Santa Barbara-Goleta, Monday, June 01, 2015

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Refugio Oil Spill Response Effort Expands to Ventura County Beaches

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Pipeline company replaces 50-foot piece of ruptured pipe that was removed and sent away for testing

Refugio oil spill cleanup efforts expanded to Ventura County over the weekend, but officials cannot confirm whether the tar balls discovered on those beaches are from the spill on the Gaviota Coast of southern Santa Barbara County.

Teams of people have been sent to Ventura County beaches to evaluate the need for cleanup, and responders are being careful not to disturb cultural resources or the nesting areas of the endangered western snowy plover, officials said Sunday.

Affected areas include Ventura Pier and Oxnard Shores, according to Plains All American Pipeline, the responsible party for the spill. Plains is financially responsible for the costs of the oil spill response effort and is part of the incident’s unified command.

Federal, state and local agencies are managing the response, which is led jointly by the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency

Officials said they have sampled the oil and are working on a “fingerprinting” process to determine the sources, just as they have for other oil found along the coastline in the last two weeks.  

The source of the May 19 oil spill is about a mile north of Refugio State Beach, or about 10 miles from the edge of Goleta and about 40 miles up the coast from the Ventura County line.

“Until we know more, Plains is responding as if this is related to the Refugio incident and commits to do what is necessary to clean Ventura’s beaches,” Plains senior director of safety and security Patrick Hodgins said in a statement.

Caltrans District 7 placed informational signs along Highway 101 "to make sure that motorists were aware of the oil leak in Santa Barbara," spokesman Patrick Chandler said. The changeable message signs were placed along the northbound lanes in the Mussel Shoals and La Conchita areas and said, "Beaches open; avoid contract with oil or tar." 

Samples were also taken from the tar balls found last week at Los Angeles County beaches, including El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches. Several beaches were temporarily closed late last week while cleanup crews in the now-familiar white hazardous-materials suits worked along the shoreline.

Boats and a barge are still deployed along the southern Santa Barbara County coastline and teams of so-called shoreline assessment teams are combing the beaches to collect oiled sand, oiled vegetation such as kelp and seaweed, and meticulously scraping oil off rocks on the beaches.

The investigation continues into the cause of the spill, overseen by the pipeline company’s federal regulatory agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. A 50-foot section of the underground 24-inch pipeline, including the ruptured portion, was removed and trucked away to a laboratory for testing last week.

Brad Leone, Plains’ director of corporate communications and stakeholder relations, said the company replaced the section of pipe on Saturday and will cover the exposed section with clean soil after all the oiled soil is removed.

The Refugio and El Capitan state beaches on the Gaviota Coast are still closed and the campgrounds are being used as staging areas for the clean-up efforts. No other beaches have been closed to the public, despite the shoreline oil found along the coastline in many areas. Public Health officials have been constantly monitoring air, water and soil quality and say they will close a beach immediately if there is any threat to public health and safety.

The fishery closure is still active and impacts all fishing and shellfish taking in the area between Coal Oil Point and west of Gaviota State Beach, extending seven miles out from the shoreline.

There’s also still an active Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction in the airspace of Refugio State Beach, which includes a five-mile radius around the park with a 1,000-foot ceiling.

Santa Barbara County’s Emergency Operations Center has hosted the response’s unified command post since the day after the spill, but operations moved to an undisclosed building in Goleta near the Santa Barbara Airport over the weekend. 

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 Man Gets 28-Year Prison Term for Molestations

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Carlos Israel Pineda Xitumul

A man who pleaded guilty to molesting two children he was baby-sitting on Santa Barbara's Westside was sentenced to 28 years in state prison on Monday.

Carlos Israel Pineda Xitumul, 36, was arrested in May 2013, and faced charges that he had molested two 5-year-old boys.

Xitumul was a family friend who baby-sat for the children when their regular baby-sitters were unavailable, police said. 

The children's mother returned home to find Xitumul and the children in “states of partial undress,” police said, adding that Xitumul admitted to molesting the victims on multiple occasions.

On May 26, 2015, Xitumul pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a lewd or lascivious act by force or violence against a child under the age of 14 years, and one count of committing a lewd or lascivious act against a child under the age of 14 years.  

Xitumul will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to a statement sent out Monday from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The sentence was the result of a negotiated plea after input from the parents of the victims, the statement said.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley commended the parents for immediately calling the police, and thanked the Santa Barbara Police Department and the investigators at the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office for their joint investigation efforts.  

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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MedBridge Announces Two Additions to Executive Management Team

By | Published on 06/01/2015


MedBridge is pleased to announce three recent strategic additions to its executive management team: Jill Himlan, Esq., as general counsel and Patty Harrison, MN, BSN, RN, as director of clinical services of Southern California.

“As MedBridge continues its growth and expansion in the healthcare arena, we are fortunate to have such talented leaders as a part of our executive team," President David Odell said. "With the knowledge and depth that Jill and Patty will bring in their respective areas of expertise, we are well-poised to continue growing our mission of providing outstanding management services to our healthcare partners throughout California.”

Himlan joined MedBridge in the fourth quarter of 2014.

She began her legal career as an associate attorney at Lang, Richert and Patch in Fresno, where she focused on creditors’ rights, construction defect and commercial litigation. Upon relocating to Santa Barbara, she became an associate attorney for the law firm of Griffith and Thornburgh LLP. During her time at Griffith and Thornburgh, she specialized in the areas of bankruptcy and insolvency, corporate restructuring, intellectual property rights, business litigation, and education law.

Himlan received her bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, cum laude, from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where she was also a NCAA Division I cross-county athlete. She received her Juris Doctor, with Great Distinction, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

While attending the McGeorge School of Law, Himlan was recognized with numerous accolades, including the Order of the Coif, membership in the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society, four-time recipient of the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, and placement on the Dean’s List during her entire academic career. Her professional associations include the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association and the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.

Himlan is also actively involved in the community as a member of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association and Santa Barbara Running and Racing, and as a volunteer mentoring young athletes.

Harrison joined MedBridge in the first quarter of 2015 and oversees the clinical operations of MedBridge’s Southern California ambulatory surgery centers.

With over 10 years of nursing and management experience, Harrison guides each center to achieve excellence in healthcare standards and quality patient care. She is well versed at achieving and maintaining all accreditation and certification standards and oversees the accreditation processes for MedBridge’s Southern California surgery center partners.

With expertise and knowledge in project development and business advancements in the surgical arena, Harrison has managed and operated medical outpatient and surgical centers, taking a collaborative approach among staff and surgeons. In addition to her passion for patient care, Harrison has been involved in numerous medical volunteerism programs both locally in Santa Barbara and abroad. This includes volunteering in South East Asia, particularly in Cambodia, where she helped fund raise educational costs and deliver medical supplies.

Harrison received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Linfield College in Portland, Ore., and her master of nursing degree from Washington State University. She is a recipient of the Wilma Pope Award, the Spirit of Nursing Award, and a recipient of the Washington State University Outstanding Master of Nursing Student Award.

MedBridge is a socially responsible health-care development and management company based in Santa Barbara, California. MedBridge exists to free surgeons, specialists and other medical experts to spend their best energy on healing patients and advancing human performance.

With over 13 years of serving physicians and ambulatory surgery centers around California, MedBridge has fine-tuned cost-effective solutions for healthcare management, billing, and cycle revenue processes in order to serve physicians and their patients with the highest quality of care.

— Christy Cain represents MedBridge.


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Michael Smith Joins FastSpring of Santa Barbara as New Chief Technology Officer

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Global award-winning digital e-commerce leader FastSpring of Santa Barbara proudly announces that industry leader Michael Smith has joined the company as its new chief technology officer.

Smith joins FastSpring as the former CTO for Verisk Analytics, and brings to his work for FastSpring an impressive track record of experience in partner engagement, risk management, systems thinking, data visualization, transparent modeling, scenario-based forecasting, and more.

“We’re really thrilled to bring Michael onto the FastSpring team,” FastSpring CEO Chris Lueck said. “Michael is a highly valued executive who has spent his career successfully facilitating technology initiatives and strategies. His background and expertise will play an essential part as FastSpring continues to evolve, and to accelerate and enhance customer options and platform features across the globe.”

Before his work with Verisk, Smith was the chief technology officer for Interthinx (a Verisk Analytics company), where he managed the design and deployment of hosted software services for automated fraud and compliance analysis, loan file reviews and more. Before Interthinx, Smith was chief software architect for Strategic Analytics, where he developed patented technologies in non-linear time series decomposition and scenario-based forecasting for retail lending. He also taught courses in complex systems analysis and portfolio modeling to top retail lenders around the world, developing new business in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and Asia.

This wealth of combined teaching and real-world experience ensures that Smith will feel right at home in FastSpring’s atmosphere of constant innovation.

“Serving thousands of customers worldwide, FastSpring powers the digital economy with its superb cloud-based eCommerce and subscription management platform,” Smith said. “There’s no one better than FastSpring at helping companies to monetize their products and services online. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help them move forward to even greater success in the years to come.”

— Gabriela DeGuzman is a marketing assistant for FastSpring.


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Curvature Donates $300,000 to MOXI Museum, Kicking Off Corporate Campaign Initiative

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Curvature, an international tech firm headquartered in Santa Barbara, recently donated $250,000 to MOXI The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is launching the local children’s museum’s corporate donor campaign.

Curvature President/CEO Mike Sheldon

The gift is in addition to a previous contribution of $50,000 and it signifies the importance Curvature places on providing engaging science education to children.

“We believe that all children should have early access to science and engineering programs, and we are honored to partner with MOXI to bring a fun and educational museum to the Santa Barbara community,” said Mike Sheldon, Curvature’s president and CEO. “Children who are exposed to engineering and sciences early on are far more likely to succeed in school, and will have endless career opportunities. We hope that some of those who spend their youth in the STEAM program will even become future Curvature employees.”

Curvature’s donation kicks off MOXI’s public effort to engage local corporations with the science-focused museum. MOXI, scheduled to open late 2016, has already raised $16 million of its $25 million goal, mostly from private donors, including naming benefactors Dick and Noelle Wolf. The museum hopes that local businesses will support the nonprofit, which estimates attendance at over 100,000 visitors per year and will be a significant boost to the local economy.

The Association of Children’s Museums claims the total economic activity of its children’s museum members is estimated at $448 million. In addition, more than 30 million individuals visit children’s museums annually worldwide.

Though MOXI is small by comparison, it will still have a sizeable impact on the local economy. MOXI will also benefit our community by offering interactive kid-powered exhibits designed to align with the national agenda to boost student interest in math and science, in addition to offering a teen docent program and partnerships with local organizations and Santa Barbara area schools.

“Santa Barbara is the proud home to many leading international organizations, including a growing number of technology and engineering greats, and we welcome their innovation and collaboration. From UCSB’s six Nobel Prize winners to our high tech corridor, Santa Barbara clearly has some powerful minds and we look forward to the partnership opportunities that can exist between MOXI and our corporate neighbors,” said Steve Hinkley, MOXI CEO.

Curvature has sponsored the “Build It, Test It, Race It” exhibit which gives visitors a chance to design and build modular cars that can be raced on the museum’s speed track. The car’s design can be configured in many different ways, altering variables like shape and size to see how they impact speed. They can even change the contour of the track, thereby learning, through hands-on play, the effect of slope on velocity.

“This exhibit allows visitors to experiment with the laws of inertia and momentum and we hope to introduce data collection components that measure things like mass and average speed,” explained Hinkley, who said there’s a significant educational component to every exhibit. The powerfully playful exhibits are open to corporate sponsorships.

Curvature, formerly known as Network Hardware Resale, is the world's leading provider of pre-owned and new surplus networking equipment and services solutions. Giving back to local communities is an important part of the Curvature culture. In addition to the $300,000 MOXI donation, Curvature has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to other local youth and educational programs, such as Ice in Paradise, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, will be a 21st century museum dedicated to igniting learning through innovative, interactive experiences that spark a lasting passion for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. Scheduled to open in late 2016, MOXI will serve children of all ages as well as lifelong learners. Santa Barbara County’s first LEED-certified museum. MOXI will be located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s redeveloped tourist area at 125 State St.

For more information, contact MOXI at 805.680.7235; email [email protected] or visit

— Ann Pieramici is the communications chair for the MOXI The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.


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Here Comes Commencement: UCSB’s Exercises to Celebrate 5,256 Graduates

By | Published on 06/01/2015


By the close of the 2014-15 academic year, UC Santa Barbara will have awarded a combined 5,256 undergraduate and graduate degrees. That accomplishment will be celebrated in eight official commencement ceremonies, to be held on campus over eight days, starting June 7 and concluding June 14.

The ceremonies are organized by college, level of degree and field of study. Chancellor Henry Yang will shake the hand of every student graduating from the College of Creative Studies, the College of Engineering, the College of Letters and Science, the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and the Graduate Division.

The College of Creative Studies will lead off with its ceremony Sunday, June 7 at 11 a.m. in Campbell Hall. The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management will conduct its ceremony Friday, June 12 at 10 a.m. in the Bren Hall Courtyard.

On the weekend of Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14, six ceremonies — three each day — will be held on the Faculty Club Green fronting the UCSB Lagoon.

All eight ceremonies will be webcast live. Over June 13-14, web coverage will be continuous, beginning at 8:30 a.m., running through and between the 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. events. A link to the webcasts will be available via the UCSB home page by clicking here.

A listing of ceremonies and guest speakers follows. Complete biographical information on all speakers is available on the UCSB commencement website by clicking here

Sunday, June 7, Campbell Hall

11 a.m. — College of Creative Studies

Guest Speaker — Jack Van Zandt ’76, composer; president, American Composers Forum of Los Angeles

Student Speakers — Victoria Wu, biology; Alexandra Phillips, biology; Larry Lin, physics

Friday, June 12, Bren Hall Courtyard

10 a.m. — Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Guest Speaker — Jennifer DuBuisson ’08, senior manager for environmental sustainability, LEGO

Saturday, June 13, Faculty Club Green

9 a.m. — Sciences

Guest Speaker — Miguel de los Rios ’98, ’05, vice president of research and development, Sevion Therapeutics

Student Speaker — Claudia Jette, pharmacology

1 p.m. — Engineering and Sciences

Guest Speaker — Padmasree Warrior, chief technology and strategy officer, Cisco

Student Speakers — Janice Chee Jing Ong, psychology; Saili Raje, computer engineering

4 p.m. — Social Sciences I

Guest Speaker — Mick Ebeling, CEO, Not Impossible Labs

Student Speaker — Alexandra Guthy, sociology, psychology

Sunday, June 14, Faculty Club Green

9 a.m. — Social Sciences II

Guest Speaker — Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO, PolicyLink

Student Speaker — Sean Tanabe, global studies

1 p.m. — Humanities and Arts

Guest Speaker — Diane Rodriguez, associate artistic director, Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles, and co-curator, RADAR LA Festival

Student Speaker — Isabelle Gecsy, English

4 p.m. — Graduate Division

Guest Speaker — David Marshall, UCSB executive vice chancellor, professor of English and of comparative literature

Student Speaker — Mario Galicia Jr., education, cultural perspectives and comparative education (Ph.D.)

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


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Assemblyman Richard Bloom Backs Schneider for Congress

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Demonstrating her continued momentum, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider on Monday announced that California Assemblyman Richard Bloom has endorsed her campaign to represent California's 24th Congressional district seat.

Bloom previously served as a California Coastal Commission member and as mayor of the City of Santa Monica. He served on the Santa Monica City Council from 1999 until he was elected to the state Assembly in 2012.

In announcing his endorsement of Schneider, Bloom released the following statement: "Mayors understand the needs of their community and how to get things done. That's one of the many reasons that I'm pleased to endorse Mayor Helene Schneider for California's Congressional District 24. Helene knows the importance of bringing leaders and competing interests together in order to find common ground. That's why she has been such a great Mayor and why she will be outstanding in Congress."

Schneider responded to the endorsement by remarking: "I sincerely appreciate this support from Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Like me, he shares a passion for protecting and preserving our environment, while simultaneously developing innovative strategies to spur economic growth, create jobs, and expand the use of clean and renewable energy. As a former mayor, California Coastal Commissioner and current state Assemblyman, Richard Bloom's endorsement illustrates the wide-ranging support that our campaign is building every day."

Beyond Monday's announcement, Schneider has secured endorsements from several influential organizations and local leaders, including the following:

» International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E.) Local 501
» International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
» City of Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann
» City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte
» City of Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell (retired)
» Hope School District Board of Trustees Member Kristi Newton
» City of Santa Barbara City Council Member Harwood "Bendy" White
» City of Ventura City Council Member Carl E. Morehouse
» Santa Barbara Unified School District Board President H. Edward Heron 
» Environmental Defense Center Founder Marc McGinnes
» Central Coast Water Quality Control Board Member (retired) and Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Sharon Hoshida
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Lois Phillips
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Alissa Hummer
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner (retired) and board member with Coalition Against Gun Violence Christine Silverstein
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Catherine Woodford
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Don Olsen
» Santa Barbara City Council Member Grant House (retired)
» Founder of The Key Class John Daly
» Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Bruce Bartlett (retired)
» Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb

Schneider was elected to her second term as Santa Barbara’s mayor in November 2013. She has served at Santa Barbara City Hall since January 2004, winning her first election as City Council member in 2003 and first election as mayor in 2009.

Schneider serves in leadership roles on a number of regional-wide policy issues, such as transportation, air quality, solid waste, public education, youth violence prevention and homelessness. She represents the City of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, Air Pollution Control District, Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force, Partners in Education, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness. She is the immediate past-president of the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division.

Prior to elected office, Schneider spent 11 years in human resources management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

For more information, please visit


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Fire Prevention Project Available for Homeowners on Ladera, Hidden Valley Lanes in Carp-Summerland

By | Published on 06/01/2015


June 1-4, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, in continuing partnership with residents living in wildfire-prone areas, will offer Ladera Lane and Hidden Valley Lane homeowners an opportunity to participate in a hazardous fuel reduction.

These homeowners will have an opportunity to clean up and reduce the volume of flammable vegetation on and around their properties.

The objective is to create defensible space around these homes. Once the vegetation is cleared, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District, in conjunction with two nonprofit organizations — the California Conservation Corps and The C.R.E.W. — will chip it.

The California Conservation Corps is a state agency that puts together young people ages 18 to 25 and the environment to the benefit of both.

The C.R.E.W. has employed and trained more than 1,500 male and female youths ages 14 to 17 from our area as well as surrounding communities. Approximately 40 percent of C.R.E.W. participants are disadvantaged.

MarBorg Industries has once again generously donated “roll-off” dumpsters to be placed at 2885 Hidden Valley Lane and at 1030 Ladera Lane for the gathering of vegetation.

— Grace Donnelly is a public information officer for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.


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Neighborhood Meeting to Discuss Municipal Tennis Center Upgrades, New Playground

By | Published on 06/01/2015


The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department will hold a neighborhood meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 to discuss design options for the development of a new playground and site improvements at the Municipal Tennis Center.

“Muni,” the city’s largest tennis facility, is located at 1414 Park Place.

The first four courts were constructed in 1937 and additional courts followed. The facility is home to the Parks & Recreation Department’s tennis lessons and tennis summer camps.

The project design objectives include providing recreation for neighborhood children, improving site access and safety through pathway improvements, and creating a tennis seating area.

The neighborhood meeting will include a review and discussion of some preliminary conceptual designs. The public is invited to attend and participate in a discussion of the project, which is still in the very early planning stages.

The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department proudly maintains a wide range of parks, facilities and programs designed to serve the needs of the community.

The mission of the department is to provide clean and safe parks, beaches and recreation facilities; to enhance Santa Barbara’s beauty; to promote stewardship of resources; and to provide quality recreation and cultural experiences and community services to improve the quality of life for Santa Barbara residents.

To find out more about the department, please follow us on Facebook by clicking here or visit the City of Santa Barbara's website by clicking here.

— Jill Zachary is assistant director of the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.


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CompuVision, Celebrating 20 Years, Launches New Corporate Brand Identity and Website

By | Published on 06/01/2015


CompuVision, a leading technology service provider, recently announced the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding and the launch of a new corporate brand identity and website in support of its growing regional presence.

CompuVision was founded on May 15, 1995 by Chief Executive Officer John Hunt. CompuVision and its sister division, Vision Communications, have provided services that include acquisition, implementation and ongoing management of technology solutions for clients in Central and Southern California.

CompuVision has recently expanded its offerings to include cloud-based solutions, digital forensics, two factor authentication as a service and cybersecurity solutions. Vision Communications has recently added an audio/video division to support commercial and residential clients.

“CompuVision and Vision Communications are proud of their 20-year track record of organic growth and sustained profitability while delivering best in class technology solutions and services,” Hunt said. “At the same time, we are forward-focused on this next decade and have significant plans to deliver substantial added value to our clients and innovation to our industry.”

In celebration of embarking on its third decade of business, CompuVision has unveiled a new corporate brand identity that reflects the company’s future strategic direction, mission and goals. Included in the new branding is an updated company website.

“We plan on becoming a corporate household name and a single source for all technology needs for our clients,” Hunt said.

— Jessy Raspiller is a client advocate for CompuVision.


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Letter to the Editor: Changing Santa Barbara Elections Makes Sense

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Dear mayor and council members:

After a very long, drawn-out argument with Mr. DeWitt in the comments section of his letter to the Independent, l decided it would be best to contact you and give you my position on the matter of moving local elections to even numbered years.

In my opinion, this move makes perfect sense! Proving the justification for such a change to a politician requires a lot of wisdom. What is most difficult is getting around the idea that people are stupid political sheep moving to one party like a wandering herd!

So let's say for a moment you can put aside politics, parties and the influence of media and money. Now you have the mindset of a new voter before they become the aforementioned sheep. Whether Republican, independent, Libertarian or Democrat, you know that it's in your best interest to bring that voter into the democratic fold. The republic's best defense is a good offense!

As you probably know, more people become voters in even numbered years. Why would you allow those new voters to enter the democratic process without giving thought to choosing the city leaders?

One can easily argue these recent long, drawn-out election cycles lead to apolitical thinking. With the lack of campaign finance reform and the changes occurring within social media, people are indeed "tuning out" to what the candidates have to say.

Politicians have learned they can stay forever in the limelight merely by saying they're deciding whether to run. Elected officials have also learned how to use the tax dollar to remain in political power. No one should be using government resources to obtain campaign contributions, but we see it every day.

People are beginning to catch on. As they do, more folks will use the ballot to change the system. Why should local elections be left out of that process?

Those of you who decide not to choose this change will have to live with the consequence of your decision. For years now I've seen many of you on the wrong side of the winning arguments regarding district elections, gang injunctions, militarize police (on patrol), etc.

Choices have consequences. If partisan politics is the consequence of even numbered election, I'm sure the voters will succeed in reversing that by using a (cost effective) democratic process.

Steven C. Reynalds
Santa Barbara


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Charlotte Ponticelli to Discuss ‘The Situation of Women in Afghanistan’ in Channel City Club Talk

By | Published on 06/01/2015


Charlotte Ponticelli will speak about "The Situation of Women in Afghanistan: Priorities, Challenges, and Possibilities" at the Channel City Club luncheon on Monday, June 15 in the Reagan Room at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

Charlotte Ponticelli

Check-in-will begin at 11:30 a.m.

The cost is $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers.

For reservations or for more information, click here, call 805.564.6223 or email [email protected].

Ponticelli is an international and governmental affairs expert currently serving as program director and advisor for the American Committees on Foreign Relations. She is also an adjunct professor in the Business and Economics School at The Catholic University of America, where she lectures on Global Community Development Policies.

With 23 years of U.S. government experience, Ponticelli began her career on Capitol Hill and served most recently as the State Department’s senior coordinator for international women’s issues and later as deputy undersecretary for international labor affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor

Previously, Ponticelli was senior advisor for State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Director of Human Rights in State’s Bureau for International Organization Affairs; congressional liaison for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and director of congressional correspondence in the Legislative Affairs Office of the White House. She has also served as commissioner assistant at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Ponticelli is a member of several organizations assisting Afghanistan, including the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership founded by President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2002 to assist Afghan women in the areas of political leadership, economic opportunities, education and health. She is also on the boards of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, which provides educational and career opportunities for young Afghan women eager to participate in the governance and development of their country; and the Bayat Foundation, which focuses on alleviating the plight of at-risk Afghans, particularly in the areas of maternal and child health. She is currently assisting the Bayat Foundation with a project to expand telemedicine and humanitarian-relief technologies for Afghanistan.

Ponticelli has received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the “Loyalty Award” from the American Women for International Understanding, the “Inspiration Award” from the Foreign Investment Network and Global Trusted Alliances, and the “Afghan & American Sisterhood Award” from Ariana Outreach.


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Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s New Season Invites Listeners to ‘See the Music’

By | Published on 06/01/2015


The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, celebrating the start of its 37th season since its founding in 1978, invites music lovers of all ages to sit back, close their eyes and “see the music” with the announcement of their upcoming 2015-16 concert season of the same theme.

Composers have long been known to write music to accompany an existing story, or create a narrative to their music. But listeners often create images in their own imaginations while listening to music and the Chamber Orchestra is stressing this wonderful component to musical enjoyment this season. Composers work in the “realm of the imagination” (as Robert Schumann wrote) — it is no wonder that imagery and music go hand in hand.

“Our mission is to provide the finest classical musical performance experience in the region. With a dedicated and energized board of directors, highly skilled and gifted musicians, and you … our faithful patrons, the future is bright, full of music and fun,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

Whether German composer Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) music evokes images of soldiers, battles, royalty and romance or visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head, thanks to Mendelssohn; listeners will delight in seeing the music this enchanting, inspiring season.

Guest artists Alessio Bax and Martin Beaver will also return to perform with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra this season.

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra 2015-16 Season

The new season will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 and runs through Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

The 2015-16 season schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Season Opening / "Fire & Ice" party and concert

“Enchanting …”

Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D-Minor, Opus 120

Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Overture, Opus 21

Stravinsky, “Firebird”

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Alan Chapman, guest lecturer

“Exquisite …”

Mendelssohn, Symphony for Strings in C-Major No. 9 “Swiss Symphony”

Dvořák, Serenade for Strings in E Major, Opus 22

Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Guest artist: Martin Beaver, Violin


Mozart, Overture: The Marriage of Figaro

Mozart, Symphony No.40 in C Minor, K. 550

Mendellsohn, Violin Concerto Opus 64

Tuesday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Guest artist: Alessio Bax, piano

“Glorius …”

Schumann, Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 54

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5 “Reformation” Opus 107

Two Special Events!

Chamber Music at the Museum

February 9, 7:30 p.m.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Heiichiro Ohyama, Viola

Mozart, Horn Quintet in E-Flat Major, K.407

F. Devienne, Quartet for Bassoon & Strings in G Minor

Mozart, String Quintet No.4 in G minor for two violas

Chocolate and wine pairing included!

Music-Dialogue with Maestro Ohyama and Alan Chapman

University Club of Santa Barbara

Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.

A conversation featuring Maestro Ohyama with musicologist/KUSC radio host Alan Chapman and select players from the Chamber Orchestra

Mendelssohn, String Quintet No. 2, Opus 87

Dessert and wine included!

Additionally, the SBCO Supper Club will continue at select concerts (pre-concert buffet on the Lobero patio, $50 per person including wine, dessert, tax and tip) as well as the SBCO Concert Seats for Families (free tickets for children accompanied by parent/host).

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.


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Santa Barbara Wastewater System Inspections Scheduled to Begin in June

By | Published on 06/01/2015


The City of Santa Barbara Public Works Department will begin its annual inspection of the wastewater collection system (sewer) pipeline in June.

Inspections will occur at various locations throughout the city for about four months.

The majority of work will take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. In some locations, work may be performed outside of those hours to avoid impacts to traffic on busy streets.

Businesses and residents near each inspection location will receive notice 72 hours prior to the start of the inspection. Short-term parking restrictions may be required; however, driveways will not be impacted.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Lisa Arroyo, supervising engineer, at 805.564.5486 or by email at [email protected].

— Lisa Arroyo is a supervising engineer for the City of Santa Barbara.


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UCSB Researchers Study Fine-Motor Coordination of Fruit Flies

By | Published on 06/01/2015


In all animals — from humans to fruit flies — coordinated physical movement relies on two regimes of motor control: gross and fine. In humans, gross motor control enables large movements of the body and limbs, such as during walking, running or throwing; fine motor control is necessary for more precise movements — pressing a specific key while playing a musical instrument, for example.

Bradley Akitake

Craig Montell (George Foulsham photo)

In fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), rhythmic walking depends largely on gross motor proficiency, while fine motor skills are essential for accomplishing more difficult tasks, such traversing large gaps in the terrain, which requires highly orchestrated and precise movements of multiple appendages, all at the same time.

In a new study that focuses on locomotion in the fruit fly — a relatively simple animal that exhibits many of the same behaviors as humans and other mammals — UC Santa Barbara’s Craig Montell and his research team have identified a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel that plays a key role in the insect’s fine motor coordination. Their research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Most significant, according to Montell, UCSB’s Duggan Professor of Neuroscience, the team has demonstrated that null mutations in the TRPy (gamma) channel specifically impair highly coordinated movements while leaving gross motor control intact. As described by Montell this “breakthrough in understanding fine motor control in animals such as the fruit fly might shed light on the molecular processes that underlie fine motor control in other animals, including humans.”

During the past few years, members of the TRP superfamily have emerged as key molecular channels that participate in a variety of senses. For example, one TRP channel is expressed in taste buds and allows mammals to taste sweet and bitter ingredients, while others function in light sensation or in sensing stimuli that cause itching and changes in temperature.

“There’s a TRP channel in mammals, including humans, that not only senses hot temperatures but is also turned on by the pungent ingredient in hot chili peppers called capsaicin,” said Montell, a faculty member in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and the paper’s senior author. “That’s why you feel hot when you’re eating spicy food. You’re activating the same TRP channels that are activated by hot temperatures.”

The current study, however, focuses on a less recognized sense — proprioception, sometimes referred to as the “sixth sense.” Proprioception gives your brain information on how your body is positioned in space. “Animals must have a sense of the position of their body parts to survive,” said Montell. “You have to know where your body parts are — whether they’re static or moving, whether they’re straight or at angles.”

Added Bradley Akitake, a postdoctoral fellow in the Montell lab and the paper’s lead author, “The mechanically activated TRP channel that we characterized is critical for this task.

“We already know from previous research that there are some mutations disrupting TRP channels that cause these animals to be absolutely spastic,” he continued. “These mutant flies display profound and obvious defects in motor control. We detected a problem in TRPy mutant flies only after increasing the difficulty of the locomotion tasks.”

To separate fine and gross motor behaviors, the researchers shot high-speed video of their wing-clipped fruit fly subjects — both wild type and TRPγ mutants — completing two locomotor tasks: walking and gap crossing. “Walking across a catwalk is an easy task for a fruit fly, whereas gap crossing, having to fully stretch out your body while keeping your rear feet planted and not fall into the water, is much more challenging,” said Akitake. “We can adjust the difficulty by changing the size of the gap.”

When looking at how well the fruit flies maneuvered small, less challenging gaps, the researchers found little difference in the success rates of the wild type and TRPγ gamma mutants. Gross motor proficiency was normal in both. However, upon increasing the gap to 3.5 millimeters, just over 1.5 times the body length of the fly, the wild type had an approximately 60 percent success rate, whereas only a small percentage of TRPγ mutant animals crossed successfully. “By slowing down the video and measuring in detail the body angles and leg reach of the flies, we found that TRPγ mutants were not making the fine posture changes necessary to successfully cross large gaps,” said Montell.

So what does the discovery of a role for the TRPγ channel in fruit fly proprioception mean for other animals, including humans? Additional research is necessary, but according to Montell, diseases that specifically target the human nervous system — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, for example — devastate motor ability in affected individuals. “In order to restore motor function,” he said, “we need to first understand the sensory systems that contribute to fully coordinated movements.”

Other contributors to the study include Dr. Takaaki Sokabe, a project scientist in UCSB’s MCDB department and Neuroscience Research Institute; Jinfei Ni of UCSB and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Nina Boiko, James D. Stockand and Benjamin A. Eaton of the University of Texas Health Science Center.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Health Effects of Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/01/2015


I recently heard of the oil spill in and around Santa Barbara.

I have firsthand experience with never-ending possibilities of the direct and indirect results of a similar situation. I hope this letter will serve as a note of caution for people in your affected area.

My name is Rocky Meadows. During the 2010 BP oil spill, I lived and worked on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This disaster is now known as the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. While I have no details of the magnitude of your oil spill nor its "cleanup" effort, I urge you to please take this as a very serious matter.

I, along with thousands of others, became sick during this time. Many of us are still very sick with a totally changed life, while many others were sickened to life-ending proportions. From the human health perspective, our symptoms were varied and wide ranging. However, we usually would have many common symptoms, too. When all aspects of life are suddenly affected, (air, water, food and etc.), it is to be expected that individuals will react differently. Our medical experts can sometimes have difficulty determining the exact and precise origin of certain symptoms but the overall health impact is very easily recognized and traced back.

I am writing to you with no outside influence on my message. I went from being a perfectly healthy, very active and athletic person to someone who is now disabled and struggles with basic life. I do not need outside influence to give you a first hand accounting. From a business professional to a survivor, I ask you to please be vigilant and take this matter very serious.

I have little knowledge of environmental issues, most of which are visibly recognized. However, I have extensive knowledge of the human health issues, which are not so easily recognized. I also believe that our health is directly connected to the health of our environment. Therefore, the environment must be meticulously maintained.

Be aware of professional "spokespersons," slanted news reports, doctors who don't want to get involved, etc. Anticipate stories that downplay the amount, the negative impact and, yes, even a change in the basic but pertinent numbers.

It is difficult for me to write this basic and informal letter. I do so as I experience yet another night with little or no sleep at all. Therefore, do not anticipate more correspondence from me. If anyone has questions I welcome your phone call at 228.623.1500. Depending on the time, medication and other factors, I may or may not be able to field your call with an informal and intelligent conversation. I have a voicemail system in which anyone can leave a message if so desired.

It is my prayer that no one would have to endure the change of life such as I have. Therefore I write to you in hopes of helping you understand the serious nature of such an event in which you may be experiencing.

Rocky Meadows
Ocean Springs, Miss.


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Police Trying to Unravel Conflicting Circumstances of Shooting of Santa Maria Teenager

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Santa Maria police early Monday were investigating the circumstances surrounding the Sunday night shooting of a 17-year-old boy.

The incident initially was reported as an attempted robbery gone awry.​

Lt. Daniel Cohen said officers responded shortly after 9:30 p.m. to Marian Regional Medical Center after being notified that a gunshot victim had been brought to the emergency room.

Late Sunday, he had reported that the teen and another person were walking through a parking lot in the 1300 block of South Broadway when they were approached by a man who demanded money.

“During the robbery attempt, multiple shots were fired, with one round striking the victim in the chest,” Cohen said.

The suspect was described as about 30 years old, 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, and wearing a black hoodie.

However, early Monday, Cohen said further investigation had determined that there was no robbery attempt nor did the shooting occur where it first had been reported.

“Evidence suggests it occurred in the area of Pershing and Russell,” he said, indicating an area about a block east of South Blosser Road on Santa Maria’s west side.

“The exact circumstances are still under investigation,” Cohen said.

Details on the teenager’s condition were not released, but authorities said the wound is not believed to be life threatening.

No arrests had been made as of early Monday.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781.

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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In Response to Oil Spill, Demonstrators Make Stand in the Sand for Alternative Energy

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Anti-oil rally kicks off with speeches before chanting marchers move to West Beach for symbolic photo opportunities

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

“What do you call a solar spill? A nice day!”

Approximately 500 people marched down State Street to the beach in Santa Barbara on Sunday, chanting slogans like that for Stand in the Sand.

The group first gathered at De la Guerra Plaza in front of City Hall. The peaceful anti-oil rally featured guest speakers, creative chants and a fervent audience — all summoned in response to the May 19 pipeline leak and oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

Down at the waterfront, the demonstrators temporarily blocked the busy intersection of State and Cabrillo Boulevard at the base of Stearns Wharf, before organizers cleared the streets and got everyone re-grouped on West Beach. There, they formed a single-file line across the sand.

People brought their children, dogs and plenty of homemade signs, which painted a colorful picture as they held hands for photo and video opportunities on the beach.

Among the props were some floating fish and squid puppets, and a giant, black “pipeline” that had to be carried by dozens of people at a time.

“We have seen this before: the 1969 spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and in 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico,” Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider told the crowd. “The reality is that under the status quo we will see more spills like these in the future.

“We are here because we want to see another alternative. We’re here because we want to get ourselves to a better place that is less reliant on oil and more reliant on new clean and renewable technologies.”

Stand in the Sand was first organized in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as a way to stand in solidarity with those affected by the environmental catastrophe. This year, organizers resurrected the rally to stand up for their own turf, Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.

Officials say about 105,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the broken pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline, with an estimated 21,000 gallons spilling down the hillside and into the ocean along the Gaviota coast. The cause of the breach remains under investigation.

The incident is said to be the largest oil spill to hit Santa Barbara-area beaches since the 1969 blowout, when 3 million gallons of oil spilled from a drilling platform about five miles offshore. The modern environmental movement traces its roots to that spill. 

That movement is still going strong, with all kinds of local groups stepping in to support clean energy any way they can. Not to mention that UC Santa Barbara is considered one of the greenest public university in the United States.

Phil McKenna, board president of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, gave a poetic speech, emphasizing his own detailed descriptions of Refugio Beach.

“It is a place that is in constant motion yet is known for its tranquility; a place so ephemeral that it changes twice a day; a place so dynamic that it transforms from summer sand to hard cobble in winter,” he said.

Although the overarching message of the day was positivity, many of the speakers expressed their melancholy over the gathering.

A recurring theme in the speeches was the necessity to use the negative impacts of the Refugio spill for good — for new legislation, more clean energy opportunities, and attention from the rest of the world to better spread this message.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, were represented by staff who had prepared statements from the legislators.

The day’s final speaker, Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, finished on a strong note.

“We have all the recourses necessary to switch from our past to the future, to sit down with our decision makers, governments and industries, and tell them that, in going with renewable energy, they will continue being in business,” he said.

“We need to protect and preserve our life support system ... We are the only species on the planet that has the choice and the privilege not to disappear.”

Noozhawk intern Ana Mezic​ can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Local Launches Messy Mutt Wipes Business to Clean Up After Slobbery Dogs

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Frustrated by the drool, Elizabeth Baker starts a business designing and selling alcohol-free clean wipes

Bogart is one messy mutt, a fact that wasn’t lost on the 3-year-old French bulldog’s owner.

Elizabeth Baker, a Santa Barbara native, was working in Washington, D.C., when she got the small, slobbery puppy. She desperately searched for the best way to clean up her pet — and herself in the process — ordering free samples from far and wide.

When she moved back to the Central Coast and still hadn’t found a suitable cleaner, Baker decided to come up with her own product.

She began selling her wet wipes, Messy Mutt Wipes, last month in a local pet store and online, with enough positive feedback to already be thinking about expansion.

Baker, who works full time as a program manager at Goleta-based Direct Relief, thinks of Messy Mutt Wipes as a fun side experiment, especially considering she’s never started a business before.

“It’s really good for dogs and the owners,” she told Noozhawk on a recent afternoon, with a grunting Bogart in tow.

Bogart’s likeness adorns every container of the stuff, each containing 26 moist towelettes made from fiber, deionized water, aloe vera, lanolin, glycerin and Vitamin E.

Most important, Baker said, is that Messy Mutt Wipes are alcohol-free, given that alcohol is an ingredient that sometimes dries out the skin.

The wipes can attach to a leash or be stowed in a bag until your dog gets into something else.

Baker knows the wipes are strong, soft and natural because she tried out a lot of different recipes on herself.

“I would never use anything on Bogart I wouldn’t use on myself,” she said. “People are always surprised by how soft they are.”

Messy Mutt Wipes are in the George Pet Store in Montecito, with plans to get them into pet shops in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and other locations. They’re also available online for $6 on Baker’s website.

Baker has more pet-product ideas but said she’s waiting to see the level of demand and how this first foray into entrepreneurship pans out.

“Santa Barbara is such a dog-friendly place,” she said. “I think we’re going to see what happens. It’s been fun.”

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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Judy Foreman: Lily Continues to Blossom as a Haven for Treasures, Unique Gifts

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Owner Linda O’Hare cultivates a nationwide clientele, helped along by the sweet scent of Christopher Radko’s lavender

While on a recent, leisurely stroll with my pup along Coast Village Road’s Fashion Row, it dawned on me that I could have just as easily been on an exotic side street off Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris or in Provence.

Over the last two years, an array of new businesses has popped up in Montecito — much to the delight of serious shoppers.

Yet, amid all of the newcomers on CVR and in the Upper Village, I realized that Lily, 1131 Coast Village Road, has been one of my go-to shops for the unusual and beautiful for the past 12 years. And it was there I headed, looking for a gift for my mom.

Part of the charm of Lily’s intimate jewel box of a space is its proprietor, Linda O’Hare. Fessing up, half the time — regardless of whether I need anything (usually I do not) — I stop by to chat with her about her latest travels and unusual finds.

O’Hare is who I call retail royalty, having moved to Santa Barbara from Boston in 1974. The aroma from our rose gardens, the abundance of monarch butterflies and the jasmine-scented air, closed the deal on her decision to relocate from New England, she explained, without mentioning anything about the weather.

She got a part time job at what she calls “a cute little shop,” at the time called Pierre Lafond’s. That job evolved into 14 years of buying and creating the Upstairs shop, which is still so wonderful today under the guidance of Shelley Koury.

“It was great fun,” O’Hare recalled, “and an opportunity to work with Pierre and Wendy (Foster) as they were building their retail empire.”

In 2003, Kate McMahon offered her a sweet little spot next to her own women’s retail shop, Kate’s, which is now home to Legacy.

The rest … is Lily.

“Small is beautiful,” said O’Hare, who added that 300 square feet is plenty of room to show off all the treasures of jewelry, décor and special gifts that she offers.

Lily attracts the most wonderful people, and O’Hare works hard to feature local artisans.

Last month, however, Christopher Radko flew in from New York City to launch his new Organic Lavender Collection of oils, bath salts and candles.

Radko sold his hugely successful ornament business eight years ago and planted a 25-acre lavender farm in his native Poland, creating an “outstanding organic line of bath products, body butters and the dreamiest candles,” according to O’Hare.

On the day of his recent trunk show, the loads of fresh lavender lured me into the store. Inside, I found Radko himself, standing well over 6 feet tall and dressed in an all-purple seersucker suit and tie that added to the celebratory atmosphere — and would have made Willy Wonka proud.

I asked O’Hare about the infusion of new stores, given her standing as a CVR veteran, along with Peregrine Galleries, Letter Perfect, Maison K, Angel, Occhiali Eyeware, Antoinette / Intimo, and fine jewelers Silverhorn, Daniel Gibbings and Gaspar Jewelers.

“I love all the new places popping up, and the waves of changes still flowing,” she said. “I am so happy Montecito is still a worldwide destination for all generations, that still has the charm and uniqueness of individually owned boutiques.

“The addition of so many wonderful shops does bring new, welcomed energy and (makes) a CVR walk more fun. Whether you are dog walking or on a good-old shopping spree, it’s a great place to soak up local flavor.”

Lily has customers from around the country, and many of them visit Montecito several times a year, always stopping by to see O’Hare and what’s new in her shop.

“Our customers really appreciate knowing they will find a treasure,” she said. “Whether adding to their Susan Cummings collection (that would be me), restocking their favorite candles, or the happy surprise of the perfect unique gift for a loved one!”

Lily, at 1131 Coast Village Road, is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 805.695.0625 for more information, or email [email protected].

— Noozhawk columnist Judy Foreman is a longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Celebrates Past Support, Future Opportunities for Students

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Guests at annual Leadership Dinner hear from grateful scholarship recipients about impact the grants make on their lives

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A dinner at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum recently brought together leaders and donors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara to honor this year’s scholarship recipients and to recognize supporters of the cause.

The annual Leadership Dinner celebrates and acknowledges several outstanding scholarship recipients and supporters.

Over the past 53 years, the Scholarship Foundation has created opportunity and transformed lives — one scholarship at a time — by making college available to a greater number of Santa Barbara County students.

Hours before the May 27 dinner, an afternoon awards ceremony for all of this year’s scholarship recipients and parents was held at the county Courthouse Sunken Garden in conjunction with the organization’s largest partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation. An awards ceremony also was held in Santa Maria for North County students.

Students who are motivated to achieve a higher-education degree are encouraged and supported by the Scholarship Foundation’s mission to inspire, encourage and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of college, graduate and vocational education.

“With financial help I am able to attend Baylor University in the fall,” scholarship recipient and speaker Gabriel Zapiel-Ybarra told the gathered guests. “These foundations are the reasons students are able to further pursue their education.

“I would like to personally thank the La Centra Sumerlin Foundation for providing me with my scholarship. I would also like to thank all the donors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.”

Zapiel-Ybarra’s upbringing was a challenge. The teenager was raised by his grandparents following his mother’s teen pregnancy and a father who was in and out of jail.

“As an independent child, I had to motivate myself to do the best that I possibly could,” he said. “I stood out in school. I was the student that the teachers always liked and that classmates often teased for being one of the top students in class, but no one knew how I had it at home.

“Going through my high school experience has also showed me what it is really like to be responsible, independent and self-motivated. Each of these traits contributes to becoming a leader.

“Being a leader does require a lot of qualities that you do not find in an everyday person. Like myself, you have to be able to grow over time and adapt to changes life may bring.”

Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 39,600 scholarships totaling $96.3 million for county students. In addition to the financial aid, more than 37,600 students and parents benefit from the organization’s advising services each year.

These impressive feats have earned the Scholarship Foundation a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations.

“Having so many learning experiences from my background and current endeavors, I can confidently stand behind the mantra, ‘Make the best of every situation,’” said Tatianna Schluep, scholarship recipient and also a speaker at the dinner.

“Growing up in a less than educated, financially wavering and socially distracted family may have tipped the scales against me as I take on the rigors of life and education,” she added. “But with the indomitable outlook I have on life and the tenacious efforts I have made a habit of, I know what it takes to succeed and am more willing than ever to persevere over the next obstacle course — college.”

Support from the Scholarship Foundation reached 2,948 Santa Barbara County students in 2015, with scholarship awards totaling a record $8.7 million in student aid. With 3,481 applications this year, more than 500 deserving students were excluded because of a lack of funds.

“The board of directors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is extremely grateful to our many contributors who have made it possible for the foundation to award a record $8.7 million in aid this year,” said Janet Garufis, board president of the Scholarship Foundation and president and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust.

“This is the largest amount awarded by any community scholarship provider in the nation,” she added. “However, as proud as we are of this achievement, we never stop thinking about the many worthy young people who we had to turn away. It is heartbreaking to deny aid to any deserving student who wishes to pursue a higher education degree or credential.”

The importance of finding funding for advanced education has been growing in importance, especially in comparison to 2012 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent for high school graduates compared with 3.1 percent for college graduates.

In the United States, the price of a college education is the single fastest-rising commodity, with fees and tuition at public four-year colleges increasing at an average annual rate of 6 percent beyond inflation over the past 10 years.

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara was formed 50 years ago by a group of volunteers and members of the American Association of University Women and PTA. Today, the organization is the largest community-based scholarship foundation in the United States.

Tax-deductible gifts to the Scholarship Foundation from individuals, businesses, families, community groups and foundations are used to fund named scholarships, annual scholarships or endowed scholarship funds.

The foundation does not charge an administrative fee, and 100 percent of contributions to support scholarships go directly to deserving students.

Individuals, families, foundations, businesses and community groups may make tax-deductible gifts designating either annual scholarships or endowed scholarship funds to benefit local students. Click here for more information about donor opportunities.

Zapiel-Ybarra summarized what the support of the Scholarship Foundation and its supporters provides for youth interested in pursuing higher education.

“Each journey is unique in its own way, but no one can get through their journey without help,” he said. “Asking for help is one of the most difficult tasks to do.

“When it comes to money, we all wish we can have all the money in the world, but sometimes we need to ask for financial support. When looking at colleges, the cost is what can turn students away.”

Some of these important local donors will be honored June 11 at the 21st annual South Coast Business & Technology Awards to be held at The Fess Parker. The event will recognize outstanding local businesses and technical professions whose achievements strengthen the core of the South Coast while also supporting scholarships for students at UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College or Westmont College who are studying business or technology.

Additionally, the Scholarship Foundation will host the annual Community Leaders Luncheon on Dec. 4 to acknowledge local donors and supporters.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Obama’s Poor Economic Performance a Climate Problem?

By | Published on 05/31/2015


President Barack Obama has the lowest average first-quarter GDP growth of any president on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economics Analysis.

Must be global warming or climate change. That is his excuse for everything.

Diana Thorn


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3 Suspects Face Charges After Santa Maria Carjacking

By | Published on 05/31/2015


Three people are facing charges following a weekend carjacking in Santa Maria.

Celena Garcia

Alejandro Bretado

The incident began shortly after 9 p.m. Friday with a report of a carjacking in the 400 block of Benwiley Avenue, a few blocks northwest of Santa Maria Town Center, Santa Maria police Lt. Mark Norling said.

“The victim was approached by a male and female and was beaten, threatened with a knife, and his vehicle was stolen,”​ Norling said.

“After a short period of time, the stolen vehicle was found abandoned in a nearby alley.”

Norling said investigators set up surveillance on the vehicle, and observed two people getting in and driving off.

A high-risk traffic stop was conducted in the 300 block of North Oakley Street, during which the driver ran into a nearby residence.

“The male and female carjacking suspects were found inside the residence, along with the driver who had run from the high-risk stop,”​ Norling said.

He identified the arrested carjacking suspects as Alejandro Bretado, 27, and Celena Garcia, 24.

Garcia faces charges of carjacking, possession of methamphetamine and a felony warrant. Bretado faces a carjacking charge.

Lorraine Melendez

The driver who allegedly ran away after the traffic stop, Lorraine Melendez, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

All were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

There were no injuries in the incident.

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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Gerald Carpenter: ‘Music at Trinity’ Showcases Brian Chin on Trumpet, Thomas Joyce on Organ

By | Published on 05/30/2015


The next “Music at Trinity” concert — at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara — is called “The Majesty of Trumpet & Organ,” and it celebrates the powerful affinity between those two instruments.

Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. ( photo)
Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. ( photo)

You might reasonably expect that the program for this concert would be all but exclusively baroque, but as you can see below (and will hear Sunday), only two of the six works come from that era. The other four are products of the 20th century.

Trumpeter Brian Chin and organist (not to mention organizer) Thomas Joyce open with the Sonata in D Major, G.1 by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709). Then follows Joyce with the Toccata in F Major, BuxWV 156 of Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707).

The rest of the program, performed either by Chin and Joyce, or Joyce alone, consists of “The Hollow Men,” Opus 25 by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987); the Prayer of St. Gregory, Opus 62b, (1946) by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000); the Improvisations on the “Te Deum” for Solo Organ (1930) by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939); and the Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, 1995 by Naji Hakim (born 1955).

The Persichetti was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem of the same name (“This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper”). Virtually everything this American composer touched turned to very high-carat gold, and this dreamy, melancholy masterpiece might even be more valuable than that. Originally written for trumpet and string orchestra, it was beautifully translated by the composer for trumpet and organ.

The Hovhaness piece is actually an Intermezzo from his 1946 opera, Etchmiadzin, Opus 62. “​Etchmiadzin” is the popular name for the Armenian city of Vagharshapat, which was once the capital of Armenia, and remains the main religious center for Armenian Christianity. Hovhaness, born in Massachusetts as Alan Vaness Chakmakjian, was extremely proud of his Armenian antecedents, and he is often identified as an “Armenian” composer.

But he was an American composer, too. The trumpet, you will recall, plays a significant role in his most famous work, the Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” Opus 132 (1955).

Tournemire was a child prodigy, and the youngest pupil ever accepted by César Franck. In 1898, when Gabriel Pierné resigned as organiste titulaire at the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris (Franck’s old church), Tournemire took over the position and kept it until his death in 1939. At the same time, he was a professor of Chamber Music at the Conservatoire de Paris, and also published a biography of Franck (1931).

In 1930, Tournemire recorded a number of improvisations and other organ pieces. The original set of 10 78s won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1931. The improvisations recorded on this occasion, including these on the “​Te Deum,” were later transcribed by the celebrated organist and composer, Maurice Duruflé.

Hakim’s name comes from his native Lebanon, but musically, he is entirely French. He succeeded Olivier Messiaen as organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris.

This concert is free, although public contributions are always welcome. Trinity Church is located at 1500 State St. at Micheltorena Street.

For more information, call Trinity Episcopal Church at 805.965.7419, or contact music minister Thomas Joyce at [email protected].

— 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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Buellton Resident Takes on Santa Barbara City Hall with Good Government Approach

By | Published on 05/30/2015


Tom Widroe launches City Watch in effort to bring common-sense solutions to infrastructure, budgeting and the homeless

About a year ago at this time, Tom Widroe had his name in lights, so to speak, embroiled in a battle over a controversial sign in Buellton.

He was a candidate for the Buellton City Council, and an opponent of a proposal to erect a billboard off Highway 246 intended to bring more tourists to the Santa Ynez Valley.

Caught in a political battle with the Buellton Chamber of Commerce over how to best spend taxpayer funds, Widroe not only lost the election, he finished way down the ballot in fifth place.

It was a big blow to Widroe, who had once served as deputy district director for then-Rep. Elton Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican whose district included part of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Now Widroe has decided to trade Buellton’s pea soup for Santa Barbara’s palm trees, the Avenue of the Flags for the Funk Zone, and Highway 246 for the homeless.

Widroe recently launched City Watch, somewhat of a Judicial Watch for the city of Santa Barbara. He promises to be a voice for businesses, to speak loud and proud for the city to fix its infrastructure, and tackle the “homeless and criminal vagrant problems” on State Street.

“I have seen some problems that have been pernicious and persistent,”​ he told Noozhawk. “City Watch wants to be a constant voice.”

Widroe wants to be that voice, although he still lives in Buellton. He has been popping up at City Council meetings on Tuesdays and meeting with council members one-on-one.

Council members said they appreciate his soft style, and willingness to talk the issues without being reflexively adversarial or rude.

“I have come to appreciate his approach,” Mayor Helene Schneider said. “He’s willing to ask questions about past decision-making without jumping to conclusions.”

She said Widroe listens to both sides.

“He has a nice balance,” she said. “It’s not just all negative.

“I welcome any watchdog group as long as what they are doing is coming from a place of fact. We are a better city due to the strong civic engagement we have.”

Widroe — unlike the fiery preaching-from-the-pulpit style of Andy Caldwell, executive director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture & Business, or COLAB — fashions himself as somewhat of a level-headed pragmatist. He says the Santa Barbara council does a good job.

“The current council is a functional body,” he said. “City Watch respects them.”

The concern is really about what’s to come, Widroe said.

“With term limits and district elections, however, there is anxiety,”​ he said. “There’s trepidation.”

The son of a psychiatrist, Widroe said he knows that “not everyone loves a watchdog group,” but that the city must be reminded that it should focus on its infrastructure first and foremost.

He said the city’s streets are falling apart while the council spends money on nonessential items such as research polls. He questions whether the city needs to spend $700,000 annually on human services.

Santa Barbara, he said, should focus on public safety, and keeping its downtown free of the homeless to promote tourism.

A solution must be found for the homeless problem, he said.

“In California, people have come to accept this as the norm, but State Street is for everyone — the elderly, kids, families,”​ Widroe said. 

He also believes a third lane on Highway 101 through Montecito is long overdue. Parents have been forced to sit in traffic jams, unable to pick up or get home to their kids because of the lack of action on the freeway widening, he said.

“We have punished people,” said Widroe, a father of four, including a set of triplets.

Widroe said he’s been working hard to set up City Watch this year, meeting with businesses and elected officials, but he declined to identify any members of his group, or who sits on his advisory board. He said many people don’t want to publicly come out against the city.

He asks people to contribute money to become members. In return, he said they will receive weekly email briefings on City Council agenda items, “an attentive, articulate, vigorous advocate working on your behalf,” and “access to extensive staff-level expertise pertaining to your rights and the city’s obligations.”

The donations also pay for Widroe’s time to compose radio, newspaper and television commentaries. He also will hold free quarterly luncheon meetings.

Ken Oplinger, president and CEO of The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, said he met with Widroe and told him that the chamber of commerce has and will continue to be the voice for businesses in Santa Barbara, but that he welcomes anyone who wants to work on behalf of business interests.

“He’s out there and does have some supporters in the community,”​ Oplinger said. “We wish him well.”

Widroe, a former executive with the American Heart Association and Bargain Network, is now an executive recruiter and management consultant for clients throughout Santa Barbara County.

Widroe said he hopes City Watch will develop a strong following. He wants to “stand up for good government.”

“There are common-sense issues that should bring us all together,”​ Widroe said. 

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


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Diane Dimond: Who Are We As a Nation, and What Do We Believe?

By | Published on 05/30/2015


We live in a world of confounding contradictions.

We call ourselves a peace-loving people, yet we continue to engage in far-flung wars. Domestically, gangs, guns and drug dealing proliferate. This is not a recipe for peace by any measure.

Nearly half of us say we are morally against the death penalty. Yet a jury in Boston — a decidedly anti-capital punishment region of the country — sentenced to death the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Another jury in Aurora, Colo., is currently considering the death penalty for an admitted killer who, in July 2012, shot to death a dozen movie-goers and wounded at least 70 others at a midnight showing of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. This defendant also outfitted his apartment with an elaborate and deadly booby-trap, hoping to kill those who arrived to investigate.

We earnestly say we feel for families struggling to help a relative with mental illness, but society has done little to help establish institutions to treat these unfortunate people. We seem blind to the idea that if we help the most tortured souls among us, they can’t or won’t harm themselves or others.

We automatically expect that when we call 9-1-1, police will instantly and heroically come to our rescue. Yet many fail to understand that officers are constantly confronted with situations that require snap decisions, and the deadly, daily dangers they face can cause their very human instinct of survival to kick in — even when it’s not really a life-or-death situation.

We preach personal responsibility then think nothing of suing over an accident hoping someone or some entity with deep pockets will make us rich.

Many cry for “income equality” across the land. But stop and think about that. A nation where everyone makes the same money, regardless of work product, is socialism. Is that really what we want? Forced equality is not fair.

Many condemn Big Business and corporations as “evil” and want them abolished. Yet they have never run a business or provided job opportunities for their fellow Americans. They fail to realize where jobs that can lift people out of poverty come from. Conversely, corporate leaders who advertise their good deeds but pay no taxes are an abomination.

We claim we are for good government, yet continue to re-elect politicians who lack the integrity and foresight to do what’s right for the country. We know Washington is a mess, but our busy lives keep us from demanding ways to fix it. We repeatedly fall prey to huckster politicians who promise everything and only deliver to their own political party. Even worse, a majority of us don’t even bother to vote.

Some law-abiding Americans make pleas for amnesty for all those who have entered our country illegally. They extol the virtues and good intentions of the alien working class while ignoring the very real problems that come with opening our borders. Overtaxed hospitals, schools and welfare programs, for example. Giving away resources comes with a price.

Contradictions abound, yet few seem to notice. Seems we’ve just stopped thinking through today’s issues.

Who among us doesn’t say they want an exemplary, competitive, affordable education system for our youth? But can you honestly say we have one? No.

When will we stop saying we’re for something and then fail to act to make it happen? That’s more than a contradiction, I fear. It is self-destructive.

We claim to be an enlightened group of parents who protect our young like no generation before us, but check the growing number of missing, exploited and sexually abused children. We may brag we are “helicopter parents” who perpetually hover to swat away danger, but sadly, the statistics prove there aren’t enough good parents to go around.

We distract ourselves and argue about things that mean so little. Like whether the word “thug” is racist. Criminal thugs live in crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods, and they commit multiple murders in Waco, Texas, over something as silly as a motorcycle gang rivalry. Thugs are white, black, Hispanic, Asian and lots of colors in between.

A wise man once told me that when confronted with a myriad of problems, there is really only one main problem.

So what’s this nation’s one problem? It is us.

We have failed to install the leadership this country deserves. It is way past time to change that. I wonder if we will see that change in our lifetimes.

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: Among Republicans, 2016 Presidential Race is Almost Anyone’s to Lose

By | Published on 05/30/2015


Let us stipulate that Republicans have consistently been a lot more orderly than Democrats.

For example, in the past 60 years, the Republican presidential candidate who was leading in the polls one year before the party’s nominating convention has become the GOP’s nominee 12 months later in 13 of the 14 elections.

The lone exception was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the field in 2007 before making the terminally dumb decision to skip the decisive 2008 contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina and fading into irrelevance.

By contrast, front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination, when the party has not had an incumbent in the White House running, have won the nomination only thee times — John F. Kennedy in 1960, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Al Gore in 2000.

Democrats who led the field before either fading or not competing have included then-Sens. Edward Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, Gary Hart, Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman and then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Eventual nominees George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all trailed badly in the year before their conventions.

But with the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland barely 13 months away, this GOP race is without a front-runner.

The most recent national poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters by Quinnipiac University produced a statistical fluke: Five declared or likely GOP candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and neurosurgeon Ben Carson — all tied, with just 10 percent each.

The current Democratic race is not yet a race, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coasting as the preferred pick of 57 percent of her party’s voters, which translates into a 42-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.

The historical patterns of the two major parties are now totally reversed. The Republican race for the 2016 nomination is undoubtedly the most wide open since World War II, while the Democratic front-runner is now further ahead than any of the party’s nonincumbent nominees have been in six decades. It’s no longer your father’s — or your grandfather’s — Republican Party.

Another major change among Republican voters is that they no longer seem disposed to reward candidates who have been the runners-up in past presidential competitions with the next nomination.

Think about it. What did Republican presidential nominees Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney all have in common? Each of them had run before — twice before in the cases of Dole and Reagan — and finished second before the party chose them as its nominee.

But former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — who won 11 state primaries and caucuses in 2012, finishing second to Romney for the nomination — is currently getting no respect from GOP voters for that good showing. In the most recent measurement before he formally announced his 2016 candidacy, Santorum was the choice of less than 1 percent of his party’s voters.

Instead, Republicans, who regularly fault Obama for having been only “a first-term U.S. senator” and for his having had “no executive experience” before running for president, are now excited about Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, all of whom are first-term U.S. senators with no executive experience. Not to mention Carson, who has never served a day in public office.

This is obviously a very different Republican Party and campaign.

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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Thousands Help 2015 Santa Maria Rodeo Parade Reach for New Heights

By | Published on 05/30/2015


Elks Rodeo queen Taylor Glines, grand marshal Cotton Rosser lead annual tradition accompanying Santa Maria Elks Rodeo

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Horses, bands and floats proceeded along 1½ miles of Broadway on Saturday morning, accompanied by the newly crowned Santa Maria Elks Rodeo queen.

With overcast skies greeting participants and spectators at the 9 a.m. start, the clouds quickly cleared as the parade traveled south on Broadway between Mill Street and Enos Drive.

While gray skies didn’t interfere with most of the entries, the lack of visibility was responsible for a tardy descent for skydiver Kent Lane.

In all, more than 125 entries and hundreds of participants rode, walked, marched or danced along the route for the two-hour parade, held as part of the 72nd Annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo.

Several entries reflected this year’s parade theme, “Reaching for New Heights — Shooting for the Sky.”

Flying U Rodeo Co.’s Cotton Rosser, a longtime provider of stock used in the rodeo, served as the parade grand marshal.

This year’s junior grand marshal was Elijah Herrick of Nipomo.

And Taylor Glines, an Orcutt Academy High School sophomore, made her first official appearance the morning after winning the title.

Crowned on Friday night during the rodeo, Taylor and her sponsor, VTC Enterprises, raised the most money — $200,870 — during the six-week campaign, rodeo officials said.

The money raised by the 2015 queen, three princesses and their sponsors pushes the grand total to nearly $11 million through the years. 

The three princesses and other sponsors were Sarai Calderon, Your Orcutt Youth OrganizationTaelor Janes, Santa Maria Noontimers Lions Club; and Jasmine Rodriguez, Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe.

Funds will be used for recreation and other programs benefiting Santa Maria Valley youths.

On Saturday afternoon, parade organizers announced winners of six awards: 

» The Grand Sweepstakes (Best Overall Float) — County Oaks Care Center

» Grand Sweepstakes (Best Musical Unit) — Santa Maria High School Saints Band

» Exalted Ruler’s Trophy (Most Outstanding Equestrian Individual) — Santa Monica Mounted Posse

» Mayor’s Trophy (Best Community Entry) — Smith’s Alarms & Electronics

» The Bobby Acquistapace Memorial Trophy (Best Mounted Group) — Al Arenal charro group

» Chairman’s Choice (Best Youth Entry) — Santa Maria Northside Little League

After three evenings, the four-day rodeo’s final performance is a matinee, set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center, 4040 Highway 101.

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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Open House Doesn’t Close Door on Questions Surrounding Refugio Oil Spill Response

By | Published on 05/30/2015


Public gets a chance to press officials involved in cleanup and recovery, but some say frustration remains

Critical questions remain about the oil pipeline leak that spilled into the ocean near Refugio State Beach two weeks ago, and an open house was held Saturday to give the public a chance to talk with those working on the spill response and cleanup.

The Oil Spill Response Open House was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta, and several hundred people packed the place, mingling over sandwiches and cookies.

It was an impressive display, with booths sets up from each of the myriad of local, state and federal agencies that form the Unified Command that has been working on the cleanup effort.

Several large-screen monitors displayed a map of sections of coastline that had been the most affected by the spill, as well as video of birds and mammals being scrubbed of oil.

Multiple Santa Barbara County departments were on hand Saturday, among them the Public Health Department, whose officials talked about the health impacts of the spill and the air monitoring that has been taking place at local beaches.

County ​Fire Department officials at the open house included Battalion Chief Steve Oakes, who said several people had approached him with their frustrations about the spill. He was able to help connect them to the various agencies that might have answers Saturday.

“It’s so much better to be able to bring in the subject matter experts,” he explained.

A booth was also set up so the public could find out more information about the claims process.

Charlie Bilbe of Worley, a Louisiana-based catastrophe response company that is handling claims for Plains All-American Pipeline, was working the table and said the company has been processing claims calls since the day after the May 19 spill.

“The calls are being taken,” he said, adding that smaller claims, like those from campers who had to switch state parks campgrounds or give up their reservations after the beaches were closed, have already been refunded.

Those still looking to make a claim can reach a 24/7 hotline at 1.866.753.3619.

The Oil Spill Response Open House featured dozens of local, state and federal agencies, and was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
The Oil Spill Response Open House featured dozens of local, state and federal agencies, and was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The information and documents each individual will need for a claim will vary, but examples would be catch tickets for fishermen wanting to make claims for affected catches, Bilbe said.

Yvonne Addassi, who works for the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, a branch of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the agency has already received about 1,000 applications from volunteers, so they aren’t taking any more specifically for cleanup efforts.

There are organizations that still have opportunities for volunteers, however, including for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training through Goleta’s Aware and Prepare initiative, she said.

Addassi had talked to about 20 people Saturday.

“Mostly what I’ve heard was some of the local frustration about getting involved,” she said. “It is obvious how passionate people are about this coastline.”

The event was packed with uniformed officials from the various agencies. At one point, officials and reporters appeared to significantly outnumber members of the public the event had hoped to attract.

Noozhawk approached one man wearing a hoodie and tennis shoes for comment about the event and the spill, but the man sheepishly admitted he was actually a county employee who had been asked to attend.

One resident who did show up looking for answers and accountability about the spill was Joie McKay of Santa Barbara.

“This community is angry and wants a full accounting of that first day,” she told Noozhawk.

McKay said she had talked to several U.S. Coast Guard officials Saturday, but had not been satisfied about the response time and wondered why volunteers were not allowed to help with cleanup.

“To me, this is a way to diffuse the situation,” she said of the open house.

Another local, Camille Dupuis, was standing nearby, and also skeptical.

“It’s a see-and-be-seen thing,” she said of the officials working the room.

Dupuis lamented that a quick response on the ground to train locals on the basics of beach cleanup could have lessened the impacts.

Action to contain the oil at sea also should have been quicker and could have helped curb damage to that area of the coastline, which is known for its diversity of marine life, she said.

“It’s the marine equivalent of Yosemite National Park,” she said.

Unified Command officials have stressed repeatedly that they are cooperating in cleanup efforts, but the public still has questions about the immediate response to the leak’s first hours, which no one at the open house seemed to want to answer.

“I know they’re doing the right thing now, but where were they that first day?” McKay asked.

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.

An aerial view of the area between Ellwood and Devereux provides evidence of how dark the water is off Ellwood Beach. The photograph was taken late afternoon on May 29. (John Wiley photo)
An aerial view of the area between Ellwood and Devereux provides evidence of how dark the water is off Ellwood Beach. The photograph was taken late afternoon on May 29. (John Wiley photo)


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Teen Artists Go to the Wall to Create New Mural for Exterior of Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum

By | Published on 05/30/2015


Nearly 2 dozen youths create panels depicting various museum exhibits as part of Arts Fund mentorship program

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A close-up look at Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum exhibits inspired a teen-designed mural now adorning an outside wall on the building.

Created through an Arts Fund program, the mural involved some 20 teen artists mentored by master muralist John Hood, an Allan Hancock College art teacher.

A public unveiling is planned for 10 a.m. to noon June 6 at the Discovery Museum, 705 S. McClelland St.

“They were completely inspired by the museum,” said Amy Asman Blasco, program director. “It’s beautiful and we couldn’t be happier. “

Hood met with the Santa Maria Valley high schoolers for several weeks at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, where they collectively came up with the design, executed it and installed it with the help of local adult artists.

Against a dark background with white dots to represent stars or snow, the mural features panels shaped like gears, turning museum exhibits into art on 5-foot-by-5-foot panels. Each panel reflects a key exhibit in the Discovery Museum.

The tree that sits on the sidewalk blocking some of the wall became part of the mural — a shadow of the tree is on the wall and a youngster leans against it reading a book. At the wall’s western end, a child blows bubbles.

“It’s kind of like a day dream,” Hood added.

He said many of the teens involved in the project didn’t have any art experience.

“This was a first for a lot them,” Hood said, while standing on a scissor lift used to reach upper areas where he worked to glue the panels on the wall.

Throughout the mural workshop, the youths worked diligently on their artwork, he added.

“All of this was their design,” he said. “It was a great collaboration.”

Installation of the various elements took approximately three weeks.

The nonprofit Discovery Museum, which opened in 1996 and now is housed in 13,000 square feet of space, has 40 exhibit areas aimed at providing “learning fun.” The museum also hosts weekly programs and special family events.

Museum leaders have long sought something colorful for the big bland outer wall along East Jones Street.

“We’ve been wanting a mural for a long time,” said Blasco, who added that they are especially excited the wall includes works of young artists.

For more than 20 years, the Arts Fund Teen Arts Mentorship program has provided promising young artists the opportunity to work closely with local professional master artists. The teens receive specialized training, produce portfolio-quality work, gain insight into future careers in creative fields, and participate in a group exhibition in a professional gallery.

The Teen Arts Mentorship Program is funded by The Morris B. Squire Foundation and others.

The program has occurred sporadically in Santa Maria.

“This is the first one we’ve done in recent years,” said Marcello Ricci, Arts Fund program director.

While the Arts Fund typically tries to limit mentorship sessions to 10 teens to ensure they each receive one-on-one time, Ricci said they decided to include all 20 who applied for the Santa Maria project.

Diane Adam, who serves on the boards of the Santa Barbara Foundation and Discovery Museum, reportedly helped connect the various participants — museum executive director Chris Slaughter, who offered up wall space; Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department representatives who allowed use of the youth center room for the workshop.

While seeking a mentor, one name — John Hood’s — came up repeatedly, Ricci said. 

“We met with him and he was game,” Ricci said.

The panels created on special material meant the artists didn’t have to spend a long time on Santa Maria’s windy spring days while standing on scaffolding to paint, Ricci said. It also allowed teens to create their own art within the larger mural.

Those involved in the project are enthused about the finished artwork.

“It’s so amazing,” Ricci said. “It’s really really cool.”

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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New Cuyama Rancher Airlifted to Santa Barbara Hospital After Rattlesnake Bite

By | Published on 05/30/2015


A rancher in the New Cuyama area was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on Saturday afternoon after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

At 12:18 p.m., a medical call reported the bite, which occurred while a 28-year-old man was working in his barn off of Castro Canyon Road, according to firefighter Sky Bonillo of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The man had been moving some bales of hay inside the barn when a juvenile rattlesnake struck, biting the man on his thumb, Bonillo said.

The ranch is located about 20 minutes from county Fire Station 41 in New Cuyama, in northeastern Santa Barbara County. A fire engine and a rescue ambulance were dispatched.

Bonillo said the decision was made to airlift the man to the hospital via Calstar helicopter because of the ranch’s remote location.

The man was in stable condition at the time he was loaded into the helicopter and flown to Santa Barbara. 

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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Make a Game of Reading at the United Learning Center This Summer

By | Published on 05/30/2015


United Way of Santa Barbara County helps students improve reading skills with interactive computer programs

Can reading be a game? The ​United Learning Center thinks so.

This summer, the United Learning Center, part of the United Way of Santa Barbara County, is helping kids tackle the fundamentals of reading with a combination of computer programs, one-on-one attention and small group activities.

The core of the program lies in the online literacy programs that the ULC uses: Lexia Reading and Reading Plus. These programs target the five basic areas of reading, teach students about vocabulary and sentence structure, and help them analyze words using Latin roots.

Former teacher and the current United Learning Center manager Mary Beth Adams says the Lexia Reading program, intended for pre-kindergarten to third-grade students, could be used up until fifth grade because it is so thorough.

“While it sounds scary and big, it is actually very fun,” she said of the game-based programs.

Because of the animation and graphics, the programs have kids focused on gaining levels and collecting badges instead of going through a bunch of tests. This not only makes it very motivational, but also very fun.

“Initially, any kid coming into tutoring, especially an older kid, will be a little skeptical,” Adams said. “My experience is that it takes about a week and then you can’t stop them. They’re so focused on moving ahead.”

Adams told Noozhawk that her students usually progress through a grade level of reading within a few months of using Lexia or Reading Plus. Part of this success is due to the individualization that is built-into the program.

“There is an artificial intelligence built into each program that will move along with the child and will identify skills that the child needs to work on,” said Melinda Hodge, the United Way’s community impact officer.

“So you can have two third-graders sitting on Lexia, for instance, but their screens will never be the same because it’s highly adaptive.

“It will work with the individual student as they progress through the program, focusing on skill sets they need to work on.”

The United Learning Center has partnered with more than 36 area schools, and implemented these computer programs into the curriculum through the United Literacy Initiative with major success.

“The kids love it,” Hodge said. “And I think teachers love it equally, if not more because it is so individualized.”

Not only are these programs used in schools, but they are also available online to children and parents 24/7. Because of this, kids can work on their reading skills at school, at home and now during the summer time in the ULC’s summer program.

“It’s nice for kids who don't have the luxury of these programs in their school days to have this to supplement their current curriculum,” Hodge said of the United Learning Center’s programs.

“It’s also nice for the kids who do use the programs in school because they are familiar with it, so it’s a continuation of their everyday accomplishments.”

If parents are skeptical about their children spending more time on electronics, there is no need to worry. Kids will be spending a short amount of their day on the computer and the rest of the day is spent working on activities in small groups.

The United Learning Center is hoping to get 20 to 25 students for this first year of the program, allowing the program to grow from the pilot program’s 15 students, but still keeping a ratio of four students for every teacher.

“(The students) are getting that one on one small group attention constantly,” Hodge said, “and I think that’s key to working with kids who are struggling academically.”

With its combination of one-on-one attention, fun games and group activities, the ULC is sure to make your child’s summer productive and fun.

Click here for more information about the United Learning Center, or call 805-882-0513.


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While Animals Suffer at Surface, Refugio Oil Spill’s Underwater Impacts Still Unknown

By | Published on 05/29/2015


The numbers of oil-impacted birds and mammals are rising, but there are no reports yet on the impact to the ocean environment

A black cliff side faced Dave Valentine and his team earlier this week as they approached the Refugio State Beach area, where crude oil had spilled from a 24-inch onshore pipeline, cascading down the bluffs and into the ocean on May 19. 

"You could certainly see where it happened," said Valentine, who is a UCSB professor of earth science and biology and one of the scientists and researchers working to determine the spill's impact on ocean life.

The oil spill's effects are obvious above the surface — there are widely disseminated photographs and statistics of the oil-impacted mammals and birds that have been found dead or injured.

But the spill's impact under the ocean surface is less clear. Response agencies are not offering data on how fish, invertebrates and kelp bed ecosystems have been affected by the spill. 

As of Thursday night, there had been 40 live oiled birds and 22 dead oiled birds, according to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Responders, including volunteers from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, have reported a total of 28 live mammals and 14 dead mammals. Officials have said that most of the birds have been brown pelicans and most of the mammals have been sea lions. 

Birds are being taken to the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro for cleaning and rehabilitation, and mammals have been transported to Sea World in San Diego, according to state officials. Some birds and mammals have died in care facilities. 

On the shore, UCSB staff and scientists announced this week that they are working to protect the western snowy plover, which is nesting right now near the Coal Oil Point Reserve.

The species is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Some of the plovers there have been seen with oil on their bodies, and they nest around high tide, near where oil has been deposited, according to reserve director Cristina Sandoval. 

“We need to remove that oil because the plovers are getting tar on their wings and hair. Almost all of them have little black boots because their feet are black from oil," she said.

"They’re getting oil in their beaks because they go peck to try to get the beach hoppers around the kelp and the kelp is tarred. We need to balance the cleaning up with not impacting the plovers too much while they nest.”

Sea birds and mammals aren't the only wildlife being impacted by the spill, however.

"There's a lot going on under the surface," Capt. Mark Crossland of the Department of Fish & Wildlife told Noozhawk.

Crossland, who works with the department's Oil Spill Prevention and Response, said dive teams will soon be sent out to gather information about the oil spill's impacts on invertebrates, the kelp forest and fish, "in order to come up with an accurate count."

He mentioned dead kelp bass, lobsters and other invertebrates washing up on shore in the first few days of the response. 

The dive teams will rely on the expertise of the scientific community, including researchers from UCSB, Crossland said.

Valentine has significant experience with oil spills and studying their impacts on the ocean, including being part of the scientific response team that worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

At one point, Valentine was just 1,500 feet from the source of that spill and collected samples in the area. He also led expeditions to study the ocean floor and where the oil would end up.

Valentine said last week's Refugio oil spill ran along the shore and "was a heavy oil to begin with."

Crude oil is very adhesive, and any oil that picks up sand in the surf zone could end up sinking to the sea floor, he said. 

So far, no one knows how much oil will end up there, or what that will mean to ocean life under the surface. It's a big enough concern that officials are sending out dive teams to survey the coastline and look for submerged oil. 

"It's an issue of concern," Valentine said. "It worries me and it's something that needs to be looked at." 

As oil is moved to sea, it could change in form by gathering up as tar balls, which could be as small as a penny or as large as a basketball. 

Valentine has already seen some of that coagulation occurring in the form of "tar pancakes," which were seen up to 11 miles offshore.

Since submerged oil has been found along the coast in the spill area, response teams are planning ways to remove it without harming the environment more. 

Plains All American Pipeline, which owns and operates the ruptured line causing the spill, is sending out dive teams to follow up on underwater areas where oil was found. 

Divers searching near Refugio State Park observed pea-sized droplets of oil and oiled kelp in the area, said Rick McMichael, senior director of operations for Plains.

"We don't know the amount of the oil at this time, but it's approximately 20 feet under water and about 150 yards off the beach," he said. "We respect the sensitive biological nature of the kelp beds, and regret this incident has affected them."

Back near the shore, the rocky intertidal zone is home to many invertebrates and other creatures that make their home on some of the rocks that are now covered with oil.

Carol Blanchette, associate research biologist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, focuses on that intertidal habitat, which is home to algae, crabs and invertebrates such as barnacles, sea stars and snails. They all "vary in their sensitivity to things like oiling," she said. 

Her team was out sampling at some of their research sites last week, which include areas from Arroyo Hondo to Coal Oil Point.

Those locations haven't seen much impact yet, but Blanchette said they likely won't be able to see much until the next negative low tide, a few weeks away.

Blanchette said she plans to look at research from other spills impacting rocky shore areas, such as the Exxon Valdez spill, as they study local changes. 

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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Letter to the Editor: Oil Companies and the Kochroach Klub

By | Published on 05/29/2015


The environmental and moral filth of oil/gas companies, on almost constant display, have had their most recent exposure with the oil spill at Refugio State Beach, caused by rupture of a pipeline operated by Plains All American Pipeline.

Widespread news coverage of this event, backed in some cases by extensive research, has revealed (1) massive previous regulatory violations by this company, and (2) that the spill was not quickly contained because no automatic shutdown valve had been installed at the site. (It appears the company had vigorously, and successfully, fought any county regulation requiring installation of such a valve, claiming that since it operated nationally, only federal — not local — restrictions could hamper it.)

There are also concerns that Plains did not report the spill, and did not contain it, as quickly as it could and should have. California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey sent a letter (May 28) to the Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration, asking for an investigation into evidence that Plains took “ … 'about 90 minutes after the oil spill was confirmed to notify the National Response Center,' a clearinghouse for reports of hazardous material releases that coordinates responses. Additionally, Plains had reported problems with the line earlier that day.

"'We are concerned that Plains Pipeline may not have detected this spill or reported it to federal officials as quickly as possible, and that these delays could have exacerbated the extent of the damage to the environment ... .'

“Linda Krop, chief counsel of the Environmental Defense Center, said she was at the shore until 10 p.m. the day of the spill and nothing was being done to prevent crude that had fouled the beach and rocks from washing into the sea” (Associated Press).

Of course this event is only the latest in a never-ending tale of oil company corruption, environmental damage, and actual or potential sickening of men, women and children.

My previous posts here have cited and detailed environmental and health damage by oil/gas conglomerates ad infinitum, including law-breaking attempts to prevent discovery of same and innumerable violations of existing environmental regulations.

The vast majority of Americans recognize climate change as a real threat to us and our offspring; they approve measures to combat it, including reduction or elimination of carbon dioxide and methane emissions spewed into the atmosphere by oil/gas conglomerates.

Pope Francis, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Bill McKibben and many other notables have cautioned what we risk by ignoring, and failing to deal with, climate change. Globally, institutions, pension funds and church groups, among others, have begun to divest funds from investment in fossil fuel conglomerates.

But a crew of locals spend much of their lives touting the virtues of these climate-busters and climate-denier-liars.

They are the Kochroach Klub, named in honor of the multi-billionaire brothers whose immense wealth, including oil/gas holdings, have enabled them to fund and prop up the Tea Party as well as the modern GOP, and launch huge media campaigns in an attempt to discredit the science of global warming.

“Under the nearly five-decade reign of CEO Charles Koch, [Koch Industries] has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. And in 1999, a jury handed down to Koch's pipeline company what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its type in U.S. history, resulting from the explosion of a defective pipeline that incinerated a pair of Texas teenagers” (, Sept. 24, 2014).

How timely then, and how appropriate, to name and describe the local Kochroach Klub, whose members regularly infest these forums.

They are mostly oil company shills, who daily dart from site to site, touting the virtues of oil/gas conglomerates; excusing, denying or downplaying the extent, or the significance, of the constantly accumulating instances of environmental and health damage these corporations inflict.

Kochroachers daily denigrate or personally insult others while hiding behind fake names. They are of course cowards who, like real roaches, foul wherever they go while hiding their identities in dark places.

Deny — divert — digress — dismiss — distort — denigrate. These are Kochroacher tools. They:

(1) Deny the massive evidence, supported by innumerable scientific organizations, that climate change poses great harm to the Earth and its people and is largely the result of humans' use of fossil fuels.

(2) Divert attention from the known instances of well failures (see below) when citing no known poisonous contamination of clean aquifers by the thousands of injections wells containing carcinogens drilled into protected underground streams in California.

“ ... industry studies clearly show that five to seven per cent of all new oil and gas wells leak. As wells age, the percentage of leakers can increase to a startling 30 or 50 percent” (, Jan. 10, 2013).

(3) Digress from verified citings of oil/gas company corruption and contamination by sneers and ad hominem attacks on the person or organization providing the evidence.

(4) Dismiss as trivial or meaningless the nature and extent of verified oil company environmental and health damage.

(5) Distort the record of oil/gas conglomerates by cherry-picking statistics, and ignore histories of repeated illegal activity and/or regulatory violations.

(6) Denigrate Noozhawk columnists and contributors, elected and appointed officials, religious leaders, news publications, environmental organizations, university professors, scientific study groups, online “watchdog” groups — in effect anyone or anything that criticizes or exposes oil/gas company environmental and health damage.

Kochroachers almost never reveal who they are, what profession they have, whether they are paid, or in any way compensated, by oil/gas companies or by organizations dependent on such companies, what standards of accomplishment they have achieved in life so that one can compare their sneering evaluations of others with their own lives.

Years ago, when I moved from New York City to Los Angeles, I was relieved seemingly to have escaped ever-present roaches. Now, in different form, they are scurrying about among us right here.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


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Ruptured Section of Pipeline Dug Out for Testing as Refugio Oil-Spill Investigation Continues

By | Published on 05/29/2015


A 50-foot portion of the pipeline is being transported to a federally-approved laboratory; a community open house is scheduled for Saturday

A 50-foot section of pipeline is being trucked to a laboratory as the investigation into the cause of the Refugio oil spill continues.

Plains All American Pipeline, which owns the crude oil pipeline and is responsible for the spill, confirmed that the 40-foot affected joint, plus 5 feet on either side, was removed Thursday morning and split into two pieces to fit on trucks.

Both pieces were wrapped up to preserve the condition and sent to a federally-approved laboratory, which is undisclosed for “security reasons,” Plains operations director Rick McMichael said.

No information is being disclosed about the condition of the pipe or possible causes of the rupture and the spill that sent thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the coast and into the ocean near Refugio State Beach.

The federal Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the pipeline and is overseeing the work being done to excavate and remove the piece of pipe. PHMSA also issued an order for Plains to shut down Line 901, which carries crude oil from ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc. offshore oil and gas production platforms, and get approval before making repairs and restarting operations.

PHMSA hasn’t been part of the daily media briefings, since the response efforts are being kept separate from the oil spill investigation, officials have said.

On the response front, cleanup teams continue to find and remove oil from the area near the pipeline, the bluffs, the beaches and ocean surface, particularly in the areas of Refugio and El Capitan state parks, which are closed for at least three more weeks.

Dive teams from UC Santa Barbara explored the Refugio Beach area and found submerged oil, so response team divers are further exploring those areas, officials said Friday.

Dave Valentine, a biology and earth science professor at UC Santa Barbara who has been involved in the response effort, said the submerged oil was found mainly in shallow reef areas.

“All along we expected some to sink, which has been confirmed,” he said, adding that crude oil is very adhesive and on the beach it sticks to sand which then acts as ballast, causing it to sink.

Lt. Sean Moe from the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response team, gave an updated number of oil-impacted birds and mammals found as of Thursday night.

There was one live bird and four dead birds found on Thursday, for a total of 40 live birds and 22 dead birds related to this spill, he said. Responders also found six live mammals and four dead mammals on Thursday, for a total of 28 live and 14 dead animals. Most of the birds have been brown pelicans and most of the mammals have been sea lions.

There is a community open house scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Goleta, 150 N. Kellogg Ave. Officials plan to have experts on hand to provide information about environmental impacts, cleanup response efforts, public health and safety, volunteer opportunities and animal rescue. 

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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Neverland Ranch, Former Home of Late Pop Star Michael Jackson, Up for Sale for $100 Million

By | Published on 05/29/2015


The Los Olivos property is described as 'the ultimate ranch retreat and gated estate'

The Los Olivos Neverland Ranch, the former home of late pop star Michael Jackson, is officially for sale and listed at $100 million.

Colony Capital LLC of Santa Monica has been managing the property since 2008, when it bought a million-dollar note on it from Jackson, who was embroiled in post-trial financial woes.

The firm refurbished the property and started considering selling it last year.

Jackson called the property home from 1988 until 2005 and famously added a locomotive, amusement park rides and a zoo to the large estate.

Fans flocked to the property after Jackson’s death in 2009, and the property’s future has been the subject of wide speculation with suggestions to designate the land as a state park, similar to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, or turn it into a Graceland-style attraction, which locals vehemently opposed.

The property at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road is called Sycamore Valley Ranch in the real estate listings and is described as “the ultimate ranch retreat and gated estate.”

According to Sotheby’s International Realty broker Harry Kolb's website, one of the brokers, the property includes the 12,598-square-foot main house, staff quarters, three guest homes, a stable and other ranch buildings, pool and pool house, tennis court, gardens, a four-acre lake and a 5,500-square-foot movie theater with a stage.

Knowing that the property still has a hold on Jackson fans, real estate brokers told the Wall Street Journal that there would be a strict prequalification process for potential buyers and no tours are planned.

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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Pioneer Valley High School to Break Ground on New Performing Arts Center

By | Published on 05/29/2015


The first dramatic steps for a Performing Arts Center will occur during a groundbreaking ceremony at Pioneer Valley High School on Monday, June 1.

The estimated 16,411-square-foot structure includes three classrooms and the stage. The complex will be placed on the northeast section of the campus next to the music building and will have a seating capacity of 298.

“This Performing Arts Center represents another step in the right direction for the students in our district,’’ Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson said. “Having viable elective programs with commensurate facilities is key to program success.’’

The estimated project cost is $9.6 million, of which $6.9 million will be the estimated actual building costs, according Gary Wuitschick, director of support services. The total cost includes inspections, surveying, testing, consultants, architects and related fees.

The funding is through C2000 and 2004 bonds, according to Yolanda Ortiz, assistant superintendent of business services.

Construction is expected to start in June and be completed within 14 months, Wuitschick added.

— Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.


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Joseph Kirkland Named New President of Rotary Club of Montecito

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Joseph Kirkland

Joseph Kirkland has been tapped to be the new president of the Rotary Club of Montecito, starting July 1.

All Rotary clubs across the world will be instating new presidents on that date.

Kirkland’s commitment to community involvement is made clear by his track record as a board member, secretary and president-elect for the Rotary Club. He also works with individuals who are interested in socially responsible investment practices.

Kirkland is an assistant vice president and financial advisor at UnionBanc Investment Services in the Central Coast area. His professional career includes positions at Merrill Lynch and Edward Jones.

He is married and has lived in Santa Barbara and on the Central Coast for 21 years.

The Rotary Club of Montecito is a service organization for the local Montecito and Santa Barbara County region established more than 60 years ago. It supports both local and international humanitarian projects.

The group meets every Tuesday for a luncheon at the Montecito Country Club. For more information about attending a Tuesday luncheon at the Montecito Country Club or joining the club, please contact the RCM’s membership chair, Lynda Nahra, at 805.804.1606.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Rotary Club of Montecito.


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Oil-Coated Sea Lion Makes Escape from Truck on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 05/29/2015


A sea lion that was being transported to Sea World for treatment of oil exposure decided to take a detour in Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon, and was found trying to cross Highway 101.

The original report at about 2:15 p.m. was for an injured dog in the lanes of northbound Highway 101 between Highway 154 and El Sueno Road, but the California Highway Patrol soon reported that it was a seal and was bleeding.

However, it turned out the marine mammal was actually a sea lion — one of many affected by the Refugio oil spill, according to Alexia Retallack, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Somehow the sea lion had slipped its cage and jumped out of the truck that was transporting it, she said.

“They’re very clever animals,” Retallack noted.

She said the wayward animal was corralled by Santa Barbara County Animal Services officers, and was checked out by personnel from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network from UC Davis.

“It turns out it was OK,” she said.

The sea lion eventually was put back on the truck — presumably with a securely locked cage — and sent on its way to San Diego for cleaning and treatment.

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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Man, Woman Injured in Lompoc Vehicle Incident

By | Published on 05/29/2015


A female who was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on Friday afternoon was one of two people injured in an odd crash in Lompoc.

Emergency crews responded to the 1200 block of West Maple Avenue at 3:51 p.m., where they found a man and woman who had been injured after their vehicle crashed into a parked vehicle, according to Sgt. Allen Chisholm of the Lompoc Police Department.

Officers found the female who was identified as the passenger and the male driver on the ground.

Both victims had been inside a vehicle, but apparently were injured while they were outside the vehicle, police said. 

"This collision is still under investigation, but at this time it appears that both the driver and passenger exited the vehicle prior to the vehicle colliding with the parked vehicle," police said.

A CalStar helicopter landed at nearby Thompson Park to pick up the woman, who had significant injuries.

The man, was taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center for treatment.

A nearby school bus stop and students in the area were not involved in this incident,  police said.

Lompoc police asked that anyone who saw the accident or the actions of the driver and passenger prior to the collision contact the Police Department at 805.736.2341. Officers also are seeking any video of the crash.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates as they become available.

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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Pink, Jeff Bridges Join Celebration in Support of Free Summer Meals for Kids

By | Published on 05/29/2015


On May 21, at the Westside Boys & Girls Club, 500 students, their parents and community members gathered to enjoy performances by youth bands and dancers, while eating nutritious food from the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s mobile cafes.

Actor Jeff Bridges and singer/songwriter Pink met with kids and took the stage to enthusiastically lend their support and introduce the youth performances by Girls Rock SB, musical duo Rico & Nico, and dancers from Santa Barbara Dance Arts.

Rep. Lois Capps, county Supervisor Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, City Council members Cathy Murillo and Randy Rowse, and Santa Barbara school board members Ed Heron and Monique Limon, along with representatives from Supervisor Doreen Farr and Assemblyman Das Williams’ offices participated in the community-wide celebration.

With summer around the corner, the goal of the event was to showcase the 40 places throughout Santa Barbara County where any child can get a free meal. The coalition behind this effort includes the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara, the Community Action Commission and the City of Santa Barbara, and is supported and inspired by No Kid Hungry national spokesman Bridges, who lives in Santa Barbara with his family.

Those gathered were thrilled with the surprise appearance of Pink, who is committed to making Santa Barbara County a No Kid Hungry county. She was accompanied on stage by her daughter.

"I am so excited to be a part of this amazing community,” No Kid Hungry supporter Pink said. “It means a lot to be able to raise awareness about essential programs like summer meals that help keep our local kids happy and healthy."

In Santa Barbara County, summer is a magical time, but for thousands of children, it’s when hunger is at its worst. Nearly one in four children in Santa Barbara County struggle with hunger, and in the summer only 15 percent of them participate in the 40 free summer meal programs.

“Even in our wonderful community, too many of our children are not getting the meals they need, especially when school is out," Bridges said. "With so many strong partners like the Foodbank, CAC, the City of Santa Barbara and our local schools, we’ve been working together to make sure that more families take advantage of the summer meal programs throughout the county. There are 40 places that any child can get a free summer meal, no paperwork required. Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to celebrate our kids. What a better way to do that than to enjoy delicious food and hear good music from talented youth musicians and Radio Bronco."

In addition to the new radio campaign, No Kid Hungry has developed a texting program to make it easier for families to find out where summer meals are served. Families throughout the county can text SUMMERFOOD to 877.877 to find a summer meals site in their neighborhood. The texting program is supported nationally by the Arby’s Foundation.

— Laura Burton Capps represents No Kid Hungry.


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#SantaMaria Fave 5s for This Weekend

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Friday, May 29

Santa Maria Elks Rodeo

The Santa Maria PRCA sanctioned rodeo performances are held at the Santa Maria Elks Unocal Event Center, just off Santa Maria Way in Santa Maria.

Each rodeo performance is loaded with edge of your seat entertainment! Friday: 5 p.m. gates open for 7 p.m. performance; Saturday: 4 p.m. gates open for 6 p.m. performance; Sunday: noon gates open for 2 p.m. performance. Tickets: 888.695.0888 /

Wine Down Friday at Cottonwood Canyon Winery

Every last Friday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring live band performances in our outdoor grass amphitheater, food vendors, and wine for sale by the glass and bottle (no outside food/alcohol allowed). Blankets and chairs are welcome. Admission is free! 3940 Dominion Road, Santa Maria. 805.937.8463.

Saturday, May 30

Elks Rodeo Parade
9 a.m. to noon

This beloved Elks Rodeo event will follow a route from South Broadway to Enos Drive featuring over 200 entries: Marching bands, majorettes, floats, equestrians, clowns and more! Streets will be closed from Mill Street to Enos during this parade.

Costa de Oro WineMaker Dinner

Join us at the Point San Luis Lighthouse Winemaker Dinner with Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods! Tour the lighthouse, a historical landmark and learn the history of this important Central Coast monument. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a four-course meal with current and library CDO wines! $125/person. RSVP: 805.922.1468.

Sunday, May 31

The Clark Center Presents: The Addams Family
487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande

The Arroyo Grande High School Theatre Company presents a twist on The Addams Family with a musical comedy: Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. Tickets at the door: $12 for students and $17 for adults. 805.489.9444.

For more events information:


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Mona Charen: Obama Not Offended Enough by Anti-Semitism

By | Published on 05/29/2015


What to make of President Barack Obama's interpretation of the Iranian leadership? Challenged by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg to account for the seeming inconsistency of relying on the rationality of a regime that holds a profoundly anti-Semitic world view, the president denied that the "venomous anti-Semitism" (his words) of the mullahs is a barrier to rational decision making:

"Well, the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn't preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn't preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn't preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn't mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders — and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country."

Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest made an important observation: "It seems clear from this exchange that the president either doesn't understand or flatly disagrees with the point Goldberg has in mind. Goldberg's point is that serious anti-Semites (that is, people whose world views are shaped and informed by Jew hatred as opposed to people who have, for example, a social prejudice against associating with Jews) don't understand reality the way that other people do. They see a world dominated by Jewish plots and secret cartels, and believe that the Elders of Zion rule the world behind a screen of deception and misdirection."

Exactly. The anti-Semitism of the Iranian regime is not remotely comparable to the prejudice you can still find in America. With a knee-jerk reliability, Obama cannot permit any acknowledgment of the evils of other nations to pass without mentioning our own sins ("there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country"). This is both an intellectual and moral failing on Obama's part.

It's an intellectual failing because Obama has clearly failed to grapple with the nature of the Iranian theocrats. Iran's leaders are infected by a disease of the mind that prevents them from perceiving the world accurately. Their anti-Semitism is Nazi in intensity. They believe, as Adolf Hitler did, in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy that is responsible for wars, sectarian conflict among Muslims (!), disease and oppression. The regime hosts Holocaust denial conferences. They ceaselessly refer to Israel and Jews as "cancers" or "rabid dogs." What do you do to cancers and rabid dogs? You kill them.

The regime has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map and has referred to Israel as a "one-bomb country" and a "threat to the world."

Is such a regime rational? During the Iran/Iraq war, the mullahs sent children as young as 12 to the front lines with promises of Heaven if they died in battle (some say they were issued plastic keys to paradise to wear around their necks).

It's profoundly worrying that Obama can shrug off the abundant evidence that the Iranian regime is in the grip of dangerous illusions about Jewish power and Jewish evil, and casually compare it to the kind of anti-Semitism found in modern-day Europe and America.

It's also morally offensive. The mullahs' anti-Semitism, along with their threats, should be enough to cause Obama, or any decent person, to recoil in disgust. Instead, he has made it the cause of his second term to reach a rapprochement with Iran. He has invited the regime to take the "path" he's offering to become "a very successful regional power."

Obama claims that he first became inspired to enter politics by the plight of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. At Mandela's funeral, he said, "Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today."

How would Obama have felt about an American president who minimized the nature of apartheid South Africa, or failed to prevent that regime from acquiring nuclear weapons, or invited the racist state to become a "very successful regional power"?

The analogy is imprecise, because South Africa, though brutal and reprehensible, did not nurture genocidal ambitions, but it's enough to demonstrate that Obama's morality is always in service of his politics, not the other way around.

Mona Charen is a columnist with National Review magazine. Click here to contact her, follow her on Twitter: @mcharen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Showcases Its Scholarship Recipients

By | Published on 05/29/2015


The period of competition and evaluation is over, the committees have made their decisions and the recipients of this year's Santa Barbara Music Club scholarships have been chosen.

The 37 awards will be distributed under five establishing sponsors: the La Fair/Rokoff/Gilbert Award (one recipient), the Gertrude Richman Award (one), the Ellen Riedel Memorial Award (three), the Nathan Rundlett Vocal Scholarship Award (three), the Emil Torick Award (14) and the Santa Barbara Music Club Award (15).

Now, for the music-loving public, comes the fun part, where we reap the benefit of all that youthful achievement. The wonderful young musicians who have earned the support of their community will offer a brace of free concerts in United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St., at 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 30, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6.

The June 6 concert I will preview next week. This Saturday's concert will contain the following musicians and works: Caroline Luce (piano), 13, J. S. Bach's Invention No.12 in C-Major, BWV 772; Sofiya Prykhitko (violin), 19, the fourth movement of Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy in Eb-Major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 46 (Chis Davis, piano); Zephan Bornfreund (violin), 11, Oskar Rieding's Concertino in A-Minor, Opus 21 (Erin Bonski, piano); Andy Yang (piano), 12, the "Tarantella" from Sergei Prokofiev's Music For Children", Opus 65; Jessica Kozachuk (flute), 20, the "Allegro" from Carl Reinecke's Sonata Undine, Opus 167 (Chis Davis, piano); Eliana VanRenterghem (flute), 16, Georges Hüe's Fantaisie for Flute and Orchestra (Neil DiMaggio, piano); Elizabeth VanRenterghem (flute), 17, the first movement, marked "Heiter Bewegt" (cheerful agitation), of Paul Hindemith's 1936 Sonata for Flute and Piano (Neil DiMaggio, piano); Luana Psaros (mezzo-soprano), 18, "Laurie's Song" from Aaron Copland's opera, The Tender Land (Sharlae Jenkins, piano); Rebecca Shasberger (cello), 22, George Crumb's Sonata for Solo Cello (1955); Matthew Karle (piano), 15, Johann Burgmüller's L'Orage/The Storm; and Maia Ziaee (piano), 18, Seymour Bernstein's The Dying Moth.

The vital and necessary portion of this preview is now concluded. You don't need to be sold these young artists; all you need to do is listen to them. What follows is a brief meditation on the musical life, inspired by the presence of the Hindemith sonata on the program.

Barring a string of hit operas, classical composers seldom get rich. Until composers settled in academia, in the 20th century, and started getting tenure, job security was all but non-existent. Before the French Revolution, they were the indentured servants of the aristocracy and royalty (two groups who notoriously never pay their bills); after that they were nearly in the same position with their publishers. Singers and instrumentalists have generally lived as factory workers, except for the divas and virtuosos who have managed to parlay their name recognition and gifts into a fairly comfortable existence. But for the sine qua non of classical music, the composer, life has always been hand-to-mouth, at best. In the 20th century, when ideology reared its ugly head, things got a lot worse. The Nazis and the Soviets saw politics in everything, and they had decided opinions about what was acceptable and unacceptable in music. In both regimes, unacceptable could get you killed.

When Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote this flute sonata, in December of 1936, he had been a professor at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik for nine years; the Nazis had been in power for three. Two years before the flute sonata, Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, had publicly called Hindemith an "atonal noisemaker." Things were not getting better. The Nazis started banning his compositions as “cultural Bolshevism,” and by 1936, all of his music was banned. Shortly after completing the sonata, he resigned his professorship. Two years later, he fled with his family to Switzerland (though not himself Jewish, one of his wife's parents was a Jew), and in 1940, he came to the United States. He became a U.S. citizen, but returned to Europe, to Zürich, in 1953, and spent his last 10 years there.

The sonata does not reflect the dark and tragic time in which it was written. It is light-hearted and melodious and exceedingly well written. According to his wife, the composer sat up in bed, in the middle of the night, went to his desk and began to write it. Twelve days later, he had it done.

Click here for information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists.

— 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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Santa Barbara Matchmaking Launching Social Club for Central Coast Adults

By | Published on 05/29/2015



Santa Barbara Matchmaking is launching a Social Club in June to help Central Coast adults find the best cultural, dating and social events in the area plus many other benefits to help them navigate the dating waters.

The unique, color-coded Social Calendar includes monthly listings available only to Santa Barbara Matchmaking’s growing number of members.

Santa Barbara Matchmaking is a discreet, upscale company for successful, commitment-minded singles who want to find their soulmates. Click here for more information.

Those who join the Social Club want to know the best events to meet singles, find new places to date, get expert answers to their dating questions and receive great offers exclusive to them. Three local companies will be featured each month to help singles look, feel and have a great date.

Some of these businesses partnering with Santa Barbara Matchmaking include Louie’s Restaurant, Tru Beauty skincare, Grassini Family Winery, Heather Bond fitness and nutrition, Channel Island Outfitters, Santa Barbara Self Defense, Jamie Sloane Wines and many more.

Santa Barbara Matchmaking memberships start at $9.95 a month.

Moving into its fourth year of operation, Santa Barbara Matchmaking just concluded its quarterly mixer at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, and founder Lisa Darsonval-Amador was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship competition, which honors top women business owners on the South Coast.

For more information, call Lisa at 805.699.5650.


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Captain’s Log: Of Spilled Oil and Critters of the Sea

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Anywhere along the coast between Campus Point and Gaviota can be a truly terrible place to incur an oil leak, in terms of impacts on critters. The finfish, shellfish and other sea life of the area are accustomed to naturally-occurring oil seepage and a sheen on the surface. They know how to deal with it and little harm comes to them. Consequently, they have no fear of oil and that puts them at heightened risk when an unnatural oil spill happens.

Those of us who work at sea and ply this coast regularly call this stretch of coast the “oil patch.” There is always seepage through the sea floor. There is an old and ongoing discussion about whether we should try to pump more oil out to lessen the pressure and reduce the natural seepage.

Other than getting oil on our feet when visiting the beaches of the area, I’m not sure there is a lot of reason to try to reduce natural seepage. The critters are used to it. The natural stuff seeps out of the seafloor and floats slowly to the surface in gooey globules. Once at the surface, it is spread out into a natural sheen and then currents and wind accumulate it into long, meandering current breaks. While floating toward the surface, critters easily move around the stuff.

This unnatural oil spill is very different, but the critters don’t know it and they put themselves in deadly interaction with the yucky stuff. This spilled oil may become thickened by the sea, but it isn’t in globules that can be easily navigated around. This nasty stuff floods an area and coats everything it comes in contact with, including fish, invertebrates and even clams, which are unable to filter this stuff. So this spill is reaching below the surface and killing critters.

Some fish and other sealife have high site fidelity, which means they tend to stay put, waiting out the bad times and knowing fully well how to use their familiar habitat to make the most of the good times. This oil spill is making habitat such as rocky structure spots unlivable, at least the way our critters need to live. The result is dead sealife.

Our volunteers out there working diligently and tirelessly to save fish are my heroes. They are cleaning habitat and finding critters that may be saved, with the right treatment. A harsh fact they deal with and at times can break their hearts is that when you have a finite number of volunteers, trying to saves so many lives, they know they can save the most lives by focusing on the ones that can be saved quickly and relatively easy. It is natural to want to spend time on the worse cases, but that takes so much time, during which other critters are taking a turn for the worse and will die. Making those tough decisions is saddening.

The mechanical methods of the oil spill cleanup may be exacerbating the problem. Mechanical cleanup resources (such as booms, skimmers and scrubbers) are so foreign to critters that many can be killed in the process. This whole incident is saddening and infuriating. We’ll do the best we can.

My hope is that we can open back up the giant incident closure zone rapidly because of the major socioeconomic damage it is doing. Many of the people who have their favorite fishing spots or beaches to visit, also have high site fidelity and don’t tend to just go someplace else. That relates to fewer people recreating. Tourism suffers from the oil spill, and that has a profound effect on lots of businesses besides the ones that support fishing and boating. Our commercial fishers are also taking a pounding because their market is down, even for fish from elsewhere in the Channel and around the Channel Islands. Businesses need saving as well as the critters.

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


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QAD Awards Nearly $65,000 in ‘Project Upgrade’ Grants to Four Local Schools

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Each year, the Santa Barbara-based global software company QAD calculates a percentage of its profits for reinvestment into innovative projects that allow students to spend hands-on time with technology.

Total "Project Upgrade" grants awarded this year were $64,822. Recipients included Santa Barbara High School ($21,605), MAD Academy ($10,000); Hollister Elementary ($23,217) and Foothill Elementary ($10,000).

The grants will be presented on Tuesday at the Multimedia Arts & Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School.

Speakers will include Bill Keese, QAD senior vice president of research and development; Ellen Barger, Santa Barbara County Education Office assistant superintendent; Dr. Dave Cash, Santa Barbara USD superintendent; and William Banning, Goleta USD superintendent.

MAD Academy students and teachers, Computer Science Academy students and teachers, county and school district administrators, MAD Academy board members, and select parent also will be in attendance.

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


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Homeowners Invited to Develop Energy Efficiency Plan at Free Interactive Workshop Series

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Santa Barbara County’s emPower program will guide single-family homeowners through the process of making their home more energy efficient during its first free Interactive Workshop Series beginning June 10.

Participants who attend all four of the weekly workshops at the Santa Barbara Veterans Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd., will leave with a customized energy efficiency plan and five free LED light bulbs — a $75 value.

The workshops will each include dinner and focus on a range of energy-saving techniques designed to make homes more comfortable and safe.

“There are a lot of issues that are sending local energy bills sky-high, but luckily there is a lot that can be done to save you some cash and also make your home more comfortable and healthier in the process,” said Jason Scheurer, emPower energy coach. “We’ll be taking a careful look at everything you need to know, from figuring out where your home is wasting energy to how you can make some necessary home upgrades without breaking the bank.”

Each workshop sessions will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Veterans Building and focus on the following topics:

» June 10 — Intro to Home Energy Efficiency: Learn the basics of how your home uses and loses energy. The cracks and crevices in many homes adds up to a hula-hoop size hole that is letting heated and cooled air escape.

» June 17 — Choosing the Right Energy Improvements for You: Learn about the changes you can make to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Having the cracks and crevices in your homes sealed could help save 20 percent on heating bills.

» June 24 — Overview of the emPower Program: Learn how the County’s emPower Program can help make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. An emPower energy coach is available to assess a home’s energy efficiency troubles for free, and the program can help homeowners take advantage of utility incentives and low-interest financing for making energy efficiency upgrades.

» July 1 — Individual Energy Efficiency Plans & Graduation: Design a customized energy efficiency plan for your own home.

For more information or to RSVP, contact emPower Central Coast at 805.568.3566 or click here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing emPower Central Coast.


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Bill Macfadyen: Taking a Stab at Mending a Broken Heart Probably Isn’t the Wisest Course

By | Published on 05/29/2015


NoozWeek’s Top 5 cleans up after two more wrecks, goes riding for a fall, and rescues a trio of UCSB students channeling their inner tubes

Amid the grim — and shocking — news of a bribery scandal in Soccer World, there were 93,171 Noozhawk readers who were able to play through the pain. Here are your top stories:

1. Santa Barbara Man Accused of Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Breaking up is hard to do. According to authorities, a Santa Barbara man’s apparent inability to let go is going to cost him some jail time after he allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

Police say Daniel Adam Jasso should have left well enough alone. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)
Police say Daniel Adam Jasso should have left well enough alone. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

As our Tom Bolton first reported, 24-year-old Daniel Adam Jasso was arrested May 25 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an altercation the night before.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood told Tom that officers arrived at an apartment in the 400 block of West Padre Street just before midnight May 24, to check out reports of a woman screaming and a likely domestic disturbance.

Inside, he said, they found the female resident along with a 24-year-old Goleta man who had been stabbed in the chest and slashed in an arm.

Harwood said police learned the victim and the woman are dating, and that Jasso was none too happy about it.

“Jasso, apparently angry that his ex-girlfriend was in a new relationship, went to the apartment to confront both her and the victim ...,”​ Harwood said.

“He subsequently pushed his way in through the front door. Jasso and the victim then fought inside the apartment, during which time Jasso stabbed the victim.”​

The victim, whose identity was not released, was transported to nearby Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment. Authorities said his wounds did not appear to be life-threatening.

The suspect was long gone by the time officers arrived, but detectives obtained an arrest warrant and searched Jasso’s apartment in the 1200 block of Gillespie Street.

He was arrested while at work the next morning and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

All that’s left of a Ford Focus after a fatal rollover wreck 20 miles east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
All that’s left of a Ford Focus after a fatal rollover wreck 20 miles east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

2. Bakersfield Woman Dies in Highway 166 Crash East of Santa Maria

A 20-year-old Bakersfield woman was killed May 24 in a high-speed rollover wreck on Highway 166 east of Santa Maria.

The California Highway Patrol said the woman was ejected from her Ford Focus when the eastbound car tumbled down an embankment near Rockfront Ranch, about 20 miles from Santa Maria. The crash was reported around 7:30 a.m.

The woman, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of relatives, was pronounced dead at the scene, Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The CHP said it was not known if alcohol or drugs were factors.

3. Woman Hurt in Fall From Horse in Hope Ranch

A woman riding her horse at Hope Ranch Beach took a nasty fall May 25, suffering a moderate head injury in the midday incident.

County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the rider, a woman in her 40s, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

The woman’s name was not disclosed. No other details were released.

4. Motorcyclist Suffers Major Injuries in Highway 154 Crash Near Rancho San Marcos Golf Course

A motorcyclist was badly injured when he lost control of his bike on Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley the morning of May 24.

According to county fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, the crash happened around 10 a.m. near Live Oak Camp and Rancho San Marcos Golf Course.

The rider, whose identity was not released, suffered a likely broken femur and shoulder injuries in the wreck, Zaniboni said. He was taken by an American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.

Not a typical day at the beach. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Not a typical day at the beach. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

5. 3 UCSB Students Rescued in Ocean Off Goleta Beach

Three UC Santa Barbara students took to the sea in inner tubes May 22. It wasn’t their intention to sail over to the Channel Islands from Campus Point, but before they knew it, brisk winds had pushed them well away from shore.

Mike Eliason, a county Fire Department spokesman, said a boat associated with the Refugio oil-spill cleanup called 9-1-1 after spotting the ragtag flotilla.

A rescue operation was launched about 4:15 p.m., and Eliason said firefighters on personal watercraft picked up the trio within 15 minutes.

He estimated the three were in the low-60-degree water for more than 90 minutes. Only one of them was wearing a wetsuit.

Two of the students were transported to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment of hypothermia. The third declined medical attention.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Coffee Could Reduce Risk of Erectile Dysfunction.

HT to my good friend, Jerry Roberts, who — purely by coincidence, I’m sure — sent this to me the morning after his giants humiliated my Dodgers in a series sweep.

Careful with the premature exultation, giants fans. A baseball season’s all about stamina.

But at least it’s not soccer.

                                                                 •        •        •

No matter how many times you click Replay, this won’t rub you the wrong way.

(Aquariumdeslagons1 video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Santa Barbara Summer Camp Aims to Teach Youths How to Be Financially Responsible Adults

By | Published on 05/29/2015


Camp Millionaire
Creative Wealth International's Camp Millionaire teaches useful money management principles and habits for youths ages 10 to 14. (Creative Wealth International photo)

This summer kids in Santa Barbara County and around California will learn the ins and outs of creating financial freedom at our local Camp Millionaire and Moving Out! for Teen camps. Attendees learn everything from budgeting and investing in assets to how to rent their first apartments and get their first jobs.

Camp Millionaire and Moving Out are offered by Creative Wealth International, which started teaching personal finance summer camps for kids and teens in a fun, unique, camp-like setting in Santa Barbara in 2002 with 39 kids stuffed into a room at a local Boys and Girls Club. Since then, they have become the provider of the popular financial education curriculums, Camp Millionaire and The Money Game, sold all over the United States and Internationally.

Using an experiential, active money simulation curriculum makes learning about money fun!

Camp Millionaire emphasizes immediately useful money management principles and habits for ages 10 to 14. Moving Out! for ages 14 to 19 teaches teens about money and what it takes to move out and live on their own. Using accelerated learning techniques, group activities, role-playing and games, attendees explore popular beliefs about money and then learn the information and tools they need to grow up to be financially free.

The curriculum focuses on time-tested money management principles and habits such as Paying Yourself First, Put Your Money to Work for You and Only Borrow Money When It Makes You Money. They learn that investing in assets that produce passive income is the key to becoming financially free and the way they go out into the world to do a lot of good!

"As kids, most of us weren’t taught about money so we don’t have a clue what to do with it as adults. By creating a fun, game-filled, experiential, learning environment, Creative Wealth’s goal is to create future generations of adults who value financial security and freedom over social status," said Elisabeth Donati, creator of the program and author of The Ultimate Allowance, Rocks to Riches and The Money Jars: Your Magical Money Management System.

For more information on Creative Wealth’s summer money camps or its financial education curriculums, click here, email [email protected] or call 805.957.1024. Scholarships are available for every program.

— Elisabeth Donati represents Creative Wealth International.


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UCSB Protesters Call Out UC Administration Over Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/29/2015


On Thursday, the UCSB community rallied outside of the university’s administrative building — Cheadle Hall — calling out the University of California for its investments in the fossil fuel industry and having financed the May 19 oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

The rally began with a press conference. A master’s student, Theo LeQuesne, called out to the crowd: “To protect our society, environment and economy, we must stop the source of these tragedies — the fossil fuel industry.”

After the press conference, students participated in street theater featuring UC Regents paying Exxon executives to dump “oil” on students, representing the universities' active investment practices and their impact on their environment and students.

“We are here to share in our anger and sadness,” first-year student Abi Pastrana called out during the mic check. “But we must channel this in positive directions.”

Miranda O’Mahony, a first-year student, called out to the crowd, “This spill was not an isolated incident. It is just one more preventable yet inevitable instance of the fossil fuel industry’s disregard for communities and the environment.”

Oil spills and other accidents related to the fossil fuel industry happen all the time, primarily in areas with communities of color. We cannot discuss the fossil fuel industry’s environmental impacts and ignore the inherent environmental racism it perpetuates.

“While Plains All American is liable, Exxon it culpable," O’Mahony said. "Without Exxon’s offshore drilling, there wouldn’t be a pipeline in the first place.”

ExxonMobil contracted out Plains All American, a company with a track record of spills and violations, to transport its crude oil from Exxon’s storage tanks to a pump station in Gaviota.

The students marched from Cheadle Hall to the Multicultural Center, chanting and carrying the pipeline. Student onlookers met the demonstrators with cheers joined in chanting “UC Regents lead the way, divest our UC today,” and, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible.”

The University of California currently invests its endowment in ExxonMobil, alongside many other coal, oil and gas companies.

Emily Williams, campaign director with the California Student Sustainability Coalition and alum of UCSB, said, “By consciously investing in these companies, the university is willingly profiting off of the practices and ecological, societal and climatological impacts of the company.”

In addition to funding one of the worst perpetrators of social injustice and environmental degradation, the university blatantly demonstrates that it places its profit margins above it students. As administration decides to support the biggest climate drivers, administration is actively condemning its students to facing the worst impacts of climate change

“It’s really very simple,” Pastrana said. “We’re calling on our university to start investing in students, not in spills.”

This industry not only disproportionately impacts communities of color, but also youth and future generations. The Climate Vulnerability Monitor estimates that today 400,000 people die per year from climate change-induced disasters. That number will skyrocket when today’s youth and future generations take office.

This spill is just one example, in a sea of disasters, of the ecological and social impacts of the extractive fossil fuel economy.

We know what the alternatives are to fossil fuels — increased investment in and production of renewable energy that is community owned and operated. We also know that the fossil fuel industry will not lead the renewable and just revolution. Big Oil in the last decade collectively invested $9 billion in renewable energy development, compared to the $341 billion they spent in the same period on tar sands extraction. Comparing those figures to the $257 billion that was invested globally in 2011 in renewables, $9 billion is barely a drop in the ocean.

— Emily Williams is the campaign director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Lompoc Incident With Reportedly Barricaded Man Ends Quietly

By | Published on 05/29/2015


An incident involving a possibly suicidal man with weapons barricaded inside a trailer in Lompoc ended quietly early Friday morning.

Officers from the Lompoc Police Department responded about 9 p.m. Thursday to the 500 block of North Poppy Street about the possibility of a suicidal man who had been drinking alcohol and had two firearms while inside a trailer parked in front of a residence.

The man made comments which concerned family members and prompted a call to police.

Officers helped get the family to a safe location and began talking with them. 

“This led to a dialog via cell phone with the disturbed subject,” Capt. Ed Lardner said. “He began making statements like ‘I’m locked and loaded’ and ‘I’m gonna go Full Metal Jacket’ as he was walking around the location banging on doors and windows.”

Family members confirmed the man had a rifle and handgun with him, police said.

The combination of the weapons and statements, prompted the Lompoc Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team and SWAT Team to respond to the scene.

A phone conversation with the man nearly brought resolution, but he stopped communication with police, Lardner said.

At one point, a loud bang, possibly a gunshot came from the site, and attempts to reach man again were unsuccessful and there was no movement in the trailer.

Authorities used a public address system to contact the man, who began moving again.

“Aid was offered for any injuries he may have suffered during the time of non-communication, but again the subject did not respond and appeared to be OK. In the end the subject covered himself with a blanket and appeared to go to sleep,” Lardner said. 

“It was decided, forcing a violent confrontation, was not in the best interest of any involved party. Since the subject appeared to now be asleep LPD gathered its gear and personnel and left the scene,” Lardner said.

The family vacated the residence for the evening, as a precaution.

Police were investigating Friday if the loud bang was a gunshot, since intentionally or accidentally discharging a weapon is a misdemeanor violation of the city code, Lardner said. If it was determined to be a

For a time during the incident, police block College Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.

Residents received reverse 911 calls advising them to remain inside their homes as a precaution.

The effort involved the crisis negotiation team with personnel from the Lompoc Police Department as well as the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

"It's a great partnership," he added.

Additionally, the Sheriff's Department assisted with other 911 calls in the city, Lardner said.

City street crews and American Medical Response ambulance also responded to the incident.

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 Maria Elks Give Youths Taste of Rodeo

By | Published on 05/28/2015


72nd annual tradition runs through Sunday, and includes four performances and a Saturday parade

Riding a sheep racing into a rodeo arena is akin to being on a dirt bike, first-time mutton bustin’ competitor Nicholas Romero discovered Thursday. 

SM rodeo
Nicholas Romero, left, and dad Aaron Romero pose for a photo after the boy won the Mutton Bustin' contest during the Minetti Mini Rodeo on Thursday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

His skills at hanging onto the woolly beast landed him the belt buckle and bragging rights as the top mutton bustin’ rider during the Minetti Mini Rodeo on Thursday morning when thousands of youngsters got a sampling of the sport.

The invitation-only Mini Rodeo where 6,000 students filled the stands is a prelude to the 72nd Annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, which kicked off Thursday night and continues through Sunday at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center. Each performance will include a full slate of rodeo competition plus entertainment. A schedule is available by clicking here.

Before announcing this year’s Minetti Mini Buckeroo Award winners, volunteer Tony Gonzales noted it was dedicated this year to the late Rosalie Minetti, who died in April. The annual award is presented in honor of rodeo co-founder Clarence Minetti, who died in 2011, and his wife.

Clarence Minetti led the effort to introduce local youngsters to event through the mini rodeo, Gonzales said.

“This was his vision to see all you out here in the stands having a good time. Are you having a good time?” Gonzales asked as the  youngsters shouted affirmatively. “Then we see the completion of his vision.”

Among those in the audience was Michelle Smith, a Minetti granddaughter who teaches first grade at Guadalupe’s Mary Buren School.

“This was one their favorite events,” she said. “Seeing all of the kids in the grandstands is what truly made their day and to kick off the rodeo like this in their memory is very special. We’re very honored to be here and honor all of the award winners that epitomize what being a buckeroo is.”

Armed with small American flags students held high in the sky to wave, the youngsters stomped their feet on the metal stands and shouted on command during the event. With feet pounding on the metal stands, thousands of elementary school students cheered on athletes races.

A bulk of the students came campuses in Santa Maria-Bonita School District, but other students attend from Guadalupe, Lompoc and Lucia-Mar schools.

In addition to some pro rodeo participants, most of the competitors in the morning session were youths who compete in rodeo. 

SM rodeo
Seven-year-old Kaiden Fernandez of Santa Maria was the winner of the best dressed competition for the Mutton Bustin' competition during the Minetti Mini Rodeo. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s kind of cool they see someone their own age,” Maggie White, spokeswoman of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, said of the youth audience. “It also gives our local rodeo contestants an opportunity to compete in front of an audience and it gives them the experience they need if they’re going to continue this on.”

Transportation costs for schools that send students — typically third-graders — is covered by the Elks so districts don’t have to scour their budgets to find the money to make the field trips happen. 

“The Elks just fantastically have all kinds of sponsors who make it possible for the students to be here from throughout Santa Maria Valley,” White said. “It’s the first time a lot of them have seen the rodeo.”

Teachers returned to school with a goodie bag filled with curriculum and teaching resources along with kid’s activity books for each student that included free admission for the students to encourage families to return.

“They see part of Santa Maria’s tradition that they might not have experienced before,” White said. “And the Elks and the rodeo is such a big part of Santa Maria. The rodeo money that’s raised allows the Elks to do the charitable activities throughout the year that make Santa Maria a great community. So we’re showing the kids this is the activity that raises the money that comes back to your community for youth sports and that kind of thing.”

White noted the event also attracts vast volunteer support from local organizations.

“With this many kids you need a lot of eyes and ears," White said. "The Elks make it possible and the volunteers make it safe and fun.”

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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Officials Extend Oil Spill Closures for Refugio, El Capitan State Parks

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Popular coastal campgrounds, beaches and day-use areas won't reopen before June 18 as the cleanup continues

There was more bad news Thursday for people hoping to spend time at Refugio and El Capitan state beaches on the Santa Barbara County coast.

At the daily press conference providing updates on the Refugio oil spill, which sent thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the shore and into the ocean on May 19, officials said the parks' campgrounds and day-use areas would remain closed until at least June 18.

The previous estimate for reopening was June 4.

"That date is not set in stone," said Eric Hjelstrom, the State Parks superintendent for the two coastal parks shut down by the spill. "State Parks will reopen the parks as soon as we possibly can."

Clean-up efforts continued at full pace Thursday, with workers removing oil from the shores of Refugio State Beach and the adjacent bluffs, as well as the culvert that funneled an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil downhill from a break in a Plains All American Pipeline pipeline on the north side of Highway 101.

Two oil-skimmer vessels continued to operate offshore, Plains officials said Thursday, but little oil has been recovered over the last few days.

The two state parks were shut down almost immediately after the spill, and Refugio in particular has served as the operations hub for the clean-up efforts.

Dozens of steel bins full of oil-soaked material are scattered around the campground, along with vehicles and equipment used by the clean-up crews.

"We can't really reopen the parks until that goes away," Hjelstrom said.

Normally both campgrounds are full at this time of year, but reservations have been canceled for all sites through June 18, Hjelstrom said.

The closures were an especially sad blow for this past Memorial Day weekend, Hjelstrom said, noting that visiting the parks is a tradition for many people.

Refugio has 80 regular campsites and three group areas, while El Capitan has 140 sites and five group areas.

Campers pay $35 to $40 per night for a regular site, and day-use fees are $10 per vehicle.

That means State Parks is losing as much as $8,000 a day in camp fees alone, money that the department expects to recover eventually through a damages claim with Plains All American.

Moreover, on the busiest days, some 2,000 people flock to the day-use areas, Hjelstrom said, losses that would added to the tally.

State Parks personnel continue to staff the parks, Hjelstrom said, and hope to have them reopened quickly once they get the go-ahead from federal officials overseeing the spill response.

"It won't necessarily be 24 hours, but we don't expect it will take long," he said.

The section of pipe where the rupture occurred was finally removed on Thursday, according to Rick McMichael, senior director of operations for Plains All American.

The 50-foot length of pipe was cut in half after removal and wrapped for shipment to a metallurgy lab.

McMichael said Plains officials could not comment on anything they saw or any conclusions they might have drawn after seeing the damaged pipe section.

The remaining oil-soaked soil will be removed, and a new section of pipe will be installed, McMichael said.

The pipeline, which carries crude for ExxonMobil and Venoco from Las Flores Canyon to Gaviota, will remain shut down indefinitely while the investigation continues.

Officials were asked at the press briefing about the spread of oil to other locations, including the discovery of oil on beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Jordan Stout with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said investigators were still trying to determine the source of the oil on the beaches to the east and south of the spill, but acknowledged it was possible for oil from Santa Barbara County to travel that far.

The latest tally of oil-affected wildlife was 39 live birds found, of which 18 have died, since the beginning of the response. In addition,22 mammals have been found affected by oil and 10 have died.

Nearly 1,200 people were still assigned to the incident as of Thursday evening, officials said.

The following spill-related phone numbers and websites are still active:

» To report oiled wildlife: 877.823.6926 

» Volunteer information: 800.228.4544

» Volunteers interested in signing up for cleanup operations are required to visit

» Claims number: 866.753.3619

» For more information:

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


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Santa Maria ‘Prosecutor At Heart’ Leaving Full-Time Position with District Attorney’s Office

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Kevin Duffy, called a 'tireless warrior,' has worked for Santa Barbara County since 1999 and plans to continue part-time handling selective cases

With retirement looming, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy didn’t slow down as he handled three back-to-back trials for deadly drunken driving, homicide and sexual abuse cases since February.

This, his boss District Attorney Joyce Dudley said, is reflective of Duffy’s approach to his job as a prosecutor.

“Kevin is a tireless warrior who thrives on fighting for crime victims and justice,” Dudley said. “Year after year he has taken on our most heart-wrenching cases, often without any reprieve. He will be greatly missed by me and his colleagues and he will be remembered for his work ethic and passion.”

Duffy’s last day was Thursday, ending a full-time gig he began in 1999. 

“I feel like I’ve had a full career,” the 45-year-old Duffy said. He’s leaving, calling it retirement, “because there’s other stuff I want to do in life.”

After graduating from Cal Poly, Duffy attended Cal Western School of Law in San Diego. 

Following a series of internships, he briefly worked in San Diego prosecuting misdemeanors. A short interview with then-Santa Barbara County District Attorney Christie Stanley led to Duffy landing his job in the District Attorney’s Office in Santa Maria.

While he is leaving his full-time job, Duffy will work part-time handling selective cases.

“I’m just a prosecutor at heart. If you’ve got to work, this is the best job possible. I get paid to do right thing for the right reason,” he said.

He had high praise for the current district attorney — “Joyce Dudley has just been a dynamite boss. The taxpayers of Santa Barbara County are very lucky to have her as the elected DA,” he said — as well as the three others he worked for locally. “I’m very pleased that she’s going to allow me to continue to satisfy that part of me that loves to talk to juries and loves to advocate for vulnerable victims.”

After prosecuting domestic violence cases for two years, he has since handled serious and violent felony cases, including several homicide cases with multiple victims.

Some cases stand out for different reasons.

One included the triple homicide for a man charged with killing his girlfriend, her eight-month fetus and her 2-year-old child at the Palms Motor Hotel on West Main Street in July 2001.

“It was really intense,” he said. “Child homicide is just heartbreaking.”

He also prosecuted quadruple-murderer Lee Leeds, convicted of shootings in an auto salvage yard that killing Leeds’ father and three other men in 2008.

The Leeds case proved to be intellectually challenging as the case involved a half-dozen experts testifying about insanity.

Duffy’s final months in his full-time job have been spent prosecuting Benjamin Bettencourt, convicted of drunk driving causing great bodily injury to his passenger, and Brian Keith Reid, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder in the shooting of his parents. Duffy also handled a sexual molestation case in his back-to-back trials earlier this year. 

“It was a great way to end my career,” he said, noting he had tried more than 80 cases as prosecutor. 

“I can’t imagine ending my career on a better note. It was just kind of fortuitous how that turned out,” he added. “Now that I’m done it feels that way.”

Prosecuting sexual molestation cases is “emotionally and psychologically draining,” he said, recalling a heart-wrenching case where the teenage victim — and some jurors — were crying as he asked some difficult questions to establish the elements of the case.

“Doing those cases for the last 14 years, it’s been a blessing but it’s also taken its toll on me,” he said.

He called it “extremely rewarding” to have former victims share about the successes in their lives and the healing they received by standing up their abusers in court.

One former victim visits and has invited him to important milestones in her life. 

“I’ve had little kids come and tell me that I’ve changed the course of their lives, that I was there at the most difficult time of their lives,” he said. “How many professions get that kind of additional reward to their job? I feel very very blessed.” 

He already has a busy schedule planned. As a volunteer with the Central Coast Literacy Council, he will continue teaching a man from Vietnam how to speak and read English.

Once his wife retires in a year, they plan to travel across the United States, Canada and Mexico to visit state parks and rock climb. 

This summer, he and a college-bound son will hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago, retracing several ancient pilgrimage routes in Spain.

“It’s going to be a last chance to bond with my son before he heads off to college on his next adventure,” Duffy 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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Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation the New Title Sponsor of Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon

By | Published on 05/28/2015


The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half has a new presenting title sponsor in the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

The seventh edition, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, will include two annual highlights: the vintage war plane flyover and the Veterans Final Mile tribute.

With 4,000-plus participants, the largest running event on the Central Coast honors veterans and features courses that begin in the orchards of Goleta and winds past the beautiful UC Santa Barbara campus before heading toward “The World’s Most Beautiful Finish Line” on Santa Barbara’s famed waterfront.

“We welcome Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation as our new presenting title sponsor, and together, we look forward to putting on our best event yet for the runners and the community,” said Rusty Snow, race director. “We also thank Select Staffing for its support and title sponsorship for the past six editions.”

Since 2012, the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half has partnered with the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, which has organized the vintage war plane flyovers and a participant favorite, the Veterans Final Mile. The event also offers discounts to members of the military as well as commemorative race T-shirts and dog tags.

“We have been involved with the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half since 2012 and it has been a wonderful complement to our weekend of events honoring our nation's veterans,” PCVF founding director John Blankenship said. “It is so inspiring and thrilling to see the thousands of finishers concluding their incredible journeys with the one-of-a-kind Veterans Final Mile.”

In addition to Saturday’s races, the expanded sponsorship adds to the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation weekend of Veterans Day events, including the Military Ball, Veterans Day Parade and Concert, and collectively making it one of the largest Veterans Day weekends in the country.

Click here for more information or to register for the 2015 event.

— Ryan Lamppa represents the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half.


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Santa Barbara Police Data Show Rise in Burglaries/Thefts, Drop in Ped/Bicycle Accidents

By | Published on 05/28/2015


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 (non-emergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service improved from the previous month but still slightly exceeded performance objectives. 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 13,310 calls for service, representing a 12 percent increase compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and an 11 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013.

» Positive trends: The rates of pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic accidents are significantly lower than previous years. Year to date there has been a 37 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 39 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 55 percent decrease in bicycle traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 27 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. The rate of DUI traffic collisions seems to be trending slightly down. Year to date there has been a 12 percent decrease in DUI traffic collisions compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 17 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

» 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 90 percent increase in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared to the year to date figure from 2014, however this still represents a 3 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 27 percent increase in other types of theft compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 1 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

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


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Santa Barbara County DA Working with State, Federal Prosecutors on Refugio Oil Spill Case

By | Published on 05/28/2015


There’s been a lot said about the federal government’s plan to investigate the ruptured pipeline that caused the Refugio oil spill, but in the background, prosecutors are meeting up and preparing for potential civil and criminal cases against the oil company responsible for the spill.  

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley has been meeting with DAs from several Southern California counties to get insight on potential prosecution, she told Noozhawk.

She’s also been working with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and state Attorney General’s office.

“I think it’s pretty clear we’re all going to stay involved, be involved and pursue prosecution or civil remedies,” she said, adding that county, state and federal agencies all have jurisdiction in terms of potential prosecution and the three levels are in constant communication with each other. Her office will use “everything we can in our search for the truth,” including sharing information, interviews and possibly even grand juries, she said.

It appears to be a strict liability case — Plains All American Pipeline owns and operates the Line 901 carrying crude oil that ruptured and caused the spill — but the investigation could discover some third-party cause for the spill, such as an earthquake or someone sabotaging the line, Dudley noted.

Prosecutors could consider civil and/or criminal charges in this case.

The investigation of the oil spill’s cause is ongoing and authorities aren’t releasing any information about the section of ruptured pipe, which was uncovered Wednesday and will be transported to an independent laboratory for testing.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the pipeline and representatives have been on scene to oversee the pipe section removal and repair work, authorities said. PHMSA ordered a shutdown of the pipe and will approve any plans to restart operations on the line.

Line 901 carried oil from Las Flores Canyon to Plains’ Gaviota Pump Station, and the shutdown includes operations at ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc., which both use the pipeline to carry oil north from its offshore oil and gas production platforms. 

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard, which are leading the response effort, issued a Clean Water Act order that formally requires Plains to complete the clean-up. Plains is also financially responsible for all cleanup and response costs, the company has said.  

Dudley has an environmental attorney on the scene of the pipe excavation, and has since Wednesday morning, and brought on retired Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian as extra help with the investigation.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Office is working with Dudley’s office and other agencies to investigate the incident.

“My office is working closely with our state and federal partners on an investigation of this conduct to ensure we hold responsible parties accountable,” she said in a statement.

In addition to potential prosecution, Plains faces significant costs from paying for cleanup response efforts and claims for damages, which can be filed be calling 866.753.3619.

Claims can be filed for a variety of reasons, including a loss of business (for commercial fishermen, hotels in the Santa Barbara and Goleta area, kayaking adventure companies, etc.) and damages to personal or real property.

Governmental costs during the response can be reimbursed, and Santa Barbara County will be filing for staff costs and can even file a claim for lower transient occupancy taxes if the spill impacts hotel bed revenues, county counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.

The county’s Emergency Operations Center has been used as the central command post for the incident, hosting 200 to 250 people every day from numerous agencies. Command will move closer to Refugio State Beach on Friday to an “undisclosed location” and the county will continue running its response operations from the EOC, county emergency management director Ryan Rockabrand said.

He said this incident has been a good “stress test” for the county facility, which was built in 2011 and previously was used for the eight-hour Miguelito Canyon Fire response.

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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Outdoors Q&A: 8 a.m. Abalone Start Time Unfair for Rock Pickers

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Q: Just a note (complaint) … The start time of 8 a.m. for abalone is very, very unfair. The two lowest tides of the year are in May and June, and you just eliminated them. Rock pickers are put into a shorter collection time and can make even more hurried decisions to take an under-size ab off a rock. You are punishing all rock pickers and putting them in danger by forcing them to dive for abs when they are not good divers (thus, in danger of drowning).

The 8 a.m. rule does not adversely affect the divers at all. You already closed off way over half the state of California. There is no way that abalone hunters can wipe out the abalone population. I go rock picking for abalone with six others and we all share these thoughts. (Fred M., San Francisco).

A: The California Department of Fish & Wildlife made recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission to reduce the take of abalone because recent scuba surveys had shown lower numbers of abalone at popular abalone sites, particularly in Sonoma County.

According to CDFW marine environmental scientist Jerry Kashiwada, the current Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) recommends a 25 percent reduction in the take of abalone when the density (number of abalone in a standard area) reaches the low levels seen in the most recent surveys. Density in the Fort Ross area was so low it reached an ARMP “trigger” for closure to allow the abalone population to recover.

The commission had a choice between the 8 a.m. start time, reduction of daily limit to two abalone, reduction of the limit on the abalone card, reduction of the season (more closed months), reduction of take for Sonoma and Marin counties or some combination those proposed changes.

The 8 a.m. start time was initially proposed by CDFW wildlife officers who had been seeing large numbers of rock pickers at all low tides and believed that segment of the fishery was unsustainable. The officers observed rock pickers were taking more time to find legal limits, were less likely to get a limit and were removing and returning more short abalone, many of which were unlikely to survive the handling. The later start time also helps officers by eliminating predawn fishing hours when the light is too dim to observe violations. The effect of the new start time was estimated using data from returned abalone report cards, but the actual effect is unknown since it depended on whether many people would shift to later hours. Data from abalone cards returned this year will provide a clearer picture of the effects of the regulation changes.

The timing of low tides is variable from year to year and while the 8:00 a.m. start reduces the number of low tides available, there usually are some days with suitable tides. The lower numbers of abalone being taken by rock pickers may make it easier to find abalone at higher tide levels than in the past. The activities of sport fishermen might not be sufficient to cause extinction of abalone species but they can reduce abalone populations to the point that the abalone are spaced so far apart that their chances of reproducing are very low. At low abalone population levels, many people might stop participating in the fishery because it is too difficult to find abalone. Reducing abalone populations to low levels also makes them more vulnerable to events like the 2011 die-off that affected abalone in much of Sonoma County.

CDFW is in the process of developing a Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan to revise sections of the ARMP. Those interested in expressing their preferences for the management of the abalone fishery may take an online survey by clicking here to provide input.

Can a Nonhunter Carry an Unloaded Shotgun When with Other Hunters?

Q: While hunting on a game bird club, can a nonlicensed, nonhunter carry an unloaded shotgun while walking with other hunters? (Anonymous)

A: While it may not technically violate the law for you to carry an unloaded shotgun without a license, by doing this with others who have ammunition and are taking game, it will likely generate many questions by the wildlife officer contacting you in the field. Whether or not you have a hunting license is not an element of “take.” You may argue you are not taking game, but the officer has sufficient evidence to prove you are. Do you really want to put yourself through the hassle of going to court? Leave the firearm behind if you want to go with your buddies while they are taking game.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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David Sirota: Big Questions About Arms Deals for Clinton Foundation Donors

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Among all the rivers of money that have flowed to the Clinton family, one seems to raise the biggest national security questions of all: the stream of cash that came from 20 foreign governments who relied on weapons export approvals from Hillary Clinton's State Department.

Federal law designates the secretary of state as "responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales" of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Clinton's State Department did a whole lot of approving.

While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton's three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American military contractors and their affiliates that donated to the Clinton Foundation — and in some cases, helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton — also got in on the action. Those firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.

Under a directive signed by President Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to take foreign governments' human rights records into account when reviewing arms deals. Yet, Hillary Clinton's State Department increased approvals of such deals to Clinton Foundation donors that her own agency was sharply criticizing for systematic human rights abuses.

As just one of many examples, in its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton's State Department slammed Algeria's government for imposing "restrictions on freedom of assembly and association," tolerating "arbitrary killing," "widespread corruption" and a "lack of judicial independence."

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton's State Department approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment." The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before.

During Hillary Clinton's 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said the Clinton Foundation should stop accepting foreign government money. He warned that if it didn't, "foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state."

The Clintons did not take his advice. Advocates for limits on the political influence of money now say that Lugar was prescient.

"The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation," said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.

While these arms deals may seem like ancient history, Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University's Safra Center for Ethics, says they "raise a fundamental question of judgment" — one that is relevant to the 2016 presidential campaign.

"Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise?" he said. "And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?"

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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Kim Collins’ Jazz Combo Workshop, Idiomatiques Holding Benefit Concert for SB Youth Music Academy

By | Published on 05/28/2015


On Tuesday, June 2, starting at 7:30 p.m., the Free Methodist Church at 1435 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara will be swinging with the sounds of cool, sweet jazz performed live.

Kim Collins
Kim Collins

Kim Collins, the Jazz Combo Workshop and The Idiomatiques welcome the public to come and join in the fun and help support the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

For 25 years, Santa Barbara jazz bassist, singer, composer and arranger Collins has been teaching the Jazz Combo Workshop. The JCW is now a premiere Santa Barbara-based forum for musicians to learn, practice and perfect the techniques of jazz performance.

Two or three times a year, the JCW stages a student concert open to the public to show off what a swinging good time the musicians have had learning jazz. In this final concert of the 2014-15 school year, everybody present is in for a very special treat.

Santa Barbara’s newest professional Gypsy Jazz band, The Idiomatiques, will be performing in the show. If you like jazz but you’ve never experienced the pure joy and fun of this style of jazz, pioneered by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, you won’t want to miss this event!

The suggested donation is $10. Make checks out to the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, pay at the door. All proceeds go to the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

JCW, a proud affiliate of the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, will donate all proceeds from this concert to the SBYMA Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

The participants in the JCW — mostly adults — are very happy to feel that their efforts can benefit the next generation of musicians, and to give them and the public more exposure to America’s great original art form: jazz.

To learn more about The Idiomatiques and Gypsy Jazz, visit the Idiomatiques website by clicking here. If you are interested in joining the Jazz Combo Workshop or to learn more about Kim Collins, click here to visit the Robert Kim Collins website.

— Ed Seaman is a board member for the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.


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Mark Richardson: Setting the Record Straight About Grievances Against Santa Maria School District

By | Published on 05/28/2015


In a recent article for the Santa Maria Times, Faculty Association President Mark Goodman made certain claims about the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and alleged a record 19 grievances had been filed by the Faculty Association this year. I have been repeatedly asked by parents, teachers and community members to set the record straight about these grievances.

Superintendent Mark Richardson

Our district, along with all school districts across the state, is going through a transformative process, implementing significant changes to the educational system and school financing. That process is very exciting, and I am sure will enhance the education received by all of our students. However, big changes can be difficult, and I believe collaboration is the key to student success.

To help implement these changes, the district has utilized committees that include all stakeholders. Teacher voice is instrumental to this process, and Faculty Association leadership has been involved since the beginning along with students, parents and other community members.

Obtaining input from all of these groups is required under the new state reforms. This represents a fundamental shift in our district and has been a cause for concern for some.

So why so many grievances? The district is required to track the number of grievances filed, and there have been seven grievances filed this year. Even that number is, from my perspective, too high. The grievance process is designed to resolve disputes related to contract, and it is the Faculty Association who decides whether to file a grievance.

Neither the district nor individual teachers can use this process to file grievances against the Faculty Association. Once a grievance is filed, the district is legally required to address grievances alleging a contract violation regardless of whether there is any merit to those claims.

For example, I believe that graduation is a significant rite of passage for our students and it is important for teachers to be there. We have had low faculty attendance in the past, so this year, we decided to conduct a pilot program where graduation is held during the workday so teachers can attend and the school sites can staff the event at appropriate levels. As a result, we are currently handling a grievance where the entire point of the grievance is that teachers not be required to attend student graduation ceremonies during their workday.

I know a large majority of our high-quality teachers are looking forward to attending student graduations and recognize the positive message teacher attendance sends to our kids. I also know that many district teachers are unaware that these types of grievances are being filed.

Recently, the district has also been defending teachers at Pioneer Valley High School and their right to determine how they utilize their collaboration time. Collaboration time is basically time reserved for teachers to work together (without students present) to better assist students to succeed in the classroom. The teachers at PVHS voted to use a small portion of this time (10 minutes) to meet with their principal. Despite the fact that the teachers at the school site made this decision, the Faculty Association has now filed multiple grievances on the exact same subject maintaining that teachers do not have the right to meet with their principal during this time.

When I was hired in this district by Dean Reece, along with the rest of the school board, I was instructed to engage all stakeholders, set a progressive direction for the district, and to focus on creating the facilities and programs that will best serve our students. With the help and input of all the people who make up our district community, I believe we are well on our way.

I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.

— Dr. Mark Richardson is superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.


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Garden Street Academy Sculpture Class Learns to Think Big and Bold with ‘Entropy’

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Teacher Patrick Faulk encourages students to push themselves, follow through with larger-than-life projects

“Ridiculous” seems to be the word to describe the giant, neon green sculpture that is displayed in the middle of the cubicles at Garden Street Academy. The 14-foot structure — made up of 108 equilateral triangles — was designed and constructed by the 12 students in Patrick Faulk’s sculpture class.

Twelfth-grader Connor Lavelle, one of the students who took the lead with the project, describes the tedious process of trial and error, even showing Noozhawk some of the broken-down cardboard prototypes for “Entropy.”

“We made a lot of smaller models at first,” he said. “If one triangle was off, then the whole piece wouldn’t work. So everything needed to be cut precisely.”

Once the idea was in the works, most class periods were spent cutting triangles and testing materials. The process took about six months. Faulk thought that the project took longer than expected.

“I thought, ‘Hey, we’ll be done by September! It will only take a month!’” he said with a laugh. “There were times where we were just yelling at each other for class periods.

“But I think it’s been a good process. It was a bit ridiculous and I kind of think we spent too much time on it. But you need to spend time to make something big like this.”

At Garden Street Academy, this type of “larger-than-life” thinking seems to have a big impact on its students. In Faulk’s art class, students recently were working on their personal projects, all of which include a musical kinetic sculpture, a claymation video, a sculpture of the USS Enterprise as a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, a sculpture of a cat’s head, bees encased in a resin heart, or a fish bowl with hanging crystals.

Many of these projects are interdisciplinary, showing off the wide range of extracurricular activities that students can take at Garden Street Academy. Students also must take general courses like math and English at the independent, accredited K-12 school.

“I was sick at some point this year and I was upset about not going to school,” said Ray Kutcher, a sophomore. “The teachers here are so great. I’m taking anatomy, and because it’s a higher-level class, I thought I wouldn’t like it. But it turns out there’s a lot of interesting things that I’ve learned about anatomy and the human body.”

Along with engaging classes and a well-rounded student body, Garden Street Academy teachers are always pushing students to do something they never thought they could.

“I had a student who came in only drawing small things and I said, ‘Why don’t you go big?’” Faulk recalled. “I’m a teacher and it’s my job to facilitate and kind of find the ‘where are you weakest?’ and push you to develop in that way.”

This mentality helped Garden Street Academy students create “Entropy” and can help any child accomplish anything in their future endeavors.

Even if “Entropy” may now be at the point where it’s breaking down and “dying,” as Faulk says, it is an achievement that his students can definitely be proud of.

“I honestly didn’t think we’d finish it,” said ninth-grader Luna Kuttner, who described some structural issues during the last stretch of the project. “We had to revive the sculpture a couple of times. But it’s really awesome to be able to finish something like this.”


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Dozens of Businesses Join Santa Barbara’s Yellow Bin Foodscraps Program

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Spurred by economic incentives and a genuine desire to do the right thing, dozens of local businesses have joined Santa Barbara’s innovative foodscraps composting program in the last six months.

Coffee shops, grocery stores, offices, schools and full-service restaurants have all deployed the yellow bin in the kitchen.

Under the program, they are able to divert food and paper waste from the landfill and frequently save money on their utility bill. The rich compost created from their scraps is used on area parks and returned to school gardens.

The total number of participating establishments is now close to 200. Recent additions include:

The Lark
Anacapa School
Lilac Patisserie
Yellow Belly
Allen Construction
The Little Door
Joe’s Café
The Shop Café
Apeel Sciences
Cajun Kitchen
Persona Pizza
Palace Grill

in La Arcada

Jeannine’s American Bakery and Restaurant
La Arcada Bistro
Petit Valentien

Chris Vigilante, owner of The Shop Cafe on Milpas Street, explains his motivation for joining: “The decision to participate was really a no-brainer for us. We were frustrated by the amount of recyclable material that was being thrown in the regular trash. So the only solution was to make sure that we make it as straightforward as possible in order to really have an impact."

Since debuting in 2009, the foodscraps composting program has become one of the flagships of City Trash & Recycling. It results in 3,000 tons of waste being diverted every year from Tajiguas Landfill. Instead, the items are sent to an industrial composting facility in Santa Maria where they are converted back into a high-quality soil additive that is used by local landscapers and on our parks and school yards. The yellow bin accepts far more than can be composted in a backyard bin: produce, meat, dairy, waxed cardboard, soiled paper towels, dirty napkins and kitchen paper.

City Trash & Recycling staff are available to help local food-serving businesses with a free waste assessment to determine whether this program serves their interests. Free training is offered to kitchen staff, along with assistance selecting and placing bins. Business inquiries can be made to 805.564.5631, and more information is available online by clicking here.

— Seth Nickinson is the outreach coordinator for the City Trash & Recycling for Santa Barbara.


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Capps Announces Central Coast Winner of Congressional Art Competition

By | Published on 05/28/2015


art comp
"Half Dome, Half Paper" by Jenna Skiff, a junior at Mission Valley Preparatory High School in San Luis Obispo, is the Central Coast winner of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition and will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for a year.

On Thursday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that Jenna Skiff, a resident of Cayucos and a junior at Mission Valley Preparatory High School in San Luis Obispo, is the Central Coast winner of the 2015 annual Congressional Art Competition.

Skiff’s winning piece, a collage titled "Half Dome, Half Paper," depicts Half Dome dusted in snow, as seen from Columbia Rock on the trail to Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park in California.

“California is home to so much natural beauty, and Jenna has done a wonderful job capturing some of that beauty in her piece 'Half Dome, Half Paper,'" Capps said. “Jenna should be proud of her work, and I look forward to seeing her artwork represent the Central Coast’s young artists in the United States Capitol for the next year.”

The annual art competition is open to all high school students in California’s 24th Congressional District. The winning student’s artwork is exhibited in the U.S. Capitol for one year, and the winning student receives two round-trip tickets to Washington, D.C., to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the new display in June.

Skiff’s piece was chosen by a panel of judges out of more than 30 entries.

— C.J. Young is a legislative assistant for Rep. Lois Capps.


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Sansum Clinic’s Dr. Joseph Aragon to Be Honored at American Heart Association Heart Beach Ball

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Sansum Clinic cardiologist and division director Joseph Aragon, M.D., will be honored for his service to the American Heart Association at the 2015 Heart Beach Ball on Saturday, May 30.

Dr. Joseph Aragon

Dr. Aragon is a specialist in cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Cardiovascular Disease and Internal Medicine.

He received his medical degree from UC-Los Angeles and went on to complete a fellowship in cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and joined Sansum Clinic in 2005. He has served as an assistant clinical professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine since 2007.

Dr. Aragon serves on the AHA Western States Affiliate Board of Directors, serving the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. He is a member of AHA’s Heart Beach Ball Committee and former board president of the Central Coat Division of the American Heart Association.

The Heart Beach Ball will begin with a cocktail reception featuring local musical talent and a silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m. and dinner and dancing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.

Funds raised from the Heart Beach Ball will be used to support the AHA Santa Barbara Healthy Futures program. In addition, three Healthy Futures students who most creatively illustrate the theme, “How do you keep your heart happy and healthy?” will be honored as the winners of the Healthy Futures Coloring Contests during the gala.

Healthy Futures is an AHA after-school program that seeks to empower elementary school children and their families to make healthier lifestyle choices by teaching nutrition basics, including how to read food labels, how to prepare healthy snacks, and how to make healthier choices when eating out.

Congenital heart defect survivor, local philanthropist and patient to Dr. Aragon, Sarah Bishop Jaimes, will chair the Santa Barbara 2015 Heart Beach Ball.

The Heart Ball is one of the premier AHA fundraising events both locally and across the nation. The evening celebrates the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s countless efforts.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in our nation. The American Heart Association’s goal is to help those in need through research education, patient care, and by advocating better health in our population.

As a sponsor of the event, Sansum Clinic supports the work that the AHA does for education and prevention of heart diseases, and aligns itself with their mission of “Building Healthier Lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”

Tickets and sponsorship information are available. For more information, click here or contact Sarah Stretz, at (805) 963-8862 or [email protected].

— Liz Baker is the marketing supervisor for Sansum Clinic.


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UCSB Researchers Receive Grant to Study Effects of Earthquakes on Ground Movement, Soil Stability

By | Published on 05/28/2015


When Jamison Steidl heard about the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal, his first thoughts were for the people.

Jamison Steidl (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

“The first reaction is, ‘What a tragedy’ and ‘How horrible for people there,’” said Steidl, a research seismologist at UC Santa Barbara’s Earth Research Institute. “The second is, ‘Are we going to get data? Are we going to learn anything?’”

Because of limited strong-motion monitoring in Nepal, scientists learned less than they would have hoped from the destructive series of quakes. However, with a grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Steidl and his UCSB team are poised to add to the global knowledge of how earthquakes affect ground movement and soil stability, continuing research that has been underway at the university for more than 25 years.

The grant totals approximately $533,000 over two years.

By monitoring and analyzing data from six West Coast sites, Steidl and project engineer Paul Hegarty, with the help of graduate and undergraduate students, will work to improve scientists’ ability to predict how the ground will shake when a temblor hits. Structural engineers can then translate these ground-motion prediction improvements into safer designs for homes, buildings and critical facilities such as hospitals, dams and power plants around the world.

The NRC will use the information gathered by UCSB researchers to consider potential updates to its regulatory guidelines for nuclear facilities, a matter of significant concern after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

UCSB monitors six information-gathering sites from Southern California to Alaska, maintaining its own facilities near the California cities of Palm Springs, Brawley, Borrego Springs and Salinas. The researchers also utilize data from sites operated by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Advanced National Seismic System in Seattle and in Anchorage, Alaska.

All the locations are equipped with accelerometers that measure ground-shaking intensity. Sites in areas vulnerable to liquefaction (which occurs when soil is turned fluidlike as a result of a strong earthquake) are equipped with instruments called pore pressure transducers.

“If the pore water pressure at depth in the soil becomes larger than the weight of the soil above it, then you’re basically floating,” Steidl said. “If you have a structure above that, it’s now sitting on a very unstable column of soil.”

Analysis of the data transmitted by the sensors helps scientists predict what is likely to happen in future quakes. Learning how to predict the earthquakes themselves is the Holy Grail, but for now that remains a goal for the future.

“When we talk about earthquake prediction, it has to be the time, the magnitude and the location,” Steidl said. “If you predict there will be an earthquake but it’s a 1, nobody cares. If you predict an 8 but not where it will happen, it’s not useful.

“My own sort of bias is that I probably won’t see an earthquake prediction capability in my lifetime, and the reason is that the human time scale is so different from the earth’s time scale, the geologic time scale. We’re just a little blip. We haven’t been around long enough yet to experience what is called the earthquake cycle. We need more data before we’ll be able to make accurate predictions.”

That data is being gathered quake by quake. But until scientists have the capacity to predict when and where earthquakes will happen and how large they will be, researchers are working to help engineers and governments build stronger buildings around the world to limit the destruction and the loss of life that happens when the ground beneath us shifts.

— Robyn Norwood represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Hospice of Santa Barbara Celebrates New Graduates of Patient Care Volunteer Training

By | Published on 05/28/2015


Hospice of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit organization that provides free compassionate care to people within the community experiencing life-threatening illness or the loss of a loved one, welcomes its new graduating Patient Care volunteers.

After six weeks of comprehensive training that included instruction on Grief and Loss, Family Dynamics and Boundaries, and Cultural and Spiritual Awareness, Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Patient Care volunteers have completed their program and received a certificate of completion.

Prior to beginning training, Patient Care volunteers underwent an extensive vetting process that included application screening, pre-training interviews, background check, fingerprints and TB testing, and a post-training interview.

Patient Care volunteers provide companionship, respite care, transportation, household help and support to our patients and clients. As Hospice of Santa Barbara volunteers, they will become a vital member of the Hospice of Santa Barbara Patient Care Services Team who are dedicated to providing social, emotional, spiritual and practical support for anyone impacted by a life-threatening illness.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to any child, teen, or adult who is experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here.

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.


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Santa Barbara Hosting Listos Day, a Disaster Readiness Program for Spanish Speakers

By | Published on 05/28/2015


The City of Santa Barbara will be hosting it first-ever Santa Barbara County Listos Day in collaboration with FEMA.

Listos is a basic emergency and disaster readiness public education program for Spanish-speaking populations with a grassroots approach, developed by the Aware & Prepare Initiative. The Aware & Prepare Initiative is a public-private partnership dedicated to strengthen community disaster resiliency within Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Listos Day event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30 at Ortega Park, 604 E. Ortega St.

There will be several representatives from FEMA, the City Fire Department, Fire Safety House, the American Red Cross, the Police Department, MarBorg Industries, California Edison, L.E.O.N., DogE911 and many more.

For more information on this event, please contact event coordinator Lilana Encinas at 805.564.5779 or [email protected].

— Yolanda McGlinchey is the emergency services manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Capps Applauds Covered California’s Efforts to Reduce Cost of Specialty Drugs

By | Published on 05/28/2015


On Wednesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, applauded Covered California’s efforts to improve access to high-cost specialty drugs.

Last week, the Covered California board announced that starting in 2016 the vast majority of consumers who get their health insurance through the exchange will see the cost of their specialty drugs capped at $250 per month, per prescription.

Earlier this year, Capps reintroduced similar bipartisan legislation, the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act, which would help patients across the country afford necessary treatments by limiting the cost of specialty drugs for patients with chronic conditions.

When insurance companies move drugs into a “specialty tier,” which often requires patients to pay a percentage of the actual cost of the drugs, access to those drugs can become prohibitively expensive. Many of these drugs do not have a less expensive generic equivalent, which means patients are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month or go without treatment. The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act would prohibit insurers from imposing exorbitant co-payment, co-insurance, or other cost-sharing requirements on patients who require specialty medications to treat life threatening or chronic diseases.

“I commend Covered California for once again leading the way forward  in improving access to quality health care,” Capps said. “Ensuring that all Americans have access to these life-saving specialty medications is critically important. I am hopeful that we can once again follow California’s lead here in Washington and work together to reduce the cost of specialty drugs.”

— C.J. Young is a legislative assistant for Rep. Lois Capps.


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Montecito Fire District to Test Emergency Notification Methods on Monday

By | Published on 05/28/2015


The Montecito Fire Protection District, along with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, will conduct a test of the emergency notification methods utilized by MFPD on Monday, June 1, starting at 10 a.m.

MFPD will be testing the following methods utilized to notify the community during an emergency.

Reverse 9-1-1

Immediate notification sent out by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. These messages are sent to home phones or cell phones registered with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. A pre-recorded message will describe the emergency and what actions community members should take.

Hearo Emergency Broadcast Radio

Immediate notification sent out by MFPD personnel. These messages are sent to desktop radios inside homes and businesses. An audible alert tone will sound, with a scrolling message instructing community members what actions to take. The Hearo Radios are available only to community members residing within the Montecito Fire District jurisdiction.

During an actual emergency, the Reverse 9-1-1 and Hearo Radios will only be activated for zones immediately affected by or adjacent to an emergency incident.

Nixle, Facebook and Twitter

Notification sent by MFPD personnel to all subscribers of these social media applications via computer, email accounts and or cell phones. 

AM 1610 Radio Station

This radio station is owned and operated by MFPD. In the event of an emergency, MFPD personnel will broadcast recorded information and what actions should be taken by community members during the incident.

MFPD Website

The website,, is accessible by computer or data phones. Information regarding local  incidents will be displayed on the home page.

The test will be conducted using pre-identified evacuation zones. Click here for the map.

Test Schedule

» 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Zones 1, 2, 3

Western MFPD Boundary — Hot Springs Road, north of Highway 192

» 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Zones 4, 5, 6, 7

Eastern MFPD Boundary — Hot Springs Road, north of Highway 192

» 1 to 2:30 p.m.: Zones 8, 9, 10        

Western MFPD Boundary — San Ysidro Road, between Highway 192 and Highway 101

» 2:30 to 4 p.m.: Zones 11, 14, 15

San Ysidro Road — Oretga Ridge Road between Highway 192 and Highway 101

Olive Mill Road — Eastern MFPD Boundary, south of Highway 101

» 4 to 5:30 p.m.: Zones 12, 13         

Western MFPD Boundary — Olive Mill Road, south of Highway 101

After the test, MFPD residents are encouraged to complete a survey by clicking here.

— Geri Ventura represents the Montecito Fire Protection District.


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Florence Chan Joins CenCal Health as Director of Health Services

By | Published on 05/28/2015


CenCal Health is pleased to announce Florence Chan, RN, BSN, MBA, as its new director of health services.

Florence Chan

Chan most recently served as the director of authorization and utilization management units for the Contra Costa Health Plan in Martinez.

During her time with the Contra Costa Health Plan, Chan oversaw employees, assisted the county with the third party administration of the Basic Health Care/Low Income Health Programs as defined by the State of California and Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, and acted as the clinical and technical liaison for the county’s health delivery system, community providers, CCHP staff and committees.

Prior to being named the director of authorization and utilization management units for the Contra Costa Health Plan, Chan was the senior case manager/utilization management coordinator for Pacific Health Care in Pleasanton, and the utilization review coordinator and patient services case coordinator at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

She has also served as a medical assistant instructor at Western Career College in San Leandro.

Chan received her master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and her bachelor of science degree in nursing from San Jose State University.

She is certified by the Public Health Nursing (PHN), Certified Case Manager (CCM), EPIC Tapestry and EPIC Utilization Management and Case Management. She is also in the process of achieving her certification in Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing CenCal Health.


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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Wind Ensemble Playing with ‘Water, Winds and Fire’

By | Published on 05/28/2015


The bright, extroverted UCSB Wind Ensemble, conducted by their guiding light, Paul Bambach, will close out their season/academic year with their annual Spring Concert, this year called "Water, Winds and Fire," at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 28, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (Music Building).

Composer, pianist and folklorist Percy Grainger became an American during World War I.

The Wind Ensemble's program will consist of John Mackey’s Undertow (2008), Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst (1992, arranged for wind ensemble, 2001), the "Berceuse" and "Finale" from Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Robert Washburn’s Partita for Band (1964) (conducted by graduate assistant Adriane Hill), Aaron Copland's El Salon Mexico, Percy Grainger's Colonial Song (1911, 1917), William Schuman's Chester Overture, 1958 and Samuel Ward's America, the Beautiful (arranged by Carmen Dragon).

I have now heard this entire program and can assure you that it is a delight from start to finish.

Mackey (born 1973) was the son of musicians, but his parents declined to arrange any music lessons for him. His grandfather taught him to read music and operate a computer. He has never learned to play an instrument, but he was able to study composition at Juilliard, since that visionary institution does not require an audition for its composition applicants. He has produced a substantial body of instrumental music, much of it for wind band. Undertow, like the ocean current of the same name, pulls the listener along with its irresistible momentum.

Whitacre (born 1970) composed Cloudburst as a choral ode, based on the poem "El Cántaro Roto" by Octavio Paz, when he was just 22. It remains one of his best-loved works, almost his signature composition. In 2001, commissioned by the Indiana All-State Band, Whitacre arranged the work for band — thus earning the eternal gratitude of wind ensembles everywhere.

Dr. Washburn (1928-2013) was the dean and professor emeritus and senior fellow in music at the Crane School of Music of the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he himself had earned his bachelor's degree before earning his doctorate (1960) at Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Howard Hanson, Bernard Rogers and Alan Hovhaness. Dr. Washburn spent nearly his whole, long life in Potsdam, as student and then professor at the Crane School (SUNY Potsdam).

Grainger (1882-1961) was born in Australia and left there, at age 13, to attend school in Frankfurt. He began his career in England, 1901 to 1914, but moved to the United States in 1914, became a U.S. citizen in 1918, and spent the rest of his life here. When Sir Thomas Beecham, Baronet, first heard Grainger's Colonial Song, he congratulated the composer (with his trademark bitchiness) on having "written the worst piece of modern times." That was actually typical of English reaction to the piece. America liked it a lot better. When he joined the AEF in 1917, he directed a number of military bands, which probably inspired him to arrange Colonial Song for band, the last of his many arrangements of the work originally composed for solo piano.

Tickets to "Water, Winds and Fire" are $10 for general admission, $5 for UCSB students and non-UCSB students with ID, and free for children age 12 or younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door, by phone at 805.893.2064, or online by clicking here.

— 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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Proposal for Four-Story Mixed-Use Project in Downtown Santa Barbara Raises Concern

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Members of the city Planning Commission question the housing density and its compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood

A proposed four-story mixed-use development project for a high-profile corner of downtown Santa Barbara has been met with wide disapproval by the members of the city's Planning Commission.

Architect Jan Hochhauser presented a conceptual plan at last Thursday's Planning Commission for the corner of Santa Barbara and De la Guerra streets. The proposal calls for the demolition of a 1,965-square-foot, one-story building and replace it with a 26,059-square-foot, four-story mixed-use building.

The project would include 1,500 square feet of commercial floor area, 26 residential units and 30 underground parking spaces.

"This is a great project, but it would be better in a different location," said Addison Thompson, chairman of the city's Planning Commission. "It has to be sensitive to the historical context that's immediately adjacent to the project."

The proposal at 800 Santa Barbara St. is near the El Presido de Santa Barbara Historic Park and near the Santa Barbara Unified School District administrative office. 

"You are in one of the most sensitive spots in the city next to the origins of the city, so we can't ignore that," Thompson said. 

The commissioners felt the project was too big for the site and not compatible with the surrounding area. Some commissioners were unhappy with the fourth story and the possibility that it would block mountain views.

Hochhauser did not present an architecture rendering of the project to the planning commission, nor were story poles erected since it was presented as a "concept review" only.

The proposal is located in the historic El Pueblo Viejo District. The property owner already has an approved project for the site, but it is smaller — a three-story building, with six condos, instead of the more dense rental housing project now proposed.

The city's Historic Landmarks Commission is the decision-maker on the project and will work with Hochhauser and the property owner on the new proposal.

Commissioner Deborah Schwartz said she appreciated the rental housing aspect of the new project, rather than the "luxury condos" already approved, but still has concerns.

"We have a dire need for rental housing, the question is in a city that is 90 percent built out where can we find that real estate and where can it be appropriately applied," Schwartz said. "I am hoping for something positive as it goes back to the HLC."

Hochhauser said at the end of the meeting that he didn't get clear enough feedback on what specifically to do to make the project more compatible.

"I had hoped we would have gotten a little bit more specific feedback on where to go," said Hochhauser, adding that he's looking forward to working with the HLC to improve the project.

Commissioner June Pujo said "more than a little bit of change" is required.

"There is too much massing and it is too bulky, and it doesn't respect El Pueblo Viejo to the extent that it needs to," Pujo said. "The bigger issue to me is the sense of place for this very key historic downtown area." 

Commissioner Michael Jordan said the project needs to have "spot-on" architecture that fits in with the historic properties in the area.

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


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Pipeline Company Ordered to Continue Cleanup from Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Plains All American Pipeline has until June 6 to submit a formal plan to the Coast Guard and EPA

The pipeline company responsible for the oil spill near Refugio State Beach was formally ordered to continue clean-up work inland near the ruptured pipe, the shoreline and the ocean by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard, which are co-leading the response effort on the Gaviota Coast.

The Clean Water Act order was issued to Plains All American Pipeline, which operates the ruptured pipeline in southern Santa Barbara County, and requires the company to continue extensive clean-up operations and make a work plan for future response.

It has penalties for noncompliance, but Plains has been cooperating with the response effort and complying with all demands, officials said Wednesday.

Specifically, Plains has to make a plan by June 6 for future response activities, including sampling and analyzing air, water, rocks and soil in the spill area; ensure no more oil is released into the environment; and clean up all remaining oil and contamination at the pipeline break site and oil-impacted areas, according to a statement by the Coast Guard and EPA.

Plains is also responsible for clean-up response costs and has an active claims line for damages at 866.753.3619.

This Clean Water Act order relates to the response effort, EPA federal on scene incident coordinator Michelle Rogow said, while a previous order from the company’s federal regulating agency makes the company shut down the pipe and get approval before repairing and restarting operations on the line.   

Plains was ordered Friday to shut down the pipeline, Line 901, by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which regulates pipelines.

PHMSA's corrected action order requires Plains to empty and purge the pipe, review its records and its emergency response plan, and commission a "root cause failure analysis."

The company will also have to submit a work plan and restart plan before recommencing operations again.

Line 901 carried oil from Las Flores Canyon to the company's Gaviota Pump Station, and the shutdown includes operations at ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc., which both use the pipeline to carry oil north from its offshore oil and gas production platforms. 

EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld noted that the Clean Water Act was written and the EPA was formed in 1970, the year after the devastating 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

It’s “unbelievable” that the same area would be impacted by another crude oil spill, he said Wednesday.

Globs of oil have shown up in recent days on Leadbetter Beach, above, and other beaches in the Santa Barbara area. Officials are trying to determine their connection to the Refugio spill. (Addison Proctor photo)

PHMSA and the EPA are investigating the cause of the pipeline failure and are supervising the excavation and removal of the ruptured section of pipe.

Uncovering the pipe started Tuesday and once it’s done, the section of pipeline will be removed, wrapped, and sent to a PHMSA-approved lab for testing, Plains officials said Wednesday.

Plains operations director Rick McMichael confirmed the uncovered portion of pipe is the area of effected pipe that caused the release, but Plains officials said the investigation prohibits anyone from talking about what was seen once that section of 24-inch pipe was uncovered.

Federal, state and local agencies are responding to the oil spill, which was reported May 19 and has resulted in oiled shoreline, dead wildlife and closed beaches.

There are daily “overflights” of the area by helicopter so the unified command can plan its tactics for the day, in addition to shoreline assessment teams working on the ground.

In response to the spill, 24.6 miles of shoreline has been surveyed and 4.6 miles have been heavily impacted, Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said.

Six miles have been “moderately impacted,” another 8.9 miles have been lightly impacted, and another 4.1 miles have been very lightly impacted or not impacted by the spill at all, she said.

Nearly all the visible sheen is removed from the ocean surface in the area of the spill and teams are actively resurveying areas to look for pipeline oil that could be underground or underwater, McMichael said.

Dive teams are looking for oil in the kelp beds near Refugio State Beach and have found pea-sized blobs about 150 yards offshore, he said.

Refugio and El Capitan state beaches have been closed due to the oil spill, and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has been involved in air and water quality monitoring to see if more beaches need to be closed.

As of Wednesday night, no more were closed, but clean-up crews have been deployed at beaches as far east as Goleta Beach County Park and Arroyo Burro Beach, near Santa Barbara.

Trained volunteers are being mobilized for some of these clean-ups. To register to get trained and help, visit the CalSpillWatch website or 1.800.228.4544. 

There have been protective booms placed at some beaches and waterways, including the Arroyo Burro Creek and Goleta Slough, to proactively prevent oil from getting into those sensitive areas, the Public Health Department said in a statement Wednesday.

“Any beach conditions indicating a significant public health risk will result in immediate beach closure,” they said.

Some beaches have “trace amounts” of oil and scattered tar balls — some people have reported seeing tar balls along the high tide long in Goleta and Santa Barbara-area beaches — and testing is being done to determine if that oil is related to the spill or natural seeps, the Public Health Department said.

There will be a community open house held for anyone with questions about the oil spill response on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 150 N. Kellogg Ave in Goleta.

To submit comments about the oil spill to the county directly, [email protected]

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.

The Refugio oil spill command is mapping the shoreline oil observed from assessment teams, with levels ranging from no oil/light oiling (blue and green sections) to moderate and heavy oil (orange and red sections). (Joint Information Center courtesy photo)


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Four Designs Revealed as Winners for Lompoc’s First Creative Crosswalks Project

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The contest, funded by a grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, will turn asphalt into artwork at the intersection of South H Street and Cypress Avenue in Old Town

The wine industry, California’s state flower, artist’s tools and a whimsical design based on native symbols soon will adorn asphalt in Old Town Lompoc.

Four designs from three women were revealed Wednesday night as the winners of Lompoc’s first creative crosswalks project.

More than 50 entries were submitted in the Lompoc Creative Crossings contest to turn plain crosswalks at the intersection of South H Street and Cypress Avenue into canvasses for artwork, under a program funded by a grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“The Santa Barbara Foundation really does believe that a strong arts and culture sector is really essential to a strong economy and the vitality of a community,” said Sharyn Main, senior community investment officer for the foundation. “Lompoc, of course, is known as the City of Arts and Flowers and this project certainly does exemplify that. ... As I look at these pieces today, I can’t help but feel the pride of this community.”

During an intense two hours, a panel of seven judges picked the winners featuring familiar and whimsical designs, according to Ashley Costa, executive director of the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization.

Along with bragging rights, the winners, all from Lompoc, received $500 for each design. 

Marlee Bedford, 25, actually had two entries in the final four. One features wine glasses, bottles and grapes while the other shows artist’s utensils lying side by side.

Dionne Lugue, 17, submitted an entry that incorporates California’s state flower — the golden poppy.

Creative Crossings
City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller talks about the addition of creative crosswalks in Old Town Lompoc. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Devyn Adams, 22, won for her graphic design depicting the variety of historic native symbols and is meant to engage children who use the crosswalks.

The artwork will be added to the asphalt Aug. 21 during the final night of this summer’s Olde Town Market, according to Costa.

With winning designs selected, stencils now will be created so creative crosswalks can be painted.

The idea for creative crosswalks stemmed from an article, “75 Seriously Fun Ways to Make Your Town More Playful,” shared by the California Park & Recreation Society, JoAnne Plummer, Lompoc’s recreation manager.

Costa said she filed the idea away and remembered it after looking at grant opportunities on the Santa Barbara Foundation website which included “Creative Communities.” 

“They really wanted folks to generate economic activity, create culture, support local young artists and I figured this was perfect,” Costa said. 

Costa assembled a team of partners from the Lompoc arts community, government agencies and business groups. 

“Our idea is we wanted to enhance the pedestrian experience, enhance the public art experience and enhance the economic impact to local businesses,” Costa said. “We think this project is all of that and more.”

The original grant application sought to complete seven crosswalks, but the foundation funded four.

Lompoc City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller, who has a background in public works, said anything that helps add to the pedestrian experience and community’s walkability is a good thing.

“I am looking forward to this intersection being done here, but I think it would really pay off if we could do this at multiple locations,” he said, as those in the audience applauded.

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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5 Officers Treated After Exposure to Suspect’s Blood

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Five Santa Barbara police officers were being treated for possible blood exposure on Wednesday after subduing a violent man they believed had injured himself while high on psychedelic mushrooms.

The incident began at about 12:20 p.m. in the 1800 block of Chino Street on the city's Westside, according to police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Police received several calls regarding a man, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, creating a disturbance, including one from a woman who said the subject was out of control on her front lawn, Harwood said.

The man slammed his hand through a window at a residence, suffering a deep laceration in the process, Harwood said, and was reported to be sitting in the middle of the street.

By the time officers arrived, the man — identified as Robert Alex Kamphaus, 22 — was gone, but he was located a short time later near Chino and Pedregosa Street, Harwood said.

Kamphaus, who was covered with blood from his injury, "was not very compliant, and tried to fight with officers," Harwood said.

It took five officers and use of a taser to subdue Kamphaus, who lives nearby in the 1900 block of Chino Street, Harwood said.

Kamphaus was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of his injuries, then was transferred to the Santa Barbara County Jail.

He was booked on suspicion of resisting an officer with violence, a felony, as well as public intoxication and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, which were found in a search of Kamphaus's residence, Harwood said.

Bail was set at $50,000.

The officers who were exposed to Kamphaus's blood were taken to a medical clinic for evaluation and possible treatment. 

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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Venoco’s Ellwood Project Hearing Delayed Due to Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Venoco's proposed South Ellwood Oil Field project would expand the company's oil lease to the east and redrill six existing wells into that eastern portion. (State Lands Commission image)

The State Lands Commission delayed this week's planned meeting to discuss Venoco Inc.’s proposal to drill six wells into a new area of the South Ellwood Oil Field, saying the move was “to avoid any distraction from the efforts to address the recent oil spill response near Refugio Beach.”

The May 19 spill resulted from a ruptured Plains All American Pipeline line transporting crude oil from Venoco and ExxonMobil offshore platforms.

With the delay, there is a new deadline to submit comments about the scope of the environmental impact report documents reviewing the potential impacts and alternatives to Venoco’s proposed project.

Venoco wants to amend one of its state oil and gas leases to expand farther east and include 3,400 acres, in exchange for relinquishing 3,800 acres in northern and southern portions of its leases in the same area, according to the State Lands Commission.

Venoco has produced about 75 million barrels of oil from Platform Holly since 1969, and expects to get another 25 million barrels from existing wells. With the eastern boundary lease extension, Venoco believes it could get another 60 million barrels through Platform Holly, the application says.

Six existing wells on Platform Holly would be redrilled to extend into this new area, and the company would use existing pipelines and processing facilities, including the Ellwood Onshore Facility in Goleta.

The plan to redrill these wells would be to drill in 2017, 2018, 2019 and the other three wells between 2023 and 2030, according to the State Lands Commission. There are currently 30 well slots and not all of them are in production.

Venoco will not use hydraulic fracturing as part of this project, and is not proposing to extend the life of Platform Holly or the Ellwood Oil Field past 2055, according to the application.

Tuesday's meeting was rescheduled for June 24, with sessions at 3 and 6 p.m. at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave.

The deadline to submit comments about the scope of the environmental review has been extended to June 29.

Comments can be sent to Eric Gillies, assistant chief of the SLC division of environmental planning and management at: California State Lands Commission, 1000 Howe Ave., Suite 100, South Sacramento, CA 95825 or emailed to [email protected]

The City of Goleta sued the State Lands Commission over its approval of another Venoco project to restart its oil production facility at Haskell’s Beach.

The commission voted to re-certify the environmental documents in December and allow Venoco to resume oil production from that pier and process the oil at the Ellwood Onshore Facility in Goleta.

City Attorney Tim Giles has said the lawsuit, alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, will put the project timeline on hold.

The lawsuit has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 15 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, he said.

Goleta doesn’t have authority over project approval, but Venoco would need the city’s approval to do the processing at the pier and permits for the pipelines between the well and the EOF, which are within city jurisdiction.

Goleta’s City Council also adopted an ordinance that establishes non-conforming use termination procedures, which can put an expiration date on certain zoning uses. The Ellwood Oil Field is one of the city’s legal non-conforming uses, a property that is no longer in compliance with land-use or zoning rules.

The city hasn’t scheduled a termination hearing for the Ellwood Oil Field, Giles said Wednesday.

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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Historic Solvang Hotel Reopens with New Name, Look

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The Landsby, previously the Petersen Village Inn, has been renovated inside and out

A Santa Barbara property management company has revitalized an historic inn located in the heart of Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley, renovating it inside and out.

The Landsby hotel at 1576 Mission Drive reopened under its new name in late April after closing for renovations in January.

Locals might better know the property built in 1984 as the Petersen Village Inn, owned for many years by the Petersen family.

SIMA Corporation bought the 41-room hotel from the longtime owners two years ago, but the privately held company based about 30 miles southwest of Solvang in Santa Barbara finally completed its vision this spring, according to Janice Lesin, the hotel’s executive manager.

The exterior was restored and whitewashed in the tradition of Scandinavian aesthetic while channeling the charm of the Danish village in clean, contemporary interior design.

“Our inspiration was really to add another high-end lodging in this area,” Lesin said. “We really felt there was a need to have a nice hotel if you’re in the valley. The hotel itself had really great bones.”

The Landsby isn’t SIMA Corporation’s first foray into the valley. The company already owns — and also revamped — the 20-room Santa Ynez Inn.

Lesin said The Landsby has seen a lot of locals so far, in large part because The Landsby opened its on-site restaurant up to the public. Previously, only guests could order food or drink.

The restaurant was renamed Mad + Vin, the translation of which means “food and wine” in Danish.

A new chef crafts comfort food using local ingredients and wine and beer lists.

The Landsby also has a new courtyard, a back patio, a full bar and a garden, along with walls filled with regional artwork.

Rooms in the space designed by Santa Monica-based Studio Collective start at $225 per night, located steps away from Solvang’s Danish bakeries, art galleries and more.

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 District Approves School Leadership Changes

By | Published on 05/27/2015


There’s been a big shakeup in the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s administrative ranks, with several of Superintendent Dave Cash’s cabinet members swapping positions or moving to school sites, in addition to three new principals being appointed for next year.

The Board of Education approved four appointments this week, including a three-way swap of administrative positions among two assistant superintendents and an elementary school principal.

Former McKinley Elementary School Principal Emilio Handall will leave his administrative post as assistant superintendent of elementary education and head back to the school as a special-assignment principal, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

McKinley Principal Jacqueline Mora, who has held the post for one school year, will take over the district’s English language learner and parent engagement programs, which were created last year and have been overseen by Raul Ramirez.

Ramirez is moving into Handall’s position as assistant superintendent of elementary education.

"It was Emilio's request to return to McKinley, and so in order to grant that request, it required that both Jackie and Raul move their jobs," Cash said. "Both, I would say, are excited about the idea of their new jobs and the promotions they got. I'm certain both are also somewhat sad to leave the current positions they're in." 

Handall's request is what prompted the changes, Cash said.

"This is not some kind of district game-board shuffle," he said. 

Handall keeps the title of assistant superintendent for now, since it's in his contract, but the intention is for him to remain as principal at McKinley, Cash said. Cash was surprised with the request, but says it makes sense upon reflection. 

"This is a permanent assignment that I requested last month," Handall said in an email. "My desire has always been to work directly with students, staff, parents, and the community. This opportunity to return to McKinley affords me to do that once again."

Board of Education president Ed Heron said Handall was well-loved and has a good track record there, bringing the school out of program improvement by improving student test scores.

Ramirez has a “fantastic background” and good rapport with the principals, while Mora has a passion for family engagement, Heron said.

“It’s a whole series of moves that all made really good sense,” he said. “It’s good people moving to new positions, it’ll make a stronger team.”

Cash, who was appointed as superintendent in 2011, brought on Handall and Ben Drati as assistant superintendents of elementary and secondary education, respectively, in 2012.

He expanded his cabinet with the hire of human resources head Margaret Christensen, whom he previously worked with at Dos Pueblos High School, and later added the positions of assistant superintendent of English language learner and parent-engagement programs and chief educational technology officer.

Christensen is retiring June 30 and will be replaced by Mitch Torina, who has worked in the district in a number of different roles since 1998, and was appointed assistant superintendent of student services in 2013.

There’s been no announcement on who will take Torina’s current post, but Marlin Sumpter, who did the job before leaving for medical reasons, is back working with the district as a temporary Cleveland Elementary School principal.

Heron said the board did discuss replacements but has made no decision, including whether it will pursue an inside hire or look for an outside candidate.

Besides the district leadership shakeup, there will be three new principals in the coming year at Cleveland, Monroe and Roosevelt elementary schools.

Gabe Sandoval will take over Cleveland Elementary. Sandoval currently works as assistant principal at Santa Barbara High School, and has worked as a teacher at Santa Barbara Community Academy and Adams Elementary, Keyani said.

Brian Naughton, a principal at Santa Maria’s Family Partnership Charter School, will become principal of Monroe Elementary School as Principal Celeste Darga leaves to serve as a teacher on special assignment.

She requested the position to work with principals, “sort of like a teacher of teachers, a teacher of principals,” Heron said.

Naughton has previously worked at Santa Barbara Unified as an assistant principal. 

Roosevelt Elementary School's principal, Donna Ronzone, is leaving her 10-year post to become part of the district administration in the new position of director of visual and performing arts, and will be replaced this summer by Christy Mendivil, who previously headed OC Johnson Elementary School in Yuma, Arizona, according to the district.

Cash said he's "ecstatic" about the three new principals, and noted that the list of elementary principals went from having no men to three men for the coming year, the same make-up as the year he was appointed to lead the district. 

"We weren't looking for men, it just worked out that way," he said. 

He believed this year would be "quiet" in terms of turnover, with two new principals at Roosevelt and Cleveland, and then the requests from Handall and Varga led to more leadership changes, he said. 

"It's good that basically the same folks are leaders, just doing different jobs." 

Many of the elementary schools have had a lot of recent leadership turnover, some with three principals in as many years. 

Cash said it's "ironic" and not associated with him, but comes from the usual organizational changes of people retiring, moving to another job within the district or taking jobs in another district. 

Handall left McKinley for the district position in 2012, and was replaced by Washington Elementary teacher Tia Blickley, who then retired and was replaced by Jacqueline Mora in the 2014-15 school year. Next year, Handall will be back.

At Cleveland Elementary School, former teacher and district administrator Cynthia White took over for two years, after Michael Vail retired, and she left in March for medical reasons. Sandoval will start working as principal on July 1.

Harding University Partnership School had a hard time replacing former principal Sally Kingston, and the district hired Nuh Kimbwala, who was put on paid leave and then let go. The district replaced him with assistant principal Vanesha Davis, who resigned in 2014 after a year, and then hired current Principal Veronica Binkley.

Washington Elementary’s former principal, Demian Barnett, left for Peabody Charter School in 2012 and was replaced by Anne Hubbard, who led for two years and then left for a job in Cayucos. Current Principal Sierra Loughridge was hired in 2014.

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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Artists from United Boys & Girls Clubs to Paint Their Futures on SafeLaunch Airplane

By | Published on 05/27/2015


At 9:30 a.m. this Saturday, May 30, a team of artists from the ​United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County​ will paint an airplane beneath the control tower at the Santa Barbara Airport.

At 11:30, ​SafeLaunch​, a local nonprofit dedicated to stopping addiction before it starts, will recognize seven young people who died from addiction. With their names affixed beneath the wings of "DJ," the SafeLaunch airplane, their lives give lift to an important mission.

In the coming months, SafeLaunch will fly DJ to six air shows, where young people and their families will learn about the people whose lives were cut short by addiction, pledge to abstain from alcohol and other drugs until their brains are fully developed, and paint their great futures on the airplane.

“Helping youth soar to new heights through the arts and not the use of drugs is a program that fits within our mission,” Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Michael Baker said.

Janet Rowse, co-founder of SafeLaunch and wife of Santa Barbara City Councilman Randy Rowse, believes that "when we mix kids with art and aviation, we inspire them to reach their highest potential.”

SafeLaunch co-founder and pilot Ron Cuff explains that a safe, successful flight is a metaphor for a safe and successful life.

"Every successful flight requires a flight plan with alternatives if bad weather or mechanical problems crop up," he explains to the kids who participate in SafeLaunch programs. "Life is the same way. Young people without a plan are likely to miss their destination.”

The SafeLaunch message is clear. The adolescent brain is up to 600 percent more susceptible to addiction than its adult counterpart, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a risk that no children should ever take.

This event is sponsored by ​Santa Barbara Aviation​ and ​Above All Aviation​. For sponsorship information, contact [email protected]​.

— Janet Rowse is a co-founder of SafeLaunch.


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Laguna Blanca School to Celebrate 81st Commencement and Closing Ceremonies

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Laguna Blanca School is proud to announce the closing and commencement ceremonies for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Lower School Closing Ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 4 and the Middle School Closing Ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, June 5.

The 81st Commencement Ceremony for the graduating Class of 2015 will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 at the Hope Ranch Campus in Ruston Amphitheatre.

Lower School Closing Ceremony

The Lower School Campus, located at 260 San Ysidro Road in Montecito, will recognize the fourth-graders' completion of the Lower School program and celebrate the year of learning for all students in each grade level.

The ceremony will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 4. Family and friends are welcome to attend this momentous occasion as the students advance to Middle School.

Middle School Closing Ceremony

Fifth- through seventh-graders will congratulate the eighth-grade students at the Middle School Closing Ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, June 5 at the Hope Ranch campus’ Ruston Amphitheater, at 4125 Paloma Drive in Santa Barbara.

Many Upper School students will also attend to welcome the eighth-graders into high school.

81st Commencement Ceremony

Laguna Blanca School’s 81st Commencement Ceremony for the graduating Class of 2015 will be held Wednesday, June 10. The event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., also in the Ruston Amphitheater on the Hope Ranch campus (4125 Paloma Drive in Santa Barbara).

Laguna Blanca’s new head of school, Rob Hereford, has been selected by the senior class to be the commencement speaker.

Laguna Blanca is proud to congratulate the Class on 2015 on a successful year and wishes each one of them the best of luck in all future endeavors. Congratulations!

Olivia Nicole Avery

Martin Pream Barnick

Chris Charles Benwitt

Ryan Walter Bickett

Justin Maxwell Bollag

Madison Amanda Bonser

Rebecca Rosemarie Brooks

Samuel Timothy Brown

Sarah Annabel Butler

Katherine Rose Carrillo-Castro

Mia Alicia Chavez

Ryan Fleming Chiment

MacKenna Donnelly Connor

Monica Mills Criley

Miles Fowler Crist

Cornelius Patrick Curran, V

Alexa Quinn Davenport

Carys Taylor Davies

Elia Marie Ida Doussineau

Connor Dean Elmore

John Hearst Espy

Robert Cooper Farrell

Morgan Diane Gainey

Talia Rose Giordano

Philip Michael Grandidiér

Mitchell Emory Gravelle

Libby Rose Hasse

Bryn Morgan Jewett

Jasmine Jimenez

Kela Sophia Johnson

Scott Michael Johnston

Christian Stewart Kahmann

Ethan Ram Katnic

Jack Francis Kinsler

John Henry Ligon

Stephen Robert McCaffery

Olivia Elizabeth McGovern

Sarah Laureen Moseley

Damian Nuñez

Juliana Martha Ozur

Parker William Wrigley Rusack

Thomas Joseph Sloan

Annabelle Rose Sorensen

Justin Thomas Stockwell

Cole Joseph Strachan

Carter William Thicke

Benjamin Mark Tolan

Conner Brindley Warren

Angus Dorr Watters-Grubstein

Hannah Alexandra White

Spenser Jordan Wyatt

Ashley Makepeace Zangrillo

Laguna Blanca School is an Early K-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. It guides students to greater heights by building upon its 80-year tradition of academic excellence with new and innovative teaching methods and programs. With the thriving experiential learning, LEGO, STEM, and global studies programs, competitive Condor League athletics and state-of-the-art athletic facilities, the school continues to broaden and enrich its students’ educational experience. For more information, please visit

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.


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County Water Agency, Partners Offering Residents Free Water-Efficient Showerheads

By | Published on 05/27/2015


At its May 5 meeting, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors recognized the continuing drought emergency in California with a resolution proclaiming May 2015 as Water Awareness Month.

With the past four years (2012-15) being the driest consecutive four years ever recorded in Santa Barbara in more than 100 years, the county urges its residents to increase drought awareness and encourages residents to take individual actions to reduce water use.

To that end, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency, in partnership with many local water providers, will soon be offering free water-efficient showerheads in exchange for older models.

Starting Monday, June 1, residents can remove an existing showerhead and exchange it for a water-efficient showerhead at one of the program’s participating co-sponsor’s locations. In all, 10 water purveyors will participate with a list of those participating agencies listed below. Residents within those water purveyor service areas can simply go to that purveyor’s office.

The new showerhead is a Niagara Company’s Earth model, which has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program as being water efficient at 1.5 gallons per minute. Information on this specific showerhead can be found by clicking here.

Participating Water Purveyors

» Carpinteria Valley Water District

» City of Santa Barbara

» Goleta Water District

» LaCumbre Mutual Water Company

» City of Solvang

» City of Buellton

» City of Lompoc

» Mission Hills CSD

» Los Alamos CSD

» City of Santa Maria

For residents on private water supply systems, the County Water Agency will exchange shower heads at its office at 130 E. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara and at 620 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria.

Residents who exchange showerheads are responsible for removing the old showerhead and for installing the new showerhead. Only one new showerhead will be given for each old showerhead exchanged. The old showerhead will be recycled through the existing recycling programs in each area.

Using a water efficient showerhead is just one way to conserve water. All county residents and businesses, including those who rely on their own well water, are encouraged to continue to carry out multiple actions to be water wise indoors and outdoors. Information, ideas and guidance can be found online at, a website sponsored by the Network of Santa Barbara County Water Providers. The website also has details on specific water conservation programs, incentives and assistance which may be offered by individual water providers.

During May, as Water Awareness Month, and then throughout the year, Let’s Save Together!

Showerhead Exchange Program Locations

» Buellton: Planning Dept. office, 107 West Highway 246

» Carpinteria: Carpinteria Valley Water District Office, 1301 Santa Ynez Ave.

» Goleta: Goleta Water District office, 4699 Hollister Ave.

» Hope Ranch: LaCumbre Mutual Water Company, 695 Via Tranquila in Santa Barbara

» Lompoc: City Hall, 100 Civic Center Plaza

» Los Alamos: Los Alamos CSD office, 82 N. Saint Joseph St.

» Mission Hills: 1550 E. Burton Mesa Blvd. in Lompoc

» Santa Barbara: City of Santa Barbara Public Works Counter, 630 Garden St.

» Santa Maria: City of Santa Maria Utilities Department, 2065 E. Main St.

» Solvang: Solvang City Hall, 1644 Oak St.

Any resident can go to:

» Santa Barbara County Public Works Building, 620 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria

» Santa Barbara County Water Agency, second floor of Naomi Schwartz Building, 130 E. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara


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Allen Construction Receives Prestigious Chrysalis Award for Montecito Home Remodel

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Allen Construction
A whole house remodel by Allen Construction turned a 1960s ranch-style house in Montecito into a small, elegant seaside cottage. (Allen Construction)

A chrysalis is the transitional stage in the life of a monarch when it changes from caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. It is also the name of a prestigious national remodeling awards program.

Allen Construction has been graced with yet another Regional Chrysalis Award in the Whole House Remodel Over $1 Million category.

Located in Montecito, this whole house remodel transformed a 1960s ranch-style house — an eyesore that was poorly placed on the lot and not designed to take advantage of the fabulous views — into a small, elegant seaside cottage. Exquisite design, precision craftsmanship and a passionate, collaborative project team were the keys to this project’s success. A new second story, added to capture the ocean and mountain views, was perfectly placed and looks like it has always been there.

Every element of the home was discussed in detail by the project team — which included the owners, architect Peter Becker, interior designer Randy Franks and Allen Construction — to get it just right.

One example of this teamwork and attention to detail was bringing the owner’s vision of having her kitchen island look like the grand piano she left behind in New Jersey, since there was no space in this new house for it. The final product is a slightly exaggerated, mirror image of a real grand piano, as it was impossible to get the actual dimensions of a grand piano and still accommodate the cabinets, built-in microwave and range top that were a part of the island.

Allen’s team made numerous life-size templates, which were reviewed and discussed and revised by the entire team until a final design was agreed upon. The pièce de résistance is the actual part of a piano leg that supports the back of the counter.

Founded in 1983, Allen Construction has been a nationally recognized, award-winning builder for more than 30 years. The employee-owned company has offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Ventura and Los Angeles and provides both commercial and residential clients with remodeling, new construction and energy services. In the past year alone, the company has won more than 15 awards, including two National Contractor of the Year awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Click here for more information about Allen Construction.

— Karen Feeney represents Allen Construction.


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At UCSB, It’s All Hands on Deck to Protect Western Snowy Plover from Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The western snowy plover is a portly sort of bird, its barrel chest leaving its spindly legs in permanent shadow as it scampers breakneck across the sand in search of tasty bugs. There’s a regal intrigue to this stout, busy ornithoid — the person at the party you’d love to meet, if only you could catch up.

As for proper, official identifying characteristics of the plover, they go like this: A thin, dark bill; pale brown to gray upper parts; white or buff-colored belly; darker patches on the shoulder and head; white forehead and supercilium, or eyebrow line.

Lately though, in Santa Barbara County, there is concern about the emergence of oil as a new feature being found on the local shorebirds.

In the days since the recent spill near Refugio State Beach, some of the plovers populating UC Santa Barbara’s Coal Oil Point Reserve have been seen with oil on various parts of their bodies. University staff and scientists are working nearly nonstop to mitigate potential impacts to the Pacific Coast species designated in 1993 as threatened, in accordance with the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Our favorite resident bird, the western snowy plover, is nesting right now,” said reserve director Cristina Sandoval. “They nest around high tide, just a few feet above where oil has been deposited. We need to remove that oil because the plovers are getting tar on their wings and hair. Almost all of them have little black boots because their feet are black from oil. They’re getting oil in their beaks because they go peck to try to get the beach hoppers around the kelp and the kelp is tarred. We need to balance the cleaning up with not impacting the plovers too much while they nest.”

Extending several yards down the beach at Coal Oil Point is some light fencing, posts and rope meant to be a barrier between the upper beach, where the plovers are nesting, and the shoreline down below. An array of signage does the heavy lifting by warning beachgoers away: “Nests in Sand, Keep Out” and “Sensitive Wildlife Area, Do Not Enter.”

All these things — as well as the reserve docents in regular daylight rotation, posted on the sand to reiterate the signs’ directives and to answer all manner of inquiries — are standard operating procedure at Coal Oil Point, where protecting the plovers and educating the public are among the year-round priorities. Those efforts naturally ramp up during the birds’ nesting season, which runs mid-March to mid-September.

The introduction of oil during this crucial time for the species has taken protection of the reserve — one of six that UCSB administers within the larger, 37-site UC Natural Reserve System — to a new level.

“As soon as we heard the spill had occurred, we realized the wind and currents could bring oil to Coal Oil Point, so we’ve been working since day one to make sure we protect this reserve,” said Jim Caesar, the campus’s emergency manager. “We have been working with the unified command — the U.S. Coast Guard, the state, the responsible party and Santa Barbara County — to coordinate our response and bring resources to the beach to protect the plover. The cleaning crews are working under the supervision of our reserve personnel and making sure anything we’re doing is not interfering with the habitat of the snowy plover.”

UCSB’s broader efforts around the spill, according to Caesar, include activation of its sizable Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a program that trains individuals and community groups to perform a variety of emergency functions that may be needed after a disaster. Several students are on the UCSB CERT roster, Caesar said, and a small contingent, trained in proper cleanup technique and safety protocols, has been volunteering this week at Goleta Beach.

Back at Coal Oil Point, Sandoval is supervising professional cleanup crews and assorted agencies involved in the spill response, in an effort to minimize disturbance of the plovers and their nests.

From early morning through late afternoon, Sandoval said, she and a team of biologists are monitoring the birds and their nests as cleanup continues, moving workers away from plovers that are incubating their eggs and ensuring that clean kelp doesn’t get bagged up with the tarred. (The birds find much of their food, such as sand fleas and flies, in and around the kelp that washes ashore.)

In addition to serving in this advisory role, Sandoval and colleagues are counting other shorebirds on site and keeping watch for the migratory — and endangered — California least tern, which is due to arrive at the reserve any day. They are also monitoring, as a precaution, the animals that live on the adjacent dunes, including some rare beetles and spiders.

“The entire beach habitat is a very sensitive place,” Sandoval said. “When you think about the kind of habitat that beach is, there’s a really thin line between the aquatic habitat that is the ocean and the land. We don’t have that much beach to begin with and on top of that, most beaches have been degraded to the point that almost nothing is living in there. A place like Coal Oil Point, where the beach is still as pristine as it gets, with all the native species of plants and animals, is hard to find. So the impact of an oil spill is not just on the plovers, but on the entire beach ecosystem.

“The UC Natural Reserve System protects natural areas for research and education,” Sandoval continued. “Protecting is not simply putting a fence around — it requires a lot of stewardship. What we’re doing today is stewardship. Reserves like this, in an urban area, we receive impacts from everywhere — predators like skunks and raccoons that come from neighboring areas, pollution from downstream, and now an oil spill. Our job here is to try to keep the reserve as pristine as possible, to do everything we can to protect this beautiful place.”

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


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Jim Hightower: A Letter Carrier’s Special Delivery to Congress

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Neither rain nor sleet nor snow — nor even the likelihood that he'd be killed en route — could stop this letter carrier from making his appointed rounds.

Doug Hughes is one gutsy and creative mailman. In April, this rural letter carrier from Florida stunned the Secret Service, eluded federal aviation authorities, embarrassed Washington's haughty all-seeing security hierarchy and threw members of Congress into a chaotic panic. Hughes did all this by boldly flying his tiny, homemade gyrocopter right through the heart of our nation's most restricted airspace, then landing it on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Far from a terrorist or a kook, Hughes was just a mailman on a mission, a patriotic citizen who — like most of us — is disgusted that Big Money interests are able to openly buy lawmakers and laws. But he did more than write a letter to his Congress critter — he wrote letters to all 535 of them, loaded the missives in his mailbag and — as postal workers do — literally went the extra mile to make a "very special delivery" in his gyrocopter.

This was no flight of fancy. Hughes planned his mail delivery for months, and he was fully aware that he might crash, be killed by a scramble of military jets or be gunned down by guards when he landed. Nor was it a sneak attack — he repeatedly posted his intentions in blogs; a reporter was covering his preparations; and the Secret Service had investigated and interviewed him about his plans more than a year earlier.

His landing jolted the Capitol into lockdown. Guards rushed out to arrest Hughes and haul him off to some deep cellblock; a bomb squad arrived; and spooked lawmakers were scared silly. They ran around screeching that they were threatened by terrorists. Of course, the real threat to America is not some guy flying a gyrocopter in protest but the utter corruption of Congress, the courts and democracy itself by the plutocratic elites whom this mailman targeted with nothing more (nor less) dangerous than a bagful of truth-telling letters.

Actually, Hughes was not alone on this heroic mission of civil disobedience — the great majority of Americans are totally on board with him, his message and his bold effort to shake up and shape up Congress.

It's not surprising that when the activist mailman delivered his powerful message to Congress he drew saturation coverage from the mass media.

Not coverage of his message, mind you, but a ridiculous spasm of media scaremongering over the non-existent terrorist threat that our self-absorbed members of Congress say his visit posed to them. While Hughes carried no weapons of terrorism on his flight, the message he brought to Washington is politically explosive. So, congressional leaders, who're always terrified about anything that might ignite public outrage over their pay-to-play corruption, quickly rushed to divert attention from the message — to the messenger.

Shazam! In an instant, the politicos fabricated a sob story about themselves, recasting their role from for-sale villains to pitiable victims. We're threatened by a security network so porous, they squealed, that this dangerous terrorist can easily fly right up to the Capitol building. They convened emergency hearings, went on talk shows and imperiously demanded that they be made safe from such a horrific threat. And the media meekly bought into the whole hubbub, entirely losing sight of the damning message that the mailman was carrying.

Hughes did not commit an act of terror; it was an act of civil disobedience. His flight was a thoughtful, well-planned, nonviolent stand against the tyranny of money, undertaken in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. Hughes is standing up for We the People, and like freedom fighters before him, he's full-aware of and prepared to pay the price of civic defiance.

On May 20, a federal grand jury indicted this messenger of democracy on a mess of charges that could add up to more than nine years in prison. Far from backing away, however, he's now calling out you and me: "We spend billions protecting the United States from terrorists," Hughes recently wrote. "It's time for Americans to spend time protecting democracy from plutocrats."

One time when Thoreau was in jail for his defiance of authority, his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson happened by and asked: "Henry, why are you here?" Thoreau retorted: "Why are you not here?" To help save our democracy from plutocracy, go to

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Rae Largura: Is Your Child Ready for Next School Year? (Grades 1-6)

By | Published on 05/27/2015


No two children are alike. Especially in the elementary years, milestones vary greatly. Unless you see large discrepancies, there is no need to worry.

Here are some typical academic and social benchmarks for each grade level:


» Follow class rules.

» Separate from a parent or caregiver easily.

» Be able to take turns.

» Cut along a line with scissors.

» Pay attention for 15 to 20 minutes.

» Hold a crayon and pencil correctly.

» Know the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange,  black, white and pink.

» Write the letters of the alphabet in upper and lowercase forms.

» Spell his or her first and last name.

» Retell a story that has been read aloud.

» Read numbers up to 20.

» Know the basic shapes.

First Grade

» Work independently at his or her desk.

» Know his or her address and phone number.

» Complete homework and bring it back the next day.

» Work out minor difficulties with friendships and peers.

» Write and spell untaught words phonetically.

» Write sentences with correct capitalization and punctuation.

» Read aloud first-grade books with accuracy and understanding.

» Tell time to the hour and half-hour using analog and digital clocks.

» Answer addition and subtraction problems with number up to 20.

Second Grade

» Noticeable difference in focus and understanding information.

» Work well and show cooperation with a partner or a small group.

» Understand the difference between right and wrong.

» Read fluently and with expression.

» Able to use a dictionary.

» Add single and multi-digit numbers with regrouping.

» Tell time to the quarter-hour.

Third Grade

» Work cooperatively and productively with other children in small groups to complete projects.

» Understand how choices affect consequences.

» Read longer stories and chapter books.

» Use prefixes, suffixes, and root words and other strategies to identify unfamiliar words.

» Multiply and divide single and multi-digit numbers.

» Know the products of all one-digit numbers by memory.

» Be able to discuss a topic and present a report.

Fourth Grade

» Begin to make more decisions independently. 

» Increase the amount of detail in drawings.

» Write a complete structured paragraph.

» Use all punctuation appropriately in writing.

» Understand more complex cause-and-effect relationships.

» Add, subtract and compare decimals and fractions.

» Understand the concept of place value.

» Identify points, lines, rays and angles in two-dimensional figures.

Fifth Grade

» Improved problem-solving skills.

» Research a topic using a variety of sources.

» Write an organized, multi-paragraph composition in sequential order with a central idea.

» Use problem-solving strategies to solve real-world math problems.

» Use long division to divide large numbers by multi-digit numbers.

» Appreciate different forms of literature.

» Increased vocabulary through the use of synonyms, antonyms, homophones and analogies.

» Recognize relationships between fractions, decimals and percents.

» Determine the perimeter of polygons and the area of squares and rectangles.

» Understand basic United States history, geography, economics and government.

Sixth Grade

» Write, simplify and manipulate expressions and equations.

» Problem solving, including ratios, proportions, geometry, statistics and probability.

» Use all stages of the writing process (organizing, drafting, revising and editing).

» Set up and conduct simple scientific experiments.

Any subject, any grade: What is your question for a tutor? Email [email protected].

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Devereux’s ‘Evening in Italy’ Brings People of All Ages, Abilities Together to Socialize

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Last Thursday evening, 120 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their staff, friends and volunteers were singing “That’s Amore!” together and dancing to the awesome tunes of Sozo at the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Hosted by Devereux, the eighth annual free event, "Evening in Italy," provides a venue for individuals served by Devereux (and others such as Hillside House and People Creating Success) where they can enjoy an Italian dinner, socialize, and most of all, dance to their favorite tunes played by Sozo, a youth band created and coached by William Fiedtkou, music program director of the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.

Along with Devereux staff, community volunteers (Rochelle Lord, Vidal Chiprez, Lindsay Terrel, Shane Nazareth, Kaelyn Maehara and Lauren Harris from the Goleta Rotarak group), served the meal, then encouraged the more reticent guests to get out on the floor and boogie with them! Two very special guests from Philadelphia — CEO Bob Kreider and COO Carl Clark of the Devereux Foundation — attended as well.

This year was very special because the community really pitched in to help out. Numerous local restaurants and stores completely donated food for the event. Many, many thanks to Via Maetra #42, Petrini’s, Pascucci’s, Giovanni’s, Trader Joe’s and McDonalds for donating needed food and related items. Their generosity is invaluable to Devereux California.

Attendees were all smiles during the Devereux California event. (Devereux California photo)

We also sincerely thank Tino’s Italian Market and Woodstock Pizza for significantly discounting their products for our purposes. There are many good hearts and generous businesses in this great community, and we sincerely thank each one who participated in this event.

As one volunteer put it, "It's so good to see these folks who are supported by Devereux and other providers come together and have such a wonderful time. It’s a great opportunity to get to know others who have different abilities by sharing the joy of music and dancing. It’s truly life-changing to experience this party. What a diverse, happy group of people!”

Devereux California currently provides residential, day, supported living and independent living services to 80 people in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Lompoc areas.

Established by Special Education Pioneer Helena Devereux in Pennsylvania in 1912, Devereux is celebrating its 70th anniversary in California this year, and is the largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health care services in the country.

— Cassi Noel represents Devereux California.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Tomorrowland’

By | Published on 05/27/2015


3 Stars — Thought-provoking

It was Dante in his Inferno who first described hell as a place where all hope is abandoned. Conversely then, he infers that heaven is a place of hope and that to have hope is a necessary motivation to prepare not just for heaven but also for a better world here and now. Such hope motivates us to heal our environment, care for our families and love our fellow humans. But often the very warnings that are meant to motivate us into action so that we can act to heal our land and our lives creates a depressing, hopeless attitude of inevitability of a coming holocaust that cannot be stopped. It is this observation that is explored in the science-fiction film Tomorrowland.

Writer of the adapted screenplay, Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) directed this futuristic film based on the story by Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen. With a clear agenda that we need to act to save our world from destruction, the message is straightforward and speaks to both catastrophic environmental dangers as well as militaristic ones.

The ensemble cast focuses primarily on three individuals. Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson, George Clooney) is a genius chosen by Athena (Raffey Cassidy) to enter into a new world created in an alternate dimension called Tomorrowland. First meeting when they are children at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, they are taken with each other in a way that both enriches and complicates their lives. Years later, Athena recruits Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) to help them solve a problem that has overwhelmed them.

Joining them in this tale is Governor Nix (Hugh Laurie), who has become the leader of this new world created by such geniuses as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. The film also has some wonderfully ironic robots with vaporizing weapons and large smiles, but it is the science fiction itself that creates this fascinating tale.

Without spoiling the creative analogy formed by the story, the central message that it is the prediction of world destruction that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy is worthy of our consideration. If we think there is nothing we can do to save the world, then we seem to enter into a hopeless state that allows this predicted hell to become the only future we can imagine.

However, the film suggests that if we can give our dreamers and geniuses the hope of a better world, then humans will gather together across cultures and nationalistic boundaries to bring about healing and hope instead of hell. This is seen clearly as Athena’s replacements are recruiters sent into the world to find the generation of dreamers who can act as the yeast of change needed to save the world.

Although true healing and hope for our world requires far more than what brilliant and creative minds can produce, at the very least we need all the creativity and best minds working together to address the world’s problems that can be solved. That is a message worthy of thoughtful consideration and to put into action before it is too late.


» When you hear warnings of global warming raising the ocean levels such that Florida will become submerged underwater, what does that information do to you? Are you motivated to change, argue the science or give up in despair? Why do you respond as you do?

» Several recent films have played with the idea of humans falling in love with a robot with artificial intelligence. What is the difference, if any, between falling in love with another human being and falling in love with an artificial intelligence created by programmers?

» The sacrificial death of Athena made it possible for the world to have a chance at a different future. Do you believe she was a Christ-figure? Why do you answer as you do?

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


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Annette Jorgensen Joins American Riviera Bank as Business Development Officer

By | Published on 05/27/2015


American Riviera Bank is pleased to announce that Annette Jorgensen has been appointed vice president and business development officer.

Jorgensen has more than 26 years of banking experience with an emphasis on Small Business Administration lending. At American Riviera Bank, she will deliver business, real estate and construction financing as well as depository solutions to new clients in the greater Santa Barbara area.

In addition, Jorgensen’s expertise will soon allow American Riviera Bank to originate SBA 504 loans. The SBA 504 program provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings.

“We are very excited to have Annette join our team," said Jeff DeVine, president and chief executive officer stated. "Her outgoing personality and considerable experience will enhance our ability to serve the community’s banking needs. We look forward to offering the SBA 504 loan program in the near future.”

American Riviera Bank will celebrate its ninth anniversary this July. The bank provides service with a personal touch and state-of-the-art technology to deliver responsive and flexible banking solutions. American Riviera Bank had $230 million in total assets and maintained a strong capital position with a Tier 1 Leverage Ratio of 12 percent as of March 31, well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well-capitalized institutions.

Jorgensen will be working out of the bank’s branch at 1033 Anacapa St. in downtown Santa Barbara. Her direct line is 805.979.3846 and her email is [email protected].

— Michelle Martinich is the chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.


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Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards from Department of Energy

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Two members of UC Santa Barbara’s faculty have been named recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program awards.

Assistant professors Nathaniel Craig in the Department of Physics and Matthew Helgeson in the Department of Engineering are among 44 young scientists and engineers from across the nation selected to receive this year’s awards.

“We are very pleased that UCSB is one of only two universities with two assistant professors receiving these prestigious early career awards,” said Michael Witherell, vice-chancellor for research at UCSB. “We continue to attract some of the top scientists and engineers in the country, doing forefront research on a wide range of problems, from the Higgs boson to polymeric fluids.”

Awardees were selected from a large pool of university- and national laboratory-based applicants. Selection was based on peer review by outside scientific experts. Under the program, university-based researchers will receive at least $150,000 per year to cover summer salary and research expenses.

Physics Beyond the Higgs Boson

“It’s incredibly gratifying to receive this support from the Department of Energy, which will facilitate the research of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers studying physics beyond the Standard Model,” said Craig, whose research investigates physics beyond the Higgs boson.

The discovery of the elusive Higgs boson in 2012 culminated a half-century of searching by thousands of scientists all over the world and marks the completion of the Standard Model of fundamental particle physics. But for Nathaniel Craig, a new search has just begun.

“What I’ve really been drawn to are the set of questions where there is interesting theory, but we also have the data, and we can conduct experiments and test our hypotheses in a progressive way,” said Craig, who will be using the Higgs to dig deeper to uncover the framework of the universe.

If anything, discovery of the rare and peculiar boson has led to more questions: How could it be so light when quantum effects predict it to be much heavier? Is there more than one Higgs boson and could the particle’s generation or decay provide clues to the existence of other as-yet unknown particles?

By leveraging current knowledge of the Higgs gained at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as well as data from upcoming collisions planned at the LHC it may be possible to answer those questions.

Because the Higgs interacts with particles it encounters, imbuing them with mass, according Craig, it can provide a very sensitive probe for searching for new physics — particularly new fundamental particles that have yet to be found and placed into the framework of the Standard Model. These interactions may also point to some explanation of how the Higgs has resisted becoming the heavy particle that quantum effects predict.

“Quantum mechanical effects want to pull the mass of the Higgs up to be equal to the heaviest masses of the particles it talks to,” said Craig. “So there’s this mystery: Why is there such a huge difference?”

One answer might lie in an extension of the Standard Model called supersymmetry that introduces new particles that cancel the quantum effects that contribute to the Higgs mass. And, one can’t discount the possibility that there may be several Higgs bosons, in the same way there are multiples of the other particles, noted Craig. Now that they know what to look for, it’s a matter of having a systematic program for conducting the search.

“If we really just study the Higgs, that’s really the most promising way to understand the underlying structure of the universe,” he said.

Probing the Secrets of Complex Fluids

“I am honored to receive this generous award from the Department of Energy, and appreciate the long-term commitment to basic science that it reflects. I would also like to thank the support of neutron scattering programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that provide the facilities that make this research possible,” said Matt Helgeson.

Complex fluids are at the heart of Helgeson’s research. These are materials that exist between two phases and so respond to stress differently than do regular solids, liquids and gases. Common examples include quicksand and shaving gel; these types of fluids are also used in new and high tech processes such as 3D printing.

According to Helgeson, the award will help his group to better understand how complex fluids behave on the nanoscale.

“This award will enable us to develop neutron scattering methods that give unparalleled measurement of the structure and dynamics of complex fluids in situ under flow,” he said. Previous methods of making these measurements take into account steady flows, he added, but real-life use of these complex fluids in industry typically involves different rates of flow and, thus, different behaviors. The group is developing a device that will allow researchers to emulate these complex flows and measure the fluids’ properties and behaviors.

The research also goes toward understanding how these processing flows could be designed to control the formation of materials used in energy production and conversion, such as solar cells and other semiconductor devices.

“These studies may lead to new routes to refined structures that give rise to superior performance in these materials, or perhaps the discovery of entirely novel flow-induced structures with unique or enhanced properties,” Helgeson said.

“This prestigious Department of Energy award recognizes Professor Helgeson’s achievements and his tremendous potential,” commented Rod Alferness, dean of UCSB’s College of Engineering. “I convey the sentiments of the entire College of Engineering community when I say we look forward to the research and student mentoring that will result from this award.”

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


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iCAN Invites Community to ‘Go to the Movies’ Student Concert on Friday

By | Published on 05/27/2015


iCAN (The Incredible Children's Art Network) invites the community to a special end-of-year performance.

The “iCAN Go to the Movies Concert!” will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. this Friday, May 29, at the Westside Neighborhood Center, 423 W. Victoria St.

Students from the iCAN Music Program will perform pieces from feature films, highlighting a variety of musical instrument families. The children will also be playing American fiddle tunes, pop tunes and new music compositions.

The concert is free and all are welcome.

“I am excited for the concert on May 29 because it is very exciting for students and their families to see how much they have learned in nine months. Their progress is beyond phenomenal, and I am blown away by their progress,” said Xóchitl Tafoya, iCAN’s director of music programs. “All of our iCAN students have worked hard with our wonderful teaching artist team to learn their instruments and work together as a family. The concert is sure to be an exciting event to see our future leaders create beautiful music together and sharing it with the community.”

iCAN music is offered at no cost to families at two sites. The program at Franklin Elementary School, in Santa Barbara’s Eastside, serves nearly 100 second- through sixth-grade students. Located at the Westside Neighborhood Center, the pilot stage music program serves nearly 30 students in grades three through six. Students come to this common community setting from several elementary schools to receive intensive high-quality musical instruction, five days a week, two to three hours a day. Students play string, woodwinds and brass instruments and use choir as a method of instruction.

Click here for more information about iCAN.

— Yvonne Leal is the network relations director for iCAN.


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Santa Barbara County Fire Department to Conduct Defensible Space Inspections

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The Santa Barbara County Fire Department will be conducting defensible space inspections beginning Monday, June 1.

A minimum of 100 feet of defensible space is required around your home in Santa Barbara County.

Engine companies will perform inspections and provide homeowners with an inspection form and educational material on how to comply.

With the year- round threat of wildfire in Southern California, the defensible space requirement is enforced at all times in Santa Barbara County. Noncompliant homeowners are subject to be cited.

This year, 13,000 homeowners in the Counties State Responsibly Area (SRA) will receive by mail a wildfire safety brochure, containing valuable tips to help your home withstand wildfire. This brochure is being sent to residents that live within the high fire hazard areas of the county. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department hopes that the information found in the brochure will help homeowners prepare ahead of time before wildfire strikes.

Click here for more information on wildfire preparedness.

— Capt. Dave Zaniboni is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.


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Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Awarding Record $8.7 Million to County Students

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara will award a record $8.7 million to nearly 3,000 Santa Barbara County students at two annual awards ceremonies this week — Wednesday in Santa Barbara and on Thursday in Santa Maria.

Proud parents, students and local philanthropic leaders will gather at the Sunken Garden of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to honor students from the southern part of the county on Wednesday and at First Christian Church in Santa Maria to honor students from the northern part of the county on Thursday.

The annual awards ceremonies will be hosted by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara in conjunction with its largest partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation. Both events are free and are open to the public.

This year, the Scholarship Foundation received 3,481 applications for financial support. While 2,948 of those students will receive critical student aid, over 500 deserving students were turned away due to lack of funds.

“The Board of Directors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is extremely grateful to our many contributors who have made it possible for the foundation to award a record $8.7 million in aid this year. This is the largest amount awarded by any community scholarship provider in the nation," said Janet Garufis, president of the Board of Directors of the Scholarship Foundation. "However, as proud as we are of this achievement, we never stop thinking about the many worthy young people that we had to turn away. It is heartbreaking to deny aid to any deserving student who wishes to pursue a higher education degree or credential.”

Community members wishing to show their support are invited to attend Wednesday's awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. and Thursday's awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m.

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


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Special Olympics Honoring Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi for 30 Years of Service

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region is proud to announce Lt. Ugo Peter “Butch” Arnoldi as the organization’s Community Service Award recipient.

Lt. Butch Arnoldi speaks at last year’s Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region's annual Inspire Greatness luncheon. (Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region photo)

He will be honored for his dedicated support at the organization’s seventh annual Inspire Greatness luncheon this Thursday, May 28, at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden.

Arnoldi, a Santa Barbara native and 41-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Department, has been a volunteer and champion of Special Olympics for more than 30 years. He organized Santa Barbara’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1982 — and continued the tradition every year since — and his support doesn’t stop there. He is also a long-standing member of the Special Olympics Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run Council.

From helping coordinate fundraising events to serving as a member of the organization’s Leadership Council to volunteering at sports competitions, Arnoldi demonstrates his passion year-round.

“Lt. Butch Arnoldi has been the guiding force for over 30 years in making the Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising component of Special Olympics Santa Barbara Region very successful,” said Gina Carbajal, regional director. “Butch continues to provide stellar support in ensuring that law enforcement officers not only provide support in fundraising, but are present at events to cheer on athletes, give high fives, and honor the athletes with giving out awarded medals.”

Arnoldi’s diverse service to Special Olympics has also played a significant role in the growth of the organization. He recruits and motivates law enforcement volunteers to participate in Tip-A-Cop fundraisers, which help raise critical funds for the nonprofit organization. As chair of the Santa Barbara County Torch Run Committee, Arnoldi also unites officers from law enforcement agencies and manages the Santa Barbara County leg of the annual Torch Run.

“Special Olympics is an outstanding organization, it allows people of all ages with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete in various sporting events that truly make a difference in the lives of not only the Special Olympics athletes and their families, but for all of us,” Lt. Arnoldi said. “It is extremely rewarding to be directly involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run Mission which is a partnership of communities, law enforcement agencies and Special Olympics programming with the goal of raising funds and public awareness for Special Olympics Southern California, while enhancing the quality of life of our athletes.”    

As the longest-serving lieutenant in department history — 18 years and counting — Arnoldi has worked throughout the county, from Santa Maria to Carpinteria, and is the only sheriff’s lieutenant having served as the station commander at every station in the South County. He served as a countywide patrol operations watch commander for five years, as the sheriff’s adjutant to Sheriff Bill Brown for over three years, and is currently the chief of police for the City of Goleta, the largest contract city within the County of Santa Barbara as well as the Goleta Valley Patrol Bureau commander, a position he has held since August 2010.

In addition to Arnoldi, Special Olympics will also honor four other individuals with awards at the Inspire Greatness luncheon, including local Special Olympics athletes Lamarcus Briggs and Jerry Raffealli (Athletes of the Year), Cameron Woods (Outstanding Youth Volunteer) and Dan Weiner (Outstanding Adult Volunteer).

To RSVP for the luncheon or for more information about Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region, please call 805.884.1516 or click here.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region.


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Adams Students Dive Into Free Swim, Water Safety Classes at Santa Barbara YMCA

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Sixth-graders from Adams Elementary School — 63 students in all — are enjoying free swim lessons and water safety education at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA on Hitchcock Way through June, just in time for summer vacation.

Adams physical education director Julie Churchman is assisting YMCA aquatics director Vanessa Tooch, whose expertise working with children in aquatics allows her to see the students go from “never being in a swimming pool and afraid of the water to being excited about coming here to learn how to swim.”

The Santa Barbara Family YMCA provides two certified lifeguards in addition to certified swimming instructors.

The Channel Islands YMCA is a charitable organization providing programs based upon Christian principles to men, women and children of all ages, races, religious beliefs and economic status to develop and enrich the spirit, mind and body.

The Santa Barbara branch is located at 36 Hitchcock Way in Santa Barbara. Visit the YMCA online by clicking here.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.


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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 112) — Sometimes You’re the Windshield ...

By | Published on 05/27/2015


Oblique Strategy #9 — “Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you're the bug.”

For years I began a law school class by asking the students to pair off for rounds of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” (R-P-S). Without any explanation, I collected the results for that evening’s competition and ignored the questions: “Why are we doing this?” and “Will this affect my grade?”

Repeated rounds of R-P-S provided a mutual, concrete experience of a competitive activity with mere seconds between the beginning and end. If I’m Rock and you’re Paper — that’s it. There’s no appeal, no replay. The more you play against an increasing number of people, the more apparent it is that strategy is of dubious value and the outcome is random.

The focus of law school and legal practice is on control-of-outcome, so a property of all the situations is a controllable outcome.

Yet, some of the most significant things that happen over the course of a lifetime are beyond control, which creates a set of opposing hazards: we may adopt a core belief that there is something about our being that deserves the effect (positive or negative) of a random event or we may be unable to accept the (usually negative) effect of a random event.

A major premise is that healthy and lasting resolution of post-marital conflict is built on the Overlap of each party’s notion of “fairness.” This is what typically happens by the end of the natural grieving process. On occasion the parties get stuck and there is not sufficient overlap of values with which to fashion a mutually acceptable solution.

There is a differential diagnosis that can be made between being Stuck and The Stall. Neither is intentional but The Stall is normal and will disappear with the passage of time. When the parties are Stuck, they stay Stuck until either or both change beliefs and values to the extent necessary to create the Overlap. Such a change requires effort and can be promoted by a mediator working with the overt dynamic of the case or by personal counseling, which works with the underlying psychological dynamics of either or both parties.

There are three signs that the apparent impasse is merely a normal Stall. They involve timing, magnitude and complexity.

» Timing. The Third Stage of the Kübler-Ross/Yale Grief Model is “false bargaining.” The parties have been able to identify all of the significant issues. They tentatively agree on most of them and have provisionally agreed – either tacitly or expressly — on a viable structure for the settlement. In my practice this point is reached when I know enough about the probable settlement to prepare the first draft of the Marital Settlement Agreement.

» Magnitude. From the subjective perspective of the parties the Stall involves a matter of enormous significance, while from the outside the matter in controversy is small or insignificant. This is how a settlement “breaks down” over the distribution of the “Green Chair in the kitchen” or “the garage door opener you took when you left (for which you have no possible use) and yet now you deny having it.”

» Complexity. From an exterior perspective the solution is simple. From the perspective of the parties involved, there is only deadlock. If a way out is suggested from the “outside” it is rejected and tainted. If it is imposed, disagreement goes so deep that it can’t be fixed from the outside (e.g., a disagreement about what’s in the best interest of the children.)

The Stall indicates that the couple is slipping into the final stage of grief — Depression. They shouldn’t attempt to complete their business with each other. The person at the beginning of divorce is different from the person at the end. The transformation is completed during this situational depression, which is a time each party can “feel his way into” what life will be like under the terms of the provisional agreement. When the Depression lifts, the Stall dissipates. The “Green Chair’s” emotional charge disappears and it once again becomes a green chair that could be sold in a garage sale for $5.

In contrast to a normal Stall, parties who are Stuck reiterate the same futile attempts to deal with one or more issues apparent from the outset and originating at or before the beginning of the marriage.

Consider Ann and Buck who were married for 20 years. Ann stayed at home to raise their three children. Buck finished school after marriage and then figured out how to earn a lot of money. When Buck discovered Ann’s infidelity, he left the family home where two minor children continued to live with their mother.

Buck’s first lawyer — and also his second lawyer — explained that Ann’s infidelity is of no interest to the court. He can agree to the payment of spousal support for a substantial period of time or he’ll be ordered to do it. Buck is overwhelmed by anger and rage he attributes to Ann’s betrayal and says that he will go to any length to avoid paying spousal support.

Buck’s attitude is understandable, but it should diminish during the first year. However, 18 months later, he is as overwhelmed by his sense of betrayal and victimization as he was on the day he left the family home — and he’s still determined to avoid payment of support regardless of the consequences to himself. Buck is Stuck; the case is Stuck. This is not a self-correcting Stall. It’s also extreme behavior more common in novels than in my experience as a divorce lawyer.

We understand Buck’s feeling at the outset, but we grow impatient when he can’t get past the basic fact that IT happened to him.

We might say, “Damn it, Buck, in one way or another 'IT' happens to everyone.”

Buck will receive less and less commiseration from those who care about him, and he will become more and more likely to pay people to agree with him. For me, Buck is a character from fiction and not from practice. Yet, he seems familiar, and he’s easy to understand because he can tell us about his unrelenting psychological pain. We know that his attitude could persist for life and that it could be lethal.

We’ll quickly learn that it’s not effective to say directly, “Buck! Get over it! You’re killing yourself.”

                                                                        •        •

Because his rage has continued for so long and, according to his own report, it hasn’t diminished, I don’t know if there’s anything that can help Buck. This Oblique Strategy is for someone with a case of “Buck Lite” who wants to break out of the jail created by his or her own thinking.

Play 10 rounds of R-P-S with 10 different people. It can’t hurt and the hundred rounds will take less than 15 minutes to complete. R-P-S doesn’t interfere with the exercise of free will, but it may get through the defensive thinking that protects the self-righteous and self-destructive sense of victimhood, and it makes available the explanation that occasionally random events can occur as part of interpersonal experience.

It changes the question from, “What happened to me?” to simply “What happened?”

In terms of R-P-S the answer is, “Paper covers rock, etc.”

The same idea is more poetically expressed in The Bug written by Mark Knopfler and performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter, who sings: “Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you're the bug.”

Next column: Oblique Strategy #10 — Can you describe the way you apologize?

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Plaza in Renovated Peabody Stadium at Santa Barbara High to Honor Donors Pete and Gerd Jordano

By | Published on 05/27/2015


On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Unified School District approved the naming of a new plaza in the renovated Peabody Stadium at Santa Barbara High School. Jordano Plaza, honoring Pete and Gerd Jordano, will be a community gathering space as well as the location of a new donor wall, recognizing contributors to the stadium renovation project.

“Pete and Gerd Jordano have not only made a significant donation to this project, but they have also been tireless volunteers,” said Greg Tebbe, capital campaign chair. “They have been responsible for securing at least $1 million so far for this once-in-a-century project.”

In the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, Pete and Gerd Jordano joined SBHS staff and volunteers for a tour of the existing asphalt track, 90-year-old concrete stadium, and field at Santa Barbara High School.

“Pete and I both graduated from Santa Barbara High School and have very fond memories of our time there,” Gerd Jordano said, “but we hadn’t been to the stadium for a long time. It looks a little sad down there.”

After seeing the poor condition of the track, field and stadium, the Jordanos wasted no time in getting involved. They immediately pledged their support and set about rallying Dons to get involved.

“All the pieces were in place to start this project,” Pete Jordano said. “All we had to do was get our classmates and friends interested.

“Both Gerd and I made connections at SBHS that have lasted a lifetime. We are honored to be part of this project and do what we can for the next generation.”

The Foundation for Santa Barbara High School and the Santa Barbara Unified School District have been working together for three years on a $12.7 million plan to renovate the stadium, track and field at SBHS. The district has already approved $4.9 million in bond funds for the project, and received a seismic mitigation grant from the State of California for $2.8 million. The Foundation for SBHS began its campaign to raise the remaining $5 million from private sources in the fall.

Including the Jordanos’ gift, $3 million has been pledged or donated to the renovation.

“We would not have come this far without the Jordano’s help," Tebbe said. "Their contribution gave us the ‘seal of approval’ we needed.

“In the next year, we need to raise the remaining $2 million. We hope that every Don — actually every person in Santa Barbara who believes in strong schools and offering public places for recreation and exercise — will join the Jordanos in making a contribution.”

Both Jordanos are active community volunteers and business leaders. Pete Jordano is CEO of Jordano's Food Service and Pacific Beverage, the oldest continuing business with common ownership in Santa Barbara and the second largest independent foodservice distribution company in California. Gerd Jordano was honored as the 2011 Santa Barbara Foundation Woman of the Year for her service to many local organizations including Alzheimer’s Association, Cottage Health Systems, Westmont College, Hospice of Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation.

The Peabody Stadium renovation will update the facility with a new concrete grandstand as well as an artificial turf field and synthetic track. Currently, use of the facility is severely limited due to its age and condition. The renovation will make Peabody Stadium accessible to all SBHS students as well as to the Santa Barbara community.

The Santa Barbara High School class of 2015 could be the last class to graduate in the original stadium, which was built in 1924. As long as fundraising targets are met, the renovation project will begin in November 2015 and be completed in time for graduation 2017. Graduation in 2016 will be conducted at a different location.

For more information about the renovation of the track, field and stadium, click here and select Peabody Stadium Renovation. Donations can also be mailed to Foundation for SBHS, P.O. Box 158, Santa Barbara, CA 93102.

— Katie Jacobs is the director of development for the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School.


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City of Santa Barbara to Begin Construction of Stormwater Infiltration Projects

By | Published on 05/27/2015


The City of Santa Barbara will begin construction of a stormwater infiltration project at Plaza de Vera Cruz beginning on Monday, June 1.

The asphalt service road through the park between East Cota Street and East Haley Street will be replaced with permeable pavers in order to allow stormwater (rain) and urban runoff to infiltrate into the ground.

This design demonstrates a retrofit that complies with the city’s Stormwater Management Program by detaining and treating the volume of water generated by a one inch storm event. The water is allowed to soak into the ground below the pavers, naturally treating pollutants and recharging groundwater.

Later this summer, permeable pavers will also be installed in the sidewalks surrounding Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, and in summer 2016 the street and sidewalks in the 700 and 800 blocks of North Quarantina Street will be replaced with permeable pavers.

Funding for this project has been provided primarily through a grant agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board, and by the City of Santa Barbara Creeks Division through Measure B.

— Cameron Benson is the creek restoration/clean water manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Refugio Oil Spill Command Operation Outgrows County’s Emergency Operations Center

By | Published on 05/26/2015


More than 200 personnel involved in the cleanup effort are overtaxing the Cathedral Oaks Road building, with a move to another facility expected by Friday

The Refugio oil-spill response effort appears to have outgrown Santa Barbara County’s Emergency Operations Center, county Emergency Management Director Ryan Rockabrand told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The majority of the incident command personnel now at the EOC will move to another facility on Friday, Rockabrand said.

About 200 to 250 people have been working out of the EOC to coordinate cleanup response efforts after the May 19 oil spill that sent thousands of gallons of crude oil out of a pipeline, through a culvert, over coastal bluffs and into the ocean near Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast.

Plains All American Pipeline, the company responsible for the Line 901 pipe that transports crude oil from Las Flores Canyon to Gaviota, is involved in the spill response, and was asked to find an appropriate command post location, but the two proposed spots were inadequate, Rockabrand said.

After that, the county offered up the EOC, which was used starting at 6 a.m. May 20 and is now “literally bursting at the seams” as more resources respond to the area, he said.

Representatives from federal and state agencies thanked the Board of Supervisors for use of the EOC, saying the response would not be going as well without use of that facility.

Private security has been controlling the driveway leading up to the EOC at 4408 Cathedral Oaks Road. and turned away county supervisors from the area multiple times.

“I think over 250 people are at the site, and I know security was a concern, but I didn’t appreciate the fact I couldn’t get into the building because Plains representatives stopped me at the gate,” Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf said. “I want to make sure those types of things don’t happen again.”

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said she was also stopped twice.

“When three people stopped me in the EOC lobby, I pointed to my picture on the wall and said, ‘That’s me.’”

Federal, state and county agencies are all included in the incident command, and after the big move, Santa Barbara County’s Office of Emergency Management will continue operating the EOC at full-scale activation status to handle the county’s response to the incident, Rockabrand said.

The OEM will be “shoulder to shoulder” with the county Fire Department for the county’s command of the incident, he said.

County Fire personnel were the first responders to the spill and called in hand crews to start damming operations to keep oil from reaching the ocean, Fire Chief Eric Peterson said.

There was some “red tape” to get through during the first few days of the response, but now the county Fire Department is involved in the unified command and directly with clean-up response efforts, he said.

Two hand crews of 12 are doing clean-up operations in the field, and more fire personnel are acting as field observers to provide local knowledge for the U.S. Coast Guard, Peterson said.

Many other departments are involved in the response, and Santa Barbara County will be compensated by Plains for staff time spent on the oil spill response effort, County Counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, an update to the Clean Water Act, outlines strict liability by the responsible party for removal costs and damages after a spill, he said.

There is an active claims line at 866.753.3619.

The claims process should be “beefed up” to let people know they can file partial claims now, without giving up the right to file additional claims later, Ghizzoni said.

The county told the unified command about its concerns, and there should be a more robust claims procedure soon, he said.

Businesses including kayak tour companies, hotels and commercial fishermen could all file partial claims now to take care of cash-flow problems week to week, Ghizzoni said.

Potential claims can deal with removal costs; natural resources; real or personal property; subsistence use; governmental revenue; profits and earning capacity; and government/public services, he said.

Governments that see a decrease in transient occupancy tax from beach closures can file a claim, as can businesses harmed by a shutdown or people turned away from closed beaches and no-fishing zones, Ghizzoni said.

People who fish for their own food can also file claims due to the fishery closure, he said.

The active fishery closure forbids fishing and taking shellfish in the general area between Gaviota and Coal Oil Point, up to seven miles out to sea. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are patrolling the shoreline and in a boat to enforce the closure and educate people, warden Santos Cabral said.

California Department of Fish & Wildlife officers intercept a commercial fishing vessel that was actively fishing in an area closed due to the Refugio State Beach oil spill. (California Department of Fish & Wildlife photo)

The patrol boat has already come across a commercial fishing vessel that had a load of crabs – which they were forced to dump overboard back into the ocean – and a commercial trawling vessel out of Santa Barbara Harbor, Cabral said.

Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said the federal government mobilized resources as fast as possible using the oil spill liability trust fund, and the agencies will bill Plains later.

Few details about the investigation have been mentioned since there could be civil or criminal penalties as a result of the spill, she said Tuesday.

“I believe there is an interest in this for all possible types of enforcement action,” Williams said.

To submit comments about the oil spill to the county directly, email [email protected]

There will be a community open house held for anyone with questions about the oil spill response on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 150 N. Kellogg Ave. 

To register for training and volunteer to help clean-up efforts, visit the CalSpillWatch website or contact the volunteer hotline at 1.800.228.4544. 

The Arroyo Burro and Goleta county beaches are “in good shape,” assistant county executive officer Renée Bahl said, with temporary signs warning people to avoid oil if they see it.

There have been formal clean-up crews at some Goleta-area beaches, including Haskell’s and Ellwood beaches, but it’s still unclear if the amount of oil found near those areas is related to the spill or natural seepage.

Sensitive areas have been boomed off down to the Devereux Slough, according to the county, and there has been light oiling as far east as Coal Oil Point. Those spots are being targeted for removal as needed.

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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