Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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All Evacuations Lifted, Roads Reopened with Burton Mesa Fire Near Containment

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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HEET volunteers quickly mobilized to provide shelter for livestock at the Santa Maria rodeo grounds after Monday's blaze broke out near Lompoc

With the Mesa Fire near Lompoc almost contained, the alpacas, miniature donkeys and pot-bellied pigs Tuesday returned home from their temporary shelter at the Santa Maria rodeo grounds.

The fire that began Monday afternoon near La Purisima Mission State Historic Park was 85 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze charred 320 acres in the Burton Mesa Preserve, and despite threatening 1,200 structures, none were damaged. All evacuations were lifted Tuesday and roads reopened.

At the fire’s peak, authorities ordered hundreds of residents in Cebada Canyon, along Tularosa Road and in Gypsy Canyon to evacuate as the blaze raced through the dry chaparral. 

The orders also meant the rural residents of homes sitting on sprawling parcels with horses and other livestock had to get their animals to safety, prompting the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) volunteers to mobilize.

“As soon as we got our call, our volunteers were just ready to take in whatever we needed,” Tina Tonascia from Elks Recreation Inc. said.

The Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center is a designated shelter for large animals during incidents like the Mesa Fire. The Santa Maria Fairpark also may be used, depending on availability.

“It was an unexpectedly eventful Monday,” Tonascia said.

HEET volunteer Bob Taylor of Orcutt spearheaded getting the rodeo grounds open for Mesa Fire evacuees.

The organization works to provide a place for people to keep their animals during an evacuation. 

Mesa Fire
Three alpacas take refuge from the Mesa Fire near Lompoc by sheltering at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center in the Santa Maria Valley. (Contributed photo)

“Our responsibility is to get the animals out, but don’t put ourselves in danger,” said Taylor, who also belongs to the Elks.

Many rural residents won’t leave their property unless they know their animals have safe place to go, Taylor said. 

“If you don’t have a place to go with your livestock you really don’t want to evacuate,” he said, adding that others are not equipped to undertake the evacuation themselves. “By giving them an opportunity that one, we will haul out for you, and two, you can haul to us, then we give you the confidence you can get your own life out of the area.”

The Santa Maria Elks volunteers had feed and water in place for the four-legged evacuees, who were calm despite the new surroundings.

For instance, the alpacas — Tonascia described them as precious and darling — were “munching away,” she said.

“It was neat we were able to do that for the community,” Tonascia added. 

While the Mesa Fire sparked near the historic La Purisima Mission, the staff and animals sheltered in place.

“We were completely safe,” State Park Ranger Scott Anderson said.

Hikers were told to leave Monday, but allowed in Tuesday although some trails were still closed due to the firefighting activity.

“Our animals and structures are all safe,” Anderson said Tuesday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the Fire Department on Tuesday sought information about one or two individuals — most likely juveniles — who were on a hiking trail behind the water treatment plant at the time the fire started, Zaniboni said. Anyone with information can contact the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Tip Line at 805.686.5074.

The cost of the firefighting battle reached $650,000 as of midday Tuesday, Zaniboni said. 

Unlike the clouds of billowing smoke seen Monday afternoon from the hills above Lompoc, the fire generated little smoke on Tuesday. Crews continued to mop-up, reinforce containment lines, check for hot spots and patrol the fire, Zaniboni said. 

Firefighting resources were demobilized and made available for response within the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. 

From a peak of 600 personnel, the firefighting force had dropped to approximately 230 on Tuesday afternoon, Zaniboni added.

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

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Southern Santa Barbara County Fishery Closures Lifted After Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish take are allowed again in the 138-square-mile area off the Gaviota Coast after officials declare no health threat

Fishing areas have reopened along the Santa Barbara County coastline for the first time in six weeks, since the May 19 oil spill off of Refugio State Beach prompted the closure prohibiting commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish take between Gaviota State Park and Coal Oil Point in Goleta.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife lifted the fishing closure Monday, effectively reopening coastal waters used by many fisherman to catch spiny lobster, rockfish, shellfish and more.

The reopening comes after the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment stated there is no longer a human health threat present in finfish and shellfish from oil chemicals in the Refugio Beach Oil Spill incident.

"Fishing may resume in the 138-square-mile area from Canada de Alegeria at the western edge to Coal Oil Point at the eastern edge in accordance with state and federal ocean fishing regulations," a statement from Unified Command said Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard lifted the marine safety exclusion zone on June 19, the statement said.

Down at the Santa Barbara Harbor, fisherman Matt Liso was working to unload large black and red striped sheepshead fish into a bin for buyers. Liso's crew had caught the fish near the western end of Santa Cruz Island and does not fish in the areas that had been closed.  

Many of the boats owned by nearshore fisherman were docked and vacant at the harbor on Tuesday afternoon and it was unclear if any had been out that day.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Santa Barbara Harbormaster Mick Kronman said he'd only spoken with one fisherman who was headed out to the reopened fisheries. Kronman wasn't aware of exactly what business impacts fishermen had felt since the closure.

At least one lawsuit has been filed against the company responsible for the crude oil spill, Plains All American Pipeline, by a local fisherman for business losses he's sustained in the time that he was unable to fish in those coastal waters.

Sea urchin diver and nearshore fisherman Stace Cheverez filed a class action lawsuit last month, stating that the fishery closures where Cheverez fished for rockfish had caused him losses, and that the spill "translated to profound economic impacts."

Plains is still operating a claims phone hotline for anyone with personal or business losses due to the oil spill and can be reached at 866.753.3619.

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

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Student Injured in Isla Vista Rampage Suing Sheriff’s Department, UCSB and Gunman’s Parents

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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A UC Santa Barbara student who was seriously injured last year when a gunman terrorized the streets of Isla Vista on a murderous spree is suing Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Department, UCSB and the shooter’s parents — alleging negligence and false imprisonment after authorities mistakenly placed the student in handcuffs.

Los Angeles attorney Brian Kabateck filed the civil lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court last week on behalf of Keith Cheung, who was among the 14 people injured on the night of May 23, 2014, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a stabbing and shooting rampage around Isla Vista.

Six UCSB students were killed before Rodger turned the gun on himself.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodger’s L.A.-based parents, Peter and Li Chin Rodger, knew about their son’s “dangerous propensities and desire to cause injury to himself and others” but failed to prevent or mitigate dangers even though a simple online search would reveal videos of Rodger spouting hateful and misogynistic diatribes, mainly against women who had rejected him over the years.

Civil rights violations came into play at the end of Rodger’s rampage, when sheriff’s deputies mistakenly thought Cheung was a second perpetrator of the crimes.

Cheung was riding his bicycle back to his home on Del Playa from his job as a lifeguard at the UCSB Recreation Center when Rodger sped up in his black BMW and struck him from behind, flipping Cheung into the air and through the windshield.

After Rodger crashed his BMW and took his own life, Cheung was ejected from the windshield. 

“Despite his injuries, Cheung was handcuffed by local authorities prior to being transported to the hospital in violation of his constitutional rights,” the lawsuit alleges.

In its own lengthy report released in February, the Sheriff’s Department admitted Cheung was put in handcuffs “for no more than three to five minutes” before law enforcement realized he had been attacked by the suspect.

Cheung’s attorney told Noozhawk that the Sheriff’s Department wrongfully accused and then dragged his client off the car, invading his personal space in unlawful detainment.

The county and UCSB are named in the lawsuit, Kabateck said, because officers from the Sheriff’s Department and UCSB Police responded to the welfare check in April 2014, failing to identify Rodger as a threat or to locate his guns and many rounds of ammunition.

The complaint alleges the Sheriff’s Department ignored earlier signs of Rodger’s aggression toward others, including an instance when deputies responded to the Capri Apartments where he lived with two students who would become his first victims.

Rodger accused his roommate, Cheng Yuan “James” Hong, of stealing candles, which the Sheriff’s Department report later points out was done because Rodger kept hiding his roommates' pots and pans. He didn’t like the smell of their cooking.

Rodger stabbed Hong and Weihan “David” Wang to death before his shooting rampage began, along with their friend, George Chen.

Deputies made contact with Rodger another time in July 2013 after he attended a party in Isla Vista and started an altercation when no one would talk to him. Rodger was injured when he fell from a 10-foot ledge at the party — a fact that deputies and his parents should’ve seen as a warning sign, the lawsuit alleges.

Proper training and protocols could’ve prevented the tragedy, the complaint states.

UCSB spokesman George Foulsham said the university doesn’t comment on pending litigation, and an attorney for Rodger's parents could not be reached.

The county hadn’t been served with the complaint as of Tuesday, so county counsel Michael Ghizzoni and Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said they also had no comment at this time.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial and monetary compensation for damages and attorney’s fees incurred.

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

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Plane Lands On Belly at Santa Maria Airport

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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No injuries are reported after the pilot apparently fails to lower the landing gear

A pilot escaped without injuries Tuesday afternoon when his single-engine airplane landed on its belly at the Santa Maria Public Airport.

The Beechcraft Bonanza touched down at 3:10 p.m. after the pilot, whose name was not released, forgot to lower the landing gear, according to Ric Tokopah, airport maintenance and operations manager.

The Santa Maria Fire Department responded to the incident as a precaution, but no fire occurred.

The incident closed the airport's main runway for approximately an hour while firefighters and airport officials dealt with the aircraft.

A large crane and flatbed truck were brought onto the airfield to remove the plane.

David Alberti was watching the arrivals and departures on Tuesday afternoon while listening to the air traffic control tower radio traffic.

The Orcutt resident said he noticed immediately that the Beechcraft Bonanza's landing gear was not lowered.

"Next thing, you know he just bellied that thing," Alberti said. "Fortunately, it came to almost where he is right now. He didn't hardly skid at all."

The air traffic control officer immediately advised other arriving aircraft to go around, Alberti said.

Other small private planes were able to use the alternate runway to land and take off from the airport until the wreckage was removed. 

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

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Santa Barbara Council Agrees to Loan $1 Million to Low-Income Senior Housing Project

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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The city's Ordinance Committee also votes to delay action on regulating news racks

The Santa Barbara City Council agreed to loan the Grace Village senior affordable housing project $1 million on Tuesday to help the Housing Authority achieve more than $8 million in tax equity credits.

Santa Barbara's Housing Authority wants to build 57 one-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors, with rents ranging from $400 to $900 per month.

The $1 million will help the Housing Authority qualify for $8.6 million in tax credits to fund the project. The vote was unanimous, 6-0, with Councilman Randy Rowse absent.

The entire project is expected to cost $16.3 million.

"The individuals we intend to serve is a market in high demand," said Skip Szymanski, deputy executive director of the Housing Authority. "Seniors in this income range are just growing. It is a large population of our homeless as well."

Santa Barbara mirrors the rest of the nation with a dramatic rise in its aging baby boomer population. The number of people 50 years old and older increased by 35 million from 1990 to 2010, Housing Authority Deputy Executive Director Rob Fredericks said. By 2030, the number of people 65 and older will reach 71.5 million, Fredericks said. 

More than 2,000 seniors are currently on the waitlist for subsidized senior housing in Santa Barbara.

The project is located at 3869 State St., near Panera Cafe. Grace Lutheran Church donated the land to the Housing Authority, at an estimated worth of $3 million, and the building will be demolished to build the senior housing. The church held its final service in February of this year. 

If the Housing Authority can secure the tax credits, it hopes to begin construction later this year, followed by an estimated 14-month construction schedule. The loan would be paid back over 30 years, at three percent interest.

In other city news, the Ordinance Committee voted Tuesday to delay action on regulating news racks. Santa Barbara wants to charge annual fees and require rack owners to maintain or upgrade their racks.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Santa Barbara Independent raised concerns about the public works director holding the power to review racks and decide whether to remove them from the streets, among other concerns. 

"It seems obvious that this needs to go back for some review and coordination with the stakeholders," Ordinance Committee chair Cathy Murillo said. 

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

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Warm Temperatures to Continue in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Warm temperatures and sunny skies are expected to continue in Santa Barbara County this week, and the summer weather will continue in the run-up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, temperatures are expected to be around 80 degrees in coastal areas, with temperatures 10 to 20 degrees hotter inland, according to Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist at the National Weather Service Office in Oxnard.

Nighttime lows this week will hover in the 60s.

There's a possibility of isolated thunderstorms farther south in the Los Angeles area due to monsoonal influence and storms from Tucson and San Diego, but it's unlikely that any of those showers will reach Santa Barbara County, Bartling said.

More likely, the storms' impact will mean that temperatures may be a couple of degrees cooler as the week goes on, possibly dipping into the 70s toward the weekend, she said. The forecast also shows the potential for some low clouds and fog in the mornings later this week. 

The weather is expected to be warm and sunny for the Fourth of July holiday, with temperatures in the 70s and clear skies.

A low pressure system this weekend will bring a marine layer, most likely in the early mornings, and that system will last until Tuesday but no rain is expected, Bartling said.

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

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Santa Barbara Man Sentenced to Jail, Probation in Animal-Cruelty Case

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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A Santa Barbara man will spend a year in jail and five years on probation after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty and assault charges, which involved abusing his girlfriend and her puppy, which later had to be euthanized.

Duanying Chen

Duanying Chen’s sentence was handed down this week over objections from Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who said Tuesday that her office didn’t offer a plea bargain in the case.

Chen pleaded guilty as charged on May 19 to four felony counts and one misdemeanor count, including two felony charges of animal cruelty, felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, witness dissuasion and violating a court order.

Dudley said Chen also admitted a special allegation of personally using a deadly weapon — a utility lighter — to burn his girlfriend’s Doberman pinscher puppy.

Chen was remanded into custody at the County Jail, where he will serve 365 days in addition to completing a one year batterer’s intervention program, paying restitution to the veterinary clinic for treatment of the puppy, and adhering to an order to not have contact with any animal, Dudley said.

“Chen is not allowed to have in his possession or care any animal for a period of 10 years,” she said in a statement. “The prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office argued for the maximum sentence in this case of seven years, six months (in) state prison.”

The charges stem from May 14, 2014, when Santa Barbara police responded to a local veterinary clinic, where personnel treated the 5-month-old male puppy for broken bones, significant infections and burns over 80 percent of his body, Dudley said.

“Davey was humanely euthanized while surrounded by the veterinary staff who spent weeks attempting to rehabilitate him,” she said. 

Police determined that Chen had tortured the puppy and also assaulted his girlfriend weeks earlier, strangling her until she nearly lost consciousness after a heated argument.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Chen told his girlfriend that the puppy had been injured in a fall from the top of a ping pong table. He was arrested and taken to the County Jail.

“After his arrest, Chen attempted to have his girlfriend fabricate and destroy evidence in an effort to thwart the criminal prosecution,” Dudley said. “This was an outrageous act of a coward who brutalized a vulnerable woman and a helpless animal. I can only hope his time in jail will help him understand just how despicable his criminal actions were.”

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

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White House Conference on Aging Scheduled for July 13

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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The White House Conference on Aging, a decennial event, has been confirmed for Monday, July 13.

This conference will include an event in Washington, D.C., with limited attendance and "watch" sites throughout the nation.

“Three ‘watch’ sites are planned for the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties area,” said Amy Mallett, chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. “These ‘watch’ sites will be livestreamed and provide an opportunity to share our ideas and inputs as well as promote local conversation about the issues of aging.

“Cosponsoring these ‘watch’ sites are the Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County departments of Social Services. In preparation for the White House Conference on Aging we held a local public forum to gather inputs. These inputs were sent to the White House Conference on Aging and a short report was prepared.

“These ‘watch’ sites are open to all interested persons. Bring your ideas to improve the quality of life for older adults. The WHCOA has identified four common themes: Retirement Security, Healthy Aging, Long Term services and supports and Elder Justice. Based on the local public forum we added a fifth theme of Family Caregiver.”

“This AAA urges that the WHCOA strongly advocate for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act,” said Joyce Ellen Lippman, Area Agency on Aging director. “The Older Americans Act is the foundation of home- and community-based services that facilitate aging-in-place. The act hasn’t been reauthorized in a timely fashion and a bill (S.192) is now in the Senate to accomplish reauthorization.”

Three local "watch" sites will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at:

» San Luis Obispo City — County Department of Social Services, 3433 S. Higuera St., Room 101

» Santa Barbara City — Santa Barbara Foundation, 1111 Chapala St., Suite 200

» Santa Maria — Area Agency on Aging, 528 S. Broadway

“Join us for the entire day or several hours,” Mallett said. “Come share in the conversation with local colleagues.”

For more information, contact Lippman at 805.925.9555 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens-Area Agency on Aging.

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James Lokey Appointed to Community West Bancshares Board of Directors

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Community West Bancshares, the parent company of Community West Bank, announced Tuesday that James Lokey has been appointed to its Board of Directors and to the Board of Directors of Community West Bank, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary.

“James is exceedingly well known and highly respected,” said William Peeples, chairman of the board. “He will be a tremendous asset to our board as we continue our expansion into the San Luis Obispo County community. We look forward to the addition of his valuable insight and experience.”

Lokey has more than 42 years of bank management experience, including chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Mission Community Bancorp (2010-14); president of Rabobank, N.A. (2007-09); president and chief executive officer of Mid-State Bank & Trust (2000-07); president and chief executive officer of Downey Savings (1997-98); executive vice president of First Interstate Bank/Wells Fargo Bank (1973-96) and past chairman of California Bankers Association.

He has significant ties in the communities of the Central Coast, including serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo; a director of Cal Poly Corporation and chairman of its investment committee; and director of French Hospital Medical Center.

Since retiring in 2014, Lokey has been active as a consultant and featured speaker regarding director education, enterprise risk management and mergers and acquisitions.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Community West Bank.

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Woman Suffers Major Injuries in Two-Vehicle Collision in Goleta

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Second driver has minor injuries after accident at Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road

A woman was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries after a two-vehicle collision in Goleta Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. 

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department responded to the injury accident at Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road around 3:30 p.m. and found a Volvo SUV had hit a Mercedes sedan on the driver’s side.

Fire crews had to extricate the driver of the Mercedes, who was taken to the hospital with major injuries, County Fire public information officer Mike Eliason said.

The woman’s dog in the backseat appeared unhurt and was taken from the scene by County Animal Control, he said.

The driver of the other vehicle reportedly had minor injuries, Eliason said.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the collision and AMR ambulances also responded to the scene. 

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

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Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect Wednesday

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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A new paid sick leave law takes effect Wednesday, mandating nearly all California employers to pay for workers to be off sick.

AB 1522, commonly called the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014, guarantees that any employee who works in the state for 30 days or more within a year from the start of employment the right to accrue paid sick leave effective July 1.

The law applies to full-time, part-time and temporary or seasonal employees, who will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, whichever is later.

The new law gives a minimum of 24 hours, or three paid sick days, per year to almost all workers, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Paid sick leave can accrue from year to year, but employers can cap a second-year limit at 48 hours, or six days, per year, the department stipulated.

Each boss determines whether paid leave carries over.

“Depending on the way your company’s sick leave policy is structured, accrued paid sick leave carries over to the following year,” said Douglas Large, a partner with Santa Barbara-based law firm Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray LLP.

Large’s firm sent a notice to local residents letting them know about the law and explaining that paid sick leave can be used after the 90th day of employment,

With an estimated 60 percent of California employees already getting some type of paid sick leave, the law firm estimated AB 1522 could cause anyone with employees working more than 30 hours a week to take a “long, hard look at their existing policies on paid time off.”

Small-business owners are not exempt from the law.

Employees covered in collective bargaining agreements, in-home support service providers and certain air carrier employees are not covered by the new legislation.

Per requirements, employers must display posters with the new rules, provide individual notification to workers of sick leave rights and keep record of how many sick days employees accrue over the first three years.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Correcting Supervisors Carbajal, Wolf on Renewable Energy

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Dear Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal,

In your letter published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on June 28, you fail to address a critical core question: What are the oft-mentioned “renewables” to which you refer? Are they wind, solar, nuclear, hydroelectric, etc.?

You have also arrogated to Santa Barbara virtual authorship of the Clean Air and Water Acts, the California Coastal Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (wow!) and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA was formed by Richard Nixon in 1970) — all supposedly as a result of the 1969 Gaviota oil spill. In fact, the California Coastal Commission was formed as a result of a controversy surrounding the development of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County, not Santa Barbara.

To put the record straight, the birth of our water acts occurred in the 1880s and 1890s when Congress directed the USAC to stop dumping and filling in of the nation’s harbors. Elements of these actions can be found in similar legislation today. In 1912, 1924, 1948, 1965 and 1972, legislation was enacted that furthered the purpose of the initial water acts. These, as you can see and with the exception of one, preceded 1969.

Claims you have made against oil are repudiated as follows: First, natural seeps account for 62 percent of annual releases, 4 percent from oil transportation and 1 percent from oil consumption. Neither the 1969 nor the current Refugio spills even rank in the national surveys of spills, leaks and dumps over the last 50 years.

Due to the inevitable necessity of oil and its byproducts, it is statistically predictable that certain spills will take place.

It is further well known that although the seeps release large volumes of oil each year, the surrounding ecosystem adapts and even thrives because the rate of release is very slow.

Since your article contains so many acronyms (CAW, CCA, EPA, CCE, PG&E, SCE and IOU) one is easily confused as to what is the source of your authority.

But let’s concentrate on the CCE idea and what you mean by “renewables.” This is a central question. Without clarification, you invalidate your theory about the benefits to consumers. So, I wonder why, throughout a rather confusing aggregation of justifications for the CCE, you never define the core source of renewable energy. The word “renewable” is simply not enough to gull readers into thinking their energy costs will drop and their communities will become energy utopias.

Or, was this a political statement to reassure voters in 2016 that at least one of you seeking a congressional seat was deeply concerned about energy resources?

Please acknowledge that currently available renewables on a large scale are not feasible and that oil (I agree we have to get rid of it someday) cannot be replaced now.

Speaking of feasible, I note that you have endorsed an expense with taxpayer money to do yet another feasibility study to determine what we already know. There are also hints that other studies, departments, agencies might be created. Please obtain Chinese grants for these dead-ends and not use taxpayer dollars.

You, Supervisor Carbajal, “serve” on 16 governmental and nongovernmental boards. If you are really active, spur action and take a leading role as a board member should, when do you have time for the county’s business or renewable energy sources that might even serve the nation? Or are your board positions chair-warmers? Or gradually developed credentials for your congressional bid?

Be honest and accurate with your facts and advice to constituencies.

Lee Rosenberg
Solvang

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John Daly: When Are White Lies Acceptable?

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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At the end of last year, I wrote a column about lying. In it, I touched upon “white lies.” Here’s what I wrote:

“We’ve all told white lies because brutal honesty might inflict pain or distress on another. For instance, Mary told Tim she couldn’t go out with him on Saturday night because she and her family were going out of town. You are Mary’s best friend and know it is because she doesn’t find Tim attractive and doesn’t want to date him.

“When Tim asks you if the reason is genuine, what do you say? Do you want to be brutally honest and tell Tim the truth or tell him you don’t know if it is genuine or not to spare Tim’s feelings? Perhaps in this instance it is better to be economical with the truth and just say you think Mary has other plans. This isn’t the complete truth, but you are sparing Tim’s feelings on something that won’t have a real impact on his future.

“However, this is one of those instances where you need to clearly think it through. Some would advise you to very gently let Tim know that Mary isn’t really interested in him rather than saying something that will make matters worse. While you never want to hurt someone, there may be a diplomatic solution in which you tell Tim the truth and let Mary know about the conversation. She will probably be grateful that you ended her white lie, and both parties can move on with their lives.”

                                                                 •        •        •

What I wrote may be well and good, but it’s been nagging at me since the beginning of the year. It’s not a complete answer. I may not have the answer in this column, but let’s look at some real-life situations in which telling white lies may be the kind thing to do.

» A relative bakes her chocolate chip cookies and brings them to every family special occasion. The cookies are terrible. But, the relative is so proud of her cookies that no one has the heart or the guts to tell her the truth. In this case, sparing the relative’s feelings is more important than telling the truth.

» A friend gets a terrible haircut. When you are asked what you think, rather than making your friend feel embarrassed or horrible about himself, you can say, “It’s a change! What do you think?” Or, you can simply say “I like really short hair.” Brutal honesty can be toxic. Never feel obligated to tell the whole truth when you know it will make someone ashamed of the way he or she looks.

» If you have done a huge favor for a friend or family member, and they thank you, rather than go into detail about the difficulties you had implementing the favor, simple say, “Oh, it was no trouble at all.” Telling the person how much they put you out will only worry and upset them. Why do that? It’s over and done with.

» When a child excitedly talks about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, feel free to protect the child’s innocence and creative imagination by not fessing up that they don’t exist!

» It’s also OK to over-exaggerate when complimenting someone. For instance, I always told my mother that her macaroni and cheese was “the best in the world!” It was exceptional, but best in the world might have been only in my eyes. This is a mild false truth that makes it easier for people to get along and is basically harmless in most cases.

The major difference between a white lie and a hard lie is that a hard lie is said to protect oneself, whereas a little white lie is said to protect someone else.

Relationships can be complex and tricky at times. Sometimes a harmless, thoughtful pleasantry is just what the doctor ordered, especially when it saves others from minor hurt, shame or embarrassment.

Often times, some of us tell a white lie to protect ourselves or others from punishment or disapproval for a minor failing or blunder that hurts nobody. This is borderline but OK as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.

When White Are Lies Unacceptable

White lies cross over into the dark side when we tell them to make us appear better than we really are or to protect some gain acquired previously for which we really aren’t entitled.

This happens at work often and falls under the category of taking credit for someone else’s hard work, getting a promotion because of it, and then making sure the originator of the work is either suppressed or eventually fired to cover up the lie.  This is no longer a white lie but rather a big, black one.

Lies that hurt someone else so that you can gain or that make others do something that would benefit you while harming themselves or causing themselves a loss never fall under the “white lie” scenario. Here we are into deceit, willful malice and sociopathic behavior!

It is not my purpose to give anyone a green light for telling lies. However, always weigh the harm that being brutally honest with someone will do to others. And avoid anything that can seriously damage another.

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

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Jodi House’s Inaugural ‘Hike, Walk, and Roll’ for Brain Injury Raises $25,000

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Jodi House’s inaugural “Hike, Walk and Roll” for Brain Injury kicks off. (Jodi House photo)

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for everyone who made Jodi House’s inaugural “Hike, Walk, and Roll” for Brain Injury successful.

Close to 300 people came out to Elings Park this past Saturday, June 27, in support of the event. Participants either hiked a 5k trail route, or walked/rolled paved routes at the park.

Goleta-based Medtronic (a corporation that manufactures medical/surgical devices that are frequently used in the acute care treatment of traumatic brain injuries) played a huge role in making the event successful as not only gold level event sponsors, but matching the registration fees of their employees so Jodi House received additional revenue, providing substantial volunteer assistance in the planning and execution of the event, and participating in the events.

Other sponsors included Steve Katz/Atherton Lane Advisors, Bank of Santa Barbara, Ice in Paradise, Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Rabobank, MarBorg Industries, Jim Cook, Union Bank, Impulse, Solutions at Santa Barbara, Backyard Bowls, Centre for Neuro Skills, Travis Wilson/Mc Gowan Gunterman, Easy Lift Transportation, Hearts Therapeutic Riding, Path Point and Sansum Clinic.

We are so grateful to the sponsors and community members who participated in making the event a resounding success.

The event raised more than $25,000 for Jodi House, providing further support to us in achieving our mission of empowering brain injury survivors to not merely survive but thrive.

— Eryn Eckert is executive director of the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

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Ron Fink: No Rubber-Stamp Approval This Time of Lompoc City Budget

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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The four budget workshops and one presentation leading up to final approval of the City of Lompoc’s two-year spending plan were both instructive and clearly demonstrated that we have a diligent council/staff team in place. Council members received their draft copies of the 195-page plan just four days prior to the first workshop, but they used the review time effectively.

The staff projected that the General Fund budget would increase by 17 percent to $67,235,238 in the 2015-17 budget cycle.  To balance the GF budget they were asking to use $635,342 from the reserve fund. These numbers would change as the budget was examined in detail.

This year’s budget was unique in several ways. It was reorganized, and according to a presentation made during the May 5 council meeting, the “focus (has) changed to service delivery” — a new concept in the city, a “zero-based” approach meaning you start with no money and justify every expense would be employed.

This is the first time that any city administrator I can remember has directed his staff to take this approach.

Two council members, Dirk Starbuck and Jim Mosby, led the council discussion. They asked methodical questions and allowed staff time to provide clear answers rather than wasting time making assumptions or providing their own “technical input.”

It was very clear that the staff took this new budgeting approach seriously. They analyzed their service delivery tasks and initially concluded that the General Fund services needed 40 additional full-time positions, and the utility enterprise funds would allow 33 additional full-time positions to provide the highest level of service. This totaled 73 new employees and well more than $14 million in salaries, a number that couldn’t be reached due to revenue concerns.

A new cost allocation plan was introduced that distributed administrative costs to each major functional area in a much more equitable manner. At the end of the process, fewer than a dozen full-time positions were approved — three in the fire department, three administrative positions and the remaining were needed to staff the public library after its operation was absorbed into city government.

Some new positions were easily justified. For example, the grant funding for fire department positions will expire during the new budget, and the fire chief requested that these positions become permanent. The adding of three full-time firefighter positions has improved service delivery and nearly eliminated the inability to provide service during multiple calls in the same time period.

There were many unknowns going into these discussions — only the skillful questioning by Councilmen Mosby and Starbuck brought out some serious points to consider. I was impressed with the ability of the staff to respond promptly to the questions of the council members, and those answers required staffers to burn the midnight oil researching each one.

One answer revealed that the staff had not spent an estimated $1 million from the last two-year budget and this money would now be utilized in the new budget. Thus the council and taxpayers learned that the staff didn’t just spend everything they had but instead tried to be disciplined in the operation of the city.

A collateral benefit was that the questioning and answer seeking discovered that some administrative costs were listed more than once by various departments and some revenues were underestimated. Thus the final total was less than originally thought.

There were some unknowns that only time will provide the answer to. For example, when estimating revenue, it’s hard to say what the economy will do, how many new projects will actually be built or what funds will flow into Lompoc from either the state or federal government.

Another unknown is how many new regulations that the state or federal government will create that establish new unfunded mandates that the city must pay for. Recent examples are the new sick leave standards that will increase employer costs and stormwater management and methane gas recovery systems at the landfill.

One thing is clear: The city administration was very conservative with their budgeting estimates, meaning that they probably underestimated revenue and overestimated expenses. One example was the addition of three new administrative staff positions.

The city administrator pointed out that even if the council approved the additional staff, the human resources department couldn’t possibly recruit and hire new folks for several months, thus there would be an immediate “savings” of several hundred thousand dollars in salary costs in the first year.

Another revelation was that a major effort is under way to examine the fee schedule for public services. A several hundred page report is in its final stages and should be put on the council agenda for public discussion in the next few months.

During the last meeting on this subject on June 23, the staff rolled out a well-thought-out graphic. The staff displayed an Excel spreadsheet to automatically calculate the impact of funding their “wish list” on both the bottom line and amount of reserves needed as each decision was made. All funds were approved and they still lowered the amount of reserves needed by 30 percent.

This budget had a lot of moving parts, but at the end of the day taxpayers can feel confident that we have the right membership on the council who ask the tough questions and won’t just rubber stamp anything that comes their way.

Well done, Lompoc!

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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UCSB Scholar Iair Arcavi to Use Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award to Study Supermassive Black Holes

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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The mass of supermassive black holes is almost beyond imagining. They can be millions, even billions of times the mass of our sun. While scientists aren’t clear about how such entities could exist, these behemoths apparently inhabit the center of almost all galaxies.

And Iair Arcavi wants to learn more.

Arcavi, a joint postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Barbara’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, will be able to do just that as the recipient of the 2015 Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award. Funded through a $48,000 gift from international business leader and entrepreneur Harvey Karp, the award is intended to support the innovative research of exceptional early career postdocs in UCSB’s Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences.

“I was really excited — and surprised — to receive the Karp award,” Arcavi said. “After all, black holes are so esoteric. But I’m happy that curiosity-driven research like mine is being recognized and supported.”

In order to form a more complete picture of supermassive black holes, Arcavi will use the award to advance his latest research project, “Seeing the Invisible: A New Tool for Discovering and Studying Supermassive Black Holes.”

Lars Bildsten, director of KITP, nominated Arcavi for the award. “I have given Iair a large amount of freedom to define his own projects and explore, which he has done with vigor,” Bildsten said. “His publication record speaks to his broad involvement in many distinct activities, and this project is in the prime field where Iair intends to make a distinctive mark.”

To contribute to the science of supermassive black holes, Arcavi and colleagues at LCOGT will look for tidal disruption events in very specific types of galaxies. Tidal disruption occurs when a star orbiting a massive black hole makes a close approach and is pulled apart by the black hole tidal forces.

The idea of tidal disruption events originated in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2012 that scientists reported witnessing one of these rare events. In 2014, three more were described in a paper led by Arcavi using data from the Palomar Transient Factory, a Caltech-led transient survey. Arcavi also published new data on a fourth event found by an Ohio State University-led survey called ASAS-SN and linked two other events in the literature to this class of tidal disruption events.

All of these events share common properties. In fact, six out of the seven occurred in a very rare type of galaxy called E+A. The E stands for elliptical and the A for A-type stars, which are overabundant in E+A galaxies.

“It’s been very exciting and we want to find more because seven is not enough,” Arcavi said. “We still don’t understand the events themselves and if we want to use them to deduce the mass of a black hole, we first have to understand what’s going on when a star gets disrupted.”

The project will use the LCOGT’s network to track 100 of the most easily observable E+A galaxies, visiting each of them once a month for a year. Images will be compared to determine whether new points of light have occurred. These could represent tidal disruption events.

“No one has ever specifically monitored E+A galaxies in any kind of transient survey so we don’t know what we’ll find,” Arcavi said. “The worst case is we detect nothing in 100 galaxies. Then we can say the rate is not once per year, not even once per 10 years; it’s probably lower than once in 100 years. That would set some limits, but the optimistic scenario is that we witness stars being disrupted in these galaxies. We’re hopeful — but either way it should be interesting.”

“Iair Arcavi is a visionary, and I’m thrilled to see this acknowledged by the Karp Discovery Award,” said Andy Howell, leader of the supernova group at LCOGT, which includes Arcavi. “His work lets us see the universe in new ways, and the technology he will develop here will allow us to better understand stars being disrupted by black holes but will be useful for all kinds of research beyond that. He’s gambling for big results, but it is built on a safe bet that looking at the sky in a new way is always a winner.”

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

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With NSF Funding, UCSB Researchers Study Effects of Novel Way of Eradicating Schistosomiasis

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Built in 1986, the Diama Dam between Senegal and Mauritania was constructed on the Senegal River to improve irrigation for nearby crops and prevent upstream saltwater intrusion. However, shortly after its completion, it became evident that what many people in the area would have gained in economic opportunity they lost in public health.

Lopez Carr
David López-Carr

Kuris
Armand Kuris

The dam, while improving irrigation and providing a source of fresh water, also presented ideal conditions for snails that host the Schistosoma parasite. As a result, those who live and work around that section of the Senegal River are constantly infected and reinfected by the flatworm and suffer from the effects of schistosomiasis. Senegal has one of the world’s worst schistosomiasis problems.

“It’s a debilitating disease,” said Armand Kuris, UC Santa Barbara professor of zoology and one of the world’s leading parasitologists.

Unlike other serious contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, schistosomiasis is chronic, said Kuris. Rather than killing outright, schistosomiasis erodes the human host’s health as the worms multiply in his or her body. Eggs, if not expelled in the host’s urine or feces, can migrate to different organs, disrupting their functions. The result is overall poor physical health, an impaired immune system and cognitive difficulty.

A Chronic Disadvantage

The disease has wider implications, according to UCSB geography professor David López-Carr, whose research focuses on the human dimensions of environment change, particularly in the developing areas of the world, as well as rural poverty and development. Those chronically afflicted tend to be the rural poor, people who live and work, bathe and play in the river and surrounding waterways and farms. This is where the infected freshwater snails thrive and continuously shed cercariae, the free-swimming larvae of the parasite that seek out and penetrate human skin. Because the people are constantly exposed to the parasite, and don’t have the means to avoid it in their daily lives or afford treatment, this population is chronically at a health and socioeconomic disadvantage, with poverty and poor health affecting each other in a self-perpetuating cycle.

“It makes you less competent at anything you do,” said López-Carr. “It makes you less effective as a parent or in your work — and that has a huge economic impact on a society.”

Conventional treatments for this ongoing schistosomiasis epidemic have consisted of drug-based control programs and preventive chemotherapy, programs that have had successes. However, the environment of the Senegal River, with its impacted ecology, provides the setting for rapid reinfection, according to Kuris, who has been studying schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa for 25 years. Medical programs to cure people of schistosomiasis, though effective, are ultimately unsustainable if the source of the parasites remains unmitigated, he said.

Looking to Prawns

However, there is hope, and it might be in the form of a local river prawn (Macrobrachium vollenhovenii), currently under study by Kuris and colleagues in Senegal, that has the potential to turn the situation around. Reintroducing the crustacean into the affected areas to prey on the snails could disrupt the parasite’s life cycle and diminish, if not eliminate, the schistosome’s presence in the water.

“In the big picture, what we’d really like to do is eliminate this scourge,” said López-Carr. Depending on the efficiency and effectiveness of the method, efforts in the area to reduce the prevalence of and infections by the parasite may not only get a much-needed boost but the local economy may also profit. The prawns, which do not become infected with the flatworm larvae they eat along with the host snails, could also potentially be farmed for food and sold at market, he said.

This novel way of eradicating an infectious disease like schistosomiasis has many levels and, with a highly competitive $1.5 million grant provided by the National Science Foundation, López-Carr, Kuris and a host of researchers from various disciplines will be studying these levels by looking at, among other things, the complex interaction of human and natural forces that may alter patterns of disease transmission. The principal investigators in this project also include James Sanchirico, professor in the Department of Environmental Science & Policy at UC Davis; Kentucky State University aquaculture expert James Tidwell; and Susanne Sokolow, associate research biologist dually appointed at UCSB and Stanford University.

“The main question is, ‘What are the predictors of human infection or reinfection?’” said López-Carr. Because schistosomiasis is an insidious disease — people can have it without dying and often without obvious outward symptoms for long periods of time — the geographic, social and demographic elements that may influence who gets the disease and how infection, in turn, affects people and their interactions with the local environment have not yet been studied in-depth, according to López-Carr.

Doubling Up on Studies

“We plan to couple the study of the biological dynamics with models of the economics of the disease and of the prawn intervention,” said Sokolow. Small prawns are most effective at killing snails, she added, so the ones that have grown large can be harvested for sale or consumption, provided small ones are stocked in their place. “In this project, our bio-economic models will aim to answer the questions of how many prawns to stock, when to harvest, and how to devise the optimal win-win-win-win solution that benefits human health, environmental restoration, hunger alleviation and economic development,” she said.

This grant, awarded by the NSF’s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program, will fund a multipronged approach that will include drug treatments and reintroduction of the prawns, surveys, monitoring, interviews and experiments that are expected to provide insights across various fields, including trophic ecology, epidemiology, aquaculture, economics and other social sciences as well as mathematical modeling. While the results of this study will relate directly to this region of Africa, the valuable information gained could apply to natural and human systems that involve the transmission of waterborne diseases in rivers and other bodies of water in the world. Progress on the researchers’ efforts can be found at the website for The Upstream Alliance, the umbrella organization under which all collaborators are working.

Funding for the project has also been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada.

“It is, we hope, a very illustrative example whereby we can intervene in a natural system in a way that is not destructive but in a way that can replenish a native resource and improve health and livelihoods,” said López-Carr.

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

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Cynder Sinclair: How to Create a Culture of Disciplined Innovation in Your Nonprofit

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Ever wonder why some organizations seem to always come up with clever ideas for achieving their mission? Do you find yourself wishing you had one of those “creative types” on your staff so your nonprofit could find ways to work smarter not harder? Would you be surprised to know that encouraging this type of innovation in your group merely takes discipline?

Discipline and innovation seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. We think of discipline as very structured and clearly defined, while innovation seems very fluid and unpredictable. Many think it takes a special kind of person to innovate — someone who mysteriously thinks of creative ways of doing our work differently.

What Does It Take to Innovate?

Successful innovators say their ideas usually come when they move out of their normal daily environment and are doing something other than their regular routine. Inspiration comes when they are walking on the beach or in the woods, or when working with other volunteers on a project, or coaching their youngster’s soccer team. They connect seemingly unrelated events to systems or projects at work. It’s not mysterious — it’s just how the human brain works.

Stuart Jenkins, senior vice president of innovation at Deckers, says innovation takes passion, courage and persistence. “You don’t have to be an expert to innovate. Have confidence that with what you know and what you’re interested in, you can innovate; you can drive powerful positive change no matter where you are.”

Jenkins further counsels, “When you’re innovating, do not expect the crowd to stand up and applaud. You have to be humble enough to keep moving forward and confident enough not to care what people think.” Jenkins warns that conforming to other people’s ways of thinking inhibits innovation.

And the time is now. Our communities need nonprofits to innovate more than ever before. Management guru Peter Drucker says, “In the years ahead, America’s nonprofits will become even more important. As government retrenches, Americans will look increasingly to the nonprofits to tackle the problems of a fast-changing society. These challenges will demand innovation — in services, and in nonprofit management.”

Innovate for the Present Not the Future

Drucker said the keys to successful innovation are simplicity and focus. Innovations that work are breathtakingly simple and focus on one specific need. They always start small. This keeps the risk and resource requirement modest. Don’t try to be clever or perfect. There will always be time for adjustments. This idea is similar to Jim Collins’ principle of shooting bullets (trial balloons) then calibrated cannon balls as described in his book Great By Choice.

Another key factor, Drucker said, is to not try to innovate for the future, but innovate for the present. The innovation may have long term impact, but if you can’t get it adopted now there won’t be any future.

Drucker recommended that innovators define risks and seek to minimize them. Innovations are successful to the extent that they systematically analyze the sources of opportunity, pinpoint the opportunity, and then exploit it, whether an opportunity has small and definable risk, or larger but still definable risk. Successful innovators are conservative; they are not risk-focused, but rather are opportunity-focused.

Create a Culture of Discipline

And what can a nonprofit do to encourage innovation among its staff and stakeholders? Drucker says the answer is discipline. He revealed that organizations interested in innovation must create a culture that encourages it. Leaders must educate their staff about how innovation works, encourage everyone to innovate, and reward behavior that leads to transformational ideas. Leaders of innovative organizations routinely communicate the value of creative thinking and exploring alternative ways of work. They reward employees who engage in calculated risk-taking, regardless of the result. This can be unnerving but important in creating a work environment where people feel comfortable taking risks. This type of culture leads to innovative outcomes that drive organizational growth and performance.

Drucker assured us that innovation is hard work, requiring knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity. Only those with diligence, perseverance and commitment succeed. Successful innovators build on their own strengths to find innovations that are a good fit with the organizational culture and business strategy.

Innovation Depends on Nonprofits Today

Bill Shore, founder and chief executive of Share Our Strength, believes that “nonprofits need to allocate a portion of their own budgets to innovate, even with all of the risk that entails, and to share what they learn. Investment in innovations that may not pay off until the long term are never easy, but they are the hallmark of adaptation and growth necessary for success.”

This approach to business can be challenging for nonprofits because their limited financial and human resources are always looming over their daily work. So, leaders who want to stimulate innovation are intentional and deliberate about carving out a space for innovation. Nonprofits wanting to drive high performance will set their risk-averse nature aside to intentionally create a culture of disciplined innovation.

— Dr. Cynder Sinclair is a consultant to nonprofits and founder and CEO of Nonprofit Kinect. She has been successfully leading nonprofits for 30 years and holds a doctorate in organizational management. To read her blog, click here. To read her previous articles, click here. She can be contacted at 805.689.2137 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Vaccination Bill Eliminating Personal Belief Exemptions

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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Children entering public and private schools in California are now required to receive a schedule of vaccinations and their parents can no longer opt out of the shots based on personal beliefs, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277 into law Tuesday. 

The bill was authored by state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who is also a pediatrician. One of the bill's co-authors is Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who represents Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Now, elementary and secondary private and public schools, day cares, child care centers, development centers and nurseries are all covered by the law, which requires pupils to get immunized by July 1, 2016, in order to be enrolled in the fall.

Students in a home-based private school or independent study program who do not receive classroom-based instruction would be exempt.

Jackson said that she was pleased the Governor had signed the bill into law, and that it was a "balanced and reasonable approach" that puts the health of communities and children first while allowing for medical exemptions at a doctor's discretion.

“As a parent and a grandparent, I support vaccines," Jackson said. "They are a safe and effective way to protect our school children from highly preventable yet very serious diseases like measles and whooping cough.”

Passage of the law comes at a time when the state has suffered both measles and pertussis outbreaks. Santa Barbara County reported its first infant death from whooping cough earlier this year after a unvaccinated caretaker reportedly spread the disease to the baby.

Though Santa Barbara County saw 195 kindergartners entering schools under the personal belief exemptions in the 2014-15 school year, a nearly 2 percent drop from the previous year, rates remain high, especially in certain schools, according to numbers from the California Department of Public Health.

For example, Waldorf School had an opt-out rate of 87 percent of kindergartners in the 2013 school year.

Statewide, 90.7 percent of kindergartners entered public school this year with all required immunizations, while only 86.6 percent of kindergartners at private schools had the required shots.

In a memo to the State Senate sent out Tuesday morning, Brown acknowledged that the bill has garnered widespread interested and controversy, "with both proponents and opponents expressing their positions with eloquence and sincerity."

Brown said that the science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases.

"While it's true that no medical intervention is without the risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community," he wrote.

Brown noted that the law had been amended after considerable debate to exempt a child from immunizations whenever the child's physician concludes that there are medical circumstances which could cause the doctor to not recommend immunization.

Dr. Dan Brennan, a pediatrician at Sansum Clinic, said Tuesday he feels the new law will help rebuild school immunity levels back up to 95 percent, the level needed to achieve herd immunity.

When that happens, "then we will have created a safer place for all of our friends, neighbors and relatives who live with fragile immune systems," Brennan said.

The pediatrician said the community still has much work to do, and added that local parents coming into his office "overwhelmingly been looking to immunize their children."

A current vaccination schedule as well as where parents can take their children locally to stay up to date on vaccinations can be found here.

"I am hopeful that SB 277 will continue to help with this momentum," Brennan said.

Dr. Takashi Wada, Director of Santa Barbara County's Public Health Department, said that vaccines are the best tool control the spread of preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough.

"They prevent illness not only in the individual and their families, but also protect the broader community as there are many individuals who are not able to receive immunizations for medical reasons" Wada said.

"The Public Health Department will certainly work with our local partners to fully implement provisions of the bill and vaccination rates in school age children would likely improve within the county.” 

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

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Suspect in Residential Burglary in Santa Maria Arrested After Short Pursuit, Confrontation

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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A man was arrested for residential burglary and resisting arrest after a short pursuit on foot and a confrontation with a Santa Maria police officer Monday night.

A neighbor noticed a man inside a house in the 600 block of East Alvin and knew no one was supposed to be home at the time, Santa Maria police said.

The neighbor called police at 9:38 p.m., and when officers arrived the burglar ran out of the house and down the block, according to authorities.

An officer chased the man to a nearby front yard, “where he suddenly turned and attacked the lone officer, striking him at least once,” police said.

The officer used his Taser and then arrested the suspect, police said. Both the suspect and officer suffered “very minor injury” from the incident, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. 

Officers investigating the residence found forced entry and other evidence, and Derek Andrew Shelton, 28, was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary and resisting arrest by use of force, both felony charges, police said. 

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

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Santa Barbara MTD Announces Winners of 2015 Youth Art Contest

By | Published on 06/30/2015

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The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District is pleased to announce the winners of our 2015 Youth Art Contest.

This year’s theme was “Riding the Bus with MTD.”

Artists in first through sixth grades participated through the many after-school programs throughout the region. Participating programs included our public libraries, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, the A-OK and RAP after-school programs.

Thanks go out to our many local businesses for their generosity in supporting the contestants, including Zodo’s Bowling, Rusty’s Pizza, Blenders in the Grass, Metropolitan Theaters, McConnell’s Ice Cream, the Little Toot, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and more. These prizes encourage our children to strive to achieve and help to make their summer a little bit brighter!

Grades 1-3

» 1st Place — Jonathan Cabrera, Canalino School, grade 3

» 2nd Place — Camilia Hernandez, Aliso School, grade 3

» 3rd Place — Simon Rencher, Monroe School, grade 1

Grades 4-6

» 1st Place — Fiona Hernandez, Roosevelt School, grade 4

» 2nd Place — Joshua Wazny, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, grade 4

» 3rd Place — Juliana Ornelas, Canalino School, grade 4

Due to the overwhelming response to the contest, there were also many artists who received Honorable Mention awards and prizes.

— Nancy Alexander is the community relations coordinator for Santa Barbara MTD.

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Santa Barbara Looks To Crack Down On News Racks, Charge Annual Fees

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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City proposes an annual fee for news racks, requiring fresh paint or replacement to make them look the same

The city of Santa Barbara wants to regulate more than 750 news racks around town, forcing owners to pay an annual fee and eventually upgrade or buy more attractive, modern news racks. 

John Ewasiuk, principal civil engineer for the city, said he expects the new regulations to result in fewer news racks in the city.

"We anticipate there will be at least a 10-percent reduction in news racks," Ewasiuk said during a recent budget hearing on the matter. "The media system, the mechanism by which people get information, is changing, and will continue to change. Once we implement the fees I expect a further reduction." 

The new rack regulations will go before the Santa Barbara City Council's Ordinance Committee on Tuesday, and then to the full City Council for a decision.

The city wants to charge owners $13 per rack annually. The city also owns its own "cabinets," where companies place newspapers or magazines.

The city will charge those customers $18 annual fees. All new news racks will cost $236.

Central Coast Circulation owns the largest number of news racks in the city with 284, according to Ewasiuk. Those racks are home to Casa, Homes Magazine, Family Life and other publications. 

City officials say they have worked closely with "stakeholders" on the process.

Manuel Cardoso, owner of Central Coast Circulation, however, isn't thrilled with the new regulations. All together, he said, it is going to cost him an extra $5,000 annually to run his business. 

"Either we have registered racks and we pay the fee or we don't do business in the city," Cardoso said. "We do not have a choice, but to go to them."

In addition to the fees, the city wants to make the racks look uniform. Owners will have to comply with rules laid down by the Architectural Board of Review and Historic Landmarks Commission, and it's proposed to have racks painted a shade of green or, if they are really old, replaced all together.

"They are trying to reduce the number of racks in the city," Cardoso said. 

Brian Smith owns the second-most, with 209. Those racks are home to the Montecito Journal, the Santa Barbara Sentinel and others.

The Santa Barbara News-Press owns 101 and the Santa Barbara Independent owns 77 racks, Ewasiuk said. 

The numbers, Ewasiuk said, were derived from a city survey that shows a total of 770 news racks in the city, but he added that there is no official paperwork documenting the actual number of news racks in the city. 

City officials say they have received "numerous complaints" regarding the condition of news racks. The city would like every news rack owner to register and pay the fees by June 30, 2016. 

"The goal here is to have those news racks be improved," Ewasiuk said at the recent finance committee meeting. "There's a need now for a big improvement in the news rack maintenance."

Councilman Harwood "Bendy" White said he appreciated the city's efforts to "tame this mini tiger."

"It's not been an easy process," White said at that meeting. "It's one more piece of beautification of our city."

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

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Santa Barbara May Loan $1 Million to Low-Income Senior Housing Project

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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Housing Authority's $16-million Grace Village project on the 3800 block of State Street will replace the Grace Lutheran Church at the site

Santa Barbara's Housing Authority wants to move ahead with a plan to build 57 one-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors.

The Housing Authority will bring its Grace Village Apartments project to the City Council Tuesday in search of a $1 million loan to help fund the $16.3 million project

The $1 million will help the Housing Authority qualify for $8.6 million in tax credits to fund the project. 

"We have a large aging population here," said Rob Fredericks, Housing Authority deputy director. "These seniors need affordable housing."

The apartments will be rented on a sliding scale, from $450 a month to $900 a month, "far below market rent," said Fredericks, noting that one-bedroom apartments in Santa Barbara could go for as much as $1,600. 

Santa Barbara mirrors the rest of the nation with a dramatic rise in its aging baby boomer population. The number of people 50 years old and older increased by 35 million from 1990 to 2010, Fredericks said. By 2030, the number of people 65 and older will reach 71.5 million, Fredericks said. 

In Santa Barbara County, volunteers counted seniors who were homeless last year.

"They just can't afford the rent," Fredericks said. 

More than 2,000 seniors are currently on the waitlist for subsidized senior housing in Santa Barbara.

The project is located at 3869 State St., near Panera Cafe. Grace Lutheran Church donated the land to the Housing Authority, at an estimated worth of $3 million, and the building will be demolished to build the senior housing. The church held its final service in February of this year. 

If the Housing Authority can secure the tax credits, it hopes to begin construction later this year, followed by an estimated 18-month construction schedule. The loan would be paid back over 30 years, at three percent interest.

"Rather than closing their doors it was their desire to see the property go to affordable housing for seniors," Fredericks said. 

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider supports the plan.

"The 'Silver Tsunami' is coming and we must be prepared to find new creative ways to provide safe and affordable housing for a growing senior population," Mayor Schneider said. "We are fortunate to have this new public/private partnership between the City of Santa Barbara, City Housing Authority and Grace Lutheran Church to meet this need."

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

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County-Contracted Forensic Pathologist Investigated By Santa Barbara County DA, Sheriff

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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Santa Barbara County's District Attorney has confirmed that the office is investigating a county-contracted forensic pathologist who was put on administrative leave in his role as Ventura County's Chief Medical Examiner and is being investigated by the California Medical Board.

Dr. Jon Smith was placed on paid administrative leave last Tuesday after a search warrant was issued for the examiner's office by Ventura County's District Attorney as well as agents from the California Medical Board.

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office pursued that warrant "after information was received about the performance of unauthorized postmortem procedures by members of the Medical Examiner's Office," according to a statement.

Smith has also been a contract forensic pathologist for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Coroner's office since 2014, and on Monday afternoon, District Attorney Joyce Dudley confirmed an investigation is underway by her office and Sheriff Bill Brown's office. 

Dudley said she was notified after Ventura County's District Attorney issued their search warrants, and her office began an inquiry shortly after.

"We're looking closely at what occurred here," she said, noting the investigations conducted by the two counties will be different because Smith was an employee in one county as the chief medical examiner and a contractor in Santa Barbara County.

"The responsibilities and the legalities are different," she said.

No charges have been filed yet, and Dudley said that no warrants have been issued in the Santa Barbara County investigation. Smith has not been placed on leave in Santa Barbara County and as of Monday, was still under contract for pathology services. 

Smith did not return a call from Noozhawk requesting comment.

Santa Barbara County contracts with Smith to perform postmortem examinations and autopsies, prepare tissue sample for lab analysis, prepare reports of pathologic services and provide testimony during criminal prosecution proceeding, among other duties.

He has been a contractor with the county for pathology services since Nov. 2014 after the county's previous forensic pathologist left the county.

"Since that time, Dr. Smith has provided excellent service in the area of pathology and the search for a permanent replacement has resulted in very few candidates," Brown wrote in a May 19, 2015 letter prepared for the County Board of Supervisors. The letter said the move would provide a cost savings to the county in lieu of a permanent pathologist.

Supervisors approved a contract not to exceed $870,000 with Smith for the next three years, or $290,000 annually. Smith can charge $2,500 per homicide autopsy victim and $500 per hour for courtroom testimony.

The contract also states that Smith can bill for travel time for services other than postmortem examinations. The contract states travel time can be billed $250 per hour for the Ojai-based doctor to travel to the coroner's facility located in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the office is aware of the recent events and the investigation in the neighboring county.

"We are conducting our own independent inquiry into the situation and we will take steps to insure that all autopsies and other forensic pathology functions needed by our Coroner’s Office are conducted in an appropriate and professional manner," she said.

No action has been taken by the California Medical Board against Smith and he is fully licensed and authorized to practice and carry out the duties of a pathologist, she said.

Hoover stated that autopsies and forensic pathology services are handled differently in Santa Barbara County than in Ventura County, where the traditional office of Coroner has been replaced by an appointed Medical Examiner who, by law, must be a licensed medical practitioner, practicing in the specialty of forensic pathology. 

In Santa Barbara County, the duties of the Coroner under California law are the responsibility of an elected official who holds the offices of both Coroner and Sheriff, Sheriff-Coroner Bill Brown, Hoover said.

"In addition to his primary duties of law enforcement, Sheriff Brown carries out the Coroner’s official duties of determining cause of death with the assistance of medical doctors specializing in forensic pathology. Autopsy and pathology functions in Santa Barbara County will probably not be significantly affected," she added.

Smith is one of two regular pathologists that the county contracts with for their services, and Hoover said decisions about who will conduct autopsies "will be made as the need arises."

She said Smith is fully licensed to conduct pathology services as needed and other pathologists are also available. 

In Ventura last week, the District Attorney's office stated they seized "significant documentary evidence" and the investigation would take several months to complete.

Family members of decedents referred to the Ventura County Medical Examiner since 2012 who have questions or concerns could contact the Ventura County District Attorney's Office at 805.477.1651.

Part of the investigation includes a cease and desist letter sent to Smith from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Smith allegedly signed for an autopsy performed by a person at a funeral home in Louisiana, even though neither Smith or the person who performed the autopsy are licensed in that state or had the proper legal authority.

A Feb. 10 letter from Dr. Cecilia Mouton of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners warned of "unauthorized practice of medicine by out of state pathologists marketing autopsy services to funeral homes."

Her letter was sent to the director of that state's Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, and stated that a family in that state had been referred to Oakland-based Regional Pathology and Autopsy Services, after which Smith had signed for an autopsy he had no legal authority over.

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

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Burton Mesa Fire Near Lompoc Held to 320 Acres

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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Full containment expected Tuesday; Investigators looking for 1-2 people seen near fire's origin

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Crews remained on the fire lines throughout the night Monday, continuing their efforts to quell a fast-moving vegetation fire that had charred some 320 acres in the Burton Mesa area near Lompoc.

As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, no structures had been damaged, and the blaze was 75-percent contained, said Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The fire had "laid down" by nightfall, and full containment was expected Tuesday, Zaniboni said.

One firefighters was hospitalized after sustaining a leg injury overnight, Zaniboni said.

Cause of the blaze remained under investigation, but Zaniboni said investigators "are looking for anyone with information about one to two individuals, most likely juveniles, who were on a hiking trail behind the water treatment plant at the time of the fire."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fire Department tip line at 805.686.5074.

The fire, which was reported shortly before 1:30 p.m. near La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, was fueled by heavy brush and oak forests, Zaniboni said.

He added that firefighters were fortunate they did not have to contend with gusty conditions, and the weather Tuesday also was expected to be favorable.

The fire primarily burned east toward Cebada Canyon, which was the only area to remain under mandatory evacuation orders late Monday night.

"It was flaring up pretty good in that area, but tankers made about five drops and really put a damper on it," Zaniboni said.

Evacuations also had been ordered in other areas to the east, including Tularosa Road and Gypsy Canyon.

Thick smoke billows up Monday afternoon from a 320-acre vegetation fire burning in the Burton Mesa area near Lompoc. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

As of Tuesday morning, all mandatory evacuation orders had been lifted, but only residents were being allowed in Cebada Canyon.

On Monday afternoon, bulldozers were used to carve out containment lines on one side of the blaze while air tankers laid down retardant lines on the other side, Zaniboni said.

The fire began south of Burton Mesa Boulevard near Via Lato, Zaniboni said.

At the peak, four fixed-winged aircraft and three helicopters were assigned to the fire, Zaniboni said. On Tuesday, that number had been reduced to two helicopters, plus two tanker that were on stand-by at the Santa Maria Airport.

More than 600 fire personnel were assigned to the fire as of Tuesday morning, but many of them were expected to be released.

Sites were established for people and animals that needed evacuation as follows:

» An evacuation center was being established for residents displaced at the Trinity Church of the Nazarene. It will be open around 4:15 p.m. Monday The address is 500 East North Ave. in Lompoc.

» For small animal assistance, owners being evacuated are being advised to take them to the Lompoc Animal Shelter at 1501 W. Central Ave.

» For large animal assistance, owners are being advised to call the Animal Services Hotline at 805.681.4332.

Residents in upper Mission Hills gathered near the stairs leading to the lower section of the community to watch the aerial attack in another canyon.

“When it first started, it looked bad,” said Beverly Long, who has lived in neighborhood since 1977.

They could see flames amid the smoke until firefighting aircraft laid down a line of orange fire retardant that provided some comfort to the Mission Hills residents.

Neighbor Grace Olson said they loaded their cars after learning an evacuation warning had been issued, but felt confident they wouldn’t have to flee.

“I was really happy our neighborhood checked on each other,” Olson added. 

Frank Saunders, who works in Solvang, lives in the lower neighborhood, and received multiple phone calls alerting him to the danger.

Since their house sets in the middle of the neighborhood, and not against chaparrel-covered hills, he figured they were pretty safe.

By the time he returned to Lompoc area, he said firefighters had placed the orange line of retardant.

“I was pretty secure that nothing was going to happen,” Saunders added.

Still, his wife gathered up their computer — it houses their important paperwork and photos — and other important items in case they received orders to evacuate. 

In addition to the shelter set up at the church, several hotels offered discounted rooms for evacuees.

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

Flames from a fast-moving vegetation fire burning in the Burton Mesa area near Lompoc move along a ridge line. Most evacuation orders had been lifted by Monday night. (Scott Wheeler / KCOY News photo)

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Edison Extends Monday’s Planned Downtown Santa Barbara Power Outage

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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A planned power outage in Santa Barbara’s downtown area will last longer than expected Monday, according to Southern California Edison.

The equipment upgrades in the State and Victoria streets area were scheduled to end at 10 a.m. but crews “encountered some problems” and the work will continue into the afternoon, public affairs region manager Rondi Guthrie said.

Trucks are staged in the public parking lots on Chapala and Victoria streets and on Anapamu Street and work is expected to get finished by 1 p.m., Guthrie said. The outage map information says 67 customers are impacted, including downtown businesses, and Edison said it has reached out to the city and customers to let them know of the extended outage.

The streak of unplanned outages in Santa Barbara’s commercial corridor caused locals to start a petition in protest of Edison, calling for the company to improve its infrastructure and service reliability.

Edison has funded and started working on infrastructure improvement projects in the city, as well as starting an outreach program to local business owners so utility customers can get more information about outages.

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

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Two ‘Drunk’ Pedestrians Hurt in Santa Maria Collision

By | Published on 06/29/2015

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Santa Maria police say two pedestrians were drunk Sunday night when they were struck by a vehicle and injured while attempting to cross a street.

The accident occurred shortly after 8:30 p.m. at Cook and Thornburg streets, according to Sgt. Daniel Rios.

Romero Perez Aquino, 18, was eastbound on Cook Street when he collided with the adult pedestrians, Rios said.

One victim suffered major head injuries and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The other had minor head injuries and was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

“Both pedestrians were intoxicated and were the cause of the collision by failing to yield to traffic,” Rios said.

Names of the victims and details on their conditions were not released.

Aquino was found to be unlicensed, and was cited at the scene, Rios said.

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

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Taco Bell Runs Into Goleta Challenge as Design Board Puts Off Approval of New Plan

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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Current North Fairview Avenue restaurant will soon be demolished, but committee has problems with aspects of replacement structure

The Taco Bell on North Fairview Avenue in Goleta is headed for demolition, but city planners aren’t ready to approve the design of the new building that will house the fast-food restaurant.

Plans call for a building with a smaller footprint, but a taller, bulkier structure than the recessed rooftop and building that is there now.

The new restaurant will have 15 parking spaces instead of the current 18. Taco Bell also plans to change its angled parking into perpendicular spaces. Right now, because the cars are parked at an angle when motorists pull in from Fairview, there is an illusion of a one-way entrance, when the entrance actually doubles as an exit.

“If you took away the Taco Bell sign you probably wouldn’t even know it was a Taco Bell,” said Hugh Murphy, president, CEO and principal architect of VMI Architecture in San Rafael. “We really have gone away from the branding.”

The Taco Bell, at 140 N. Fairview Ave. just north of Calle Real, is one of two restaurants in transition in the immediate area. Rusty’s Pizza is moving a few blocks east on Calle Real to open an art deco-style building next to Fresco Café North

The Goleta Design Review Committee wasn’t thrilled with Taco Bell’s design. With committee chairman Carl Schneider abstaining, the six other panel members voted to postpone a decision on the design for a month.

“As a whole, I am not a big fan of the architecture,” Schneider said. “I am certainly not against tearing the existing one down and rebuilding it.”

Ron Garber, who owns the building housing VCA Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital behind Taco Bell, spoke out about the project. He said the Taco Bell building is designed attractively from the front, but he has a problem from the rear, where his building is located at 160 N. Fairview Ave.

“From our side, things are changing a considerable amount,” he said. “Essentially, on that side, we are going to have a 20-foot wall.”

Garber said the new building looks like a “big square block,” and he would like to see the façade stair-stepped to relieve the bulkiness.

The committee members instructed the architect to replace some of the site’s proposed plants with drought-tolerant vegetation, to consider planting a vine against the back wall to soften the look, and to add trellising on the patio.

“This is definitely an improvement over traditional Taco Bell architecture,” design committee member Thomas Smith said.

Find a rendering of the proposed project here:

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

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1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake Rocked a Community That Would be Reborn from Its Rubble

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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Interactive Santa Barbara Historical Museum exhibit ensures 90th anniversary of deadly — and transformative — quake won’t go unnoticed

A thunderous earthquake rattled Santa Barbara 90 years ago Monday.

Here’s how radio reported the news:

“We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. A major earthquake has struck Santa Barbara, California, at 6:44 this morning. Thirteen people have been reported killed with 30 injured and major damage to the downtown business district.”

On June 29, 1925, the 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook the city to its core. The epicenter was off the coast, where the Mesa and Mission Ridge faults meet. Californians felt the quake from Orange County to Watsonville.

While Santa Barbara’s spirit may have been shaken, it could not be destroyed. Out of the rubble emerged the Historic Adobe, Mission Revival, Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean styles of architecture that the community is known for today.

You can experience an interactive earthquake exhibit at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St., through July 5.

The exhibit — “​Quake! The 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake” — includes vintage news broadcasts, newspaper clippings and survivor accounts.

The earthquake lasted for 18 seconds, followed by four sudden jolts. Another 200 aftershocks were recorded over the next months.

Father Augustine Hobrecht was superior at the Santa Barbara Mission, where he taught theology. His account offers a vivid description of what transpired that morning.

“Beginning with a thump that seemed to come from a subterranean explosion, the earthquake shook those mighty walls and made them sway,”​ Hobrecht is quoted in the exhibit’s video as saying of the mission.

“The noise was deafening, subsiding for what seemed for a brief second. Then the rocking began with greater violence, so I expected to see the building crumble at any moment.”

The mission sustained major damage, but Hobrecht led efforts to rebuild the church, which had served Santa Barbara since 1786.

Downtown, three people died when the three-story San Marcos office building on State Street collapsed. Two others died at the Arlington Hotel when a water tanker suspended in a tower collapsed on the floors below.

Capt. G. Allen Hancock — philanthropist, oil tycoon and namesake of Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria — had checked into the hotel the night before with his son, Bertram.

A newspaper headline from Fargo, N.D., captures the impact of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. Newspaper clippings and other vintage material are on display at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum as part of an exhibit marking the 90th anniversary of the quake. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
A newspaper headline from Fargo, N.D., captures the impact of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. Newspaper clippings and other vintage material are on display at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum as part of an exhibit marking the 90th anniversary of the quake. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“It all happened in a minute,” Hancock says in the video. “The crash of falling timbers and steel beams and the walls of the hotel made an indescribable inferno of sound that dazed me.

“From the time I leapt from the bed until I was crawling from under the collapsed building seemed but a moment. My son probably never awakened from his sleep.”

Hancock suffered critical injuries in the quake, which killed his 22-year-old son.

The earthquake busted open Sheffield Reservoir, which poured out 40 million gallons of water and flooded Santa Barbara’s Eastside.

The most concentrated quake damage, the video states, took place downtown, where multistory brick and mortar, mixed wood and masonry composition toppled.

“State Street when we came to it seemed to be blocked with debris throughout its entire length,” Edward Selden Spaulding, founder of Laguna Blanca School, says in the video.

“The south wall of the California Hotel lay as a pile of rubble. The Potter Theatre was a pile of rubbish and the Arlington Hotel was a fearful site. It was obvious not all of the guests there had escaped with their lives.”

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum video also explains how alert citizens shut off gas and electricity lines to avoid fires, unlike the case in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In all, more than 400 buildings were destroyed or damaged in the Santa Barbara quake.

The exhibit’s video ends with “​The Santa Barbara Earthquake Song,” sung by Vernon Dalhart: “It’s just another warning, from God up in the sky, to tell all you good people that He still reigns on high. You cannot tell the moment, when He will call us home and we should all be ready before the time has come.”

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

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Isla Vista Foot Patrol Sees New Community Resource Deputy As Vital Piece of Police Presence

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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With the right officer, history of community policing in student-heavy area next to UCSB portends a successful future for concept

Most days, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Plastino feels like mayor of Isla Vista — a nonexistent job, he knows, since the small unincorporated area isn’t a city.

Plastino is a public figure as head of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, whose 22 members walk and bike the streets of the densely populated community to protect 23,000 people living on less than one square mile adjacent to UC Santa Barbara.

He serves as go-between, listening to property owners, student renters, university groups and other stakeholders, along with his own unit of sheriff’s deputies and UC police officers.

Until recently, he’s been stretched pretty thin.

Isla Vista used to only border UCSB to the east, not surround it on three sides (the ocean is on the fourth).

That was in the 1990s — the last time the Foot Patrol saw a staffing level change, although the community has grown 25 percent since then, Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Geographically speaking, Isla Vista is small, yet it accounts for 25 percent of reported crimes in unincorporated areas of the county.

Plastino saw a slight reprieve earlier this month when the county Board of Supervisors approved funding for the department’s first-ever Isla Vista community resource deputy.

The move is unprecedented, since the county has never foot the bill for this post in unincorporated areas. It’s all the more special because Isla Vista residents lobbied for the change.

“They really want to have that tie to law enforcement,” Plastino told Noozhawk. “If you don’t have that connection to the people, perceptions are made. And maybe those perceptions are wrong, but they still weigh heavily on how people look at law enforcement.”

                                                                 •        •        •

With an estimated 23,000 mostly young residents crammed into a one-square-mile community, Isla Vista has long posed a particular challenge for law enforcement. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
With an estimated 23,000 mostly young residents crammed into a one-square-mile community, Isla Vista has long posed a particular challenge for law enforcement. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The Isla Vista Foot Patrol was formed after rioting in the 1960s and ’70s, when UCSB students were protesting the Vietnam War and the university during the “bad times,” according to Chief Deputy Sam Gross.

That was not long after UCSB had moved from Santa Barbara’s Riviera neighborhood to the former Marine Corps Air Station where it is today, growing significantly in the process.

After civil unrest led to a police officer accidentally shooting and killing a student in 1970, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan commissioned a report addressing what to do about Isla Vista.

The recommendation, in short, was that the Sheriff’s Department and UCSB should work together.

And so, Gross said, one of California’s first community policing models was born.

In December 1970, the unit that would become the Foot Patrol began walks from campus to the Loop in Isla Vista. The walks got longer, and grant funding established a contingent of six UC police officers and six sheriff’s deputies and a visible station on Pardall Road.

Gross began the first of four stints with the Foot Patrol in 1977, taking to a model that emphasized interaction as much as enforcement.

Back then, he said, the California Highway Patrol still had a heightened presence in Isla Vista.

“It was true community policing,” said Gross, a 44-year veteran of the department. “The Foot Patrol deals with basically a new population every year.”

The Foot Patrol headquarters moved to Trigo Road, where the current makeup is 15 sheriff’s deputies (soon to be 16) and seven UC police officers.

Deputies volunteer for positions, most walking the beat that’s busiest on Friday and Saturday nights for two to three years, while UC police requires officers to serve the multijurisdictional unit on a rotating basis.

The Foot Patrol has a liaison to the Greek community, but beats aren’t otherwise assigned because everyone patrols.

In the late 1990s, when Lt. Butch Arnoldi commanded the station, he made each deputy a point person for specific stakeholders like businesses, renters, property owners and more.

Until he was reassigned three years later, Arnoldi said he saw a big change in attitude toward police — something a new community resource deputy could re-establish.

“Things don’t just happen 8 to 5 Monday through Friday,” he said. “You built that public trust back up in the community. You were actually there to help them.

“You weren’t there just to give them a citation or to arrest them.”

                                                                 •        •        •

Isla Vista Foot Patrol Deputy Karen McCormick patrols the seaside community, interacting with people she meets on the street wherever she goes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Isla Vista Foot Patrol Deputy Karen McCormick patrols the seaside community, interacting with people she meets on the street wherever she goes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Hiring a community resource deputy was on the back burner for years, but the push gained momentum last year when Isla Vista endured rioting during Deltopia, a nearby gang rape and the massacre of six UCSB students by a deranged college dropout.

Everyone called for change, and UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang pledged a larger role in the community where so many students live.

The university hired more UC police officers and provides up to eight additional officers in Isla Vista every week, Thursday through Sunday nights.

UCSB also paid for more lighting, sidewalks and fencing in parks along Del Playa Drive, a primary party location.

A report released by the UCSB Foundation Trustees’ Advisory Committee on Isla Vista Strategies​ recommended more uniform community policing training and resources.

The sheriff asked county supervisors for an Isla Vista community resource deputy, an idea Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr championed as representative of the area.

Letters of support poured in from UCSB’s Associated Students and the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, noting an unbalanced growth between population and law enforcement.

Community resource deputies serve Goleta and Solvang, but each city pays for them.

“Isla Vista is a very unique place,” Brown said. “It’s a community that has a turnover of the majority of its population every four years. Establishing relationships and getting to know them is made a lot more difficult because of that.”

Out of the fire came support. The Board of Supervisors allocated $114,000 for the resource deputy.

Likely to be dressed in khakis and a polo shirt with the sheriff’s crest instead of a green or tan uniform, the resource deputy will be armed but focused more on community relations than writing tickets.

“There are ways we can make an impact in Isla Vista,” Gross said. “I hope we find the right person. He or she is going to be very, very busy.”

                                                                 •        •        •

Now that funding has been approved for the Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s first-ever community resource deputy, the agency is about to embark on a weeks-long interviewing process to find the right person for the job. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Now that funding has been approved for the Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s first-ever community resource deputy, the agency is about to embark on a weeks-long interviewing process to find the right person for the job. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The perception of law enforcement in Isla Vista might already be on the mend.

Student residents recently took part in a Foot Patrol “thank you” video filmed by UCSB’s Mu Delta fraternity.

“I think the main body of the I.V. community sees the police’s appearance through a negative lens,” said Will Mehring, a second-year pre-med major and Mu Delta member.

“Our goal in this was to shift the perspective to a feeling of safety and relief when the Foot Patrol and UCPD are seen. I think that the officers do an outstanding job.”

Plastino hopes a community resource deputy will lay a foundation for the future, staying longer than two years, when some I.V. deputies get burnt out on the job.

“To build a connection, to understand the public, you need to really think long term,” he said. “We’re looking for people who can talk to others; can see other creative ways of accomplishing goals and tasks.”

Plastino will begin a weeks-long process to review candidates in July, letting community members help decide who will be selected to start in late July or early August.

“This was a grassroots effort by the community,” he said. “They did all the work. They should absolutely have a say.”

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

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Michelle Malkin: Media Continue Vile Attacks on Conservative Assimilationists

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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I have had enough of smug liberal elites wrapped in their “Celebrate Diversity” banners tearing down minority conservatives.

Look in the mirror, media and academia bigots. Your own reflexive racism and divisive rhetoric are poisoning public discourse. There’s nothing “progressive” about attacking the children and grandchildren of immigrants who proudly embrace an American identity.

We are not “self-hating.” You just hate what we believe.

The most recent grenade tossed by the jack-booted Enforcers of Ethnic Authenticity came from The Washington Post last week. The Beltway fish-wrapper hyped a 2,100-word investigation of Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with a condescending quote from professor G. Pearson Cross, who sneered: “There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal.”

Has pallid Professor Cross invented an ambient diagnostic test to measure sufficiently acceptable levels of ethnicity?

The Post quoted a grand total of one disgruntled Democratic donor who railed against Jindal for “forgetting” his “heritage” and his “roots.” But that was more than enough for the apartheid-lite adherents to heed the dog whistle immediately. The Post’s splashy attack on Jindal’s assimilationist ethic spawned a vile Twitter hashtag game: #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite.

Left-wing racists mocked his skin color, his kids and his decision to change his name from “​Piyush” to “Bobby.” A New York Times digital editor, Shreeya Sinha, gleefully linked to a BBC compilation of “The best of #BobbyJindalisSoWhite.”​ NBC News gloated over tweets from liberal Indian-Americans who mocked the accomplished governor, Rhodes scholar and father of three as a “​Jindian.”

It’s the same old, same old from radical academics and reporters who spurned assimilation as a common goal long ago. As I’ve long observed, the media-ivory tower complex’s fidelity lies with bilingualism (a euphemism for native language maintenance over English-first instruction), ethnic militancy, extreme multiculturalism and a borderless continent.

If we conservatives “of color” refuse to promote the welfare state, unfettered abortion, affirmative action and massive immigration, we are guilty of “selling out.”

Conversely, if I point out that my skin is far darker than that of the TV progressives of pallor who presume to know more than me about what it’s like to experience prejudice, I’m accused of exploiting my ethnicity.

We’re coconuts, bananas and “​Oreos” (brown, yellow or black on the outside and “white” on the inside).

We’re accused of “thinking” and “acting” white if we quote the Constitution, shoot, hunt, oppose high taxes, homeschool, take personal responsibility or demand that government leave us alone.

You can’t win with these insane identity-mongers who preach compassion and peace while practicing vicious demagoguery. Black conservatives are “Uncle Toms.”​ Jindal is an “Uncle Bobby.”

And Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, born to Indian Sikh parents, has been derided as a “female Uncle Tom.”​ Jindal is “trying to be white” even though his parents are Indian and his wife’s parents are both from India.

Meanwhile, haters have accused me of being an “Auntie Tomasina”​ for marrying outside my race and taking my husband’s name.

Marriage choice and marriage equality are sacred rights for everyone except minority conservatives.

Jindal and Haley are just the latest targets. Last month, it was the son of Cuban immigrants, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. White liberal journalist Mark Halperin took it upon himself to drill the Texas senator on his “favorite Cuban food” and demanded that he welcome socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to the presidential race “en Espanol.”

Que estupido.

The civility police and tolerance mob find nothing wrong with their ad hominem assaults and vulgar litmus tests. They’re just trying to make the world safe from the liberated minds of minority conservatives. Those of us who dare to succeed in America without relying on tribalist entitlements must be dragged back and down by the resentful, seething crabs in the collectivist bucket.

We are scorned for abandoning the militant hyphenated fetishism of the left.

We are punished for rejecting rigid boxes and boundaries and one-drop blood rules and permanent castes.

Assimilation is a Class A felony in the liberal rulebook and a threat to the Democratic grievance racket. Tell me who the real racists and bigots are again.

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

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Susan Estrich: What Courts Do Best Is Fix Bad Laws

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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Sometimes what courts do best is the same as what second-grade teachers do best: clean up sloppy sentences. You know what the student meant to say, but what they actually did say doesn’t quite make sense.

Six words: If you can’t afford health coverage, subsidies are available through “an exchange established by the state.”

But what if the state didn’t set up an exchange and instead is relying on the exchange set up by the federal government?

Do you then NOT get a subsidy?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in King v. Burwell last week referenced “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” but concluded that “the context and structure of the act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

In other words, Congress meant for the act to work, not to fail, and so the court, recognizing the frenzied state of drafting and redrafting midelection, decided to read the bill so that it would work. It decided to read the bill so that poor people would get subsidies regardless of whether their state created an exchange.

Congress was trying to help people who needed help, and the Supreme Court, as it has done in the past (maternity leave being an example of a gendered law that was upheld), has cleaned up the inartful language that would bar precisely what Congress was trying to provide.

So what’s everyone yelling about?

Simple. This was never about principle. This wasn’t a dispute about the separation of powers or abuse of executive power or anything like that. This has been a fight about politics, fair and square. Plenty of elections turning on it. But all politics.

So the people from the states that “weren’t entitled” to subsidies actually wanted the subsidies — they were just against the law. You won’t see many people sending those subsidy checks back in the mail, or insisting that their 20-something kids not be covered, or — imagine — excluding people from buying insurance precisely because they are sick. What could be more ridiculous?

I hope someone has tallied up the amount of time the Republicans have wasted filibustering and coming up with votes sure to fail in an effort to thwart their political defeats. And then what do they do? They go running to the courts to demand that the judiciary, known as unduly active when they’re against you, become the staunch defenders of constitutional government when you’re out to crush Congress.

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

By Scalia’s lights, the court has saved the law twice now from its sloppy drafting — or unconstitutional abuse of power, which is how he would have it.

But there is another way to see it, which is simply this: The court did its job. It cleaned up some drafting and interpreted the law as a good-faith effort to accomplish what its drafters set out to do, which is expand affordable access to quality health care.

No small job and not done perfectly, certainly not this time. But if we would spend half as much time figuring out how to fix the law, which is here to stay, as we have playing games that would neither destroy nor fix it, Americans might be better off in more ways than one.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Judy Foreman: Santa Barbara Wine Festival Portrays Wine Country at Its Best

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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Benefit for Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History delivers wine, food and fun to hundreds of satisfied guests

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The expression “eat, drink and be merry” aptly summed up Saturday’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival, one of the Central Coast’s premier wine events and a benefit for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Although Santa Barbara is renowned as a beachside resort community, Santa Barbara County also happens to be one of the top wine regions in the world.

The topography is perfectly suited for growing grapes, with the inland flow of fog and the presence of the nearby Pacific Ocean creating an ideal environment for the cultivation of classic varietals.

Santa Barbara County’s growing season in the five federally recognized American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs — the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara and Sta. Rita Hills — is considerably longer than some other wine-producing regions.

As a result, oenophiles know the unusually long “hang time” on the vine makes for world-class wines with many notable characters.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s sumptuous, oak-shaded campus provided an ideal backdrop for the more than 1,000 guests — all of whom were over 21. The property at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, right around the corner from the Santa Barbara Mission, was packed with tables and booths set up for wine and food tasting, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Even though the focus was wine, food purveyors partnered with dozens of wineries on pairings that were unmistakably delicious and fun. Just ask those who were there … like me.

Upon entering the event, guests received a pro forma wine glass. Because of the enormous crowd, I was unable to get to all of the vintners’ tables (probably a good thing) and food booths.

Without intending to slight the more than 60 wineries and three dozen food vendors, I did make it to Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Beckmen, Koehler, Lindquist, Margerum, Qupé, Rancho Sisquoc, Tatomer, Vogelzang and Whitcraft.

Food morsels that I sampled included treats from Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, cupcakes from Coveted Cakery, Neighbor Tim’s BBQ pulled pork, Sama Sama Kitchen, Tartisan’s handmade sweet and savory pastries, and Bloody Mary and many pickle choices from Pacific Pickle Works.

Also, il Fustino lemon olive oil, sage and butternut squash ravioli from Ca’ Dario’s, ceviche from Country Catering, The Berry Man strawberry wine, salad from The Berry Man drizzled with olive oil from Le Sorelle, Jessica Foster Confections’ dark chocolate salty caramel truffles, and iced tea and ice coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

There was much more than anyone could eat or drink, but the opportunity to hang out with the vintners and local food purveyors made for a first -class community event.

It was also more affirmation that living in Santa Barbara is so sublime. Exalted, elevated, noble, majestic, magnificent, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, splendid … you pick the superlative; they all captured the day.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s exhibits and education programs at both the museum and the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf.

Festival sponsors included Mission Wealth, Riviera Insurance Services, Real Water, On Q Financial, Noozhawk, The Berry Man and Classic Party Rentals.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, or call 805.682.4711. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here for Noozhawk’s iSociety coverage of the Santa Barbara Wine Festival.

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

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Basehart Foundation Gets $10,000 Grant to Help Low-Income Pet Owners with Veterinary Needs

By | Published on 06/28/2015

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The Diana Basehart Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive a $10,000 Veterinary Assistance Grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust in recognition of its efforts to help low-income pet owners with their pets’ health needs.

Among the top 10 pet-related nonprofit organizations, the Banfield Charitable Trust has been working since 2004 to keep people and their pets together.

As the only organization solely focused on preventing the surrender of pets, the Banfield Charitable Trust shares the concerns of the Diana Basehart Foundation that for many vulnerable pet owners, their pets may provide their only reason for living.

Established in 2013, the Diana Basehart Foundation has helped qualified Santa Barbara County residents with essential veterinary care for more than 600 beloved companions — pets that might otherwise have to be given up for lack of funds, or that are critical to their owners’ physical and emotional well-being.

Many of the individuals who receive assistance for their pets are elderly, disabled, homeless or otherwise in financial distress.

Diana Basehart, a Montecito resident who, along with her late husband, actor Richard Basehart, founded Actors & Others for Animals in 1971, started her latest endeavor to continue her dream of making sure no animal suffers, dies or has to be handed over to a shelter just because someone can’t afford to pay for veterinary care.

“Too many times an elderly person has no choice but to give up their pet — sometimes their only friend — just because of financial strain,” Basehart said. “That is heartbreaking and unacceptable to me. We can provide a lifeline for people and their pets.

“We appreciate the support and recognition of the Banfield Charitable Trust, and look forward to continuing to help the people and pets of our community,” she added.

Click here for more information about the Diana Basehart Foundation, or call 805.222.4567. Click here to make an online donation.

Patti Teel represents the Diana Basehart Foundation.

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Santa Barbara Gets a Feel for Rain, But Nothing More

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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The skies looked ominous enough to rain Saturday afternoon on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast, and rain it did. Sort of.

Several times throughout the day, clusters of a few dozen raindrops fell around the area. It was just enough to get drought-weary locals to look up to see if there might be more where they came from.

And there is. Sort of.

According to the National Weather Service, there’s a 20 percent chance of showers in the Sunday forecast, and an ever-so-slight chance of thunderstorms in the mountains and the Cuyama Valley on Tuesday.

But mostly, we’ll just see cloudy skies the next few days.

The weather service said Sunday’s high temperatures should reach to the mid-60s and low 70s along the coast and in the mid- to upper 70s in the foothills.

A warming trend is expected to push daytime temperatures into the 80s and even 90s on Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather service said, before they drop back to the 60s and 70s beginning Thursday.

The Fourth of July weekend forecast includes partly cloudy conditions and high temperatures in the mid-60s to low 70s along the coast and in the 80s in the foothills.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» 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.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

It sure looked like rain Saturday afternoon in Santa Barbara, and — sure enough — it did. Sort of. Several times throughout the 

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Frank McGinity: Amsterdam’s Allure Flows Easily with Canals, Bikes, Food and Museums

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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For drought-weary Santa Barbarans, the presence of water is a welcome sight — but a vital part of the historic city’s identity

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There is no drought in Amsterdam. In fact, there’s water everywhere.

Amsterdam has more than 160 canals, along with pumping stations and dikes. They’re all part of a complex water management system, which is crucial since much of the Netherlands’ capital and surrounding area is below sea level. The international airport, for example, is about 20 feet below.

But the charm of the water and canals makes for a unique experience, especially for visitors from drought-challenged Santa Barbara. Our hotel, The Ambassade, was on a canal. Frequently passing by the hotel are tour boats navigating under the many bridges and waterways. A boat tour of the city can be a fun — and easy — day trip.

Along the waterways are the stately mansions from the golden age of Amsterdam. At one time, the Netherlands was the most powerful trading nation in the world, and very rich. The mansions along the canals reflect that opulence.

Two particular tours we took — the Museum Van Loon and the Museum Willet-Holthuysen — demonstrated life in that era. The paintings, furniture, chandeliers and gardens were all there for our tour. You were carried back in time.

Carrying us forward was the obvious bike culture in Amsterdam. Like water, there are bicycles everywhere. It was estimated by our guide that there are more than 900,000 bikes in Amsterdam, which has a population of only 800,000. Special bike paths are designated throughout the city, so be careful as you walk. Or better yet, join them in a special bike tour. No traffic jams here.

Carrying us forward and back are the extensive number of museums.

The Van Gogh Museum was our first stop. It probably houses the most extensive collections of Vincent Van Gogh’s work since he was a native Dutchman. Three floors tell the story of his life and premature death by suicide at age 37. We were able to view two of his best-known paintings, “Sunflowers” and “Vincent’s Bedroom.”

Not far from the Van Gogh is the Rijksmuseum, which was founded in 1885 and covers the history of the Netherlands. It has more than 8,000 pieces of art and historical objects. Of course, Rembrandt’s famous “The Night Watch” is prominently displayed, along with several Vermeers.

The final museum in this complex is the Stedelijk. We were fortunate to be there for a premier showing of Matisse paintings. Some of his great renderings of this type of art are on full display, and from sheer size and color, they are overwhelming.

It wasn’t all museum hopping during our stay, however.

We took several side tours. One was to Rotterdam, the City of the Hague (home of the International Court of Justice) and Delft, famous for its unique pottery.

Another excursion was to the famous flower auction in Aalsmeer. Here, 20,000 different varieties of flowers and plants are auctioned off using the “Dutch auction” formula. Using the auction clock, all the characteristics of the flowers are recorded inside the clock with the bids noted on the periphery.

More than 100,000 transactions a day are recorded using this method. And flowers purchased in the morning, may show up on the streets of New York in the afternoon.

Our final stop — you guessed it — was to a windmill. While at one time there were 30,000 windmills in the Netherlands, today there are 1,000.

Windmills, as we know them, are used to generate electricity. But over the centuries, they had many other uses, such as grinding corn, making furniture and pumping water.

The one we visited, called the Sloten Windmill, was used to pump and stabilize water levels. Today, this mill can pump more than 60,000 gallons a minute using a large steel cork screw, all powered by the wind. The miller explained how it worked and even let us move the windmill to the right angle for the wind.

We shouldn’t skip over the many fine restaurants in Amsterdam. Just within walking distance from our hotel were two very good, moderately priced restaurants — the Proeverij 274 and Casa di David.

Our final night, however, was a highlight: Dining at Johannes. The proprietor said the restaurant would soon be written up in The New York Times, and we experienced why.

A nice way to leave this city. Call it a city that works and inspires.

— Frank McGinity is a Santa Barbara resident. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Taliban Survivor Malala Yousafzai Brings Message of Empowerment to Santa Barbara

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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Pakistani teen and youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner recounts her inspiring life story, and the cause she represents for youth around the world

Thousands listened attentively as a brave 17-year-old Pakistani girl recounted her story of being shot in the head by the Taliban, and her fight for global education for girls.

Malala Yousafzai, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the youngest person to ever win the award, spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Arlington Theatre on Saturday as a part of UC Santa Barbara’s Arts & Lectures Series.

The event was such a success that it was simulcast to full auditoriums at the New Vic Theater nearby as well as UCSB’s Campbell Hall.

Yousafzai drew an enthusiastic crowd in spite of long lines for security checks outside of the Arlington prior to her talk.

Questions for her had been gathered from UCSB students as well as those with the Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press and at Montecito Union School and Harding University Partnership School.

“Her cause is simple: For the rights of girls around the world to go to school,” said Susan McCaw, a Montecito resident and former U.S. ambassador who introduced Yousafzai.

McCaw — a founding member of the Malala Fund and a sponsor of Saturday’s speech — asked Yousafzai a series of questions while seated on the stage at the Arlington.

More than 66 million girls around the world do not have access to education, Yousafzai said, and in her home region of Pakistan, only one in five girls is allowed to go to school.

Yousafzai’s internationally best-selling book, I Am Malala, recounts her life growing up in the Swat Valley of northern Pakistan, a lush area of mountains and forest that represented a kind of paradise for the young girl and her family before Taliban rule was imposed in her village when she turned 10.

After that, public beatings and executions became the norm, freedom of expression was extinguished and oppression of women ran rampant.

Girls were forbidden to go to school, and during that time, she said, more than 400 schools in the region were destroyed.

Yousafzai’s father, who ran a school for boys and girls in the area, and her mother, both encouraged their daughter to pursue her education, inspiring her to continue speaking out for the rights of other children.

“He did not clip my wings, he let me fly,” she said of her dad.

In 2009, Yousafzai began writing a blog called Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl for the BBC’s Urdu website. The blog chronicled her firsthand experience of life under Taliban rule.

Yousafzai posted her entries under a pen name to protect her safety, and she wrote about the threats to schoolchildren; the banning of music, dancing and colorful dress that Taliban leaders said conflicted with Sharia law; and being awoken by artillery fire in the night.

When asked about why she spoke up, Yousafzai said her choice was clear.

“One was to remain silent and wait to be killed, or speak up and be killed,”​ she told the crowd, adding that she felt she might as well get her message out if her life was at stake anyway.

Although the Taliban influence has been curbed in Pakistan, at least for now, domestic child labor and forced marriage continue to be issues for young girls there, she said. Education for those children must be encouraged in Pakistan, and around the world.

“It’s our future, not just their future,” she said to applause.

Yousafzai was the subject of a New York Times documentary called Class Dismissed, and her outcry against the Taliban’s crackdown on education made her a target of the fundamentalist Islamic political group.

In 2012, as she was coming home from school with other classmates, a masked gunman boarded the bus and demanded to know which one of the girls was Yousafzai. He then shot her in the head, with the bullet traveling through the left side of her head, neck and shoulder.

She was taken to a Pakistani military hospital for treatment and later airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, where she underwent multiple surgeries and rehabilitation.

Since then, Yousafzai has traveled around the world speaking on behalf of children’s access to education. The cause has taken her from working with boys and girls in Syrian refugee camps to addressing the United Nations to urging Nigeria’s president — in a face-to-face meeting — to do more to help the 276 school girls kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, in 2014.

She recalled for Saturday’s audience the day she learned she had won the Nobel Prize. She was at school and at first thought she was in trouble when her headmaster walked into her classroom. She was told she had won the award, and her teachers began to cry.

When asked about the United States’ dropout rate, Yousafzai encouraged students to remember that on the other side of the world, children are fighting for their right to receive quality, free education and that students in the developed world should not take that access for granted.

“They should be very thankful to God,” she said.

Yousafzai was also asked about Islam and terrorism, and she responded that tolerance is a key tenet of the faith.

Problems arise, she said, when “people are not allowed to interpret the Koran in their own way.” She added that poverty and other factors also play into an environment that could encourage extremism.

“My Islam means peace, education and speaking up for what’s right,” she said.

On her latest tour of the United States, Yousafzai has spoken to Congress in Washington, as well as at events in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. After Santa Barbara, she’s headed to Los Angeles for another speech.

Yousafzai also made a stop in Denver, where she surprised a dozen women who were reading her book as a group at a maximum-security prison.

The women had been gathered in a room to talk about the book when the author herself walked in. 

“It was an emotional meeting,” she recalled, adding that many tears were shed by all of the women involved. She said they expressed how they were inspired by her book, and were looking forward to their own second chance to contribute to society.

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

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Flower Festival Parade Brings an Explosion of Color to Heart of Lompoc

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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Community cheers fuel the blooms during 63rd Annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival celebration

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Thousands of people lined Lompoc’s H Street to watch the Flower Festival Parade on Saturday morning, and the bloom-covered floats and vehicles delighted the spectators as the entourage made its way through downtown.

With a theme of “This Land is Your Land,” the 63rd Annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival got under way Wednesday.

Events will continue through Sunday afternoon, but the highlight was Saturday’s parade, which drew many children and families to the route.

Floats covered in colorful gladioli, delphiniums, roses and other local flowers made their way in and around downtown, along with marching bands from Cabrillo and Lompoc high schools, auto clubs, vintage tractor enthusiasts, equestrians and numerous dance groups.

Mayor Bob Lingl and various council members also appeared in the parade, along with 2014 Lompoc Valley Man and Woman of the Year, Jules Hain and Marie Shlueter, respectively.

Flower Festival Queen Tess Leach and her court were also decked out in hot-pink ball gowns and bejeweled crowns, waving to the crowd as their float moved through the city. 

One delighted fan who waved to the festival queen and court as they passed was 8-year-old Hannah Rodriguez, who said it was her first year to come to the parade. She was accompanied by her grandparents and a cousin.

“It’s amazing,” she said, after several of the flower princesses had waved at her from their perches on the float.

The five-day festival was coordinated by the Lompoc Valley Festival Association. Among this year’s events were an arts and craft show, food booths and entertainment.

The festival’s signature flower show also took place Saturday, with awards being presented after the parade. The flower show will continue until 3 p.m. Sunday at Ryon Memorial Park, 125 W. Walnut Ave. 

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

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Diane Dimond: VA’s Response to Agent Orange Is to Deny, Deny Until They Die

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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So, the U.S. government has finally decided to help some 2,000 Air Force personnel exposed to Agent Orange residue left over in airplanes used during the Vietnam War. They are now eligible for disability, medical and survivor benefits.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,”​ Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald announced.

Really? Then why didn’t the VA take this step long ago? These new recipients flew in Fairchild C-123 aircraft from 1969 to 1986. That’s between 46 and 29 years ago!

And if it’s the “right thing to do” for those folks, then what about the countless other Vietnam-era military personnel whose cries for help have been ignored even though they suffer from some or many of the 14 diseases needed to claim Agent Orange benefits?

The longstanding rule says if a veteran had boots on-the-ground in Vietnam they are automatically accepted for special benefits. All others making Agent Orange disability claims have to prove they handled the toxic chemical or worked near it.

Over the decades, I have spoken to dozens of vets who suffer from an “approved” disease. Among them: Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s, prostate or respiratory cancers, soft tissue sarcoma, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), chronic B-cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease and debilitating chloracne.

Many fear they’ve passed their ill health on to their children and grandchildren.

These veterans are ignored, according to the few lawyers willing to challenge the VA on their behalf, because the Defense Department claims they can find no records proving they were in proximity to Agent Orange. Records were poorly kept, lost and, in at least one case, destroyed by fire.

If ever there was a deserving group of citizens with a reason to sue for redress, this is it. But, oh yeah, the U.S. government is conveniently immune from lawsuits.

These men and women who loyally served their country are convinced that the government’s strategy has been to “deny, deny, until they die,” since Agent Orange benefits already account for one out of six disability checks issued by the VA.

Take the case of Air Force Master Sgt. LeRoy Foster who spent 10 years (from 1968 to 1978) assigned to the 43rd Supply Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. His duties included spraying herbicides around the base to get rid of weeds.

In sworn testimony to Congress, and in several affidavits to the VA, Foster swore that Agent Orange — which contains deadly TCDD dioxin — was among the defoliants he regularly loaded into his 750-gallon, trailer-mounted sprayer and dispersed base-wide.

Other military personnel on Guam at the time — such as Sgt. Ralph Stanton — confirm the account and reported they were “routinely soaked” by Foster’s spray.

They gave me personal photographs from their days at Andersen AFB showing stacks of chemical barrels they swore carried the telltale Agent Orange markings. Other photos showed G.I.s cooking on barbecue grills fashioned out of the empty drums.

A U.S. government analysis of the island’s soil confirmed the presence of Agent Orange toxins. Guam currently has an extraordinarily high cancer rate. Yet, to this day the DOD maintains it has no records proving the military ever transported Agent Orange to that strategically important Vietnam-era island.

The Pentagon also denies Agent Orange was ever present on Okinawa, another location U.S. vets maintain was an AO hot spot where they first began to experience major health issues.

Checking in recently with Foster and Stanton I discovered both men were still alive but deathly ill. Foster is battling devastating rectal cancer.

“I am down to 150 (pounds) now,” Foster wrote. “The weight is falling off of me. I believe there is no reversing it.”

Stanton wrote of his health, “It’s kind of like a juggling act because of the number of things wrong with me.”

Hundreds of Guam- and Okinawa-based veterans have filed VA claims citing exposure to Agent Orange as the cause of their health problems, but the vast majority were rejected.

And none of the 200,000 so-called “Blue Water” vets who say they were exposed to Agent Orange while serving aboard deep-water naval vessels stationed off Vietnam’s coast has been awarded special benefits.

Who can’t be happy for the 2,000 Air Force vets who were recently added to the Agent Orange rolls? But excuse me if I don’t applaud the VA’s massively delinquent action.

Our government did a terrible thing when it continued to spray millions of gallons of deadly Agent Orange long after it was clear it caused devastating health problems. But what’s worse is its obstinate refusal over the years to take full responsibility for all sick and dying veterans.

Deny, deny until they die. Shameful.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Mark Shields: Those Living Their Own Faith Teach America How to Forgive

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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Regular readers may remember the “Shields rule,” about the tension between organized religion and politics.

It goes like this: With but one exception, ministers, priests, rabbis and imams — men and women of the cloth — should stay out of all partisan American politics.

The one exception, of course, is any major political fight in which the minister, priest, rabbi or imam courageously dares to support my candidate or to join my side.

Liberals, in whose ranks I am found, are generally secular and almost always on the state side in any church-state dispute. Conservative politicians mostly testify publicly about their own Christian fidelity while also courting the observant to support their campaign.

The fact, which liberals are somehow reluctant to acknowledge, is that American religion and religious people have had a profoundly positive impact on American public life.

The long battle to atone for America’s original sin, by repealing slavery, was led and eventually won not by the academic or intellectual elite or by enlightened captains of commerce or industry. Inspiring and leading the long, difficult struggle for abolition were the Quakers, the Religious Society of Friends, joined by the Methodists (inspired by their founder, John Wesley), along with Congregationalists and evangelicals.

A century later, as elders of our community can recall, institutional racism, in the form of legally sanctioned segregation, was ended by the civil rights movement, which was organized and led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with King, while often risking physical harm, were Jewish rabbis, Protestant ministers and Catholic nuns and priests, as well as lay members of their faith groups.

The killing of six women and three men ages 26 to 87 — who were together on a Wednesday night studying the Bible at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. — solely because their skin was black enabled us to see firsthand the reality of religious faith.

Addressing the accused murderer of Ethel Lance, her 70-year-old mother, Nadine Collier said: “You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you.”

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” To those who agree with Chesterton, I say: Come to Charleston and Emanuel AME Church.

As a Catholic who attends Mass weekly, I am humbled and awed by the power of forgiveness shown by the families of those executed in their beloved sanctuary.

As someone who has occasionally been guilty of “Irish Alzheime’s” — when you forget everything except your grudges — I am inspired by the example of these grieving survivors.

Where else in our national community do we see this strength of forgiveness? Not in Washington or on Wall Street or in university or faculty clubs or in pressrooms, let me tell you.

One discordant note: The lowering and stowing of the Confederate flag is a positive step, but it ignores the fact that we Americans have more guns — 310 million — and more deaths by firearms, 33,636 in 2013, than any major nation in the world.

We kill, per capita, 20 times as many of our citizens by guns as Australia does. Japan, which has the fewest number of guns, also has the fewest number of deaths by guns. If more guns made you safer, the United States would be less violent. And even after Charleston, we are silent.

But let us now pause to honor our fellow Americans who, by living their own faith, teach America how to forgive.

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Driver Hits Fire Engine After Suffering Heart Attack Near La Cumbre Plaza

By | Published on 06/27/2015

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Firefighters in right place at right time to quickly administer aid after collision at busy State Street intersection

A man who had an apparent heart attack while driving in Santa Barbara on Saturday crashed into a fire engine after passing out in a busy intersection.

Fortunately for the driver, the fire truck was staffed with medically trained personnel, who immediately set to work to assist him.

The incident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. at State Street and Hope Avenue near La Cumbre Plaza, according to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Mike De Ponce.

He said the driver was northbound on Hope, beginning to make a left turn onto westbound State, when he apparently went into cardiac arrest.

The man passed out, and his Porsche convertible collided with a vehicle that was waiting to turn left onto northbound Hope, then ricocheted into Santa Barbara County Fire Engine 15, which also was waiting at the red light, De Ponce said.

The engine crew “jumped right out, grabbed their medical gear, and went to work assisting the patient,” he said.

The man, whose name was not released, was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Details on his condition were not available.

Both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane of State Street were closed briefly for a time.

De Ponce said the county fire truck had only cosmetic damage.

Santa Barbara police are investigating the incident.

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

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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy’s Festival Orchestra to Play Bolero, Beatrice and Benedict

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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The Music Academy of the West's Festival Orchestra, once again conducted by Larry Rachleff, will play its second concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Granada Theatre.

As miraculously good as they sounded in their first concert, if they run true to form, they will sound exponentially finer in their second. That's the way it goes with this very young orchestra, which is less than a month old.

The program for this concert consists of three orchestral showboats: the Overture to Hector Berlioz's opera, Béatrice et Bénédict (1862); Maurice Ravel's Boléro (1928) and Sergei Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, Opus 45 (1940).

It strikes me as I review the information that these three works have more in common than simply their instrumental brilliance — each is, in fact, among the last compositions of their respective composers. Berlioz seems to have devoted the seven years between the premiere of Béatrice and his death mainly to literary rather than musical compositions, especially his incomparable Memoirs. Ravel wrote only his two piano concertos and the Don Quichotte à Dulcinée song cycle after the were the only compositions that followed Boléro. The Symphonic Dances were Rachmaninov's last work.

Béatrice et Bénédict is Berlioz's take on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, and it is the first significant setting of the play. It is one of Berlioz's sweetest scores, as light as a merangue, and smooth as whipped cream on velvet. He had been engaged with The Trojans for nearly a decade, and wanted some light and air. (Virgil, Shakespeare, Goethe, Sir Walter Scott — nothing but the greatest writing could catch Berlioz's imagination.)

The Symphonic Dances are Rachmaninov's best purely orchestral score, better than the three symphonies, better even than The Isle of the Dead. For once, the model is Rimsky-Korsakov, rather than Tchaikovsky or Borodin, and the music is transparently beautiful.

Tickets to the Festival Orchestra concert are $10, $40 and $50, with those ages 7 to 17 admitted free. For tickets and other information, call 805.969.8787 or click here. Single tickets can also be purchased from the Granada box office at 805.899.2222 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Woman’s Lost Wedding Ring Found on UCSB Campus

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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A Good Samaritan found a missing wedding ring Friday afternoon on UC Santa Barbara’s campus — a dead-on match to one Juliette Applewhite lost earlier this month while attending her daughter’s college graduation.

An elated Applewhite confirmed her ring has been found and that the local person responsible refused to accept the $5,000 reward she offered in a Noozhawk story earlier this week.

“She’s amazing,” Applewhite said. “She’s my new best friend.”

Applewhite, a Half Moon Bay resident, lost her ring during her Santa Barbara visit, but she wasn’t quite sure where. It could’ve been the Santa Barbara vacation rental where her family stayed or in Goleta where they ate dinner on June 12.

She spoke with Noozhawk earlier this week in a last-ditch effort to find the sentimental band lined with sapphires and diamonds — the one her husband proposed to her with 30 years ago.

Since the article posted Wednesday, Applewhite said several people reached out via email to offer assistance. Some searched Craigslist listings, others cased the areas where the ring had last been seen and one person with a metal detector even offered services free of charge.

Luck struck when Applewhite got a phone call from Cara O’Callaghan, an employee at the UCSB Recreation Center who read the story and happened upon the ring in a nearby parking lot.

It looks like Applewhite’s ring was run over, but she said it’s not too worse for wear considering.

“She didn’t want the money,” Applewhite said, adding that she would do something special for O’Callaghan regardless. “She even offered to ship it.

“Shout out to Santa Barbara. I love Santa Barbara.”

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

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South Coast Lawmakers Press Company Officials for Answers on Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Few new details emerge during an oversight hearing in Santa Barbara, with Sen. Jackson telling a Plains rep, 'We expect and will demand better'

Lawmakers representing the South Coast pressed for answers on the Refugio oil spill on Friday afternoon, but got few answers as oil company officials gave no new details about the cause.

oil spill
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams lead Friday's hearing on the Refugio oil spill. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

A joint oversight hearing was held on Friday in Santa Barbara between the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Select Committee on the Refugio Oil Spill, with state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams conducting the hearing.

Jackson and Williams are each working on legislation in the wake of the spill, which occurred May 19 off Refugio State Beach.

Assemblyman Mark Stone of Santa Cruz and Monterrey counties was also on the dais.

The county's board hearing room was lined with local lawmakers, advocates and members of the public who heard from the oil company, county planners, industry experts and environmentalists about the scope of the spill, which has seen tar balls pop up as far south as Redondo Beach containing oil from the spill. A host of public speakers also addressed the lawmakers, asking for answers.

County Supervisor Janet Wolf welcomed the hearing and said the county will be pushing for more safeguards on this pipeline in the future, including automatic shut-off systems and robust monitoring and inspection programs.

"This hearing will not be the end of this effort," Williams said, adding that it wasn't exactly a beginning either but just the latest in a century of "tussles" between oil interests and local residents.

The attendance of Friday's meeting is "reflective of the concern," Jackson said. "We're here today because simply cleaning up the spill is not enough. We need information and we want answers."

Why it took so long for the spill to be reported to state and national response centers and why the corrosion of the pipeline was not detected earlier were key questions posed, but few answers were garnered.

Patrick Hodgins, director of safety and security for Plains All American Pipeline, ran through the timeline with the lawmakers that was released by Plains CEO Greg Armstrong earlier this week, beginning from the 11:30 a.m. report Plains employees got stating there was a leak.

"We all want to know the answers," he said. "We're just as shocked."

Hodgins said he hadn't known about the corrosion until he read it in the newspaper, a comment that surprised Jackson, who pressed the officials about why the company was shocked when they have a safety record of past corrosion problems.

The message from the two lawmakers was clear: Federal guidelines are not enough, and state and local requirements are the best safeguards for pipeline safety.

Jackson asked why automatic shut-off valves were not installed after Plains purchased the pipeline. 

oil spill
Members of the public pack into the county's board hearing room in Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon to hear from lawmakers, experts and company representatives about the Refugio oil spill. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Hodgins replied that none of the company's 18,000 miles of crude oil pipeline in the United States have automatic shut-off valves because they are not required to. 

Plains is still waiting on the results from a May 5 inline inspection done by federal regulators, which is now part of the investigation, and Hodgins stated repeatedly that he could not provide more information about past inspections.

This prompted Jackson to voice her frustration about the pipeline's past problems.

"Why do I know more about what caused this than you do?" she asked Hodgins.

Stone also asked about a prior report from three years ago revealed on the pipeline, and Hodgins said that it, too, has been turned over to the feds.

"It seems like you didn't come very well prepared to answer questions of what happened in that pipeline," Stone directed to the Plains rep.

At some point, lawmakers will know the cause of the spill, and in the meantime, apologies don't cut it, Jackson said, when the company has a history of corrosion, pump failures and other problems.

"We expect and will demand better," she said.

County planner Dianne Black went over the lawsuit that former owner Celeron levied against the county, which resulted in the pipeline falling under federal jurisdiction instead of local authority and thus not requiring automatic shut-off systems.

Those systems minimize impacts, she said, and could have reduced the amount of oil spilled in the Refugio incident.

That type of system is different than the remote response system Plains has now because "they don't require human action or decision-making," she said.

Black said she disagreed with Plains' assumption that the automatic shut-offs in pipelines could have unintended consequences, because every other pipeline in the county that transports crude oil has an automatic shut-off.

When asked how much it would cost to install the system, Black said she didn't know the exact cost.

"I can't imagine it'd be more than the cost of the spill," she added, to applause.

Tonya Hoover, California fire marshal, said her office regulates much of the state's pipelines, and confirmed that state oversight is more frequent and comprehensive than federal guidelines.

She confirmed that inspectors had been hired away for more money to go work for oil companies, leaving her office with an inadequate amount of staff.

Pipeline Safety Trust Executive Director Carl Weimer said the oil industry has seen an uptick in crude oil pipelines in the last decade across the nation, and that 80 percent of pipeline incidents were preventable.

The federal government doesn't have explicit safety standards, and other than the directive to companies to operate safe pipelines, it doesn't give much specific advice, he said.

"Too much of this is left up to the industry to decide standards instead of the regulators," he said.

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

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Sally Cappon: Horror of Painted Cave Fire Rekindled 25 Years Later

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Fast-moving wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes and structures and killed one person

It was a night of horror.

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Painted Cave Fire swept through our neighborhood.

In just a few hours, hundreds of homes and structures lay in ruins.

That last week in June 1990 had been unbearably hot in our area just west of Santa Barbara, where Old San Marcos Road knifes north into the foothills.

On Wednesday, June 27, the temperature soared to 109 degrees, an all-time record for the normally spring-like city. A fierce wind blew from the northwest.

Many residents sought relief at the beaches.

At 6:02 p.m., all hell broke loose.

At first, we weren’t too worried, even after a green U.S. Forest Service truck roared up Old San Marcos Road and we saw smoke up our canyon. We gathered casually with neighbors in the middle of the street as we did to watch past fires.

 
This one, though, behaved differently. After watching for a few minutes, I said to a neighbor, “It’s probably stupid but I think I’ll pack up a few things.”

We grabbed photos and other prized possessions and threw them in suitcases (today I’d use pillowcases).

Tossing suitcases in the back of the pickup, we watched as orange-brown smoke billowed down the canyon, and frantic owners led horses down the street.

A news photographer ran by, cameras flapping. A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy with a bullhorn shouted for us to evacuate.

We ignored him as we packed last-minute items, leaving uneaten Chinese takeout on the kitchen table.

The deputy came through a second time, more insistent.

I left in our Chevy Blazer after agreeing to meet my husband and son at a friend’s house in Hope Ranch. Surely a wildfire couldn’t jump a six-lane freeway.

As motorists poured in from side streets, I obediently followed an officer’s orders to turn right on Cathedral Oaks Road.

Otherwise, traffic laws be damned. On University Drive, when a nervous driver failed to turn south onto Patterson Avenue as a dozen cars lined up behind, I turned left from the right turn lane.

Reaching Hope Ranch, we found the fire had jumped Highway 101, igniting the Philadelphia House, a popular restaurant on Hollister Avenue.

My husband, driving our motor home with a physically incapacitated neighbor, had also arrived.

I shrieked at the fire, “Stop following us!”

A charred car sits outside a burned-out home after the Painted Cave Fire swept through the area on July 27, 1990. (Keith Cullom file photo)
A charred car sits outside a burned-out home after the Painted Cave Fire swept through the area on July 27, 1990. (Keith Cullom file photo)

Our then-teenage son, Chris, driving the pickup with our two dogs, got shunted west at a roadblock. Where was he?

Halfway down Las Palmas Drive through Hope Ranch, our only way out, Mother Nature finally cooperated. The wind changed.

Santa Barbara’s summer marine layer materialized. We were safe. So was Chris, staying with friends in Goleta.

Returning to our somber street early the next morning, we met neighbors, all with the same question, “Did we make it?”

Our house stood. Others didn’t.

Stories were poignant. A young man cradled a mailbox, the only thing left from the home he was house-sitting.

A woman sobbed beside her burned-out VW with all her valuables, stranded where it ran out of gas.

Friends who couldn’t make it back from the beach watched as houses burned.

Entire neighborhoods looked like a blackened war zone, chimneys poking up like sentinels. Whole blocks were reduced to rubble.

Other places, one or two houses stood.

One woman died.

Curiously, every one of the six churches and one synagogue in the area survived.

Twenty-five years later, homes are rebuilt. Bougainvillea has returned. Only an occasional empty pad recalls the night of horror.

Could it happen again?

As June 27 looms and sundowners blow and things heat up in a land parched by drought, I remember and wonder.

Noozhawk contributing writer Sally Cappon is an author and local freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

An aerial photo shows some of the devastation left in the wake of the Painted Cave Fire in 1990. (Keith Cullom file photo)
An aerial photo shows some of the devastation left in the wake of the Painted Cave Fire in 1990. (Keith Cullom file photo)

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Public’s Help Sought Identifying Theft Suspects Who Targeted, Distracted Elderly Victims

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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A photo from surveillance footage shows two suspects wanted by the Sheriff's Department in connection with recent cases in which personal property was stolen from elderly victims. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department courtesy photo)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating several recent cases involving elderly victims who were intentionally distracted while their personal property was stolen.

The Sheriff’s Department wants to caution residents to be aware of this recent crime trend and would also request assistance in helping to identify several suspects related to the most recent case.

On Monday, June 22 about 1:30 p.m. at the Ralph’s grocery store in the 5100 block of Hollister Avenue, a 77-year-old female victim was shopping when several suspects worked together to distract her and steal her wallet out of her purse, which was located in her shopping cart. One suspect talked to the victim while the other reached behind her and stole her wallet.

Surveillance video shows the suspects being dropped off at the store in a black, four-door, late model sedan with tinted windows. The suspects are then seen entering the store, wandering the aisles in search of a victim and committing the crime. The suspects then exit the store and walk into the parking lot.

About 20 minutes later, a third female suspect is seen entering Walgreen’s in the 5900 block of Calle Real in Goleta. The female suspect is captured on surveillance video purchasing a $500 gift card along with a gift bag and a greeting card using the victim’s stolen credit card. The suspect then attempted to purchase a second $500 gift card, but the credit card was declined.

Fortunately, a Good Samaritan located the victim’s driver’s license in a nearby parking lot and mailed it back to her.

distraction
A photo from surveillance footage shows a woman who police believe purchased a $500 gift card and other items with a stolen credit card. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department courtesy photo)

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crimes of burglary, grand theft person, conspiracy and credit card fraud. If you have information related to this case, contact Deputy Freedman at 805.681.4101.

The Sheriff’s Department is also investigating two cases where a Hispanic male used a distraction technique involving a water bottle to steal a purse from two elderly female victims.

The first incident happened on June 4 about 1 p.m. at the Albertson’s parking lot in the 5700 block of Calle Real. An 82-year-old victim was backing out of a parking spot when a suspect warned her that she was about to hit a water bottle. When the victim got out of her car to inspect the water bottle, the suspect reached into her car and took her purse.

On June 18 about 4:40 p.m. in the 5800 block of Calle Real, a suspect approached a 78-year-old female while she was sitting in her car and asked her to move her car in order to make space for him. The victim refused to move and the suspect opened her passenger door and stole her tote bag. As the suspect fled on foot, the victim saw the suspect pick up a water bottle under her rear tire.

If you have any information regarding any of these cases, please call 805.681.4100. The Sheriff’s Department wants to take this opportunity to remind residents to be cognizant of their surroundings and of potential predators.

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

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Joe Conason: Never Patriotic — The Real Meaning of the Confederate Flag

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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In the intensifying debate over the Confederate flag, important clues about the true meaning of this seditious symbol are staring us in the face. Dozens of those clues were posted by an angry, glaring Dylann Storm Roof on the "Last Rhodesian" website, where the confessed Charleston killer pays homage to certain flags — notably those of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, as well as the old Confederacy — while he enthusiastically desecrates another.

Pictures of Roof burning, stomping and spitting on the Stars and Stripes are interspersed among the photos of him grasping and waving the Confederate battle flag, sometimes while holding a gun.

"I hate the sight of the American flag," he raged in a long screed on the site. "Modern American patriotism is an absolute joke."

What this racial terrorist meant to express, in crude prose and pictures, is a lesson that the diehard defenders of the Confederate flag should no longer ignore: to uphold the banner of secession is to reject patriotism — and has never meant anything else.

For many years after the Civil War, the symbols of the Confederacy were not much seen outside local museums and burial grounds. The late Gen. Robert E. Lee, a reluctant but revered Confederate hero, rejected any post-war fetishizing of the Stars and Bars, which had actually originated as the battle flag of his Army of Northern Virginia. Lee believed it "wiser ... not to keep open the sores of war."

But such admonishments were cast aside by the exponents of white supremacy, whose own patriotism was certainly suspect. When the Ku Klux Klan and the Knights of the White Camellia were revived as racial terror organizations in the 1930s and 1940s, carrying out a spree of cowardly lynchings, their grand wizards found natural allies among the leaders of the German-American Bund — whose funding and fealty were eventually traced to Nazi headquarters in Berlin. Indeed, the Klansmen burned their towering crosses alongside swastika banners at rallies sponsored by the Bund to attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In the years following the Second World War, the Dixiecrats — led by South Carolina politician Strom Thurmond and the "uptown Klan" known as the White Citizens Councils that supported Thurmond's movement — appropriated the Confederate flag as their own standard. Among its greatest enthusiasts was a young radio reporter (and future U.S. senator) named Jesse Helms, whose fawning coverage of Thurmond's 1948 third-party presidential bid marked him as a rising star of the segregationist right.

As for the White Citizens Councils, those local groups were ultimately reconstituted into chapters of the Council of Conservative Citizens — a notorious hate group that has embarrassed many Republican politicians caught fraternizing with its leaders, and that ultimately inspired Roof with its inflammatory propaganda about black crime and the endangered white race. Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., the CCC festoons itself and its works with the Dixie flag, as does the neo-Confederate League of the South, which still openly advocates secession.

Meanwhile, racist, anti-Semitic agitators such as David Duke and Don Black — both Southerners prominent in Klan and neo-Nazi organizations for decades — have never ceased to manifest their reverence for the Confederacy. Stormfront, the notorious neo-Nazi website founded by Black, continues to promote the mythology and symbolism of the Southern cause, declaring in a June 23 podcast that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery — and that "the attack on southern symbols and heritage such as the Confederate Flag are actually part of an overall Jewish-led attack on European Americans."

Owing to Duke's influence, in fact, the Confederate flag has long served as a substitute for Nazi banners in demonstrations, often violent, by "white nationalists" in Europe — where the symbols of the Third Reich are widely outlawed.

Obviously, not every American who has displayed the Dixie flag endorses the treason and bigotry that it now represents to so many other Americans. There are sincere patriots, like former Senator James Webb of Virginia, who insist that it is only a remembrance of the valor of their ancestors. But over the decades, its appropriation by traitors and bigots has provoked little noticeable protest from the more innocent exponents of "respect" for Southern heritage.

Today, the Charleston massacre has left it standing irrevocably for the most brutal and criminal aspects of that heritage — and it is more deeply irreconcilable with American patriotism than ever.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JoeConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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UCSB Graduate Students React to Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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In a landmark 5-4 decision on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states. Reactions ranged from anger and disappointment to pride and jubilation. Gay rights supporters including President Barack Obama took to social media, using the hashtag #LoveWins.

The GradPost interviewed a few graduate students to get their reactions to this historic civil rights ruling. They told us that while they were pleased with the decision, they realized that it is but one step in an ongoing process for equality.

Timothy Irvine, MA candidate, global studies; UCSB GSA vice president, committees and planning, 2015-16

“As a human being, a queer individual, and an activist, my first reaction to the SCOTUS decision is a blend of happiness, anger, and relief. I am happy for all of the individuals who have waited so long for this moment, and for the joy of love to be out in the light of day with full legal protections. I am also angry at the fact that this process has taken so long, cost so many lives, and must still survive a conservative backlash that continues to dehumanize and threaten violence against our communities.

Irvine
Timothy Irvine

“The most fitting feeling, however, I would say is relief. I am relieved that this landmark, high-level decision has finally been made. Every individual has the fundamental right to have their consensual, adult, loving relationship recognized by society's institutions. It is a huge relief for this to finally be recognized by the highest body of the judiciary in the USA, and it will set an example for other states and bodies to follow around the globe. The legal foundation for future civil rights victories is now clearly, finally laid.

“However, as a person of relative privilege, and as someone active in local UCSB and statewide UC politics, I have a responsibility to point out that the legal right to marry is only one narrow victory that will benefit the LGBTQ community in disproportionate ways. Despite achieving a symbolically, politically, and actually important victory, this legal change alone will not shift the cultural and social practices of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and/or racism that perpetuates violence, regardless of what the law says. In my opinion, ending persistent extra-legal violence must be prioritized as we move forward and capitalize on this political win.

“Despite shifting legal structures that previously supported oppression and violence, we must continue to organize to change the hearts and minds of those who would actively inflict pain on our community members, or those who would passively allow it to happen without protest.

Galicia
Mario Galicia Jr.

“In short, the LGBTQ community and its allies must not be satisfied with just achieving the legal right to marry, even if we deserve to be proud of all of the very hard work that went into this important victory. Marriage is just the beginning. There is so much left to do.”

Mario Galicia Jr., doctoral candidate, education

“I'm ecstatic that the SCOTUS has ruled in favor of marriage equality. I believe it is the right choice for our country moving forward. As we work on all of our civil rights struggles, the legal rights to all must be ensured. This is a step in the right direction.”

Melissa Barthelemy, history Ph.D. student

Barthelemy
Melissa Barthelemy, left, and wife Julia Diane Larson.

"My wife Julia Diane Larson (UCSB Library staff member) and I have been married for over six years because we were able to rush to the altar a week before Proposition 8 passed in California. Being married has personally (and economically) meant so much to us, that I am thrilled this right is being extended throughout the nation. Everyone deserves to live a life filled with dignity and love. As we celebrate this crucial milestone let us not forget how much other work is still left to be done to ensure the basic human rights of others. Solidarity and compassion build community."

Alex Kulick, sociology MA/Ph.D. student; graduate assistant, Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Alex Kulick
Alex Kulick

“For me personally, living in California and being 23 and not in a committed relationship, it’s not a huge moment for me on a personal level. But I think definitely being able to recognize the impact it has on the larger community is really important to me, especially those folks who live in states where, without this type of federal ruling, it would have taken much longer or maybe never have happened. ...

“The LGBT community has been talking a lot recently about what are the next steps after marriage, what are the issues that we want to focus on. There’s still a lot to do in terms of health care, employment, housing. And so I think it’s really exciting to have this step in the process of continuing to work toward equality. I think it’s definitely a big step, especially with the amount of media coverage around this and the amount of conversation that’s happening is helpful to get the energy, to continue the energy going toward some of those other issues as well.”

— Patricia Marroquin is the communications director for the UCSB Graduate Division.

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County Fire Unveils New Smartphone App Designed to Help Save Lives During Cardiac Arrest

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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PulsePoint, free and now available throughout Santa Barbara County, alerts registered users trained in CPR of an emergency within 1,000 feet

Santa Barbara County Fire and emergency personnel have unveiled a smartphone app they hope will save lives during a cardiac arrest, of which 250 people suffer each year in the county.

On Thursday, they gathered to talk with reporters about PulsePoint, a mobile app that is now available throughout Santa Barbara County and is free for both Android and iPhones. The app is aimed at citizens and off-duty professionals trained in CPR and alerts registered users when someone within 1,000 feet has a cardiac arrest.

Users are then given CPR instructions as well as the location of the nearest automated external defibrillator, or AED, and instructions on how to use the device to restart the victim's heart.

"I have no doubt in my mind it's going to save lives," Fire Chief Eric Peterson said.

Administering CPR in the minutes before first responders arrive more than doubles that person's chance of survival.

Capt. Josh Cazier is one of the department's paramedics and has been key in spearheading the project and said it's key to keep the blood of a person who has suffered cardiac arrest circulating to their heart, lungs and brain before first responders can arrive.

When that happens, people can make a full recovery and not have any lasting issues like brain damage.

"These people are coming out with little to no deficits," Cazier said.

With the PulsePoint app, after someone calls 9-1-1 to report a cardiac arrest, dispatch will activate an alert that goes out at the same time first responders are alerted.

​"The goal is that people will respond and start compressions," Cazier said.

About three years ago, the department made a shift to educate people in "hands-only" CPR, which eliminates the mouth-to-mouth technique that was previously taught along with chest compressions. Now, the department has made significant efforts to reach out to the public at farmers markets and other events to learn how to do the chest compressions.

The effort has resulted in an estimated 25,000 people being trained in the technique out of the county's 400,000 residents.

The department also plans to conduct training events in the future in conjunction with the launch of the app in the county, which was funded by the Aware and Prepare Initiative.

Emergency medicine doctor Angelo Salvucci said that each minute that passes without the compressions taking place drastically reduces the likelihood of survival.

Most cardiac events occur in a person's home, and the app only triggers if a person is in a public place, so Salvucci said that makes it even more important that people receive CPR training so they are ready to assist those in need anywhere.

To find out more about how you can sign up to be CPR trained, visit the Red Cross website by clicking here.

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

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Santa Maria Man Accused of Sex Assault on Underage Girl

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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A 26-year-old man is facing several charges after he allegedly sexually assaulted an underage girl in Santa Maria last month.

Dabid Equihua Aparicio of Santa Maria was arrested Thursday in connection with a sexual assault that occurred on May 29 at a Santa Maria home, said Lt. James Ginter of the Santa Maria Police Department.

Detectives served an arrest warrant, and Aparicio was taken into custody without incident, Ginter said.

Details of the alleged crimes were not released by police, who noted the investigation is continuing.

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

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Giving Back Is Good Business at Women’s Economic Ventures

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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WEV
Attendees were inspired by a local business owner panel on Giving Back Without Breaking the Bank at Wednesday's WEV Connects event at WEV client business C’est Cheese in downtown Santa Barbara. Claire Anderson, from left, WEV program coordinator, introduces panelists Meichelle Arntz of Recipes Organic Bakery, Robin Elander, founder of Global Good Impact, and Kathryn Graham, co-owner of C'est Cheese. (Women's Economic Ventures photo)

More than 50 Women’s Economic Ventures clients, supporters and members of the community enjoyed an evening of inspiration and networking at WEV Connects, hosted at WEV client business C’est Cheese in downtown Santa Barbara.

Attendees also heard from local business owners Meichelle Arntz of Recipes Organic Bakery, Robin Elander, founder of Global Good Impact, and Kathryn Graham co-owner of C'est Cheese.

“Many of our WEV clients care deeply about the community and desire to give back, but new business owners are often overwhelmed by the number and size of requests they receive for donations,” said Marsha Bailey, founder and CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures. “We put this panel together as a resource to help our clients be strategic in determining what they can afford to do.”

Panelists shared the benefits and challenges of giving back, as well as best practices they’ve learned to ensure philanthropic efforts do not hurt cash flow or prevent business growth. Panelist Kathryn Graham co-owns C’est Cheese with her husband and together they support many nonprofits through event hosting and donations. Panelist Robin Elander, founder of Global Good Impact, has made it her mission to partner nonprofits and businesses to make a positive change in communities. Panelist Meichelle Arntz, owner of Recipes Organic Bakery, has made philanthropy a part of her business model and is active in business giving roundtables and nonprofits. Each panelist shared creative ways to give back within your means and the importance of partnering strategically in your business.

WEV Connects events are free and open to the public. The next WEV Connects event will take place in the Ventura City Hall Community Meeting Room on July 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

WEV is now holding free one-hour orientations sessions for business training programs, for women and men who want to start or expand a business. Orientation is required to enroll select courses such as the Self-Employment Training (SET) program.

Upcoming Santa Barbara County Orientations include:

» Santa Barbara — Tuesday, June 30 from noon to 1 p.m.

» Goleta — Thursday, July 9 from 6 to 7 p.m.

» Santa Barbara — Thursday, July 16 from noon to 1 p.m.

» Buellton — Tuesday, July 21 from noon to 1 p.m.

To register or for more information, click here.

Women’s Economic Ventures has provided entrepreneurial training, loans and consulting to over 4,500 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, helping more than 3,000 local businesses start or expand since 1991. As a nonprofit community lender, WEV has made more than $3.7 million in loans to small businesses.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures.

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Pacific Pride Foundation Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Marriage Equality

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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It is with great excitement that the Pacific Pride Foundation celebrates this and all decisions that secure equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

While we enjoy this long-awaited, positive outcome, we are also aware that:

» only 19 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

» only 14 states and the District of Columbia legally address discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity

» only six states and the District of Columbia have both bans on insurance exclusions for transgender healthcare while also providing transgender inclusive health benefits for state employees.

One of our youth advocate leaders, Jessica Lindsey, shares, "I think that some people outside of the LGBTQIA community might assume our fight is over. Yet just because the law has changed doesn't mean the hearts of the homophobic and transphobic have opened. I feel confident that people will recognize and continue the push for equality. The reason I feel confident in this is because those people are us. We are the ones who decide that the movement is not over, with our continued action."

As the struggle for full equality and protection perseveres, so will Pacific Pride Foundation continue to provide vital support and programs tailored to Santa Barbara County's diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations — collaborating with many local agencies, but especially, Santa Maria's Gay Rights Advocates for Change and Equality, the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network, Trans*Youth Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara PFLAG, and our own PROUD LGBTQIA Youth Group.

Congratulations to all who invested their time, talent and treasure in the pursuit of greater equality for all. 

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Captain’s Log: Tips for Avoiding Slithering Encounters When Venturing Outdoors

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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I once ran across a timely and valuable warning about potential human/snake interaction, published by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Sharing it may help prevent snakebites.

We are in the vacation season when many of us venture into the back country, where close encounters of the slithering kind may become inevitable. California is home to a variety of snakes, most of which are benign. An exception is California's only native venomous snake — the rattlesnake. That is certainly not the only venomous snake you might encounter in California, but the rattler is our only native venomous snake.

Rattlers strike when threatened or deliberately provoked, but given room they will usually retreat. Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing. At times, spooking a snake with a footfall in its immediate proximity may result in a defensive strike. The majority of snakebites occur on the hands, feet and ankles.

Rattlesnakes can cause serious injury, and on rare occasions death, to humans. The California Poison Control System noted that rattlesnakes account for more than 800 bites each year and resulting in one or two deaths on average. Most bites occur between the months of April and October when snakes and humans are most active outdoors. About one-quarter of the bites are "dry," meaning no venom was injected, but the bites still require medical treatment.

Don’t allow the potential for a rattlesnake encounter to deter you from venturing outdoors. While out there, numerous precautions can minimize the risk of being bitten:

» Know that rattlesnakes are found near urban areas, in rivers and lakeside parks, and at golf courses.

» Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.

» When hiking, stick to established trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.

» Use a walking stick when hiking in snake country for probing areas where snakes may be hiding.

» Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step on logs and rocks — never over them — and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.

» Never grab sticks or branches while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.

» Be careful when stepping over doorsteps. Snakes like to crawl along the edges of buildings where they are protected on one side.

» Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.

» Do not handle a freshly killed snake; it can still inject venom.

» Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.

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

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Henry Schulte: Californiclaus — The State That Keeps on Giving

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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How nuts does this state have to get before those of sound mind start paying attention and reversing the insane policies and regulations being shoved down our throats?

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t pay much attention to the cap and trade fiasco that went into effect a couple years ago. I recall at the time it sounded just too complicated, and so I was one of those guilty citizens. Not that there was anything my lonesome could have done. Now we are straddled with another law that limits (caps) the amount of emissions a business can produce and is fined if it goes over its allotted amount and/or it can purchase (be extorted) to purchase someone else’s allotment who didn’t use all there’s up. I think I got it mostly right.

The idea behind California’s one-party system is to put the squeeze play on businesses so eventually they’ll find a way to cut all their emissions. In the meantime, these extortion funds have produced $1 billion a year, monies that are supposed to find ways to cut emissions even more.

But guess what? Gov. Jerry Brown is already discovering gray areas and is using a ton of cash to start his stupid (paying the union buddies) bullet train to nowhere — laying claim that the train will cut down on cars and therefore cut down on emissions and therefore he can use that money.

It’s all hypothetical, and hypothetically I’ll say it now: It won’t work. If you build a train from San Diego or Los Angeles to San Francisco you might have a chance, but Fresno?

So our democratic legislatures pass the biggest budget in California history and are intoxicated on our tax dollars, seeking even more ways to spend it. They never learn and we’ll suffer for it. History will repeat itself.

We already pay an extra 60 cents a gallon on gas, which again is supposed to go toward cutting emissions in a state that only produces 1 percent of the world’s emissions in the first place. While in some places in the Midwest gas is at $2.35 a gallon, we’re paying some of the highest prices in the land so China can continue to pollute.

And with all those wonderful windfall tax dollars, we are now going to have to pay health care for illegal minors! I paid (stolen from me) a 4 percent tax on my income to go toward Obamacare subsidies. I don’t even have Obamacare and I still have to pay $1,500 a month for my own health insurance. So if anyone wants to live for free in America, especially California, come here illegally.

Ironically, Mexico enforces its own laws harshly and is sending illegal entrants from its southern border back in mass. In the meantime, we actually allow illegal murderers to go free after six months because of our brainless laws. Those who were set free went on to kill more than another 100 people. We the people have to pay for our government’s ineptness, and in California we can’t even bend over any farther for what the lack of common sense costs us.

And I’ve said it before: After spending billions of dollars on the “spread the wealth” insurance program, nearly the same amount of people it was supposed to cover are still without insurance three years later. It’s hard to believe there isn’t more coverage and outcry over this debacle. But as always, I digress.

Then there’s the liberal institute of higher indoctrination that says you can’t say the “Land of Opportunity” anymore. Tell that to the flood of illegals who are coming here for just that very reason. And since we pay for their health care, schools, lunch and it looks like their traffic tickets soon, too, I think Janet Napolitano needs to go back to school herself and be re-educated about reality.

And it doesn’t stop there. Our recent oil spill has local politicians and official sign-carrying, street-marching environmentalists crying it’s time to stop using oil — again. My 9-year old granddaughter even knows better. It’s a regrettable accident and it’s possible something might happen again. We, of course, need to try to make sure it doesn’t, but oil isn’t going away. Again, ironically, the environmentalists are benefiting off the oil tax dollars and the wonderful cap and trade. Oil actually funds their causes! You can bet there’s some kid in a garage somewhere right now that’s working on a real and practical alternative fuel source.

We need to embrace what nature has given us, such as oil. After all, it is organic and gluten free. If we continue to attack tax-producing businesses and continue to raise taxes on citizens (and paying enormous pensions and giving it away) just look to Greece, that’s where California and America are headed. Actually I think we’re there already because the non-transparency of our leaders who fudge the numbers are merely putting lipstick on this gigantic and out of control pig. And if I were a pig I’d be offended.

I’ve never been a real history buff, but you can bet it will repeat itself. The Democrats love to tax and spend — and spend they do. Yet the day will come again after wasting our hard-earned money that things will reverse themselves. And where do they go to find the shortfall? I wish I had answers to stop the liberal corruption, but until the electorate steps up and says enough it will only get worse like it has been doing. But then again, the voters are getting so much free stuff they just may like Californiclaus the way it is.

The rest of the country (except maybe New York because it’s run by liberals, too) just looks at this overtaxed, overregulated and a state controlled by irrational politicians and shakes their head. Unfortunately, people who actually pay taxes just keep digging ever deeper into their pockets and getting nothing but a thankless thank you in return.

“If you drive a car. I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
If you talk a walk I’ll tax your feet.”
— George Harrison, 1966

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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New Santa Barbara County Grand Jury to Be Sworn Into Office

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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The new fiscal year 2015-16 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury will be sworn into office at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 30 in Department 1 on the second floor of the Superior Court in Santa Barbara.

The Superior Court's presiding judge, the Honorable James Herman, will oversee the ceremonies, which will include the discharge of the outgoing 2014-15 Grand Jury that released several reports during its term in office.

The public is invited to attend.

The Civil Grand Jury is a unique institution whose primary purpose is to act as a "watchdog" of local government and make recommendations for improvements. The Civil Grand Jury is comprised of 19 citizen volunteers who will serve for a one-year period.

Six jurors from the fiscal year 2014-15 Grand Jury will be "held over" for a second year of service under a special provision of law in order to provide continuity and "institutional memory" for the new Grand Jury members.

— Ramon Armenta is the jury services supervisor for Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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Dr. Adam Harcourt Joins Board of Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Harcourt
Dr. Adam Harcourt

Dr. Adam Harcourt, a board-certified functional neurologist and fourth-generation chiropractor, has joined the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center board.

He was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and received his bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also completed a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine.

After exploring several different types of health care, he kept coming back to the "treat the problem not the symptom" outlook.

He completed his graduate work at Life Chiropractic College West, where he earned his doctorate of chiropractic. He graduated cum laude, with honors, and received the highly-coveted Clinical Excellence Award for his graduating class.

He then pursued a three-year post-graduate degree in functional neurology through the Carrick Institute, earning him his Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Neurology (DACNB).

He is also a professor of clinical neurology at the Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies, where he teaches future functional neurologists all over the country.

— Alex Johnson is an administrative assistant for Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

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David Sirota: How Trans-Pacific Partnership Gives Corporations Special Legal Rights

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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In promoting a proposed trade pact covering 12 Pacific Rim nations, President Barack Obama has cast the initiative as an instrument of equity. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would, in his words, "level the playing field" and "give our workers a fair shot." But critics argue that within the hundreds of pages of esoteric provisions, the deal — like similar ones before it — includes a glaring double standard: It provides legal rights to corporations and investors that it does not extend to unions, public interest groups and individuals.

Recently leaked drafts of the agreement show the pact includes the kind of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions written into most major trade deals passed since the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those provisions allow companies to use secretive international tribunals to sue sovereign governments for damages when those governments pass public-interest policies that threaten to cut into a corporation's profits or seize a company's property.

But also like past trade deals, the TPP is not expected to allow unions and public-interest groups to bring their own suits in the same tribunals to compel governments to enforce labor, environmental and human rights laws.

The discrepancy is a deliberate effort to make sure trade policy includes a "tilt toward giant corporations," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said.

"If a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS," Warren wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in February. "But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts."

The Obama administration argues that concerns from TPP opponents are exaggerated because to date the federal government has "never once lost an ISDS case."

But those opponents counter by noting that those cases are on the rise across the globe. As the United Nations reported recently, ISDS cases "have proliferated in the past 10 to 15 years, with the overall number of known treaty-based arbitrations reaching 514."

While trade deals include rhetoric saying the international tribunal process is not designed to undermine public interest policies, some of the cases brought by corporations have directly targeted those laws.

Philip Morris, for example, has filed suits against Australia and Uruguay, which require health warnings on tobacco products. In the ISDS process, Philip Morris is arguing that the requirements expropriate its property, deny the company fair treatment and unduly cut into its profits.

Similarly, a Swedish energy firm has used ISDS to target Germany's restrictions on coal-fired and nuclear power plants, and Eli Lilly and Company is using the process to try to fight Canada's efforts to limit drug patents and reduce the price of medicine. Most recently, Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said bank regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis could be a violation of trade provisions under NAFTA, raising the prospect of banks using the tribunal process to try to get the federal government to eliminate those regulations.

"Corporations under ISDS can bring cases without their national government's permission, while unions and environmental groups in order to enforce the labor rights and environmental rights in these agreement have to get their government to bring the case," said Damon Silvers, the AFL-CIO's associate general counsel.

Government action has been rare. In 2014, the Government Accountability Office criticized "limited monitoring and enforcement" of trade deals' protections for labor rights.

Opponents of the TPP say the new deal would do little to increase enforcement, and much to give companies special rights.

Sure, corporations may still be considered people under U.S. domestic law — but under American trade policy, they get far more rights than almost everyone else.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Highway 101 Slab Replacement Project in Montecito to Continue Next Week

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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concrete slabs
Crews work to remove concrete slabs before they are replaced along Highway 101 between Olive Mill and San Ysidro roads in Montecito. (Caltrans photo)

A project to replace concrete slabs along Highway 101 between Olive Mill and San Ysidro roads in Montecito will continue next week with the following lane and ramp closures during the overnight hours:

The No. 2 (right) lane on southbound Highway 101 will be closed from San Ysidro Road to Olive Mill Road Sunday, June 28 and Monday, June 29, from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m.

In addition, the northbound Highway 101 on- and off-ramps at San Ysidro Road will be closed Sunday, June 28 and Monday, June 29 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The No. 2 (right) lane of northbound Highway 101 will be closed from San Ysidro Road to Olive Mill Road on Sunday, June 28 and Monday, June 29 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

In addition, the southbound Highway 101 off-ramp at San Ysidro Road and the southbound on-ramp at Olive Mill Road will be closed Sunday, June 28 and Monday, June 29 from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The contractor for this $810,000 emergency project is Peterson-Chase General from Irvine. This project is scheduled for completion in early July.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in Santa Barbara County, residents may call the District 5 toll free number at 805.568.0858 or click here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Montecito Library Hours Reduced Beginning July 6

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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The Montecito Library will have reduced hours beginning July 6.

The library, a branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library System, is located at 1469 East Valley Road in Montecito. It will be closed on Mondays and will close at 4 p.m. Saturdays instead of 5:30 p.m.

The new weekly schedule for the Montecito Library beginning July 6 will be:

» Tuesday through Friday — 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

» Saturday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

» Sunday and Monday — Closed

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org for information about library locations, hours, events and collections. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Margaret Esther is the library services manager for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Carbajal Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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On Friday, Salud Carbajal released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling on the marriage equality cases from Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky:

“I strongly support the decision announced today by the Supreme Court affirming that same sex couples and their families have the same rights as everyone else in society and that they deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and equality under the law.”

“The ruling today is an important victory for civil rights, but there is more work that needs to be done to ensure that LGBT Americans can't be discriminated against in the workplace.

“In Congress I will work to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and other legislation to treat all Americans equally.”

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

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Capps Submits Letter in Advance of Joint Hearing on Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday sent a letter outlining federal efforts in the wake of the Plains oil spill on May 19 to state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams in advance of their joint oversight hearing in Santa Barbara.

The letter, available by clicking here, outlines for the state legislators some of the recent federal actions Capps has taken in response to the oil spill.

“It is essential to fully investigate how the spill happened, the efficacy of the spill response, and both the ongoing and long-term impacts the spill will have on our community,” Capps writes in the letter. “In addition to numerous state and local agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and other federal agencies play essential roles in ensuring that the Plains spill is cleaned up properly, those responsible are held accountable, and corrective actions are taken to prevent future tragedies.

“Given the shared state and federal jurisdiction, I welcome this opportunity to update you on several congressional oversight actions taken since the spill.”

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Bill Macfadyen: Issue of Short-Term Vacation Rentals Shows No Sign of Moving Out

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 includes 2 tragic fatal accidents, one scary close call, and the saga of Franceschi House

There were 101,220 people who read​ Noozhawk this past week. The context and structure of your Top Five stories compel me to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent words and interpret them however I want. But that’s my opinion.

1. Despite Pleas from Public, Santa Barbara Council Backs Ban on Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Short-term vacation rentals have long been a simmering issue on the South Coast, but the topic seems to be reaching a breaking point. Or maybe not.

Earlier this year, Goleta adopted a new ordinance requiring registration and licensing. On June 23, the Santa Barbara City Council weighed in, unanimously voting to uphold a ban on short-term vacation rentals in residential areas.

Our Gina Potthoff may need a short-term vacation of her own after enduring the four-hour public comment period. More than 90 speakers lined up to give their views, for and against the Santa Barbara ordinance — an ordinance, it should be noted, that’s rarely enforced anyway.

There currently are 349 rentals registered with the city, although officials freely admit that’s probably only about a third of the true number.

The municipal ordinance requires anyone renting out rooms or homes for fewer than 30 consecutive days to register for a business license and to pay transient-occupancy taxes. But the practice itself is not permitted in the city’s residential zones, since the act of renting is considered a business transaction.

One aspect of the debate is Santa Barbara’s ridiculously tight long-term rental market, which has a staggering 99.5 percent occupancy rate. Opponents of the short-term rentals say they exacerbate that lack of inventory.

“We have people today who need to live here but can’t,” Councilman Gregg Hart said.

But proponents — who actually hail from all kinds of demographics — say the rentals enable them to live here themselves.

“The reality is, Santa Barbara is a very expensive place to come to,” Gina quoted one short-term rental owner as saying of his vacationing clients.

“But when they come here, they spend money.”

The sliver of good news from this tragic wreck? A dog in the car survived. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
The sliver of good news from this tragic wreck? A dog in the car survived. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

2. Driver Dies After Car Crash on Hollister Avenue in Western Goleta

A 26-year-old Goleta man died from injuries he suffered in a high-speed crash on Hollister Avenue just before midnight July 20.

According to authorities, Mike Moore was traveling westbound at a high rate of speed when he struck the median and lost control of his Lexus sedan in the 7900 block of Hollister, near Las Armas Road and Sandpiper Golf Club.

“After crossing the eastbound lanes, the right side of the vehicle struck a tree,” said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

She said Moore was rushed to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.

Moore wasn’t alone in the car. His beloved dog, Stella, escaped injury and was placed in the care of county Animal Services until she could be released to Moore’s family the next morning.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, and Hoover said it was not yet known if alcohol and/or drugs were factors.

Earlier that night, Moore reportedly had been at a nearby beach party, where his dog may have been skunked.

3. 2 Santa Maria Teens Killed in Highway 101 Crash Near Ventura

Two 15-year-old Pioneer Valley High School students were killed early June 22 when their car ran into the back of a big rig parked on the shoulder of Highway 101 near Ventura.

Justin Walker
Justin Walker
Milinda Parra
Milinda Parra

Two other people in the car suffered major injuries in the 1:25 a.m. wreck. 

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Dave Webb, a Santa Maria boy was driving the 2013 Honda Accord north in the freeway’s left lane when, for unknown reasons, the car veered across the right lane and struck the truck.

The driver, identified as Justin Walker, and his front-seat passenger, identified as Milinda Parra, died at the scene.

Two male passengers in the back seat — ages 22 and 17 — suffered major injuries, and Webb said they were taken to Ventura County Medical Center.

The big-rig driver was not hurt in the collision.

“We don’t believe alcohol was involved,” Webb said.

The group apparently was returning from a Southern California amusement park, and speculation is that Walker may have fallen asleep at the wheel. The CHP is investigating the cause of the crash.

Friends of the Parra and Walker families have started GoFundMe sites to help their parents with funeral expenses. Click here to make an online donation for Parra, or click here to make an online donation for Walker.

That outing at Presto Pasta didn’t go quite as planned. (Urban Hikers photo)
That outing at Presto Pasta didn’t go quite as planned. (Urban Hikers photo)

4. Senior Citizen Hit by Car, Dragged in Parking Lot Mishap Outside Santa Barbara Restaurant

I don’t know what it is about this particular corner of the Ralphs parking lot in the 2800 block of De la Vina Street, but it sure seems to be the scene of some unusual automotive mishaps.

The latest occurred around 5:45 p.m. June 21 when a man accidentally hit his wife with their Infinity SUV as they were leaving a restaurant.

“She was not all the way in the vehicle, and he began to back up,” said Lee Waldron, fire operations division chief with the Santa Barbara Fire Department.

He said the two senior citizens were both taken to nearby Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the wife with facial and head injuries and burns from the hot takeout soup she was carrying and the husband with shock symptoms.

“Fortunately she was not run over and not pinned under the vehicle,” Waldron said.

The couple’s names were not released.

Just another Santa Barbara teardown? Not so fast. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Just another Santa Barbara teardown? Not so fast. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

5. Santa Barbara Appears Poised to Bulldoze Historic Franceschi House on Riviera

From its perch atop the Riviera, the historic Franceschi House is one of Santa Barbara’s most prominent dwellings.

Except no one has lived there in years. And the place is a paint-peeling, decrepit wreck.

But I digress.

As our Josh Molina first reported, city officials had recommended that the once-stately manor be torn down. The Craftsman-style home was built by renowned botanist Francesco Francecshi in 1907, and is conveniently located next to what is now Franceschi Park in the 1500 block of Mission Ridge Road.

Municipal staff told the City Council that a public-private partnership that had tried to save the house had given it the old college try, but the 15-year undertaking had failed. Adequate funding for a true restoration had never really materialized, nor had any kind of plan for sustainability.

Citing the ongoing financial burden on the city, Parks & Recreation director Nancy Rapp argued that it was time to just demolish it. Many neighbors heartily agreed.

That didn’t go over so well with the Pearl Chase Society, which rapped Rapp’s route.

“We will never agree with demolition,” said Barbara Lowenthal,​ board president of the nonprofit Pearl Chase Society, which happens to be the city’s partner on the restoration project.

“It is a slice of the soul of this community. And how can we not save this?”

That’s probably intended to be a rhetorical question. A better one is: Why haven’​t you?

Despite no evidence of a viable solution in its future, the spirit of Pearl Chase — if not her ghost — carried the day with the City Council.

With Councilman Frank Hotchkiss as the lone dissenter, Mayor Helene Schneider and Council members Dale Francisco, Gregg Hart, Cathy Murillo, Randy Rowse and Bendy White voted 6-1 to give Franceschi House — and themselves — another six months for fairies to magically transform the property and wand into existence the money tree that will provide for its upkeep.

I’ll recycle this in December.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Creator of the Iconic Pink Plastic Flamingo Dies.

But Don Featherstone was not just known for the kitschy lawn ornament. For some 35 years, he and his wife, Nancy, were true birds of a feather, and wore matching outfits almost every day.​

                                                                 •        •        •

The filmmaker who cooked up this idea may be a family friend, but she deserves hundreds of thousands more views than she has. Did I mention she’s 11 years old?

(Olivia Amyx video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

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Transition House Receives $100,000 from Auxiliary

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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On June 16, the Transition House Auxiliary presented Transition House with a check for $100,000.

This amount was raised at the auxiliary’s annual fundraising luncheon put on by 40 very hardworking women who are dedicated to the success of Transition House’s programs and services.

Transition House provides innovative and proven solutions to the cycle of poverty-based family homelessness. Approximately 70 percent of families who enter the emergency shelter program succeed in transitioning into permanent housing.

During their stay at Transition House, infants and toddlers receive quality licensed infant care and school-age children receive tutoring and after-school homework help. Parents are helped with job and financial counseling services. These are just a few of the services that this vital asset of the Santa Barbara community offers.

— Jean Keely is the publicity chair for the Transition House Auxiliary.

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Outing History: Anthology by UCSB Scholar Named One of the Best LGBT Books of the Year

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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In 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law requiring public schools to include instruction about the contributions of LGBT Americans, among other groups. In addition to creating controversy, the policy created a significant need: more resources for teachers who might have limited knowledge of LGBT history or how to teach it.

Rupp book
Leila J. Rupp, a UCSB professor of feminist studies, has won the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Best Anthology for Understanding and Teaching Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History.

Leila J. Rupp, a UC Santa Barbara professor of feminist studies, has helped fill the void with her book Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), which she co-edited with Susan K. Freeman. 

The book has garnered Rupp a 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Best Anthology at the 27th annual “Lammys,” which seek to identify and celebrate the best LGBT books of the year.

“I am so honored to receive this award,” said Rupp. “This was a labor of love and I honestly didn’t think it would get as much attention as it has. The response from teachers has been really rewarding. I hope it will make a difference in the lives of students.”

Other winners in the 24 categories included New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow for the bisexual nonfiction work “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” and Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet for President Obama’s second swearing-in, for the gay memoir “The Prince of Los Cocuyos.”

“I want to congratulate professor Leila Rupp on receiving this extraordinary honor,” said Melvin Oliver, executive dean of UCSB’s College of Letters and Science and the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences. “She is a distinguished social historian of sexuality and social movements whose scholarship has made distinctive contributions to feminist studies, history and sociology. This work represents her continuing focus on bringing the lives of gay, bisexual and transgendered people into the classroom as full participants in the arc of human history. This acknowledgement is also a reflection of the high quality of work done on these issues at UCSB, not only in our feminist studies department but across the social sciences and the humanities.”

With Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender coming-out photo on the cover of Vanity Fair and the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage expected in the coming weeks, LGBT issues are front and center these days.

“Public opinion on same-sex marriage changed more quickly and more dramatically than on any other issue,” Rupp said. “You can measure it from Proposition 8 in 2008, when a majority of the population in the country was opposed, to now, when over 60 percent support it.”

A recent CNN/ORC poll found that 63 percent of Americans believe gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. That’s up from 44 percent in 2008, the year California voters approved Prop. 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in the state before the amendment was ruled unconstitutional in the courts.

The rapid shift in attitudes about same-sex marriage suggests a lot of things are possible, Rupp noted, although she added that achieving widespread acceptance of transgender people could be more difficult. “The argument about same-sex marriage that won people over focused on love rather than equal rights,” she said. “So it will be harder, but I am an optimist. As more people know someone who is transgender, acceptance will come.”

Rupp’s decision to take on the anthology project was based largely on the 2011 California law known as the FAIR Education Act (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful), she said. The anthology is designed not only for college instructors but also for high school teachers seeking an age-appropriate approach. The focus is on integrating LGBT history into general U.S. history classes.

The collection features essays by teachers discussing their experiences teaching LGBT history, as well as essays covering historical themes such as sexual diversity in early America and the experiences of gay men and lesbians in World War II.

The essays in the book’s final section discuss different sources, such as novels, films, oral histories and websites including outhistory.org, for use in the classroom. Already, the book has been used by UCSB students who prepared lesson plans and led LGBT history sessions at three local high schools: Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos.

Tyler Renner, former program coordinator at the Pacific Pride Foundation, a local LGBTQ nonprofit, helped organize a UCSB independent study course sponsored by Rupp that placed 10 student instructors in visits to local schools. The students taught lessons on topics including marriage equality, the Stonewall riots, pride celebrations, LGBT art and gender identity.

A particularly helpful essay in Rupp’s book for many, Renner commented, is about the language to discuss LGBT topics in educational settings in an appropriate way, particularly for teenage students. “You’re not talking about sex,” Renner said. “You’re talking about history.”

— Robyn Norwood represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Capps Applauds Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Marriage Equality

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court opinion that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and that states have an obligation to perform same-sex marriage:

“Today is a great day. The court has ruled definitively on what we have known in our hearts all along — that all Americans should have the freedom to marry the person whom they love.

“Today’s ruling is another important step toward ensuring that no one in this country suffers discrimination because of their race, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I applaud the court’s decision and send best wishes to the couples around the country who have finally gained this important right.”

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Chabad of S. Barbara to Commemorate First Yahrtzeit of Beloved Rabbi Yosef Loschak

By | Published on 06/26/2015

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Chabad of S. Barbara invites the community for an evening of music and inspiration to commemorate the first yahrtzeit (in memoriam anniversary) of Rabbi Yosef Loschak, a pioneer on the West Coast and father of 12, at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 28 at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Loschak
Rabbi Yosef Loschak

Rabbi Loschak passed away on July 1, 2014, at age 62.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, he was the only son of Holocaust survivors, a fact that very much colored his life. Grateful to eventually have such a large family of his own, he was extremely dedicated to his wife and 12 children and cherished his many grandchildren.

As emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Loschak and his wife, Devorah, founded Chabad of S. Barbara, which caters to local families and students at the nearby UCSB. Eleven years, ago, their oldest son — Rabbi Mendel Loschak and his wife, Rochel — started a campus Chabad there.

“My parents always had an open home and would have students at our home all the time, so we grew accustomed to them and the funny hours they keep,” recalls Rabbi Hersh Loschak, the sixth of their 12 children, who now directs a Chabad on Campus center in Glassboro, N.J.

They were well-known for the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim — the welcoming of guests — with a full table and full bedrooms; never did they say no to a visitor.

The rabbi served his local community in myriad ways, patiently sowing the seeds of Jewish life that would eventually sprout into a shul, mikvah, day school, Hebrew school, Torah study and adult education classes, Camp Gan Israel and more. He was assisted by his son-in-law, Rabbi Zalman Kudan, and his wife, Shterna, who joined Chabad of S. Barbara nine years ago.

Rabbi Loschak also directed a chaplaincy program for Jewish inmates in California, offering counseling, direction and encouragement. In the past few years, he headed Chabad prison chaplaincy all over the state of California.

Beyond S. Barbara, he directed Chabad activities in outlying communities, such as S. Luis Obispo and others. He also sat on the editorial board of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.

The rabbi was a pioneering force on the Web. He taught Torah and shared advice on the website AskMoses.com, where Jewish scholars respond to queries via live chat. Over the years, he touched thousands of anonymous lives online with his counsel. In addition to answering questions, the rabbi oversaw the team of scholars and rabbis, and helped guide them as well.

With his signature warmth, joie de vivre and love of Judaism, he inspired individuals and families too numerous to count to increase their dedication to Jewish observance and their appreciation for Jewish identity.

A lifelong student with a passion for Torah study, he also completed his shimmush—his practical internship for an advanced rabbinic degree. He was also known as a great lover of sefarim, of sacred books, and covered every space of wall he could find with bookshelves brimming over with their contents.

In addition to his wife, Rabbi Loschak is survived by his children: Mendel (S. Barbara), Shterna Kudan (S. Barbara), Ella Potash (Redwood City, C.A.) Nechama Dena Dinerman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Ahrele Loschak (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Hersh Loschak (Glassboro, N.J.), Mushky Rabin (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Yochi Lipinski (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Estee Steinmetz (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Avi Loschak, Miri Loschak and Chaim Loschak.

The commemoration on Sunday will include music by the acclaimed Chassidic duo Menachem & Shmuel Allouche. To RSVP, click here or call 805.683.1544 for more information.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Chabad of S. Barbara.

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Driver Seriously Injured in Santa Barbara Rollover Crash

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Victim had to be extricated from Jeep that overturned on San Roque Road

One person was seriously injured Thursday night in a rollover vehicle accident in the Santa Barbara foothills.

The crash occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on San Roque Road, north of Foothill Road, according to Battalion Chief Robert Mercado of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

An open-cab Jeep with a roll bar was headed south on San Roque when it overturned, coming to rest on its side, Mercado said.

“It appeared to me that the person was coming down the hill at high speed and lost control,” he said.

The male driver was trapped in the wreckage and had to be extricated, a process that took about 10 minutes, he said.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken by AMR ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries, Mercado said.

The accident was under investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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

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Sharon Byrne Steps Up to Challenge Cathy Murillo for Santa Barbara Council Seat

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Clash over the proposed Eastside Business Improvement District turns to the Westside, where the MCA executive says residents' needs haven't been met

Santa Barbara City Council incumbent Cathy Murillo will face a challenge from Sharon Byrne, a former candidate in 2011 and current rival over the proposed Eastside Business Improvement District.

Murillo and Byrne will inaugurate district elections in Santa Barbara this November, after a lawsuit forced Santa Barbara to switch from electing council members at large to smaller districts throughout the city.

Two of the city's districts were drawn up so that a majority of voters would be Hispanic. Murillo, the first Latina elected to the City Council, lives on the Westside, in the majority-Hispanic District 3. 

The Murillo-Byrne clash might be one of the most intriguing, high-profile campaigns this November. Murillo shocked many in 2011, rising from underdog status to a polished candidate who connected with voters, from the Riviera and San Roque to the Mesa and the Westside. 

Byrne touts herself as an independent, free from special interest influence. Although she lost a bid for the council seat in 2011, she has developed a name and reputation as a pro-business advocate in her role as a paid executive director of the Milpas Community Association.

Byrne, who lives on the lower Westside, is a former employee of California Common Cause, a government watchdog group. She said she is running for the council because Murillo has not represented Westside residents. 

"I see an opportunity to make a difference on the Westside," Byrne said. "Those residents' needs have not been met."

Ironically, even though they are running for a seat on the Westside, Byrne and Murillo have clashed on a major issue facing the Eastside, the proposed Business Improvement District.

Byrne supports a plan to have businesses tax themselves to pay for overall services in their neighborhood. Murillo says that Byrne's MCA has forced the issue, rather than the idea originating from businesses. Murillo said many Eastside business were not contacted about the proposed business district.

But now the quarrel turns to the Westside, where Byrne says she first learned how to organize a neighborhood. She said she rallied for more lights and police officers after a teenager was killed on her street; that she worked to transform a mural out of a graffiti wall; and that she is an overall advocate for better services in her neighborhood.

She wants to register new voters and make a personal connection with everyone she meets. She said her strength is her independence. 

"I don't see the world as good vs. evil," Byrne said. "I am more pragmatic."

Murillo, a former news reporter who also speaks Spanish, said she is not worried about Byrne's challenge. 

"No matter who is running against me, I will stand on my years of experience served on the council during a time when the city has offered our residents a low crime rate, revenues on the rise and restored services in every department but especially, parks and libraries," Murillo said. "Santa Barbara is a desirable place to work and live, and I'm proud of that."

Murillo is known in the neighborhoods and around City Hall as a hard worker who meets with everyone who wants an appointment, and advocates for the working class. 

"I am proud to be the first Latina on the council," she said.

Two other districts will be on the ballot in November.

Andria Martinez Cohen, Sebastian Aldana and Jacqueline Inda have filed papers intending to run for the District 1 Eastside council seat. Aldana and Inda were both plaintiffs in the California Voting Rights Act lawsuit that forced district elections

Council incumbent Randy Rowse will run against Lenie Ford and Wallace Ronchietto for the District 2 Mesa seat.

The nomination period, when candidates must gather signatures to get on the ballot, begins July 13. The deadline to file is Aug. 7. Election Day is Nov. 3.

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

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Revised Islamic Center Proposed for Goleta Wins Support of Design Review Board

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Some neighbors are opposed to the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara development, slated for the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real

Two years after its original approval, the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara has won unanimous support from the Goleta Design Review Board for revisions to the proposed two-story Islamic center on the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real.

Architect Paul Zink presented plans this week for a revised center, although it did not quell the concerns of some people who don't want the center in their neighborhood.

The new plans call for a reduction in size from 9,802 square feet to 6,720 square feet. The basement has been removed, and a residential component has been shrunk from 1,400 to 400 square feet.

The project has already been approved, so city staff will make the final decision as to whether the new plans conform close enough to the original approval. The design changes can also be appealed. 

The Islamic Society of Santa Barbara is home to dozens of families, who currently hold worship services, lectures and other events at rented locations in Goleta. The new center will include meeting, lecture, library and reception rooms, restrooms, a pantry, a prayer area and a dining hall. 

Some people who spoke at Tuesday's meeting were critical of the project.

"I think you are too big, you are too tall," said Linda Williams a Goleta resident who said she has lived on Camino Venturoso for 46 years, long enough to remember when they wanted to put a 7-Eleven convenience store in that spot. "You are crowding in on a little tiny piece of land and ruining the area.

"It's bad enough you have let all these other apartments being built and all of this traffic. I think that the government of Goleta is afraid, and that it's sad that you can't stand up for the people who live here."

Islamic center
An architectural rendering shows the two-story Islamic center proposed for the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real in Goleta. (Paul Zink rendering)

Resident Shirley Dylan said she opposed the design. 

"This design does not go with our beautiful open space and rural atmosphere," she said. "The impact of a project like this doesn't work well in this location. I urge you to oppose this design in this area."

Some of the speakers openly said that an Islamic worship center did not belong in Goleta. 

"I'm a retired physician living in Goleta," Charles Owen said. "I question the reason for having a mosque in Goleta."

The new project calls for a row of coast live oak, strawberry and palm trees to "frame the architecture." The center also wanted to plant olive trees on the site, saying that it is a "culturally significant tree to have in the palette."

"We are trying to create a very nice woodland landscape," landscape architect Kim True said.

Besides the unanimous support of the Design Review Board, the center also had plenty of supporters from the public.

"I frankly cannot believe that we are still talking about whether this project is going to go forward or not," said John Douglas, a Goleta resident for last 13 years. "These people were denied a community center of their own. They deserve and should be entitled to their house of worship and their community center."

Douglas and others said the project's time has come.

"I find it hard to believe, and would love if someone would do a little bit of research to see if any other house of worship in this entire county has ever face so many roadblocks, whether those roadblocks arise from bigotry or prejudice and unfounded allegations that you'd probably only find in Fox News or elsewhere," Douglas said. "I am outraged at the bureaucratic process, which is so glacial."

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

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BizHawk: Norton’s Pastrami and Deli Owner Says Business Is Brisk Despite Cutbacks

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Zugan Health opens on De la Vina Street, Carpinteria commercial sale breaks record and ONTRAPORT gets Fortune Magazine ranking

[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 protected]]

Hours may have been cut back at Norton’s Pastrami and Deli, but the owner of the Santa Barbara restaurant says business is as good as ever.

In fact, Bill Klein told Noozhawk that he’s got his eye on opening a second location in Goleta by the end of 2016.

Patrons may have noticed that Norton’s, which opened at 18 W. Figueroa St. in 2004, has shortened the hours at its original location to close at 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Monday through Friday — a move Klein said he made to cut down the number of hours he works. Norton’s is also closed on Sundays.

The cutback went into motion this past year, along with Norton’s closing its short-lived location at 226 Milpas St.

Klein, who bought the restaurant from its founder in 2008, said the great lunch crowd more than makes up the difference, due at least in part to popularity gained when the eatery was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri in 2011.

“It’s a luxury,” Klein said. “We do very well here.”

He said he plans to begin looking for a Goleta location around this time next year.

Zugan Health Opens in Santa Barbara

Zugan Health has opened at 1015 De la Vina St. in Santa Barbara within the Carrillo Plaza Shopping Center.

The medical office provides urgent care as well as preventive treatments and procedures, including IV “nutrient” drips and vitamin injections.

Zugan in German translates as “access,” which is the goal of the new office that does lab testing and nutrition therapy.

Carpinteria Commercial Building Sold

Hayes Commercial Group has helped close the highest-value commercial sale ever recorded in Carpinteria.

Montana Avenue Capital Partners LLC, a Santa Monica investment, management and development firm, bought the 118,394-square-foot oceanfront office campus at 6303-6309 Carpinteria Ave. from the previous owner of 16 years.

The sale price was not disclosed, but the property was originally listed for $32.5 million, according to Hayes, which represented both parties in the transaction through Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes.

The property is the longtime headquarters of CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc., but it recently also became home to Procore Technologies Inc., which occupies two of the three buildings on the nine-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

DeJohn and Hayes will represent MAC in the lease-up of the remaining building still occupied by CKE, which will undergo upgrades.

ONTRAPORT Earns Ranking

Fortune Magazine has listed ONTRAPORT as one of the best companies for millennials, ranking the Santa Barbara company as No. 81.

The recognition comes from the Fortune 100’s Best Workplaces for Millennials, which surveyed the younger generation by asking questions about attitudes toward management, job satisfaction and more.

IntroNetworks Receives Award

Santa Barbara’s introNetworks has received the 2015 California Small Business of the Year award for its 805connect project, according to company co-founder and CEO Mark Sylvester.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson presented the award to Sylvester and president and co-founder Kymberlee Weil at the state Capitol earlier this month on California Small Business Day.

The 805connect network aims to be the “connective tissue” for business and community leaders in the Tri-Counties, empowering them to become more aware of the resources that are available in their own county and region before looking elsewhere.

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

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Homeowner Files Class-Action Suit Over Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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The owner of a home just up the beach from the oil spill off the Gaviota coast has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Plains All American Pipeline, alleging negligence in an attempt to recover more than $5 million in losses and to prevent future disaster.

Santa Barbara attorney A. Barry Cappello of Cappello & Noel LLP filed the class-action suit this week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Alexandria Geremia, who owns oceanfront property north of Refugio State Beach, where more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled when a Plains pipeline ruptured on May 19.

The lawsuit alleges Plains All American — owner of Line 901, the pipeline responsible — failed to install an automatic shut-off valve that could’ve averted the tragedy that has since killed wildlife, closed beaches and left a lingering noxious odor of crude oil.

Cappello is calling on all California beachfront property owners between Point Conception and the Mexican border to join in.

He believes that group could include 3,000 to 25,000 individuals or entities, considering some oil deposits could be found a year or two from now.

Several homeowners are already contemplating joining the lawsuit, and Cappello told Noozhawk he plans to announce those numbers in the coming weeks.

“What typically occurs with oil spills is the weather ultimately determines where the oil hits the shore,” Cappello said. “Right now it’s currents, and the currents have been depositing oil as far north as Gaviota — that we know of — and as far south as Manhattan Beach.

“I think it’s important that the purpose of this lawsuit isn’t just an issue of damages. We’re in this to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to force Plains to replace the pipeline with an automatic shut-off valve.

The oil spill directly encroached on the once-valuable property Geremia has owned the past couple years, so much that she can’t even walk on the beach, the lawsuit stated.

“Ms. Geremia believes the negative consequences of defendants’ oil spill will continue to depress the value of her property for the remainder of the year and for years to come,” the complaint states. “Defendants’ acts and omissions have therefore caused present injury to Ms. Geremia, as well as the concrete risk of imminent, additional injury.”

The lawsuit alleges Plains has a spotty track record, having been cited for at least 175 safety and maintenance violations since 2006.

According to the complaint, a Plains pipeline ruptured in 2014 at Los Angeles’s Atwater Village, sending more than 18,000 gallons of crude through the city’s streets.

“This tragedy could have been averted had defendants installed an automatic shut-off valve on the pipeline,” the suit states. “Such mechanisms are common on pipelines across the country. Line 901 appears to be the only pipeline of its kind in Santa Barbara County without this key safety feature.”

Plains representatives could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, but the oil company has set up a claims-filing process for individuals and businesses that feel they’ve been impacted.

The lawsuit aims to recover “significant injuries and economic losses” via a jury trial.

Any homeowner interested in learning more about the lawsuit can contact Cappello at [email protected] or Lawrence Conlan, his partner in the case, at [email protected].

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

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Inventor Pitches Waterbag Technology to Import Water to Santa Barbara Coast During Drought

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Terry Spragg sets his sights on the Montecito Water District as a pilot client for his patented 'SpraggBag,' flexible fabric barges towed by drone boats

Santa Barbara and Montecito are looking to the ocean for relief and Terry Spragg agrees with that, but he thinks leaders should be using his waterbag technology instead of seawater-to-potable desalination facilities.

People have proposed all sorts of things in the desperation to appease California’s drought, including hauling icebergs down the coast. Spragg and his patented “SpraggBag” technology seems more feasible, with flexible fabric barges filled with potable water and towed down the coast by diesel-powered drones to their destination.

Spragg, who lives and works in Manhattan Beach as head of Terry Spragg and Associates, has been trying to get traction with his idea since the 1990s when his company towed a 770,000-gallon waterbag between Port Angeles and Seattle in Washington as a demonstration of the technology.

His technology is poised to be an easier and more inexpensive way to transport water across long distances, by towing the buoyant million-gallon bags through the ocean, Spragg said.

“The key to this system is, there’s enough water in the world, it’s just not in the right place and it’s too expensive to transport,” he said.

He set his sights on the Montecito Water District as the perfect pilot client, since the district has no groundwater resources and is relying on purchased water to get through the next two years. After that, it looks to desalination, which has a high upfront capital cost and operating cost.

Clifford Goudy has worked on this technology with Spragg for at least 20 years, working on the initial design and testing the waterbag while he worked at MIT. Goudy, who lives in Massachusetts, now works on offshore renewable energy projects, including wind power and wave power.

California’s drought brings more urgency to this idea, Goudy says.

“Obviously California can always use more water, but the idea of pitching it during the drought — it’s hard, everyone thinks you’re a snake oil salesman,” he said.

The original idea, linking the million-gallon waterbags together like railroad boxcars with a massive zipper and towing the chain with a tugboat, wouldn’t be cost effective without hauling hundreds at once, very slowly, Goudy said.

Instead, they have their sights set on using diesel-powered drone boats that would tow one bag at a time and be remotely controlled, low-powered and slow-moving.

“Obviously that’s a very trendy topic, whether it’s self-driving cars, drone aircraft, there are unmanned vessels already operating, mostly for research purposes, but the technology is already there so there’s nothing magic that needs to be developed in order to do this,” Goudy said.

Thinking farther ahead, Spragg and Goudy are thinking about installing flexible solar panels to the wide tops of the bags and store energy in a battery system.

“Eventually, you know — you want to hear a crazy scientist — eventually you’ll have bags being towed by satellite, monitored by satellite and powered by solar energy,” Spragg said. “It’s new technology but all the pieces have been invented.”

For the pitch to Montecito, Spragg’s group calculated the costs to deliver 3,000 acre-feet per year, which works out for an average of 3 million-gallon bag deliveries per day. There would be a contract guaranteeing delivery of an amount of water per month or per year, maybe, so there’s flexibility to work around weather issues and avoid storms, Goudy said.

They claim they can deliver water for about $1,000 per acre-foot, which is about 326,000 gallons.  

“If it starts to rain, we can take those bags and operate somewhere else in the world — you can’t do that with a desalination plant,” Goudy said.

Waterbag Technology for Montecito

The Montecito Water District isn’t convinced. The district recently purchased 5,300 acre-feet of water, which could last up to two years, and plans to either build a desalination plant or join Santa Barbara’s facility after that, general manager Tom Mosby said.

Santa Barbara has said the facility isn’t going to be regional, and serve only city customers, but Montecito leaders refuse to rule it out.

Mosby argues that the city’s facility, if operating at the full permitted 10,000 acre-feet per year, could have enough capacity to supply Montecito as well as the city.

“When you look at it and weigh the options, that makes the most sense versus bringing bags down, three acre-feet or even 10 acre feet,” Mosby said. “We’re still selling, even under rationing, 300 acre-feet a month, so we need something that’s much more robust in terms of water supply than importing.”

A Demonstration for the 21st Century

Spragg hasn’t delivered any water to this point, but orchestrated the 100-mile demonstration hauling bags from Port Angeles, Wash., to Seattle on April 28-30 in 1996.

For his next demonstration, he plans to haul bags south from Humboldt Bay, an area that has water for sale since two pulp mills shut down recently, down to San Francisco Bay and then down the coast with stops in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area. They may use a tugboat, with several bags linked together like railroad cars, or a drone for that demonstration.

After that — which they’re still pursuing investors for — he’s hoping to get some delivery contracts.

“I have to prove the reality and reliability of waterbag technology and the economics,” Spragg said. “Water agencies down here, and correctly so, say, ‘We’ve never seen any water bags of our coast; how do we know you can deliver them?’ We know we can demonstrate it and that’s the next step.”

Mosby has doubts about the SpraggBag technology’s ability to deliver at all, and to deliver the volume needed to meet demand.

One million-gallon bag is three acre-feet, and Montecito is still using 10 acre-feet every day, Mosby said.

“Can you imagine the cost of that? It’d just be enormous. They wouldn’t stop. They’d be transporting water 24/7 to satisfy demand if the drought continues in the current level,” he said. “I just can’t imagine that option working for Montecito. It’s not that dire of a situation where we’re looking at 1 million gallons a day. We’re looking at 10 acre-feet a day.”

The Logistics of Delivering Water to Montecito

There is nothing legally prohibiting the waterbag drone-towing test, since the drone and bag, which is 250 to 300 feet long, would have all the U.S. Coast Guard-required lighting and markings, Goudy said.

“The biggest problem I think is because they float so low in the water they’re not easily visible,” he said.

It would have radar, video and communications systems, operate on pre-planned routes and have manual take-over abilities for evasive maneuvers and guiding it into port for offloading, Goudy said.

The loading and offloading systems wouldn’t require any new technology, just pipes to get the water pumped out of the bags and into whatever storage or distribution system being used, according to Spragg. 

Because of the water-tight bags and coating, the water quality is unchanged by the sea journey so treatment could theoretically be done at the loading or the offloading, according to Goudy. 

With small, car-sized drones pulling one bag, it would take six or seven days for it to travel from Humboldt Bay (their proposed water source) to Morro Bay or Montecito.

Morro Bay is connected to the Central Coast Water Authority’s State Water Project pipelines so water could be delivered at that port and then transported south to Lake Cachuma and, eventually, Montecito, Spragg says.

Central Coast Water Authority executive director Ray Stokes said Morro Bay wouldn’t work for offloading.

“The pipeline can run both ways. If they pumped water into the pipeline, Morro Bay wouldn’t be able to take state water,” Stokes said.

The water would have to be treated before arrival because CCWA water is treated at the plant in northern San Luis Obispo County, he said.

Spragg argues that waterbag technology will be cheaper than desalination with lower capital, operating and energy costs.

In the calculations to bring water to Montecito, delivering 3,000 acre-feet per year could be done for $1,124 per acre-foot with one bag towed per drone and 1,062 per acre-foot with two bags per drone.

That number assumes a low gas price, at $2.85 per gallon, and low water cost, at $100 per acre-foot. It also assumes it would take a fleet of 37 drones, at $100,000 per drone, to handle the load of one bag per drone.

Those drones have been invented and designed, but building a prototype is waiting on funding, Goudy said.

Santa Barbara’s City Council has funded more than $55 million in design and construction contracts to get the desalination plant running again and Spragg says his company wants a level playing field with desalination as an alternative water source.

“All you need to see is two waterbags sitting off the coast of Santa Barbara and it adds credibility to the process,” he said.

Spragg has been pursuing this idea for more than 20 years and truly believes his technology could help alleviate the drought in California and around the world.

“I don’t want to profit off misery but people should have taken us seriously 10 years ago,” Spragg said. “We’re persistent if nothing else.”

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

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Outdoors Q&A: Night Fishing or Sleep Fishing?

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Q: The other night while camping/fishing at Clear Lake, the whole campground was bombarded by a sting of rangers at 4 a.m. waking up campers with flashlights in our eyes to check fishing licenses. I was in my tent looking through the window at my poles and popped out when I heard someone walking up on our campsite. It was a ranger and he said I was not allowed to sleep with my poles in the water (I wasn’t asleep, but that’s beside the point). My poles were about 6 to 8 feet from me and he told us that if we wanted to sleep we had to reel them in. Our poles had bells on them and glowsticks. He said we weren’t “actively fishing.” Is this correct?

Catfishing at night with a bell on your pole and being woken up by a jingle jingle has always been pretty standard stuff. Can you please clarify this? (Adam S., Lodi)

A: The ranger was correct. If you have your hook and line in the water, it must be closely attended. Angling is defined as taking fish by hook and line with the line held in the hand, or with the line attached to a pole or rod held in the hand or closely attended in such a manner that the fish voluntarily takes the bait or lure in its mouth (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.05). If you are angling with a pole not in your hand, you should be closely attending and watching it and able to immediately grab the rod to reel it in if a fish bites your hook.

The reason for the law is to reduce hooking mortality for fish that swallow a baited hook and then struggle against the line. If the hook is impaled, the line will restrict gill movement. If you were to catch an undersized bass or trout at night, it may not pull hard enough on the line to disturb you from the tent, and then the fish would likely be dead when you checked your line the next morning.

Bottom line: Fishing from inside your tent, whether you’re asleep or not, is not considered “actively fishing” or closely attending to your fishing line.

Can Restaurants Prepare and Serve Customers’ Sport-Caught Abalone?

Q: I have a question regarding abalone used for commercial restaurant use. Would it be illegal for someone to catch abalone (legally according to current regulations) on their property, and then sell and serve it to customers at their own restaurant located on their property? Are restaurants allowed to sell wild abalone at all? (Katelyn S.)

A: No, it is not legal for someone to catch abalone under a California sport fishing license and then serve it as a meal to a paying customer no matter where the restaurant is located. Fish and invertebrates caught under the authority of a sport fishing license may not be bought, sold, traded or bartered (Fish and Game Code, section 7121). Sport-caught abalone may be given away but cannot be sold in any form, even if it’s being made into a meal.

In most cases, sport-caught abalone,may not even be possessed in a restaurant. The only exception would be if the person who lawfully took or otherwise legally possessed the abalone remained present on the premises while the restaurant cook/chef prepared the abalone for consumption by the person who lawfully took it (FGC, section 2015).

Currently, there is no legal commercial fishery for California’s native abalone (FGC, sections 5521 and 5521.5). However, there are licensed abalone aquaculture farms in the state that raise abalone for the commercial market, as well as commercial fish businesses that import wild-caught and aquaculture abalone into California through a special California Department of Fish & Wildlife importation permit. No non-native, live abalone may be imported into California, though.

Bone Collector Donates Preserved Specimens to Local Schools

Q: I am a bone collector. I have been collecting my entire life but have recently been able to clean and preserve specimens at a museum level. I mainly collect local native species that have fallen victim as “road kill” but I also collect on hikes and at the beach. After I clean and preserve a specimen, I donate it to local schools. I was wondering if there might be any licensing available for this kind of work. I would love to have some documentation to share in the event I run into the authorities. I have a biology degree and happily offer all specimens for educational benefit. Thank you for your time and consideration.  (Anonymous)

A: To legally do what you are proposing, you will need to have a scientific collecting permit issued through the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to operate as a biological collector for various schools or institutions in need of specimens. See California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 650 for further information.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Bipartisan Committee Leaders Join Capps in Demanding Action on Pipeline Safety

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday was joined by bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter urging action and requesting an update from the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Office of Management and Budget on long-overdue gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety improvements.

The letter (available by clicking here) was sent by Capps, along with Energy & Commerce Chair Fred Upton, Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Subcommittee on Energy and Power Chairman Ed Whitfield, Subcommittee on Energy and Power Ranking Member Bobby Rush, and Joe Barton, the Committee Chairman Emeritus.

The letter follows the May 19 pipeline failure that resulted in a crude oil spill of more than 100,000 gallons along the Gaviota Coast in California.

“We write to request an update on the long overdue gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety rules awaiting action at the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Office of Management and Budget and urge you to take swift action to move these forward,” the members write.

The letter notes that 17 out of 42 mandates from the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act are incomplete. Many of the incomplete mandates include rulemakings relating to integrity and maintenance programs, decisions concerning expansion of such programs, guidance on risk assessment intervals, and rules concerning automatic and remote shutoff valves, leak detection, and accident notification, among other actions.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Easter Moorman Joins Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care as Director of Marketing

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Moorman
Easter Moorman

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is pleased to announce the hiring of Easter Moorman as director of marketing.

Moorman has more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications and marketing management.

Prior to joining VNHC, Moorman served as spokeswoman and marketing and public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for more than 10 years.

During her time at the museum, Moorman restructured the marketing communications strategies, established long-term media sponsorships, directed a successful public affairs campaign for the Museum’s Master Plan, rebranded the museum’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival, and managed media relations earning features in local, regional and national media outlets.

Prior to the museum, Moorman was the marketing manager at Sansum-Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic (now known as Sansum Clinic) where she was integral in managing the communications during the merger of the two clinics; and she was an account executive for DAVIES overseeing clients in the educational, financial, cultural and health-care industries.

“Easter brings a diverse skill set with a successful record of marketing and public relations experience,” said Lynda Tanner, VNHC president and CEO. “Combined with her strategic vision and collaborative spirit, Easter will be an asset for VNHC as we continue to provide important and much-needed programs and services for the communities we serve.”

Moorman also previously served as PTO vice president of communications at Washington Elementary School and was the parent board chair of the Santa Barbara High School Cheer Team. She graduated from Westmont College with degrees in biology and business and economics, and she lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and two children.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Happy Together Tour Returning to Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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The Happy Together Tour, which boasts an impressive collection of popular recording artists from the 1960s and is led by The Turtles’ Flo & Edie, returns to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 23.

Tickets for the show are $55, $65 and $75.

For the first time, the Happy Together Tour will feature six groups, including music by The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Buckinghams, The Association, The Cowsills, The Grass Roots, and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

The Turtles scored their first Top 10 hit with the Bob Dylan cover “It Ain’t Me Babe” in 1965. They would reach the top of the charts in 1967 with “Happy Together,” which would become their best-known hit.

The Cowsills, a family affair that inspired the TV series The Partridge Family, are making their debut on the tour and will feature siblings Susan, Paul and Bob. Their hits include “The Rain, the Park and the Other Things,” “Hair,” “Indian Lake” and “We Can Fly.”

Get ready to hear from the groups that produced such classic favorites as “Midnight Confessions” from The Grass Roots, “Cherish” and “Windy” from The Association, “Kind of a Drag” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” from The Buckinghams and “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” as sung by Mark Lindsay from his time with Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this legendary collection of pop greats from the '60s when they take the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 18-or-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash or online by clicking here.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.

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24 Recruits to Graduate from Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Explorers
Local young adults from five law enforcement agencies will receive their certificates of completion on Saturday from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

After two weeks of physical and mental challenges, 24 local young adults from five different law enforcement agencies will graduate from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy.

The young men and women, ages 14 to 20, will have a final inspection by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown along with dignitaries from the participating agencies at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 27 before they receive their certificates of completion at the graduation and awards ceremony at 5 p.m. at the Santa Maria Veterans’ Memorial Community Center at 313 W. Tunnel St.

Law Enforcement Exploring is designed for young people interested in a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. Its mission is to offer young adults a personal awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical experiences, competition and other activities. Additionally, the program promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship and patriotism.

Explorer Academy Advisor Deputy John Coyle said these recruits have grown tremendously over the past two weeks.

“The Explorer Academy really tests their physical endurance and stamina, as well as their critical thinking and problem-solving skills," he said. "It teaches them the principles of teamwork, dedication and service to others. The participants in this class have done an outstanding job. We are very proud of the hard work and effort they have put into completing this program.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department sponsors the academy and this year had four Explorers participate. The agencies involved in addition to the Sheriff’s Department include the Guadalupe Police Department, the Lompoc Police Department, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.

Click here for more information on the Explorers program.

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

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Dan McCaslin: Rattlesnake Canyon’s So-Called ‘Wilderness Area’

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Front-country trail is a popular escape for Santa Barbara residents

On this hectic and over-populated planet, our industrial development has pushed the earth into a new geological era: the much-debated Anthropocene Age — the age of human dominance.

For Santa Barbarans who like to hike near home, the obvious local favorite is straight up and into the enchanting Rattlesnake Canyon Wilderness Area.

While the trail can be a bit crowded weekends, on any weekday or even after work at 5 p.m., there are only a few hardy souls rambling around up here in the oddly named “wilderness” in Rattlesnake Canyon.

After parking my truck in the ample lot at the city of Santa Barbara’s Skofield Park, I saunter up to Las Canoas Road and walk 150 yards to the rugged stone-built Stanwood Bridge.

The city’s San Rafael Canyon Wilderness Area begins here, and you can drop down onto the trail beneath the bridge on either side.

Sadly, there was no water flowing under the stone vault in mid-June, and as I happily trudged up the steep trail, I observed very dry vegetation and chaparral along with masses of bright red poison oak leaves.

The bright red leaves of poison oak provide a warning for hikers in Rattlesnake Canyon to stay clear. (Dan McCaslin / Noozhawk photo)

However, from time to time as you ascend the rough road portion, you can see down into the deep canyon and there are still pools of water, and sounds of water flowing in places.

About a mile up you near this amazing pool that harbors a variety of aquatic life.

Summer has come early to the canyon this year, and I see only remnant bunches of yellow monkey flower, although the young bay trees are very healthy and fragrant.

Rattlesnake Canyon Trail climbs about 2.5 miles up to almost 2,500 feet at Gibraltar Road, where the panting hiker turns around, and then slowly walks back down to Skofield Park.

If you want more, go out onto Gibraltar Road, hike up to the climbing rock, past Flores Flat, and finally you end up at La Cumbre Peak several miles ahead.

Despite the ongoing drought, a pool in Rattlesnake Canyon still has water. (Dan McCaslin / Noozhawk photo)

The 5-mile round-trip to Gibraltar Road and back performed three times a week will keep anyone in reasonable shape. It is a demanding workout amid beauty and semi-solitude; an early departure is best in summer’s heat.

The lesser hike runs 1.7 miles up to the beautiful “Tin Shack Meadow,” a slanting potrero that still has nice pools below it (quite a scramble down to the Creek through poison oak).

This short hike is ideal for children 4 and up. You will see the old iron sign with “Gibralter” [sic] at the top of the meadow where you face a Y — a left takes you up the very steep Tunnel Trail Connector over to Mission Canyon, a right with the sign leads you up to Gibraltar Road.

During four decades hiking the hypnotic Rattlesnake Canyon Trail, and down into the green riparian corridor, I’ve seen a dead horse right in the creekbed, deer, ticks galore, tarantulas (often in November), rattlesnakes, and a few scorpions.

Rattlesnake Canyon's riparian corridor offers a variety of wildlife, including scorpions. (Dan McCaslin / Noozhawk photo)

I’ve witnessed crazed illegal mountain bikers, many school groups, and I’ve assisted two crashed para-gliders down to Skofield Park. I’ve also seen hundreds of families and children out enjoying the fabulous canyon with its vivid flora and flowing stream.

A fine resource for Rattlesnake Canyon life is Karen Telleen-Lawton’s 2006 book: "Canyon Voices – the Nature of Rattlesnake Canyon." Chapter I highlights my good friend, Santa Barbara naturalist Cathy Rose, and displays her detailed list of selected plants and birds found in the Canyon (pp. 14 – 15).

Telleen-Lawton accurately notes that “even the most casual visitor grasps that Rattlesnake Canyon is not wilderness,” and it hardly fits the 1964 federal Wilderness Act’s definition of wilderness as a zone “untrammeled by man.”

It’s just too easy to sneer a bit at Rattlesnake Canyon’s purported wilderness with St. Mary’s Seminary looming above, some early stretches of the trail fairly recently widened and hard-packed by Ray Ford, telephone wires overhead, scattered piles of dog feces (some bagged in plastic but never picked up), and the gnarly mountain bikers roaring down and further eroding the trail.

While the widened lower trail is easier now for the elderly and the disabled and school groups, the work has also made it more attractive for kamikaze mountain bikers. Bikes are illegal on the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail.

Rattlesnake Canyon is a magnificent resource for humans and horses and dogs from Santa Barbara. It’s hardly “wild” in the older, more romantic, “preservationist” version of pristine wilderness — the city should perhaps give it another designation.

Stanford Prof. Irus Braverman’s book, "Wild Life: the Institution of Nature," (2015), makes the argument against clinging to a purist ideal, and states we should “in fact adopt an open-ended and creative interpretation of conservation laws.”

But while we need to adjust to this messy and polluted Age of the Anthropocene in which we find ourselves, we should still hold onto as much wildness as possible. Saving relatively wild places is critical and more reasonable.

Several preserved and ‘wilderness’ zones in San Francisco have been ruled dog-free due to the sensitive nature of the habitat (14 areas: http://www.ebparks.org/activities/dogs/faq#q2 ).

While a highly unpopular suggestion, the city of Santa Barbara might want to consider limiting dogs from entering Rattlesnake Canyon three days a week due to the significant masses of dog feces deposited there daily — despite many careful owners who always pick up, there are plenty who do not — and because the non-native canines upset the balance in this beautiful canyon.

A stone pool marks the "eastside" trail loop in Rattlesnake Canyon. (Dan McCaslin / Noozhawk photo)

Some owners apply a pesticide anti-tick powder on their dogs, and then they wallow in the precious Rattlesnake Canyon Creek water killing biota.

Take the “eastside” trail loop turnoff just before the “pine meadow” and avoid most of the horses and bikes and dogs. You know you’re on it when you see the old stone pool.

"After Preservation," edited by Ben Minteer, directly tackles the question of “saving American nature in the age of humans,” and he states that “The Anthropocene has become an environmental Rorschach” test for us.

In a time with tremendous fossil fuel use, extraordinary human and canine population growth, intense urbanization, ocean acidification, species extinction and so on…we need to look at ways we can ensure the young and then their offspring can continue to enjoy semi-wilderness zones like Rattlesnake Canyon and our other frontside canyon trails.

How about banning bikes from a few more front-country trails? How about enforcing this ban? How about contemplating banning dogs at least a few days a week from the hard-hit Rattlesnake Canyon Wilderness Area and Trail?

(All the above mentioned books are available at Chaucer’s Bookstore, where I found them.)

Rattlesnake Canyon Hike 4-1-1

Hike: Moderate to strenuous day hike from the City of Santa Barbara’s Skofield Park (850 feet) to Tin Shack Meadow and then a steeper section up to Gibraltar Road.

Distance: 5-mile round trip.

Maps: Ray Ford, "A Hiker’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Front Country."

Driving directions: It’s about 5 miles from Santa Barbara’s Westside to the parking lot at Skofield Park: Go up Mission Street, crossing State and passing the Santa Barbara Mission to Foothill Road and turn right. After 200 yards, turn left at the fire station and go up Mission Canyon past Tunnel Road to Las Canoas Road, then turn right and drive 1.5 miles to Skofield Park.

— Dan McCaslin is the author of Stone Anchors in Antiquity, and has written extensively about the local backcountry. He welcomes reader ideas for future Noozhawk columns, and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read additional columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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David Harsanyi: Supreme Court vs. Rule of Law on Affordable Care Act

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Here is John Roberts, chief oracle of the United States of America, from Thursday's King v. Burwell decision:

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

What the statement illustrates is that for Roberts, the law is a subordinate concern.

I know, I know, the Affordable Care Act is moral and decent and that's all that matters. Liberals demand we govern through empathy-based jurisprudence rather than anything resembling the antiquated tenants of founding principles. If you care about the latter more than you do the former, the fact that Supreme Court justices are aping the consequentialist arguments of the left and then working backward to make their legal justifications is probably the worst sign for checks and balances yet.

We're going to be inundated with legal interpretations over the next few days. But imagine for a moment if a Supreme Court justice argued that the Defense of Marriage Act was passed to improve marriage rather than destroy it so we must focus on the former rather than the latter and uphold any retroactive provisions the Bush administration cooked up to make that law work. Or imagine the same for any legislation you disagree with.

Let's concede to Roberts that the intention of every politician is to improve on things. Republicans believe that further nationalizing health insurance is a bad idea and makes markets less competitive and more expensive. By overturning the law, they want to improve health insurance markets, as well. That's why we have legislatures, to debate these points of view and then pass bills. That legislation codifies what a majority can agree on. And we have courts to judge the constitutionality of laws, not to bore into the souls of politicians to decipher their true intent or find justifications to rubber-stamp "democracy" — as Roberts puts it.

But in every case, it seems, we must respect the role of the legislature and not undo what it has done. A fair reading of the legislation demands a fair reading of the legislative plan.

It was Roberts who helped rewrite Obamacare the first time around, making a penalty into a tax and, for the first time in history, allowing American government to coerce every citizen into buying a product from a private company as part of its power to regulate commerce.

Roberts, abandoning law, laments that Obamacare was drafted in a haphazard and vague way, right before ruling that laws can be implemented in any way the executive branch sees fit, as long as judges deem its intentions righteous.

Once we pass massive pieces of legislation that effectively hand entire industries to regulatory agencies, we are allowing the executive branch to govern in any way it sees fit. That said, it's doubtful that SCOTUS would allow the same rationalizations used for King v. Burwell to be employed for any legislation it found distasteful. Though Republican presidents keep nominating judges who disappoint conservatives, you can be assured that Hillary Clinton would not disappoint liberals with her picks.

But on the political side, this ruling means we can no longer rely on government institutions to check one another or themselves. Conservatives — or whatever party is in the minority — have to continue to be the check. Any kind of reform should be opposed because any kind of reform, no matter how narrow the focus theoretically is, will be an opportunity for boundless revision and scope.

All a political party needs to do is cobble together a temporary majority, push through legislation that expands federal power and then find some clairvoyant judges dedicated to empathy rather than their oath. All of this is fine, according to the Supreme Court, as long as politicians had good intentions.

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.

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Awards More Than $9,000 to Local Nonprofit Organizations

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce recipients of the 2014-215 Community Assistance Funds.

At their June meeting, JLSB community council director Marissa Byrne and JLSB president Jennifer Neisse presented awards totaling more than $9,000 to local nonprofit organizations.

Among 10 applicants, four were chosen to receive JLSB’s Community Assistance Funds:

» All for Animals-ARF! (Animals+Reading=FUN) — $1,000

» Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation’s 1000 Books before Kindergarten Program — $3,500

» Community Action Commission’s Goleta Head Start Program — $2,508

» Domestic Violence Solutions’ Homework Blaster Afterschool Program — $2,000

In an effort to extend the organization’s reach and to address our community’s greatest needs, the Junior League of Santa Barbara has been awarding Community Assistance Funds for several years.

In partnering with area nonprofits, the Junior League of Santa Barbara aims to make its vision to improve the lives of at-risk children, youth and families in Santa Barbara a reality.

In addition, the league honored six 2014-15 Community Partners — individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions during this, the JLSB’s 90th year. Their contributions to the league’s impact in our community are invaluable: Joan and Jim Lindsey; UBS Financial; SB Auto Group; CA Community Foundation; Tiffany & Co., Santa Barbara; and Movegreen.

Applications for the Community Assistance Fund are accepted each year from January through March. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Junior League’s website by clicking here for more information.

— Lindsay Groark Cortina is a communications coordinator for the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

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Mothers of Children with Cancer Treated to Spa Day Courtesy of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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As our annual celebration of mothers and fathers has recently concluded, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation continues to draw awareness to a cause affecting both dads and moms, and the supporters who recently participated in an event following Mother’s Day at the Walter Claudio Salon and Spa Studio.

A complimentary spa day at Walter Claudio Salon on May 17 was provided courtesy of TBCF’s Care for the Caregivers Program honoring mothers who have a child with cancer or recently out of treatment, and those recovering from the loss of a child to cancer.

The day brought together women facing difficult situations and allowed them to heal and gain strength from one another in the same relaxing setting that has been graciously provided by Walter Claudio since 2007.

“For our salon to give mothers the attention they deserve is honorable and a way of paying it forward,” Walter Claudio said. “It’s a very personal experience to participate in this event and have people in the community care. I have firsthand experience supporting a sick child — my whole family endured an illness of a child and lost a child. This made a huge impact in our lives, and because of it I understand what it means for a family to go through an experience supporting a child with cancer — desperation, despair, calamity and isolation.”

This year’s event gathered 30 providers from Walter Claudio Salon and Spa, and additional services from local spas, salons and cosmetology schools, supporting 42 thankful mom’s benefiting from the special day. Services included manicures, facials, massages, waxing, haircuts and blow-dry, and makeup.

Delectable treats were offered courtesy of Omni Fresco Catering and Baking for a Cause Club at Dos Pueblos High School. The mothers were also pampered and looked after by volunteers from Calvary Chapel’s ‘Joy Ministries’ and National Charity League of Santa Barbara.

Additionally, mothers were provided the opportunity to create ‘Beads of Courage for Caregivers,’ where individuals were offered the opportunity to make beaded bracelets as a symbol of their faith, courage, love and strength. The project was similar to one that TCBF kids participate in with ‘Beads of Courage,’ representing the milestones that they achieve in the phases of treatment, like overnight at the hospital, radiation or chemotherapy treatment or a blood transfusion.

At the end of the day mothers left with these symbols of their journey and smiles from the day, as well as flower bouquets from Westland Floral Company in Carpinteria, and bags of beauty products from Treat Spa, Skin Deep and Tea Tree Therapy.

On Oct. 1, TBCF will hold its flagship event, the Gold Ribbon Luncheon, at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are available.  

The mission of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is to provide financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Each year the organization serves over 650 individuals.

To learn more about the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, click here or call 805.962.7466.

— Lindsey Leonard is executive director of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

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Tracy Shawn: How Toastmasters Can Turn Fear Into Empowerment

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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If you suffer from the common — but debilitating — fear of public speaking, struggle with social anxiety and/or want to sharpen your communication and leadership skills, a visit to one of your local Toastmasters clubs can be an effective start toward a rewarding journey from fear to empowerment.

A nonprofit (and very affordable organization to join), Toastmasters International, which was established in Bloomington, Ill., and started in Santa Ana more than 100 years ago, is built on group encouragement.

Their club mission statement summarizes the supportive atmosphere that Toastmasters clubs all around the world (according to the Toastmasters International website, there are 14,650 clubs in 126 countries) embrace: “We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.”

The benefits members experience are both expected and surprising.

Pat Costello, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker who is an active Toastmasters member and is currently serving as president at her local club, says that besides the increasingly effective communication skills that she’s seen herself and others acquire, Toastmasters also has become a place where she’s been able to better hone her listening skills. She feels, too, that even though every member has most likely felt some level of discomfort, the supportive environment that a Toastmasters club provides helps people grow out of their fears, which then increases personal confidence.

Barc Holmes, the president and CEO of Deliverse Consulting, is a three-year member of Toastmasters. An engaging speaker, Holmes states that Toastmasters has not only improved his speech writing, but also has helped him learn how to connect in front of a crowd. He’s surprised with how the power of humor helps this connection, even in speeches with a serious message.

Holmes originally joined to overcome his fear of public speaking, and continues on with the organization in order to “learn how to write better in a way that moves people.”

A dedicated member for more than 16 years and past president of her local Toastmasters club, website and marketing consultant wiz Jacky Lopez says that Toastmasters is “the greatest organization I’ve joined since I came to this country.” Lopez states that beyond the empowering gift of learning that it’s OK to speak her mind, as well as giving her the opportunity to shed her fear of public speaking, Toastmasters has also proved to be a positive group experience in which she’s able to meet people from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities.

An active member (who has also served in the past as a president) with Woodland Toastmasters, Albert Mercado has been involved with the organization for 20 years. Mercado, a retired engineer and extraordinary storyteller, first joined because he wanted to improve his public speaking skills and feel comfortable in front of an audience. With time, he found that his presentation skills improved so tremendously that he was continuously selected to speak in front of customers and fellow employees. He was also pleasantly surprised to find that it became very enjoyable to appear in front of the public and speak.

A mentor and inspiration to members at his local club, Mercado says, “The hardest part is to make the decision to attend meetings, but once you go over that hurdle, you’ll enjoy the friendly atmosphere, the support you receive, and in a short time you’ll see the progress that you will be making. During my years at Toastmasters I have seen many very successful stories.”

When Holmes was asked what advice he’d offer someone contemplating on joining a Toastmasters club, he shared this: “Jump in, get nervous, screw up, laugh it off and keep going.”

This is the spirit of Toastmasters, where members know it’s OK to make mistakes because everyone is there to learn. In the supportive atmosphere that a Toastmasters club provides, fear can often blossom into empowerment through the simple but powerful act of practicing in a safe and friendly environment.

— Tracy Shawn, M.A., lives and writes on the Central Coast of California. Her award-winning debut novel, The Grace of Crows, is about how an anxiety-ridden woman finds happiness through the most unexpected of ways — and characters. Dubbed a “stunning debut novel” by top 50 Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp, The Grace of Crows has also been hailed as an accurate portrayal of generalized anxiety disorder and a healing opportunity to the readers. Click here for more information about Shawn, or click here to visit her author page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter: @TracyShawn. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Repairs Under Way on Damaged Storm Drain Pipeline at SBCC

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Santa Barbara City College is in the process of repairing a damaged storm drain pipeline located on an East Campus hillside bluff near the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Castillo Boulevard.

Preliminary analysis showed that the pipeline, which carries drainage from roughly eight acres of the East Campus to a connection with the City of Santa Barbara system, may have been damaged due to pressure buildup and inadequate drainage caused by previous rain and runoff.

The emergency pipeline project includes repairing and replacing existing failed down sections of the drain to immediately remedy the bluff erosion and sediment runoff onto Shoreline Drive during rain events.

The construction work began in mid-June and is on track to be completed by mid-July.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Education Programs Open for Summer

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Recognizing that research has shown low-income students lose more academic skills over summer than their middle-class peers, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing will continue operating its Youth Education Enhancement Program (YEEP) at learning centers at eight of its affordable rental complexes throughout the summer, serving 240 students.

As it has over past summers, the YEEP program will help from low-income families improve their literacy, English and math skills, rather than allowing these skills to regress over the traditionally inactive summer months.

While most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computations skills over the summer, low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, the National Summer Learning Association reports (Cooper, 1996). Their middle-class peers meanwhile make slight gains in reading achievement over the summer.

“A strong education is key to success in these students’ lives, so offering summer education at our properties was a natural fit for our mission,” said John Fowler, president/CEO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. “We want these kids to have promising futures in addition to safe homes to grow up in.”

Duke University Professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., said, “We speculated that middle-class summer school programs may have better funding and resources. And it also may be simply that the problems of poor kids are much more entrenched and difficult to address, more remedial in nature. Some have proposed the 'faucet theory,' which suggests that when summer comes around, academic resources for the poor are turned off. Middle-class and better-off parents, however, have the resources on their own to compensate to some degree and provide whatever their children might need — remediation, enrichment, or acceleration-type activities when school is not in session.”

YEEP educators work with students on their literacy, English, and math skills. The program improves grade-point averages, sharpens reading and study skills, promotes high school graduation, builds self-esteem and fosters parent participation in their child’s academic life. In addition to math, English, and literacy skill building, YEEP students learn about and work on projects in areas such as social studies, computers, community service, science, history, music, theatre, dance and physical education.

The YEEP program will also continue providing students with lunches throughout the summer months with contributions from area Foodbanks. About 50,000 kids in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties receive free or reduced priced meals during the school year, but they lose that access over the summer. YEEP served more than 11,000 lunches last summer to children who may have otherwise had nothing else to eat.

The following YEEP programs will be serving the specified number of students all summer:

» Los Adobes de Maria II, Santa Maria: 40

» River View Townhomes, Guadalupe: 40

» Mariposa, Townhomes, Orcutt: 40

» Courtland Street Apartments, Arroyo Grande: 30

» Canyon Creek Apartments, Paso Robles: 20

» Ladera Apartments, Santa Barbara: 20

» Dahlia Court II, Carpinteria: 30

» St. Vincent’s Gardens, Santa Barbara: 20

National Summer Learning Association Facts:

» Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).

» More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).

Click here for more information.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

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Carbajal Supports Supreme Court Decision Upholding Affordable Care Act

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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On Thursday, Salud Carbajal released the following statement supporting the Supreme Court decision upholding the landmark Affordable Care Act.

"I applaud the Supreme Court for turning back the attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act, preserving health care for more than 6 million Americans who could have been kicked off of their plans because of a technicality.

"Today, 17 million have gained coverage under the ACA and all Americans are protected from insurance companies who can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition or drop people from their insurance when they get sick.

"In Congress, I will work to strengthen the ACA to rein in costs, expand access and streamline the process so that every American can get high-quality, affordable health care."

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

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UCSB Professor Develops Drug Delivery Method That Could Slow Progression of Kidney Disease

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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For the 12 million people worldwide who suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disorder with no known cure, a new treatment option may be on the horizon.

Weimbs
Thomas Weimbs (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

PKD is a condition in which clusters of benign cysts develop within the kidneys. They vary in size, and as they accumulate more and more fluid, they can become very large. Among the common complications of PKD are high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Now, Thomas Weimbs, a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, has developed a novel strategy for targeting therapeutic antibodies to polycystic kidneys. He notes that the strategy opens up the possibility of repurposing a large number of existing drugs for PKD therapy.

Therapeutic antibodies — a class of biologics — are already being used extensively to treat a variety of diseases from cancer to autoimmune disorders. These biologic therapies use an antibody class called immunoglobulin-G (IgG) to bind to and prevent the activity of specific proteins or growth factors. However, in PKD, the growth factors shown to promote cyst growth reside in fluid trapped in the interior space of a cyst, called a lumen, to which IgG antibodies have no access.

Weimbs and his team have found a method that enables another class of antibodies, immunoglobulin-A (IgA), to penetrate the cyst wall. The researchers’ results appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Weimbs, who has been working on PKD for more than a decade, had an aha moment when he remembered his previous research as postdoctoral scholar at UC San Francisco. This research dealt with the question of how IgA could cross a cell layer by binding to polymeric immunoglobulin receptors (pIgR). Earlier work Weimbs conducted at UCSB had shown that the transcription factor called STAT6 is overly active in PKD, and he also recalled that STAT6 had been shown to drive the expression of pIgR in other organs.

“I put one and one together,” Weimbs said. “I thought if STAT6 is highly active in polycystic kidneys, maybe it also expresses a lot of pIgR — and that turned out to be the case. So we tested this in mouse models and in human polycystic kidney tissues, and, in both cases, high levels of pIgR were expressed in kidney cysts.”

Weimbs and his team found that when they injected IgA into mice, about 7 percent of the injected IgA remained inside the cyst lumens of polycystic kidneys.

“This suggests that the IgA gets taken up and is trapped inside because these cysts don’t have an exit,” Weimbs said. “So we end up with a way of exploiting the pIgR system for targeting these antibodies specifically to the polycystic kidney.”

The key is using molecular cloning to reformat an existing IgG antibody to IgA. Then the pIgR system carries the IgA antibody inside the cyst, where it neutralizes a specific receptor.

“Our strategy allows for the repurposing of thousands of existing monoclonal antibodies that have already been developed, which opens up a whole new class of therapeutics not previously used for PKD therapy,” Weimbs concluded. “This paper is proof of concept that we can use IgA to target polycystic kidneys. The next hurdle will be proof of therapeutic efficacy where we actually take an IgA antibody targeted to a specific protein or growth factor and see if it can inhibit cyst growth.”

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

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Letter to the Editor: Goodbye, America

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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As the Fourth of July nears, we are sadly losing our country. President Barack Obama's promise to transform America to a socialist, big government country is coming true.

Today, we see a lawless, divided, weakened America. The U.S. has become a welfare state, especially to millions of Third World, poor, uneducated illegal immigrants. This is especially true in California, where hardworking Americans are treated like second-class citizens, but illegal aliens get every benefit possible paid for by taxpayer money.

The threat of radical Islam is out of control, especially ISIS, thanks to Obama's desire to pull out of Iraq. Complicating everything, he has no plan to defeat them and keeps saying Islam is a peaceful religion, even though Christians, women, children and men are barbarically being murdered.

Today, the Supreme Court jumped on the socialist bandwagon, disregarding the law, the Constitution and the will of the people.

And what has happened to race relations under President Obama? It has been set back decades. This makes sense only if we understand the phrase "divide and conquer."

The president and Democrats are not the only ones who have sold out America. Recently, many Republicans gave away America's sovereignty in the trade bill.

In summary, our great country is being destroyed by politicians of both parties, the president and a complicit media.

On July 4, I will be celebrating what America once was. God, help us.

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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Two-Day Chip Seal Project on Highways 192, 144 Begins July 8

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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A two-day chip seal project on Highways 192 and 144 will begin on Wednesday, July 8.

Motorists can expect one-way reversing traffic control in the following locations from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.:

» Highway 144 from Alameda Padre Serra to the junction of Highways 144/192.

» Highway 192 from Mission Canyon Road East to the 700 block of Mountain Drive.

» Highway 192 from Stanwood Drive to Orizaba Road.

Motorists can expect delays not to exceed 10 minutes. This chip seal project is designed to prolong the life of the roadway.

This road work will be performed by the Caltrans maintenance team in Santa Barbara.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in Santa Barbara County, residents may call the District 5 toll free number at 805.568.0858 or click here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Vita Travel Store in Santa Barbara Hosting One-Year Anniversary Party

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Vita Travel Store, downtown Santa Barbara’s only full-service travel store, is hosting its One-Year Anniversary Party this Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Attendees can meet Vita team members and other world explorers while they sip wine and prosecco. There will also be a free travel gear raffle and a fundraiser for Santa Barbara ChannelKeepers and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Greg Bellowe, owner of Vita Travel, is very excited that Santa Barbara has welcomed his new travel business in today’s difficult retail climate.

“The fact that we’re still here after a year and that we’re getting great feedback is a good sign since the Santa Barbara traveler is pretty sophisticated," he said. "The reality is that people have less time to plan vacations so we’re hear to make it easier, faster and more enjoyable to get away.”

Vita Travel offers a unique alternative to the traditional travel store by being able to help travelers in every phase of his/her trip. For those looking to connect with a travel pro, Vita can help people find the right travel agent specializing in their trips theme and destinations. Vita also offers a fun and useful mobile website that allows travelers to create group itineraries, share ideas before and during a trip, find lost group members, create albums and keep all the trip details in one place. Once a traveler determines where their next adventure will be they can get outfitted with the right luggage, backpacks, guide books, maps, travel tech, clothing and anything else they would need.

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International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators Local 5 Endorses Schneider for Congress

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Continuing to lock down important endorsements, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider on Thursday picked up support from the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators, Fire Stoppers and Allied Workers Local 5 in her campaign to represent California’s 24th Congressional District seat.

In announcing their support of Schneider, International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators, Fire Stoppers and Allied Workers Local 5 business manager Tom Gutierrez released the following statement:

“The International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators, Fire Stoppers and Allied Workers Local 5 is pleased to announce our endorsement of Mayor Helene Schneider for Congressional District 24. She shares our values and the belief that workers’ rights must be protected, she supports collective bargaining, she’s for fair trade that protects American jobs, and expanding the middle class. We’re proud to support her.”

Responding to news of the endorsement, Schneider remarked: “I’d like to express my deep gratitude for this support from the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators, Fire Stoppers and Allied Workers Local 5. Working women and men need more advocates in Washington who will champion economic and social justice issues, ranging from increasing the minimum wage to protecting Social Security and Medicare; to safeguarding and expanding the rights of working people; to advancing policies that protect homegrown American jobs, our environment, human rights and food safety standards; as well as leaders who will strive to increase investments in critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and mass transit that both improve our economy and create more good paying middle class jobs.”

In addition to Thursday’s announcement, on Monday of this week, Schneider scored a big statewide endorsement from the League of Humane Voters California Chapter, one of California’s most widely respected animal welfare organizations.

Schneider previously earned highly coveted labor endorsements from the International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E.) Local 501 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36.

Schneider’s campaign has been amassing a wide-ranging list of significant supporters from women, education, environmental, gun violence prevention, LGBTQ, working people, and small business leaders as well as local elected officials and key organizations, including the following:

» Women’s Political Committee
» League of Humane Voters California Chapter
» International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E.) Local 501
» International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
» Congresswoman Diane Watson (retired)
» California Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome Horton
» California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, former CA Coastal Commissioner
» City of Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann
» City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte
» City of Goleta Mayor & Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Margaret Connell (retired)
» Hope School District Board of Trustees Member Kristi Newton
» City of Santa Barbara City Council Member Harwood "Bendy" White
» City of Ventura City Council Member Carl E. Morehouse
» Santa Barbara Unified School District Board President H. Edward Heron 
» CALIFORNIA LIST Founder & President Bettina Duval
» Environmental Defense Center Founder Marc McGinnes
» Central Coast Water Quality Control Board Member (retired) and Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Sharon Hoshida
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Lois Phillips
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Alissa Hummer
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Jane Gray
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner (retired) and board member with Coalition Against Gun Violence Christine Silverstein
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Catherine Woodford
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Don Olsen
» Santa Barbara City Council Member Grant House (retired)
» Founder of The Key Class John Daly
» Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Bruce Bartlett (retired)
» Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb
» Pacific Pride Foundation Former Executive Director David Selberg
» Small Business Owner: Studio One Hair Designs, LGBTQ Advocate Robert Johns
» LGBTQ Community Activist Steve Warner
» LGBTQ Supporter & Owner of Jill’s Place, Jill Shalhoob

Schneider was elected to her second term as Santa Barbara’s mayor in November 2013. She has served at Santa Barbara City Hall since January 2004, winning her first election as City Council member in 2003 and first election as mayor in 2009.
 
Schneider serves in leadership roles on a number of regional-wide policy issues, such as transportation, air quality, solid waste, public education, youth violence prevention and homelessness. She represents the City of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), Air Pollution Control District (APCD), Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force, Partners in Education, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H). She is the immediate past-President of the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division.
 
Prior to elected office, Schneider spent 11 years in human resources management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.
 
For more information, please visit HeleneSchneider.org.

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Local Ophthalmologist Robert Avery Honored as Vision Care Specialist of the Year

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Robert Avery, M.D., receives the Vision Care Specialist of the Year award. (California Retina Consultants photo)

Local ophthalmologist Robert Avery, M.D., was recently honored as the Vision Care Specialist of the Year during the 22nd annual Fainer/Tauber MD awards in Ventura County.

Twenty-two years ago, Dr. Avery moved to Santa Barbara after a decade of training at Johns Hopkins and Duke University, in hopes of building an academic practice in his field of retinal diseases.

Over the years, he added seven retinal surgeons and morphed his solo practice into California Retina Consultants and Research Foundation, which now has 10 offices in six counties. The home office in Santa Barbara has recently moved into a new three-story, state-of-the-art retina clinic and research facility on Micheltorena Street.

Dr. Avery lectures internationally on the treatment of retinal diseases, especially macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. He and his colleagues at California Retina Consultants have helped pioneer the use of drugs that block abnormal blood vessels in the eye, and have published numerous papers on this subject while helping the vision of countless patients.

He has been elected to Best Doctors in America, Marquis Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. He continues his research at the California Retina Research Foundation and the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB.

— Tamara Banville represents California Retina Consultants.

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Mission Tattoo Hosting Benefit Event for Wounded Warrior Project

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Come join us as Mission Tattoo celebrates and raises money for our veterans at the second annual "These Colors Don't Run" event.

Mission Tattoo is hosting the registered benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 5 at Seven Bar & Kitchen, 224 Helena Ave. in Santa Barbara. All ages are welcome.

Enjoy a military-inspired drink and great food, and cheer on our sassy and classy pin-up queens competing for the crown. Art and prints will be for sale by Mission Tattoo and Miss Jenny Newton.

Live music will be provided by Vamp, The Miskreants, The Luck, Johnny Miller and the Bakersfield Boys.

All proceeds and donations go directly to the Wounded Warrior Project. Hope to see you there!

— Tomac Henson represents Mission Tattoo.

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Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee Endorses Cathy Murillo for Re-election to City Council

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee is happy to announce the endorsement of Cathy Murillo for re-election to the Santa Barbara City Council.

Murillo has worked to improve the quality of life in Santa Barbara over her first term, concentrating on such issues as youth services, housing, library hours and environmental concerns.

She has a long record of mentoring women to prepare them for leadership positions, and has supported many of the feminist positions of the SBWPC.

You are strongly encouraged to donate and/or volunteer for Murill’s campaign for re-election to the Santa Barbara City Council.

You can find out more information on the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee Endorsement process at our website by clicking here. For more information on Murrillo’s participation on Santa Barbara City Council committees and advisory groups, see the City of Santa Barbara website by clicking here.

— Jill Frandsen represents the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee.

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Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce Welcomes The Food Liaison

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce is inviting the community to a ribbon-cutting to welcome The Food Liaison, a new business located at 1033 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria.

The ribbon-cutting — at 1 p.m. Monday — will be part of The Food Liaison’s grand-opening festivities.

The event is free to the public, and the Carpinteria Valley chamber welcomes community members to stop by and personally welcome Nirasha and Jason Rodriguez to the community.

From a self-taught beginning in the South, Nirasha Rodriguez has been in the restaurant business for 10 years. Throughout the West Coast she has delighted many people in all stages of her career as a sous chef, a private chef, celebrity chef and executive chef.

After strong public demand, she and her husband, Jason, expanded their catering company to include a lunch counter and cooking classes. The love and attention that goes into their food also goes into their selection of staff.

At The Food Liaison, customer service is just as good, if not better than, the food itself. The Rodriguezes chose Carpinteria for their business because they have been longtime locals and, simply put, couldn’t imagine their business anywhere else.

Click here for more information about the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, or call 805.684.5479. Click here to RSVP for Monday’s free event.

— Joyce Donaldson is president and CEO of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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Capps Releases Statement on Supreme Court Decision in King v. Burwell

By | Published on 06/25/2015

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, a former school nurse, issued the following statement Thursday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is great news for the millions of Americans who currently have affordable health insurance because of tax credits available through the Affordable Care Act.

“The intent of Congress was clear — American families who need assistance to make health insurance affordable and accessible should get it, no matter what state they live in.

“While many have tried to use this case to torpedo the Affordable Care Act, I am pleased the court saw through their argument and will be protecting millions of innocent families who could have otherwise lost their health care at the hands of those trying to undo this law.”

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Goleta Residents Hot Over Venoco’s Proposed Drilling Project

By | Published on 06/24/2015

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Oil company hosts two community meetings about its plans to drill six wells ahead of consideration by the State Lands Commission

The recent oil spill off the Gaviota coast gave Goleta residents sufficient ammunition Wednesday to attack Venoco Inc.’s plans to drill six wells into a new area of the South Ellwood Oil Field.

Consensus at one public hearing was that Goleta residents who don't work for the oil company are tired of seeing oil development in their backyards.

The privately owned Santa Barbara County-based oil company presented its proposal during two community meetings — at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. — at the Goleta Valley Community Center, where the State Lands Commission gathered public input ahead of its meeting to rule on the project.

Locals peppered Venoco and state representatives with concerns that a new Ellwood oil operation could cause a large leak or spill — citing the May 19 oil spill near Refugio State Beach, prompted by a ruptured Plains All American Pipeline line transporting crude oil from Venoco and ExxonMobil offshore platforms.

That spill was the reason the State Lands Commission delayed an original public hearing on the South Ellwood Oil Field project, which had been set for late May.

The setback also pushed the deadline to submit comments on the scope of the Venoco environmental impact report documents to next Monday.

At the earlier meeting Wednesday, Venoco representatives confronted a somewhat hostile crowd, which scoffed at their guarantees of the project involving no hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, or any new wells penetrating the ocean floor.

“We are just as disappointed and upset (about the spill) as anyone else,” said Mike Wracher, Venoco’s vice president of new ventures and exploration. “We live in this community. We work in this community.”

Venoco wants to amend one of its state oil and gas leases to expand east and include 3,400 acres in exchange for turning over 3,800 acres in northern and southern portions of nearby leases to the California Coastal Sanctuary, according the company’s application.

Venoco has produced about 75 million barrels of oil from Platform Holly since 1969, and expects to get another 25 million barrels from existing wells. With lease extension, Venoco believes it could get another 60 million barrels through Platform Holly.

Six existing wells on Platform Holly would be redrilled to extend into this new area, and the company would use existing pipelines and processing facilities, including the Ellwood Onshore Facility in Goleta.

Wracher said the lease-line adjustment would benefit both the local economy and the environment, permitting the company to more quickly and efficiently remove remaining oil in the South Ellwood Field without having to extend the life of the wells.

Venoco has safely operated locally since 1992 as a recognized premier operator, he said., adding that the project would provide $1 billion in production royalties and tax revenue to state and local governments.

“This is a hearing on environmental — not economic — impacts,” someone shouted from the back of the stuffy room, to applause and cheers.

Most of the more than 30 public speakers commented on the poor timing of the request, so soon after a local spill.

“I believe it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ another spill will happen,” one resident said.

Research showing what went wrong with the Plains pipeline and subsequent response should be part of the EIR, according to representatives from local environmental groups such as the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Defense Center.

"Economic wealth has zero value when you ruin your home," said Friends of the Ellwood Coast President Christina Lang, who wants the EIR to also cite how the state would address its plan to achieve overarching renewable-energy goals. 

Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Ken Oplinger said his organization likes that the new proposal would quicken oil removal and help decrease pressure on the oil field to limit natural seeps — hoping that the EIR would confirm those facts.

The State Lands Commission has indicated that a draft EIR would be available later this summer or in early fall, when public outreach would continue, said Eric Gillies, assistant chief of the commission’s division of environmental planning and management.

A final EIR will be complete by winter, with the commission consideration in late winter or spring 2016, he said.

Those looking to comment on the scope of the EIR by Monday can send input to Gillies: California State Lands Commission, 1000 Howe Ave., Suite 100, South Sacramento, CA 95825 or email to [email protected].

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

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Pipeline Company CEO Gives Timeline for Refugio Oil Spill Response

By | Published on 06/24/2015

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Lawmakers question why it took Plains All American employees 3½ hours to notify the National Response Center of the equipment failure

It took Plains All American Pipeline employees two hours to visually confirm that oil was indeed spilling out of their own Line 901 last month, the discovery of which prompted one outmatched employee to fight the flow by making a makeshift berm with his shovel.

Those are just a few of the details listed in a letter sent from Plains CEO to several lawmakers probing for answers about the timeline on the day of the Refugio oil spill.

The spill dumped as much as 100,000 gallons into the Pacific Ocean and surrounding beaches last month, and a letter published Wednesday between Plains CEO Greg Armstrong and handful of legislators put some more clarity to the day's events.

Armstrong responded on June 19 to a letter sent on June 5 from U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Edward Markey and Rep. Lois Capps, which outlined questions that still remain for the oil company.

The California Attorney General's Office is one of the agencies investigating the pipeline rupture, and specific details about what Plains knew and when have been shrouded by the ongoing investigation.

In the meantime, Plains has spent almost $100 million in cleanup and response alone, according to company officials who spoke at a press conference Wednesday.  

That number does not include the amount Plains will have to pay for claims, penalties, court proceedings or lost revenues.

About 93 percent of the shoreline has met cleanup goals at this point, and El Capitan State Beach will reopen Friday. Refugio is closed as crews continue to clean oil from the bluffs and shoreline.

The letters that were published Wednesday outlined questions that had to do with Plains' response in the wake of the spill, and Armstrong wrote back that the company has a spill response plan that states the maximum detection and shutdown time for Line 901 is 15 minutes.  

That window of time was exceeded many times over, however, as employees struggled to identify where the spill was coming from.

The lawmakers referenced a corrective order from the oversight agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA.

That order stated that Plains employees detected anomalies in the pipelines at 11:30 a.m. the day of the spill, discovered the failure at 1:30 p.m. and reported the incident to the National Response Center at 2:56 p.m.

Lawmakers wanted to know why it took 3½ hours to notify the center of the spill.

Armstrong responded that the company is providing PHMSA with a second-by-second accounting of what happened during that time and that it would be "premature and inappropriate to provide detail responses" about the timeline while the investigation is ongoing.

He did, however, provide a timeline of events from Unified Command that began when the Las Flores pump was remotely shut down by Plains Midland control room at 11:30 a.m., 12 minutes before the Santa Barbara County Fire Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting an odor.

Just after noon, State Parks staff were alerted to the 9-1-1 call and attempted to locate where the smell was coming from. State Parks and county fire staff met at Refugio State Beach and noticed a sheen on the water.

Ironically, at the same time, Plains representatives and employees from the county's Emergency Management and Fire departments were attending a previously scheduled spill drill at Freeport McMoran's Gaviota Station.

The timeline said that those company representatives were notified of oil on the beach just before 12:30 p.m.

At 12:43 p.m., the National Response Center received notification of the spill, and that shortly after that, company reps and county officials confirmed an oil sheen on the water.

Two Plains employees then left to ride the Line 901 right of way to determine if that was the source of the leak.

"It was not readily apparent from their vantage point near the beach that the oil had originated from Line 901," the timeline said, adding that the line is located uphill from the other side of the highway and oil was not seen running down the slope, highway or across the railroad tracks.

There was a culvert very near the point of release that was discovered later, where oil had traveled under the slope, highway and railroad tracks, the timeline stated.

It was not until about 1:30 p.m. that the company confirmed that the release originated from Line 901.  

The employees began calling Plain's Midland control center to confirm the spill and begin bringing in resources.

"One of the Plains employees attempted to build a makeshift berm with his shovel to prevent additional oil from getting to the culvert and was subsequently assisted in this effort by SBFD personnel," the timeline states.

Plains employees in Bakersfield also began to make notifications to regulatory agencies and several of the calls were duplicated, the timeline states.

To properly notify the National Response Center, Plains employees needed to have the location of the coordinates and an estimate of the volume of oil released.

"While the onsite Plains personnel were busy with the immediate demands and distractions associated with the response, the Plains personnel in the Bakersfield office were not able to reach the on-site employees to get a volume estimate," the report states, but were able to determine the location.

At 2:56 p.m., a Plains Pipeline Bakersfield employee called the NRC and formally notified it of the release, estimating the volume of the spill at 21,000 gallons.

"This contact was in addition to the initial contact received by the NRC at approximately 12:43 p.m." the report states.

The letter from Armstrong also confirms that on the day of the spill, the company saw both its Sisquoc and La Flores pumps shut down at 11:15 a.m. and about 11:30 a.m., respectively.

He also confirmed to lawmakers that Line 901 was not outfitted with an automatic shut-off sensor. The line instead had remote-controlled valves that allow liquid to flow in one direction but not the other.  

Federal guidelines don't require them to evaluate automatic shut-off valves for use, he said, and that installing one could cause "unintended consequences" if an unexpected closure occurred and could cause the line to rupture.

Armstrong also said the company doesn't expect to use automatic shut-off valves on Line 901 after the affected segment is replaced. In fact, the company does not have any automatic shut-off valves on any of the 17,800 miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines it owns.

In a shorter, separate letter to Rep. Capps, Armstrong stated the company has taken another pipeline, Line 903, which carries crude north from Gaviota to Sisquoc, out of service following the Line 901 incident and that "we do not intend to place either Line 901 or Line 903 in service until the investigation is completed, and both Plains and PHMSA agree that the pipelines can be safely returned to service."

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

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Woman Offers Reward for Wedding Ring Lost While in Town for Daughter’s UCSB Graduation

By | Published on 06/24/2015

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Juliette Applewhite says she's hoping someone finds — and returns — her prized possession, given to her by her husband 30 years ago

Juliette Applewhite says her husband isn’t the biggest romantic, but he did propose to her 30 years ago on top of a mountain, and surprised her years later by adding diamonds to one of her most prized possessions — her wedding ring.

That’s why she’s fallen a bit to pieces as of late.

When the Half Moon Bay resident traveled down south earlier this month to attend her daughter’s graduation from UC Santa Barbara, her ring didn’t make the return trip.

The ring has been lost since then despite Applewhite’s best efforts to locate it. She’s called everyone she can think of, placed ads in newspapers and on Craigslist, and pestered every jewelry or pawnshop in the Santa Barbara region.

She hopes telling her story might draw somebody out of the woodwork with good news.

She’s also offering a $5,000 reward to the person who finds it.

“It could’ve been stolen out of the (Santa Barbara) house that we were renting,” Applewhite said. “The other option was I took it off when we were on our way to dinner at Kahuna Grill.

“I think somebody found it. I’m just hoping someone found it.”

Applewhite described the ring as one with diamonds and sapphires around the band, each diamond more than a carat.

Her husband had the wedding and engagement rings soldered together to suit her active lifestyle.

She never takes the ring off, but thinks she might’ve placed it on her lap while rearranging items in her car dashboard on June 12 in the parking lot of Camino Real Marketplace while grabbing food at Kahuna Grill.

Applewhite didn’t notice it was missing until the following day before one of her four daughters graduated with a marine sciences degree.

Camino Real Marketplace officials even sent a team to forage for the ring.

“I’m very grateful to Santa Barbara,” Applewhite said. “I just want my ring back.”

Her husband of 26 years, lauded as the kindest man she’s ever met, wasn’t fretting the loss this week. 

"He said, 'I have my wife and that’s the most important thing,'" a tearful Applewhite said. "'My wife will wear a ring.'"

Anyone with information on the ring’s whereabouts can email Applewhite at [email protected], and she’ll be down in a heartbeat.

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

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Flower Festival Blossoms in Lompoc Valley

By | Published on 06/24/2015

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Five-day event at Ryon Memorial Park includes a parade on Saturday with artichoke grower Steve Jordan serving as grand marshal

As flowers color the fields nearby, Lompoc launched the 63rd annual Flower Festival on Wednesday for its five-day run.

The festival, including a carnival, entertainment, a flower show and food booths, occurs at Ryon Memorial Park, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and O Street, and runs through Sunday.

The 2015 theme is “This Land Is Your Land.”

The annual Flower Festival Parade will roll through the city starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, traveling south on H Street from Pine Avenue, turning west on Ocean Avenue and ending at Ryon Park.

More than 60 entries will participate, with Grand Marshal Steve Jordan riding in a place of honor.

An artichoke grower, Jordan has lived in the Lompoc Valley since 1974. In 1986, he and his brother created a new artichoke variety and continued breaking new ground in the field of growing artichokes.

He continues to grow artichokes and other vegetables plus is a partner in Beachside Produce and Tender Grown Foods. He and his wife, Trish, own Baroda Farms. 

flower fest
Garcia Dance Studio members perform at the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival on Wednesday afternoon. The 63rd annual event continues through Sunday at Ryon Memorial Park. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Festival admission at Ryon Park was free Wednesday, but $3 after 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Parking is available on site for a nominal fee. 

More than two dozen nonprofit groups plus commercial vendors will sell a variety of foods such as funnel cakes, strawberry shortcake, jambalaya, lumpia and tri-tip sandwiches.

Wednesday evening’s opening ceremony came days after the crowning of 2015 Flower Festival Queen Tess Leach on Saturday night.

This year’s festival again will feature a flower show Saturday and Sunday at Ryon Park. The show opens at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and closes at 3 p.m. Sunday. Awards will be handed out at 1 p.m. Saturday.

A full slate of entertainment will include Mirage, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band at 8:30 p.m. Thursday; Queen Nation, a Queen tribute band, at 8:30 p.m. Friday; and Jeffrey Perez, a Michael Jackson impersonator at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

While the number of fields has dropped off in the past couple of decades, colorful arrays still dot the landscape around Lompoc.

A detailed entertainment schedule, parade lineup and more can be found by clicking here.

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

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Judge Rules Former Allan Hancock College Basketball Players to Be Tried on Murder, Other Charges

By | Published on 06/24/2015

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A pair of former Allan Hancock College basketball players will be tried on several charges including murder, armed robbery and residential burglary following a preliminary hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

At the end of the preliminary hearing, Judge Rogelio Flores on Wednesday afternoon found probable cause exists to try Lavell White and Ali Mohammed on the eight counts. The preliminary hearing began Tuesday morning.

The judge ordered both defendants, who remain incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail, to return to court July 6 for arraignment on the charges. 

The men are charged with the fatal shooting of Santa Maria resident Terence Richardson, 23, in a parked car near the intersection of Bradley Road and Jones Street late at night Dec. 30, 2014. 

Investigators say the fatal shooting occurred during a drug buy where the defendants instead tried to rob the dealer, who was the vehicle’s driver, while Richardson sat in the passenger seat. 

The driver raced Richardson to Marian Regional Medical Center, where he died from the gunshot wounds.

Police officers who investigated the homicide testified in court that a former Allan Hancock College football player, Gentry Oden, claimed the defendants robbed drug dealers in prior incidents and burglarized several residences in Santa Maria in the weeks around the shooting.

In one burglary of an apartment at Montiavo at Bradley Square where two Air Force lieutenants lived, the suspects allegedly stole a Macbook Pro laptop, a desktop computer and a gun. 

Under questioning from Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello, investigator Christopher Clement from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office said he talked to one of the lieutenants to track down the serial number of the laptop.

During the follow-up investigation, Clement learned a portable DVD player was missing from another apartment that had been burglarized. 

He also said the apartment complex manager mentioned a third burglary that previously had not been reported since no one lived in that unit at the time the door was bashed in by unknown suspects.

The hearing's last witness, Santa Maria police Detective Shawn Fuggs, said one of the stolen computers was found at a Santa Maria pawn shop, and identified as the missing Mac through the serial number. Fuggs is the lead detective on the investigation and also testified Tuesday.

In addition to murder with special allegations, the two defendants will be arraigned on attempted robbery, two counts of second-degree robbery and four counts of first-degree residential burglary. 

White is represented by defense attorney Addison Steele while Mohammed is represented by Lori Pedego. 

The defendants, then 22 and 19 years old, were arrested Jan. 10.

White, a 6-foot-6 sophomore guard, was a leading scorer for the Bulldogs. He transferred to Hancock over the summer from Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla. He attended Rainier Beach High School in Seattle.

Mohammed, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, played power forward for the Bulldogs.

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

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