Santa Barbara-Goleta, Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Police Issue 144 Citations During Two-Day Crosswalk Enforcement Operation in Santa Barbara, Goleta

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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The Goleta Police Department, along with the Santa Barbara Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, cited a total of 144 drivers for not yielding to pedestrians during a two-day enforcement operation in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and Goleta on Wednesday.

One driver was arrested for driving under the influence, and two cars were towed for drivers operating their vehicles with a suspended license.

Of the 144 citations issued during the two-day pedestrian crosswalk sting, 65 were in Goleta. A deputy dressed in plain clothes from the Goleta Traffic Unit and several civilian volunteers utilized the crosswalk while uniformed motorcycle deputies watched for motorists who did not yield the right of way to the pedestrians when they were well into the crosswalk.

The enforcement period was held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday to target lunchtime traffic at several locations throughout Goleta. The locations were chosen based on the volume of vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, citizen complaints and documented injury collisions. All of the locations selected had a marked crosswalk but no traffic signal. The locations included Cathedral Oaks and Santa Marguerita Drive, Orange Avenue at Hollister Avenue, Hollister Avenue at Chapel Street and the 5700 block of Hollister Avenue in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The fine for this violation can be up to $175. Drivers are prohibited from passing a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. This offense is especially dangerous because pedestrians are all too often lulled into a false sense of security when a vehicle stops for them. The fine for this violation is approximately $400.

Additional crosswalk enforcement will be conducted in the future. The Sheriff’s Department and City of Goleta hope by conducting and publicizing these operations on a regular basis, motorists will be more attentive and will look for pedestrians.

“While we did issue 65 citations in Goleta, the majority of the motorists observed during this operation properly and safely yielded to pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Sgt. Bill Henebry, the Goleta Traffic Unit supervisor.

Goleta Public Safety Director Vyto Adomaitis said, “By using enforcement operations, we can continue to educate the public on safe driving techniques. Our police department has done an outstanding job in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

The City of Goleta contracts with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for police services.

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

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Randi Rabin: Sons’ Aggressive Play Turns Violent; Father of 3 Seeks Help with Drug-Addicted Wife

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Dear Feelings Doctor: I have two sons, ages 11 and 9. They are always wrestling and being active boys. Lately, I have had to take my youngest to the emergency room twice in the same month. I know that this may seem normal, but it is so upsetting to me. My husband says that they are just being boys!

— Help! in Goleta

Dear Help: Boys will always wrestle and be active. There could be a mutual affray, which happens when children close in age are playing too rough. That doesn’t sound like what is happening here.

The problem is when your boys cross over that line of aggressive play to violence. Sit down with your children and be very clear that hurting another person is not OK. I do understand that accidents will happen. The healthy part of playing does not have to include going to the hospital. Have this discussion with your husband, too, so everyone knows exactly what is expected around this issue. Playing with the intent of discovery and fun is normal; playing or wrestling to inflict pain is not appropriate.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I have been married for 18 years, and for the last two years my wife has been hanging out with the wrong people. I found out my wife was doing drugs. I had found some cut-up straws in the bathroom, and I figured she was doing something she shouldn't have. I am against drugs.

One day she got caught stealing a credit card. The first time, we talked about it; then she did it again, but this time it was from a grocery store. She spent 90 days in jail.

I wanted to leave her, but I had to be strong for my three boys. She told me she was going to change, but I don't see any changes. My boys have a lot of hurt in them because when she got arrested it was in front of them.

Please help me with this issue. In the back of my mind, something tells me to leave, but I can't because I have my boys to take care of.

— Dad in Santa Barbara

Dear Dad: This is a sad thing for you and your boys to witness, and you are right, you need to be strong for them. Your wife seems to have a problem, and if she doesn’t get help, this type of lifestyle will bring you and your family down again and again.

You do not have to leave your boys, but you do have a voice in requesting that your wife leave and get help. Being in jail for 90 days hopefully was an eye-opener for her. If not, and she continues her addictive behavior with no positive changes, request that she be the one to leave, and return only when she is healthy and clean, working a program of sobriety.

Your boys are trusting that you will keep them safe. It sounds like that is just what you want to do. Feel free to write me again when you need to. We will keep discussing healthy, positive choices for you and your family. Good luck.

Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.

                                                                        •        •

Imagine This ...

You cannot spend five minutes in the morning affirming that all is well and spend the rest of the day proving that it is not. — Ernest Holmes

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Global Wildlife Decline Demands New Conservation Approach

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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In the 19th century, some scholars say the near-extinction of the American bison led to the near-collapse of midwestern Native American cultures. That other civilizations have been affected in similar ways demonstrates the deep interconnectedness between the health of a society and the health of its wildlife.

In a paper appearing today in the journal Science, an interdisciplinary team of researchers that includes UC Santa Barbara’s Douglas McCauley examines how wildlife decline can result in loss of food and employment, which in turn engenders increased crime and fosters political instability.

“These links are poorly recognized by many environmental leaders,” said McCauley, an assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, who offers other examples of this correlation. “The population crash of cod caused the disintegration of centuries-old coastal communities in Canada and cost billions of dollars in relief aid. The collapse of fisheries in Somalia contributed to explosions in local and international maritime violence.”

According to lead author Justin Brashares, associate professor of ecology and conservation in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, the effects of global wildlife declines drive violent conflicts, organized crime and even child labor, necessitating a far greater collaboration with disciplines beyond conservation biology.

“Impoverished families rely upon wildlife resources for their livelihoods,” he said. “We can’t apply economic models that prescribe increases in prices or reduced demand as supplies become scarce. Instead, more labor is required to capture scarce wild animals and fish, and children are a major source of cheap labor. Hundreds of thousands of impoverished families are selling their kids to work in harsh conditions.”

The paper connects the dots between the rise of piracy and maritime violence in Somalia to battles over fishing rights. What began as an effort to repel foreign vessels illegally trawling in Somali waters escalated into hijacking fishing and then nonfishing vessels for ransom.

The authors compare wildlife poaching to the drug trade, noting that huge profits from the trafficking of luxury wildlife goods such as elephant tusks and rhino horns have attracted guerilla groups and crime syndicates worldwide. They point to the Lord’s Resistance Army, al-Shabab and Boko Haram as groups known to use wildlife poaching to fund terrorist attacks.

McCauley and his colleagues note that solving the problem of wildlife trafficking is every bit as complex as slowing drug trafficking and will require a multi-pronged approach.

“What we don’t want to do is simply start a war on poachers that copies methods being used without great success in our war on drugs,” said McCauley, who began this work as a postdoctoral researcher in Brashares’ lab.

The report stresses the hopefulness of addressing the problems of wildlife loss.

“Fixing social problems that stem from a scarcity of wildlife is different — and fundamentally more hopeful — than fixing social problems that arise from other types of natural resource scarcity,” McCauley said. “With money and good politics we can breed more rhino, but we can’t make more diamonds or oil.”

As potential models for an integrated approach, the researchers point to organizations and initiatives in the field of climate change, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United for Wildlife Collaboration. But they note that those global efforts must also be accompanied by multidisciplinary programs that address wildlife declines at local and regional levels.

As examples, they cite local governments in Fiji and Namibia that head off social tension in their respective countries by granting exclusive rights to hunting and fishing grounds and by using management zones to reduce poaching and improve the livelihoods of local populations.

“This prescribed revisioning of why we should conserve wildlife helps make clearer what the stakes are in this game,” McCauley said. “Losses of wildlife essentially pull the rug out from underneath societies that depend on these resources. We are not just losing species; we are losing children, breaking apart communities and fostering crime. This makes wildlife conservation a more important job than it ever has been.”

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Casa del Herrero Inspires Works by Local Artists for Just Plein Air Fundraiser

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Paintings in the form of oil, watercolor and pastel capture the beauty and history of the Montecito property

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The captivating grounds of Casa del Herrero in Montecito were recently opened to the public for Just Plein Air, one of the two big annual fundraisers held annually at the legendary location.

“We only do a few events each year at the Casa because we’re in a residential community, so we try to make the very most out of them and this is the fourth art event that we’ve had,” said Casa del Herrero Executive Director Molly Barker, who has worked with the organization since 2006.

Artworks capturing specific areas of Casa del Herrero were presented by 14 artists in the forms of oil, watercolor and pastel for bid around the gardens, surrounded by orchards and wooded areas and designed by landscape architects Ralph Stevens, Lockwood de Forest and Francis Underhill.

“We are so pleased to be able to welcome the community to this inspiring event,” Barker said. “We are very fortunate to have so many talented artists showing their work, which truly does document the rich architectural and natural history of Casa del Herrero and other significant locations throughout the area.”

A limited group of 150 guests enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon while sipping on libations and enjoying hors d’oeuvres while serenaded by the flamenco guitar sounds of Chris Fossek — whose mother, Priscilla, was one of the participating artists featured at the event.

The classic George Washington Smith estate was built in 1925 for George and Carrie Steedman on 11 acres and features Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, lush and gorgeous gardens and a collection of 13th- through 19th-century Spanish furniture. Guests were led by docents throughout the grounds and home during the event to peruse this one-of-a-kind experience, and were also able to direct questions to the artists about their works and the sites chosen to capture in art.

The Steedmans moved into the house on the day of Santa Barbara’s 1925 earthquake, when much of State Street and the business district were destroyed.

George Steedman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in engineering and was president of Curtis & Co. in 1915, when the company was awarded an ammunition contract from the British government, and Steedman designed a plant that was able to double production.

In 2009, the property was designated a National Historic Landmark — the most prestigious historical designation in the United States — and the estate is one of the best preserved and historically significant examples of 1920s Montecito estates.

The Plein Air artist’s work helps provide an expression of this important moment in time.

“Kind of the theme of the event, the background of it, is that we consider artists preservationists just like we’re preservationists," Barker said. "They capture places in time and preserve it in that way. And our job is to keep this place as close to its original beauty as possible."

Casa del Herrero, House of the Blacksmith, is a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the house, grounds and collection of antiques, books, drawings horticultural records for public viewing with advance reservations and during select events.

Barker shared with Noozhawk the impact of the ongoing preservationist efforts and costs to maintain the property.

“I think everyone can relate to how much a house costs, period. But then to have an old house is another thing," she said. "We have a 90-year-old house. It’s actually built out of antiques — a lot of the shutters, the tiles and so forth you see are all antiques.

“For simply operating costs, we are at about $600,000 a year, but that is truly not enough because unfortunately with a house this old there’s deferred maintenance. It kind of happens to us all, we kind of tend to put this off. Well, we can’t afford to put anything off.”

Support for Casa del Herrero provides critical funding to maintain, preserve and restore the property and grounds. Membership levels begin at $50 for an individual with two guest passes, including a Patron level at $500 and up to the Director’s Circle of the Casa Society for contributions between $2,500 to $5,000 with benefits such as access to one private daytime or evening loggia for 12 guests.

“It’s always important for us to increase our presence in the community to increase our membership levels, to make friends who are willing to give us extra support,” Barker said. 

Artists for the 2014 event included Meredith Brooks Abbott, Whitney Brooks Abbott, Chris Chapman, Nancy Davidson, James Dow, Priscilla Fossek, Rick Garcia, Wyllis Heaton, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Ann Sanders, Richard Schloss, Frank Serrano and Ralph Waterhouse.

“It is such an honor to show my pieces at this extraordinary event, at this extraordinary venue,” Garcia said. “I truly believe that our paintings in some way help to preserve these places for future generations and document how they change — even in the smallest detail — over time.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz

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UCSB Professor Pleads No Contest to Misdemeanor Charges

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor charges — including battery — related to a confrontation she had with an anti-abortion group on campus in March.

Anger management classes could likely be part of the punishment for Mireille Miller-Young, who switched her plea in Santa Barbara County Superior Court this week and will be formally sentenced Aug. 14, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Miller-Young faced charges of grand theft from a person, battery and vandalism based on the March 4 incident, during which prosecutors allege the professor took a protestor’s sign, committed battery on another protester, and then destroyed the sign.

She originally pleaded not guilty in April.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen, who prosecuted the case, said Miller-Young was not offered a plea deal in the case and would receive whatever sentence the judge hands down.

Zonen said it would likely include an anger management component, a restitution fine and community service — not jail time — since Miller-Young has an otherwise clean record.

"It's whatever the judge feels is the appropriate sentence," he said.

Details about the incident were made public by the Christian anti-abortion group involved in the confrontation, which posted a copy of a UCSB Police report on its website.

The altercation occurred as Miller-Young walked through the Arbor near Davidson Library to her office in South Hall, according to the report posted by Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.

Miller-Young told police she was “triggered” by the graphic images of fetuses on posters displayed by the group, whose members approached her with literature about abortion.

The professor told police she found the literature and pictures “disturbing” and “offensive” because she teaches reproduction rights and because she was pregnant at the time.

The report says Miller-Young demanded the images be taken down as a crowd of students gathered, and she then grabbed a sign from a girl’s hands.

One of the girls from the anti-abortion group chronicled the experience in a blog post, which included pictures of scratches allegedly left on her arm by Miller-Young.

Miller-Young has been a faculty member at UCSB since 2005 and did some postdoctoral work there before that.

She will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 14 in Department 2 of Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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: Graffiti Along Highway 101 a Disgrace

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Dear City of Santa Barbara,

Have you never heard of infrared game cameras? Recent tagging along Highway 101 is repulsive.

I can't believe you can't get a grip on this issue. It's on the center dividers, and it's on walls and fences lining the freeway.

I am a fifth-generation local who commutes to work from Goleta to Carpinteria every day, and seeing this ugly graffiti along my early morning and afternoon drives is so depressing.

Lisa Eggers
Santa Barbara

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Tina Fanucchi-Frontado: Hospice of Santa Barbara Honors Latino Grief Process, Traditions

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Latinos in the United States represent a wide variety of cultures. In the Santa Barbara community, Mexican heritage is the most predominant. Someone may wonder why, other than language, Latino programs would differ from other Hospice of Santa Barbara approaches. Well, in many respects they don’t, but as hospice practitioners our counseling and support services must take into consideration the cultural and religious differences in all communities.

Tina Fanucchi-Frontado
Tina Fanucchi-Frontado

Here are some general attributes to grieving that may exemplify the Latino grief and death experience:

» In many Latino cultures, the entire family is involved in making important life decisions, and there can be a strict family hierarchy that should be honored.

» Traditionally, status is ordered from the older to the younger family members, and from males to females.

» Latino males can be less likely to express their emotions and grief.

» Many Latinos embrace religion and spirituality, as well as a belief in the spiritual and psychological continuity between the living and the dead.

» As part of that spirituality, the family may continue a relationship with the deceased person after death through prayer and visits to the gravesite.

» Most Mexican-Americans are Catholic and consider the funeral an important tradition. Services are heavily attended and led by Catholic priests who honor the recently departed. In many communities, the wake is usually held at the family’s home, where loved ones come to strengthen ties and pay respects to the deceased.

» Children are socialized at a young age to accept death as part of life.

» Family members bring candles to church and light them at the altar following the death of a loved one (and often for years to come).

» Although Mexican-Americans embrace death, it is important for them to say goodbye to loved ones with elaborate funerals and long periods of mourning.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is here to care for everyone in the community coping with loss. Our Latino Family Services offer free counseling, support groups and education to help Spanish (and English) speaking adults, teens and children who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one.

To date this year, Hospice of Santa Barbara has served 215 monolingual Spanish-speaking families in our community. With community support, HSB services to the Latino community will continue to grow with each passing year.

On July 10, Hospice of Santa Barbara celebrated its fourth annual Dia de las Comidas in support of its Latino Family Services. Once again, this event was possible thanks to the generosity of Carlos Lopez-Hollis and family.

The Lopez-Hollis family donated a significant portion of the day’s proceeds to Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Latino Family Services from their three restaurants: Cava Restaurant & Bar in Montecito, Carlitos Café y Cantina in Santa Barbara and Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Santa Ynez.

We thank them from the bottom of our hearts and our stomachs!

— Tina Fanucchi-Frontado is the interim chief executive officer for Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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Art for the Masses: NEH Fellowship Enables UCSB Art Historian to Study Capitoline Museum in Rome

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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In 1734, almost 60 years before the Louvre made its debut in Paris, the Museo Capitolino (Capitoline Museum) opened in Rome. Established under Pope Clement XII, it was the first public art museum of international importance and served as the model for such institutions as we know them today.

Carole Paul
Carole Paul (Spencer Bruttig photo)

How the Capitoline came to be — and how it managed to beat the Louvre by more than half a century — is a question being asked and answered by UC Santa Barbara’s Carole Paul. She recently received a prestigious fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will support a book project on the Capitoline Museum as the archetype of the modern public art museum.

“The book will be about the unrecognized importance of this museum and how it changes our perceptions of the history of public art museums,” she explained.

Misunderstanding the history of these early institutions, she added, impacts the way we view museums today and consider what they should be in the future.

“The widespread notion that the first public art museum was the Louvre, which opened in 1793, conveniently associates the moment of origin with the French Revolution,” said Paul, a lecturer in UCSB’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. “But it simply is not true.”

According to Paul, public art museums began to spring up all over Europe, especially in Italy (the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one example), earlier in the 18th century, which places the Louvre farther back in line rather than front and center, as she has shown in a book she recently edited, The First Modern Museums of Art (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012).

“This revision is important because it displaces the motivation for the emergence of this new type of institution from revolutionary politics onto other factors, such as the internationalization of Enlightenment values and the growth of cultural tourism. There was a long tradition in Rome in the 18th century of private collections that became sort of semi-public museums,” Paul said.

One of the most important, she noted, is the collection of the Borghese family, now at Villa Borghese, about which she has written two books and curated an exhibition at the Getty Research Institute.

“Many elite families had these collections,” she continued. “They were among the premier sights for aristocratic European travelers on the Grand Tour, who went to Rome expressly to visit them.”

In the 1770s, Paul said, the wealthy Borghese family of Rome converted their suburban villa on the Pincian Hill into a space specifically designed to display their collection of ancient and early modern sculpture.

“The spectacular redecoration of the rooms, together with the reinstallation of the collection, had the intended effect of turning the villa into one of the most admired and frequently visited attractions for foreign travelers on the Grand Tour,” she said. “Although not a public museum, strictly speaking, it deliberately addressed a larger, more diverse audience, impressing tourists with a dazzling new idea of what a museum could be. Such spaces were designed to stimulate social interaction — well-to-do visitors from all over Europe met and mixed in front of works of art and were expected to exhibit their knowledge and taste in polite conversation.”

These exchanges were a crucial part of the experience, Paul continued, and visitors were as much on display as the objects, for the museum was, in effect, a stage on which they performed an ideal of enlightened civility.

Even earlier, as more and more people traveled to Rome to visit these collections, the papacy saw the potential for using its own art collections to a similar advantage.

“They saw it as an opportunity to exhibit the great heritage of ancient Rome and to represent themselves as enlightened modern patrons of art,” Paul said. “They also saw it as a way to protect their cultural patrimony.”

So began the Capitoline, the earliest institution to manifest the defining characteristics of the public art museum as it has evolved into the present day.

“The scholarly narrative is that public museums really are about democracy and they were brought about by this ‘modern’ form of government,” Paul noted. “But it’s a combination of tourism and Enlightenment values that gave birth to the Capitoline Museum and thus gave birth to the public art museum.

“It’s a fascinating and underexplored history. Working on private collections and thinking about these museums and thinking about Rome over time, I began to realize that we had gotten the story wrong.”

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Get Oil Out Celebrating 45th Anniversary with ‘Reflections of an Oil Spill’ Art Show

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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"Reflections of an Oil Spill: 45 Years of Art and Activism" is an art show and benefit to be held Aug. 1-30 in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

The show will commemorate the 4½ decades of work to protect the Santa Barbara Channel by Get Oil Out and to honor the efforts of  several “artivists” who combine passion for the environment with art.

The public is invited to a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6. Bud Bottoms, founder of GOO and sculptor of the iconic dolphin fountain at the base of Sterns Wharf, will participate on a panel with other artists and environmentalists. The show will also be part of the First Thursday art walk on Aug. 7.

“Art is a way to reach people in a way that statistics or hard science just can’t match. It can touch to the heart-cords and inspire a deeper connection to nature that will hopefully then lead people to take action on its behalf,” said Hannah Eckberg, past president of Get Oil Out and curator of the art show. “Art can make us want to protect beautiful areas, or see things in a whole new light.”

Other artists participating in the show include Peggy Oki, the Iwerks brothers, Tom DeWalt, members of the Oak Group and SCAPE, and a number of up-and-coming, next-generation artists.

Mavis Muller of Alaska will feature art commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which has left communities devastated to this day. Twelve-year-old Kyle Erickson of Florida will be featured for his display on the oil spill, which won second place in the National History Science Fair competition. A variety of art mediums and perspectives will make this a unique collection.

Proceeds from sales of the art will help fund the work of Get Oil Out.

— Hannah Eckberg is a past president of Get Oil Out.

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United Way of Santa Barbara County Leaders to Get Dunked for a Cause

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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On Thursday, board members, staff and others from the community will have their chance to dunk United Way of Santa Barbara County CEO Paul Didier as well as Steve Ortiz, director of development and marketing.

This lively event will raise funds for United Way’s community programs, which all take place in Santa Barbara County.

The festivities are part of United Way’s giving campaign, encouraging staff to donate to their own organization. This year’s theme is United We Play, highlighting the many ways incorporating play into our lives enhances teamwork, creativity and strategic thinking, among other benefits.

Adding to the fun will be a visit from the Burger Bus, which will be serving food throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Stop by United Way of Santa Barbara County’s offices at 320 E. Gutierrez St. between 10:30 a.m. and noon Thursday to join in on the fun and support your local community!

— Dominique Samario is a development executive for United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray’s Naomi Dewey Recognized Among Top California Attorneys

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Naomi Dewey
caption goes here

Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray attorney Naomi Dewey was recently named a Rising Star by Super Lawyer Magazine.

With this honor, Dewey is recognized of one of the top 2.5 percent of lawyers in California.

Super Lawyer Magazine evaluates outstanding attorneys from over 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of professional achievement.

Dewey specializes in client-focused general counsel and litigation services, working with employers, government entities, private clients, contractors and Realtors.

She is heavily involved in the Santa Barbara legal and business community, having served as Santa Barbara Women Lawyers president in 2009 and on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara chapter.

Currently, she is the second vice president of California Women Lawyers and secretary of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.

Click here for more information about Dewey and the law firm.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray.

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Santa Barbara’s Westside Boys & Girls Club Celebrates Reopening

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Ribbon-cutting ceremony reveals a refurbished gym, a new outdoor patio and a garden

With the cut of a ribbon, Santa Barbara's Westside Boys & Girls Club reopened Wednesday to reveal a newly refurbished multipurpose gym to the excitement of local children and their parents in attendance.

After a year of planning and raising $200,000, mostly from local donors, the Westside Boys & Girls Club showed off its repainted interior, a brick patio area and an education center in addition to the gym. 

James Crook, vice president of the board of the United Boys & Girls Clubs, said he was happy the 47-year-old facility would finally be fully reopened to the children it serves, an average of 200 daily. 

“The only way we're going to change the world is through education,” he said. “It's hard to change the minds of adults. Our job is to reach out to people when they're young and help their education and help them become productive members of society.”

The Westside club has been renovated only one other time since it was built in 1967.

Sal Rodriguez, former executive director for the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, raised $1.2 million in 2002 — the last time it was renovated.

Rodriguez, who has worked with the organization for more than 30 years, said he was proud to see the club able to better serve the underprivileged children of the Westside neighborhood.

“When you look at the demographics of this area, you begin to see how valuable an organization like this can be to an area like this,” he said. “We believe the kids that go through our program become good citizens because they don't forget the good times they had here. That's our goal.”

One of those kids is Matthew Alexander Marquis.

Marquis, 15, who was an honored guest at the ribbon cutting, said he heard the club needed help gathering supplies and offered to help, in an effort to earn his way into the Eagle Scouts. He sent out an email flier and canvassed the community, including members of his church and the families of fellow Boy Scouts.

Thanks to his efforts, the community donated games, two flat-screen televisions, furniture and an LCD projector, among other items. 

“I'm very happy,” he said. “I heard that this is a very disadvantaged community, and I wanted to give back to the kids here in any way I could.”

Major donors included the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara, Dunn-Edwards Paints and the Bohnett family.

Lynda Bohnett said her family has made it a project to help the club, adding that they planned to remodel the kitchen, which she hopes will be done by the first of the year.

The club is part of a network that includes CarpinteriaGoleta, Lompoc and Camp Whittier locations that serve 7,000 kids throughout Santa Barbara County. 

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

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Jill’s Place in Santa Barbara Reopens One Year After Devastating Fire

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Owner Jill Shalhoob says she's grateful for loyal customers who appreciate the restaurant's new look after an extensive renovation

Vacation was a rare treat, relaxing time off that Jill Shalhoob earned working six days a week at her Santa Barbara restaurant, managing longtime employees and schmoozing customers who know her as the local butcher’s daughter.

Shalhoob finally found the time last May. She flew out on a Thursday and checked into what was supposed to be a one week’s stay at a beachside condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Her revelry was rudely interrupted early the next morning at 3 a.m. by a frantic text message from a customer who lived near Jill’s Place, Shalhoob’s 27-year-old restaurant at 623 Santa Barbara St.

“The restaurant is on fire,” the neighbor had written in all capital letters.

A two-alarm blaze had ripped through Jill’s Place, gutting the kitchen and causing severe smoke damage to the rest — thankfully when the eatery was empty.

So ended the beach getaway.

Shalhoob was on the first flight back Friday morning, weighing whether she should completely remodel a restaurant with thousands of dollars in damages.

“Having everything stop so suddenly with no plan … that’s kind of disruptive,” Shalhoob told Noozhawk. “I’ve been working my whole life. How do you come back? I had such good feedback from customers. These people wanted this restaurant back.”

Finding her answer, Jill’s Place underwent an extensive renovation before reopening for lunch on May 10 — the anniversary of the devastating fire.

Dinner service followed last month, and loyal locals are once again funneling through the dining room and bar for old favorites and a couple of new menu items.

Jill’s Place is known for its fine cuts of meat, largely because the restaurant sells Shalhoob Meat Company fare. Shalhoob’s father, Jerry Shalhoob, founded that business at the current Jill’s Place location in 1973 before it expanded and moved to the larger space at 220 Grey Ave., where it operates today.

A fourth-generation Santa Barbaran, Shalhoob began working in her father’s butcher shop at a young age before graduating from Santa Barbara High School and then opening Shalhoob Deli & Catering in 1987 as a 23-year-old with zero restaurant experience.

Locals started calling it Jill’s Place, so the name stuck. Fifteen years later, Shalhoob expanded into a full-service restaurant and closed down for a month of renovations.

That was her longest hiatus from work until last year.

“A year is a long time,” Shalhoob said, sitting in the dining room of her restaurant on a recent evening just before the dinner rush. “It was an opportunity to do it the way I wanted. We created a local spot.”

A linen basket that spontaneously combusted in a utility room behind the kitchen caused the fire, Shalhoob said she later learned from investigators.

In addition to a fully upgraded and open kitchen, the Jill’s Place dining area got a facelift customers say makes the restaurant lighter and brighter — new and improved.

“I guess it just feels different,” she said.

A new light-up sign still broadcasts “Butcher’s Daughter” on the wall, and Shalhoob continues to receive a steady stream of hugs from locals who appreciate the reopening.

Shalhoob returns thanks, especially since construction took six months longer than she had originally hoped.

She doesn’t mind coming into work six days a week these days, but she’s thinking about hiring a night manager to take on some of the load.

Noticeably lost in thought — probably reminiscing about that oceanside view — Shalhoob said she’d like to vacation in Maui or back to Mexico sometime this fall.

“I’m due for one,” Shalhoob said, smiling. “Actually, I’m due for two.”

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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Survey: Strong Support for Global Warming Law Tempered by Concerns About Gas, Electricity Prices

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Majorities of Californians oppose increased fracking but favor Keystone XL pipeline

Most Californians support the state’s landmark law mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

More specifically, strong majorities support two aspects of the state’s efforts to address global warming: a requirement that oil companies produce cleaner transportation fuels, and the goal that a third of California’s electricity come from renewable energy sources. But residents’ support declines significantly if these two efforts lead to higher gas prices or electricity bills.

About two-thirds of Californians (68 percent) support the state law, AB 32, which requires California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Strong majorities have favored this law since the survey first asked about it in July 2006, but a partisan divide has emerged on the question. While most Democrats, Republicans and independents favored the law in 2006, support since then has increased 14 points among Democrats (from 67 percent to 81 percent today) and dropped 26 points among Republicans (from 65 percent to 39 percent today). Support has dipped slightly among independents (from 68 percent to 62 percent today). A strong majority of Californians (65 percent) favor the state making its own policies to address global warming.

One explanation for Californians’ consistent support for state action on global warming is that relatively few (26 percent) think that these efforts will lead to job losses. Most say the state’s efforts will result in more jobs (39 percent) or won’t affect the number of jobs (27 percent).

Beginning next year, oil companies in California must comply with the state’s cap-and-trade rules by either producing transportation fuels with lower emissions or buying emissions allowances or offsets. Some argue that this will increase gas prices, while others say any increase would be small. A large majority of Californians (76 percent) favor this requirement, but support declines to 39 percent if the result is higher prices at the pump.

A strong majority of adults (76 percent) favor a state law passed in 2011 that calls for a third of California’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. But support declines to 46 percent if meeting this goal means paying more for electricity.

Summing up, Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, said: “Californians want to see government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but their strong support for clean energy policies diminishes if they have to pay higher electricity bills or gas prices.”

Most Californians say global warming is a very serious (49 percent) or somewhat serious (31 percent) threat to the economy and quality of life for California’s future. Democrats (59 percent) are much more likely than independents (43 percent) or Republicans (26 percent) to consider the threat very serious. Across racial/ethnic groups, whites (43 percent) are the least likely to say the threat is very serious (50 percent Asians, 54 percent blacks, 57 percent Latinos). Also more likely to see the threat as very serious: Californians under age 55, those with only a high school education or less, and those with household incomes less than $40,000.

Reflecting the view that global warming is a threat, 61 percent of Californians say the state government should act right away on its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than wait for the economy and job situation to improve. Support for taking immediate action is lower among likely voters (52 percent).

Divided on Cap-and-Trade, Majority Favor Carbon Tax

Although the state’s cap-and-trade system took effect in 2012, awareness of this program is not high among Californians. Just 13 percent say they have heard a lot about it, while 32 percent have heard a little and 55 percent have heard nothing at all about this system, which sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Awareness is higher among likely voters (24 percent heard a lot, 39 percent a little, 37 percent nothing at all). After being read a brief description, Californians are more likely to favor (51 percent) than oppose (40 percent) the program. Likely voters are slightly more likely to oppose it (43 percent favor, 50 percent oppose). Opposition is highest (66 percent) among those who have heard a lot about cap-and-trade. There is majority support among those who have heard a little (56 percent) or nothing at all (53 percent) about the program.

Under a recent agreement between the governor and legislature, 25 percent of the revenues generated by the cap-and-trade program will be spent on high-speed rail, 35 percent on other mass transit projects and affordable housing near transit, and the rest for other purposes. When asked about this plan, 59 percent of adults and 51 percent of likely voters say they favor it.

State government is relying on the cap-and-trade program to meet the emissions reductions goals set by AB 32, but some argue that another effective method would be to tax companies for the carbon pollution they emit. About half of Californians (52 percent) say they have heard a lot (16 percent) or a little (36 percent) about this type of carbon tax. Awareness is higher among likely voters (64 percent heard a lot or a little). Asked if they would favor a carbon tax, 58 percent of all adults and 54 percent of likely voters say yes.

On other energy policies, overwhelming majorities of adults favor requiring automakers to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of cars sold in the U.S. (85 percent) and increasing federal funding to develop wind, solar, and hydrogen technology (78 percent). Most residents (64 percent) oppose building more nuclear power plants — as they have since the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. A slim majority of adults (51 percent) oppose allowing more oil drilling off the California coast, while 46 percent are in favor. Opposition to offshore drilling was slightly higher in 2010 (59 percent), after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

54 Percent Oppose More Fracking; 53 percent Favor Keystone Pipeline

As debates continue over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at least half of adults (54 percent oppose, 36 percent favor) and likely voters (50 percent oppose, 40 percent favor) oppose this method of oil and natural gas extraction. Majorities oppose fracking in the San Francisco Bay Area (61 percent), Central Valley (56 percent), Los Angeles (55 percent) and Orange/San Diego (55 percent). Residents of the Inland Empire are divided (43 percent favor, 42 percent oppose).

Asked about another contentious issue — building the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from Canada to refineries in Texas — majorities of California adults (53 percent) and likely voters (58 percent) express support. Most Republicans (73 percent) and independents (56 percent) favor building the pipeline, while half of Democrats (50 percent) oppose it (39 percent favor).

Droughts, Wildfires Top Worries About Effects of Global Warming

Is global warming already having an impact? Yes, say 62 percent of Californians. About a quarter (23 percent) say global warming’s effects will be felt in the future, and 12 percent say they will never happen. A strong majority say they are very concerned (40 percent) or somewhat concerned (34 percent) about global warming. Only about a quarter are not too concerned (11 percent) or not at all concerned (15 percent).

Asked about some of the possible effects of global warming in California, majorities say they are very concerned about droughts (64 percent) or wildfires (61 percent) that are more severe. Fewer express this level of concern about heat waves that are more severe (44 percent) or rising sea levels (32 percent). Across regions, residents of the Central Valley are the most likely to be very concerned about droughts (72 percent) and residents of the Inland Empire are the least likely (57 percent).

Most Say Water Districts Should Require Residents to Use Less

In response to an open-ended question, 35 percent name water supply or drought as the most important environmental issue facing California today. This represents an increase of 27 points since July 2011, and the first time in environmental surveys dating back to 2000 that air pollution has not been the top issue. Today, 14 percent mention air pollution, down 13 points since 2011. Amid reports of worsening drought conditions, 54 percent of Californians say water supply is a big problem in their part of the state, 25 percent say it is somewhat of a problem, and only 21 percent say it is not much of a problem. Regionally, Californians living on the coast (52 percent) are about as likely as those living inland (58 percent) to say that water supply is a big problem in their areas.

In yet another measure of their concern about drought, strong majorities of residents (75 percent) and likely voters (70 percent) say they favor their local water districts requiring residents to reduce water use. Residents across the state are in favor, with those in Los Angeles (80 percent) the most supportive.

What do Californians think is the primary cause of the drought? Half (51 percent) say it is natural weather patterns, 38 percent say it is global warming.

“Many Californians are very concerned that global warning will lead to more severe droughts," Baldassare said, "yet most believe that the current water crisis is a result of natural weather patterns.”

Asked about the cause of the state’s current wildfires, 55 percent of residents say they are mostly the result of natural weather patterns and 31 percent say the primary cause is global warming.

The legislature continues to discuss downsizing an $11.1 billion state bond for water projects that is currently on the November ballot. How would residents vote on the measure with a price tag of $11.1 billion? A majority (61 percent) would vote yes (22 percent no), as would about half of likely voters (51 percent yes, 26 percent no). When those who would vote no are asked how they would vote if the bond were a smaller amount, support increases by 8 points for both adults (69 percent yes, 14 percent no) and likely voters (59 percent yes, 18 percent no). Asked how important it is that voters pass the state water bond, 46 percent say it is very important and 30 percent say it is somewhat important (likely voters: 44 percent very important, 24 percent somewhat important).

More Key Findings

» Brown leads Kashkari, 52 percent to 33 percent, among likely voters — In the governor’s race, Jerry Brown has the support of 80 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents, while challenger Neel Kashkari has the support of 70 percent of Republicans.

» Brown’s job approval holds steady — Majorities of Californians (53 percent) and likely voters (56 percent) approve of the governor’s job performance. The legislature’s job approval rating is 38 percent among adults and 31 percent among likely voters.

» Obama’s approval rating stays near its record low in California — President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 50 percent among adults and 47 percent among likely voters. Congress continues to have low approval ratings among Californians (22 percent adults, 15 percent likely voters).

About the Survey

This PPIC Statewide Survey is the 14th on the environment since 2000. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,705 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from July 8-15. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences.

The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.7 percent for all adults, plus or minus 4 percent for the 1,408 registered voters and plus or minus 4.7 percent for the 984 likely voters.

Click here to view the complete survey.

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Santa Barbara Finishes Fiscal Year with Strong Transient Occupancy Tax Growth

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara collected approximately $1.67 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues in June, a 7.9 percent increase over the same month last year.

This increase is below the growth rates realized most of the year, which may be attributable to the fact that this June had one fewer weekend day than June 2013.

June marks the final month in the city’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. TOT revenues finished the year at $16.82 million, representing a growth rate of 14.6 percent for the year.

These year-end results are in line with the city’s revised TOT budget projections used to develop the TOT revenue estimates contained in the recently adopted fiscal year 2015 budget.

Click here for additional information on transient occupancy tax results.

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

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Temps May Hit Record Highs in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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New heat records could be set in Santa Barbara County heading into the weekend, which will warm up because of sundowner winds and a high pressure system.

Previous high temperature records will be most vulnerable Thursday, when downtown Santa Barbara is expected to heat up to 93 degrees and Santa Maria will warm to nearly 80, according to Scott Sukup, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Those highs could topple Santa Barbara’s 82-degree record, set in 2006, or at least match the 84 degrees Santa Maria recorded in 2006.

“It stays pretty warm through the weekend,” Sukup said, noting that temperatures will linger in the low 80s and upper 70s throughout the county.

Temperatures in the Santa Ynez Valley were forecast to remain in the 90s all weekend.

There is a wind advisory issued for the county's South Coast through midnight Wednesday, which is when Sukup says the risk of sundowner winds would begin decreasing. 

Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour were expected, mostly in the canyon and passes areas, he said.

Claiming a place in the record books is less likely this weekend, when Santa Barbara and Santa Maria both simmer back to highs near 80 degrees.

The heat records for Santa Barbara this weekend include 89 for Friday (set in 1979) and 96 for Saturday (1977), according to National Weather Service data. In Santa Maria, the record for Friday is 87 (2006) and 89 for Saturday (1977).

Sukup said locals could expect temperatures to warm up again by the middle of next week, climbing into the mid-80s.

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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Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara Hosts Scholarship Dinner

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara held its annual scholarship dinner at Vista del Monte in the spring.

High school and college students interested in becoming teachers were honored with scholarships.

The evening began with a dinner, followed by entertainment by the San Marcos Madrigals before the scholarships were presented.

— Nancy Knight is the scholarship chairwoman for the Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara.

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Illegal Food Vendor Enforcement Planned During Old Spanish Days

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Due to public health concerns stemming from the increasing presence of illegal food vendors around the Old Spanish Days Fiesta parades and venues, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be strictly enforcing state and local ordinances pertaining to roving food vending during this year’s Fiesta.

Violators may be arrested or cited and may have their property, including money, seized as evidence of their illegal activity.

The following is a summary of some of the ordinances that will be enforced; for full descriptions please refer to the respective codes.

Santa Barbara Municipal Code 5.32.040, Permit Required

It shall be unlawful for any peddler or solicitor to peddle or solicit within the city without a permit issued by the tax and permit inspector.

Santa Barbara County Code of Ordinances Section 16-23, Health Permit Required

No person shall conduct, operate, or open to the public any business, occupation, activity or vending machine, whether or not at a fixed location, without having first obtained a health permit.

California Retail Food Code (Health & Safety Code) 114381(a), Permits

A food facility shall not be open for business without a valid permit.

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

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Jury Finds Lompoc Wrestling Coaches Innocent of Battery

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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A judge ruled Wednesday that two former Cabrillo High School coaches were “factually innocent” of a battery charge stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler who claimed they gave him a “beatdown.”

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali's ruling came after a jury found former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles not guilty of misdemeanor battery of a minor on school grounds. The jury also rejected a lesser charge of assault.

The former wrestling coaches initially were charged with three misdemeanors .However, the judge on Tuesday dismissed the two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, leaving jurors to decide just one count.

Immediately after the jury’s verdict Wednesday afternoon, Rigali ruled in favor of the defense attorneys’ motion to find both men did not commit any crime in the case.

The ruling “removes the stain” of the allegations by sealing the records so the charges won’t come up during a background investigation or law enforcement check, according to defense attorney Michael Scott, who represented Johnson.

“That was a good result,” Scott said after the jury’s verdict and judge’s ruling.

Giles attorney, Adrian Galvan from the Public Defender’s Office, said that since the beginning of the case he felt his client hadn’t committed any crime.

He also said he didn’t know what prompted the District Attorney’s Office to proceed with the case. 

“I would say it seems as though the DA’s Office believes the community interest or a desire to make an example out of the coaching staff and pressure from Fabian’s family probably drove his prosecution,” Galvan said referring to the sophomore wrestler who claimed he was the victim of a “beatdown.”

District Attorney Joyce Dudley said she stands by the decision to file the charges against the two coaches.

"We filed these charges because we believed the victim and we felt we had the evidence to prove this unpopular case," Dudley said. "I accept both the Court's ruling and the jury's verdict but I stand by our office's decision to file this case as charged."

Johnson said was glad the facts of the case came out during the trial.

“I’m happy with it,” Johnson said as a smiling Giles stood nearby.

When a sophomore wrestler Fabian got into an off-campus fight on the heels of poor grades and unexcused absences from practice, the head coach told the team captains — Nico, Jose and Kodey — to “deal with it.” On Dec. 9, the three captains said, they talked to Fabian and decided among themselves to hold an unsanctioned ironman that involved each taking a turn grappling with him.

In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco said the coaches spurred the team captains into disciplining their fellow wrestler, telling the jury, “sometimes in life things aren’t as direct and obvious as they appear.”

Greco urged the jurors to “hold these two coaches accountable for putting this chain of events in motion.”

The teen received a bloody nose plus swollen eyes, bruises and scrapes, according to the prosecutor.

But defense attorneys said the prosecutor didn’t prove the two coaches did anything to prompt the team captains to do more than talk.

“This isn’t a cult,” Scott said during his closing argument. “It’s a wrestling program.”

The coach instructed the team captains to talk to Fabian for peer counseling, and didn’t order them to commit an act of battery.

“This was not a beatdown,” Scott said. “This was wrestling.”

As he left the wrestling room where the team captains and Fabian remained, Giles told them not to leave facial marks

“Fabian said, ‘He was kind of laughing about it,’” Galvan said during his closing argument.

At least one team captain also testified Giles made the comment in a joking manner, Galvan noted.

“There is no other reason for Mr. Giles to before you but for ‘no facial marks,’” Galvan said.

The wrestling program that Johnson led was well respected, Scott said, adding the Fabian’s allegations damaged its reputation.

“You can now correct part of that injustice,” Scott told the jurors.

Scott contended Fabian had an incentive to exaggerate about the the ironman. Before criminal charges, the teen’s mom filed a claim against the coaches plus the Lompoc Unified School District.

A “timid” school district settled the civil claim, Scott told the jury, later saying the agency paid approximately $31,000.

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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Kathryn Bazylewicz Joins Cottage Health System as VP of Marketing

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Kathryn Bazylewicz
Kathryn Bazylewicz

Kathryn Bazylewicz has joined Cottage Health System as the new vice president of marketing.

Bazylewicz brings 25 years of marketing expertise to this executive management role at Cottage Health System. Her leadership responsibilities will encompass strategic, data-driven marketing to include public and media relations, community relations and communications for all hospitals and affiliates within Cottage Health System.

Bazylewicz reports directly to Ron Werft, president and chief executive officer for Cottage Health System.

Prior to joining Cottage, Bazylewicz served as the vice president of marketing and development at Hospital Corporation of America South Atlantic Division based in Charleston, S.C. In this position, she was responsible for the marketing of 10 hospitals in three states.

She has also held director of marketing roles at Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford, Ore., as well as Southern Oregon University, and she was the executive director of operations and marketing for the Consortium for Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education and Training at Michigan State University.

Bazylewicz earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications and a master's degree in public relations with an emphasis in marketing at Michigan State University.

— Maria Zate is the manager of marketing and public affairs for Cottage Health System.

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30-Year Veteran Named New Lompoc Police Chief

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The City of Lompoc announced Wednesday that it has hired a new police chief who most likely will take the post in September.

Patrick Walsh
Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh, who goes by Pat, has been appointed to replace retiring Police Chief Larry Ralston, who served as chief for two years, City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said in a statement.

Walsh is currently a captain with the Portland, Ore., Police Bureau and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, first serving eight years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and the last 22 years with the Portland Police Bureau.

Walsh grew up in Camarillo and has family on the Central Coast.

“I am very excited to work for the citizens and staff of Lompoc,” Walsh said in a statement. “Lompoc police have an excellent reputation in the law enforcement world, and I look forward to continuing that tradition. I have always enjoyed the Central Coast, and Lompoc has always been one of my favorite places.”

Walsh's current assignment in Portland involves overseeing the Tactical Operations Division, which includes units like gang enforcement, explosives disposal, Special Emergency Response Team, gun task force, crisis negotiations team and air support.

His prior areas of responsibility have included overseeing the department's patrol division, Department of Justice Compliance, and the Office of Accountability and Professional Standards, the statement said.

Walsh also has experience working in narcotics and vice units, including as an undercover narcotics investigator, and street patrol.

“We were blessed to have a talented pool of police chief candidates to choose from, but the consensus of those involved in the interview process was that Pat Walsh was the best fit for the needs of the Lompoc community and for the Lompoc Police Department,” Wiemiller said. “These are exciting times for Lompoc in terms of economic growth and public safety enhancement, and I am pleased to have Pat Walsh as part of our leadership team in the coming years.”

Walsh has a bachelor’s degree in management, communication and leadership from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Walsh and his wife, Catherine, have been married for 29 years, and they have two adult children, Matthew, 28, and Lauren, 24.

The city said it will be completing a rigorous background check, and expects Walsh to start in September. 

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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Victor Dominocielo: Let’s Teach Scientific Literacy at Every Age, Every Opportunity

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Two scientists from Lawrence Livermore Labs excitedly called James Randi of the James Randi Educational Foundation and said he would have to forfeit the $1 million prize money that he offers for proof of any psychic phenomenon.

In this case, the scientists had “verified” an instance of telekinesis using only the power of the mind. Randi listened to their description and was immediately able to duplicate the trick that had fooled the Ph.D. physicists. Click here to view the video.

LLL is chock full of the best scientists on Earth. It is the poster child for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, which is currently emphasized in our school system. The scientists who were fooled by the magician's trick are outstanding engineers, chemists and physicists in their particular fields of study.

But isn’t there something very wrong with this situation: Ph.D.-level scientists who can’t tell the difference between an astounding brain function discovery and a simple magic trick? My 13-year-old students would have known immediately that they were observing a trick. They might not have known how to explain the trick, but they would have known that it was a trick by simply asking the “What’s more likely?” question: What am I more likely observing, a new superpower of the mind or a magician's trick?

I can only conclude that being awarded a Ph.D. in a scientific field of study is no guarantee of scientific literacy. I can only fault myself and other science educators for producing Ph.D.-level scientists who are not able to distinguish between scientific and nonscientific processes. This is a blatant lapse of basic science education.

“It is possible for a student to accumulate a fairly sizable science knowledge base without learning how to properly distinguish between reputable science and pseudoscience” (“Science Education Is No Guarantee of Skepticism,” Walker, Hoekstra, Vogel).

Instead of being taught a broad understanding of the use of scientific thinking in everyday life, these scientists are the product of an educational system that focuses on the narrow application of laboratory skills. Experimental laboratory skills are certainly very important but not at the expense of ignoring the application of scientific thinking in all areas of life. What is needed is an appreciation and an in-depth understanding of scientific literacy.

Scientific literacy is a functional competency in the methodology of science. In a practical sense, it is comprised of:

» Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the basic tool used to gather scientific information: your brain. This includes common cognitive mistakes and fallacies that influence the gathering of scientific evidence.

» Ability to recognize the difference between scientific and nonscientific processes.

» Ability to apply the scientific process in the observation and examination of evidence.

» Ability to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and methods.

Ask any science teacher about the most important and critical skill in science, and each and every one of us would definitively say “experimentation.” As this rationale became incorporated into our educational system over the last 40 years, experimentation became the be all, end all, must do all, hands-on splinter skill. Sacrificed on the altar of “laboratory experimentation” was the rich history, development and the how and why of scientific thinking in everyday life that is scientific literacy.

“Science education, in its current form, seems to do little to offset pseudoscientific beliefs, and may in fact give students reason to accept science fiction as science fact” (Walker, et. al, 2012).

Every science course at every educational level should be teaching scientific literacy. Even coursework in nonscience courses such as English, history and social studies should include a generalized scientific methodology that can be applied to any question, investigation and the gathering of evidence in any field of study. Questions like: “How do historians gather evidence?”; “What are the hypotheses surrounding the writings of Shakespeare?”; “How do psychologists gather evidence given that people feel, believe and misperceive?”

In sciences courses, after being exposed to the specific experimental methodology in that field, students should learn the developmental history of that science, how mistakes were made and how scientific methodology kept pointing scientists to a more accurate understanding of our world.

The next stage of a deep and robust science education should include how the brain processes information and the strengths and weaknesses of this incredible tool. Understanding the limits of perception, memory and common cognitive fallacies produces a student less likely to fool themselves and confuse their beliefs and emotions with evidence.

Throughout every science class, students should learn how to examine the quality of evidence that they see every day on TV, the computer and social media in the form of advertising that makes unsupportable claims.

Let’s give everyone a good “Baloney Detection Kit,” originally penned by Carl Sagan in his book The Demon-Haunted World and refined here by Michael Shermer.

» 1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
» 2. Does the source make similar claims?
» 3. Have the claims been verified by someone else?
» 4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
» 5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
» 6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
» 7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
» 8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
» 9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
» 10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

There is so much lack of scientific literacy in our world today. Sheer nonsense is given such credibility on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and even National Geographic TV. Everything from ghosts, witchcraft, Bigfoot, space aliens, drinkable sunscreen, magical alternative medicine, crop circles, astrology, psychic readings, pyramid powers, crystals and energy auras are given pseudoscientific plausibility.

Let’s start changing this situation by teaching our children sense from nonsense. Let’s teach our children scientific literacy at every age and at every opportunity.

— Victor Dominocielo, M.A., a California-credentialed teacher for 37 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. He earned his master of arts degree in education from UCSB. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Ed Fuller: International Buyers, Chinese Buyers and American Real Estate

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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A recent National Association of Realtors report, "2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity," presents data gathered on purchases of U.S. residential real estate by international clients made during the 12 months ending in March.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

For the period April 2013 through March 2014, the total sales volume to international clients (“international sales”) was estimated at approximately $92.2 billion, a 35 percent increase from the previous period’s level of $68.2 billion. The dollar level of international sales was roughly 7 percent of the total U.S. Existing Homes Sales (EHS) market of $1.2 trillion for the same period.

Four states accounted for 55 percent of the total reported purchases — Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. Florida remained the destination of choice, claiming a 23 percent share of all foreign purchases. California was second with 14 percent.

According to a 2013 survey by the California Association of Realtors, Los Angeles County was the top location in the state with 35 percent of the international buyers purchasing properties there. International buyers also purchased homes in Orange (22 percent), San Diego (20 percent), Riverside (14 percent), Contra Costa (7 percent) and Santa Clara (7 percent) counties.

In the NAR report, five countries (Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom) accounted for 54 percent of the reported transactions in the recent study. Canada was the top source of international clients in terms of transactions volume, but China accounted for the largest sales dollar volume because of the higher average price of properties purchased by Chinese buyers. Chinese buyers tended to buy properties in higher-priced markets such as California, Washington and New York, while Canadians bought in lower-priced markets such as Florida and Arizona.

The NAR estimates that the total international sales from Chinese buyers rose to $22 billion in the 12 months ended in March, up from $12.8 billion in the prior period. This accounts for about 24 percent of the total international dollar sales but only 12 percent of all U.S. homes purchased by foreign citizens last year. In California, 35 percent of the international buyers had permanent residences in China or Hong Kong.

Although China’s currency controls appeared to allow its citizens to move only $50,000 a year out of the country, an unpublicized program offered by some banks in the southern province of Guangdong, across the border from Hong Kong, known as Youhuitong, was introduced in 2011 for overseas property purchases and emigration. As this program recently gained media attention in China by allegations of money laundering, the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, has suspended the program pending a full investigation.

This may have a serious impact on Chinese real estate purchases in California, now and in the future. Or, if this program obtains full official sanction, it could create an even larger wave of Chinese real estate purchases in California.

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

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County Firefighters Battle Structure Fire Near Buellton

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Fire crews were responding Wednesday afternoon to a structure fire south of Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Capt. David Sadecki said fire crews were called around 12:15 p.m. to a report of a structure fire at a building located on a ranch in the 7200 block of Santa Rosa Road.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a 200-square-foot building fully involved, and crews quickly prevented the one-alarm fire from spreading to another nearby building, Sadecki said.

He said no vegetation was burned, and firefighters were able to put out the fire around 12:30 p.m.

The adjacent building contained $500,000 in restored automobiles, he noted. 

There were no injuries during the incident and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Check back with Noozhawk for more information.

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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Flagstone Pantry Opens at Santa Barbara Public Market

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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In 2012, Flagstone Pantry Inc. was launched on a hunch that the opportunity to bake goods for a local coffee house could turn into much more. Did it ever! Flagstone Pantry has opened a full kitchen and retail outlet at the Santa Barbara Public Market, offering freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

In addition to baked goods like the crowd-pleasing Cowboy Cookie and seasonal fruit pies, the new location offers a range of healthy soups, sandwiches, salads, dips and dressings prepared fresh daily, for customers to enjoy at work, at home or at the market.

Flagstone Pantry relies on a mix of organic, sustainable, local and natural foods supplied by trusted sources. A commitment to using high-quality ingredients and cooking from scratch prevails throughout the kitchen.

“The Santa Barbara Public Market is a gathering place for locals and tourists to enjoy the best our region has to offer in terms of food, wine and community," local chef/owner Kristen Desmond said regarding the decision to locate at the Santa Barbara Public Market. "As a neighbor, chef and small-business owner, I can’t think of a better home for Flagstone Pantry.”

The new location at 38 W. Victoria St., Unit 108, is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Special orders may be placed for family-style servings of main dishes, sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Individual servings of soup costs $5 or $10, sandwiches and main dishes are $8.95, and salads are $5 or $8.95.

For more information, contact Flagstone Pantry at 805.617.4568 or online by clicking here.

— Kristen Desmond is the local owner and chef for Flagstone Pantry.

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Hardy Diagnostics Employees Earn Key Microbiology Certification

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Hardy Diagnostics, an employee-owned company in Santa Maria, is pleased to announce the certification of Christopher Massey, R&D manager; Kerry Davies Pierce, technical services manager; and Rianna Malherbe, R&D microbiologist/technical support specialist as registered microbiologists in pharmaceutical and medical device microbiology with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.

To earn the NRCM credential, these candidates first met rigorous educational and experiential eligibility requirements and passed a comprehensive written examination attesting to their knowledge and skills in pharmaceutical and medical device microbiology.

The NRCM, founded in 1958, is a voluntary certifying body that has certified microbiologists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and on six continents. The goals of the NRCM are to minimize risk to the public by identifying qualified microbiologists; encourage mastery of microbiological knowledge and skills that contribute to improving the human condition; and foster professional pride and a sense of accomplishment in qualified microbiologists.

Employers use NRCM certification to distinguish their company and attest to their employees’ competency.

For more information about the NRCM or other programs of the American College of Microbiology, click here or contact the college at certification@asmusa.org.

Mike Welch represents Hardy Diagnostics.

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Santa Barbara Water Users Make Substantial Cutbacks in June

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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City officials say demand dropped 15 percent last month, bringing overall conservation totals to 7 percent since March

Santa Barbara residents reduced water usage by 15 percent in June, putting the city closer to its conservation goal put in place for the region's extreme drought, officials announced Wednesday.

The past three years have been the driest consecutive years on record, and the city has asked people to cover swimming pools, stop watering grass and turn off large ornamental fountains in response.

The city declared a Stage II drought in May and has asked residents to voluntarily cut water usage by 20 percent each month.

Rate increases were also put in place on July 1, and customers may see an increase on their forthcoming water bills.

Last week, city leaders outlined how many local parks are going brown and that some are not being watered at all as an effort to save water.

Because the city's recycled water facility is down for another year, the Parks & Recreation Department has been forced to use potable water for landscaping, so it has cut back significantly on irrigation to many public places.

The city's reduction efforts from March through June have saved 363 acre feet of water, or 7 percent below a typical demand for that same four-month period, according to Madeline Ward, the city's acting water conservation coordinator.

Water demand over the last four months has fluctuated significantly, and Ward said it is critical that the community achieve and maintain the 20 percent goal.

Santa Barbara had a 5 percent drop in demand initially, a 12 percent cut in April and no water savings whatsoever in May, acting water resources manager Joshua Haggmark has said. 

"Since nearly half of the water in the community is used outdoors, the summer months offer the greatest opportunity for water savings," Ward said, adding that the June numbers show the city is on the right track. "The water that is saved today will help the community extend local water supplies further and reduce the need for future cost increases to develop additional water supplies."

The city is offering free water checkups, which can be scheduled by calling 805.564.5460 or by clicking here.

Anyone who witnesses water being wasted in the city can report it online by clicking here to note the date, time, and upload a picture so the officials can follow up, Ward 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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Junior League of Santa Barbara Seeks New Members

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara is currently in the process of recruiting for its 2014-15 new member class and will be hosting an information session for prospective new members on Sunday, Aug. 3.

The JLSB is open to all women who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to volunteerism. Membership with the JLSB is a wonderful way to make a difference in the Santa Barbara community alongside an exceptional group of women.

The final New Member Information Session will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3 and will be followed by an Ice Cream Social at 4 p.m. All sessions will take place at the Junior League office at 229 E. Victoria St.

The information session is an opportunity to hear from active members of the league, meet other prospective new members, and to learn about trainings and events that members participate in once they join. Questions about the JLSB and membership requirements will also be answered.

Women who are interested in attending should RSVP to membership@jlsantabarbara.org. Interested parties that cannot attend the session may contact the same email address to receive materials about JLSB membership.

— Danielle Hazarian represents the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

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Docent Council Leads Daily Guided Tours of Santa Barbara Courthouse

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara Courthouse, located at 1100 Anacapa St.,  is a city, county, state and National Historic Landmark. Completed in 1929, the building features Moorish and Spanish Colonial architecture.

The Courthouse Docent Council (a nonprofit corporation), numbering about 60 trained docents, staffs the Information Booth on the first floor and leads guided tours every day of the week, hosting over 7,000 visitors from all over the world each year.

The tour schedule is as follows: daily at 2 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. Special tours for school groups and of the gardens are available by appointment.

The home of the historic Seth Thomas Tower Clock, original to the building, has recently become a beautiful Clock Gallery and is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m., with special tours available.

The booth contains extensive courthouse archives and information sheets in 28 languages, plus Braille. As many weddings take place inside the courthouse and on the grounds, various information and a list of people to contact to perform the ceremonies is available.

More information is available from the Information Booth at 805.962.6464.

— Kay Stevens is the publicity chair for the Santa Barbara Courthouse Docent Council.

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Diseases of Another Kind: UCSB Researchers Scrutinize Distinctive and Prevalent Infectious Agent

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people’s lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, which the drought has made warmer than usual this year.

A 9-year-old Kansas girl recently died of an infection caused by this parasite after swimming in several area lakes. The amoeba enters the body through the nose of an individual and travels to the brain. Nose plugs can lower the odds of this rare but fatal pathogen entering the body.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, is classified as a sapronosis, an infectious disease caused by pathogenic microorganisms that inhabit aquatic ecosystems and/or soil rather than a living host. Scientists at UC Santa Barbara studying infectious disease transmission published their findings in the latest issue of the journal Trends in Parasitology.

“Sapronoses do not follow the rules of infectious diseases that are transmitted from host to host,” said lead author Armand Kuris, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. “They are categorically distinct from the way we think infectious diseases should operate. The paper tries to bring this group of diseases into sharp focus and get people to think more clearly about them.”

A well-known example of a sapronosis is Legionnaires’ disease, caused by the bacteria Legionella pneumophila, which can be transmitted by aerosolized water and/or contaminated soil. The bacteria can even live in windshield-wiper fluid. Legionnaires’ disease acquired its name in July 1976, when an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending an American Legion convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Of the 182 reported cases, mostly men, 29 died.

A major group of emerging diseases, sapronotic pathogens can exist independently in an environmental reservoir like the cooling tower of the Philadelphia hotel’s air conditioning system. Some, like the cholera protozoa, rely on mosquitoes to find disease hosts for them. Zoonoses, by contrast, require a human host.

According to Kuris, diseases borne by a vector — a person, animal or microorganism that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism — are more or less virulent depending on how efficiently they are transmitted. As a result, virulence evolves to a level where it is balanced with transmission in order to maximize the spread of the virus.  However, Kuris noted that there is no virulence trade-off for sapronotic disease agents. Transmission of a sapronosis pathogen is able to persist regardless of any changes in host abundance or transmission rates.

To quantify the differences between sapronoses and conventional infectious diseases, the researchers developed a mathematical model using population growth rates. Of the 150 randomly selected human pathogens examined in this research, one-third turned out to be sapronotic — specifically 28.6 percent of the bacteria, 96.8 percent of the fungi and 12.5 percent of the protozoa.

“The fact that almost all of the fungi we looked at are sapronotic is a noteworthy generalization,” Kuris said.

“You can’t model a sapronosis like valley fever with classic models for infectious diseases,” said co-author Kevin Lafferty, adjunct faculty in EEMB and a marine ecologist with the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. “To combat sapronoses, we need new theories and approaches. Our paper is a start in that direction.”

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Carol Burnett, Marilyn Horne Teaming Up Again for Music Academy’s Cabaret Gala

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Iconic television star Carol Burnett is once again lending her unique gifts to the Music Academy of the West’s Cabaret gala, serving as creative director of the annual fundraiser benefiting the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program.

The beloved performer is teaming up with legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne for coaching sessions on the art of musical comedy with the young vocalists headlining this year’s Cabaret, which will take place on Thursday, Aug. 7 in the Plaza del Sol rotunda of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara.

In addition to cocktails and a gourmet dinner, Cabaret will feature the academy’s gifted Voice Fellows performing an entertaining array of popular music ranging from classical and jazz to Broadway and pop. Gerald Sternbach, whose extensive performance credits include serving as an award-winning music director as well as an accompanist for the likes of Burnett, Julie Andrews and Kelsey Grammer, will once again oversee the event’s musical-revue-style production. Also featuring a live auction, Cabaret is an annual favorite among local philanthropists and one of the most anticipated benefits of the year.

“Each year we strive to present a gala worthy of the Music Academy’s rising stature and the many wonderful benefactors who make our program possible, and each year we rise to the occasion anew,” Music Academy President Scott Reed said. “This summer’s Cabaret will be bigger and better than ever.”

A resident of Montecito, Burnett is widely known for her work on stage and screen, most notably The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 years and garnered 25 Emmy Awards. Her numerous honors include 12 People’s Choice Awards — more than any other actress — eight Golden Globes, six Emmy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was awarded the Kennedy Center’s prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Burnett has penned two New York Times bestsellers, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection and her autobiography, One More Time, as well as a new memoir, Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, which was released last year. She received her first Grammy nomination in 2011 for the audiobook version of This Time Together, and was nominated again for the audiobook version of Carrie and Me. She joined Cabaret’s artistic team as creative contributor in 2012.

Horne, who has directed the academy's renowned Voice Program since 1997, has been called the “Star-Spangled Singer” and “the Heifetz of singers.” In the words of esteemed KUSC commentator and host Jim Svejda, she is “America’s greatest living singer.”

Horne’s distinguished career has garnered her numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995, received the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music and Hollywood Bowl halls of fame. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors recipient in 2009. Horne has performed in more than 1,300 recitals, made well over 100 recordings and received three Grammy Awards.

As resident music director of the company Reprise! Broadway’s Best for six seasons, Sternbach earned nine Ovation Award nominations (winning in 2006) in addition to six Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nominations (the organization honored him in 2007, 2008 and 2011) and three Garland Awards. His numerous credits include serving as associate conductor for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Merlin and The Tap Dance Kid (all on Broadway), and conducting the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance starring Melissa Manchester. Sternbach also served as onstage pianist for Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, at the Geffen Playhouse, and has participated in numerous star-studded benefit events. This is his sixth summer as musical director for Cabaret.

Leatrice Luria is serving as honorary chair for this year’s Cabaret. A longtime supporter of the Music Academy, Luria has been pivotal to the academy’s development in recent years. Her family has contributed significantly to the Music Academy’s long-range capital improvement campaign, including the lead gift to help fund construction of the Luria Education Center, the academy’s multifunction educational facility named in honor of her and late husband Eli. The Music Academy conferred upon her the honorary title of emeritus director in 2006. The title is the highest honor bestowed upon former Music Academy Board directors.

Merryl Brown Events will produce this year’s Cabaret gala. Early corporate sponsors include Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, Frank Schipper Construction Co., Montecito Bank & Trust and PMSM Architects. Table sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. Single tickets cost $1,000, $500 and $300 each.

For ticket pricing, sponsorship opportunities and related information, call 805.695.7918.

The Music Academy’s 67th season also will include a new production of Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen as well as the Academy debut of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. Gilbert’s 2014 residency under a new multiyear partnership with the Philharmonic will include conducting members of the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre this Saturday. Additional season highlights will include performances by cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Stephen Hough, as well as conducting turns by Joshua Weilerstein, James Gaffigan and Thomas Adès. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787 or click here.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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Scrabble Night for Adult Literacy Returning to Santa Barbara Library in September

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The popular Scrabble Night for Adult Literacy will return to the Santa Barbara Public Library on Sept. 19.

Fun for players of all ages and abilities, the event is a fundraiser for library literacy programs, celebrating their 30th year in California. This year, in addition to the open-entry Scrabble games, the event will also feature “Scrabble with the Stars,” a chance for community members to bid on a round with their favorite local celebrity.

Scrabble Night for Literacy will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 in the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St. Each player will be paired against another player of the same level, so there’s no need to bring a partner. The noncompetitive Scrabble Night is all for fun and supports a great cause.

General admission is $20. For more information on the event and Scrabble with the Stars, call 805.564.5619 or email scrabblelibrary@gmail.com. More information on Scrabble with the Stars will be announced in August.

Scrabble’s famous wooden letter tiles, made of Vermont maple, are a cultural icon. If all the Scrabble tiles ever produced were placed in a row, they would stretch for more than 50,000 miles! Available in 29 languages, Scrabble continues to attract countless players worldwide, including millions of online word game players.

Scrabble Night benefits the library system’s Adult Literacy Program, helping the library provide free books and materials to adult learners and train new volunteer tutors. Each year over 200 local adults receive free, confidential tutoring through the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s Adult Literacy Program, which helps local residents build the basic reading and writing skills that they need to succeed at work, to be effective parents, and to bring dignity to their lives. For more information on library literacy programs, call 805.564.5619.

For information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, programs and events, visit online at SBPLibrary.org.

— Beverly Schwartzberg represents the Santa Barbara Public Library.

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Jewish Federation Invites Community to Hear Personal Stories of Courage from Israel’s ‘Frontline’

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Chief Superintendent Eitan Menashe and Sgt. Major Ronit Tubul, both of the Israeli National Police, and Lt. Col. (Res) Gedion Avrami, director of security at the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem, will be in Santa Barbara on Friday to speak about the prevention of, and response to, acts of terror as well as their personal accounts of heroism, sharing their “Stories from the Frontline.”

While this event was planned and scheduled well before the current round of violence and unrest in Israel and Gaza, it is especially timely and resonant in light of the current situation.

All three speakers have personal experiences with terrorism to relate, but Sgt. Major Tubul has perhaps the most dramatic. In 2002, Tubul was critically injured in a suicide bomb attack on the bus she rode to work. Unconscious for two weeks, she later underwent an extremely arduous recuperation.

Six years later, having returned to work as a police officer, Tubul was awarded the Anti-Defamation League's Ina Kay Award, which is bestowed upon those individuals of extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance, injustice, extremism and terrorism.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Tri-Counties ADL are proud to partner in welcoming Sgt. Major Tubul, Chief Superintendent Menashe and Lt. Col. Avrami to our community to provide their first-hand perspective on not only terrorism, but also current affairs overall in Israel.

We invite the entire community to join us for this special presentation, including breakfast, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, 524 Chapala St. in Santa Barbara.

For event reservations, please contact Christina Ambriz at 805.957.1115 x101.

— Diana Oplinger is the marketing and communications manager for the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.

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79 Citations Issued During Crosswalk Enforcement Operation in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara City Traffic Engineer’s Office conducted a pedestrian crosswalk enforcement detail at seven intersections in the city of Santa Barbara.

This was the first of a two-day operation that will target locations in the South Coast area.

The results of Tuesday’s activity are as follows:

» State Street at Calle Palo Colorado — 49 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and 1 misdemeanor warrant arrest

» Cabrillo Boulevard at Corona Del Mar— 9 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

» De La Vina Street at Canon Perdido Street — 1 citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

» San Andres Street at Anapamu Street — 2 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

» Santa Barbara Street at Sola Street — 9 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and 1 DUI arrest

» Anacapa Street at Sola Street — 1 citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

» Coast Village Road (1100 block) — 8 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk

» Total — 79 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, 1 DUI arrest and 1 misdemeanor warrant arrest

This detail is being conducted due to continued complaints of vehicles not yielding to pedestrians who are in crosswalks and high pedestrian involved collision rates. Locations utilized consist of both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Unmarked crosswalks are often overlooked by drivers, resulting in injury traffic collisions.

Wednesday’s enforcement will be conducted in the Goleta area.

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‘Polka Dot Alley’ Documentary Celebrates Spirit of Fiesta, and Its Dancers

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Young flamenco dancers from Linda Vega Dance Studios have a starring role in Polka Dot Alley, a documentary movie that will be screened Wednesday at the Lobero Theatre.

The film — co-produced, filmed and edited by Christine Mallet and Randal Kazarian — features Talia Vestal, the 2014 Spirit of Fiesta, and her younger sister, Tatum. The Vestals have each served as Junior Spirit of Santa Barbara’s annual Old Spanish Days celebration. Neither has seen the documentary yet.

Polka Dot Alley promises to give an insightful look into the flamenco culture of Santa Barbara.

“They started filming in 2009, when I was in sixth grade,” Talia told Noozhawk. “I’m nervous to see the film, as it follows every aspect of flamenco dancing — including the early morning wake-ups and so much of what happens behind the scenes.

“But I’m also really excited. It’s going to give a great perspective on flamenco and Santa Barbara’s Fiesta.”

Polka Dot Alley will be playing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido. Tickets cost $24.

Click here for more information about Polka Dot Alley.

Noozhawk intern Serena Doubleday can be reached at sdoubleday@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction; Police Chief Ready to ‘Accept It and Move On’

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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In what the ACLU calls the first successful defense ever of an injunction, the ruling finds the city failed to prove 'unreasonable' gang activity

In the wake of Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne’s rejection of Santa Barbara's proposed gang injunction, Police Chief Cam Sanchez said Tuesday he wants to “accept it and move on,” and focus on the department’s existing efforts to address gang activity.

Sterne’s 32-page ruling filed Monday recognized the Eastside and Westside as local criminal street gangs, but determined the city didn’t prove that gang activities are a public nuisance requiring injunctive relief.

“In short, Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons,” she wrote.

The defense team, made up of local criminal defense attorneys working pro bono, said they are thrilled with the decision, but it’s unclear whether the city will pursue the case further.

“I’m disappointed but respect the judge’s decision,” Sanchez said Tuesday. “I think all of us in public safety, our only goal is to keep everyone safe and use different tools that can help in that regard, and that’s all I was trying to do.”

City Attorney Ariel Calonne also said he is disappointed with the ruling. He is still analyzing the decision and will advise the City Council when he’s finished.

Mayor Helene Schneider said the city will "use every tool available to keep our residents and visitors safe while we consider the impacts and options of Judge Sterne's ruling."

However, Sanchez, who initiated pursing an injunction, said he plans to accept the court's decision.

“I’m proud of the hard work we did,” he said. “No city is immune from violence or gang issues, and I think our job will be to continue to enforce the laws and keep people safe, and provide something that’s not spoken about often enough, which is the great programs for youth we have citywide.”

He added that the Police Department will “stay vigilant” and emphasize the prevention and intervention efforts with local youth.

When the injunction went to a public vote in April, two members of the City Council voted to have Calonne withdraw the case altogether, but they were overruled by the five members who voted to continue to trial.

Ariel Calonne
Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne expressed disappointment Tuesday with a judge’s decision to deny the city’s proposed gang injunction, but says he is analyzing the decision and will advise the City Council on his findings. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The defense team is “delighted” with this week’s ruling, defense attorney Tara Haaland-Ford said.

“I think the judge laid out a well-reasoned opinion, and I think probably even the other side would say we had a good trial, and that she really held both sides to the fire,” she said. “Some of our key arguments are noted in the opinion — the flaws in their data, the lack of people who actually came forward and testified that they were for the injunction, and the over-breadth of the actual safety zones.”

While there are gang issues in Santa Barbara, the defense had argued that they don’t rise to the level of a substantial or unreasonable public nuisance.

“I think our hope is that this ruling will bring the community together so we can move forward to get those people and those kids who are in, or on the edge, to a different path,” Haaland-Ford said.

On Tuesday, the ACLU of Southern California informed the defense team that this is the first successful defense in a gang injunction case — not only in California, but anywhere in the country, she said.

“That’s pretty amazing, given that this was a group of grassroots criminal defense attorneys on their own dime,” she said. “Some of us have been working more than three years on this, then to have a success like this — it’s pretty huge.”

The named defendants can move on now, but Haaland-Ford said they have already been impacted by having their names and photographs broadcasted in local media.

Thirty people were named in the first complaint, but 19 were dismissed from the case before trial.

The City Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the SBPD filed the case in March 2011 and have pursued a permanent injunction ever since.

A three-week trial was held in May, when Sterne heard arguments and evidence from the plaintiffs and defense attorneys, who represented individual clients and made a case against the injunction as a policy. 

The injunction is a restraining order of sorts, limiting the actions of named defendants within the proposed safety zones in the downtown, Eastside and Westside neighborhoods of Santa Barbara.

As Sterne noted in her decision, the crux of the injunction petition is the “no association” clause, which prevents named people from being in public together within the safety zones. Many other provisions are duplicative of gang-related parole and probation conditions.

Sterne didn’t go into detail about the proposed safety zones or provisions of the injunction, since she denied it outright. However, she said the safety zones were not narrowly tailored as required and would have needed to be reconfigured if the injunction was granted.

While the plaintiffs argued that traditional law enforcement methods aren’t effective against nuisance behavior, Sterne determined that law enforcement agencies have adequate remedies available with existing laws.

“The desire for a gang injunction is, in a certain sense, thwarted by the success of SBPD, an agency that has been very diligent in its goal to minimize gang activity,” she wrote.

In response to witnesses relating hearsay about gangs keeping a low profile during the trial, she wrote: “The fact of the matter is that Santa Barbara crime rates have been generally declining, and have been well under state and national averages, and gang activity has been less violent than average.”  

She wrote that she appreciated the efforts and challenges of law enforcement dealing with gang activity, but the impact of that activity on the community at large “carries greater weight in this analysis.”

The plaintiffs stated that the Eastside and Westside gangs are two turf gangs at war with each other, attacking opposing members and recruiting children into their ranks while citizens cower in their homes, Sterne wrote. However, police used “unreliable and overstated” data to show a public nuisance.

The crime statistics compiled and presented by the SBPD had no context to show the ratio of gang-related crime rates compared to overall crime in the proposed safety zones and community as a whole, Sterne wrote. Several citizens who live and/or work in the proposed safety zones testified for the defense, saying they haven’t observed gang activity out in the open in their neighborhoods.

It was a small sampling, but that anecdotal testimony was more reliable than the hearsay testimony offered by law enforcement to the contrary, Sterne said.

No citizens testified in favor of the injunction.

Plaintiffs called SBPD witnesses, including gang expert Detective Gary Siegel, to talk about local gang history, culture and criminal activity.

Sterne said she did not find testimony convincing from two of the non-SBPD witnesses: Gregory Anderson, a deputy district attorney for Fresno County with experience obtaining gang injunctions, and former Eastside gang member Arthur Nevarez who is serving a life sentence in prison.

Anderson was knowledgeable about gang injunctions in general, but his understanding of Santa Barbara was lacking, Sterne said.

Nevarez, who is temporarily incarcerated in the County Jail, testified about gang communication in prison and the movement of money through a gang hierarchy. He acknowledged that his testimony could benefit his situation, and Sterne questioned his credibility, calling his testimony “obviously self-serving.”

Anderson testified that, in his opinion, gang injunctions are generally unsuccessful without demonstrable community support.

The SBPD and plaintiffs never offered “any evidence of any systematic effort to measure the need for an injunction (or lack of need) perceived by the community,” Sterne noted.

The public's perception proved central to the case.

Sterne concluded there is gang activity within the city and it is a nuisance, but not to the degree of imposing an injunction. 

It’s a “sad fact of gang life” that gangs prey on each other “in ways often invisible to the community around them,” she wrote. “The social concerns, from poverty, to substance abuse, to racism — there is a long list — that underlie gang activity at its roots cry out for serious attention.

“But the question asked relative to a gang injunction has to do with that very question of visibility, and how the activities of the gang are experienced, not just by gang members and their affiliates, families and friends, but by the larger community around them. This can be difficult for law enforcement, whose job is to deal with crime on a day to day basis. The general public does not experience crime in the same way.”

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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Cottage Health System Data Breach May Have Impacted 18,000 More Patients Than First Suspected

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A data breach of protected health information at Cottage Health System may have impacted thousands more patients than initially suspected.

Last year, Cottage Health System discovered that one of its servers had the electronic protections disabled, resulting in the exposure of certain information, according to a letter sent to patients.

Cottage recently discovered that approximately 18,000 additional patients may have been impacted by the data exposure, beyond the initial 32,500 notified in December 2013.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Cottage Health System, claiming that the confidential information of more than 32,000 patients was put online for anyone to read, and was public for almost two months before the hospital system noticed.

The lawsuit also names inSync, a Laguna Hills-based company responsible for putting the records in a secure location online.

Brian Kabatek, one of the attorneys representing the class-action plaintiffs, told Noozhawk he believes the new patients are part of the same security breach and that his firm is working to discover what that will mean for the lawsuit.

"This may, however, be much bigger than we originally thought," he said.

The 15-page complaint filed earlier this year states that between Oct. 8 and Dec. 2 of 2013, the confidential medical records of about 32,500 patients affiliated with the Cottage Health System were negligently disclosed and released to the public on the Internet.

In early July, Cottage sent out more letters to patients, acknowledging that their information could be a part of the data breach as well. The time frame also expanded, including patients who sought treatment at any of the three hospitals between Feb. 20, 2009, and Dec. 2, 2013.

Cottage officials say there is no evidence to suggest that anyone has used the information contained on this server in any way.

The potentially exposed files contained information including the name, address, date of birth and very limited protected health information for some patients related to diagnosis, lab results and procedures performed, Cottage officials have said.

The files did not include any Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, health insurance numbers, bank account numbers or any other financial information, and officials with the health organization maintain that they immediately removed the server from service and conducted a review of all servers to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place.

“We deeply regret this incident," Steve Fellows, Cottage Health System's executive vice president, COO and chief compliance officer, said in a statement. "Cottage takes its obligation to protect health information very seriously and is taking aggressive steps to safeguard against this type of incident in the future."

Cottage is encouraging patients with questions regarding whether their protected health information may have been exposed to contact ID Experts at 877.846.7856.

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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Judge Drops 2 Charges Against Former Cabrillo High Wrestling Coaches; Trial Continues on Third Count

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A judge dismissed two misdemeanor charges Tuesday against a pair of former wrestling coaches at Cabrillo High School, before the defense witnesses took the stand in the jury trial on the remaining count of battery of a minor.

Former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles were charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler. The coaches were charged with battery on a minor on school grounds and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

A sophomore student, Fabian, claimed that three team captains — referred in court by the first names of Nico, Kodey and Jose — gave him a beating, causing injuries.

The three captains testified Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria that the coach instructed them to “deal with” fellow wrestler Fabian’s poor attendance, off-campus fighting and poor grades. After talking to Fabian, the captains decided among themselves to conduct an ironman, or series of wrestling matches, when coaches weren’t present.

After the prosecution rested Monday, defense attorneys requested the judge dismiss all three charges against the two coaches, with Michael Scott, who is representing Johnson, calling the prosecution’s case “so bereft of evidence.”

“I do not think the people have met their burden of proof in regards to count one,” added Adrian Galvan, Giles’ attorney.

On Tuesday morning, Judge James Rigali confirmed his tentative ruling made the previous afternoon, dismissing two of the counts.

“I don’t believe that the contributing to the delinquency of a minor is applicable to this fact pattern at all,” Rigali said. “I think that there is no basis in the law to allow this jury to convict these men of the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”


Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco argued that the coaches were filling in as temporary guardians, had a responsibility to keep students’ safe and essentially abandoned those duties temporarily.

“What Mr. Johnson does in essence is ask minors to discipline other minors,” Greco said, adding the coach didn’t provide any guidance to the teens.

But Scott said there’s no evidence the coaches had ever delegated discipline to team captains. The three captains earlier testified they decided among themselves to hold the ironman.

“That is an intervening act. The coach did not set that in motion. He asked them to talk to him which they did. It was their decision,” Scott said.

The coaches’ undue influence led the student-athletes astray, Greco said.

“The people that were left alone together was not the debate team,” he said. “It wasn’t the chess team or the golf team. We’ve gone through much evidence in this case that wrestling is a violent sport, a combat sport as defense counsel referred to it repeatedly.”

Greco contended the wrestling program culture meant the coaches knew what would happen, especially since Giles told to the captains not to leave facial marks on Fabian.

But Galvan said the only reason Giles’ faces a battery charge is “based upon the stupid statement that he made — no facial marks.”

Giles’ attorney also said Fabian consented to the ironman since the teen wasn’t coerced or falsely imprisoned.

The criminal case in the Santa Maria courtroom is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning with jury instructions and closing arguments from the prosecution and two defense attorneys.

Before the criminal charges were filed March 7, Fabian and his mother earlier filed a civil lawsuit against the men plus a third coach Chuy Medrano and the Lompoc Unified School District.

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 Attorney Darryl Genis Again Faces Charges of Contempt of Court

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A judge accuses him of 'fiddling' with a prosecutor’s notes and photographing the opposing counsel's documents during a recess in proceedings

A Santa Barbara judge has accused attorney Darryl Genis of contempt of court, alleging that Genis “fiddled” with a prosecutor’s notes and took pictures of documents during a recess in court last month.

The complaint was filed against Genis, a defense attorney who specializes in driving-under-the-influence cases on the Central Coast, late last week — nearly a year after he was convicted in a separate local contempt of court case.

Genis told Noozhawk on Tuesday he was not guilty of the charges against him, which allege he abused the court process by willfully deceiving the court, violated court rules by photographing opposing counsel’s trial notes and interfered with those trial notes.

He is scheduled to appear in Department 4 of Santa Barbara County Superior Court next Friday to show cause for why he should not be found guilty.

“When Judge (Donna) Geck hears the matter, my lawyer will make clear the factual and legal reasons,” Genis said in an email.

During trial proceedings on June 9, Deputy District Attorney Justin Greene alleged that Genis deliberately disturbed or fiddled with his papers on the counsel table during a break, rearranging them.

In the complaint, Judge Brian Hill says he asked Genis four separate times if the accusations were true, and Genis answered no.

“Does that deserve a response?” Genis said, according to courtroom minutes attached to the filing.

“On the fourth inquiry, Mr. Genis ‘categorically denied’ any interference with the prosecutor’s papers,’” Hill wrote.

The court indicated it would review a videotape of the recess at a later date, and footage allegedly found that Genis did approach the prosecutor’s table.

“He appeared to read and rearrange some documents, then removed his cell phone and photographed something on the prosecutors table,” Hill wrote. “Mr. Genis then proceeded to hide a document under a larger stack of papers.”

The filing alleged Genis has previously been ordered not to take photographs without court permission, specifically on May 17, 2012, and June 11, 2012,

If the judge finds Genis guilty, he could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000 — the same amount the attorney paid the court last July — or face jail time.

The contempt charges come as Genis still waits for final say from a State Bar Court, where he has been accused of moral turpitude, making a false and malicious State Bar complaint and for failing to obey court orders.

A State Bar judge threw out two of those charges, recommending Genis be suspended for 90 days, placed on probation for two years, and attend anger-management counseling. State Bar prosecutors appealed that February decision, as did Genis, who asked that all counts be dismissed.

While both sides wait, Genis continues to practice law.

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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County Planning Commission Votes to Recommend Approval of Cuyama Solar Facility

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The project, proposed for 327 acres on Kirchenmann Road, now goes to the Board of Supervisors for final consideration

A solar farm proposed for the Cuyama Valley received the nod of approval from the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday after multiple speakers praised the project’s promises of jobs and clean renewable energy.

Planning commissioners recommended that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approve several matters related to the Cuyama Solar Facility, proposed for 327 acres at 596 Kirchenmann Road in the northeastern corner of the county. The vote was 4-0 with Fourth District Commissioner Larry Ferini absent.

First District Commissioner C. Michael Cooney noted he also was part of the panel to approve another alternative energy project, a wind farm for the Lompoc Valley.

“This project similarly has great promise,” Cooney said. “(It’s a) great opportunity for Santa Barbara County to join those other jurisdictions that have ventured into a large-scale solar field. We get the opportunity to learn about this and recommend it to the board of supervisors and its many facets.”

Commissioner Joan Hartmann, who represents the Third District, noted that the county received 57 letters of support for the project. She also expressed pride that she is part of the panel recommending approval of the clean energy project that will help efforts by not contributing to global warming.

“I’m glad First Solar is helping the county move forward,” Hartmann added.

The project would be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity, which would generate enough for approximately 15,600 homes, according to applicant, First Solar.

Koryn Kendall, project development manager with First Solar, called the Cuyama Solar Facility “a very well-sited project.” The site is previously disturbed agricultural land about 2 miles south of Highway 166.

“It has minimal impacts to surrounding ag and landscape,” she said. “And it will provide significant benefits for the county and the community.”

county solar
Koryn Kendall, project development manager for First Solar, addresses the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Approximately 600,000 photovoltaic modules, 2 feet by 4 feet, would convert sunlight directly into low-voltage direct current. The modules would be mounted on steel and aluminum support structures in a horizontal tracking device that follows the sun. It will connect via the Cuyama substation.

“The project will supplement the local power supply and we believe increase reliability in this area of the grid,” Kendall added. “Because our water use during operation is so low, the water currently being allocated to this site for irrigation can be reallocated elsewhere … .”

Susan Petrovich, representing Bolthouse Farms, said the farming operation views the solar project as an agricultural support facility. Cuyama can suffer power interruptions which can interfere with water well pumps and lead to lost crops during the peak irrigation season, she added.

“Adding power to this local grid provides a safety net for Bolthouse crops along with those of other valley farmers,” Petrovich said.

Several speakers urged the commissioners to approve the project, which planning staff has worked on since 2011.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect energy project, but this project is very close,” said Jefferson Litton of the Community Environmental Council.

Others including union representatives touted the potential for jobs. Up to 200 people could be employed during the construction of the solar farm.

“I think this is a project can all be proud of,” said Chuck Huddleston from a local chaper of IBEW.

With 500 members, the union has seen 50 percent of them be unemployed.

“This will put my members to work in Santa Barbara County,” Huddleston said, adding a local hiring agreement is in place with First Solar.

Santa Barbara Audubon Society representatives expressed concerns about the project’s potential impacts, and called for the installation of powerline markers to avoid accidentally electrocuting California condors.

They also were worried the solar panels would look like a vertical lake, fooling birds into thinking the facility is a body of water.

Audubon Society co-president Steve Ferry listed a number of steps he suggested be taken to make the project more acceptable, including adding features to accommodate burrowing owls.

County Planning Commission members agreed to some of the requests, including adding requiring powerline markers.

A number of recommendations by the Planning Commission were required for the project to move forward. With the commissioners giving their support Tuesday, county staff estimated the project will go before the Board of Supervisors this fall.

The proposed project requires amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Development Code (CP/LUDC) to allow utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities on up to 600 acres of land designated Agriculture II (A-II) or Agriculture Commercial (AC), and zoned AG-II, in the rural area of the Cuyama Valley. Some parcels need to be rezoned to accommodate the facility.

In connection with the project, proponents are seeking to cancel the Williamson Act contract for 167 acres. But the remaining 1,362 acres would be re-enrolled into a replacement contract to keep the land in agriculture uses.

 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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Domestic Dispute Suspect Arrested After Search in Goleta

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A Goleta neighborhood was crowded with a police presence Monday night following a domestic dispute and hour-long search for the suspect in a domestic dispute, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said deputies responded to a domestic dispute call at a residence in the Palos Verdes Drive area shortly after 9 p.m. and discovered the suspect was no longer there, which launched a subsequent search.

Several deputies were involved, along with a K-9 unit, and the 45-year-old Goleta man was found about an hour later hiding in the same neighborhood, Hoover said.

Hoover said she didn’t want to release the suspect’s name to protect the victim’s identity and privacy.

She said the man was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant and for resisting and obstructing police officers.

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

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Santa Barbara Council Hears Consultant Presentation on District Elections

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Council votes to hire a consultant to dig further into city demographics and voting data

After hearing a presentation Tuesday about district elections, the Santa Barbara City Council voted to hire a consultant to investigate the issue further.

It remains to be seen how the council will move forward, but the city has been guaranteed a lawsuit if it does not pursue district elections, due to concerns about a lack of Latino representation in city government. 

The council had a consultant present information Tuesday about how district elections could work in the city and what the voting landscape across the state looks like currently.  

Consultant Doug Johnson, president of National Demographics Corporation, said that his company has worked with school districts and other agencies across the state as they examine districts and voting processes.

Santa Barbara has an at-large voting system, which allows all city residents to vote for council candidates that live in city limits.

A district election would allow for districts to be drawn up — which would have to be based on neighborhood, Johnson said — and people would run for and vote for council seats based on what district they live in. 

"As a charter city, the world is open to you," he told the council of their options.

Johnson said that the overwhelming majority of California cities are still at large, but the 15 largest cities use some version of district elections.

"Around 275,000 people, districts start coming up" as a topic to consider, he said.

Cities with populations less than that host almost exclusively at-large elections, with the exception of cities with a rapidly growing Latino population, like Watsonville or Salinas, he said.

Santa Barbara, which has insignificant population growth in general, is not one of those cities seeing a large increase in their minority populations, he said.

The law surrounding the voting law in California is extremely murky, and cities often face multi-million-dollar lawsuits if the details get hashed out in the courts.

"When we do these analyses, they're almost always grey," Johnson said.

Latinos make up about 38 percent of the Santa Barbara's population, compared to 55 percent of non-Hispanic whites in the city, according to U.S. Census Data from 2010.

Santa Barbara as a city has seen slight growth of its Latino population, from 35 percent in 2000 to 38 percent in 2010, and Latino people of voting age has increased to 19 percent from 14 percent. 

"You do have some (Latinos) running (for council), but you have a lot more losing, which does raise some concern," he said.

Adding to the complicated situation is that ethnicity is very "subjective," Johnson said. 

A handful of public speakers spoke during public comment and they all supported district elections and more consideration of the issue. 

Isaac Garrett, an African-American resident who ran for mayor in 2009, said the system in place not does not serve the city effectively.

"The at-large system might serve a small portion of the city very well, but it does not reflect the majority," he said, adding that the large amount of money required for to run for council keeps many people out of the race altogether, even if they might represent the neighborhoods better. 

The council unanimously voted to hire Johnson to come back with more data, including how polarized voting is in the city.

During the meeting, councilmember Cathy Murillo reiterated her frustration with the possible litigation.

"I don't appreciate being threatened with a lawsuit and looking at spending millions of dollars of the public treasury," Murillo 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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Meet Smokey Bear, Los Padres Fire Crew at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Visitors to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will have the chance to meet Smokey Bear and the Los Padres Forest Service Fire Crew and check out the Los Padres Forest Service fire engine by Chad the Blue Whale from 1 to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 26.

Guests are also invited to explore the interactive children's exhibit "Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home," now open at the museum through Sept. 21.

Activities and entrance to the exhibit are included with museum general admission.

Admission is free for museum members, $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and teens, and $7 for children.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol. Click here for more information.

— Valeria Velasco is a marketing associate for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

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Soprano Michelle Bradley, Pianist Michael Gaertner Win Music Academy’s Marilyn Horne Competition

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Soprano Michelle Bradley and pianist Michael Gaertner have been named winners of the 2014 Music Academy of the West Marilyn Horne Song Competition, which took place Saturday at the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall.

Bradley and Gaertner will each receive a cash award of $2,500, and will be presented in recital next year in Santa Barbara, New York and other cities.

One of the most popular events of the summer season at the Music Academy, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition (formerly known as the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition) is a showcase for academy singers and vocal pianists. Top awards, presented in memory of longtime Music Academy vocal accompaniment faculty member Gwendolyn Koldofsky, are given to the academy singer and vocal pianist who demonstrate excellence in the performance of song repertoire as well as a unique gift for audience communication. The competition regularly attracts industry insiders eager for a glimpse of up-and-coming talent.

Joining world-renowned concert and opera singer Marilyn Horne as jurors this year were Barbara Hocher, former executive director of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and currently a consultant for the Marilyn Horne Legacy at Carnegie Hall; Jeremy Geffen, director of artistic planning at Carnegie Hall; Academy faculty member Matthew Epstein, former director of Columbia Artists Vocal; Alexander Neef, general director of the Canadian Opera Company; and Craig Terry, music director of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Horne has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997. All told, 22 singers and five vocal pianists competed this year. All are attending the Music Academy this summer.

Previous winners of the competition have included baritone John Brancy and pianist Mario Antonio Marra (2013); soprano Tracy Cox and pianist Maureen Zoltek (2012); soprano Karen Vuong and pianist Saule Tlenchiyeva (2011); soprano Megan Hart and pianist Sun Ha “Sunny” Yoon (2010); mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller, tenor Jeffrey Hill, and pianist Lio Kuokman (2009); soprano Simone Osborne, baritone Edward Parks, and pianist In-Sun Suh (2008); soprano Nadine Sierra and pianist Karen Kyung-Eun Na (2007); Santa Barbara’s own Evan Hughes (2006); soprano Elaine Alvarez, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and pianist Tamara Sanikidze (2005); mezzo-soprano Daniela Lehner and pianist Marie-Ève Scarfone (2004); mezzo-soprano Megan Latham and pianist Carol Wong (2003); mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski and pianist Jerome Tan (2002); tenor Ramon Diggs and pianist Nino Sanikidze (2001); baritone Nicolai Janitzky, mezzo-soprano Liesel Fedkenheuer, and pianists Ji Young Lee and Spencer Myer (2000).

Remaining highlights of the Music Academy’s 2014 season include a new production of Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen as well as the Academy debut of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre on July 26 as part of a new multiyear partnership with the Philharmonic. Additional highlights will include performances by cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Stephen Hough, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès and James Gaffigan. Featuring the Academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara. The Music Academy’s 67th annual Summer Festival concludes Aug. 9.

For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787. Information is also available online by clicking here.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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Ron Fink: Workers Will Not Have Better Lives Because of State-Mandated Minimum Wage Increases

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Last year, there was a loud outcry from liberals for something called a “living wage,” which, according to the dictionary, means “an amount of money you are paid for a job that is large enough to provide you with the basic things (such as food and shelter) needed to live an acceptable life.”

“Acceptable life” is a very subjective term. Some feel that a warm and dry place to sleep, food to eat and serviceable clothes constitute an acceptable life. Others feel that surrounding yourself with electronic devices, big-screen televisions and big pickup trucks or fast cars is the only way they can have that acceptable lifestyle.

Average workers earn anywhere from the current minimum wage of $8 an hour to hundreds of thousands a year, and some feel that is too large of a gap. It’s ironic that many government workers seem to be at the top end, while the people who pay their wages are at the lower end.

Minimum wage earners are widely separated from the “haves” in our society. But how do the haves typically get there? Well, they usually begin by not being satisfied with an entry-level job and they seek out ways to better their earning potential. Education, experience and searching the job market are some ways. Creating something that everyone just has to have such as a robotic refreshment fetcher is another way.

There are thousands of job classifications, and the compensation level for each is dictated by the free market or a collective bargaining agreement. This is the way it should be, and government shouldn’t tinker with wage levels because they don’t control the marketplace — yet.

The $8-an-hour jobs are typically for service industry workers — jobs that used to be called “entry level” but have now become long-term employment for many. Some in our society feel that these folks should be earning considerably more for their efforts so that they can live that illusive “acceptable life.”

The City of Lompoc currently has 17 job classifications that would be directly or indirectly affected by a minimum wage increase. Keep that number in mind; it will be handy later.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation (Assembly Bill 10) to increase California's minimum wage to $9 this July 1 and to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016. He and his fellow Democrats think that this will solve all those “acceptable life” issues. They are wrong.

Demonstrations organized by unions urge raising the minimum wage even higher to $15 an hour. Why would unions support a minimum wage increase? Simple, because they will demand even higher wages for their members, which is what happens every time it has been increased, and the same thing will happen at every other business that pays more than the minimum wage.

Let’s take a quick look at the economics of raising the minimum wage. If $8 an hour could produce a $10 meal at your local fast-food restaurant, how do you think raising the cost to produce the item will eventually impact its cost to the customer?

Service industries operate on a tight margin so they can’t afford to absorb the additional cost, therefore prices will rise to compensate for the additional wages or they will cut worker hours to recover the increased cost of production.

Remember those 17 city workers in Lompoc? According to a staff report, the resulting increase in costs across the city is going to be about $56,000 annually. How will our city deal with the rise in labor cost?

In a report to the City Council, the staff said, “The city’s Human Resources and Payroll Divisions are planning to review the level of services provided and/or the program fees charged to mitigate the effect on individual budgets due to the unfunded mandate imposed by the state.”

The actions being considered by the city are instructive. They’ll either cut out more than 6,200 hours of work to recover the $56,000, which is the equivalent of nearly four part-time workers (20 percent of the 17 people affected). Or they could just raise consumer cost (fees) like other businesses will.

As Councilman Bob Lingl pointed out, minimum wage workers won’t have a more acceptable life because there will be fewer part-time jobs available and/or it will cost more to buy things they want.

Changing the minimum wage may have made Democrats and community activists feel good, but the overall impact on the lives of those they are trying to help will be negligible — in fact, it may make things worse, as Councilman Lingl pointed out.

Oh, next year the minimum wage will go up again to $10 per hour. How many people will lose their jobs, and how much will hamburgers go up then?

— 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 news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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John Daly: The Consequences of Being Late

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Do you know co-workers who are always late? Are you chronically late? Do you or someone you know show up late for work, to meetings, for phone conferences, for social gatherings? I doubt seriously that you would consider that something anyone does on purpose. In reality, it’s simply a lack of time-management skills. It’s the lack of realization that you are valuing your own time over that of others. You don’t even realize that is the statement you are making when you are late. You’re saying, “My time is more valuable than anyone else’s.”

At work, there are even more consequences for being late.

Productivity Loss

When you’re late for work, you create an immediate loss of productivity. If you work as part of a team, your tardiness disrupts the work flow of other team members. If you are late 10 minutes per day, that equals out to almost an hour a week. If a team member needs a late person to provide his or her part of a project, the punctual person still gets behind waiting for what he/she needs from you.

Negative Morale

Not only does tardiness make others late, it lowers their morale. If one member of the team doesn’t follow the rules, others in that group will began to feel resentment and that the situation is unfair. This is particularly true result for those suffering from chronic lateness. It puts stress on others to cover the work of the late employee or fall behind in their own jobs.

Customer Dissatisfaction

If an employee is late and fails to make an on-time delivery to a customer, the result may be that the business loses that customer. An employee who is supposed to open a specific location at a certain time may lose customers if it isn’t opened on time. If the chronic late employee is tardy for customer meetings, this puts the entire company in a bad light. Poor customer service of any type damages a business’ reputation and discourages perspective clients.

Management Problems

If management lets a chronically late employee slide, it creates the potential for loss of respect for those in charge. On-time employees may feel if the rules don’t apply then why should they make the effort to be on time! Letting it slide sends the wrong message to the entire company.

How to Fix it

Everyone slips up and is late occasionally. Traffic, family responsibilities preventing us from getting out the door on time and just everyday life sometimes slow us down. These things happen and sometimes can’t be avoided. However, the chronically late person truly has a time-management problem and is totally focused on self instead of the consideration of others. Being late is a product of poor planning. So, here’s what you can do to fix it:

» Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal.

» Determine the night before what you will wear the next day and lay it out.

» Don’t promise family members that you will handle something “in the morning” when it can be dealt with the night before.

» Plan to be at the office 15 minutes early so you can actually show up on time!

» If traffic is a major factor, plan a new, quicker route, and leave the exact amount of time earlier than you are usually late.

» If getting up 30 minutes earlier still doesn’t give you enough time, make it an hour.

» Remember, this is about respecting others and the value of their time. Don’t make everything just about you. You will find that others will respect and appreciate you more if you resolve your chronic lateness.

If you are part of a management team that is dealing with chronically late employees, consider sending them to time management coaching, and suggest all of the above!

How to Manage Chronically Late Employees

(BNET video)

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Capps Leads California Delegation in Opposing New Oil, Gas Leasing Off Coast

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday led a letter from members of the California congressional delegation to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to prohibit any new offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Northern California, Central California and Southern California Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas by excluding these planning areas from the draft proposed 2017-22 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The leasing program document develops the next schedule of potential offshore oil and gas lease sales.

The letter was signed by 36 members of the California congressional delegation, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. The letter comes in response to a request for information from the Department of Interior, as it begins to examine the next schedule of potential offshore oil and gas lease sales in federal waters.

The letter calls for continued focus on developing clean, renewable sources of offshore energy, rather than expanding oil and gas development, and notes the known risks of expanding offshore drilling far outweigh the potential benefits.

“Californians have repeatedly spoken out against new offshore drilling,” the electeds wrote. “Since 1969, 24 city and county governments have passed anti-drilling measures and the State has enacted a permanent ban on new offshore leasing in state waters. Serious accidents and environmental damage can and do occur at offshore drilling rigs. These spills and leaks, air and water pollution, and the industrialization of the shoreline threatens public health impairs marine resources and wreak havoc on our economy, especially the state’s critically important tourism, fishing and recreation industries, which inject billions of dollars into the California economy every year.”

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management updates its Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program every five years. The development of the next five year program, slated for 2017-22, is under way. The letter was submitted as part of the 45-day comment period, which closes on July 31.

Capps has been a leader in Congress, fighting to stop offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. For example, she has introduced H.R. 2486, the California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act, which would ban new exploration and drilling for oil and gas off the California coast.

The text of the letter is below:

Secretary Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell,

As Members of the California Congressional delegation, we write to urge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to exclude any offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Northern California, Central California, and Southern California Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Planning Areas from the Draft Proposed 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Californians have repeatedly spoken out against new offshore drilling. Since 1969, 24 city and county governments have passed anti-drilling measures and the State has enacted a permanent ban on new offshore leasing in state waters. Serious accidents and environmental damage can and do occur at offshore drilling rigs. These spills and leaks, air and water pollution, and the industrialization of the shoreline threatens public health, impairs marine resources, and wreak havoc on our economy, especially the state’s critically important tourism, fishing and recreation industries, which inject billions of dollars into the California economy every year.

Energy companies are not producing oil and gas on the vast majority of land they already hold in offshore leases. The Department should be pushing to ensure that these companies are diligently developing the land that they already have before offering new federal leases. Furthermore, the amount of oil and gas available from OCS leases currently off limits is small compared to what is already open to drilling and would not significantly impact energy prices. Opening additional offshore areas to drilling will only allow these companies to warehouse more public land and put more of our vibrant coastal tourism economies and fragile shoreline ecosystems at risk.

Rather than expanding oil and gas development, the Department should – with proper consultation and consideration given to all relevant stakeholders – continue its focus on developing clean, renewable sources of offshore energy. It is imperative that we promote the use of these clean technologies and protect the integrity of our state’s coastline from new offshore oil and gas development for both current and future Californians.

The known risks of expanding offshore drilling in these areas far outweigh any potential benefits. We therefore urge you to continue these longstanding protections and not include the waters off California’s coast in the new draft five-year plan. Thank you for your consideration.

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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Tom Donohue: Treaty Would Open Doors for People with Disabilities Worldwide

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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In the United States and around the world — where too often there are jobs without people and people without jobs — there is vast and often untapped potential in individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation passed in 1990, has made it possible for more U.S. citizens to participate and thrive in the workforce and contribute to the economy.

Globally, there are many people with disabilities who are willing and able to work, but they don’t have the same accommodations.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty modeled after the ADA, would help change that. It would establish a framework for creating legislation and policies in other countries. And it would protect the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities, giving them greater opportunity to work, travel, and lead full and productive lives.

Now we need the Senate to approve it. There are plenty of reasons to support the CRPD — the most obvious and important one being that it’s the right thing to do for people across the globe who are living and working with disabilities. But there are economic and competitiveness benefits for the United States as well.

The CRPD would leverage the leadership and innovation of American business in setting accessibility standards. Guided by the ADA and pioneered by the private sector, the United States has developed the best products, technologies and services to help people with disabilities. An active U.S. role in implementing the CRPD would enable us to share these standards worldwide and help meet the needs of 1 billion people with disabilities — while creating growth and jobs in our own economy.

Moreover, ratifying the CRPD would create a level playing field for American businesses. Our companies compete with foreign counterparts that don’t have to adhere to our high standards for accommodation and accessibility. That’s a disadvantage for U.S. businesses and a disservice to global consumers with disabilities.

Success in the global economy often means doing business beyond our own borders. Until other countries ensure that people with disabilities have access and opportunities to work and travel, we will always be limited in our ability to do business abroad. The CRPD would greatly expand the pool of available workers for positions in U.S. businesses overseas and allow American workers to travel and conduct business freely in other countries.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee soon will consider this important treaty. We urge our leaders to seize the opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and help people with disabilities worldwide.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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United Way Fun in the Sun Program Pilots Guest Speaker Series ‘Failing Forward’

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Whether we like it or not, failure is an inevitable obstacle on the path to success. It is essential that we all learn how to overcome failure and disappointment. As part of United Way of Santa Barbara County’s national award-winning Fun in the Sun summer enrichment program, kids are being encouraged to refer to this as “failing forward.”

Based on Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, UWSBC’s “failing forward” curriculum maintains that the three most important character traits for success are curiosity, perseverance and grit.

To demonstrate how these qualities help build successful adults, UWSBC invited a series of guest speakers including local community leaders and volunteers to share their experiences with overcoming adversity and how those experiences have helped shape their identities today.

Fun in the Sun 2014 Failing Forward guest speakers include:

» Dr. Victor Rios, associate professor of sociology at UCSB
» Happy Carrillo, Happy's Auto Body and Repair
» Lisa Lopez, Santa Barbara City College
» Robert Samario, City of Santa Barbara
» Mick Kronman, City of Santa Barbara
» Hal Conklin, retired Santa Barbara mayor
» Dr. Michael Young, vice chancellor of Student Affairs at UCSB
» Bryan Reinhead, Omega Financial
» Janet Garufis, Montecito Bank & Trust
» Steve DeLira, County of Santa Barbara

FITS offers participants a fun learning environment with a daily emphasis on literacy, including reading and writing. Afternoon enrichment opportunities include activities in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), service learning projects and field trips.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Letter to the Editor: Shortcomings of Santa Barbara Bicycle Master Plan

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Response to the City of Santa Barbara Master Plan proposal of July 15:

» 1. The issue of the success of the bike master plan.

a. The City of Santa Barbara’s official numbers prove that bicycles as a meaningful alternative to automobile transportation has failed (1974 - 2400, 2003 - 1600+).

b. The reasoning for continuing the bike program is that a fully integrated bike path would increase the numbers of bicyclists on the streets. The city, since Mayor Marty Blum, has advertised it now has an interconnected bike path, with at or over 40 miles of bicycle paths.

c. City transportation has repeatedly pointed to San Francisco as a well-working integrated bike program. San Francisco has 500 miles of bike paths, and at last review, has 0.9 percent of its commuters as bike riders.

d. The City of Santa Barbara transportation staff has claimed expanded bike use in the County of Santa Barbara as reasoning for continuing this planning. Former Supervisor Joe Centeno (former police chief and mayor of Santa Maria) demanded a report from the county, and later received a report from the county, stating either the success or failure of the program which would clearly reflect the success or failure of the program. The received report stated that not only had the bike path program failed to improve ridership, but in fact there were fewer bikers on the county streets (~five years ago).

» 2. The City of Santa Barbara has seen increased hazards to drivers and increased congestion of vehicle traffic as a result of lost street capacity because of Class II bike paths.

» 3. Today, street conditions are more dangerous for bikes, in part as a result of the city's bulbout and roundabout programs. The bulbout plan is dangerous to bicycle use, was based on overt lies by transportation staff and admitted by the head of Public Works.

» 4. Claims of increasing numbers based upon a Census Public Survey is both scientifically unsound and a public relations ploy that attempts to justify failed programs. Epidemiologist statisticians will tell you this type of polling is both unscientific and very prone to outside influence.

» 5. Stating that the City of Santa Barbara should go forward with expanded bike paths to obtain a private organization commendation in the face of absolute fact to the contrary is bad planning and bad governance.

» 6. The disingenuous use of bicycles as part of your "mitigation" for intentional street congestion is shameless deception upon the trusting public (the city claims this mitigates air pollution, wait times, driver frustration and parking congestion). In the face of the failure of a 40-year program, the logical step would be to open the streets to efficient transportation, which will make them safer for pedestrian, bicycle and automotive traffic.

Your attention to this is appreciated.

Cars Are Basic
Board of Directors

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Jeff Moehlis: Michael McDonald Is Takin’ It to the Streets

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The five-time Grammy winner will perform at the Funk Zone Block Party next Sunday in a benefit for Youth Interactive

If you like your music smooth and soulful, you can't do much better than listening to Michael McDonald, a five-time Grammy winner who sang for a time with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, and also has had a notable solo career. Some highlights of his catalog: "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," "You Belong to Me," "It Keeps You Runnin'," "Minute By Minute," "What a Fool Believes," "Takin' It to the Streets," "Yah Mo B There," "Sweet Freedom" and his cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

McDonald, who lives in the Santa Barbara area, and other artists including Ambrosia ("Biggest Part of Me" and "How Much I Feel") will be performing at a Funk Zone Block Party on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at a benefit event for Youth Interactive.

More information and tickets, including VIP options, are available by clicking here.

McDonald talked to Noozhawk about Youth Interactive and what we can look forward to at the block party. The full interview, in which he talks about his time with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, plus his upcoming new album, is available by clicking here.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: You're performing at a benefit for the organization Youth Interactive. Could you tell us a bit about how you got involved with that organization?

Michael McDonald: In a nutshell, my daughter Scarlett is an intern volunteer for the organization. She told me about it, and I was so impressed with the idea of the program. It's an entrepreneurial academy, free of charge, nonprofit, after school. It's available to all the kids in this area, Santa Barbara especially.

It's an opportunity for kids who have an artistic talent or an idea for a small business. It teaches them the rudimentary steps to starting a small business, and how to network with local businesses that might help them, that might carry the products or things like that. And what's unique about it is that the local businesses do a lot to participate in the program.

For instance, an untypical scenario, just taking one of the kids' stories. He was a street artist, a tagger, looking at about two years of jail time. The courts approached the program, because they do interact, and a lot of the kids come to the program through a recommendation by the juvenile courts or the courts. They made a contract with him that he would not tag anymore illegally, and they gave him the opportunity to start developing his skills a little further, and his brand, which he had already done a good job of developing.

So he applied that to a clothing line, sneakers and T-shirt design, and some of the stores locally are carrying those. He also had a lot to do with some of the new murals down in the Funk Zone. You know, the Funk Zone itself is kind of largely becoming an outdoor gallery for socially conscious young artists and mural artists. At one time they would've been hard-pressed to find a place where they can express themselves legally, and not be looking at getting in trouble and having problems with the courts.

So here this kid goes from looking at two years of jail time to being a mentor in the program himself for younger artists coming in, having developed his own line and making a livelihood from his art and his brand. He has a young baby himself, him and his girlfriend. He has a job outside of his art, but his art does a lot to help him with the financial burden of raising a child. And instead of languishing in jail for a couple of years, this is what his life has turned the corner for. It's a wonderful thing.

One of the girls in the program is a teen. She was pregnant, dropped out of school. She has started a line of food items, one of them being organic biscotti that's being carried by stores in the area, coffee shops and stuff. She's actually in a situation now where she's hoping to develop that idea, and employ other kids — you know, her friends and family — to help her develop the small business into something that could be a good livelihood for her here locally.

It's a great program, and the entrepreneurial component, I think, makes it more interesting than a normal arts outreach program where you're just teaching kids about art and developing artistic skills. This actually takes it a step further, and they really connect with this stuff, and in many cases many of them already have. It brings them into an arena where they can actually do something with it in ways that aren't always obvious to young people at that age.

One thing that's great about the program is it's open to all kids of all economic strata in our community, and in all walks of life. But I think it's most profound as an experience for the low income kids, because for them the opportunity, let's face it, is much greater than for the kids that grew up in Montecito. It really serves our community well on every level. And I think it's a win-win for businesses because it's obviously developing the Funk Zone as an artistic center. It's a wonderful thing culturally for our community. It's great for the city. It's great for the kids.

It's great for us residents to become an area where there's opportunity, and more and more of our young people learning that there's opportunity right under their nose if they're given a little bit of guidance to look for it.

JM: Sounds amazing! What can we look forward to at your performance?

MM: Myself and Ambrosia are going to play. It's a pretty impromptu kind of show, it's kind of a big jam session if you will. Yassou Benedict from San Francisco is going to play. A group from Nashville, Dylan McDonald & The Avians are going to play. They're a rock band, but they're from Nashville, Tenn. [Dylan is Michael's son.]

We'll just do all the stuff that I've done over the years with the Doobies and my solo act. A lot of the stuff that the Ambrosia guys have had hits with during the '70s and the '80s.

JM: Your music and your voice in particular have been used for various pop culture references, you know, the Yacht Rock video series and The 40-Year-Old Virgin and so on. Does this sort of attention crack you up?

MM: Oh yeah, it's great stuff. I love it. And, of course, you know my kids were kind of little when all that stuff started, so they just got the biggest kick out of it. Whenever they did something on Family Guy or whatever, the kids would tape it and make sure I saw it. Yeah, it's just great fun. I get as big of a kick out of it as anybody, I would guess.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction Petition

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A Superior Court judge has decided the City of Santa Barbara hasn’t met its burden to prove the Eastside and Westside criminal street gangs are a public nuisance subject to an injunction.

In her 32-page decision filed Monday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne determined that there are active criminal street gangs in Santa Barbara and that law enforcement agencies have adequate remedies already available with existing laws, including gang-related provisions of probation and parole. 

“In short, Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons,” she wrote.

“There is no evidence that residents of the proposed safety zones in Santa Barbara are prisoners in their own homes, remain indoors at night, prevent their children from playing outside, or whose relatives and friends refuse to visit.”

Mayor Helene Schneider released a short comment Tuesday morning in response to the decision. 

"I respect the court process," she told Noozhawk in an email.

"The city of Santa Barbara will continue to use every tool available to keep our residents and visitors safe while we consider the impacts and options of Judge Sterne's ruling."

During the three-week trial in May, Sterne heard arguments and evidence from the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s office, which petitioned for a permanent injunction, and defense attorneys who represented individual clients and made a case against the injunction as a policy. 

There was extensive testimony from members of the Santa Barbara Police Department

The city dropped 19 people from the proposed injunction, leaving 11 as the case went to trial. If the injunction were approved, more names could be added.

The injunction would have restricted the named defendants from associating with each other in certain areas, wearing gang clothing or tattoos, having firearms or weapons, using drugs or alcohol, doing graffiti, and recruiting or intimidating people in the mapped-out “safety zones.”

Check back with Noozhawk for a more complete story.

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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PacWest Bancorp Reports Net Earnings of $10.6 Million for Second Quarter

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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PacWest Bancorp on Tuesday announced net earnings for the second quarter of 2014 of $10.6 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, compared with net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 of $25.1 million, or 55 cents per diluted share.

When certain income and expense items described below are excluded, adjusted net earnings are $63.8 million, or 64 cents per diluted share.

"The benefits of the CapitalSource merger are apparent in our second-quarter results: record adjusted net earnings of $64 million, new loan and lease fundings of $881 million, organic loan and lease growth of $143 million, and significant progress in meeting our deposit transformation and cost savings targets," said Matt Wagner, president and CEO. "Our loan fundings were strong across both divisions, with the national lending platform embodied in the CapitalSourcedivision originating $745 million in loans and leases and our Community Bank division originating $137 million in loans. Loan refinancings by other lenders at liberal pricing metrics continued, and the improving economy in our market areas enabled borrowers to either sell their properties or use excess cash balances to reduce outstandings. Nevertheless, our pipelines are robust and we expect continued high levels of loan and lease fundings.

"PacWest Bancorp is a very strong and well-positioned company. Our second quarter adjusted return on assets and adjusted return on tangible equity stood at 1.70 percent and 16.05 percent. Our tangible common equity ratio was 12.14 percent at June 30, well above the 10 percent target we set when we initiated the CapitalSource merger. The strengths of these financial metrics position us to support asset growth and produce solid earnings."

Vic Santoro, executive vice president and CFO, stated, "Our core net interest margin was 5.74 percent for the quarter, right about where we expected it to be. We have made great strides in reaching our cost savings targets, with our adjusted efficiency ratio at 43 percent. Our Deposit Solutions Team, which concentrates on generating core deposits from legacy CapitalSource borrowers, has achieved significant success so far with new core deposits of $95 million and a pipeline of almost $175 million. Overall, organic core deposit growth was $200 million in the second quarter, and our teams remain focused on gathering new deposits from all sources."

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Christina Gonzalez of Santa Barbara Named to Wilson College Dean’s List

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Christina Nicole Gonzalez of Santa Barbara was named to the Wilson College Dean's List for the spring semester.

To be eligible for Dean's List, a student must achieve a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college offering bachelor's degrees in 27 majors and master's degrees in education, the humanities, accountancy and nursing. Wilson is committed to providing an affordable education that offers value to its students beyond graduation.

Located in Chambersburg, Pa., the college had a fall 2013 enrollment of 662, which includes students from 20 states and 14 countries. Click here for more information.

— Cathy Mentzer represents Wilson College.

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Capps to Host Citizenship and Deferred Action Renewal Workshop

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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On Saturday, Aug. 9, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will be hosting a forum where people can receive an update and review from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials on their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal application, as well as information on applying for citizenship.

The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the UDW Building at 402 S. Miller St. in Santa Maria.

USCIS will give a presentation and host a question and answer session on the DACA renewal process. Following that presentation, USCIS officials will then present information on filling out the new, longer version N-400 form for the naturalization process.

Local resources for students who need help with their applications will be available at no cost from Catholic Charities Santa Maria, Cal Poly Rise Program and IMPORTA-Santa Barbara.

“The DACA program for undocumented young adults, youth brought to this country as children and who are pursuing their education or serving in the military, can be complicated," Capps said. "I am happy to bring together federal and community resources to help these young people explore ways to remain in their communities.

“This will be an informative session, and I encourage all who have questions to attend.”

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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Randy Copperman Joins A Different Point of View’s Board of Directors

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Randy Copperman
Randy Copperman

A Different Point of View announced Monday that it has welcomed Randy Copperman to its Board of Directors.

“Randy Copperman’s commitment reflects the board’s intention to engage a diverse and experienced group of community leaders to help guide our innovative organization to our next level of service,” said Lynn Houston, founder and president of ADPOV.

A Different Point of View is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Its mission is to engage, inspire and transform youth who are in danger of losing their way by teaching them to fly an airplane. Through aviation education and mentoring, youth are exposed to a world they have never seen before. The goal of the organization is to help youth become captains of their own lives and realize the many career opportunities in the field of aviation.

With 30 years of experience in small to large enterprise businesses, Copperman recently formed his own consulting company, Rterial, which delivers significant strategic and operating benefits for organizations worldwide.

Copperman has served as vice president and chief information officer at Raytheon Company as well as in executive leadership positions at other organizations. These roles included VP of strategic development, chief operating officer, as well as additional roles as CIO. At these organizations he has led the Human Resources, Facilities/Environmental Health and Safety, Contracts and Legal divisions driving increased revenues and improving operational efficiencies leading to considerable savings.

In addition to his extensive private-sector experience, Copperman has worked with Meals on Wheels and the United Boys & Girls Clubs, and recently coached in the Fast Pitch Santa Barbara event sponsored by Social Venture Partners.

He is on the board of the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and volunteers with the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization. He has been on the board of Kids Unlimited in Arizona for the past 22 years, an organization that is focused on providing a safe stage for youth ages 5 to 18.

“His ongoing commitment to instill best practices, encourage collaboration and continuing education has lead to significant operational efficiencies and savings everywhere he has been," Houston said. "Randy’s knowledge, skill and expertise will be invaluable to us as we implement our new five-year strategic plan.”

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Gerald Carpenter: Faculty Chamber Orchestra Taking the Lobero Stage for ‘Tuesdays @ 8’

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The next "Tuesdays @ 8" chamber music concert by the Music Academy of the West faculty — at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Lobero Theatre — will be something of a departure, to say the least.

James Gaffigan
James Gaffigan

Two of the three works on the program will be performed by an all-star chamber orchestra consisting of Timothy Day on flute, Cynthia Koledo DeAlemeida on oboe, Richie Hawley on clarinet, Benjamin Kamins on bassoon, Julie Landsman on horn, Michael Werner and a Percussion Fellow on percussion, Natasha Kislenko and Margaret McDonald on pianos, Glenn Dicterow and Kathleen Winkler on violins, Richard O'Neill on viola, Alan Stepansky on cello and Nico Abondolo on double bass — all under the inspired baton of guest conductor James Gaffigan.

In between these works, we will hear (and see) the amazing virtuoso pianist Stephen Hough perform his own Piano Sonata No. 2 "Notturna luminoso".

The chamber orchestra program presents itself as an homage to an early Music Academy composer-in residence, Arnold Schoenberg — without, I note, actually performing one of Schoenberg's own compositions (which I adore, but acknowledge to be a minority taste). First, the orchestra will play Claude Debussy's Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune in an arrangement for 11 instruments, made under Schoenberg's supervision in 1921 by Dr. Benno Sachs, who was then corresponding secretary of the Viennese Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (the Society for Private Music Performances), founded in 1918 by Schoenberg, and for which the arrangement was prepared.

After Hough's striking sonata, this ensemble will be joined by soprano Liana Guberman for a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in G-Major, 1901 in an arrangement begun by Erwin Stein and completed by Klaus Simon, which was also prepared for the Verein concerts.

It was Stein's idea to do a whole season of Verein concerts "that would present large-scale works re-scored for a small ensemble consisting of a few wind instruments, a string quintet, piano and a harmonium." Both of Tuesday evening's transcriptions come from this projected season.

Schoenberg had turned the running of the Verein activities over to Stein in 1920, but he was fully supportive of the idea of transcriptions, having (impressively) transcribed the Brahms First Piano Quartet into a full-scale symphony. He had also taken "The Wood Dove's Song," from Gurre Lieder, and set it for mezzo and chamber ensemble, making it into a masterpiece comparable to Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915.

This program is thus very much in the spirit of Schoenberg, even though his notes are absent. Mahler was a mentor and friend, and Schoenberg had dedicated The Theory of Harmony to him, so his presence in this context is self-explanatory. Debussy's presence, on the other hand, begs a question or two. On the face of it, the two composers are antithetical, the languid Parisian versus the intensely disciplined Viennese. Yet, Schoenberg's admiration for Debussy is well-documented; and he thought some of the Frenchman's innovations essential to the creation of modern music.

Both the Debussy and the Mahler have a surprising effect in their chamber arrangements — they seem at the same time much more solidly built and completely transparent. We listen to them from within the music. It is more than an education to hear them this way. It is magical.

Tickets to this concert are $42 and can be purchased from the Music Academy ticket office at 805.969.8787, or online by clicking here. They can also be purchased at the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., by calling 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at gerald.carpenter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Ronald Gallo: Mission & State Experiment Has Come to a Close

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

There has been much said and written about Mission & State in the last two months; and I suggest that some of it has been unpleasant, some of it has been inaccurate, and some of it has been very important. It is not my intention with this letter to address the first two parts of that suggestion, but rather only the last part.

There is a larger story here, and it is about doing the right thing for the community. When the Santa Barbara Foundation learned of the push-back to its decision to award the management responsibility of the project to Noozhawk, it immediately scheduled a public meeting. Fifty-five people attended.

The July 15 meeting lasted nearly two hours, and I think there would be no disagreement that everyone was given an opportunity to say their piece. The conversation was candid, passionate and civil, and it was clear to me by the end of the interchange that the current management arrangement with Noozhawk did not have sufficient support among potential media partners for it to have a reasonable chance of widespread collaboration.

Accordingly, the Santa Barbara Foundation has decided, with the understanding of the principals of Noozhawk — who have acted honorably and with good intentions throughout — that the current management arrangement must be brought to an end. It is effective immediately (although there will be two more stories; one this week and one next week that will be published under the Mission & State banner).

Unfortunately, with this decision, the Mission & State experiment must come to an end. In an amicable discussion with the Knight Foundation on July 21, I learned that its clear preference is that a third iteration of Mission & State not be attempted at this time. We discussed several versions of an idea — which was raised at the public meeting — of a more streamlined (and perhaps more sustainable) model that provides a pool of dollars to an impartial board that would entertain requests from individual journalists and/or media entities to do longer-format stories of importance to the community. The Knight Foundation believes that would not accomplish the aims of its challenge, which focused on developing new and innovative structural models that increase media cooperation and collaboration.

The Knight Foundation doesn’t believe that we, as a community, have failed. This was a bold national challenge offered by Knight precisely because of the severe stresses on the journalism industry today. With ever-changing technology and consumer habits coupled with shrinking financial margins, it was their hope to help the industry find new ways forward. If it gives us any comfort, we are in good company. Relatively few of the Knight projects created long-term sustainable projects. Out of the 100 grants given, four have been singled out for additional funding by the Knight Foundation.

This is a learning opportunity, and I think, once we catch our breath, a thoughtful postmortem is in order. Knight is hungry for “lessons learned.” So, too, is the Santa Barbara Foundation, and so, I am sure, are many of you.

In terms of next steps, we will be working with the Knight Foundation, local donors and Noozhawk to settle existing obligations, return (on a pro-rata basis) unused monies, and most important, commission a “white paper” on our nearly-three-year experience.

With all that said, it is time, I hope you agree, to move on. There is so much of importance that we can do together with creativity, innovation, generosity and good will ... all long-time hallmarks of this wonderful county.

Best regards to you all,

Ronald V. Gallo Ed.D.
Santa Barbara Foundation President & CEO

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Judge Tentatively Rules to Drop Some Charges Against Cabrillo High Wrestling Coaches

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Two Cabrillo High School wrestling coaches — along with the sport’s techniques and philosophy — are on trial for the alleged assault of a student by three of his fellow teammates last year.

Former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles were charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler. The coaches were charged with battery on a minor and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

The three team captains — referred in court by the first names of Nico, Kodey and Jose — testified Monday in a Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria during the jury trial before Judge James Rigali.

At the end of the day, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco rested his case, and Rigali tentatively ruled in favor of the defense attorneys’ motion to drop some charges. But the judge instructed both sides to return to court at 9 a.m. Tuesday for a final ruling.

A sophomore student claimed that three team captains assaulted him at the direction of the coaches. Before the criminal charges were filed March 7, Fabian Realpe and his mother, Hilda Rico, earlier filed a civil lawsuit against the men plus a third coach, Chuy Medrano, and the Lompoc Unified School District.

The three captains, each taking the stand at different times Monday, testified that they came up with the idea of the unsanctioned wrestling match involving Fabian after discussion among themselves.

A few days before the incident, Fabian was involved in an off-campus fight, reportedly while defending his girlfriend. He also had missed practices and had poor grades, prompting Johnson, the head wrestling coach, to tell the captains to “deal with it.”

Johnson had high standards for his wrestlers, Nico testified under questioning from Johnson’s defense attorney Michael Scott.

“He wanted us to exceed the minimum expectations,” Nico told the jury.

After practice on Dec. 9, 2013, the captains talked to Fabian about how his actions reflected poorly on the team.

“We just told him that what he did made the team look bad,” Kodey said.

The three decided to conduct an “ironman” — consecutive wrestling matches with Fabian participating in each one. Before the coaches left, Giles poked his head through the doorway and said, "Don’t leave any marks on his face.”

“He said it in more of a joking manner,” Nico said under questioning from Giles’ defense attorney, Adrian Galvan. “I took it was as kind of weird, though.”

The team members typically hold ironman matches several times a week.

“The ironman on Dec. 9, would you describe it as a wrestling match or a beat down?” Johnson’s defense attorney asked Nico.

“I would describe it as a wrestling match,” Nico said.

The ironman match stopped because Fabian had a bloody nose while wrestling Nico, after already taking on the other two captains. Fabian alleged one captain slammed his face into the mat up to 30 times.

“Did you put Fabian’s face into the mat?” Greco asked.

“Yes, I did put his face into the mat,” Nico said.

But he later said under questioning by Scott that putting an opponent’s face into the mat is a legal wrestling move that Nico has done, and had done to him, several times. The victim also claimed he was punched, but Nico denied seeing another team captain punch Fabian.

“I would have been angry at Kodey because that’s not what we do in wrestling,” Nico said.

Bloody noses, broken bones and bruises are commonplace in wrestling, the three captains said individually.

Nico told of one bloody nose at the beginning of a tournament. He continued wrestling after stemming the flow of blood.

“It’s hard but you have to deal with it,” he said.

After the ironman, Fabian shook hands with the opponents, although the team captains admitted that is common practice in wrestling.

But the team captains said Fabian didn’t seem upset.

“He just smiled at me when I saw him in the restroom,” Jose testified.

Cabrillo administrators disciplined the three team captains and ordered them to write letters of apology. Temporarily suspended from the wrestling team during the season, they were allowed to return before the season ended.

Greco read part of the Nico’s apology letter to Fabian.

“The actions I took were in no way befitting of a wrestling captain,” Greco read from Nico’s letter of apology, before asking, “Do you believe that?”

“Yes, sir,” Nico responded.

With one team captain heading into the Army and another going into his senior year with a high grade point average plus a class schedule with four Advancement Placement courses, Giles’ attorney argued that none of the captains is a delinquent.

But Greco questioned why these “model students” are suddenly in trouble if they weren’t encouraged by the adults to take the actions.

In pushing for dismissal of three counts, Scott said there wasn’t any evidence that Johnson directed the ironman to occur. He argued that the charge of battery requires being physically involved or aiding and abetting.

“There’s no evidence my client told them to do the ironman,” Scott said.

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

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Man Burned in Explosion, Fire at Goleta Apartment

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A man was seriously burned Monday night after an explosion and flash fire in a Goleta apartment, according to Santa Barbara County Fire.

Firefighters responded to a two-story, eight-unit apartment complex in the 400 block of Ellwood Beach Drive at 7:16 p.m. and found windows blown out of one apartment in the structure, Capt. David Sadecki said.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a butane honey oil conversion process, in which butane is used to extract the oils from marijuana, Sadecki said.

There were reports of an explosion, and responding crews found a flash fire smoldering on arrival, he said.

One man was inside the structure at the time of the explosion and suffered serious third-degree burns.

The patient was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital, Sadecki said.

No other injuries were reported, and firefighters checked nearby units to see if the fire extended to any other areas of the structure. 

During a butane honey oil conversion process, butane is released into the air. It came into contact with an ignition source in the apartment, causing the explosion and resulting fire, Sadecki said.

Butane is highly flammable, can be explosive when ignited and should never be released indoors, he noted. 

The investigation is ongoing with Santa Barbara County Fire arson investigators and Santa Barbara County Sheriff's narcotics detectives. 

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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Northbound Highway 101 On-ramp at Fairview Avenue Closed During Construction

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Caltrans begins a pile driving project in Goleta designed to reduce flooding on nearby Carlo and Vega drives

Drivers on the road Monday morning in Goleta may have noticed another construction project beginning near Fairview Avenue, adding to the flurry of work already under way on the city's roadways and interchanges.

Monday was the first day crews began to work on a pile driving project to help improve drainage to two culverts located near Fairview Avenue and Highway 101, according to Jim Shivers of Caltrans, the agency spearheading the project.

The project is intended to reduce flooding on nearby Carlo and Vega drives.

The northbound Highway 101 on-ramp is closed at Fairview Avenue for the project and will stay that way for six to eight months, Shivers said.

The southbound ramp at Fairview will be closed next year after a project to replace the overpass at Los Carneros Road is completed. Overpass construction is causing the closure of the Los Carneros southbound on-ramp until February. 

The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District and City of Goleta are also working on the creek culvert project, which is expected to be completed in early 2017.

The project could be seen on Monday between Calle Real and Highway 101, and cones had been set up to help shepherd traffic passing through.

Las Vegas and San Pedro creeks are the two waterways that feed into the culvert that is being expanded, and the pile driving operation will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 1, Shivers said.

The agency warned residents in nearby neighborhoods that the work would be noisy, but all local businesses in the Fairview Shopping Center would remain open for business during the work. 

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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Police to Step Up Patrols for Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Cyclists in the Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride scheduled for Aug. 3 should be aware that an increased police presence will be on hand to dole out tickets for violations, the Santa Barbara Police Department said Monday.

The unsanctioned bike ride has been a Fiesta week tradition for more than three decades, in which cyclists set off from the pier up State Street in Santa Barbara, with the ride turning back toward Isla Vista and ending on the pier.

The event, which drew thousands of cyclists last year, doesn’t operate with the necessary permits, officials say, with many disobeying traffic laws and traveling with open containers of alcohol.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Monday that additional officers will be deployed to monitor the Sunday event.

"Bicyclists are legally required to obey all traffic laws and violators will be cited, as appropriate," he said.

Some of the most common bicycle-related violations are failure to ride as close as practicable to the righthand curb, a $197 fine; failure to obey red signal light, a $490 fine; and failure to obey a stop sign, a $197 fine, Harwood said.

"To ensure a safe and enjoyable Fiesta, the Santa Barbara Police Department encourages all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to be courteous and to follow the rules of the road," he said.

In response to complaints, the Police Department has stepped up enforcement during the ride.

Twenty Santa Barbara police officers worked the bike ride in 2013 and followed the ride throughout the city.

Last year, nearly 80 citations were issued to cyclists during the ride in Santa Barbara, and many riders did not return from Isla Vista after the ride commenced.

Harwood told Noozhawk last year that 64 traffic citations were issued, as well as 12 municipal code citations, which would include offenses such as someone having an open container of alcohol.

Five citations were also issued by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies to riders as they passed through the unincorporated portion of the ride.

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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Gina Carbajal Selected to Lead Special Olympics for Santa Barbara County Region

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Gina Carbajal has been selected as the regional director for Special Olympics Southern California for the Santa Barbara County Region.

 

Gina Carbajal
Gina Carbajal

Carbajal has more than 27 years of management experience in the child development and health-care nonprofit sectors. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from UC Santa Barbara and a master's degree in public administration from California State University-Northridge.

In her role as regional director, Carbajal will oversee the management and development of all program activities in the Santa Barbara Region for Special Olympics.

"I am honored to have this tremendous opportunity to be affiliated with such a great organization that provides sports training and competitive athletic opportunities to so many of our community's residents that have intellectual disabilities," she said. "I look forward to building on the many programs and partnerships that Special Olympics has in our community."

Carbajal currently sits on the board of the Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara and has been on the boards of the Children’s Creative Project, Sarah House and the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, and a commissioner for the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women.

Carbajal is married to First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal and has two children, Natasha and Michael.

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, out of her passionate conviction that people with developmental disabilities could take part in and benefit from competitive sports. One thousand athletes from the United States, Canada and France competed in the first international Special Olympic Games. Today, more than 1 million athletes and hundreds of thousands of volunteers and coaches participate in special Olympic programs, which are held in every state and more than 100 countries.

The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. The programs that Special Olympics offer are at no cost to the athletes and their families.

For more information, click here or call 805.884.1516.

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Assemblyman Williams Applauds Efforts to Enforce Water Conservation

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, applauds efforts to enforce water conservation in California.

The State Water Resources Control Board has approved an emergency regulation to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing.

“Our drought is such a threat that voluntary measures are not enough to protect our future," Williams said. "It is crucial that we all do our part to conserve California’s water. From fixing broken sprinklers, cease watering landscaping, to taking shorter showers, simple steps can go a long way. Many local water agencies offer conservation incentives, like irrigation control devices and help with landscaping.”

California is experiencing the worst drought in nearly four decades. The new conservation regulation is aimed at reducing outdoor water use. The regulation adopted by the State Water Board mandates minimum actions to conserve water supplies both for this year and into 2015. Most Californians use more water outdoors than indoors. In some areas, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping.

This regulation will expect Californians to stop washing down driveways and sidewalks; watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated. The regulation makes an exception for health and safety circumstances.

“The drought impacts are being felt by communities all over California," Williams said. "It is crucial that Californians start saving water immediately to avoid much more severe regulations in the future if the drought persists. Please call my office for a brochure on Ways to Save Water, which includes saving tips that can save each household thousands of gallons of water each month.”

A recent survey conducted by the State Water Quality Control Board revealed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use mandated by Gov. Jerry Brown. Water usage has increased in California by 1 percent. The new restrictions are estimated to save enough water statewide to supply more than 3.5 million people for a year.

Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Michael Barone: Obama Dragged Down By Chaos at Home, Abroad — Not By Economy

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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"Why do you think President Obama's job rating is falling, even though the economy is recovering?" the interviewer asked.

It's a fair question, even though the economy declined 2.9 percent in the first quarter, even though most jobs created in June were part-time and even though labor force participation remains low.

The fact is that the economy is growing, however slowly; jobs are being created, and the unemployment rate is heading down toward what economists consider full employment. And still the president's job rating languishes.

What's wrong with the question is an assumption embedded within it, that what voters seek most from government and political officeholders is economic growth. I think there's something they value even more: the maintenance of order.

This isn't what I was taught in political science classes. Political scientists who had grown up in the 1930s' Depression taught that politics was about "who gets what, when and how."

Operating on that assumption, political scientists developed rules that explained past election outcomes as a function of economic variables — how much the economy grew in the second quarter of the election year, for example.

Those rules generally worked pretty well at predicting future elections — until they didn't.

What they don't explain very well are the political upheavals that come when voters perceive that the nation and the world are in disarray. Americans, blessed with a mostly happy history, tend to take fundamental order for granted. They recoil and rebel when things spin out of control.

Example: The political scientists taught that the big shift toward Democrats in 1874 was a response to the financial panic of 1873. Sort of like the Great Depression.

But further study convinces me it was a rebellion against Ulysses Grant's military occupation of the South to protect blacks' rights. Voters tired of violence voted for the anti-black Democrats, who held House majorities for 14 of the next 20 years and won the popular vote for president in five of six presidential elections in those years.

Or consider Republicans' "back to normalcy" victory in 1920. This was a response to disorder at home (dizzying inflation and depression, waves of strikes, terrorist bombings) and abroad (Communist revolutions, continued fighting in Russia and the Middle East, rejection of Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations).

Closer to our times, Jimmy Carter was rejected in 1980 as the nation faced not only stagflation (inflation-plus-recession) at home and but also an "arc of instability" abroad.

Americans, unlike voters in many other countries, demand the maintenance of order in the world as well in their own nation. From the early days of the republic, there has been an unspoken awareness that what happens in the world affects their own lives.

In the 19th century, American merchants went out into the Mediterranean, American whalers to the Pacific, American missionaries to China and the Middle East.

American troops followed. The Navy and Marines went after the Barbary pirates on the shores of Tripoli. American gunboats opened Japan to the world in 1854 and were stationed on rivers in China from the 1840s to the 1930s.

Which brings us to today. Many things seem to be spinning out of control. Important government agencies are malfunctioning — the Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Affairs. Obamacare is producing higher health care premiums and is on track to deliver more.

Tens of thousands of underage and some not-so-underage Central American illegal immigrants are streaming across the Rio Grande, and the government is flying them to parts unknown — and sending 38 back to their home countries.

Abroad things are even worse. In Syria there is violent civil war, and next door in Iraq terrorists are proclaiming a caliphate. Israel has been forced to launch a ground attack on the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza.

A Malaysian airliner cruising at 33,000 feet over Ukraine has been brought down by a rocket, probably by thugs armed by Vladimir Putin's Russia.

The president, in-between fundraisers, has time for a photo-op playing pool in Colorado, but not for one on the border. He has time for only two sentences on the airliner shoot-down before a photo-op and two more fundraisers. First things first.

Not everything spinning out of control is the president's fault. But his responses so far have confirmed voters' sense that the nation and the world are in disarray.

This, not economic sluggishness, is why he and his party are in trouble.

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

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Conference Showcases UCSB’s Actuarial Program

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Actuaries from around the world gathered last week at UC Santa Barbara for the 49th annual Actuarial Research Conference. It is traditionally the central meeting for international academics and researchers interested in all aspects of actuarial science.

ARC is held at a different university each year, and the 2014 event at UCSB was the largest ever. The conference is open to all areas of actuarial practice and provides an opportunity for experts in the field to meet and discuss actuarial problems and their solutions while promoting education, research and interaction with industry.

“Six years ago few people knew that Santa Barbara had an actuarial program,” said Raya Feldman, co-director of UCSB’s actuarial science program and organizer of the 2014 conference. “Hopefully today everybody knows about it.”

In fact, UCSB’s program is thriving, having grown from a handful of students in fall 2010 to nearly 200 today.

“UCSB’s Department of Statistics and Applied Probability offers the only bachelor’s degree in actuarial science in California and a unique five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program in actuarial science,” said Pierre Wiltzius, the Susan and Bruce Worster Dean of Science in the College of Letters and Science’s Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences.

Participants in this year’s conference came from as far away as Beijing, Sydney and Dublin.

“I’ve been really, really impressed,” said Sarah Mathieson, head of research for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the United Kingdom’s only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing and regulating actuaries based in the U.K. and internationally. “The program was well-thought-out and the structure was good in terms of the topics covering a real breadth of actuarial science. While some of the presentations looked at specific countries, a lot of ideas are actually translatable between different countries and can be used in your own region of the world.”

The keynote speaker, Paul Embrechts, a professor of mathematics at ETH Zurich, one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences, thought a university setting was appropriate.

“I am very much in favor of linking university-based actuarial research with applied research,” he said. “I think it is absolutely crucial to have this kind of coming together.”

Nowhere was that illustrated better than in the poster session and competition during which academics and practitioners shared their research. Participants came from companies in China and the U.S. and universities in Canada, Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Conference attendees voted for the best posters. Tied for first place were UCSB’s Richard Pulliam, a student in the combined bachelor’s/master’s actuarial science program, and Jinyuan Zhang, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Pulliam conducted a time series analysis for the Northern California division of AAA Insurance, and Zhang presented her work on estimating the conditional distribution of the loss on one asset given a large movement in another. David Smith of the Cass Business School in London came in third for his research on life expectancy.

“I go to a lot of actuarial conferences,” said Ian Duncan, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries who has taught in UCSB’s Department of Statistics and Applied Probability since 2011. “This is my favorite because it’s not too big, you meet a lot of old and new friends and you learn a lot. People have been very complimentary about what a great job we’ve done. So I’d say this conference was incredibly successful.”

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Tyler Powell Named New Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation Trustee

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Tyler Powell
Tyler Powell

Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Tyler Powell as a new Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee.

Powell is the associate vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, Private Client Group.

Powell received a bachelor of arts degree in business economics from UCSB. He is a chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and an accredited asset management specialist (AAMS).

In addition to serving as a Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee, Powell also serves on the Endowment Committee for the Carpinteria Morning Rotary Club and the Finance Committee for the Carpinteria Education Foundation.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here. Find Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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Capps Calls for Vote to Protect Wildfire Prevention Budget

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Last week, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, joining several of her colleagues, called for a vote on the House floor on the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, a bill that would ensure adequate funding is available for both wildfire suppression and land management practices that help prevent and reduce the impact of catastrophic wildfires in the future. Capps is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Currently, wildfire prevention funds are designated to pay for wildfire response; however, wildfire fighting costs for the coming fire season are already expected to vastly exceed the budget currently set aside for this purpose.

This funding process differs from the way any other natural disaster is addressed. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would make the common sense change to treat the federal wildfire budget like other major disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, ending the disruptive practice of using funds allocated for fire prevention for fire response.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would not increase spending. It would mean that agencies would no longer be forced to divert funding from practices that actually reduce the risk of wildfire — like hazardous fuels removal, timber harvest, and grazing management — to deal with fighting the fires.

“As Californians, we know that fire season is now year round,” Capps said. “We’ve experienced some devastating fires over the last several years along the Central Coast, so we know the importance of ensuring that both our fire suppression and fuels management budgets are fully funded as well as the danger of diverting these important prevention resources in order to fund our fire response. It is time for Congress to act to ensure that communities can be best prepared for wildfire season, while still funding fire suppression appropriately. I hope this commonsense bipartisan bill can be brought to the House floor for a vote immediately.”

Capps, along with 173 other members, have made this request by signing a discharge petition. A discharge petition can force a vote on the House floor even when it is opposed by the House Majority Leadership if it gets 218 member signatures.

The bill is supported by a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, American Bird Conservancy; American Hiking Society; Defenders of Wildlife; Endangered Species Coalition; National Parks Conservation Association; Trout Unlimited; the Trust for Public Land; the Forest Guild; Safari Club International and the Outdoor Industry Association, among others. Over 200 supporting organizations representing sportsmen, timber, recreation, tribal, environmental groups, signed this letter in support of the proposal.

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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Jobless Rate in Santa Barbara County Remains Below 6%

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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The unemployment rate in Santa Barbara County was 5.4 percent in June, up from a revised 5 percent in May and below the year-ago estimate of 6.8 percent.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for California and 6.3 percent for the nation during the same period. This is according to information released by the State Employment Development Department.

Job growth was recorded in most industry sectors, with the exception of losses in construction (200 jobs), manufacturing (200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs). The highest growth was in Professional & Business Services, which gained a total of (1,200) new jobs. Government also saw an increase in the number of positions gained (400 jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showing a gain of (300) new positions.

Although the county labor force dropped by 0.8 percent in June, to 224,200 down from 225,900 in May, it has fluctuated only 2 percent since June 2013, when it was at 228,700. The overall number of employed workers in the county is currently at 212,200 with a labor force of 224,200.

Santa Barbara County came in eighth of the 10 state counties that had below 6 percent unemployment rates in June. The lowest county unemployment rate among all California counties in June was 4 percent in Marin. Followed by: San Mateo (4.2 percent); San Francisco (4.5 percent); Napa (4.7 percent); Orange (5.2 percent); San Luis Obispo (5.3 percent); Sonoma (5.3 percent); Santa Barbara (5.4) percent); Santa Clara (5.4 percent); and Alameda (5.8) percent). The highest unemployment rate in June was 22.0 percent in Imperial County.  The comparable, not seasonally adjusted California rate was 7.3 percent in June.

Currently, occupations with the fastest job growth in Santa Barbara County are: home health aides (53.2 percent), followed by physical therapy assistants (50 percent). There is, also a demand for veterinary technologists and technicians, which are showing growth at (46.2 percent) and personal care aides (46.8 percent).

In considering numbers of employed in the county, it is also important to consider the commuter traffic from areas outside of Santa Barbara County, which is steadily growing. Over 16,000 of the employed in Santa Barbara County actually reside in Ventura or San Luis Obispo counties. In the year 2000, the percentage of employed commuting in to Santa Barbara County was at 14 percent — currently there are close to 7,500 commuting in from San Luis Obispo County and over 9,000 commuting in from Ventura County. While the total number of residents commuting out to either adjoining county would be approximately 6,000.

“As we finally start to feel the effects of summer, with tourism at its peak, we will begin to realize the economic changes that align with the season," said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County. "Although we are showing fluctuations in industry sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, we are still moving ahead, which, in the long run will be the measure of true economic stability.”

According to INJCJC, US Initial Jobless Claims SA, the weekly initial jobless claim totals used to calculate local and federal UI (unemployment insurance) ratings is determined by the actual number of people who have filed for Unemployment benefits for the first time in a given period. And the following five eligibility criteria must be met in order to file for unemployment benefits: 1. Meet the requirement of time worked during a one-year period (full time or not), 2. Have become unemployed through no fault of your own (was not fired), 3. Must be able to work, no physical or mental holdbacks, 4. Must be available for work, and 5. Must be actively seeking work.

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Allergan Announces Plans to Lay Off 1,500 Employees, Close Goleta Facility

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Irvine-based medical device company says it will pare back its workforce worldwide in an effort to 'refocus resources'

Allergan on Monday announced plans to close its Goleta facility and lay off 1,500 employees worldwide to “refocus resources,” according to the company.

The Irvine-based medical device company will eliminate 13 percent of its global workforce and another 250 vacant positions this year, but no time frame was given for when the local facility would close its doors, according to company spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs.

She said the Goleta location employs about 300 people, some of whom will be let go or reassigned.

“Some of the jobs that are currently based in Santa Barbara will be relocated to Irvine,” Jacobs told Noozhawk.

The Goleta facility at 71 S. Los Carneros Road is smack in the middle of the footprint for an upcoming residential development, Village at Los Carneros, which was approved by the Goleta City Council last week.

Two other sites will also close, Jacobs said, and changes are slated to save Allergan $475 million in 2015.

News of the layoffs came in the same announcement as the company’s second quarter earnings, which showed a net income of $417.2 million, or $1.37 a share — up from $352.7 million, or $1.17 per share a year earlier.

The elimination of jobs follows a round of layoff notices in January, when the company reduced 150 positions company-wide, including an unknown number in Goleta.

“With continuing strong momentum, Allergan recorded the strongest increase in absolute dollar sales in any quarter in our history, and again delivered sales and earnings per share growth above the high end of our expectations,” Allergan CEO and board chairman David E.I. Pyott said in a statement.

“Furthermore, we are pleased with the progression of key clinical programs into Phase 3 as well as the recent FDA approval of OZURDEX® for Diabetic Macular Edema.”

Allergan, which will employ 10,200 people globally after the reductions, will focus on “highest yielding initiatives,” and cut from sales staff, research and development, and other areas, the company said.

The company is simultaneously fighting off a takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which since April has sent three unsolicited proposals to acquire all outstanding shares of Allergan's common stock.

“Allergan's board of directors, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, have unanimously rejected each of these unsolicited proposals, concluding that each substantially undervalues Allergan, creates significant risks and uncertainties for the stockholders of Allergan, and is not in the best interests of the company and its stockholders,” the company said Monday.

Allergan aims to meet a revenue goal of $12 billion by the year 2019.

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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Alice Gillaroo to Lead Rona Barrett Foundation’s Campaign for Golden Inn & Village

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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The Rona Barrett Foundation is pleased to announce that Alice Gillaroo will be leading the “Campaign for Golden Inn & Village.”

 

Alice Gillaroo
Alice Gillaroo

Gillaroo has extensive experience serving on nonprofit and foundation boards and as an executive director.

The “Campaign for Golden Inn & Village” is an ambitious three-year community-wide fundraising campaign to raise $3.5 million to complete the construction and furbishing of the Golden Inn & Village and provide seed money for essential programs and services to be delivered there for resident seniors and all seniors from the community.

The GIV will be the first senior housing project in the County of Santa Barbara and the State of California to provide affordable, aging-in place senior care for the Santa Ynez Valley’s most vulnerable seniors. It will be located at the heart of the community at the intersection of Refugio Road and Highway 246 across from the YMCA, Santa Ynez Valley High School, the Christian Academy and El Rancho Market.

“I joined the Rona Barrett Foundation’s campaign once I fully realized the crisis of affordable housing for seniors in our community had reached a critical mass,” Gillaroo said. “I believe that we have a moral obligation to be part of a viable solution. The Foundation’s compassionate and innovative response to this social inequity is both compelling and the right thing to do.”

Gillaroo has served as a Steering Committee member of the Northern Great Plains Project for the World Wildlife Fund, as a Development Committee member of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition for the Environmental Defense Center, as a board member for Child Abuse, Listening and Mediation/CALM, as a Development Committee member for the Wildling Museum and as a board member for the Susan Love Breast Cancer Foundation.

Gillaroo has also previously served as an executive director for Heath House & Sarah House, The Fund for Santa Barbara and Transition House. She has a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Fresno and a master's degree in social work from the University of Utah.

“The foundation is fortunate to be able to rely on the expertise of Alice Gillaroo to help lead us forward in our campaign to raise much-needed funds to complete the GIV,” Rona Barrett said. “There is an urgent need for affordable housing for low-income seniors in our community, and Alice will help us move forward with this ambitious goal.”

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 90) — Red Button in TurKey and War in Crimea

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Dear Pinky and Spike:

The Red Button in TurKey and the War in Crimea

This is the last of a digression pondering the similarity of the international activities prior to the beginning of the Crimean War in 1854 and the behavior of families during the course of a mediated divorce.

The second letter left the dispute between the Czar of Russia, Nicholas I, and the Emperor, Napoléon III, as it had been resolved. The English meditator, Stratford Canning, by cunning manipulation of the Ottoman Sultan, Abdülazis I, imposed resolution on the dispute over possession of a Key to the door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the assignment of responsibilities for the necessary repair to the cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

While manipulated by Canning, the Sultan was probably grateful for this use of power mediation as he was trapped between two international giants ready to fight on the Sultan’s turf over a petty difference in which the Sultan had no direct interest.

If compared to divorce, this is the kind of settlement likely to unwind and come back to bite everyone on the face — especially the mediator.

Who gets the Key to the church? Who gets the garage door opener? These are questions the disputants “should” be able to solve, but they can’t. (From an exterior perspective, it may seem like they can but won’t. This is an unnecessary and dangerous judgment.) To use a biological metaphor, the persistence of an issue that the contestants should be able to solve is a symptom of an underlying lesion, which may: (a) self-resolve, (b) reach a state of equilibrium and persist in the form of chronic, low-level conflict, or (c) escalate to frank warfare.

                                                                        •        •

Slight digression from the digression — like Philip Roth’s Doris, we know it’s summer because so many people are reading War and Peace where the major historical event is the 1812 invasion of Russia by Napoleon’s Grand Armée of least 400,000 soldiers. When the Grand Armée returned to France in early 1813 its number had been reduced to about 10,000 men—1/40th (2.5 percent) of its original strength. Russia had not won a single major battle; how did it happen? Tolstoy repeats in different ways: “There is nothing stronger than these two [warriors]: Patience and time, they will do it all.

                                                                        •        •

I’m not qualified to say that the dynamics of international relations function in a way similar to the interaction of divorcing spouses. I’ve also found that looking at more than a single historical source leads to confusion about the basic facts rather than heightened understanding of their significance. Regardless, I’m just observing similarities and reporting facts that would be relevant if family mediation principles had been used in the attempt to prevent war.

                                                                        •        •

Stratford Canning accomplished his mission to settle the question of “who gets the Key” in 17 days. The French and English invaded Russia in September 1854; the unwinding of the mediated settlement was spectacular.

Had Canning used basic divorce mediation principles, he would have started with these premises:

» The parties have better solutions to their problems than anything someone else can suggest or impose.

» Since 95 percent of divorces require no trial, there is a strong prior presumption that any particular case is very likely to settle.

» Divorces take more time than the parties anticipate.

» A viable settlement is not possible if either party perceives that his or her present sense of identity is under threat.

These axioms lead to principles of practice the mediator can use to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution, which is what he’s been hired to do. The first principle is the default: Don’t just do something; stand there. It’s a less eloquent version of Tolstoy’s “patience and time, they will do it all.”

So what would have happened if Canning had been able to establish stasis, leaving the question of possession of the Key unresolved — even if it meant an ongoing low-level conflict? Counter-factual history is not in favor, so I won’t speculate about what would have happened over time, but I will observe some simple facts about the participants to the dispute.

                                                                        •        •

Recall that one of the targets of the French Revolution was the Catholic Church and clericalism; rationalism was its divinity and the secularization of society was one of its goals. The contemporary controversy in France over the wearing of the hijab is a consequence of the French Revolution that persists more than two hundred years after the fact.

Napoléon III, the nephew of the first Napoléon, was elected for a single four-year term as president of the Second Republic in 1850. When he was unable to convince the Assembly to eliminate the term limit in 1852, he engineered what was, in effect, a coup and established himself as the Emperor Napoléon III.

Napoléon III had an aggressive and progressive domestic agenda, but for the purposes of this note the characterization of him as a usurper in need of all the support he could get is fair. The Catholic Church, possessed of Patience and Time, was able to give it to him.

One seemingly simple and cheap way to repay the Church’s support was assertion of the French right, under a 1740 treaty with the Ottoman Empire, to possess the Key to the door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. During the century following the treaty, the benefits it conferred to the “Latin monks” in Palestine were abrogated in favor of the Orthodox monks. According the A.W. Kinglake, the Treaty of 1740 was probably purchased from the Sultan and his corrupt court.

Napoleon III needed Catholic support. France had a prima facie claim to the Key of a church in the Middle East that had not been used and would not be used to keep anyone out of the church. How hard could this be?

According to Lakewood, the derogation of the Treaty’s terms to favor Orthodox Christians was the result of three factors: (a) The Orthodox Catholics placed greater importance on the pilgrimage to the Holy Law than the Latins; (b) The involvement of Russian encouraging concessions to the Greek monks by the Sultan, and (c) Lack of French protest.

The principles of International Law are often ad hoc, and it’s reasonable to look at a couple of Anglo-American equitable principles, which are quaintly expressed in the California Civil Code as: “The law helps the vigilant before those who sleep on their rights.” (CC 3527), and “Acquiescence to error takes away the right of objecting to it.” (CC 3516).

Those are the biographical and historical facts and legal considerations that define the position of Napoléon III.

                                                                        •        •

Kinglake describes Nicholas I in 1852 as having earned a reputation for being trustworthy and essentially European in personal values and international outlook. He seemed to have given up early designs on the destruction of the Ottoman Empire for the benefit of Russia, and his efforts to stay aligned with the English were prolonged and apparently sincere.

The Bethlehem Key went to an issue of the Czar’s personal identity. While secure as the Czar of Russia, he was also the leader of Christian Orthodoxy. To the Russian people the second role may have been more important than the first. Although they were western Europeans, the French were taking away the Key to the Church of the Nativity from the Orthodox monks who were entitled to the Czar’s protection.

Nicholas II couldn’t let that happen without failing his sacred duty as the leader and Protector of Orthodox Christians. Being the protector of the faith of millions of people was part of an enormous sense of personal identity, but to the Czar his role as Protector was as real and personal as that of a person who is an American, a physician, a spouse, a parent, and an alumnus of the Santa Barbara Middle School, Princeton, and Harvard Medical School.

When a person’s sense of identity is threatened, the first response is anger. A czar could get very angry and a lot of people would be there to tell him that his rage was justified and appropriate — even necessary and essential. The French wear gray hats in this version of the story, but to Nicholas and his court, the Sultan, who had waffled in response to the French demand, was also to blame. Never in living memory had Christians been denied access to religious shrines inside the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, the Russian court reasoned, once the Sultan “had given away the Key, what would he do next?”

Orthodox Christians needed a protectorate and Nicholas was the man for the job. More pernicious was the rekindling of old notions about the partition of the Ottoman Empire. Should the Czar be “required” to enter TurKey to exercise his duties as a Protector, he would be there when the Ottoman Empire was ready to be divided up.

                                                                        •        •

Canning’s forced settlement was a failure. Would it have been better if he had been able to accomplish equilibrium — without resolving the issue of the Key — leading to chronic low-level conflict like East and West Germany, North and South Korea, and, for awhile, North and South Vietnam?

                                                                        •        •

If equilibrium could be sustained without war until March 1855, the identity crisis of Nicholas I would have been resolved. He died on March 2, 1855, to be succeeded by his son Alexander II — the most successful Russian reformer since Peter the Great.

Napoléon III left the international scene when captured during the Franco-Prussian War. On his eventual release he went to England where he lived in exile until he died in 1873.

                                                                        •        •

If international relations is at all like divorce mediation, Canning fell into the trap of using his position and power to force the solution to a false and silly issue the parties could eventually solve for themselves. His settlement didn’t address the real issues so it had no chance of survival, and eventual settlement of the fundamental issues was made even more difficult and unlikely because the persistence of the conflict around the false issue was no longer available as an indicator of (or Key to) the case’s “ripeness for settlement.”

Your friend,
Bucky

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail info@burkefamilylaw.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Body Found in Lake Cachuma Confirmed as Missing Boater

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Isaiah Sanchez, 22, from El Rio in Ventura County was last seen going underwater July 11; the Coroner's Office is investigating the cause of death

The body of a missing boater was found Monday afternoon in Lake Cachuma, ending the 10-day search, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Isaiah Sanchez, a 22-year-old from El Rio in Ventura County, went missing July 11

His body was found about 100 yards from where he was last seen going underwater, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman. 

The cause and manner of death is being investigated by the Coroner's Office, which will include an autopsy and toxicology results, she said.

"A group of citizens who were on a rented pontoon boat spotted what appeared to be a body in the lake and called 9-1-1," Hoover said in a statement Monday evening. 

County Park Rangers, Sheriff’s deputies and a Coroner's detective responded to the scene once the body was discovered.

A positive identification was made after the body was transported by boat to shore. 

Sanchez has been missing since around 8 p.m. on July 11. The small boat he was riding in with two friends developed mechanical problems, according to authorities.

Sanchez and another man, whose name has not been released, ended up in the water, and a third man in the boat signaled to people on shore that they needed help.

Responding county park rangers rescued two of the men, but could not find Sanchez.

The days-long rescue effort to locate Sanchez, who is believed to have drowned, was hampered by zero-visibility conditions in the water that prevented a dive team from searching until conditions improved, Hoover said.

The Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit conducted periodic flyovers of the area and park rangers conducted surface patrols by boat using sonar equipment.

Several county lifeguards were brought in last week to help with visual searches, Hoover said.

California State Parks and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department also assisted with jet skis and searches of shallow areas of the lake and shoreline.

Sanchez’s family, who has been keeping a vigil at the lake since the disappearance, has publicly thanked authorities for their efforts and support but also criticized a lack of proper equipment to properly and quickly locate their missing relative.

The family has set up a memorial fund to support funeral expenses. Donations can be made at Rabobank to account No. 253313005.

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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JadeNow Gallery Presents ‘A Japanese Fancy,’ a Live Shibari Installation

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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JadeNow Gallery proudly presents, for the first time in Santa Barbara, the ancient fine erotic art of Japanese Shibari.

Shibari
With Shibari, the erotic art of Japanese rope bondage, the emphasis is placed on how the rope is used as a means of sensual communication. (JadeNow Gallery photo)

"A Japanese Fancy" workshop and performance, planned for 6 to 10 p.m. this Wednesday, July 23, will be held at JadeNow Gallery at 14 Parker Way in Santa Barbara, and will be conducted by San Francisco's Bondage Erotique, who are internationally renowned for their sublime interpretation and innovation in this rapidly expanding art form.

Shibari is the rich and erotic art of Japanese rope bondage. The emphasis is placed on how the rope is used as a means of sensual communication. The rope is an extension of the artist's hands.

The pleasure of Shibari is more about the journey than the destination. This is what differentiates Japanese from Western style of bondage. Shibari is a real discipline, which involves what the Japanese call "kokoro": integration of spirit, body and mind. Bondage Erotique's performance fuses the ancient tradition of Shibari with a modern sensibility.

Bondage Erotique is at the forefront of this emerging art form which is wildly gaining popularity in the West. From California to Russia, in all major cities; clubs, galleries, festivals and cirque events are now common places to see many of the modern masters outside of the clubs of Japan.

The JadeNow Gallery is proud to be introducing this beautiful experience to Santa Barbara in our private and profound venue. The early evening will be devoted to a couples workshop covering foundational ties and safety protocols. After a break, our artists will give a suspension performance that will be open to the public.

The 6 to 7:30 p.m. Shibari workshop includes a brief talk on the history, culture, and texture of Japanese ropes. Followed by hands-on instruction of fundamental ties and concepts. The capacity is limited to 13 couples to allow for personal attention.

From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Bondage Erotique will perform their latest suspension piece, a ceremony of adoration and trust that celebrates the art of Shibari, and the intimate, sensual journey it engenders. Aesthetic flights of fancy indeed!

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets for the workshop and performance are $30 per person or $55 for couples. Tickets for the performance only are $10 per person. Workshop space is limited, so reserve your spot now.

 — Oriana Sanders is the manager of JadeNow Gallery.

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Crews Respond to Vehicle Crash at New Roundabout Near Santa Ynez

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Car lands on its roof at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246, but no injuries reported

There was a vehicle accident Monday morning in the partially completed roundabout at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246.

The California Highway Patrol received a call of a vehicle on its roof in the roadway at 11:26 a.m. and responded to the scene along with Santa Barbara County Fire.

CHP officers were still en route as of 11:40 a.m., Officer John Ortega said.

A CalStar helicopter was initially called to the scene but the call changed to a non-injury accident, according to the CHP. 

The intersection in the Santa Ynez Valley was changed to a roundabout from a four-way stop and opened to traffic last week.

Daytime lane closures are ongoing as other parts of the construction project are completed, according to Caltrans.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

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 County Planning Commission to Consider Cuyama Solar Project

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A solar farm proposed for the Cuyama Valley to generate enough electricity for up to 15,600 homes is scheduled to go before the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The Cuyama Solar Project is proposed for 327 acres at 596 Kirchenmann Road in the northeastern corner of Santa Barbara County.

First Solar is developing the project it hopes will begin operating in 2015.

Planning commissioners will consider several matters related to the project during a meeting set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Betteravia Government Center’s board hearing room at 511 E. Lakeside Pkwy. in Santa Maria.

On the South Coast, people may remotely testify by video in the Planning Commission Hearing Room, which is located in the Engineering Building, Room 17, at 123 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The Cuyama project is item No. 7 on the commission’s agenda Tuesday.

The project would be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity. In addition to generating enough electricity for 15,600 average homes, the solar farm could displace carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 metric tons annually, or the equivalent of removing 6,000 cars from the road, First Solar said.

“The Cuyama Solar Facility would also contribute to achieving local renewable energy goals and address public concerns related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, energy security, and fossil fuel dependence,” the staff report said.

Approximately 600,000 2-foot-by-4-foot photovoltaic modules would convert sunlight directly into low-voltage direct current.

The modules would be mounted on 60-foot-long steel and aluminum support structures in a horizontal tracking device that follows the sun.

The proposed project would require amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Development Code to allow utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities on up to 600 acres of land designated Agriculture II or Agriculture Commercial, and zoned AG-II, in the rural area of the Cuyama Valley. Some parcels need to be rezoned to accommodate the facility.

In connection with the project, proponents are seeking to cancel the Williamson Act contract for 167 acres. But the remaining 1,362 acres would be re-enrolled into a replacement contract to keep the land in agriculture uses.

The commissioners must rule on assorted permits and other matters, including certifying the Final Environmental Impact Report.

The document identified several areas of concern, most of which would be mitigated. However, visual resources, agricultural resources and land use impacts would remain significant and unavoidable, county staff said..

Several Santa Barbara County residents sent letters of support for the alternative energy project.

The Santa Barbara-based Community Environmental Council also emailed an action alert to rally support for what representatives called “the only major energy alternative to fossil fuel electrical generation currently pending in Santa Barbara County.”
  
However, the Santa Barbara Audubon Society asked planners to postpone action on the project, with a representative saying the organization didn’t have enough time to review the Final Environmental Impact Report.

“Giving the public only 15 days to review this massive document is clearly insufficient,” wrote society co-president Stephen J. Ferry, saying other alternative energy projects had longer review periods.

Additionally, the solar facility will require modifications to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company Cuyama Substation.

This would include adding approximately 2,760 square feet to the substation, installing a 15-foot-by-30-foot battery building with a height of 12 feet, and installing an approximate 90-foot-tall telecommunications pole located within the Cuyama Substation fenced area.

First Solar also is building a much larger facility in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. The 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm is under construction in the California Valley.

The facility would produce enough electricity to power 160,000 average homes.

In February, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the Topaz Solar Farm.

First Solar agreed to build, operate and maintain the facility for MidAmerican.

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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This Is Your Brain on Drugs: UCSB Researchers Study Who Could Be More Vulnerable to Addiction

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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We’ve all heard the term “addictive personality,” and many of us know individuals who are consistently more likely to take the extra drink or pill that puts them over the edge. But the specific balance of neurochemicals in the brain that spurs him or her to overdo it is still something of a mystery.

Tod Kippin
Tod Kippin

“There’s not really a lot we know about specific molecules that are linked to vulnerability to addiction,” said Tod Kippin, a neuroscientist at UC Santa Barbara who studies cocaine addiction.

In a general sense, it is understood that animals — humans included — take substances to derive that pleasurable rush of dopamine, the neurochemical linked with the reward center of the brain. But, according to Kippin, that dopamine rush underlies virtually any type of reward animals seek, including the kinds of urges we need to have in order to survive or propagate, such as food, sex, or water. Therefore, therapies that deal with that reward system have not been particularly successful in treating addiction.

However, thanks to a collaboration between UCSB researchers Kippin; Tom Soh, professor of mechanical engineering and of materials; and Kevin Plaxco, professor of chemistry and biochemistry — and funding from a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation — the neurochemistry of addiction could become a lot less mysterious and a lot more specific.

Their study, “Continuous, Real-Time Measurement of Psychoactive Molecules in the Brain,” could, in time, lead to more effective therapies for those who are particularly inclined toward addictive behaviors.

“The main purpose is to try to identify individuals that would be vulnerable to drug addiction based on their initial neurochemistry,” Kippin said. “The idea is that if we can identify phenotypes — observable characteristics — that are vulnerable to addiction and then understand how drugs change the neurochemistry related to that phenotype, we’ll be in a better position to develop therapeutics to help people with that addiction.”

To identify these addiction-prone neurochemical profiles, the researchers will rely on technology they recently developed, a biosensor that can track the concentration of specific molecules in vivo, in real time. One early incarnation of this device was called MEDIC (Microfluidic Electrochemical Detector for In vivo Concentrations). Through artificial DNA strands called aptamers, MEDIC could indicate the concentration of target molecules in the bloodstream.

Kevin Plaxco
Kevin Plaxco (Spencer Bruttig photo)

“Specifically, the DNA molecules are modified so that when they bind their specific target molecule they begin to transfer electrons to an underlying electrode, producing an easily measurable current,” said Plaxco.

Prior to the Keck award, the team had shown that this technology could be used to measure specific drugs continuously and in real time in blood drawn from a subject via a catheter. With Keck funding, “the team is hoping to make the leap to measurements performed directly in vivo. That is, directly in the brains of test subjects,” said Plaxco.

For this study, the technology would be modified for use in the brain tissue of awake, ambulatory animals, whose neurochemical profiles would be measured continuously and in real time. The subjects would then be allowed to self-dose with cocaine, while the levels of the drug in their brain are monitored. Also monitored are concomitant changes in the animal’s neurochemistry or drug-seeking (or other) behaviors.

“The key aspect of it is understanding the timing of the neurochemical release,” said Kippin. “What are the changes in neurochemistry that causes the animals to take the drug versus those that immediately follow consumption of the drug?”

Among techniques for achieving this goal, a single existing technology allows scientists to monitor more than one target molecule at a time (e.g., a drug, a metabolite, and a neurotransmitter).

Tom Soh
Tom Soh

However, Kippin noted, it provides an average of one data point about every 20 minutes, which is far slower than the time course of drug-taking behaviors and much less than the sub-second timescale over which the brain responds to drugs. With the implantable biosensor the team has proposed, it would be possible not only to track how the concentration of neurochemicals shift in relation to addictive behavior in real time, but also to simultaneously monitor the concentrations of several different molecules.

“One of our hypotheses about what makes someone vulnerable to addiction is the metabolism of a drug to other active molecules so that they may end up with a more powerful, more rewarding pharmacological state than someone with a different metabolic profile,” Kippin said. “It’s not enough to understand the levels of the compound that is administered; we have to understand all the other compounds that are produced and how they’re working together.”

The implantable biosensor technology also has the potential to go beyond cocaine and shed light on addictions to other substances such as methamphetamines or alcohol. It also could explore behavioral impulses behind obesity, or investigate how memory works, which could lead to further understanding of diseases such as Alzheimers.

Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation grants focus primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research. The foundation also maintains an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special needs populations and safety-net services.

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Parking Enforcement During Santa Barbara’s Fiesta Historical Parade

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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To accommodate the needs of spectators at the Fiesta Historical Parade, the Santa Barbara Police Department will suspend enforcement of 75- and 90-minute curb parking only on Friday, Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the areas bounded by the following streets (including the perimeter streets).

This does not apply to city parking lots.

» Above the freeway: Valerio Street on the north, Bath Street on the west and Laguna Street on the east.

» Below the freeway: Cabrillo Boulevard on the south, Castillo Street on the west and Garden Street on the east.

All other parking regulations will be enforced.

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

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Preview: Stripped Scripts Brings Fresh Perspective on Theater

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Stripped Scripts — no, it’s not a naked theater company, but a unique series of readings of contemporary original plays taking place bimonthly at The Piano Kitchen at 420 Rose Ave. in Santa Barbara, a quirky underground performance space. The next event will begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Monday, July 21.

Allison Threadgold
Allison Threadgold

Founded by Allison Threadgold and Matt Tavianini, both actors and directors, the series is now undergoing a transition, as Threadgold is moving back to New York City after Monday night’s reading to pursue opportunities in theater there. Tavianini will continue in his role, and taking the reins from Threadgold will be Kate Bergstrom, also an actor and director.

I was able to get some thoughts from all three of them on this unique endeavor.

                                                                        •        •

Justine Sutton: Allison, where did you get the idea for Stripped Scripts?

Allison Threadgold: In 2006, after graduating from conservatory in NYC, I stumbled upon a play reading series called Cold Cuts, with people doing readings of original plays in their living room. The concept was so successful that they quickly outgrew the living room and it became a monthly event open to the public in a small theater.

I was inspired by the ease of the format and hosted several readings of my own on the dark nights of a show I was producing in Tribeca. When I moved to Los Angeles, I had hopes of starting up a regular series, and moving to Santa Barbara finally provided the perfect opportunity.

Here I was in a new town, trying to get a handle on a theater scene that while varied and rich, proved to be difficult to fully grasp with all the disparate companies. So I thought the best way to meet people from across all these companies was to host a reading series that even busy actors could participate in as it required no rehearsals and took place on Mondays, which are traditionally "dark nights" for the theater.

JS: What makes this different from other readings, for the actors and the audience?

Matt Tavianini: The informal setting, where you can bring your own libations. The casting is done by people who attend the readings. The event is free and ongoing. We often have the playwright in attendance for a talkback with them.

AT: Before each reading, I have moments of dread that the actors won't find their tracks and the entire piece will derail, but my fears are never realized and I discover again and again the power of actors simply speaking and listening. I think that is what makes Stripped Scripts unlike most play reading events — they are unrehearsed and undirected so it's almost like improv with a script. While the actors have a sense of the mission their character is setting out to accomplish, they don't know how their castmates’ deliveries might alter the tactics they need to succeed.

Matt Tavianini
Matt Tavianini

My hope is that this creates a space for a more accessible style of theater for our audiences — almost like a backstage tour of a play while it's in rehearsal, where everyone in the room plays a part in what the night's experience ultimately will be.

Kate Bergstrom: Stripped Scripts allows for a unique kind of engagement between actor, writer and artistically inclined observer. Every member of the experience engages in the process and product in a flash. It is quick and dirty, fun and fast-paced, but also builds on itself and fosters community. I think the format is a huge part of what makes it so enticing — that everyone is going to be part of the process of feeling out these new works, faces and characters.

JS: What have been the main challenges and joys of producing Stripped Scripts?

AT: Challenges: While it was surprisingly easy to get great script submissions, it's been tough to find enough age diversity in the characters to take advantage of the range of actors we'd like to work with.

Because of this, we have not yet been able to implement one of the concepts of the series that I actually love the most, which is to cast the upcoming readings live at the end of each event out of the pool of actors in attendance.

The great joy for me is to see the readings come to life, and hear audiences members after every reading express how surprised they are that the pieces were never rehearsed and that often some of the actors had never met each other prior to the event. It has also been such a fulfilling way to meet new people both in and out of the industry, while providing a platform for artists and theater companies to share news of their upcoming events.

Kate Bergstrom
Kate Bergstrom

MT: The main challenges I would say are reading the scripts. The casting has actually been quite easy so I am thankful for that. The joys of producing for me have been getting the chance to bring readings to Santa Barbara as a regular event and having the playwrights participate in the discussion afterward. I also enjoy seeing our local actors in action and not having to pay anything because it is a free event.

JS: Allison, How will Stripped Scripts change when you move to N.Y.?

AT: The plan is for me to begin a N.Y. chapter of Stripped Scripts beginning this fall. We are excited for the artistic potential of doing the same play on two coasts with different casts. We are even researching means of videotaping the readings for people to watch on the other coast.

I'm hoping that expanding the scope of Stripped Scripts to a bi-coastal format will demonstrate that the choices each actor makes organically really bring a unique flavor to the writing, highlighting elements of the character or story that might be a little different than what another actor would bring to the same role, or even then what the writer might have originally imagined. I also am looking forward to getting to share the voices of some of these great playwrights, whose works we have been grateful to experience, across a bigger audience.

JS: Kate, what do you see as your unique contribution to Stripped Scripts?

KB: Coming from a background in directing and acting, I am always hunting for new wonderful playwrights and pieces to develop. I can contribute a savvy intuition for new voices and an excitement about meeting and working with all kinds of new actors and writers. Allison has built a wonderful and unique program for people to connect in a fun and artistically potent way, and I think my joy for meeting new people and artists especially will serve me well in this endeavor. I'm thrilled to be taking it over!

JS: Allison, can you tell us something about tonight’s play?

AT: A Tangled Affair by John Bolen is a charming piece about an eccentric artist and his surprising, equally unusual neighbors. The actors include myself, Meredith McMinn, William York Hyde, Matt Tavianini and Maya Shaw Gayle.

The playwright will be joining us from Irvine and we will have a short Q&A with him and the cast following the reading.

— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Surface Improvement Project to Begin Thursday on Highway 101 in Gaviota

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A project to improve the surface of southbound Highway 101 from the bottom of the Nojoqui Grade to one-half mile north of the Gaviota Rest Area is scheduled to begin this Thursday.

Motorists will encounter one southbound lane closed Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. One southbound lane will remain open at all times. The CHP will be present to maintain a safe condition for everyone.

This project is expected to increase the surface friction on the highway, which includes two sharp curves north of the rest area.

This contractor for this $289,000 safety project is American Civil Constructors West Coast Inc. from Benicia. This project is expected to be completed next month.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858 or visit the District 5 website by clicking here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Capps Applauds Obama’s Signing of Executive Order on LGBT Job Discrimination

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Monday released the following statement on President Barack Obama's signing of an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation for federal workers and by federal contractors.

"Today's Executive Order signing is another big step toward equality for the LGBT community," Capps said. "No one should have to worry about discrimination in the workplace for any reason. That is why today's action, which will protect the rights of millions of LGBT Americans in all 50 states, is so important. Now, all federal workers will be judged on whether or not they do their job, and not on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

For the last several years, Capps has been a leader on this issue and has pushed the president to act, leading letters in support of this action.

She is also a strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation for all workers.

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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Sheriff Bill Brown Reassigning Election Challenger to Oversee Superior Court Bailiffs

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Sgt. Sandra Brown is being transferred, effective Monday, along with six other sergeants in what officials say is a routine move

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, fresh off last month’s re-election victory over Sgt. Sandra Brown, is transferring his challenger to oversee Superior Court bailiffs.

Sandra Brown, a 17-year veteran of the department, has been a detective sergeant with the Special Investigations Bureau of the Coroner’s Bureau for about four years. She ran against the sheriff in the June election, but the incumbent coasted to a third term with 56 percent of the vote. The two Browns are not related.

The transfer decision was made by the command staff at meetings on June 30 and July 1, Acting Undersheriff Don Patterson said. The decision-makers included Sheriff Brown, Patterson, two chiefs and the six commanders within the department.

Seven sergeant transfers were decided along with strategic planning for the next three or four years, Patterson said. He added that Brown’s four-year stint at the Coroner’s Bureau is the longest in 20 years.

“So it really was time to transfer her,” he told Noozhawk.

The Sheriff’s Department moves sergeants around every few years for experience, Patterson said, so if and when they’re promoted, they have a working knowledge of the entire system.

Sergeants are asked for a “wish list” of three places to go but it’s not guaranteed, he noted.

Brown, who did not list Superior Court among her choices, had wanted to go back to patrol, but the command staff decided to put her at the courts, Patterson said.

As a supervising sergeant, she will oversee 13-14 bailiffs — who provide security and help secure evidence and equipment at court facilities — at the South Coast courthouses.

Her transfer is effective Monday and her current position will be taken over by Sgt. Jason Grossini, who has prior experience with the Coroner’s Bureau.

The department doesn’t have an actual transfer policy but considers transfers every year around March. This year, Sheriff Brown put the process on hold because of the election and how changes could be perceived, according to Patterson.

He acknowledges that the transfer could be interpreted as a reaction to Sandra Brown’s decision to run for sheriff.

“We all knew when we started talking about transferring Sandra, rumors were going to fly,” he said.

Brown declined to comment for this story, citing the department’s policy prohibiting employees from discussing work-related issues.

“I would need permission to make a comment,” she said in an email to Noozhawk.

In an interview during her campaign, Brown told Noozhawk that she hoped the sheriff would treat her the same way after the election, if she lost.

“I’m a county employee first,” she said at the time. “I’m not looking to change career paths. My hope is he’ll treat me like he did before I decided to run.”

The sergeants were given two weeks written notice so they could wrap up cases and prepare for the transition.

One of Brown’s last cases is the complex investigation of the May 23 Isla Vista mass murder. Seven people were killed in the stabbing and shooting rampage, including the perpetrator, and 13 more were injured.

The reports are finished, at 300-400 pages, and are being checked over now, according to Patterson.

Sheriff’s officials expect to release the reports, in response to California Public Records Act requests, in about a month.

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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Nearly 100 Applicants Vie for Income-Restricted Hideaway Bungalows Homes

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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More candidates than expected will compete in Friday’s lottery drawing for 10 new condos in western Goleta

The possibility of owning a condo in Goleta’s new Hideaway Bungalows community was so enticing that nearly 100 people filed applications to buy one of 10 income-restricted units.

Now, between 80 and 90 applicants will wait to see results of a lottery drawing this Friday.

The deadline for families with a gross household income of at least $41,049 — but no more than $131,940 — to submit an application during a six-week period came and went last Wednesday while construction continued at the 7900 Hollister Ave. condominium community.

The City of Goleta has partnered with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara to conduct the lottery because the number of applicants far exceeded the number of units.

“It was kind of more than we expected,” said Victor Honma at the Housing Authority. “Initially, we didn’t think we were going to get a real big response because of the pricing of the property.”

The Hideaway Bungalows was approved in 2009 with 101 units, including duplex, triplex and single-family homes near Sandpiper Golf Club and Bacara Resort & Spa in western Goleta. Prices range from $637,000 for two-bedroom, two-bath units in triplexes to up to $1 million for a four-bedroom, detached single-family home.

Through the program, affordable housing includes five studio units for moderate-income households with an estimated maximum sales price of $252,939 (aimed at households earning 80 percent to 120 percent of median income).

Three one-bedroom units for above-moderate income households have an estimated maximum sales price of $458,780 (households earning 121 percent to 200 percent of the median income), and two two-bedroom units for above-moderate income households have an estimated maximum sales price of $517, 575.

Final sales prices will be based on the actual purchaser’s gross household income and size, along with interest rates at time of sale.

Honma said most applicants fell right in the middle of the required income range, although he was still processing paperwork to determine whether some were incomplete or ineligible.

More than 90 percent of applicants already live somewhere on the South Coast, he said, with a few outliers in Ventura or Los Angeles, and demographics varied.

He guessed historically high rental rates helped attract interest in buying.

“People are just looking at all their alternatives,” Honma said. “It’s the perfect storm of high rent and very low availability. I’m really sorry we can’t do one of these every year. There are so many commuters that we’re trying to attract.”

The public lottery will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the Housing Authority, at which time the first 20 selected will be asked to certify their income.

Soon after, applicants should find out whether they qualify and if the unit they want is available.

“There’s quite a few hoops they still have to jump through,” Honma said.

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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Dos Pueblos Video Camp Teaches the Art of Filmmaking — and Gives Kids a Green Screen Shot

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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For second year, Dos Pueblos High School program provides an array of opportunities and some valuable career skills

A video featuring squirt guns, water balloons and an 11-year-old clad in a bunny costume may sound a bit chaotic at first, but it’s all part of the program for the kids at the DP Video Camp.

Back by popular demand, Dos Pueblos High School’s Video Camp is introducing kids age 8 to 13 to the world of filmmaking.

Dos Pueblos video production teacher John Dent, who crafted the camp last year, said the proliferation of accessible phone cameras has furnished a new generation of young videographers.

“Our society is full of video consumption, and the workforce needs people who know how to make them,” he told Noozhawk.

“I am thrilled that so many kids in the community will get to make fun and interesting videos, and maybe their stories will be the ones that we are all watching in the future.”

Dent said he wanted to help fuel that passion for filmmaking.

Kids engage in a variety of activities like scavenger hunts, team-building exercises and challenges to help them learn the basics of writing, shooting and editing video.

Susan Schiferl, a Dos Pueblos graduate who supervises the program along with her brother, Thomas, both worked for the student news broadcast DP News in high school and were approached by Dent to lead the program.

Among the many accessories kids have at their disposal at the DP Video Camp are the green screen and morph suits, which are costumes that allow them to appear invisible against computer-generated backgrounds. (DP Video Camp photo)
Among the many accessories kids have at their disposal at the DP Video Camp are the green screen and morph suits, which are costumes that allow them to appear invisible against computer-generated backgrounds. (DP Video Camp photo)

Together, they agreed to require kids to form teams, write a script and craft a storyboard before they would be allowed to get in front of a camera.

“We wanted to give them a whole process in terms of what it takes to actually make a structured video production,” Schiferl explained.

“I really love working with the kids and helping them learn something that I’m passionate about.”

Broadcast news segments are among the types of videos the youths learn to produce. They sit in the DP News anchor’s seat and read from a script they wrote, filled with news items they find themselves.

Nathan Ray, 11, got to play anchor for a sports segment he helped produce, but admitted he was mostly just excited about the green screen.

“I love how it makes you invisible!” he exclaimed.

“But I got to read some stuff about sports, and guys switching teams. That was cool, too.”

For each session of the camp, students produce short videos under the supervision of camp instructors in preparation for a 3-to-4-minute music video they must finish by the end of the week.

Kids are provided a green screen, sound board, a camera crane and essentially anything they could want to realize their vision. But they have to formulate a plan first.

One team really wanted to do something with the green screen and morph suits, which are green coveralls they wear to make themselves invisible against the green-screen background. The tactic allows the addition of computer-generated backgrounds to create the appearance of something different.

“We used to make videos on our phones, but when you come here and see all the stuff they have, everything we make now is so much cooler,” 11-year-old Katie Flint said. 

Last year, the camp ran for a week to test demand and completely sold out, Thomas Schiferl said.

Thomas Schiferl, who is currently majoring in broadcasting at Western Kentucky University, said he was thrilled to see the program get renewed and to once again be able to impart his knowledge to the next generation.

“I really enjoy teaching editing,” he said. “We use a lot of Adobe Premier and it’s great to expose kids to these kinds of programs early.”

Dos Pueblos senior and camp adviser Brett Williams, 18, said he believes kids benefit from being required to think as a team and strategize before being allowed to act.

Williams, who plans to pursue a degree in film production, said this was the same lesson he learned when he started at DP News, and that the process has helped him hone his own skills.

“I learn something new every day working with these kids,” he said.

“They’re a blast, and it’s great that I get to teach them something that I love to do.”

Camp photos can be found on the DP Video Camp’s Facebook page.

The DP Video Camp is part of Dos Pueblos High School Community Programs (DPHSCP), which hosts a variety of camps every summer, including basketball, swimming and cheer. For $195 per week, the camp runs 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday until Aug. 15, with classes held at 7266 Alameda Ave. in room T-3 on the Dos Pueblos High campus in Goleta.

Space is limited, so parents are advised to act quickly if they want to reserve a seat.

Click here for more information about summer camps at Dos Pueblos High School. 

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

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Judy Foreman: Kathryn and Michael Graham’s C’est Cheese Has Even More on Its Plate

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Santa Barbara Street expansion gives couple room to grow their bakery, café and catering business

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Since 2003, Kathryn and Michael Graham, owners of C’est Cheese in downtown Santa Barbara, have been determined to build a commercial outlet for their passion for food and to provide a modest roof over their heads.

Michael grew up in Michigan and Kathryn in Los Angeles. They both attended UC Santa Barbara, but met during a junior semester abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, Kathryn moved to Ann Arbor to be with Michael, who was working at the legendary Zingerman’s Deli.

They later relocated to New York City and, nine years ago, moved to Santa Barbara and opened C’est Cheese, complete with a nostalgic Midwest-style screen door at 825 Santa Barbara St.

Relying on just themselves, the then-26-year-olds went all in, believing they didn’t have much to lose. Their first year in business, they worked incredibly hard to keep the doors open at their cozy, well-stocked shop of cheeses from all over the world, cured meats, olives, candy, wine and fancy gourmet packaged foods shop-sourced at the Fancy Food Show held each January in San Francisco.

Their takeaway was that they needed the community, not just to buy cheese, but for encouragement, ideas and support. Husband and wife and business partners, they realized in those early years “that our love of cheese got us to open the doors, but the need for community got us out of bed each morning.”

Over a recent lunchtime interview, with a long line snaking out the front door, loyal patrons and newbies were queuing up to check out the couple's new addition. Several customers offered their comments and congratulations at the newly opened C’est Cheese Café.

The interior of the café is open and airy, with plenty of seating inside and out, including a community table. Specials are displayed on a chalkboard and a tempting bakery array is adjacent to the cash register as you stand in line to order your lunch.

The larger cheese section and packaged goods section will be finished in about a month, but a mini department is set up with many cheeses and refrigerated items from which to choose, along with free samples.

Anticipation of the new expansion has been taking place for more than a year as the city permitting process has dragged on. Brown paper with the C’est Cheese logo has covered the former storefront windows of Our Daily Bread, a longtime favorite that relocated to a charming space on the corner of Alamar Avenue and De la Vina Street earlier this year.

The departure cleared the way for C’est Cheese to expand its business, which now includes a bakery, café, larger cheese and meat offerings, more packaged fancy foods and a growing catering business.

At one point, the affable young entrepreneurs considered joining Marge Cafarelli at the new Public Market on West Victoria Street, but decided to stay in their present location, which is a bustling neighborhood for foodies.

Slowly and carefully, through customer service, knowledgeable employees, catering, wholesale business and bimonthly wine- and cheese-tasting events, C’est Cheese and the Grahams grew the business, in the process becoming a much-loved resource in the Santa Barbara food community on Santa Barbara Street.
 
Neighbors to Julienne, Panino, Sojourner Café, Handlebar Coffee House, Three Pickles Deli and the Wine Cask, among others, and with Margerum, ABC and several other wine-tasting rooms around the corner at El Paseo, the area has become a gastronomic food destination.

It was the Grahams’ desire to be a part of something larger that has driven their latest expansion.

“From one perspective, we needed to grow our business to give opportunity and growth to the amazing staff that we have cultivated over the years,” Kathryn said.

“Our passion for food extends beyond cheese and salumi. With this expansion we now have the opportunity to dive into completely new territories.”

To that end, the three components that now make up C’est Cheese are the cheese shop, the café and catering. With the extra room, the three entities are now able to establish themselves more independently.

Team C’est Cheese includes Kent Bui, the café manager formally with Tydes at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club and Scarlett Begonia; cheese shop head Marsha Bigelow, former manager of the iconic Cheese Store of Beverly Hills; catering director Becca Iglesias; chef Jaime Libardi, formerly at Greens in San Francisco and the San Ysidro Ranch; and pastry chef Jocelyn Kuzminski, formerly of Elements and the San Ysidro Ranch.

Keeping a watchful eye over the lunchtime crush, Michael shared the couple’s vision.

“We are taking advantage of the natural synergy, having each business buy from and support each other,” he explained. “For example, we now roast Diestel turkey, Spanish Jambon Ibnerico or Italian prosciutto, Jidori chicken and Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms in the café, which is then used for both our café and catering menus while also available for sale, sliced to order, by the pound in the cheese shop.”

Offerings include sweet scones and kouign amann; savory hand pies, which are baked daily and available in the café; espresso and coffee from local roasters Castle Coffee Co.; and seasonal salads that utilize local produce.

C’est Cheese offers gourmet gift boxes shipped or delivered locally with specially paired wines to go in each package. Even a cheese of the month club is available. Happy hour is now available from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Both Michael and Kathryn’s goals from the day they opened were to never stop working to grow C’est Cheese and make it better and more special and allow them to offer even more exciting foods and experiences for the customer.

Their vision of the synergistic model was inspired by their appreciation for Zingerman’s back in Michigan, which recently was featured in the business section of The New York Times. The deli went from a sandwich shop in 1982 to a multimillion-dollar food, bakery and catalog juggernaut.

Elaborating on their business model, Kathryn noted that a customer can have a delicious breakfast and coffee on a Sunday morning, some tasty cheese and sliced salumi to enjoy at home, or pick up a beautiful platter of locally smoked salmon for a friend’s wedding shower. All these items are all available “in house” and at one location, she says.

C’est Cheese is c’est magnifique. Major yum!

C’est Cheese Market and Café, 825 Santa Barbara St., is open seven days. Click here for more information, or call 805.965.0318.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and 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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Letter to the Editor: Search for Isaiah Sanchez Hindered by Lack of Gear

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Dear Santa Barbara County officials,

On behalf of Isaiah Sanchez’s family, we want to thank all who have thus far through many means lent and offered support to the family during this time of loss, grieving and turmoil.

Although Isaiah lived in El Rio, and his mother’s current residence is in Imperial County, they come from and have extensive family in Santa Barbara, thus the appreciation for support is recognized by many. The support of the ranger, sheriff, fire and Lake Cachuma staff has been professional, courteous and sincere. The support from family, friends and community has been overwhelming. Special thanks to Rancho Alegre, camp host Lisa and lake staff for providing sleeping quarters and meals along the way.

But it’s been over a week since Isaiah was lost in the lake and that has been extremely painful, disheartening and frustrating to the family. It seems evident that Santa Barbara County is not properly equipped for this type of event in that multiple daily surface sonar scans, flyovers, periodic edge searches via jet ski and diving searches have produced negative results to this point.

Given that this has likely occurred in the past, recently, and may happen again, it would seem the appropriate county agencies would invest in equipment that would be adequate for this type of situation. We just read about a couple with adequate equipment who go around the country, successfully finding missing people in water within days of starting their search. Our own limited research indicates that maybe an investment in better equipment would well serve our county.

Another frustrating issue we just encountered is due to the lake vessel 30-day moratorium. While well-intentioned and necessary, a family friend who has been validated as contamination free at Lake Nacimiento contacted Lake Cachuma to offer his assistance to by using his proven High-Definition Side Scan special equipment that is superior to what has been used to date, but he was told he would have to wait the 30 days before entering the lake.

Again, frustrating. Why is this vessel welcome in one lake that protects against the concerned invasive species, Quagga, or zebra mussels, not welcome in another? Are there any community members out there not subject to the moratorium who may have better equipment and willingness to assist in the search? Our friend, a professional bass fisherman, has a high level of confidence that he or anyone with his type of equipment or better would be able to find Isaiah, and do so soon.

Maybe someone out there with authority to do so can facilitate some change and cut out any hindering bureaucracy.

A plea for help along with best regards,

— Rich Munoz
(Isaiah’s uncle)

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Jeff Moehlis: Checking In to the ‘Hotel California’ with Ex-Eagles Guitarist Don Felder

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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In what promises to be the classic rock event of the summer, Don Felder, Styx and Foreigner will be playing at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sunday.  Having seen performances in recent years by Felder and Styx, I’m expecting that this one’s gonna be good! Click here for more details, or to purchase tickets online.

Felder is best known as the former lead guitarist for the Eagles, and wrote the music for the megahit “Hotel California,” which is regularly ranked as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll songs ever written. He talked to Noozhawk about that song, his recent solo album Road to Forever, and hanging out with his tourmates. Click here for the full interview, which includes more on the Eagles and his best-selling book Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: I saw you perform here in Santa Barbara at the Notes for Notes benefit concert last December, and when you played “Hotel California” it was almost like a religious experience for me. Can you tell us how the song “Hotel California” came together?

Don Felder: I had leased a beach house on Malibu Beach one summer, Broad Beach in Malibu, and I was just sitting on a sofa in the big room wearing cut-off shorts and playing guitar, looking out at the beautiful California sun glistening on the Pacific Ocean. It was just one of those spectacular July days. I started playing this progression, and it just kind of came out, and I played it over and over and over again. Then I went into my back bedroom, which was my 1-year-old little daughter’s bedroom when she we was awake, and it also served as my recording studio. So I went in and turned on this old reel-to-reel tape recorder, a four-track TEAC, and recorded it, just that chord progression.

Later, when we were assembling songs for what was going to become the Hotel California record, I went back and heard that little progression and decided to re-record it with a little Roland drum machine, and me playing bass, and playing the acoustic 12-string part and little electric guitar parts. I made a demo of it. Then I put in on a reel, I think with 15 or 16 other song ideas — one of them became “Victim of Love,” which is on the Hotel California record — and gave copies of those to Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner, and said, “If there’s anything in these songs that you guys like and want to finish writing with me, let me know.”

So I got a call from Henley a few days later, and he said, “I like that song that sounds kind of like a Mexican reggae or bolero,” and obviously that one with the little acoustic introduction was the one. So we started writing lyrics for it. Henley came up with the concept of “Hotel California,” and ran off with this pile of legal pads and just made lists of lyrics for it, and I worked on some of the music tracks that would need to be recorded when we re-recorded it. It just kind of came together with all the band contributing to it. That’s kind of how it came together.

JM: There’s a lot of crazy theories floating around about what “Hotel California” is about. Do you have a favorite theory that just happens to be completely wrong or misguided, but you think that it’s kind of an interesting theory?

DF: Well, the closest one that’s totally wrong is that there’s a place down in Todos Santos in Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula kind of near Cabo. Some developer bought this old hotel and changed the name of it to Hotel California, and started spreading the rumor that we used to go down there and hang out, and that’s where we were when we wrote the song. He’s got a big tourist business now where he sells T-shirts, CDs and all sorts of stuff, and you can stay at the Hotel California. Which is totally bogus. No one’s ever been there, no one’s been to Todos Santos. Nothing was ever written there. That’s about as wrong as you can get, I think.

JM: Your new CD sounds great! This came a long time after your first solo album came out. What made it the right time to do another solo album, and will we have to wait so long for your next solo album?

DF: Well, the reason it took so long between Airborne, which I think came out in the early ’80's (it was released in 1983), and Road to Forever was that there was a little project (with the reunited Eagles) that got in the way called Hell Freezes Over. That took a long time to do. That was almost six years. Then when I left the band in 2001, I sat down and started writing an autobiography, which took a couple of years, put together my own band, was out doing shows and starting to establish myself as a solo artist, and at the same time writing and recording songs for what became Road to Forever. So, the process of doing it by myself took longer when I had to write all the material.

I’m already in the process of writing and recording new song ideas. As soon as I come up for air and have enough time to go into my studio for a couple of weeks, I’ll start developing those song ideas into tracks and into finished lyrics and that sort of stuff. And, hopefully somewhere in 2015 or early 2016 I’ll get out another CD.

JM: You’re sharing the bill with Styx and Foreigner for the upcoming show. Did you know those guys back in the day, or is it a more recent friendship that you have with them?

DF: Well, I really first came in contact with Styx. Everybody knows the music from Foreigner and Styx. They’ve had just a great catalog, and a lot of great songs, a great number of hits. But we first really became friends about 10 years ago. We started doing these benefits together, like Alice Cooper’s fundraiser in Phoenix called the Solid Rock Foundation, or I put together a benefit for the victims of (Hurricane) Katrina, I guess it was like eight years ago or nine years ago. When we would do these shows together, we just had so much fun.

Tommy (Shaw, from Styx) and I became really good friends, so when he was in L.A. we’d go out to dinner with our wives and hang out. We eventually started doing shows together, the Don Felder Band and Styx. It was just so much fun to do it. The music was great together, the audience really knew both catalogs very well. So when this idea came up with doing this tour with Foreigner, Styx and myself, it just seemed like a perfect package. I knew those guys really well, I loved the songs in all the catalogs. I thought it was a perfect fit for the audience that would get four hours of just literally solid hits.

When we’re not on stage, we spend a lot of time together just hanging out. Like yesterday, half of both bands played golf together, and we have dinners together. It’s a very fun, lighthearted, no ego/no drama organization. Which is extremely different from what I’ve been on tour with. This tour has just been delightful for me. I’ve had a great response from the audience for all the shows. Nearly all the shows have been sold out. It’s just been a really great time together, with dinners and golf, friendships. It’s almost like a big family. A lot of fun and a lot of great music, so what’s not to like?

Click here for the full interview with Don Felder.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Michelle Malkin: Michelle Obama’s Operation VA Scandal Distraction

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Barack and Michelle Obama are quite the diversionary tag-team. He blames everyone else for his problems. She takes credit for progress on his behalf that he doesn’t deserve and distracts public attention from his avalanche of failures with endless feel-good photo-ops.

While the shirker in chief golfed and grubbed for money at closed-door celebrity fundraisers last week, his East Wing flak-catcher provided him cunning cover on the still-festering Veterans Affairs scandals.

First lady Michelle Obama flew to Los Angeles to declare a war or something on veterans’ homelessness. At a summit with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday, she said the neglect of our men and women in uniform, abandoned on the streets after returning from battle, should “horrify all of us.”

Of course, vet homelessness is a shame, and it should be eradicated. But the timing of Mrs. Obama’s remarks — not to mention her glaring omissions — is calculated cynicism on Louboutins.

President Barack Obama’s human deflector sprinkled her remarks with various anecdotes about vets struggling to get back on their feet. But not once in her 2,700-word speech did Mrs. Obama mention the horrifying stories of veterans neglected, abused, manipulated and crushed by corrupt VA bureaucrats under her husband’s administration.

Instead, she spent the rest of the speech bragging about “my husband” launching this initiative and that program to do right by the vets.

Various federal agencies live-tweeted the event; Mrs. Obama’s fan base oohed and aahed. And the Veterans Affairs media relations and social media tracking teams undoubtedly high-fived each other as they tallied up the positive media.

Meanwhile, more whistleblowers who will never gain Mrs. Obama’s public sympathy or accolades gave damning testimony about the “culture of corruption” at the VA. One told Capitol Hill lawmakers about how her car was dented after she reported manipulation of veterans’ benefits claims in Philadelphia. Others were put on leave or harassed. “Retaliation culture is a cancer,” said Dr. Christian Head, who was investigating time-card fraud inside the Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care System.

A new report by the VA inspector general provided more details of how bureaucrats made pending benefits cases vanish and mishandled or intentionally lost paperwork related to claims in a mad attempt to reduce the 600,000-case backlog. Linda Halliday, an assistant inspector general, ticked off all the new targets of investigative probes: Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston and Little Rock, Ark.

Asked whether she believes in the integrity of data being supplied to her by VA officials, Halliday told the House Veterans Affairs Committee: “No. ... I don’t want to say I trust them.” Goodbye, hope and change. Hello, lying liars.

And how’s this for horrifying: Yet another VA IG report released last week affirmed that the Baltimore VA “had inappropriately stockpiled about 8,000 documents” containing sensitive personal information and processed and unprocessed claims-related mail with the potential to affect benefits payments. “More than 9,500 documents and 80 claims folders lacked the oversight necessary to ensure timely claims processing,” investigators said.

Translation: Feckless VA drones sat on their plump, worthless backsides while the desperate entreaties of our nation’s best and bravest clogged their do-nothing desks.

The horrors of government ineptitude and malpractice are behemoth. The OIG also affirmed last week that the same kind of book-cooking happening across the country took place at Philadelphia VA offices. Staffers changed dates on old claims to make them look new. Whistleblowers exposed systematic document shredding and piles of veterans’ unanswered correspondence stuffed in boxes and cabinets. Still to be probed: cherry-picking of claims to inflate performance; 32,000 unanswered electronic queries from veterans seeking information about their benefits claims; and duplicate payments being written off.

Michelle Obama’s Operation VA Scandal Distraction may have been a success for one day. But evasion-by-photo-op can’t work forever.

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

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Jim Hightower: History Is Calling But Only Corporate Interests Are Answering

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Most of us celebrated the Fourth of July by barbecuing, doing a few 12-ounce elbow bends and setting off some fireworks. Some of us might have paused for a moment to reflect on that thing Thomas Jefferson wrote about 238 years ago: The Declaration of Independence.

“We the People” are faced — right now — with another of those “when in the course of human events” moments Jefferson wrote about. Not only is this a month to reconnect with our revolutionary heritage but it’s also the appropriate time for re-declaring our independence, this time from “They the Corporations.”

With little coverage by the mass media, and with the complicity of most lawmakers, domineering corporations have quietly but aggressively used the U.S. Supreme Court itself to write them and their money into the Constitution as our sovereigns. As legal scholar and Democratic activist Jamie Raskin said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June: “In several recent 5-4 decisions, the wall protecting democracy from plutocracy has been crumbling under judicial attack.”

Just one year after their Citizens United decision unleashed CEOs to be able to roll truckloads of their shareholders’ funds into our elections (without asking those shareholders for permission or even informing them after the fact), that five assaulted our democracy again. Their 2011 verdict in the Arizona Free Enterprise Club case increased the volume of CorporateSpeak in elections by decreasing the speech of nonrich candidates. Specifically, they rejected the will of Arizonans who had voted to provide public funds for candidates who are willing to forego all special-interest money. This system gave the political ideas of the nonwealthy a chance to be heard when up against super-wealthy oligarchs. Public financing of elections was successfully widening public debate and freeing up political speech, so the same five corporate supremists stepped in to kill it, absurdly declaring that such laws give an “unfair advantage” to little-guy campaigns.

Next came this year’s McCutcheon opinion, in which the same five blew the lid off the limits on money that an individual can pour on candidates during any given election cycle. The limit had been $123,000 — high enough that only about 600 people out of our 330 million reached that maximum in 2012.

The court’s narrow majority lifted the allowable total for one person’s election-year spending to a stunning $5.9 million. That empowers a handful of the richest of rich donors — even fewer than 600 — to overwhelm the political voices of millions of common citizens, all in the name of free speech. Adding to this absurdity, this five-man wrecking crew blithely declares in its McCutcheon ruling that even transactions that appear to be obvious conflicts of interest are permissible (e.g., a CEO can give $25,000 to the head of a congressional committee — the same person who a week later can put a bill on the floor to benefit the CEO’s corporation). Such corrupt transactions apparently “do not justify” putting restrictions on campaign contributions. Instead, the wily five ruled that the only donor-to-donee corruption that can be regulated is outright quid pro quo bribery.

And do not think that this is as far as the court will go to empower Big Money. Already, corporate lawyers are asking the judiciary to strike down all limits on what each millionaire/billionaire can spend to elect or defeat any number of candidates, and they’re pushing to reverse 29 state bans on campaign donations during legislative sessions (when lawmakers and lobbyists are in heat and most open to exchanging favors for money).

The unstated (but now abundantly clear) goal of the five co-conspirators is nothing less than the establishment of a free-market plutocracy over what used to be America. Eaten up with Ayn Randian dogma, they are using their judicial positions to commodify political participation, converting our elections (the ultimate public function) into just another private market for buying and selling. Why not just authorize the commodity exchanges to post the daily selling prices of politicians alongside the growing rate for pork bellies and Texas crude? Or why not rule that Wall Street can peddle derivatives based on bulk packages of subprime officeholders. But let’s not give them ideas. With this court’s corporate quintet on the loose, absolute absurdity is no longer unimaginable.

But we can stop them. We need to treat the “free” in free speech as a verb, not an adjective. Let’s join together around a constitutional amendment to free up the people’s rights from the corporate usurpers. Sixteen states and hundreds of cities, towns and municipalities have joined. Click here for more information on Democracy Is for People.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Randy Alcorn: Voters, Break Your Addiction to Clowns and Jokers

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Over the nearly 15 years I have written this column, I have been repeatedly castigated as either a liberal or a conservative. It used to be amusing. Now it’s just tedious.

Ideological idiots insist that everyone has to be either liberal or conservative. You are either with them or against them. Listening to the constant cacophony of ideological rantings, one would think that in the entire universe there are but two perspectives on any issue — liberal or conservative, each conveniently programmed and packaged. But then, Americans do love convenience.

The main arena for the contest between intransigent ideologies is Congress, which has become less a legislative body than a forum for political propaganda preached by grandstanding gasbags who have virtually ground the gears of government to a halt. Rarely do we hear practical solutions to problems or rational policy proposals being civilly discussed. Political discourse sounds more like adolescent name-calling than dignified debate. Even the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be caught up in ideological idiocy.

Nowhere is ideological vitriol focused more intensely than on the presidency. While the left’s nastiness toward the hated George W. Bush was tempered by the common pain of 9/11, the right began a mercilessly unrelenting barrage of scornful criticism against Barack Obama as soon as he took the oath of office. In this unseemly competition of insult, hostility and disrespect toward a sitting president, the trophy goes to the right. Obama must have skin thicker than rhinoceros hide. Still, I bet he is looking forward to January 2017 as much as are the Republicans.

It can seem as if the entire nation has chosen sides, convinced of the moral and intellectual superiority of their beliefs and of the deficiency and depravity of the other side. Calumnies, sophistries, exaggerations, fact bending and outright lies are volleyed back and forth over an ever lower net of civility.

An analysis by fact-checking site PunditFact found that 60 percent of comments made by right-leaning Fox News, and 46 percent of those made by left-leaning MSNBC are mostly false or outright fabrications. Such unfair and unbalanced reporting pleases partisan audiences that are more interested in confirming their ideological beliefs than in truth or open-minded, objective thinking.

Are American politics so elementary that one simply need choose one pre-packaged doctrine or the other? I’d like to believe that most Americans don’t think along such simplistic dichotomous lines. It is disturbing, however, to observe otherwise intelligent people clinging tenaciously to political dogma and slinging harsh recriminations at anyone from the “other side.”

The ideologues may be a minority but they are zealously active, and have effectively commandeered political thought and debate in this country. By reducing politics to two fiercely opposing ideologies, duopoly politicians have leveraged anger and angst to perpetuate their hold on office and cater to their special interest clientele, especially those who finance election campaigns. Real issues and critical problems are buried under a constant barrage of character assassinations and platitudinous didactics.

This sorry situation will not be corrected until and unless rational Americans get off their asses and vote in ways virtually unheard of in American politics. Imagine, if independent candidates starting winning elections for major offices. I know, most Americans believe that voting other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote. But, really, could your vote be any more wasted than it has been for what we have now — clowns on the left and jokers on the right?

The duopoly ideologues regard independents as apathetic, uninformed and insipid. Any who can’t be converted by Election Day are expected to stay home. But, being politically independent doesn’t mean that one is unconcerned, unenlightened or indecisive. Independents are often objective, open-minded and committed to common sense. They have no allegiance to some party agenda or doctrine that demands unquestioning loyalty. This means that ideas from anywhere along the political spectrum can be considered and embraced if they make sense. Competing ideas can be reconciled and adjusted.

The difficulty for independents is finding authentic independent candidates. Such candidates typically have far less campaign funding than the clowns and jokers, and get far less media attention. But they are out there.

Such common-sense candidates wouldn’t need to waste time on personal attacks to win elections. It should be obvious by now that the clowns and jokers they are running against are irrational fanatics, moral reprobates, incompetents and tools of special interests. Independent candidates need only identify and examine the most crucial problems and issues facing the nation, and focus attention on finding solutions and rational courses of action.

Think about government filled with a bunch of independents who owe allegiance to no one but you, who want to work together to solve problems, who are willing to compromise for the greatest good for the greatest number.

All you need do is break your addiction to Democrats and Republicans — the clowns and jokers.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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CalStar Transports 1 to Hospital After Rollover near Lompoc

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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A vehicle rolled over near the junction of Highways 101 and 1 east of Lompoc on Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP and Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the scene after the 11:08 a.m. call and a CalStar helicopter responded to take one patient to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The incident occurred near San Julian Ranch Road, according to the CHP.

One person in the vehicle had to be extricated, while another was able to get out, according to radio traffic.

No other details were immediately available.

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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Suspected Salinas Gang Member Captured after Alleged One-Man Crime Spree

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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A suspected gang member from Salinas was arrested in Santa Maria on Saturday after an alleged one-man crime spree as he tried mightily to elude capture.

Marcello Teofilo Alvarez (Santa Maria Police Department photo)
Marcello Teofilo Alvarez (Santa Maria Police Department photo)

Police Sgt. Terry Flaa said Marcello Teofilo Alvarez, 35, a documented gang member from Salinas, was arrested Saturday afternoon in the 1000 block of East Hermosa Street after a series of encounters with law enforcement that began a quarter-mile away.

Flaa said an officer tried to stop a car driven by Alvarez in the 1000 block of North Bradley Road at about 1:35 p.m. He said Alvarez pulled into a driveway, “got out of the vehicle and made several furtive movements before getting back into the driver’s seat.”

As the officer approached, Flaa said, the suspect backed his vehicle toward him, striking the police car.

“The suspect then maneuvered his vehicle in such a manner that it was facing the officer, who sought cover,” he said.

With the officer in pursuit, Alvarez raced from the scene but collided with a parked vehicle a short distance away, Flaa said.

The suspect then fled on foot but Flaa said he was captured without incident on East Hermosa, east of North College Drive.

Flaa said officers found a woman passenger in Alvarez’s car and that she told them he had refused her demands to let her out of the vehicle during the brief chase.

A subsequent search of the car turned up a loaded rifle, ammunition and methamphetamine, Flaa said.

He said Alvarez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, drug possession and a criminal street gang enhancement.

Alvarez’s bail has been set at $1.2 million.

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.

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When Disaster Strikes in Montecito, MERRAG Responders Make a Difference

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Drought or no drought, trained volunteers prepare and respond to local emergencies and rescue efforts

As the threat of wildfires rises with California’s persistent drought, the all-volunteer members of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group continue to train to assist the Montecito Fire Protection District with rescue, prevention and recovery efforts.

Members of MERRAG, pronounced “mirage,” train year-round to perform light search and rescue, radio communications, personnel deployment and fireproofing methods recommended by the National Weather Service.

The group is in the midst of a membership drive to prepare for the summer fire season. Its next seminar, covering radio and van training, is at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 at 595 San Ysidro Road in Montecito.

Geri Ventura, administrative assistant for Montecito’s fire department and treasurer of MERRAG, said volunteers play a pivotal role in preventing loss of property during fire outbreaks and act as additional aid workers during disasters.

“We have three pipelines into the community that, if damaged, would seriously hamper a response from a national agency,” she told Noozhawk.

“Our community would be an island during a big enough disaster, so we need trained volunteers who can act as first responders.”

Eric Boldt, warning coordination specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the current drought has put an unprecedented amount of stress on local plant life that could act as kindling for fires.

With rainfall at record lows not seen since the 1800s, Boldt emphasized a continued need for volunteers.

“We need weather spotters because MERRAG helps us to coordinate local resources,” he said. “They give us the ground-truth to what's happening in the field.”

Two members are placed on call every month for MERRAG command and are responsible for assembling teams in the event of a disaster.

Five-year MERRAG volunteer Cate Wilkins, 60, is on call for the month of July. Wilkins had an opportunity to put her skills to the test when a neighbor's child gashed her nose running through a plate-glass door.

The child's mother was in shock at the sight of blood, but Wilkins was able to calm the mom and instruct a bystander to call 9-1-1.

“Folks freeze during critical moments in an emergency, at a time when the speed of your reaction could make a big difference in the outcome for your friends and family,” Wilkins said. “Knowing these skills has given me peace of mind that I’ll know what to do in a disaster.”

MERRAG personnel are generally asked to avoid entering situations that appear too dangerous, but are trained to know when conditions are safe enough to help. They’re even taught how to rescue survivors trapped under heavy objects by lifting at an angle.

“We take them out and have them rescue dummies trapped under concrete and other objects,” Ventura said. “We actually have 70-year-old members lifting dumpsters off of dummies, which is pretty impressive.”

Ventura said volunteers step forward in droves after a disaster, but she said the 2008 Tea Fire underscored the how much more effective volunteers can be when they’re trained beforehand.

Team members set up an emergency operations center and information kiosk on East Valley Road within 10 minutes of the fire being reported, she said. “That fire demonstrated how well trained volunteers coordinate with the fire district.”

As fires grow in frequency and ferocity, knowledgeable community members are less likely to become victims, NOAA Fire Specialist Dave Gomberg said.

“When people get involved they begin to fully realize the unique capacity for natural disasters that we have in California,” he said.

“We were seeing temperatures typical of August as early as June. When the public learns to interface with rescue professionals, they take threats like these more seriously.”

Members of MERRAG and other volunteer organizations have started patrolling local trails on red-flag warning days to educate hikers and look for suspicious activity when weather conditions have a high risk of fire.

The nonprofit MERRAG is funded by tax-deductible membership dues paid by volunteers. The group hosts a free training module on the second Thursday of each month, and nonmembers are invited to attend. Click here for more information about MERRAG. 

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

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Susan Miles Gulbransen: Paul Fedorko Reveals Plot of Today’s Book Publishing World

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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When it comes to American publishing, Frank Sinatra had it right in his song “New York, New York.” For nearly 200 years New York City has been “cream of the crop, at the top of the heap” for publishing houses with names like Scribner’s, Henry Holt, Putnam, Knopf and Simon & Schuster. That is up until about 25 years ago.

Traditionally, publishers printed books and booksellers sold them. Then along came Amazon selling books online, filling up “shopping carts” faster than the blink of an eye. To confuse matters, the electronic book marched onto the scene. Begun as Project Gutenberg in 1971, the e-book took 30 years to develop portability and easy use with availability of digitalized book databases.

The advent of the Internet gave writers a chance to successfully self-publish, thanks to marketing via social media. Through all this, book stores have struggled to stay in business as readers find options beside the printed page.

How has New York accommodated these new ways of doing business? When agent Paul Fedorko, literary agent for Bienstock Talent Agents (representing media newscasters and journalists), was a part of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in June, we took a few minutes to talk about today’s book industry.

Fedorko’s publishing experience goes back to the 1970s when he worked in New York City as a copywriter doing blurbs and copy for sales people. His first boss was local resident Fred Klein, then executive editor of Bantam Books, which ranked No. 1 among paperback publishers.

“Fred was critical in my career,” Fedorko said. “He’d yell down the hall. A noisy guy. At first it scared me. After a while we all knew he was easy and everyone liked him. We’d joke about how cheap he was but knew he was generous and cared.”

Fedorko considers Klein a mentor in a career that was capped as publisher of William Morrow & Co. By 1998, however, he felt he had “hit a wall” in the corporate world so he switched directions to become an agent.

When Fedorko talks, it’s fast. You know his mind races 10 times faster pouring out information and stories.

“The biggest challenge today is the consolidation of publishers,” he said. “Sometimes it’s been an odd change in weird ways. We still have Scribner’s but it’s called Scribner, no longer a top publishing house in New York but one of many imprints (subsidiaries) under Macmillan.”

Fedorko is referring to an example of new directions publishing houses have taken the past several years. The Charles Scribner family started publishing in 1846. Over the next century, Scribner’s and others with big names helped create our American literary history. Scribner’s published and cultivated giants such as Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Annie Proulx and Frank McCourt.

In 1978, Scribner’s expanded by buying Atheneum publishers. Less than 10 years later, both were folded along with several other big publishing names into Macmillan Publishers. Scribner is now owned by Simon & Schuster.

Fedorko named another cause of change: mass marketing of books through outlets like Amazon, Costco and other big-box retailers. The close relationship between publisher and bookseller is being replaced by these businesses buying in astronomical numbers that independents can’t match.

All this leads to the third change Fedorko has witnessed: the kind of author agents and publishers look for today.

“Nowadays the pressure is on agents and publishers to find winners or build on those with proven success,” he explained. “When I got into the business in the ’70s, we looked for authors to cultivate and grow with each book. Today agents and publishers choose with caution. A few are brave enough to take on someone with an unusual manuscript, like Salmon Rushdie, and hope he turns out to be successful, but not many.”

Speaking of success, Fedorko took about five years to get established.

“One of the first books I found was John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” he said. “After 39 publishers passed, Berrett-Koehler bought it. The book went on to big success earning millions. It shows you can’t give up.”

His latest release in April was ABC broadcaster Robin Roberts’ new book Everybody’s Got Something. The biography ended up on The New York Times best seller list and continues selling big.

Fedorko made a statement at the SBWC that caught my attention: “From the time a manuscript leaves the hands of the author, about 25 people touch it from start to finish.” Among these are editors, design covers, publicity people, distributors, book retailers and more, a lot of people.

As an agent, Fedorko works with about 125 projects at one time. Among his duties are weekly updates on all book deals, getting manuscripts ready for submission, helping other authors who have works-in-progress and looking for new manuscripts.

“I do not read a book like the average reader,” he said. “Instead I’m always thinking, ‘Does it have good story?’ ‘Good characters?’ ‘Workable platform?’ If not, no matter how strong your social media efforts are, they won’t help that much.”

What he loves best is building an entire community of writers among his clients.

“I’m there at the beginning of the publishing road, not coming in at the middle,” he said. “Sometimes those efforts take off; sometimes go nowhere. That’s the life of being an agent.”

                                                                        •        •

Did you mother ever tell you there are three ways to make a statement? “What you want to say, what you say and what you wish you had said.” In my last column on Santa Barbara’s history of resident authors, I stated Barnaby Conrad’s first book was Matador. I wish I had written The Innocent Villa.

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

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Greek Festival to Provide Santa Barbara with a Taste of the Old Country

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Santa Barbara’s annual Greek Festival returns with authentic Greek music and cuisine next weekend at Oak Park.

Sponsored by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, the July 26-27 celebration will include as many as 20 booths selling authentic Greek dishes like gyros and souvlaki prepared by parishioners.

Greek musicians new and old will be featured, including DJ Pete Loukatos, The Village Greeks and a performance from Chris Hillman, founding member of 1960s rock band The Byrds.

The festival will take over Oak Park, at 300 W. Alamar Ave., and feature two dance areas and a $1 raffle with a prize of two round-trip plane tickets to Greece.

There will be a free shuttle service to the festival from Sansum Clinic, 317 W. Pueblo St. across from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

There is no charge for admission and a portion of this year’s proceeds will go to the church.

Father Simon Thomas, a priest at St. Barbara who works closely with the church’s festival committee, said as many as 15,000 people are expected to attend the festival.

Thomas stressed that the event wasn’t just for those of Greek ancestry or churchgoers, but for all of Santa Barbara.

“We’re consistently humbled and surprised by the turnout from people all over town, and we want to give people the best experience possible,” he said. “This is the cheapest way to visit Greece without buying a plane ticket.”

The popular meze appetizer booth will be featuring vegetarian options like tiropita stuffed with feta cheese, along with thousands of authentic Greek pastries like walnut and yogurt cakes.

Organized solely by the church, parishioners are responsible for preparing all of the dishes that will be sold at the festival’s many booths.

Parishioner Andriana Kolendrianos has spent the last few months, with more than her share of 11-hour days, toiling with other parishioners to furnish enough pastries for the festival’s visitors.

After 35 years of service and earning the title “chair of pastries,” she said baking in massive quantities is still a big challenge.

“Many dishes intended only for a few had to be tweaked to serve thousands,” she said. “But it’s fun, because it means the only way to get the variety of pastries we make is to come to the festival.”

A traditional Greek “blessing of the water” ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and a full church service will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday prior to the festival.

Click here for the Greek Festival entertainment schedule and for more information.

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

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Diane Dimond: Beltway Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo Brokers Enterprise from Behind Bars

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Lee Boyd Malvo, inmate No. 330873, incarcerated at the super-maximum Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Va., has a business plan to make himself some money. He either doesn’t know it is against the law or he doesn’t care.

You won’t learn about this story anywhere else. I was only able to piece it together after speaking to sources, correction officials in Virginia, exchanging emails with a woman in a foreign country and putting two and two together.

You may remember Malvo was half of a two-man killing squad that terrorized, robbed and killed people in about a dozen states back in 2002. When the pair were at the peak of their killing spree, the media incorrectly dubbed the then 17-year old Malvo and his 41-year-old accomplice, John Muhammad, “The Beltway Snipers” and the “D.C. Snipers.”

The pair didn’t only go after targets in and around the nation’s capital. They began their murderous binge in Washington state in February 2002. Traveling through nearly a dozen states, their total victim count was 10 injured and 17 dead. They didn’t attract national attention until their random sniper attacks erupted close to the seat of power, in and around Washington, D.C., in October 2002.

After their capture, Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and executed in 2009. Young Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences with no possible parole. Malvo maintains that after surviving a hellish childhood, he latched on to the much older and controlling Muhammad for stability. He says he was repeatedly sexually abused by Muhammad and was brainwashed into participating in the crime spree.

Malvo’s lawyers are appealing his sentence citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 finding that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. So far, they have been unsuccessful.

Today, the now 29-year-old Malvo awaits his fate, and I have learned he frequently puts pen to paper and draws: the Christ child with an angel hovering above, an impressive rendition of a young Muhammad Ali and the rapper Drake. Malvo often draws himself alone in his cell, his face usually only partially revealed. The drawings have titles such as, “The Prison Well Made By My Mind” and “Forgive Yourself.”

Malvo’s drawings portraying guns and violence are the most chilling. One piece titled “In Brainwashing” shows two men lying on their stomachs as if scoping out a faraway target. One is aiming an automatic weapon. Off to the right sits a young crossed-legged African-American man (who looks like Malvo) passively watching the scene.

Other drawings are more action-packed. “Syria in Turmoil” portrays a desperate-looking man in a ball cap holding an automatic weapon in his right hand as he uses his left arm to catapult between two cars. Another in this series shows two men with guns outstretched, each moving toward the corner of a brick building from different directions. It’s clear that in an instant one of them will be dead. In a work Malvo calls “Slavery,” guns are replaced by a whip, and chained men are beaten by a jailer with a machete in his belt.

This art is Malvo’s product. His business plan apparently came together after a German woman named Kira Prange began writing him in January.

“I wanted to learn how we accept people without judging them or their past,” Prange wrote me in a series of emails we exchanged.

The 24-year-old student from Bremen, Germany, told me she is studying to be a social worker and she chose to write Malvo because as a 12-year-old girl she remembered news reports about the manhunt. Prange told me she and Malvo write between one and three letters to each other every week.

“We quickly became good friends, and he asked me if I might help him with his art sale since he had to stop about a year ago,” Prange wrote.

A few weeks ago, Prange created an Internet site for Malvo where she posted 20 of his tablet-sized drawings. Each drawing is offered for $2,000 save for “Brainwashing,” which has a slight notch out of one side and is priced at $1,800. Prange confided to me that she has “about 50 more drawings” from Malvo that she plans to post after her exams are over.

“The main reason for the art sale is Mr. Malvo’s intention to help a close friend financial,” Prange wrote, struggling with English a bit. She did not reveal precise details of their business arrangement, but she made it clear Malvo plans to profit.

“He does receive some of the money,” she wrote.

Interesting, since profiting from the notoriety of a crime is against Virginia law — Code Section 19.2-368.20, to be exact.

It states that any profits received by an inmate as a result of his notoriety “shall require that the defendant and the person with whom the defendant contracts pay (the court, the proceeds to) ... be placed in a special escrow account for the victims of the defendant’s crime.”

Is this the law that shut down Malvo’s last attempt to sell his drawings? Did he believe by selling through a foreign intermediary his enterprise might survive under the radar?

On Capitol Hill, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is currently stalled on his third attempt to get legislation passed that would prohibit any federal or state inmate convicted of a violent crime from profiting from the sale of any of their memorabilia. Cornyn’s “Stop the Sale of Murderabilia Act” is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since his conviction, Malvo has reportedly apologized to one survivor of his shooting spree and to the daughter of one of the dead. He petitioned the court to change his name on the basis that he would be safer if other inmates did not know his identity. In a long tape-recorded interview with the Washington Post in 2012, he lamented his tormented childhood and clearly wishes he had not fallen under Muhammad’s “Master Puppeteer” spell.

In a prison like Red Onion, where most of the population is segregated in individual cells 23 hours a day, Malvo’s artwork is surely one of his few satisfying outlets. But, somehow it has escaped him that it is only of value to a few collectors because he is notorious for committing heinous, bloody crimes.

Something tells me after this news of Malvo’s latest business endeavor hits the headlines, monitors at Red Onion State Prison will be looking more closely at both his incoming and outgoing mail. And they should.

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

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Mark Shields: In Hat Tip to Jimmy Cannon, Here’s My Own ‘Nobody Asked Me, But ...’

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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From time to time, the late New York sports-writing legend Jimmy Cannon used to do a column composed of witty, sentimental short takes he called “Nobody Asked Me, But.” It was Cannon who wrote of the longtime African-American heavyweight-boxing champion: “Joe Louis is a credit to his race ... the human race.” Another Cannon one-liner: “I can't say I ever remember staying for the end of a movie in which the actors wore togas.”

With a tip of the cap to Cannon, here is my own “Nobody Asked Me, But.”

The continuing national debate on the thorny subject of immigration recalls the advice of an important Native American tribal leader to President Harry Truman: “Be careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours.”

Here is a favorite sports drinking question: Only four U.S. colleges or universities have graduated both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Name the schools and the individuals. Answer below.

It turns out former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and the Democratic President Barack Obama have more in common than either of them acknowledges. Both of them were, at one point, quite confident that signing into law major health-care reform would advance their political careers.

I predict that with the way things are going politically for the White House, which is not good, the government of Kenya will make a formal announcement following a through, official examination that it has authoritatively determined that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii.

Like most sports fans I know, I’m happy the dominant professional basketball player of his generation, Akron, Ohio, native LeBron James, is leaving Miami to return to his old hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. A rare victory for the Rust Belt over the Sun Belt.

But let’s remember to give credit to the Ohio-based professional who had certainly the greatest single season ever. That would be Oscar Robertson, the “Big O,” who, playing for the Cincinnati Royals from 1961-1962, averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game and 11.4 assists per game — what is called a “triple-double.” For comparison, among the 390 professional basketball players during the entire 2013-2014 season of 82 games, there was a grand total of 35 triple-doubles.

Here’s the fail-safe test to determine whether you’re a little overweight: If you’re sitting in the bathtub, and the water level in the toilet bowl rises.

Charles Osgood, the superb CBS journalist, recalls that it was while delivering newspapers in his boyhood hometown that he first learned the importance of accuracy in journalism. That was when young Charles was trying mightily at each house to miss the bushes and hit the front porch.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is, hands down, the sharpest-dressing anchor on MSNBC. Yes, the Rev. Al is truly a man of the cloth. And in his case, the cloth is cashmere.

The answer to the sports stumper above: The four schools that have produced both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback are the University of Michigan (President Gerald Ford and quarterback Tom Brady); the U.S. Naval Academy (President Jimmy Carter and quarterback Roger Staubach); Stanford University (President Herbert Hoover and quarterbacks Jim Plunkett and John Elway); and Ohio's Miami University (President Benjamin Harrison and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)

Comedian-actor Martin Short is an authentic genius.

In every political campaign or debate you're ever in, there will always be, without fail, somebody on your side you wish devoutly was on the other side.

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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Rain Clouds Tease South Coast with Just a Few Sprinkles

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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The cloudy skies over Santa Barbara County may make it look like rain is on the way, but only a chance of sprinkles is expected on the South Coast on Saturday.

A smattering of drops fell in Montecito at midafternoon, and similar sprinkles were reported in Goleta and on the Mesa in Santa Barbara.

According to the National Weather Service, thunderstorms are possible in the mountains and interior valleys of Santa Barbara County through Saturday evening. Storms might be accompanied by gusty winds, and the weather service said conditions are ripe for dry lightning, as well.

Sunday’s forecast calls for a mostly cloudy morning giving way to afternoon sunshine. Daytime temperatures in the upper 60s to mid-70s are likely, with afternoon winds of around 15 mph.

The weather service said Monday and Tuesday are expected to deliver more of the same.

» 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.

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Drivers Using Part of Roundabout Under Construction in Santa Ynez Valley

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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The project is expected to be completed later this summer at the intersection of Highway 154 and Highway 246

Drivers are now using part of the under-construction roundabout at the intersection of Highways 154 and Highway 246 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Earlier this week, motorists traveling in both directions began driving through the partially completed roundabout as construction on other parts of the project continue.

Work began in January on the project to change the intersection from a four-way stop to a roundabout Caltrans contends will improve safety.

Since the change earlier this week, the California Highway Patrol reports no incidents at the intersection, Officer John Ortega said.

A roundabout is an intersection where traffic travels in a counter-clockwise direction around an island.

Drivers are allowed to enter the roundabout when there is a gap in traffic. Vehicles entering or exiting the roundabout must yield to all traffic, including pedestrians, state officials said.

Drivers are required to use turn signals when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout, state officials added.

Some local leaders opposed the roundabout, lobbying instead for a traffic signal at the intersection.

As construction on the roundabout continues, daytime lane closures are expected. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

As construction continues, daytime lane closures are expected but shouldn’t delay traffic beyond 10 minutes, according to Caltrans.

Eastbound motorists on Highway 154 to reach Highway 246 are encouraged to use the roundabout and not make an abrupt right turn onto Highway 246, Caltrans said.

Armour Ranch Road is now open during this phase of the project. Motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to share the road.

The contractor for this $3.3 million project is Granite Construction of Watsonville.

Construction on the controversial traffic circle should be completed this summer, earlier than initially expected.

This is the second roundabout involving Highway 246. Another one was completed in 2012 on Highway 246 at La Purisima Road, east of Lompoc.

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 Emphatic About November Start for Trial in Anthony Ibarra Murder-Torture Case

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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A judge in a Santa Maria gang-related torture and slaying case with seven defendants re-emphasized on Friday his intention for the trial to start in mid-November.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown also spelled out the remainder of the schedule to ensure that the Nov. 17 starting date for the trial remains on track.

“We’re going to move relentlessly … forward to bring this trial to completion,” Brown said.

Seven defendants will stand trial in the March 17, 2013, slaying of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra, who was killed in a West Donovan Road house in north Santa Maria, authorities said. His body was found in a U-Haul rental truck located in Orcutt.

The defendants are Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr. and Jason Castillo. Four other defendants, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas, Verenisa Aviles and Robert Stan Sosa, accepted pleas in the case.

The judge on Friday reminded the six defense attorneys plus Ramon Maldonado, who is representing himself, of the upcoming deadlines for submitting and responding to motions so the Nov. 17 trial date remains on track.

“We’re all going to work very hard to be ready to go the 17th,” Brown added.

Brown also shared about plans for the testimony to run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with two 15-minute breaks each day during trial, a schedule developed after consulting judges in other counties with trials that also involved multiple defendants.

“It’s the only way to move a trial like this through to completion,” he said.

Friday’s hearing also involved attorneys discussing access to recordings of the defendants’ jail phone calls and mail.

When Ramon Maldonado questioned why only some mail is included in discovery, or possible evidence, given to him, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen said it’s up to jail officials to decide what mail is passed along. Typically, jail officials remain mum about that process, she added.

“It’s for the security of the institution,” Bramsen said.

Another hearing is planned for Aug. 15 for the judge to rule on other pre-trial matters.

Some attorneys told of scheduling conflicts due to other cases before different judges, but Brown offered to intercede so the attorneys are free for the mid-August hearing — and the schedule isn’t interrupted.

Legal matters in this case are being heard in Santa Maria Juvenile Court because it’s the largest suitable facility to accommodate the multiple defendants and their attorneys.

In March, Brown set the Nov. 17 trial date to give defense attorneys time to sift through thousands of pages of evidence in the case. The trial is expected to last several months.

Details involving the murder of Ibarra were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT.

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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