Goleta Man Driving Campaign to Save Historic Gas Station on Hollister Avenue
Tom Modugno launches an online petition calling for the restoration of the 1920s-era Barnsdall Rio-Grande property
Tom Modugno recalls, as a kid, sneaking into the boarded-up 1920s gas station that sits near the western end of Hollister Avenue in Goleta.
Modugno, who grew up in Santa Barbara Shores, just down the street from the old Barnsdall Rio-Grande Gas Station, remembers climbing in through the windows of the distinctive building with friends.
They would find old newspapers from the 1950s and explore the station's tiny interior.
Since then, the building, with its detailed ornamentation and bejeweled mosaic dome, appears relatively unchanged, boarded up and behind fencing warning the public not to trespass. But time and weather continue to take their toll.
"It's basically the same as it was," Modugno said Monday, standing just outside the chain link fencing that encircles the old gas station.
Most things around it have changed, though.
The station now backs up to the Sandpiper Golf Course, and across Hollister Avenue a condominium development is in various stages of construction. The Bacara Resort & Spa was built just up the road, as was a new overpass over Highway 101.
Now, Modugno has begun an effort to connect the station's history with the present.
He has launched an online petition calling for the restoration of the property.
Last week, Modguno's signature count was several hundred, but by Monday, it had grown to more than 1,500. The goal was to get 1,000 signatures, but since they've now exceeded that, "I guess we'll go for 2,000," he said.
"Everybody I've talked to loves this building," he said. "The hard part is getting something done."
While standing near the gas station, he spoke about another building that sat nearby, a restaurant named Wheeler's Inn that was doing well until a Japanese submarine attacked the Ellwood area during World War II.
A shell even lodged in the Ellwood Pier, the only mainland attack during that war, which caused business at the restaurant to plummet and eventually move to downtown Santa Barbara.
As for the gas station, it was built in 1929, and is considered the last of the Pearl Chase-inspired fuel stations, a project that the legendary Santa Barbara civic leader to took on as a beautification effort.
Looking at the building today, her touches are obvious, and the structure looks closer to something seen in downtown Santa Barbara than the Goodland with its red tile roof, white plaster walls, blue and white tiles and Spanish colonial revival touches.
The station sits near the Ellwood Oil Field, which was extremely productive in the early part of the 20th century.
The station was abandoned by the 1950s, but got another moment to shine in 1980, when it was used in the remake of the movie "The Postman Always Rings Twice," which starred Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange.
Santa Barbara County designated the station a historical site but after the City of Goleta incorporated, that designation was no longer in place. The city's general plan does list the gas station as a historic resource.
Modugno has been told that the city would need to form a historical preservation committee, and then create an ordinance designating historical landmarks within city limits.
Ideally, Modugno sees the building restored to its former glory and opened up to the public, perhaps with a "mini-museum" inside, with photos and an exhibit explaining some of the area's history.
To get there, he's working to reach out to property owner Ty Warner, who also owns the Sandpiper Golf Course. If Warner shows interest, presumably a first step would be for someone to make an assessment of the building's condition and what it would take to restore it.
In the meantime, Modugno will continue collecting signatures, and may make a presentation to the Goleta City Council at some point in the future.
"A lot of people feel really strongly about this," he said.
Lake Cachuma Emergency Pumping Facility Operational But Still in Standby Mode
Staff with the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board now believe the lake will be pumped starting in April or May
More than $2 million in grants have been finalized for the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board’s emergency pumping facility project at Lake Cachuma, which is operational but still in standby mode.
The large project will be essential to pump water into the Tecolote Tunnel — which supplies Santa Barbara County’s South Coast with water — once reservoir levels drop too low to gravity-feed the intake towers of the water distribution system.
Current estimates show the system may not be turned on until April or May, COMB general manager Randy Ward said at Monday’s Board of Directors meeting.
COMB received $2 million in state funding for the project from the Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board and additional grants from the United States Bureau of Reclamation to pay $300,000 worth of electrical power costs for the pumping project, starting Jan. 23.
To date, the emergency pumping facility project has cost $4.3 million.
Ward also updated the board on the poor condition of the COMB administration building, which had major roof leaks during a November storm. It’s a modular building behind the board meeting building and will need to be replaced, he said.
“The short story is that building is toast,” he said.
The COMB board went into closed session Monday afternoon to discuss whether the agency should intervene in a lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the Hilton Creek pumping system. The bureau is responsible for maintaining water in the creek for steelhead trout and a series of pump failures last year lead to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.
A backup pump system project is under way and should be completed by mid-February, according to COMB.
There was a “little incident” Jan. 14 with no creek flow and COMB employees responded quickly to rescue a few fish, COMB’s fisheries division manager Tim Robinson said at Monday’s meeting.
Pumps were up and running again within an hour and a half, which was a good collaboration between the two agencies, he added.
Duane Stroup, a Bureau of Reclamation representative present at Monday’s meeting, said the agency is working to get the system online and identify any solutions to increase reliability.
COMB directors are still concerned about releasing water from Lake Cachuma for the fish, but the Bureau of Reclamation doesn’t recognize a “critical drought” until the lake levels drop to 30,000 acre-feet, Robinson said.
“And we have no control over that,” Ward reminded the board.
As of Monday, Lake Cachuma reportedly had 54,790 acre-feet of water, which represents 28.3 percent of capacity.
Carpinteria Council Initiates Environmental Review of Venoco’s Paredon Project
Carpinteria officials soon will take a fresh look at an old issue — whether to allow Venoco Inc. to pursue a slant drilling development called the Paredon project.
Venoco, which submitted its most recent project plans in June 2013, proposes to drill up to 22 extended-reach (or slant) wells to recover oil and gas resources from onshore and offshore reservoirs at the Carpinteria Oil and Gas Processing Facility the company owns on Dump Road.
Officials discussed the EIR, aware that Venoco has attempted to get around the public process before.
The Measure J ballot measure, which residents voted down decisively in 2010, sought to qualify the Paredon project as a private development not subject to environmental review.
Marine Research Specialists began an EIR on the Paredon project previously, but the process was never completed.
City staff informed the council that Carpinteria would also partner with the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission to establish a joint review panel reviewing the EIR to better share information and input.
Carpinteria has never created this type of partnership before — nor is such a panel required — but the city’s community development director, Jackie Campbell, said Santa Barbara County staff members use the collaboration to increase efficiency.
“It just allows us to work closely together,” mostly via email and phone, Campbell said.
The Carpinteria council is the lead agency on the project, but state agencies will rely on the EIR for permitting actions related to Venoco’s coastal-development permit application.
Campbell said the public would get its first look at the proposed EIR in late July, with a draft EIR coming before the council Sept. 28 and receipt of a final proposed EIR by Dec. 7.
The EIR will examine water use, noise, traffic, biological and cultural resources and more.
Venoco and prior owners have operated the Carpinteria Processing Facility near the Carpinteria Bluffs area since the 1960s. Chevron established the slant operation at the facility decades before Venoco bought the site in 1999, and the area currently handles production from the company's Platform Gail and Platform Grace.
City staff estimated the Paredon project area contains recoverable reserves of approximately 20.5 million barrels of oil and 30.8 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.
Venoco proposes to integrate facilities with existing onshore oil and gas processing, pipeline transportation and storage facilities — with peak production rates estimated at 9,000 barrels of oil per day and 13 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas.
The project life would be dependent on future commodity prices and actual reservoir performance, although Venoco officials estimate production would be viable for 20 years once begun.
Santa Barbara Public Market Merchants Prepare for Film Feast
The Visit Santa Barbara event shows off local restaurants that are creating movie-themed dishes during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival
The Santa Barbara native pictured a heaping bowl of pasta — much like the one shown in the old film An American in Rome.
Dodera plans to recreate that vision this week as part of Film Feast, a promotion involving several local restaurants, wine tasting rooms and hotels that coincides with the 30th anniversary of the film festival.
Locals and visitors can catch special menus and discounts during the Visit Santa Barbara-organized program, which corresponds with the festival’s kickoff Tuesday and ends along with the event on Feb. 7.
“I had an image in my head as soon as I heard we were going to do some type of prix fixe,” Dodera said this week of the prearranged meal option offered inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, just a stone’s throw from where much of the festival unfolds at the Arlington Theatre.
The Paste Shoppe will sell $30 meals based on Italian-themed films, such as Lady and the Tramp (bucatini with beef and pork bolognese sauce) or An American in Rome (wild mushroom gnocchi).
“I know people are on the go,” Dodera said, noting meals could be boxed up for later. “To be right here behind it … I’m excited.”
The Pasta Shoppe expects to experience an increase in business during the film festival, a sentiment shared by all 15 merchants within the public market, which was recently vandalized during a break-in spree of downtown businesses.
Dodera said the merchants rallied around each other to open after the early-morning burglary Jan. 17.
The merchants first opened up shop last April, which makes 2015 the first year all of them will encounter the film festival.
Belcampo Meat Co. is trying to keep the mood light, offering a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs sandwich. Customers who remember to mention the film by name even get 30 percent off the sub.
The butcher shop was glad to participate in Film Feast alongside Eladio’s “Planet of the Cakes” dessert trio for the three Planet of the Apes films and other dishes inspired by The Goonies and more, said Belcampo general manager and head chef Carrie Mitchum,
“We’re right in the middle,” she said of the market’s proximity to film fest activities. “It’s fun.”
For a complete list of offers, and for information about Visit Santa Barbara’s special social media contest, click here.
Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Human-Trafficking Trial
Brannon Lawrence Pitcher was found guilty Monday of two counts of human trafficking of a minor, along with the special allegation that he used force, fear, fraud, deceit and violence while trafficking a 16-year-old girl, according to Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen, who prosecuted the case.
Pitcher also was found guilty of one misdemeanor count of possession of methamphetamine, and 73 counts of disobeying a court order.
Nguyen was reticent to give details about the crimes since a sentencing date has not yet been set.
She did say that the human-trafficking crimes occurred between May 2013 and August 2013, and again from Nov. 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2013, when Pitcher continued to traffic the girl from behind bars after his arrest on Aug. 22, 2013.
Pitcher, who is not from the area, brought the girl, also not a local, to different cities throughout California, including Santa Barbara, she said.
The victim did testify and take the stand during the jury trial, Nguyen said.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley released a statement on the case Monday, calling child sex trafficking a "silent but pervasive problem in all communities across our nation," which leaves victims to suffer the psychological and physical impacts.
"The evidence that became public during this trial confirms the fact that human trafficking is occurring in the County of Santa Barbara," Dudley said, adding that anyone with information about victims of human trafficking should call 9-1-1.
Arrest Attempt Leads to SWAT Standoff in Santa Maria
An attempt to serve an arrest warrant Monday afternoon on the western edge of the city led to a standoff involving the Santa Maria Police Department's SWAT team.
The incident reportedly began when bail agents were trying to serve the warrant at an RV parked on La Brea Avenue near A Street, police said.
They believed a domestic violence suspect who jumped bail was inside the RV.
After knocking on the door, the agents and accompanying police officers heard what sounded like someone racking a weapon inside the vehicle.
"For the sake of safety, they backed off," Cmdr. Phil Hansen said.
One person exited the vehicle, police said, and at least one other person was believed to still be inside.
Officers were attempting to contact by phone one person believed to be in the RV and blasting public-address messages to encourage those inside to leave the vehicle voluntarily.
Hansen said police also were seeking a search warrant for the RV on the basis of "public safety considerations." With a search warrant in hand, Hansen said, police would decide whether to use chemical agents "or something along those lines to try to get their attention and get them to comply with us."
"We're taking it nice and slow, by the numbers," he said, adding it's the safest approach for all those involved.
The standoff ended at approximately 9 p.m., police said.
Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.
Santa Barbara Stats Show Continuing Drop in Robberies, Rise in Traffic Accidents
The following is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.
» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening), Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service all remained within performance objectives. The average response time to Priority 3 (non-emergency) calls for service exceeded the performance objective of 30 minutes by six seconds.
» Positive trends: The rate of robberies has experienced a strong three-year downward trend. In 2014, there was a 30 percent decrease in robberies compared with 2013, and a 46 percent decrease compared with 2012. The rate of residential burglaries also decreased for the third year in a row. In 2014, there was a 28 percent decrease in residential burglaries compared with 2013 and a 35 percent decrease compared with 2012. Burglaries and thefts from vehicles have also followed a similar decline. In 2014, there was a 17 percent decrease in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared with 2013, and a 39 percent decrease compared with 2012.
» Areas of concern: The rate of injury traffic accidents rose for the third year in a row with 2014 having the highest number in the last six years — 570. In 2014, there was a 2 percent increase in injury traffic accidents compared with 2013 and a 12 percent increase compared with 2012. Bicycle traffic collisions also experienced a three-year upward trend. In 2014, there was an 18 percent increase in bicycle traffic collisions compared with 2013 and a 32 percent increase compared with 2012.
— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.
$826,065 in Donations to County’s Aviation Support Unit Raises Concern Among Supervisors, Auditor
A seemingly routine donation raised some eyebrows among county supervisors last week, after they were asked to approve an $826,000 donation from a nonprofit that raises money to maintain and upgrade helicopters used for search and rescue and law enforcement efforts in the county.
The supervisors were asked to approve $826,065 in donations that were raised by a nonprofit called Project Rescue Flight, which raises money to keep the county's Aviation Support Unit, which is home to five helicopters, operating at its best.
The helicopters are used for search and rescue operations in Santa Barbara's back and front country, as well as for law enforcement operations, including recent marijuana camp cleanups in the Los Padres National Forest.
About $307,556 of the money was raised in 2013-14 for maintenance and improvements to four helicopters. Another $500,000 was raised in 2014 to make upgrades to Copter 4, including more than $300,000 for an external rescue hoist.
The organization has donated millions of dollars to the Aviation Support Unit for years, but the size of the donation as well as the fact that it was split over multiple years raised some concern from Santa Barbara County Auditor Bob Geis. He said the fact that the organization's board is made up entirely of current Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department employees also raised concern.
"That's a significant issue in our eyes," he told the Board of Supervisors.
The donations being reported after the books were "closed" for a given year was concerning to him, as departments are to bring those numbers forward every quarter.
Supervisor Doreen Farr said the size of the donation made her "nervous" and questioned whether it was sustainable to depend on private donations to keep the unit operating.
After Supervisor Peter Adam asked Geis whether he should vote to approve the donation, Geis said that while the county shouldn't turn away a gift, more research needed to be done.
"We don't want to kill that goose, but we want to make sure these expenditures are on the county books," he told the supervisors, adding that "we really should revisit how this nonprofit is working."
The supervisors ultimately voted to revisit the donation at their Feb. 17 meeting.
Geis told Noozhawk that his biggest concern was that the board of Project Rescue Flight is made up of all Sheriff's Department employees.
"You want their board of directors to be independent from the supervisors and department heads," Geis said.
Sheriff Bill Brown said his department is working with the auditor's office to establish a mechanism to have the board accept the awards in a more timely manner and maintained that the organization is completely independent from the department.
"Project Rescue Flight was established by two of our deputies on their own time. Its board also includes civilians," he said. "Per its charter, it exists and raises funds solely for county aviation, so we do not feel there are any issues or conflicts re: independence.
"We were trying to rectify a few donations for work done by PRF that we hadn't reported in a timely manner at the same time we sought approval for the current donation. The Controllers Office was upset — understandably — because the books had been closed and will have to be reopened," he said, adding that Brown's and Geis' staff would be meeting to resolve the donations.
The organization's 990 Form states that the group's mission is "to assist the Sheriff's Department of the County of Santa Barbara to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, by providing airborne law enforcement and and search and rescue capabilities" and to raise monies for maintenance and replacement of the rescue helicopters.
Project Rescue Flight board president Gregg Weitzman, who also works for the Sheriff's Department as a pilot in the Aviation Support Unit, sat down with Noozhawk last week to talk about the foundation. The Aviation Support Unit was formed in 1996, and Weitzman recalled going to the Board of Supervisors in 1999 for financial support, which had previously be coming from the Sheriff's Council.
"They said, 'We don't have the cash so you're going to have to think outside the box,'" Weitzman said of the county.
The nonprofit was established in 2000, and yes, Weitzman said, all of the board members are current employees of the Sheriff's Department.
"Our attorneys said there was no conflict," he said.
Weitzman said the group gets most of its funding from a local nonprofit "that wants to remain anonymous," and he estimates Project Rescue Flight has raised $3 million since its formation.
"We've informed the department of everything we've done," he said. "There are no secrets."
Since the nonprofit was formed, the unit has obtained five helicopters, three of which are currently in service.
The helicopters are used Army aircraft that had to be rebuilt and require constant maintenance; 100 percent of what is raised goes towards the aircraft, he said.
The Project Rescue Flight board decides together what to spend the money on, Weitzman said.
"We have the expertise," he said. "We know what we need."
Some of the costs that went before the board last Tuesday went toward putting an external hoist on Copter 4, which is a safer way to lift people into the air during a rescue.
Before the helicopters were introduced, search and rescue crews would hike in on foot and search for a person solely by ground, without any air support.
"The hoist can make a one-day rescue operation into a 10-minute one," he said.
It was also spent on aerodynamics for the tail boom of the helicopter.
Three helicopters got new paint jobs, "and that was $100,000 right there," he said.
Whether the Aviation Support Unit would be self-sustaining without Project Rescue Flight, "that's the big question," he said.
For now, Weitzman said the organization will continue working to keep the helicopters running and conducting operations in the county.
"We want the best equipment to make things safer for us and the community," he said.
Resident Suffers Smoke Inhalation in Orcutt Home Fire
One person suffered minor smoke inhalation Monday after attempting to rescue two cats from a fire at an Orcutt home, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
County fire crews responded at 2:40 p.m. to a structure fire at a single-family dwelling in the 100 block of Siler Lane, Capt. David Sadecki said.
Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke showing from the one-story home, where fire was contained to the kitchen, Sadecki said.
Crews knocked the blaze down within 20 minutes, he said.
“We had smoke damage throughout the house,” Sadecki said.
A resident, who was home at the time, was treated for minor smoke inhalation after trying to rescue two cats from inside the home, but he said no one else was injured.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Goleta Mayor Appoints Katie Maynard to Serve on Planning Commission
Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte has appointed Katie Maynard to serve as her Planning Commission representative.
The position became available when Perotte’s former planning commissioner, Meg West, resigned to serve on the Board of Directors for the Goleta Water District.
“Ms. Maynard’s experience will be very beneficial as proposed projects come before the commission,” Perotte said. “It’s wonderful to have someone with her background working in this role, and I am grateful she is willing to serve our community in this way.”
Maynard is a sustainability coordinator at UCSB in the Geography Department. Her responsibility is to identify ways that the campus can reduce its environmental impact and collaborate with the community to ensure a healthy environment.
She has lived in Santa Barbara County for the last 13 years and in Goleta for the last two.
Planning Commission terms coincide with the terms of the appointing council member.
— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.
City of Santa Barbara Issues Reminder About Traffic Signals During Power Outages
The City of Santa Barbara reminds drivers that if they encounter a dark intersection where the traffic signals are inoperative, it must be treated as an all-way stop.
When traffic lights are inoperative, failure to stop at the normally controlled intersection prior to proceeding through the intersection when safe is a citable offense (Vehicle Code section 21800 (d)(1)) and carries a $238 fine.
The City of Santa Barbara shares the frustration of residents and business owners over the recent power outages. On Jan. 15, another significant power outage hit the downtown area. In addition to the power outages at businesses and residences, 19 of the city’s traffic signals lost power. The city has no control over the power outages.
During the recent power outage, an injury collision occurred at Haley and Laguna streets due to both drivers failing to treat the intersection as an all-way stop. Please use extreme caution when driving on Santa Barbara streets when the power is out.
— Derrick Bailey is a supervising transportation engineer for the City of Santa Barbara.
Karen Telleen-Lawton: Boston Is Nice, But a California Beach in Winter Is Where I Belong
Returning home last week from a wedding in Boston, my first need was to thaw out from frigid weather. I went to the beach.
Walking the winter shoreline early, before the fog lifted, I passed a couple of early birds — the human variety. Then I waded across the ocean inlet to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh, where the surf was beginning to overtake the flow of marsh water in their constant battle for control.
I shuffled carefully, since stingrays tend to accompany the tides to the marsh. The tides and potential for rays make the west side of the marsh outlet a peaceful or lonely experience, depending on your perspective. But there’s no such thing as an empty beach. Nearly free of people, the beach was a haven for shorebirds: plovers, willets, sandpipers, brown pelicans and even a couple of curlews with their impossibly long curved beaks.
After accidentally startling a few shorebirds away, I moved up from the surf a bit, walking higher in the littoral zone to allow them their space to hunt and peck. But then my feet would wander back down to the wet sand again. I startled the closer of a pair of willets, who eyed me carefully and shuffled farther away. The other bird, startled by the first one’s movement, sprang up several inches, flapping and displaying the white chevrons on his wings. Finally they both flew off, squawking at my having disturbed their breakfast.
My beachcombing desire is satisfied by carrying a found item until I discover something even better. The first treasure I found that morning was a palm-sized earth-toned stone, wave-rounded and beautiful. I dropped that when I happened upon a shark’s purse. Sometimes called mermaid’s purses, these are the egg cases of some sharks and skates. To me they look very much like kapok pods: small, smooth black pillows cradling the baby sharks. This one had popped open and held only seawater; I saved it for the rest of my walk.
To early beachcombers come many prizes. I have found whale vertebrae, huge trochus seashells, and a dead gull rolling in the surf with its mate calling plaintively beside it. I have seen willets walk in such a way as to form a “W” with their footprints. Ok, maybe that was coincidence. I have seen every type of human trash, but less of that year by year.
Wading back across the salt marsh outlet, the tide was higher, wetting the bottom of my rolled-up jeans. Now I strolled among a small throng of beachcombers, joggers, plugged-in music-aficionados, dogs and dog owners. Most owners carried their doggie bags in full view, and some had sensibly trained their pets to carry their own trash.
In Boston, near the harbor, I had watched professional dog-walkers being towed by what seemed like a dozen dogs or more. Many had those silly little dog coats, which didn’t seem so silly with the temperature in the 20s. I’ll admit that the snow is lovely, and Boston Harbor is picturesque and historical, but a winter California beach is where I belong.
Besides, Santa Barbara snow — Ceanothus thyrisiflorus — can be more fragrantly and temperately found in the foothills, minutes from the beach.
— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor (www.DecisivePath.com) and a freelance writer (www.CanyonVoices.com). Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Gail Anikouchine Named Board President for Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum would like to announce Gail Anikouchine as its new board president.
Anikouchine, a CPA and partner at MacFarlane, Faletti & Co. LLP, has over 20 years of experience in public accounting, primarily in the field of audits of nonprofit organizations and in business taxation.
Prior to joining this Santa Barbara firm 14 years ago, she worked for KPMG Peat Marwick.
She earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of California-Berkeley and a master's degree in business administration from the University of San Francisco.
She has served on other nonprofit boards both locally and nationally.
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, celebrating its 15th anniversary of its opening, provides opportunities for the community to learn more of the local maritime history critical to the development of the area through exhibits, art and education.
— Dennis Schuett is the marketing coordinator for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
CoastHills Credit Union Raises Nearly $570,000 for Community Organizations
A record eight-year total of more than $500,000 raised for the Mission Hope Cancer Center and other community nonprofits is a milestone for CoastHills Credit Union and its community foundation. In the last four years, CoastHills has raised more than $282,000 for the Santa Maria-based cancer center through “Rancho Vino,” its annual fundraising event. Another $287,558 has been raised over eight years through the credit union’s “Peak Performance” employee pledge campaign and other CoastHills events to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, the Foodbank, Jack’s Helping Hands and other local nonprofits.
In December, CoastHills presented a $75,000 check to the Mission Hope Cancer Center from proceeds of the 2014 Rancho Vino event. The funding will provide crucial support for those undergoing cancer treatments. Rancho Vino is a popular wine and food tasting gala that includes a silent and live auction. Nearly 300 people attended.
“We consider ourselves so very fortunate to have the friendship and support of the CoastHills team,” said Stephanie Grogan, vice president of philanthropy for the Marian Foundation.
“It takes a tremendous amount of work to put on an event like Rancho Vino, and the CoastHills staff once again poured their hearts into this effort on our behalf,” added Dr. Robert Dichmann, medical oncologist and medical director for the Mission Hope Cancer Center. “There are numerous other causes that CoastHills could be concentrating on, but we are grateful they have chosen cancer care as their focus over the last four years. We cannot express our gratitude enough.”
“CoastHills exists to serve the community,” said Jeff York, president and CEO of the 58,000 member credit union. “As a credit union, our entire focus is on our members and our vision of making a difference in our neighbor’s lives. It is truly what drives us, every day.”
York described the Rancho Vino event as a “culmination of months of planning, weeks of preparation, and a day of dedicated volunteers making the magic happen.” He said it is an event employee volunteers look forward to because they can see the tangible results of their efforts and the difference the funds make to the communities in which they live.
“We have a service promise at CoastHills that strives to give our members a “wow” experience,” York said. “That energy is pervasive across the organization, and includes a sense of service in all that we do, including our volunteer commitments.”
Over the last four years, CoastHills staff volunteered nearly 20,000 hours across such diverse groups as local animal shelters, youth sports teams and service organizations. The credit union encourages volunteerism, on and off the clock.
In addition, CoastHills’ $20,000 annual high school “Gold Standard Scholarship” program supports local high school seniors with college scholarships.
Its annual “Make a Difference Day” each October involves every CoastHills employee in a hands-on community support event ranging from school makeovers to last year’s project to build and donate 200 bikes to foster kids. First, more than 200 employees rallied together to build the bikes, and on Saturday, October 25, 2014, national Make a Difference Day, employees delivered the bicycles to six foster care facilities throughout the credit union’s five-county field of membership: Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
“This is such an incredible project, we have so many requests for bikes, especially around the holidays, you can’t imagine the freedom of the kids getting a bike for the first time," said Kim Davis with CASA of Santa Barbara County. “This is absolutely incredible, the first of its kind partnership with CASA. CoastHills, you are awesome!”
York acknowledged Davis’ appreciation along with the leaders of the cancer center. He said from CoastHills’ perspective, these philanthropic efforts hit home that “'Another great day’ is more than a tagline, it’s the effort we bring to the table every day.”
— Scott Coe is the chief marketing officer for CoastHills Credit Union.
KEYT, Sister Stations Garner 7 Golden Mikes
Awards handed out over the weekend by the Radio-Television News Association of Southern California
The broadcast news teams for KEYT, KCOY and KKFX were honored over the weekend with seven awards during the “Golden Mike” ceremony hosted by the Radio-Television News Association of Southern California.
“It's gratifying to see the hard work of our team recognized in such a fashion,” said News Director Jim Lemon. "The Golden Mike awards set high standards for excellence in local journalism, and I'm grateful to the judges who chose to award this talented group as it did.”
The RTNA has two divisions for competition. Local stations compete in “Division B” against each other and against stations in Bakersfield, Palm Springs and El Centro in the small market division.
The entire news team from KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY 12 Central Coast Local News and Fox 11 News received the award for “Best Live News Coverage” of the Isla Vista mass murders last May.
“That award was for the entire team, but not for something to be celebrated," Lemon said. "While the recognition is humbling, it is important to recognize and honor every part of our community that came together during that tragedy, from the heroic efforts of first responders to those who organized events so we could all grieve together.
"In times such as those, our job is to serve as a conduit so everyone in our community can come together. It was an honor to be a part in helping our community stand strong together.”
Reporter/Anchor Victoria Sanchez won two awards.
She interviewed a young woman walking down a street in Isla Vista who narrowly avoided a shot fired by mass murderer Elliot Rodger.
She also won for her work on Santa Barbara’s efforts to restart the desalination plant in face of the extreme drought.
Two Best Feature awards went to reporter John Palminteri.
His story profiling a mother and her children living out of their car won best Serious Feature.
He also won a “Best Light Feature” for a story on a local woman who received the opportunity to meet her favorite NASCAR driver.
Sports anchor/reporter Mike Klan won the award for Best Sports Segment, while Digital Content Director Oscar Flores was recognized for Best Video Editing for a story on SWAT team training.
The Golden Mike Awards are touted as Southern California's most prestigious, and most coveted, broadcast journalism prize.
Unlike most awards contests in which winners are determined by selecting which entry is the "best" among all those submitted in each category, winners of the Golden Mike Awards must also meet the "Standard of Excellence."
If the judges decide that no entry in a category meets the "Standard of Excellence", then no award is given in that category.
Blue-ribbon panels of judges are constituted by recruiting first-rate, experienced broadcast news professionals from top markets, stations, networks, bureaus, and universities across the country.
SBNC, Direct Relief and Jodi House Receive $50,000 Health Access Grants from Medtronic
Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Direct Relief and Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center each received a two-year $50,000 Health Access Grant from Medtronic Philanthropy in recognition of their continued commitment to improve access to health care.
Each was nominated by a team of Medtronic Neurosurgery employees working in Goleta.
The mission of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics is to provide high quality, comprehensive, affordable health care to all people, regardless of their ability to pay, in an environment that fosters respect, compassion and dignity. SBNC provides primary health care to children and families, many who are low-income or who have no health insurance. Their team of doctors, family nurse practitioners and medical assistants provide a full range of primary medical care, dental care, and behavioral health services. They also focus on illness prevention, health screenings, wellness education and continuity of care.
Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a leading medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and in 70 countries and is the only U.S. nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) certification by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The organization runs the largest U.S. charitable medicines program through a network of more than 1,200 nonprofit clinic and health center providers nationwide. It has top charity ratings, including four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and a 100 percent fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine.
Jodi House is a community based non-profit serving survivors of stroke, aneurysm, traumatic and acquired brain injuries, and their families, caregivers, friends, volunteers and the community at large. Jodi House’s “Brain Injury Support Program” is designed to assist the brain injury survivor in successfully returning to his or her community at the highest possible level of functioning, while also providing information and referral services. The program is comprised of community integration, supported living and vocational supported services. Jodi House also links survivors and their families to various agencies that support mental wellness, continued medical care and rehabilitation, and to social services and education programs.
“At Medtronic, we are dedicated to improving the health of the world, and that starts right here in Santa Barbara,” said Jeff Henderson, senior director of Quality, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs. “We invest in localized health access initiatives that support and recognize community-based organizations such as SBNC, Direct Relief and Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center , allowing them to continue and expand their great work.”
Medtronic Health Access Grants are awarded in 36 communities around the world in recognition of community-based programs and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to expanding access to chronic disease care for the underserved.
Ron Werft Speaks About ‘Health Care in the Region’ at CLU Breakfast in Santa Barbara
The Cottage Health System president/CEO discusses increasing costs, the Affordable Care Act and the Covered California exchange
Cottage Health System President/CEO Ron Werft spoke masterfully Friday on the topic “Health Care in the Region” at California Lutheran University’s Corporate Leaders Breakfast at The Fess Parker Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara.
The Corporate Leaders Breakfast Series brings members of the business and civic communities together to hear from prominent leaders in the region. Hosted five times a year, the events feature guest speakers and panel discussions highlighting issues of interest to the business community.
More than 100 attendees enjoyed breakfast and networking before Cal Lutheran President/CEO Chris Kimball, Ph.D., introduced Werft, the morning’s keynoter.
Werft joined Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in 1987 as executive vice president and chief operating officer and was promoted in 2000 to president and CEO of Cottage Health System, which now includes three hospitals in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez.
A graduate of the University of California-San Diego, he serves on the boards of United Way of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Voluntary Hospitals of America West Coast and Santa Barbara Fighting Back. Werft holds a master’s degree in hospital and health care administration from the University of Minnesota.
Many sponsors were represented at the event, including Montecito Bank & Trust, the Sage Center, Wells Fargo Bank, Los Robles Hospital, Bill Kearney Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Union Bank, Edison International, UCLA Health, Limoneira, Ventura County Credit Union and Sodexo.
In his remarks, Werft noted the dramatic increase in the cost of American health care, which now dominates 17.4 percent of the nation’s gross national product. Half of that $2.6 trillion price tag goes to hospitals and doctors. Currently, 25 percent of the federal government’s budget is spent on subsidized health care such as Medicare. Although spending for medical care is now slightly less from a few years ago, it still averages $8,745 per person annually, which is twice as much as other developing countries.
Werft noted that is partly because of lifestyle choices in the United States, including obesity and the hefty amount of funding that is spent on end-of-life care.
A notable effect on the health-care industry, he said, was the passing of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare that was implemented in March 2010. Its implementation was due in part to the large number of uninsured in the U.S., denials in coverage for pre-existing conditions, and 20 to 30 percent annual increases in health insurance premiums. While citizens are struggling to pay for higher deductibles and paying for a greater share of medical care, wages remain flat, thus increasing the percentage of low- and middle-income families spending on health care.
California is one of a few states that runs its own health insurance exchanges. Werft believes that this in part has slowed insurance premium increases to 14 percent in 2014. However, smaller medical plans have been bought out by larger insurers and some insurers have left the market altogether. The remaining insurers in the local region are Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Other statistics that he noted were that in 2010, 16 percent of families were uninsured, 50 percent were insured by employers and 19 percent paid out of pocket. The Covered California insurance exchange notes that 26,000 new clients in the region have joined the ranks of the insured since the ACA started. There has also been a reduction in charity and self pay in the emergency room as these patients are now enrolled in Medi-Cal.
Werft said that many challenges remain in American health care, including the high costs of research and development, pharmaceuticals and end-of-life care.
The series will continue with a talk on “Leading a Successful Nonprofit” by Thomas Vozzo, CEO of Homeboy Industries, on March 3 at the Sheraton Agoura Hills and a panel discussion on “The Future of Online Business” on May 5 at Cal Lutheran. For more information, contact Sharon Nelson at email@example.com or 805.493.3150, or visit CalLutheran.edu/clb.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.
Daylong Conference at UCSB Highlights Career Options for Humanities, Social Science Graduates
For many liberal arts students, a career path isn’t always clear cut or obvious. The skills they acquire as they work toward their university degrees are varied and often don’t point them in a particular direction.
But job opportunities and career options do exist on the other side of a degree in the humanities, and highlighting that fact was the goal of the inaugural Liberal Arts Advantage Career Conference at UC Santa Barbara.
Sponsored by the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Letters and Science, UCSB Career Services and the UCSB Alumni Association, the conference featured representatives from a variety of fields, including history, English and political science.
John Majewski, acting dean of humanities in the College of Letters and Science, professor of history and a conference speaker, emphasized that while liberal arts students don’t have the tailored skill set of an engineer, mathematician or computer scientist, they do have a range of abilities applicable to many career fields.
“The liberal arts teach students vitally important skills such as research, writing and critical thinking,” he said. “In essence, you learn how to learn.”
The conference, he added, was designed to help students translate those invaluable skills in the practical realities of the job market.
For English major Naomi Zaldate, who developed a passion for literature as a child reading Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, the conference offered an opportunity for her to learn more about becoming an author herself.
“I am looking for a future in writing, and through this conference I want to become more aware of the career options available to me,” she said.
Senior Alec Killoran said he attended the conference in search of guidance.
“I’m hoping to be enlightened by a career option that utilizes my writing and communication skills,” he said. “I felt a sense of urgency to find direction as I am nearing graduation.”
Noted Ignacio Gallardo, director of UCSB Career Services, “The conference aims to help our students recognize that through their education they are gaining skills that are highly desired by employers. Any list of strengths desired by modern employers is nearly 100 percent from our arts and humanities curriculum.”
Among those offering words of wisdom and encouragement to conference participants were keynote speaker Susan de la Vergne of Alder Business Services Inc. She discussed the importance of an employer’s needs in order to effectively communicate skill sets. Other speakers included Rose Hayden-Smith, from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who urged students to use a liberal arts education creatively when deciding on a career field. She reminded them that “career missteps will happen, but life is all about rewriting and editing, and you will stumble into great things.”
Kenneth Kosik, Harriman Professor of Neuroscience at UCSB and director of the campus’s Neuroscience Research Institute, presented a unique perspective by connecting literature to science.
“It is important to build basic fundamentals, which in essence is the humanities. You must learn how to tell a story because no one sees the experiment. Literature acts as the scaffold to many career experiences, especially for research,” he said.
According to Majewski, “Salary and survey data shows that arts and humanities majors enjoy stimulating and rewarding careers. This conference shows students how that discovery process works so they can be confident and proactive in finding a career that best fit their interests and talents.”
— Jessica Fenton represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
Carpinteria Celebrates Its Outstanding Citizens
David Powdrell and Gabriel Zapien-Ybarra are named Carpinterians of the Year
A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand over the weekend as the Carpinteria community gathered to celebrate some of its most noteworthy residents and businesses.
David Powdrell was honored as the 2014 Carpinterian of the Year while Gabriel Zapien-Ybarra was named Junior Carpinterian of the Year.
The 57th annual Carpinteria Community Awards Banquet and Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting was held Saturday night at the Boys & Girls Club, with the theme of "Honoring Our Past … Celebrating Out Future."
Lynda Lang, Carpinteria Chamber CEO, noted that the event is a chance each year to "cheer those in the community who have gone well beyond the call of duty with ongoing leadership and giving qualities."
Powdrell was recognized for his longtime dedication to a variety of volunteer programs.
His efforts have included packing and delivering meals to homebound seniors for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County; volunteering for Carpinteria's Downtown Host Program and Carpinteria Beautiful; and serving as volunteer photographer for a variety of local organizations.
Powdrell was described as someone who has served Carpinteria "with kindness, grace and giving."
Zapien-Ybarra is a senior at Carpinteria High School, where his GPA is nearly 4.3.
After graduating in June, he hopes to attend either USC or Baylor University, with the aim of combining sports, science and business to purse a degree in kinesiology.
Organizers said Zapien-Ybarra "is passionate about Carpinteria, and wants to make a positive local impact after college."
Also honored Saturday night were Whimsy Antiques, small business of the year; Shepard Place Apartments, large business of the year; Debbite Stevens Kuhn, chamber ambassador of the year; Powdrell, chamber volunteer of the year; and Brandon Sportel and Ema Irene Edrington, educators of the year.
Finalists for Junior Carpinterian also included Adrianna Morales and Jonathan Cleek.
Job Creators Network, NAWBO Announce New Partnership
Job Creators Network and the National Association of Women Business Owners have announced a new partnership aimed at providing employer and employee resources to the approximately 5,000 NAWBO member businesses throughout the United States.
At nearly 10 million strong, women-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of the American economy. NAWBO, which includes a Santa Barbara chapter, leverages the unique attributes women bring to the business table to illuminate, transform and ultimately harness its wide-ranging community of entrepreneurial women into a unified, influential voice.
“Women are a major contributor and a driving force in our economy. At NAWBO, we work to ensure that regardless of size or sector or stage in business, women entrepreneurs have all the tools they need to ascend to the next level,” said Darla Beggs, NAWBO national board chairwoman. “NAWBO members are mission driven. They genuinely want to see their businesses as well as their fellow women entrepreneurs succeed.
"This drive to give back to current and future women entrepreneurs has always been at the core of NAWBO. NAWBO was founded 40 years ago by a group of women who strove to remove obstacles for women entrepreneurs. Because they knew then what is still true today — when women do well, they give it back to their employees, their communities and our economy. Efforts to educate and engage women entrepreneurs, like this partnership with JCN, really pay off.”
“Women-owned companies in the United States generated $1.4 trillion in sales last year alone,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president of JCN. “Clearly this is an enterprising segment of our economy that deserves every networking and educational resource available. That’s where Job Creators Network comes in.”
Job Creators Network will partner with NAWBO on policy issues that promote job creation and entrepreneurism among its members. NAWBO will also distribute JCN news and educational materials to all members in 60 chapters across the country to facilitate a communications program for member CEOs committed to employer to employee (E2E) education.
“We understand that some of the government policies we are seeing come out of Washington are forcing business owners everywhere to make very tough decisions,” Ortiz said. “We want to make sure women entrepreneurs have the most thorough knowledge of policies that can help — and hurt — their ability to start and grow their businesses.
“Our goal for this partnership is to create a vast workforce that is empowered to make informed decisions that will shape our future for robust business growth and job creation.”
Savills Studley Announces Sale of Carrillo Plaza in Downtown Santa Barbara
Carrillo Plaza, an urban shopping center located at 210 W. Carrillo Blvd. in downtown Santa Barbara, has been sold after a successful repositioning of the property by owner Carrillo Holdings LLC, a private Santa Barbara-based real estate company.
The purchase price was approximately $12.2 million. Anchored by Starbucks Coffee Co., the 18,743-square-foot retail plaza is comprised of a mix of neighborhood businesses including local favorite Tino’s Italian Grocery, which moved here from the De la Guerra Street location it occupied for more than 40 years.
The property sits at the corner of De la Vina Street and Carrillo Boulevard, a major thoroughfare connecting Highway 101 with the downtown corridor and prominent retail, cultural and historic attractions such as State Street, the Granada Theatre and The Historic Presidio. It is bordered by residential neighborhoods to the west and east.
The property was completely renovated over the last four years in keeping with the area’s Mission Revival style of architecture. The ownership upgraded building systems and added amenities such as an outdoor patio and complementary landscaping.
Bill Bauman, executive vice president, and Kyle Miller, corporate managing director, of Savills Studley represented the seller in the transaction.
“The timing was right to take an advantage of a dynamic marketplace and leverage the successful repositioning of the property,” Miller said. “The seller invested the capital needed to enhance the appeal of the center, attract tenants, and ultimately realize a rewarding sales price.”
The buyer was New Group-Santa Barbara LLC, a private Los Angeles-based real estate company.
“This opportunity met all of the buyer’s investment criteria, including the property’s location in a coastal, high-barrier-to-entry trade area, its high visibility within the submarket, and the stability of the asset,” Bauman said.
This is the sixth transaction Savills Studley has executed on behalf of the seller in Santa Barbara in the last 18 months. Other notable sales included the single-tenant Union Bank in Montecito for $16 million and the SONOS building and Anacapa Project in the Funk Zone for about $19 million and $12 million, respectively.
— Renay Weissberger Fanelli is a publicist representing Savills Studley.
SBUSD Choral Showcase Set for Monday in San Marcos Auditorium
The San Marcos High School auditorium will be one of the happiest places in Santa Barbara at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26.
The joyous young voices of children in grades 3 through 6, junior high and high school choirs will be shared in a celebration of music at the second annual SBUSD Choral Showcase.
This event is a collaboration of the music teachers from Adams Elementary, Monroe, Franklin, Roosevelt, Harding, Cleveland, McKinley, Santa Barbara Community Academy, Goleta Valley Junior High School La Colina and Santa Barbara junior high schools, and Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara and San Marcos high schools.
Come and enjoy this choral event where children and older students sing for each other and as a community perform a few songs in a large combined choir. These performance opportunities help build student’s confidence, self esteem, responsibility, creativity, and is guaranteed to do wonders for the audience’s mind and spirit.
The San Marcos auditorium is located at 4750 Hollister Ave.
— Aaron Solis is the activities director for San Marcos High School.
Santa Maria Police Make 4 DUI Arrests During Roving Saturation Patrol
The Santa Maria Police Department conducted a Roving DUI Saturation Patrol on Saturday between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. as part of Santa Maria’s commitment to public safety.
This operation was one of many that will be conducted throughout the year in the city of Santa Maria.
The goal of the Roving DUI Saturation Patrol was to take impaired and unlicensed drivers off the street and bring awareness to the public of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
» Vehicles stopped — 15
» Drivers evaluated for DUI (alcohol) — 7
» Drivers evaluated for DUI (drugs) — 0
» DUI arrests (alcohol) — 4 (including a driver with a fifth DUI)
» DUI arrests (drugs) — 0
» Total arrests — 4
» Unlicensed drivers — 2
» Drivers with suspended licenses — 0
» Citations for open container in vehicle — 0
» Total citations issued — 4
» Vehicles impounded for 30 days — 1
» Vehicles towed for storage only — 0
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Report drunken drivers by calling 9-1-1.
Drive to Declare Father Junípero Serra a Saint Has a Santa Barbara Connection
Pope Francis’ decision to canonize the California missionary is not universally acclaimed but supporters point to ‘context of the times’
Sainthood could soon be added to the résumé of Father Junípero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan friar credited with bringing Catholicism to California by establishing nine missions between San Diego and San Francisco.
Pope Francis has alluded to the possibility of granting the high honor, and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church could canonize Serra during a visit to the United States in September.
Although rumors initially indicated the pope would recognize Serra in California, it seems he plans to only visit New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., according to Fr. Ken Laverone, a Sacramento pastor who has championed the cause of Serra’s sainthood for more than a decade.
But even as the pope prepares to consider canonization, Serra’s critics are speaking out against elevating the historical status of a man they say drove out thousands of native Indians in his quest to spread Christianity.
As head of the order in California, Serra baptized thousands of Indians before he died in 1784 at age 71.
Ten years ago, the Vatican appointed Laverone, provincial vicar of Santa Barbara Province, to be an advocate for Serra, second in the task only to the Rev. John Vaughn, a Franciscan priest at the Santa Barbara Mission.
Vaughn has been ill as of late, so Laverone has become Serra’s No. 1 champion.
Laverone described Serra as a man who left a “cushy” job as a professor in Spain to bring the gospel to the New World, starting first in Mexico and working his way north.
He established nine missions in California: San Diego de Alcalá, San Antonio de Padua in Jolon, San Gabriel Arcángel, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Juan Capistrano, San Francisco de Asís, Santa Clara de Asís, San Buenaventura and San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Carmel, where he had a headquarters and where he is buried.
Serra was present when El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara was founded in 1782, but the Santa Barbara Mission was established after his death in 1786 as the 10th California mission.
“He was strongly outspoken about the treatment of Indians by the Spanish government,” Laverone said. “A lot of the detractors blame Serra himself for what happened. As a father to these people, maybe (he was) a harsh father sometimes, because he grew up with a harsh father.
“It’s hard to judge the actions of people from a 21st-century perspective. We have to put it into the context of the times.”
Serra suffered great hardship and battled serious health issues of his own, Laverone said, and first-person accounts described him as having a great deal of respect for every human being.
While some tribes have come out against Serra’s recognition, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians did not wish to comment on the topic, a tribal spokesperson said.
Pope Francis believes so much in Serra’s work that Laverone said he is waiving a key requirement of sainthood — performing two miracles.
Serra was beatified in 1988 after his first miracle of healing a woman with Lupus was verified. Laverone said “beatification” typically means a person is one step away from sainthood.
The Franciscan friar also has quite a religious following, another requirement.
“This is an honor the church is bestowing on him — that’s the primary focus,” Laverone said. “The church views him as someone who has a great heroic virtue. In the minds of some people, especially the church in California, he’s the one who’s responsible for the church in California.”
Laverone said the pope could officially consider Serra for sainthood as early as February.
Cabrillo High School Counselor Lauren Pressman Selected as 2014 Lompoc Peace Prize Winner
Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village picks educator from among a dozen nominees for annual award
A Cabrillo High School counselor who advises a student group working to end bullying and who regularly sponsors community discussions on a variety of social topics has been honored with the 2014 Peace Prize for Lompoc Valley.
“I’m very humbled by this,” Pressman said, “because of all the nominees, I don’t feel like I do anything more or better than any of you or any of the other people who are doing wonderful things in the community.”
A dozen people representing a broad cross section of the community were nominated for the prize, which last year went to the Rev. Doug Conley, pastor at New Life Christian Center and founder of the City of Promise Homeless Shelter.
“If anybody asks why we do what we do ... I would answer that it’s because we have to,” Pressman said in accepting her award. “I don’t think there’s really a choice.”
She added, “It nurtures my soul, I guess. ... It makes me feel good to know I’m doing something for others.”
Pressman also serves as faculty adviser for a student group dedicated to promoting understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
She and her husband, Alan Shewell, since 2013 have sponsored monthly talks on assorted topics such as race relations, border security, affirmative action and more.
The other nominees were Norma Anderson, Sally Bass, Mark Cargasacchi, Bill Carlsen, Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez, Sid Haro, Jan Martinez, Catalina McIsaac, Luciana Sala Gallegos, Darrell Tullis and Jon Vanderhoof.
For the past year, the Peace Prize sat on the piano in the New Life Christian Center activities room.
Sharing about what it’s meant to provide a home for the Peace Prize for the last year, Conley said that although one person would go home with the prize Sunday, all 12 nominees would continue their community service work afterward.
“We’re all going to keep doing what we’ve always done, and that is to help people help themselves,” he said.
Conley noted the sorrow following last week’s killing of a transient in Lompoc, and told about a conversation with one of his homeless shelter clients.
“He looked at me and said, ‘I’m home and I know that I’m safe’,” he said.
“I thought, ‘That’s why we do what do,’” Conley added.
This marked the fifth time the Vandenberg Village church has awarded the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize, which is made of black oak, copper and ceramic, and stands some 2 feet high. Winners’ names are engraved on the trophy, which they keep for a year before handing it over to the next recipient.
Each fall, community members and organizations make nominations of individuals who “have contributed to the peace, harmony and understanding of the Lompoc community” and a Peace Prize Committee from the church selects the recipient.
The idea for the annual Peace Prize arose during a 2009 church brainstorming session and was embraced by the congregation the next year. The Peace Prize was dedicated during a morning worship on Aug. 8, 2010, and first awarded at a ceremony in early 2011.
Freeman’s Flying Chicken Expands Delivery Area, Menu
Freeman’s Flying Chicken has expanded its delivery area! Now, from Fairview Avenue in Goleta to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, you and your family can enjoy a perfectly prepared rotisserie chicken dinner, with classic side dishes, to give you a night (or two) off and out of the kitchen.
Open from 4 to 9 p.m. daily, Freeman’s Flying Chicken is centrally located at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. Order online, from your mobile device, or by phone for pick up or delivery. Freeman’s goal is to bring healthy and flavorful dinner options delivered right to your door, with a cost-effective angle in mind.
Newly added to the complete dinners is the tender Teriyaki Chicken Dinner with stir-fried veggies. Dinner combinations can be ordered in three sizes: Medium serves 1-2; Large serves 3-4; and Extra Large serves 4-5. Prices range from $19.50 to $34.50.
Five other family-style dinners on the menu are barbecue, Greek, Cuban, All-American and Italian. The sides for all of the dinners can be purchased a la carte to create your own dinner combination. Big, chunky chocolate chip cookies or rice crispy treats finish off with a sweet note.
And speaking of sweet ...
On Sunday, Feb. 14, Freeman’s Flying Chicken will add a beautiful single red rose to make the dinner of your choice a real “Sweetheart” feast.
For walk up or pick-up orders, Freeman’s Flying Chicken is located inside Gate C at Earl Warren Showgrounds, just off Highway 101 at the Las Positas Road exit in Santa Barbara.
Click here for more information about Freeman’s Flying Chicken, or call 805.765.9200.
Organic Farm Boasts New Owner, Same Friendly Vibe — Minus the Peace Sign
Abel Basch carries on proud tradition at Classic Organic Farm & Market near Gaviota, even if landmark barn has a different look
Abel Basch wants customers to feel just as welcome and at home at Classic Organic Farm & Market as they did when Helmut Klauer owned the business.
Even though the familiar peace sign no longer adorns the side of the farm’s big barn off Highway 101 south of Buellton, he said, the sentiments of friendliness remain.
“Helmut taught me a lot in the months before he left for Hawaii,” Basch told Noozhawk. “Yes, his style is very classic, not to sound corny, and I will definitely take what he taught me to heart and put my own style with it.
“I will have all the same great organic produce and try some new varieties that I hope our customers will love.”
There have been several changes since Klauer left the 15-acre farm in October. The sales area was moved to a smaller barn, a patio was built in the back, and the peace sign is gone, as it belonged to Klauer.
Basch hails from the Los Angeles area and grew up in the suburbs. His love of farming stemmed from his family raising chickens and having a small garden in their yard.
When Basch was 18, he moved to Santa Barbara to study music at Santa Barbara City College.
After a visit to Israel and spending a few months working in a kitchen, he returned to SBCC and enrolled in its culinary program.
“I was really trying to find myself, and by going to Israel I thought I could start with knowing more of my culture,” Basch said. “I loved being there so much I went back to learn about permaculture.”
Permaculture is a way of environmental design that combines engineering, water management, and sustainable and regenerative agriculture modeled from natural ecosystems, according to the Permaculture Institute.
“Permaculture is about looking at every aspect of natural ecosystems and encouraging native pollinators, protecting biodiversity while building soil capabilities,” Basch explained.
When Basch completed the six-month program, he stayed for another six months learning as much as he could.
While researching farming options on Farmlink.com, he saw that Classic Organic was for sale and bought it with his family. He returned from Israel in July, spent one night at home, and then moved to the farm near Gaviota.
“It’s been wonderful meeting all the people who come to the barn, learning the history of the area,” Basch said. “I will continue to create a space where people can come be hands-on picking their own produce or just need a quick stop for local fresh products.”
Since he has a background in culinary arts, Basch wants to integrate his farm into the digital age and perhaps start a video blog with cooking techniques. He also wants to host cooking classes for those interested.
“This climate is so similar to where I was in Israel, even the weeds are the same,” Basch said. “So I have an idea of how to rotate crops and water management systems that will work, and I want to experiment with some varieties that people don’t see all the time in the store.”
The barn store still works on the honor system, but those who don’t have cash on hand can use their new PayPal account.
The farm’s name, Classic Organic, might change in the coming months, but no new name has been chosen.
Current produce available at the barn is beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach and squash. In February, there will be several kinds of broccoli.
Barn hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, but if the barn doors are open before or after, customers are free to go in.
Classic Organic Farm & Market is located at 2330 Old Coast Highway off Highway 101 near the Nojoqui Park sign, north of Gaviota. Click here for more information.
Michelle Malkin: Obama Omits Mention of His Bloody Yemen Disaster
When President Barack Obama declares something a “success story,” you know it has “TOTAL FAILURE” embedded in its DNA.
Four months ago, America’s King Midas in Reverse crowed about the fruits of his triumphant foreign policy in jihad-infested Yemen. A “light footprint” approach to counterterrorism operations, he claimed, was the most effective path to stability. In addition, Obama has shoveled nearly $1 billion in American tax-subsidized foreign aid to Yemen.
Four months later, Iran-backed Shia rebels seized a Yemeni presidential palace. The president and his entire cabinet tendered their resignations on Thursday, creating a vacuum that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is ready and eager to fill. ISIS is gaining its own Sunni foothold in the Muslim terror-breeding ground. And while the JV team at the State Department dithers with hashtag games and selfies, adults at the Pentagon want to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel and other Americans before it’s too late.
It would be bad enough if the current crisis were merely the result of incompetence and negligence. But Obama’s disastrous Yemen policy reflects his radical left-wing administration’s deep-rooted ideological sympathies for our enemies.
This is, after all, the man who wrote immediately after 9/11 that the well-funded and highly educated murderous hijackers’ hatred grew “out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” Obama’s pussyfoot strategy against jihadists was a direct rebuke to the supposed “cowboy” approach of President George W. Bush, whom progressives blame for radicalizing poor, oppressed Yemenis. President Huggy Bear won a Nobel Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” and outreach to the Muslim world.
But what the kumbaya crowd refused to acknowledge is this: The Yemen-based jihadist network, like the worldwide Islamic terror movement, has been at war with us for years — long before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, long before 9/11, long before the global onset of Bush Derangement Syndrome. This coming October, America will mark the 15th anniversary of the USS Cole bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden, which took the lives of 17 American crew members.
In February 2009, Obama met with Cole families and promised them justice. Then, he betrayed them by ordering the Justice Department to abandon the death penalty case assembled against al-Qaeda mastermind and chief Cole bombing suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri under the Bush administration. Only after a public uproar did Obama reinstate the charges. He’s dragged his feet on the trial ever since, but found the time to recently release five Yemeni Gitmo detainees. Another half-dozen went home at the end of last year. And until last week, Obama had planned to fly another 47 back to their volatile homeland.
All this despite five years of revolving-door Gitmo recidivist activities in Yemen — and with knowledge of Yemen’s terror training of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the jihadist who attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009.
The Yemen chaos didn’t happen overnight. The White House has allowed jihad to fester there from Day One. Reminder: In late January 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen came under gunfire. American diplomatic staff had been warned of a pending attack. That same month, two former Yemeni Gitmo detainees, Said Ali al-Shihri and Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, released a video publicly recommitting to “aid the religion,” “establish the rightly guided caliphate” and “fight against our enemies” after undergoing terrorism “rehab” in Saudi Arabia.
Why has Obama so wantonly aided and abetted our enemies? Appeasement of the international human rights crowd and agreement with the soft-on-jihad lawyers infesting his own Justice Department. As I’ve reported previously, Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm, Covington & Burling, provided dozens of dangerous Yemeni Gitmo detainees pro bono legal representation and sob-story media relations campaigns. At least nine Obama DOJ appointees represented or advocated for Gitmo denizens before taking positions in our government.
By words and action, the Obama White House has demonstrated that its primary allegiance lies not with protecting Americans, but with coddling jihadists (with a drone killing tossed in here and there, of course, to ward off critics and maintain political viability). If the Obama administration exerted as much energy combating Yemeni jihadists as it did waging war on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the Yemen capital might still be standing.
Conveniently, the political football-spiking White House left any mention of Yemen out of the State of the Union address. This is Obama’s own version of DeflateGate. Pfffffffffft.
— Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at email@example.com, follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Santa Barbara School District Resumes Outside Transfers, But Elementary Spots in Short Supply
Outside students will be allowed to transfer into the Santa Barbara Unified School District next year but it’s unlikely many will be admitted to the elementary schools.
The Board of Trustees approved a new interdistrict transfer policy that allows up to 100 students for the 2015-2016 school year, with no more than 50 seats allocated for elementary schools on a space-available basis.
District officials stopped accepting outside transfers several years ago for financial reasons, but have decided to open it up on a small scale.
Open Alternative School is granted up to 25 seats for out-of-district students under the new transfer policy because of its unique situation of being located outside elementary district boundaries. The K-8 school is located on the campus of La Colina Junior High School, 4025 Foothill Road, and nearby families can’t attend OAS without an interdistrict transfer, which makes it difficult to recruit students, according to parents and staff.
Even with the opportunity for interdistrict transfers, availability is always an unknown, said Mitch Torina, Santa Barbara Unified School District director of pupil services.
“We can project that students will move from one grade to another, and estimate from a variety of sources what kindergarten population might be coming in,” he said in an email to Noozhawk.
“But we cannot take into account families that move in or out, which home residence school they move in to, and therefore we are not able to know what will be available for next year. The impact has continued to be our own resident students being placed in their home school.”
The transfer application period for in-district and out-of-district students ends Feb. 17.
SBUSD receives state funding on a per-student basis as part of the Local Control Funding Formula now, but in the past has been funded by a basic-aid model in which all funding comes from local property taxes. Under that model, transfer students coming from outside district boundaries wouldn’t contribute any funding to the district.
The financial impact of interdistrict transfers will depend on where the students go, according to Meg Jette, the district’s assistant superintendent of business services.
“We are funded by grade span so that will make a difference,” she said in an email.
If the district added 100 students — which is very unlikely — it could mean an additional $700,000 cost, but that is just an estimate, she said.
Talking Law: Tax Inversions — Unpatriotic Loophole or All-American Response to Overtaxation?
President Barack Obama recently called corporate tax inversions an “unpatriotic tax loophole.” The multinational American corporations that are the beneficiaries of the loophole responded by saying that, if the United States had a lower corporate tax rate and a simpler tax code, fewer companies would pursue inversions. Although tax inversions have been around since the early 1980s, tax inversions were in the news in 2014.
What, exactly, is a tax inversion? How much do tax inversions actually affect corporate taxes? Is the tax inversion loophole different than other tax loopholes? How soon are tax inversions going to be shut down by Washington?
According to Wikipedia, a tax inversion, or corporate inversion, is a largely American term for the relocation of a corporation’s headquarters to a lower-tax nation, or corporate haven, usually while retaining its material operations in its higher-tax country of origin.
An article from The Economist in September 2014 provides a concise explanation about the benefits of inversions:
The incentive is simple. America taxes profits no matter where they are earned, at a rate of 39 percent — higher than in any other rich country. When a company becomes foreign through a merger, or “inverts,” it no longer owes American tax on its foreign profit.
How much do tax inversions affect corporate taxes? A December 2014 bloomberg.com article posted by Zachary R. Mider describes the results of data compiled on 15 companies that inverted between 1994 and 2009. According to the article, these businesses effectively lowered their average tax rate to 15.7 percent from 33.5 percent.
The downside to tax inversions is, obviously, less tax revenue to the Internal Revenue Service. Mider states that American companies that have already carried out inversions are likely to lower the amount of revenue collected by the federal government by $2.2 billion or more in 2015. This is is twice the amount of revenue the IRS lost to inversions in 2014, and we know the IRS revenue lost to inversions will increase in the future. An exerpt from Mider’s Bloomberg post frames the potential future impact of tax inversions pretty well:
... That doesn’t include the impact of companies that shift their legal addresses abroad in the future, which one congressional study pegged at about $2 billion a year over the next decade. Since the first inversion in 1982, the deals have cost more than $9.8 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars ...
— Zachary R. Mider, bloomberg.com
The federal government stands to lose quite a bit of revenue through tax inversions. Congress agrees as a whole that something should be done, but is deadlocked on what to do and how to do it.
Right now, tax inversions legally lower taxes owed to the IRS, so there is no practical difference between tax inversions and any other legal tax mitigation strategy. In fact, some midmarket companies may start following the lead of the large multinationals in seeking foreign corporate mergers. Whether this is a reasonable business tax strategy depends on a lot of variables, including how committed the organization seeking the tax inversion is.
Tax inversions are dependent on the acquisition of a foreign company. This is, at best, a resource-heavy executive and administrative effort that could take years to consummate. We also know that the laws will eventually change, we just don’t know when or how.
Although the split in federal government power and ideology means there is no real risk of the tax inversion loophole closing any time soon, the risk grows greater as federal tax revenue goes down because of it.
Corporate tax inversions are interesting as much for the real impact they have on taxes as they are for the political positioning we observe due to their high-profile existence. Any future changes in corporate tax law to manage tax inversions will likely affect companies of all sizes, not just the big multinational ones. They are worth paying attention to.
— This article was written by the Tax & Business Law Teams at Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP of Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are their own. This article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice on any of the information in this post, click here for the form or phone number on the Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell Contact Us page.
CSU Channel Islands Confirms a Case of Student Measles
Some CSUCI students may have been exposed to measles on Jan. 20. The infected student reportedly was in the campus Bell Tower, Del Norte and the Broome Library buildings.
You may be at risk of developing measles if you have never had the disease or have not received two doses of the measles vaccine.
CSU Channel Islands is working with the Ventura County Public Health Department to disseminate information to students. The university is contacting students, staff and faculty through its CI Alert system.
If you develop a fever that is 101 degrees or more, a cough, runny nose or red eyes, with or without rash, contact a local health-care provider for diagnosis and treatment, and remain at home until the doctor has cleared you.
Symptoms usually begin eight to 12 days after exposure, but can occur up to 21 days after exposure.
Measles begins with a mild to moderate fever accompanied by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Two or three days later, the fever spikes, often as high as 104 to 105 degrees.
A red blotchy rash will appear, usually first on the face, along the hairline and behind the ears. The rash spreads downward to the chest and back, and finally, to the thighs and feet.
One in every 20 people with measles develops pneumonia, but life-threatening complications are rare.
Click here for updates from CSU Channel Islands, or call the emergency information hotline at 805.437.3911.
Click here for locations of Ventura County’s Public Health Clinics.
— Kim Gregory is a communications specialist at CSU Channel Islands.
Feeling ‘Blessed,’ Michael Young Reflects on Accomplishments and Career at UCSB
Retiring student affairs administrator will miss ‘superb’ colleagues, extraordinary students but is proud of foundation he’s leaving behind
Strolls past the folding tables that pop up outside the Davidson Library at UC Santa Barbara don’t happen as often these days, but, when they do, Michael Young makes a point of glancing at the faces of as many college students as he can.
Student organizations are always mobbing the Arbor or the front lawn of the Student Resources Center for campus causes, and Young is somehow fueled by their call to action, compelled to take notice as UCSB’s longtime vice chancellor for student affairs.
“I find that energizing,” Young said on a recent morning, recalling a 25-year career on the eve of retirement. “Every one of these young people is somebody’s baby. They’re not just students.
“The downside of this job is you lose some.”
The realization reminds Young, 67, of his responsibility to take on a sort of parental role when young adults are away at college.
Not surprisingly, the veteran administrator has earned a nickname as “Santa Barbara dad,” lending a helpful ear or advice to students and staff who seek his counsel.
Truthfully, Young said he views student leaders as his colleagues — making retiring at the end of January all the more bittersweet.
“I’ve been lucky,” he said, sitting inside his corner office on the fifth floor of Cheadle Hall. “I wish I could take this view with me. (But) it feels like time.”
The Chicago native said he’s been blessed with superb colleagues from the 25 departments within his Student Affairs purview, and thousands of extraordinary students he has made a point of talking to directly, respectfully, clearly and honestly.
Young’s division handles admissions, financial aid, career services, student health and a wealth of other nonacademic programs essential to any college tenure.
He said he thinks he’s leaving a solid foundation for a successor, who will be chosen with help from a search firm long after Young heads into a retirement that will feature travel with his wife, a host of improvement projects on his Santa Barbara home and more.
In a talk with Noozhawk, “blessed” was a word Young often used, especially since he kind of fell into his job after college graduation. School administrator wasn’t on the radar until Young went back to his alma mater — Wisconsin’s Beloit College — as a counselor.
Once the revelation came about, and Young had his doctorate, he became the associate dean of college and registrar at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
Eleven years later, Young ventured to UCSB in 1990 with his family of four — he has two grown children who still reside in California — and began instilling a lasting culture bolstered today by his friendly, playful sense of humor.
“Back then, I knew it was time to leave, too,” he said. “In the early days, it was much more important that I be hands-on. It’s the same job title (now), but it’s a different job. It’s still wonderful.”
Young has taken a step back from daily problem-solver to focus more on the big picture as a sounding board, department go-between and finder of resources.
He said he was particularly proud of his division after the May 2014 Isla Vista massacre, with everyone across campus offering assistance or counseling.
“I really felt proud to be a Gaucho,” Young said. “At our darkest moment, we achieved some of our greatest triumphs. We’re a team. We’ve hung together as a family through some very difficult times. I’m proud of our relationship with students.”
Young wasn’t sure he deserved all the love he’s received from campus colleagues since his retirement plans got out, but the seasoned administrator seemed certain that Student Affairs would maintain its important connection with the young people the division serves.
Surf Set Finally Takes to the Waves at 2015 Rincon Classic
After several weather delays, hundreds of surfers — of all ages — compete for the ride of their lives during three-day tournament
Sunny weather greeted the hundreds of surfers and spectators who turned out for the 2015 Rincon Classic held at Rincon Beach this weekend.
The annual event expanded to a third day for the amateur and professional surfing competitions, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It has divisions for all ages, from the 12 & Under “Gremlins” to the 55 & Up “Legends.”
The popular tournament was delayed several weekends while the organizers waited for the right weather and waves.
There will be an awards ceremony and fundraiser at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum on Sunday evening to show off highlights of the events and recognize the winners.
Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Highway 154 Crash Near Cold Spring Canyon Bridge
A motorcyclist was seriously injured Saturday in a crash on Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Emergency crews were dispatched at about 10:20 a.m. to a report of a collision involving a motorcycle and a minivan on Highway 154 between Paradise Road and the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge, Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.
Once on scene, he said, firefighters determined that the wreck involved only the motorcycle, and the male rider was being treated by a U.S. Forest Service fire crew.
His name and details on his injuries and condition were not available.
The crash was being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.
Diane Dimond: State of the Union Speech Has Become Nearly Meaningless
As a young radio reporter on Capitol Hill, I used to be full of anticipation for the annual State of the Union address. Fresh notebook on hand, I’d dutifully mark the highlights of the speech and plot out what portions to report to the public.
My desk under the Capitol dome was just steps away from the House chamber where the country’s political elite gathered each January to hear the president’s national report card. For a kid from Albuquerque, it was always a heady experience.
Today, at home, I still take State of the Union notes and count the number of times the crowd breaks into applause. Old habits are hard to break.
This year, as in years past, I couldn’t help but note how shallow and self-congratulatory this annual ritual has become. Predictable. Without heft. Fluffy, beginning and ending with a contrivance. The rock star-like presidential entrance. And the prolonged exit from the chamber complete with giddy national leaders pushing forward for a presidential autograph. Our nation’s leaders in full partisan action.
For the record I am — and have always been — a registered Independent. This is not about the person who delivered this year’s speech. It is about the content of these addresses and the calculated feel-good tone they take.
“The shadow of crisis has passed,” President Barack Obama told us. “The State of the Union is strong.” What should we take from such a vague pronouncement?
National security experts must surely still see the potential for crisis as long as religious terrorists threaten American “infidels.” An international crisis could easily erupt if Russia goes for another land grab. And how about the still shaky U.S. economy? Another financial crisis is not outside the realm of possibility.
During the speech there were several mentions about Obama’s “middle-class economics” and about the lowered unemployment rate. No mention, however, that the average worker’s salary is also down and countless Americans have given up looking for work.
There were references to how many Americans have signed up for health insurance but not a word about the millions whose insurance was disrupted or made more expensive last year.
Zero proposals were offered to relieve Americans of our massive tax burden. In fact, Obama’s new idea for two free years of college will certainly add to the problem.
And there was barely a passing nod to my passion: issues of crime and justice.
One of the primary functions of our government is to keep us safe. Not only from foreign threats but from dangerous fellow citizens who resort to crime. Yet there was only a passing remark made about “the events of Ferguson and New York,” two of the most incendiary police-involved incidents of the decade.
No soothing words to calm the populace, diffuse racial tensions or encourage law enforcement to employ better procedures. Just a call to politicians, “Democrats and Republicans ... to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.” Blah rhetoric in my book.
We heard a reiteration of the 6-year-old promise to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But nothing was said about the more than 2 million Americans who are incarcerated here — more per capita than reported by any other country. One in three Americans has a criminal record, according to the FBI, and finds it hard to find employment or housing.
No suggestions were forthcoming about how to help the mentally ill, some of whom explode into fits of murderous rage. No ideas to help wean the countless Americans hooked on drugs, some of whom turn to crime to feed their addiction. Nary a mention of how to combat the scourge of human trafficking, gang violence, sex crimes, crippling cyber attacks or mistreated children in the foster care system.
This is a call for the State of the Union speech to get some teeth no matter who the president might be. It is way past time to move beyond this carefully choreographed PR event, designed for the commander in chief to pat himself on the back and lay the groundwork for the party’s next election cycle.
We need a more complete picture of the challenges we face as a nation. Americans are mature enough to take the bad news along with the good. Tripping blindly through the new year with no clear roadmap does no one any good.
— Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Mark Shields: Boehner’s Netanyahu Gamble Undermines Obama on Foreign Policy
Bipartisanship, that widely admired virtue so sadly rare in our nation’s politics, has been — since 1948, when President Harry Truman, rejecting the counsel of his own Cabinet secretaries, recognized the newborn nation — the hallmark of Unites States support for the state of Israel.
But that era is now over. It ended officially when, without so much as consulting with either the White House or the State Department, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner of Ohio, unilaterally invited the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress on March 3, just two weeks before the Israeli national elections, in which the embattled Netanyahu is fighting for his political life.
For Netanyahu, Boehner’s invitation, guaranteeing him global coverage and enhanced stature, is both the ideal campaign media event and a political gift. For the majority of Israeli voters who, according to polls, are not supporters of Netanyahu’s, the invitation from the House speaker can be reasonably seen as unwelcome American meddling in their country’s election.
More important, Netanyahu has publicly and fiercely opposed President Barack Obama’s sustained efforts to negotiate with Iran while maintaining tough sanctions on that country, an agreement ensuring that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons. For many years, Netanyahu’s pitch to American visitors remained consistent: “This is 1938. Iran is Germany, and it is about to go nuclear.”
Possibly angered by the Obama administration's public pressure on Israel to stop the increasing surge of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu made no effort to hide his support for Republican Mitt Romney over Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Earlier, he had been quoted in the Israeli papers indicting then-top Obama advisers Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod for being “self-hating Jews.”
Let us review the situation. The speaker of the House, a Republican, has deliberately provided a head of state who is manifestly unfriendly to the president of the United States, a Democrat, a unique forum to oppose and to criticize the foreign policy of the United States’ administration, probably to urge Congress to resist any nuclear agreement the United States might reach with Iran and, for good measure, to stiffen current sanctions against that country even more.
Boehner is not a naive man. Yet by this reckless political stunt, which embarrasses the Democratic Obama, he is undermining the very spirit and record of bipartisanship that, for nearly seven decades, has characterized U.S. friendship toward Israel. Boehner’s embrace and endorsement of Netanyahu risks turning U.S.-Israeli policy into just another partisan divide like same-sex marriage or global warming.
For interfering in the national elections of a close ally, for undermining the admittedly vulnerable prospects of a peaceful resolution of tension with Iran, for possibly alienating the coalition opposing Netanyahu, which could organize the next Israeli government, and for irresponsibly practicing easy politics over difficult statesmanship, John Boehner may score a few cheap points. But by what he alone has chosen to do, the speaker is, sadly, a diminished and less admirable public man.
— 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.
Gerald Carpenter: Award-Winning Trio Cavatina Headlines Ojai Chamber on the Mountain Concert
Three works grace the Trio Cavatina’s program: Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in c-minor, Opus 66; Franz Schubert’s Notturno in Eb-Major, Opus 148 (D. 897); and Robert Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 1 in d-minor, Opus 63.
The Trio Cavatina has shown themselves perfectly at ease in the modern — not to say avant garde — idiom, and have even premiered works. Yet all three of the works on the program were written in the first half of the 19th century, and were not, even then, generally perceived to be pushing the envelope.
Of course, there are some peculiar passages in the Schumann trio, as there are peculiar passages in everything he wrote, but they are more of the sort to make the listener scratch his or her head, rather than the kind to send music off in a whole new direction. Schumann was the foremost champion of new music in his day, but his support was given as freely to the ultra-conservative Johannes Brahms as to the radical firebrands, Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt.
Nevertheless, the Schumann, written just two years after the Mendelssohn, is the most “modern” sounding of these three works — probably because he had been intensely studying the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, who always seems to provoke composers to explore new territory.
The Schubert is an exquisite bibelot, and the Mendelssohn is, like everything he ever wrote, perfectly wonderful and wonderfully perfect.
Under the direction of Heidi Lehwalder, the Chamber on the Mountain series concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday in Logan House, adjacent to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts at 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road in Ojai.
General admission to Trio Cavatina is $25; student admission is $15. Tickets are available by phone at 805.646.9951 or click here to purchase tickets online.
Letter to the Editor: Obama, Carbajal Trying to Have It Both Ways on Fee to Trust for Indian Tribes
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Peter Adam recently brought up the issue of re-examining the Fee to Trust for Indian tribes. It is nice to have a representative who is saying what most of the constituents in Santa Barbara County are thinking.
The federal government established Fee to Trust to help impoverished Indians get off the welfare rolls, not to help wealthy Indians get off tax rolls. Unfortunately, that process has become a financial drain on states. Our local Chumash Tribe is asking the federal government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is run by Indians, to allow them to bring the 1,400 acres known as Camp 4 into Fee to Trust.
The Chumash are a tribe that would classify as being in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of income in the entire United States, yet they want to remove this acreage from the tax rolls, which places a financial burden on the rest of the taxpayers in this county. This land would not be subject to any local rules, regulations or taxing if brought into Fee to Trust. The tribe would be allowed to build anything they desired on the property without having any county oversight.
President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, stated; “That’s what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success — we want everyone to contribute to our success.”
Supervisor Salud Carbajal wrote a letter to the editor of Noozhawk that stated in part; “I personally think President Barack Obama outlined a bold vision to continue building on a strong rebounding economy by expanding support for the middle class ...,” however for some reason he has found Supervisor Adam’s remark about Fee to Trust “appalling.”
The president thinks everyone should do their fair share and play by the same rules, but has said he wants to place more than 500,000 acres of land into Fee to Trust before he leaves office. Which is it, Mr. President? Fair share and same rules or different rules for different classes of citizens?
And Supervisor Carbajal, do we just apply the fair share and play by the rules to the rest of the citizens in this country and not tribal members?
It is past time to re-examine the Fee to Trust process and stop this granting of land to tribes that do not need financial assistance. We are all citizens of the United States and we should all be treated equally. Most of the members of the Chumash are living off the reservation and have assimilated into and are part of the community where they live.
Living in Faith: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Much More Than a Pretty Façade
Although a dramatic locale for destination weddings, generous and vibrant parish family celebrates the stages of life centered around beloved church
You may pass several lovely churches if you drive around Montecito, but none is quite as breathtaking or as prominent as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church at the busy intersection of East Valley and Hot Springs roads.
The current church building, completed in 1939 at 1300 East Valley Road, showcases the best of both Pueblo Indi
an and Spanish Colonial architecture in its façade. And not only is there a great view of the mountains from the succulent-filled campus, but the church provides a sense of intimacy and quiet suitable for a destination wedding that can only be found in the heart of Montecito.
Weddings are quite popular at this particular church, with around 24 booked at the parish office every year, according to church secretary Maribel Jarchow.
“I remember one priest who loved to do weddings,” she said. “That’s sort of how we became a wedding chapel and a popular spot for destination weddings.
“But we also do a lot of baptisms, too,” she added.
Jarchow has been a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church for more than 50 years. Among the many weddings and baptisms she’s witnessed are the weddings of her own three children and the baptisms of her children and grandchildren.
Her kids also attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, the church’s kindergarten-through-eighth grade parish school, which is rooted in Catholic elementary education.
“There are many people who come in looking to celebrate these different stages in their life,” Jarchow said. “From baptism to confirmation to marriage.”
Baptism, confirmation and marriage are all sacraments in the Roman Catholic church. If raised in the Catholic tradition, one would receive them as a newborn, a teenager and an adult, respectively.
While Catholics receive these rites as individuals or couples in marriage, Father Steven Downes, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, sees them differently.
“They help us come to know Jesus more and more and how we walk together as a community,” he told Noozhawk. “We are all brothers and sisters, and celebrating sacraments and living our faith together is very important.”
Fr. Downes became pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 2009, and he has seen the community live out that faith during these stages of their life in different ways.
While schoolchildren learn and grow at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and through the church’s religious education program, Sister Kathleen Patrice, director of Religious Education, points out that many families participate in several of the outreach programs she directs.
“Whenever kids are helping out (in a program), I like them to bring their parents,” she explained. “I think in this parish, young people have so much given to them, so what I’ve tried to do with these families is have them reach out to the people who are economically poor.”
Sr. Kathleen directs many outreach programs that benefit those in need. Of these, the most beloved programs at the church seem to happen during the Christmas season. The Giving Tree is a long-running program in which families buy Christmas presents for children in need. The church also holds a Santa’s Workshop for adults and teens to refurbish and wrap gently used toys for children in need.
Along with these programs for children and families, adults are invited to explore their faith in Bible study and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes with Fr. Downes.
With all that is going on, it’s a wonder that anyone gets any praying done, but Fr. Downes assures that the parish grounds are as peaceful as they seem from the outside.
“It’s a very beautiful place and it’s a very prayerful place,” he said. “People come and go at all hours of the day to pray in the church.”
The church setting is definitely a quiet and reflective space, well worth a look around if you are driving by with some time on your hands.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
» Location: 1300 East Valley Road, Montecito
» Denomination: Roman Catholic
» Year Established: 1856
» Congregation Size: 1,200
» Service Times: 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon Sundays
Enjoy This Weekend’s Weather Because Rain May Be On the Way
Santa Barbara County will be basking in sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend. But enjoy it while you can because the National Weather Service says it’s not likely to last.
The weather service said the combination of high pressure and an offshore flow were expected to push daytime temperatures well above normal Saturday and Sunday.
Santa Maria recorded a high of 82 degrees Saturday, matching a record for the date set in 1935, the weather service said.
Highs in the upper 70s are forecast along the South Coast and possibly into the 80s in the foothills, while temperatures in the 80s are expected in much of the North County.
That’s all likely to change Monday, however.
A low-pressure system pushing into the region from the south will be bringing increasing clouds and cooler weather, with a chance of rain late Monday through late Tuesday, the weather service said.
More rain could accompany another storm system that is expected to arrive Thursday or Friday.
According to the forecast, Monday’s daytime highs will be in the mid-60s to low 70s on the South Coast, with overnight lows in the 40s to 50s.
There is a 30 percent chance of showers Monday night and Tuesday, with Tuesday’s highs in the low to mid-60s.
» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.
Fire Reported at Ralphs Supermarket in Downtown Santa Barbara
Blaze in discarded Christmas trees damage a nearby storage trailer behind store
Santa Barbara firefighters responded early Saturday to fire at a downtown supermarket.
The blaze was reported at about 6:30 a.m. at the Ralphs at 100 W. Cabrillo St., Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said.
On arrival, he said, fire crews found black smoke showing from the delivery area behind the market on De la Vina Street.
“It appeared to be Christmas trees that had been discarded and accumulated and caught on fire,” Mercado said, adding that store employees were attempting to put out the flames.
Firefighters quickly douse the blaze, which did not get inside the building, he said.
No injuries were reported.
A nearby trailer used to store merchandise was scorched by the heat and flames, Mercado said, estimating damage at $10,000.
An investigator was called to the scene, but the cause has not been determined.
Louise Palanker: Bullying, Talking to a First Crush, Boyfriend ‘Likes’ a Girl’s Selfie
Question from Johnny V.
I Am 12 And I Have A lot Of People Bullying Me. I Am Really Depressed And Upset. Can You Please Give Me Some Advice?
Start with one good friend and recruit that person to help you. Bullies are cowards and if two or more people stand up to them and make a fuss, they do not like it and they will usually back down. Bullies would love to continue bullying you slyly and covertly while everyone else cowers in fear. A bully is often someone who is being bullied at home or someone with a history of being bullied. For example, an eighth-grade bully may have been a fourth-grade victim.
I don’t believe that ignoring the bully works. The problem is that you may try, but you won’t really be able to truly ignore horrible words and deeds. You will flinch. Your shoulders will sink. Your face will reveal that this is getting to you.
Instead, make a plan with your friend to turn, face the bully and say, very loudly, “Really? This is a thing you need to be doing with your time?” Or, “Just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.” Then have your friend add, “Yeah! Cut it out already!” Both of you need to be nice and loud. Draw attention to the behavior of the bully.
99 percent of the kids at your school are very uncomfortable with your being bullied. They don’t like it, but they are too afraid to do something. All you need to do is turn the tide.
There are far more nice people in the world than there are bullies. Do not let the bullies run your school. Kindness will always win. Give people a chance to do the right thing and they will. It starts with one bystander. One voice. Recruit that person and stop the bullies.
Watch what one kid did to turn the tide toward kindness at his school:
• • •
Question from Valerie T.
Should I tell my crush that I like him and I miss him? I don’t want things to get too awkward?
If you and your crush are friends, then your liking him is already making things awkward. The truth just helps both of you gain the information you need to move forward accordingly.
If you are not yet friends, make it your goal to become better friends. But for the sake of this conversation, let’s assume that a friendship is already in place. Once one friend has a romantic interest in the other friend, then the friendship has already gone out of balance. He may see the two of you as just friends, while you will always be trying to read something into his every word and action. He may find your emotional investment confusing. For example, your feelings could be hurt very easily and that will be uncomfortable for him.
Once you state your truth, he has the information he needs to understand your behavior. Since you have now been honest and vulnerable, you can back up and give yourself space to heal if your feelings are not reciprocated. On the other hand, if he does like you as more than a friend, you have given him a clear path to tell you his truth.
How and when you tell him about your feelings is up to you, but I recommend that you do it face to face. You can say, “The truth is that I kind of like you.” Let him take the conversation from there.
• • •
Question from Marissa D.
Do I have the right to get mad because my boyfriend “liked” this girl’s selfie on Instagram?
You have a right to get mad if you feel mad. Are you justified in being mad? Let’s take a closer look.
I really love this question because it’s extremely valid and timely. It’s not a problem that existed 100 years ago. Although I am certain it would have been outrageously vexing to watch your suitor admire another woman’s portrait painting.
Things change, but people really don’t. If your new boyfriend was used to “liking” his friends’ selfies before he had a girlfriend, then maybe you should let him continue doing that. It’s sort of like him saying, “Hey, I like your photo.” It is not necessarily him saying, “Hey, I think you are more beautiful than my girlfriend.” If he were to post flirty comments, that would be a different story.
First, you need to speak with your boyfriend about your expectations of behavior within this relationship. While you talk, explore what seems reasonable. You currently feel uncomfortable with your boyfriend “liking” a girl’s selfie. OK, that is understandable.
But where are you going to draw the line? Can he “like” a group shot of girls? Can you “like” a group shot of boys? What if one of his buddies is in the photo with the girls? What if it’s a photo that the girl took? What if it’s a picture of her cat? Come on, cats are adorable and they pretty much own the Internet.
The two of you need to talk this through and think it through. You will both continue to have friends. You will both continue to use social networking. What will make each of you feel safe and loved within this relationship while still allowing each other to interact with your peer group? Only healthy conversation will bring you the answers.
• • •
Got a question for Weezy? Email her at email@example.com and it may be answered in a subsequent column.
— Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
UC Santa Barbara Student Stabbed in Isla Vista; Suspect in Custody
Deputies arrested a suspect in the case, Kevin Ruiz, 18, of Reseda, sheriff’s Lt. Craig Bonner said.
He said a UCSB police lieutenant on patrol came upon a fight in progress at about 2:45 a.m. in front of a fraternity in the 6700 block of Sueno Road.
“As he approached the location, the lieutenant noticed four subjects who were covered in blood and fleeing the scene,” Bonner said. “These subjects were detained and SBSO deputies arrived in the area to assist in handling the situation.”
The stabbing victim, who had wounds to his chest and head, was located at the fraternity, Bonner said, as was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Details on his condition were not available.
Ruiz had minor wounds to his hands, and was treated prior to booking.
Bail was set at $30,000.
Investigators have asked that anyone with information about the incident contact the Sheriff’s Department at 805.683.2724, stop by the Isla Vista Foot Patrol office at 6504 Trigo Road, or leave an anonymous tip at 805.681.4171.
Gerald Carpenter: Betty Oberacker Leads Santa Barbara Music Club’s Saturday Performance
The Music Club program, typically varied and brilliant, will consist of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Italian Concerto, BWV 971, played by the inimitable pianist, Betty Oberacker; Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute and Piano, performed by flautist Mary Jo Hartle and pianist Christopher Davis; followed by soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Davis, performing — under the motto “Music – Words – Action,” Giuseppe Concone’s “Allegretto amabile,” Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Vocalise” and the aria from Heitor Villa-Lobos, Bachianas brasilieras No. 5.
The afternoon’s entertainment concludes with clarinetist Chad Cullins and pianist Davis playing Claude Debussy’s Premiére rhapsodie.
These works are all self-explanatory, like all real music, and relatively undemanding, though by no means “lite.” The Bach, not actually a concerto in the sense that most of us think of the form, is one of his most popular pieces, and deservedly so. It manages to be dramatic and exuberant at the same time.
The Villa Lobos has been sung, and recorded by a remarkably diverse group of singers, including Victoria de los Angeles, Salli Terri (formerly married to the composer John Biggs, best known for her work with guitarist Laurindo Almeida), and Joan Baez.
Concone (1801-1861) was an Italian composer and educator, to whom trumpeters are especially grateful for his series of Lyrical Studies.
Oversight Board Sets Stage for Lompoc Theatre Ownership Switch
Efforts to revive the dilapidated Lompoc Theatre cleared another hurdle Friday morning when a panel took a step toward removing a $700,000 lien and transferring ownership of the property to the community group leading the restoration project.
There still are several other milestones before the Lompoc Theatre finally is untangled from the legal web stemming from the collapse of the nonprofit Lompoc Housing & Community Development Corporation (LHCDC) and complicated by the state’s elimination of redevelopment agencies.
On Friday, the RDA Oversight Board — a panel to handle property that belonged to the old Lompoc Redevelopment Agency — adopted a resolution that essentially agrees to eventually forgive the loan and lift the lien for a fee of $1. Eliminating the lien then sets the stage for LHCDC to hand over ownership to the community group.
“We are exhilarated,” said Mark Herrier, president of the Lompoc Theatre Project, a group working to revive and renovate the old facility. Herrier grew up in Lompoc and appeared in the Porky’s series of films in the 1980s.
But he tempered the excitement, noting Friday’s action was one of several still needed before the nonprofit group finally takes possession of the property.
“That doesn’t mean it’s over,” Herrier said. “We still have to work out some details and a lot of times the devil is in the details.”
The LHCDC acquired the old theater building in the 100 block of North H Street in 2006 for $850,000 and had plans to restore it, city officials said in a staff report. But the plans fizzled amid allegations of financial mismanagement for the now-defunct nonprofit organization.
In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the elimination of redevelopment agencies with special oversight boards created to handle transferring property for the successor agencies. Redevelopment agencies were formed to direct property taxes to special government organizations to remove blight in cities. Typically, a city council also served as redevelopment agency board.
In its resolution adopted Friday, the Oversight Board determined it “would be in the best interest of the taxing entities to release liability in the property.”
The panel cited a Sept. 18, 2014 appraisal that claims the property actually has a negative value.
If empty, the land would be worth $700,000, according to the report by Santa Maria-based Reeder, Gilman & Associates.
“However, the subject property is not vacant and unimproved, and the existing improvements require demolition and removal,” the appraisers said.
Demolition of the structure would cost $800,000, creating a final value of minus $100,000, the appraisal report noted.
“The existing structure has no economic value,” the appraisers’ report said. “In fact, it has a negative value of demolition.”
The appraisers contend the costs of a new theater building at about $220 per square foot would run approximately $2.3 million. However, the community group’s proposed renovation plan equates to $440 per square foot, according to the appraisal report.
Last month, the Lompoc Theatre Project unveiled plans to restore and expand the existing structure for $5 million, money they intend to get through donations, fundraisers and grants. They ambitiously hope to mark the building’s 90th anniversary in 2017 with the completion of renovations.
While the negative appraisal could be viewed as daunting, Herrier said they see as a sign of just how well-developed the theater building is based on a demolition estimate.
Demolishing a building with historical status wouldn’t be simple, he noted.
“Luckily for all of us, the only viable option is that it remain a theater there,” Herrier said.
In the resolution adopted Friday, the Oversight Board said restoration plans actually would be positive for other agencies that receive property taxes.
“Should the property be transferred to an organization willing to assume this liability and rehabilitate this property, the property’s value would increase and the taxing entities would receive increased property tax revenues and potentially, increased sales tax revenue due to increased activity in the downtown area,” the Oversight Board noted.
While the California Department of Finance has blessed the steps needed for eliminating the lien and transferring the building to the Theatre Project, the matter still must return to the state agency for final approval, Herrier said. He expects to get the state’s approval within 90 days.
However, the Oversight Board wants some matters addressed, such as how the property title will be given to the defunct LHCDC and then handed over to the new owners.
Lompoc Theatre Project members were not deterred by those final questions Friday.
“The bottom line is we’re going forward,” Herrier said. “This was a big one and we got past it.”
Three Plead Guilty in Killing of Santa Barbara-Area Homeless Man
The three men charged with murder in the death of a Santa Barbara-area homeless man have pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and will be sentenced in March, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Carlos Medina, Jonathan Andrade and Roman Romero, all of Santa Barbara County, were arrested in November 2013 for the fatal attack on Richard Alden Boden.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to an area known as Granny’s Field, an open area west of San Simeon Drive and San Angelo Avenue in unincorporated Santa Barbara County, on Sept. 16 and found an unconscious assault victim who was later identified as Boden.
Boden suffered major injuries and never regained consciousness, according to authorities.
On Oct. 14, he was taken off life support at the request of his family, and he died a short time later, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
All three suspects were charged with murder and conspiracy and initially entered not guilty pleas.
They all pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter this week, Deputy District Attorney Anthony Davis said.
Medina’s sentencing is scheduled for March 10 and he will get six years in state prison, Davis said.
Andrade and Romero will both be sentenced on March 9.
They each face up to six years in state prison, Davis said.
Multiple Felony Charges Filed Against Lompoc Murder Suspect
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on Friday filed multiple felony charges — including murder, attempted murder and sexual penetration with a foreign object — against a Lompoc man arrested this week in connection with two separate violent attacks before he allegedly committed a third assault in custody.
Noe Herrera, 28, appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Lompoc on Friday afternoon, and was ordered to return to court Jan. 29, according to Paul Greco, chief deputy district attorney.
Herrera faces one count of murder plus special allegations of a second-strike offense, use of a deadly weapon, and having committed a prior serious felony, according to the District Attorney’s Office filing.
His prior offense involves an armed-robbery conviction in 2005.
He is accused of fatally stabbing Salvador Juarez Hernandez, a 57-year-old transient in Lompoc.
Herrera was in custody for an assault when he allegedly told investigators about stabbing a man, and directed police to the body behind businesses in the 900 block of North H Street.
The attempted-murder charge stems from allegations Herrera brutally assaulted a relative in a residence in the 400 block of North L Street, police said.
He also faces a special allegation for committing great bodily injury.
The third count involves sexual penetration by a foreign object. If convicted, he would be required to register on a sex offender.
The fourth felony count contends Herrera made criminal threats to his assault victim.
And the fifth felony count of assault causing great bodily injury reportedly is related to Herrera’s attack of a cell mate while in custody at the Lompoc Jail.
City of Goleta Sues State Lands Commission Over Venoco Project Approval
The city is challenging the adequacy of the plan's environmental assessment
The commission voted to re-certify the environmental documents in December and allow Venoco to resume oil production from its PRC 421 pier and process the oil at the Ellwood Onshore Facility.
The suit claims there are problems with the project descriptions, mitigation of environmental impacts and analysis of alternatives.
Goleta city leaders don’t want the oil from the pier to be processed at the Ellwood Onshore Facility, and the suit argues that the other alternatives — such as processing at Las Flores Canyon instead — should have been analyzed in the environmental review.
Challenging the EIR means the project timeline will be put on hold, Goleta City Attorney Tim Giles said.
“(The SLC approval) is the first in a series of approvals Venoco would need," Giles said. "They also need approval from the city allowing processing to be done at PRC 421, and permits for the lines needed in the city jurisdiction between the well and the EOF.
"Those decisions come later, and until this lawsuit is resolved they won’t move forward with those.”
Venoco could also face closing its Ellwood Onshore Facility.
The Goleta City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday that establishes non-conforming use termination procedures, which can put an expiration date on certain zoning uses.
Council members are split on the issue, which allows the city to terminate a legal nonconforming use — one that is no longer in compliance with land-use or zoning rules.
The ordinance could force Venoco’s Ellwood Onshore Facility to shut down, and the city is already planning a hearing to discuss it.
Mayor Paula Perotte and councilmen Jim Farr and Michael Bennett voted to adopt the ordinance, while councilmen Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo opposed it.
Venoco vice president Ian Livett asked the council not to adopt the ordinance, saying the company has legal objections.
“The city has already admitted that the purpose is to target Venoco with the ordinance,” he said. "Laws adopted for the purpose of discriminating against and compelling discontinuance of a particular business are illegal."
A comment letter submitted by Venoco’s attorneys at Buynak Fauver Archbald Spray expressed similar concerns, saying there will be an “expensive legal fight” that could be avoided if the ordinance is revised before adoption.
“One thing is certain, however – the five year or less amortization timeframe the City Council is binding itself to in the initial termination hearing is arbitrary and unreasonable on its face, absurd as applied to Venoco, and subjects the ordinance to certain legal challenge,” they wrote. “With a five year order to terminate the EOF, Venoco will suffer severely and have no choice but to fight to survive.”
David Harsanyi: Republicans Surrender to Infanticide
Evidently, Republicans don't feel competent enough to make a case against infanticide. Why else would the GOP pull its 20-week abortion limit bill?
Here's a short list of things that are less popular than banning late-term abortions: "Acting" on climate change. "Free" community college. Taxing the wealthy. Building the Keystone XL pipeline. President Barack Obama. Future President Hillary Clinton. Every Republican who's thinking about running for president.
A new Marist poll finds that 84 percent of Americans favor some level of further restrictions on abortion. And regardless of their feelings about the legality of the procedure, 60 percent believe it to be "morally wrong." If you aren't keen on that poll — it was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, after all — you can take your pick of others.
A Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of women support limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. A CBS News poll found that 60 percent of Americans think abortion "should not be permitted" or available only under "stricter limits." A CNN poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal only in a "few circumstances" or "always illegal."
Yet the GOP caves on a bill that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks and promises instead to pass another worthless ban on taxpayer-funded abortions — which we all know can be ignored by hiring an accountant.
Polls change. Polls don't make you right. I know. But this week marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And while the media continue to treat every Obama non-starter and crowd-pleaser as a genuine policy idea, the 20-week abortion ban was predictably framed as another divisive play by zealous conservatives. Controversial. Republican leaders helpfully confirmed this perception by abandoning the only bill their party has come up with in years that has been widely supported.
Before the GOP pulled the bill, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank had argued that Republicans were needlessly reviving the culture war, pulling a bait-and-switch on the electorate — because abortion is not a high priority for voters and it was "rarely" campaigned on as an issue during the midterms.
Now, I can't find a corresponding piece from Milbank griping about the left's obsession with climate change, an issue that is also consistently one of the lowest priorities among voters, but I'm sure it exists somewhere. What's truly absurd, though, is the idea that the GOP alone is responsible for any "revival of the culture wars." The culture war never ended. Some of you probably remember the Democrats' gynecocentric 2014 campaign to paint every GOP candidate as a misogynist.
A big part of that attack was focused on abortion. It stopped working. So someone needs to inform House Republicans of this. Because the most mystifying aspect of the GOP's retreat on the 20-week ban is that the 20-week ban is not new. Most of these same Republicans voted on the same legislation before the midterm elections, including some of the same representatives who reportedly withdrew their support for the bill. Nearly every GOP candidate running in the midterms publicly backed the idea, even in high-profile races in which Democrats made abortion the central issue of their campaign.
Yet at the same time, Obama continues to support unrestricted abortion on demand for any reason at any time by anyone. There is no one to moderate his position. No one to make him veto a bill. No one to ask him about it. The president has no compunctions about supporting infanticide — which, by any moral or scientific standard, is what we're talking about.
It often seems as if the only time the Obama administration opposes government's coming between a woman and her doctor is when the latter is extracting a dead human being from the former. (Though, to be fair, occasionally those humans are terminated after extraction.) More than 18,000 viable or nearly viable babies do not have a chance to confer with a physician about the excruciating pain they may be experiencing. The House has better things to do than confront that situation.
This is about politics. Tragically incompetent politics. Even though a veto was imminent, you have to wonder: If the party representing the pro-life position, a party with a sizable majority, can't pull together a vote on an issue as unambiguous and risk-free as this one, what are the chances of it coming to a consensus and offering compelling arguments on issues such as health care and tax reform? Very little, I imagine.
— David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Michelle Alferez Joins United Way of Santa Barbara County as Education Services Tutor
United Way of Santa Barbara County is pleased to announce the addition of Michelle Alferez as a new educational services tutor.
Alferez graduated from UCSB with two bachelor of arts degrees, in global studies and feminist studies. She is trilingual in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
During her studies, Alferez was committed to volunteer work and spent six months studying abroad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where she taught English in an underdeveloped community.
She also volunteered as a reading tutor for America Reads America Counts (AR/AC), a program that promotes literacy and mentorship with college students and young children. This program sparked her interest to work in the education field.
Prior to taking on the role of education services tutor, Alferez served as a program leader and math teacher for United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun program as a special education instructional assistant at St. Andrews Preschool and as an A-OK (After School Opportunities for Kids) site coordinator at Adelante Charter School.
— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing United Way of Santa Barbara County.
New Residents Buying Into Downtown Santa Barbara’s Alma del Pueblo Project
The mixed-used development on West Victoria Street finds apartment buyers in locals and out-of-towners despite subcontractor lawsuits
Nearly half of the 37 residential units within Alma del Pueblo have been claimed since it was completed last summer — a number the developer of the downtown Santa Barbara project said she’s pleased with.
The first residents of the mixed-use development at 34 W. Victoria St. moved in last June, and the total number sold is estimated at 16, said Marge Cafarelli, president of the Urban Developments real estate investment company in charge of the project.
A busy sales season boosted numbers in late 2014, which is about the time Cafarelli brought on local PR firm JZPR to help get the word out about the units — costing $840,000 to $2.6 million — and the Santa Barbara Public Market, a cornerstone of the project that opened last April.
Seeing some of the units occupied on the second and third stories was a good sign for locals who feared the development would remain empty amid clashes with subcontractors claiming they hadn’t been paid.
Santa Barbara’s Katz-Moses and Calle Construction settled for an undisclosed amount — the suit asked for $55,000 for materials and services — but a second breach of contract suit filed by Wilmington-based plumbing and mechanical contractor AMPAM Parks Mechanical hadn't yet been resolved this month.
Build Group has filed its own breach of contract suit against Victoria Street Partners LLC, alleging the developer failed to acknowledge extra work that was done and asking for more than $1.2 million for work and to pay subcontractors.
Cafarelli, who said she wasn’t involved with the lawsuits, called the litigation “messy” and noted the subcontractor lawsuits were nearly all resolved.
She showed off some of the units during a tour recently, saying all but one of five multilevel apartments were spoken for and five middle-income units also had been sold.
Residents of the gated community have taken to renting one of the project’s two on-site guest rooms and to enjoying a homeowners lounge and rooftop patio, she said.
“We’ve got people moving in all the time,” Cafarelli said. “It’s primarily local with a few people from out of town.”
Local Riley Ramirez scored one of the middle-income, multilevel units and has been enjoying the one-bedroom apartment with his wife and toddler since September.
Ramirez, who works for Santa Barbara Honda, said he’s seen a lot more neighbor activity the last couple months. A handful have a place as their second home, he said, but some are just fellow, full-time natives enjoying the downtown lifestyle.
“I love it,” said Ramirez, who barbecues on the rooftop. “It’s pretty neat living in the center of town.”
Just a handful of cosmetic touches remain for the project — except for opening yet-to-be named retail and restaurant pieces fronting Victoria Street.
Cafarelli hoped to announce what would fill the last pieces by the end of January.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Cafarelli said. “This is a lifestyle. It’s not just buying a unit. We’re all over the boards with what’s selling, so it’s good. We’re just happy that it’s up and running.”
Reyne Stapelmann: Santa Barbara Association Promotes Realtor Party Values
The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors encourages every member to vote in every election, act on Realtor Party issues and invest in the Realtor Party.
Investing in the Realtor Action Fund promotes the advocacy of your rights and values as a Realtor. Every dollar of this fund is used to protect Realtors' interests in government. Now more than ever, it is critical for Realtors to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities.
From city hall to the state house to the U.S. Capitol, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on the bottom line of Realtors and their clients.
Your contribution to the RAF is not a donation, it is an investment in your business and helps advance the goals of the Realtor Party:
» preserved the mortgage interest deduction
» strengthened credit and lending policies
» supported affordable, fixed-rate mortgages for working families and refinancing easier for veterans
» stopped point-of-sale mandates, which would add cost to a transaction, and much more
SBAOR upholds Realtor Party values — homeownership, private property rights, free enterprise and responsible government — and is proud to be a Golden R Contributor to the Realtor Action Fund.
— Reyne Stapelmann is a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, California Properties and the 2015 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.705.4353. The opinions expressed are her own.
Stephen Hicks, Ralph Iannelli Elected to Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees
Stephen Hicks and Ralph Iannelli have been elected to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees, each beginning a three-year term in January.
Selected for their diverse interests, experience and leadership in both professional and volunteer arenas, trustees establish policy, set priorities and are responsible for guiding the foundation’s activities.
“We are thrilled to welcome our newest trustees, who will bring a wealth of experience and commitment to the many communities throughout Santa Barbara County,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “They join our distinguished Board of Trustees in strategically guiding the foundation’s financial stewardship, philanthropic services and commitment to Santa Barbara County’s social sector.”
Hicks enjoyed a 30-year career in the computer and software industries with various responsibilities in marketing, finance, new product development and management. Beginning with IBM, he was subsequently a partner in four software firms, all of which were acquired.
Moving with his family to Santa Barbara from McLean, Va., in 1994, he became an active community volunteer, serving in various board positions including board president of CALM, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands YMCA and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He also served on the boards of Noah’s Anchorage and the Family Service Agency.
He was recently named an honorary trustee of the Museum of Natural History and was the Santa Barbara Foundation Man of the Year in 2007.
He currently serves on the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics board, YMCA audit and investment committees, and the Museum of Natural History strategic planning and audit committees.
He has a bachelor of science degree from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
Iannelli is the chief executive officer of Essex Capital Corp., a firm he founded in 1993. Essex Capital Corp. provides equity and debt financing for venture backed companies, and partners with and maintains relationships with some of the largest and well-known venture capital firms in the country.
He began his career as a social worker with the New Jersey State Department of Public Welfare. He later held management positions at IBM and served as an executive vice president at Nixdorf Computer and Pitney Bowes. He was a partner at American Computer Leasing Corporation and a principal at RAM Capital Corporation.
Iannelli is an investor and active board member for a broad range of companies, including Neos Therapeutics LLC, Emida Technologies Inc., Givezooks, and a number of other startup and later stage companies. he serves on the boards of several nonprofits both nationally and in Santa Barbara that are focused on education and law enforcement.
He teaches classes at UCSB and Loyola Marymount University. Ralph is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and attended the University of Chicago.
The Santa Barbara Foundation was established in 1928 to enrich the lives of the people of Santa Barbara County through philanthropy. As the largest community foundation in the county, and one of the largest sources of funding for area nonprofits and agencies, the foundation is committed to building philanthropy, strengthening the nonprofit sector and solving community problems. Guided by compassion for those most in need of help, excellence in what it supports and integrity in all relations, the Santa Barbara Foundation is invested in creating a more vibrant and engaged Santa Barbara County.
— Judy Taggart is the communications director for the Santa Barbara Foundation.
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Review: Rod Lathim’s ‘Unfinished Business’ Returns with Renewed, Deeper Focus
When Santa Barbara audiences last saw Rod Lathim’s autobiographical play, Unfinished Business, in 2012 and then again in 2013, it was a heartfelt portrayal of his experience of his mother’s death, with liberal doses of humor among the poignancy.
Running at the Lobero Theatre through Sunday, the current incarnation of the play, written, directed, and produced by Lathim, retains all of this but has been restructured and expanded, with additional scenes and characters. As before, audience seating on three sides transform the Lobero stage into an intimate black box.
Many of the actors reprise their previous roles here, well-known and well-loved locals including Brian Harwell as David, Ann Dusenberry as the spirit of his mother, Marion Freitag as Grandma, Katie Thatcher as eccentric neighbor Sally and Solomon N’dungu as the mysterious man in white. Laura Mancuso is to be commended for again playing the role of the mother’s earthly body, who mostly just lies in the bed, but even so brings the necessary presence to the proceedings.
All are excellent, this time around seeming to have deepened their embrace of the characters and commitment to the material.
Jenna Scanlon capably steps into the role of Sis, an interesting acting challenge, as she and Harwell are romantic partners in real life, here playing siblings.
The earlier versions dramatized the earthly happenings surrounding the mother’s death, as well as delving into the world unseen by most, as David finds he is able to feel, and finally see, spirits gathering to help his mother cross over to the other side.
The new production takes it a step further, with a multi-layered approach. Each scene takes us deeper into other realms.
Added to the cast is a chorus of six characters — Are they angels? Spirit guides? Other? — played by Laurel Lyle, Leslie Gangl Howe, Jay Carlander, Cali Rae Turner, Luke Mullen and Dillon Yuhasz.
In the second act, which is all new material, we see not only the loved ones and guide who appear at the time of crossing over, but this chorus observing and (mostly) cheering them on, embodying presences with consciousness and wisdom beyond those of us “earth jockeys.”
Mullen, a student at La Colina Junior High, is a standout here, with a charm reminiscent of a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Yuhasz delivers some very funny lines with his usual grace, and Laurel Lyle is confident and steady as the apparent leader of the group.
Award-winning scenic and lighting designer Patricia Frank’s contribution is notable as well, in subtle ways enhancing the atmosphere.
Local agencies addressing death and dying in our community are represented with information tables in front of the theater before the show, providing practical support in addition to the spiritual and metaphysical questions raised by the play.
For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, and for those who have not yet done so, this production offers laughter, tears, comfort and some possibilities perhaps not yet considered. Take this chance to see an entirely unique view of the end of life, while there is still time.
Tickets are available for the Sunday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows. Purchase online by clicking here or call the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761.
— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.
Capps Announces Reintroduction of Campaign Finance Reform Bills
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday announced that this week, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, she is joining several of her colleagues in reintroducing two campaign finance reform bills to help break the dependence on big money in elections and protect the voices of everyday Americans.
Capps is an original cosponsor of both bills.
The Government By the People Act of 2015 (House Resolution 20) would help break the influence of big money in elections, and the DISCLOSE Act would require more disclosure of political spending from corporations, lobbyists and outside groups.
“Fair, open elections are critical to our democracy, which is why I have been a longtime supporter of commonsense campaign finance reform,” Capps said. “Big money has too much influence in our elections, so I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act and the Government By the People Act, two pieces of legislation that will level the playing field and allow the voices of everyday Americans to be heard.”
The DISCLOSE Act would:
» Increase disclosure of political spending by corporations and outside groups to the federal election commission
» Require corporations and outside groups to stand by their broadcast ads
» Require corporations to disclose their expenditures to their shareholders and organizations to disclose their expenditures to their members
» Require lobbyists to disclose their campaign expenditures
The Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) would:
» Encourage everyday citizens to participate in congressional campaigns by providing a My Voice Tax Credit for campaign contributions
» Create a Freedom from Influence Matching Fund to ensure parity between low-dollar donors and wealthy donors
Capps, who has long supported commonsense campaign finance reform, has expressed disappointment in recent Supreme Court decisions, including the McCutcheon and Citizens United decisions, which have given the wealthiest Americans even more power in our political system. She has previously supported both the Government by the People Act and the DISCLOSE Act, which passed the House in 2010 but ultimately stalled due to partisan opposition in the Senate.
— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.
San Luis Obispo Police Identify Suspect in Online University Threats
Stefan Hall, 23, allegedly posted threats on the localized Yik Yak social media site that mentioned the Cal Poly Mustangs, guns and other statements that caused a lot of concern, San Luis Obispo Police Capt. Chris Staley said.
Hall is a current Cal Poly economics student according to the university’s directory.
He could face terrorist threat charges but is not being held in custody or under arrest while the case is under review by the District Attorney’s Office, Staley said.
Authorities alerted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and UCSB Police since the post account was called “UCSB psycho,” but the threats don’t appear to specifically mention UCSB or Isla Vista, Staley said.
KEYT reported that threats were not substantiated but caused law enforcement to step up security near UCSB last weekend.
Santa Maria Teacher Arrested on Child-Porn Charges
A Santa Maria High School English teacher and assistant varsity basketball coach has been placed on leave while being investigated for alleged possession and distribution of child pornography.
Michael David Smith, 53, of Santa Margarita was arrested at approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday at a residence in Santa Margarita, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Jan. 14, the Sheriff's Office received information that child pornography was being downloaded and distributed from a computer at a residence located in the 22000 block of I Street in Santa Margarita.
Detectives with the sheriff's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team served a search warrant at that location on Thursday, seizing computers, laptops, external hard drives, memory cards and DVDs.
“On one external hard drive alone, there were multiple images of pre-pubescent children engaged in sexual acts,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “At this time, there is no evidence the manufacturing of child pornography was being conducted at the residence.
"The images appear to have been downloaded from the Internet and then distributed. The rest of the seized electronics will be forensically analyzed for child pornography. “
Smith was arrested on suspicion of one count of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography.
Detectives were working with the Santa Maria Police Department and school officials “and at this point there is no indication these crimes were committed on school grounds,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
"If you prey upon the youngest members of our society, we will find you and we will arrest you," said Tony Cipolla, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.
Smith reportedly taught Introduction to Literature, Journalism and Publications (Yearbook) in addition to serving as assistant coach for varsity boys' basketball, according to the school's website.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said in a statement released Friday that officials learned of the investigation Thursday night.
“The employee was arrested in SLO County for alleged penal code violations. The district has placed the employee on leave ...,” the district’s statement said. “We are cooperating with law enforcement and will continue to do so during the investigation."
Smith's mid-season arrest is reminiscent of the arrest of Orcutt resident Brian Hook, the girls basketball coach at Pioneer Valley High School in 2014 as the team entered the first-round of playoffs.
The former social science teacher at Pioneer was arrested in February for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student, whose name wasn’t released because she’s a minor, police said.
Captain’s Log: The Funny Side of Sea Lions
Many a trip aboard my charter boat, WaveWalker, begins with slowly circling the channel buoys outside the Santa Barbara Harbor to give everyone a chuckle at the antics of California sea lions.
Most of the time there are enough of them up on the buoy to pretty much take up all the space. More are swimming about nearby, waiting for an opportunity to take a spot on the buoy for themselves so they can haul out, warm up, dry out and snooze. Sometimes the snoozers look so relaxed they risk melting.
It’s funny when their repose is in a position that their snout is hanging down near the water and when a large wave washes up higher on the buoy, the critter’s snout gets wet and the animal jumps like it was startled. It is also funny when one decides there may be just barely enough room to join the crowd, then carefully times a swell and makes the jump with the aid of the swell and lands in the midst of a bunch of warm, dry sea lions who do not appreciate the cold and wet intruder.
Oh, they complain vociferously and people get a good laugh at the moment in the social lives of our coastal critters.
One thing that amazes me personally is how a sea lion can hang out for hours, right next to the clanging bell on the red and white channel buoys. Man, that thing would give me a five-star headache in the first 15 minutes.
Every once in awhile we cruise out of the harbor toward the buoys, look around and discover that there isn’t a sea lion in sight. That’s when we start shark-watching, instead. Those sea lions have their ways of communicating, and they can all go poof in a hot second.
I’ve seen the same scenario play out at the Channel Islands. We’ve been boiler rock bassing for calico bass up close to the island and seeing literally thousands of sea lions and other pinnipeds. Then all of a sudden someone notices that they are gone. And I mean gone! In about a minute, they can all take off for tall timber. That’s when we start telling shark stories.
My least favorite part of hanging out with sea lions is when they come to our fishing boat to hang out with us, while we are fishing. They are not there to visit. We don’t allow people to feed them because it is really bad training and sets a bad precedent. But those critters know that we use bait and that we bring in fish. The law does allow us to defend our gear and our catch, but the list of allowed actions we can take are ineffectual. So mostly we leave or try to deal with it.
I recall one lady who wanted to feed them at the buoy in the morning. I wouldn’t let her and she was quite disappointed. Later, she had a nice fat salmon on her line and was bringing it to the boat when a sea lion grabbed it and stole it off her hook. Suddenly she wanted me to shoot the critter. I smiled and calmly reminded her that earlier she wanted to feed it, which she finally just got a chance to do!
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
City of Goleta Accepting Grant Applications
The City of Goleta is accepting applications for grant funding through its Goleta City Grant Program (formerly the Community Project Grant Program) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
Applications for grant funding are available starting Friday and must be submitted to Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite, B, Goleta, CA 93117, no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19.
For fiscal year 2015-16, up to $100,000 in funding is available for civic services, community projects, cultural activities, educational programs and special events that are of benefit to the residents of the City of Goleta. Federal CDBG funding must be used to provide public services to the homeless and low- to moderate-income residents of Goleta.
Grant Funding Requirements
» 1. All services and/or projects must benefit Goleta residents.
» 2. Services and/or projects must be sponsored by nonprofit organizations.
» 3. Categories of services and projects eligible for grants include: civic projects or services sponsored by Goleta community organizations, cultural activities (e.g. music, art, dance, recreation, etc.), educational programs, special events, regional projects of benefit to Goleta residents, and public services for low- to moderate-income people (e.g. senior services, youth programs, health services, etc.).
In order to benefit a range of activities in the community, individual grants under the Goleta City Grant Program are limited to a maximum of $3,500. CDBG Program grants have no maximum, but require recipients to follow strict federal regulations and reporting requirements.
A single application form is used for both programs and may be obtained at City of Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, Goleta, CA 93117, or at www.cityofgoleta.org. Questions regarding grant funding and/or requests for applications may also be directed to Claudia Dato, Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department, at email@example.com or 805.961.7554.
The application can be found by clicking here.
— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.
Westmont Theater, Music Departments Join Forces to Offer ‘One-Act Opera Classics’
The Westmont College theater and music departments, which won three national awards for the 2013 co-production of Pirates of Penzance, combine forces for “An Evening of One-Act Opera Classics” at 7 p.m. Jan. 30-31 and at 3 p.m. Feb. 1, all in the Porter Theatre.
Tickets, which cost $15 for general admission and $10 for students/seniors/children, can be purchased by calling 805.565.7140 or online by clicking here.
John Blondell, Westmont professor of theater, stages the operas that are directed by Celeste Tavera, adjunct professor and Music Drama Workshop teacher.
The evening includes La Serva Padrona (The Servant Turned Mistress), an opera buffa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, a libretto by Gennaro Antonio Federico composed in 1733 and The Old Maid and the Thief. A Grotesque Opera in One Act, composed by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti to his own libretto in 1939.
The operas feature singers Wendy Kent, Robert Huff and Matthew Maler in “La Serva;” and Emmalee Wetzel, Serena Lee, McKenna Kleinmeier and Walter Dyer in “Old Maid.” “The singers have beautiful voices,” says Tavera, a Metropolitan Opera National Council winner who has taught voice at Westmont for nine years.
Two separate, live orchestras, conducted by Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, accompany the singers. Designers include Westmont professors Yuri Okahana (scenery), Miller James (costumes) and Jonathan Hicks (lighting).
“The operas couldn’t be more different,” Blondell said. “Where La Serva is bright, comic and whimsical, Old Maid is more overtly psychological, and emotionally and musically demanding.
"We have worked hard to present the rich detail of each opera, and to unify them in such a way that creates a vivid and compelling evening of great music theater.
"The student performers are doing a fantastic job, and the theater and music faculty hope that this will be just the beginning for an exciting tradition of opera at Westmont.”
— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.
Dr. Anabel Ford to Speak Sunday at Santa Barbara Community Seed Swap
You are cordially invited to attend the seventh annual Santa Barbara Community Seed Swap from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Santa Barbara Public Library.
Dr. Anabel Ford will present on the Maya traditions of conservation and development at El Pilar.
Admission to the event is free. Come and find out about Chaya, the Maya tree spinach with more protein, vitamin C and calcium that common spinach! All you need to do is to plant a stick on the ground and — wow! — you have Maya Chaya.
Click here for more information on the event.
We look forward to seeing you there!
— Dr. Anabel Ford represents the Santa Barbara Community Seed Swap.
Outdoors Q&A: What to Do When Prohibited Species Are Accidentally Caught
Q: I fly fish for calico bass using barbless hooks in the kelp beds off Catalina Island and the coast, and it’s all strictly catch and release. Garibaldi are abundant in this habitat and are very aggressive.
When I can see them I can usually avoid catching them. However, rarely one will take my fly inadvertently. Since they are only lightly hooked through the lip, they survive the accidental catch and release. However, it is illegal to “take” garibaldi. Is this considered illegal if caught by accident and then released? How can one avoid catching them? (Rick B.)
A: No, it is not considered an illegal action to accidentally catch a prohibited species as long as it is immediately released back into the waters it came from. Intentionally targeting a prohibited species is illegal, but you do not seem to be doing that.
As for how to avoid catching them, that’s a tricky question. About the only thing you can try would be to use a larger hook (that the garibaldi might have problems taking into their small mouths), but fly fishing generally doesn’t allow for use of larger hooks. You may need to employ a bit of ingenuity to figure out how to reduce the number of garibaldi you end up hooking.
What to Do with Banded Waterfowl?
Q: This past weekend a banded speckled-belly goose was taken at my duck club. I’d like to report this banded bird to the authorities. The time, date and place, as well as the tag number seem obvious to report. Is there any other information needed, and who should I report this band to? (Larry L.)
A: Since waterfowl are migratory, the U.S. Geological Survey has the responsibility of collecting and analyzing all banding information. Government and private sector scientists and waterfowl managers tag and monitor migratory waterfowl every year. This banding information helps them to assess population numbers and track their movement patterns. You may also be asked to provide information about weather and any other waterfowl the goose was flying with when taken. Please go to www.reportband.gov to report banded birds.
Capturing Largemouth Bass for a Home Aquarium?
Q: One of my friends has a large aquarium and is interested in putting some largemouth bass in it. I would like to know what the regulations are for catching a largemouth bass in a local lake and then transporting it live to his tank. It would never be released into a different body of water, and it would be taken legally. (Azure C.)
A: Transporting fish alive from the water where they are taken is prohibited (California Code of Regulations, section 1.63). Laws allowing certain species of live fish to be maintained alive in closed-systems do not authorize possession in home aquariums. Your friend can legally buy bass for his or her aquarium from a licensed aquaculturalist, as long as he or she does not release it into the wild.
Qualifications for a Disabled Access Hunting Site?
Q: I have always enjoyed duck hunting but now after several orthopedic surgeries on my hips and knees, I have considerable difficulty in walking. In the outdoors I must use a staff and can go about 100 yards on a level surface before resting. I am not currently confined to the use of a walker, crutches or a wheelchair, however, in the light of my walking disability, would I be eligible to apply for a disabled access hunting site? I have a permanent disabled person parking card and I hold a Lifetime License. (Vivian N., Marysville)
A: Yes, you qualify because you possess a permanent disabled parking placard. To hunt at a disabled accessible hunting site, you must have one of the following:
» a permanent disabled parking placard, and the paperwork from the Department of Motor Vehicles showing that the placard was issued to you;
» a disabled veteran license plate and the paperwork from the Department of Motor Vehicles showing that the plate was issued to you; or
» a mobility impaired disabled persons motor vehicle hunting license.
You might also be interested in the special hunts for disabled persons conducted through the California Department of Fish & Wildlife during pheasant season. Information about these hunts can generally be found on our website in the fall prior to the season opener by clicking here.
Goleta Chamber Holding ‘We Love Our Members’ B2B Breakfast
The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a "We Love Our Members" Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.
Join us as we celebrate you — our members!
Renew by Jan. 30 to be entered to win amazing prizes from Goleta Chamber prize sponsors and receive $5 admission. You do not need to be present to win.
Attendees will be provided an opportunity to introduce themselves and their business in a 20-second elevator pitch to the crowd.
A hot breakfast from Georgia's Smokehouse, piping hot coffee from Zizzo's Coffee and refreshing water from Team Cashman, State Farm will be served promptly at 7:30 a.m.
The cost is $5 for renewed members, $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.
Bill Macfadyen: Was Downtown Burglary Binge a Feat of Physical Fitness, Dumb Luck, or Both?
NoozWeek’s Top 5 squares off over worker’s comp, meets a repeat DUI offender, jams with Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, and takes one last shot at ‘Illegals’
There were 79,606 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.
More than a dozen businesses in and around downtown Santa Barbara were hit in an hours-long burglary spree in the middle of the night early on Jan. 17.
Two local teenagers were arrested, but a third suspect apparently has not yet been taken into custody.
Santa Barbara police Sgt. Bryan Jensen said the perps may have caused as much as $100,000 in damage as they brazenly roamed about.
“The first call was at 2:45 in the morning, and then we basically were chasing these crooks around the city,” he said, referring to the first security alarm to be triggered.
Jensen said the party apparently started with a break-in just after midnight at La Bella Rosa Bakery, at 1411 San Andres St. on the Westside.
From there, the alleged juvenile delinquents hit Super Cucas Restaurant, 626 W. Micheltorena St.; Mobil Gas, 402 W. Mission St.; Paradise Tobacco, 1926 De la Vina St.; Fuzion Gallery & Boutique, 1115 State St.; Dahlia’s Beauty Salon, 1021 State St.; Instant Klasick, 811 State St.; South Coast Deli, 10 E. Carrillo St.; Ashtanga Yoga, 1213 State St., Suite J; Sabrina Full Service Salon & Boutique, 1305 Chapala St.; and several businesses inside the Santa Barbara Public Market in the Alma del Pueblo complex at 38 W. Victoria St.
There also were attempted break-ins at Carrillo Market, 626 W. Micheltorena St.; The Game Stop, 803 Chapala St.; and Saks Fifth Avenue, 1001 State St., as well as a vandalized vehicle at Ayers Repairs, 1301 Chapala St.
Two suspects, ages 17 and 16, were apprehended about 4 a.m. Saturday near the MTD station in the 1000 block of Chapala Street, said Jensen, who added that a large amount of cash and loot was recovered.
Perhaps even more incredibly, police think the dynamic duo was on foot throughout most of the burglary binge. Oh, well. There go those cross-country dreams — a month too soon to be inspired by McFarland, USA.
I’m hardly alone in wondering how two adolescent pedestrians could ransack so many businesses over such a wide swath of the city during such a long period of time without being detected — even if it was in the dark of night. Could it really have been dumb luck that they managed to mostly avoid businesses with security systems?
The teens were booked into Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall. Names were not released because of their ages.
A prosecutor with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has cracked down — hard — on what he contends is a clear-cut case of worker’s compensation fraud.
According to a statement issued Jan. 16 by District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Deputy District Attorney Gary Gemberling has charged the owners of a local paving company and one of their employees with 42 felony counts in the case.
United Paving owners Al Rodriguez and his wife, Maria, and longtime employee Bryon Duran were arrested Jan. 14 after a months-long investigation by Gemberling, the California Department of Insurance’s Fraud Division, the Franchise Tax Board, the Employment Development Department and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
Among the charges: worker’s compensation premium fraud, fraudulent denial of worker’s compensation benefits, wage theft and violations of the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
“If you were employed by United Seal Coating, United Seal Coating and Slurry Seal Inc., Santa Barbara Paving or United Paving within the past four years and believe you were a victim of wage theft or denied worker’s compensation benefits, you are encouraged to contact the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office at 805.568.2300,” according to the statement.
“The district attorney has capitulated to several years of pressure from labor unions in deciding to file charges against Al Rodriguez’s business,” he said.
Bamieh added that organized labor has long complained about the “nonunion business,” a frequent contractor on lucrative UC Santa Barbara jobs.
The family-owned company “was able to provide construction more efficiently and economically than union companies on construction jobs on the UCSB campus,” he said, asserting that the charges against Maria Rodriguez and Duran were brought only to put more pressure on Rodriguez himself.
The Rodriguezes and Duran are to be arraigned Jan. 30 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
The night of Jan. 17, Santa Maria police arrested a woman on suspicion of felony DUI. Not terribly surprising for a weekend roundup.
But as our Tom Bolton discovered, it apparently wasn’t this woman’s first rodeo.
It turns out that the cops arrested Linda Grace Mendoza, 50, of Santa Maria, who has a history of drunken-driving convictions — three in the last 10 years, in fact.
According to police Lt. Dan Cohen, officers found Mendoza behind the wheel of a car parked — thankfully — in the 1600 block of North Broadway.
She was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for that, as well as the charges of driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08 percent, driving while on probation for DUI and driving with a suspended license.
SOhO Restaurant & Music Club is spending 2015 celebrating its 20th anniversary in downtown Santa Barbara.
As part of the festivities — and to help the club raise money for much-needed tenant improvements at the fraying Victoria Court location — the club turned to a couple of Santa Barbara’s best-known musicians: Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald.
The pair performed Jan. 18 before a packed crowd at the club at 1221 State St., Suite 205.
Before the gig, Loggins, my former neighbor, was kind enough to talk to our Jeff Moehlis about the importance of SOhO as a venue — to the community as well as to his own family.
Since my last column, friends have been bombarding me with questions about the latest controversy involving Santa Barbara’s daily newspaper. “You must really be enjoying this, right?” they ask.
Actually, no. While the bumbling may be modestly beneficial for our traffic, Fossil Media are largely irrelevant to Noozhawk. I would much rather spend our time and resources on more important matters for our readers.
But that’s just my opinion.
• • •
• • •
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» Join our Hawks Club.
Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.
Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.
» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.
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Thank you for your support.
— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Santa Barbara’s Sales Tax, Transient Occupancy Tax Growth Continues
The City of Santa Barbara received $5.5 million in sales tax for the quarter ended Sept. 30, representing the first sales tax quarter of the current fiscal year.
Since sales tax is received quarterly from the state and one quarter in arrears, the first full sales tax payment of each fiscal year is not received until December. Sales tax growth for the September quarter was 6.9 percent higher than receipts in the same quarter of last fiscal year.
Sales tax results for the December quarter, including sales during the holiday shopping season, will be available in March.
The transient occupancy tax (TOT) collected in November was 16.9 percent above the amount collected in November 2013, with one fewer weekend day this year. In addition, TOT collected in December was 11.1 percent above the amount collected in December 2013.
TOT continues its strong growth, posting overall growth of 12 percent through December.
Good weather continues to be a factor in these strong results, but it is also due to hotels coming back on line after major renovations. Year-to-date, over $9.9 million in TOT has been collected. The fiscal year 2015 TOT budgeted is $17,641,400, which is 4.9 percent higher than fiscal year 2014.
— Robert Samario is the finance director for the City of Santa Barbara.
Jeff Moehlis: Catch Patti Smith at the Granada
Lenny Kaye, the group's longtime guitarist, talks about the upcoming show
Patti Smith first rocked the world 40 years ago with her fusion of poetry and primitive three-chord rock. Her 1975 debut Horses is regularly ranked as one of the most influential rock-and-roll albums of all time, and she went on to release other acclaimed albums — and to continue to thrill audiences — throughout the decades, all the while growing as an artist.
Smith's secret weapon throughout most of her musical journey has been guitarist Lenny Kaye, who provided accompaniment at her first public poetry reading in 1971, was in Smith's band during her 1970s heyday and rejoined when Smith returned to action in the mid-1990s. In a parallel life, Kaye also put together the well-regarded Nuggets compilation, which rescued a smokin' set of 1960s garage rock gems from obscurity.
• • •
Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming show?
Lenny Kaye: [laughs] Well, that's a question we always ask ourselves.
We try to make each show unique to where we're playing and the mood of the crowd, and the vibrations of the night. It's going to be a special show for us because our drummer, Jay Dee Daugherty, is from Santa Barbara, so the town has been part of our universe for the past 40 years.
We do a mixture of songs that people hope to hear — when I go to a concert I like to hear my favorite hits — but we also have some challenging songs that allow us to stretch and improvise. It's going to be not very much Horses based, because we'll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of our debut album later this year. So we're going to be dipping into stranger corners of our catalog and seeing what comes. But always it's the audience and the venue and the stars above that determine the shape of the night.
JM: I saw the show back in 2009 that Patti did here with Philip Glass, and you and Jay Dee came out for part of that show. That was a very cool evening, but I'm guessing it was very different from what we'll be hearing next week.
LK: Oh yeah, totally. I mean, this is our first full band show in Santa Barbara. With Philip it was a little more of a special occasion, and it was acoustic-based if I'm not mistaken. This will be amps turned up and people rocking. But when we speak of a rock show, one of the things I love about our band is that we have a very wide range of how we approach our music. You know, we can go from the most tender, intimate and quiet things to full roar and rebellion. In the course of the show we will visit all these facets of our personality.
Patti is always wanting to make sure that we are not bound by definition or convention. We believe that all of music is there to be explored and understood and elevated. In the course of what we do, we try to approach it with a sense of freedom and no boundaries. It's one of the reasons why we are so long-lived as a band — that we continually try to move forward, and not be captured by who we were in the past. This doesn't mean that we deny where we come from, but it also means that we don't want to be trapped. We don't particularly feel like our music belongs to any particular era or time. We always try to point forward in our sense of creation.
JM: You said that the upcoming show isn't going to focus on Horses, but with the 40th anniversary coming up, it's in people's minds. What are your reflections on that album?
LK: For me, it's a very young band. We're a bunch of colts straining at the bit, trying to channel all of these ideas that we had into the grooves of an actual record. For a band that was very much of the moment, all about improvisation, all about capturing the mood of the night, to make a record is a different animal. I hear us as very young, but certainly with our ideals intact, and on a mission to preserve the spirit of rock-and-roll in the same way that it inspired us when we were young.
The sense of empowerment within the music was so real to all of us who were kind of mutants in whatever social universes we came out of. We found it within the music, especially in its grand flowering in the late '60s, which was a remarkable moment culturally, and especially with music leading the artistic charge, it was very inspirational. And in a sense what we wanted to do was provide that same sense of inspiration.
As we made our first tours around America with Horses, we would find whatever city we would get into that there would be a core of musicians waiting for a rallying cry, waiting to create their own sense of creation, their own sense of growth, and to plant the flag where ideas that were off the mainstream could flourish. I feel like we attempted to celebrate the virtues of the music that had set us free, as well.
What I'm always, of course, most happy about is that no matter how influential Horses was in terms of giving people a sense of possibility, that none of them really sounded like us. It was more a sense that, "Yes, we could find our own voice and become who we need to be." And the artists who took notice of this — Michael Stipe of R.E.M., or Morrissey from The Smiths, or any of the artists who have come up to us over the years and said how inspirational Horses was — that they all had their own way of expression, that they didn't become Patti. But nobody can become Patti. She's a unique individual, and certainly has a sense of creative vision and artistic awareness that is unique to her, and yet can also inspire that same sense of creativity in those who partake of our music.
JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about your career, or something about Patti Smith?
LK: I always think that people look at one perspective of what we do.
In some ways, Patti is the Godmother of Punk. But what exactly does that mean? I would hope that everybody would approach our music in the same sense of expansiveness and adventurousness that we do, that we are beyond definition, that really what happens is that we are dealing with the enlightenment of the human spirit. That's a beautiful place to be within the realm of art.
Just remember that that comes with a sense of responsibility, and that comes with a sense of obligation to one's audience and to oneself. To keep that balance going is the trick of any artist who is not tied to a particular moment in time. Other than that, sometimes misconceptions are great because even if they don't get it right, it gets into their world, and that's always a good path to self-knowledge.
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.
Colby-Sawyer College Names Krista Peace of Santa Barbara to Dean’s List
Colby-Sawyer College has named Krista Peace of Santa Barbara to the Dean's List for academic achievement during the 2014 fall semester.
To qualify for the Dean's List, students must achieve a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher on a 4.0 scale while carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours in graded courses.
Peace is majoring in health promotion and is a member of the class of 2015.
Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.
Cooper Allebrand of Santa Barbara Earns Dean’s List Honors at Roger Williams University
Cooper Allebrand, a resident of Santa Barbara, has been named to the fall 2014 Dean's List at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.
Allebrand is a foreign languages major.
Full-time students who complete 12 or more credits per semester and earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher are placed on the Dean's List that semester.
Roger Williams University, with its main campus located on the coast of Bristol, R.I., is a forward-thinking private university with 45 undergraduate majors spanning the liberal arts and the professions, where students become community-minded citizens through project-based, experiential learning.
With small classes, direct access to faculty and boundless opportunity for real-world projects, RWU students develop the ability to think critically while simultaneously building the practical skills that today's employers demand. In the two years since launching its signature Affordable Excellence initiative, the University has established itself as a leader in American higher education by confronting the most pressing issues facing students and families - increasing costs that limit access to college, rising debt and the job readiness of graduates.
In addition to its 4,000 undergraduates, RWU is home to more than a dozen graduate programs, a thriving School of Continuing Studies based in Providence as well as Rhode Island's only law school.
— Lynda Curtis represents Roger Williams University.
SEIU Members Ask Santa Maria Council for ‘Fair’ Wage Hike
Santa Maria workers who keep city vehicles running, operate the water plant, maintain city streets and fill assorted other jobs are urging the City Council to give them “a fair and equitable contract” as salary negotiations continue.
The workers, who are represented by SEIU Local 620, showed up in force at Tuesday night's council meeting to plead their case.
Union representatives referred to what they say was a “wildly inaccurate” salary survey conducted by city negotiators.
“We will continue our relentless pursuit of the truth as far as we need to ensure our members receive a fair and equitable contract,” said Darryl Scheck, SEIU Local 620 field representative. “In the meantime, I encourage you to look within and ask yourself, 'Is it fair that one group should be so disparately treated compared to other labor groups in the city?'”
The union action came before the City Council's scheduled discussion in closed session about negotiations. The council didn’t take any reportable action during those conversations, City Manager Rick Haydon said.
Both sides were to talk again this week.
“We’re optimistic that we’ll come to terms of agreement with them,” Haydon told Noozhawk.
Employees reportedly are seeking a 3.5 percent salary hike, akin to the 3.6 percent public safety groups received.
“We are hopeful that we can secure better terms in our negotiations with the city since Tuesday night's action,” Scheck said Thursday.
The union’s “last, best and final offer” is still less than other labor groups accepted, Scheck added.
Sporting purple shirts with the words “Stronger Together,” Local 620 members rallied in front of City Hall and then flooded into the council chambers Tuesday night.
Doug Shearer, a union member and landfill employee, noted that the city offers free day-passes that allow utility customers to dump items for no cost, adding up to approximately $240,000 in lost revenue for coffers.
“But you guys don’t even blink an eye to that,” Shearer said. “And, why? Because it’s good politics. It’s sexy. It’s got good meat for your constituents.
“I know this bargaining unit isn’t sexy, and we’re probably not as popular as some of the other organizations in the city, but all we ask is a fair shake for our families and our friends."
SEIU Local 620 represents approximately 264 employees, officials said.
The union members agreed to unpaid furloughs in recent years to help the city through bad financial times, and worked for the passage of a measure to boost sales taxes to fund public safety.
“We’re the jack-of-all-trades, the worker bees,” said Michelle Ruiz, a city employee and union member. “We’re a collective group of different individuals with different responsibilities who keep the city functioning.”
Lompoc Police Release Identity of Homicide Victim
The victim of an apparent homicide in Lompoc has been identified as Salvador Hernandez, a 57-year-old transient, Lompoc police Capt. Ed Lardner said Thursday.
Hernandez's body was found Wednesday in tall vegetation behind the Valero Gas Station in the 900 block of North H Street.
An autopsy on Hernandez was conducted Thursday, but the results were pending toxicology and other reports, Lardner said.
He previously had said Hernandez suffered multiple stab wounds.
On Wednesday, police booked Noe Herrera, 28, of Lompoc on suspicion of murder in Hernandez's slaying.
Herrera already was in custody because he was arrested in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in a residence in the 400 block of North L Street, police said.
The brutal assault reportedly involved a relative.
While investigators interviewed Herrera about the assault, he told them about the homicide, Lardner said, and directed police to the body, which was found Wednesday afternoon.
Police said the suspect and the slaying victim were acquaintances, but Lardner would not expand on how they knew other.
Since he has been in custody this week, Herrara reportedly also has attacked a cell mate.
Police officers in Lompoc reportedly have had prior contact with Herrera.
Toll from Weekend Break-ins Raised to 14 Businesses in Santa Barbara
Two teens have been charged in the case, and police are seeking a third suspect in the spree that caused thousands of dollars in damage
The crime spree involved 14 businesses — not 11 — and one vehicle vandalized outside Ayers Repairs at 1301 Chapala St., according to police Sgt. Riley Harwood.
He told Noozhawk police were still seeking a third suspect after apprehending the two local teenagers authorities believe to be responsible for the nearly four-hour burglary spree that caused thousands of dollars in damage to businesses.
The two suspects, whose names were not released because they are minors, were booked into the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall.
Because the investigation was ongoing, Harwood couldn’t share many details this week, but he did say the teens — ages 16 and 17 — were from Santa Barbara and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they carried out a series of crimes that began at 12:20 a.m. last Friday night.
Harwood said estimates showed $20,000 in property damage and $13,000 in losses, although police recovered about $8,000 worth of stolen merchandise.
Police believe the break-ins began on the Westside at La Bella Rosa Bakery, 1411 San Andres St.
From there, suspects moved downtown, Harwood said, using a brick or rock to break some windows and likely traveling on foot.
Police weren’t sure in what order the break-ins occurred, since some of the businesses didn’t have active alarm systems, he said. An alarm alerted officers to the break-ins about 2:45 a.m.
Affected businesses included Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St., Mobil Gas, 402 W. Mission St.; Paradise Tobacco, 1926 De la Vina St.; Fuzion Gallery & Boutique, 1115 State St.; Super Cucas Restaurant, 626 W. Micheltorena St.; Dahlia’s Beauty Salon, 1021 State St.; Instant Klasick, 811 State St.; and South Coast Deli, 10 E. Carrillo St., Harwood said.
Sabrina Full Service Salon & Boutique at 1305 Chapala St. and Ashtanga Yoga at 1213 State St., Suite J were added to the list this week.
There were attempted break-ins at the Saks Fifth Avenue department store at 1001 State St., Carrillo Market, 626 W. Micheltorena St. and The Game Stop, 803 Chapala St. — where Harwood said responding officers saw the suspects.
Patrolling Mission Security guards also spotted them outside the Public Market.
“One of our officers saw the suspects trying to get into a taxi cab,” Harwood said. “When the cab started to drive away, the officers basically pounced on them.”
The teens were apprehended at about 4 a.m. Saturday near the MTD station on Chapala Street, he said.
Harwood said the difference between a break-in and an attempted break-in was whether suspects passed the threshold with an intent to commit theft or a felony.
“You don’t have to actually steal something for the burglary to be complete,” he said. “It does kind of fit the pattern of how burglaries happen. We don’t have a lot of burglars (locally), but you have a small number of active people, and they commit a lot of burglaries before they get caught.
“These guys were obviously rather brazen or careless. We’re dealing with juveniles here as well. A number of places had video, and that has been helpful in this investigation.”
Bagpipers Treat Elephants to Birthday Serenade at Santa Barbara Zoo
Asian elephant Sujatha received a birthday bagpipe serenade on Thursday by members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff Pipe & Drum Corps at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Sujatha turns 44 years old on Friday. Her companion, Little Mac, turns 44 next month. Both elephants have lived at the Santa Barbara Zoo since they arrived from India in 1971 as part of a trade with the Mysore Zoo, in return for California sea lions.
Sujatha was born to a working mother in an Indian logging camp, and Little Mac was discovered nearby in the forest, apparently orphaned.
In the response to the bagpipes, the two pachyderms trumpeted, made low humming sounds, swayed from side to side and touched each other with their trunks. Instead of a birthday cake, Sujatha was presented with a carved-out pumpkin, her favorite treat, filled with apples and mashed pumpkin.
Why perform for an elephant? Elephants are high intelligent animals and respond to changes in their environment. At the zoo, keepers provide daily “enrichment” by moving logs and sand around in the elephant enclosure, suspending branches and food from a 30-foot-tall umbrella-shaped hoist, hiding food treats and even sprinkling scents in different areas. The goal is to provide stimulation and variety for the pachyderms. Elephants can live up to 70 years, but usually average 55, making the zoo’s pachyderms roughly middle-age.
The Pipe & Drum Corps is a volunteer element of theSanta Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. Formed in 2007, it is the only law enforcement pipe band between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It supports the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Honor Guard in its ceremonial duties and in department activities such as graduations, promotions, holiday events, fundraisers, retirements and others.
— Julia McHugh is the director of public relations for the Santa Barbara Zoo.
BizHawk: Silvergreens Founders Open Kyle’s Kitchen on Calle Real in Goleta
Pacific Beverage division of Jordano’s plans move to Cabrillo Business Park, Karl Storz renames street and PathPoint welcomes a new vice president
[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing email@example.com.]
Eleven-year-old Kyle Ferro loves salads and cheeseburgers, but when you ask him to name his favorite part about the restaurant his parents opened in his name, Kyle tends to get distracted.
Instead of answering, he says hello to a passing patron, who greets him by name.
“This,” said his mother, Deena Ferro, smiling and watching her son chat up a customer. “He’s so friendly. He’s just a people person. He wakes up every morning and says he wants to go to Kyle’s Kitchen.”
Deena and Jay Ferro opened Kyle’s Kitchen at 5723 Calle Real in a former Quizno’s Subs space in Goleta last month as a quick family-friendly dining option inspired by Kyle, a special-needs fifth-grader at Mountain View School.
The casual concept complements the parents’ other health-minded business, Silvergreens restaurants, which first opened in Isla Vista 20 years ago before adding a downtown Santa Barbara location in 2008.
Colorful chalkboard walls showcase a simple menu — burgers, soups, salads and milkshakes — as well as the name of the local nonprofit the Ferros have chosen to spotlight each month.
Kyle’s Kitchen will donate a portion of each month’s proceeds to a rotating list of organizations, helping raise awareness and giving back to a community that has been so good to their family of five — soon to be six, since Deena Ferro is pregnant.
“We’re so passionate about the mission behind it,” she said.
Pacific Beverage Company Plans Expansion
The Pacific Beverage division of Jordano’s Inc. has purchased a seven-acre site in the Cabrillo Business Park for the future development of a 100,000-square-foot beverage distribution facility, according to Mark Mattingly, executive vice president of Pacifica Commercial Realty.
The local real estate firm represented both the buyer and seller — Sares Regis Group, owners of the Cabrillo Business Park — in a land sale late last year that Pacifica dubbed Goleta’s largest in 2014.
The new building will serve the growth of Pacific Beverage operations, currently co-located with rapidly expanding Jordano’s food service distribution facility on Ekwill Drive in Goleta.
Designed by beverage distribution design firm HDA Architects, the new warehouse will feature extensive use of Santa Barbara stone and glass and serve as the beverage company’s headquarters.
Karl Storz Dedicates Street
Goleta’s Karl Storz dedicated its new street sign Thursday, changing Raytheon Drive to Karl Storz Drive.
Karl Storz bought the building at 1 S. Los Carneros Road for its Karl Storz Imaging Inc., production and product development facility, offering room for anticipated growth.
The move is considered to be a significant milestone, since the company now owns the approximately 102,066-square-foot, two-story facility after previously leasing three facilities in Goleta.
PathPoint Appoints Executive
Stephanie Boumediene, MPH, has joined PathPoint as the nonprofit’s vice president and director of development.
Founded in Santa Barbara in 1964, PathPoint provides support services for people with disabilities, economic disadvantages and mental illness to live and work as valued members of their communities.
PathPoint celebrates the potential of more than 2,100 people throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Kern and Los Angeles counties.
Boumediene, who was raised in Santa Barbara, will be responsible for the planning and implementation of a comprehensive annual fundraising plan for the growth of each of the six PathPoint divisions located throughout southern and central California, with a focus on major gifts fundraising.
Medical Office Building Sold
Lee & Associates commercial real estate firm this month closed a deal to sell a medical office building in Santa Maria.
The nearly 3,000-square foot, free-standing medical office building at 300 S. Stratford — located in the southeast portion of Santa Maria adjacent to Marian Medical Center — was acquired by an exchange buyer after only 45 days on the market.
The buyer was attracted to the property due to the high quality tenant, leased investment potential and aggressive capitalization rate, according to Steve Leider and Marty Indvik of Lee & Associates-Central Coast, who represented the seller.
lynda.com Gets Investment
Carpinteria-based online learning company lynda.com Inc. has received an investment of $186 million led by TPG, a global private investment firm with offices in San Francisco and $65 billion of assets under management.
Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and Meritech, existing lynda.com investors, also participated in the round of financing, which will be used to accelerate acquisitions, growth and new content initiatives, and to continue to build the world-class team that supports those efforts.
With this investment, lynda.com plans to further increase its sizable library of more than 5,700 courses and 255,000 video tutorials (inclusive of English, French, German and Spanish content) and to grow its customer base.
Public Market Plans Fitness Workshops
To help the community kick off the new year in a healthy way, market will host workshops on two consecutive weekends, beginning this weekend on Saturday and continuing next Saturday, Jan. 31.
The Public Market has partnered with two leading health and wellness experts, Dr. Izzy Lira and Nora Tobin, for the event series, which will feature free low-impact group workouts (space is limited, first-come, first-serve), healthy food samplings from market merchants, as well as additional health and wellness programming, demos and offerings from local vendors in their event space, The Kitchen.
Santa Maria Elks Recognize Valley’s Top Firefighters During Appreciation Night
Honorees of the 37th annual event include Gary Helming, Patrick Youngern, Daniel Haynes, Ryan Mack and Derek McLeod
U.S. Forest Service firefighter Gary Helming was surprised to hear his name called Wednesday night as one of the winners of the top firefighter awards handed out in the Santa Maria Valley.
The 37th annual Firefighters Appreciation Night attracted approximately 250 people to the Santa Maria Elks Lodge, where Exalted Ruler Steve McGehee introduced those giving out the awards for the five agencies.
While some winners knew ahead of time about the awards, Helming was shocked to hear his name announced by Santa Lucia Ranger District Division Chief Nathan Rezeau as the agency’s winner.
Helming served as the incident commander for the 500-acre Branch Fire in southeastern San Luis Obispo County in 2013 and with limited resources led the force that battled the remote and challenging blaze.
“Above all, he’s a great mentor, teacher and leader,” Rezeau said. “Through all this, he maintains a very level head and positive attitude.”
Helming, who was accompanied to the podium by his son, Riley, expressed appreciation to the Elks for the recognition night and ongoing support of the community.
“To the other firefighters, I hope this serves as that message to us that we need to continue to up our game and continue to earn the trust of the people we serve and protect whether it be from a land-management agency perspective or an all-risk, all-hazard perspective,” Helming said.
His wife, Andrea, also works for U.S. Forest Service as air tanker base manager in Santa Maria.
“We do it as a family love,” Helming said.
Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr presented his department’s award to Patrick Youngern, a fire engineer who also is an acting captain. The annual award winner is nominated and selected by the department’s members.
“There is no higher honor than to be recognized by your peers,” Orr said.
The mechanically-gifted Youngern — “Pat was born with a wrench in his hand,” the chief noted — was one of the masterminds in designing what features should be included on the city’s two new fire engines, Orr said.
“He spent an unbelievable amount of time thinking about how these engines were going to be built,” Orr said, adding the department is proud of its newest additions. “Pat gives 110 percent every single day to ensure the citizens and visitors of Santa Maria received absolutely the finest service that he is able to provide.”
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department award went to Daniel Haynes, a firefighter/paramedic who works at Station No. 21 in Old Orcutt. He also serves as a field training officer for other paramedics and instructor for the agency.
Haynes goes “above and beyond” as he serves compassionately, Division Chief Ray Navarro said.
While accepting the award, Haynes paused to recognize two of his colleagues.
“The job of a firefighter isn’t individual,” Haynes said. “The job of a firefighter requires teamwork. We use teamwork on every single call we go on …”
Guadalupe Public Safety Director Gary Hoving presented the award to Ryan Mack, a fire engineer. This winner also was chosen by department members.
Mack, who joined the department in 2011, holds associate’s degrees in firefighting and emergency medical services. The chief said Mack recently succeeded in obtaining nonprofit status for the Guadalupe Firefighters Association.
The Allan Hancock College fire safety and EMS programs recognized Derek McLeod, a firefighter/instructor who also works for the Santa Maria Fire Department.
Fire Academy coordinator Andy Densmore noted the vital participation of full-time firefighters who serve as part-time instructors.
The program survives “largely through the initiative and selflessness of our part-time staff,” Densmore said.
“It’s a special breed of character that through personal initiative, identifies a need, a shortcoming or a problem in some area and then makes himself and his personal time available to effect solutions and remedies,” Densmore said. “We’re fortunate to have such people on our part-time staff. Our Allan Hancock College honoree is one of those people.”
The honorees also were given certificates from representatives of Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara; state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara; Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo; Fifth District County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino; Fourth District County Supervisor Peter Adam; and more.
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors: Real Estate Year in Review, 2014
We all expected that the real estate market would continue to recover in 2014, but I don’t think anyone anticipated that the median home price for our area would rise so rapidly, especially after the gains we saw in 2013.
The median price for houses on the Santa Barbara South Coast increased by a whopping 18.6 percent last year. The selling price for houses started the year at $945,000, and ended the year at $1,120,500, topping $1 million for the first time since 2008. Just two years ago, the median price for a house here in this beautiful coastal area stood at $795,000. At the end of 2013, median selling price was $945,000. That is an increase of 41 percent in just two years, and that’s a tremendous and newsworthy recovery, and a big jump in median price. The median is the number in the middle, and median home price reflects appreciation in home values as well as the mix of homes for sale.
Home values have appreciated, plus more high-end homes have sold in 2014, causing this significant increase in the median. If we exclude Montecito and Hope Ranch (two of our highest-priced areas) from the statistics, the median price increase is 9.2 percent for all the other districts combined (Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria/Summerland). Therefore, we can estimate that about half of the overall gain in median price reflects home appreciation.
An interesting side note, however: the year-to-date increase in median price was higher at the end of the third quarter (23.5 percent), and we thought we might be on our way to a record year in price appreciation. But, the median price dropped by 4.6 percent over the last three months of the year and we ended up at “only” 18.6 percent. Although it’s normal for things to slow down toward the end of the year, it’s not too common for a trend to reverse this significantly. This could signify that the jump in median price was too much for buyers to accept and next year our prices may not rise as quickly.
But let’s discuss a few other trends of 2014 before gazing into the 2015 crystal ball.
Although 2014 did not break the record for biggest jump in prices for one year — that record still stands at 24.3 percent in 2005 — we did break a record in 2014. We broke the record for the fewest homes listed for sale! (At least since 1991; I don’t have records for new listings prior to that.)
There were only 1,495 homes listed for sale in all South County, and 71 percent of those (1,056) homes closed escrow last year. About 70 percent of listed homes selling is fairly normal, and fewer homes closed escrow during the weak market (2006 to 2011), but the dearth of homes available to buy now — the number of active listings — is certainly slowing things down.
If you were searching for a home to buy in 2014, at some point you said, “There’s nothing for sale!” Statistically, there were 6.9 percent fewer homes for sale last year than in 2013, which was also a year of low home inventory.
During years of rapid price appreciation like we had in 2013 and 2014, it’s not unusual for sellers to wait on the sidelines a few months if they can. Why not wait, if I can get 10 percent more for my house next year?
Remember, 10 percent translates to $100,000 or more in Santa Barbara real estate dollars. However, now that prices are starting to level out, it would be wise for those who want to sell but have been holding off, to list their properties for sale this spring.
In Table 1, you will see the Months of Inventory for each of our districts. Months of inventory is the time it takes to sell all the homes currently listed at the current pace of sales, if no new homes were to hit the market (active listings divided by sales pending). Generally, less than four months is considered a “seller’s market” because fewer homes for sale favors sellers. If there is more than 6 months of inventory, that would favor buyers as there would be more homes to choose from and less competition. Overall, the South Coast has just 2.8 months of inventory, which is normally a very strong seller’s market. However, as mentioned above, home values are not likely to rise as much in 2015, and buyers are becoming more discriminating.
Homes that are not well priced compared to their neighbors are sitting on the market with no offers. Despite the low inventory, the average days that a home is marketed before getting an offer is 71. Well-priced homes are selling within the first few weeks. Overpriced homes can sit on the market for months, bringing up the average. Unless your property is very unique or priced over about $3 million, if you haven’t received an offer after two months of good marketing, your house is overpriced. There are plenty of buyers out there who want to buy, and if dozens have seen your house, with no bidders, it’s time to drop the price, make repairs and improvements, or stage the house to get it sold.
As you see in Table 1, the Months of Inventory number is different for our various districts, and we are seeing some unusual trends. Our most affordable district, Goleta, is the strongest sellers’ market with only 1.4 months of inventory. Low inventory (supply) and lots of buyers (demand) leads to higher prices, right? Nope. Not this time. Even though our inventory is very low in Goleta, this is where we had our weakest price appreciation. Prices increased just 3.7 percent year over year, compared to double digits for all other districts except Carpinteria, which posted over 8 percent gain (see Table 2 below).
And let’s look at Montecito (with a year-end median selling price of $2.7 million), where there is a 10-month supply of homes. Greater supply usually puts downward pressure on price, but not in this case. Montecito posted 12.5 percent gain in median price in 2014, even with over six months of inventory as we entered the year. One might venture that this signals a coming change: With low inventory in Goleta, prices are bound to come up a little more in 2015.
Will that be my crystal ball prediction? No. Inventory in Goleta was really low at the end of 2013 too (just 1.5 months), and that didn’t lead buyers to pay more. Also, I think the lessons of the recent boom and bust in real estate are still fresh in people’s minds, leading buyers to be cautious. And will the higher inventory in Montecito cause prices to level out in that district? Again, I think we’ll continue to buck the rules in 2015. As the economy improves, I predict prices at the top end of our market will continue to rise more than the other segments, and prices toward the lower end will continue to level out. Overall, however, we predict a modest median price increase in 2015.
Table 2: Increase in median price by district, with 2013 numbers followed by 2014 and percent increase.
Houses — $945,000, $1,120,500, 18.6%
Carp/Summerland — $852,500, $922,500, 8.2%
Montecito —- $2,400,000, $2,700,000, 12.5%
Santa Barbara — $903,250, $1,075,000, 19.0%
Hope Ranch — $2,375,000, $2,812,500, 18.4%
Goleta — $775,000, $803,500, 3.7%
Condos — $507,500, $560,000, 10.3%
Total — $820,000, $900,000, 9.8%
One other tidbit about the differences in our market segments. Only 257 homes closed escrow in Goleta in 2014 (see Table 1), compared to 363 in 2013 — that’s 29 percent fewer homes. Montecito, on the other hand, had 192 homes sell last year, only 7.7 percent fewer than the year before.
Foreclosures and Short Sales
The other news in 2014 is what didn’t make headlines: distressed sales. In 2014, about 2.7 percent of our total sales were some sort of distressed sale (foreclosure or short sale). In 2013, that number was about 9.8 percent. The number of foreclosures (trustee’s deeds) recorded in the whole county is down one-third from 2013 and stood at 231. Remember, this number is for north and south county combined. In 2013, our entire county recorded 343 foreclosures, and in 2012, there were 896. At the worst, 2008, the county recorded 1,858 trustee’s deeds. We are down almost 90 percent from that record number. One doesn’t need a crystal ball to know that distressed sales won’t play much of a part in 2015 real estate in Santa Barbara.
The best news in all of this is that homeowners who owed more on their mortgage last year than their home was worth (which is sometimes referred to as “being underwater”) may now have some equity. That means they may be able to refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage or sell without doing a short sale, for example. Plus, it’s simply less stressful to know that your house is not underwater anymore.
The bar graph in Table 3 shows a good visual representation of this. Someone who purchased a home between 2005 and 2007 lost significant value in that home by 2009. You can also see in that bar chart that the median home price in 2014 is nearly up to 2006 levels.
It’s also interesting to see how the number of recorded foreclosures in inversely correlated to median home price in Santa Barbara — not surprising.
Table 4 shows the median price of a house in Santa Barbara since 1991 (in thousands) as well as the actual numbers of recorded trustee’s deeds in the entire county for the same time period.
In 2015, expect buyers to be eager to buy well-priced homes, especially in the spring and summer, and to turn away from homes overpriced for their current condition. It’s more important than ever to showcase your home in its best light when listing it for sale. We predict that the number of sales will increase a bit in 2015 as more homes come on the market with sellers realizing that the biggest gains are likely behind us for a few years.
If mortgage interest rates rise, then the pace of sales will slow in the fall and winter, but expect it to be lively this spring. Prices, yes, they’ll continue to rise, but in the single digits, says the 2015 fortune teller, knee deep in historical statistical trends.
— Kalia Rork is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara and a member of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Statistical Review Committee. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.965.1098, and by clicking here. The opinions expressed are her own.
David Sirota: Big Tax Bills for the Poor, Tiny Ones for the Rich
American politics are dominated by those with money. As such, America's tax debate is dominated by voices that insist the rich are unduly persecuted by high taxes and that low-income folks are living the high life. Indeed, a new survey by the Pew Research Center recently found that the most financially secure Americans believe "poor people today have it easy."
The rich are certainly entitled to their own opinions — but, as the old saying goes, nobody is entitled to their own facts. With that in mind, here's a set of tax facts that's worth considering: Middle- and low-income Americans are facing far higher state and local tax rates than the wealthy. In all, a comprehensive analysis by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that the poorest 20 percent of households pay on average more than twice the effective state and local tax rate (10.9 percent) as the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (5.4 percent).
ITEP researchers say the incongruity derives from state and local governments' reliance on sales, excise and property taxes rather than on more progressively structured income taxes that increase rates on higher earnings. They argue that the tax disconnect is helping create the largest wealth gap between the rich and middle class in American history.
"In recent years, multiple studies have revealed the growing chasm between the wealthy and everyone else," said Matt Gardner, executive director of ITEP. "Upside-down state tax systems didn't cause the growing income divide, but they certainly exacerbate the problem. State policymakers shouldn't wring their hands or ignore the problem. They should thoroughly explore and enact tax reform policies that will make their tax systems fairer."
The 10 states with the largest gap between tax rates on the rich and poor are a politically and geographically diverse group — from traditional Republican bastions such as Texas and Arizona to Democratic strongholds such as Illinois and Washington.
The latter state, ITEP reports, is the most regressive of all. Four years after billionaire moguls such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer funded a campaign to defeat an income-tax ballot measure, Washington now makes low-income families pay seven times the effective tax rate that the rich pay. That's right, those in the poorest 20 percent of Washington households pay on average 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while Washington's 1-percenters pay just 2.4 percent of their income. Like many of the other regressive tax states, Washington imposes no personal income tax all.
"The problem with our state tax systems is that we are asking far more of those who can afford the least," concludes ITEM's state director Wiehe.
By contrast, the states identified as having the smallest gap in effective tax rates are California, Delaware, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont — all Democratic strongholds and all relying more heavily on progressively structured income taxes. Montana is the only Republican-leaning state ITEP researchers identify among the states with the least regressive tax rates.
Of course, if you aren't poor, you may be reading this and thinking that these trends have no real-world impact on your life. But think again: In September, Standard & Poor's released a study showing that increasing economic inequality hurts economic growth and subsequently reduces public revenue. As important, the report found that the correlation between high inequality and low economic growth was highest in states that relied most heavily on regressive levies such as sales taxes.
In other words, regressive state and local tax policies don't just harm the poor — they end up harming entire economies. So if altruism doesn't prompt you to care about unfair tax rates and economic inequality, then it seems self-interest should.
Allan Hancock College Professor Jim Read to Appear on ‘Jeopardy!’
Allan Hancock College English professor Jim Read recently put his trivia knowledge to the test and will appear on the popular television game show Jeopardy!.
Read is contractually bound not to give away the results in advance.
His appearance will air on Friday, Jan. 30. Locally, the episode can be seen at 7 p.m. on the NBC affiliate KSBY-TV.
“I have been a fan of the show since the early 1990s,” said Read, who said Trivial Pursuit was his favorite game in college. “What I love about the show is that it’s less about luck and more about what you actually know than other game shows.”
Read said the process started with a timed 50-question test online. A few months later he received a follow-up phone call and took another 50-question test in Los Angeles with about 20 other applicants. After tests were graded, half of the room was dismissed while the other half participated in a mock game. After having passed the test twice in the past but not getting called to play, the third time proved to be the charm for Read and he earned a spot on the show. The taping took place at the Sony Studio in Burbank last December.
“Appearing on the show is something I wanted to do for years. Whatever else I accomplish in life, I know that I’m part of a very small minority of people who have been on Jeopardy!,” Read said, adding that he studied for weeks to prepare. “I watched the show every night to prepare and plowed through books of history and trivia, particularly in areas in which I was weak, like vice presidents.”
The longtime Hancock professor said much of the show and clues remained a blur, but he remembered doing well in the category of foreign films. He added the one clue he could not stop thinking about was the final question.
Read said host Alex Trebek was very cordial and exactly like he appeared on television.
“In between tapings we were surprised to find what a great sense of humor he has. He took questions from the audience during every break,” Read said. “We learned that he hates email, rarely turns on his computer, and when asked what he listened to on his iPhone, he replied, ‘What’s an iPhone?’”
Read also appeared on the show Win Ben Stein’s Money in the 1990s.
“I beat the other contestants, but I lost to Stein in the final round," he said.
Ultimately, Read hopes to inspire his students and colleagues who are fans of the quiz show.
“I hope others who have always watched the show will be encouraged to try out for themselves," he ;said. "I’ll be challenging my students to try out for the rest of my teaching career.”
— Gina Herlihy represents Allan Hancock College.
Santa Barbara, San Marcos to Face Off on Super Soccer Saturday
Day-long event at Peabody Stadium is a fundraiser for local high school programs
This Saturday isn’t just any Saturday.
With six games on the schedule, it’s Super Soccer Saturday at Santa Barbara High School's Peabody Stadium.
All games are regularly scheduled league games between Santa Barbara High and its cross-town rival San Marcos High School.
Girls frosh/soph opens the action at 10 a.m. with boys varsity closing out the night at 7 p.m.
“This is our second annual event, and we are excited to build off our success from last year,” said Jill Wolf, girls’ soccer coach and one of the event organizers from Santa Barbara High. “Fundraising is crucial to the success of our program, and we are very pleased to receive the financial support from so many local businesses this year.”
The money raised during this one day “Soccer Showdown” is used to purchase equipment and uniforms and to help pay for coaching stipends.
To be competitive, both the boys and girls programs compete in tournaments to prepare for league play.
“We are very lucky to live in a community that embraces youth sports the way Santa Barbara does," Wolf said. "I can’t say enough about how much it means to the athletic department and the coaching staff to know that our community values the relationship between athletics and education.
"Budgets are tight everywhere, so having the financial support from the community allows us to continue building on the success of our sports programs.”
There is a small gate fee to attend the games on Saturday, and the snack bar will be open for business. The community is encouraged to attend.
Super Soccer Saturday Schedule
» 10 a.m.: Girls Frosh/Soph
» 11:30 a.m.: Boys Frosh/Soph
» 1 p.m.: Girls JV
» 2:30 p.m.: Boys JV
» 5 p.m.: Girls Varsity
» 7 p.m.: Boys Varsity
All games will be played at Santa Barbara High School's Peabody Stadium.
UCSB Physics Professor Ruth Murray-Clay Awarded Top Astronomy Prize
The American Astronomical Society has awarded UC Santa Barbara’s Ruth Murray-Clay the 2015 Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy for her theoretical studies of star and planet formation.
Presented annually in recognition of a significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy during the five years preceding the award, the Warner Prize is given to an astronomer who is under 36 years of age in the year designated for the award, or within eight years of receiving his or her Ph.D.
“We are proud of Ruth for winning the 2015 Warner Prize,” said Philip Pincus, chair of UCSB’s Department of Physics, where Murray-Clay is a newly appointed assistant professor. “We were delighted for her to join our faculty. She brings a wealth of expertise to UCSB, not only in the area of planet formation, but also in the evolution of their atmospheres and how they migrate.”
“I feel very honored to win the Warner Prize,” said Murray-Clay. “I really like doing this work partly because there are all sorts of different physics involved. What really drew me to this subject is that it’s about where we came from and how the Earth formed — and, by extension, how we came to be.”
The prize committee also cited Murray-Clay’s substantial contributions to numerous other areas of astrophysics. Her citation states that she has advanced models of planet formation by clarifying the role of gravitational instabilities, illuminating how orbital migration leads to short-period “hot Jupiters” and exploring photoevaporation of close-in exoplanets.
According to the AAS, Murray-Clay follows up testable predictions of her theoretical models by delving directly into the observational data. The committee noted that she also has made outstanding contributions to the theoretical interpretation of G2, an ionized gas cloud plunging toward the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
In addition to planet and star formation, Murray-Clay is interested in the extrasolar planetary systems recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and by ground-based direct imaging. “One place where we can really learn a lot about planet formation right now is by studying planets that orbit far from their stars — farther than our most distant planet, Neptune,” she explained. “In particular, there is the first directly imaged planetary system, HR 8799, which has at least four very large planets with very wide separations. We know that this kind of system is the tip of an iceberg. Is it the tip of star formation on a small scale? Or could it be that the processes that we think formed Jupiter and Saturn, our giant planets, actually do work at very large distances and that we haven’t figured out how yet?
“This is an exciting place to be looking because there are several big direct imaging surveys ramping up now,” Murray-Clay continued. “So we’re really going to be able to study these giant planets and their wide separations, which will help us distinguish between different types of models.”
Murray-Clay received her bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University in 2001 and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2004 and 2008, respectively. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Theory and Computation from 2008 to 2010, at which time she became a federal scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and an astronomy lecturer and then an affiliate of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy. She is a Kavli fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.
At UCSB this past fall, Murray-Clay taught a graduate seminar on magnitude estimation; in the spring quarter, she will teach Astronomy 1. “I’m excited to be at UCSB and on the faculty of an excellent physics department,” she said.
Murray-Clay is UCSB’s second recipient of the Warner Prize. Lars Bildsten, director of the campus’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, received the award in 1999.
— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
Bicyclist Struck, Hurt by Unlicensed Driver in Santa Maria
An unlicensed driver in Santa Maria on Thursday morning struck a bicyclist who was taken by air ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of major injuries.
Jorge Perez Lopez, 30, of Santa Maria was driving a Chevrolet pickup south on College Drive, north of Betteravia Road, and attempted to make a left turn onto a farming road when he collided with the bicyclist, according to Lt. James Ginter of the Santa Maria Police Department.
The 59-year-old Santa Maria resident, whose name wasn’t released, was northbound on College on the east shoulder of the road when he was struck by the truck.
“The bicyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, protecting him from even more serious injuries,” Ginter said.
Perez Lopez reportedly told police he didn’t see the cyclist before beginning to turn onto the farming road.
He was cited for driving without a license and his vehicle was impounded for 30 days, Ginter added.
Anacapa School Going ‘Beyond Borders’ with UCSB Middle East Ensemble
As part of Anacapa School's 2015 Synthesis Unit, "Beyond Borders: Cultures and Conflicts in the Middle East," it will present an evening of diverse music from the region beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library.
The UCSB Middle East Ensemble will perform music and dance from Arab, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, Sephardic and Oriental Jewish, Kurdish and Assyrian cultures.
This free event is open to the public.
Steven Crandell: Mary Conover Mellon — The Woman Who Decided to Save the History of the Human Soul
Mary Conover Mellon was only 33 when she first heard a speech by Dr. Carl Jung, a pioneer in psychology and one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.
Her response at the time revealed not only her humility but also her courage to let intuition inspire her giving:
“Though I don’t know what he means, this has something very much to do with me.”
At that moment, she began to consider a new philanthropic direction — one that would result in the creation of the Bollingen Foundation (named after Jung’s home in Switzerland) and the publication of Jung’s collected works in English.
But if the money came from Paul, a man who was already a remarkable philanthropist in his own right (the National Gallery of Art in Washington owes its founding and much of its growth to the Mellon family), the leadership for Bollingen came from Mary.
Paul called her the “founding nurturer.”
As chronicled in William McGuire’s book Bollingen: An Adventure in Collecting the Past, she negotiated the project with Jung directly. The philanthropy took shape as World War II shook the very roots of all assumptions about decency, democracy and the staying power of benevolent imagination.
“The world is such a mess that it becomes all the more important to me to do what I can to keep alive and make available such works as yours, and those of others who can contribute real, scholarly and imaginative books about man, and the history of his soul.”
The foundation created the Bollingen series of books, which now has more than 250 titles, including the 20 volumes of Jung’s collected works and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. *
The philanthropy not only supported leading scholarship, it created culture:
“Never before in the history of publishing has there been an author list as distinguished as that of Bollingen, nor has a publishing program had a more telling impact on the thought of its time.” — Jean Martin, Wilson Library Bulletin
Mary Mellon was the editor of the series until her death at the age of 42, following an asthma attack in 1946.
“What one senses in Mary Mellon’s ambitions for Bollingen is the overwhelming importance of Jungian ideas and the international intellectual network that centered on Jung,” wrote professor Thomas Bender in a New York Times book review. “Without her determination and energy — and her husband’s fortune — it would not have happened.” **
Which brings me to the theme of this post:
The “best” philanthropy, many donors attest, comes from objective analysis, theories of change, rigorous research and strategic planning. They believe success is proven with measurement and numbers. No doubt, these are all valuable tools. But they will never replace the qualities Mary Conover Mellon brought to her philanthropy — intuition, heart and personal commitment.
Earlier this year, John Kania, of FSG, shared with me the wisdom of William O’Brien, past president of Hanover Insurance Companies:
“The success of the intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.”
I believe we separate our interior and exterior philanthropy at the risk of diminishing the potency of our giving. Can there be a more empowering “intervention” than to act on the passion, compassion and truth we know deep within? Giving is so wonderful, in part, because it can connect us with this deeper self.
Philanthropists often seek to transform the outside world, but they miss a big opportunity if they ignore this fundamental truth — that giving can change the giver as much or more than the recipients. This is a story often overlooked in philanthropy’s quest for measurable impact. And I’m grateful to be able to tell Mary and Paul’s story here as a way to honor their kind of inside-out philanthropy.
But the last word is best reserved for the man who inspired the philanthropy in the first place. His seminal work in analytic psychology always pointed to the transformational power to be found within.
In 1916, he wrote the following to his patient, Fanny Bowditch:
“Dear Miss Bowditch,
It is understandable that, as long as you look at other people and project your psychology into them, you can never reach harmony with yourself ...
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Without, everything seems discordant; only within does it coalesce into unity. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.
With best regards,
Yours sincerely, Dr. Jung”
* The series is now under the direction of Princeton University Press. In recent years, more of Jung’s work has surfaced and been published, including The Red Book in 2009. The Philemon Foundation works to further the original goal of the Bollingen Foundation in publishing these hitherto unpublished works.
** In fact, the Bollingen experience inspired further philanthropy by Paul: “The Yale Center for British Art holds one of the world’s greatest collections of the work of William Blake thanks to the enthusiasm of its founder, Paul Mellon, for Blake’s art and ideas ... It was the interest of his first wife, Mary Conover Mellon, whom he married in 1935, in the thought and methods of Carl Jung that helped transform Paul Mellon into a major collector of Blake’s work.”
Photo credits (fair use): Vassar Quarterly (Mellon); Henri Cartier-Bresson (Jung)
— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Lodging & Restaurant Association Honors Industry Leaders at Membership Luncheon
Drew Wakefield receives the Hospitality Employee Star Award, and Kathy Janega-Dykes is named Hospitality Star of the Year
The Greater Santa Barbara Lodging & Restaurant Association held its Annual Membership Luncheon & State of Hospitality in the sun-drenched La Pacifica Room at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.
Nearly 150 attendees enjoyed viewing the high surf and beautiful waves on the Coral Casino patio before the luncheon and program.
After a warm welcome by association board president Warren Butler, the “state of hospitality” was analyzed by top leaders of Goleta and Santa Barbara County.
The assembled crowd was eager for the annual awards, which culminated the program.
The ever-popular Drew Wakefield of Ramada Santa Barbara was presented the Hospitality Employee Star Award. He was lauded for his tireless volunteerism for many organizations, including Lions Clubs, UCSB Athletics and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“I credit my grandparents for my positive attributes," he said. "I thank God, my big voice and my sharp mind for my success. I am also thankful to the Goleta Valley Chamber for allowing me to chair the beer booth at the Lemon Festival each year!”
Kathy Janega-Dykes from Visit Santa Barbara was tapped as the Hospitality Star of the Year for her leadership of the team that attracts so many tourists to greater Santa Barbara. Association board member Nino Martinez from the Chumash Casino Resort presented an association scholarship to Alexandria Karnazes, who is enrolled in Santa Barbara City College’s restaurant and hospitality program.
“I am so impressed by Alexandria’s enthusiasm," he said. "She will surely succeed in this industry.”
The Greater Santa Barbara Lodging & Restaurant Association is comprised of hotel, motel and restaurant owners and operators. It represents establishments throughout Santa Barbara County.
For more information, call 805.881.3385, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 40260, Santa Barbara, CA 93140.
Check back with Noozhawk for a complete report and more photos from the event.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.
Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Celebrating the New Birth
Tensie, my wife, was reading a book recently called The Changing Faces of Jesus by Geza Vermes, a highly respected biblical scholar and historian. What a challenge when intellectuals set out to set us straight on the sometimes incorrect perception of Jesus that many Christians have held for millennia. Some of those perceptions may, or may not, be true based on history or what we have learned about the Jewish culture at the time Jesus lived.
It seems that some of the stories in the New Testament possibly either didn’t happen, or happened differently than we may have believed. Or maybe our long-held interpretation of some passages doesn’t fit what we’ve learned of the culture of Jesus' time. And how unsettling it can be when these new understandings cause us to question beliefs that have formed the very foundations of our value systems and possibly even of our decisions about how we choose to live out our lives.
When our religion, or our beliefs, or our spirituality are based solely on the stories in the gospels, we are already in trouble. Why? Because a foundation based only on Bible stories can be shaky if we find that the story itself may not be historically true. But when our values are based on the lived experience of that which the gospels teach us, the foundation is one that cannot be shaken.
For example, to those of us who have had the experience of being the “prodigal son” in our own lives, it matters little if the story is real, because the truth behind the story is unquestionable. For those of us who have experienced the redemption offered in love to the prostitute in the gospel, we could care less about whether that story happened or not. The reality of the unspeakable gratitude that comes from being forgiven, humanized, loved unconditionally makes the story true whether it happened historically or not.
And when we accept the grace to be the forgiver — the one who accepts the “sinner,” the betrayer, the one who has hurt us, what an incredible gift of deliverance it is from the pain and suffering that comes with our holding on to our own hurt. The stories (and the truth behind them) that we find in the gospels transcend all intellectual discussion about their historical accuracy. There is an archetypal truth in the gospels that can save us from the greed, the materialism, the militarism and the self-absorption of our own time and place — our own culture.
So what about the Christmas story? Did it really happen? Don’t know. Is it true? Absolutely.
I remember when I was growing up we had a friend of the family who was a priest and we went to a Mass at which he gave the homily on Christmas Day. I don’t remember the specifics but it was something along the lines of Christmas not being about singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus but rather a celebration of a new covenant, a new way of being in this world, brought to us in the person of Jesus. I went up to Father Nick afterwards and told him that it was about the worst sermon I had ever heard, and why would he want to ruin everyone’s Christmas? If I knew where Father Nick was today, I would apologize to him.
But here is the point. The Christmas story is not only one of the most beautiful in all of the gospels, it is absolutely true for anyone who has birthed a child in poverty. It is also true for anyone who, because of their belief in the gospels, has accompanied, assisted, or taken in a mother who has birthed her child in poverty.
Over the years we have been blessed to enter into so many peoples’ lives! The stories of the gospels have come to life through the people whom we have come to call “the beatitude people.” Jesus said “blessed are the poor” in a world where poverty was looked down on (and still is). Jesus said blessed are the hungry and thirsty and we still, 2,000 years later, have a hard time understanding what he meant. But the treasure in the field, or the pearl of great value is to be found in the entering into (and joining to the extent we are able) the lives of those who are utterly dependent on God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, God’s redemption and God’s love — and by extension, ours. Because when we are well enough off that we don’t know we need those things, we are missing the intimacy with God to which Jesus invites us in the gospels.
We recently moved (through the incredible generosity of supporters) to a new house from which to do our work in Guadalupe. But we are in relationship with the same people and are exposed to the same lives and gospel parallels as we were in the previous house. We are still challenged to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, shelter the homeless and accept — and offer unconditional love to — those whose life circumstances (and the biases of our culture) have caused them to be marginalized by society.
Our move to a new house feels a little like a new birth. It is far from a birth in a manger, but still it offers us the opportunity to continue to both experience and live a life that brings the gospel stories alive and proves the truth of their lessons. We are celebrating this new birth. We are living in gratitude for the Christmas story which is, as Father Nick tried to teach us, “the story of the new covenant, a new way of being in this world, brought to us in the person of Jesus.” We are happy. We might almost be persuaded to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.
— Dennis Apel, together with his wife, Tensie Hernandez, and their colleague Jorge Manly-Gil, serve residents of limited means in Guadalupe through their Catholic Worker House, called Beatitude House. The Catholic Church of the Beatitudes supports their work and sponsors this column. Readers are welcome to join us for Mass on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are those of the author.
NAWBO-SB Opens Nominations for Inaugural BRAVO Awards
The National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara (NAWBO-SB) is proud to announce its call for entries for the inaugural BRAVO Awards.
NAWBO-SB’s BRAVO Awards seek to recognize women business owners in the Santa Barbara area who have demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation.
The inaugural NAWBO-SB BRAVO Awards will celebrate the achievements of businesswomen in the Santa Barbara community by honoring women in eight distinct categories, including Woman Business Owner of the Year, Entrepreneur to Watch, Philanthropic Champion, Innovator of the Year, Education Advocate of the Year, NAWBO-SB Member of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The entry deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 30. Nominations are open to all members of the community, not just NAWBO-SB members. Winners will be announced at the NAWBO-SB BRAVO Awards luncheon on March 12 at the University Club. Honorees must attend the luncheon. Complete nomination details are available by clicking here.
Founded in 2007, NAWBO-SB has grown to more than 75 members and is dedicated to advancing the economic development of female entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara by providing networking opportunities, support and education as well as allowing business owners to create economic strength, strategic alliances and business growth.
Click here for more information about NAWBO-SB.
— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara.
Fire Destroys Small Barn in Santa Ynez Valley
No injuries were reported in blaze on Ballard Canyon Road
No one was injured early Thursday when fire destroyed a small barn in the Santa Ynez Valley, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Firefighters were dispatched at about 3:45 a.m. to the blaze in the 1600 block of Ballard Canyon Road, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.
The first units on scene found the 30-by-50-foot structure engulfed in flames, Sadecki said.
It took three engine crews about 45 minutes to completely knock down the flames, Sadecki said.
Both the barn and a motorhome that was inside declared were a total loss.
Cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Letter to the Editor: Whose Side Is President Obama On?
Why has President Barack Obama hurriedly increased the release of Gitmo detainees? Recently, he released five detainees who are from Yemen, where a strong, modern al-Qaeda base is located. Isn't this the same location the attackers on Charlie Hebdo came from?
And most recently, the presidential palace in Yemen was attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.
By the way, whatever happened to the Bowe Bergdahl investigation? Why are we not learning about the details? What is being covered up?
America, isn't it the job of President Obama to protect our country? Why is he releasing and bolstering the number of terrorists in the Middle East, who will kill our soldiers?
What are his motives? Is he naive, trying to appease the Muslim world, or trying to carry out his agenda by closing Gitmo and possibly handing over the entire naval base to the Castro communist regime by some backhanded way? Whose side is our president on?
America better wake up. We are losing the war against radical Islam, and our leadership is not fighting to win.
PacWest Bancorp Announces Results for Fourth Quarter, Calendar Year 2014
PacWest Bancorp on Thursday announced net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $71 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the third quarter of 2014 of $62.3 million, or 60 cents per diluted share.
Net earnings for calendar year 2014 are $168.9 million, or $1.92 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $45.1 million for calendar year 2013, or $1.08 per diluted share. The significant increase in annual net earnings is largely the result of the CapitalSource merger that closed on April 7, 2014.
When certain income and expense items described below are excluded, adjusted net earnings are $68.2 million, or 66 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2014 and $67.2 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2014. Adjusted net earnings are $220.4 million, or $2.50 per diluted share, for calendar year 2014 and $77.5 million, or $1.86 per diluted share, for calendar year 2013.
"2014 was truly a transformative year for the company with the completion of the CapitalSource merger on April 7," President/CEO Matt Wagner said. "We more than doubled our asset size and combined a national lending platform with our California-based deposit franchise. Our teams originated $3 billion of loans and leases in 2014 and increased core deposits by $700 million, of which $265 million are new accounts from CapitalSource division borrowers.
"Our 2014 net earnings almost quadrupled to $168.9 million from $45.1 million in 2013, and our adjusted net earnings for 2014 almost tripled to $220.4 million from $77.5 million in 2013. These strong operating results allowed us to distribute more than $114 million of cash dividends to our stockholders in 2014, with last quarter's regular cash dividend being increased 100 percent to 50 cents per share.
"Our loan and lease portfolio has been diversified along product and geographical lines, and overall credit quality has improved as demonstrated by a 1.09 percent nonperforming asset ratio and a 92% coverage ratio on nonaccruals. The company's capital position remains quite strong, with tangible capital at 12.2 percent. We steadily improved tangible book value per share, which increased $4.44 per share during the year and reached $17.17 per share at year end. Overall, the company and the bank are well positioned for continued success."
Vic Santoro, executive vice president and CFO, stated, "Our fourth-quarter results are equally as good as those for the full year. Reported and adjusted net earnings of $71 million and $68.2 million resulted in returns on tangible equity of 16 percent and 15.4 percent. Our core net interest margin remains quite strong at 5.52 percent, and our NIM, when adjusted for all the effects of purchase accounting, increased to 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter. We continue to closely control operating expenses as shown by the adjusted efficiency ratio, which declined to 42.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Our focus in 2015 will continue to be on loan and lease growth, core deposit growth and expense control."
Sheriff’s Department to Begin Issuing Citations for Sidewalk Parking in Isla Vista
As part of an ongoing community effort to improve pedestrian safety in Isla Vista and to best utilize newly installed sidewalks, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 15 will begin issuing citations to vehicles that are illegally parked on or are blocking a sidewalk.
This means that residents and visitors are no longer allowed to use the sidewalk as an extension of their driveway. In order to give the community advance notice of the enforcement, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol in December began placing warnings on cars that were in violation of California Vehicle Code §22500(f), which prohibits sidewalk parking.
In November, letters were sent to Isla Vista property owners and managers asking for their cooperation and assistance in notifying their tenants and visitors of the upcoming sidewalk safety enforcement.
The goal of eliminating parking on sidewalks is to provide better visibility for the thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and motorists in Isla Vista and therefore decrease their risks of being involved in an accident. Due to the large number of student renters in the area, many residences have more vehicles than can fit in the designated driveway and therefore use the adjacent sidewalk as an additional parking spot. This practice forces pedestrians to have to go around the cars, onto the street and potentially into oncoming traffic. Additionally, it is especially dangerous for individuals with physical limitations and disabilities that need to use the sidewalk as a safe path.
In October, the Public Works Department completed the first of a four-phase sidewalk safety project co-designed by Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr’s office. Sidewalks were installed all along the 6500, 6600 and 6700 blocks of Del Playa Drive. Additional funding is needed to complete the next phase of the project, which would include new sidewalks along El Nido, Trigo, Seville and Madrid roads as well as for the 6500, 6600 and 6700 blocks of Sabado Tarde.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department appreciates the cooperation of everyone involved and for your support in helping to promote safety in Isla Vista. For information on the Isla Vista Pedestrian Plan, contact the Public Works Department at 805.568.3094.
— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
Montecito Planning Commission Grants Conditional Approval of Miramar Resort
Divided planners allow the beachfront development to move forward after an eight-year process
The developers of the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows can finally see construction of their Montecito project move forward, albeit with several substantial asterisks.
Wearing exhausted expressions and signs of irritation after an all-day hearing, members of the Montecito Planning Commission voted 3-2 to approve the most recent resort plans while tacking on conditions that Los Angeles developer Caruso Affiliated must meet in order to continue.
The same concerns that caused commissioners to delay a final decision in December — lack of parking, water supply and traffic safety — took up much of the eight-hour discussion, but a new issue ultimately divided commissioners.
Chair J’Amy Brown and Commissioner Jack Overall voted no, voicing support for setting the main building back further from Jameson Lane.
After leaving last month’s meeting a bit perturbed by the delay, developer Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated returned with some placating changes, letting his executive vice president of development, Matt Middlebrook, do all the talking.
“We’ve worked very hard, as you can see from your stack of materials that you’ve received this week,” Middlebrook said. “We know that parking is something that worries people, and we’re cognizant of that. It is in everybody’s interest over time that the hotel is successful.”
The privately-held real estate firm has waited eight years for the right combination of financing and approval after buying the 16-acre property overlooking Miramar Beach and the Pacific Ocean in 2007.
Miramar received initial project approval in 2008, and revised plans — approved in 2011 — allowed Caruso Affiliated to demolish the existing hotel in 2012. The original Miramar Beach Hotel, which was established in the late 1880s, had been vacant since 2000.
Caruso hoped to begin building on the former hotel site in June, with completion in summer 2017 — a timeline developers plan to stick to.
The company has already raised more than $200 million in financing for the project.
The scaled-back project design was brought before commissioners in late 2014, featuring 170 guest rooms instead of 186, including 27 oceanfront rooms and suites, and a freestanding presidential suite.
Visibly frustrated at Wednesday's meeting, Middlebrook went over proposed changes and patiently listened to commissioners question the accuracy of nine total (and different) parking studies.
He proposed moving the Miramar Club from the west side of the property to the east, widening Miramar Avenue, angling Eucalyptus Lane parking stalls, adding more spaces on residential roads and revising the public beach access route.
Commissioners could also limit beach club membership to 200 instead of allowing for an additional 100 in the future, Middlebrook said, alleviating some of the 436 total on-site parking spaces for the anticipated peak demand of 401 spots.
He offered to monitor parking of Miramar’s 102 employees, and noted the resort’s parking stall to room ratio of 2.6 was much higher than that of the nearby Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore or El Encanto, both of which he said experience neighborhood parking overflow.
Two years after the project is built, if commissioners still find parking issues, Middlebrook said operators would try to find up to 50 off-site parking spaces — although commissioners were worried he didn’t yet have any idea where that could be.
“I guess the problem here is that we have to feel confident that your parking is adequate,” Overall said.
A staff-conducted water analysis showed Montecito Water District agreed to provide 45 acre-feet of water, with the resort buying water needed for landscaping at a higher rate.
Overall said he doubted supplies accounted for the 400 guests that would visit the hotel for events, which Middlebrook guessed would happen twice a week.
Water was an issue other commissioners wanted to leave up to the water district to prevent micromanaging.
“My only concern here is the safety of the kids in our neighborhood,” a Montecito resident said during public comment, showing a picture of how crowded the surrounding streets got last weekend. “Even going five cars over, having that kind of overflow, is really a challenge for us.”
Speakers asked commissioners to weigh the needs of hotel guests with those of neighbors, who worried visitors would use street spots in lieu of paying a valet parking fee — a figure Middlebrook said hadn’t yet been determined.
All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church Senior Warden Chip Nichols said all issues his congregation previously had with the nearby resort had been resolved.
One neighboring property owner applauded commissioners for taking their time, and another longtime resident said delays jeopardized the entire project.
“I think some of the hypotheticals are exaggerated,” she said. “There was a hotel there before. At some point, you have to take a leap of faith. I know it’s in good hands.”
Commissioners liked the project’s aesthetics and design, but Brown said parking and water were serious concerns.
“The problem is this project is for 100 years,” she said. “We want to make sure that there’s soluble solutions to it.”
Commissioner Michael Phillips made a motion, asking to initially limit club membership to 100 instead of 200 and allowing up to 300 event guests instead of 400 — both decisions that could come back for commission review after a certain period.
The majority also voted in favor of implementing a keycard system to track parking, limiting location and idling of excursion buses transporting guests from Santa Barbara Airport, expanding the parking monitoring area, requiring club members to RSVP for special events and adding more vegetation screening.
Developers were not in favor of setbacks or limiting the club membership, but Middlebrook didn’t say whether the conditions would force Caruso to appeal the decision to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
“(Beach memberships) are important to the economics of the hotel,” he said. “And we think the buildings are setback much further than they were in the previous iteration.”
Goleta Council OKs 176-Unit Cortona Apartment Complex
In a unanimous vote lauding a need for more workforce housing, council members green-lighted plans for the 176-unit apartment complex on a nearly 9-acre vacant, triangular parcel at 6830 Cortona Drive.
The property, which is near the Storke Road exit of Highway 101, is surrounded by railroad tracks to the north and business parks to the east, west and south.
A timeframe for construction — and completion — was not available, city staff said.
The City Council placed no added conditions on approval, although the Planning Commission recommended officials encourage developers to use more recycled water when it passed the item through late last year.
The Cortona Apartments will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units — 66 one-bedrooms, 100 two-bedrooms and 10 three-bedrooms — within four two-story buildings at the front of the site and four three-story buildings at the rear.
The affordable rental housing development, first proposed in 2009, originally featured five fewer units and less of an affordable-housing component.
Applicant John Price of Cortona Corner LP presented the development as including a recreational building, swimming pool and spa, walking paths, open space and sand volleyball court.
A total of 330 total parking spaces, including 178 carport spaces, were planned, with access from Cortona Drive.
City staff went over environmental mitigations for potential noise, air quality, aesthetics and traffic, which required an expanded bus stop on eastbound Hollister Avenue at the Kmart Commercial Center.
Staff said the development was exempt from the Stage Two water restrictions issued by the Goleta Water District because the district already had an agreement to serve the site.
Mitigation measures were also developed so a Chumash tribal representative could monitor excavation for archaeological deposits.
Multi-Agency Task Force Takes Aim at Vehicle Thefts in Santa Maria Valley
The new collaboration includes Santa Maria and Guadalupe police, CHP, the District Attorney’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau
A new task force formed to put the brakes on the skyrocketing number of stolen vehicles in the Santa Maria Valley got to quickly prove its worth earlier this month when surveillance efforts conducted following a tip led to the arrest of two suspects.
In addition to grand theft-auto, the pair may be linked to series of armed robberies in the community, according to Chief Ralph Martin of the Santa Maria Police Department.
“These are the results we expect when you have officers dedicated to a specific mission such as auto-theft recoveries,” Martin said. “And it is our goal to reduce auto thefts in the city of Santa Maria by 25 percent in the year 2015.”
Flanked by colleagues from other agencies, Martin on Wednesday unveiled the new Santa Maria Valley Auto Theft Task Force.
The task force also includes the California Highway Patrol and the Guadalupe Police Department in addition to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Last summer, Martin reported crime statistics for Santa Maria from 2013, with a huge spike in vehicle thefts recorded that year.
The trend continued in the first six months of 2014, leading to a series of meetings and letter of agreement to create the multi-agency task force.
“Following that press conference, we were determined to address the problem head-on,” Martin said.
The city logged more than 700 vehicle thefts in 2013, and 883 last year. By comparison, approximately 400 were stolen in 2012.
“I do know that our numbers are, on average, four times higher than other cities,” Martin said. “If you do a comparison to the city of Santa Barbara, they had approximately 140 auto thefts with a population of 90,000 and we were probably four and a half times that.”
Older Honda Accords and Toyota pickup trucks are the top stolen vehicles, authorities said.
The CHP has formed similar task forces in other communities throughout the state, Martin said.
“They saw a real need here with the numbers that we have in our city and surrounding areas,” Martin added.
Many of the local thefts are consider opportunistic crimes, such as a drug user getting into an open vehicle and using it for transportation.
The agency recovers about 70 percent of the vehicles within the city limits, Martin said. Typically, those vehicles are recovered with a few days.
Others cases apparently are connected to professional criminals involved in “chop shops,” already affected by the increased attention on vehicle thefts, the chief said.
Guadalupe Public Safety Director Gary Hoving said the turning point for his agency’s involvement came after a recent middle-of-the-night case involving a suspicious man found with dozens of shaved keys.
"But not only that — he had a loaded revolver and it was cocked, ready to fire,” Hoving said, noting the links between different crimes. “We can’t focus just on auto theft. They steal cars now. They use drugs later. They’re going to burglarize your house because it’s the same group of people.”
Guadalupe’s numbers are low, Hoving said, adding, “I want to keep them that way.”
On average, a car is stolen every three minutes in California, said Reggie Chappelle, chief of the CHP’s Coastal Division.
“Crime does not know jurisdictional boundaries,” Chappelle said. “When crime happens, everyone wants to be able to work together so that we can find a way to combine the resources. We share information, we all benefit, and this task force will be a hub between our agencies.”
While there’s no grant to fund the task force, the National Insurance Crime Bureau is supporting the campaign by providing surveillance vehicles and other equipment to support the effort.
Task force representatives gathered Wednesday at the Santa Maria police training facility, but Chappelle said one participant was not represented — vehicle owners.
“This task force will do its part to catch the professional car thief and disrupt organized criminal activity, but each of us can also do our part by making it more difficult to become a victim,” Chappelle said, adding he is confident they can reduce the rate.
Mayor Alice Patino reminded vehicle owners to take simple precautions to avoid falling victim to car thieves. They include not leaving the car engine running and using a steering wheel locking device.
“Even if your vehicle is not stolen, we are all victims,” Patino said. “Your insurance rates are higher due to other vehicles being stolen in your neighborhood and in our community. I ask all Santa Maria residents to take the time to secure your vehicles at all times.”
Stroll Through Ellwood Mesa During City of Goleta’s ‘Walk with a Cop’ Event
The City of Goleta invites you to participate in our “Walk with a Cop” event from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 with community resource deputy Dave Valadez.
Enjoy strolling on the beautiful Ellwood Mesa while getting to know your local law enforcement better. You may even see a Monarch Butterfly when passing through the Goleta Butterfly Grove.
This family-friendly event is open to the public. This opportunity should not be missed by those wanting to learn more about their community or have an interest in law enforcement. Be sure to bring plenty of questions. “Walk with a Cop” is a twist on past events such as “Coffee with a Cop” and the goal is to create connections between the community and local law enforcement.
The meeting location is the Ellwood Mesa parking lot, across from Ellwood School)
Please bring comfortable walking shoes; sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen, water; and questions, comments and laughs.
— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.
Darrell Smith to Discuss Microsoft’s ‘City of the Future’ in Lecture at UCSB
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings accounted for 40 percent of the nation’s energy consumption in 2013. They are also responsible for roughly 38 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.
As the demand for residential and commercial space grows and the need to replace old buildings with new ones emerges, the time is ripe for considering large-scale green building practices that integrate advances in monitoring and “smart” building technology to curb energy use and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
For Darrell Smith and his colleagues at the Microsoft corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the need to go green presented an opportunity to utilize emerging big data technology to streamline energy use at the 125-building campus.
Smith, the director of worldwide energy and sustainability for Microsoft’s real estate and facilities group, and his team used software to turn data collected from the company’s portfolio of buildings into solutions that decreased energy use, improved performance and significantly cut energy costs on a city scale.
Smith will be at UC Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 to discuss how he and his team accomplished this large-scale feat. His lecture, titled “How Microsoft Quietly Built the City of the Future,” is among a series of Energy Leadership lectures hosted by the university’s Institute for Energy Efficiency.
The event, to be held in the Corwin Pavilion, is free and open to the public. Click here to register online.
— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
Paul Mann: Matt Armor Brings His Own Brand to SOhO in Santa Barbara
The former frontman of one of California's premier psychobilly bands, Blazing Haley, brought a group of veteran musicians together to perform songs from his latest solo album, as well as some old classics from the Haley days.
Armor handpicked the opening act, Holdfast Rifle Co., to perform at this very special concert. This Santa Barbara-based band of accomplished musicians is the real deal, performing traditional country rock and bluegrass music so flawlessly that they could easily be mistaken for a band right out of Nashville.
After a well-received set lasting just over and hour, Armor took the stage with his new group of musical friends, including Upright bassist Jeff Roffredo (Aggrolites, Tiger Army) Barney Tower on lead guitar (Nate Latta, Deer Leg Band) and drummer Steve Hoke (Revolution Smile, Bonafide).
Armor sang with the same passion as in his Blazing Haley days, but his new music has taken a more traditional American roots turn, with a more polished sound.
Halfway into their 90-minute set, fans of the more hard-core pyschobilly sound were in for a treat when original Blazing Haley drummer Chris Story showed up to help Armor bring back the classic sound. Story helped the band play two balls-out classics from the Haley catalog.
Switching gears, Armor then invited Becca Sampson, lead singer of openers Holdfast Rifle Co., to sing a duet on some of his new bluegrass drenched cuts. The band ended with a medley of blues, rock and country music all penned by Armor, including a reworked version of the Blazing Haley classic “Vegas.”
If you missed the show and are feeling a bit bummed, not to worry. Starting Jan. 25, Armor and friends will be the resident band every Sunday at Whiskey Richards from 4 to 6 p.m. It will be billed as Americana Sunday's with Matt Armor and Friends.
You can be sure that some of the best musicians in town will be in the audience and may join the band for an impromptu jam.
— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.
State Board Rejects Allan Hancock College’s Proposal for 4-Year Degree
15 community colleges are approved to offer bachelor’s degrees under pilot program
Hancock was among the 34 colleges that submitted applications to the Chancellor’s Office last month.
“I can’t say we’re not disappointed. We believe we put together a very solid application,” Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers said. “The selected degrees represent the ability of the community college system to create more opportunities and increase access for students to complete their education.”
Santa Barbara City College didn’t apply due to the stipulation that community colleges couldn’t propose a program already offered at a California State University or University of California campus, spokeswoman Joan Galvan said.
The Santa Maria-based college had proposed offering a bachelor’s degree in applied viticulture, a non-traditional field that focused on vineyard management, Hancock officials said.
“Our degree was more about using applied technology to build a sustainable vineyard that maximized water resources and adapted to climate change. They are all important topics for the agriculture community,” Walthers said.
Completion of Hancock’s application was a faculty-driven process led by academic dean Paul Murphy, agribusiness instructor Eric Shiers and agribusiness/viticulture program director Alfredo Koch, among others, college officials noted.
The closest community college to the Central Coast selected for the pilot program was Bakersfield College, which applied to offer a bachelor’s degree in industrial automation.
Among the other colleges selected were Antelope Valley College (airframe manufacturing technology), Cypress College (mortuary science), Feather River (equine industry), Rio Hondo (automotive technology), Crafton Hills (emergency services and allied health systems), MiraCosta (biomanufacturing), San Diego Mesa (health information management), Santa Ana (occupational therapy), Santa Monica (interaction design) and Shasta College (health information management).
State officials said lower-division coursework would cost $46 and upper-division coursework would cost $84 under the new program, with an estimated total cost of about $10,000 to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
The pilot program is the result of Senate Bill 850 that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in September. The law allowed up to 15 community colleges across the state to start bachelor’s degree programs unavailable in either California State University or the University of California.
Applicants were required to describe the pilot programs, evaluate student interest and community support, research the labor market and labor demand, research and avoid duplications of UC and CSU majors, and illustrate upper division coursework and identify resources to demonstrate college capacities.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris said the quality of the application, labor market demand and geographic distribution helped to distinguish the applicants from one another.
“These colleges are embarking on a new mission for the California Community Colleges that will expand opportunities in public higher education,” Harris said. “Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees. California employers win too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields.”
The law requires the new programs to begin as early as next fall and no later than 2017-18 with degrees completed by the 2022-23 academic year.
Harris and his staff will begin to meet with the selected colleges, as well as with members of the UC and CSU systems before bringing the item back to the Board of Governors for final review in March.
California joins 21 other states that allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees.
Police Arrest Lompoc Man on Murder Charges
Victim's body found, with multiple stab wounds, in the 900 block of North H Street
A 28-year-old Lompoc man was arrested on murder charges Wednesday after confessing to investigators that he had stabbed an acquaintance and telling them where to find the body, according to the Lompoc Police Department.
Noe Herrera already was in custody for an alleged assault that occurred at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in the 400 block of North L Street when detectives conducted a follow-up interview on Wednesday, said police Capt. Ed Lardner.
Herrera told investigators about the stabbing, Lardner said, and directed them to the body, which was in an area surrounded by tall vegetation behind the Valero Gas Station in the 900 block of North H Street.
Officers located the body at about 1 p.m., Lardner said, adding that the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds.
"Today, detectives were doing follow-up and re-interviewing him, and during that interview, he disclosed that he'd committed a homicide and gave us the location," Lardner said.
Herrera remained in custody, and the incident remained under investigation.
The victim's name was not released pending notification of relatives.
Crane Country Day School Hosting Annual Open House and Art Show on Sunday
Crane Country Day School is hosting its annual Open House and Art Show from 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 25, at 1795 San Leandro Lane in Montecito.
From 2 to 3 p.m., the classrooms will be open to meet teachers and see samples of student work. Fifth- and eighth-grade tour guides will be available to customize the experience. The library will feature videos of a variety of Crane performance opportunities.
At 3 p.m., a presentation will take place in Crane’s theater, Cate Hall, which will include a song from the fourth-grade play, The Wicked Wiz of Oz, a performance from the Upper School xylophone group, Vibes!, and a slideshow of Crane activities and events. At 3:30 p.m., the campus will come to life with a variety of activities, including math games, science experiments, art projects and garden tours.
Crane’s Open House coincides with the all-school art show, which showcases nearly 1,000 pieces of student artwork. The art theme this year, “Heart & Soul,” takes an unconventional look at the classic phrase. The kindergarteners’ clay Dover sole fish show their unique personalities through texture and composition. Fourth-graders will display their “artificial hearts” inspired by the Tin Man, which use metal, clay and a variety of discarded medical parts. Eighth-grade unique “heartfelt” shadow boxes in the style of Joseph Cornell are sure to delight children and adults alike.
Crane offers the Open House as an opportunity for the whole family to visit the campus, meet the teachers, and experience the unique programs and curriculum that the school has to offer. Stop by on Sunday and take a look! The Open House and Art Show event is rain or shine.
For more information, call Crane’s Admission Office at 805.969.7732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Julia Davis is the associate director of admission for Crane Country Day School.
Santa Barbara County Holding Lifeguard Tryouts
Santa Barbara County Parks is inviting the community to try out for a lifeguard or junior lifeguard instructor position on either Jan. 31 or Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. at Goleta Beach Park.
At tryouts, candidates must swim 1,000 meters in under 20 minutes and pass an interview on a separate date. By summer, you will have received certifications including a U.S. Lifesaving Association Open Water Lifeguarding, American Red Cross Pool Lifeguarding, CPR for the Professional Rescuer and Advanced First Aid.
Course dates are March 21 and 22, April 11, 12, 18 and 19, and May 2 and 3.
Santa Barbara County beaches include Jalama Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach and Goleta Beach. Programming includes the Hendry’s Junior Lifeguard Program at Arroyo Burro Beach County Park. The starting pay for beach lifeguards and junior lifeguard instructors is $14 hourly.
We are hoping you come to try out for a position or just stop by Goleta Beach Park to show your support for county lifeguard Class of 2015. These lifeguards are not just fast swimmers; they are also dedicated leaders that are working to serve the Santa Barbara County coastal community.
During the summer, pool lifeguards can work full time hours at the Lake Cachuma Pools and pay starts at $11.50 hourly. Pool lifeguard candidates do not need to attend ocean tryouts but must possess an American Red Cross Pool Lifeguarding Certificate, be 16 years of age, and submit an application by April 1 to 123 E. Anapamu St., 2nd Floor, Santa Barbara 93101.
Goleta Water District Pursuing Lawsuit Over Slippery Rock Groundwater Proposal
The Goleta Water District is taking legal action against the owners of Slippery Rock Ranch, who have proposed selling and banking water for water agencies in the region with the ranch’s large groundwater basin.
Last week, the district's board of directors unanimously voted in closed session to initiate litigation, General Manager John McInnes said.
He could not discuss details of the litigation.
The owners of the Slippery Rock Ranch believe they have a groundwater basin under the property that is as large as 200,000 acre-feet, which rivals the capacity of Lake Cachuma.
Mark Lloyd, representing the owners, has presented it as an opportunity for water supply and water banking storage for southern Santa Barbara County water agencies, including the Goleta Water District, the City of Santa Barbara, the Montecito Water District and the Carpinteria Valley Water District.
The Montecito Water District is particularly interested in pursuing the basin as a future long-term water supply, since it has very few groundwater supplies.
However, the Goleta Water District came out with concerns early in the process, saying there needs to be more study to determine whether the district’s groundwater basin and the ranch’s basin are connected.
Goleta’s firm position is that the groundwater basin is “not open for discussion” as a possible regional water supply opportunity, Montecito Water District staff said earlier this month.
Montecito General Manger Tom Mosby and directors Richard Shaikewitz and Douglas Morgan spoke during public comment at the recent Goleta board meeting, where directors voted to pursue litigation against the Slippery Rock Ranch owners.
“We implore you to work with us to find a solution to our common money and water problems,” Shaikewitz told the Goleta board.
The proposed test program would pump out water from the so-called “Chalice Basin” for about six months and then increase pumping to find the full sustainable safe yield, which would determine how much water could be pumped out on a long-term basis.
Goleta district staff believe the ranch, in the Goleta foothills, needs to conduct more studies to determine the environmental impacts of pumping, and see if the basins are connected, according to a staff report from the Oct. 28 Water Management and Long Range Planning Committee meeting.
“While Slippery Rock consultants refute potential impacts, it is clear that the district must, in the interests of the adjudicated Goleta basin, maintain the sole discretionary authority to terminate any future pumping activities related to exportation of water,” the staff report says.
Montecito wants to pursue the test program, which would require a host of state and local approvals and review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
There were several letters exchanged between McInnes and Mosby late last year, in which McInnes made it clear that Goleta is “extremely concerned” about the Slippery Rock Ranch proposal.
“It is imperative that the relationship between the water source proposed for extraction and the adjudicated Goleta Groundwater Basin be determined before any water from the Slippery Rock Ranch is transported for use off site,” McInnes wrote.
There should be a full environmental impact report conducted before increased pumping and water removed for use outside the ranch, he wrote.
In response, Mosby wrote that Montecito would never advocate for water extraction that would have a significant adverse impact to the environment or Goleta’s adjudicated groundwater basin.
Montecito was hoping water agencies could work together to explore the possibility of a regional water supply opportunity, he added.
“The Slippery Rock Ranch may be one of those rare opportunities where a new local supply could be developed in tandem with the establishment of a local groundwater banking program to the benefit of the Goleta Water District and the other South Coast water agencies,” he wrote.