Santa Barbara-Goleta, Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Wind Advisory in Effect for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast Through Sunday Morning

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Gusty winds were sweeping across Santa Barbara County’s South Coast late Saturday, and the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory through 9 a.m. Sunday.

The weather service said north winds of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph, were expected through early Sunday. The conditions are likely to redevelop Sunday night.

The strongest winds were forecast below canyons and passes, especially in the Montecito foothills.

Motorists were advised to use caution on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass and on Highway 192/East Valley Road through Montecito.

High surf conditions are expected to persist along Central Coast beaches through Sunday night as a large northwest swell continues to roll in, the weather service said. Strong rip currents are possible, as well.

Northwest winds in the outer Santa Barbara Channel could reach gale force by Sunday afternoon, and authorities urged boaters and and mariners to take precautions.

Onshore, Sunday’s weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies and high temperatures in the mid-60s to low 70s.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be clear with daytime highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s, but the weather may cloud up by Christmas Day, with cooler temperatures reaching only into the mid-60s.  

» 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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Village Dirtbags Roll Out New Bicycles in Annual Giveaway for Vandenberg Air Force Base Youths

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Delivering Christmas cheer, mountain biking enthusiasts mark ninth year of supporting military kids for the holidays

As members of the Village Dirtbags fitted helmets and adjusted seats Saturday, it was difficult to tell just who was more excited — the adults who make up the club or the youths getting the brand-new top-quality bikes.

This marked the ninth year the Vandenberg Village group of mountain biking enthusiasts gave away dozens of bicycles to children of military members at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

“It’s such a nice event,” said Randy Baumgardner, a Vandenberg Village resident who joined the Villages Dirtbags four years ago. “There’s great energy here. I love it.

“I love serving those who serve.”

The program began in 2006, when the organization gave away 12 bikes and helmets. The numbers have grown since then, and organizers pinpointed this year’s giveaway at 125.

“We just want to support the military,” said Roger McConnell, who spearheads the bike drive that began when a high number of Vandenberg airmen were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group works with VAFB officials to identify the recipients, focusing on kids who had a parent deployed overseas. The mission hit its target.

“It only took three or four moms to really show their appreciation and we said, ‘This is what we’re doing every year,’” McConnell said.

They don’t do any formal fundraising, instead accepting donations.

After getting her new helmet fitted, 2-year-old Narayan Peterson high-fives Randy Baumgardner, a member of the Village Dirtbags. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
After getting her new helmet fitted, 2-year-old Narayan Peterson high-fives Randy Baumgardner, a member of the Village Dirtbags. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We ask for donations from families, friends and business associations,” McConnell said. “It just builds upon itself. They see that every dollar they put into it buys a bike, buys a helmet, gets to the kids — every dollar.”

Several businesses support the effort. PODS Moving & Storage supplies a containers for bikes, Bicycles Unlimited determines the size and type of bike kids should get and Imerys Filtration Materials donated funds to buy 15 bikes and helmets.

“It’s become a community event,” McConnell added. “It’s not just the Village Dirtbags and Vandenberg Air Force Base.”

Club members assemble the bikes ahead of time so they just have to make last-minute adjustments to pair the bikes with their new owners.

Observing the various stations for bikes, adjustments, helmets and pictures, Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, remarked on the military precision employed by the civilian club.

“Not only is it great to get a bike for these kids, but this is going to be a huge memory for them ...,” he said. “It’s a great memory just above the doughnut and the bike.

Roger McConnell, left, who leads the Village Dirtbags bike giveaway, greets Air Force Col. Keith Balts, commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s 30th Space Wing. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Roger McConnell, left, who leads the Village Dirtbags bike giveaway, greets Air Force Col. Keith Balts, commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s 30th Space Wing. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“I really want to thank the Village Dirtbags for doing this. It seems to be growing every year.”

In a Lompoc shopping center parking lot off North H Street five days before Christmas, youths showed up with parents to get their new bicycles.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Stephannie Fletcher, mom to DaKari Williams, 6. “I think it’s great the community is so involved with us.”

Abbie Carr, 10, tried out her bike while waiting for her siblings to get theirs.

“I really like it,” she said, adding that her previous bicycle broke. “I was hoping for a mountain bike.”

“I’m very grateful for this,” added her mom, Kathy Carr. “They all need new bikes.”

Traci Willett watched as sons Declan and Aidan were fitted for helmets.

“It is beyond awesome,” she said as Declan sat atop his first bike, five days before Christmas, which coincides with his birthday. “I think this is amazing. This is so cool.

“Oh, my gosh, buddy. Your first bike,” she exclaimed. “He’s going to love it.”

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.

Abbie Carr, 10, visits with Santa Claus after receiving her bike and helmet Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Abbie Carr, 10, visits with Santa Claus after receiving her bike and helmet Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)


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James Mosby to Fill Lompoc City Council Vacancy Created by Bob Lingl’s Election As Mayor

By | Published on 12/20/2014


During special meeting Saturday, four-member council taps utilities commissioner from field of 12 applicants

The Lompoc City Council went shopping Saturday for a fifth member before choosing a lifelong resident who serves on the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission.

James Mosby was picked from a field of 12 applicants by a 3-1 vote during the two-hour special meeting Saturday.

Mayor Bob Lingl cast the lone opposition vote.

Mosby, 50, said after the meeting that the selection “kind of caught me off guard. I wasn’t really sure which direction it was going to go.”

He noted that the City Council has a tendency to go into the wee hours of the morning, and braced for the possibility the four members might not reach a consensus Saturday and would have to meet again next week.

“I am still a little shell-shocked,” he said.

Mosby has served on the Lompoc Utilities Commission for the past two years but must resign from that role with his appointment to the council.

He was named to the county Parks Commission by Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam in 2012, but expects to continue that role.

Mosby also will step down from leading the nonprofit Lompoc Valley Parks, Recreation and Pool Foundation.

A couple of years ago, Mosby was at the center of a controversy over a recreational facility on his land just east of the city, as county officials contended the use wasn’t permitted.

Running for the City Council had been on his mind, he said. 

“I had some minor plans in two years from now of potentially running, and that’s one of the reasons why I made the commitment to try to learn as much about the process of this town as I have, and made the commitment in the last four years to get involved ...,” Mosby said.

He also said he has regularly attended City Council meetings for the past four years.

Mosby submitted his application for the council vacancy on the final day.

“I saw the opportunity and the need for it, and decided to put my name in there and see what happened,” he said. “Have to start somewhere, right?”

The new council member will finish the final two years left on Lingl’s term after his recent election as mayor.

Before voting, the council heard brief statements from the dozen people who applied for the job.

Among those who applied were third place vote-getter Ann Ruhge plus other previously unsuccessful candidates — Darrell W. Tullis, David G. Grill, Robert Cuthbert, Frank Campo and Steve Chudoba.

Former Mayor John Linn, ousted in the Nov. 4 race that Lingl won, also applied.

Rounding out the field of applicants were Jenelle Osborne, Christian Martinez, John Fragosa and Adrienne Boyd.

The dozen candidates included the seven people who were unsuccessful in the races for the council and mayoral seats in the Nov. 4 election.

Others, such as Osborne and Mosby, were familiar for their roles serving on city committees. And a few of the applicants were newcomers to city politics.

While some residents had urged the council to select the third-place vote-getter to fill the vacancy, the four men were split on choosing Ruhge to fill the position during the Dec. 2 meeting.

During Saturday’s meeting, the first round of ballots to narrow the field saw Mosby get three votes, Osborne get two votes and one each for Fragosa and Tullis, City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said.

With Mosby getting three marks on the unofficial ballot, Councilman Victor Vega made the motion to appoint him and Councilman Dirk Starbuck seconded the nomination, which passed as Councilman DeWayne Holmdahl cast the third vote.

“All of the candidates were good,” Vega said after the meeting. “But basically when it comes down to it, there were a couple who stood out from the rest.”

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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Toppled Trailer Spills Hay Near Vandenberg Air Force Base Gate

By | Published on 12/20/2014


A trailer loaded with hay overturned on Highway 1 while making a left turn in front of the Vandenberg Air Force Base main gate Saturday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The overturned vehicle was part of a double-trailer rig carrying hay bales, according to CHP emergency dispatch reports.

The crash occurred at 3 p.m., and traffic reportedly was detoured around the resulting mess for a short time, the CHP said.

A Caltrans crew was called out to clean up the spilled hay.

The driver reportedly was not injured in the wreck.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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


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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Training Mishap

By | Published on 12/20/2014


A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy suffered an accidental gunshot wound Saturday afternoon during a training session in Goleta, authorities said.

The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. as undisclosed training was being conducted at a building in the 7400 block of Hollister Avenue, said Kelly Hoover, a department spokeswoman.

“Fortunately it was a minor injury, and he is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his arm,” Hoover said.

She did not describe the nature of the training session or indicate how the deputy was shot.

The deputy’s name and other information also were not released.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the incident along with American Medical Response paramedics.

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


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For Many Wilderness Youth Project Kids, Time in Nature a Transformative Experience — Inside and Out

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Staff recount emotional stories of youth changing before their eyes as a result of first-time engagement with the outdoors

[Noozhawk’s note: This article is the third in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation.]

The environment of Santa Barbara County provides an abundance of opportunities for youth and adults to embrace a variety of natural habitats, and the Wilderness Youth Project helps to inspire local kids who are curious to learn and play in the great outdoors.

“Our after-school programs with Wilderness Youth Project are all about helping kids get out into the natural world and enjoy some great free time and some unstructured play time,” associate director Erika Lindemann told Noozhawk. “And ... a number of different awareness games and times where we can focus in on things in the natural world.”

Preschool-age children benefit from exploring the boundaries of natural spaces to develop decision-making skills, while school-age kids who participate in running and playing games in the outdoors develop important team building and social skills.

“It’s the connection these kids have with nature, but also a big part of it is the connection these kids have with each other — the social aspect of it,” lead program staff member Mario Mendez said.

The Wilderness Youth Project utilizes unique mentoring and active outdoor experiences to provide youth with the opportunity to spend time in nature and become future stewards of the environment.

Staff and volunteers keep kids engaged by observing what draws their interest in the outdoors.

“In that moment where there’s some sort of engagement from the kid to something in nature, you jump in and you do nature connection techniques and questioning to try to get them even more intrigued,” Mendez explained.

Programs are offered year round and throughout the school week and weekends for children from Santa Barbara County schools, including Adams School, Adelante Charter School, Brandon School, Crane Country Day School, La Cuesta Continuation High School and McKinley School.

Although there is a local focus, WYP also has worked with youth from elsewhere, including some from the Los Angeles area who “walked out of the bus and had never even walked on uneven ground, had never really hopped on rocks or across a creek,” Mendez said.

Everyone can face an initial fear or some type of anxiety about things that are different, but the connection to nature is something that’s ingrained in each of us.

“It’s such a familiar feeling that within hours you see these kids transformed and you see that transformation — their eyes getting wide and their bodies transform,” Mendez said.

Wilderness Youth Project participants gather wildflowers during a recent outing in the Santa Barbara County backcountry. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)
Wilderness Youth Project participants gather wildflowers during a recent outing in the Santa Barbara County backcountry. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)

This transformational effect crosses all boundaries, and Mendez shared an emotional example that created a lasting impact for one local boy. He said the youth was from a gang family, and his father and brothers were in jail.

The touching moment occurred on a three-day trip to the wilderness above the Santa Ynez Valley. On the last day, the group formed a circle to share what they were thankful for. During the boy’s turn to share, the group finally understood why he had spent part of each day collecting wildflowers from around the camp area.

“He said that I’m thankful for all of these wildflowers that are growing because my mom sometimes takes care of this old lady,” Mendez recalled. “And before coming here on the trip he had visited the woman and told her he was going on a long weekend trip out into nature.”

The woman told him to not forget to look at all the wildflowers because that was her favorite thing when she was young, to be able to see all of the wildflowers.

“We all got really teary-eyed and started crying because this was a kid, when I met him, who showed no emotion and was on the fast track to going down the wrong path for sure,” Mendez said. “And here we were a group of peers and mentors going around for like 20 minutes collecting wildflowers for this lady!

“That was really emotional for me, that sense of empathy that was created in this boy from the nature connection,” he added. “That was a reminder for me that the work that we do touches people in a very positive way and you could see the results.”

The Wilderness Youth Project could not thrive without the support of volunteers and donors who help drive its mission. Click here for more information about the Wilderness Youth Project, or call 805.964.8096. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Fairview Gardens in Goleta was a recent destination for Wilderness Youth Project staffers Erika Lindemann and Ulises Rios and program participants Juan Escobar, Angel Estrada, Jair Jaramillo, Jesus Medina, Helene Navarrete, Osiel Ocampo, Eminnen Pachucas, Samantha Sandoval, Samuel Sandoval and Nitzy Verdusco. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
Fairview Gardens in Goleta was a recent destination for Wilderness Youth Project staffers Erika Lindemann and Ulises Rios and program participants Juan Escobar, Angel Estrada, Jair Jaramillo, Jesus Medina, Helene Navarrete, Osiel Ocampo, Eminnen Pachucas, Samantha Sandoval, Samuel Sandoval and Nitzy Verdusco. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Wilderness Youth Project lead program staff member Mario Mendez describes flora and fauna during an outing. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)
Wilderness Youth Project lead program staff member Mario Mendez describes flora and fauna during an outing. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)


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Waves of Young Surfers Join Lakey Peterson at Inaugural Leadbetter Beach Surf Competition

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Popular local pro surfer partners with Surf Happens to help inspire kids to paddle out and follow in her wake

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Scores of young surfers stormed Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach on Saturday for the inaugural Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic surf competition.

The free event was open to all skill levels for youths 14 and under, and no one was eliminated in the first round.

The competition was hosted by the nonprofit Surf Happens, an arm of the Surf Happens Surf School. Organizers hope to make the Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic an annual December event.

The day’s events also included a surfing class to promote the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Peterson, 20, a champion professional surfer who grew up in Montecito, first competed in a Surf Happens Santa Barbara Surfing Series event at Campus Point when she was 9 years old. She has been a longtime Surf Happens supporter, including as a regular at the annual Rincon Classic.

Before she was 13, Peterson had won several National Scholastic Surfing Association​ titles and, at 14, won the NSSA Open Women’s Title. As a 16 year old, she was runner-up in the 2011 U.S. Open of Surfing, and earned a spot on the official Association of Surfing Professionals Women’s World Tour.

She is currently ranked No. 6 in the world on the 2014 tour.

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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John Haan: How New Vintners Can Get a Start Through a ‘Nontraditional’ Winery

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Opening a traditional bricks-and-mortar winery can be complicated, expensive and time consuming. As an alternative, new vintners can elect to start a “nontraditional” winery, which allows them entry into the wine business without incurring the substantive acquisition and development expenses of a traditional winery.

The two basic structures of a nontraditional winery are the custom crush arrangement and the alternating proprietorship arrangement.

Custom Crush Arrangement

In a custom crush arrangement, the client (i.e., an aspiring vintner) pays the host winery to make wine to the client’s specifications. The client buys (or grows) grapes, delivers them to the host winery, and provides general instructions for producing and bottling the wine. The client may supervise the production, but the host winery is responsible for making the wine.

As the holder of a federal basic permit (i.e., a bonded winery), the host winery handles all production, recordkeeping and reporting to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB. In this type of arrangement, the client is not a bonded winery, does not own or lease a facility or equipment, and is not subject to any regulatory reporting requirements with respect to the winery premises.

The client is not required to hold fermentation or production licenses, and relies on the production permits and bond of the host winery until the wine is bottled, labeled and released by the host winery as “tax paid” (meaning that the federal excise tax on that wine has been paid, and the wine has been removed from the bonded premises) or the wine is transferred in bond to another bonded premise such as a warehouse.

Before the client can bottle or sell the wine, the TTB must approve the label for that wine by issuing a Certificate of Label Approval, or COLA. The host winery applies for and obtains a COLA for the client’s brand name. To obtain the COLA, the host winery must first adopt the client’s trade name, which may or may not be the same as the brand name, by adding it to the host winery’s federal basic permit. The label will reflect that the wine is “Produced and Bottled by (client’s trade name).”

In California, a custom crush client will typically obtain a Type 17 - Beer & Wine Wholesaler’s license, which allows sales of wine to other licensees (in state) for the purpose of resale, and a Type 20 - Off Sale Beer & Wine license, which, when held in conjunction with a Type 17 license, allows the sale of wine directly to consumers (in state) in a retail sales outlet and/or by telephone, Internet and mail order.

A client must also obtain a wholesaler’s basic permit from the TTB, which authorizes the client to sell wine that has been made for it to other wholesalers and retailers. Finally, a client must comply with state and federal tied-house regulations.

Although the custom crush arrangement allows aspiring vintners to enter the wine business relatively easily, there are some limitations to this structure. For example, the holder of a Type 17 license may not conduct wine tastings. and the custom crush client has limited rights to sell wine directly to consumers in other states as compared to licensed producers. In addition, many state tied-house exceptions are only available to licensed winegrowers and not wholesalers or retailers.

Alternating Proprietorship Arrangement

In a typical alternating proprietorship arrangement, an existing operating winery (the “host winery”) agrees to rent space and equipment to another wine producer (the “alternating proprietor”) to produce wine. This type of arrangement allows existing wineries to use excess capacity and gives new wineries an opportunity to begin on a small scale without investing in equipment.

In an alternating proprietorship, the use of the facilities alternates between the host winery and the alternating proprietor. Each winery (i.e., the host winery and alternating proprietor) may have a designated area dedicated to the exclusive use of the winery for the storage of its wine. The host winery and all alternating proprietors are separately bonded wineries, and each is responsible for its own production, recordkeeping, excise tax payments and label approvals.

In California, an alternating proprietor is required to obtain a Type 02 - Winegrower license, its own federal basic permit, and is solely responsible for its own winemaking, recordkeeping and reporting to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the TTB and other governmental agencies, including the payment of excise taxes.

Since alternating proprietors (as independent producers) are eligible for the Small Producer’s Wine Tax Credit, which has the potential of reducing revenue to the government, the TTB carefully scrutinizes an alternating proprietorship arrangement to verify that the alternating proprietor is truly acting as a separately bonded winery rather than as a client of the host winery under a custom crush arrangement. In the custom crush situation, the excise tax is paid by the host winery, which, when it combines its own production with that of all its clients, might not qualify for the credit.

During the TTB’s review of an alternating proprietor’s application for a federal basic permit, the TTB will strictly evaluate the written agreement between the alternating proprietor and the host winery. The alternating proprietorship agreement should expressly state that the alternating proprietor is responsible for its own production, record-keeping, reporting, labeling and payment of taxes.

The agreement also should provide that the alternating proprietor will pay the host winery directly for its floor space, equipment use and, where applicable, personnel time and material consumed if the host winery is to provide services or materials. Pricing should be structured around rental of space and rates for specific services rendered.

Payment to the host winery should not be based on volume rates (tons, gallons or cases), a method of charging more appropriate for custom crush agreements. The TTB reviews all of these factors to determine if the arrangement is a true alternating proprietorship and not a custom winemaking relationship in disguise.

Although it is acceptable for the alternating proprietorship agreement to provide for the use of the host winery’s employees for certain services, it must be clear that such employees will be acting solely at the alternating proprietor’s direction or be hired directly by the alternating proprietor.

The contract should clearly state that the alternating proprietor is in control of, and responsible for, bottling under its permit, storing wine and removing wine from the bonded premises. The alternating proprietor must have absolute access to its bonded premises and its wine at all times. The agreement must also allow the TTB unfettered right of access to the bonded premises.

The alternating proprietorship arrangement is attractive to new vintners for a variety of reasons. As mentioned above, if the alternating proprietor’s production is less than 250,000 gallons, it will qualify for the Small Producer’s Wine Tax Credit.

Additionally, as the holder of a winegrower’s license in California, the alternating proprietor enjoys the same rights and privileges as a bricks-and-mortar winery holding the same license, including the right to conduct wine tastings and operate an off-site tasting room. Furthermore, the alternating proprietor has no obligation to comply with burdensome and expensive local regulations and use permit processes.

In conclusion, there are advantages and disadvantages to the custom crush arrangement and alternating proprietorship arrangement. New vintners must carefully consider a number of factors before deciding which structure to use. This can be a complex and confusing process, thus, speaking with a qualified attorney will help new vintners evaluate and determine which structure works best for them.

John Haan is a senior associate at Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP of Santa Barbara and chairman of the firm’s Wine Law Group. His practice is concentrated in the areas of business, real estate and wine law. A version of this article was first published in the September issue of Santa Barbara Lawyer. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Louise Palanker: How to Find a Job, Confronting Life After Death, and That First Crush

By | Published on 12/20/2014


Question from Max V.

This might seem dumb, but how on earth do you get a job? I understand, you go to school you can get a degree, blah blah blah. But how do you find jobs and apply for them and get known? Like the literal process? It’s so stupid that they never teach this at school.


I don’t know your grade so I don’t know how much you should already know about getting a job, but I will give you my best advice. When you are 16, start applying for summer jobs. Between now and then babysit, mow lawns, sell lemonade. Work. Get used to how it feels to work and make your own money, because nothing really changes. It just evolves.

If you work, at least during the summer, through high school and college, then the idea of going out and getting a job within your chosen field will not seem so foreign. Once you graduate college, you will put together a résumé that shows you have worked at camps or restaurants or golf courses or whatever it is. This proves work ethic and it gives you potential reference letters for future employers.

Every person has a different career path story. If, for example, you want to become a teacher, you will do student teaching while you are in college. This gives you on-the-job experience and it introduces you to a network of teachers should you wish to apply for a job in that school district. After graduation, you can become a substitute teacher in more than one school district. If you are well liked, this often leads to job offers.

Should you choose a field that is challenging to enter, internships are the best way in. My motto is, “Give it away until somebody is willing to pay for it.” Internships opened the door to the entertainment industry for me.

An internship will offer you three layers of opportunity:

» You will observe the workplace in action and determine which jobs would be a good fit for you, thereby helping you choose a specific career path.

» You will learn by doing.

» You will make connections. The workplace is a family. If you are hard working and well liked, you will be hired ahead of a name on top of a résumé.

The Internet is a great way to display your work. Once you are old enough to be online, use it. If you want to make films, put your movies up on YouTube. If you are into fashion, show your designs on Tumblr. Create an online presence and résumé. When your name is Googled, the search results should be positive.

You can also use the Internet in your job hunt. Google firms that do what you want to do. Make lists. While you are still in college, start calling and asking if they have any openings, or internships.

If you land an excellent unpaid internship, talk to your parents about living at home for a year so that you can make the most of this opportunity.

When you enter the workplace, be the first one there and the last one to leave. Be proactive. Look around. What needs to get done? Get it done without always being asked to do it. Have a smile and an upbeat attitude for your co-workers. When you are asked a question by a superior, the answer is either, “Yes,” “I’m on it” or “Let me find out.”

There is nothing that is “Not your job,” unless it is illegal. Doing exactly what nobody else wants to do is exactly how you will earn respect and the opportunity to do exactly what you one day hope to do.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Tyler W.

I have gone into the depths of depression over a single question. What happens after death? I am Christian, but lately I dove into the world of science and it wrecked my faith, to say the least. I am too young to be thinking about this and I would rather have remained ignorant to it. I don’t need an answer just something to give me peace.


I do not know if this will give you peace but here is what I believe: No person on earth knows what happens after death. That is why we have faith. Faith is the concept of “knowing” with all of your heart, even without concrete evidence, so that you don’t have to be so scared.

Learning more about science need not negate your Christian beliefs. For example: The Bible says that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and on the seventh day he rested. It does not sound possible, does it? But before the existence of the Earth and our current concept of space and time, one day may have been a billion years.

Additionally, there are many religious people who believe that the Bible should not be interpreted literally but should serve as a guidebook full of morals and wisdom and lessons.

My faith tells me that no matter your religion, we are all a part of one human experience. We are here on earth to learn, to grow and to share together. The most powerful force known to us is love.

When we cross over, all of the mysteries of life become abundantly clear. We are not meant to fully know them while we are on our human journey. We are meant to connect with one another and to share knowledge, art, music, laughter, experiences and most of all, love. Know that your life has great meaning and that you are here for a purpose.

In a long, long time, when you do cross over, that meaning will become clear. Right now, just live.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Kendra B.

Today, I am worried about ... not ever getting my crush. It frightens me that he thinks I’m creepy. I’m really not on the inside with his group. How can I show him my feelings without him walking away? I feel left alone to rot with no one by my side. Should I change my personality or be myself? It’s just depressing.


You should be nothing more than your own true self. It’s called a crush for a reason. It crushes you. There is no way to make a person like you. All you can do is show him who you are. If you don’t know the kid, think of ways to get to know him better.

Everybody goes through these painful crushes. They make you feel like you will never love anybody the way you love this person. The truth is, you will. A crush is like sending your heart to the gym. It’s a workout and it builds you up for a lifetime of knowing what it means and how it feels to love. It sure as heck gets your attention.

And when you are in your 29th year of marriage and you have had it with that guy and the stupid sounds he makes when he cleans his ears and the piles of debris he leaves in his wake and the oil dripping onto your driveway from the old car he plans to restore, you will remember how much you once longed for him and smile because this is still him and you still do. That’s what real love is all about. Your crush is here to teach you.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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2 Seriously Injured in SUV Wreck at Carrillo Street Exit on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/20/2014


CHP says Cadillac Escalade slammed into trees and a wall after exiting freeway; one dog reportedly killed in the crash, another hurt

Two people were seriously injured Saturday in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

The wreck occurred at about 9:30 a.m. at the northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A Cadillac Escalade that was exiting the freeway went off the roadway and crashed into some trees and a sound wall, Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said.

He said two women — possibly a mother and daughter — were seriously hurt and had to be extricated from the wreckage.

“It was a significant extrication for our crews,” he said.

The passenger was freed rather quickly, McCoy said, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

A Santa Barbara Animal Control officer carries a dog from the scene of a Cadillac Escalade crash Saturday. Two people suffered serious injuries in the crash, and a second dog reportedly was killed. (Urban Hikers photo)
A Santa Barbara Animal Control officer carries a dog from the scene of a Cadillac Escalade crash Saturday. Two people suffered serious injuries in the crash, and a second dog reportedly was killed. (Urban Hikers photo)

However, it took much longer to remove the second victim from the vehicle, he said.

“The driver was very entangled and up against the sound wall,” McCoy told Noozhawk. “The dashboard was down on her legs, and basically her whole capsule was crushed down on her.”

The second victim also was taken to Cottage Hospital.

The names of the victims and details on their conditions were not immediately available.

Fire crews requested that Animal Control respond to the scene to attend to two dogs that were in the SUV, McCoy said.

One dog reportedly was killed in the crash and the other was taken to a veterinary hospital.

The northbound exit ramp at Carrillo was shut down for more than an hour, the CHP said, and freeway traffic through the area was slowed by the wreck.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Another Bad Deal

By | Published on 12/20/2014


President Barack Obama recently stated, “Today the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.”

However, is that true? Simply put, Obama made a bad deal with the communist, dictatorial Castros. There is no democratically elected government in Cuba and the Cuban people have no say in how they live or are governed.

Our imperial president wants to economically bail out a country whose leaders are pals with Marxists and Islamic terrorists. And to make things even worse, our military is concerned Obama will make a deal with the Castros to close Gitmo, thereby releasing the most dangerous jihadists to kill again.

Once again, Barack Obama has put the interests, safety and welfare of Americans second. Why are we letting him get by with this tyranny? Will our Republic survive under two more years of his control?

Diana and Don Thorn


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Santa Barbara County Police Agencies Prepare to Use Body-Worn Cameras

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Local law enforcement looks to pilot models while others are still searching after President Barack Obama's recommendation to implement the devices

Body-worn cameras have recently become a large part of a national discussion about law enforcement transparency, but many Santa Barbara County police agencies have been considering piloting the devices for some time.

To wear or not to wear the cameras, allowing a sense of accountability for officers as well as the public, has — not so surprisingly — mostly come down to finding the funds.

Before police-involved shootings in Ferguson, Mo., and the like shone a light on potential need, Santa Barbara police began investigating body-camera types.

Facing a consistent price tag of $600 to $1,000 each, Sgt. Riley Harwood said police would welcome an opportunity to find finding through a program championed by President Barack Obama earlier this month.

A proposed three-year, $263 million investment package puts body cameras and law enforcement training and reform at the center of the initiative, which would provide a 50 percent match to states or cities purchasing the devices. 

The initiative’s $75 million investment over three years aims to assist in buying 50,000 body cameras nationwide.

Included in that program would be the cost of processing and storing video — a huge IT expense, Harwood said.

Police wouldn’t be forced to make footage available to the public, as is the policy with dashboard cameras in SBPD patrol cars, but the video could be used in court cases, Harwood said.

Santa Barbara police were also holding off to find a model to mesh with its dash cameras, which were installed last year.

This Vidmic model being tested by sheriff's deputies connects with the department's radio system. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

“The cost is more significant than simply paying for units for 143 officers,” Harwood said. “If all goes well, our hope would be to get it into this budget process. Ultimately, that’s a decision the City Council would have to make.”

Technical difficulties were also hampering body camera discussions for the Santa Maria Police Department, which is currently updating all its software to accommodate a switch from a Ford Crown Victoria patrol car to Explorers and the all-wheel drive Ford Taurus.

Lompoc Police were still exploring the idea this week, but a handful of UCSB Police officers were already piloting some.

UCSB Police Sgt. Rob Romero said most of the 36 officers were still waiting on an official policy, which he expected to soon be adopted for the entire University of California System.

“As of right now, some officers are carrying their own,” he said.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department purchased 40 body cameras in October, assigned 20 of them to deputies and eight of them are actually piloting the devices, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

She said most were using VidMic units connected to patrol car radios, although a second, bigger body camera was being tested within the department should the decision be made to equip all deputies.

Sheriff's deputies are testing two possible body-worn camera models. This body cam model isn't in circulation yet. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

According to policy, deputies using body cameras must activate them during interactions with the public while on duty, with some exceptions for sensitive investigations.

Each camera runs anywhere from $300 to $550, Hoover said.

“The deputies who were selected to use the body cameras are ones who typically do not use a patrol car for their shifts and benefit the most from having the equipment, such as Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies, school resource deputies and community resource deputies,” she said. “The video is archived on a secure, local server similar to the in-car video systems. 

“At this point and time, the reason every deputy is not equipped with a body camera is both a budget issue and an administrative choice. Even though body cameras are being used by other law enforcement agencies, the technology is relatively new and emerging and we are looking at all the potential issues surrounding their usage.”

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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Highway 101 Ramp Closures Could Cause Headaches for Motorists

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Delays shouldn’t affect holiday travelers, but little else is clear about the schedule

Orange Caltrans signs at the entrances to Highway 101 on-ramps and off-ramps in the Santa Barbara area are alerting motorists to potential headache-causing “intermittent” overnight and early morning closures, but the notices don’t give much insight as to when.

That’s because the Caltrans engineers themselves aren’t sure exactly which ramps will be closed in what order, only that no two consecutive ramps will be closed at any time — unless necessary to ensure worker safety — and that the public-safety work that began this month should be complete by Jan. 31, weather permitting, -Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said.

A pattern of nighttime collisions near Santa Barbara has prompted the latest projects on Highway 101 from Milpas Street to Fairview Avenue.

Overhead-sign panel and light-fixture replacements make up the bulk of work, along with some new “no pedestrian crossing” signs.

Shivers did emphasize that the ramps wouldn’t be closed the days before or after the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“The contractor has to work their way through town in multiple passes, sometimes in the inside lanes, sometimes the outside lanes,” Shivers said. “The durations are also approximately one to three hours per closure, depending on what they are installing (delineators or sign panels or electroliers), and they will be leap-frogging closures from the north end to the south end.” 

Drivers will encounter periodic lane and ramp closures Sunday night through Friday morning on northbound Highway 101 — from 8 p.m. until 5 p.m. — and on southbound Highway 101 from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m., he said.

Shivers said all overhead sign panels from Fairview Avenue to Milpas Street would be replaced with reflective signs to increase visibility during wet and foggy conditions.

In an effort to reduce energy consumption and replacement costs, lighting fixtures on the overhead signs will be retrofitted with inductive-sign lights, and electroliers near the Castillo Street ramps will receive LED lights.

The safety project will add 12 more lights to improve visibility on southbound Highway 101 from the Ortega Street pedestrian bridge to the southbound Castillo Street on-ramp.

Shivers said “no pedestrian crossing” signs will be added at all ramps to deter pedestrians from accessing Highway 101. Reflective strips will also be added to the median barrier and metal-beam guard railings to improve nighttime delineation in select locations.

Moorpark-based Traffic Development Services will complete the work for $555,000.

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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Preview: Reveling in Tradition with the Santa Barbara Revels

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Susan Keller is founder and artistic director of Santa Barbara Revels and is stage director of the current production, The Christmas Revels, An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice, taking place this weekend at the Lobero Theatre, with 2:30 p.m. matinees each day and an evening show at 7:30 on Saturday.

Meredith McMinn has been with SB Revels for the past three years and has a leading role in this production. In addition, she's been acting as dialect coach, helping cast members with their Irish accents.

Adam Phillips joins the ensemble this year as music director.

Each took time from their busy rehearsal schedules to share their thoughts on what makes Revels special.

Justine Sutton: With each year’s Revels show portraying a different era and culture, how is this year’s show different from past productions?

Susan Keller: This year, I'm pleased to see the next generation of revelers getting involved. Matt Tavianini has been assisting me as stage director this year, and he's poised to take the reins next year. Adam Phillips is our new music director, and he's done a fabulous job, finding and arranging many beautiful musical numbers, getting top notch instrumentalists to play with us, and preparing our wonderful Solstice Singers. Sarah Eglin is new to our Children's Chorus this year, and she has pulled together an energetic group from seven different schools. We also have amazing dancers from the Claddagh School of Irish Dance coming in as guest artists. They are so talented, and it's such a pleasure to see them dance.

Meredith McMinn: Every year is different, of course, with a different script and a different culture being showcased. This script has more realistic characters than those of the previous few years and much that's rather poignant. I'm partial to things Irish, but I think the emigrant experience is something that most people can relate to, even if they were born right here, because almost all of us have had the experience of leaving something behind to embark on something new. So there's some nostalgia and some excitement and some pure fun--just what you want in the holiday season!

Perhaps the biggest difference this year is in personnel, particularly Adam Phillips as musical director. He came into the first get-together, even before chorus rehearsals began, with the sheet music of the songs we were going to sing and he got recordings to us early on, too, which helped tremendously to learn them. He's also done beautiful arrangements of songs. The caliber of the singing is especially high, and music rehearsals have been a joy.

J.S.: So you’re the new kid on the Revels block this year. How is that for you?

Adam Phillips: I really enjoy the Revels presentation because it involves so many different people and showcases their different strengths. There is music and dance, pageantry and acting, all while striving for a high degree of authenticity. It is a great program for the holidays because it always has a common thread but is different each year. So it can be a tradition with a fun familiarity, without being a carbon copy of the year before.

Revels is perfect for me because it comprises a lot of what I love to do. I get to make music with a lovely chorus, select and arrange music for voice and instruments, and I get to sing and play guitar and mandolin. What more could I ask for?

J.S.: How is Revels different from other Christmas/winter holiday celebrations or performances?

M.M.: Most holiday shows or events are one thing or another — there are dance performances (chiefly The Nutcracker), choral concerts, plays that are either traditional (assorted versions of A Christmas Carol) or contemporary, concerts and recitals by children for families, shows by adults for children and their families, and at some special events there may be storytelling or sing-alongs. Revels has it all. Each year is a different script, but there are always some traditional Revels elements — including some audience participation — and each year's theme brings to life traditions of a different culture, at least some of which may be new to all of us.

Most notably, though, what sets Revels apart and brings people back year after year is the sense of community it engenders. It brings together people of all ages and a wide range of backgrounds, on the stage and in the audience. Total strangers sing and dance together and share in the celebration of the turning of the seasons. Long before they leave the theater, they no longer feel like strangers to one another. Revels may be the only thing outside of a disaster that has such a broad unifying effect — without the pain! I think the slogan Susan came up with, "Join us and be joyous!," perfectly captures what Revels is all about.

For tickets, call 805.963.0761 or click here.

— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Gerald Carpenter: Quire of Voyces Will Sing the ‘Song of Songs’

By | Published on 12/19/2014


In a department store two days ago, I was standing in a long line at a cash register, watching a Christmas hire fumble items past the barcode reader while the people in front of me craned their necks to see what was holding things up and the line behind me got longer and longer.

As Tom Petty truly noted, the waiting was the hardest part, and what made it exponentially harder was the insipid pseudo-Christmas music that poured pitilessly out of the PA system. It was not music to be listened to, qua music, and it was certainly not music to connect us with any of our Christmases past; it was just music to lubricate our shopping. Stalled as I was in the line, it had the opposite effect on me. Has anyone, ever, had "A Holly-Golly Christmas"?

If this has happened to you lately, you might want to purify your audio system with an influx of sublimely, exquisitely real Christmas music of the sort which the Quire of Voyces produces in gratifying abundance.

As it happens, the Quire, under founder and director Nathan Kreitzer, will be performing their eagerly awaited Christmas concerts, called "Song of Songs," this very weekend — at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21 in the acoustically vibrant St. Anthony’s Chapel at the Garden Street Academy, 2300 Garden St.

This year, the Quire promises "a gorgeous array of choral gems by composers both ancient and modern, from Palestrina, to Durufle, to as-yet unheard, commissioned works by award-winning composers Daniel Brinsmead and Michael Eglin." They urge us to "let yourself be swept away by an exquisite collection of works based on the true meaning of Christmas."

If you have ever been to a Quire concert, you probably already have your tickets. If you haven't heard them yet, you won't believe what a treat you have in store.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors, and they can be purchased at the Garvin Theatre box office (City College West Campus) by phone at 805.965.5935 or at the door.

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


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Villa Serena, Carpinteria 93013

By | Published on 12/19/2014


This exquisite gated estate is located near the beach and the Santa Barbara International Polo Fields. It offers beautiful botanical gardens and idyllic outdoor spaces, horse facilities, a pool, guest houses, a gym, children’s play park and a magical ocean view. Perfect for the ultimate executive, this elegant and charming home is ideal for grand entertaining, but offers comfort and convenience for everyday family living. Main house is 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a high-quality home, with a media room, formal dining room, gourmet kitchen, sun room, wet bar, game room and family room. Guest house No. 1 is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Guest house No. 2 is 1 bedroom, separate access to the kitchen, bathroom, executive home office.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $3,925,000

Gary Goldberg
Broker ~ Attorney ~ Realtor®
DRE Licenses #01172139 / #01208634

(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)


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4063 Naranjo Drive, Santa Barbara 93110

By | Published on 12/19/2014


This '“turnkey”​ 4 bedroom / 2½ bathroom home is located within the desirable La Colina Park development. The owners have revamped this 2,704-square-foot, split-level home with new interior paint and updated landscaping. The upstairs consists of the master bedroom and bath, a spacious second bedroom or den, half-bath, kitchen and living room. The downstairs contains two additional bedrooms, a full bath, and a large family/media room with a wet bar. The attached two-car garage has interior access to the home and the laundry area. This property is in exceptionally clean condition! The exterior boasts a gorgeous paver driveway and lush tropical landscaping. Enjoy the community pool, clubhouse and common area shared by this neighborhood association.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $1,179,000

The Richardson Team
Mike Richardson, Broker
License #00635254

Kyle Richardson, Agent
License #01902531

(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)


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Ventura County Man Pleads Guilty in 2009 Murders of Faria Beach Couple and Unborn Child

By | Published on 12/19/2014


A Ventura County man has pleaded guilty in the grisly 2009 slayings of a Faria Beach couple and their unborn child.

Joshua Packer was charged with stabbing to death Brock Husted and his wife, Davina Husted, who was pregnant with the couple's third child, after breaking into their Faria Beach home on May 20, 2009.

Packer was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, burglary, robbery, and forced oral copulation, and on Thursday pleaded guilty to all counts in Ventura County Superior Court, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Frawley of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

Packer's plea was part of a deal brokered by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office; he pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty, and instead will be sentenced to life in prison without parole and without the possibility of appeal.

The killings occurred after Packer walked into the couple's home through an unlocked door at about 10 p.m., where the couple's 9-year-old son and Davina Husted were watching television.

Packer had a gun drawn and told Brock Husted to get down on the floor and told the young boy to retrieve money and jewelry.

The boy then hid behind the couch as Davina and Brock were taken to the master bedroom, where were both were stabbed dozens times. 

Joshua Graham Packer
Joshua Graham Packer

Packer is also charged with forcing oral copulation on Davina Husted before stabbing her and her unborn child to death, and his DNA was recovered from her body, Frawley said.

The son awoke the couple's 11-year-old daughter and the pair were able to run to a neighbor's house for help.

Perhaps most chilling is that the home invasion seemed to be totally random, and Packer had been looking to rob the home. 

There's no indication that Packer knew the Husteds, and ""there's no tie between them at all," Frawley said.

A breakthrough in the case came when Packer allegedly robbed a Thrifty Gas Station at 4069 State St. in Santa Barbara on Sept. 23, 2009, four months after the murders, and DNA collected in that case matched DNA found on the Husted's bodies.

He was arrested almost 11 months after the murders occurred.

That Santa Barbara robbery case was put on hold while the murder cases proceeded, but now will resume.

Packer's defense said that Frawley's children had met Packer, and presented it as a conflict, which would have prolonged the case by another year.

"It was a manufactured conflict," Frawley said, adding that Packer did ultimately accept the plea deal.

"We felt it was time to let them move on," Frawley said of the Husted's family.

"We're never going to get justice... [Packer] has orphaned two children and they're going to live with that the rest of their lives, but this is a way of putting it to rest, at least as far as the legal system is concerned."

Packer will be sentenced on Feb. 6.

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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Gordon Auchincloss Appointed Chief Assistant DA, Paul Greco as Chief Deputy DA

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Friday the appointment of Gordon Auchincloss as chief assistant district attorney and the appointment of Paul Greco as chief deputy district attorney for the Santa Maria office, both effective next Monday.

Auchincloss has been a deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for 24 years. During that time he has held multiple positions and successfully prosecuted all variety of crimes.

Raised locally, Auchincloss attended high school, college and law school in Santa Barbara. He has served as a board member on the PARC Foundation and Tthe Santa Barbara Children’s Museum and has been a longstanding volunteer for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Fighting Back Program, acting as both a mentor and a Teen Court judge.

In July 2010, Auchincloss was appointed chief deputy district attorney. In that capacity he supervised vulnerable victim crimes, including sex crimes and crimes involving domestic violence, financial crimes and misdemeanor operations. Auchincloss was also tasked with forming and supervising a new prosecution team to focus on white-collar crime, including major fraud cases, financial elder abuse and cyber crimes.

During the past four years, he has played an integral part in designing and implementing a new Truancy Program, Misdemeanor Diversion Program, Workers Compensation Fraud Program, Auto Insurance Fraud Program, Volunteer Attorney Extern Program, and is actively engaged in designing and implementing a new therapeutic court to help treat the root causes of homelessness.

Greco is a career prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office. Prior to his promotion to chief deputy district attorney, he managed the Lompoc branch of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. While supervising the Lompoc location, Greco assisted in all aspects of prosecution ranging from reviewing law enforcement investigations to criminal prosecution of cases in the Lompoc community.

Recently, Greco has led the prosecution of Rebecca Sandoval for murder charges from a DUI collision in December 2013 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Originally an Orange County native, Greco graduated from UC Davis in 1999 with degrees in political science and history. He went on to obtain his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Greco’s criminal prosecution career began in November 2004 when he became a deputy district attorney in Tulare County. After years of prosecuting high level gang members in Tulare County, he joined the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in November 2010. Greco prosecuted gang and narcotic cases in the Santa Maria area for several years prior to his promotion to Supervising Attorney in the Lompoc office in July 2013.

Now returning to the Santa Maria area as a chief deputy district attorney, Greco will be supervising the litigation operations for both the Santa Maria and Lompoc branches of the District Attorney’s Office.    


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State Street Motel Evacuated After Report of Suicidal Man

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Officers evacuated a State Street hotel Friday afternoon after a man staying there threatened to kill himself, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

At about 4:30 p.m., evacuations were taking place at the Sandpiper Lodge, 3525 State St., in an effort to keep motel guests safe from the suspect, who was reportedly was in possession of guns or other weapons, Sgt. Marylinda Arroyo told Noozhawk.

More than an hour later, officers took the man into custody without incident, and he was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for a mental-health evaluation, said Sgt. Aaron Baker.

No gun was found in the man's room, Baker said, but other weapons, including knives, were confiscated.

The man's name and age and other information about the incident were not available.

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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Zodiac Aerospace Expanding in Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Aircraft seat manufacturer leases the former DenMat Holdings facility on Skyway Drive

An international firm that manufactures aircraft seats is again expanding its operations in Santa Maria.

Zodiac Aerospace has leased the old DenMat Holdings headquarters facility at 2727 Skyway Drive, according to Jerry Schmidt, principal and broker at Pacifica Commercial Realty in Santa Maria.

A huge tent has been set up in the parking lot for crews working to renovate the interior of the facility. Shipping containers also are being unloaded into the facility amid a flurry of activity at the site.

The building encompasses 75,000 square feet and will house Zodiac Seat Shells operations.

The firm already makes seat shells in its Airpark Drive facility. Another Zodiac division makes airplane cabin interiors in the 2850 Skyway Drive location, across the street from the new site.

Schmidt, who brokered the deal, said it represents “a significant expansion of jobs’ in Santa Maria.

“It’s just a long-term commitment to Santa Maria,” said Schmidt.

Zodiac officials did not return several calls and emails for comment.

The property, which is owned by NCR Corporation, was the long-time home to DenMat Holdings. before the dental products manufacturer moved to Lompoc in 2012.

“Zodiac has a lot of options to expand elsewhere,” Schmidt said, adding the firm chose to add to its Santa Maria operations.

Schmidt said Mayor Alice Patino and Etta Waterfield, former planning commissioner and newly elected councilwoman, were helpful in the process, by meeting with Zodiac representatives to support the firm opening a third facility.

"I think it's wonderful they added a new division in Santa Maria rather than go somewhere else. We're very happy to have them here," Patino said. "They are such an asset to our growing community."

Zodiac promotes literacy among its employees, she added.

“It’s a welcome expansion,” said Dave Cross, economic development director with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a great sign for Zodiac as well as very beneficial for the community. Of course, it means more jobs.”

Patino said the new manufacturing may bring approximately 100 jobs.

It also proves the Santa Maria Valley manufacturing industry “is doing very well,” Cross said. “They’re not only holding their own, they’re continuing to expand.”

For example, Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench also is expanding in Santa Maria. The firm at 3037 Industrial Parkway manufactures turboexpanders for the energy industry.

“Again the expansion is very welcome and we hope it continues,” Cross added.

Zodiac Aerospace, which has its headquarters in France, makes aerospace equipment and systems for commercial, regional and business aircraft and for helicopters and spacecraft. 

Zodiac Aerospace has approximately 30,000 employees at 98 sites worldwide with its five business segments: Zodiac AeroSafety, Zodiac Aircraft Systems, and three segments related to cabin interiors: Zodiac Cabin & Structures, Zodiac Galleys & Equipment and Zodiac Seats.

The Airpark Drive facility was formerly C&D Aerospace, which was acquired by Zodiac in 2005.

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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David Sirota: The Treasury Secretary’s Misperceptions About Wealth

By | Published on 12/19/2014


By Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's reckoning, being a millionaire does not constitute living high above the ranks of ordinary people. Lew said last week that back when he was in the private sector enjoying six- and seven-figure pay packages, "My own compensation was never in the stratosphere."

Lew made that pronouncement as he sought to defend President Barack Obama's embattled Treasury undersecretary nominee Antonio Weiss from charges that as a financial executive, he is out of touch with the interests of regular people. Lew was seeking to cast his own lot with the ranks of ordinary Americans at a time of growing economic inequality.

But in doing so, Lew shed light on a uniquely American phenomenon — the tendency of extraordinarily rich people to cast themselves as everyday members of the middle class.

Earlier this year, for example, Hillary Clinton made headlines when, in response to a question about her personal fortune, she claimed her family was "dead broke" when they left the White House. That statement followed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aide casting those making $500,000 a year as merely upper middle class.

According to IRS data, 99 percent of American households make less than $388,000 a year, and 95 percent make less than $167,000 a year. The true middle in terms of income — that is, the cutoff to be in the top 50 percent of earners — is roughly $35,000 a year.

While Lew claims his private-sector compensation was not "in the stratosphere," the data suggest otherwise.

According to New York University records, Lew was usually paid between $700,000 and $800,000 a year as the school's vice president, while also receiving a $440,000 mortgage subsidy. Lew also earned $300,000 a year from Citigroup, with a "guaranteed incentive and retention award of not less than $1 million," according to an employment agreement obtained by Businessweek.

That agreement said that the seven-figure award would be terminated if he left for another job, but with one exception: He would indeed get the cash if he accepted "a full-time high-level position with the United States government or regulatory body." Lew was given a $940,000 bonus from Citigroup in the same week the bank received a $300 billion bailout from the federal government.

Then again, Lew is a pauper compared to Weiss. The Treasury nominee reported more than $15 million in compensation in the last two years at Lazard. Like Lew before him, Weiss would receive a massive payout from his firm if he gets a job in government.

Of course, there remains a bit of a debate about what constitutes "rich" in America. A recent New York Times poll showed 27 percent of Americans believe a family of four can be considered "rich" if its annual income is between $100,000 and $200,000, while another 20 percent say "rich" is defined as making between $200,000 and $300,000 a year.

That said, there appears to be consensus that compensation like that paid to Lew and Weiss constitutes "rich" — two-thirds of the country told the pollsters that making more than $300,000 means a household is wealthy.

While Lew's comments leave him open to charges that he is out of touch with economic reality, he is not alone, as surveys show many Americans also have misconceptions about income distribution.

A recent study by Harvard University and Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University found Americans grossly underestimate the divide between CEO and average worker pay.

Such misperceptions were recently spotlighted by comedian Chris Rock in an interview with New York magazine. Of inequality, he said: "People don't even know [about it]. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets."

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Downtown Carpinteria Residential Property Sold to Local Investors

By | Published on 12/19/2014


A pair of local investors have purchased 764 and 784 Maple St., located on the corner of Maple and Eighth streets in downtown Carpinteria.

The property consists of two houses on a 10,454-square-foot lot. Dan Moll and Christos Celmayster of Hayes Commercial Group represented the seller in the transaction.

The property attracted numerous offers and sold for $1.3 million, which was 20 percent above the asking price.

The buyers are Carpinteria natives who aim to improve their hometown by renovating older residential properties in need of upgrades.

“It’s good to see the property remain in local hands with a personal investment in the community,” Moll said.

This represents the second sale of the year on Maple Street for Moll, who represented all parties in the $5 million sale of 500 to 550 Maple St. in July.

The property’s location — one block from Linden Avenue on Eighth Street — is its greatest selling point.

“The advantage of a property in such a central location is that the owner has options,” Celmayster said. “Although the property is generating income as is, there is substantial potential for improvement which the new owners intend to pursue.”

— Ted Hoagland is the marketing director for Hayes Commercial Group.


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Mark James Miller: Why We’ll Always Have ‘Casablanca,’ a Timeless Classic for Holidays

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Casablanca is not a holiday film in the sense of It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) or The Bishop’s Wife (1947) or the many incarnations of A Christmas Carol — movies that are all related directly to the Christmas season. Casablanca resembles Harvey (1950) and How Green Was My Valley (1941), and numerous other older movies that always seem to pop up on television at this time of year: Solid and wholesome entertainment with messages — and not always happy ones — laid between the lines.

But Casablanca goes a step further and embodies the spirit of the holidays with its themes of sacrifice, being concerned for your fellow human beings, and of people working together for a common and worthy goal. It appeals to the better angels of our natures and reminds its audiences that they can always choose the right path in life — and therein lies the secret of its long endurance as a classic film.

Casablanca premiered on Nov. 26, 1942, at the Hollywood Theatre in New York City. In the 72 years since, it has garnered a reputation as one of the greatest movies ever made. In 1999, the American Film Institute voted it the second-greatest film ever (behind Citizen Kane), and in 2002 the same body found it to be the No. 1 love story of all time.

The film’s performances have become legendary: Humphrey Bogart as the unhappy, cynical Rick Blaine, a divided soul with his good and evil sides battling it out, symbolized in his usual attire of a white jacket and black pants; Paul Henreid as the heroic freedom fighter Victor Laszlo, his purity reflected in his off-white suits and his courage in the prominent scar on his forehead, a reminder that he spent a year in a Nazi concentration camp; and Claude Rains as Captain Renault, the collaborator who is finally pushed even further than he is willing to go by the Germans and, moved by the sacrifice Rick makes when he gives up Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), chooses, like Rick, to do the right thing at the end.

Periodically I show Casablanca to my classes at Allan Hancock College, and I did so recently with my critical thinking class. I never do this without a bit of trepidation: Is it too “old” for younger audiences? Will they be able to relate with the nuances, the symbolism, not to mention the message of doing your part in a war that ended almost 70 years ago? Will the historical references to Vichy France, the Spanish Civil War, and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia fly over their heads?

Will they get it when Rick cautions Sasha “To come right back,” when he is instructed to take Yvonne home? Will they laugh when Captain Renault says, “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here!” and is then handed his take from the roulette wheel?

As always, I was happily surprised: They loved it. They always do.

“Timeless themes that are forever applicable despite the time that has passed,” one student wrote. “I went right home and told my husband, ‘You’ve got to see this movie,’” said another. “The next day we rented it and I watched it again.” “The movie is about doing what’s right, and that anyone can change for the better,” wrote another.

“I never realized all these expressions I’ve heard before came from this movie,” a different student wrote, a comment often made by students. They’ve heard “Round up the usual suspects,” and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” and the inevitable “We’ll always have Paris,” but didn’t realize where they originated.

Casablanca opened just as the tide of war was turning in favor of the Allies. In June 1942 the Japanese were defeated at Midway. The same month Casablanca opened, the British won the crucial battle of El Alamein in Egypt and the Americans were carrying out Operation Torch in Morocco and Algeria, spelling the end of Axis ambitions in North Africa. In Russia, the Germans were deadlocked around Stalingrad, “the mass grave of the Wehrmacht,” and defeat there in January 1943 would mark the beginning of the end for Hitler on the Eastern Front.

Casablanca came out before the true horrors of the Nazi regime were known, and the Axis was still standing near its pinnacle: In Europe, the Germans ruled from France to the Volga River in Russia, and the Japanese had conquered the Philippines, Indonesia and Indo-China. The world did not yet know about The Final Solution, which was by then in full swing. Nor had it learned of the existence of the extermination camps in Poland — Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Chelmo, Sorbibor and Belzec — factories of death that were operating around the clock as 1942 drew to an end.

But even though these horrors were not yet public knowledge, the Western world was united in its belief that Hitler and Nazism had to be destroyed. Casablanca was conceived of as a propaganda film designed to convey exactly that message to American audiences. Do your part! Sacrifice, the way the characters in the film do, for a cause bigger than any one person. Above all, do not be like Rick Blaine, who as the story begins, “sticks his neck out for nobody,” and says, “I’m the only cause I believe in.”

Casablanca opened to mostly good reviews. The New York Times called it  “A picture that makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap.” Time magazine, however, was less impressed: “Nothing short of an invasion could add much to Casablanca.”

Casablanca has endured as a classic for 72 years, and it is likely to endure 72 more. It transcends its historical setting and its original propagandistic message and appeals to deeply embedded human feelings.

“The film teaches us that we all have our good and bad sides,” wrote one student in her response, “and that we can choose our good side.” We will always have that tug of war between our good and evil selves, and so we will always have Casablanca as a film that embodies the spirit of the holiday season.

— Mark James Miller is a teacher and writer, and has been a part-time English instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria since 1995. He is president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, California Federation of Teachers Local 6185, and is an executive board member of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Cooperative Leader Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez, president of the Lompoc Cooperative Development Project, has been nominated for the 2014 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez

Ceja-Gonzalez, manager of Del Norte Mobile Estates and mother of three, has nevertheless found time to head the volunteer group since its inception four years ago.

In February, LCDP’s first business, an eco-friendly cleaning firm named Green Broom Brigade, won the $5,000 first prize of the People & Planet Award sponsored by Green America website. The fledgling firm drew more votes than eighty other nominees nationwide.

In November, LCDP joined with other Santa Barbara County Cooperatives to stage the first Santa Barbara County Cooperative Festival, designed to educate Lompocans about cooperatives and other community services.

Best of all, as year’s end nears, Green Broom Brigade Cooperative is on pace to double its revenue from 2013, its inaugural year.

“What I saw growing up, my parents helping others, together with my faith, led me to do the same,” Ceja-Gonzalez says. “Seeing the need of more work opportunities for the underprivileged and underrepresented in our community is what keeps me motivated to help, and not to wait for Government to take action, but for us as a community to look for solutions and learn to ‘work together’ to achieve it.”

Ceja-Gonzalez was born in South Central Los Angeles in a low-income neighborhood, where her parents struggled on minimum wage jobs. She graduated from UCSB in 1995 and has worked in property management in Santa Barbara County for 16 years, at Del Norte Mobile Estates for 11. She has also been involved with her daughters’ youth soccer teams and La Purisima Catholic Church.

She joins seven other nominees, including assistant school superintendent Sid Haro, volunteer Jon Vanderhoof, community discussion convenor Lauren Pressman, musician Bill Carlsen, gardener Jan Martinez, writer Luciana Gallegos and chef Norma Anderson.

The Peace Prize will be awarded on Sunday, Jan. 25 at Valley of the Flowers Church.

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.


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Santa Barbara High School’s Dons Net Café Honored as 2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Santa Barbara High School's Dons Net Café has been honored with a prestigious award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

The Dons Net Café was part of the inaugural group to qualify for the year.

“We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2014 Nonprofit,” said Amazing Grace Llanos, CEO of the Dons Net Café. “We are proud of our accomplishments, which include the 21st year as a top rated free tax site through the IRS VITA program, and the formation of 10 other student-run ventures that all ‘do some good in the world,’ giving at least 5,500 hours yearly to the Santa Barbara community.”

The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Dons Net Café received — reviews written by volunteers, mentors and clients.

People posted their positive, personal experience with the nonprofit. John Trotti of Forester Communications wrote, “Of the many benefits of the program, the one that I see as most important is its promotion of citizenship ... the aggregation of an entire range of attitudes and behaviors that are the key to success in a society that values the individual and individual achievement. Its foundation lies in presenting its participants with challenges that relate academic pursuits with real world actions within a team-based framework ... the lifeblood of the free enterprise system.”

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. “People with direct experience with Dons Net Café have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

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


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Outdoors Q&A: Is It Legal to Bowfish in the Surf?

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Q: Is it legal to bowfish in the surf? Regulations say bowfishing is not allowed within 100 yards of the mouth of a stream. I’m guessing on the beach it is ok for finfish, like spotfin croakers? However, I do know some beaches prohibit bowfishing because they consider a bow and arrow a deadly weapon. Do you know which ones? (David T.)

A: You should check with your local police or sheriff’s department first to determine if there are any city or county ordinances prohibiting the use of bow and arrow fishing tackle. If not, it is legal to bowfish in the surf under the following conditions: Spears, harpoons and bow and arrow fishing tackle may be used for taking all varieties of skates, rays and sharks, except white sharks. Such gear may not be possessed or used within 100 yards of the mouth of any stream in any ocean waters north of Ventura County, nor aboard any vessel on any day or on any trip when broadbill swordfish or marlin have been taken. Bow and arrow fishing tackle may be used to take finfish other than giant (black) sea bass, garibaldi, gulf grouper, broomtail grouper, trout, salmon, broadbill swordfish, white shark, green sturgeon and white sturgeon (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 28.95, 27.90 and 27.91).

Can You Hunt Waterfowl Not Listed in the Regulations?

Q: I know there are quite a few types of ducks that are not listed in the waterfowl regulations (e.g. teal, mergansers, etc.). If a species is not specifically mentioned, does this mean that they can or cannot be hunted? (Joe D.)

A: The waterfowl regulations apply to all species of geese, ducks and mergansers. Coots have different regulations. As long as the waterfowl species you wish to take does not have more specific regulations than the general bag limits, then that non-specified waterfowl species can be included in your general bag.

Retrieving Game from Private Property?

Q: Where can I find the regulations on retrieving game that has moved onto another’s property after being shot? I believe that it is legal but I can’t find the regs. (Joe D.)

A: There are no regulations which allow you to recover game that ends up on private property. You are expected to retrieve all game you harvest and not to cause wanton waste by failing to recover something you’ve shot, but you must get permission from the landowner to legally enter their property. If you are not able to reach them for permission, you may contact the local game warden or sheriff and request assistance.

Buying Diamondback Rattlesnakes from Texas for Taxidermy?

Q: I want to buy dead western diamondback rattlesnakes for taxidermy from a seller in Texas. From what I read in the regulations, it is OK. The shipper just needs to label the box with the contents. If this is legal, can you please provide the code section regarding buying/importing dead rattlesnakes? (Bryan W.)

A: Dead rattlesnakes can be purchased and imported into California (Fish and Game Code, section 2353). You will just need to make sure the shipment comes with a completed Declaration for Entry form identifying what it is and where it’s coming from. This declaration must be submitted to the department or a designated state or federal agency at or immediately prior to the time of entry. Declaration is not required if shipped by common carrier under a bill of lading.

This form may be photocopied. The original copy of the declaration form shall be retained by the person importing the fish or game into the state. One copy shall be mailed to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814, within 24 hours after entering the state. One copy shall be deposited at the point of entry with any state or federal agency or officer, and one copy shall remain with the fish or game if transported by other than owner or common carrier.

“Point of entry” refers to the city or town nearest your point of entry into California.

Lobster Hooping from a Public Pier?

Q: While lobster hooping from a public pier, the maximum number of nets per person is two. Can a person with two nets deployed for crab/lobster simultaneously use a fishing rod for finfish? What about if the person has a fishing license and lobster card? (Steve G.)

A: No, the regulations state that people fishing from a public pier can fish with only two “appliances,” so the two hoop nets and one fishing rod for fin fish would total three. You don’t need a fishing license to fish from a public pier, but anyone fishing for lobsters must have a valid lobster report card.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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The Howard School Debuts Music Video to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’

By | Published on 12/19/2014


After months of impressive planning and production, The Howard School will premiere a music video of students and staff performing in a customized rendition of Pharrell Williams' record-breaking hit “Happy.”

The video was filmed in over 60 locations all over Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, with special permissions for the filming being granted by the city authorities of both localities. The scores of shots take place at such notable sites as the Santa Barbara Airport, the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria fire departments, Bacara Resort & Spa, Carpinteria’s World’s Safest Beach, and numerous community businesses.

Howard students and teachers positively light up the screen in every shot of the extraordinarily high-quality video production, written and produced by two Howard School parents, Jody Pesapane and Jason Rodriguez.

“The moment we saw what The Howard School was all about we knew it was a really special school,” said Jason Rodriguez, parent of a Howard pre-schooler. “It was thrilling to be able to share in that excitement with the entire school. The kids — and the teachers! — had an absolute blast filming and we even had professional recording artists at Rose Lane Studio in Carpinteria sing the special rendition of the song with the school’s choir.”

The Howard School’s “Happy” music video will show for the first time Friday at the school’s annual Christmas play at Reality Church in Carpinteria. The video will simultaneously be released online through the school’s Facebook page and YouTube. Pop artist Pharrell’s original video has been viewed over half a billion times on YouTube.

— Leigh-Anne Anderson is a publicist representing The Howard School.


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Bill Macfadyen: Storms Signal a Refreshing Change in the Weather — For Now

By | Published on 12/19/2014


NoozWeek’s Top 5 finds no call for alcohol at Bo Henry’s; Helene Schneider goes it alone; R.I.P. Leni Fé Bland; Montecito micromanagement at the Miramar; and Kim Jong-un ... because

There were 81,008 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked, but I hope Kim Jong-un ​doesn’t take offense. (Speaking of that corpulent, commie crackpot with the Moe haircut, click here for a second-generation tribute to the Dork from Nork.)

Now back to Noozhawk’s news:

1. Gusty Winds, Torrential Rains Slam Santa Barbara County

After what seems like days weeks months years decades of going without an extended series of wet storms, Santa Barbara County has been getting pounded by an extended series of wet storms.

Few people seem to be complaining. Heck, I’m not even complaining, and my friends know how much I hate rain.

A major storm system blew in Dec. 11, accompanied by torrential rain, gusty winds and frigid temperatures. Power outages were widespread throughout the county, and localized flooding was a problem in Guadalupe and at many South Coast intersections.

The latest storm dropped more than 5 inches of rain on San Marcos Pass, more than 3 inches in Guadalupe and Santa Maria, and more than 2 inches in Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said 76 mph winds were recorded at La Cumbre Peak, with 62 mph winds reported at the Santa Ynez Airport and wind in excess of 45 mph at the Lompoc Airport, the Santa Barbara Airport and in Santa Maria.

Unsettled conditions — and more rain — have persisted, but the forecast for Christmas week includes midweek temperatures in the upper 70s and clear skies all the way through Santa’s rounds. Once he’s back at the North Pole, it’s expected to cool down and cloud up.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

2. Santa Barbara Bar’s Liquor License Briefly Suspended

Bo Henry’s Cocktail Lounge, 1431 San Andres St. in Santa Barbara, found its liquor license suspended after a minor was allegedly allowed inside the Westside bar.

Leslie Pond, supervising agent in charge at the Ventura office of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said an investigation concluded that the bar had allowed someone under the age of 21 to enter and remain there on Aug. 2.

The violation of the state’s Alcohol Beverage Act resulted in a five-day suspension of the bar’s permission to sell alcohol.

The license was reinstated Dec. 18, and Bo Henry’s owner Robert Henry Eringer told our Gina Potthoff that it won’t happen again.

3. Schneider Cuts Ties with Chamber of Commerce for Santa Barbara’s State of the City Breakfast

For the last 14 years, the City of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce have co-hosted a State of the City Breakfast, with the chamber doing most of the work and the mayor delivering the keynote address.

Starring as the Lone Ranger, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.
Starring as the Lone Ranger, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

Although the 2015 breakfast already had been scheduled for March 20, Mayor Helene Schneider abruptly informed the Santa Barbara chamber that she’s terminating the long-standing partnership.

“We were ready to go with the event,” Ken Oplinger, chamber president and CEO, told our Gina Potthoff. “We were very excited to be able to do it for the 15th year. She was very clear this wasn’t up for discussion.”

Noozhawk left multiple messages for Schneider, who eventually responded by email — which seems to be her preferred method of communication these days. We read in her email that she wants to make the event free to increase public participation.

“The State of the City is the largest event the city has to inform the public about current municipal affairs, and there will not be a change in the actual presentation in 2015,” she had typed. “In prior years, participation at the event has been somewhat limited due to the cost associated with attending.

“The change the city is making is simply in production, and my goal is to increase participation by making admission free and open to the public.”

You know, kind of like those sparsely attended public meetings they hold every Tuesday in that big room on the second floor of City Hall.

Oplinger was diplomatic about it but, in an actual interview with Noozhawk, he noted that last year’s attendance topped 450 people, most of whom paid $60 to attend. That’s a tough act to follow, but Schneider and her strategist certainly have been adept at getting one or two people to show up for her news conferences over the last several years.

Meanwhile, it’s probably just coincidence that the business community has been outspoken in its opposition to Schneider’s​ obstinate stance against the Highway 101 widening project as it was approved.

Schneider increasingly is finding herself on the wrong side of the freeway, as was clearly evident at the Dec. 18 meeting of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. As current vice chairwoman, she was in line to become next year’s leader at the SBCAG board’s final meeting of 2014.

In a major break with precedent, however, her colleagues voted almost unanimously to bypass her in favor of Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson as chairman, with Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf elected vice chairwoman. Schneider voted for herself but only drew the support of one other board member.

Even more telling was the parade of speakers who lined up to blast Schneider over her widening rift, many of them fellow Democrats and erstwhile allies like former county Supervisors Gail Marshall and Susan Rose; philanthropist Sara Miller McCune; activist Micky Flacks; and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, through her local representative.

“You must follow the wishes of the voters that you are pledged to serve and you must do it today,” McCune said to the board.

It’s not clear who has Schneider’s ear these days, but it sounds like she could use some fresh advice. 

4. Leni Fé Bland, Santa Barbara Arts Patron and Philanthropist, Dead at Age 99

Leni Fé Bland was less than a month away from her 100th birthday when she died Dec. 14. The near-milestone is fitting because the legacy she left in Santa Barbara is one for the ages.

Decades from now, generations of Santa Barbarans will know Leni Fe Bland’s name. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk file photo)
Decades from now, generations of Santa Barbarans will know Leni Fé Bland’s name. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk file photo)

The Montecito philanthropist, a baroness and native of England, gave away millions of dollars over the decades. Humble and petite, Fé​ Bland was an outsized powerhouse in the nonprofit community as she graciously and generously shared her wealth.

Music and the arts were near and dear to her heart, but not far behind were education, health care and help for the less fortunate in this life.

Fé Bland grew up in a family that cherished music, and she carried that commitment with her everywhere.

“A classically trained vocal artist, she was once invited to perform for a group of blind people,” according to a Santa Barbara Foundation biography. “Her performance was enthusiastically received, and thus was born a passion for helping others through music.”

Fé​ Bland single-handedly provided scholarships and financial support to hundreds of students pursuing their own musical passions.

“Leni Fé​ Bland was not only a generous patron of the arts, but also a kind, beautiful soul who loved nothing more than supporting and encouraging the next generation of talented and aspiring musicians,” Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, told Noozhawk.

“She was deservedly admired and loved by so many.”


Think you’re gonna see the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows built in your lifetime? Not if the Montecito Planning Commission can help it. (Caruso Affiliated rendering)
Think you’re gonna see the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows built in your lifetime? Not if the Montecito Planning Commission can help it. (Caruso Affiliated rendering)

5. Montecito Planning Commission Delays Decision on Miramar Resort

After a 15-year odyssey, the latest would-be developer of the new Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows in Montecito thought final approval was within his grasp.

Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated, which purchased the dilapidated 16-acre property in 2007, had repeatedly revised its $200 million proposal to meet the needs, expectations and demands of nearby residents, the community, Santa Barbara County and financial backers.

Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated, had gotten initial approval in 2008 and modified plans were OK’d in 2011. In August, the company introduced an even more scaled-down blueprint.

Professional staff with the county Planning and Development Department had signed off, as had local agencies. The hotel concept had passed muster with the not-so-easy-to-please Montecito Association. Even many of the property’s closest neighbors were now in favor.

None of that carried any weight at the Montecito Planning Commission, whose appointees voted unanimously Dec. 15 to postpone consideration of the project until late January — at the earliest. Apparently, according to our Gina Potthoff, the commissioners have a lot of questions.

By this point in the project’s lifespan, one would think they would know the proposal inside and out but, hey, it’s Christmas! There are holiday parties to attend. Who has time for homework?

Caruso Affiliated had hoped to begin construction in midsummer with completion two years later. That’s not going to happen.

“My choice would be to build the project you’ve already approved, which will have much more impact,” Caruso told the commissioners, referring to their earlier approval of a previous — and larger — iteration. “What I can’t afford to do is be in limbo.”

Like it or not, that’s exactly where he is. Maybe he should just sell the place to the Chumash. I’m sure they’d love a South Coast casino with such easy freeway access.

                                                                 •        •        •

Oh, deer. Last week, a cow got a little pushy. This week, nature and cycling collide near Sausalito — and it’s all captured on a helmet cam.

(Silas Patlove video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Santa Barbara School District Refinances Portion of Measure V2000 General Obligation Bond

By | Published on 12/19/2014


Just as a homeowner would take advantage of low interest rates by refinancing their home, the Santa Barbara Unified School District has made a decision that accomplishes much the same outcome as it relates to a general obligation bond.

In early December, the school district refinanced a portion of its Measure V2000 general obligation bond.

The outcome of this sale reduced the gross debt service to taxpayers by approximately $2.39 million.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District continues to do its due diligence in serving the community’s taxpayers.

— Barbara Keyani is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.


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Santa Barbara Foundation Donates KDB Collection of Classical CDs, LPs to Public Library

By | Published on 12/19/2014


The Santa Barbara Foundation is pleased to announce the donation of an extensive collection of classical music containing 5,000 CDs and 1500 LPs to the Santa Barbara Public Library.

This donation is intended to augment the library’s own collection and will provide Santa Barbara residents with an opportunity to listen and explore great classical music they may not have heard before.

“The library is honored to provide our Santa Barbara community access to KDB's rich collection of classical music,” said Jace Turner, the supervising librarian at the library who will be curating the collection in it new home.

The impressive KDB collection was amassed over 40 years by Bob Scott, the former owner of KDB who later served as the program director for the station after it was donated to the Santa Barbara Foundation. Helping build the collection was Scott’s son, Roby, who served as the station manager and former co-owner of KDB; Richard Bickle, the station’s music director and chief announcer; and Steve Murphy, the operations director.

“We are pleased to be increasing public access to this wonderful music,” said Tim Owens, former general manager of KDB. “The collection represents a whole new world of classical music for the library — the opera collection is fantastic.”

The Santa Barbara Foundation is a longtime supporter of music, arts and culture in Santa Barbara County.

“This collection of music was lovingly assembled over four decades,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Our donation of the KDB collection to the Santa Barbara Public Library will benefit the entire community and keep this brilliant collection of classical music in the vibrant soundtrack of Santa Barbara.”

— Judy Taggart is the communications director for the Santa Barbara Foundation.


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Santa Barbara Public Library System Holiday Schedule

By | Published on 12/19/2014


The Santa Barbara Public Library System libraries will be closed on Christmas Day on Thursday, Dec. 25 and on New Year’s Day on Thursday, Jan. 1.

Libraries will close early, at 4 p.m., on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

The library system includes the Central and Eastside libraries in Santa Barbara, and branches in Solvang, Goleta, Montecito and Carpinteria.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at for information about library locations, hours, programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Maria Gordon is an executive assistant for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.


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Arrive Early to Santa Barbara Airport This Holiday Season

By | Published on 12/19/2014


The December holiday season is here and the Santa Barbara Airport suggests anyone departing Friday, Dec. 19 through Thursday, Dec. 25 arrive 90 minutes early in order to have a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

All flights to Seattle and Portland are at 95 percent capacity from Dec. 21 to Dec. 25, and the airport expects United, American/US Airways and Frontier Airlines to report similar enplanements.

This year, to add some holiday cheer to the John T. Rickard Terminal, the Santa Barbara Airport surprised passengers on Dec. 3 with a flash mob. The San Marcos Madrigal Choir, the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet and United gate agent Peter Kravchuk all participated in the event. The videos have been released on social media and can be seen on SBA’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

So while you’re waiting for your flight and enjoying the airport amenities, take a look at a fun holiday extravaganza!

Some up-to-date holiday travel tips:

» Parking: Lots of convenient parking within a short distance of the Airline Terminal.

» Short-term parking lot: 500 Fowler Road. Directly across from the Terminal entrance, this lot is a convenient option for those dropping off or picking up passengers. Those who travel for short durations may also wish to consider this parking option at: $20 day or $2 first hour/$1 each additional.

» Long-term parking lot: 500 Fowler Road. Located adjacent to the Terminal, this lot is but a short walk to ticketing. Rates: $12 day or $2 first hour/$1 each additional.

» Cell phone lots: At the WWII Memorial, off James Fowler Road. For those picking up passengers who do not wish to park please use this lot.

Due to the Transportation Security Administration’s security regulations in place since Sept. 11, 2001, vehicles are not permitted to park at the Airline Terminal curb unless active loading or unloading is taking place. Please review TSA’s Travel Tips to become familiar with the latest updates on prohibited items.

While you can bring wrapped gifts through the checkpoint, TSA officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. TSA recommends that you wrap gifts after your flight or ship them ahead of time. This way you will avoid having to open them during the screening process.

For an up to the minute flight schedule, please go to If weather becomes a factor, please call your airline.

The Santa Barbara Airport is a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City Santa Barbara and serves over 700,000 passengers annually.

— Hazel Johns is director of the Santa Barbara Airport.


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All Saints By-the-Sea Priest Aimée Eyer-Delevett Ready for Transformation at Venerable Parish

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Excited about ‘undeniable call’ to be eighth rector at 114-year-old Montecito church, priest eagerly follows Christ into next phase of ministry — for herself and the church

When the Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett finished high school she “took a break from the church” and moved to Japan to work for the African National Congress.

The move to Tokyo was a dramatic turn for Eyer-Delevett, who as a child went to an Episcopal day school in Pensacola, Fla.

“I was sure about God, but I wasn’t too sure about church,”​ Eyer-Delevett recalled on a recent afternoon during an interview at her new parish, All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito.

Her journey to Japan to build support for ending apartheid left her with some “existential questions.”

“I learned from my time with the ANC how much harm we can do to people and how evil manifests itself in the world,”​ Eyer-Delevett told Noozhawk. “How do human beings do this to each other? Where is God in all of this, and what am I supposed to do about this?”

After studying theology in college, at the age of 27, “the light bulb went off,” she said.

Her calling was to become a priest.

“God’s call on my life was to be a source of healing and transformation,”​ Eyer-Delevett said. “The call to follow Christ is absolutely about entering into the pains of the world and offering a sense of transformation for those who are suffering.”

That calling has led her to All Saints, where she was installed earlier this month as the eighth rector in the church’s 114-year history. She delivered her first sermon to a packed sanctuary on Dec. 7, and more than 300 people attended last week’s children’s Christmas pageant.

She said she feels wholeheartedly embraced by the church community.

“My experience with the people of All Saints has been one of great hospitality and great enthusiasm,” she said. “God is doing something great for us. God has called me to serve this church.”

Eyer-Delevett succeeded the Rev. Jeff Bullock, who stepped down as rector in 2012 after more than a decade in the position.

The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett delivered her first sermon at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Dec. 7. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett delivered her first sermon at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Dec. 7. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“This parish has everything it needs, and now they have a leader who is healthy, excited, experienced and called by God to lead them into the next phase,”​ she said.

Eyer-Delevett has a master’s degree in divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where she studied with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She received a Master of Sacred Theology in Anglican Studies at General Theological Seminary in New York City, and was ordained to the priesthood in December 2004.

At All Saints, Eyer-Delevett hopes to build the children’s ministry, grow the church and help parishioners strengthen their walk with God.

Prior to All Saints, she served as rector for eight years at the Church of the Holy Nativity in Clarendon Hills, Ill., a Chicago suburb.

She worked to revitalize her former church, which she said was “struggling” when she was hired. During her tenure, the parish doubled in size, the children’s ministry exploded and the church’s social justice work in the community grew.

She was not planning to leave, but a bishop in California invited her to consider the opening at All Saints.

“The work I had been called to do at the parish, I was done,”​ Eyer-Delevett said. “It was an undeniable call.”

She interviewed with All Saints’ lay leaders over the summer and said she felt a “vitality and excitement.” All Saints dispatched search committee members to her church in Illinois to interview parishioners and others. She said she was creatively inspired by the All Saints opportunity.

While Eyer-Delevett is bringing a sense of renewal to All Saints, with that new energy comes some change that is not universally accepted: She is married to her partner of 17 years, Alyson. The couple has a 4-year-old daughter.

Eyer-Delevett said her identity as a gay woman was one of the things that made her rethink the church after high school.

Even though deep down she believed she was called to the ministry, she said she didn’t know if there was a place for her in the church. She wondered if God had “gotten it wrong” with her. A conversation with a priest in Florida convinced her otherwise.

“He said, ‘Aimée, the church needs you,’” she recalled. “I was floored.”

Eyer-Delevett said God’s love is unconditional.

The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett, left, with longtime partner Alyson and their daughter, Willa, has begun her new role as rector at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church. 'I really love being in Santa Barbara,' she says. 'I am excited about my ministry at All Saints, but I am also excited about living with my family in this community.' (Eyer-Delevett family photo)
The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett, left, with longtime partner Alyson and their daughter, Willa, has begun her new role as rector at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church. “I really love being in Santa Barbara,” she says. “I am excited about my ministry at All Saints, but I am also excited about living with my family in this community.” (Eyer-Delevett family photo)

“God’s desire is to know us and love us, and to be in a relationship with us at all costs,”​ Eyer-Delevett said. “I believe that God calls me to be the most authentic and grace-filled Aimée I can be. God created me to be a unique manifestation of God’s grace in the world.”

Eyer-Delevett said she understands how some people might have concerns.

“My creator made me just the way I am,” she said. “I discover more about the reality of God’s unabiding, unconditional, gentle, challenging love for the world through my relationship with my wife. It’s OK if someone doesn’t understand how I can be gay and a priest. All I can do is strive to be a source of grace, even for people who don’t agree with me.”

Eyer-Delevett is just getting settled at All Saints but is looking forward to great things. She enjoys the community, and like so many other transplants, is in love with Santa Barbara’s beauty.

“I really love being in Santa Barbara,” she said. “I am excited about my ministry at All Saints, but I am also excited about living with my family in this community.”

She said she believes her role in the church is to help people with their journey toward God.

“My job is to send people out of the church fed and ready, and out into the world,” she said.

Eyer-Delevett also hopes to teach and remind people that God loves everyone.

“You don’t have to hide from God,”​ Eyer-Delevett said. “God already knows the places we struggle. I hope the way I live my life is as a role model for someone else to live a more authentic life.”

She has a plan for the church, but admits that the future could be full of surprises.

“I have my ideas,” she laughed. “My ideas are great. But my ideas aren’t anything compared to God’s ideas.”

Click here to listen to Eyer-Delevett’s Dec. 7 sermon.

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


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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled with Host Mom for Santa Barbara’s Education First International

By | Published on 12/18/2014


The family of a 17-year-old Japanese national has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with a local woman who served as a host through Santa Barbara’s Education First International.

The settlement is pending final documentation, but its confidential terms were agreed upon this month, nearly a year and a half after Vinura Hareen Wijesinghe drowned in the pool of Judith Cooper, a longtime Carpinteria resident and a host for EF foreign-exchange students since 2012.

Local attorney Jay Borgeson represented Cooper in the case and succeeded in quashing a request from the lawyer of Wijesinghe’s parents — Chinthaka and Nalika Wijesinghe, both residents of Japan — to subpoena medical records kept for Cooper at Rite Aid Pharmacy.

Borgeson informed Noozhawk of the planned settlement this week.

In the civil suit, filed in November 2013, Wijesinghe’s parents alleged negligence on the part of Cooper for hosting a party where minors drank alcohol and of EF International for hiring her.

The incident occurred on June 4, 2013, when some of the six EF students living at Cooper’s residence in the 1400 block of Azalea Drive in Carpinteria had a party where most attendees were drinking heavily — although under age 21 — near the backyard swimming pool, according to the suit.

EF International confirmed Wijesinghe was a friend of EF students, and not one himself.

The lawsuit says Cooper, who also ran a swim-lesson business from the pool called Azalea Swim Club, did not have working underwater pool lights or a sign warning a lifeguard wasn’t on duty.

Wijesinghe went into the pool with friends watching, but he never came out, and his friends assumed he left unannounced. Cooper discovered his body in the pool the next morning.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner said the death was caused by drowning, with acute ethanol intoxication.

In court documents, Cooper said she has a strict no drugs policy and 10 p.m. curfew, which was why when she found the youth drinking alcohol around that time, she made them pour it out before they left.

“It is hard to believe that while Ms. Cooper was awake … that she could not hear the children/minors playing ‘drinking games’ in the backyard, swimming in the pool, etc.” the suit states. “What is more likely is that Ms. Cooper was so heavily medicated she simply ignored the facts or was too intoxicated, medicated and comatose to do anything about it until it was too late.”

Earlier this month, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle ruled Cooper would not have to release private pharmacy records for that time and ordered the plaintiff to pay her attorney fees, totaling about $1,400.

“It has been settled to mutual satisfaction,” Borgeson said. “We’re delighted that it got resolved. It’s a tragic case for all concerned. For a family to have lost their young son was a horrible ordeal.”

EF International couldn’t be reached to comment on whether Cooper remains a host for students. Her attorney, who took over the case from a colleague, said he also wasn’t sure.

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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3 Men Arrested in Old Town Goleta Stabbing Case

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Mario Flores

Sheriff’s deputies on Thursday arrested three men on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon connected to a Nov. 21 stabbing in Old Town Goleta.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives served a search and arrest warrant at a home on the 100 block of Orange Avenue Thursday morning and took two men into custody for their involvement in the stabbing, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

“The residence is located directly in front of where a male in his 20s was stabbed following an argument with a group of males whom he was not directly acquainted with,” she said in a statement.

The victim, who was not identified, was stabbed around 5:38 p.m. Nov. 21 after a confrontation at the intersection of Orange and Mandarin avenues and was transported to the hospital.

Luis Gonzales-Guerrero

Bryan Ulloa

Mario Flores, 19, and Luis Gonzales-Guerrero, 21, both live on the property and were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting great bodily injury during a felony, and a criminal street gang enhancement, Hoover said.

A third suspect, Bryan Ulloa, 20, also of Goleta, was already in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail on an unrelated case, according to the sheriff’s office. 

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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Flooded Fire Station Forces Crew in Santa Maria to Evacuate During Repairs

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Last week's rainfall fills the living quarters with several inches of water, causing damage to drywall, baseboards and cabinets

A quick stop at Santa Maria Fire Station No. 1 between a flurry of rain-related calls on Dec. 11 turned up an emergency a little too close to home for firefighters.

After returning from a collapsed roof at a business on Skyway Drive and before the next call, Battalion Chief Ed Hadfield stopped at the station, only to find several inches of water had flooded the facility on Cook Street, Chief Dan Orr said.

The result: Firefighters have been evicted from the station for at least a month while restoration crews remove drywall, baseboards and cabinets to dry out the facility.

“The big concern, of course, is mold,” Orr said.

The storm drain in the parking lot couldn’t handle the huge downpour while leaves and muck covered a smaller drain on the back patio.

“There was no place for the water to go,” Orr said. “It was too much water.” 

That night, fire crews in the city handled 41 calls for service in a 12-hour period.

“All the engines were out running,” he added.

Pre-existing drains in the bay where firefighting apparatus is housed meant water didn’t accumulate there. 

“The app floor was perfect, but the living space got killed,” he said. “So now we deconstruct because it’s all about getting to wherever water can go.”

Instead of housing fire engines, the bay now is filled with boxes of supplies, mattresses and bed frames while Re+New Restoration crews work inside the living quarters.

Officials estimated at least 4 inches of water filled the station that night.

Hadfield’s discovery came as the number of calls slowed down so a couple of engine crews equipped with squeegees pushed the water out, Orr added.

Fans helped dry out the flooded fire station. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Looking at a lineup of fans sitting in a hallway, Orr noted it didn’t represent even half of the drying machines set up in the station through the weekend along with a handful of massive dehumidifiers. 

"There’s a lot of moisture in there," Battalion Chief Mike Barneich noted a few days earlier.

Because the fire station is an essential services facility, it features stronger-than-normal construction material, making demolition more difficult, he noted wryly.

"Much easier to put it in than to take it out, isn't it?" he asked a worker.

Until the station is livable, Station 1 firefighters are sleeping at Station 3 on Preisker Lane. Battalion chiefs are taking temporary shelter at night in Station 5 at Suey Road.

During the day, Station 1 firefighters are remaining in Station 1's area to stay close to their likely calls, Orr said. 

Orr met with engineers to devise a plan to avoid a reoccurrence, possibly by drilling holes to help encourage drainage off site during another heavy rainfall.

The current Station No. 1 was dedicated in 2002, to replace the longtime firehouse at the corner of Cook and McClelland streets.

"I worked out of the station for almost a decade and never had anything like that happen," Barneich said.

This isn’t the first time firefighters have encountered an emergency at a Santa Maria fire station. In 1956, the city’s only station burned along with three of the four engines in an incident blamed on a spark that ignited gasoline.

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.

Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr stands in the bay at Station No. 1 where a deluge of water forced crews to box up items for temporary storage while repairs are under way. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)


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Joe Conason: Ending a Policy on Cuba That Has Failed for 50 Years

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Listen carefully to the Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls roaring with outrage over President Barack Obama's courageous decision to normalize relations with Cuba; listen very carefully, because no matter how long or how closely you listen to them, there is one thing you will surely never hear.

You will never hear a new idea — or any idea — about bringing liberty, democracy and prosperity to the suffering Cuban people.

Instead, the furious denunciations of the president's initiative from his adversaries reveal only an intellectual void on Capitol Hill, where the imperatives remain partisan and cynical. Everyone paying attention has known for decades that the frozen relationship between the United States and Cuba has accomplished nothing — except possibly the prolongation of the Fidel Castro regime, which has long considered the embargo a plausible excuse for its own economic failures and viewed the United States as a politically convenient enemy.

Anyone who has visited the island knows that the Cubans wish nothing more than to see the embargo lifted because they know it has done nothing to advance their liberty or prosperity — just the opposite.

As Bill Clinton likes to say, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. (He wanted to normalize relations as president, but the Cuban government clearly didn't.) The U.S. government has been doing the same thing in Cuba for nearly 54 years, yet the Republicans still don't think that's been long enough. They haven't explained how or why — or when — their policy will achieve a different result.

Opponents of change have also failed to justify why we've treated Cuba so differently than we treat other — and, in various respects, worse — authoritarian regimes with which we maintain not only vigorous diplomatic relations but massive trading partnerships and even military cooperation. The conduct of those governments is arguably more repressive in important ways; there is, for instance, less religious freedom in China and Saudi Arabia than Pope Francis found in Cuba.

To browse human rights findings from the State Department's annual reports or the online files maintained by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is to find at least a dozen countries with atrocious human rights records, from Chad to Turkmenistan. But the United States maintains diplomatic and trade relations with all of them.

Indeed, Republican leaders and businessmen — notably including members of the Bush family — have profited handsomely from investment in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia for many years, with scarcely a peep about human rights violations in those places. It is impossible to forget how the first President George Bush toasted the Chinese regime immediately after the massacre in Tiananmen Square — and how his opportunistic family members showed up in Beijing and Shanghai looking for a deal.

With the liberation of more than 50 political prisoners — along with American aid worker Alan Gross and an unnamed American spy — the Cubans have suddenly improved their human rights performance, while the Chinese continue to inflict horrendous repression and even torture on Tibetans, Uighurs and Han Chinese who dare to dissent. (Many of our leading Republicans don't object to torture, of course, unless it is perpetrated in foreign countries. Sometimes.)

House Speaker John Boehner accused the president of making "another mindless concession to a dictatorship." What seems truly mindless, however, is his insistence that we dare not abandon an unworkable and destructive strategy. No trade and diplomatic boycott observed and enforced by one country alone — even a powerful country such as ours — is ever going to prevail.

That is among the reasons international human rights organizations, always the most consistent and implacable critics of the Castros' abuses, have long advocated engagement rather than embargo. As Human Rights Watch notes on web pages devoted to detailing those abuses, U.S. policy has imposed "indiscriminate hardship on the Cuban people" since 1961 "and has done nothing to improve the country's human rights."

And not long after the president concluded his historic speech — among the most lucid, logical and inspiring delivered since he was re-elected — a spokeswoman for Amnesty International called his new approach "the best opportunity in (a) half-century for human rights change in Cuba."

Designed to quarantine the Cuban government, the policy that has failed for five decades has only succeeded in isolating the United States from the rest of the world. Its end is long overdue.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Gerald Carpenter: After Five Years, Lit Moon Theatre Says ‘Humbug!’ Again

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Humbug!, the Lit Moon Theatre Company’s wildly popular arrangement of Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol, roars back onto the Porter Theater’s stage after a five-year absence.

The production, directed by Lit Moon’s resident magus, John Blondell, with music by James Connolly, puppetry by Jaco Connolly, costumes by Olivia Warner and lighting by Jonathan Hicks (Westmont ‘04), will star Victoria Finlayson, Stanley Hoffman, Marie Ponce (‘10), Nina Sallinen, Paige Tautz (‘14) and Lauren White (‘14).

“Where many productions of A Christmas Carol focus on spectacle, lavish costumes and large cast scenes,” John Blondell said, “our version evokes the story out of seemingly nothing, with a few props, some lovingly made props and puppets, and a handful of actors who play many memorable characters. Humbug! is one of my favorite Lit Moon shows. Every word is Dickens'. Rather than dramatize his material and turn it into a play, we have worked very hard to theatricalize his novel, and to use storytelling, music, acting and puppets to bring his story to vivid, heartwarming life.”

As director Blondell knows well, with Dickens, as with William Shakespeare, the words do everything — all you have to do is pronounce them correctly.

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”

There are curious parallels between the two novelists, Dickens and Henry James. Their novels aren’t alike, of course, but both had ambitions to hear their words spoken on stage. Both wrote plays which made no mark whatsoever. Dickens even operated a theater for a while, with his friend, Wilkie Collins, and managed to produce some of his plays (the theater enjoyed a measure of success, the plays did not).

Where Dickens had the edge over James, in the matter of live performance of his works, was that he was a shameless and charismatic show-off. He made one fortune off his books, and another off his reading tours. He was brilliant at speaking his own words aloud — as was Mark Twain, who recouped many a bad investment with speaking tours. James, who cloaked his extreme shyness with an aloof, pompous manner, that would never have worked on an audience, was completely at the mercy of what Hugh Kenner called “other voices.” (His brother William, on the other hand, was a famous lecturer, and held the learned faculty of Edinburgh University spellbound with his talks on The Variety of Religious Experience.) If James and Dickens were still alive, remember, they would be able to live very comfortably on the royalties from the filmed versions of their novels.

Dickens was great on harangues, exposition, monologues, and soliloquies, but dialogue was another thing. His characters seldom have conversations that move the story along. A rare instance of dialogue working as it should occurs when Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge in his glacial abode. Marley has come to warn Scrooge about the trials he will soon experience, and he knows his old partner well enough to get him asking questions. Finally, he gets Scrooge to bring the conversation to the point:

“‘But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’ faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself."

“‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’”

A Christmas Carol is not an anti-capitalist screed. Dickens knew no more about business than he did about politics, and that was nothing at all. What he knew about was the human heart, and the story is about the education of Scrooge’s heart.

Humbug! A (LitMoon) Christmas Carol plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 18-20, in Porter Theater on the campus of Westmont College, 955 La Paz Road. If you have never been to Westmont before, you had better start early: Even with GPS, you could find yourself wandering around Montecito like Josef K. trying to reach Kafka’s Castle.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and seniors — with the bonus that you can get one child (age 6 to 12) in for free with every adult ticket purchased (additional children’s tickets $8). To purchase tickets, call 805.565.7140 or go online by clicking here.

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


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Ken Williams: The Kindness of Quiet Saints Brings Light to Dark Corners of Community

By | Published on 12/18/2014


It was a tough year.

Homelessness among children hit historic rates. Again we find ourselves at war in the Middle East, and the year ends with the tragedy of Michael Brown’s death. When the daily news causes our emotions to turn as gray as the gathering winter storm clouds, the memory of those who brought sunshine to those in need offers glimmers of hope in the face of despair.

Several years ago, two women gave me money to buy jackets for the homeless. They had decided to do this instead of giving each other Christmas gifts. They told me to give away whatever money was left over to the homeless. The hearts of these two women were incredible.

An interesting side to this story was that this lesbian couple reached out to strangers to bring joy to those without. At the same time, their LGBTQ community was under vicious assault by some who used religion as a cover for hate. The irony is striking. Here was a family unit turning their back on materialism to reach out to those who Christ viewed as his own while some, professing to be followers of this holy man, use the religion based on him to express their twisted and hateful nature.

One Christmas, a businessman and his son bought a ton of cold weather gear. I remember walking down State Street with them in a soft rain, carrying black plastic bags full of jackets, raincoats, ponchos and socks, searching out those who found the cold streets their home. In particular, we prioritized those suffering from mental illness. A teaching point for me was that these men were Jewish. It was not their holiday, but the spiritual values of these men spoke highly of who they were as well as their religion.

A good friend of mine contacted me when he heard that a brutal storm was approaching our community. He gave me money to buy hundreds of green ponchos. I will always remember the sight at the Farmers Market when I looked down State Street and saw a moving forest of green. It looked as if scores upon scores of trees had come alive and were on the move. My friend’s soul was the plant food that day.

Project Healthy Neighbors: For seven years, I was honored to shepherd this project with a group of incredibly kind-hearted people. This mobile medical clinic delivered lifesaving medical services to the homeless and poor. Our community came together to provide cold weather gear, socks, personal needs items, ponchos and, most cherished of all, new shoes. A shoe manufacturer/retailer from Los Angeles and Soles for Souls provided the bulk of the shoes. Local philanthropists gave enough money to buy what else was needed. Volunteers by the scores manned the three-day event. Professionals, including doctors, nurses, counselors and others, offered their services free of charge. All was done with love and respect for our guests. All providers and volunteers agreed that we received so much more than we gave. Sadly, this project is no more.

Jim was homeless for as long as I can remember. This one particular Christmas, he was fortunate enough to receive a large cash gift. What would you buy if you had gone without as long as he had? He gave the money to an elderly homeless woman. His spiritual values reflected highly on his Native American roots.

Summer. A mentally ill woman was slowly starving herself. She had a room at a local hotel. Her mental health issues kept her bound to the room. Terror awaited her whenever she set foot outside of it. A man, usually bare-chested with his own issues and riding one of those small bikes that look ridiculous when an adult rides them, would come to the hotel week after week to deliver a bag of food. He would go to the room and quickly depart. Week after week, this strange sight of generosity was repeated. What little cash he was able to secure was shared with another human being without preconditions.

Storyteller Children's Center in its infancy: The rent was due. Salaries needed to be paid. Our bank account was empty. The Board of Directors sat at Storyteller’s location by lower State Street. Dire straights were an understatement. A hat was literally passed around so we could collect enough money to keep the center open one more month — just one more month. Our mantra was month after month in those early days. Failure, the failure of adults to homeless children was not an option. Enough money was scraped together to keep the dream alive.

Time after time, Casa Esperanza was out of cash. Beds and, in those days, meals for the homeless were in jeopardy of being lost. But throughout, noble people with good hearts kept our moral values alive with kind donations.

Every city has more than its share of hateful people who despise and degrade those who are less fortunate than them, hardened people who judge without mercy or love. Yet our community in Santa Barbara, from rich to the poorest of the poor, is blessed with quiet saints who go out of their way to find ways to live their spiritual values. Honoring ancient texts and modern hearts, people who themselves struggle with the aches and pains of the human condition find the time and the means to soften the harsh conditions of the less fortunate. Doing so, they offer rare shafts of light in what appears to be an increasingly dark world, ruled by brutal violence and mindless commercialism.

Though there are no words to express the gratitude that so many have for hands unseen, let me thank each one of you for the lives you have touched.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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UCSB Political Scientist Analyzes State Power Through Lens of Recent Developments in East Asia

By | Published on 12/18/2014


In every society, the defining currency of authority is power. Defining power, however, is, perhaps surprisingly, no simple task.

Benjamin Cohen
Benjamin Cohen

In his new book, Power in a Changing World Economy: Lessons from East Asia (Routledge, 2014), UC Santa Barbara’s Benjamin Cohen seeks to bring clarity to the issue. Co-edited with Eric M.P. Chiu of National Chung Hsing University in Taipei, Taiwan, the book features nine essays that analyze state power from the perspective of recent economic developments in East Asia.

Power is central to the study of international relations and international political economy, noted Cohen, the Louis G. Lancaster Professor of International Political Economy at UCSB, but a consensus among scholars about the basics of power is extraordinarily lacking.

Cohen sought to examine the meaning, sources, uses and limits of power in international political economy, or IPE, with each of the nine contributing scholars analyzing a separate case study through the lens of those facets of power.

According to Cohen, those case studies reveal a number of unexpected conclusions, especially concerning China. “One of the dominant questions as far as the East Asian region is concerned is the rising power of China,” said Cohen, a specialist in the political economy of international money and finance. “One of the things that we learned from these various essays is that, in many cases, Chinese power is much more limited than people had anticipated.”

Cohen explained that power is expressed in two forms: influence and autonomy. Influence, he said, is getting someone to act according to your wishes; autonomy is the ability to act independently, without constraint.

“All this casual talk about the rise of China and Chinese power overlooks the fact that to this point China’s power has been mainly in the form of greater autonomy, greater ability to act independently, not in the area of influence,” Cohen said. “They haven’t been able to actually take that capability and get others to do what they want. Some of the case studies are very clear on that.

“So one of the basic things we learned was that there are many instances in which Chinese power is much more limited than it appeared to be” he added. “Size is not power, and that’s one of the important points. That was one of the most fundamental lessons.”

Power in a Changing World Economy is the result of an invitation Cohen received from a group of Taiwanese academics.

“This was a project deliberately designed to encourage more intellectual exchange between American and Taiwanese scholars,” Cohen noted. “They said I was free to choose the subject, and so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try to sort through some of these issues in the analysis of power in international relations.”

The book project also provided an opportunity to engage a new generation of scholars in IPE. The Taiwanese contributors are relatively young, Cohen noted, with most being five to 10 years removed from completing their doctoral degrees. “I was part of the generation that created the modern field of IPE. I’m one of the few still left standing after all these years. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

Indeed, Cohen’s own essay in the book — “The Yuan’s Long March” — is something of a preview of his next book. Set for publication in 2015, “Currency Power” will examine the widely held belief that the Chinese yuan will eclipse the dollar as the global currency — a notion that Cohen disputes.

“One of the central themes of the book is that, despite expectations to the contrary, the dollar, in my opinion, will remain the central currency of the global system into the foreseeable future, which I define as my lifetime,” he said. “There are significant problems that will make it very difficult for the yuan to challenge the dollar as the global currency. That’s not a popular view, but it’s the view that I take in the chapter. I build on that chapter to develop a more extensive discussion in the new book.”

— Jim Logan represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Santa Maria High’s Carlos Balderas to Represent U.S. in Boxing at 2016 Olympics

By | Published on 12/18/2014


The boxing ring is leading to the Olympic rings for Santa Maria High School’s Carlos Balderas.

The senior has earned the honor to compete for a chance to represent the United States at the 2016 Olympics. Balderas recently clinched the opportunity at the WSB and World Championships Team Trial in Chattanooga, Tenn., by defeating a National Golden Gloves Champion in the lightweight final round bout.

“This is something I have been working for since I was 7," Balderas said. “I am excited to represent the United States."

The 17-year-old has been one of a dozen members of the Youth National Boxing Team since January. The team fights internationally and trains at the official Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

Balderas, 5 foot 8, has a record of 127 wins and about nine losses.

With the help of his father, Zenon, uncle Emilano and coach David, he’s practicing and training daily at the family’s home gym.

When he is not boxing, he enjoys “school and family."

Assistant Principal of Student Affairs Pete Flores, staff and students know Balderas will make America shine.

“We are extremely proud to have someone like Carlos representing SMHS at the National level of the U.S. Olympic Boxing," Flores said. “His character and determination like his boxing skills and his record, are unshakable."

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


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Santa Barbara County Launches Redesigned Website

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Santa Barbara County has launched a new website that makes information easier to find and is easier to view on a tablet or smartphone.

Key changes include:

» Mobile accessibility: The county used responsive design to make sure the website fits on screens of all sizes.

» Social media portal: The county releases essential information through Facebook, Twitter, Nixle and YouTube. The social media portal provides a single page to connect to all county social media sites.

» Better search capability: With over 20,000 web pages and documents, finding the right information can be challenging. The new website gives users the ability to search within a specific department or the entire county website. While this function is not currently available for every department, it will be in the future.

» Increased organization: Other improvements include a press release archive and a user-friendly guide to CSBTV programming.

Assistant director for information and communications technology Jennifer Slayman highlighted the need to address mobile users.

“We researched the types of visitors that come to the site and found that almost 40 percent were using mobile devices," she said. "We also looked at what people were searching for and then we looked at how to best provide that information.”

The county is rolling out the new website in phases. More department website changes will appear in the coming months, and ICT staff will continue to address future issues to make the experience of using the county website even better.

The public is invited to send all feedback regarding the website redesign to Click here for more information on website changes.

— Lael Wageneck is a public engagement coordinator for Santa Barbara County.


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Santa Barbara Symphony Appoints David Pratt Its New Executive Director

By | Published on 12/18/2014


After an extensive nationwide search, the Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce the appointment of David Pratt as its new executive director.

David Pratt
David Pratt

He will assume his duties on March 2, 2015.

Pratt, a native of Australia, has more than 15 years of management experience in leadership roles across the performing arts, film and entertainment sectors in the United States and Australia. Prior to joining the Santa Barbara Symphony, Pratt acted as executive director for the Savannah Philharmonic, where he delivered substantial increases in audience numbers, donations and corporate support, producing annual surpluses above targets, and introducing new and engaging programs and events.

“After a thorough strategic planning and search process, the Santa Barbara Symphony is thrilled to welcome David Pratt as our new executive director,” said Arthur Swalley, Santa Barbara Symphony board president. “We are proud to bring in a great new leader to build on our current artistic and operational excellence. Even more importantly, Mr. Pratt is uniquely qualified to lead the symphony in our next stages of growth. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Pratt to the symphony family.”

“I am very excited and honored to be joining the Santa Barbara Symphony as their new executive director,” Pratt said. “The Santa Barbara Symphony is one of the community‘s most treasured cultural assets with world-class programming, great artistic leadership and highly respected education programs. I look forward to working with the board, staff and the community to lead the organization for long-term growth and success.”

Previously, Pratt held the position of senior event mManager with the G’Day USA Festival, where he created and managed a series of arts, cultural and music events across several cities in the United States. This included a partnership with the Palm Springs International Film Festival spotlighting Australian film and a series of performances in Los Angeles with the internationally acclaimed performer and composer, William Barton and the Qantas Choir. He also identified, secured and managed multiple event sponsor partnerships contributing significant funds to the annual $2 million budget.

Prior to returning to Los Angeles in 2009, Pratt held a senior management position as commercial enterprises manager with Australia’s largest and most successful orchestra — the Sydney Symphony. He was responsible for planning the symphony’s commercial season producing highly successful performances with artists such as Roberta Flack, Nigel Kennedy and Kate Ceberano as well as overseeing the program’s annual $3.5 million budget.

From 2006 to early 2008, Pratt was the general manager of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Australia’s North East tropical region. He had unprecedented success with record attendances, surpluses, and significant increases in financial support from individuals, government, and the corporate sector. He also worked on a short-term contract earlier in 2006, managing a series of fundraising events for the Sydney Opera House with the visit of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Between 1997 and 2006, Pratt held various management positions across the film and entertainment sector in Los Angeles. He organized the 2005 Australian Film, Music, and Style Showcase for the G’Day USA Festival. In 2001, Pratt founded Australians In Film, where he built the organization into a high profile film culture association with a sizeable membership, trusted long-term partnerships with US film studios and significant corporate support. In this role, Pratt oversaw monthly film screenings and events with actors, directors, and producers working directly with industry A-listers such as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann and Philip Noyce. In this role he also created music and art events profiling emerging artists to the Los Angeles community.

From 1997 to 2004, Pratt was the Australian Film Commissioner for Ausfilm in Los Angeles, promoting Australia’s film and TV production sector across the U.S. entertainment industry. He secured over $600 million worth of production, was the undisputable driving force for the Australian Government introducing film and TV incentives, and was the catalyst for Ausfilm’s corporate support more than quadrupling from 15 to over 60 companies.

Prior to moving to the U.S. in 1997, Pratt was general manager at the Melbourne Film Office for the State of Victoria. He secured over $1 million in re-current funding from State Government for this newly established office, won the full support and trust of the local film community, and led major marketing missions in North East Asia, USA and the UK securing thousands of dollars of business.

Pratt has a bachelor of arts, graduate diploma in business administration, and a certificate in public relations. He is passionate about music, travel and exercise.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Symphony.


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Obama Signs Capps Bill to Name Lompoc Building for Fallen Federal Corrections Officer

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday praised President Barack Obama for signing into law her bill, House Resolution 5562, that will designate the U.S. Post Office building at 801 W. Ocean Ave. in Lompoc as the Federal Correctional Officer Scott J. Williams Memorial Post Office Building.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 8 and the Senate on Dec. 15.

Senior Officer Specialist Williams was killed in the line of duty at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lompoc on April 3, 1997. He served with honor and distinction as a U.S. Marine during the Persian Gulf War, where he saved the lives of his countrymen and received multiple awards, including “Marine of the Year.”

He graduated from Lompoc High School and lived in Los Alamos with his wife, Kristy, and their two daughters, Kaitlin and Kallee.

“Senior Officer Specialist Williams was a respected veteran, civil servant and beloved family man who dedicated his life to civil service and keeping our nation and community safe,” Capps said. “While our community lost Scott too soon, the naming of the Lompoc Post Office after him is a fitting tribute as we continue to honor this selfless man and keep his memory alive. I am so pleased that this effort is now law.”

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


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Helene Schneider Snubbed for SBCAG Board Chair Seat

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Decision is prompted by her vocal opposition to aspects of Highway 101 widening plan

Breaking with a decade-long tradition, the Santa Barbara County Association of Government board voted Thursday to reject naming vice chair Helene Schneider as its new chair.

Schneider, who currently serves as vice chair to Fifth District County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino on the SBCAG board, is mayor of Santa Barbara and has come under fire for her opposition to the proposed Highway 101 widening project.

She has openly supported lawsuits that were filed against the project, saying the widening will cause severe traffic impacts to city intersections, and those related projects should be included in the Highway 101 widening’s planning and funding.

For the last 10 years or more, the vice chair has always been elected as chair for the following year.

More than 15 people spoke and sent letters to the board, opposing the appointment of Schneider of the new chair over concerns that she would be biased toward the project.

The board ultimately agreed, voting almost unanimously to appoint Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson as chair and Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf as vice chair for 2015.

Buellton Councilwoman Holly Sierra voted against the motion, as did Schneider.

There was outspoken criticism of Schneider’s actions regarding the project and some came from her longtime supporters.  

Former county supervisors Susan Rose and Gail Marshall, Santa Barbara activist Micky Flacks, philanthropist Sara Miller McCune and James Joyce, a staffer for State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, all asked the SBCAG board not to give Schneider the chair seat.

“You must follow the wishes of the voters that you are pledged to serve and you must do it today,” McCune said to the board.  

The position of chair should be held by someone who agrees it’s time to move forward, Rose and Marshall said. “It’s time to finish the job.”

Some referenced a letter written to the board by Brian Robinson, urging the board to take the election seriously.

“It matters who your next chair person is,” wrote Robinson, a co-chair of the Yes on Measure A committee.

“It matters who is setting the agenda. It matters who is maintaining relationships with SBCAG’s agency partners. It matters who goes to Sacramento and Washington to advocate for this project. And it matters to your constituents.”

Other speakers raised concerns about Schneider being privy to SBCAG’s legal strategy when she has openly encouraged lawsuits against that organization, and whether she would be a strong advocate for state and federal funding.

To the second point, Schneider briefly responded and said she has and would continue to advocate for more funding, since that has been her major concern with this project.

At Thursday's meeting, the SBCAG Board also got an update on the Highway 101 project from corridor adviser Tony Harris.

In meeting with state, county, city and community groups, Harris heard the consensus that people want to get this project done, he said.

“I’m motivated to go fast,” he said.

He didn’t give an updated timeline but the next steps are for him to work on an agreement between Caltrans and SBCAG to outline the roles and responsibilities of each agency.

Harris recommends that the design work is done all at once, but construction will probably be done in phases.  

Caltrans will design the southern segment of the project, from Carpinteria to Padaro Lane, and SBCAG consultants will design the northern segment from Padaro Lane to Santa Barbara.

The main concerns are over funding, traffic during construction, visual impacts of the project and working on the related projects such as the City of Santa Barbara’s Cabrillo Boulevard/Union Pacific Railroad bridge replacement, Harris said.

There are three projects that the City of Santa Barbara wants to be pursued simultaneously with the widening project: the bridge replacement and improvements to intersections on Olive Mill Road and San Ysidro Road.

The bridge replacement is estimated to cost $30 million, a roundabout at Olive Mill Road is estimated to cost $6 million and there is not yet a cost estimate for the San Ysidro Road intersection improvements, Harris said in his presentation.

Funding for the widening project is coming from county voter-approved Measure A monies and South Coast gas taxes, but there is still a big gap between funding and the estimated cost.

There is an opportunity to share some costs with a state rehabilitation project in the same area at the same time, since there would already been construction crews and traffic control in place, Harris noted.

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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Rotary of Santa Barbara Honors Washington Elementary Teacher April Van Wickle

By | Published on 12/18/2014


The downtown Rotary Club of Santa Barbara selected April Van Wickle as its outstanding elementary teacher of the year.

April Van Wickle
April Van Wickle

Van Wickle teaches at Washington Elementary School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Since 1986, the club has honored outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a high school, junior high, elementary and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.

Van Wickle was recognized at the club’s luncheon meeting Dec. 12.

“This kind of continuing support for local educators is especially meaningful and rewarding,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Showcasing the exemplary efforts of classroom teachers makes a special impact on students and their schools. The annual Rotary awards provide recognition and resources for outstanding teachers to enhance the classroom experience.”

“I have been impressed with April Van Wickle from the moment I met her. April is an amazing teacher and thoughtful colleague,” Washington Elementary School Principal Sierra Loughridge said. “It is a joy to be in her class. Her enthusiasm for learning and her own curiosity are infectious.

“April inspires her students to read, write, calculate and explore. She engages all students. As a result, their academic abilities and social development are burgeoning. Her class is inclusive, active, and happy. She purposefully prepares lessons, communicates effectively with parents and is a problem solver.

“Under her watch students are safe, valued, and learning. It is an honor and privilege to nominate her for this outstanding teacher award. Her hard work and dedication are truly appreciated and she is everyone's favorite teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Van Wickle, for all you have done for so many little Wildcats!”

“I sincerely believe in a child-centered approach to teaching that honors every student,” Van Wickle said. “I enjoy establishing a relationship with each student, helping them discover their strengths. I hope to help them find their motivation to succeed. I enjoy keeping current with educational topics, like brain research, learning, and of course, common core. I am happy that I still enjoy teaching, after almost 30 years.”

"Everyone loves April and after many years as a teacher she is still in love with teaching,” said Brian Sarvis, chairman of the Teacher Recognition Committee of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.

Van Wickle has been an elementary teacher, mostly second grade, but has taught various combinations for 25 years. She graduated from Cal State-Long Beach, majoring in educational psychology, with a biology emphasis, and started her teaching career in Long Beach, teaching third and fourth grade for three years.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. Recipients of the club’s Teacher Recognition Awards are made with the assistance of the Teacher Programs and Support Department of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Click here for more information.

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


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UCSB Researchers Participate in Collaboration to Study How Plants, Animals Respond to Climate Change

By | Published on 12/18/2014


More than half a dozen UC Santa Barbara scientists will participate in the newly funded UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts.

The initiative, which was awarded $1.9 million last week as part of the UC President’s Research Catalyst Award, will be led by UC Santa Cruz biology professor Barry Sinervo.

Part of a collaboration involving all nine UC undergraduate campuses, the UCSB researchers will use the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) to detect and forecast the ecological impacts of climate change in California. The world’s largest system of university-administered natural reserves, the NRS offers a powerful opportunity for faculty members and students to better understand how climate change could affect California ecosystems and the ecosystem services on which people rely.

“The reserves lend themselves to this kind of study,” said Susan Mazer, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB). She organized the campus’s contribution to the ISEECI proposal. “They represent a broad spectrum of climatic regimes because they include both latitude and elevation gradients and a variety of plant communities, which range from relatively moist coastal and montane habitats to desert. There is a lot of climatic variation captured by the reserves, which means that we can use this geographic variation as a proxy for climatic conditions that may occur over time.”

ISEECI researchers will assemble historical records, establish a new system for data collection, record the timing of the seasonal cycles of plants and animals and conduct experiments and long-term monitoring studies across the state. “A new approach to research is needed to assess the scope of biotic changes, to devise suitable conservation and restoration responses and to advise policymakers and the public on how to adapt to and mitigate potential threats to natural ecosystems, agriculture, water resources and sustainable development,” Sinervo said.

The UCSB group will integrate ongoing studies of climate and of wild populations of terrestrial and near-shore species in the NRS to monitor and to predict their responses to climate change. Mazer’s research group, which records and projects the effects of climate change on the seasonal cycles of native plants in the NRS, also is creating a seed bank to assess microevolutionary responses to climate change. Both endeavors fit nicely into ISEECI’s mandate.

A team headed by Cherie Briggs, who holds UCSB’s Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Systems Biology, is already examining climate change and the emergence of Lyme disease in the NRS as a model for tick-borne diseases. Andrew MacDonald, a Ph.D. student in the Briggs Lab, has been sampling ticks across 17 UC reserves in order to track the prevalence of Lyme disease. As part of the new institute’s work, his research could be expanded to include twice as many NRS sites as well as additional tick-borne diseases.

“Tick-borne pathogens have huge potential to be affected by climate change because the prevalence of the disease depends on what mammals are there and what climatic conditions are present in the location,” Briggs said. “Because ticks spend most of their time off of their hosts in leaf litter, they are very affected by desiccation and temperature.”

Frank Davis, a professor at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, studies the effects of climate change on tree establishment and growth in the southern Sierras and the Tehachapis, where no UC reserves exist. “Part of what we can do with this project is take our collected records of the microclimates at these places, as well as plant survival and growth, and make sure those data are brought into an NRS-focused effort,” Davis explained. “ISEECI is about networking places and networking people to do this kind of more integrated assessment of climate change biology in California.”

Additional UCSB faculty members proposed a second set of projects examining large-scale geographic (and temporal) patterns in climate, terrestrial vegetation and abiotic marine conditions. These would use remote sensing or climate modeling to evaluate historical changes in climate or plant community composition, to track or to project past and future extreme weather conditions and events and to forecast future changes in vegetation, marine biochemistry and ocean acidification. This research would also look at the frequency of extreme weather events in response to longer-term changes in climate.

Charles Jones and Leila Carvalho, associate professors in UCSB’s Department of Geography and researchers at its Earth Research Institute, seek to explore climate change impacts on biotic systems, with an emphasis on detecting and forecasting of extreme weather patterns and events. Dar Roberts, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Geography, hopes to examine how climate change affects community composition and structure across the NRS; and EEMB professor Gretchen Hofmann plans to investigate ocean acidification and hypoxia in the NRS marine reserves.

Although many in-depth studies have documented climate impacts on the NRS, they largely have been done independently, with results that are difficult to compare among studies. ISEECI will pursue a coordinated approach across broad geographic scales. Researchers will develop models to predict future changes to ecosystems and potential impacts on ecosystem services that might threaten the capacity of Californians to adapt to a changing climate.

“We hope new collaborations that we don’t foresee will also emerge as more people with a similar sensibility use ISEECI’s infrastructure and focus in on the ecology and evolution of species that are widespread across the reserves,” Mazer said.

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


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Sweetwater Collaborative Launches IndieGogo End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Sweetwater Collaborative has launched an end-of-year fundraising campaign, “Getting the most out of our water, together,” via the crowdfunding website IndieGogo.

Sweetwater Collaborative seeks to raise capital needed to further its goals of ensuring water security and resilience for everyone in Santa Barbara, during times of drought or plentiful rain.

A goal of $10,000 has been set, with the campaign ending on Dec. 31.

“We are excited about our year-end campaign, and we hope that the local community recognizes and supports our work,” said Sweetwater Collaborative coordinator Barbara Wishingrad said. “We thank those who have already contributed.

"Although the recent rains are gratefully welcomed and do help to ease the drought crisis we are currently in, most of this rain just picks up pollution and runs off into the sea. Fortunately, simple solutions exist to capture and retain most of this rain in our yards, and it is one of Sweetwater’s goals to help the community implement these solutions.”

— Eric Torbet represents Sweetwater Collaborative.


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The Fund for Santa Barbara Awards $4,000 Grant to Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association

By | Published on 12/18/2014


The Fund for Santa Barbara has awarded a $4,000 grant to the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association.

On Dec. 3, LVBA president Jim Rice and director Archie Mitchell attended The Fund’s annual Grant Awards Party at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara, where Mitchell spoke about LVBA and the association’s proposed projects for 2015.

With grant funds, the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association seeks to purchase observation hives and package bees for outreach to local schools and Boys and Girls Clubs, to purchase books and videos to establish a library, to host special events, to distribute a newsletter and flyers, to maintain a website and to purchase supplies necessary to maintain honeybees in the Lompoc Bird, Butterfly and Bee sanctuary.

Mitchell blazed the trail in creating a beekeepers association in Lompoc and in teaching beekeeping courses at Allan Hancock College. He wrote The Fund grant proposal seeking to provide environmental justice for honeybees and native pollinators.

“Honeybees and native pollinators are declining globally," Mitchelle said. "[T]here is justifiable concern that without more activism, the majority of citizens will sit back and watch while our food supplies are threatened by the steady decline of pollinators.”

Mitchell also seeks to change the bee ordinance in Lompoc.

The Fund for Santa Barbara is a nonprofit community foundation that supports organizations working for social, economic, environmental & political change in Santa Barbara County. This includes grassroots organizing against discrimination of all kinds, supporting the rights & dignity of working people, promoting community self-determination, organizing for peace and nonviolence, working to improve the quality of our environment, and building cross-issue/cross-constituency coalitions and alliances. The Fund raises money through donations of all sizes in order to provide grants and technical assistance. Since its founding in 1980, The Fund has awarded more than $5 million to over 900 projects. Click here to learn more.

The Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association seeks the promotion and advancement of beekeeping through best management practices, the education and mentoring of people about honey bees and beekeeping and increasing public awareness of environmental concerns affecting honey bees. LVBKA meetings are held monthly at Flying Goat Cellars Tasting Room in Lompoc. The association is involved in community education programs, swarm removal and mentoring new beekeepers. Click here to learn more.

— Kate Griffith represents the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association.


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Trash Truck Overturns On Highway 217 Near UCSB

By | Published on 12/18/2014


Emergency personnel responded Thursday to a rollover accident involving a garbage truck on Highway 217 near UC Santa Barbara, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident involving a Marborg truck and another vehicle occurred shortly after 8 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Highway 217, also known as Ward Memorial Boulevard, between the university and Highway 101, the CHP said.

Only minor injuries were reported in the accident.

Some lanes were shut down in both directions due to the wreck.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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


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Santa Barbara Police Department Receives Grant for Special Traffic Enforcement and Crash Prevention

By | Published on 12/18/2014


The Santa Barbara Police Department has been awarded a $213,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a yearlong program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries.

The Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

“Our department is proud of the relationship we have with the California Office of Traffic Safety, and these funds will help us to curtail traffic deaths and/or injuries attributed to the most frequent types of traffic violations in the City of Santa Barbara. These funds will also enhance our agency’s DUI enforcement efforts.” SBPD Assistant Patrol Commander Brent Mandrell said.

After falling dramatically between 2006 and 2010, the number of people killed and injured in traffic collisions saw slight increases in 2011 and 2012. Particularly worrisome are recent increases in pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities and the dangers of distracting technologies. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk and drugged driving and speeding.

“California’s roadways are still among the safest in the nation,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and sustainability objectives, we must create safer roadways for all users. The Santa Barbara Police Department will be using these and other resources to reach the vision we all share — Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:

» Bike pedestrian and other educational presentations
» DUI checkpoints
» DUI saturation patrols
» Motorcycle safety enforcement
» Distracted driving enforcement
» Enforcement of common vehicle code violations that cause traffic collisions
» Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders
» Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
» Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Evaluator
» Court “sting” operations to cite individuals driving from DUI court after ignoring their license suspension or revocation
» Stakeout operations to observe the “worst-of-the-worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

— Sgt. Mike McGrew represents the Santa Barbara Police Department.


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State Lands Commission Allows Venoco’s Goleta Oil Project to Move Forward

By | Published on 12/17/2014


But the future of the company's nearby Ellwood processing facility remains in limbo after a City Council vote just a day earlier

The future is unclear for Venoco Inc.'s Goleta oil-production facility after two separate votes, taken just a day apart, from state and local jurisdictions that are at odds with one another.

On Wednesday, the California State Lands Commission voted unanimously to re-certify environmental documents and allow Venoco to resume oil production from a pier at Haskell's Beach near the Bacara Resort & Spa.

Wednesday's decision came just a day after the Goleta City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that could force oil company Venoco's Ellwood Onshore Facility, the processing plant for offshore oil and gas, to be shut down.

The company has two piers, known as PRC Lease 421-1 and 421-2, located on the beach just below Sandpiper Golf Course in western Goleta.

The company is applying to resume operations at the second pier, which has not produced oil since 1994, when an onshore oil spill occurred, releasing oil from a 6-inch flow line beneath the 12th tee of the golf course.

"There is no new drilling … It is the existing well," said Seth Blackmon, staff attorney with the California State Lands Commission, adding that there also wouldn't be any hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or acidization taking place.

The project would process an average of 150 barrels a day from the second pier and pipe them into the Ellwood Onshore Facility.

That facility is in a bit of limbo, however, thanks to a 3-2 vote taken Tuesday night that all but assured the City of Goleta would work to shut down the facility, over which it has jurisdiction.

The facility does not conform with the zoning designation of the land it sits on, which is specified as recreational.

The property was designated that way by the county in 1991, and was kept as recreational when the City of Goleta was formed in 2002, with its boundaries enveloping the facility.

The Goleta City Council voted this week to take steps to shut down Venoco's Ellwood oil-processing facility. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Blackmon said the final environmental impact report had been revised, and "it really does address some of the final issues," he said.

One issue that had been modified was a separate discussion of the pressure at the Vaqueros Reservoir, which is the source of oil for the pier lease and "represents a safety risk to the region in general," he said.

Blackmon said increasing pressure of the formation was documented from 1987 to 2000, but no data is available after 2000, because the oil reservoir has not produced oil since that time.

In 2000, a methane leak was identified, and significant oil pressure was building up in the Vaqueros Reservoir, Blackmon said.

Whether that reservoir and those nearby could fully withstand pressure if it was reactivated "we don't know," he said, adding that resuming production would be the only way to gather data.

Blackmon showed photos of the piers and caissons at Haskell's Beach, on which significant work has been done,

"A lot of work has been done by Venoco to create a safe operating environment, at least as far as the piers are concerned," he said.

The Ellwood Onshore Facility permit allows for 13,000 barrels of oil per day, and the facility is processing much less than that now, he said.

Another alternative to using the facility to process the oil would be to pipe it into Exxon Mobil's Las Flores Canyon Facility, but that would require 10 miles of pipeline to be constructed and additional equipment would be required on the pier.

"This creates some significant impacts," Blackmon said, adding that whether to allow the Ellwood facility to process oil from the pier is "up to the City of Goleta."

Platform Holly, which is also operated by Venoco, also uses the Ellwood facility to process oil and gas.

The platform is expected to be operating until 2055, Blackmon said, and if the Ellwood facility is shut down, the company has an obligation to continue processing oil from the platform or the piers.

Chris Peltonen, development manager for Venoco, briefly spoke Wednesday, saying there were differences between the company and the city, and Chris Collier of the Coastal Energy Alliance said "there was definitely a split vote and a lively discussion" at Goleta's council meeting on Tuesday.

Jennifer Carmine, an attorney representing Goleta, said "the city is gravely concerned" about the risks to the beach and recreational areas from processing oil in the area.

"The EOF is a very old facility and has been a legal non-conforming use since 1991," she said, adding that it has never processed gas from the second pier, as the project proposes.

Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said that approving the project was a "step backwards."

"Venoco has chosen to maintain this non-conforming facility while the community is growing around it," she said.

Perrotte asserted that the company has allowed its infrastructure to crumble and that the EIR was riddled with errors.

Other opponents of the project, including Jenna Driscoll of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Linda Krop of the Environmental Defense Center, also spoke out against re-certifying the EIR.

"The city has made clear that the city is interested in ending operations at the EOF," Driscoll said.

Lands Commission Chairman Alan Gordon said that the panel's job on Wednesday was to talk about the project at hand, not about the wisdom of processing oil on the California Coast.

"Those decisions were made a long time ago," he said.

He said he'd be supporting the project, and added that processing the oil elsewhere would require an additional pipeline, that would likely run over several sensitive watersheds, which is "not a way to go."

If the city chooses to cancel the permit at the Ellwood facility, "that will be between the city and Venoco at some future date," he said.

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


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Schneider Cuts Ties with Chamber of Commerce for Santa Barbara’s State of the City Breakfast

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The State of the City Breakfast will look a bit different in 2015 after a decision by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider to terminate a long-standing partnership to host the event with the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce.

After the chamber secured the venue for the 15th annual address, business sponsors and a date of March 20, 2015, Schneider recently informed chamber president Ken Oplinger that the city wanted to handle the event on its own and in a different way.

The mayor told Noozhawk she made the decision in an effort to increase public participation in the State of the City by offering free admission.

Last year, Oplinger said, the breakfast event cost $60 per person and was hosted at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

Oplinger said he was trying to get word about the change to the business community this week, since the decision came as a surprise.

The chamber was disappointed with the mayor’s decision, he said, because staff already worked to gather the more than $10,000 in sponsorships and even cleared the 2015 date with the city.

“We were ready to go with the event,” Oplinger said. “We were very excited to be able to do it for the 15th year. She was very clear this wasn’t up for discussion. We’ll be stepping aside.”

Beyond cost, Schneider gave few other reasons for the decision to make the change.

“The State of the City is the largest event the city has to inform the public about current municipal affairs, and there will not be a change in the actual presentation in 2015,” she wrote in an email. “In prior years, participation at the event has been somewhat limited due to the cost associated with attending.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider

"The change the city is making is simply in production, and my goal is to increase participation by making admission free and open to the public.”

Oplinger said the 2014 address drew 25 percent more guests than in past years, with 450 people from the local business community.

“She felt there was confusion between the State of the Chamber and State of the City events because they’re so close together,” he said. “She felt it wasn’t really appropriate for the city to show any favoritism to the chamber over other groups.”

The State of the Chamber is a luncheon hosted about five weeks apart from the State of the City event, and Oplinger called it more of an annual meeting where local businesses are recognized with awards.

Losing sponsorship means missing out on the business community’s biggest chance to have the mayor’s ear and vice versa, he said, noting the chamber might soon announce a new chamber event to take place later next year.

“I think there was a real benefit to the city,” Oplinger said. “I know that her hope is she’ll still be able to do that with business and the rest of community. We’ll be looking at other options. We certainly don’t want the mayor to feel like we’re trying to eclipse her activity.”

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 Maria Police Department Undergoes ‘Complete Overhaul’ in Complying with Recommended Reforms

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Seven months later, the Santa Maria Police Department has implemented most of the independent auditors’ 57 recommendations for reforming the agency, including revised protocols for officer-involved shootings, citizens’ complaints and timely training.

Chief Ralph Martin updated the Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night about the progress of the agency’s reforms that arose out of the botched handling of an investigation and fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. by a colleague in 2012 along with other incidents.

“I fully support the recommendations set forth by the team and we are diligently directing the department staff to implement all of the reforms,” Martin said. “We have substantially addressed a majority of the OIR (Office of Independent Review Group) recommendations and will continue to implement the remaining ones with the goal of providing the best service to the citizens of Santa Maria.”

The city hired the Office of Independent Review to conduct the audit in February 2012 and received the findings seven months ago. At the time, the chief noted that 23 recommendations had been implemented, 18 were being addressed and 16 were yet to the handled.

“The audit revealed several areas of shortcomings in the areas of use of force documentation, internal affairs investigations, citizens’ complaints and the department’s Explorer program,” Martin said.

Martin noted that the auditors devoted substantial attention to the department’s handling of officer-involved shootings, drawing heavily on the previous incidents under the prior chief.

The report focused on the on-scene post-shooting protocols, interaction with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the function of a use-of-deadly force review board.

“Since the time of the report, the department has undergone a complete overhaul of policy and protocol to address all the deficiencies that formerly existed,” said Martin, who was hired in August 2012 on an interim basis and then permanently.

Among some recommendations, the audit said the agency “should enhance its protocols to ensure that its policies prohibiting officers from gathering in a group after a critical incident are enforced.” Another suggestion involved developing protocols to informing officers not to speak publicly about use of force or other administrative investigations in any public forum while the review is pending.

With regards to the use-of-force documentation, the audit noted improvements had been made under Martin’s leadership but suggested a series of other steps, he said.

“Most of these were policy recommendations designed to accompany the changes in protocol and procedure that we had already established,” Martin said. “The policy has been rewritten and when applied in conjunction with our already established force protocols, all OIR force recommendations will then be satisfied.”

In the past, officers failed to complete their required refresher training which has been addressed by the creation of a training sergeant position in addition to the training coordinator. Both have been instructed the Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, compliance is a top priority.

The audit suggested the agency should ensure that all officers were in compliance with the first aid and CPR refresher course. Also, the agency needed a program so the high-speed vehicle pursuit training occurs annually while a domestic violence complaints course is done every two years.

To support the training requirements, the department’s funding has been increased by approximately. $50,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. Martin said. Future budgets will accommodate similar increased funding, he added.

“These changes have  produced remarkable results,” Martin said, adding the department’s sworn personnel will in 100 percent compliance with POST continuing professional training requirements by Dec. 31.

Other changes include revising the Explorers handbook to ban relationships and communication between the youths and officers.

The agency is also installing software what will serve as a proactive management tool to track assorted data plus monitor certain behavior that could lead to civil lawsuits and training opportunities, the chief said.

The auditors are expected to return in May, one year after initially presenting the findings. 

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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Longtime Police Officer Chris Nartatez Reflects on North County Career

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The sergeant rose through the ranks to chief of the Guadalupe Police Department before joining the force in Santa Maria

Chris Nartatez entered law enforcement because he found it exciting, but remained after discovering the job gave him a chance to help people.

This week will be the Santa Maria Police Department sergeant’s final stretch on the job after working in law enforcement since 1977.

He spent 16 years with the Santa Maria department plus 21 with the Guadalupe Police Department.

Working as a police officer provided multiple opportunities to help people — both the crime victims and even those he arrested, he said.

“I often say to the younger officers, 'We have the right to take someone’s liberty away, but we don’t have the right to take their dignity away,'” Nartatez said.

Nartatez received a resolution noting his "dedication, loyalty and devotion to duty" during the City Council meeting Tuesday night. 

"Sgt. Nartatez was my go-to person whenever I needed some insight or liaison," Chief Ralph Martin said. "He has the ability to quickly size up events and has the charisma to handle the most delicate of situations."

Born and raised in Santa Maria, Nartatez recalls working the fields as a youngster with his dad. He graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1976 and later from the Allan Hancock College Law Enforcement Academy.

Nartatez became a reserve police officer in Guadalupe, where he said the department's leaders accommodated the time off he needed to go on several church missionary trips to countries such as Philippine Islands and Venezuela. 

He eventually joined the force full time, quickly rising to become chief of the department in 1991.

“It’s always important to treat people good,” he said. “I had a saying when I was chief in Guadalupe: It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

As his career evolved, Nartatez has seen big changes in all aspects of law enforcement.

“My first police car was an old Dodge that had a red ball on the top as the emergency light, just one big revolving ball,” he said.

There were no computers in the patrol cars and their radios didn’t work very well. Officers carried revolvers, not automatic handguns. Marksmanship wasn’t the only requirement.

“We used to hand write reports, now you can dictate them,” he said, recalling writing out arrest and search warrants presented to judges.  “You had to have good penmanship back then.”

Day-shift officers in Guadalupe had to pass the department’s two bulletproof vests to their night shift counterparts.

“At that time they were kind of pricey for us so the city bought two whole bulletproof vests for us to share,” he said. 

“They didn’t purchase guns for us or handcuffs,” Nartatez added. “They only gave us a police badge and an ID card. Everything else we had to purchase. Things are definitely different now. You come to departments and they issue everything. We had to buy our own flashlights, and all those things.”

But the city struggled with finances, and Nartatez was raising a young family of four children with his wife, Roberta. After several years, he made the difficult decision to move on to another agency. 

“I love the people there,” he said. “I really didn’t have an opportunity to become a police officer because I was thrust into the chief’s job at an early age," Nartatez recalled. "Struggling with city finances and the budget — I could see it just wasn’t getting any better there, and I needed to take care of my family.”

He went from being the top cop in a small department to being one of many on the Santa Maria force in 1998.

“It was a very humbling experience,” Nartatez said. “But sometimes people need to be humbled to get a good perspective of life. I found myself competing with the other officers, and I want to say I did pretty well..”

He spent some time as a patrol officer, and later a corporal, before being promoted to sergeant in 2001.

Through his career, Nartatez has relied on his strong faith as a member of the Santa Maria Foursquare Church, where he teaches Bible studies. 

It was his faith that helped following his worst day in law enforcement — the fatal shooting that claimed the life of a cousin and colleague, Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr., on Jan. 28, 2012.

With Covarrubias suspected of having an affair with a teen Police Explorer,  Police Department leaders pushed for the officer’s arrested during a DUI checkpoint that night, despite concerns raised by Nartatez and others, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office investigation.

Covarrubias pulled his service revolver, and Nartatez tried to control him, seeing a muzzle flash to his left. The pair fell to the ground. Another officer delivered the fatal shot to Covarrubias.

Nartatez injured his ribs in the scuffle and was off work for six weeks.

“As difficult as it was … I couldn’t wait to wake up the morning to open my Bible to read about love, compassion and forgiveness. That’s what we got me through that,” he said.

The incident led to the departure of former chief Danny Macagni and the arrival of the fourth chief, Martin, since Nartatez joined the force in 1998.

“We’re in a much better place because we have a person who truly has integrity, compassion and really cares for the citizens and, to me, he truly cares for his employees here at the department,” Nartatez said.

So why retire now?

“It’s time,” he said, adding he is looking forward to traveling. “I want to spend more time with my wife, my kids, my grandkids. I just feel the Police Department is doing well with Chief Martin. A lot of positive things are happening.”

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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Former Santa Barbara Doctor Julio Diaz Withdraws Guilty Plea; Case Will Go to Trial

By | Published on 12/17/2014


A judge decides Diaz hadn't been properly advised by his attorney when he pleaded guilty to overprescribing charges stemming from 11 patient deaths

A U.S. District Court judge allowed former Santa Barbara doctor Julio Diaz to withdraw his guilty plea of overprescribing powerful painkillers to patients, and the case will now go to trial. 

Diaz, who operated a medical practice on Milpas Street, pleaded guilty in January to federal charges of overprescribing that led to 11 patient deaths.

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney allowed Diaz to withdraw those pleas, however, deciding that Diaz had not been properly advised on the case by his attorney at the time.

A federal affidavit accused Diaz of prescribing “profound” doses of drugs, including strong painkillers such as OxyContin, Fentanyl and Dilaudid, and he has been in federal custody since his arrest on Jan. 4, 2012.

Two families who lost loved ones to prescription drug overdose have settled civil lawsuits with local pharmacies and their pharmacists who filled Diaz's prescriptions.

Diaz has been represented by a handful of attorneys since the beginning of the case and his current attorney, Katherine Corrigan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Noozhawk.  

At this point, Diaz is charged with 88 criminal counts, and there is no plea deal up for discussion, according to prosecutor Ann Wolf.

Those counts add up to nearly 1,500 years in potential prison time and millions of dollars in fines.

"Judge Carney felt that (the) defendant had not been advised by his counsel of the relevant conduct the court could consider in imposing sentence, specifically the 400 plus emergency room admissions and the 20 overdose deaths," Wolf said.

The next trial date set in the case is for May 19, 2015.

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


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Jackson to Continue as Chairwoman of Senate Judiciary Committee

By | Published on 12/17/2014


State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, announced that she will continue as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee under the leadership of new Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León.

De León announced his committee chair appointments Wednesday.

“I’m extremely honored to continue to chair this important committee,” Jackson said. “One of my priorities will continue to be ensuring that all Californians have access to justice in the wake of budget cuts that have decimated our court system. It’s important that we also continue to prioritize consumer protection and the privacy rights of Californians.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s focus includes legislation related to courts, consumer protection, privacy, equality and family law, among other issues.

Jackson has chaired the committee since January, when she was first named to the position under the leadership of former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

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

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


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Devereux California Selling Holiday Plants, Wreaths at Camino Real Marketplace

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The Devereux California greenhouse folks have a booth at the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta through Friday, selling holiday succulents and wreaths.

The hours are 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

These beautiful and sturdy plants make great holiday gifts, party hostess gifts and thank yous during this joyful season. The plants sell at much less than market value, and all of the proceeds go to the Devereux California greenhouse and participants.

Next year Devereux California is celebrating its 70th year! Plans are under way to open its greenhouse to the public on a regular basis. Stay tuned for details. All donations dedicated to this cause are much appreciated.

Devereux California provides behavioral health services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities; emotional, behavioral disorders and mental health issues. We offer residential services, Adult Day and Life Enrichment programs, and Supported or Independent Living programs to individuals in their own homes within Santa Barbara County.

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Devereux is the largest, nonprofit provider of behavioral healthcare in the country, operating 15 centers in 11 states.

Please contact Cassi Noel, manager of external affairs, to volunteer and/or donate at or 805.968.2525 x202.

— Cassi Noel is the external affairs manager for Devereux California.


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The Samarkand to Showcase Its LifeCenter with Open House, Guided Tours

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The Samarkand, a faith-based, nonprofit continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities, invites the public to tour its $4 million showpiece, the LifeCenter, from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8 at 2550 Treasure Drive in Santa Barbara.

Samarkand residents and staff will guide tours of the two-story, Santa Barbara mission-style building, including the state-of-the-art fitness studio and wellness clinic aerobics/multi-purpose room, Mountain View Café, Nu 2 U resale shop and the studio for the in-house TV channel.

Guests can also tour apartment homes, talk with residents about life at The Samarkand, and take in the breathtaking views of Santa Barbara’s “American Riviera” from the outdoor dining area.

The 9,527-square-foot building is the hub of resident activity at the retirement community.

It is the third building addition at the community since 2000, and its design reflects Santa Barbara’s passion for environmental sustainability. It features LEED-certified design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions.

Refreshments will be served. For information or to RSVP, click here or call 877.231.6284.

— Wendy D’Alessandro is a publicist representing The Samarkand.


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Crane School’s Day of Giving Celebrates Student-Driven Service Program

By | Published on 12/17/2014


This Friday, Crane Country Day School sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders will begin their winter break by giving back to the community through participation in the Day of Giving, a semi-annual tradition supporting Crane’s commitment to community and service learning.

The Day of Giving is an opportunity for students to engage in service projects throughout the Santa Barbara area, but it isn’t the first time in the year students are engaged in community projects.

Crane’s Upper School (grades 6 through 8) service learning course fosters a sense of civic responsibility, teaching students to care for one another and the world around them. Students work on both direct and indirect service learning projects allowing them to understand issues, research organizations, work collaboratively, volunteer off-campus, and reflect not only on the process but also on how their involvement relates to the common good.

In keeping with Crane’s program, this process is highly experiential.

Crane’s service learning coordinator, Hayward Kwit, explains: “Our Upper School program is unique in that students have ownership of their service projects from the beginning, giving them an opportunity to determine community needs and work through the steps to meet those needs.”

This semester, students chose to volunteer at ASAP Cat Shelter, Unity Shoppe, Community Action Commission Head Start and Storyteller Children’s Center.

Twice a year, in winter and in spring, student service is amplified by dedicating an entire morning to students volunteering with local organizations. This year students will be singing carols at Samarkand Retirement Community and Garden Court Independent Living, gleaning fruit for Backyard Bounty (a division of the Foodbank), stocking shelves at the Unity Shoppe and playing with preschoolers at Head Start in Carpinteria.

“Because these projects are student directed, the students are empowered throughout the entire process. They are experiencing themselves as philanthropists — donating their time and talent to make a positive impact,” Kwit said.

Crane students will head out for winter break knowing that their valuable efforts to give back to the community will resume in the new year.

Crane Country Day is a K-8 independent school dedicated to experiential education. The school's curriculum balances rigorous academics with joyful learning. For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact Erin Guerra, director of admission, at 805.969.7732 x106 or click here.

— Julia Davis is the associate director of admission for Crane Country Day School.


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Winemaker Mark Cargasacchi Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Winemaker Mark Cargasacchi has been nominated for Lompoc’s 2014 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Cargasacchi and friends staged the first Lompoc community welcome celebration for the AIDS LifeCycle riders since they began bicycling through Lompoc in 2002.

Day Five, the Santa Maria to Lompoc stretch of the ride, is known as Red Day. On that day (in 2015 it will be June 4) local observers witness a stunning ribbon of red-clad riders trailing from Lompoc north along Highway One as far as the eye can see. Last year there were 2,300 riders, with an equal number of outriders and automobiles. Last year’s ride raised $15 million for the fight against AIDS.

Other towns along the route stage events to welcome the riders, but Lompoc never had. In 2014, Cargasacchi’s Lompoc Welcome group posted welcome signs along the Lompoc portion of the route and organized transportation from campgrounds at River Park back into Lompoc so riders could attend to shopping and banking. Cargasacchi’s party at Jalama Wines’ tasting room was well attended.

“Some of the riders were friends of mine,” Cargasacchi explained simply. “It’s a long grueling ride and I wanted to celebrate their success and provide a little entertainment.”

“People came together around Mark,” added Nick Cooper, a member of the local group.

Cargasacchi is a Lompoc native who opened Jalama Wines 12 years ago. Before returning to Lompoc, he spent several years in San Francisco and Texas working as an environmental chemist. On his return, he learned winemaking from Fess Parker.

“We’ve just released our popular La Presa Syrah,” he quipped in a commercial aside.

Cargasacchi joins eight other nominees, including assistant school superintendent Sid Haro, volunteer Jon Vanderhoof, community discussion convenor Lauren Pressman, musician Bill Carlsen, gardener Jan Martinez, writer Luciana Gallegos, chef Norma Anderson and cooperative organizer Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez.

The Peace Prize will be awarded on Sunday, Jan. 25 at Valley of the Flowers Church.

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.


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Rona Barrett: Proceed with Caution When Convincing Aging Parent to Stop Driving

By | Published on 12/17/2014


“Dad, there’s a stop sign, there’s a stop sign!”

“What do you mean, ‘There’s a stop sign’?”

“Stop!” I was praying his hearing at 88 was good enough that he could hear me.

He slammed on the brakes. I said, “Dad, if I didn’t have a seatbelt on I would have gone through the window.”

“Aw, stop it. You’re just making a big deal out of nothing.”

Senior driving is one of the most emotionally tense scenarios seniors and their loved ones go through. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been asked, “So when do you take a senior’s car keys away from them?” My quick answer is, “You don’t.”

At least I didn’t. With my own dad, I decided it was up to me as his caregiver to help him understand that it was up to him to hand over his keys — not for me to take them away.

But it didn’t happen fast or easy; in fact, it took the patience of Job — on both our parts, and it nearly took my husband’s life.

A few days after my heart-stopping wild ride with my dad, my husband went with him and nearly had a heart attack because it was the same scenario that I had experienced. He came home and said, “Rona, we can’t let him continue to drive. It’s just too dangerous.”

I really wasn’t looking forward to the conversation I knew we needed to have. Who does? So I tried to approach my dad as I would want him to approach me — just two adults talking it out.

I began the conversation with the safety issues: his safety, his loved ones’ safety, and the safety of strangers’ loved ones should they be involved in an accident caused by his driving.

He didn’t like what he was hearing. He said it made him feel like a dependent child.

I said, “Dad, you’ve driven a car for 75 years. I know what driving means to you and this has to be tough. Driving has always meant freedom to you. But, consider the freedom from worry you’ll have. You can retire from driving. You’ve paid your dues.”

Then he so much as said, “It’s just another nail in my coffin.”

He was silent the rest of the day.

I thought, “Now, what will I do?”

The following morning he came to the kitchen table, sat down, reached into his pocket, brought out his car keys and dangled them in front of me, and said, “They’re yours. I’ll depend on you to drive me wherever I need to go.”

That my dad saw fit to hand over the keys and that I didn’t have to take them forcefully away made me profoundly grateful that we had our discussion sooner rather than later — and not in the back of an ambulance!

You can get more in-depth help on the Internet. I found this site particularly helpful: Click here.

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— In honor of her late father, entertainment journalist, author, senior activist and Santa Barbara County resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village, the area’s first affordable senior living and care facility, scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. Contact her at The opinions expressed are her own.


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Inaugural California Higher Education Food Summit at UCSB to Explore Food Justice

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Aiming to forge collaborations and conversations about food justice across the state’s college communities, a multicampus team of University of California staff members has created a first-of-its-kind conference to address the issue.

A project of the nascent UC Global Food Initiative, the inaugural California Higher Education Food Summit will be held Jan. 16-18 at UC Santa Barbara.

The event, which is open to the public, is a joint effort of the UCSB Associated Students Food Bank, UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and UC Berkeley’s Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence.

“In three years servicing thousands of hungry students at the AS Food Bank, the fact that the need is always growing is indicative of larger issues students are dealing with, such as tuition, housing, medical and other living costs,” said Tuyen Nguyen, food bank coordinator at UCSB. “The California Higher Education Food Summit is an important step toward change and resolving the problems that face our students, so they no longer have to choose between an education and food. This summit will provide an opportunity to learn from other campuses and community organizations how to better service our students and create a better food security model for UCSB and beyond.”

The three-day gathering will bring together students, staff and faculty from UC, California State University and community college campuses with community and food agency leaders at large to examine the environmental, social and economic pressures creating barriers to food access, security and justice. With a full slate of keynote talks, panel discussions and workshops, the summit’s ultimate goals are to strengthen partnerships and share best practices to inform action.

“This inaugural forum provides an opportunity for the thinkers, doers and policymakers to come together and explore where our public higher education institutions currently are when it comes to supporting student food access and security and advancing relationships with our food and farming economies with just and sustainable practices, as well as examine how concepts of justice and equity are being engaged with inside and outside of the classroom,” said summit co-organizer Tim Galarneau, a food systems education and research program specialist for UCSC’s Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. “It is our hope that the summit will serve as a catalyzing space for those working in the trenches of our public educational system on education and empowerment, student support services, budding aligned research and community partnerships, and re-envisioning the role of institutional policy to advance a just and sustainable food system.”  

The conference is being held under the umbrella of the broader UC Global Food Initiative (UCGFI), which is designed to coordinate the diverse resources of the University of California to help ensure adequate nutrition — starting with access to food — for all. Unveiled by UC President Janet Napolitano in July, the UCGFI will harness the system’s collective excellence in research, outreach and operations in a sustained effort to develop, demonstrate and export solutions — throughout California, the U.S. and the world — for food security, health and sustainability.

For its part in the larger initiative, UCSB is a key player on systemwide committees looking at issues including sustainable farming practices, better enabling small growers to become suppliers, fisheries research, student food banks and more.

Registration is under way for the first-ever food summit, where sessions will examine the thematic areas of community engagement, activism and policy, and education and research — all in the context of food justice.

For more information or to register, go to the event website by clicking here.

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


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Cappello & Noël Named One of ‘Best Law Firms’ in America by U.S. News and Best Lawyers

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Santa Barbara law firm Cappello & Noël LLP is listed in the 2015 edition of "Best Law Firms," published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

The firm received a “Tier 1” ranking in commercial litigation, meaning the firm was in the highest percentile of recognized firms.

The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on an evaluation process that includes client and lawyer evaluations, peer review surveys and review of additional information.

In addition, Cappello & Noël’s managing partner A. Barry Cappello was listed as one of the year’s “Best Lawyers.”

— Diane Zakian Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Cappello & Noël LLP.


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Paul Mann: Melissa Etheridge Rocks the House at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Melissa Etheridge led her funky rocking blues band through a 90-minute set of old and new music on one of the stormiest nights in recent memory — last Thursday — at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.

The evening started with a seasonal ceremony honoring the Toys for Tots program administered by local Marines. The concert was a fundraiser for the program, and after a pious flag ceremony, a Chumash representative presented the Marines with a $25,000 check.

Singer/guitarist Alexander Cardinale then opened the show with a short set. The well-known actor showed a humorous side throughout his set, with anecdotes like the introduction of his band, (A Mac Computer). The short but interesting set highlighted both his singing and songwriting talents.

After a brief intermission, Etheridge and her band took the stage adorned with myriad Christmas trees and festive decorations. The raspy voiced blues rocker came out swinging, literally, attacking a snare drum while she sang “I Won’t Be Alone," a cut from her new album, This Is M.E.

Then Etheridge strapped on her Les Paul guitar for a blues-drenched rendition of her hit song “I Want to Come Over," taking one the persona most closely associated with the raucous rocker. But Etheridge displayed surprising dexterity, moving between songs from her new album and some of her most classic hit songs from her 26-year career.

In addition to drums and lead guitar, the musical maven played a mean harmonica, an acoustic 12-string Ovation guitar and an electric 12-string Jerry Jones guitar. Sometimes Etheridge would just concentrate on singing, letting her veteran backing guitarist, Brandyn Porter, take the lead. The four backing musicians and two backup singers all displayed exceptional musical skills.

But it was former Fugees bassist and producer Jerry "Wonda'' Duplessis who stood out most in the band with his funky bass rhythms.

Halfway through the show, the front of the stage was opened so that a swarm of adoring fans could flood the edge of the stage.

The concert ended just as a massive front of wind and rain inundated the tiny mountain town of Santa Ynez, making for a treacherous drive back to the surrounding cities, with trees crashing across the road and electric transformers exploding in the night. It was an evening most concertgoers wont soon forget.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.


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J.T. Stone Selected as Head Football Coach for Santa Barbara High School

By | Published on 12/17/2014


J.T. Stone has been selected as the head football coach for Santa Barbara High School.

He has an extensive amount of experience on the football field. He served as a coach at Dos Pueblos High School (2002-05), Righetti High School (2006-09), St. Joseph High School (2009-11) and then as offensive coordinator at Santa Barbara High. From August to November of this year, he was the interim varsity head coach at Santa Barbara High.

“We believe J.T. demonstrates the necessary qualities to lead our program," SBHS Athletic Director Joe Chenoweth said. "J.T. is passionate about teaching the game of football. He has high expectations for his players, coaches, staff and himself. We are excited for the future of the Dons program under his leadership."

This past spring, Stone worked in the classroom, first as a special education instructional assistant at Cleveland Elementary School (2014), then as a special education para-educator at Santa Barbara High.

— Barbara Keyani is a communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.


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Bill Cirone: Partnerships Make a Big Difference in the Lives of Local Students

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Partnerships were on display at the annual business appreciation breakfast of the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council recently, demonstrating what takes place when businesses join hands with education to make a real difference in the lives of young people countywide.

The annual Computer Connections distribution at the breakfast provided eight area students with new computers. In September and October, 10 computers had been provided, and over the past 10 years, the program awarded more than 200 computers to young people who otherwise would be on the wrong side of the digital divide that separates students with access to technology from those without.

In modern times, such tools are essential to the learning process and to the workforce. The research opportunities, the connections made through email, and the chance to take part in online learning can no longer be duplicated through any other medium. Students need Internet skills for schoolwork and for workforce preparation as well. Young people without those skills and tools will be at a real disadvantage in an ever-more-wired world.

The Computer Connections program, a model partnership with many area businesses, including Santa Maria Energy, Wells Fargo Bank and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, therefore makes a real difference in young lives.

In the South County, the Computers for Families program, another major partnership, helps bridge that divide as well. This is enlightened self-interest on the part of all our business partners — by investing in our students they help secure an educated, informed and skilled workforce and consumer base.

At the SMVIEC awards breakfast, each North County school district superintendent selected a company, individual or nonprofit organization for special recognition, in light of outstanding efforts to support education.

The broad range of honorees this year included the Altrusa International Foundation of Santa Maria, the Assistance League of Santa Barbara, Colette Hadley of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa BarbaraDel Taco No. 833, longtime educator and master teacher Georgia Schrager, Plantel Nurseries and Rabobank. The diversity and range of honorees underscores the breadth and depth of partnerships that abound.

These organizations, institutions and individuals, along with scores upon scores of others honored at the program, provided funding, program support and mentoring opportunities that will truly change young lives.

It is not possible to overstate the positive impact of these partners and all those countywide who pitch in to help students and schools.

I have always believed that the strength that comes through partnership cannot be matched by any other individual effort. That is why my office strives to form and nurture partnerships in all aspects of the programs we provide to students. Partnerships are the central thread that runs through the fabric of all we do countywide. Those partnerships create a synergy that benefits students, teachers, schools and programs.

We salute all those businesses, large and small, who provide resources or support that makes a difference in the lives of children. Partnerships are key. In this most loving and giving of seasons, we thank all our partners for their generosity of spirit.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Delta High School Students Celebrate Christmas Spirit During Old Town Orcutt Parade

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Delta High School students helped others celebrate the Christmas spirit during the 53rd annual Old Town Orcutt Christmas Parade on Saturday.

The students volunteered for the Lions Club to ensure the town tradition lived on. Then, they joined the parade with a banner and rewarded the crowd with waves, smiles and plenty of Delta school pride.

“It made me proud to represent my school," Alexis Brito said. “The parade was really nice and there was a lot of little kids watching."

Maribel Castro agreed.

“Seeing everybody smiling and having a good time made me really happy," Castro said. “I’m proud to be a Delta Dragon and I want to keep volunteering even after I graduate."

The Lions Club Parade Committee told students they were very grateful and appreciative for Delta’s continued support.

“We couldn’t put on the parade without them," committee members said.

The students and staff also collected $205 for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, according to Delta science teacher Sonia Galvez.

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


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Roxanne Dore’e Joins Union Bank Consumer Lending Group in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Roxanne Dore’e

Union Bank on Wednesday announced that Roxanne Dore’e has joined its Retail Consumer Lending team as a mortgage consultant in Santa Barbara.

Dore’e is responsible for assisting clients with their home mortgage needs. The Union Bank Consumer Lending group originates residential mortgage options to answer a variety of consumer financing needs.

Dore’e reports to managing director and regional sales manager Mike McCormick.

“We are confident that Roxanne’s depth of experience and focus on customer service will help us further serve the needs of our clients looking to purchase or refinance a home in the Santa Barbara area,” McCormick said. “Roxanne’s industry expertise and commitment to making home ownership a reality for customers will help drive the overall growth of the Union Bank Consumer Lending group.”

Dore’e has more than 23 years of banking experience. Prior to joining Union Bank, she served as a senior vice president and senior mortgage loan officer with Bank of America Home Loans. Prior to that, she served as a senior vice president with Banc of America Investment Services.

Dore’e holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara.

In addition, she is member of the American Paint Horse Association and American Quarter Horse Association and is an active equestrian.

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


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Mentorship Works Announces ‘A Conversation with Mike Sheldon, CEO of Curvature’

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Mentorship Works announces the first event of 2015, titled “A Conversation with Mike Sheldon, CEO of Curvature” as part of the nonprofit’s lecture series.

Mike Sheldon
Mike Sheldon

The timing of the event is especially appropriate as Curvature, a provider of IT services and hardware solutions, recently announced the significant acquisition of CSU Industries, greatly expanding its service offering and broadening the company’s global reach.

“Our last event featured celebrated tech entrepreneur Kevin O’Connor (Doubleclick, FindTheBest), and we expect the conversation with Mike Sheldon to be equally engaging and informative,” said Christopher Eriksson, president of Mentorship Works. “Listening to how business leaders like Mr. Sheldon began their career and achieved their success is so important for startup entrepreneurs. Mr. Sheldon’s particular story is rooted in mentorship, which is in perfect alignment with our organization’s mission.”

Sheldon joined Curvature in 2001 following a successful career in the investment banking world. Under his leadership, Curvature has posted year over year record revenues and recently expanded operations on a global level, most notably through the company’s acquisition of CSU Industries.

He plans to share insights on the decisions and philosophies that led him to become the CEO of Curvature and lead the company to over $300 million in revenue.

“What’s special about Mike is that he is approachable and down to earth and shares his knowledge in a direct way,” added John Osley, one of Mentorship Works board members. “Mike’s a natural mentor and in large part because of the mentorship he received along the way, so his career and success is a statement on the value of mentorship.”

Mentorship Works launched in mid-2014 and provides a free service to the community connecting mentees with mentors through a proprietary selection process. The organization has completed over 30 matches to date. L. Fontana was one of the first mentees matched by the Mentorship Works system earlier this year and says of the experience, “My mentor provides solid high-­level feedback from a managerial standpoint which is exactly what is missing in my business, His wisdom and experience has been much appreciated!"

“A mentor is not a boss, teacher or parent; rather they are an expert seriously interested in another individuals’ success. We facilitate the connection based on key criteria,” Eriksson said.

All proceeds of the event will benefit Transition House of Santa Barbara. The event will include generously donated heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. Pre-­registration\ is $10, or $20 at the
door. Tickets and registration are available by clicking here.

Mentorship Works is proudly sponsored by HUB International, SocalIP, Noospheric, First Click, Cabana Home, California SDBC, the California Center for International Trade Development, Noozhawk and KZSB-­‐AM 1290.

Click here to become a sponsor.


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City of Goleta Hires Genie Wilson as Director of Finance

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The City of Goleta is pleased to announce the addition of Genie Wilson to the city’s management team.

Wilson will join the city as the director of finance on Jan. 7.

She currently serves as the treasury manager for the City of Santa Barbara.

Prior to joining the City of Santa Barbara she worked at the City of Temecula, where she was the chief financial officer. Her impressive credentials also include time as an accountant with Moreland and Associates CPAs.

She holds a degree in business administration from California State University-Fullerton and is a certified public accountant.

“We are delighted Ms. Wilson has agreed to join our team," City Manager Michelle Greene said. "Her extensive experience in municipal government and auditing is a great match for our young city.”

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.


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Five UCSB Faculty Members Named American Physical Society Fellows

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Five UC Santa Barbara faculty members have been named 2014 fellows of the American Physical Society for their “exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise.”

This year’s additions bring the number of APS fellows from UCSB to 43.

Kaustav Banerjee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of nanoelectronics research, was elected an APS fellow for his seminal applied physics research on nanoscale materials, devices, interconnects and circuits toward realizing ultra-low power electronics. Banerjee also is an affiliated faculty member with the campus’s California NanoSystems Institute and the Institute for Energy Efficiency.

Lars Bildsten, director of UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, was recognized for his numerous pioneering contributions to stellar astrophysics. Among them are thermonuclear instabilities, propagating combustion fronts, gravitational wave phenomena, time domain astronomy, stellar explosions, asteroseismology and the many ways that stars evolve and manifest themselves to observations.

David Morrison, chair of UCSB’s Department of Mathematics, was selected for his many contributions to the connection between geometry and physics, including space-time singularities and topology change in string theory, generalizations of anti-de Sitter/conformal field theory correspondence (AdS/CFT) duality and foundational work in F theory, a branch of string theory.]

Ram Seshadri, professor of materials and of chemistry and biochemistry, was honored for his major contributions to developing structure-composition-property relations in functional inorganic oxides. Seshadri was also cited for his contributions to understanding of the role of lone-pair electrons in polar and ferroic behavior, of frustrated magnetism and frustrated ferroics and of novel phosphors for solid-state lighting.

Anthony Zee, a particle theorist and member of UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, was elected in recognition of his unique popular writings and textbooks and for his wide-ranging impact on particle physics, quantum field theory, condensed matter physics, cosmology and biophysics.

The world’s second largest organization of physicists, APS publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including Physical Review and Physical Review Letters and organizes more than 20 science meetings each year. Founded in 1899 at Columbia University “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics,” APS currently has 50,000 members worldwide.

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


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Santa Barbara Community Bank Hires Tom Boucher as VP/Commercial Loan Officer

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Santa Barbara Community Bank, a division of Ojai Community Bank, announced on Wednesday the hiring of Tom Boucher as vice president/commercial loan officer.

Tom Boucher

Boucher is a Santa Barbara native with long-standing ties to the community.

Boucher began his banking career after studying physiology at Cal Berkeley, where he accepted what he anticipated to be a summer job as the messenger for Santa Barbara National Bank (eventually Santa Barbara Bank & Trust). That “temporary job” evolved into a 30-plus-year banking career.

During his 11-year tenure with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Boucher worked as a consumer and small business lender. After that, he worked with Montecito Bank & Trust for 19 years, where he managed branches and worked in commercial lending. Most recently, he worked with The Bank of Santa Barbara, where he also focused on commercial lending.

“I started my banking career in Santa Barbara at a time when true community banking was alive and well," Boucher said. "In this age of ever increasing institutional size and decreasing personal interaction, I look forward to working with an organization that truly understands that banking is, first and foremost, a people business.”

Married for nearly 30 years, with two grown children, Boucher is an ardent traveler and has been to all 50 states, most of Canada, and over 30 countries. He’s also an avid outdoorsman, both backpacking and ocean kayaking.

Boucher has been involved in the community for many years, and his primary interest is with youth serving organizations. He has held board positions with Girls Inc., Santa Barbara Middle School and several other local nonprofits.

“We welcome Tom to our team,” Dave Brubaker said. “He brings with him not only a foundation of strong banking experience and relationships, but he shares our banking philosophy. We’re enthusiastic about his contributions and the experience he brings to the bank.”

— Jon Leslie is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Community Bank.


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Ann Louise Bardach: Highway 101 and the Fine Art of Brass-Knuckle Politics in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/17/2014


True, there is not all that much I miss about New Jersey.

Ann Louise Bardach

Still, I fretted when we made the move here 25 years ago how I would live without the brass-knuckle, trench-war, fine art of politics that so distinguishes my home state — land of AbscamThe Sopranos and, my personal favorite, Bridgegate.

So I pined for Bayonne — until about a year ago when Providence delivered a fabulously seedy dustup right here in Paradise.

You wouldn’t think that fixing Highway 101 — the Measure A initiative approved by a whopping 79 percent of the voters to relieve the four hours of daily gridlock — would be the vehicle for so much political mischief. Think again.

As every Jersey girl knows, nothing tempts the sticky fingers of politicos more than the dangle of highway pork.

Still, who would have thunk that the mischief-maker-in-chief would be the liberal Mayor Helene Schneider, who has made derailment of the Highway 101 widening initiative her signature issue.

Certainly not the California Democratic Party, where everyone — from Gov. Jerry Brown to the county dog catcher — is seething in fury at the New York-born mayor. Nor did her cohorts on SBCAG (the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, charged with implementing the 101 expansion), foresee that Schneider would turn guerrilla warrior.

Of course, no massive public works project is perfect — and this one is hardly an exception. That said, it resolves the major issues that threaten to landlock Santa Barbara; it adds the crucially needed third lane through gridlocked Montecito, supplies an HOV lane and restores the southbound freeway entrance at Cabrillo Boulevard, thus rescuing Coast Village Road from death by bumper-car congestion.

Minds both great and small remain puzzled as to what exactly is motivating the mayor. Last year, Schneider and her consiglieri Jeremy Lindaman championed the idea of preserving left-hand freeway exits in Montecito, an idea backed by a few wealthy Montecitans who had retained Lindaman as their consultant.

Now, I am all for historical preservation — i.e., the Granada, Lobero and New Vic — but asphalt freeway exits? Moreover, Caltrans has explained ad nauseam that left-hand off-ramps, deemed unsafe, are no longer allowed in highway upgrades in the state of California — nor, for that matter, nationally.

Then the mayor opined that the funds would be better spent on local road improvements — prompting a saucy rebuke from all of SBCAG’s South Coast members. In a public letter, the mayor’s colleagues reminded her that “state and federal gas-tax funds that are being used as a portion of the funding for the widening cannot be used for local road maintenance” (their italics).

In July, the 79 percent who voted for Measure A held their collective breath to see if Schneider would prevail at SBCAG’s final vote — as Schneider’s camp had leaked they would. Instead, she got hammered with a resounding 11-2 smackdown. Her sole dance partner was none other than Peter Adam, county supervisor for the Fourth District — and the darling of the North County Tea Party.

(As it turned out, Adam was game for some horse trading and was scouting for support for his Measure M to snare funds for road improvements — an initiative whose campaign was run by, yup, Lindaman. Indeed, Schneider famously did not oppose M — to the chagrin of local Democrats. And thus was birthed the most fabulous political marriage since Richard Nixon proposed to Spiro Agnew.)

Then, in late September, even her own City Council voted down 5-1 Schneider’s entreaty to sue SBCAG.

Jubilation reigned — at least for the 79 percent — until the 59th minute of the 11th hour in October, when allies of the mayor scrambled to file two lawsuits.

One suit — deemed by wags to be something of a nuisance suit — demands a sound wall for Montecito’s wealthiest at Fernald Point. The other, filed by Marc Chytilo on behalf of three residents (though only one will disclose his name), targets items in the EIR, a 1,600-plus-page dinosaur of an environmental document, that synch up closely with Schneider’s laundry list. Both ask Judge Thomas Anderle to slap an injunction on the halfway completed 101 project. (In 2013, Chytilo, on behalf of billionaire Craig McCaw, convinced the same judge to scuttle the proposed fire station for Montecito’s eastern flank near Ortega Ridge by also challenging an EIR. Generally, EIRs tend to be as imperfect as public works projects, and such suits can prove quite lucrative for the prevailing attorney.)

At minimum, SBCAG says, the lawsuits will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and at least two more years of gridlock agony. Others fret that they might convince Gov. Brown and Caltrans to tell Santa Barbara to take a hike (literally) and give the millions to one of dozens of supplicating communities desperate for highway loot.

In the unlikely event that anyone doubted her role in the lawsuits, Schneider published an editorial in October urging more suits: “We fully encourage and will be publicly supporting private parties” [to file lawsuits], she wrote — a sentence that will surely follow her evermore. Meanwhile, the lawsuits name as defendants the very entities that Schneider is charged with serving, the City of Santa Barbara and SBCAG — and, yup, she’s “publicly supporting” them.

Last month, members of SBCAG and the public told Schneider she needed to recuse herself from any legal proceedings regarding Highway 101. To the jaw-dropping astonishment of all, she refused, although she had demanded that SBCAG staffer and Santa Barbara City Councilman Gregg Hart recuse himself on 101 issues before the City Council — with a much less significant conflict of interest. (California’s conflict-of-interest statutes are virtually toothless, and short of a video of greenbacks being shoved into pockets, they are rarely invoked — and thus rely entirely upon personal integrity. And Hart recused himself.)

Hence, Schneider gets the opportunity to learn SBCAG’s legal strategy and ferry it right back to those lawsuits she’s “publicly supporting.” But, trust me, she has said, she would not do that — around the same time that she awarded three trustee slots on the Huguette Clark estate foundation to, yup, her fat cat allies in the lawsuits (none of whom are her constituents).

But it gets even murkier than the swamps of Secaucus. Protocol, albeit not a rule, has it that the chair of SBCAG rotates between the North and South County, and as fate would have it, Madame Mayor is next in the rotation. Unless, of course, her colleagues invoke prior precedent, and borrow her cojones, and make sure that she doesn’t.

Abetted by a sleepy political class and an indolent media, there’s just no saying how far Schneider is going to ride this one. Last month, she told the Santa Barbara News-Press that she has her eye on Rep. Lois Capps’ congressional seat in 2016. Never mind that the political establishment that won her the mayorship has jettisoned her — with former backer, philanthropist Sara Miller McCune, penning a withering slap down. Schneider appears to have lined up a few replacement tycoons — and, of course, there’s Adam and the Tea Party.

But as Jersey girls and boys know, messing with traffic is a risky business. Unlike hidden taxes, gridlock traffic inflicts lasting pain and has a long half-life. Just a five-day traffic jam outside the George Washington Bridge appears to have cost Gov. Chris Christie the White House.

Then there’s Mother Nature. When (and if) Toro Canyon falls victim to a long-overdue fire, there is no fire station nearby. The mayor will have to pray that the inevitable fire strikes midday or late at night. Otherwise, the firefighters will be sitting in the gridlock with the cops, teachers, nurses and everyone else who make Santa Barbara tick — but can’t afford to live here.

As for the 99.9 percent who can’t helicopter in to their gated estates, no need to despair. Though landlocked we may be, there’s always coastal access. Look, the Chumash used canoes — and so can we! And how they’ll love a landing dock on Fernald Point!

Ahh! I’ll never be nostalgic for Newark ever again …

— Ann Louise Bardach is a PEN Award–winning journalist who opines from time to time on South Coast issues.


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Viewing at Westmont Observatory to Feature Christmas Tree Cluster

By | Published on 12/17/2014


The Westmont Observatory opens for a free, public viewing that will include a cluster of stars resembling a Christmas tree on Friday, Dec. 19 beginning after 6:30 p.m. and lasting for several hours.

In case of inclement or overcast weather, please call the Telescope Viewing Hotline at 805.565.6272 and check the Westmont website by clicking here to see if the viewing has been canceled.

Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor, will operate the powerful Keck Telescope, a 24-inch reflector, while several members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit offer celestial views with additional smaller telescopes.

“We’ll turn our attention to a number of objects in Cassiopeia and Perseus, including Messier 103, the Christmas Tree Cluster,” Whittemore says. “It’s hard to believe that, as bright as this object is, it’s about 8,000 light-years away.”

The viewing will also feature NGC 457, the Owl Cluster.

“Last month most people were able to see the owl in the pattern of stars, even though the bird was upside-down,” Whittemore says.

Stargazers may enjoy NGC 869 and 884, the Double Cluster in Perseus.

“This is probably the most magnificent of open clusters in the winter sky,” he says. “It’s surprising that Messier didn’t include it with his list of 109 objects when he was scanning the heavens for comets.”

NGC 225, the Broken Heart Cluster, may also delight visitors.

“Last month there was a lot of discussion whether this grouping of stars looked like a broken heart or a sailboat,” he says.

The observatory, which opens its doors to the public every third Friday of the month, sits between Russell Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex at Westmont. There will be plenty of free parking nearby.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.


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Thunder, Lightning But Not Much Rain From Latest Storm

By | Published on 12/17/2014


Rainfall amounts were modest overnight Tuesday into Wednesday in Santa Barbara County, although the latest storm to move through the region was punctuated by thunder and lightning.

Most areas of the county received between a quarter and two-thirds of an inch of rain, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

San Marcos Pass was the wettest spot, with 0.89 inches in the 24 hours ending at 8 a.m., while Guadalupe was the driest with only 0.15 inches.

Other rainfall readings included Santa Barbara, 0.45 inches; Goleta, 0.33; Montecito, 0.45; Santa Maria, 0.28; Lompoc,  0.58; Buellton, 0.55; Carpinteria,  0.44; Santa Ynez, 0.47.

Santa Barbara 0.45"
Goleta 0.33"
Montecito 0.45"
Carpinteria 0.44"
Santa Maria 0.28"
Lompoc 0.58"
Buellton 0.55"
Santa Ynez 0.47"

Little runoff in local reservoirs was reported from the storm.

Forecasters were calling for a 20-percent chance of isolated showers Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Clear skies and a warming trend were expected Thursday through the weekend.

High surf was expected along local beaches through Wednesday night

[Click here for the latest forecast]

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

Lightning is visible Tuesday night from Shoreline Park looking out towards Santa Cruz Island, where radar data recorded what appeared to have been a waterspout off the island during the storm, according to the National Weather Service. (Mike ,Eliason / Noozhawk photo)


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

By | Published on 12/17/2014


3 Stars — Challenging

For all of us in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the event of the Exodus is foundational in our understanding that God frees His people from bondage. In this primary example, the bondage is physical slavery as the Jews were enslaved for over 400 years in ancient Egypt. But the Exodus event is also an analogy depicting God’s freeing of all people who are enslaved by any form of bondage in which choice has been taken and generational sorrow has begun.

For those of us who have experienced God’s power to set us free, this event is especially important to us. Thus when a film is made on the Exodus, we come in part hoping that the story has been told respectfully and faithfully to the Scriptures as well as to see if there might be new insights we can gain about ourselves and God, slavery and freedom.

Known for his interest in but disdain for religion, Sir Ridley Scott (Hannibal, The Counselor, Kingdom of Heaven) directs this portrayal of the Exodus story based on the adaptation of the Biblical story by writers Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. Although clearly a difficult story to bring to the big screen without inserting creative embellishment, those who know the biblical version will be challenged not only with the decision to cast an angry boy as God (Isaac Andrews) but also to portray Moses as having no sense of his own identity as a Hebrew.

Focusing primarily on the relationship between Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) as “brothers” in the palace of the Pharaoh (John Turturro), we see the multilayered nature of the story. Imagining what it might have been like for Moses and the future pharaoh to be raised together only to become adversaries in the climactic struggle for freedom, their sibling struggle is mirrored in the spiritual realm as the gods of Egypt and the God of the Hebrews go head to head in the ten plagues. This struggle comes to its ultimate moment when Ramses’ son, considered a God of Egypt as is his father, is killed by the God of the Hebrews, while “passing over” the sons of the Hebrews.

This difficult moment in the biblical event is powerfully and disturbingly presented just as it is in Scripture. A precursor of the cost salvation requires in the death of Jesus on the Cross, it is intended to be troubling.

Also presented in the tale is a dismissive explanation of the plagues themselves. Without reference to the Egyptian pantheon that each plague represents, the court expert (Ewen Bremner) explains how the blood of the Nile drove the frogs from the water to die and then hatch gnats that caused boils on humans and brought sickness on the domestic animals, thus dismissing the belief that the God of the Hebrews was doing this. But then the tale continues as does the biblical tale and events occur that cannot be explained away. This is further shown when the sea parts and the Hebrews are saved from the vengeful Ramses as his charioteers perish in the returning tidal wave of water.

In the final analysis, the central message of the biblical event, that God frees His people from bondage by sending chosen leaders to help us, is a timeless truth that this version clearly presents. The film Exodus: Gods and Kings is therefore a worthy telling of this epic tale.


» Most of us have experienced powers over which we have little control. Have you ever felt enslaved by anything or anyone? How have you experienced God’s power in setting you free?

» The portrayal of God as a boy with a British accent is a fascinating creative choice. If you were to portray the invisible God’s presence in Moses’ life, how would you do it?

» When Moses found Jethro (Kevork Malikyan) and his daughters at the foot of “God’s Mountain” it is clear that God is at work to prepare him for the mission of returning to Egypt as the redeemer of his people. As you look at your life, how have “coincidences” come together to prepare you for a significant task?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Supports Local Foster Teens During Holidays

By | Published on 12/17/2014


For the seventh year, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has teamed up with the Santa Barbara Social Services Department and the Family Care Network to purchase holiday gifts for teenagers in the foster-care system.

The Rotary Club raised nearly $10,000 in November and December to purchase items and gift cards for more than 50 teenagers living in the Santa Barbara County foster-care system. Richard Slowikowski, general manager of the Kmart store in Goleta, aided in the effort by offering a discount on all items purchased in the store for the program. Together, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, Kmart and the Social Services Department have amassed gifts for the foster teens to receive during their annual holiday celebration.

“Each year, our Rotary Club supports young people who are in foster care in Santa Barbara County,” says Sandy Nordhal, committee chair for the Foster Teen Program. “Several years ago, when looking for a way to make a positive impact, we realized that teenagers and young adults in the foster care system seemed to be overlooked around the holidays. They are near emancipation and preparing to enter the Santa Barbara community as independent adults, and we wanted to make their holiday special. It is easy and fun to shop for toys for children, but finding the right gifts for older teens is a little more challenging. Our Rotarians are dedicated to the project, and we hope it makes a positive difference in these the lives of these young people.”

Shannon Bell, ILP supervisor for the Family Care Network, says, “Over the past seven years, the members of the Rotary Club have generously donated the perfect Christmas gifts to a large number of foster youth in the Independent Living and Transitional Housing programs in Santa Barbara County. The goal of each program is to provide services designed to develop life skills that teach youth how to live successfully on their own.

"The Christmas donations from the Rotary Club have become an integral part of their lives as the members ensure they are purchasing gifts that will support the youth towards becoming self-sufficient and independent — whether it’s an iPad to target the youth’s educational goals, to a complete set of storage containers to target organization. The youth receive gifts that are very specific to their needs, which makes their Christmas extra special! Every year the youth express an abundance of appreciation and gratitude to all of the amazing members of the Rotary Club, and on behalf of Family Care Network Inc. and the Independent Living Program, we thank you!”

Click here for more information about the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara’s holiday foster teen drive.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.

— Chris Clemens represents the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.


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Jackie Ruka: Six Ways to Create a Revolutionary New Year

By | Published on 12/17/2014


If what gets you up in the morning is about what you can create versus what is stopping you, then you are on your way to a revolutionary new year. Are you ready to have a kick-butt 2015? Then read on.

Jackie Ruka
Jackie Ruka

As we say goodbye to 2014 and recap personal and global events, most people are relieved to relinquish this past year. Looking back is not necessarily the best way to determine what type of resolutions you should create. Most resolutions do not come to fruition. That is why it’s best not to make resolutions, but instead to create a revolution, which is a sudden, extreme or complete change.

For change to occur you must be the change, as Gandhi so eloquently said. Life either happens to you or you create the life you desire.

The story behind my revolution took place as I lay on my back for six months to heal from severe back pain, nerve damage and a broken identity after walking away from a six-figure career in order to save my own life. And yet, the life I created publicly appeared happy and abundant, but resembled an enormous lack of wellness or self-love behind the scenes.

Round and round I went to the point of my rude awakening, where one fateful day my impaired company car went out of control and slowly halted in front of two, 8-foot-tall Buddha statues. The road to denial had ended.

This is where the breakdown led to my breakthrough. You see, I could settle on a few goals and medication to recapture the tainted golden handcuffs of the corporate umbrella and perks, or I could choose to look at my authentic self. Choosing my health and happiness versus workaholism and wealth became paramount to a life of longevity instead of living in fear of, “What if?” The old paradigm is that success leads to happiness. However, the opposite is what led to my revolution: Happiness leads to success.

New year's resolutions are the sissy way of making small changes in far too many areas with hope that your dream life will miraculously happen. However, to truly acquire the life you desire one must define and then commit to your revolution. Here’s how:

» 1. Define your revolution. What does your true heart desire? Choose the one word for this new year that represents the theme of your revolution.

» 2. Be genuine. To believe in yourself and create positive change for sustainability in your life, go deep and get real with yourself. What motivates you? If you want to lose 12 pounds to get the good-looking guy, even though it may be a motivator, odds are you will put those pounds back on later. Your intent must be authentic to a purpose containing compassion, gratitude and altruism and not a materialistic or external focus of what you believe will make you feel better. It is about growth toward one’s potential and not about co-dependence.

» 3. Acceptance. Accept what you no longer want or need to be and just be. Perhaps you have played the “doormat” role in your life, which is no longer serving you or others to grow. The sooner you release an old way of doing things the sooner it allows new energy to align to your revolutionary theme.

» 4. Courage. It is recognizing what your fear looks like and replacing that energy towards what inspires you. In most cases, fear is an illusion you create from thoughts of scarcity. When you practice courage, there is a faith that emerges where you are deserving of all that is good.

» 5. Proactive. Goals are a great way to set the basis for being proactive. Stepping outside of your comfort zone feels scary mainly because you are unaware of what tools exist to power you forward. Being proactive requires gathering and utilizing new tools.

» 6. Never give up. The universe did not get you this far for you to fail. Whenever I have experienced moments where I was about to give up, I remember this quote: “The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.”

Cheers to you and your revolutionary new year!

— Jackie Ruka is a lifestyle expert who founded the Montecito-based Get Happy Zone personal development organization. She is the author of the action guide Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life, a Toolbox for Rapidly Activating the Life You Desire. Click here to contact her and take her Fearless Quiz online.


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Goleta Council Sets ‘Termination’ Hearing for Venoco Facility After Adopting Ordinance

By | Published on 12/16/2014


The ordinance would establish new procedures for the city to end legal nonconforming uses, and could force the closure of the Ellwood oil and gas plant

Not only did the Goleta City Council adopt an ordinance Tuesday night that could force Venoco Inc.’s Ellwood Onshore Facility to shut down, but it set a time for a “termination” hearing.

After a lot of comment from people on both sides of the issue, council members voted 3-2 to approve an ordinance that establishes new procedures for the city to terminate a legal nonconforming use — a use that is no longer in compliance with land-use or zoning rules.

Some legal nonconforming uses voluntarily modify or end their use, but the city has an interest in terminating uses that create a public health risk or when the use goes on for too long, “thus thwarting the accomplishment of the community land use policy,” according to city staff.

Councilmen Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo voted against the ordinance, which was adopted with the majority votes of Mayor Paula Perotte and Councilmen Michael Bennett and Jim Farr.

Under the new process, a hearing is initiated by the City Council, which also rules whether the use should be terminated and has wide discretion in its decision. If a use is terminated, the property owner or user could be ordered to modify or end that use within five years.

People can go to the Planning Commission — members of which are appointed by the City Council — to ask for more time to comply, and after that, appeal back to the City Council.

The only specific legal nonconforming project mentioned during the ordinance process is Venoco’s Ellwood Onshore Facility, an oil and gas processing plant near the Bacara Resort & Spa that has been zoned as recreational land since 1991.

Venoco believes the ordinance is a direct attack on its operations, especially since its project to reactivate a production well on Haskell’s Beach is scheduled to go before the State Lands Commission on Wednesday.

City Attorney Tim Giles said the current process to terminate a legal nonconforming use — which has never been used — is “quasi-judicial” and “cumbersome.” The new procedures are similar to other city meetings, with each side giving a presentation and public comment.

The city doesn’t know how many legal nonconforming uses exist in the city and doesn’t plan to find out, Giles said.

Aceves and Vallejo said the process should be difficult, since it could strip a person’s right to use property a certain way.

“Legal nonconforming use should exist as long as it’s done safely,” Aceves said. “I believe in the current ordinance that we have, I definitely do not support streamlining it.”

Farr pointed to the Ellwood Onshore Facility specifically, saying it is an industrial oil processing plant within the city’s urban environment, and said the new process will give the city more control over the legal nonconforming uses.

“We are attempting to maintain, if you will, the ability of our city to control our destiny into the future, so I’m very much for this ordinance,” he said.

Within minutes of adopting the legal nonconforming use termination ordinance, the City Council also decided to set a termination hearing for the Ellwood Onshore Facility of on or after March 3, 2015.

The City Council also voted to send a letter of concern to the State Lands Commission about Venoco’s project proposal. If the SLC certifies the environmental impact report and approves the project to reactivate a well on Haskell's Beach, Venoco has to get permits from the City of Goleta, which has consistently opposed the project.

The pier reactivation project and other pending projects would expand the oil processing at the Ellwood Onshore Facility, violating Goleta land-use policies that prohibit expanding a legal nonconforming use, according to city staff.

Some public comment at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was focused on the ordinance itself while others spoke directly to whether the Ellwood Onshore Facility should be targeted for termination.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, the Environmental Defense Center, Get Oil Out and Ellwood-area residents supported the ordinance, saying it would give the city a better tool to end legal nonconforming uses that posed a health or safety risk.

Venoco knew that the Ellwood Onshore Facility was legal nonconforming when it was purchased in 1997 and has been trying to expand that use, said Jennifer Driscoll of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr also encouraged the City Council to adopt the ordinance, saying the county had to go through a judicial-like hearing recently and the process was “a nightmare.”

Goleta-area Venoco employees said the company runs a safe operation and asked the council not to approve the ordinance.

“I just ask that you consider us when you make your decision,” said John Fry, an 18-year Venoco employee who works in Goleta.

Ian Livett, vice president of Southern California operations for Venoco, said the company stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if it can’t capitalize on its oil lease that’s processed through the EOF.

Goleta Planning Commissioner Ed Fuller, speaking on his own behalf, opposes the ordinance and said it put too much power in the hands of the City Council.

“The list of potential abuses is limitless,” he said. “I’m sure it was not the voters’ intent to create this city so it could eliminate historically legitimate uses and structures.”

Last week, the Planning Commission decided not to make a recommendation on adopting the ordinance, as it was locked into a 2-2 vote.

Representatives from the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association objected to the ordinance, saying it posed uncertainty to businesses and homeowners with the broad discretion it gives the City Council.

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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Etta Waterfield Joins Santa Maria Council as Jack Boysen Begins Second Term

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Mayor Alice Patino proclaims Willie Green Day in honor of the departing councilman, who lost his election bid after being appointed to the seat in 2013

With a standing-room-only crowd watching, Etta Waterfield’s perseverance paid off as she was sworn in as a member of the Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night, when Jack Boysen also kicked off his second term.

Waterfield was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 4 election, with incumbent Boysen taking second place in the race for two terms. On Tuesday night, the City Council also bid farewell to Councilman Willie Green, who lost his bid to be elected to the panel to which he had been appointed in 2013.

The new councilwoman noted the support of her husband, Buck, and her former boss, Bob Royster, executive director of the now-defunct Santa Maria Economic Development Association.

"He taught me so many things, and the word perseverance is one he etched into my mind," Waterfield said.

Waterfield ran previously and missed being elected to the council by two votes in 2012. However, the council decided against appointing her to fill the vacancy created when Alice Patino was elected mayor midway through her council term. After accepting applications, the council appointed Green to the seat in February 2013.

"I'm just grateful, humbled and so appreciative of all the voters," Waterfield added Tuesday night.

Waterfield has been executive director of the Santa Maria Police Council, advisory board member for the Salvation Army and on the Board of directors for the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Her election to the council now leaves a vacancy on the Santa Maria Planning Commission, which she served on for more than a decade. The city earlier announced it will accept applications for two terms on the Planning Commission through Jan. 2.

Boysen, who has lived in Santa Maria for most of the last 30 years, said he was taking the oath on his father's 96th birthday. 

Jack Boysen takes the oath of office Tuesday for his second term on the Santa Maria City Council. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

He noted he promised at the start of his first term in 2010 to never make a decision based on how it would affect his chance for re-election. Instead, he said made his votes on whether it was the best decision for the city of Santa Maria.

"Now in 2014, I reiterate that pledge and I promise to make every decision for what I truly believe to be the best interest of our great city," he added.

He also shared four goals for his second year, including revising the vision for the downtown area, working with landowners to protect the city's stable supply of state water and expanding the stock of affordable housing. Attracting a four-year university is another goal.

"We need to take this out of the discussion stage and get it into the action stage," Boysen said.

He previously served on the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and also was named to the Mission County Formation Commission.

Following a 10-year career in banking, he originally came to Santa Maria with his family 30 years ago when he purchased a local business. He later started a general contracting business, then served as executive assistant to former Fifth District County Supervisor Joe Centeno and worked as chief financial officer of Good Samaritan Shelter.

Mayor Alice Patino also presented a proclamation to the departing councilman, including declaring Tuesday as "Willie Green Day."

"I want to thank you for your two years of service," Patino told Green. "You filled a time that we really needed someone like you."

"You've really made a difference," Boysen added.

Green is a part-time instructor at Allan Hancock College who has taught business law and management, executive leadership and other courses at the campus since 2000.

A 14-year resident of Santa Maria, he has previously served on two city committees, including the Block Grants Advisory Committee and on the All-America City Committee. He also serves on the Fighting Back board of directors, and on the Police Advisory Council.

The council also picked a new mayor pro-tem Tuesday night to fill in when Patino is absent. The mayor nominated Councilwoman Terri Zuniga to fulfill the role for the next year.

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


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As Drought Persists, Santa Barbara Council Talks Development Restrictions

By | Published on 12/16/2014


The rain may be falling, but the City of Santa Barbara’s water resources manager didn’t mince words Tuesday, letting residents know the drought is far from over.

Joshua Haggmark presented more potential water-use and development restrictions to the Santa Barbara City Council during a monthly drought update.

He asked the council to provide general direction to staff so proper regulations could be in place if the city moves from its Stage Two drought status to Stage Three next year.

All council members seemed to agree with possibly suspending approvals of new private groundwater-well permits and with turf-water restrictions, but officials were divided on whether to prohibit building new pools or issuing building permits for projects with net new water use (with some exceptions).

November’s water reduction was on par with the required 20 percent, Haggmark said, but moderate rainfall this month hasn’t helped. He said the city needed at least eight more inches before it could see any “meaningful runoff.”

Because of that uncertainty, staff planned for persistent conditions with capital projects, such as accelerating city groundwater well replacements and preparing to reactivate the city’s desalination facility — a decision that could come in April.

Haggmark said staff was working to apply for a $40 million State Revolving Fund loan for the project.

To postpone desalination, “we need Gibraltar (reservoir) to fill and spill,” he said. “That would be a good indicator. For drought, we need Cachuma (Lake) to fill and spill in order for it to be over.”

To put the situation in context, Haggmark said Lake Cachuma contains 200,000 acre-feet of water when full, which is about 50 times larger than Gibraltar.

He estimated the city would continue meeting recycled water demand and purchasing water statewide.

“Rain on, sprinklers off” was the message from Madeline Ward, acting water resources manager.

One inch of rain could delay watering landscaping up to one week for thirsty plants, she said, and three weeks for most others.

The city estimates 50 percent of all water is used outdoors, with half of that for residential or commercial turf, said Ward, who emphasized community open spaces could be exempt from restrictions.

Employing low-water using sprinklers instead of ones that mist could also save about 20 percent per site, she said.

Phasing voluntary landscape referral, mandatory landscape referral and a partnership with Santa Barbara County to apply development restrictions to out-of-city water customers were other options.

Council members were skeptical of the impact the annual average of 15 new pools would make on water supply.

Staff said new development is approximately 1 percent of the city’s drought water supply projection (11,440 acre feet per year) for the next three years.

“The more we save now, the more options we have later, isn’t that true?” Mayor Pro Tempore Cathy Murillo said, receiving confirmation. “I don’t have faith that things are going to get that much better.”

Councilman Gregg Hart said restrictions should be based on increasing supply numbers.

“I discourage policy based on symbolism,” he said. “Fifteen pools a year isn’t a big number.”

Most council members agreed the more conservation the better, asking staff to come back in February with modified Stage Two restrictions and Stage Three recommendations.

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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Carpinteria Opts Out of South Coast Tourism District

By | Published on 12/16/2014


The City of Carpinteria has decided against re-upping its membership in the Santa Barbara South Coast Tourism Business Improvement District, leaving its own business advocates in search of new funding sources.

The Visit Santa Barbara-run district aimed at increasing tourism and overnight stays in local hotels received final, unanimous approval from the Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday, allowing the organization to enact a revamped South Coast TBID model billed as more equitable, effective Jan. 1.

Without Carpinteria, the district will cover only Santa Barbara, Goleta and unincorporated areas of southeastern Santa Barbara County, collecting assessment rates from local lodging customers to provide funding for marketing efforts.

The new version was expected to generate $3.1 million annually for the area, at least before the Carpinteria City Council voted against continued involvement.

That figure falls to $2.95 million without Carpinteria, Visit Santa Barbara spokeswoman Jaime Shaw said Tuesday.

Local governments approved the original South Coast TBID in 2010, with a five-year term set to expire Dec. 31, 2015.

After speaking with stakeholders in the tourism industry, Visit Santa Barbara requested changes to the TBID, and the Santa Barbara City Council approved them and early renewal in late October, as the district’s lead jurisdiction.

A Carpinteria City Council vote to continue the TBID discussion in favor of passage failed 2-2 in September, with Vice Mayor Gregg Carty and Councilman Al Clark dissenting.

Councilmen Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw supported continuing discussions, and Mayor Brad Stein did not vote due to an undisclosed conflict of interest.

The majority of the Carpinteria council didn’t approve the TBID again because they didn’t think enough local hotels showed interest — or disinterest — and said TBID didn’t provide enough advertising or TBID committee votes (only one for Carpinteria).

Clark took it a step further, alleging tourists already knew about Carpinteria and that the city did a good enough job on its own.

The decision takes funding from the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, which received $25,000 annually in TBID the past four years, according to chamber president Lynda Lang.

“The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce was extremely disappointed with City Council’s decision not to renew the TBID for Carpinteria,” Lang said. “TBID funds have been used exclusively by the chamber to market Carpinteria as a destination, with the intention to promote a strong economy for our community and local businesses.”

Lang said the chamber has mentioned creating its own TBID in the past, but so far it hasn’t been discussed.

The new TBID plan, which lasts through the end of 2020, was expected to generate $1.38 million more for marketing efforts that the previous one, which applied to lodging with more than four rooms and varied from 50 cents per occupied room per night to $2, depending on the average daily rate charged by each business.

The new proposal applies to all lodging businesses, and rates vary from 75 cents per occupied room per night to $4 based on the same daily rates, including escalations in years three and five.

Vacation rentals will be assessed for the first time on a per-unit basis of $2 per night instead of a per-room rate.

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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Los Padres’ Goleta Office Closed After Flooding

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Last Friday morning, Andrew Madsen arrived at work to find half of his Goleta office building under water.

Madsen, who is the public information officer for the Los Padres National Forest, arrived at his Hollister Avenue office around 7:15 a.m. last Friday to find that the previous night's storms had flooded much of the office. The storm dropped 2 inches of water in an hour in some places in the county, and flooding became a problem at the office building, which  is located at 6755 Hollister Ave., Suite 150, east of Kmart and owned by Flir.

Contract crews are now working to repair extensive damage since water and mud breached a large part of the office building, which was filled with brackish water.

Since there was concern mold could develop, the office was vacated. 

The Forest Service office sits on the first floor, and the next-door offices were vacant, so it was the only one affected. Employees have been able to move most of their furniture into the vacant offices while the office is repaired.

"It impacted about half of our floor space," Madsen said. The property management company determined that the building was unsafe, and "we're moving everybody so we can expedite the process."

Crews had ripped up the building's carpet and torn out about 6 inches of the drywall as of Tuesday, Madsen said, and the office is in the process of figuring out where each of the 30 employees who worked in the building can work while repairs are ongoing, Madsen said.

Some are being moved to the Los Prietos office, Santa Maria and other stations, and others are working remotely.

The office was home to the Visitor Information Center, where employees helped anyone who walked in and had questions about camping or trails, Madsen said.

The Los Padres Association also has offices there, where volunteers coordinate for trail work, and the building hosts administrative offices for the department.

Madsen expects the office to be back in working order in six to eight weeks, and updates on the office's progress will be available by clicking here.

While the office is being repaired, Madsen encouraged those in need of forest information to call the Santa Lucia Ranger District at 805.925.9538 or the Santa Barbara Ranger District at 805.967.3481.

In the meantime, Adventure Passes are sold at Big 5 Sporting Goods, 3935 State St., and interagency senior, access and annual passes are sold at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, the Santa Lucia RD Office in Santa Maria or Channel Islands NP Visitor Center in Ventura. Passes can also be purchased online by clicking here.

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


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Jim Hightower: Thinking of Amazon Workers This Holiday Season

By | Published on 12/16/2014


During the hectic holiday shopping season, Jeff Bezos' may seem like a great option, especially for us procrastinators. Anything you want can be shipped directly to your doorstep. All it takes is a few clicks on the Amazon website and — of course — some of your hard-earned money.

The media sing the praises of Bezos' concept and business. But what you may not know is that, as head of the Amazon beast, Bezos is hard on his labor force. In fact, this past May, he was awarded a less-coveted prize by the International Trade Union Confederation: "World's Worst Boss."

Consider one of the most difficult of Amazon jobs — the "picker."

In each warehouse, hundreds of them are simultaneously scrambling throughout a maze of shelves, grabbing products. This is hard, physically painful labor, for two reasons. First, pickers must speed-walk on concrete an average of a dozen miles a day, for an Amazon warehouse is shockingly big — more than 16 football fields big, or eight city blocks — and pickers must constantly crisscross the expanse. Then, there are miles of 7-foot-high shelves running along the narrow aisles on each floor of the three-story buildings, requiring the swarm of pickers to stoop continuously.

They are directed by handheld computers to each target. For example, "Electric Flour Sifters: Dallas sector, section yellow, row H34, bin 22, level D." Then they scan the pick and must put it on the right track of the seven miles of conveyor belts running through the facility, immediately after which they're dispatched by the computer to find the next product.

Secondly, the pace is hellish. The pickers' computers don't just dictate where they're to go next, but how many seconds Amazon's time-motion experts have calculated it should take them to get there. The scanners also record the time each worker actually takes — information that is fed directly into a central, all-knowing computer. The times of every picker are reviewed and scored by managers who have an unmerciful mandate to fire those exceeding their allotted seconds.

That's not good, for Amazon has a point system for rating everyone's time performance. Score a few demerits and you get "counseled." Score a few more and you're out the door. And everything workers do is monitored, timed and scored, beginning the moment they punch in for their shift. Be one minute late, you'll be assessed half a penalty point; an hour late gets you a whole point; missing a shift is 1.5 points — and six points gets you fired.

All this for $10 to $12 an hour, which is under $25,000 a year, gross. But few make even that much, for they don't get year-round work. Rather, Amazon's warehouse employees are "contingent" hires, meaning they are temporary, seasonal, part-time laborers entirely subject to the employer's whim. Worker advocates refer to these jobs as "precarious" — on the one hand, when sales slack off, you're let go; on the other hand, when sales perk up and managers demand you do a 12-hour shift with no notice, you must do it or be fired. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Election Day, July 4 or (for God's sake) Labor Day — don't even think of taking off.

Also, technically, you don't actually work for BeZon. You're hired by temp agencies with Orwellian names like "Integrity Staffing Solutions" or by such warehouse operators as Amalgamated Giant Shipping that do the dirty work for the retailer. This gives Amazon plausible deniability about your treatment — and it means you have no labor rights, for you are an "independent contractor." No health care, no vacation time, no scheduled raises, no promotion track, no route to a full-time or permanent job, no regular schedule, no job protection, and — of course — no union.

Bezos would rather get Ebola virus than be infected with a union in his realm, and he has gone all out with intimidation tactics, plus hiring a notorious union-busting firm to crush any whisper of worker organization.

Jeff Bezos is no Santa. His treatment of workers is downright disgusting. We can let him know there are alternatives to his Amazon by doing our holiday shopping at locally owned, independent businesses. Visit American Independent Business Alliance by clicking here to get started.

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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Vandenberg AFB Identifies Airman Found Dead in Dorm

By | Published on 12/16/2014


A 30th Space Wing airman found dead in his dormitory residence on base on Sunday has been identified.

The airman was identified as Airman First Class Bogui W. Yann, who was assigned to the 30th Security Forces Squadron here.

"Vandenberg AFB is grieving the loss of one of our own and my heartfelt condolences go out to Airman First Class Yann's family and friends," said Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander. "Our focus now is to make sure A1C Yann's family and friends and all those affected at Vandenberg get the care and support they need. We have several resources available for  those who wish to take advantage of them during this difficult time."

The cause of death is under investigation.


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Search for New Santa Barbara City Administrator Narrows to Five Candidates

By | Published on 12/16/2014


The City of Santa Barbara has narrowed its search for a new city administrator to five candidates, including Paul Casey, the city's acting top boss.

The council will interview candidates at 8 a.m. Wednesday in a special closed session meeting at Casa Las Palmas, 323 E. Cabrillo Blvd. 

Kristy Schmidt, administrative services director, said the city will hold interviews this week, again in January and make a decision by the end of the month. 

Schmidt said 37 people applied for the position, which included candidates in and out of California.

The city is looking to replace 14-year City Administrator Jim Armstrong, who retired in September. 

The City Council agreed to spend $33,200 on the recruitment process, which includes the cost of the consultant contract and travel and expenses for certain candidates.

Ralph Anderson and Associates is doing the nationwide recruitment. The city hired the same firm to conduct its city attorney recruitment, which resulted in the hiring of Ariel Calonne from the City of Ventura earlier this year. The cities of Carlsbad, Fountain Valley and Santa Rose used the same firm.

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


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SBCC Health Professionals Institute Trains Local Employees

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Thirty employees from Cottage Health System and Sansum Clinic received certificates of recognition from Santa Barbara City College Professional Development Center’s Health Professionals Institute last Wednesday.

Offered to employees of local health-care agencies, the institute is made up of a series of work-based skills training classes designed to enhance employees’ professional development and improve performance on the job. Students attended classes covering such business topics as Time Management, Business Writing and Powerful Presentations.

“When the HPI program first began in 2003, we offered it primarily to healthcare management,” said Shelly Dixon, director of SBCC’s Professional Development Center. “Over time, it became apparent that the courses had application to all levels of staff so we continue to draw and instruct new employees on a regular basis.”

“A key part of the mission of Santa Barbara City College is workforce training and economic development,” said Dr. Jack Friedlander, SBCC executive vice president. “Our Professional Development Center does an excellent job of providing high-quality and cost-effective employee training in our community.”

Click here for more information about the SBCC Professional Development Center.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.


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Nearing Retirement, UCSB Vice Chancellor Michael Young Reflects on Distinguished Career

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Kudos, Mrs. Edelman.

A Chicago elementary school teacher whose first name can’t now be recalled (or perhaps was never known) is getting credit today from a former pupil turned educator in his own right, on the verge of his retirement.

“Mrs. Edelman was my fifth-grade teacher, and there was something about the way she engaged me and other students,” recalled Michael Young, UC Santa Barbara’s outgoing vice chancellor for student affairs, who said the early seeds of his career were sown in Edelman’s class more than 50 years ago. “She taught me to love school. I was always a decent student, but she really reinforced that for me and made education something that wasn’t scary or boring or hokey. And in a cosmic way, I thank her pretty regularly.”

Young will officially close the books on his tenure at UCSB — and on his professional life — on Jan. 31. He joined the Santa Barbara campus in 1990, fresh off an 11-year stint at Wesleyan University, as an associate dean and university registrar.

A lifelong athlete and former college running back who said he owes his work ethic and leadership style to team sports, Young brought his Lombardi-like ethos to UCSB and made it stick. Characterizing the campus’s Student Affairs unit as his professional family, he said he considers the collegial culture of the division among his greatest achievements as its leader.

“I’m a team sport guy,” Young said. “I believe in teams as combinations of people who come together with varying skills and use those skills in a synergistic way to achieve their goals. So when I got here, I began to promote the notion of teams. And I started using a phrase that people have now heard me use over and over again — teams win championships. We’re a team in Student Affairs. We collaborate, we cooperate, we work together. It wasn’t that way when I arrived and I’m proud to say I think we’ve broken that down.”

Young was born and raised in Chicago, with his two sisters, in the 1950s and 60s, “at a time when kids got to do kids stuff,” he said. “You could rollerskate in the street. You could go out and play all day and not have to show up back at home until the streetlights came on — that was the rule. We had vacant lots and fields that we played in. I was lucky enough to grow up in an era when I could just be a kid — and a pretty far-ranging kid at that.”

Baseball, football and school, school, school. Those were Young’s primary pursuits growing up; from an early age — “as soon as I was old enough,” he said — his mom made sure he stayed busy. Being in a city and attending a predominantly black high school imbued him with “a certain level of street smarts, playground rules and many other things that helped me down the road,” he recalled.

“I learned how to act, and interact, in certain situations because of things I’d seen,” he said. “I learned I could be bilingual — I could talk street and I could speak proper English. I learned those skills, thanks to Chicago, and as a result I was relatively comfortable in most any situation, or at least I could fake it. Chicago was good to me and I’m forever grateful that’s where I was able to grow up and learn. It will always be home.”

Young left that home in the 1960s, bound for Beloit College, a small liberal arts institution in Wisconsin. He played Division III football for the duration, serving as team captain in his senior year.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in history, Young went on to the University of Michigan, where he got a master’s in history. His first job post-grad school was in education administration, as the director of an educational opportunity program. A chance meeting with a university vice president at an administrators’ conference proved to be his professional light-bulb moment.

“This guy had quit his job, gone back to grad school and went on to become a VP,” Young said. “I wanted to be that guy. I applied and got into the doctoral program in higher ed administration at the University of Iowa, and by the following September I was in Iowa City pursuing my Ph.D. I’m forever grateful that I made that decision.”

Young’s first job as a newly minted Ph.D. was the gig at Wesleyan, where he discovered his passion for working directly with students. In addition to his official roles as associate dean and university registrar, he ran orientation programs and served spells as freshman class dean, senior class dean and dean for protests and demonstrations. Wearing so many hats, Young said, lent him the experience and exposure that prepared him for his role at UCSB — a much larger campus and, being a public university, a whole different animal.

“It was with some trepidation that I decided to move, but the opportunity to come to Santa Barbara to be vice chancellor for student affairs was one I couldn’t pass up,” Young said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been a wonderful, rewarding experience. I feel blessed that UCSB has been an aspect of my career and I feel very fortunate now, at the end of that career, to be able to look back and say, ‘I chose well, and I was lucky.’”

The campus has been lucky, too.

Over the course of Young’s tenure at UCSB, he oversaw Student Affairs initiatives including the creation of a student wellness program and support and response network for distressed students, the implementation of a zero-net energy plan and other innovations that have made the division a sustainability trailblazer, the construction or renovation of multiple campus facilities, and the development and ongoing enhancement of Student Affairs’ top-notch technology infrastructure. Above all else, he said, he pushed for support for student mental health, as well as for first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students.

Ask him what he’s most proud of, however, and Young will return again to the relationships he was able to build — with students as much as his colleagues.

“Students want to be treated like the rest of us — with respect and dignity, as equals,” he said. “So I always made sure they know that I respect them and understand their role. And I told them, ‘You may not like what I’m going to say but what I say to you will always be what I believe to be the truth.’

“All these years and I came to find out that what I really like the most about my job is the student life portion,” Young added. “Addressing mental health issues, working with underrepresented students, protest stuff — those are things that I enjoy. I don’t like some of the situations, but I get energized internally around those issues. And I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.”

Beginning to pack up his office after 25 years, Young said he’s ready to hand off his team to a new coach. His wish for his eventual successor is simple.

“The next vice chancellor will inherit a talented, healthy organization of professionals who know what they’re doing and will perform well in any circumstance,” he said. “Hopefully that person will take the division places I could not, and lead this team to its next set of victories.”

Always with the sports metaphors.

Here’s one more: By retiring, Young isn’t benching himself so much as starting a different game altogether. After some 40 years in the workforce, his new playbook is still under development.

“I have a wife, Joanne, who put up with me all these years — I’m looking forward to being with her, doing some traveling, getting out and about and seeing the world,” Young said. “I’ll spend more time with my grandsons — that should be fun. I’m still on a couple boards here in town so I’ll be involved with those. And I plan to crank up my exercise regimen. After that, I really don’t know. So if you have any suggestions, please send them along.”

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


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Santa Barbara Airbus Forms New Partnership with Google Maps

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Locally owned and operated for more than 30 years, Santa Barbara Airbus knows a thing or two about going places. The transportation company, which offers daily LAX shuttle service and chartered bus services, traveled more than 1 million miles last year.

Eric Onnen, CEO and co-founder of Santa Barbara Airbus, is excited to announce that Airbus is going somewhere they’ve never been before: Google Maps.

“We are excited to announce that our LAX Shuttle Service information, routes and schedule are now publicly viewable and accessible via Google Maps,” Onnen said.

Ryan Poscharsky, strategic partner manager at Google, said, "We are pleased to welcome Santa Barbara Airbus to Google Maps. Santa Barbara Airbus has shown a commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go."

Santa Barbara Airbus offers 16 scheduled trips daily between Los Angeles International Airport with stops in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. The earliest bus departs Santa Barbara at 3:50 a.m. to arrive at LAX by 6 a.m. and the last pickup from LAX is at 10 p.m. The Airbus operates the same schedule every day and is open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Both residents of Santa Barbara County and the thousands of visitors who come to the area each year will benefit from having Santa Barbara Airbus on Google Maps.

Google Maps provides a simple, intuitive interface to customize pickup and delivery locations, times and routes. Travelers can search the date and time they wish to travel to see various options, each listing amount of time and number of transfers. Via Google Maps, locals and visitors alike will be able to see Santa Barbara Airbus information in conjunction with local Santa Barbara transit bus information, making it even easier to travel to and from their destination.

In addition to the benefits for those in Santa Barbara, international and mobile travelers will now find it easier to get to and from Santa Barbara. The Airbus schedule and information is now easily accessible by mobile devices (such as the Google Maps mobile app on iPhone and Android; and through the mobile web for devices including Blackberry and Windows Mobile.)

“Now, Santa Barbara Airbus is available at people's fingertips no matter where they are," said Daniel Butters, business manager at Santa Barbara Airbus. "In our ever-connected world, Airbus is thrilled to be connecting with travelers throughout the world using Google Maps.”

Google Maps provides support for over 40 languages, allowing the thousands of international visitors to the Santa Barbara area to find directions and information in their native language.

“We encourage everyone to check out Santa Barbara AIRBUS on Google Maps,” Onnen said. "We’re excited about what it can do for you!”

— Laura Kath is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Airbus.


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Holiday Closures Planned for City of Santa Barbara Offices

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Most City of Santa Barbara administrative offices will be closed for the holidays from Wednesday, Dec. 24 through Friday, Jan. 2. Offices will reopen Monday, Jan. 5.

Police, fire and harbor patrol emergency services will be fully staffed throughout the office closure.  9-1-1 emergency service will continue to dispatch calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Water, sewer and trash bill payments can be mailed or left in the night drop box at City Hall or paid online. Payments will be processed and credited to accounts throughout the closure period. Cash payments will be accepted at the Cashier's Office at City Hall through Dec. 23 or when offices reopen on Jan. 5.

Residents may call 805.560.7505 to report damage or repairs needed for water or sewer main breaks, water meters, graffiti, streets and sidewalks, traffic signals, street lights, street signs, trees or storm drains. Repair requests will be monitored and resolved in order of priority during the office closure.

Public Works counter staff will not be available to accept or review plans during the closure. Public Works inspection services will be available all week days of the holiday closure with the exception of Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. To schedule a Public Works inspection, please contact Randy Ward at 805.564.5396.

Building & Safety Division counter staff will also not be available to accept or review plans during the holiday closure. Building permit related inspection services will be available all weekdays during the closure except Thursday, Dec. 25, Thursday, Jan. 1 and Friday, Jan. 2. For building permit inspections please use the normal inspection request instructions as outlined in the Inspection Request Handout provided in your building permit packet.

During the holiday closure, fire prevention staff will be on duty except for Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Please contact them at 805.564.5702.

Many facilities, including the library and recreation centers, will remain open during the closure period, but may have special holiday hours. For more detailed information on the facilities and services available during the city’s holiday closure, please visit our website at

— Peggy Polos is a communications specialist for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Laurie Small Appointed Board Chairwoman for Alliance for Living and Dying Well

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Laurie Small
Laurie Small

The Alliance for Living and Dying Well is pleased to announce Laurie Small as its new board chairwoman.

Small has served on the alliance's Board of Directors for five years, representing the interests of long-term care providers.

She has devoted most of her career to the pursuit of quality care and services to the elderly serving in executive leadership positions at two local continuing care retirement communities. In her work with the alliance, Small has provided advice and counsel related to long-term and end-of-life care.

Currently, she is a proprietor of Elder Advocacy Network providing management consulting and individual counseling in the elder care field. Other community service activities include membership in the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara for which she served as president for 2008-09; member of the Cottage Health Systems Bio-Ethics Committee; and board chair of Grace Housing Inc.

The Alliance for Living and Dying Well is a collaboration of Santa Barbara area agencies that seeks a seamless, compassionate continuum of end-of-life care. The alliance fosters learning and healing through discussions of our mortality, and it promotes practical planning, such as advance health-care directives.

For information, please call 805.845.5314 or click here.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing the Alliance for Living and Dying Well.


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John Daly: How to Say ‘No’ to Donation Requests

By | Published on 12/16/2014


If you work in an office, are a parent or just plain have friends, you’ve most often been tapped to “donate to a worthy cause.” Not once, or twice, but multiple times on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but I literally cringe when I have to disappoint someone who asks for my help.

First of all, I am in no way suggesting that you should not give to charity. We all should give when we can to support others. But the operative words are “when we can.” And, if you are like me, when “we can’t” because money is tight or you just aren’t inclined to do so, you feel terrible. You may not always know what to say in those situations.

Because I never like to let anyone down, I read with interest Julie Blais Comeau’s recent article, “Sticky Situations: Saying No to Charity,” in The Huffington Post Canada. She offered the following guidelines that I felt were helpful.

» In times like this, and actually at all times, you should respect yourself and be true to your budget foremost. Set your own limits. Make them annual, seasonal, or monthly, as you wish.

» Define your charitable objectives and have a clear set of giving rules. Pick a charity of choice or make a prioritized list of favorites. This way, when you allocate within your budget, you will have a personal code of giving for the causes that you identify and empathize with. Should your financial situation change, you will be able to refer back to your objectives and adjust accordingly.

» Remember, it is always appropriate to say that you have an annual charity budget and that you have already allocated it to your charity of choice. Businesses do this all the time. Use the same principle for your donations.

» You may add that you would be happy to consider them next year. If you so wish, you may even want to ask to be reminded in advance.

» You can always offer to contribute your talents and your time, in lieu of money.

» Honesty also works. When, and if you ever choose to go that route, in the case of a charity that you had supported for many years and simply cannot afford to or do not wish to donate this year, simply say: “I really believe in your cause and was always proud to support it. Unfortunately, this year I will have to decline but, I do hope to continue to support it next year.”

» Don’ feel guilty. Philanthropic giving is a personal choice, so no guilt should be associated when declining to give.

In addition, if you find that you are being asked at work to the point that you are beginning to feel uncomfortable, and you are going through tough times financially, Comeau suggests you speak to HR and inform them privately of your situation. They may be aware of similar situations within your team and may, as a result, implement a “No solicitation at work” policy.

Remember, you do have a choice to give, to go to a fundraiser or to participate, or not. Just because you are asked does not mean you must say yes. HOWEVER, if you are invited to a fundraiser or an event of any kind that sends an RSVP and you can’t or do not wish to attend, don’t just throw the invite in the trash. RESPOND! Please do not display bad behavior just because you do not want to attend.

The point of these suggestions is to set up honest objectives to accommodate charitable giving while supporting the causes closest to your heart. In that way, you can continue to help others and not feel badly about not being able to always support everyone.

The Art of Saying ‘No’ in Other Situations

(John Demartini 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 or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at 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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Community Honors Loved Ones Through Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care’s Angels Among Us

By | Published on 12/16/2014


On Thursday, individuals and families gathered at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care’s annual Angels Among Us Remembrance Service in Santa Barbara to remember their loved ones.

The service provided 130 participants with a time of reflection and connection that included inspirational music, a candle lighting ceremony, tributes and refreshments.

At the service, attendees were invited to participate in the Gathering of Angels, a beautiful display of angels inscribed with words for dedication and remembrance.

The Gathering of Angels, with over 300 angels, will be on display through Dec. 31 at VNHC’s Community Room in Santa Barbara. Members of the community are welcome to contact Lisa Schott at to set a time to view its unique beauty and read the messages that have been lovingly written on the angels.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.


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Jeff Moehlis: Folk Singer Willie Watson Coming to SOhO Thursday Night

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Former Old Crow Medicine Show band member supporting recent solo album

Just a couple of months ago, former Old Crow Medicine Show band member Willie Watson visited town as part of the amazing Dave Rawlings Machine, and wowed the crowd with his vintage-style singing of the old traditional song "Stewball," plus his guitar, banjo and smokin' fiddle playing.

On Thursday night, Watson returns to Santa Barbara for what promises to be an incredible solo show at SOhO, in support of his acclaimed recent album, Folk Singer Vol. 1. Tickets are available by clicking here. Note that this is an early show, beginning at 6 p.m.

Watson filled Noozhawk in by email about the upcoming concert and more.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming concert?

Willie Watson: It's a one-man show, and I'll sing songs from my latest record, Folk Singer Vol. 1. It'll be sort of an extended version of that, along with some new songs that I've been singing lately and learning. It's a listening evening.

JM: Folk Singer Vol. I has covers of a bunch of old gems, some well-known and some not so much. What, to you, makes a song stand the test of time?

WW: I like all kinds of music, all kinds of genres from lots of eras. I think every era, both current and vintage, all have their strong points and weak points. But for me it doesn't take too much for a song to speak to me. It's pretty simple. It just has to have a good band with a good singer, and it has to be a good song. That's about it.

JM: I enjoyed your recent visit to town with the Dave Rawlings Machine. As a longtime Led Zeppelin fan I have to ask: What's it like sharing the stage with John Paul Jones?

WW: It's amazing! It's something I never thought I'd be doing in my life. Early on in my musical career I started meeting renowned musicians and people I looked up to, but guys like JPJ are kind of the last people on Earth that you'd think a folk musician would get hooked up with. But he's out there playing old time fiddle tunes, he's always around the jam circles, you see him all over the place. It's real cool to finally have a gig with him and be on stage with him, and we play well together as well — the whole band does. And just like every one else in the band he finds his place and fits in real well.

JM: Dave Rawlings produced your solo album, and also a couple of the early Old Crow Medicine Show albums. How has he influenced the direction that your music and your career has taken?

WW: Working with Dave early on with Old Crow, making O.C.M.S. and Big Iron World, that's where I learned what it was like to be in a studio and make a record in a traditional and classic way, and in a real studio. And Dave likes to do things. I guess you could say "old school," when it comes to the recording process. I really liked his stance on how to make records, and where to make records, and when to make records. And from a musical standpoint, he has a great sensibility and a great ear for what things need to sound like and what needs to happen in a song.

JM: Going way back, can you tell us what was going through your mind when you and the rest of Old Crow Medicine Show were playing for Doc Watson out on the street in Boone, N.C., before the band's fortunes took off?

WW: Other than the general shock and awe of seeing a guy like that so randomly, I guess I had a sense at the time that things were moving forward for that band. It seemed to fit right in with everything that was going on at the time. Strangely enough, it just seemed natural in a way.

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future? And is there a Folk Singer Vol. 2 album in the works?

WW: Yes, absolutely there will be a Folk Singer Vol. 2, but for now I'm just still working on the road and touring pretty steady. Just singing these songs and learning some new-old songs and taking it one thing at a time.

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

WW: Just have fun and do things the way you want to do them.

JM: Where are you replying from?

WW: Los Angeles.

— 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, The opinions expressed are his own.


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‘Powerful Tools for Serious Business Owners’ Coaching Series Begins Jan. 9

By | Published on 12/16/2014


The 2015 four-part Maui Mastermind Master Series “Powerful Tools for Serious Business Owners” begins Jan. 9-11 at San Diego’s Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

“Scale Your Business: Breakthrough Ideas to Create and Sustain Growth” is the theme of the small-business coaching workshop, led by Maui Mastermind founder and CEO David Finkel. He is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and co-author, with co-founder Jeff Hoffman, of the new book SCALE: 7 Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back.

More than 100 small-business owners from across the United States are expected to attend the San Diego event. Tuition is $9,997 per couple. Friday check-in is 7:45 a.m. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. start and ends about 5:30 p.m. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 10 and ends approximately 5:30 pm., followed by dinner. The Sunday program begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends about 5:30 p.m. with a group bonfire to follow.

“Systems and Controls: A Concrete Framework to Systematize Your Business and Create a Scalable Foundation” is the theme of the second part of the Master Series, which will be March 28-29 at the Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road in Irvine.

This workshop will deal with why so many business owners get stuck in the “Self-Employment Trap” and are unable to sustainably scale their company. They try to scale their company based purely on growing their team. Maui coaches will discuss how a great team matters, but having the right business systems and intelligent controls is even more important.

Maui Mastermind’s formula for building internal business systems and controls will be discussed. This will ensure the expertise and know-how for successfully running a business is not locked in the head of any one team member, but rather it is contained in the systems and controls of the business. Tuition is $7,500 per couple for each of the three Irvine events.

“The Business Skills Boot Camp: The Seven Most Valuable Business Skills Every Team Member Must Cultivate” is the theme of the third part of the series June 27-28, also at the Hotel Irvine.

“Sales: Lead Generation and Lead Conversion Systems and Tools to Grow Your Bottom Line Profit” is the fourth part of the series planned for Oct. 3-4, also at the Hotel Irvine.

For questions or to RSVP, email or call 888.889.0944 x915. Further program details will be provided at a later date.

— Patty DeDominic represents Maui Mastermind.


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Water Damage Forces Closure of Los Padres Supervisor’s Office

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Los Padres National Forest officials announced Tuesday that the Supervisor’s Office was severely damaged in the storm that hit Goleta last Friday.

Water and mud breached a significant portion of the office, rendering the work space uninhabitable. The office will be closed while contract crews work to repair the extensive damage.

Employees will begin working remotely or from nearby Los Padres stations due to environmental factors. Once a comprehensive assessment of the damage is complete, officials will establish a timeline for reopening the SO and share this information with the public.

For partners, cooperators, volunteers and other members of the public who are working with SO employees, please contact them directly through email or cell phone.

If you are unable to reach an SO employee or have questions related to the office closure, please contact Los Padres public affairs officer Andrew Madsen at 805.895.0841 or

During this closure, members of the public should continue to contact the nearest ranger station for recreation opportunities, closures and other important information.

» Santa Barbara Ranger District — 805.967.3481

» Santa Lucia Ranger District — 805.925.9538

» Ojai Ranger District — 805.646.4348

» Monterey Ranger District — 831.385.5434

» Mount Pinos Ranger District — 661.245.3731

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.


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Letter to the Editor: Miramar Statement from Caruso Affiliated

By | Published on 12/16/2014


Dear friends and supporters,

For the past 18 months we have worked to redesign our Miramar project; the result is a smaller, more efficient project with fewer impacts on the community and consistent with all of the input we've heard from Montecito residents.

Despite a recommendation from county staff to approve the project, a unanimous endorsement from the Montecito Association and overwhelming community support, the Montecito Planning Commission chose to delay approval of our revised Miramar hotel project.

We are obviously very disappointed with the result, in particular with the apparent interest of some commissioners to seek significant changes to the project, which would result in months of further delay. We appreciate the support of so many in the community and are sorry their wishes were not heard.

The result of Monday's meeting has now delayed our planned groundbreaking in June.

We will take some time to consider whether there is still a viable path for building the Miramar hotel.


Rick J. Caruso & the Caruso Affiliated team 


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Tom Donohue: The Right to Risk and Be Rewarded at Heart of Free Enterprise System

By | Published on 12/16/2014


What if failure was never an option in our country?

Thomas Edison might not have brought the world-changing advancement of electricity into our lives — he went through 1,000 failed attempts before achieving a successful prototype of the light bulb. Henry Ford might not have pioneered the assembly line and precipitated one of the most significant industrial transformations in history — his first two attempts to establish the Ford Motor Company collapsed under partner dispute and bankruptcy. Bill Gates might have missed out on important lessons, or even thrown in the towel, before founding Microsoft and helping make computing possible for the masses. His first venture was a flop.

Failure can be a critical ingredient of success. We need to preserve a culture that allows people to try, fall on their faces, get back up and try again. And when their risks pay off, that success should be rewarded.

The right to take a risk and to reap its rewards is at the heart of our free enterprise system. It has driven innovation throughout our history and helped build and sustain a competitive, resilient economy. It creates capital for businesses and consumers alike and produces jobs and opportunities for American workers.

But that right is under threat by some leaders — from the left and the right — who discount, disparage or distort the positive role of business in society today. It’s shocking how little many of our political leaders seem to understand the business system of this country, how capital is formed and multiplied, and how jobs are really created and paychecks are expanded.

Some politicians claim that business doesn’t really create jobs or build things. They promote the falsehood that success is a result of stepping on others and that wealth and profits are inherently evil. They wrongly believe that risk can be eliminated from our system without harming innovation, capital and entrepreneurship.

Successful businesses are a good thing. Businesses that do well almost always do good — like giving folks the dignity of a job, bettering their communities or giving to charities.

America needs successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople. It’s what drives stronger economic growth and puts people to work. It’s what keeps the American Dream alive and energizes our free enterprise system. It’s why we remain the envy of the world.

We need to remind ourselves, Congress, the White House and the American people what made this country great. The United States is a land of opportunity, where all individuals can develop an idea, pursue a dream, succeed beyond their wildest expectations and share opportunities with others.

And if at first they don’t succeed, they can try and try again.

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


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