of their operations

May Day
Armed with various signs, about 70 people participate in a May Day rally Friday evening in downtown Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The city’s review of the proposed ICE facility prompted thousands to attend the City Council and Planning Commission meetings in protest in 2014.

Local business owner Tony Coles said diversity fuels economy and noted that the work of many immigrants makes local firms successful.

“Part of diversity is our immigration population and they need to be welcomed in and incorporated into the economic development of our city …,” he said. “Some of the most successful businesses here employ that population. They’re feeding them in restaurants. They’re shopping in our stores. They’re a big part of the business here so it’s time that we embrace our diversity here in Santa Maria.”

May Day is important to labor unions because it represents the formation of the eight-hour workday, according to Juan Cervantes of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

“Farm workers were excluded from the 8-hour day and we’re still being excluded now,” Cervantes said, adding it’s a shame to spend government money on a new ICE facility to process immigrant workers “who have done nothing but look for a better life.”

The national union has made it a priority to protect immigrant workers, he said.

“They are needed for their hard labor,” he said. “They want a job but they want to be part of the community. They pay their property taxes. They pay their taxes for gasoline. They pay all taxes and this is unfair to this community.”

The Rev. Cannon Deborah Dunn from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church said she wants immigrant families to feel welcome.

“At St. Peter’s, when we say everyone is welcome we mean everyone,” Dunn said.

The afternoon event ended with a “unity clap” followed by chants of “Si se puedes” or “Yes, we can.”

“I’m just so disappointed this building exists,” said the Rev. John Dear from the Catholic Church's Monterey Diocese. “Today, we stand together on behalf of the immigrant community to call upon the federal government to do everything possible to make sure this new ICE facility does not detain, process, separate immigrant families who have not committed serious crimes — simply living and working here in Santa Maria.”

He called on local policymakers show immigrants they are “welcome and safe in Santa Maria.”

“Immigrants are a great blessing. In the Christian tradition, they are Christ in disguise,” Dear said.

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

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Santa Barbara Welcomes Home Remains of Army Sergeant Captured During Korean War

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Thousands of people line Hollister Avenue to pay their respects to Wallace Dawson, who died in 1951 of malnutrition after being captured by enemy forces

Dawson
Sgt. Wallace Dawson

The remains of a U.S. serviceman who went missing more than 60 years ago after being captured by enemy forces during the Korean War were finally laid to rest at Goleta Cemetery on Friday morning, where the sergeant was given full military honors.

Army Sgt. Wallace Dawson of Santa Barbara was 21 at the time of his death from malnutrition in June 1951, after he was captured by enemy forces, according to the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA.

In early February 1951, Dawson and elements of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division were occupying a position in the vicinity of Sang-sok, South Korea, when their unit was overwhelmed by Chinese forces. 

The attack caused the unit to withdraw south to a more defensible position, and Dawson was reported missing Feb. 14, 1951, according to a statement from the DPAA.

Two years later, during Operation Big Switch, returning American prisoners reported that Dawson was captured by enemy forces and died in June 1951 from malnutrition and was reported to have been buried at prisoner of war Camp 1 in Changsong, South Korea.

The remains of those who had died in the war were exchanged by the United Nations and Communist forces in 1954, and all of the remains were turned over to the Army Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan, for analysis. 

The unidentified remains were interred as unknown soldiers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii

In 2014, the Department of Defense laboratory in Hawaii re-examined the records and scientists from DPAA, and the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory was able to identify Dawson's remains. Chest radiography and dental comparison and other circumstantial evidence that matched his records were used in the effort.

Dawson
The remains of Army Sgt. Wallace Dawson are removed from the hearse before being laid to rest Friday at Goleta Cemetery. (Cyndie Young photo)

The DPAA said that nearly 8,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, and investigations are still ongoing to identify remains.

More than 2,000 students and staff of San Marcos High School lined Hollister Avenue on Friday to their respects during Sgt. Dawson's procession.

From Ward Drive to San Antonio Road, people lined each side of the roadway, waving American flags.

Dawson's high school class of 1949 came to the service, along with local veterans who fought in the Korean War. 

More than two dozen motorcycles from the Patriot Guard Riders also followed the procession, and two Santa Barbara County Fire trucks were also on hand to raise a large American flag in Dawson's honor.

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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Minor Injuries Reported in Highway 154 Crash

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Single-vehicle accident occurred near Windy Gap

One person was injured Friday afternoon when a vehicle crashed off the side of Highway 154 near Windy Gap, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 2:45 p.m., and the vehicle ended up about 20 feet off the roadway, the CHP said.

Santa Barbara County firefighters who responded reported that they had a single patient who had sustained minor injuries, and was requiring extrication from the wreckage.

Traffic on Highway 154 was stopped in the area for a time, causing a major traffic backup.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Disaster Preparedness Focus of Saturday Event in Lompoc

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Nearly a year after Lompoc neighborhoods were evacuated as flames raced toward the city, residents can learn more Saturday about being better prepared in the event of a disaster like a fire or earthquake.

Disaster preparedness and wildfire awareness will be the focus Saturday at the Lompoc Fire Department’s annual event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Home Depot parking lot, 1701 E. Ocean Ave.

This year’s event will include The Big Shaker, the world’s biggest mobile earthquake simulator which can re-create the intense shaking of an earthquake up to a magnitude of 8.0. The Big Shaker is designed to educate citizens about what can happen inside their homes during an earthquake and how to prepare.

Fire Chief Kurt Latipow noted the trailer’s visit is especially timely due to the massive earthquake that struck Nepal recently.

In addition, Saturday’s event will showcase the countywide “Ready, Set, Go!” Program, a three-step process that allows firefighters to teach homeowners to create their own action plan of getting their property prepped for a potential wildfire.

Being ready before a fire sparks and getting set to flee with the necessary items also will be part of the presentation which will help residents understand the role of evacuations.

“We timed this event with a statewide Wildfire Awareness Day,” Latipow said. “We try to time it so we get the message out as early as possible.”

The event comes just weeks shy of the anniversary of the Miguelito Fire, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in southern Lompoc flames in the nearby hills raced toward the city.

“What we found last May is as hard as we worked getting the preparedness message out there, it’s a natural feeling for people to say it’s not going to happen to me. This is a much different event than our open house,” Latipow said, explaining Saturday’s will provide valuable tips on how families can prepare for evacuations of themselves and pets. 

The event will include 37 interactive displays hosted by preparedness partners such as the American Red Cross, Aware and Prepare, Santa Barbara County Fire, Lompoc CERT, PG&E, Vandenberg AFB Fire Department, the Fire Safe Council, The Gas Company, the Lompoc Fire Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

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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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Serving Up Bach, Goethe and Saint-Saëns

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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The next free concert of the Santa Barbara Music Club — absolutely free, of course — takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 in its traditional venue, the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

Kim
Violinist Han Soo Kim will play Saint-Saëns' "petite phrase" sonata at the next Santa Barbara Music Club concert.

The program est omnia divisa in partes tres. First, the incomparable pianist Betty Oberacker will play Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Solo Keyboard in the Italian Style, "Italian Concerto," BWV 971.

Then, soprano Takako Wakita will team up with Oberacker to explore an overlooked genre that I have also investigated: literary works that have inspired multiple musical settings. My favorite example is Maurice Maeterlinck's Pelleas et Melisande and the very different music it provoked from Schoenberg, Debussy, Faure and Sibelius. Wakita and Oberacker have uncovered a much more spectacular example: the poem Heidenröslein/Little Rose on the Heath written in 1799 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which has received no less than 154 musical settings. The duo have selected six of these, by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Franz Lehar, Romanos Owakilowitsch Melikjan, Robert Schumann and Heinrich Werner.

The third part of the concert's triad will be Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin-Piano Sonata No. 1 in D-Minor, Opus 75 (1885), performed by violinist Han Soo Kim and pianist Neil Di Maggio.

I daresay everybody attending this concert will have heard the Bach, whether or not you recognize the title. The first few bars will bring it all back.

Romanos Melikyan (1883-1935) was an Armenian composer; beyond that, I know nothing of him. Heinrich Werner (1800-1833) was another of those gifted 19th century composers who died young (of the hyper-romantic ailment,  tuberculosis).

Werner's setting of the Goethe was more popular than the hundred or so versions that preceded it, and only the Schubert has gained more fame.

For information on this and other Santa Barbara Music Music Club offers, club programs and performing artists, visit SBMusicClub.org.

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

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Evacuations Ordered After Car Slams Into Building

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Injury accident occurred on Mission Street near corner of Chapala Street in Santa Barbara

Two buildings were evacuated as a precaution Friday after a vehicle slammed into a two-story structure on Mission Street in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The accident occurred at about 12:40 p.m. on Mission Street, just west of Chapala Street., said Fire Inspector Ryan DiGuilio.

A late-model Volkswagen bug exited the parking lot of a veterinary clinic and, for unknown reasons, crashed into the two-story building across the street at the northwest corner of Mission and Chapala Street that houses a Buddhist center and a tattoo parlor, DiGuilio said.

The driver, reportedly an elderly woman, was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor to moderate injuries, DiGuilio said.

Firefighters evacuated the building, and a single-story building next door at 106 W. Mission St., as a precaution pending an evaluation by a city structural engineer.

The two-story building was later yellow-tagged for limited entry, while the other building was cleared, DiGuilio said.

Mission was shut down in both directions for a time between Chapala and De la Vina Street.

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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Judy Crowell: High Society Never Goes Out of Style in Newport, Rhode Island

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Salvaged, luxurious Gilded Age mansions along Bellevue Avenue are among the many treasures awaiting visitors to the seaside city

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A favorite movie, High Society starring Grace Kelly, was filmed in Newport, R.I., in 1956, telling the sad story of Gilded Age mansions going down with the wrecking ball, a way of life gone forever. Fortunately, the Preservation Society of Newport County stepped in to rescue, preserve and maintain several of these treasures.

At the top of the list is The Breakers, the 70-room summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Marble House, another Vanderbilt home, is also a must-see. Here the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt and her daughter, Consuelo, can be heard on the audio tour. The monumental artworks and advanced technology of The Elms should be experienced, along with its fascinating Servant Life Tour — a true Downton Abbey precursor. Rosecliff, modeled after a French palace, is the mansion featured in High Society.

All these salvaged beauties are lined up like a string of pearls on Bellevue Avenue, but be sure to go by car. You’ll wear your feet out just touring The Breakers!

You’ll also want your car for the glorious 10-mile drive on Ocean Drive, ending at lovely Castle Hill with its working lighthouse and charming restaurant and inn. Sink into one of the Adirondack chairs for a spectacular sunset view with drinks from the bar and small plates delivered to your chair.

During the filming of High Society, Kelly would sneak away to this secluded beach, climbing down the precarious, rocky incline for timeout and privacy. Climbing back up was so difficult that the staff built a staircase for her. Locals now call it the Grace Kelly Beach.

For walking vistas of the ocean, take the beautiful 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, beginning at The Chanler, bordering mansion backyards and ending at The Breakers. It, too, has some difficult, rocky inclines.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is well worth seeing.

Shopping along Bellevue Avenue and Thames Street (Newport’s Main Street) delights at every corner. No malls along here. Restaurants include Bouchard, again at the top of the list for five-star perfection, wharf side; Spiced Pear, good food with an updated Victorian ambiance; Annie’s for breakfast, lunch and ginger chicken noodle soup; the White Horse Tavern, since 1673, a "bucket list bar"; Muse, by Jonathan Cartwright, for serious fine dining; and The Mooring, an absolute must for waterfront food and spirits.

If you love inns, Newport has many choices: The Francis Malbone House, probably the most luxurious of the B&Bs; Cliffside Inn, in the heart of the historic district; Bouchard Inn, steps from the harbor; and Hydrangea House Inn, a charmer.

For me, if I’m ever lucky enough to return to Newport, there’s only one choice, The Chanler at Cliff Walk. One of the most historic mansions in Newport, it was built in 1870 by John Winthrop Clark, a New York congressman, and is now a luxurious European-style boutique hotel. Guest suites are all individually decorated and are Gilded Age luxurious.

If you’ve never seen High Society, you’re missing something very special. In one of the most memorable scenes ever filmed, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, after imbibing a few in a hidden wall-bar at a formal party and extolling the attributes and foibles of Newport, come bursting through French doors into the blue-blooded crowd hoofing it and singing at the top of their talented lungs, “Well, did you evah? What a swellegant, elegant party this is!” And that pretty much sums up Newport.

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

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Jodi House to Become Service Provider for State of California

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center of Santa Barbara has been selected as one of seven sites statewide to receive State of California funding for serving adults with traumatic brain injury.

Jodi House will receive $120,000 yearly for three years beginning July 1, with the option of an additional fourth year. Supporting adults with TBI, the Jodi House model of care is community reintegration and includes the following services: supported living; independent living skills; employment; information, referral, and care coordination; and public and professional education. The additional funding will allow Jodi House to expand services to best meet the needs of adult TBI population living throughout the tri-counties region.

Traumatic Brain Injury Services of California is a continuum of community services for adults with traumatic brain injury. Comprised of seven providers located throughout Northern and Southern California, each provider supplies or coordinates a variety of Core Services to persons over the age of 18 with a traumatic brain injury. Their mission is to ensure that adults with a traumatic brain injury have the necessary services to enhance self-sufficiency.

Jodi House is the only nonprofit organization in Santa Barbara exclusively serving adults with traumatic brain injuries. Click here to learn more about the community integration services provided at Jodi House.

— Eryn Eckert is executive director of the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

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Sweetwater Collaborative to Host Two Tours of Water-Wise Residential Landscapes

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Local nonprofit Sweetwater Collaborative will host two neighborhood walking tours of residential landscapes that highlight a variety of water-wise projects.

The homes on the tours have been sites of educational workshops held by Sweetwater Collaborative, in which attendees learned effective strategies to reduce water use in their yards.

“Simple solutions exist to capture and retain most of the rain in our yards, rather than allowing this rain to pick up pollution and run off into the ocean,” Sweetwater Collaborative coordinator Barbara Wishingrad said. “Additional water-saving strategies for the yard include choosing climate-appropriate plants and installing greywater systems and rain tanks. All of these solutions will be shown and explained on our tours.”

The tours will be on May 30 and June 6, in the Westside and Samarkand neighborhoods, respectively. Homeowners, government officials and anyone interested in learning how to save water in the yard are encouraged to attend these tours.

More information can be found on Sweetwater Collaborative’s website by clicking here.

— Eric Torbet represents the Sweetwater Collaborative.

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David Sirota: Democrats Embrace Citizens United in Defense of Hillary Clinton

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Less than three weeks into her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has already accomplished a stunning feat: She appears to have unified large swaths of the Democratic Party and its activist base to support the core tenets of the Citizens United decision — the one that effectively allowed unlimited money into politics.

That 2010 Supreme Court ruling declared that, unless there is an explicit quid pro quo, the fact that major campaign donors "may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt." The theory is that as long as a donor and a politician do not agree to an overt bribe, everything is A-OK.

When the ruling was handed down, Democrats were outraged, and Clinton herself has recently suggested she wants it overturned. Yet with revelations that firms with business before Clinton's State Department donated to her foundation and paid her husband, Clinton's campaign and rank-and-file Democratic activists are suddenly championing the Citizens United theory.

In campaign statements and talking points — and in activists' tweets and Facebook comments — the party seems to be collectively saying that without evidence of any explicit quid pro quo, all the Clinton cash is acceptable. Moreover, the inference seems to be that the revelations aren't even newsworthy because, in the words of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, "there's nothing new" here.

To advocates for limiting the influence of money in politics, this pushback from Democrats is particularly rich (pun intended) coming from a party that spent a decade asserting that Republicans raking in cash from Big Oil and pushing oil-friendly policies was rank corruption. The Democratic defense of their presumptive presidential nominee registers as especially disturbing to campaign finance reform advocates considering the mighty efficiency of the Clinton fundraising machine.

Consider a few undisputed facts that we surfaced in our reporting at the International Business Times:

» While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Bill Clinton was paid $2.5 million by 13 corporations that lobbied the State Department. Ten of the firms paid him in the same three-month reporting period that they were lobbying Hillary Clinton's agency. Several of them received State Department contracts, worth a total of almost $40 million.

» Hillary Clinton switched her position to back a controversial U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement as millions of dollars flowed into her foundation from an oil company operating in Colombia, and from that company's founder. Amid reports of violence against Colombian unionists, she also certified Colombia's human rights record, thereby releasing U.S. aid to the Colombian military.

» Hillary Clinton's State Department delivered contracts and a prestigious human rights award to a technology firm that donated to the Clinton Foundation — despite allegations from human rights groups that the firm sold technology to the Chinese government that helped the regime commit human rights violations.

The same Democratic Party that slammed the Bush-Halliburton relationship now suggests that this type of behavior is fine and dandy, as long as there wasn't, say, an email detailing an explicit cash-for-policy trade. The insinuation also seems to be that journalists shouldn't even be reporting on any of it, if there is no such email.

Is it morally acceptable for firms to pay a public official's spouse while those firms are getting government contracts from the agency headed by that same public official? That's a matter of opinion, and if the Democrats want to now champion the ideology behind Citizens United, that's their right.

What is not up for debate, though, is whether the transactions are significant and newsworthy absent some sort of explicit quid pro quo. Even if there isn't an email explicitly sketching out an exchange of money for policy, campaign finance reform advocates are taking notice and the public needs to know the details of these transactions.

After all, if money is going to so thoroughly dominate politics, Americans at least should be informed about who is paying whom when they cast their vote for president.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Debate at UCSB to Tackle Use of Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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On Wednesday, May 20 at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall, UC Santa Barbara’s College of Letters & Science will present the 2015 Arthur N. Rupe Debate: The Use of Genetically Modified Foods, a free event that will open a conversation on the increasingly polemic topic of genetically engineering the foods that we eat.

This scientifically informed debate about the use of genetically modified organisms in food features Dr. Pamela Ronald, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and co-author of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food, and Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, a senior scientific researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Techonology and co-founder of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Paul Voosen, a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, will moderate.

The Use of Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

The use of GMOs, living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, continues to be a subject of increasing controversy and misunderstanding. Scientists have long been working to alter the genes of crops to boost food production and make them resistant to pesticides, droughts and cold weather conditions.

Proponents say that farmers who grow these crops are able to use fewer environmentally damaging pesticides and that the increased yields of GMO crops are essential to feeding the world’s growing population. Proponents also point to studies that have shown that GMOs are safe to eat.

Opponents say the claims of these benefits are exaggerated, and that farmers growing GMO crops have actually increased their use of herbicides. They also argue that there is no scientific consensus on the long-term safety of GMOs. Questions of the safety, ethics and practicality of GMOs will be up for debate on May 20.

About the Speakers

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UCSB Arts & Lectures photo

Dr. Pamela C. Ronald is director of the Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation & Scientific Literacy at UC Davis. She is a professor of Plant Pathology, a faculty member of the Genome Center and also serves as Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, California. Dr. Ronald’s laboratory has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa. In 1996, she established the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund, a mechanism to recognize intellectual property contributions from less developed countries. She and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice-submergence tolerance. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award and the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award. Dr. Ronald has written opinion pieces for The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Boston Review and The New York Times and is a blogger for Scientific American’s “Food Matters” blog. She is co-author with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food, which is hailed by Bill Gates as “a fantastic piece of work” and “important for anyone that wants to learn about the science of seeds and challenges faced by farmers.”

Dr. Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientific researcher in the Institute of Integrative Biology at the Swiss Federal University and co-founder of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Her research focuses on ecology and biodiversity, including sustainable farming practices and insect-plant interactions. Her recent work centers around biosafety issues of GMOs and the development of concepts for environmental risk assessment and post-release monitoring of GMOs. She has been involved in numerous research and capacity-building projects in Africa, South America and Vietnam. Her research and conceptual work have contributed to the implementation and shaping of the UNEP Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Through her international work, she has been increasingly involved in broader issues of technology development, working towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and actively contributing to the debate on biosafety, international agriculture and the alleviation of hunger and poverty.

About the Moderator

Paul Voosen is a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. His stories have appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American and GreenWire, with reprints in The New York Times. He has been called “one of the top journalists working today” by Andrew Revkin of The New York Times. A graduate of the M.A. Science Journalism program at Columbia University, Voosen has done graduate level work in geoscience and nuclear physics. He is the recipient of the David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism from the American Geophysical Union.

About the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation

The Arthur N. Rupe Foundation is dedicated to achieving positive social change by shining the light of truth on critical and controversial issues through the support of scholarly studies, education, research, public debates and the dissemination of the results via a variety of media to all segments of the public. The foundation supports numerous projects that advance civil and reasoned public debate at the high school, university and civic level. ANRF-sponsored debates are non-partisan and accessible to a general audience with the intention of educating and exposing audiences to all sides of a particular social issue. It is the foundation’s hope to increase the number of Americans actively involved in debate, as the foundation believes it forms the cornerstone of an informed electorate in a free society. Learn more at www.rupefoundation.org.

The 2015 Arthur N. Rupe Debate is presented by the College of Letters & Science at UC Santa Barbara and made possible by an endowment from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center through their series, The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities, and UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Admission is free and located at Campbell Hall. For more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks lynda.com for its major corporate support of the 2014-15 season.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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Letter to the Editor: Support San Marcos’ Unsung Heroes of the Theater

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Imagine you favorite movie or play without any soundtrack. The Titanic leaving port would be just a ship floating out to sea, The Apollo rocket taking off would be just a lot of noise.

This is for the San Marcos Music Department led by Michael Kiyoi.

This group of young adults give up their summers, their free time after school and sometimes complete weekends to either compete or practice.

These musicians have brought two gold, one silver and and one bronze medals in the past four years in regional championships, and first place in the last jazz festival this past year.

They practice day in and day out, possibly more than the football, baseball and track teams combined.

But they are not funded or sometimes even recognized for their accomplishments by the school, the school district or even school officials.

Please support your local "Unsung Heroes." Come see their Crazy for You musical tonight, admire the actors, the scenery and the director's accomplishment, because they do deserve it, truly. But also, take a moment to "listen" to the music, "hear" the heart of the accomplished musicians playing for your pleasure and support these musicians.

Fred Jimenez
Santa Barbara
San Marcos alumnus, class of 1985

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Scholarship at Westmont College to Honor Life of Alumna Kenon Neal

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Numerous friends, an anonymous donor and widower Matt Neal have established the Kenon Neal Endowed Scholarship at Westmont College.

Neal
Kenon Neal

Neal, Class of 1988, died July 16, 2014, after experiencing a number of health challenges in her life, including five bouts of cancer that she battled for 27 years.

The scholarship will assist students who have overcome challenges such as cancer, receive an academic merit scholarship and have a financial need.

“Kenon was known as a committed disciple of Jesus Christ,” Matt Neal says. “She believed God gave her an extraordinary opportunity to minister to countless patients and hospital and medical staff through her own disease. Her unwavering faithfulness and confidence in God’s goodness and grace was a wonderful light and example to so many individuals. Our hope is that this scholarship will help students earn a Westmont education and experience the joy that Kenon and I shared here.”

Kenon (Ramsey) Neal graduated from Westmont in 1988 with a degree in English and returned to campus in the 1990s when Matt Neal worked as a resident director in Armington Hall. A few years later, she served as the resident director in Page Hall. In 2009, she joined the staff in the alumni office before becoming director of foundation and corporate relations in 2010.

“She had a warm and gracious spirit and lived her life to the fullest,” Westmont President Gayle Beebe said. “It’s wonderful to see the generosity of so many people whose lives were touched by Kenon. This scholarship honors her legacy and assists students in need at the college she loved.”

For questions about contributing to the scholarship fund, please contact Steve Baker, associate vice president for advancement, at 805.565.7156.

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

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SEE International’s Santa Barbara Vision Care Program Moves to New Clinic

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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SEE International, a local humanitarian nonprofit, is proud to announce that its Santa Barbara Vision Care Program clinic has moved to a new location, at 5368 Hollister Ave., Suite 130 (on the first floor).

The program has also expanded its hours and now offers appointments Tuesday through Thursday each week.

Founded in the 1980s, the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program provides free comprehensive eye care for underserved populations in Santa Barbara County. Each year the program serves about 1,400 community members.

“This new location provides the unique opportunity to house all of our programs under one roof, and helps us increase our commitment to serve the local community,” said Randal Avolio, president and CEO of SEE International. “It will support our continued growth and expansion, and provide a better work environment for current and future staff. I think it underscores our commitment to both our patients and our employees.”

The program is open and currently accepting new qualified patients who are unable to obtain vision insurance, and do not qualify for any federal or state-funded insurance programs (Medicare, Medi-Cal, etc.).

For more information on the program or to schedule an appointment, please contact Lara Rich at 805.963.3303 or [email protected].

— Stephen Bunnell is the communications coordinator for SEE International.

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Allan Hancock College Offers Free Water-Wise Landscaping Class

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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With Gov. Jerry Brown ordering water use to be cut by 25 percent statewide and tasking Californians to conserve more water, now is the time to learn how to create a smarter landscape. The Central Coast community can learn the basics this summer at Allan Hancock College.

Allan Hancock College Community Education will offer a free Water-Wise Landscaping class as part of its summer course offerings on Wednesdays, June 24 through July 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Santa Maria campus in Room C-35.

The course explores various planting and landscaping techniques to conserve water by as much as 50 percent. Learn how to create an easy-to-maintain landscape using native and drought-tolerant plants. Students will learn about xeriscaping, a landscaping method that does not require supplemental water from irrigation and often utilizes native, drought resistant plants to conserve water (and typically requires less maintenance than traditional landscapes). Drip irrigation practices will also be discussed.

Instructor Julie Andrews-Scott has been an educator for more than 20 years and specializes in teaching students how to make native and water-wise plants work for a better environment in a drought-stricken California. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science and a master’s in cultural aspects of food systems from California Polytechnic State University. Her landscaping techniques, combined with natural pesticide management and sensible water conservation measures, give students the edge over problematic landscaping.

Registration begins May 11. For more information, you may view the summer 2015 schedule of classes online now at www.hancockcollege.edu, then click “Class Search.” Or, see the printed summer 2015 Spectrum Schedule of Community Education, available at all campus locations and arriving in mailboxes beginning May 8.

For more specific questions, call 805.922.6966 x3209.

— Stefanie Aye is a public affairs coordinator for Allan Hancock College.

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Cottage Health System Invites Community to ‘Gathering of Remembrance’

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Cottage Health System is holding its annual “Gathering of Remembrance” on Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m. at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, 400 W. Pueblo St.

This is a special interfaith memorial service to remember all adults who have died within a Cottage facility during the last year. The Spiritual Care Department and Palliative Care Team have collaborated to make this a meaningful and healing event for families and friends who have lost a loved one.

This service is also open to any member of the community who has experienced a recent loss and would like to honor and remember the individual.

The ceremony will include a personal reflection by the Rev. Teena Grant, clinical chaplain at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The service will be held in Burtness Auditorium on the sixth floor of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The entrance is at the Bath Street lobby (original hospital lobby facing Bath Street).

Please join us for this very meaningful event. For more information or to RSVP, call 805.569.8373 or 805.569.8386. Directions and a map of the hospital can be found at the hospital website by clicking here.

— Maria Zate is a spokeswoman for Cottage Health System.

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Santa Barbara City Fire Department Announces Promotions

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Bryden
Jim Bryden

Waldron
Lee Waldron

Santa Barbara City Fire Department Fire Chief Pat McElroy is proud to announce the appointment of Lee Waldron as fire operations division chief.

Chief Waldron is a 28-year veteran of the department, where he has served as a battalion chief for the last five years. In that role he headed the Training Division and also served as battalion commander of C Shift for the past three years.

In his new role, Chief Waldron will oversee the daily operations of 8 City Fire Stations and 89 personnel.

Chief Waldron and his wife, Deborah, are longtime Santa Barbara residents who have two adult children, Campbell and Mark.

Chief Waldron will be replacing retiring Operations Chief Jim Bryden.

Chief Bryden, a Santa Barbara native, will be entering retirement after more than 35 years of service with the department.

“Jim has been an integral part of this organization and I have valued his counsel and experience," McElroy said. "We all wish Jim and his wife, Bridget, a long and happy retirement.”

Additional promotions within the department include Fire Captain Chris Mailes to the position of battalion chief of the Training Division, and engineers Brian Ricci and Dave Ward, both promoted to the rank of fire captain.

— Gary Pitney is a captain and public information officer for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

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Capps Introduces Bipartisan Rental Car Safety Bill in House

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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On Friday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina along with Rep. G.K Butterfield of North Carolina and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced a bipartisan bill, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Bill (H.R. 2198), which would ban rental car companies from renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.

While current law prohibits car dealerships from selling new vehicles under recall to consumers, no federal law is currently in place to ban rental car companies from doing the same or renting a car under recall to unsuspecting consumers.

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act would keep unsafe rental cars that have been recalled off the road.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Penn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., introduced identical legislation in the Senate (S. 1173).

The legislation is named in honor of sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck of Ojai, who were tragically killed while driving a recalled Chrysler PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise in 2004. Roughly one month before the Houck sisters were killed, Enterprise received a recall notice that the PT Cruiser had a defective steering component that was prone to catching fire and that it would be repaired by Chrysler free-of-charge. Despite the warning, Enterprise did not get the vehicle repaired, and rented it out to three other customers before renting it to the Houck sisters. The defect caused the car to catch fire and crash head-on into a tractor-trailer, killing both sisters.

This legislation builds on a similar bill first introduced by Capps in July 2012.

“This straightforward, common-sense bill will protect public safety and help ensure that the tragedy that happened to Raechel and Jacqueline Houck will never happen again,” Capps said. “People who rent cars should do so with the confidence that the vehicles they are driving are safe to drive. I look forward to continuing to work with Cally Houck, consumer groups, rental companies, and my colleagues in the House and Senate to make sure this legislation becomes law and unsafe cars are taken off the road once and for all.”

“It's been over ten years since my beautiful, precious daughters Raechel and Jacqueline were killed by an unsafe, recalled rental car,” Cally Houck said. “All of the major rental car companies, and many of the smaller ones, have been working on our side to make the federal legislation named after them the law of the land. They have also adopted responsible policies and are grounding recalled cars until they are repaired. It's time for Congress to act, to protect ALL families from suffering our devastating loss.”

The legislation is backed by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and the Trauma Foundation.

The legislation is supported by all the major car rental companies — Hertz (includes Dollar Thrifty), Enterprise (includes Alamo and National) and Avis Budget (includes Payless) — as well as the American Car Rental Association. Together the companies and ACRA represent virtually 100 percent of the rental car market. The bill also is supported by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, representing the vast majority of truck renting and leasing operations in the United States, as well as AAA and State Farm.

“The American public is overwhelmingly in favor of ensuring that rental cars are safe and free from lethal safety defects,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. “About 95 percent of the rental car industry is also in favor. This is a common-sense bill that should be passing unanimously. The president is eager to sign it. It's time for Congress to get off the dime.”

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Santa Barbara County Students Will Roll En Masse for National Bike to School Day

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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On Wednesday, May 6, Carpinteria will join school children around the country by bicycling (or skateboarding, scootering or walking) to school on National Bike to School Day (B2SD).

As part of the local CycleMAYnia festivities to celebrate National Bike Month, B2SD is supported by the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (COAST, SR2S) program.

Working in conjunction with school parent champions, nearly all South Coast public schools will participate this year. Schools will hold their own B2SD celebrations to encourage more biking and other sustainable transportation modes to school — not just on May 6 but year-round. We invite you to visit area schools as kids ride, scoot or walk in Wednesday morning to report on the fun and positive effects of B2SD.

It’s no coincidence that B2SD is also the final event day in COAST’s four-month Walk & Roll Challenge, in which 56 classrooms (over 1,300 students across 15 schools) are vying for the top Walk & Roll participation rate. Each first Wednesday since February, these classrooms have tallied students that walk, bike or otherwise roll to school. The classroom with the highest average participation rate will win a trip to Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond. Our second- and third-place classrooms will each win a pedal-powered bike-blender smoothie party at their school. Who will be victorious? Click here to see the Challenge results.

On B2SD, some elementary schools will organize “bike trains”: informal, parent-led bicycling groups in which students stop at each others’ houses to pick up more bicyclists along the way to school. COAST urges all drivers to be especially cautious on B2SD and watch for the increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

But the fun and excitement isn’t just for the primary grades. COAST is working with student-leadership team members at Dos Pueblos High School to put on some cool activities for DP’s second annual B2Sd. Live music and snacks will welcome students as they arrive car-free in the morning (leadership members will hold a sign saying “You Could Have Been There By Now!” that those arriving in the line of backed-up cars will see), as well as events at lunch such as bike-blended smoothies, a tricycle ‘snail race’ and a raffle for donated prizes including a new hybrid bike. And over at Santa Barbara High School, Team Soil will perform a high-energy professional BMX stunt bike show during lunch.

And tonight, Friday May 1, COAST will kick off CycleMAYnia by teaming up with Carpinteria Family School, Traffic Solutions and the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to present Carp’s first Family Bike Night (‘Bici Familia’) at the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main School (5201 8th St.), where scores of local families will be treated to a free bilingual safety presentation, bike skills courses, learn-to-ride & bike maintenance areas, free food and low-cost helmets for purchase. We invite you to stop by if you can to report on all the family fun. A similar Family Bike Night will take place (for the second year) at Adams School in Santa Barbara on June 5.

About Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School program was established in response to alarming national trends. In 1969, 42 percent of students in the U.S. walked to school. In 2001, of students between the ages of 5 and 15, that number had dropped to as low as only 16 percent. Less than half of students who live within a mile of school walk or bike there even once per week. Between 1976 and 2004, the percentage of overweight children aged 6 to 11 almost tripled! Studies in some cities show that 17 to 26 percent of morning rush-hour traffic can be school-related. In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.

About National Bike to School Day

The first-ever National B2SD took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school. The event builds on the popularity of International Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country — and the world — each October. Many communities and schools have been held spring walk- and bike-to-school events for years. National B2SD provides an opportunity for schools across the country to join together to celebrate and to build off of the energy of National Bike Month in May.

National B2SD 2014 was held on May 7, and bike-to-school events took place throughout the month of May. More than 2,200 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia participated, an almost 30% increase in schools from 2013. If just half of the students in an average-sized elementary school biked, rolled or walked to school, their impact could eliminate over 39 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the carbon-removing abilities of 1,000 trees!

About the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation

COAST, a local nonprofit membership organization, promotes healthy and green ways of getting around from biking and walking to taking the bus or the train. We coordinate the regional SR2S programs, Santa Barbara Walks programs (Eastside Walks, Walking Wednesdays, Safe Routes for Seniors), CoastalRailNow, regional transit project ASERT and our latest initiative, Vision Zero.

For more information and ways to get involved, please visit www.COAST-SantaBarbara.org or e-mail us at [email protected].

— Barry Remis represents the Coalition of Sustainable Transportation.

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Captain’s Log: Abundance vs. Availability of Marine Life

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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The science of fisheries management has a brain-burning quagmire, and as luck would have it, the issue is of such extreme importance that if fisheries scientists and managers don’t get it right, their work is pretty much all wrong. I don’t envy them this part of their heads-down, information-crunching work. The issue is the difference between availability and abundance of fishes or any other critters.

As anglers and citizens, we need a working understanding of the issue and know enough about it that we don’t make demands on our fisheries managers that go against what is best — but not always obvious — for our fisheries.

On the surface, it seems simple enough. Availability has to do with how easy they are to catch at any given time and place. Abundance has to do with how many of these fish really exist. Ahhh! But when circumstances make one seem easy, the other can still be perplexing.

To help get good, understandable words and perspective from an immensely experienced professional, I went to talk with Mick Kronman, harbor operations manager at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Mick (make that Capt. Mick) was a commercial fisherman for many years. He skippered open party sportboats for more years. He served as writer and editor for various publications, and he now helps manage the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Mick wrote a book, which I have and highly recommend reading. It is From Hooks to Harpoons: The Story of Santa Barbara Channel Fisheries, ISBN#978-0-615-89704-2, published by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. To order copies, email [email protected].

I asked Mick for his version of something like a Webster condensed explanation of the potential misunderstanding between availability and abundance. His answer was long but helpful.

“One cornerstone of sound fisheries management is understanding the difference between abundance and availability," he says. "Abundance is a primary product of stock assessments, which are directed and undertaken by government agencies like NOAA. Understanding how many of a certain species are swimming in the sea, plus the rate at which they’re reproducing, dying of natural causes, being eaten by other creatures or taken by fishermen — for a few examples — is critical to maintaining sustainable fisheries, both recreational and commercial. Availability, however, is an entirely different matter. Boiled down, it means, ‘When I went fishing at a certain time, place and under certain ocean conditions, did I catch them?’ It is very easy to confuse abundance with availability, and such confusion can cause everything from incorrect public perception to poor public policy. Just because you catch them today, doesn’t mean they’re abundant [editor’s note: Something anglers sometimes get wrong], and just because you don’t catch them tomorrow doesn’t mean they’re not abundant [editor’s note: Something our extreme enviro preservationist friends sometimes get wrong, which leads to economically-damaging MPAs].

"Stock assessments and gauging abundance are difficult. Assessing availability is equally tough — in some part due to the mystery of the sea. Fish have fins and they travel. Where and why is sometimes known, sometimes not. Consider the potential heretical notion, for example, that sardines were not 'fished out' (a crude term related to abundance) of Monterey Bay. Maybe they just moved — a function of availability. The latter notion is not only plausible, but has solid traction with many marine scientists. The key is to keep and maintain an open, critical mind to the abundance/availability concept.”

I asked Mick how important a part of fisheries management this is and how fisheries managers apply this concept to their work. He said, “Managers, of all people, need to be in tune with this duality. After all, it’s their responsibility to conserve fisheries and at the same time make recreation and seafood accessible to the public.”

I had another tough question for Mick. I asked him, “When a boatload of anglers get into a wide-open bite, how do they know if they are experiencing abundance or happenstance availability?” Mick seemed amused and said, “They don’t. And that’s fine. They’re not scientists or managers. Educating them, however, about the difference between abundance and availability will help soften the blow when, on their next trip out, the fish are nowhere to be found.”

In his book, Mick tells the story of a commercial fisherman who caught a huge haul of a certain species of rockfish. He went to the fisheries managers to tell them that there are so many of this species that they should increase the allowable harvest. They told him that actually they were thinking of lowering the allowable harvest, and that while he had found the fish to be available at that time and place, the reality is that they were not at all abundant. It can be a tough lesson.

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

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Lompoc’s 15th Annual Senior Health Expo Slated for May 15

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Lompoc’s 15th annual Senior Health Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 15 at 1120 W. Ocean Ave.

This is a free event.

Various community sponsors include the Area Agency on Aging, Lompoc Valley Medical Center, City of Lompoc Recreation Division, Dignity Health, Cottage Health System, Sansum Clinic and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

For your enjoyment, there will be a free healthy lunch, door prizes, entertainment and a cooking demo.

For your health, there will be cholesterol and blood sugar checks (fasting required), blood pressure checks, skin cancer screenings, vision checks and bone density checks.

For your information, there will be community resources, Medicare information, fraud and scam prevention tips, fall prevention information, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia information, diabetes information, advance directives information and much more.

For free transportation information, click here.

This will be a very fun event while providing health resources and information to our senior community.

— Kathie Palaima is a clinical liaison for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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UCSB Wins 3 Best Practice Awards in California Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Competition

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Fresh off being named the No. 1 public green university in the country, UC Santa Barbara has won three Best Practice Awards in the annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Awards competition sponsored by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

UCSB was a winner in the categories of Innovative Waste Reduction, Sustainability Innovations and Monitoring-Based Commissioning.

In Innovative Waste Reduction, UCSB won for its Optimizing Waste Management Services Through Stakeholder Engagement project. With the guidance of custodial staff, a pilot project was designed to improve custodial waste removal efficiency, as well as increase recycling rates by updating the existing waste infrastructure. Among the changes that were implemented, underutilized and outdated waste containers in the 10 buildings were replaced with new containers. Stickers informing users of acceptable items in the waste stream and the service schedule for those bins were also added. The program is expected to result in a 12 percent — or 18-ton — reduction of landfill waste each year and reduce the time needed to service the indoor waste infrastructure.

In the Sustainability Innovations category, UCSB won for the public relations campaign, Action Today for Tomorrow. The goal of the campaign, which included bus advertising, movie trailers and on-campus digital informational messaging, was to increase education around environmental issues and visibility about the University’s achievements in sustainability and goals for the future to both internal and external stakeholders. Other pieces of the campaign included sustainability information posters around the campus; a community lecture series, “Water We Going to Do?”; the annual Central Coast Sustainability Summit; and participation in the Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration.

In the Monitoring-Based Commissioning category, UCSB won for its Chilled Water Loop Optimization project. In 2014, UCSB’s Facilities Management Engineering and Building Automation staff launched a project to improve the efficiency of the infrastructure that supplies air conditioning to many campus buildings. Eight separate chiller plants provide chilled water to the loop, for which the staff developed methods for balancing power for compressors, as well as peripheral components such as pumps and cooling towers. The result of the project is an energy savings of 2.1 million kilowatt-hours each year, or 2.5 percent of UCSB’s total electricity use. That’s a cost savings of $235,000 per year. Southern California Edison provided an incentive of $511,000 to support the project.

Representatives from UCSB will receive the awards at the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, July 20-24, at San Francisco State University. The conference is open to the public and registration will open soon.

CHESC highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. The conference is jointly organized by independent/private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities and the University of California.

— George Foulsham represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Well-Being Coach Dave Mochel Offering ‘Tune Your Brain’ Summer Retreats

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Dave Mochel

Dave Mochel, neuroscience teacher and mindfulness coach, will offer two retreats this summer titled “Tune Your Brain for Inner Peace and Outer Results.”

If you want to thrive more and struggle less, these retreats were designed for you.

Discover how the human brain creates your experience and how simple practices allow you to be more relaxed, resourceful, resilient, joyful and productive. Learn how to find freedom in any situation and reclaim the energy you have been putting into resistance or avoidance, strengthen your self-awareness and relationships and create a daily well-being practice based in mindfulness, kindness, and purpose.

These experiential retreats will take place at La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center in Santa Barbara. The dates for the retreats are June 19-21 and Aug. 9-11.

The cost of tuition and meals is $400. Rooms are available onsite for an additional cost and some financial aid is available.

Space is limited. To register or for more information, go to www.appliedattention.com.

— Dave Mochel represents Applied Attention Consulting LLC.
 

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Cody West’s Body, Car Found in Culvert in Goleta

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Week-long search for missing 22-year-old comes to tragic end with discovery

Cody West's father, David West, center, is overcome Friday at the scene where his son's body was found after a week-long search. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Officials confirmed Friday afternoon that a body found earlier in the day in a cement culvert in Goleta was that of Cody West, who had been missing since last weekend and the subject on an intensive search.

Authorities, family members and volunteers had spent the week combing the area for the 22-year-old Goleta man, who was last seen early Sunday morning leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion in the Lake Los Carneros area of Goleta.

A volunteer who had joined the search found the remains pinned underneath West's vehicle at about 9 a.m. Friday, said Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

She confirmed Friday afternoon the the body was West's.

Hoover had confirmed that the car was West's earlier in the day.

Emergency crews dispatched to the scene found West's silver Audi A4 Quatro sedan upright in the cement culvert north of Highway 101 and east of Los Carneros Road, said Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the county Fire Department.

The body was pinned underneath the rear end of the car, which showed some signs of damage.

The remains were lifted out of the culvert by firefighters at about 12:50 p.m., as friends and family watched nearby.

A body was found Friday underneath a car belonging to Cody West, 22, above, who disappeared early Sunday. Authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that it was West's, but have not disclosed a probable cause of death. (Contributed photo)

A message on the Bring Back Cody Facebook page set up by West's family also confirmed the death:

"Sadly, despite all of our tireless efforts, our dearest Cody has passed away. Our hearts our broken and we will be grieving this terrible loss for the rest of our lives.

"We will be setting up a new Facebook page in his memory and will post more information on how you can help in the coming days."

No probable cause of death had been determined, Hoover said.

The culvert is behind the Los Carneros Business Park and near the Santa Barbara office of the California Highway Patrol on the south side of Calle Real, but is not easily visible.

The Sheriff's Department had roped off the area, and called in its Major Accident Response Team, Hoover said.

"They were trying to figure out exactly what happened," she said.

No foul play is suspected, Hoover said, and investigators were treating the incident as a vehicle accident.

She added that it is unclear how the car ended up in the culvert, or how the body wound up under the car.

Los Carneros Road was shut down from Highway 101 to Calle Real for several hours before being reopened.

About a half dozen of West's friends gathered at the scene, and watched as investigators walked down to the culvert.

As firefighters lifted out a black body bag just yards away, many of West's friends began crying and hugging each other.

Friend Paul Ortega said that the group had been searching for days in the area, but had not found any sign of West.

"It's surreal," Ortega said, shaking. "I don't know what to think or how to process it."

Ortega said that the group had tried to look near the location where West's phone had been located.

"We drove by here many times," he noted.

Another friend, John Jimenez, had also been part of the search party, which had gone from Old San Marcos Road to Carpinteria looking for West.

"We looked for him all week," Jimenez said.

"He was energetic, always positive. The life of the party," Jimenez said of West. "Nobody had anything bad to say about him."

Jimenez said that the Facebook page organized for West had showed the community was ready to help in any way. 

A family member told Noozhawk Thursday afternoon that West's cell phone was pinged and showed it was in the area near the lake in the early morning hours on Monday, roughly a day after he disappeared.

Since then, the phone has either been turned off or gone dead, said Owen Grohman, West's brother-in-law.

The Sheriff's Department had been assisting the family in the search.

"For the past three days, a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter has conducted air surveillance to search for his vehicle," said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Noozhawk Staff Writer Lara Cooper reported from the scene.

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

Santa Barbara County firefighters and sheriff's deputies carry the remains of Cody West of Goleta, whose body was found Friday in a culvert near Los Carneros Road after a week-long search. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

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Bill Macfadyen: ‘Bring Back Cody’ Search Ends in Heartbreak, Not Far from Where It Started

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 puts out back-to-back fires in Montecito, including a fatal one; takes a viral video of a cop stop; and revisits Café del Sol and Sizzler

There were 90,868​ people who read Noozhawk this past week — a far bigger crowd than what the Baltimore Orioles drew after one of the most idiotic sports moves ever. Here were your top stories:

1. Extensive Search Turns Up No Sign of Cody West, Missing Goleta Man

Almost a week after he vanished, family, friends and authorities had been unable to find any trace of Cody West.

Have you seen Cody West? If you have any information on his disappearance, call 9-1-1. (West family photo)
Have you seen Cody West? If you have any information on his disappearance, call 9-1-1. (West family photo)

Sadly, early on May 1, his car and body were discovered in a concrete culvert under Los Carneros Road near Calle Real.

The 22-year-old Goleta resident was last seen at 3:30 a.m. April 26, leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion east of Lake Los Carneros Park. His family reported him missing the next day when he failed to show up for work.

According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, West drove away in a 1999 silver Audi A4 Quatro sedan, with a California license plate of 4HAZ784.

“He has not been seen or heard from since,” she said April 27. “His family is concerned about his well-being.”

West was described as 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with brown eyes and short brown hair.

A posse of pals had been systematically driving all over the county looking for him, and a county helicopter had conducted several aerial searches over remote areas, Hoover said.

On April 30, sheriff’s deputies and Search & Rescue team members joined dozens of volunteers combing the area around Lake Los Carneros.

Officials also had been trying to locate West’s cell phone, but it apparently was not transmitting any signals.

Owen Grohman, West’s brother-in-law, told Noozhawk the last signal was received near the lake early on April 27.

On May 1, our Tom Bolton broke the news that West’s car had been discovered in the culvert on the east side of Los Carneros Road north of Highway 101. His body was found underneath the sedan’s trunk.

Authorities closed the area — including Los Carneros Road between Calle Real and the freeway — as a possible crime scene.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 9-1-1.

Friends have set up a Facebook page, Bring Back Cody, to keep the community up to date on the search. 

(Noozhawk video)

2. Elderly Woman Dies in Montecito House Fire

Finding a body is one of the things firefighters dread most when they enter a badly burning structure. That’s exactly what happened when crews responded to a Montecito house fire early on April 27.

Firefighters arrived at the 100 block of Loureyro Road — off North Jameson Lane west of Sheffield Drive — at 7:30 a.m. and found the one-story house fully engulfed in flames, said Geri Ventura, spokeswoman for the Montecito Fire Protection District.

Soon after, the roof collapsed, which she said delayed the interior attack on the blaze.

Crews also were hampered by brush and trees growing against the structure — what Ventura called a lack of “defensible space.”

Once firefighters were able to enter the house, the charred remains of an elderly woman were found inside. Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover later identified her as 88-year-old Lorraine Mathilda Schmerzler.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death is pending, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Montecito firefighters were assisted by crews from the Carpinteria-Summerland and Santa Barbara fire departments.

A tower of smoke from the fire was visible for miles, and the commotion and proximity to Highway 101 tied up the morning commute for hours.

Steamed vegetables, anyone? (Urban Hikers photo)
Steamed vegetables, anyone? (Urban Hikers photo)

3. Amid 70 mph Winds, Firefighters Battle Two-Alarm Fire in Montecito

700 Picacho Lane.

Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, that address floats there — like a Baby Ruth in a swimming pool.

So when I thought I heard a report of a fire at that location late on the night of April 26, I sat bolt upright. In fact, it wasn’t that infamous house but another in the 700 block of Picacho Lane.

Fortunately, the fire — which grew to two alarms — caused only minimal damage as it singed the side of a single-family residence on the property.

It could have been far worse. The blaze, which apparently ignited in a garden compost pile, was pushed toward the house by howling winds that were gusting to nearly 70 mph.

Firefighters from the Montecito, Carpinteria-Summerland and Santa Barbara fire departments quickly knocked down the flames, although several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Three people were home at the time of the fire, but were not injured.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

(Santa Barbara Man video)

4. Video Shows Santa Barbara Officer Knocking Cell Phone from Man’s Hands

The Santa Barbara Police Department has opened an administrative investigation of Sgt. Eric Beecher after he was accused of knocking a cell phone out of the hands of a man who was using the device to record video of an arrest outside a downtown nightclub.

The video was uploaded to YouTube by a user calling himself “Santa Barbara Man.” The clip, apparently taken March 7, shows several police officers around a bar fight suspect who is handcuffed on the curb in front of Velvet Jones at 423 State St.

According to Sgt. Riley Harwood, an SBPD spokesman, the department first became aware of the video when a website called Photography is Not a Crime requested comment last week.

After watching the video with his command staff, Police Chief Cam Sanchez initiated an administrative review, Harwood said.

I could describe what happened in the video, or you can just watch it yourself.​ Based on our reader comments, there’s quite a range of opinion about what you’ll see, as well as the actions of all involved.

5. Warren Butler Opening Event Centers at Old Café del Sol, Sizzler Locations

As far as I’m concerned, it was just a big whup when Café del Sol closed its doors last year. But a couple of buddies of mine swore by the Montecito hangout at 30 Los Patos Way, across from the occasionally malodorous Andrée Clark Bird Refuge​.

Rumors that it would be resurrected failed to materialize, but it will be getting new life — thanks to my friend, Warren Butler, who has opened the new Montecito Event Center at the site.

Butler, who owns the Butler Event Center, a 6,000-square-foot facility at 3488 State St., has been rehabbing the place for the last month.

“We’ve lightened and brightened it, putting in new lighting,” he said. “People love the old Café del Sol, so we won’t change it up too much.”

As with the Upper State Street center, the Montecito facility has room for luncheons, rehearsal dinners and corporate events. Butler said it can accommodate 150 to 200 people.

Meanwhile, Butler also is taking over the long-abandoned Sizzler restaurant at 5555 Hollister Ave. on the east end of Old Town Goleta.

He said the Sizzler site will be similar in size to his original location, which can host 300 to 400 people. But the Old Town center has options for smaller groups, including smaller rooms and a patio.

Unlike Café del Sol, I have fond memories of Sizzler. When our soon-to-be 29-year-old son was just a baby, my wife and I would load him and our Alaskan malamute in the station wagon, get a quick dinner at Sizzler, and then go to the drive-in. Ah, good times, good times.

Click here for more information about the burgeoning Butler Event Center empire.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: 10 Ridiculous Documents Released Through the Freedom of Information Act.

                                                                 •        •        •

Where are the other mothers like her?

(ABC 2 News - WMAR video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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Santa Barbara Police Data Show 116% Rise in Burglaries, Thefts from Vehicles

By | Published on 05/01/2015

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Attached is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening) and Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening) calls for service remained within performance objectives. The average response times to Priority 3 (nonemergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service exceeded performance objectives.

The longer response times appear to coincide with a spike in total call volume — greater than the previous six years. Year to date there have been 9,891 calls for service representing an 11 percent increase compared with the year to date figure from 2014, and a 12 percent increase compared with the same period in 2013.

» Positive trends: The rates of pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic accidents are in decline. Year to date there has been a 29 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 32 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 54 percent decrease in bicycle traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 10 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

A spree of 28 related residential burglaries beginning on Feb. 3 appears to have ended on March 13.

» Areas of concern: The rates of burglaries and thefts from vehicles and crimes classified as other types of theft (larceny other than burglaries, auto theft and theft from vehicles) has risen significantly from the last year, back to the levels seen prior to 2014. Year to date there has been a 116 percent increase in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 30 percent increase in other types of theft compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 2 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2013.

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

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