Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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Life is a Caberet, ‘Ol Chum, So Come to Music Academy of the West’s Caberet Signature Gala

By | Published on 07/28/2015


On an enchanted summer evening under the stars, The Music Academy of the West will celebrate its 2015 Cabaret Signature Gala on Friday, Aug. 7, in the Plaza del Sol Rotunda at The Fess Parker Doubletree Resort.

The evening program will feature stunning musical performances from some of the most talented young musicians in the world as they perform classical, Broadway and pop favorites under the direction of the legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne and the Music Academy’s artistic directors.

Cabaret is an annual fundraiser favorite, and all proceeds benefit the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program.

The evening celebration begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by a delectable dinner among a sea of silver tables twinkling with candlelight and freshly picked ivory garden roses.

At 8 p.m. the performance begins with the Academy’s gifted voice and instrumental fellows performing a musical-revue production led by award winning musical director Gerald Sternbach.

The talented team at Merryl Brown Events is producing what is sure to be another awe-inspiring evening to remember.

Guests can look forward to an exciting live auction with items such as an exquisite private performance and gourmet dinner for 12 with acclaimed pianist and MacArthur Genius Jeremy Denk; A New York musical adventure for 2 with luxurious accommodations for 5 nights at the Four Seasons New York, along with VIP all access at the Lincoln Center including 2 conductor’s box seats for a New York Philharmonic Concert featuring 2015 Global Academy Winners; a winner’s choice, private in-home musical recital by three academy alumni singers curated by Marilyn Horne.

Other dinner packages include a Hahn Hall stage dinner for 12 for a night of storytelling and notable special performances with Marilyn Horne and Martin Katz; and the spirit of 1920’s Paris with accomplished saxophonist Patrick Posey, offering an exclusive salon recital and gourmet 3-course wine pairing dinner for 12, to name a few.

“Cabaret is an extraordinary evening celebrating the exceptional talents of our fellows and faculty of the Music Academy and a wonderful opportunity to support the ongoing success of our scholarship program,” said Scott Reed, President of the Music Academy of the West. “This summer’s Cabaret brings our community together to enjoy a fun evening of world-class entertainment.”

The honorary chair of this year’s Cabaret is Leatrice Luria of Montecito, an Emeritus Director of the Music Academy. 

A longtime supporter of the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program, Mrs. Luria has been pivotal to the Academy’s development in recent years.

Her family has contributed significantly to the Music Academy’s long-range capital improvement campaign, including the lead gift to help fund construction of the Luria Education Center, the Academy’s multifunction educational facility named in honor of her and late husband Eli.

As a Board member, Ms. Luria founded the Music Academy’s innovative Compeer program, which pairs Academy Fellows with donors and other Santa Barbara community members for informal socializing throughout the summer season.

Early corporate sponsors include Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, David Dahl and the Whittier Trust, Frank Schipper Construction Co., Just Folk, Montecito Bank & Trust and PMSM Architects.

Table sponsorships are available starting at $25,000. Single tickets costs $1,000, $500 and $300 each.

For ticket pricing, sponsorship opportunities, and related information please click here, or call 805.695.7917.

About the Music Academy of the West

The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians.

At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists.

Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and fellows receive full scholarships that cover tuition, room and board.

The Academy’s distinguished teaching artists roster has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk and current Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne.

Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists.

In 2014 the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for academy fellows and summer festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians.

The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, nearly half of them free of charge.

Events include performances by faculty, visiting artists and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera.

The 2015 Summer School and Festival takes place from June 15 to August 8 at the Academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

For more information, visit

—Sydney Gardner represents the Music Academy of the West.


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Goleta Valley Art Association Displays New Artwork at August Show

By | Published on 07/28/2015


The Goleta Valley Art Association invites you to visit us at the Goleta Valley Library located at 500 N. Fairview Avenue for the August Art Show.

The August Art Show begins Friday, Aug. 7 and ends Wednesday, Aug. 26 and is located in the Goleta Library Community Events Room.

Juror for the show will be Warner Nienow, who will share his reflections on each work of art on the closing day at 6:15 p.m..

The community is invited to attend.

Over 40 new works of art of watercolor, collage, and oil paintings will be featured.  

Come and see these beautiful creations by many award-winning local artists. 

To purchase paintings call Goleta Valley Art Association at 805.898.9424. 

Please visit our website,, for upcoming events.

Please call the library at 805.964.7878 for hours.

—Colleen Janée​ represents Goleta Valley Art Association.


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Beach-to-Beach Route Announced for Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half Marathon

By | Published on 07/28/2015


The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half Marathon, presented by Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, has announced that its half-marathon course will start on the ocean-front campus of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

With 4,000-plus participants,the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half Marathon is the largest running event on the Central Coast, and it honors veterans and also features a unique beach-to-beach 13.1 mile course ending at “The World’s Most Beautiful Finish Line” on Santa Barbara’s famed waterfront.

The half marathon will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

“For our half-marathon in 2015, we are thrilled to be starting the seventh edition on the UCSB campus. As the runners exit UCSB under Henley Gate, they will get spectacular views of Goleta Beach, the coastline and the Santa Ynez mountain range,” said race director Rusty Snow.

“This will be one of the most beautiful race starts in the world, and we would like to thank UCSB, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce and Caltrans for making this all possible.”

This will also mark the first time a portion of California State Route 217, known as Clarence Ward Memorial Boulevard after the state senator who served Santa Barbara from 1941 to 1955, will be open for runners.

The USA Track & Field-certified 13.1 mile course will start from the UCSB Alumni Association at University Plaza, and go underneath UCSB’s Henley Gate and onto Route 217 before exiting onto Hollister Avenue.

“The new Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half Marathon start on campus means a lot to UCSB, and we are proud to partner with this outstanding community event to promote health and fitness and to showcase the Central Coast’s beauty,” stated Brenda Lear, Director of Gaucho Recreation and Exercise Programs.

After the UCSB start and Route 217 section, runners will head toward the Las Positas Valley before entering the scenic Mesa community overlooking the American Riviera.

The course is downhill for the first 10 miles before a half-mile climb up Cliff Drive. The final three miles descend to the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara’s beautiful Leadbetter Beach Park where the Finish Line Festival awaits runners, family and friends.

To register for or learn more about the half-marathon and event, visit:

About the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half Marathon

The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half Marathon, presented by Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, is the premier and largest running event on California’s scenic Central Coast. The seventh edition features a Marathon, Half Marathon and Elite Performance & Rehabilitation Center Relay as well as a Veterans Final Mile tribute.
For more information, go to, follow us on Twitter @runsbmarathon, Instagram @runsbmarathon and Facebook, and use the hashtag #RunSBMarathon.

—Ryan Lamppa represents The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half Marathon.


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Hancock Receives $1.1 Million to Help First-Generation Students Complete their Education

By | Published on 07/28/2015


A successful program that assists first-generation students at Allan Hancock College will continue for at least another five years after the U.S. Department of Education awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to Allan Hancock College for the TRIO/Student Support Services project, known at the college as the College Achievement Now (CAN) program.

The program helps first-generation students with basic college requirements and provides them motivation to complete their postsecondary education.

“This grant has been instrumental in changing the odds for more than 300 students already served by the project,” said Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D.

“In a community where many high school graduates are not readily accepted into our local state universities, Hancock, and the continued support provided for the CAN program, are essential for our students to succeed and reach their educational and employment goals,” he said.

The newly refunded grant will allow the TRIO-CAN program to serve 156 students each year. The previous federal grant allowed for 140 students annually.

As an open-access community college, Hancock enrolls many economically and educationally challenged students, some of whom are veterans, foster youth, English language learners and/or students with a disability.

TRIO-CAN provides personalized support to help them integrate into the academic and social life of the college.

“Our students develop an academic mindset and come to know they can succeed,” said TRIO-CAN Director Petra Gomez. “Students support and encourage each other to persevere and work through frustrating obstacles.”

TRIO-CAN students receive priority registration, academic and career counseling, mentoring, field trips to four-year universities, free printing and a dedicated space for homework and group study.

“The CAN program has been great,” said Gerardo Atilano, who will transfer to California State University, Long Beach in the fall. “I learned what classes I needed to take and was encouraged to join several clubs, which I did.

"CAN helped me achieve my goal of transferring to a four-year university,” Atilano, who was one of nearly 30 TRIO-CAN students who will transfer to four-year universities in fall 2015, said.

The CAN Center, a space dedicated to TRIO-CAN scholars, provides the support network and environment that allow students to work collaboratively and thrive.

“CAN has taught me about a lot of resources I did not know existed,” said student Adrian Garcia. “It is really helpful to come here and study in groups. The center has become like a second home, and we look at each other like family members.”

Students must apply to the TRIO-CAN program. To be eligible, students are required to be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident and must either be a first-generation college student, meet federal income guidelines or have a verifiable disability.

For more information on the TRIO-CAN program, call 805.922.6966 x3434 or email [email protected]

—Andrew Masuda represents Allan Hancock College.


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Venoco Asking Goleta, Coastal Commission for Emergency Permit to Truck Oil

By | Published on 07/28/2015


Company says it needs to clear out tanks, pipelines in advance of inspections; production would remain shuttered

Venoco Inc. is asking the city of Goleta and the California Coastal Commission for a emergency permits to truck crude oil and other liquids from its Ellwood processing plant.

The request for the interim permit — two tanker trucks per day for 17 days — would allow the company to clear out crude and other liquids from two tanks on its offshore Platform Holly, two tanks at the Ellwood plant in western Goleta, and the associated pipelines, according to a letter signed by Keith Wenel, the company's manager of health, environment and safety.

If approved, the permit would not allow Venoco to restart production on Holly, which has been shut down since shortly after the Plains All American Pipeline failure and oil spill May 19 near Refugio State Beach.

A company spokesman indicated Venoco wants to move out the oil in advance of inspections scheduled for next month, and also is concerned about keeping oil in lines that are designed for constant flow.

The request is to truck out some 5,500 barrels — or 231,000 gallons — that would be taken to the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Pump Station in Santa Maria and the Santa Paula Crimson Truck Rack in Santa Paula.

If those facilities are not available, the oil would be taken to Bakersfield.

Each truck would carry 160 barrels or 6,720 gallons.

The request is being made on an emergency basis, the spokesman said, because the regular process for such permits normally takes 6-7 months.

After the Plains pipeline was shut down following the spill, the southern Santa Barbara County offshore oil and gas operations of Venoco, ExxonMobil and Freeport-McMoRan were stopped, since the platforms had no way to move the oil to refineries. 

ExxonMobil previously had asked Santa Barbara County for permits to truck oil from its processing facility in Las Flores Canyon. 

That request, which would have allowed ExxonMobil to restart its local production, was denied.

A letter from the California State Lands Commission, signed by Executive Direcot Jennifer Lucchesi, supports Venoco's request, noting that removing the oil "will reduce the risk and magnitude of any potential spill while the platform and (Ellwood processing facility) are temporarily shut down."

She also noted that removing the oil will facilitate the Lands Commission's staff's inspection of Venoco facility.

Valerie Kushnerov, a city of Goleta spokeswoman, said that the city would have a statement on the request later on Tuesday. 

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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Providence Adds Three Star Players to Girls Volleyball Coaching Roster

By | Published on 07/28/2015


Steve Stokes, Providence athletic director, is pleased to announce that the Santa Barbara Christian School has hired three new girls volleyball coaches.

“In our coaching search, we focused on finding the right group of people to build a great volleyball program here at Providence. We have found that dynamic group,” Stokes says, announcing the appointments of head coach David Goss, head junior varsity coach Luke Sunukjian and assistant coach Madison Serrano.

“Beyond the coaching pedigrees our staff brings to the table, they are all incredible leaders for our student-athletes,” he says. 

Dave Goss, Head Girls Volleyball Coach

Dave Goss joins the Patriots as head girls volleyball coach. Goss was an All-Channel League volleyball player at San Marcos High School under legendary coach Jon Lee.

He was a scholarship athlete and two-time First Team All-American at Stanford University.

While playing for the Cardinal, Goss set the NCAA record for most kills in one match (55) in a 1992 showdown against UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. 

Dave Goss

After college, Goss continued his playing career as a professional with Team Nossa Caixa in Suzano, Brazil and in a seven-month stint with the US National Men’s Team.

Goss began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Stanford in 1994. He went on to launch the “Dave Goss Beach Volleyball Camps” in Redondo Beach in 1996, running them through 2000.

During those five years, Goss served as head boys volleyball coach and assistant girls volleyball coach at West Torrance High School.

The team competed in the prestigious Ocean and Bay Leagues, and Goss led the boys to their first CIF playoff victory in over ten years in his second year at the helm of the program.

Today, Goss pastors Light and Life Goleta, a Free Methodist church serving Isla Vista, launched in 2008 by himself and his wife of 15 years, Tracey (TJ Buckner) Goss.

They are the parents of three boys, Noah (13), Caleb (11) and Micah (9)—all Providence students.

Athleticism runs in the family; Tracey Goss played collegiate volleyball at Texas Tech and Cal State Dominguez Hills. Her sister, Annett Davis, was a National Champion and All-American at UCLA and Olympian in 2000.

Goss’s father-in-law, Cleveland Buckner, was a professional basketball player for the New York Knicks.

Luke Sunukjian

Stokes welcomes Goss to the Patriots coaching roster and foresees the program's growth under his lead.

“It is an exciting time in school history, with an already strong girls volleyball program developed under retiring coach Laura Newton, who led Providence to it's best performance ever last season. With Dave Goss and his assistant coaches on board, we are confident the program will continue its ascent. Players will flock to join this fun, champion-building program.”

Luke Sunukjian, Head JV Girls Volleyball Coach

Luke Sunukjian was raised in Santa Barbara and grew to love playing volleyball while at San Marcos High School.

He played on an elite-level club team while studying business and economics at Westmont.

After graduating, Sunukjian worked as personal trainer at 24-Hour Fitness in Huntington Beach before turning to a career teaching math and coaching volleyball.

After working at Traduce Hills High School in Washington, D.C. and completing a masters degree in mathematics from the George Washington University, Sunukjian and his family (wife Melanie and four children) moved back to Santa Barbara in 2011.

He currently teaches math at San Marcos HS and has coached the Royals freshman boys volleyball team the past four years.

“It is my desire to develop players love for volleyball through team building, learning skill and strategy, and competing with intensity and humility,” Sunukjian says. “I am excited to work with Dave Goss to create an environment where our players will learn to work hard, be good teammates and thrive in competition.”

Madison Serrano, Assistant Girls Volleyball Coach

Madison Serrano comes to Providence after playing for Westmont the past four years. She graduated this past spring with a degree in political science.

Madison Serrano

She was the Westmont team captain, a two-time All-GSAC player, an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention, and she received the Cliff Hamlow Character Award.

Serrano left her mark on the Westmont women's program: she is fifth all-time in career kills, fourth all-time in aces, and fourth all-time in digs.

A decorated high school player for Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, 

Serrano was also president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapters in high school and college, where she was instrumental in bringing FCA to Westmont. 

Serrano began her coaching career at FCA summer volleyball camps.

“It is there I was able to develop players not just on the court, but also to create a spiritual experience,” she says. “I look forward to doing the same at Providence.”

Providence is a member of the CIF. The school serves 275 students, preschool through high school.

—Steve Stokes is the athletic director at Providence


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JDRF Supporters in Santa Barbara to Join One Walk for Type 1 Diabetes Research

By | Published on 07/28/2015


More than 1,000 advocates representing local businesses, families, schools and other organizations are expected to participate in the JDRF One Walk in Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, at Leadbetter Beach.

The event is the JDRF Central Coast Council’s annual One Walk, and is one of more than 200 community walks nationwide, which bring together hundreds of thousands of people each year who share JDRF’s mission to create a world without Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

The chapter has set a fundraising goal of more than $173,000, which will help fund critically needed T1D research.

“Whether you have type 1 diabetes, know someone who does or want to simply participate in an event that makes a huge impact on so many lives, JDRF welcomes you to our team,” said Genny Bolton, local development manager.

“Thanks to the incredible supporters of the JDRF One Walk, the community of Santa Barbara, and supporters like Dr. Steve Johnson of Johnson Family Dental, JDRF is able to direct even more funding toward important type 1 diabetes research for the millions of people with this serious disease," Bolton said. "We are confident that together, we will reach our fundraising goal and ultimately be a part of turning type 1 into type none.”

The walk is expected to draw an enthusiastic crowd of all ages from the tri-counties area, motivated to support a great cause while enjoying an event that includes activities for kids, DJ TomKat and recognition of top fundraising  teams.

On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. on Oct. 10. The entire walk will be approximately 3 miles long, starting at Leadbetter beach and looping back.  

JDRF One Walk is the most powerful peer-to-peer fundraising program in the world for T1D, raising over $75 million annually.

Since 1992, the event has raised more than $1 billion for life-changing T1D research — research that has led to breakthrough discoveries, many of which have already moved into clinical trials and real-world testing.

Although there has been considerable progress, there is plenty more we have yet to accomplish.

As JDRF’s flagship fundraising event and the largest T1D event in the world, JDRF One Walk provides the perfect opportunity to get more involved in your local JDRF community and show your commitment to creating a world without T1D.

“I’m someone who’s lived many decades with the ever-changing nature of type 1 diabetes,” said Sydney Bush, RN certified diabetes educator, "and I’m inspired by all those facing this challenging condition with determination and courage.  I’m honored to be part of JDRF's efforts to rid the world of this disease."

JDRF gratefully acknowledges its national corporate partners who support its efforts to create a world without T1D.

The JDRF’s Elite Partners include Advance Auto Parts, Ford Motor Company, Marshalls and Walgreens. Local corporate partners for the Central Coast Council’s walk include Dr. Steve Johnson of Johnson Family Dental

About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that impacts millions of people around the world.

The disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone essential to turning food into energy. Without insulin, glucose from food stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to all of the body’s organ systems.

T1D strikes both children and adults suddenly and is unrelated to diet or lifestyle.

It requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing and lifelong dependence on injected insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D.

JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, the regulatory influence and a working plan to better treat, prevent and eventually cure T1D.

As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $568 million in scientific research in 17 countries.

For more information, please visit

—Genny Bolton represents JDRF.


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Cynder Sinclair: Using a Financial Dashboard Helps Your Nonprofit Board Focus on Essentials

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Financial oversight is one of the most critical responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors, yet many boards fall short of optimum performance in this area.

Some aren’t sure where to start. Many don’t know how to gauge the financial health of their organization. Most are afraid that asking questions like “What reports should we be looking at?” or “What questions should I be asking?” will reveal their lack of understanding. So they keep quiet and pretend to understand.

Even if your organization produces monthly financial reports, understanding the implications of the data can be illusive for the very people who are charged with oversight.

Creating a financial dashboard — reports that illustrate key pieces of data, often in a graphical format — can focus attention on the vital signs of a nonprofit’s fiscal well-being.

A recent Forbes magazine article gives some excellent pointers on how to develop a financial dashboard and how to use it for optimum decision-making.

Graphs and visuals encourage storytelling, a sign of active interaction with the numbers.

Thoughtful financial analysis requires as many words as numbers. We encourage organizations to highlight meaningful variances — significant departures from budget — in financial reports.

Variance analysis goes beyond identifying financial trends. A nonprofit’s management team needs to be able to explain variances to the board and other stakeholders and determine appropriate action.

Seeing the numbers visualized prompts the question: “Why did we bring in less revenue than projected this quarter?” A practical conversation ensues: “Our income is actually highly seasonal. Should our revenue budget be modified to reflect this?”

Dashboards are effective tools for ensuring shared financial comprehension and engagement among board members.

Nonprofit boards are often a motley crew of professionals not accustomed to being at the same table: they may range from private-sector finance heavyweights to social-sector types. Given the varied governance responsibilities of a nonprofit board, a healthy tension among perspectives is inevitable, but it can be a tricky dynamic to manage.

Dashboards create a common language between board members, allowing those inclined to pore over the financials to communicate with those less driven by financial data.

Dashboards also convey to the board the level of information that is expected — and appropriate — for them to be familiar with.

The process of developing a dashboard can help define measures of success.

Leaders of dynamic nonprofit organizations move fast. When faced with time-sensitive decisions — about things like funding, program changes and partnerships — it helps to have a shared understanding of the organization’s priorities and measures of success.

By coming together to design a concise reporting tool, organizational leaders are forced to make choices — simply because you can’t pay attention to everything at the same time.

If any of the above sounds familiar, then a dashboard may be a useful tool for your organization. Developing the dashboard report in a thoughtful and inclusive way is essential, in order for the tool to be accepted and used by decision-makers across the organization.

Here are a few pointers to help get you started:

Create a diverse working group to identify what matters to your organization.

One of my clients, a growing youth-services organization, assembled a dashboard project team comprised of leaders from finance, development and programs. The team brainstormed valuable metrics from their respective functional areas to track over time.

This wish list was progressively brought into focus. By the end, the group had settled on a dozen metrics that they agreed the organization needed to pay attention to in order to succeed.

While this short list of measures will vary by organization, here are a few standard areas that we recommend tracking:

» Operating results for the organization and major programs

» Strength of balance sheet measures, particularly liquidity

» Fundraising performance

» Program outcomes tied to your theory of change.

Measure performance against a desired target. 

Displaying targets alongside actual performance on a graph helps tell an interesting story about different parts of an organization: revenues, expenses, program results. Setting targets is an exercise informed by historical data and gut instincts.

A good place to start is the current fiscal year’s operating budget. As you reforecast and adjust your budget, update your dashboard’s targets accordingly.

Pilot the dashboard for a set time, then re-evaluate.

Dashboards are only as useful as their applications. It can be tempting to stay in perpetual R&D mode to arrive at the perfect set of metrics, but you miss out on valuable user feedback.

Another data-savvy client, a food justice organization, committed to piloting their dashboard for a full year. They identified strategic questions for each graph to guide the conversation.

For example: Do year-to-date trends in budget-versus-actual performance align with seasonality and timing expectations? How does the number of people served relate to impact goals for each program area?

Build a dashboard that you can maintain.

There are many options for building dashboard reports: ranging from Microsoft Excel to systems like Intacct or Salesforce. An automated dashboard on a specialized software platform may seem ideal, but you can develop perfectly functional dashboard reports in Excel.

Rather than over-engineering your dashboard, prioritize a tool that will be painless for you to update on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Click here for a sample dashboard from CompassPoint as a good example of how relatively simple dashboards can be highly effective decision-making tools.

Over the past 10 years, dashboards have emerged in nonprofit parlance as a “best practice” for financial management. They are not a fix-all, but if financial reporting feels like an administrative, rote exercise at your organization, then a dashboard may be just the thing to energize internal discussions around finances.

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


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Suspect Arrested in Domestic-Violence Incident In Santa Maria

By | Published on 07/27/2015


A Santa Maria Police Department K-9 helped sniff out a domestic-violence suspect hiding inside a residence Monday afternoon. 

Officers responded at about 4 p.m. to the 200 block of South Western Avenue for an incident involving a girl being struck and threatened by a man inside a residence on that block, police Sgt. Daniel Rios said. 

The 16-year-old victim and two other people were removed from the residence and officers used a K-9 to find the suspect hiding inside, police said. 

Lucio Olivero-Velasquez, 19, received a bite wound from the K-9 as he was taken into custody and was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, police said.

Velasquez was later booked on charges of domestic violence, brandishing a knife, kidnapping, resisting arrest, and child endangerment.

The woman suffered a minor injury in the altercation, Rios said.

As a precaution, officers closed at least one street in the area while they handled the incident.

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


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Dos Pueblos Engineering Seniors Reschedule Classes Following End of Robotics Program

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Staffing changes and the move toward mechatronics led to the recent decision retiring FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1717

It turns out the decision to retire Dos Pueblos High School’s robotics team was made on short notice because two longtime teachers have left the program, leaving no one qualified to run the world-famous Team 1717 in the coming school year.

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy sent a letter to families and supporters of the program in late June, announcing that the FIRST Robotics Competition senior project would be permanently replaced by the new mechatronics program, which debuted last year in a so-called Carousel of Physics project.  

The move, announced a few weeks after the school year ended, angered and frustrated students, who have been looking forward to competing in a D’Penguineers Team 1717 uniform since elementary school.

It’s a myth that most students in the DPEA get the Team 1717 experience, since the competition team can really only serve 12-15 seniors and the incoming class will have about 100 students, according to the academy.

There were steady complaints from parents and students about the lack of opportunities for all students to be consistently engaged in the project, academy staff said in a recent letter to families.

Academy Director Amir Abo-Shaeer and other staff explained that the move to mechatronics will engage every single student in a unified senior project.

A project that only serves a fraction of students would be “educational malpractice,” they wrote.

“Simply put, the DPEA can no longer offer, endorse, or support a program that provides the majority of student participants with an educational experience that is a step backwards from their first three years of participation in the DPEA.”

In mechatronics, students design, prototype, test, manufacture and assemble their engineering projects in small teams, and put each piece together for a large-scale sculpture.

Academy leaders said teaching both the mechatronics project and the robotics program last year — and letting students decide which one to take — caused staff and volunteer burnout, followed by two longtime staff members leaving: Machine shop teacher and manufacturing instructor Steffen Hausler and robotics instructor Sam Ridgeway, who himself graduated from the program in 2008.

Robotics students show off a past FIRST competition robot in the Elings Center for Engineering Education in 2013. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk file photo)

Both men put in a lot of volunteer time in addition to their teaching schedules, particularly during the FIRST competition season, academy leaders said. With Abo-Shaeer leading the mechatronics courses, that leaves no one qualified to run robotics.

Students take four years of classes, including engineering and physics courses, and the senior capstone project was creating a robot for the FIRST Robotics Competition, each one designed to do a specific task such as throwing basketballs into a net and collecting/throwing discs.

The school’s team has competed since 2006, and its success — and “new cool” immortalized in a book of the same name — boosted enrollment numbers for the high school’s budding engineering program.

It started with 32 students per grade, and that skyrocketed to about 100 students per grade after the Elings Center for Engineering Education was built in 2011.

Incoming seniors and program mentors aired their frustrations with the school district board after they were notified of the change, but the decision by the school is final.

There are no more public meetings planned, and students are meeting with school counselor Scott Guttentag to reschedule their classes as needed, Abo-Shaeer said in an email.

"Robotics and Mechatronics have always required students to take classes outside of their regular 6-period school day,” he said. “The primary difference this year is that the DPEA is shifting away from offering classes during evenings and weekends. Classes are being offered from 3-5 p.m. on weekday afternoons instead."

There has been talk of attempting to form a community-based robotics team, given the local interest, but Dos Pueblos Principal Shawn Carey said she hasn’t heard of anything specific.

If a team did form, it would have to register with FIRST for a new number since 1717 is now retired — like a baseball jersey number.

“The DPEA is not planning to be involved with a robotics team in any capacity,” Abo-Shaeer said. “All DPEA resources are going to be utilized to support the project-based curriculum for the 400 students enrolled in the program.”  

Congresswoman Lois Capps, seen here on a 2013 tour, was shown around the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy by Director Amir Abo-Shaeer, who started the program in 2002. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk file photo)

About 30 students signed up for robotics next year, and those incoming seniors have to reschedule classes to fit in the mechatronics courses, said assistant principal Bill Woodard, who handles the school’s master schedule.

Some students can fit in the courses in their six-period day, while others are going to take the afterschool option, he said.

“Most of these kids, to be honest, none of them are impacted by graduation, they have plenty of units to graduate and get (college prerequisite) A-G requirements – it was just wanting to do it all,” Woodard said.

There were concerns that students wouldn’t be able to participate in sports or graduate because of the schedule change, but that hasn’t happened, Woodard said.

However, on Tuesday, the DPEA notified incoming seniors that only two of the three senior courses would be mandatory (advanced engineering physics and mechatronics 1), to support students who want to take mechatronics while still participating in sports, theater or other desired courses. 

“One reason the DPEA is shifting away from night classes is to improve work-life balance for staff and students. With that in mind, we have amended the class scheduling options available to you for this year’s senior capstone project,” the letter said. 

The decision to retire Team 1717 is supported by the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the County Office of Education, and Dos Pueblos’s administration.

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy’s charitable foundation was informed after the decision was made, but before letters went out to families.

“While like most, we were surprised and saddened at the news, the foundation members understand that DPEA under the leadership of Mr. Abo-Shaeer is continually evolving to offer the best possible educational experience for each and every student in the academy,” foundation board member Susan Deacon said in an email.

In a recent communication with the community, foundation leaders thanked volunteers, mentors and donors for contributing to the academy over the years, saying, “Our organization is a model for the seamless integration of private philanthropy and public institution for the greater benefit of the community. We look forward to even broader outreach and communication as the program builds and expands on its successes and achievements.”

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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Western Goleta Residents Meet with Power Company Over Ellwood Plant’s Noise, Emissions Concerns

By | Published on 07/27/2015


The Hideaway residential development was built near the plant, which company officials say will be getting refurbished and new battery storage to cut down on operations

Some residents in a recently-built housing development in Western Goleta say they're concerned about a nearby power plant that they say has been busier than usual.

About 25 residents from The Hideaway, a 101-unit development located at the 7900 block of Hollister Avenue, met with officials from a nearby power plant that sits on the east side of Las Armas Road, just south of the railroad tracks.

The plant, owned by NRG Energy, is known as the Ellwood Unit and serves as a "peaker plant," meaning it kicks on when there is a peak need on the electrical power grid. 

The plant would also be used in an emergency situation to keep electricity going at hospitals and other key locations if the power lines were disrupted for some reason.

Resident Robert Miller moved to the development in March 2014, and his unit is about 200 feet from the plant.

The existing power plant has been at the site for decades and predates the homes, and Miller said that residents were told that the plant would operate an estimated one hour per week. 

The plant is limited by permit from the Air Pollution Control District to operate 400 hours a year.

But Miller and other residents say that in the last few months, the plant has been operating many days a week and sometimes for several hours at a time.

Noise has also been an issue.

"If it was only going to operate an hour a week, the concerns wouldn't be as great," Miller said. "It sounds like a freight train coming down the tracks."

The company that owns the plant reached out to Miller and offered to meet with neighbors and about two dozen people attended a meeting last week with a handful of NRG officials, who allowed residents to submit questions ahead of time.

"It was very helpful," Miller said.

NRG Spokesman David Knox told Noozhawk that the company "really did appreciate the neighbors being there."

The plant produces about 54 megawatts of power, which means that 43,000 homes can be powered at that time. 

Power demand starts building in the morning as people wake up and at about five or six p.m., renewable power generation starts falling off, he said.

"That's when you see the greatest need for that dispatchable power," he said, which could be why people are noticing the plant at night.

Anne Wells, planner for the City of Goleta, also stopped by the neighborhood meeting to hear the presentation.

She said the NRG has met with city staff about their plans to refurbishment the plant  as well as install a storage battery," but we're awaiting an application."

Knox said no changes are planned for the plant during the refurbishment process, and that it will be "an overhaul of the units to get them in top notch shape."

NRG Energy is planning refurbishments and battery storage for its Ellwood Generating Station on Las Armas Road. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

The battery project has "great potential," he said, adding that a battery will be installed on the property to help store solar and wind power.

"Electricity is the one thing we sell as a nation that we can't store," he said.

Miller has also organized a group of neighbors called the Westside Goleta Coalition, which is also opposed to plans for a California Highway Patrol facility that would sit to the east of the Hideaway development.

"It just doesn't fit here," he said.

With the power plant, neighbors are also concerned about electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, from the power lines, as well as the emissions that come from two turbines at the plant that run on natural gas.

Miller said an environmental impact report on the Hideaway involved some testing and learned that certain amounts of electromagnetic frequency "arguably presented some risk."

The neighbors talked about doing their own testing, but ran into a challenged because the plant operates at unpredictable hours.

The neighbors also say there's "an occasional gas smell," Miller said, which they've reported to the Southern California Gas Company.

Staff couldn't say exactly why the plant was operating more frequently because it is operated by a separate entity that manages the electrical grid. The company will be looking at the EMF issue and if something can be done to diminish the sound coming from the engines, Knox said. 

"We're going to see if we can make them a bit quieter," 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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Family Mourns Death of 7-Year-Old Gwendolyn Strong

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Her parents started a foundation in her name to fund research for a cure for spinal muscular atrophy

Gwendolyn Strong, 7, of Santa Barbara died over the weekend, with her parents at her side, after living her whole life with a disease called spinal muscular atrophy. (Contributed photo)

Gwendolyn Strong, the 7-year-old Santa Barbara girl who was the inspiration behind the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, died over the weekend, and her family is grieving her loss.

Strong was born with a disease called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, and her parents, Bill and Victoria Strong, started a foundation after she was born to reach out to other families of children with SMA and help fund research for a cure.

One in every 40 people carry the gene, and the group has also been working to raise awareness about prenatal genetic screening.

Noozhawk first wrote about Gwendolyn and the Strong family in 2008, when Gwendolyn was just 10 months old and Bill and Victoria had begun gathering signatures for congressional action for funding for SMA research.

Strong died in the early morning hours on Saturday, with her parents by her side.

"We're missing Gwendolyn, but at peace with her passing," Bill Strong told Noozhawk Monday in an email. "She was an incredible little girl loved by many."

Victoria wrote in a moving blog post that the family feels fortunate to have had Gwendolyn in their lives for almost eight years.

"We are filled with gratitude for that time. For all the many memories that we know will now carry us through," she said.

Victoria wrote that the Gwendolyn had been struggling in the last month, but they had thought she would be able to recover, and chronicled some of the special times they had been able to spend as a family, including Gwendolyn swimming with her dad while she wore a mermaid tail and going to Disneyland together.

Gwendolyn began having fevers, however, and the family noticed that the young girl was not herself, even though tests and x-rays showed that she wasn't sick.

The family detailed Gwendolyn's last moments on their blog and wrote about how they went into her room and comforted her.

"We told her it was okay to let go," Victoria wrote. "That we will always love her. Her gaze softened. And we felt a peacefulness run through her.  We talked to her the whole time and told her we will always be proud of her. We talked to her about all the special people who were waiting for her and ready to dance. I sang to her and Bill talked to her softly. We held her hands and rubbed her hair. And reminded her what an amazing gift she has always been.

"She was so incredibly calm. She never struggled.We hugged her and kissed her and held her and talked to her until we heard her heart stop as she slipped peacefully out of this world."

Strong told Noozhawk that the family will be holding a public celebration of Gwendolyn's life on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. The event will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at 1500 State Street in Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting tax-deductible donations be made to the Gwendolyn Strong Memorial Fund through the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. 

"We'll be doing something very special to honor her life," Strong said.

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


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Santa Barbara’s Cabrillo Bridge Replacement Project May Continue Into 2017

By | Published on 07/27/2015


City planners expect major work to be completed by the end of 2016 but utility work could continue longer and keep impacting traffic near Stearns Wharf

Construction of the Cabrillo Bridge replacement project near Stearns Wharf should be complete by December 2016 — right on schedule — but Santa Barbara planners say some work could continue into 2017.

Pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles are adjusting to delays and lane closures at the busy intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and State Street on the waterfront, where crews are working to keep one lane open in either direction, as they have since construction began in fall 2014.

City planners recently offered members of the media a tour and a construction update, explaining that the $26 million bridge project is in the second of three phases.

Work this year is focused on the mountain side of Cabrillo Boulevard Bridge over Mission Creek — which was originally built in 1913 — but that will change in early 2016, when work shifts south to the beach side of State Street, according to Kirsten Ayars of Ayars & Associates marketing firm.

After Labor Day, locals and visitors will see a new combined pedestrian and bike pathway built adjacent to the current sidewalk across Mission Creek.

Supports for the 10-foot wide walkway are already in place, along with a temporary walkway, because the existing beachside bridge will be removed in stage three.

“The goal is to keep the businesses open and tourists in the area,” Ayars said, noting some 6,000 pedestrians use the walkway daily.

One nearby business on Helena Avenue, The Mermaid's Chest antique shop, has already closed due to construction, according to its owner.

As a courtesy, construction crews have been using push and turn supports instead of loudly hammering them into the soil, said Adam Hendel, city supervising engineer for the project.

Work will be halted during the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade next month, and the barriers will be pulled back.

Construction crews will build a new pedestrian walkway near Stearns Wharf, which will temporarily replace a highly traveled path on State Street when Cabrillo Bridge work moves into its third and final stage in 2016. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Hendel said the new bridge will be 9 feet longer and will meet all structural and earthquake safety guidelines while increasing creek water flow, improving sidewalks and creating habitat areas for steelhead trout and tidewater goby species. 

Construction could continue into 2017, he said, since utility lines will need to be moved back.

Traffic has become even more of a headache on Lower State Street due to several simultaneous construction projects, including La Entrada de Santa Barbara hotel and retail project, which should finish around the same time as the bridge project, chief building official Andrew Stuffler said.

Sonos should complete building renovations at Mason Street and Helena Avenue in a month or so, and construction is underway at the children’s museum on State Street, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.

The city is continuing to monitor the tight parking situation related to the bridge project, which is funded mostly by a federal grant from the Highway Bridge Program and the City Streets Capital Fund.

Stuffler said Entrada construction crew members park in a lot at Anacapa and Mason streets, and the project itself will add even more parking when it’s done.

“I think the big wild card right now is the El Niño later this year,” Stuffler said of keeping construction on track despite rain this winter.

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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Wardens Monitor Bear As It Leaves Lompoc Neighborhood On Its Own

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Department of Fish and Wildlife officials keep an eye on the black bear sighted in the La Purisima Highlands area as it wanders into a wooded area

A black bear who visited a Lompoc neighborhood ended up leaving on his own as wardens watched the departure since the animal didn’t act aggressively or display health problems.

“Really, all we did last night is monitor the bear’s movement and try to assess its health condition,” said Jamie Dostal, a warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Wardens were called after the bear was spotted in the La Purisima Highlands neighborhood Sunday night. 

“At this point, we’re hoping he’s moved back to where he was living before,” Dostal added Monday.

Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh noted the sighting Sunday night on Twitter, saying it answered the question of whether Lompoc has bears.

“So the answer is, ‘yes’ there are bears in Lompoc,” Walsh said via his Twitter account. He also posted a photo showing the animal from afar.

Dostal estimated the lone adult black bear weighed between 150 and 200 pounds. Since responding wardens couldn’t get closer to the animal, they don’t know if it was male or female.

“It appeared to be healthy,” Dostal said. “There didn’t appear to be any injuries.”

Wardens watched as the bear left the neighborhood, worried it might head toward busy Highway 1 where it could be struck by a car.

However, the animal moved behind the old drive-in theater and into the riverbed, heading upstream toward Highway 246.

They were concerned the animal might veer back toward the more populated area of the city, but were hopeful a thick woody area would serve as a barrier to keep the bear in a remote location.

Wardens prefer to take a hands-off approach in bear incidents, Dostal said, since tranquilizing the animal and relocating it can lead to other problems.

In his 20 years on the job, Dostal said he recalls just one other bear incident in Lompoc, noting they are more common in Santa Ynez Valley, around Santa Barbara and even near Santa Maria.

“Lompoc is kind of a rare area to have a bear appear,” Dostal said.

It’s difficult to say if the bear was pushed toward populated areas in search of water, Dostal added.

“That’s definitely a possibility that it was drought related,” he added.

To avoid attracting wild animals, Dostal recommended residents should remove any possible water sources or food sources. Pets should be locked up overnight since wild animals are more active in evening and near dawn.

“We just want people to be aware we do have wildlife like that in the county,” Dostal said. “People don't have to be paranoid, but they should be alert.”

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 Creates Real-Time Downtown Parking Availability App On City Website

By | Published on 07/27/2015


The City of Santa Barbara Transportation Division of the Public Works Department has recently developed a Real-Time Parking web application that provides up to date parking availability for all of the Downtown Parking lot locations.

The Real-Time Parking web application is accessible through all internet connected devices, either using your home computer, tablet, or a friendly mobile version if you’re on the go using your smart phone.

Updated every 15 seconds, the public can now view how many spaces are currently available in the parking lot nearest to their destination.

For visitors and shoppers not familiar with downtown Santa Barbara, the Real-Time Parking interactive map will sync with their phone’s GPS to provide turn-by-turn driving directions to the parking lot of their choice.

Whether you’re a local making your way downtown for Fiesta, or a tourist visiting for the weekend, the Downtown Parking Program now has made it even easier to find the parking lot that best suits your destination.

The web application can be viewed here and at: 

— Justin Berman is parking coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Deputies Searching for Armed-Robbery Suspect in Isla Vista

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Sheriff’s deputies were searching Monday afternoon for the suspect in an armed robbery in Isla Vista.

The incident occurred at about 1 p.m. at an apartment in the 6600 block of Picasso Road, according to Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

"Two women at the apartment reported that a male suspect, who they thought may be armed, stepped into the residence and demanded a specific amount of money," Hoover said. "The women ran out of the residence and the suspect did as well.

"The suspect fled, and the women chased him about a block before they lost sight of him."

The suspect reportedly was last seen going over a fence northbound toward Abrego Road.

In addition to ground units, a sheriff’s helicopter was involved in the search, but they were unable to locate the suspect, Hoover said.

The suspect was described as light-skinned with green eyes, approximately 20 years old, wearing dark shorts, Hoover said, adding that he was Spanish-speaking..

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Isla Vista Foot Patrol at 805.681.4179.

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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Ron Fink: Can Police Prevent Violence Like Chattanooga Shootings?

By | Published on 07/27/2015


The recent killing of four unarmed Marines and one Navy reservist by an Islamic radical in Chattanooga, Tenn., has raised many questions.

Why aren’t military “soft targets” — such as armories, reserve and National Guard terminals and recruiting centers — better protected from avowed enemies? How come this guy wasn’t identified sooner and stopped from his cowardly act? And, is this representative of a much larger problem?

Let’s tackle the protection of soft targets first. The media have focused on a directive put in place by the first President George Bush that restricts the military, with the exception of security (police) forces, from carrying weapons on military installations.

But when I was in the military (1960-1980), similar restrictions had been in place for decades at every post I was assigned to — so, this isn’t a new policy.

Blaming modern politicians doesn’t really pass the smell test.

During the 1970s and in the years following, terrorist attacks were routinely waged against military installations, killing unarmed soldiers, sailors and airmen. The list of attacks, maiming injuries and deaths is overwhelming when considered in its totality.

Should the military be armed while service members are in their garrisons? Not arming trained and properly screened military members is a huge error in judgment, considering the attack by another Islamic militant a couple of years ago at Fort Hood, Texas. It’s a harsh world today and an unarmed military is vulnerable to soft target attacks.

So what’s the most effective way to protect these soft targets quickly and efficiently? They’re located in communities all over the country.

As a short-term fix, the Defense Department could immediately fund local law enforcement agencies and task them with providing armed security when armed military security forces are not on duty. Local agencies know who their problem people are, they’re trained to identify threatening behavior and they could react quickly to any threat.

Then they could move to the larger issue of developing policies to allow selected military members to carry firearms while not in combat.

How come the Chattanooga killer wasn’t identified and the threat removed before he acted? Well, that’s a complex issue with many explanations.  You’ll recall that Congress recently enacted legislation prohibiting “spying” on users of electronic communications unless the agencies involved petitioned a court for a warrant. This hampered the ability to ferret out people like the guy in Tennessee.

While the Islamic State (ISIS) is a major issue on the national front, and it appears to be using electronic media to recruit and empower ignorant followers in sufficient numbers to cause us to worry, they are only the tip of the iceberg. This group has no soul and has killed hundreds of thousands of people in several countries in the name of some sort of tortured satanic following.

You have to wonder about the sanity of a terrorist group and their followers who believe that committing these atrocities will lead them to the Promised Land. These are crimes that all legitimate religious groups condemn in their teachings.

ISIS must be dealt with; however, our current government doesn’t appear to want to admit there is even a problem.

Some commentators advocate a total eradication of ISIS — much easier said than done. Logistically and strategically, it may be impossible to eliminate every radical extremist from the face of the earth because, as one group is stopped, two more will pop up, and they may be much more sinister.

Are the killings in Chattanooga representative of a much larger problem in the United States? While this coward was able to kill five innocent military personnel, scores of people are being murdered every day in domestic disputes, gang wars, drive-by shootings and by errant crossfire. Five more people were killed in Louisiana just last week.

Many cities, particularly those governed by liberal politicians, such as Baltimore and New York, have issued orders to their police officers to stop proactive law enforcement practices, such as questioning known criminals they spot on the street. These policies have caused a dramatic increase in, not only street crimes like dope dealing, armed robbery and burglaries, but also in assaults and murders.

By not allowing police officers to take positive actions to protect innocent citizens, these politicians have aided criminals and allowed them to flourish.

I would agree that separating legitimate crime detection from simple snooping for either political or personal reasons is hard to define from a policy perspective. We have seen many abuses in the last few years simply because the folks being targeted held a different political view than those in power.

But to just give up and allow crooks to roam freely isn’t an option, is it?

We also have seen successes as many terrorist plots have been stopped by aggressive law enforcement efforts. So, there has to be a balance that we can all agree on, and that will both prevent situations that lead to murders and protect the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.

Can police prevent shootings like the one in Chattanooga? They could, but it will take a strong political will to make it happen.

In the meantime, we will continue to experience out-of-control crime and murder rates while terrorist groups continue attacking the United States.

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


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Online Support System for Sexual-Violence Survivors Launches in Tri-County Region

By | Published on 07/27/2015


In Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Maria counties, Global Change Project Inc., a Santa Barbara-based global 501(c)(3) organization, is piloting a technological solution to the most common obstacles faced in addressing sexual violence—namely survivors staying silent about their victimization and the resulting lack of data needed to solve this problem that plagues our communities.

Whether victims of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, sex trafficking or forced prostitution, an estimated 87 percent of victims never report or get needed recovery support.

Based upon available data, including a 2013 global study by the World Health Organization, Global Change Project has calculated that in real numbers more than 1.14 billion women, men and children—18% of the world’s population—suffer from sexual violence in silence.

“Being sexually violated is one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a person, but even worse is to suffer this tragedy alone,” says Jeni Ambrose, Global Change Project Executive Director.  

“When sexual violence survivors stay silent, not only do they lack the protection and support they need but our law enforcement, public health officials, lawmakers and communities lack vital information needed to prevent further acts of sexual violence and keep our communities safe,” Ambrose said.  

MapYourVoice can offer sexual violence survivors a place to take an important first step on their road to recovery,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley in her endorsement of MapYourVoice.

“As a non-profit aimed at supporting and strengthening the existing survivor support network, MapYourVoice can play a vital unifying roll within the community to help solve the serious social problem of sexual violence,” Dudley said.

MapYourVoice is a social web-mapping platform where survivors can safely and anonymously share their experiences, easily access the complete support network available within their communities and participate in a confidential social network with other survivors.

With the aggregate data garnered from anonymous intake questionnaires, MapYourVoice will be able to provide innumerable customized data sets for law enforcement, academia, public health officials and advocates to support their efforts to develop well-founded, effective solutions to ending sexual violence.

"MapYourVoice will illuminate the lives of women, men and children sexual violence survivors by giving them a place to tell their stories and will harness the power of big data to address the issue of sexual violence,” said Lori Lander Goodman, Chief Development Officer of Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) in CALM’s official endorsement of MapYourVoice.

“MapYourVoice is designed to capitalize on worldwide smart phone/device use, the viral potential of social media and web geo-mapping technology,” says Ambrose. “Like the ‘Bill Cosby Effect,’ you start with one brave survivor speaking up, and before you know it, three dozen more have the courage to come forward as well.”

A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to support the development of the Beta Version of MapYourVoice.

We need everyone who cares about this issue to support and help fund the project, which allows us to move forward with the tri-county launch.

The campaign can be accessed through our website or directly at

Global Change Project is also seeking partnerships with visionary philanthropic individuals and corporate entities who want to make a big impact on the issue of sexual violence and are interested in being founding supporters of the MapYourVoice's full-scale development.  

All donations are tax-deductible.  

—Jeni Ambrose is the executive director of Global Change Project and a creator of MapYourVoice.


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Community Arts Music Association Elects President for 2015–16 Season

By | Published on 07/27/2015


Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara, Inc. (CAMA), which is entering its 97th concert season in 2015–16, has elected Robert K. Montgomery as president of its board of directors.

Montgomery recently retired as a senior partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher after spending more than 40 years as a business and finance lawyer with that firm.

He currently produces and sells wine as the owner and proprietor of Montgomery Vineyard, Inc. in the Calistoga region of Napa Valley.

He serves on boards of directors of several private and publicly traded companies and is active in many charitable organizations, including the Board of Visitors of Duke University Law School where he served as Chairman for eight years.

Robert K. Montgomery has been elected President of CAMA's Board of Directors.

CAMA, Santa Barbara’s oldest arts organization, brings the finest classical musicians from around the globe to Santa Barbara’s Granada and Lobero Theatres.

Other officers on CAMA’s 2015–2016 Board of Directors include Deborah Bertling, first vice-president; Craig A. Parton, second vice-president; William Meeker, treasurer and Joan R. Crossland, secretary.

—Justin Rizzo-Weaver represents Community Arts Music Association.


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First United Methodist Church Plans Fiesta Feast to support Children’s Hospital in Haiti

By | Published on 07/27/2015


First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara will host a Fiesta Feast on Friday, Aug. 7, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., to raise money for Grace Children's Hospital in Haiti.

Haiti is still recovering from the heavy damage sustained in the earthquake of 2010. The earthquake forever changed the nation of Haiti, and severely damaged the Grace Children's Hospital campus.

The hospital has rebuilt transitional facilities that continue to serve the people of Haiti, and it has new outreaches to the tent communities near the hospital. Grace

Founded in 1967, Children's Hospital is recognized as Haiti's leading medical facility dedicated to the treatment of children with tuberculosis (TB). Each year, the hospital receives thousands of children who are suffering from TB, HIV and other diseases.

Children who are seriously ill are admitted to the inpatient ward, where they receive constant care from the hospital's all-Haitian staff.

Both children and adults can receive treatment at one of Grace Children's Hospital's many outpatient clinics. Via Maestra 42 will donate all the food for this event, so 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the hospital. Tickets are $25 per person.

The Fiesta Feast will be set up at 305 E Anapamu Street on the Anapamu side of our campus under the redwood tree. 

—Caroline Kavanagh represents First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.


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EmPower Central Coast will Host Free Workshop to Keep Homeowners Cool

By | Published on 07/27/2015


With temperatures rising, the county of Santa Barbara’s emPower program is inviting homeowners to a free workshop Aug. 4 from 5:30l to 7 p.m. at the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt to learn about how they can keep their home cooler and more comfortable without wasting energy or water.

The workshop is being held in this particular area because homes in Orcutt and Santa Maria have been identified as having the greatest opportunity for energy savings in the entire county.

“We are committed to helping our residents reduce water and energy use so they can save on utility bills and enjoy their homes” said emPower Program Services Supervisor Ashley Watkins.

Jason Scheurer, emPower Energy Coach, will present real examples of energy efficiency issues he has seen in homes throughout the Tri-County region, such as improperly operating furnaces, leaky ducts, drafty windows and poorly installed insulation. Scheurer will also offer recommendations on fixing common issues.

“We’re getting into the hottest part of the summer, and this workshop will be a great chance to take a look at your home and consider how you can keep your home cooler in the remaining warm months without wasting energy,” said Scheurer. “What you take away will also help your home stay warm as we move towards the winter months.”

Workshop attendees will be able to enjoy appetizers and learn about available utility incentives that can exceed $6,500, as well as low-interest, unsecured financing that starts at 3.9 percent. Visitors can also schedule a free home-energy site visit from an emPower Energy Coach for a comprehensive look at their home-energy performance.

EmPower can also connect homeowners with qualified local contractors for home energy audits and conduct upgrades identified by the Energy Coach.

The Far Western Tavern is located at 300 E Clark Ave., Orcutt, CA. The workshop is free.

For more information or to RSVP, contact emPower Central Coast at 805.568.3566 or [email protected], or visit

About emPower Central Coast

The emPower program was established by Santa Barbara County both to help the community preserve the environment by lowering energy consumption and to stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market. The program recently expanded its services to Ventura County and San Luis Obispo residents as emPower Central Coast.
EmPower is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison Company and Pacific Gas and Electric Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, the US Department of Energy Better Buildings program and the California Energy Commission with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars.

EmPower’s low cost financing is offered in partnership with Coast Hills Credit Union and Ventura County Credit Union. More information at

—Angel Pacheco represents emPower Central Coast.


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Black Bear Spotted Wandering Around Lompoc Neighborhood

By | Published on 07/26/2015


California Fish & Wildlife warden responding to La Purisima Highlands after sighting

A bear was spotted Sunday evening near a Lompoc Valley neighborhood, according to Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh.

“So the answer is, ‘yes’ there are bears in Lompoc,” Walsh said via his Twitter account. He also posted a photo showing the animal from afar.

The critter was spotted about 7 p.m. near the La Purisima Highlands neighborhood, Walsh said.

The La Purisima Highlands neighborhood is at the northern edge of the city limits and sits above a closed drive-in theater.

A California Fish & Wildlife warden was en route to deal with the bear, Walsh added.

California’s black bear population has increased over the past 25 years, according to the state Fish & Wildlife data.

In 1982, California’s bear population was estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000, officials said. Today, conservative estimates put the statewide black bear population between 25,000 and 30,000, the department’s website said.

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


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Vegetation Fire Chars 8 Acres along Highway 101 at Gaviota

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Blaze burning in brush on ocean side of highway; no structures threatened

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded Sunday afternoon to a vegetation fire burning between the railroad tracks and Highway 101 in the Gaviota area.

The blaze was reported shortly after 5:30 p.m. just west of Mariposa Reina on the ocean side of the freeway, according to fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

He said five engines and a helicopter responded, and crews were able to stop the forward progress of the fire and limit it to about eight acres.

The fire was burning mainly in grass and light brush, he noted.

No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Railroad traffic was temporarily shut down in the area, but Highway 101 remain “open but slow,” Zaniboni said.

Firefighters expected to remain on the scene into the evening, mopping up and looking for hot spots.

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: Political Rhetoric and Phony Credentials

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal announced his candidacy for Congress recently on Noozhawk. I noticed that he stated one of his highest priorities as a congressman would be the national infrastructure. I assume the candidate meant roads, bridges, power distribution, public facilities and buildings, federal highways, rail and railway construction, aqueducts, dams, maintenance, etc.

Of course, the candidate did not mention any of the million and one tasks that must support his national infrastructural initiative, nor the taxpayer money that would be involved, much less the overloaded budget of our nation’s treasure.

What really struck me about this “pledge” was that last year Carbajal performed a circus act in a television commercial (with Supervisor Steve Lavagnino) jumping fences in opposition to Measure M. This measure, first proposed by Supervisor Peter Adam, called for Santa Barbara County to allocate sufficient money to fix the county infrastructure and many of the aforementioned deficiencies, including maintenance.

One wonders what precipitated his 180 degree-turn of mind. I think I know the answer: he wants to get elected and will say anything to impress potential voters of his dedication to their interests.

This “flippage” is common to would-be office holders, and it is hoped that thoughtful voters will recognize it and oppose those who would engage in this nonsense. In fact, do we want a representative of this congressional district flipping all over the place, playing games with our interests?

It is well known that Carbajal for a number of years has been collecting credentials from participation in more than 16 organizations that would give him an aura of public service dedication and help propel him into Congress. These credentials are so numerous that one wonders how he could execute his responsibilities to the county and his district while doing the same for all 16 organizations in which he claims some participation.

Having a seat on an organizational board requires a great deal of time and dedication. Unless one is simply warming a seat or collecting plaques for hanging on office walls, this responsibility is a big deal.

So, how does a supervisor of a large and complex county find the time to collect the aforementioned credentials?

Simply lending one’s name to the masthead of organizational stationery is not much of a credential. Claiming four for one (as in the case of NACo) seems a bit of a stretch.

To check it out, click here to see Carbajal’s webpage.

One last concern I wish to identify is the dual responsibility of a supervisor. They are elected by a district and must listen to district concerns. There is always the staff and the Planning Commission (on which each supervisor has a designated member) to lean on.

But, then there is the county as a whole. Having attended many hearings and watched our supervisors’ behavior, more often than not they play to their district. This bifurcation leads to many diversions away from county business, except, of course the thousands of burdensome ordinances, permits and other time and money pits they create.

The one supervisor who seems to have the county in mind is Peter Adam. The poor guy has consistently borne an almost unanimous and continuous dismissal by Carbajal and the other three supervisors, while he fights for broad county issues.

Thus, we end up with a condition that is intolerable: a politically defined North and South County with self-interested liberals in the south and at least one strong conservative voice in the north.

By the way, however you stretch it, I am on the left. Odd, isn’t it, the bedfellows we choose when we want to get big things done.

Lee Rosenberg
Santa Ynez


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Santa Barbara Dunkin’ Donuts to Open at Taco Bell Site on Upper State Street

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Coffee-and-doughnuts chain battles some Architectural Board of Review resistance over plan to alter mission-style, curved architecture

The rapidly expanding Dunkin’ Donuts coffee chain plans to open a store on Upper State Street, but the company’s proposal to transform a Taco Bell building so far isn’t as palatable as its glazed doughnuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which has emerged as a coffee competitor to Starbucks, plans to open at 3771 State St., at an existing Taco Bell near Whole Foods and La Cumbre Plaza.

But first, Quincy, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts and its architectural firm, Armet Davi Newlove & Associates of Santa Monica, will have to figure out the recipe for how to design a building in Santa Barbara.

The company wants to get rid of the curved, bell-shaped architecture that adorns the front of the building, squaring it off. It also wants to add a fire pit to the front of the store.

Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman Mallory Schluter told Noozhawk that architectural renderings of the proposed building are not yet available. Instead, she emailed over photographs of the chain’s coffee and doughnuts.

Some members of the city’s Architectural Board of Review weren’t enamored with the proposed changes. Thiep Cung said he likes the current building, which was designed by Santa Barbara architect Brian Cearnal in the 1990s. He would like some of that distinctive mission architecture to remain.

“Can you just make a Dunkin’ Donuts with a curve?”​ Cung asked. “You can save a lot of money. I just feel that by spending all the money here you are kind of making it a box. Will the corporation, can it live with a curved Dunkin’ Donuts?”

Franchisee B.J. Kim said Dunkin’ Donuts needs to design the building with its own corporate branding in mind.

“The building is so Taco Bell,” Kim said. “If you have seen any of the the other Dunkin’ Donuts that are coming online in Southern California, our prototypical architecture is really modern.

“We’re trying to juxtapose our really ultra modern architecture and branding with something that will work in Santa Barbara.”

The Santa Barbara store is one of 54 planned to open in California over the next few years as part of a major expansion into the West Coast market. Dunkin’ Donuts is looking to brand its stores as restaurant-style coffee and bakery destination shops, a la Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

The restaurant is facing what corporations and consultants often encounter when trying to break into the Santa Barbara market: A lack of understanding of the the community’s culture, ignorance of its architectural standards, and inability to grasp the nuance for navigating through the planning process.

In trying to defend the squaring off of the front of the building, architect Paul Deppe, a partner with Armet Davi Newlove, said the new structure would be very similar to other nearby buildings.

“We would still like to square the building off, give it a more modern feel,” Deppe said. “I think it would work very much in context with some of the banks across the street.”

ABR chairman Kirk Gradin said he wasn’t thrilled about the proposed fire pit.

“I am having trouble with the fire pit,”​ Gradin said. “I think that is going to be visually predominant. It is going to be quite a statement to have flames right there out in front of the building.”

Kim said the point of the fire pit was to attract people to Dunkin’ Donuts.

“It’s really something to say ‘Look over here. We’re something different,’” he said.

Kim said Dunkin’ Donuts, unlike Taco Bell, will be a place for everyone to gather.

“When was the last time we all went to Taco Bell,” Kim laughed. “People are all moving toward healthier menus. People are all moving toward hanging out. That’s why we love this site. It’s a huge front. It’s engaging the street. It’s activating.”

Gradin also said Dunkin’ Donuts was making a poor choice by squaring off the building.

“I think it is unfortunate to just box it off and get rid of what was otherwise an interesting parapet detail,”​ he said.

Some ABR members were satisfied with the removal of the curved architecture in front. They also supported some of the other proposed changes, including the landscaping plan, a redesign of the outdoor seating area, and decorating the plaster columns with a stone façade.

Dunkin’ Donuts will return to the ABR next week for another attempt at approval. ABR members told company representatives to come back with a plan to reduce the height of the parapet wall and present a color and and lighting plan. 

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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Vehicle Fire Sparks Small Blaze Along Highway 154 Near San Marcos Pass Summit

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Flames spread to nearby grass and light brush but are quickly contained; no injuries reported

Firefighters responded Sunday afternoon to a vehicle fire on Highway 154 near the top of San Marcos Pass that was spreading to nearby vegetation.

Crews from the Santa Barbara County, the U.S. Forest Service and the San Marcos Pass and Painted Cave Volunteer fire departments were dispatched at about 1:30 p.m., according to county fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

He said when firefighters arrived, the van was engulfed in flames, which had begun burning through grass and light brush along the side of the roadway.

Crews quickly knocked down the flames and contained the blaze, Zaniboni said.

The incident, which destroyed the vehicle, was along the eastbound lanes just below the summit.

No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.

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.

A fire that destroyed a van Sunday afternoon along eastbound Highway 154 near the San Marcos Pass summit spread to nearby vegetation, but was quickly contained. (Ryan Cullom photo)


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CSU Channel Islands to be Launch Pad for Star-Studded Teachers’ Summit

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Actress Nicole Brown and U.S. Astronaut Leland Melvin are the keynote speakers at an unprecedented teachers' summit taking place on the CSU Channel Islands (CI) campus on July 31. 

CI is one of 33 locations across California that will be hosting the Better Together: California Teachers Summit 2015, a one-day opportunity for all P–12 teachers and teacher candidates to network, brainstorm, learn and share classroom practices.

The event is expected to draw about 20,000 teachers and teacher candidates around the state with about 250 gathering at the CI campus. Sixteen of the thirty-three locations hosting the statewide event are CSU campuses.

"First and foremost, it gives teachers a chance to come together and share and have spontaneous conversations about their craft when they're relaxed during the summer," said Dianne Wilson-Graham, Executive Director of the California Physical Education-Health Project. "They'll be listening to other teachers' best practices and inspiring stories."

There are keynote speakers, but largely, the 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. conference is going to follow the fluid "EdCamp" model, an educator-specific conference model developed in 2009 by teachers in Philadelphia, Pa.

Nicole Brown is best known for her role on "Community."

Unlike a regular conference set up months in advance, this "un-conference" doesn't have an agenda set up until the start of the event.

Instead of one person standing in front of the room and talking for an hour, educators will be encouraged to develop group discussions. Participants will then gravitate toward the session that most interests them.

Organizers have selected certain people to give "EDtalks," which are funny, poignant or informative stories designed to act as catalysts for each spontaneous session.

Redwood Middle School teacher Elizabeth Dixon, who earned her Master's degree in Educational Leadership at CI, has been tapped to tell a story about the joy of teaching. She said it was one of the easiest homework assignments she's ever had.

"Kids are so inspiring—they will try anything," Dixon said of the age group she teaches at the Redwood Middle School. "They are invincible right now, fearless."

Underscoring the talks will be stories about the most effective methods teachers have used to teach the new California Standards.

Leland Melvin is an astronaut, football player and advocate for STEM education.

"We have all the resources between us to be effective for our students," Dixon said. "To give them enough challenge to unsettle them, but also to give them enough confidence to meet that challenge."

The keynote speakers are both advocates for education.

Nicole Brown, best-known for her role on NBC's "Community," recently joined talk show host Stephen Colbert with an initiative to fund education projects in South Carolina.

Leland Melvin, a football player turned NASA astronaut, exemplifies the galaxy of possibilities for someone with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education.

Melvin has served as co-chair of the White House task force charged with developing the nation's five-year STEM education plan. He also serves on the International Space Education Board, a global collaboration dedicated to learning about space.

The one-of-a-kind free summit is sponsored by the California State University (CSU) system; the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU); and the New Teacher Center, a national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the practice of beginning teachers. 
The free conference is almost full, but teachers can register for any remaining spots at and follow #CATeachersSummit for up-to-date information.

About California State University Channel Islands

CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County, and it is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, as well as its emphasis on experiential and service learning. 

CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research.

CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond.

Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

The California State University (CSU) will reach a significant milestone of 3 million alumni during commencement in spring 2015 and has launched the world's largest yearbook.

The Class of 3 Million online yearbook is an interactive platform where alumni can create a profile and connect with the millions of other alumni from the 23 CSU campuses across the state.

Alumni who sign up for the yearbook will also be entered into a special contest to win one of three $10,000 scholarships for a current or future student, sponsored by Herff Jones.

For more information about the yearbook and the Class of 3 Million, visit

—Kim Gregory represents CSU Channel Islands.


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Another Round of Hot Weather Headed for Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Keep the swimsuits, sunscreen and fans handy.

Santa Barbara County is due for another hot spell this coming week, with highs reaching the upper 80s near the coast, and into the 90s in some North County locations, according to the National Weather Service.

On Wednesday, a high-pressure area currently centered over Texas will begin moving west, bringing with it above-normal temperatures for Santa Barbara and the Central Coast, forecasters say.

Highs of 89 are predicted for Santa Barbara and Santa Maria on Wednesday and Thursday, and 88 on Friday.

The Santa Ynez Valley should easily make it into the 90s on Wednesday and Thursday.

Overnight lows in the low 60s are expected.

» 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 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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Trent Benedetti: Refugio Pipeline Leak Spills A Lot of Inconvenient Truth

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Refugio State Beach reopened July 18, two months after a pipeline leak spilled approximately 2,500 barrels — or, if you prefer the more sensational, 105,000 gallons — of oil. About 500 barrels, or 21,000 gallons, went into the ocean.

The spill made a mess but the amount of oil that actually reached the water was less than what goes into the water every week from naturally occurring seeps. Of the 1,200-plus natural seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel, approximately half are located very near Refugio State Beach.

This is an inconvenient truth that some would rather not face. This truth did not prevent extremist in our midst from trying to advance their own radical agendas in the wake of Refugio.

Regrettably, the effort to make a mountain out of a molehill included far too many of our politicians. It is a sad fact of life that a professional political class exists that is, unfortunately, disconnected from reality.

A discussion of this disconnect would go considerably beyond the topic of this column and require more space than is available. Unquestionably, the phenomenon transcends party lines.

Think about the politicians you saw stampeding toward television cameras in the aftermath of the spill and ask yourself which one of them would have the best chance of finding a job in the private sector with the same compensation, benefits and flexibility as the public sector job now held.

What else could explain why so few voluntarily leave public office for the private sector? Instead, they are constantly maneuvering toward the next elected office.   

Is it mere coincidence that those who preened most for the media’s attention and who were most loud and long-winded about the spill are also most limited in their command of objective facts pertaining to supply and demand of energy resources in our nation, state and county?

There is nothing wrong with not knowing all the facts. There is a solution for that. The more pertinent issue is: Are known facts intentionally distorted? Facts are generally synonymous with truth. For some, truth can be inconvenient.

What is true about the Refugio incident?

First, it should not have happened. But it did. Now that it has been cleaned up, there is opportunity to properly assess the incident without the hyperbole associated with emotions run amok.

Second, the spill was not a disaster, as some would have you believe. That no one died is proof. Loss of human life is a common element of any disaster. And the dictionary says “great damage” is also common to disaster. Facts do not support the claim that great damage was done.

It is true that visitors to the reopened beach reported seeing residual oil. But the Unified Command for the Refugio Oil Response collected tar-ball samples from various sites and only one of the 44 could positively be linked to Plains All American Pipeline.

It seems logical to assume that the residual oil that visitors saw on the beach may have come from the very active natural oil seeps located near Refugio.

Finally, some have gone so far as to question whether producing offshore oil is safe. But in the last almost 50 years, there has been approximately 3 billion barrels — approximately 126 billion gallons — of oil produced offshore and transported to shore ... safely. If that does not define “safe,” what does?

Simply put, much of the bombastic rhetoric about the Refugio incident was, and is, inconsistent with reality. For some, that is a very inconvenient truth. Of course, people are entitled to their opinions even if based upon make-believe.

In retrospect, the Refugio experience reinforced what we already knew: Take everything politicians say with a big grain of salt.

— Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a longtime local business owner. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Groundbreaking Set for Remodel of Goleta Affordable Housing Complex

By | Published on 07/26/2015


Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) will break ground Aug. 19 on the $18 million renovation project at the Villa la Esperanza Apartments.

Upon completion, 83 units will have been beautifully restored and a new community room constructed in Old Town Goleta.

The project budget allocates $12 million for rehabilitation work and $6 million for new construction, design and engineering costs, along with other fees.

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony and press conference announcing the major rehabilitation project at the Villa la Esperanza Apartments, 131 S. Kellogg Ave., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Villa la Esperanza was originally constructed in 1971 under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s  236 Program and was owned and operated by the Goleta Valley Housing Committee (GVHC), a single-asset non-profit, prior to PSHH assuming management and ownership.

The Aug. 19 ceremony will recognize the original sponsors and members of the GVHC who were responsible for the construction of the complex in '70s, as well as the final members of the committee at the time of the transfer in 2014. 

The property currently consists of 75 units, including eight five-bedroom units that were underutilized and don’t meet current needs.

As part of the major rehabilitation project, PSHH will convert seven of the five-bedroom units to smaller apartments, increasing the total number of units to 83.

PSHH will also be constructing a new 5,000-square-foot, two-story community building that will include a Youth Learning Center, community room, community kitchen, laundry facilities, playground, barbecue area and two tot lots. It will additionally feature office space for a manager, assistant manager and resident services coordinator.

New energy and water saving features will also be installed, included synthetic turf, water conserving hardscape and landscaping, state-of-the-art “smart” water controls, new drip irrigation system, and replacement of external lighting with energy-saving LED fixtures. 

Speakers at the groundbreaking will include Vito Gioiello, board member of Goleta Valley Housing Committee and Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, who will describe the 40-year history of the project and recognize the various churches and nonprofit organizations involved.

Original sponsors and members of Goleta Valley Housing Committee include: Christ Lutheran Church, Goleta Presbyterian Church, University United Methodist Church (previously Korea United Methodist Church), Cambridge Drive Community Church (previously First Baptist Church of Goleta), Catholic Charities (previously Catholic Welfare Bureau), Goleta Neighborhood Association and the final members of Goleta Valley Housing Committee at time of the transfer to PSHH.

PSHH President and CEO John Fowler will discuss the rehabilitation project and how the donation of the Villa la Esperanza property will be leveraged through creative financing and tax credits investments to generate funding opportunities for the development of more than 250 additional affordable housing units in the greater Santa Barbara area.

Other speakers will include a representative from the office of Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal and City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte.
Partners include RRM Design Group Architects, Robert Andrew Fowler Landscape Architect and Stantec Inc. Civil Engineers, as well as tax credit equity investor Merritt Community Capital Corporation and construction and permanent lender CITI Community Capital. 

The event is free and open to the public. Tours of the property and a light lunch by The Fig Grill of Goleta will be provided after the program.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce will assist with the official ribbon cutting.
RSVPs are appreciated by Aug. 14 by calling Monica Scholl at 805.699.7220 or emailing [email protected]

About Peoples' Self-Help Housing

Founded in 1970, PSHH is an award winning non-profit organization that develops affordable housing and community facilities for low-income households and homeownership opportunities for working families and special needs populations, such as seniors, veterans, the disabled and the formerly homeless. With nearly 1,200 self-help homes completed and over 1,500 rental units developed, PSHH is the largest affordable housing developer on the Central Coast, with offices in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. For more information on Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, visit, email [email protected] or phone 805.781.3088.

—Angel Pacheco for Peoples' Self-Help Housing.


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2015 Fiesta Flower Girls, Las Senoritas Provide a Colorful Picture of Old Spanish Days

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Over 140 members of the Class of 2015 are ready to serve as official greeters for Fiesta, Aug. 5-9

Old Spanish Days’ symbolic hostesses, Fiesta Flower Girls and Las Senoritas, stepped in front of the camera Saturday to get their individual and group pictures taken.

More than 140 Flower Girls and Senoritas will carry on the 67-year tradition as the official greeters of 2015 Old Spanish Days, as started in 1949 by Ruth Dow Figg-Hoblyn.

The ambassadors extend welcome to thousands of guests by presenting flowers from their baskets.

Generations of young Santa Barbara area residents have served as the smiling faces of Old Spanish Days.

Old Spanish Days runs Aug. 5 to 9. Click here for more information about Old Spanish Days, as well as a complete schedule of events.

Viva la Fiesta!

— Erik Davis is publicity chairman of Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta Flower Girls and Las Senoritas have been part of the Old Spanish Days celebration for 67 years. (Fritz Olenberger photo /
Fiesta Flower Girls and Las Senoritas have been part of the Old Spanish Days celebration for 67 years. (Fritz Olenberger photo /


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iCAN Music Program Develops Instruments for Success for Students — and Their Families

By | Published on 07/25/2015


From choir to the violin, cello and viola, emphasis on musical performance develops a sense of community that will last a lifetime

[Noozhawk’s note: This article is the third in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation. Click here for the first related article, and click here for the second.]

A unique approach to arts education and community engagement nurtured by the nonprofit iCAN (incredible Children’s Art Network), has influenced 3,000 budding artists and musicians — an incredible story told both visually and with sound and tone.

Performance is a highly valued component of the iCAN Music Program. Students spend up to two hours a day making music as an ensemble or in group lessons that are focused on musical fundamentals to emphasize the experience of shared success.

iCAN offers high-quality arts programs, and today it boasts 43 artists, musicians and advocates for the arts. Among the students served by more than 30 iCAN teaching artists and musicians, 89 percent are Latino and 70 percent are English language learners.

“The music program especially is an after-school program, but it’s five days a week and three hours a day, so the parents make a big commitment to support their kids participation in the program,” said Jeffry Walker​, iCAN’s executive director.

“And over time they’ve generated their own social vibe and connection to it, so they’re not only attending events but they’re bringing food and chaperoning on field trips — and that’s community.”

A child’s growth and learning is part of the community bond as parents are regularly engaged in discussions about their students, who are provided with regular opportunities to teach other students.

“Frequent community performances and concerts serve as a powerful motivating force for excellence, and provide students with a platform to showcase their hard work and practice,” said Yvonne Leal, iCAN’s director of network relations.

Founded in 2011 at Franklin School on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside, the iCAN Music Program each school year serves nearly 100 students in grades second through sixth. iCAN runs the program in partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Angelica and Fortunato Castro with iCAN student Thomas. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
Angelica and Fortunato Castro with iCAN student Thomas. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Every iCAN music student at the Franklin site begins by joining a choir and learning to play the violin before being introduced to the cello and viola. As the program advances, each student then selects an instrument of his or her choice for performances and practice until the fifth grade, when the option of a wind or brass instrument is offered.

This introduction of new and more complex instruments adds to the development of the orchestra that becomes the primary music-making vehicle for all students.

In 2014, the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department and iCAN began a partnership that brought the Music Program to the Westside.

Currently serving nearly 30 students in grades third through sixth, the Westside Neighborhood Center site provides intensive high-quality musical instruction to students from several elementary schools. The schools all use choir and play woodwinds, string and brass instruments as a method of instruction.

Established by philanthropist Jim Kearns in 2005, iCAN offers high-quality arts programs to those students who are least likely to receive the opportunity.

Highly skilled professionals and some credentialed iCAN music teaching artists offer no-cost music instruction at both Eastside and Westside sites to bring these valuable lessons to a wide range of the community, increasing the likelihood of social change, a key talking point for the organization’s goals.

“Talking about our music program in the context of social change and advocacy, which is very much a part of the El Sistema music instruction model,” Walker explained.

The internationally renowned social model El Sistema teaches students about their own potential through collaboration, hard work and passion in performance-based music activities like choir, orchestra and group lessons.

iCAN’s Music Program has hosted and joined several Seminarios with Sistema-inspired programs throughout Southern California.

“A Seminario is a special, collaborative and musical experience where people come together and contribute to the success of a musically excellent day,” Leal said.

Community members and parents are encouraged to participate and join in creating a larger orchestra through which learning during these Seminarios is accelerated. Students with varying abilities work together toward the common good.

And, in 2014, the iCAN Music Program was selected from a national list as one of nine programs invited to participate in a three-year study on the benefits of El Sistema-inspired programs, in partnership with the Longy School of Music at Bard College and the WolfBrown arts research firm.

Visual arts and music programs are offered across nine sites in Santa Barbara with one full-time iCAN teaching artist and one professional art assistant are assigned to each campus. The sites include Adams School, Adelante Charter School, Cleveland School, Franklin School, Harding University Partnership School, McKinley School, Monroe School, Santa Barbara Community Academy and the Westside Neighborhood Center.

Click here for more information about iCAN. Click here to make an online donation.

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

iCAN Westside Neighborhood Center Music Program staff, from left, César Alcalá, site coordinator; Stephen Hughes, teaching artist, brass; Lito Hernandez, teaching artist, woodwinds; Angela Miller, teaching artist, strings; and iCAN Music Program director Xóchitl Tafoya. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
iCAN Westside Neighborhood Center Music Program staff, from left, César Alcalá, site coordinator; Stephen Hughes, teaching artist, brass; Lito Hernandez, teaching artist, woodwinds; Angela Miller, teaching artist, strings; and iCAN Music Program director Xóchitl Tafoya. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)


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Diane Dimond: Office Surveillance Creepy, But Not Always a Bad Thing

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Is your boss spying on you? There’s a good chance. These days employers are monitoring their workers in all sorts of ways you might never have thought about.

Your employer can look back at anything you’ve done on your office computer, checking what websites were visited and what was written in interoffice emails, and they can even capture keystrokes to see what was typed on outside sites such as your personal email, Facebook or Twitter. If they are the snoopy-snoop type they're probably already watching your social media output anyway.

Management can also monitor the time spent on a desk phone and the numbers called. They can listen to workers’ voicemails, even the deleted ones. And if you drive a company car or use a business cell phone, the boss can tell via built-in GPS systems where you are at any given time and how long you linger.

Supervisors may say the surveillance cameras in your workplace are watching for consumer theft, sabotage or vandalism. But they also capture employees’ performance, conversations with customers and with each other. Grouse about the person in charge and run the risk that a supervisor is listening or may hear the conversation later on playback.

You may think, “Well, my boss would never do any of that.” You sure about that?

The American Management Association conducts surveys about this kind of activity and reports that 66 percent of the small, medium and large companies responding admitted they monitor employees’ Internet use. 45 percent log workers’ keystrokes and automation can recreate what was written. 43 percent track their staffs’ emails.

Undercover employer monitoring is widespread. It just makes good business sense if you stop and think about it — for the company and for you.

Supermarket devices clock how fast cashiers scan groceries. So, guess who gets the raise come evaluation time? The best performers, that’s who.

Some hospitals require nurses to wear a special badge that registers how often they wash their hands. When the boss disciplines a lax hand washer, employees spread the word and the result is a healthier environment for patients.

A point-of-sale computer system at a restaurant can log more information than just a customer order or credit-card number. It can also keep track of how often a server steers a customer to the special of the day. Again, this is data that could be used to reward the most enthusiastic employees.

But you might wonder if all this surveillance is legal. Yes, it is. Privacy on the job is almost nonexistent, so keep that in mind. The only place recording devices are forbidden is in a locker room, restroom or in areas where union business is being discussed.

Only Connecticut and Delaware require employers to tell workers that they are subject to surveillance. But the aforementioned AMA survey discovered a majority of companies, nationwide, do inform their employees about their monitoring policies.

Myrna Arias, 36, of Bakersfield, was told when she took a sales executive job with the international wire-transfer service Intermex that her movements would be monitored. She was instructed to download an app on her company phone that kept track of her whereabouts.

In a lawsuit she filed a few months ago, Arias claims she became uncomfortable with the 24/7 monitoring after her direct supervisor joked that he knew how fast she was driving on any given day. Arias claims she was not allowed to turn off her phone after hours, so she disabled the app and was fired.

Now she wants $500,000 for invasion of privacy, wrongful termination and lost wages.

Arias’ test case could change the employer-employee surveillance dynamic, but it seems unlikely she will change the status quo.

In the meantime, businesses determined to weed out slackers and get the most from their staff continue to explore their options. There’s no dearth of think tanks and private firms studying what makes a single employee or group of employees more productive.

Sociometric Solutions of Boston is currently testing a new kind of employee ID badge at some 20 different companies. The badge helps gather data on how employees interact with each other.

Among other things, they discovered that something as simple as a shared 15-minute coffee break not only fostered better staff interaction, but also increased productivity and made employees 70 percent less likely to quit.

As creepy as the boss spying on you sounds, in the end, it is not against the law and it could make for a much more enjoyable place to work.

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


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Mark Shields: Donald Trump Flunks the ‘Like’ Factor Test

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Bill Cohen, the former three-term Republican senator from Maine who served as secretary of defense in Democratic President Bill Clinton’s second administration, offered this key to the art of winning tough elections: “I don’t care how great your ideas are or how well you can articulate them. People must like you before they will vote for you.”

Nowhere is this “like” factor more important to the decision of voters than when they choose a president.

Consider this: In the campaigns of 2000 and 2004, the Democratic nominees, Al Gore and John Kerry, were both seen by voters to be more knowledgeable and more intelligent than George W. Bush, the Republican.

Yet Bush was seen, by those same voters, as more personally likable than Gore and Kerry, and Bush won. In the experienced judgment of Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, “voters value ‘I like’ over IQ.”

Which brings us directly to the 2016 presidential campaign and the doomed candidacy of real estate billionaire Donald Trump. A quick check of the record reveals this representative sample of individuals Trump has publicly branded as “a loser”: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. John McCain, President Barack Obama, conservative columnist and Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.

According to Trump’s discriminating tastes, Sen. Lindsey Graham is “an idiot” and Hillary Clinton “was the worst secretary of state in the history of the United States,” while the 2012 GOP nominee is dismissed this way: “I have a Gucci store that’s worth more money than (Mitt) Romney.”

OK, Trump’s defenders concede, their candidate’s language can sometimes be insulting and offensive. But they make the case that Trump’s wounding rudeness is just proof of his refreshing candor.

You can argue he’s blunt and unscripted, but you cannot believably argue that either he or what he regularly spews is likable.

Americans want their chief executive to be more than just the commander in chief. They also want their president to be, in time of crisis, the comforter in chief, as well as the teacher in chief and a leader in chief who understands when to stand firm and when to compromise in the national interest.

On the commander-in-chief test, recall what Trump recently said in Iowa about McCain. He declared that the Arizona Republican was “not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

McCain was not a hero because he was captured in the Vietnam War. What made him a hero was how he conducted himself in captivity.

In spite of sustaining permanently crippling injuries and enduring brutal torture, McCain, the son and grandson of Navy admirals, rejected his captors’ offers for early release, choosing to endure — for five years — that ordeal with his fellow prisoners in Hanoi.

Trump, like so many sons of privilege of his generation, made sure he was among the “people that weren’t captured” by avoiding the U.S. military draft, pleading a bone spur in his foot.

While McCain was being brutalized by the North Vietnamese, Trump had his own challenges stateside, where he was able to join “the hottest club in” New York.

“It was the sort of place where you were likely to see a wealthy 75-year-old guy walk in with three blondes from Sweden,” he wrote.

McCain probably had no idea what he missed by volunteering to serve his country.

People must like you before they will vote for you. Donald Trump is not a likable man.

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


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Santa Maria Man Facing Attempted-Murder, Sexual-Assault Charges in Back-to-Back Break-Ins

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Victor Aureliano Martinez

A 29-year-old man is facing attempted-murder and other charges after allegedly breaking into a San Maria home and attacking a woman.

Victor Aureliano Martinez of Santa Maria was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on Friday on suspicion of attempted murder, sexual assault and residential burglary, according to Santa Maria police Sgt. Jesus Valle.

He said Martinez broke into a residence in the 900 block of Dejoy Street at about 9:45 a.m., and physically assaulted a 67-year-old woman.

In an attempt to evade officers, Valle said, Martinez fled and broke into another home in the 1000 block of West Donovan Road.

“The victim, who was also sexually assaulted, suffered severe injuries as a result of a violent struggle with the suspect,” he said.

The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Details on her condition were not available.

The police investigation of the case is continuing.

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


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Santa Barbara Spurns Effort to Modify Property Sale Zoning Information Reports

By | Published on 07/25/2015


City Council votes to keep real estate transaction-related reports mandatory, despite calls from agents and county Grand Jury to make them voluntary

The City of Santa Barbara has no interest in making zoning information reports voluntary, despite a request from the Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury and the longtime advocacy of local real estate agents.

Dozens of real estate agents on Tuesday called on the City Council to make the reports — performed by city staff at a cost of $465 each — voluntary and informational rather than mandatory during a home transaction.

Sellers are required to apply for a zoning information report no later than five days after entering an agreement for sale. If the report reveals violations, the problems must be fixed, often jeopardizing the sale of the house close to escrow.

Some real estate agents said the reports are often riddled with errors and performed by zoning staff members, not building officials who have expertise in the area.

City officials, however, believe the reports are essential to identifying illegal add-ons and remodels that may pose health and safety issues or adversely affect neighborhood culture and quality of life.

“This is the time to fix illegal alterations and add-ons that are dangerous,”​ Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said. “It is a time to catch safety violations.

“Zoning information reports are an important part of the process. I have always said that.”

In May, the grand jury issued a report requesting that the reports be voluntary and be used for informational purposes only, fueling emotions among many in the real estate community.

The City Council plans to send a letter to the grand jury explaining that it is working to improve the city’s zoning information report process, but it won’t make the reports voluntary.

According to city officials, about 45 ZIRs are prepared each month by staff and only about four of them have discrepancies.

If a zoning report reveals violations, such as an illegal dwelling unit, an illegal conversion to habitable space, or additions that cause health and safety risks, it’s up to the seller to fix the problem. The situation casts a shadow of doubt over the buyer’s enthusiasm for the deal, real estate agents say. 

Agents contend that city zoning officials are not qualified to make determinations about what is safe and what isn’t, and often end up making mistakes in reports.

Reyne Stapelmann, president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, said zoning officials are not qualified to identify problems with building and safety. She said building officials are finding errors that aren’t there.

“​ZIRs are not the best fix,” said Stapelmann, who, in her capacity as SBAOR president, writes a monthly real estate column for Noozhawk.

The grand jury and real estate agents also argued that city records are incomplete. For example, they say, the reports often assert that a carport was illegally added on or a garage was moved, and it’s up to the sellers to prove that they didn’t commit the alleged violation.

In one case, according to the grand jury, a homeowner was forced to dig up a 30-year-old photo of himself — taken in front of the garage when he was 6 — to prove that the original placement had not changed.

Homeowner Joan Russell Price criticized the ZIRs.

“I love this city,” she said. “I have lived here for 25 years. I am here because I am ashamed of what the ZIR process does in our community.”

Price said a ZIR revealed an incorrect violation, and “it was on me to prove that I had not done anything to my house.”

She said she was forced to force to produce property tax records that showed the original square footage of the house to prove she had not added anything to the house.

“Just because the city didn’t have in their records, it was my fault and was going to get ripped down,” Price said.

Community Development director George Buell said the city is working to correct many of the issues that the grand jury has noted.

“As long as you have people working on something, there is going to be a factor of human error,”​ he said. “To guarantee it would trail off to nonexistent is probably not realistic.

“It is our hope to see that there is increased accuracy and consistency in those reports.”

The city had already corrected many of the concerns raised by the grand jury. The City Council took up the issue in 2013 and a working group met several times in 2014. The city decided to create “major” and “minor” categories.

They also plan to create a zoning checklist for zoning inspectors to use and create a frequently asked questions sheet. 

Councilman Frank Hotchkiss, a Realtor, expressed mixed feelings about the ZIRs. He said he understands the criticisms, but he also knows Realtors who support ZIRs.

“For a buyer it’s one thing, for a seller it’s another,” he said.

“I am not sure we should throw the baby out with the bath water, even though I would sort of like to. It is more important to preserve our neighborhoods even though it is a pain for us.”

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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4th Suspect Arrested in Gang-Related Fatal Stabbing in Lompoc

By | Published on 07/25/2015


A fourth person has been arrested in connection with a deadly gang-related stabbing last month in Lompoc.

Damian Simpson, 20, was taken into custody last week, Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh said.

Simpson is the latest suspect arrested in connection with the death of Jesse Lara, 29, of Lompoc.

Police say Lara was stabbed multiple times the night of June 6 near North M Street and Maple Avenue. He died later at a local hospital.

Hours after the stabbing, officers arrested Edward Dion Carter Jr., 21.

A couple of days later, Walsh announced the arrest of two other suspects: Dequan Matthews, 18, and a male juvenile whose name wasn’t released due to his age.

Those arrested face murder and gang involvement charges, authorities said.

The killing reportedly involved rival gangs and prompted city and faith leaders to join forces and gather at City Hall to call for calm.

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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Chris Jones: Well-Designed Trusts Support Your Family’s Well Being

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Planning for the well-being of your family requires that you take into account the special circumstances or needs of each member. While one person has the training and ability to manage money well, others may not be so fortunate.

Since every person is unique, the question is how you can best support each family member so that they are a success and are provided with comforts that you want them to have. How can you support them so that they continue to develop and achieve their goals?

A well-designed trust can address the needs of each beneficiary in a way that supports them and conserves their resources for as long a period as possible. You might wish to consider implementing the following clauses in your trust:

» Keeping assets in trust: Surveys have shown that the average inheritance is spent within eight months of receipt.

You can provide that a beneficiary’s assets remain in trust so that the beneficiary receives regular income payments and the trustee has discretion to expend the principal as needed. You can define the standards to be used in making discretionary payments.

Keeping assets in trust also has the advantage of protecting assets from creditors. For example, if one of your children divorces, there would be no danger of their spouse making claims against the trust.

» Trustee’s discretionary distribution: With a trust, we try to look as far into the future as possible so as to anticipate how children or beneficiaries develop into adults. Because we cannot anticipate every event, many people use a clause that allows the trustee to postpone distributions to a beneficiary if the trustee determines that the beneficiary has substance dependency problems or is unable to prudently manage their financial affairs, are subject to a creditor’s claim, or subject to an existing or pending divorce proceeding.

By giving the trustee discretion to postpone payments, the odds of the distribution being used improperly or contrary to the wishes of the trust creator are maximized.

» Spendthrift clauses: A trust can provide that a beneficiary’s income or principal is not subject to transfer, either voluntary or involuntary. This is a “spendthrift clause” and prevents a judgment debtor’s interest in a trust from being subject to enforcement of a money judgment until payment is made to the beneficiary.

As it is usually up to the trustee’s discretion to determine when those payments are made, that may never happen. The exceptions to this rule are debts for child support or alimony, money owed to the federal or state government, or where the debtor is both the creator and beneficiary of the trust.

» Special needs trusts: A special needs trust can be used for beneficiaries who are disabled and receive some form of government benefits. The beneficiary may be a developmentally disabled minor or adult.

A special needs trust is fully discretionary. Its purpose is to provide a means for allowing funds to be used for a disabled beneficiary tht will not interfere with the government benefits the beneficiary is receiving, for example, Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or services through a local regional center.

These trusts are not required to contain “pay back” provisions, so the trust may provide for assistance during a beneficiary’s lifetime, then can be distributed to others.

» Co-Trustees: It is often advisable to use a co-trustee to assist a family member in administering a trust and making investment decisions. A co-trustee is also useful if you anticipate that there may be disagreements between the beneficiaries, such as siblings.

By using a trust department, accountant or financial planner as a co-trustee, the family member trustee will find the job to be much easier and they will be insulated from the typical family disputes.

By recognizing and accounting for the special circumstances or needs of a beneficiary, you can leave not only a financial legacy, but also a legacy of peace, support and well-being.

Trusts can be uniquely crafted to meet your exact requirements and wishes and fully support your family.

Chris Jones is an attorney at Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP of Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own. This article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice on any of the information in this post, click here for the form or phone number on the Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell Contact Us page.


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Not So Fast, Santa Barbara Tells Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo — Or So Large

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Size and appearance of proposed two-story dealership on Hitchcock Way runs into opposition from nearby residents, city’s Architectural Board of Review

Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo want to open a two-story luxury car dealership in Santa Barbara.

But the upscale Italian automobile makers may be headed for a spinout on the American Riviera if they don’t dramatically redesign their proposal.

New Century Automotive Group wants to build the two-story dealership at 350 Hitchcock Way, between DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara and a complex of town homes to the north.

Alfa Romeo and Maserati would have showrooms on the first floor of the proposed building and Ferrari, along with service bays, would take up the second. A vacant, single-story building currently occupies the site, which is used to park cars.

But members of the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review and some residential neighbors are looking to put the brakes on the proposal. They say it’s too big, has too much asphalt and not enough landscaping, would cut down too many trees, and is overall “not Santa Barbara architecture.”

“I have a problem with this building and the whole way you have planned activity on this site,” ABR member Howard Wittausch told the applicants.

“The idea of putting showrooms and service bays on the second floor is unnecessary. It is done for the purpose of just creating a big, bulky massive building.”

The proposal calls for a 35-foot-tall, two-story building, with glass panels allowing buyers to peer inside, and a Ferrari arch hanging over the side of the structure.

The proposed 39,000-square-foot building would include 12,500 square feet of showroom space, 11,500 square feet of interior car storage, 9,500 square feet of enclosed service bays and 5,500 square feet for the office and a parts department.

“The Ferrari arch is something that really throws this building out of scale,” said Scott Hopkins, ABR vice chairman. “It strikes me  as something that is not characteristic of Santa Barbara architecture.”

Board member Stephanie Poole said the building should be smaller.

“The front of the building could be lowered to a more pedestrian-friendly height,” she said. “It seems really monolithic and bigger than it needs to be.”

Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati also want to cut down a row of 22 eucalyptus and pine trees between the dealership and homes on the other side.

“We feel that they are dropping limbs and we fear for the neighbors living that close to them, as well as the cars,” landscape architect Chuck McClure said.

The dealership wants to park cars against the back of the lot underneath the trees.

The proposal to remove the mature, 80-foot-tall trees irked ABR members. Even though the eucalyptus trees are not native to Santa Barbara, removing them in this spot is not an automatic decision.

“I am having a real issue with the removal of 22 trees on this property,” said Courtney Jane Miller, an ABR member. “I would challenge the applicant to design the parking layout such that you are protecting the trees and not vice versa.

“It looks like you have the room. I don’t see why that can’t be accommodated.”

Miller said the trees are “a valuable skyline ... resource to this community,” and she also expressed concerns about the building’s height.

Some residents of the nearby Francisco Villas have also complained about the proposal.

“I strongly oppose such a huge structure right next to my complex,” said Rhonda Adawi, a homeowner. “The car dealership is my backyard. This is my only home and I intend to remain here permanently, but this project will ruin my neighborhood.”

The proposed complex is located in a three-block area of Santa Barbara that already is home to several automotive dealerships, including a new Tesla dealership.

Adawi, in a July 16 letter to the city, called the proposal a “monstrosity of a car dealership” that would decrease property values.

New Century Automotive Group and its team, which includes Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, will continue shaping the proposal for a return to the ABR. It’s not known how long it will take team to modify the plan, though. 

“There’s a lot of work that needs to take place,” Poole said.

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

The site at 350 Hitchcock Way, where Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo propose to open a joint dealership, currently has a vacant building and is used as an overflow parking lot by the DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara dealership next door. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
The site at 350 Hitchcock Way, where Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo propose to open a joint dealership, currently has a vacant building and is used as an overflow parking lot by the DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara dealership next door. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)


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The Samarkand Opens 100-Year Storybook with The Retrospect History Gallery

By | Published on 07/25/2015


The Samarkand — a non-profit, continuing-care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities — welcomed Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and about 75 fellow dignitaries, guests and residents to debut The Retrospect History Gallery, a 480-square-foot gallery located on campus detailing the property’s 100-year history in the Santa Barbara community.

Schneider joined Covenant Retirement Communities President and CEO Terri Cunliffe, Executive Director Ruth Grande, and Samarkand Residents' Council President Dolf May for the ceremonial ribbon cutting on June 29, 2015.

A private reception and tour of the gallery followed, along with a presentation about The Samarkand by Santa Barbara historian Erin Graffy de Garcia.

“Our history began 100 years ago when a gentleman by the name of Prynce Hopkins purchased 32 acres of land to build a Montessori boys’ school,” said Grande. “We were a boys’ school, a luxury hotel, military housing, and now we are a vibrant retirement community where people live and work. We are proud to be part of this rich history and we’re excited to share The Samarkand’s story with the community.”

The Retrospect History Gallery features original and reproduced photographs, floor-to-ceiling wall murals, story panels, collages and artifacts in display cases to tell the century-old story.

At the center of the gallery is an oversized guestbook from The Samarkand Persian Hotel. It contains tributes from world-famous guests including art, cartoons, poems, comments and more.

Present-day photographs and videos show The Samarkand as it is today, a thriving community where seniors live with purpose and joy.

“This gallery has been a labor of love and a true collaboration among many,” said Paula Bodnar Schmitt, principal of Bodnar Design Consultancy in Chicago. She began the project in 2011 with former Samarkand Executive Director Paul Peterson. “It didn’t take long to realize the collection of materials was as unique and special as the story itself.”

Schmitt worked with The Samarkand archives committee, which assisted with research, review and fact checking. Gledhill Library at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and author Ronald Koegler provided additional collaboration. Goleta's Goodland Signs crafted and installed the exhibit.

"The Samarkand's high standards for beautiful architecture and design were long set before the gallery project got underway,” said Schmitt. “We knew anything we created would have to match that level of sophistication.”

Grande said the gallery reflects the community’s elegant, Persian-style architecture and décor.

“Paula immersed herself in our history and created a beautiful work of art that complements our community while telling a factually accurate, yet entertaining story,” Grande said.

About The Samarkand

The Samarkand, a faith-based, nationally accredited, not-for-profit continuing-care retirement community, is located at 2550 Treasure Drive, Santa Barbara, CA. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 14 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on The Samarkand, please call 877.231.6284 or visit

—Ruth Grande and Wendy D’Alessandro represent The Samarkand.


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Louise Palanker: When Is Rape Rape; Foster Care Hell; Empathy and Co-Dependency

By | Published on 07/25/2015


Question from Amber

Hi, Weezy! This question may be a bit graphic, but is it considered rape when I say no multiple times but the person gets annoying so I say yes even though it is very uncomfortable?

This has happened many times with the same person. We broke up two months ago. I don’t think it’s rape but others do. Is it?


If you eventually said yes, then it would be difficult to get this person convicted in a court of law. There is legal accountability and there is moral accountability.

As a society, we try very hard to have these standards match but in reality, that can not always happen. My view is that this boy is very morally WRONG. NO MEANS NO.

However, there is a lot of “romantic fiction” that depicts a “No! No! Yes!” sort of scenario in which she says no, but deep down she means yes and so the man just has to keep asking.

Of course, this is not OK or remotely romantic to me but it’s out there and I’m sure that some guys talk to each other and encourage each other to just keep trying until they get the answer they want. Give ONLY the answer YOU wish to give.

The difficult question you must ask yourself is, why did you eventually say yes? Only you know the true reason but If he wasn’t hurting you, threatening you or forcing you, then social pressure or the need to please or the hope that he may love you more are never a good enough reason to have sex.

EVERY time you have sex you may get pregnant. EVERY time you have sex you are vulnerable. You should only have sex with a guy whose primary goal is not to control you but to protect you. It needs to be a loving partnership.

When you say, no, back it up with behavior. Get away from him. If you are making out with a guy and he tries to have sex and you say, no, you can not just return to kissing him. You need to get up and go home at that point. If you continue making out, he hears “no,” as “not yet.”

On another day when you are both fully clothed and not in the heat of a moment you can discuss your boundaries and what you expect from one another. Be very clear with this guy. If he is an ex, why exactly is he expecting sex?

My best advice is that you stop spending time with this person. He is not respecting you. Love looks far different than this. You will only be free to see it once you move on.

Watch this video from the Stuff Mom Never Told You website. Cristen has been through your exact situation, and she has some words of wisdom for all women:

(Stuff Mom Never Told You — HowStuffWorks video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Tyler

My foster parents are rude to me and the things they say are serious. I got put into a family that I barely even like talking to. I was folding my dad’s socks today and he was blaming me that I mismatched them, and he said I was dumber than a bag of hammers. It really got to me because they always say things about me that are not even true!

I feel almost like an orphan because my biological mom abused me and my older sister. She left and so did my dad. Now I’m stuck with foster parents who I don’t even like because they always say the rudest things that really do effect me.

I feel like if my biological parents wouldn’t have left, my life would be normal.


You are having a rough childhood. That is for sure and I am so sorry to hear about it. But the “What If” game is going to get you nowhere.

Your life would not have been normal with your biological parents. It probably would have been worse because they are people who were not equipped or prepared to raise a child, and that is just entirely sad for all three of you.

You can certainly tell your social worker that these foster parents are emotionally abusive. They call you names and insult your intelligence. That is by no means OK, and it should NOT be happening.

I will be blunt. Being in the system can really suck. But there is always hope that your situation can and should improve. Click here for more information about foster care.

The miracle is that you are here. That means there is a purpose for your life and your mission is to go and find it.

Maybe you will grow up and make the system better and more emotionally healthy for kids. Maybe you will raise loved and cherished kids and by so doing, you will feed your own soul with what was missing from your childhood. Maybe anything and everything.

Keep going. Life will become beautiful for you.

You are not alone:

(Annie E. Casey Foundation video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Rebecca

Weezy, how do I stop being an empath and co-dependent? When someone is sad, I start feeling sad. When around an upset friend, I feel equally upset because I feel how they feel.

I tend to bottle up my emotions. I’m extremely sensitive to other people’s sadness and anger, and when they express those emotions, I cry. I try not to feel sad, but I can’t! No matter how hard I try!

I also am very indecisive, and I say I agree with other people, even when I disagree with them, to make them happy. I put others’ happiness before my own. But I feel upset in the end.

How do I stop this? How do I become assertive?


What you are calling empathy sounds more like a fear that YOU will not be liked. I believe that true empathy comes only after you know that you are OK. Once Self is protected and safe, one can go deeply and purely into the feelings of another person, knowing that another person’s feelings do not threaten one’s own.

Instead, what is happening is that you fear that anyone’s negative emotions are because of you. Therefore you try to please everyone and to agree with everyone SO THAT you can feel safe and loved. This will inevitably push people away because they are getting no sense of the true you.

YOU are losing yourself in others. You are altering your moods and your views to suit others. You have compromised your sense of self.

You have in essence lied to people. You are resentful. They feel deceived. Nobody is happy. However counter-intuitive it may feel, your authentic self will earn you more respect.

Yes, co-dependent is a better term to describe yourself. You should see a therapist to talk about what may have led to this.

Remember that YOU matter and that people do want to know the real you. The most important person who wants to know the real you is YOU. Don’t let her down.

Here is Terri Cole with more about “The Disease to Please”:

(Terri Cole video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] 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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Annual Dog Shows Fill Lompoc With Pampered Pooches

By | Published on 07/24/2015


All-breed events set for Saturday, Sunday at Ryon Park after two days of specialty competitions

Dog show judge Michelle Quesada is worried about the future of the sport she loves.

Quesada sat under a canopy tent in Lompoc’s Ryon Memorial Park on Friday afternoon, where Irish wolfhounds and their handlers competed in a ring nearby.

“This is a declining fancy,” the Corona resident said. “We need to make sure that we’re sharing the love and passion we have with other people so they can come and enjoy what we do.”

She judged the junior handler category Friday at specialty show hosted by the Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast. 

Following two days of Western Sighthound Combined Specialties competition, the Lompoc Valley Kennel Club’s all all-breed dog shows will take place Saturday and Sunday at Ryon Park. 

But Friday was all about huge hounds that filled the park, taking shelter in the shade of their owners’ canopy tents or under trees.  

Quesada, like others at the park, expressed concern about the Lompoc Valley Kennel Club’s future after next year, and urged the community to rally to help keep the shows.

She has been involved in the sport for so long that a former junior competitor was showing dogs as an adult Friday.

She also pointed to a teenage girl walking an Irish wolfhound as a first-time junior competitor.

Irish wolfhounds and their handlers stand for a last look by the judge Friday at Ryon Memorial Park in Lompoc. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s her first time showing a wolfhound; she did an excellent job.,” Quesada said of San Luis Obispo 13-year-old Kate Maddaloni. “She is the future of the fancy,”

“That’s what we need,” added Patricia Tennyson Bell, an Irish wolfhound owner.

The teenager, who handled 4-year-old Kismet, owned by Melinda Chaney of Paso Robles, captured an award of merit.

“It’s an excellent award,” Chaney added. “I’m very pleased.”

Across the park, Ione resident Mandy Tyler estimated she has participated in the Lompoc shows for 20 years.

“I bet it’s more than that really,” she said. 

This week, she brought six Irish wolfhounds to Lompoc along with daughter Chandler Tyler, who showed several of the dogs.

Needless to say, they didn’t arrive in compact car. Instead, she said, they travel with a trailer pulled by a van that has all but the front seats removed.

“And the rest of the van is theirs,” Tyler said. 

In addition to their large size, Irish wolfhounds are known for their gentle personalities.

“There’s no other breed that touches your heart,’” Quesada said. 

In addition to rings for competition and tents sheltering canines and their owners, Ryon Park has several vendors offering everything a pampered pooch’s owner could need.

Davis Animal Products touted bait, colorful leads, steel bowls and buckets, and a broad selection of shampoo, conditioner and detangler, all for four-legged competitors. 

“And of course we carry the ever popular pooper scoopers,” said Bobbi Davis of the Perris-based business.

They also have hair dryers and very expensive combs and brushes, ranging  from $30 to $150.

“Dog people like to keep their dogs clean, good smelling and in good health,” Davis said. “We try to help them along those lines.”

They travel to dozens of shows annually, and plan to be at the 108th and 109th Santa Barbara Kennel Club shows planned for Aug. 22 and 23 at Earl Warren Showgrounds, in addition to the Los Encinos Kennel Club Dog Show on Aug. 24, also at Earl Warren.

The Santa Barbara County shows attract competitors from throughout California plus several from out of state. 

Davis rejected talk that the Lompoc shows may have a limited future, noting the location, weather and people make it a popular event.

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 Contending With Bluff Erosion in Isla Vista

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Property owners have applied for permits to modify buildings that end up close to the edge after soil drops away due to cliffside erosion

Bluff safety in Isla Vista came up recently before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which was briefed after a large portion of the cliff under the rear of an apartment building fell away in May, leaving the structure's patio hanging precariously.

Earlier this month, the supervisors were made aware of an emergency permit granted to the property owner of 6625 Del Playa Drive.  

The five-unit apartment building is a legal non-conforming structure, meaning it was legal when it was built, but wouldn't be if it were to be rebuilt today under current codes and restrictions, according to county planner Dianne Black.

Last September, the county's Building and Safety Division cited the property with a building violation because the structure was encroaching on the required 30-foot setback from the bluff edge, and required that the owner take action.

The property's owner, John Abedi, has been working with staff to deal with the problem, and applied for a coastal development permit in February for a project to demolish part of the building, construct a structural end wall and a new second-floor building addition, according to county documents. 

In May 2015, however, "a wedge shaped portion — approximately 15 feet tall, 45 feet wide, and a 3-foot depth — of the 30-foot high escarpment sloughed off, exposing a portion of the underside of the backyard concrete patio," a county staff report said.

"After the erosion episode, the rear concrete patio was cantilevered about 3 feet over the escarpment, and the nearest portion of the existing apartment building — the southwest corner — was about 5½ feet from the coastal bluff top edge."

Black said that erosion in that area is monitored frequently by county staff after "any kind of storm event, and we have a very prescribed process about how close buildings can be to the edge."

Extremely heavy rains along with wave action are what contributes to the issue, and erosion isn't constant, but sudden.

"It's not a steady erosion, it's more episodic," Black said. "You can lose a foot or 6 feet in a day, and then there won't be any erosion for a year or five years."

Black said that building and safety staff walk the beach after any storm, and inspections take place frequently.

"We're looking for properties that are 10 feet or closer to the bluff, then we start requiring they do engineering studies. They cut it back in this case," she said of the recent permit.

Black said the department takes "a careful watch on these situations" because of the threat to public health and safety.

After the incident eroding the bluffs by the Del Playa property, the site was visited by the building engineer inspector, who confirmed the emergency and an emergency permit was approved May 26, allowed for the stabilization of the structure and to move a portion of the building back from the bluff's edge.  

The permit also allows for the construction of a new wall to stabilize and enclose the building.

A larger discussion about the bluff erosion and safety issues in Isla Vista will take place this fall, and county staff will be reporting back to the Board of Supervisors Sept. 2. 

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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Oil Company with Santa Barbara County Operations Files for Bankruptcy

By | Published on 07/24/2015


A Houston-based oil company that was the largest onshore producer of oil in Santa Barbara County filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and will be selling its local assets and pulling out of the state.

On April 30, ERG Intermediate Holdings, which owns more than 20,000 acres in the Cat Canyon Field in Northern Santa Barbara County, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. 

The company's subsidiaries, ERG Resources, LLC, ERG Interests, LLC, ERG Operating Company, LLC, and West Cat Canyon, LLC, are all included in the bankruptcy filing.

"The decision to file for bankruptcy protection was made after careful consideration of the best path forward for these Companies and their employees, vendors, and customers," a statement from the company's website said.

The statement said that the companies are preparing to conduct an orderly sale of its California assets, and "reorganize" around its Texas assets.

The company owns oil and gas leases in Liberty County, Texas, and also has an office in Bakersfield.

In 2010, ERG purchased almost 8,000 acres of the Cat Canyon Field from Chevron, and made other purchases of 12,200 additional acres in Cat Canyon as it sought to grow in California.

In a declaration filed in a Texas bankruptcy court by the company's chief financial officer, Kelly Plato, the reasons for the bankruptcy seemed to stem from plummeting oil prices, a drying up of needed capital, and an underestimation of the time and money needed to navigate Santa Barbara County's permitting process for oil and gas operations.

"The permitting process is relatively long compared to other basins and is uncertain. As a result, the debtors took risk on the ability to get new operating permits when they acquired the leases in the Cat Canyon Field," Plato wrote.

Between 2010 and 2012, the company focused on building infrastructure, hiring an operating team and building a regulatory team of three employees hired specifically to "address the regulatory hurdles in the region."

Plato also estimated that full development of the Cat Canyon property would require $1 billion in capital expenditures.

By the end of 2013, the company had drilled 97 thermal wells and had reached peak production levels of approximately 5,000 barrels a day in the Cat Canyon Field, Plato said.

At the peak, the company was selling oil at the wellhead for almost $100 a barrel.

Prices have been depressed, however, and the price for the Cat Canyon production was $38 at the beginning of this year.

"This has caused and is causing a significant drop in revenues," Plato wrote.

Planner Errin Briggs said that the company notified the county just after the bankruptcy was filed.

Briggs said that the company was able to work through the court and get an order that would allow them to continue working with vendors such as the county.

Two of the projects the company had been working on with the county, including putting in 16 conventional wells and a water injection well, are on hold in the short term.

The county has not been notified of a sale of the property or a transfer of ownership, Briggs said.

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


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Santa Barbara County Bar Association Supports Judicial Independence

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Naomi R. Dewey

The recent sentencing of Duanying Chen, who pled guilty to felony animal cruelty, felony assault, witness dissuasion and violating a court order, has placed judicial discretion in the spotlight.

Few, if any, could defend the cruel and egregious torture of an animal. But we should all be defending judicial independence.

Judicial discretion, a key element of judicial independence, is a cornerstone of the American legal system. Both protect our judicial system from improper influence from other branches of government, or from private or partisan interests.

Among other things, in the case of Mr. Chen, judicial discretion allowed Superior Court Judge Brian Hill to select what he felt was an appropriate sentence from a range of possible options based on current law, the evidence, two probation reports (neither of which recommended any jail time), and arguments from attorneys for the People and the defendant.

At Mr. Chen’s sentencing, Judge Hill also noted the “powerful and evident” emotions of members of the public regarding the case.

Mr. Chen has been sentenced to twelve months in county jail and five years of felony probation. In addition to the jail and probation terms, Mr. Chen must also attend domestic violence counseling, participate in a mental health treatment program and pay $24,355.70 in restitution.

In the context of criminal sentencing, this is not a mere slap on the wrist. Judge Hill, using the discretion afforded to him as a Superior Court judge, actually increased the sentence recommended by probation officers who had interviewed countless witnesses, and the defendant, over an extended period of time.

In this case, whatever our personal feelings about the sentence or the gravity of the crimes, justice was done according to both California and federal law.

Judge Hill is a criminal law judge. As a criminal law judge, he is called upon to sentence hundreds of convicted criminals each year. In doing so, he must consider, each time, the nature of the crime and of the criminal, the impact on the victims, the recommendations of the professionals in the Probation Department (who themselves review hundreds of convictions each year in order to make recommendations to the judges), and, of course, the position of the prosecuting attorney.

We cannot and should not demand Judge Hill sentence any particular defendant in any particular way. We can and should demand Judge Hill acts independently, so that, without fear of harm, recall, or retribution, he, and judges like him, mete out justice fairly and rationally to the best of his or her ability.

Part of making a rational sentencing decision is balancing the ways other criminals throughout the state are sentenced for similar crimes.

Judge Hill discharged his obligation to consider all of these things when he sentenced Mr. Chen.

Whether we approve of that decision or not, we should all rise to the defense of the duty of all judges, including Judge Hill, to listen to the evidence, consider all points of view, and in each case make their best, most informed, independent decision on what they believe the facts, circumstances and law demand.

Judge Hill exercised his judicial discretion, as he has done hundreds of times before, and in doing so, he played a small part in something much bigger – the judicial system and the principles that each of us, as citizens of the United States, hold dear.

While those marching for Davey may not like the sentence, they should take pride in the fact that they are part of a democratic society that embraces the separation of powers, judicial discretion and judicial independence.

— Naomi R. Dewey is president of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.


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Santa Barbara County Courthouse Tower Now Open To People With Disabilities

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Elevator now reaches the top; stairs were only way to reach the observation deck prior to Friday

Bonnie Elliott moved to Santa Barbara 30 years ago from the San Joaquin Valley. She was a scuba diver, and immediately fell in love with the city.

When she heard that people could take an elevator to the top of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Clock Tower, she was thrilled. She headed to the clock tower and couldn't wait to check out the view.

But she couldn't do it.

The elevator didn't reach the top. It reached the floor below, then people had to walk up stairs to glimpse the view.

Elliott, who uses a wheelchair, did not reach the top that day, or any day. 

That all changed on Friday. For the first time, Elliott took the elevator to the top of the courthouse, in her wheelchair, and marveled at the views.

Bonnie Elliott and Victor Suhr take in the expansive views from the top of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Clock Tower on Friday. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk Photo)

"It's outstanding," Elliott said. "It's a billion-dollar view."

Elliott joined a group of county officials and disability advocates for a special ceremony to celebrate the new elevator, which is now compliant with the American Disabilities Act.

 The project, paid for through federal stimulus dollars and bond money, cost about $1 million. The elevator has been closed since March. 

Despite the improvements, people who use wheelchairs will have to take two separate elevators to reach the top. The main elevator that rises from the first floor to the tower does not have a ramp; it has stairs.

So people who can't use stairs or who are in wheelchairs must use a different elevator on the other side of the courthouse, to get to the second floor. From the second floor, they can then travel to the main elevator and go to the top. 

One of the people to reach the top Friday was Victor Suhr, who has had polio since he was 7 years old. He was unable to reach the top of the tower because he felt extreme pain when he walked up the stairs.

Those days are over. 

"This is very helpful," he said. "I am glad they made it more accessible."

County officials were thrilled with the opening of the elevator.

"This is amazing," said Greg Chanis, assistant director of General Services for Santa Barbara County. "This is an incredible day for the county. I was lucky to be up here on my first day in Santa Barbara. Bonnie had to wait 30 years."

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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Location of Iconic Linden Avenue Restaurant Now for Lease

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Home to one of Carpinteria’s beloved family restaurants, 699 Linden Ave. has been purchased by a local investor.

Tony’s restaurant closed for business after the family decided to sell, represented by Dan Moll of Hayes Commercial Group. This sale fetched the highest price per square foot on record for a retail building in Carpinteria.


The property is a few blocks from the beach on the popular Linden Avenue retail corridor. Established by the late Anthony “Tony” Borrello and his wife Antoinette “Toni” in 1962, Tony’s was a family owned and operated Italian restaurant and a local favorite for decades. 

The Borrello family is grateful to the community for all the great relationships, fun events and happy memories that Tony’s help create. 

“This sale marks the end of an era for the Carpinteria community, because it says a fond farewell to a respected, multi-generational business,” Dan Moll said. 

Under new ownership, the restaurant building is currently for lease, listed by Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group, who represented the buyer.

Across the street at 686 Linden Ave, the Sly’s restaurant building is listed for sale by Moll as well, though Sly’s will remain in business on a long-term lease. Moll has represented the seller of the last two properties sold on Linden Avenue.

"We would highly recommend Dan's services," said the sellers of 699 Linden Ave.

—Ted Hoagland represents the Hayes Commercial Group.


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Captain’s Log: Skateboarders Defy the Laws of Physics

By | Published on 07/24/2015


A pack of pre-teen youngsters came riding by the coffee house where I was taking a break. They rode skateboards, and carried daypacks and ball gloves.

Up came the noses of the boards and they came to an abrupt halt, to check out a promising combo of a long cement step, a metal rail and a nearby wooden bench. I watched them study the resources with a calculating eye that would do an engineer proud.

They all dropped their gear and began choreographed maneuvers, defying gravity and human limitations alike. These kids were fantastic athletes and acrobats.

After a while I was exhausted from watching them perform seemingly impossible feats that defied the laws of physics. About that time, one of them checked his watch, grumbled something, the group grabbed their gear and rode on.

I’m guessing they went to ball practice, where parent/coaches ran them through some simple exercises, ball practice, strategy training, then gave them a pep talk about athletics, and sent them on toward home. 

A few hours later, I was driving past the same spot where they had skated earlier, and found the same pack of youngsters performing feats that their coaches probably had no idea they were capable of. I just had to pull over and watch them again ... occasionally shaking my head and grinning as they came crashing down from a failed stunt.

Most of the time they were able to turn in midair and land on their feet or roll out of it. I remember when I could do that, but that was then and this is now.

I must confide that I am extremely proud of these kids, and for very good reasons. They have taken something — which began when I was their age — to a whole new level of skill and courage.

When I was a lad, just beginning to attain some degree of skill on a surfboard, we didn’t have wetsuits. We just got really cold out in the water and turned fascinating shades of blue.

During the cold-water time of year, it wasn’t safe to spend long periods of time in the surf. We wanted to practice our moves, and keep in surfing shape, so we snagged thin boards, tore apart skates (with apologies to my little sister who missed her skates, but got new ones out of the deal), and mounted the trucks and wheels on the bottoms of pieces of wood.

We skated around and practiced the same moves we used on our surfboards, allowing us to be better surfers.

It wasn’t long before wetsuits became available, which were appropriate for surfing sports. Meanwhile, we had grown attached to our skateboards.

About that time, smaller and lighter surfboards became popular, and we were out there carving the faces of big tubular waves. Suddenly our skateboarding needs changed dramatically. We found ourselves looking for empty swimming pools, half-pipe ramps and other rideable surfaces, resembling wave faces.

Riding skateboards became a sport unto itself during those days of learning what was possible. New designs came out that helped us push the envelope and ride more creatively.

The story of skateboarding has progressed incredibly in the intervening decades. While we do have skateboard parks now, I think this sport — which takes astounding skills and dedicated practice — deserves more appreciation and accommodation from us. These kids rock!

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


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Fifth Arrest Made in Guadalupe Murder Case

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Bryan Rios

A fifth person has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Javier Limon, whose body was found on the side of the road west of Guadalupe last summer.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested 21-year old Bryan Rios of Santa Maria, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Rios taken into custody in the city of Santa Maria Thursday with the assistance of parole agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Sheriff’s detectives have requested that the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office file a charge of homicide with a special allegation for gang involvement against Rios.

Limon’s body was discovered by a group of field workers early Aug. 19 between West Main Street and farm fields, near the entrance to Guadalupe Dunes.  

Detectives determined the 37-year-old Santa Maria resident had been murdered, and launched an investigation into locating and arresting those responsible.  

In September, detectives arrested Gregorio Agustine, Arturo Granados and Yesenia Granados, all from Santa Maria, for the roles they are suspected to have played in the homicide. 

After a preliminary hearing, a judge ruled enough evidence exists for a trial on the charges against the trio.

Earlier this month, the District Attorney’s Office charged a four person in the case, state prison inmate Joseph Morales, with homicide and gang allegation.

Investigators contend the former Santa Maria resident ordered the murder of Limon via cell phone while incarcerated at a state prison in Los Angeles County.

The Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate this case, and is requesting anyone who has information to call the anonymous tip-line at 805.681.4171.

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 Harsanyi: Americans Understand Iran a Lot Better Than John Kerry

By | Published on 07/24/2015


At a Tehran mosque last week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — amid chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel” — explained to a crowd that his nation’s interests are “180 degrees” in opposition to the United States.

“Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change,” he explained.

This vexed Secretary of State John Kerry, who claimed that he didn’t “know how to interpret” this kind of predictable antagonism from one of America’s longest-running adversaries.

What can it all possibly mean?

Perhaps the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not feel compelled to indulge in American fairy-tale endings. Khamenei knows there is almost no way sanctions will return, even if he cheats. He understands his nation will be poised to have nuclear weapons in a decade, at the latest.

Few people, even advocates of the P5+1 deal, argue we can stop the mullahs in the long run. Best-case scenario, as Fred Kaplan contends in Slate, is that the Islamic regime will get bored of hating us and join the community of nations.

Speaking of wishful thinking, I suspect that many Americans are less confused about Iran’s intentions than our gullible secretary of state, even if they support a deal for partisan reasons.

Take a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that tells us a couple of things — neither being what fans of the deal purpose. Americans — though most don’t know much about foreign affairs, much less grasp the intricacies of this Iranian deal — intuitively understand Iran’s Islamic Republic better than Kerry.

When asked about the deal and given the Obama administration’s framing of it, 56 percent said they support it.

But of course, the debate is the question. And this one is lacking vital context.

The debate is about international inspectors and their ability to get the job done. We know those sanctions will be almost impossible to re-engage once the United Nations lifts them.

Nor did the question let on what we have given up: The deal lifts an embargo on ballistic weapons in under a decade; we allow Iran to keep 6,000 centrifuges, which could allow the country to be on the threshold of nuclear weapons; and we are reinstating $140 billion that Iran can use, as Kerry has pointed out, in aiding proxies as the largest state funder of terrorism in the world.

That’s if the regime keeps its promises. Here’s the second question in that Washington Post-ABC News poll:

How confident are you that this agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

Sixty-four percent are not confident that Iran will not produce or acquire highly enriched uranium. Do these people realize that the entire point of this deal — as laid out by President Barack Obama and his surrogates — is to stop the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons?

It’s not as if we brought home any hostages or put an end to Iran’s actions in Bahrain, Yemen or Lebanon. How could they support a deal that they claim won’t work?

I suspect it’s because the first question is a theoretical framework. The second question can be based on evidence.

The Pew Research Center offers a more fully realized view of American opinion on the matter. Among the 79 percent of Americans who have heard about the agreement, only 38 percent approve, whereas 48 percent disapprove, and 14 percent do not offer an opinion.

Only 26 percent of those who claim to have heard at least a little about the agreement contend that they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence that Iran’s leaders will abide by its terms.

But for the most part, liberal pundits do not argue, as Kerry does, that this pact will stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in the long run.

Instead, we are bombarded with a fallacy: Do you want war, or do you want this deal?

Well, there are thousands of positions a person can have between bringing an entire nation into submission and our own capitulation — for example, continuing sanctions, increasing sanctions or even negotiating a better agreement.

Kerry says a veto override would mean Iran would only become stronger.

But is an override even a possibility? Thanks to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who ceded all power on the issue to Obama, it seems improbable.

Although, using a vote in the United Nations to create inevitability rather than first allowing debate in Congress not only demonstrates Obama’s contempt for process but also may be the pretext some apprehensive Democrats need to oppose the deal.

And such bad polling as we’ve seen so far will go a long way in determining whether the Sen. Chuck Schumers of the world capitulate to the pressure coming from the Obama administration.

For now, though, it seems that the American public is realistic about Iran’s intentions — or at least more realistic than our secretary of state pretends to be.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Channel Islands Gets Final Approval for Ed.D. Online Degree Program

By | Published on 07/24/2015


CSU Channel Islands (CI) recently received approval from the Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional college and university accrediting associations in the United States, for its first doctoral program, a doctorate of education, or Ed.D. 

CI developed the Collaborative Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CODEL) program in partnership with CSU Fresno.

Students wishing to pursue an Ed.D. through the CODEL program, which includes the options of P–12 or higher education leadership, can begin in summer of 2016. The 60-unit program will take three years and include a dissertation.

“This step allows us to keep pace with the needs of our educational community,” said CI President Richard R. Rush. “There is significant demand for qualified teachers and administrators in our area. We look forward to the day when we graduate our first cohort of doctoral students.”

Associate Professor of Education Kaia Tollefson, Ph.D., one of the co-directors of the new Ed.D. program, is pleased to see a public option for those wishing to pursue doctoral studies in education in Ventura County.

“In order for us to be effective in promoting and building the public good, we have to have publicly supported education at every level of the system,” Tollefson said. “Supporting access to excellent educational opportunities for students at every level is fundamental to the public good.”

"A high quality, online doctoral program at a public university expands access and opportunity, making a doctorate in P–12 and higher education leadership a more feasible and affordable option for qualified applicants," she said.

The new doctoral program adds to the momentum that CI’s School of Education has already achieved at the credential and graduate levels of study in Educational Leadership.

Of the most recent cohort of students who graduated from CI’s Masters in Education and Administrative Services credential program in spring 2015, six of fifteen have already been offered jobs in school administration in Ventura County. Three are in the Hueneme School District, one is in the Pleasant Valley School District, one is in Fillmore, and one is in Simi Valley.

Tim Rummel, Ph.D., Program Coordinator for the Master’s in Educational Leadership, says he believes the success of the program lies in a mix of faculty expertise and lecturers from the educational community who are working with talented and motivated students. 

“Exceptional educators are choosing our program and the program has a strong faculty of practicing school administrators who are providing outstanding preparation for school Leadership,” Rummel said.

Merilyn Buchanan, Ph.D., Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Director of the School of Education for the 2015-2016 academic year, will oversee the program’s implementation and the launching of its first cohort in June of 2016.

About California State University Channel Islands

CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, as well as its emphasis on experiential and service learning.

CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research.

CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond.

Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.

The California State University (CSU) will reach a significant milestone of 3 million alumni during commencement in spring 2015 and has launched the world’s largest yearbook. The Class of 3 Million online yearbook is an interactive platform where alumni can create a profile and connect with the millions of other alumni from the 23 CSU campuses across the state.

Alumni who sign up for the yearbook will also be entered into a special contest to win one of three $10,000 scholarships for a current or future student, sponsored by Herff Jones. For more information about the yearbook and the Class of 3 Million, visit

—Kim Gregory represents CSU Channel Islands.


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Start Fiesta Early at La Recepcion del Presidente

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Aug. 2 event at Fess Parker Doubletree Resort kicks off Old Spanish Days events

Kick off Fiesta week on Sunday, Aug. 2, at La Recepcion del Presidente from 5–10 p.m.

A wonderful evening in the beautiful outdoor Plaza del Sol at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, this event brings together Old Spanish Days history with the excitement of the Fiesta to come.

Guests will be warmly greeted by the official receiving line of El Presidente Cas Stimson and his family, as well as the Spirits of Fiesta and members of the Board of Directors.

“Come celebrate the history and excitement of Fiesta 2015 while experiencing the true meaning of this year’s theme, Fiesta Romantica!” said Stephanie Petlow, division chief of external relations. “La Recepcion del Presidente honors our current El Presidente and our past presidentes for their continued commitment to preserving the history and traditions of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara.”

The evening includes guests in their finest Fiesta attire, a tasty Mexican-food buffet, entertainment by talented artists including the Spirits and Junior Spirits, and concludes with dancing as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean to the music of Jana and the One.

This year’s event will include a special appearance by the New York Philharmonic. The carriage used in the 2015 Rose Parade will also be on display!

Tickets are $90 until July 27, then $110 until sold out. Proceeds help to pay for the free events held during Old Spanish Days Fiesta which takes place August 5–8, 2015. Get your tickets today. For tickets and information, please visit or call 805.962.8101.

La Recepcion del Presidente is presented by Impulse Advanced Communications.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, is celebrating 91 years in Santa Barbara. This tradition fosters a unique spirit among locals and tourists who participate and celebrates the Rancho period (1820–69), a special era of our history.

This important coming together encourages community cooperation, collaboration and growth. It has remained a pivotal festival in its support of other nonprofits and its overwhelming interest in maintaining an extension and expression of its place in the Santa Barbara community.

—Erik Davis is the Director of Public Relations for Old Spanish Days Fiesta.


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Bill Macfadyen: Different Week, Same Story for Fatal Motorcycle Crash on Highway 154

By | Published on 07/24/2015


NoozWeek’s Top 5 investigates a fatal freeway fall, shuffles around the Santa Barbara Public Market, tracks another train death, and revisits the Sojourner Café


There were 107,145 people who read Noozhawk this past week, with no side deals. Here’s my take on your top stories:

1. Motorcyclist Killed in Head-On Collision on Highway 154 Just North of Santa Barbara

These are not the kinds of trends any of us want to see. For the second week in a row, a fatal motorcycle collision on Highway 154 far outpaced all other stories of the week.

In the latest wreck, the California Highway Patrol reported, 59-year-old Stephen Forrest of Goleta was riding south on the highway about 5:45 p.m. July 19 when, for unknown reasons, his 2013 Suzuki motorcycle crossed the double-yellow line near San Antonio Creek Road.

The CHP said the bike slammed head-on into a 2015 Jeep coming up the mountain.

Forrest was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither the Jeep’s driver, identified as 33-year-old Gerard Wilson, nor his passenger, 29-year-old Nicola Costello, was injured. Authorities say Wilson and Costello were visiting the South Coast from Sweden.

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

In the cruelest of ironies, Forrest was a renowned expert in automotive safety who frequently testified in crash-related trials. He was a co-founder of Safety Analysis & Forensic Engineering, or SAFE, a pretty cool Goleta company that runs dynamic vehicle crash testing and investigations for the automotive industry and others.

Forrest is survived by his wife, Patti, and two daughters.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. July 24 at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels, 15 E. Sola St. in Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, a donation to Casa Esperanza is requested.

Meanwhile, the life of Ryan Bollay, the motorcyclist who died in a Highway 154 crash the week before, will be celebrated at 1 p.m. July 25 at Montecito Covenant Church, 671 Cold Spring Road.

Bollay, a 20-year-old Santa Ynez resident, died July 10 after colliding with an SUV that was turning onto the highway from Camino Cielo near the top of San Marcos Pass.

The cause of that crash also remains under CHP investigation.

2. Man Dies After Fall From Highway 101 Overpass in Carpinteria

A 68-year-old Carpinteria man was found dead on the shoulder of Highway 101 early on July 20 after apparently falling from the Casitas Pass Road overpass.

According to Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Battalion Chief Jim Rampton, emergency responders initially were not sure whether the man fell or had jumped, or was the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

“All witnesses just saw him in the roadway,” he said. “If he did get hit, the driver was gone. To us, he didn’t have the trauma that a person who was hit by a car would have.”

Authorities later determined that the man, identified as Steven Soden, had died of injuries suffered in the fall.

Rampton said several motorists had pulled over to tend to the man before paramedics got to the scene at 7:40 a.m.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

Catherine Bodziner is now the Big Cheese at the Culture Counter Co. in the Santa Barbara Public Market. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Catherine Bodziner is now the Big Cheese at the Culture Counter Co. in the Santa Barbara Public Market. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

3. Merchant Shakeup Changes Face of Santa Barbara Public Market​

Since opening last year, the Santa Barbara Public Market has been the subject of endless speculation, scrutiny, controversy and, well, community debate. It’s up, it’s down. It’s gaining momentum, it’s losing steam.

JuiceWell, the Pasta Shoppe and Santa Monica Seafood recently left the building, while the market’s owner, Urban Developments, sold the Culture Counter Co. business to a new proprietor, Catherine Bodziner.

A veteran cheese shop owner from New York, Bodziner is not deterred by the turnover among the dozen businesses inside the Public Market at 38 W. Victoria St.

She likens the place to New York City’s Chelsea Market, home to one of her former stores, which she sold a few years ago.

“It’s just more fun,” Bodziner told our Gina Potthoff. “You get more foot traffic.”

In her opinion, businesses selling dine-in meals probably do better than those offering just carry-out dishes. She’d like to live up to her shop’s name and add a counter so customers can stay for her gourmet sandwiches and boutique cheeses.

I won’​t pretend I understand the food services industry, but I do know the restaurant business is a topsy-turvy one. If our weekly BizHawk column is any guide, it’s perhaps especially so in Santa Barbara.

A certain amount of turnover has to be expected at a location like the Santa Barbara Public Market. Although it may be impolite to compare it to a shopping mall or even a food court, that’s essentially what it is. I’m sure you count on a couple of long-term anchor tenants and you hope the rest are successful enough to stick around for a year or so.

The Public Market concept has been an interesting one to watch develop. Noozhawk’s World Headquarters is in the same block and I know our people are over there all the time.

My pet peeve is that, from its marquee corner of Chapala and West Victoria streets, all you see through the windows are the backs of industrial shelving. Why would you want to look like a warehouse store when you could show off the hustle and bustle of people actually using the place?

​On the other hand, eh, I’ve got my own business to run.

Another unscheduled stop in Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers photo)
Another unscheduled stop in Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers photo)

4. Man Struck, Killed by Train Near Santa Barbara Zoo

A 59-year-old man was struck by a train and killed as he walked on the railroad tracks near the Santa Barbara Zoo on July 20. The fatality is the latest in what appears to be an alarming spate of pedestrian encounters with trains.

According to Santa Barbara police, the man — later identified as Thomas Henry Grimm of Santa Barbara — was fatally injured when he was hit by an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, east of Niños Drive, at about 5:40 p.m.

Less than a week before, 21-year-old Maria Vasquez-Cruz was killed when she was struck by a train while walking on the Union Pacific railroad tracks near Old Town Goleta.

Authorities are investigating both incidents.

Service, and more smiles, at the Sojourner Café. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Service, and more smiles, at the Sojourner Café. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

5. Santa Barbara Locals Show Sojourner Café Some Love After Owner’s Plea for Help

Sojourner Café owner Donna Mudge didn’t know what to expect when she announced on Noozhawk earlier this year that her downtown Santa Barbara restaurant was really struggling financially.

“Immediately after — like the next day — we were just influxed with customers coming in with, ‘Oh my gosh, I saw the article. We had no idea,’” she told our Gina Potthoff in a follow-up article. “The community has been awesome.”

A surge in customers, new and old, has provided some financial breathing room for the restaurant at 134 E. Canon Perdido, and Mudge has been inundated with helpful suggestions.

One local even bought white tablecloths for the Sojourner’s outdoor tables, a small but classy upgrade.

“It’s helped so much,” Mudge said. “Everyone has got an idea. There’s no such thing as negative feedback because it’s all useful in one form or another. If nothing else, it has helped re-energize me.”

Having interacted with Noozhawk readers for almost eight years now, I’m not the least bit surprised.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Why You Shouldn’t Force Yourself to Be a Morning Person.

Good news: I don’t.​

                                                                 •        •        •

The inclusion of this video is neither an endorsement for nor a condemnation of either Lindsey Graham or Donald Trump. But I nodded my head at the end.

(IJReview video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Carpinteria Theater Will Show Award-Winning Documentary “Searching for Sugar Man”

By | Published on 07/24/2015


How was it possible that a relatively obscure singer/songwriter from Detroit, Michigan, became a cultural phenomenon in apartheid South Africa, yet little was known about him in that country?

Did he really exist, or were the rumors true that he had actually shot himself while performing on stage?

Rediscover the Academy Award winner for best documentary feature of 2012 when Classic Rock 99.9 KTYD presents a one-time-only screening of “Searching for Sugar Man” on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Plaza Playhouse Theater.

Written and directed by the late Malik Bendjelloul, the film chronicles the quest of two Cape Town fans in the late '90s to uncover the mystery behind the rumored death of Sixto Rodriguez, and to know, if he was still alive, where he was and what he was doing.

Taking four years to produce, “Searching for Sugar Man” takes you on an international quest to find the man who—though he was popular for a time in Australia where he toured for a few years—never achieved any record sales or radio airplay in the U.S. and simply disappeared into obscurity after recording two albums in the early 70’s.  

Yet, his bootlegged LP’s somehow made their way to South Africa at a time when the country was under the heavy hand of apartheid and censorship. Inexplicably, over the next two decades, Rodriguez became a national hero.

“Searching for Sugar Man” was also honored with Best Documentary awards in 2013 from the British Academy of Film Awards (BAFTA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the American Cinema Editors (ACE ), among many others.

“This is an amazingly true human interest story that can only be captured in documentary form,” said Peter Bie, film and TV curator for the Plaza. “When it’s over, you’ll stand up and cheer.”  

The film (rated PG-13) will be shown in widescreen with digital projection.         

General admission tickets for “Searching for Sugar Man” are $12 and available on line at or in person at Seastrand, 919 Linden Ave. or Rincon Music, Casitas Plaza Center (near Union Bank) during regular business hours (check or cash only at both locations).            

The non-profit Plaza Playhouse Theater at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. is an intimate, 200-seat venue. It is wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant.  

Plenty of free street and lot parking is nearby. The theater’s concession stand offers all the usual goodies, plus beer and wine for patrons over 21. 

Call the box office at 805.684.6380 for more information.

—Peter Bie represents Plaza Playhouse Theater.


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UCSB’S Brain Imaging Center Scores with Award from NFL and GE ‘Head Health Challenge’

By | Published on 07/24/2015


On July 23, The National Football League and General Electric named UC Santa Barbara’s Scott Grafton as one of the six final winners of the Head Health Challenge I.

The goal of Head Health Challenge I is to improve the safety of athletes, members of the military and society overall.

The winners were selected from an initial group of 16 challenge winners, who were chosen from more than 400 entries from 27 countries. Each winner receives $500,000, in addition to $300,000 previously awarded to the 16 first-round winners.

“The competition for these awards has been fierce, so I was delighted when I learned we were one of the finalists,” said Grafton, director of UCSB’s Brain Imaging Center and a professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. “I have benefited from a remarkably creative and productive team that has put a lot into this project.”

In collaboration with faculty in UCSB’s Department of Computer Science, Grafton and his team at the Brain Imaging Center are developing statistical methods to detect damage to the deep connections in the brains of patients who have sustained mild head injuries.

Recent breakthroughs in both MRI scanning and data analysis make it possible to detect subtle brain changes in individual patients after mild concussions. This approach will be tested with clinical data from collaborators using a variety of MRI scanners.

Scott Grafton is the director of UCSB's Brain Imaging Center. (Spencer Bruttig photo)

“Our goal is to develop a really sophisticated platform that provides a robust MRI toolkit for identifying brain abnormalities associated with mild brain trauma,” Grafton said. “In order to do that, we will be analyzing scans from 1,200 healthy people who are part of the Human Connectome Project, so that we have a rich comparison group to test with our approach.”

In addition to UCSB, the other winners are Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. in Alachua, Florida; the BrainScope Company, Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland; the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee; Quanterix Corp. in Lexington, Massachussetts; and the University of Montana in Missoula.

“We are truly impressed by the quality of the work and the measurable progress being made by these winning organizations,” said Alan Gilbert, director of health policy, government and community strategy for GE Healthymagination, the company’s commitment to invest in innovations that bring better health to more people.

“There are a number of breakthrough ideas that are advancing our understanding of the brain and not only have applications on the playing field but also extend to neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president of health and safety policy, said: “It’s exciting to witness the breakthroughs accomplished by the winners. Their efforts will truly advance the science around brain injury. We look forward to continuing to support this work and benefiting not only football and other sports but society more broadly.”

—Julie Cohen is a science writer for UC Santa Barbara.


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Bedford Winery Invites Foodies and Wine-Lovers to Ultimate Summer BBQ

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Bedford Winery is putting on the ultimate summer BBQ—an old fashioned pig roast in the Los Alamos hills.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, winemaker Stephan Bedford will welcome visitors to his Los Alamos homestead for a night of good food, live music and great local wine in a rural setting.  

The evening begins at 4 p.m. with a Pig Watch Reception for those who want to see the "guest of honor" come off the spit.

Live music begins at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. 

In addition to pork, the menu includes Stephan’s empanadas, smoked queso, handmade frijoles and tortilla chips, dutch oven potatoes with dried mushrooms, summer salads, grilled vegetable ragout and  ginger ice cream with stone fruits and homemade cookies. 

Wine will also be served as part of the ticket price, including Bedford's chenin blanc, syrah, grenache, and cabernet franc, along with the debut of his 2010 mourvèdre, a preview of his 2012 chardonnay and a special batch of his secret recipe sangria.

Live music will be provided by local singer-songwriters Adam Phillips and Ray Pannell.

Reservations are required.

All-inclusive tickets are $75 per person and $60 wine club members. For more information and to RSVP, call 805.344.2107 or email [email protected]

—Stephan Bedford has been producing wine on the Central Coast for nearly 30 years and is the sole proprietor of Bedford Winery.


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Two Dignity Health Hospitals Receive ‘Best Hospital for Common Care’ Recognition

By | Published on 07/24/2015


French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), both members of the Dignity Health system that also includes Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), are pleased to announce that they have each been published in the July 20 edition of "U.S. News & World Report" after being added to the report's list of “Best Hospitals for Common Care” for high performance of hip replacement.

These most recent recognitions further illustrate Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals’ tireless commitment to providing excellent care, serving the community, and always utilizing the safest services possible for our patients. Human kindness is a full-time job, and our hospitals have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty.  

Not only were both FHMC and MRMC recognized as two of the best hospitals in the country for common care, but Marian also scored significantly higher in both the prevention of hospital-acquired infections and hip revisions, and FHMC had far fewer hip replacement readmissions for any reason within 30 days than other hospitals. "U.S. News & World Report" defines a hip revision as a patient requiring corrective surgery within one year of having a hip replacement performed at the same hospital.

Additionally, out of the thousands of hospitals reviewed, only 11 percent of hospitals were rated as high performing in their treatment of hip replacements. Dignity Health Central Coast Hospitals place a premium on safety, and this acknowledgement further motivates them to continue setting the standard for patient care on the central coast.

“These awards are a testament to the dedication to quality, safe and excellent services provided by all our health care teams at our Central Coast Dignity Health hospitals,” said Chuck Cova, Senior Vice President Operations, Dignity Health Central Coast.

Alan Iftiniuk, President and CEO of French Hospital Medical Center adds, “We commend our health care teams for these prestigious recognitions providing quality care that our communities have come to expect and deserve from our hospitals.

About Dignity Health Central Coast

Dignity Health Central Coast comprises five hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. Hospitals in the Dignity Health Central Coast region include Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care. For more information, visit

—Sara San Juan represents the Central Coast Dignity Health system.


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Time Running Out on ‘Made in the Santa Maria Valley’ Logo-Design Contest

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Artists, doodlers and graphic designers have a limited time to submit their best artwork for the “Made in the Santa Maria Valley” logo design contest.

The deadline for submission is July 31.


The winner will receive $400 and recognition as the designer of the logo to be used by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Commission.

The logo will also be available to any company, agency or organization to use as well.
“The Santa Maria Valley produces, grows, creates and manufactures many products that are used throughout the United States and around the world,” said Glenn Morris, president and CEO of the chamber. “There should be a common and consistent logo that says they are made right here in the Santa Maria Valley.”
The submissions will be judged by a panel consisting of members of the board of directors of the chamber, the Economic Development Commission and select industrial members.

There are specific guidelines to follow. The rules and guidelines are available at the Chamber of Commerce website, by clicking on the Economic Development tab and looking under “News and Updates.”
For additional information, contact Economic Development Director Dave Cross by phone, 805.925.2403 x817, or email, [email protected]

—Justin Stoner is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.


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Grant Awarded to UCSB Materials Scientist to Develop Hi-Tech Crystals

By | Published on 07/24/2015


With a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Stephen D. Wilson is on his way to finding the 21st century’s silicon, a key element used in the semiconductors of today’s electronics.

His latest project aims to grow new exotic materials capable of driving technological and scientific advances to new levels.

“I was absolutely thrilled when I found out about the award,” said Wilson, an assistant professor in the materials department who joined the UCSB faculty last fall. “This project is built around ideas that have kept me up at night thinking for a very long time. So, personally, it’s an opportunity to realize an obsession, and it’s something that will influence my research far into the future.

"I’m honored to have the Keck Foundation’s support, and I’m excited about getting started.”

With the goal of designing a refined, ultra-high-purity crystal growth process once used for making silicon, Wilson and his team are building new hardware capable of using the same process to produce crystals of volatile and high-pressure stabilized oxides.

These targeted compounds represent a new frontier of materials that theoretical research predicts will lead to a multitude of new quantum states.

At the same time, however, scientific progress is limited by lack of access to new high-purity crystals.

According to Wilson, the ability to grow new high-purity crystals of inorganic materials has historically not only driven the development of materials underlying many current technologies but also fueled the engine of discovery at the frontiers of electronic/quantum phase behavior.

“What we propose to do is reimagine the concept of the floating zone furnace, developed for the semiconductor industry more than 50 years ago,” Wilson said. “These furnaces were built for industrial applications and scientists have merely adapted them.”

Conventional floating zone furnaces use ellipsoidal mirrors to focus light from halogen bulbs to a point inside a transparent growth chamber, typically comprised of a quartz cylinder. Heat causes a target material to melt, which when cooled in a controlled manner can create crystals. During the growth process the molten material does not touch the container walls and is held in place only by surface tension, forming what is called a floating zone.

Wilson’s new design uses a laser as the heat source, allowing the growth chamber to be made of metal with strategically placed sapphire windows. This change will in turn enable higher pressures.

Wilson likened the reimagined optical furnace to a miniature submarine, which is able to operate deep in the ocean under great pressure.

“This furnace is going to be capable of floating zone growth of volatile oxides at pressures that are at least 10 times higher than the current state of the art,” Wilson explained. “Then we’re going to use this furnace to grow and explore materials in this new regime where new quantum states are being predicted.”

Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Co. The foundation’s grant-making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research.

The foundation also maintains both an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special-needs populations and safety-net services.

—Julie Cohen is a science writer for UC Santa Barbara.


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David Sirota: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Embrace the Donald Trump Zeitgeist

By | Published on 07/24/2015


Since announcing his 2016 White House bid, Donald Trump has been the central focus of the campaign — by one estimate, he has garnered almost 40 percent of all election coverage on the network newscasts.

Clearly, The Donald’s attempt to turn 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. into Trump White House has attracted so much attention because the candidate is seen as a Bulworthesque carnival barker who will say anything, no matter how hypocritical, factually unsubstantiated or absurd.

Yet for all the hype he’s generated, Trump is not the only presidential hopeful willing to make utterly mind-boggling statements.

Take Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, she said, “there can be no justification or tolerance for this kind of criminal behavior” that has been seen on Wall Street. She added that “while institutions have paid large fines and in some cases admitted guilt, too often it has seemed that the human beings responsible get off with limited consequences or none at all, even when they have already pocketed the gains.”

Her campaign echoed the message with an email to supporters lauding Clinton for saying that “when Wall Street executives commit criminal wrongdoing, they deserve to face criminal prosecution.”

Clinton’s outrage sounds convincing at first — but then, audacity-wise, it starts to seem positively Trump-like when cross-referenced with campaign finance reports, foundation donations and speaking fees.

According to an Associated Press analysis, Clinton has already raked in more than $1.6 million worth of campaign contributions from donors in the same financial sector she is slamming on the campaign trail.

Additionally, Clinton’s foundation took $5 million worth of donations from at least nine financial institutions that secured special deals to avoid prosecution — even as they admitted wrongdoing. The Clintons also accepted nearly $4 million in speaking fees from those firms since 2009.

Oh, and that anti-Wall Street email from Clinton’s campaign? It was authored by Clinton aide Gary Gensler, a onetime Goldman Sachs executive who later became a government official.

Then there is Jeb Bush. He recently trekked back to Tallahassee, Fla., to deliver a speech portraying himself as a clean-government reformer. He asserted that before he became Florida governor, “lobbyists and legislators grew a little too comfortable in each other’s company” but he also insisted that he “refused to go along with that establishment” and “wasn’t a member of the club.”

Again, it sounds vaguely convincing, until the facts make the chutzpah involved seem positively Trump-ish.

A review of Bush’s own gubernatorial emails shows that he was very much a member of the club. He sought public policy counsel from lobbyists on everything from government contracts to medical malpractice legislation to state land purchases.

Bush also approved a plan for corporate lobbyists to help his administration pass a bill exempting the state’s pension investments from Florida’s open records laws. And, of course, he is now raising presidential campaign money from lobbyists.

Bush’s speech, which bashed legislators who become lobbyists, was held at Florida State University — a school whose president had previously become a lobbyist after serving as speaker of the state House of Representatives.

If all that wasn’t enough, emails show Bush’s event at FSU was arranged by the Florida Chamber of Commerce — a corporate lobbying group that has funneled cash to a political action committee backing Bush’s presidential campaign.

In these and so many other spectacles, the candidates appear to be assuming that voters will never know any context — they are assuming, in other words, that voters are goldfish who will forget their entire world every 15 minutes or so.

Trump may get all the attention for flamboyantly embodying such a cavalier attitude. However, the cynical view of the electorate — and the attendant say-absolutely-anything attitude — has now become the pervasive zeitgeist of the entire 2016 campaign.

David Sirota is a senior writer at International Business Times 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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Girls Inc. Continues to Empower Local Teens with Trip to Nation’s Capital

By | Published on 07/24/2015


A group of 14 local teens from Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold, are gearing up for a once-in-lifetime trip to Washington D.C. next week, where they will have the exciting opportunity to leave their footprints on our nation’s capital.  
Over the course of the five days in Washington, Girls Inc. members will meet with the offices of our local representatives and senators, including Congresswoman Lois Capps and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, to discuss youth mentoring grants and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) legislation. 


The girls will spend time exploring the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Air & Space Museum—one of the world’s most visited museums—touring Google and Microsoft’s D.C. offices, visiting monuments and doing a White House Medical Unit tour.

They will also have the opportunity to explore college campuses such as George Washington University, providing them with a broader context for their options and possibilities for their futures. 
For many of the participants, it will be their first time flying on an airplane, leaving the state or staying in a hotel.
“Our programs are designed to expose girls at a young age to strong, smart and bold female role models and diverse career paths, including government and policy-making, so they can begin envisioning their own paths to success and establishing life goals with the confidence that their goals can be achieved,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “We’re so proud to be developing the next generation of female leaders—and these girls are beyond excited to get out of their comfort zones and discover the city where world-changing decisions are made every day.” 

Members from Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s Eureka! program are preparing for a five-day trip to Washington, where they will be encouraged to step outside their comfort zones while exploring a new city and becoming better prepared for college and the real world. (Kilho Park Photo)

The girls, who will be entering their junior year of high school, are members of the organization’s Eureka! program, a five-year, college-bound program that aims to break gender stereotypes by encouraging girls to discover and explore different career paths and fields. Eureka! also includes fitness, nutrition and personal development activities that encourage girls to be healthy, strong and self-confident.

 Following the trip, participants will be asked to share their experiences with members of City Council and other local clubs. The girls will also be blogging and sharing photos from Washington next week on the Girls Inc. website. 
The organization launched its five-year Eureka! program in 2012 to provide leadership and education enhancement opportunities for teen girls, beginning the summer before their eighth grade year up through the end of high school. The girls traveling to Washington D.C. are part of the program’s first cohort and will be entering their fourth year with Eureka!

For more information about Girls Inc. of Carpinteria or the Eureka! program or to make a donation, please visit or call 805.684.6364. 

About Girls Inc. of Carpinteria

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is a member of Girls Incorporated®, a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. With local roots dating to 1864 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. has responded to the changing needs of girls through research-based programs and public education efforts that empower girls to understand, value and assert their rights. We provide programs for girls 6 to 18 years old that focus on science, math and technology; health and sexuality; economic and financial literacy; sports skills; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy. To learn more, become a volunteer or offer support, please visit

—Daniella Alkobi represents Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.


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Santa Barbara Bike Plan Hits Rough Patch With Council Members, Residents

By | Published on 07/23/2015


Bicyclists praise the ideas while Westside residents object to proposal to convert some roads into one-way streets with bicycle lanes

A Los Angeles-based consultant's idea to transform bicycle transportation in Santa Barbara has hit more bumps in the road.

Several residents of the Westside neighborhood and some City Council members objected to several of consultant Melendrez's suggestions for improving bicycle safety in the city.

Santa Barbara is spending about $200,000 to update a bicycle master plan, which could be adopted later this year. 

While many people supported an idea to paint bike lanes on State and Haley streets green, most of the discussion at Tuesday's council meeting centered on the consultant's proposal to turn Chino and San Andres streets on the Westside into one-way streets with bike lanes, and remove parking from a few blocks on Micheltorena Street.

Melendrez also proposed the idea for Laguna and Olive streets on the Eastside.

Kristen Santiago, who lives on Chino Street, criticized the consultant's outreach efforts. She said she just found out about the master plan Monday.

"I do support bicycling whenever possible," Santiago said. "My primary concern is the one-way street situation. That is going to impact the whole community of the Westside in a very negative way. One way streets can be very dangerous."

The meeting was packed with mostly bicycle enthusiasts who want Santa Barbara to make bike riding safer. They vocally supported green lanes for bike riders, removing some parking and making bike lane connections to help bike riders cross town. 

Barry Remis, who said he was representing the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation, said he hopes Santa Barbara experiences a "robust" bicycle master plan update.

He wants the plan to "propel Santa Barbara amongst the ranks of some of the bigger bicycle friendly cities in the country."

But Councilman Dale Francisco encouraged bicyclists to look at the world as it is, not how they want it to be.

"All of the enthusiastic people in this room, and I applaud your enthusiasm, are a minority, a tiny minority of the people in this city," Francisco said.

"That doesn't mean that your transportation needs aren't important as well, but we have to put that in context of the entire city's needs."

The consultant received 1,440 responses to its voluntary online survey about bicycle habits, concerns and goals for the community. 

Half of the respondents, according to Melendrez, said a car was their primary mode of transportation and another 30 percent said biking was their main way of moving around town.

Francisco said his worst fear about the survey a year ago was that it would only reach bicycle users. 

"Thirty percent of (the respondents) say their primary mode is bicycle — that is not Santa Barbara," Francisco said. "I am sorry I don't believe those numbers."

Francisco and Councilman Frank Hotchkiss said bicyclists need to educate themselves about the safe and unsafe areas are to ride a bicycle.

"I am little worried that if we put more riders on the street we are going to have more accidents," Hotchkiss said. 

He encouraged the consultants, "who we are paying a lot of money to," to seek a "Santa Barbara solution." He also opposed any proposal to remove parking on Micheltorena Street. 

The consultants will take this input and return to the Transportation & Circulation Committee and Planning Commission for more discussion. The consultants want the council to approve a bicycle master plan by the end of 2015.

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


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Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Assigned to Protect Judge Brian Hill

By | Published on 07/23/2015


Judge Brian Hill

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has assigned deputies to protect Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill, who has been criticized in recent weeks because of a sentence he handed down in an animal-cruelty case that involved torturing a puppy.

Deputies are conducting extra patrols at the courthouse and watching over Hill outside of work, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, who said she was not aware of any direct threats made against the longtime local judge.

Hoover wouldn’t provide any other information, but did say last Sunday’s vigil at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens in support of “Puppy Davey” — and stricter sentences in animal-abuse cases — put authorities on higher alert.

“The weekend of the protest held at the Sunken Garden we had knowledge of several intents to protest, and worked with court officials and Judge Hill to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” she told Noozhawk.

Some locals have levied anger against Hill since last month, when he sentenced a Santa Barbara man to a year in County Jail and five years on probation after he pleaded guilty to felony animal-cruelty and assault charges.

The case involved abusing his girlfriend and her puppy, a 5-month-old Doberman pincher that later had to be euthanized.

Duanying Chen was arrested in May 2014 and pleaded guilty as charged in May to four felony counts and one misdemeanor count, including two felony charges of animal cruelty, felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, witness dissuasion and violating a court order.

Authorities have said Chen broke several of the puppy’s bones and used a utility lighter to inflict burns on 80 percent of its body. The veterinarians who tried to save the puppy renamed him Davey.

The maximum sentence for the crime was seven years and six months in state prison. The District Attorney's Office argued for the harsher punishment.

Hundreds gathered last Sunday at the Sunken Gardens for a vigil and subsequent silent march down State Street, joined by several politicians, including State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who pledged to help animal rights activists craft legislation with stricter sentences for animal abusers.

Some posters singled Hill out by name, calling for the judge to step down.

Organizers of the “The March of Mourning — Justice for Puppy Davey” asked attendees for peace and to channel outrage about the outcome into positive change.

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 Takes Creative Approach To Water Conservation

By | Published on 07/23/2015


City expands well use, educates customers about leaks, and reduces outdoor irrigation during the drought, cutting back on water use by 18 percent

When a visiting mayor asked how Allan Hancock College managed to still have green grass despite the drought, he learned about one of Santa Maria’s creative steps to preserve the precious drinking water.

From using non-potable water on lawns at some government facilities, to employing Drippy the Drop to educate customers, to stopping irrigation of turf in the center of roundabouts, Santa Maria has undertaken several measures to conserve water.

And in the first month since the city was ordered to meet a state-mandated reduction of 16 percent, Santa Maria has topped the effort, Utilities Director Shad Springer told the City Council this week.

Despite achieving 18 percent reduction in the first month — 2 percent more than the 16 percent ordered by the state — Springer urged residents to keep cutting back.

“If we’re not conserving enough water then we need to extend the outreach,” Springer told the council. “If we’re really undershooting we may come back to council for additional restrictions but at this point it really doesn’t seem necessary.

“The citizens of Santa Maria have done a good job of stepping up and conserving water,” Springer said.

The 16 percent reduction, compared to usage in 2013, is below the 25 percent average cutback the state ordered other water agencies to achieve. For example, Orcutt, which is served by Golden State Water Company, must reduce water use by 32 percent. 

Santa Maria’s conservation measures include ones that are now commonplace throughout California — no watering between noon and 4 p.m., using a a hose with a shutoff nozzle to wash vehicles, not watering after rain, and not using potable water in decorative fountains.

The city also has set up water conservation hotline to report scofflaws via phone or email. So far, the city has received 160 contacts, Springer said.

“Most of them, frankly, are people reporting on wasteful watering,” he said. A water conservation specialist is sent to the location to let the property know about the broken sprinkler head or other problem.

“Once again, our main goal is education first,” he said.

Utilities Department staff keeps an eye on water usage, alerting residents who have used water every hour of the day for three days that they may have a leak. 

“We’re getting great response from our ratepayers and frankly it’s water that’s going through their meters so it saves them money as well,” he said.

Additionally, the city is strategically expanding a secondary water system using wells that don’t meet drinking water standards due to high nitrate levels.

In the past six months, the program was expanded to Hancock College’s Santa Maria campus, joining the Santa Maria Public Airport and city’s civic center plus other locations.

The Santa Maria Utilities Department uses Drippy the Drop to monitor efforts toward achieving state-mandated water conservation goals. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Maria does has turf turning brown and the city has stopped watering turf on the roundabouts, Springer said.

And, the city crews raised the mowing heights of lawn throughout the parks to cut down on the amount of water needed.

Councilman Bob Orach encouraged residents to use the city’s website to calculate their per-person water use, noting his was 85 gallons a day one month and 93 gallons a day the next month. 

The average is 93 gallons per person per day for residential meters, Springer said.

Additionally, Orach said he and his wife capture the first few seconds of shower water in buckets to take outdoors for thirsty landscaping. 

Councilman Jack Boysen urged conservation, but also encouraged residents to continue to care for their yards. 

“Let’s also remember that water conservation is not an excuse for destroying the character of your neighborhood,” he said. 

The city is touting drought tolerant landscaping with a new flier to show that residents don’t have just use rocks but can use plants that don’t require as much water as non-native vegetation.

In response to a question from Orach, Springer said an annual practice, flushing the water lines via fire hydrants, will occur as planned.

“I will say the No. 1 priority for our water system is to provide safe drinking water for the residents of Santa Maria so whatever that takes is what we will do,” Springer said. “In the fall, we will flush the lines to provide safe clean drinking water for the residents of Santa Maria.”

Even that water won't be wasted under Springer's watch.

“We are in discussions with the Fire Department — maybe when we open those hydrants for flushing it’s a great day for training so we can double dip,” Springer added.

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


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Girl Airlifted to Santa Barbara Hospital After Crash Near VAFB

By | Published on 07/23/2015


A 7-year-old girl was taken by a CalStar medical helicopter to Santa Barbara County Cottage Hospital on Thursday after a single-vehicle crash on Highway 1 south of Firefighter Road, the California Highway Patrol said.

A silver Nissan 200SX was northbound on Highway 1, south of Firefighter Road near Vandenberg Air Force Base’s main gate, at 11:30 a.m. when driver Nancy Santos, 20, of Lompoc allowed the vehicle to drift to the left onto the center median, Officer John Ortega said. 

Santos over-corrected to the right, causing the vehicle to drift across the northbound lanes onto the right shoulder.

It continued to the right, down a dirt embankment, and overturnedeast of the shoulder for northbound Highway 1, Ortega said.

Santos was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries. 

A 1-year-old child, Noah Sykeo, of Santa Maria who had no apparent injuries, also went to Marian.

Isabella Sykeo, 7, of Santa Maria received moderate injuries and was flown to Cottage Hospital.

The driver and two passengers were using safety equipment, the CHP said.

Alcohol and drugs did not appear to be a factor in this collision, Ortega added.

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


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Cal Poly Marketing Faculty Members Receive Professorship Awards

By | Published on 07/23/2015


Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business recently named Professors Lynn Metcalf and Brennan Davis recipients of the Hood Professorship in Marketing.

The award, founded by a family of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo alumni, is given each year to marketing faculty who push boundaries to evolve student learning opportunities and support the objectives of the college and university.

Metcalf, who began teaching at Cal Poly in 1986, has led the implementation of the university’s new integrated marketing communications minor and formed a student-centered partnership with consulting firm Trusted Peer.

She also fostered dozens of learn-by-doing projects to students in her BUS 454: Marketing Projects class and provided career opportunities for students through the program’s annual marketing career conference.

Davis chairs the school's marketing analytics task force, comprising industry leaders to develop courses central to the undergraduate concentration in marketing and Cal Poly’s new Master of Business Analytics program.

Lynn Metcalf

He also collaborated with marketing faculty to redesign BUS 346: Principles of Marketing, which fosters a mentoring relationship between upperclassmen and new marketing students. Davis joined Cal Poly in 2014.

A committee from within the Orfalea College of Business—including members from its marketing area task force, the Executive Partners program, and the Dean’s advisory council—manages the selection process. The award’s endowment provides resources, which wouldn’t otherwise be available, to further the faculty’s personal and professional development.

The Hoods created the endowment in 2005 after their daughter Becky graduated with a degree in marketing.

They also established a similar endowment to support faculty in Cal Poly’s electrical engineering program, from which dad Richard and son Brian graduated.

Brennan Davis

“I definitely benefited from the education I received from Cal Poly, and now my children have also received an education that has prepared them for industry today," Richard Hood said upon establishing the award in 2005. 

"We donated because we understand the budget situation. Cal Poly is a big part of our family. We respect the programs, value the education, and love the institution.”

The Orfalea College of Business prepares career-ready graduates through an unparalleled experiential business education. It is one of six academic colleges at Cal Poly, a nationally ranked, four-year comprehensive public university.

Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience through its philosophy of "learn by doing."

For more information, visit

—Robyn Kontra is a communications specialist for the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


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University of California System Raising Employee Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour By 2017

By | Published on 07/23/2015


The University of California System plans to increase the minimum wage for its workers to $15 an hour over the next three years, with the first raise set for October.

All workers hired at any of 10 UC campuses working at least 20 hours a week — both direct hires and contract employees — will benefit from the increase, including UC Santa Barbara employees. 

UC President Janet Napolitano unveiled the Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan this week at a UC Board of Regents meeting, noting that all contractors who wish to do business with UC must also comply with government and university workplace laws and policies.

At UC Santa Barbara, a number of employees will be impacted by the change, according to university spokesman George Foulsham, but he couldn’t provide any more details.

“We are assessing what this means for our campus,” he told Noozhawk.

As one of Santa Barbara County’s largest employers, the university expects to see serious growth over the next five years, with several construction projects in the works.

According to a 2013-14 campus report, UCSB employs more than 6,200 people. About 4,000 of those employees are non-academic staff, with nearly 2,800 students falling into that category.

The mandated UC minimum wage will increase to $13 an hour on Oct. 1, 2015, to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016 and to $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2017.

News of the increase comes as the current $9 California state minimum wage prepares for an increase to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

The UC System is the state’s third largest employer — falling short of the federal and state governments — with about 195,000 employees at 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national labs, the Office of the President, the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and others.

“Through its education, research and public service missions, the University of California’s students, faculty and staff have made us into a world-renowned institution,” Napolitano said in a statement Wednesday.

“And our community does not exist in a vacuum. How we support our workers and their families impacts Californians who might never set foot on one of our campuses.

“This is the right thing to do — for our workers and their families, for our mission and values, and to enhance UC’s leadership role by becoming the first public university in the United States to voluntarily establish a minimum wage of $15.”

To bolster the plan, the UC system will implement stronger oversight for contractors and subcontractors, requiring them to pay employees a wage that either meets or beats the new UC minimum wage. All of them will be put through an annual compensation audit or “spot audits,” which will be funded by contractors.

UC will also increase monitoring and compliance efforts related to service contractor wages and working conditions, launching a new phone hotline and online system to report complaints and issues to Napolitano’s office.

Money to pay for the wage increase is coming from “non-core funds” such as those self-supporting auxiliary services like bookstores and food services, according to the UC.

Those revenues are separate from student tuition and fees, state resources and money supporting UC’s instructional programs.

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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Ken Williams: Donald Trump Knows Nothing of War, Or Its Memories

By | Published on 07/23/2015


This story is dedicated to Donald Trump.

So, as I understand it, a man who hid behind five deferments feels qualified to lecture Vietnam War veterans on the merits and definition of bravery and what constitutes a hero?

Only thing sadder was when Republicans stood aside and John Kerry was maligned when he was “swiftboated” because he was an anti-war combat vet who dared run for the presidency. Haven’t enough died in combat and since from lingering wounds, suicides and Agent Orange poisoning to satisfy the bloodlust of chickenhawks?

Can you keep your sleazy politics to yourself just this one time! Go back to making billions of dollars and don’t pretend to know what you’re talking about. You know not what you say.

Welcome Home

I’ve dreamt of this flight a thousand times. They seem so real; I swear I can reach out and touch the rolling waves, smell the salty water.  Which is, of course, absurd, seeing that the dream places me aboard a “Freedom Bird” at 5,000 feet above the ocean.

A Freedom Bird is a passenger plane full of veterans taking off from Vietnam, heading home. But this time — I’m coming home — it’s not a dream!

Thirteen months is a long time. I left a boy of 18, coming home a man at 19. I was newly wed then. Now I’m expecting to see my 8-month-old daughter in the arms of my wife, Nancy.

I left a naïve Marine, gung-ho to meet the enemy head on. I’m older now. To tell you the truth, ancient is what I feel; also sadder ... wiser.

It’s the kind of wisdom that comes with living deadly lies. Deceit ages you. So do all the blood, death and destruction.

In the beginning I believed in something that wasn’t. That myth soon perished with the suffering of my comrades, and the true body count of the peoples of the land. In the end days, I fought merely to survive.

Moreover, to keep my promise to Nancy that I reaffirmed nightly in my prayers that I would return home to her. Wearily, I acknowledge the hard truth — the first thing you learn in combat is that survival has nothing to do with your wants, or desires, nor nightly prayers. Death comes happenstance on its own timeframe, its own whim.

Looking at the ocean below to settle my fried nerves, I drink in the tranquilizing scenery: The fast-moving whitecaps, the crystal-blue expanse reaching to forever on the horizon.

It’s the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. So unlike the mountains I’ve grown used to the last 13 months along the Vietnam-Laotian border.

The thought of that dreadful place, the A Shau Valley, sours my mood. It’s a primordial, dark and deadly place. Giant, ancient trees towered over us. Fast-moving rivers tumbling over sheer rock ledges. Thick fog smothers the land. And a deadly enemy haunted our every step. How did they expect us to fight in such a foreboding place?

I grabbed the armrest in fear as a flashback rocks my soul. I’m back, lying alongside that trail. My unit is acting as a blocking force while the rest of the company is choppered out of the A Shau.

Heavily armed North Vietnamese have a different idea for our fate. The only thing that stood between us, and being overrun is a wall of steel and a river of napalm supplied by waves of F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers.

A sense of dread washes over me. There is nowhere to hide. Steel shrapnel rains over me as the bombing strikes hit ever closer, telling me that the enemy is closing in. I remember the sounds of the steel slivers whistling through the air, the oily smell of napalm inhaled deeply.

Then that moment of impact when one of the deadly shrapnel hits me, burning though flesh and blood, searing my soul.

I black out. Come to aboard a hospital ship. The kind nurse holding my hand has soft eyes, a hard-set mouth. I imagine she’s seen a lot. She bathes my face. I’m so happy being out of that hellhole, with her kind, caring ways. I try to convey my thanks, but words fail me.

Back to the present on the 707, I look over to the Marine in his dress blues. I look down at my tattered jungle uniform. Embarrassed, I am thinking what Nancy will think of me. But I let that emotion go. She will be as happy as I am, regardless of how I look.

The coast of California comes into view. My heart leaps to my throat. I look over to my traveling companion, wanting to hug him. I want to cry out: “We beat Death at his game!” Instead, he looks pensive, withdrawn. Perhaps he has no one to welcome him home.

Again my emotions turn dark. I’ve heard stories of returning combat vets being shunned. Not fair! We didn’t start that stupid war, didn’t lie our country into it. Those fools encased safely in Washington did! Let it go, I tell myself. He’s got his problems. I’ve got mine.

The plane rolls in. A thud, then jets scream as they are slammed into reverse. Finally, we come to a standstill. All is unnaturally quiet, it seems to me. There should be shouts of joy. We’re home! Nothing matters but that.

But then I become frustrated, turning to red-hot madness. They’ll only allow us to depart the plane one at a time. It takes all my self-restraint not to rush the exit. But then I think of Nancy. Wouldn’t want to embarrass her. Perhaps I can see her?

Yes! There she is. She’s holding my baby daughter! My heart leaps in joy. And, of course, her mother and father are with her. Always could count on those two. Should have listened to her dad when he told me Vietnam was unlike his war. It was unlike any other war, I think darkly.

My turn! It’s my turn! My companion stands as do five others. Gentle, yet firm hands lift me. I must be on a stretcher. Guess I was hurt more than I thought.

But my Nancy will accept me as I am. I know that. Our love is deep. I look over to her. Tears fall down her cheek. Joy! She is joyful — but not.

Something is wrong. Terribly wrong. Her tears are those of anguish. I can feel the searing pain in her heart. Come to think of it, why is she wearing black? Bright sunlight spills into the plane. Finally, I’m on the ground. I have never heard “Taps” sound so soulful, so full of sadness and sorrow.

I watch Nancy place our daughter in her father’s arms. He, too, is crying. She runs over and throws herself on me. On my coffin! The six Marines quickly place it down, unable to handle the extra weight.

“Welcome home my beloved,” Nancy says softly.

“NO!” This is unfair ... Total darkness engulfs me as Death casts his shadow.

The pain of lost love is too much to bear. I will never hold my wife in my arms again. I will never kiss my daughter. I have died for a war that my country has turned its back to, leaving us behind to become the last to die.

It is a war that history will judge unnecessary. Unjust. Ill-advised — what the hell does that mean? Millions killed. Millions wounded. Millions displaced.

But this is personal. For one family, my family, a crushing end to so many promises. So many beginnings are ending ...

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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Bicyclist, Pedestrian Injured in Goleta Beach Bike Path Collision

By | Published on 07/23/2015


Two people suffered major injuries after a collision between a bicycle and pedestrian on the Goleta Beach Park bike path near UC Santa Barbara Thursday morning, the California Highway Patrol said.

The accident happened at 9:30 a.m. on the bike path west of the beach’s parking lot and Highway 217, near the UCSB entrance arch, Officer Kevin Taulbee said.

“Both parties were injured pretty bad,” he said. “It was major injuries, definitely. There were a few broken bones that I was aware of.”

Both people were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The pedestrian, a teenage minor, ran out from a bush on the side of the path and the bicyclist was unable to see the person in time, according to authorities.

“He didn’t even have a chance to react,” Taulbee said. The bicyclist, who is an adult, was wearing a helmet. 

The CHP is documenting the incident but isn’t looking to place fault or pursue an investigation, since there are no Vehicle Code violations applicable in this case, he noted.

“It’s just a complete unfortunate mishap that occurred out there.” 

Noozhawk managing 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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American Riviera Bank Reports Strong Financials after Last Quarter

By | Published on 07/23/2015


American Riviera Bank (OTC Markets:​ ARBV) announced Wednesday unaudited, pre-tax operating income of $763,000 for the second quarter, which ended June 30, 2015.

This represents a 20-percent increase from the $635,000 generated during the same reporting period last year.

Due to merger-related costs of $160,000, the bank reported unaudited net income of $362,000 ($0.13 per share) for the second quarter. This compares to $382,000 for the same quarter last year.

For the six months ending June 30, 2015, the bank reported unaudited net income of $804,000 ($0.30 per share), which includes $162,000 in merger related expenses. This represents a 20-percent increase from the $668,000 reported for the first six months of the previous year.

American Riviera Bank recently announced a merger with the Bank of Santa Barbara, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The strategic merger will create one of the premier community banking franchises in Santa Barbara City and County.

Jeff DeVine, president and chief executive officer stated, “We are very excited to merge these two outstanding community banks into one that is perfectly sized for Santa Barbara and the surrounding area," he said. "The merger will deliver convenience and value for our clients through increased lending capacity, a Goleta branch, a full service SBA lending department and expanded depository products. 

"Together we will realize important synergies, be better positioned to benefit from future growth opportunities, and generate enhanced financial performance for our shareholders.”

American Riviera Bank has achieved strong growth in loans, reporting $171 million in total loans at the end of the most recent quarter, which represents an 8-percent increase from the end of the second quarter of 2014.

Loan quality remains high, with no other real estate owned and no loans past due 30 days or more at quarter end.

The aforementioned loan production enabled the bank to grow net interest income 7 percent compared to the same quarter last year and 11 percent compared to the first six months of 2014.

Deposits averaged $199 million for the second quarter ending June 30, 2015, which represents a significant 24-percent increase from the same reporting period last year.

American Riviera Bank maintains a strong capital position with Tier 1 Capital to total-average assets of 12 percent as of June 30, 2015—well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well capitalized institutions.

The book value of one share of American Riviera Bank stock was $10.40 at June 30, 2015, an increase from $10.02 at June 30, 2014.

Company Profile

American Riviera Bank is a full-service community bank focused on serving the lending and deposit needs of businesses and consumers in Santa Barbara and surrounding communities. The state-chartered bank opened for business on July 18, 2006, with the support of 400 local shareholders.

Offices are located at 1033 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara and 525 San Ysidro Road in Montecito.

For three consecutive years, the bank has been named a “Premier Performer” by the Findley Reports.

As of March 31, 2015, the Bank was rated five stars by Bauer Financial.

—​Michelle Martinich​ is the chief financial officer at American Riviera Bank.


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Pedestrian Seriously Injured in Santa Maria Accident

By | Published on 07/23/2015


A 48-year-old man was airlifted to a Santa Barbara hospital Wednesday night after being struck by a vehicle in Santa Maria.

The accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. in the vicinity of Depot Street and Park Avenue, according to Sgt. Jeffrey Lopez of the Santa Maria Police Department.

Nabor Hernandez-Sinico of Santa Maria suffered moderate to major injuries when he was hit by a vehicle, Lopez said.

Hernandez-Sinico was taken first to Marian Regional Medical Center, then flown by a Calstar medical helicopter to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

“His injuries are non-life-threatening, and he is listed as being in stable condition,” Lopez said.

The driver of the vehicle, whose name was not released, was cooperating with police, Lopez said, adding that the investigation was continuing.

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


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Santa Maria Police Investigating Late-Night Shooting

By | Published on 07/23/2015


Police are investigating a shooting incident that occurred late Wednesday night in Santa Maria.

Officers responded shortly after 10 p.m. to Marian Regional Medical Center, where the victim had been taken, according to Sgt. Jeffrey Lopez.

The victim, whose name was not released, sustained a single gunshot wound to his extremities, Lopez said, adding that the injury was not life-threatening.

Investigators determined that the shooting apparently occurred in the 500 block of South Smith Street.

The suspect was described as a white, male adult, approximately 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, with blond hair.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Santa Maria Police Department at 805.928.3781, ext. 2277.

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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Towbes Foundation Awards $6,000 to Conflict Solutions Center of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/23/2015


The Towbes Foundation recently awarded a $6,000 grant to Conflict Solutions Center and the funding will be used to support the ability for low-income bilingual/bicultural community members to receive mediation skills and conflict resolution training.  

“We are tremendously grateful for this generous award," said Lizzie Rodriguez, Co-Executive Director of the Conflict Solutions Center.

"This charitable support from the Towbes Foundation displays great commitment to achieving community harmony while proving life-long skills to Santa Barbara community members. 

“This funding allows low-income, bilingual and bicultural community members to receive 40-hours of professional mediation skills training. In turn, the bilingual/bicultural community will receive mediation services supporting individual and community empowerment. This gift will positively affect many members of the Santa Barbara community.”  

Conflict Solutions Center encourages anyone interested in being a change agent or community leader, in learning skills to resolve conflict, or becoming a professional mediator to inquire about their next Mediation Skills Training taking place in Santa Maria. 

This training is designed for beginning mediators, practicing mediators, business professionals, lawyers, counselors, service providers, human resource representatives and other community members interested in learning the process of mediation and resolving conflict more effectively.

The training will take place at 120 E Jones Street over six Saturdays: Aug. 8, 15, 22 and 29 and Sept. 5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
Registration is $485, with scholarships and discounts available to those who qualify. Please contact Jammie Stone-Stevens at 805.349.8943 or [email protected] for details or visit  

In this 40-hour training participants will learn about the theoretical foundations, objectives and stages of mediation. They will also have the opportunity to learn about the nature of conflict, your own conflict style, and how to effectively break down conflicts into resolvable pieces.

This training will also give an introduction to nonviolent communication basics and ways to increase listening while decreasing anger and defensiveness. It will also teach fundamental communication skills especially important in conflict management and that are transferable to a variety of situations and settings, providing you an edge in problem-solving and negotiations.  

Mediation is a facilitated, constructive negotiation process for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups and organizations. It is an alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation and prolonged litigation or violence. 

It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome. Community mediation is designed both to meet individual interests while strengthening relationships and building connections between people and groups, as well as to create processes that make communities work for all of us.  

In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves. Recognizing variations in styles and cultural differences, the mediator's role involves assisting the disputants in defining and clarifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, exploring possible solutions and reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. 

Mediation presents the opportunity to constructively express differences and to “hear each other out” even when an agreement is not reached.  

Founded in 1989, Conflict Solutions Center is a community-based nonprofit organization committed to the development of non-adversarial responses to conflict and differences that strengthen social harmony and support individual healing.

The organization serves the communities of Santa Barbara County by providing compassionate communication, appropriate dispute resolution and problem solving practices, restorative justice, consultation, training and mediation services.

— Jammie Stone-Stevens is the programs coordinator at the Conflict Solutions Center.


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Ocean Swimmer Used Her Fins to Fight Off Attack by Seal or Sea Lion Near Leadbetter Beach

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Maryejo Del Meijer recounts a harrowing tale of her offshore encounter, which resulted in a puncture wound to her leg

A Santa Barbara woman is recovering from what she believes was a seal or sea lion bite to her leg as she was swimming near Leadbetter Beach on Wednesday morning.

Maryejo Del Meijer was attacked while ocean swimming at about 7:30 a.m., and suffered a puncture wound to her leg.

She was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Noozhawk caught up with Del Meijer after she had been released from the hospital and was picking up antibiotics from the pharmacy to prevent any infection from the bite.

body worker and healer, Del Meijer said she loves to start her day with an ocean swim because “it makes me feel like a million bucks.”

She’s been swimming for eight years, and has had sea lions swim nearby and under her as she travels through the water. But nothing like what happened Wednesday.

Del Meijer swims three to four mornings a week with the ocean swimming group dubbed the Ocean Ducks. The group usually enters the water at 7 a.m. from the shore near the Leadbetter Beach restrooms, to the east of Shoreline Beach Café.

She started Wednesday’s swim with about six friends, and then said the group began to pair off.

The group swims to the last buoy at the west end of Leadbetter before turning around, but some of the swimmers go beyond to the point just below Shoreline Park, an area popular with surfers since the waves break there.

Del Meijer’s swimming partner needed to turn back to head to work, but she continued out to the point.

She had seen the head of a seal or sea lion popping out of the water during her swim, but it had seemed like it was quite a distance from the group.

“They’re usually like puppy dogs and they keep their distance,” she said, adding that the swimmers also try to be respectful of wildlife.

“All of the sudden, I felt a nip on my shin and then this body of a seal or lion hit me fairly hard,” she recalled.

Just after that, she felt a bite on her right leg, just above her knee.

Del Meijer said her first thought was of the video of professional surfer Mick Fanning that has been making the rounds on the Internet this week. Fanning aggressively fought back against a shark that attacked him during a surfing competition in South Africa.

“I immediately decided to fight back because I felt that this seal or sea lion was aggressive,” she said. “I kicked really hard with my fins and then he backed off.”

When she called for help, a friend swam back toward her, and the pair returned to the beach together.

“It was a fairly big bite,” she said.

Once back on shore, Del Meijer encountered a “lovely homeless man who did a beautiful job of wrapping my leg up with a bandage” from a first-aid kit he had on hand.

She was taken to Cottage Hospital, where she was given a tetanus shot and doctors cleaned out the single puncture wound. The bite was about an inch deep.

“It’s going to be a nice little scar,” she said, adding that she felt the attack may have been a “warning bite.”

Del Meijer seemed in good spirits in spite of the attack. She said encountering wildlife is part of the draw of ocean swimming, and that there always will be risks to the activity.

It won’t keep her from swimming, however.

“Any surfer or anyone who ocean swims knows exactly why I say I would go back,” she 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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El Niño Could Bring Winter Storms and Much Needed Rain

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Strong rainfall could help drought-plagued Santa Barbara County and rest of Southern California, UCSB and NOAA experts say

Weather experts say that an El Niño condition forming in equatorial waters could mean significant rain for the parched Southern California region later this year.

The phenomenon itself often leads to winter storms in the region, and occurs when a warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean waters occurs with the weakening of the trade winds, according to Leila Carvalho, a geography professor and climate expert at UC Santa Barbara.

El Niños can cause detrimental effects, such as off the coast of Peru, where fishermen frequently suffer from warming waters that can kill off fish. 

Storms that result from the system can also cause weather events like flooding and landslides.

Carvalho said the waters off the Santa Barbara Coast have already been warming, even before the El Niño phenomenon was recorded this year.

She referenced the sea lion deaths that are likely a result of food shortages due to warming waters.

Carvalho's research focuses on tropical climates and why extremes happen in those regions, and why and how precipitation occurs in regions like the Himalayas and the Andes.

Extremes can also happen in Southern California, when "we get very few days with rain but really extreme precipitation," she said. "In Santa Barbara, when it rains it pours."

Carvalho said that the storms are likely to happen later this year and "we should be prepared," she said.

"The authorities should be prepared for the rain, even a minimum of rain can cause landslides."

Carvalho said that though winter storms won't be a cure-all for the drought, it could help.

Last weekend's storm that brought short bursts of rain and rare thunder and lightning to the region was a result of Hurricane Delores, which formed off of the Gulf of Mexico and weakened off the Baja Peninsula, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

For showers to reach the valleys and coastal regions is unusual, he said.

Rainfall totals have been dismal since the beginning of the drought, with historic lows for Santa Barbara County and elsewhere in California. 

From July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015, Santa Barbara received 37 inches of rain, and Santa Maria recorded 28 inches.

Both are at about 50 percent of normal rainfall, which would have been 71 inches for Santa Barbara and 56 inches for Santa Maria, Seto said.

In the meantime, the chance of El Niño is continuing to strengthen around the equator, and the modeling indicates that the storms California could see this winter will be "moderate to strong," Seto said.

If that trend continues, the region could see above-average rainfall this winter.

"One above-normal rain year could make a big dent in the drought," he said.

The strength of the system is still be determined, however, and experts should have a better grasp on what to expect by August.

"It looks like it has been increasing over this past week," 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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Appellate Court Says Rapper Should Face Felony Charges For Criminal Threats

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Anthony Ray Murillo allegedly threatened two teenage rape victims in song lyrics

A state appellate court has reversed a Santa Barbara County judge’s decision to dismiss felony charges against an aspiring rapper who prosecutors say threatened two Santa Maria rape victims in songs posted online.

In a ruling published Wednesday, the Court of Appeal 2nd Appellate District said a local judge erred in deciding not to hold Anthony Ray Murillo, now 21, to answer to the charges stemming from allegations the lyrics of his song, “Moment for Life Remix,” threatened two teenage rape victims.

“As a result of this supportive decision, our office will reinstate criminal proceedings against Anthony Murillo,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Wednesday.

The song included lyrics that reportedly threatened two girls raped by Murillo’s friend, Shane Villalpando, who was convicted in June 2013 of three counts of unlawful sex with a minor concerning Jane Doe 1, the appellate ruling said.

At the time, Villalpando attended St. Joseph High School and later graduated from Righetti High School, both in Orcutt.

Villalpando also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sex with a minor concerning Jane Doe 2, and ultimately was sentenced to five years of formal probation plus one year of confinement in county jail.

One of his victim was 14 years old at the time.

After a preliminary hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa  Maria, Judge Patricia Kelly said the lyrics were protected speech that did not constitute a criminal threat under state law.

When the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion seeking to overturn the first ruling, Judge Rick Brown stated, "[T]he court feels that the rap song is closer to protected speech than non-protected speech." 

The appellate court disagreed. 

“In our review of the undisputed factual circumstances presented at the preliminary examination, a reasonable listener could have understood ‘Moment for Life Remix’ to constitute a true threat to Jane Does 1 and 2; that is, the song could be understood to convey a serious expression of intent to commit an act of unlawful violence against the girls,” the appellate ruling said.

The appellate decision noted that Murillo’s lyrics included the phrases, "you're gonna end up dead," and "I'm coming for your head, bitch."

Additionally,  the song revealed the names of the rape victims and repeatedly used the phrase “f—k snitches." 

Murillo's ReverbNation page also contained a photograph of him holding a shotgun. 

One of the rape victims was frightened and told her mother, who was concerned enough to notify law enforcement.

“An obvious question in this case is whether an alleged threat directed at specific persons is any less a threat when it is sung or spoken in a recording and played for an audience,” the appellate ruling said. “Does it matter whether the alleged threat is on a work in a museum of modern art? Philosopher and media expert Marshall McLuhan posited that the 'medium is the message.' That may be so, but here the trier of fact determines the nature of the message whatever the medium.”

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian prosecuted the case, and said it will now resume, at a yet-to-be-determined date, as if he had been held to answer to the charges after the preliminary hearing.

However, Murillo’s attorney, William Makler of Santa Barbara, said he considering filing a petition for rehearing with the appellate court or a review by the California Supreme Court.

This case, due to the issue of protected speech under the First Amendment, has generated a lot of interest inside and outside the criminal justice system, especially among rap artists, regular artists and “others who like to express themselves in public,” Makler noted. 

“We think this application of the penal code section was inappropriate and we’re going to maintain Mr. Murillo is innocent of any legal wrongdoing,” Makler said, adding the aspiring rapper “may be guilty of bad taste.”

The song's lyrics lamented Villalpando's incarceration, plus referred to Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 by their first and last names, authorities said.

After it was posted on the online music site ReverbNation, ”Moment for Life Remix" was downloaded 1,089 times and played 23,468 times before it was removed from the website on Oct. 9, 2013, authorities said.

In all, the song remained on the website for 26 days.

The complaint against Murillo was filed Oct. 29, 2013, in Santa Maria.

The family of one victim mentioned in the rap song welcomed the appellant court ruling.

"We're very excited that the decision was published so that it can set a precedent for future cases," said Kym Henderson, mother of Delaney, who is one of two girls mentioned in the song.

"That's been Delaney's goal all throughout this ordeal. To try and make sure that other girls don't have to go through the things that she has. We're hoping this case will be a stepping stone for other cases. Even if we don't win, maybe some day a girl who's afraid, will."

After learning of the song, Delaney Henderson, who received a Citizen of Courage Award in the spring from the District Attorney's Office, woke up screaming in fear "they're coming after me," her mother said.

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


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Goleta Considering Special Tax to Keep Struggling Library Open

By | Published on 07/22/2015


City also may take over control of the branch on North Fairview Avenue that is primarily funded by Santa Barbara County

Shaky financial footing could force the Goleta Public Library to close in 2018, which is why the city of Goleta is looking into a special ballot tax measure to help save it.

Goleta City Council members were also receptive this week to taking control of the library from Santa Barbara County, which funds a majority of the branch that’s operated by the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

Either way, money will remain an issue.

Goleta is at a crossroads, mainly because the library reserves that have kept the institution afloat through the past few years of operating deficits could be depleted by 2018.

A special tax measure — requiring a two-thirds majority vote — could go on the ballot as soon as November 2016, which would convert it into a Goleta municipal library within the next two years.

The library at 500 N. Fairview Ave. was founded in 1973.

“We’ll be closing the doors of the library whether we like it or not if we don’t do anything,” Councilman Michael Bennett said. “The library is not serving with up-to-date books. There are just a lot of things that are not going on to make it an effective library. We need to do it now.”

The county owned the library until Goleta’s incorporation in 2002, when its collection and associated assets were transferred to the city. Goleta then entered into an agreement with Santa Barbara’s library system to administer services as one of its branches.

Some 88,000 people annually use the library, which gets 51 percent of funding from the county general fund and 14 percent from revenues derived from library fees, fines, rentals, interest earnings and contributions from the Friends of the Goleta Library and other private donations.

Goleta contributes $10,000 each year toward library impact fees to assist with collections, although most other Santa Barbara library branch cities contribute at least $10,000 more, according to Ruth Metz Associates, which was hired to conduct an independent evaluation of library operations.

Expenses have outpaced revenues recently even though the library has already reduced staffing levels, hours of operation and its book and materials budget.

In the 2014 fiscal year, the library had to use $136,389 in library reserves to pay the difference between revenues ($1.17 million) and expenses ($1.3 million), Ruth Metz reported to council.

That reserves payout is projected at $212,151 for 2015-16 and $259,233 in 2016-17.

Based on preliminary state library data from 2012-13, Metz said municipal libraries serving a population comparable to Goleta were funded on average at $73 per capita compared to the $15.79 per capita funding the Goleta library received in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

A Goleta ad hoc library advisory committee survey of voters in 2014 shows the highest public support for a supplemental special tax was in the mid-50-percent range, with tax of $18.08 per year per single-family household.

Council members were deterred by a number of add-ons Metz suggested if the city decides to go the municipal library route, the most expensive of which was adding a library director with an entry level salary of $134,748.

Other administrative overhead and equipment upgrades were recommended for the Goleta library, which currently has 21 employees — most work part time — although Metz suggested going up to 25 or 26.

Councilman Roger Aceves was in favor of Goleta taking over the library but suggested keeping staffing and other expenses at current levels, at least at the start.

Acquiring more books was important to Councilman Tony Vallejo, who wondered if electronic books would be less expensive or more accessible.

“I think it’s important for council to know the reality of acquiring digital media,” City Manager Michelle Greene said.

Libraries are typically charged $100 per title (one e-book) — something consumers could get for $10 — and the institutions can’t accept donated e-books, per manufacturer rules, according to library staff members, who cited research noting kids and teenagers aren’t that interested in digital books anyway.

“Well, that’s disappointing,” Vallejo said.

Mayor Paula Perotte suggested asking UC Santa Barbara for funds, since so many of its students live in Isla Vista and could use the library. Greene said that option hadn’t been considered, but staff was thinking about including Isla Vista residents because many young families reside there.

“I’m very sensitive to people and the idea of a new tax,” Perotte said. “For me, it would have to be very clear that this is just money generated for the Goleta library and what it would be used for.”

Staff said both county and Goleta residents would have to approve the library special tax measure for it to move forward.

Aceves moved to direct staff to begin discussions with the county and state for the special tax, along with letting the Goleta City Council serve as the board of trustees if the city takes over the library.

“I do believe we need to move forward,” he said. “This is all about local control, but we have to get the county and state to join us on it. It should be our library.”

Council members asked for clarification on what the city would actually be paying for if it assumed control over the library, but Perotte showed hesitation.

She agreed the idea was worth looking into, but said she was concerned about adding it to Goleta’s plate.

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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Artist Margaret Singer to Display Solo Exhibition ‘Celebrations’ at Hospice of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Hospice of Santa Barbara welcomes local artist Margaret Singer, who will display her art at the Leigh Block Gallery located within Hospice of Santa Barbara beginning Aug. 12.
Singer, 94, began painting as a child and began taking art classes following her arrival in America after leaving Nazi Germany. Singer turned to painting, using it as a journal to chronicle stages in her life, including the hostile times in Germany.  


"With the coming of the Nazis, a sense of malaise pervaded our lives. Children threw stones at us, calling us names. Jewish people began to disappear," says Margaret Singer about her childhood in Frankfurt, Germany. Margaret, her sister Paula and her brothers Sidney and Henry fled to America, and so began her decades-long career in painting.
 "All the years that I've been painting, I paint the same subjects... the people walking, marching and faces that haunt me," Singer said.

With her artwork reflecting her thoughts, some of her work has turned to celebrating the beauty of the nature and universe around her. Singer chose to name the exhibit “Celebrations,” because she is grateful to have made it past her 94th birthday and believes life and the universe are good.  
Singer’s artwork has been featured at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art under former Museum Director Donald Bear, as well as at Gallery 113, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Abstract Art Collection and the Santa Barbara Art Association. She has taught figure and landscape painting through Santa Barbara City College’s adult education program for 20 years.
Hospice of Santa Barbara will host a wine and hors d’oeuvres open house reception for the new exhibit from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 12. Singer will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from her art sales to Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc., a volunteer hospice organization.
Hospice of Santa Barbara volunteers its free professional counseling and care management services to those who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or visit

—Angel Pacheco is an Account Executive at SurfMedia Communications.


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Santa Barbara Police Release Name of Man Killed By Train

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Thomas Henry Grimm, 59, of Santa Barbara died Monday night when struck near the zoo

Authorities have released the name of a man who was fatally injured Monday night when he was struck by an Amtrak train near the Santa Barbara Zoo.

The body of Thomas Henry Grimm, 59, of Santa Barbara, was found about 250 yard east of Niños Drive, authorities said.

At about 5:40 p.m., dispatchers received a call that the train had struck a pedestrian in the area between Ninõs Drive and Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Eric Beecher told Noozhawk earlier this week.

Emergency personnel responded to the scene, where Grimm was confirmed dead.

"We found him next to the train," Beecher said.

The train, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, was full of passengers, and was stopped on the tracks for about two and half hours while the coroner and Union Pacific Railroad police investigated, 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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UCSB Professor Questions the Implications of Safe Havens in New Book

By | Published on 07/22/2015


In her new book, a UCSB feminist studies scholar examines laws that allow a parent to relinquish a newborn baby legally and anonymously 

The signs are posted at hospitals and fire stations: The figure of a hand cradling a baby is enclosed in the outline of a blue house. 

This is the logo of California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which is intended to save the lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by allowing their safe and anonymous surrender at designated locations, no questions asked.

Yet from the perspective of an academic, there are always questions.

And Laury Oaks, professor and chair of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara, raises many about such laws across the nation in her new book, “Giving Up Baby: Safe Haven Laws, Motherhood, and Reproductive Justice” (NYU Press, 2015).

“Part of why I was drawn to this safe haven issue is on the face of it, it’s a feel-good policy,” Oaks said. “Who would argue against saving innocent babies? One can see how it has a great deal of emotional power.

"What I’m interested in is looking beyond that to see how these laws are promoting a very narrow idea about the nature of maternal love and who deserves to be a mother. What I’ve found is that our society and the safe haven advocacy literature are using judgments about age, race, class, immigration status and other social categories.”

Since Texas became the first state to enact a safe haven law in 1999, every state and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Sometimes there have been unintended consequences.

In Nebraska, a law enacted in 2008 was hastily revised later the same year to limit surrenders to infants no more than 30 days old after parents handed over 35 older children, many of them ranging in age from 10 to 17 and left behind by parents who said they were uncontrollable and needed more counseling or psychiatric services than they could afford. 

“Some guardians, parents and grandparents in Nebraska traveled across state lines in order to relinquish their teenagers,” Oaks said. “One single father dropped off nine of his children, ages 19 months to 17 years, at the hospital after his wife died.

"This opens a whole dialog about the lack of services for people trying to parent their children.”

Oaks also noted that many public service announcements appear targeted at certain ethnicities. For example, a video on the Baby Safe Haven web site features a preschooler with brown skin and Latina features playing on the beach with an adult figure with very fair skin.

“Molly was born on a rock in Central Park on Sept. 9, 2001,” the screen reads. “She is with us because her mother chose to give her over to the Children of Hope Safe Haven Program. Today, she lives happily with her adoptive family on Long Island.”

In California, the state’s Department of Social Services reports that 685 newborns were surrendered from 2001-2014, including 73 last year. Yet statistics on the backgrounds of those making legal surrenders of infants are not available because of the guarantee of anonymity. 

“All the videos represent that for this girl or woman, often young, poor and of color, the best thing for her to do is to relinquish her motherhood, relinquish her right to mother that child,” Oaks said. “What I argue is this kind of analysis pushes us to question the safe haven basic assumption, which is that a good mother relinquishes the baby as an act of maternal love.”

Yet another question is that of parental rights. One parent anonymously surrendering an infant could undermine the rights of the absent parent, in some cases a man who might be unaware of the baby’s existence.

“The hook is about the anonymity, which is framed by advocates as being the best part of the law,” said Oaks. “Women can avoid stigma and will not be judged and there will not be criminal repercussions unless the baby has been neglected or abused.”

Though a person surrendering a baby often is asked to fill out a medical questionnaire, it is optional, thus depriving the eventual adoptive parent and later the child of what would be important medical history.

Further, the laws and procedures in each state are different, including policies regarding a surrendering parent changing her or his mind.

“All the states have different laws and timelines,” Oaks noted. “That’s not good health policy. If these laws truly are to facilitate assistance for women who are in a state of crisis, they are not set up in a way that is efficient for them.”

In addition, parents may have misconceptions about how a baby is to be handed over. It is not sufficient to leave a baby on the doorstep of a fire station. “One of the primary tenets of the laws it to hand it directly over to somebody, that is what is safe, not leaving a baby somewhere else that is not that safe,” Oaks said.

Proponents of the laws make one simple argument: To save any baby is enough.

“The dumpster baby is always the shadow in the background,” Oaks said. “Representing the dumpster as the risk attempts to shift our focus away from the complexities of new mothers’ lives. Working toward women’s well-being and reproductive justice is a better response than targeting some women and girls as potentially bad mothers and promoting the message that what is best is for them to relinquish their children.”

—Andrea Estrada is the deputy news director at UC Santa Barbara.


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Family Service Agency Introduces New Board Member Mario Barfield

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Family Service Agency (FSA) is pleased to welcome Mario J. Barfield, Psy. D. to its board of directors.

Mario comes to FSA with 14 years experience working with youth and young adults who have experienced a wide range of behavioral and emotional difficulties.

He has provided therapeutic services in various settings, including summer camps, residential facilities, private residences, school-based health centers and community mental health agencies.

Mario has also volunteered throughout California at the Alameda Food Bank and Community Garden, The Berkeley Shoreline, Bright Futures Child Development Center, and Albany Lanes. 

Mario is a licensed clinical psychologist at UC Santa Barbara. At UCSB, his major clinical focus is to work toward reducing the stigma associated with mental health amongst underrepresented students while also providing direct individual and group therapy to the broader student population.

Clinical pyschologist Mario Barfield has been welcomed to FSA's Board of Directors.

Mario is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2001 at Pennsylvania State University.

In 2002, he moved to Fresno and shortly after to the Bay Area, where he earned both masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Argosy University in Alameda with a focus on child and family psychology.

Family Service Agency has long been regarded as one of Santa Barbara County’s most reliable and effective nonprofit organizations.

Established in 1899, FSA continues to improve the health and well-being of the community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors through their transformative and essential programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Services, Family Support Services, Youth & Family Behavioral Health and School Counseling Services.

Their programs combine clinical expertise, bilingual and bicultural staff, and close collaboration with other agencies. At FSA, all services are provided free or on a sliding fee/donation scale and no one is denied assistance because of an inability to pay.

For more information, please visit or call 805.965.1001.

—Melinda Johansson is the Development and Marketing Manager for Family Services Agency.


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John Blankenship: Goleta Airfield’s Advantages Provided Base for Marine Corps Air Station

By | Published on 07/22/2015


This is a new column for and about veterans, active duty military, and families of both — presented by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. We will have news of interest to all and a listing of upcoming events honoring veterans.

We also will have profiles of local veterans and active-duty military. And there will be tips and information for veterans on how to deal with the Veterans Affairs Department.

Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara WWII

Installment 1: A municipal airport becomes Marine Air Station

The history of the Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara (Goleta) begins with the first official document in the station files: a wire dated Feb. 17, 1942, from the Bureau of Aeronautics to the commandant of the 11th Naval District requesting that negotiations be initiated to acquire a lease on the Santa Barbara Airport.

The station’s emotional history, in fact, begins earlier, on Dec. 7, 1941, when the United States was plunged suddenly into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In the swift expansion of Marine Corps Aviation, along with all the other military services, an urgent need developed for Marine Corps air bases on the West Coast.

How the Santa Barbara airport came to the attention of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and why it was chosen as a Marine Corps air station is no doubt documented in the bureau files in Washington. For this history, the personal account of one man — then-Santa Barbara Mayor Patrick Maher — of the events leading up to establishing the base will have to suffice:

The Santa Barbara airport was built in the 1920s on a tidewater swamp about eight miles from the city, in the town of Goleta. In 1930, Frederick Stearns II founded Santa Barbara Airways and built the first paved runways and installed the first radio equipment at the airport.

The field first consisted of two short runways on relatively high ground, and which were used by privately owned aircraft, a small flying school, and, occasionally, the Boeing 247s of United Air Lines.

In 1941, the city purchased some 568 acres through a bond issue for $149,000; swamp was filled in and runways laid through Civil Aeronautics Authority allocations totaling approximately $1 million; and by the end of 1941 was a thriving three-runway field operated by the United Air Lines.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Maher, no doubt well aware of the commercial benefits his city would derive from a military base in Goleta, sought to interest Navy officials in the municipal airport. Late in December 1941, he made arrangements to see Cmdr. Lawry, executive officer of the Naval Air Station at San Diego. With the commander was then-Maj. William J. Fox, USEC.

According to Maher, “Commander Lawry looked over the charts and said, ‘Nope, it doesn’t seem suitable for our purposes. How about you, Bill? You’re looking for airfields; maybe the Marines can use it.’”

“The major studied the charts for a while and said, ‘It looks pretty good except for that road going through the middle of it.’”

A few weeks later, Fox, representing the commandant of the 11th Naval District, flew in to inspect the airport. He found a field of three 4,000-by-5,000 feet runways, serviced by five taxi strips. On the northeast side of the field, where the elevation was greatest, United Air Lines maintained an office and two hangars.

Overlooking the beach to the south, on Mescaltitlan Island (high ground surrounded by swamp, once a thriving Chumash village and an important site to the tribe) stood a beacon tower.

Across the field from the hangars was a slaughterhouse. Marshland surrounded the field to the south, west and north. And past the airport ran Highway 101, which, as the major correctly foresaw, was to be a source of danger and controversy.

In spite of the drawbacks of the airport, Fox saw its possibilities. It had one great advantage over other projected sites for Marine Corps air stations: the runways for operational training were already built. When Fox went to Washington in February to secure authorization for four West Coast air stations for the Marine Corps, the Goleta airport was one of them.

— Published with permission from the research of historian Adam Lewis

Note: Second installment will be coming soon. If you or anyone you know served at the Marine Corps Air Station, please let us know. There were many weddings between Marines and local residents. If you have memorabilia, photographs or would like to record your personal knowledge of the base, or other related stories about how Santa Barbara served during WWII, please let us know at [email protected].

For the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218, the Fiesta food booth at Santa Barbara’s De la Guerra Plaza is an important fundraising venue for the group. You can help. (Tom Palmeri file photo)
For the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218, the Fiesta food booth at Santa Barbara’s De la Guerra Plaza is an important fundraising venue for the group. You can help. (Tom Palmeri file photo)

Fiesta Volunteers Wanted

Don Matter mans the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 food both at last year’s Old Spanish Days-Fiesta. (Tom Palmeri file photo)
Don Matter mans the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 food both at last year’s Old Spanish Days-Fiesta. (Tom Palmeri file photo)

The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 is looking for volunteers to help at their Old Spanish Days-Fiesta booth at De la Guerra Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 5-8. Help is also needed prior to Fiesta, Aug. 1-4, and also after Fiesta for booth breakdown on Aug. 9.

The Fiesta booth is the chapter’s major fundraiser for our scholarships, helicopter restoration project and bringing the Moving Wall to Santa Barbara.

We sell pulled-pork sandwiches, fries, lemonade and sweet tea. New this year: pulled-pork nachos!

Please contact Donald Matter at [email protected], or leave a message at 805.284.6372. Your assistance is appreciated.

Pitching In

Town & Country Women’s Club notified TEN-Hut to let all veterans know that the club will provide pizza, dessert and bottled water for our local veterans and the staff at the Santa Barbara VA Clinic from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 29. A local Coast Guard veteran will provide some piano music, playing oldies and goodies.

Community members can join us in the pizza project, donate and receive a letter qualifying them for a full deductible contribution as required by the IRS.

The Santa Barbara VA Clinic is located at 4440 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. Parking is very limited.

Before We Forget ...

Definition of a veteran, by an unknown author: “A veteran, whether on active duty, retired, National Guard, or in reserves is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including his or her life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.”

— Lt. John W. Blankenship (retired) graduated from UC Santa Barbara and the naval flight school in Pensacola, Fla., in 1965. He flew T-34sT-28s, S-2s and finally the P-3C Orion Aircraft with VP-19. Blankenship was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, and then in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. In 1970, he returned to Santa Barbara to start his career in building and construction, retiring in 2008. He became the founding director of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation in 2004. Ten-HUT is a biweekly column for veterans, active duty and families presented by the PCVF. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Friends of the Montecito Library Announces New Fundraising Strategy

By | Published on 07/22/2015


At Monday’s Friends of the Montecito Library (FML) meeting, the Board of Directors agreeds to focus on a new fundraising strategy in light of recent county budget cuts that resulted in a 25 percent reduction in library hours from 45 hours per week to 36 hours per week.

The library will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The board unanimously agreed to focus its fundraising strategy on building the endowment, which currently stands at $600,000. The investments are being divested of CDs as they mature and into a conservative portfolio of stocks and bonds.

After the Friends of the Montecito Library meets its annual budgetary commitment with the county, remaining gifts will be used to boost the endowment.

The Montecito Library receives one third of its funding from Santa Barbara County, one third from reserves, which are funds that were donated to the Montecito Library but controlled by the county, and one third from donations from FML.

By moving to a more sustainable funding model, the board hopes to stabilize the library’s annual funding sources.

There was quite a bit of discussion of distributing more funds in order to keep the doors open six days per week, but it was decided that it was in the community’s best interest to take a long-term approach.

Once the endowment reaches a level where the distribution of the interest in the investment will pay for additional opening hours, the board will increase the funding that is given to the library’s budget. The board encourages the members of the FML and other library patrons to continue supporting the library through donations.

Donations can be made through the FML website. Checks are also accepted.

Please make checks payable to “Friends of the Montecito Library” and mailed to Friends of the Montecito Library, P.O. Box 5788, Montecito, California 93108.

FML is a 501c3 non-profit, so all donations are tax deductible.

—Patricia Saley serves on the Boad of Directors for the Friends of the Montecito Library.


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Major Injuries Reported in Highway 101 Crash South of Rincon

By | Published on 07/22/2015


A traffic collision was reported Wednesday on Highway 101 south of Rincon, and two people with major injuries were taken to a local hospital after they were freed from an overturned vehicle.

The vehicle, a Toyota Sienna minivan, was carrying a family of seven people and their dog, when one of the vehicle's tires exploded just before noon, according to Capt. Mike Lindbery of the Ventura County Fire Department.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, which went over the side of the roadway about 30 feet down an embankment

Law enforcement closed lanes in the area as firefighters worked to reach the people inside the vehicle, and traffic in the area remained heavy.

Two of the seven patients suffered "traumatic injuries," Lindbery said, and were transported to the hospital, and the other five passengers chose to seek care on their own.

A small, black dog was also reported missing from the vehicle in the wake of the crash, but Lindbery said the dog was later located.

Crews from the Ventura County and Ventura City Fire Department responded to the scene, along with firefighters from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department.  

Three ambulances were also dispatched to the scene.

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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2015 Santa Barbara County Fair Wraps Up Just Behind Last Year’s Revenues

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Thrilling rides, unique entertainment and even a little rain made the 2015 Santa Barbara County Fair one to remember.

Rain dampened the upward attendance trend the fair held most of its July 15–19 run, ending at slightly less than last year’s numbers. 

Santa Maria Fairpark CEO Richard Persons said organizers received a lot of positive feedback in regard to the latest attractions and exhibits, as well as the overall fair operations.

“New attractions, great entertainers and sunny skies for most of the week drew a lot of people. Even Sunday’s rain didn’t keep everyone away. It was a successful run and we are looking forward to our 125 season,” Persons said.

A few surprise showers and unseasonably warm and humid weather on Sunday slowed attendance for part of the day, but once the clouds cleared the crowds showed up to get in their final day of fair fun.

Paid admissions and gate revenues were ahead of 2014 as of Saturday before the impact of Sunday’s rains. The fair closed slightly below its 2014 numbers; however, organizers are still tallying the official numbers.

Commercial space sales were slightly up both in number of spaces and in revenue. Carnival revenue was significantly impacted by Sunday’s rains and ended slightly below the 2014 numbers after several years of increases.

Livestock numbers were up with more than 1,400 lots generating more than $2.9 million in auction dollars. That number is up from about $2.6 million last year. Food and beverage revenue is not yet available.

Next year will mark a significant milestone as the Santa Barbara County Fair holds its 125th season.

For more information, visit or Like us on Facebook.

About the Santa Maria Fairpark

The Santa Maria Fairpark serves as the hub for major events and community activities on California’s Central Coast. The state-owned facility hosts the annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival, which attracts more than 60,000 people; the Fireworks Spectacular, which sees 5,000 spectators; and is home to its headlining event the Santa Barbara County Fair, which draws more than 140,000 people.

—Shelly Cone represents the Santa Maria Fairpark.


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Goleta Will Let City Voters Decide How to Elect Mayor

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Goleta residents will decide next year whether they want to directly elect their mayor.

The Goleta City Council directed staff on Tuesday to prepare the question for voter consideration on the November 2016 ballot — a change that if approved would set up the first mayoral election for 2018.

Right now, Goleta voters elect five council members at large, who then choose the mayor from within their ranks on a rotating basis each year.

The council voted 3-1 in favor of putting the decision on the ballot, with Mayor Paula Perotte against and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr absent.

The city has abided by the same system since it was incorporated in 2002, but City Attorney Tim Giles said two other options were available.

The city could let voters decide whether to directly elect a mayor for either a 4- or 2-year term via a ballot measure at the next municipal election — per state law — or draft a city charter that would allow the city more flexibility in determining when and how to elect a mayor in off-cycle elections.

“The second way is more cumbersome,” Giles said, noting an elected commission or staff would have to create a charter document.

Perotte said she was concerned about the appearance of “self-dealing,” adding that it might look like current council members were doing this to benefit themselves. She asked to delay the timeframe for a mayor election for four to eight years.

Giles said only a charterer city could delay the timeframe, since state law stipulates the first mayoral election has to occur two years after voters approve it.

Goleta’s first mayor and long-time councilwoman, Margaret Connell, cautioned against changing a system that has been effective thus far.

“I do have a concern about moving to have an elected mayor,” she said. “That period as mayor gives you some period of growth. To rotate the mayor every year keeps each member of council sort of equal.

"I think that is a good operating model for governance.”

Goleta is the only city in Santa Barbara County besides Carpinteria that doesn’t directly elect a mayor, Councilman Roger Aceves said.

“We are not deciding this,” Aceves said. “We’re asking the voters to decide this. I think that we owe it to our constituents to ask the question and see what they think.

"We’re old enough now that this is something we should at least offer them the opportunity to make a decision, one way or another.”

Perotte was the only official interested in learning more about a city charter.

Councilman Michael Bennett said letting residents decide whether to elect a mayor was the basis of a democracy.

As the only sitting council member Tuesday who hadn’t yet been mayor, Councilman Tony Vallejo said he thought holding the top post a year would go by too fast.

Perotte agreed her tenure was flying by, but stopped short of supporting the motion. She said she planned to do her own research into what a charter city would look like.

“I think we leave it the way it is,” she said. “It’s been working beautifully for the city of Goleta.”

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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Ron Fink: With Gas Prices, Environmental Activists Have Direct Impact on Your Standard of Living

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Gas prices have gone up as much as $1 a gallon at regional gas stations and that means an extra $15 for the average fill up. If you commute to work, as many do, then you probably fill up at least twice a week — Poof. 30 bucks gone.

One reason the prices have risen is attributed to the loss of “imported gas” to California; another is the loss of a critical supply of raw product from California oil fields so refiners can make gasoline.

One of these losses is directly attributable to recent actions of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

In May, one of the large pipes carrying crude oil to Southern California refineries broke and spilled oil onto the ground and into the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach. This caused local environmentalists to celebrate since now they had another “catastrophe of epic proportions” to use in their fanaticism to rid the planet of carbon products.

In reality, when compared to other oil spills, this was a relatively minor spill with little if any long-term impact on the environment.

Many of these antagonists drove their cars to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and used props made from hydrocarbon-based plastic tubing to shout loudly, which demonstrates the hypocrisy of their cause — they condemn the very products they are using every day.

These groups have been working for many years to crush Big Oil. They will use any means to stop people from being able to use a product that is essential to our daily lives. While they didn’t attract a large following, they really didn’t need it — all they needed was three votes to achieve their ill-conceived goal.

While the pipe was being repaired and being recertified, the oil company requested permission to use tanker trucks to move their cargo.

This is where three votes, bought and paid for by the very environmental groups that oppose oil, come in. It is no secret that Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Doreen Farr and Janet Wolf are very cozy with the hard-core anti-people environmental groups of the South Coast. They attend fundraisers and meetings, and are tightly woven into the inner workings of these obstructive interests.

Each of them has consistently voted to support proposals that amplify federal and state restrictions on business, and particularly the oil industry. Among environmental professional groups across the United States, the regulations of our county are widely recognized as the most restrictive in the entire nation.

That’s no accident as each of the three supervisors representing the areas Carbajal, Farr and Wolf currently represent have been beholden to the environmental lobby for support, both monetary and with campaigning for the last several decades.

So, when a vote to enable oil to be moved by truck required the Board of Supervisors’ approval of a temporary permit these three saw their opportunity to pay back their supporters and exact a heavy toll on an industry they are trying to eliminate.

It didn’t matter to them that they would be putting scores of well-paid employees out of work or that they would be directly affecting income to the county’s General Fund, they just wanted revenge.

So what happened? Sure enough following denial of the permit, as predicted, the oil company had to cease operations on its oil platforms and land facilities. But bad decisions have much broader consequences, and this decision affected every citizen of our county.

Gasoline pump prices rose dramatically and at least some, maybe most, of those price increases can be directly attributed to Supervisors Carbajal, Farr and Wolf. You see, these folks really don’t care about you or your family; it’s the cause that counts, not the well-being of the people they represent.

It doesn’t matter if you are a liberal or a conservative. You are paying the price and losing a considerable portion of your disposable income as a direct result of the irresponsible decision made by these people.

This situation could be resolved if the Board of Supervisors was to reconsider this matter. The impact to our community’s economy and the personal income of its low- and moderate-income families is devastating, and now that we all know what the result is, we should call, email or see them in person to demand that they allow the company to truck oil until the pipeline issue is resolved.

Finally, elections matter. The next time you go to the ballot box, consider how decisions made by these three supervisors and other politicians supported by environmental activists directly affect your family’s standard of living.

» First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal: [email protected], T 805.568.2186, F 805.568.2534

» Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf: [email protected], T 805.568.2191, F 805.568.2283

» Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr: [email protected], T 805.568.2192, F 805.568.2883

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


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¡Viva el Arte! Releases Tenth-Anniversary Season Lineup

By | Published on 07/22/2015


¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! celebrates its 10th anniversary season of music and dance from Latin American cultures in free events for families and students.

The lineup features Grammy-winners mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano; one of Mexico’s greatest soneros, Patricio Hidalgo, and his group el Afrojarocho; the spectacular Ballet Folkórico de Los Angeles; the all-women mariachi Las Colibrí; and Monsieur Periné, Colombian swing from Bogotá. 

Each group presents free community concerts at Isla Vista School, Guadalupe City Hall and The Marjorie Luke Theater at Santa Barbara Junior High School, as well as public workshops in accessible spaces throughout the county.

Acting on a commitment to education, each group offers assemblies and workshops in schools, afterschool and at county juvenile facilities as part of their visits. Keep up with the news on Facebook.
Viva was launched in 2006 by Rod Lathim, then president of the Marjorie Luke Theatre; Celesta Billeci, Miller McCune executive director for UCSB Arts & Lectures; Patrick Davis, then executive director for the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, and Margie and Joe Talaugon, founders of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center to bring no-cost performances and educational events to key underserved neighborhoods in Isla Vista, Guadalupe and Santa Barbara’s lower eastside.

Over the years the program has brought more than 40 groups from Santa Paula to Paraguay to perform for nearly 120,000 Santa Barbara County residents in free events at accessible venues.

The roster of Viva artists has included Grammy-winners, Smithsonian recording artists, and National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage awardees. 
Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles opens Viva’s 10th Anniversary Season with performances at Isla Vista School on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m.; at Guadalupe City Hall on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m.; and in Santa Barbara at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.

The company was founded in 2011 by Kareli Montoya, who began dancing professionally at the age of 12 in Los Angeles, and later studied at the University of Colima in Mexico.

Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles has performed in high-profile venues such as the Nokia Theater, the Greek Theater, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival and during halftime for the LA Clippers.  

From top left: Las Colibrí, Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Patricio Hidalgo, and Monsieur Periné

Patricio Hidalgo inherited a sensibility of son jarocho from his grandfather, Arcadia Hidalgo, a founder of the revivalist movement in the '60s when the musical style had all but disappeared. Today Patricio is a world-renown, musician and poet, as well as a proponent for the musical and social roots of jarocho in mestiza, indigenous and African traditions. Patricio Hidalgo y el Afrojarocho appear at Isla Vista School, Friday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m.; at Guadalupe City Hall on Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.; and at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High on Sunday, Oct. 4, 7 p,m.
Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano return to Viva stages with performances at Isla Vista School on Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.; at Guadalupe City Hall on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 pm, and at the Marjorie Luke Theater on Sunday, Jan. 10, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Los Camperos have just released a new recording for Smithsonian Folkways in tribute to their late founder, Nati Cano, who died last fall. With Tradición, Arte y Pasión, Los Camperos explore the multi-dimensional sounds of Mexico’s past, spanning a century of traditions featuring music from the Golden Age of Mexcian cinema performed by Los Camperos musical director Chuy Guzman, traditional folk music distinctive of Zacatecas, and more.
Las Colibrí share a passion for music, beauty and girl-power. A unique all-women ensemble based in Los Angeles and led by Susie Garcia, Las Colibrí celebrate the mariachi tradition of the early 20th century with an all-string instrumentation, classic vocals and the colorful, feminine costumes of the Mexican cinematic divas of the '40s and '50s.  Las Colibrí perform at Isla Vista School on Friday, March 11, 7 p.m.; at Guadalupe City Hall for a performance on Saturday, March 12, 7:30 p.m.; and at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Sunday, March 13, 7 p.m.
Monsieur Periné is a group a young musicians based in Bogotá, Colombia, who perform Suin a la Colombiana, Colombian swing, based in the sounds of French Jazz Manouche, the swing of the late '30s.

A completely original style, Suin a la Colombiana, features the South American charango, the clarinet and accordion borrowed from Colombian cumbia, and lots of percussion. Vocalist Catalina García fronts the group performing classic boleros, sones cubanos, tangos and more in Spanish. Monsieur Periné performs at Isla Vista School, Friday, April 29, 7 p.m.; at Guadalupe City Hall, Saturday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m., and concludes Viva’s 10th Anniversary with a concert at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Sunday, May 1, 7 p.m.
¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! is sponsored by SAGE Publications, the McCune Foundation, UCSB Office of Education Partnerships,  the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund, the Stone Family Foundation, the Roddick Foundation, Mary and Gary Becker, Patricia and Jim Selbert, and Eric Kronvall.

The program is supported in part by the Santa Barbara Independent, the Santa Maria SUN, El Latino, Radio Bronco, Univision, KPFK, KCSB, the Best Western South Coast Inn, Pacifica Suites and Ramada Limited.

Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts,  the California Arts Council, Community Arts Grant Program and with funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

Viva is co-presented by the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and UCSB Arts and Lectures, in partnership with the Isla Vista School After School Grant.

—Cathy Oliverson represents ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara!


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Santa Maria Police Explorers Take Part in Central Valley Explorer Competition

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Local team earned a first-place award in the "high risk vehicle stop" scenario

From July 16 to 19, the Santa Maria Police Explorers participated in the Fifth Annual Central Valley Explorer Competition held at East Union High School in Manteca, California. 

The Police Explorer competition included 32 teams from Northern California, Southern California and the Central Valley.

Eleven SMPD Explorers participated and were evaluated in 16 reality-based scenarios including Suicidal Subject, Downed Officer Rescue, High Risk Vehicle Stop, Family Disturbance, Shooting Skills, Obstacle Course, DUI Investigation, Hostage Rescue, Bus Assault, Active Shooter, Hostage Negotiations, Vehicle Search, Burglary in Progress, Suspicious Person, Traffic Stop, Suspicious Vehicle and Crime Scene Investigation. 

The competition tests, encourages and helps develop the Police Explorers by promoting teamwork, leadership, knowledge, officer safety, responsibility and motivation. 

Santa Maria Police Explorers Christian Barajas, Maria Morales, Jaime Belmontes, Anthony ​Olozagaste, Julian Mireles, Nathan Torres, Isaiah Nogalez, Isreal Mendoza, Cristal Robles, Bianca Diaz and Alexis Brito participated in the competition. 

The Santa Maria Police Explorers competed against the top explorer teams from Northeern and Southern California and earned a first-place award in the High Risk Vehicle Stop scenario.

—Ralph Martin is Santa Maria's Chief of Police.


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Kathleen Blake New President of Rotary Club of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/22/2015


Kathleen Blake will serve as the club president for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara during the 2015-16 Rotary year.

Blake has been a Rotary Club Member since 2007 and has volunteered on the Board of Directors since 2008, serving as president elect last year.

Blake has lived in the Santa Barbara community since 1994, and is currently a contract speech pathologist. She is a retired special education administrator of the Santa Barbara County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA).

Newly electedPresident of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Kathleen Blake

In addition to Rotary, Blake has sung with both the Treble Clef Woman's Chorus and The Unity Choir, and she has played saxophone in the Prime Time Band and City College Band.

Blake says, "The main focus of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is to make our services to the community and international projects bigger, better and bolder while we club members enjoy equally our 'Service Above Self' and camaraderie."

Also elected for the 2015-2016 Rotary Year is Jim Stretchberry as the Club's President Elect.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets each Friday at noon at The Fess Parker Doubletree Resort.

For more information visit

— Chris Clemens served as president of the Rotary Club from 2013–2014.


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Michael Barone: HUD Launching ‘Disparate Impact’ War on Suburban America

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Disparate impact. It’s a legal doctrine that may be coming soon to your suburb (if you’re part of the national majority living in suburbs).

Bringing it there will be President Barack Obama’s Housing and Urban Development Department’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program. It has been given a green light to impose the rule from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project.

The decision purports to interpret the Fair Housing Act of 1968 as authorizing lawsuits if municipal policies have a “disparate impact” as measured by the racial percentages of those affected — this despite the fact that the words of the Fair Housing Act prohibit only intentional racial discrimination.

HUD’s 377-page Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule requires municipal governments to “perform an assessment of land-use decisions and zoning to evaluate their possible impact on fair housing choice.”

An accompanying document says that this includes “land-use and zoning laws, such as minimum lot sizes, limits on multiunit properties, height limits, or bedroom-number limits as well as requirements for special use permits (and) occupancy regulations” that might be “factors contributing to segregated housing patterns.”

Note the use of the word “segregated.” Historically, segregation was the total exclusion of blacks enforced by state and local law, by deliberate individual or corporate action or by threat of force and violence. Back in the 1960s, when the Fair Housing Act was passed, housing really was effectively segregated in large parts of the country.

If you looked through the 1960 Census of large suburban counties block by block, as I did, you would find the numbers of blacks to be something like: 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 3, 1, 0, 0, 0. In Northern cities where large numbers of blacks migrated in the years from 1940 to 1965, you could find whole square miles that switched from 100 percent white to more than 90 percent black within a single year.

That’s not how America works today. In every large metropolitan area with a significant black population, you won’t find a single census tract with zero black residents. Blacks sometimes encounter resistance when trying to buy or rent a house that they can afford, which is unjust and infuriating, and a problem for which the Fair Housing Act provides remedies.

But, of course, that has not created an America in which every community has the same percentage as the national average of blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, marrieds and singles, gays and straights, Protestants and Catholics and Jews and Muslims.

Free choice never shakes out that way. Throughout history, Americans and immigrants have tended to choose to cluster with like-minded people.

In addition, in a free-market economy, those with more money inevitably have a wider choice of where to live than those with less. And they, too, tend to cluster (look up “locations” on luxury store websites to see where). Free choice inevitably produces disparate impact.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is intended to shake this up. HUD Secretary Julián Castro, mentioned as a vice-presidential candidate despite having previously been just a part-time municipal mayor, wants to use the disparate impact doctrine to overturn local zoning laws and place low-income housing in suburbs across the nation.

Such social engineering is likely to be widely unpopular.

How did disparate impact come into the law? In a 1971 Supreme Court case, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., the court, acting when memory was still fresh of Southern resistance to desegregation, ruled that the company’s aptitude test amounted to discrimination because whites passed at higher rates than blacks.

But that’s true of most aptitude tests — which as a result aren’t used much in hiring any more.

An approach more appropriate for a society where there is no significant forcible resistance to desegregation was advanced by Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent. “We should not automatically presume that any institution with a neutral practice that happens to produce a racial disparity is guilty of discrimination until proven innocent,” he wrote. “The absence of racial disparities in multiethnic societies has been the exception, not the rule.”

Disparate impact jurisprudence has not been politically challenged: corporate defendants don’t want to be attacked as racists. Perhaps disparate impact policymaking will be challenged if HUD starts installing low-income housing in suburbs across the land.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Jim Hightower: Join the Spreading Rebellion Against Big Money’s Political Game

By | Published on 07/21/2015


If you are one of those cynics who think that none of today’s presidential candidates for the White House care about people like you and me, check out Republican wannabe Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin governor, who is presently a full-time campaigner for the GOP presidential nod, not only cares, he wants to sit down with you, get your ideas and stay in close touch. No matter who you are, Scottie wants you to join his team, so his presidency can be your presidency!

Not a Republican? No problemo, amigo. Walker doesn’t check your papers. Well ... except for that million-dollar check you have to write to his super PAC.

That’s the ticket price for entering Walker’s inner circle, where you can discuss all of your policy concerns and seek personal favors — straight from your lips to the candidate’s ear! Even if you’re a common working stiff, just give a million dollars, and you’re in, baby! Is this a great country, or what?

Maybe you’re wondering what, specifically, your million dollars buy. Well, Scott’s super PAC even prints out a handy purchasing slip showing that you’ll get to be an “Executive Board Member” of the Walkerites’ campaign.

Thus, you’ll have two private dinners with The Man, a Walker staffer dedicated to your needs, special briefings, weekly emails, bimonthly conference calls, bi-annual retreats, and — best of all — an “Exclusive Executive Board Pin.”

Golly, I haven’t been this excited or felt so included since the 1950s, when I became a member of “The Mickey Mouse Club” and got my own set of mouse ears.

When the U.S. Supreme Court descended into the “Alice in Wonderland”-like fantasy that corporations are people and money is speech, it was inevitable that American politics would devolve into a frivolous game that shuts out the workaday majority and enthrones a Koch-brothers plutocracy sustained by secret-money super PACs and whorish candidates such as Walker.

I think we can all agree that news stories like this that highlight the ever-rising flood of big money in politics do not tend to have a lot of laughs in them.

But a recent item from The New York Times unintentionally got a good guffaw from me. It was a seriously serious piece about how Karl Rove’s super PAC of corporate political cash has been surpassed both in cash and clout by the billion-dollar electioneering network of the Koch brothers.

The reporter stated that the Kochs have “leapfrogged” Rove. There is nothing factually funny in that, but the image of the multibillionaire brothers, Charles and David, laughing and leaping over a bent-over, frog-like Karl Rove is the delightfully ridiculous stuff of slapstick.

In fact, today’s whole political game, run by an absurdist’s nightmare of moneyed elites, is ridiculous — a game in which corporations are people and money is magically empowered to speak; candidates trek to the corporate suites and secret retreats of the rich, shamelessly selling their political souls; super-wealthy interests clandestinely pump unlimited sums of money into disgustingly negative campaign ads that turn off most voters; candidates “win” with only a small minority of the electorate choosing them; winners then claim to have a democratic mandate to enact the plutocratic agenda.

This could be hilarious in a slapstick routine, but it is tragic in a country with democratic aspirations. But don’t despair, for a backlash is building all across the country among voters who are fed up with the money-rigged game that excludes them.

One group called the New Hampshire Rebellion is bird-dogging presidential candidates in that state to demand action to get Big Money out of politics. To help start your own rebellion to end this corrupt mockery of our electoral democracy, you can get a free online toolkit from these modern-day Paul Reveres. Click here for more information.

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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Public Defender Offers Views on Controversial Animal-Abuse Case

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Over the last two weeks, Judge Brian Hill has been severely castigated over the sentencing in the Duanying Chen case.

I believe this criticism to be unfair and I very much disagree with the two criticisms most frequently voiced in these complaints: (1) that Mr. Chen got off with a “slap on the wrist, and (2) that we need mandatory sentencing to “fix” the problem highlighted by placing Mr. Chen on probation instead of sending him to prison.

The sentence imposed on Mr. Chen was not a “slap on the wris;t” it carries significant life-long consequences, including the possibility of a future prison sentence if he does not abide by the terms of the sentence while on probation.

And mandatory sentencing does nothing to improve the quality of justice we receive from our courts. Let me explain.

When we go to our courts, we want our judges to listen to us without having made up their minds about the outcome of the proceeding ahead of time, and we want the outcome to be determined only by what we present in court (or what is presented on our behalf) and not by what others outside of the courtroom may call upon the judge to do.

We want our judges to be fair and independent. Judge Brian Hill is such a judge.

The Court’s sentencing decision in Mr. Chen’s case took into account all of the circumstances of the offense as presented by the prosecutor, the Probation Department, the testimony of two police officers, and a treating veterinary doctor, as well as opinions expressed in letters from the public presented to the court by the prosecutor.

The court also took into account Mr. Chen’s words to the court, and Mr. Chen’s life and circumstances before making a decision uninfluenced by anything other than the court’s own independent evaluation of the offense and the offender.

This is exactly what we would want a court to do if you, I, or a loved one were before a court for sentencing.

Mr. Chen did not “get off” with a “slap on the wrist.” He was convicted of committing four felony offenses, and when sentenced, he was immediately sent to jail for a year without the possibility of being granted an alternative sentence.

He was also placed on supervised probation for five years, and required to pay over $24,000 in restitution.

Upon being arrested, he was jailed and put in the public spotlight, bringing shame and world-wide condemnation to himself and his family. At the age of 19, his life and his future were undone by his thoughtless and cruel acts.

These are very real and very painful consequences associated with simply being charged with a crime and being brought to court.

Now having been convicted of felony criminal offenses, in addition to these other very significant consequences, Mr. Chen has a felony record that will follow him for the rest of his life; one which will be accessible to anyone with a computer and a google search, or anyone coming to the Superior Court and asking to see the public court file.

These criminal convictions will carry consequences that will affect Mr. Chen’s ability to remain in this country, to pursue employment, and to become accredited and receive professional licenses.

In his statement to the court during his sentencing hearing, Mr. Chen acknowledged his actions, characterizing them as “unforgivable” and expressing remorse for those actions.

Moreover, placing Mr. Chen on probation does not end the matter; by accepting probation, Mr. Chen has told the court he will accept a future prison sentence if he violates the terms of his probation.

While on probation, he will be closely supervised by the Probation Department, and will have the chance to re-make himself by more completely understanding what he did, how he came to commit this heinous crime, and learning what he has to do to overcome and learn from this experience.

If he does not do so, the probation officer will report Mr. Chen’s intransigence to the court and the court will undoubtedly take appropriate action.

“Mandatory” sentencing will not improve our sentencing process nor lead to better outcomes. Indeed, over the past three years, we’ve seen our voters undo some of the more Draconian results of mandatory sentences.

Mr. Chen’s sentencing was not an example of the justice system breaking down. Mr. Chen was convicted of several felony offenses with their attendant direct and collateral consequences.

After thoughtful analysis, Judge Hill imposed a sentence within the limits set by law guided by his independent judgment. Each of us has the same freedom to exercise our independent judgment when we reflect upon the case, and each will no doubt have an individual perspective.

Indeed, it would not surprise me if persons reading this letter disagree with the perspective presented, perhaps even vehemently. But would we want to limit our freedom to reflect and comment on the sentence imposed by Judge Hill?

I think not, yet this is what mandatory sentencing does; it limits the ability to act other than in a very limited and narrow manner.

If you, I, or a loved one were before a court for sentencing, mandatory sentencing would eliminate a judge’s ability to take into account our individual circumstances before imposing sentence.

I very much doubt we would want to tie a judge’s hands in this way if you, I, or a loved one were before the court. One size doesn’t fit all, in any aspect of our lives. It works no better in our justice system.

Simply enacting a law does not solve a problem. Having law books with thousands of pages does not change people’s conduct.

A person’s conduct is shaped by information, by educating him or her about the consequences of that conduct.

I agree with the calls we have heard to inform and educate the public.

Davey does not need a new law; rather Davey’s legacy should be providing the public with increased education and information about our obligation to act as guardians and protectors of all forms of life.

This is exactly the sort of education Mr. Chen will be receiving while he is on supervised probation.

Raimundo Montes De Oca

Public Defender, Santa Barbara County


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Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors OKs Plastic Bag Ban

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Prohibition on single-use plastic bags will take effect in 2016 for unincorporated county areas including Orcutt, Santa Ynez and Montecito

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took a step toward banning single-use plastic bags in unincorporated areas, with the law set to take effect in 2016.

In a divided vote, the board’s majority agreed to move forward on a proposal that has been in works for more than two years. Supervisors Steve Lavagnino and Peter Adam voted against the ban.

“I’m glad that we're finally at this point. I think it’s been two years in the making,” said Chairwoman Janet Wolf, who represents the Second District. “It's time that we move forward.”

“This has a been a long journey,” First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said, adding the proposal would address a very pervasive problem.

The ban on plastic bags will only affect businesses in unincorporated areas such as Orcutt, Vandenberg Village, Santa Ynez, Isla Vista and Montecito. 

Once it takes effect next spring, the law would ban single-use plastic bags for grocery stores and require a 10-cent fee per paper bag to encourage shoppers to convert to reusable bags. 

Lavagnino and Adam opposed any payment for paper bags. 

“It’s really, I think, just a windfall for the stores,” Adam said.

However, county staff said the fee for paper bags is meant to encourage residents to use reusable bags.

Adam suggested the Fourth and Fifth Districts should be exempt from the ban, but county staff said that wouldn’t be legal.

“It’s not something that is important up here,” Adam said. “We don’t appreciate having these values inflicted on us up here in the north.”

In response, Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said, “I think the opinions in North County at best are mixed.”

Lavagnino noted that years ago it was considered environmentally sensitive to use plastic bags, instead of paper bags at the grocery store. 

“It all comes down, to me, to be individual responsibility,” he said. “If people were taking care of their plastic bags and paper bags and recycling them, then we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.” 

The county had paused efforts to enact a ban after the state legislature adopted a bill prohibiting plastic bags in California, with the new law set to go into effect July 1, 2015. 

However, that bag ban is on hold as a group opposed to the law has launched efforts to get a statewide initiative on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.

Eight people spoke Tuesday on the proposal, most supporting the plastic bag ban.

Kathi King from the Community Environmental Council noted more than 100 jurisdictions have adopted laws banning single-use plastic bags.

“These bag laws are working to reduce litter,” King said. “Bags flow out of trash cans and vehicles unintentionally because they are so lightweight and these laws reduce the cost of beach maintenance along our coast.”

The city of Santa Barbara implemented a similar law last year. Carpinteria was the first city in Santa Barbara County to adopt the ban.

Armed with several reusable bags to prove it’s not difficult to carry them into stores, Santa Maria resident Jeanne Sparks showed up in the middle to the discussion to urge the board to approve the ban.

“It’s such an easy thing to do, why can’t we just give up plastic bags?” Sparks said. “We have alternatives.”

Andy Caldwell from the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business urged the board to delay adopting a ban until after voters weigh in on a statewide measure.

“Is there an emergency that you can’t wait for we the people to vote?” he asked. “Or do you just not care what we the people have to say about this?”

That's the route the Goleta City Council chose Tuesday. The Goleta leaders voted to delay a decision on a single-use plastic bag ban until the issue is resolved at the state level in November 2016. The council vote was 3-1, with Mayor Paula Perotte in favor of the ban and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr absent.

In October 2013, the county authorized an environmental impact report on the single-use bag proposal to examine air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water resources and other impacts.

Santa Barbara County’s proposed law is modeled after the state’s, which would allow for a seamless transition if that one is implemented.

The county’s ban does not go as far as the prohibition in place in San Luis Obispo County where plastic bags are not used in supermarkets, clothing stores or retail businesses.

Santa Barbara County’s ban would impact full-time retail stores such as grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other retail stores selling a limited line of items including milk, bread, soda and snack foods.

The law would not ban produce bags or bags used by department stores, clothing stores, hardware stores or others that don’t sell food. 

It also would not affect restaurants or wine and beer tasting rooms.

Officials estimate the law would affect 74 stores in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County. 

This includes eight large retailers, qualified as those with more than 10,000 square feet with gross sales above $2 million. The new law takes effect for these businesses March 22, 2016.

Also affected will be 66 smaller retailers, which would be required to implement the ban a year after it’s in effect or by Sept. 24, 2016.

The bulk of the affected businesses are in the Third District which includes Santa Ynez Valley, Isla Vista and Goleta, and the Fourth District, which includes Orcutt, Lompoc and much of Los Alamos Valley.

The law takes effect a month after its final adoption, expected to be done at the board's Aug. 25 meeting. However, the county plans a phased implementation that calls for education and outreach in the fall and winter before implementation in 2016.

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


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Santa Barbara Council Approves $55 Million To Get Desalination Plant Flowing

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Design/build/operate contract is fully funded by a unanimous vote, and state revolving fund loan is accepted to pay for the project

Santa Barbara's leaders committed to spending another $55 million to reactivate the city's desalination plant, approving the extensive design/build/operate contract to get the facility ready to produce potable water by fall 2016.

It’s the last major milestone to getting the seawater-to-potable-water plant working again, after being mothballed in the 1990s.

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the contract with IDE Americas, Inc., which has built more than 400 facilities worldwide, including a 50-million-gallons-per-day plant in Carlsbad.

Santa Barbara’s plant is permitted to produce 10,000 acre-feet annually, but the city plans to start it with 3,125 acre-feet per year, which won’t cover all of the city’s water needs.

The city hasn’t talked much about the long-term plan for the desalination facility, but Mayor Helene Schneider said it will be a strategic water supply into the future.

“This desalination plant is not just about giving us water next fall,” she said.

In addition to the $46.6 million IDE Americas, Inc. contract, council members approved legal costs and consultant fees related to permitting, engineering and design work.

The city accepted a 20-year state revolving fund loan for $55 million, at 1.66 percent interest, to finance the project, with an annual debt service cost of $3.2 million.

A Santa Barbara city staff report outlines the project costs approved at Tuesday's meeting. (City of Santa Barbara photo)

The plant will be a supply that the city completely controls, Councilman Dale Francisco said in his comments supporting the plant.

Councilman Gregg Hart called it an insurance policy to make sure the city has an adequate water supply next year.

The desalination plant would pump in seawater from the open ocean intake structure, located 2,500 feet offshore, and the waste would be mixed with the discharge from El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is released 8,720 feet offshore.

The five-year operating contract with IDE will cost the city $4.1 million per year, or $1.5 million per year if the facility is put on standby mode. It will use significantly less energy than the 1991 plant, and water rates for city customers aren’t expected to increase again because of the project, water resources manager Joshua Haggmark said.

The desalination plant is permitted for up to 10,000 acre-feet per year, and the design will allow the city to expand the water production in the future, for its own use or for regional use, Haggmark said.

The Montecito Water District wants to partner with Santa Barbara on the project, and Tuesday's approval of the design/build/operate contract doesn’t close the door on that option, according to Santa Barbara city staff.  

Santa Barbara’s 1996 coastal development permit for the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant is still valid, so the city didn’t have to go through another permit review — which frustrated members of the California Coastal Commission who have concerns about the open water intake. 

The reactivation doesn’t count as a new or expanded project, although the city did apply for and get approved for a repair and maintenance permit, as well as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

“The county is looking at reducing the safe yield from Lake Cachuma as a result of this drought and the demands for fish, which will impact the entire South Coast,” Haggmark said in an email. “We will want to weigh this impact carefully with the costs of reliability of all our other supplies.

"This drought is a game changer in water-supply planning in California.” 

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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Supervisors Get Update on Oil Production in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/21/2015


The Board of Supervisors got an extensive update on oil production on Tuesday, a presentation that included the history of oil in Santa Barbara County all the way up to the present.

Supervisor Janet Wolf began the meeting by reminding the board and the public that she had asked for the presentation before the Plains All American oil spill occurred on May 19 at Refugio State Beach.

Energy Specialist Errin Briggs gave the presentation, starting with several historical photos of oil production on the county's coast.

Oil and gas exploration began in the county with the 1896 offshore field in Summerland; county staff said Santa Barbara's coastline was the home to the first offshore field in the nation.

A myriad of wells lined the coast in the black and white photos Briggs showed.

Platform Hazel was constructed in 1958 off Carpinteria, and offshore production peaked in 1964.

Today, there are eight offshore platforms, seven of which are located in federal waters, known as the Outer Continental Shelf, which are piped to the Freeport McMoRan facility or the Exxon Las Flores Plant.

The Venoco Ellwood Onshore facility, located in the city of Goleta, also processes oil from Platform Holly. 

Total daily production for all of those platforms ranges from 38,000 barrels per day to closer 50,000 barrels per day, Briggs said.

Some of the projects in the works are the recommissioning of Venoco's state lease PRC-421, operations of which ceased in 1994.

The recommissioning was approved by the State Lands Commission, but is currently on hold because of litigation from the city of Goleta. 

Many of the county's onshore fields were abandoned in the 1980s and 1990s when the price of crude oil dropped, but a resurgence of applications has popped up in recent years.

Somewhere between 1,200 to 1,300 onshore wells in the county are now active. About 10,000 barrels a day were produced last year, but this year is showing a decrease in that production, Briggs said.

In the works are 700 new production wells, most of which are slated to use the steam-injection process.

Staff also briefed the supervisors on how many violations oil operations recorded in recent years.

A total of 88 petroleum-related violations were seen in 2010, a record, and a low of 11 violations were seen last year. 

From 2010 to 2014, there were an average of 164 barrels of crude oil spilled each year in the county, and Briggs said that industry officials report the amount of the spill and county staff are also sent out to verify the amounts.

Questioning ensued about pipeline regulations in the county and who is responsible for inspections.

The Plains All-American Pipeline is unique in terms of regulation because it falls under federal oversight as a result of a lawsuit filed against the county by a previous owner.

Either the state fire marshal or the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for the rest of the pipelines, and the county has its own engineer who looks into the results, Black said.

"Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence with PHMSA," Wolf said.

Black responded that the county staff is doing everything they can do under the law by cooperating with the federal and state agencies.

"We don't have regulatory authority over those pipelines," she said.

In 2011, a petroleum ordinance was changed in how the county defines high-risk operations that have a series of unauthorized spills.

Briggs referenced the seep cans at the Pacific Coast Energy Company facility that were reported to the supervisors earlier this month.

The supervisors were also briefed on the high-volume pipelines constructed to transport large amounts of oil from offshore platforms to refineries onshore.

Plains Pipelines 901 and 903, which are currently shut down, and Venoco's Line 96, as well as the Phillips 66's Line 300 system were mentioned in the briefing.

One oil industry rep who spoke during public comment stated that the oil produced in the county accounts for only 2 percent of the state's total production, but contributes $1.2 billion to the county's economy.

The Environmental Defense Center's Linda Krop said she felt the county's increase of inspections was directly related to a decrease in violations. and reminded the county that projects are still out there, such as Tranquillon Ridge, as well as slant drilling projects off the coast of Carpinteria, 

COLAB representative Andy Caldwell said he wanted to know how much the shutdown of Pipelines 901 and 903 is costing schools and the county.

Caldwell also said that looking at how much is produced compared to barrels spilled means producers have a "phenomenal safety record."

Supervisor Peter Adam said that he feels like the county's system of oversight is working. 

"You're never going to go without oil, not in our lifetimes," he said. "This whole report states that the system is working very well."

Wolf said that no matter what she feels about the oil industry, she was pleasantly surprised by the county's report.

"It is such an improvement over where we were five or six years ago," she 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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Goleta Tackles Construction Congestion at Hollister, Storke Road

By | Published on 07/21/2015


The Goleta City Council voted Tuesday to give contracted engineers more power to make quick decisions on projects currently under way at the busy Hollister Avenue and Storke Road intersection.

The council approved a consent item to expand or amend contracts in order to streamline the decision-making process — and to get projects completed sooner.

Work at the city’s busiest intersection was halted last month after traffic began to back up significantly.

Crews had just began widening and re-striping Storke Road to provide a third northbound through lane from Hollister Avenue to the Highway 101 southbound onramp — work officials said will now only be done at night.

The intersection is smack in the middle of the mixed-use development Hollister Village, the residential Rincon Palms project, widening projects along Hollister between Glen Annie and Santa Felicia, installation of a storm drain pipe, and more.

City staff held up Jon Turner of Ventura-based Phoenix Civil Engineering as an example of how construction should work — he’s been acting as the project manager for the city for the Hollister Village frontage project.

Filippin Engineering in Goleta has provided construction management, inspection and testing services as an on-site city inspector.

Officials wanted to extend the team approach to other Storke/Hollister projects so contracted employees can act on behalf of the city, saving time spent in meetings or consultation.

Improvements at Storke Road and Hollister began last fall, with some projects funded by the city because they fall into Goleta’s general plan, and others paid for by developers as part of project mitigations and improvements.

The council approved authorizing a new professional engineering services agreement with Phoenix Civil Engineering in an amount not to exceed $150,000 to act as city engineer and project manager for specified projects in the Storke/Hollister Corridor.

A contract not to exceed $64,672 will go to Filippin for the same reason, with both managers reporting to Deputy City Manager Kathleen Trepa.

The city amended and expanded other contracts due to delays and extra work shifts — something staff said is expected with most construction projects.

The council also authorized the city manager to execute future contract amendments, considering developers have deposited the funds to pay the salaries of contractors doing the work.

The council vote was 4-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr absent.

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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Goleta Officials Give Go-Ahead for Well Ordinance

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Goleta officials on Tuesday fell short of approving an urgency ordinance banning new water-well development, but they will allow staff to craft new regulations related to a specific groundwater basin.

Staff came to the Goleta City Council asking for the urgency ordinance — to take effect immediately — after the Goleta Water District recently informed the city that a western portion of the groundwater basin wasn’t yet governed by such a law.

While the district serves most Goleta residents, there are wells that existed prior to incorporation within city limits.

The council needed a four-fifths vote to approve the emergency ordinance, but failed with 3-1 vote.

Councilman Roger Aceves said he was against the measure because it didn’t come before the ordinance committee for pre-vetting, and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr was absent.

Officials subsequently voted 3-1 — Aceves again dissented — to direct staff to work with community stakeholders to draw up an ordinance that could be permanent, especially as the area enters its fourth year of drought.

The Goleta Water District declared a Stage III Drought in May, and last month unanimously approved higher water rates, fixed meter charges and a new drought surcharge.

With water conservation in mind, staff hopes to further study current well regulations to recommend appropriate changes to the council at a future meeting.

An ordinance typically takes effect 30 days after council approval.

Goleta Planning Director Jennifer Carman said an urgency ordinance would have helped the district protect and manage groundwater basins to ensure public health, safety and the welfare of residents.

If approved, staff planned to come back with a permanent solution within 60 days.

Since the city was incorporated in 2002, no private property owner has filed an application to drill from the specified groundwater basin, Carman said.

Goleta Water District Operations Manager Tom Bunosky said the meeting was the first time he had heard about a proposed urgency ordinance, emphasizing that he’d like to communicate with the city better in the future.

“We are currently vigorously pumping water out of the ground basin to satisfy customers,” he said. “The basin will be the primary supply for customers come October,”

Staff said the intention would be to work with the district to make sure its operations aren’t negatively affected, meaning it could possibly be exempt in an ordinance provision.

A Goleta property owner said she was in favor of the urgency ordinance, understanding the groundwater basin’s importance.

“I look at this as a time out,” Mayor Paula Perotte said. “People are all talking about the drought and their concern. I think this is the responsible thing to do.”

Council members Michael Bennett and Tony Vallejo agreed, but Aceves voted against the motion.

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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Laurie Jervis: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Announces Partnership With Duvel Moortgat

By | Published on 07/21/2015


Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s founders and proprietors Adam Firestone and David Walker stunned the craft beer world July 16 by announcing a collaboration with another family-owned — albeit larger — brewing empire, Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat.

In a news release, the Paso Robles-based Firestone and Walker assured the public and craft beer aficionados that “our people and partnerships will remain, and there will be no change discernable in and around the brewery.”

Duvel, founded in 1871, has kept “a singular focus on quality … (and) this is a universal language we understand,” Firestone and Walker noted in the release. “There is a clear respect and reverence for the art of work of brewers that aligns with our values and plans for the future.”

“Like all things it will take time, but we can now rest knowing Paso remains our home for the foreseeable future,” Walker said Tuesday morning in an email.

“In terms of the transaction, it’s complicated, but I can confirm our friends from ​Duvel are strapped to us as we are to them. It’s a significant leap of faith for both families,” he wrote.

When questioned about a possible production increase, Christopher Weir, publicist for Firestone Walker, emailed that “there will be no sudden rise in production. Growth has been steady and will continue to be.”

Regarding the partnership, Weir quoted Walker: “It’s complicated and private. This is primarily an investment to help us build out Paso without being wed to bankers. It is also an opportunity for us to link ourselves with a 150-year-old partner with the same family and craft values we have.”

As both Duvel and Firestone Walker are privately owned, no financial details were made public. However, Beer Marketer's Insight listed the deal somewhere near $250 million, and called Firestone Walker the 16th largest craft brewer in the United States, distributing more than 200,000 barrels last year.

Sources are describing the partnership as a long-term alliance that will combine, but not integrate, the operations of both breweries, and Firestone Walker will continue operating independently under the direction of Firestone and Walker.

While production for the 20-year-old Firestone Walker Brewing Co. began on McMurray Road in Buellton, brewery operations were relocated to Paso Robles some years back. 

The original Buellton location houses a popular taproom, restaurant and retail center, as does the Paso Robles brewing campus, located on Ramada Drive adjacent to Highway 101.

The company’s website details plans for a third taproom restaurant, pilot brewhouse and craft beer hub on Washington Boulevard in Venice. The company acquired the property several years ago.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Suspect Subdued, Arrested to End Orcutt Standoff

By | Published on 07/21/2015


A standoff in an Orcutt neighborhood on Tuesday ended with the suspect being subdued with a taser and arrested for allegedly assaulting deputies, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident began shortly after 9 a.m., when deputies were called to the 4600 block of Sweetbriar Court on a report of a distraught man who possibly was armed and threatening to harm himself and law enforcement, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“When deputies arrived, they discovered 51-year-old Robert Foster of Orcutt in his vehicle parked outside of his residence,” Hoover said. “Foster refused to come out of his truck, and sheriff’s deputies observed an unidentifiable object in his hand that they were concerned could be a firearm.”

Roads in the area were shut down, and nearby residents were advised to shelter in place, Hoover said.

A sheriff’s sergeant called Foster’s cell phone and encouraged him to peacefully exit his vehicle.

“During the conversation, Foster verbally threatened to run deputies over, revved his engine, and accelerated towards deputies in a threatening manner,” Hoover said.

At about 10:40 a.m., Foster left his vehicle and attempted to flee into his residence, Hoover said.

At that point, deputies employed a taser to take Foster into custody.

While he was being arrested, Foster sustained a head injury, and he was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

He was to be booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, threatening a peace officer, and driving under the influence, Hoover said.

“Following the incident, sheriff’s deputies searched Foster’s vehicle as well as his residence, and discovered a .22-caliber rifle inside the home,” she added.

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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