Santa Barbara-Goleta, Wednesday, May 06, 2015

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Six Trees Planted at SBCC to Memorialize UCSB Students Killed in Isla Vista Rampage

By | Published on 05/06/2015


The small grove, inside the West Campus entrance and with plaques bearing the victims' names, is open to the public

Elizabeth Bowman wiped away a tear on Wednesday as she knelt to lay a sunflower near the base of a red-bud tree, one of six that now stand at Santa Barbara City College to honor the six UCSB students who were killed last May.

UCSB students Cheng Yuan “James” Hong, George Chen, Weihan “David” Wang, Katherine “Katie” Cooper, Veronika Elizabeth Weiss and Christopher Michaels-Martinez were killed May 23, 2014, during a rampage at the hands of Elliott Rodger, a 21-year-old Isla Vista resident who had attended SBCC in 2011.

Rodger went on a killing spree throughout the small oceanside community and later shot himself.

On Wednesday, members of the SBCC community gathered in a solemn tribute and invited people to leave flowers at the base of each tree, and each with a plaque bearing the name of each student.

Bowman, who is the library director at SBCC, said she didn't know any of the students who perished last May, but felt she had to walk over to pay her respects.

"Now that I'm here, I'm thinking about their families," she said, adding that she had read about each of the students in the news coverage that came out after the crimes.

Bowman said she feels like the memorial is a place to express the sadness that the SBCC community feels, and to engage in what happened.

The trees were placed inside the West Campus entrance of the college in a grove just off the roadway, and the area is open to the public as well as the SBCC community.

Standing near the trees just moments earlier, SBCC President Lori Gaskin said that as the campus nears commencement next week, there's a feeling of anticipation in the air.

"But for Veronika, Katherine, George, Weihan, Cheng and Christopher, those feelings of anticipation and expectation were shattered," she said. 

Gaskin said the SBCC community has felt the pain of the loss, and that the college's student government wanted to to do something to remember the students.

Over the past couple of months, the college's associated student government had been thinking about how to best honor the students before the upcoming one-year anniversary of their deaths, said Colette Brown, Associated Student Government president.

"It's been on all of our minds," she said.

Brown said she hopes the grove of trees becomes a respite for students to stop and remember.

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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Visit Santa Barbara Honors Three Recipients with First-Ever Destination Awards

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Hundreds gather for the annual general meeting to talk innovation and successes

Tourism is an important part of Santa Barbara County’s economy, and that fact was celebrated Wednesday during Visit Santa Barbara’s annual general meeting.

This year’s event at the Coral Casino in Montecito featured the tourism organization’s first-ever destination awards, recognizing locals who innovate, collaborate and elevate.

Hospitality and business leaders gathered with government officials for the luncheon, where Visit Santa Barbara President/CEO Kathy Janega-Dykes said tourism still seemed to be on the up-and-up.

Last year, tourism brought in $1.5 billion locally, she said, with rising occupancy rates and more travelers visiting during the off-season of November through March.

“We gather to remember the importance of travel,” Janega-Dykes said. “Places have emotional connections for all of us. Now it’s driven by experiences.”

Before introducing new Visit Santa Barbara board chair Gwen Stauffer, who is executive director of Lotusland, Janega-Dykes highlighted the success of the organization’s “Brighten Your Day” campaign, which entailed sending community members to places such as Seattle and giving away Santa Barbara-centric gifts.

Hoping to build on that momentum, she said, staff will launch the “I Shine in Santa Barbara” initiative, asking people what makes them shine while they’re here.

Four innovation-inducing ingredients include pursuing your passion, knowing what you believe, having the courage to act on it, and embracing change, according to event keynote speaker Stuart Jenkins, vice president of innovation at Goleta’s Deckers Brands.

Jenkins found his passion — footwear — at a young age as an avid distance runner.

Now with more than 35 years of experience as an entrepreneur in that industry, Jenkins said he remains as relentless as ever. 

“You will never innovate if you conform,” he said. “When you’re innovating, do not expect the crowd to stand up and say good for you. You must change if you’re going to innovate.”

The business itself doesn’t have to change, Jenkins said, but the way you do business does.

“Innovation is not what you do, it’s who you are,” he said.

Not surprisingly, those characteristics were found in the three destination award winners.

They were Marge Cafarelli of the Santa Barbara Public Market, Tara Jones of Eat This, Shoot That! and Sherry Villanueva, proprietor of The Lark restaurant, Lucky Penny, Les Merchands and Santa Barbara Wine Collective.

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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Regional Jets, San Francisco Flights Land at Santa Maria Airport

By | Published on 05/06/2015


United Express debuts new aircraft and travel destinations after dropping Los Angeles flights and retiring turboprop planes

A new era took off at the Santa Maria Public Airport early Wednesday morning with the takeoff of United Express regional jets flying to a different destination.

The regional jet departed with no fanfare at 6 a.m. for San Francisco, ushering in big changes for the small airport, which has struggled to expand air service while competing with airports in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

United Express, operated locally by Utah-based SkyWest Airlines, replaced its smaller and slower turboprop planes with larger and faster regional jets that can can carry 50 passengers.

The switch comes as United also dropped the Santa Maria-to-Los Angeles route and added Santa Maria-to-San Francisco flights, with United officials saying the move is designed to match market demand.

When the changeover was announced in March, Santa Maria airport officials called the bigger plane and new destination good news in giving passengers more connections and a smoother flight.

The new flights to San Francisco will leave Santa Maria daily at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Planes will arrive at Santa Maria from San Francisco daily at 1:32 p.m. and 11:47 p.m.

Passengers arrive at the Santa Maria Public Airport on a soon-to-be-retired turboprop airplane, which will be replaced by larger regional jets. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Prior to the switch, United Express had dropped the daily round-trip flights to two in Santa Maria.

Allegiant Airlines also serves the Santa Maria airport with flights three days a week to and from Las Vegas.

SkyWest Airlines, which operates the local United Express flights, is retiring the Embraer-manufactured 30-passenger turboprop craft in favor of the 50-passenger Bombardier-manufactured CRJ200.

To bid farewell to the final flight of an Embraer, members of the Santa Maria Fire Department staged on the tarmac Monday to give a water salute to the arriving aircraft which passed under  the arch of water en route to parking near the terminal.

On Tuesday, another Embraer aircraft reportedly performed a low-flying pass before departing the skies above the airport.

An Embraer turboprop plane receives a water salute upon landing at the Santa Maria Public Airport on Monday morning. United Express is retiring the turboprop planes in favor of larger regional jets. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Last month, United Express made a similar aircraft switch at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Santa Maria officials are banking on the fact that they, unlike its airports to the north and south, continue to provide free parking in hopes it attracts more passengers.

But that may not overcome some of the sharp differences in ticket prices. A recent survey, using United’s website, showed that the round-trip flights to San Francisco in July or August would cost approximately $175 more from Santa Maria versus San Luis Obispo.

A June flight to Denver costs approximately $50 more when traveling from Santa Maria instead of San Luis Obispo.

This is not the first time Santa Maria has had flights to and from San Francisco, as the small airport saw regular service to the Bay Area in the 1990s. The route was canceled when the federal government stopped providing an essential air service grant to the airline providing those flights.

Santa Maria's airport officials have long struggled to boost their flights and destinations, by hiring consultants and meeting with airline representatives while battling passenger-service airports in neighboring Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, which are both home to universities and county seats. 

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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Williams Resolution Calls for Naming Bike-Ped Path, La Conchita Coastal Access Way for Advocates

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, has introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 58 (ACR 58), which would name the recently constructed Class I bicycle-pedestrian path at the Santa Barbara and Ventura County line after local bicycle advocate Ralph Fertig, and the La Conchita Coastal Access Way after Peter Douglas, former executive director of the California Coastal Commission.

These facilities were constructed as part of the Ventura/Santa Barbara 101 HOV Lanes by Caltrans, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and the Ventura County Transportation Commission. Both projects were completed last September.

“I am proud to move forward the naming of these two beautiful facilities after two remarkable advocates for sustainable transportation and coastal access — Peter Douglas and Ralph Fertig,” Williams said.

Douglas, the author of the California Coastal Act — which created a robust protection framework for California’s coast — served as executive director for the California Coastal Commission for over 25 years. He was instrumental in providing coastal access to California residents, and personally fought to have the Caltrans facility provide coastal access and a world-class beachside bicycle-pedestrian path. Douglas passed away in 2012 after a long battle with cancer.

Fertig, who passed away in 2014 from cancer, was a tireless Central Coast advocate for bicycling improvements and smart transportation planning, often appearing at public comment before any local decision making body addressing these topics. He was a common fixture at the design meetings for Highway 101 HOV Lanes project — making sure that pedestrians and cyclists were always a part of the equation.

ACR 58 will be heard during the first the Assembly Transportation Committee hearing in June.

Williams represents western Ventura County and southern Santa Barbara County. Visit his website by clicking here.

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.


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San Marcos High Designated as California Gold Ribbon School

By | Published on 05/06/2015


San Marcos High School has been designated as a California Gold Ribbon School.

"I am pleased to inform you that your school has successfully completed the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program application process and is being recognized as one of our 373 California Gold Ribbon Schools for 2015," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a letter to the award recipients. "This award is a direct reflection of the dedication, hard work, and vision of your school’s educational community."

The California Gold Ribbon School Award is in recognition of the district's Program for Effective Access to College (PEAC, formerly the Posse Program). PEAC supports the academic achievement of our district's Latino students in grades 7 through 12.

"San Marcos High School, in collaboration with La Cumbre Junior High School, is very pleased to be honored as a California Gold Ribbon Award winner for the PEAC Program," Principal Ed Behrens said. "A special thanks goes to Jo Ann Caines, Alpha Ramirez, Patricia Madrigal, Shawn Ricci, Vic Ramirez, Jennifer Filipko, Sean Donnell, Jeff Ashton, Jesus Campos, Albert Martinez, Jennifer Foster, Sabrina Barajas, Sergio Castellanos, Teresa Lara Stucky, Dan Garske and, most importantly, the students and parents of the PEAC Program."

Award recipients will be invited to the California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony later this month.

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


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Goleta Officials Split on Endorsing Isla Vista Self-Governance Bill, Take No Position

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Goleta officials were split on whether to back a proposed Isla Vista self-governance bill, joining a list of local leaders who have yet to support the legislation introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams late last year.

After two Goleta City Council votes failed 2-2 — to take no action and to continue the item until a May 19 meeting — the resolution in favor of Assembly Bill 3 died on the floor with no action at Tuesday's meeting.

AB3 aims to create a Community Services District to govern Isla Vista, the densely populated community of about 23,000 living on less than one square mile adjacent to UC Santa Barbara and Goleta, currently under the care of the county. 

Mayor Paula Perotte was absent Tuesday, which presented a problem. Perotte, who was out ill, was the one who proposed the resolution and called the special meeting.

Her vote could’ve swung the council in favor of an endorsement, which councilmen Jim Farr and Michael Bennett seemed ready to propose.

Councilmen Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo opposed AB3, wanting to see a financial analysis and involve Santa Barbara County’s Local Agency Formation Commission in the formation process before giving assent.

Isla Vista is Goleta’s neighbor, so Williams suggested Goleta City Council consider a resolution of support ahead of next Wednesday, when he will present AB3 to the State Assembly Committee on Local Government.

The bill must make it out of committee to be up for a vote by June.

Isla Vista residents could then vote on whether to approve the CSD after the County Board of Supervisors puts it on the ballot.

So far, AB3 has faced somewhat of an uphill battle, embraced by community members who have attended town hall meetings to determine bill language but shirked by members of the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission, who aren’t thrilled the legislation would usurp its authority to form a CSD.

Officials also remember when locals voted down past Isla Vista cityhood attempts in 1972, 1975 and 1983.

Within AB3, community members call for community services that include a tenant mediation program, the ability to contract for additional police services, and the ability to exercise the powers of a parking district. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement for the community now. 

Stakeholders — most of whom rent housing in Isla Vista — are also interested in a Utility User Tax to financially support the CSD by imposing a tax for utility services consumed, such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, sanitation and cable television.

Since some of those services don’t exist under current CSD law, LAFCO couldn’t authorize a district to provide them.

About a dozen bill supporters, many of them UCSB students, asked the Goleta City Council to endorse AB3, but a handful of Isla Vista property and business owners said they weren’t on board with bill language.

AB3 calls for a seven-member CSD board, with five elected at large from within the district, one appointed by the County Board of Supervisors and one appointed by UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang.

Just about everyone agreed Isla Vista should be able to govern itself.

“It has some very unique issues,” Bennett said, conceding AB3 wasn’t perfect but was better than the status quo.

He said the challenges Isla Vista still faces were exactly why Goleta residents decided against including the area when it incorporated in 2002.

“We don’t know what we’re approving,” Vallejo said of ever-changing bill language.

Farr said if UCSB and county supervisors seemed supportive of AB3, he should be, too, saying, “Isla Vista is everybody’s problem on the South Coast.”

Seeing that a deadlock was imminent, council members tried to rally support for sending a letter to the legislature before next week’s hearing, but no consensus could be reached.

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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Chance of Showers, Thunderstorms Forecast for Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Santa Barbara County may get hit with showers and thunderstorms over the next couple days as a cold storm system dives down into California from British Columbia, according to the National Weather Service.

The South Coast and the North County both have a 20-percent chance of rain Thursday through Friday, and a slight chance of thunderstorms on Thursday night, which could bring heavier rain.

Daytime temperatures will peak in the high 60s and overnight lows will drop to the low 50s, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The weekend will warm up slightly, with clear weather and highs in the low 70s.

Any thunderstorms could cause minor mud and debris flows over recent burn areas, and might drop the snow level down to 5,000 feet.

Forecasters also issued a High Surf Advisory, with a risk of large waves and rip currents for Central Coast beaches.

Despite the forecast for showers, the Los Padres National Forest is now prohibiting wood and charcoal fires everywhere except in designated campfire use sites.

The increase in fire restrictions is due to dry vegetation and increasing fire danger, spokesman Andrew Madsen said Wednesday.

Campers can still use portable stoves and lanterns with gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel with a Calfiornia Campfire Permit, available for free here.

Recreational target shooting is prohibited in the forest, unless authorized by a special-use permit, and smoking is prohibited everywhere except vehicles, buildings and designated campfire use sites, Madsen reminds visitors.

[Click here for the latest forecast.]

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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County Supervisors Discuss Grand Jury’s ‘Serious Concerns’ About Safety of Coroner’s Office

By | Published on 05/06/2015


The board votes to revisit its response and how to fund any improvements, including better ventilation for employees facing exposure to airborne pathogens

Santa Barbara County supervisors discussed Tuesday how they'll respond to a Grand Jury report issued earlier this year about the safety of the county's Coroner's Office.

The Board of Supervisors ultimately voted to come back and revisit some of the items next week, and to discuss how to fund the improvements in June when they talk about the county's capital improvement projects.

In February, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury announced that it had "serious concerns" about the safety of the Sheriff-Coroner's Office facility, and urged the county leaders to take action.

The Grand Jury in its report raised the possibility that staff and the public could be exposed to airborne pathogens and fumes because the facility, which was built in 1987 by jail inmates for less than $100,000, does not have proper ventilation systems.

About 150 autopsies a year are performed at the facility at 66 S. San Antonio Road, near the Goleta Cemetery, and pathogens such as tuberculosis are a concern as the staff processes the bodies of the decedents, the jury said.

The report also found that staff members don't receive the proper training to deal with infectious diseases, that the facility was not up to Cal/OSHA standards, and that staff often left the door open to deal with poor ventilation, sending anything in the air inside the building into the outside world.

“Personnel and the public could be exposed to these dangers when procedures are performed on high-risk cases such as tuberculosis and other airborne infectious diseases," jury forewoman Sandi Miller said at the time.

The Grand Jury had raised concerns about the ventilation in the building three years ago, but no money was set aside for the changes.

The Sheriff's Department has responded to seven of the findings of the grand jury, and the county supervisors were to respond to two findings: that the building does not comply to code, and that the facility doesn't have the negative air pressure needed to remove infectious diseases.

Budget director Tom Alvarez said the county partially disagreed with the findings, because the county could comply with code if respirators were used by employees. 

Staff also said a previous report done by Roy Jorgensen Associates found the facility's ventilation poor, but not inadequate.

The Jorgensen report did not mandate repair significant enough to require replacement, staff said, adding that they intend to do some work to the ventilation system in 2015-16 with maintenance funding.

Several supervisors, including Salud Carbajal, seemed impatient with the response.

"How soon are we going to address these issues?" he asked, saying that asking employees to put on respiratory systems is not a long-term solution. "I don't get the sense that we're working with a sense of urgency to alleviate this environment for the staff that work there."

Supervisor Peter Adam expressed concern that the building was not built to code from the beginning, which would create a challenge for future improvements.

"There are many things that are not even retrofittable," he said. "I would not get hung up on the grand jury report because we're going to answer them the same way we did last time. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"

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 High’s Senior Scholarships Sweeter Thanks to Late Principal Claud Hardesty

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Fifty graduating seniors were awarded $1,000 scholarships at the Santa Barbara High Alumni Association Meeting and Scholarship Awards barbecue on Saturday.

Little did they know that the award would be doubled, thanks to the generosity of the late Claud Hardesty, a longtime teacher and, from 1957-70, principal of Santa Barbara High.

He retired in 1970 but continued to cheer for the Dons at football and basketball games until he was 102 years old.

Hardesty had no children of his own and considered the students and faculty of Santa Barbara High to be his family.

Born in 1909, he died Nov. 8, 2012. Hardesty made a large bequest to the school's alumni association scholarship fund in the form of stocks and real property.

The Claud Hardesty Scholarship Foundation, managed by the alumni association, was created to annually — and exclusively — fund scholarships and related expenses for Santa Barbara graduating seniors. Now, for years to come, a fortunate group of graduating seniors will benefit from Principal Hardesty's generosity.

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


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SBCC Honors Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s Kristi Marshall as Clinical Instructor of the Year

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Lompoc Valley Medical Center's chief radiologic technologist Kristi Marshall with her Clinical Instructor of the Year certificate from SBCC. (Lompoc Valley Medical Center photo)

Lompoc Valley Medical Center chief radiologic technologist Kristi Marshall was honored as Clinical Instructor of the Year during a recent ceremony at Santa Barbara City College.

A certificate was awarded to her for “Outstanding Performance as a Clinical Educator in the Radiologic Sciences.” It was issued by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology in Chicago, the organization that regulates radiology training and curriculum.

In addition to her work duties in the acute hospital’s Imaging Department, Marshall is the clinical instructor responsible for guiding students attending SBCC’s two-year Radiologic Technology Program during rotations at the hospital. In that role, she coordinates student training with the clinical coordinator from SBCC, who visits the acute hospital each week.

“I am so glad she was recognized in this manner,” LVMC Director of Diagnostic Imaging Tim Stout said. “She works hard to make sure students coming to us leave here with the skills to succeed as a Radiologic Technologist. Some of Kristi’s strong points are teaching critical thinking and how to give excellent patient care.”

The award came as a surprise at the conclusion of an end of the year luncheon. Marshall said she was stunned and confused at first.

“It’s nice to be recognized for the work you do put in,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without the staff here. They’re always there for the students. It means nothing unless they’re here.”

Marshall manages two junior students and two seniors each week.

“Here, everyone is very good and willing to help teach students on their journey,” she said. “We do anything we can to help them through the program. Someday they’re going to be our coworkers.”

She and the students work through lists of requirements for completion of the rotation.

“I love being able to pass along my knowledge down to the next generation and know they love it as much as I do,” she said.

A native of North Dakota, Marshall started work at LVMC as a traveling worker in December 2005 before hiring on to the staff in February 2007. She previously worked as a “traveler” in Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin and Missouri.

She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. Initially, she wanted to be an anthropologist or archeologist. But her mother suggested that if she liked to work with bones, she should consider going into the X-ray field.

“People need you,” she said of the career choice. “None of them want to be here. Just to be able to say I’ve helped someone is amazing.”

She was also just named as the clinical supervisor for Santa Barbara City College’s Radiology Program.

— Nora Wallace is a public relations coordinator for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.


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Hiking Trails and Sports Fields Top Goleta Recreation Needs, Assessment Report Finds

By | Published on 05/06/2015


The City of Goleta would need an estimated $15 million in capital over the next 20 years to cover the cost of recreational needs identified in a recent report.

Much of the costs could go toward building hiking trails, youth baseball fields and soccer fields — the highest priorities found in a Recreation Needs Assessment Report, which was created to serve as a foundational document for Goleta’s future.

RJM Design Group Inc. presented the results of the months-long assessment to the Goleta City Council on Tuesday night.

The firm crafted the 300-page assessment based on an inventory and gap analysis, as well as stakeholder interviews, telephone and electronic surveys, and community workshops.

The city paid RJM Design Group $75,000 to complete the assessment, which can be viewed by clicking here.

The City Council voted 4-0 to direct staff to work with the Parks & Recreation Commission to parcel out the report’s priorities and funding sources. Mayor Paula Perotte was absent.

In addition to “highest priority” activities, the report identified “high priority” items as a recreation/civic center for teenagers and seniors, a skate park and a swimming pool.

Nearly 900 Goleta residents participated in the assessment, including local sports groups, said Zachary Mueting of RJM Design Group.

The report looked at deficits and surpluses in Goleta’s current facilities through 2035 and noted different survey types prioritized items differently. For example, Mueting said, skate parks ranked higher during in-person interactions than on the phone.

“We all recreate differently at different ages,” he said, highlighting the city’s growing Hispanic population, 64 percent of whom are under age 44.

About 73 percent of those who took the phone survey said they loved to jog, hike and run, but most of them were doing so independently and not at Goleta facilities.

Mueting suggested the city try fulfilling sports field needs at existing sites or through joint-use agreements with public school districts — ideas the council liked.

The report emphasized connecting trails to adjacent open space, parks, schools or commercial areas and strongly suggested building an aquatics facility and bringing parks up to modern maintenance standards.

Mueting also proposed the city could add overlays on parks to have both soccer and baseball fields at the same facility, just not at the same time.

Goleta is already in the midst of planning its own community/civic center.

Council members lauded the depth of the document, although City Councilman Michael Bennett asked the firm to correct what he called inaccuracies, such as the county operating a park within city limits.

“The question now is how we use it for the next steps,” City Councilman Roger Aceves said. “My biggest concern is how we break this up and send it back to the recreation commission to work on it. I hate to give them a project and say, ‘hey there’s no money here.’”

City Manager Michelle Greene said staff members were preparing to share thoughts on what projects should come first, likely as part of a five-year forecast.

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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Bill Cirone: Beneath the Waterline in American Education

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Critics of the American education system have long looked to international test data as proof-positive that the academic progress of U.S. school children leaves much to be desired.

“Look at the scoreboard,” these critics say, though this admonition invariably reduces complex issues to a single number, and provides comparisons that are not always appropriate.

The truth is, test scores are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comparing education systems in different countries, as a recently published study argues.

“School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect” examines school achievement through the lens of often overlooked economic and social factors in eight prominent nations: Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study grew from a collaboration among several major groups, including the Horace Mann League of the U.S.A., which is devoted to the principles of public education founder Horace Mann, and the National Superintendents Roundtable, a professional learning community of school superintendents from 30 states.

“It is a mistake to believe that one number can tell us all we need to know,” the authors write in their introduction. “Both the public and policymakers must understand what it going on beneath the waterline. Only after looking at the entire picture can they then draw their own conclusions and take appropriate action within the sphere of their influence."

To determine what underlying factors have the biggest impact on student success, the study focused on six major dimensions: economic equity, social stress, support for young families, support for schools, student outcomes and, perhaps most importantly, system outcomes.

The United States, which has the highest GDP and the highest GDP per capita of all the nations in this group, scored very low on economic equity, social stress — as indicated by violence- and drug-related deaths, immigration and teenage pregnancy rates — and support for families.

In terms of support for schools, the U.S. scored the poorest on the component of teacher workload, though the U.S. did comparatively well on the other indicators of school support. Teachers in the U.S. spend an average of 1,085 hours in the classroom, compared to an average of 664 for all those other countries.

As for student outcomes, the U.S. has for decades posted good results in fourth grade reading, according to the report, and solid school completion rates, but does not do as well on assessments of 15-year-old reading. Overall, the report shows the U.S. in the middle of the pack in terms of student outcomes.

“System outcomes” is where things get interesting. In this area, the U.S. outpaced every other country in the study on all the dimensions: years of education completed, possession of secondary and bachelor’s degrees, and the global share of high-achieving science students.

“The U.S. appears to have the most highly educated workforce,” the authors write, “in terms of years of schooling completed, the proportion of adults with a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree, and the proportion of the world-s high-performing 15-year-old science students. ... The historic performance of American schools in producing adults prepared to take their place in the world,” the authors boldly assert, “is unmatched by any of the eight nations.”

Part of that success story is the fact that the U.S. remains “the land of the second chances,” enabling students over the age of 25 to enroll in higher education at great rates.

While that is an encouraging observation, it is not a cause for complacency. As the authors of the study note, “This could all change quickly if educational, community, and political leaders do not effectively address emerging challenges and the new demographics entering American schools.” They advise that the nation and its schools work hard to maintain this level of achievement.

It is stating the obvious to observe that adaptability is necessary in a fast-changing world. School leaders can improve the quality of instruction, and we all have a role to play in bridging the achievement gap that is quite clear in our classrooms. But as this study demonstrates, many of our students show up to the classroom dealing with major stresses and traumas in their young lives.

The overall success of our schools will require finding ways to ease those traumas for the young people and their families. Educators can help, but they cannot solve these problems alone. Parents, administrators, teachers and the communities they serve must all work together to navigate around the obstacles to a student’s success that are ever present just beneath the surface.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Grants $460,000 to Seven Local Nonprofits

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Recipients include Children’s Resource & Referral, CAC, Conflict Solutions Center, Mental Wellness Center, New Beginnings Counseling, Sarah House, Transition House

Seven local nonprofits received a total of $460,000 in grants from the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara on Monday afternoon at the Montecito Country Club, bringing the organization's total contributions to the community, since it began in 2004, to more than $5.1 million.

"The Women's Fund is an all-volunteer organization based on a simple, creative model — women combining our charitable donations so we can make a larger impact in the community than most of us are able to do on our own," Women's Fund co-chair Sallie Coughlin said. "We give large grants, frequently for programs that wouldn’t be funded by others. We are flexible — funding startups, established proven programs and capital projects — and we look for ways to leverage our investments. Our grants allow agencies to dream big and achieve those dreams."

Local nonprofit organizations receiving awards were Children’s Resource & Referral, the Community Action Commission, the Conflict Solutions Center, the Mental Wellness Center, New Beginnings Counseling Center, Sarah House and Transition House.

Accepting the first grant of the day was Michelle Graham, executive director of Children’s Resource & Referral. The agency received $80,000 to increase the number of child-care spaces in new, women-owned family child-care businesses.

"Tragically, there is a critical shortage of child care in our community," Graham said. "Since 2008, Santa Barbara has lost 300 child-care spaces, primarily in family-based child-care homes. Children’s Resource & Referral has an exceptional program to recruit and train providers and increase the quality of family-based child-care programs. This grant will give us the opportunity to aggressively recruit new providers. We are confident that in one year we can regain two-thirds of the spaces lost over the last seven years, which means there will be 200 new, high-quality child-care spaces for local children."

Fran Forman, executive director of the Community Action Commission, accepted a donation of $80,000 for the Healthy Seniors Lunch program, which will serve more than 600 low-income and disabled seniors in the coming year.

"This funding will prevent senior hunger and provide a safety net to those who need it most," Forman said. "Each day, our chefs prepare meals that are served in senior centers and directly delivered to the homes of seniors who are unable to shop or cook for themselves. Most Healthy Senior Lunch clients live on less than $16,000 per year. Without these meals, seniors report that they would need to choose between eating, paying rent or buying medicine. In most cases, for our clients at home, our drivers are the only visitor for the day."

Lizzie Rodriguez, executive director of the Conflict Solutions Center, accepted a grant of $60,000 to launch a restorative justice program as an alternative to juvenile incarceration.

"The traditional method of addressing juvenile crime is punishment, isolation and shaming," Rodriguez said. "Most people who move through the experience do not find it healing or satisfying. Victims often feel revictimized and their need for justice is unmet. … This method has been repeatedly proven to be unsuccessful. However, a restorative approach to addressing the harm caused by juvenile crime is profoundly impactful. A restorative approach operates from a belief that the path to justice lies in problem solving and healing rather than punitive isolation. Through a restorative process, juvenile offenders understand the impact their behaviors have on themselves, their families and their community. Young offenders are able to take responsibility for their actions and begin to understand and value their relationship with others."

Accepting a $60,000 grant to fund the establishment of peer-to-peer support groups for families dealing with early onset teen mental illness was Annmarie Cameron, CEO of the Mental Wellness Center.

"With this generous funding from the Women’s Fund, families of teens and young adults … will have early access to a safe and compassionate community, emotional support and information about available treatment," she said. "They will find reason to have hope about their family’s future, despite a diagnosis of mental illness in their family."

New Beginnings Counseling Center received $80,000 to assist individuals and families living in their vehicles.

"New Beginnings serves over 2,000 families and individuals in the county of Santa Barbara," Executive Director Kristine Schwarz said. "We serve those most fragile in our community including the homeless, people with severe and persistent mental illness, domestic violence victims, the elderly, veterans and many more. The funds that we have been awarded today will allow our Safe Parking Program to continue providing overnight shelter for families and individuals who live in their cars. In addition, your contributions will go directly towards transitioning our clients back into permanent and sustainable housing."

Executive Director Debbie McQuade accepted a $50,000 grant for Sarah House to deliver hospice care to low-income individuals suffering terminal illnesses. The grant funds the equivalent of one caregiver position for one year in the residential care facility.

The final grant of the day went to Transition House, for $50,000 to install air conditioning and sound proofing in the family homeless shelter.

"We know we ask a lot of the families in our program," Executive Director Kathleen Baushke said. "Over the three or four months they are with us, parents are expected to find jobs, take anti-poverty classes, and work with their case managers on creating — and sticking to — monthly budgets and savings plans. Children are encouraged to keep up with their schoolwork and do their best to behave in an unfamiliar environment. By the end of their stay, successful residents have solid employment, money saved for a security deposit, and life skills that will allow them maintain their housing long-term. We work with the children in hopes that they experience minimal negative impacts due to experiencing homelessness.

"While it is up to the parents to do the hard work of returning to permanent housing, it is our job to provide the best environment to facilitate their success. Given that shelter residents are already experiencing significant stress due to being homeless, we want to create an environment that is as low-stress as possible by reducing excessive noise and heat. With the help of the Women’s Fund, Transition House will be better able to support families in attaining permanent housing."

Women's Fund co-chair Nancy Harter concluded the event, stating, "What a huge moment for all Women’s Fund members and grantees — and for our guests. We come together to celebrate our year-long efforts as a community of smart and informed givers. I applaud each and every one of you for investing in the shared vision that together we have much more strength and clout as philanthropists than we do on our own."

Laurie Tumbler and Christine Riesenfeld were the research committee co-chairs for 2014-15, and Stina Hans chaired the event.

Click here for more information about the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk contributing writer Leslie Dinaberg, a Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara member, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieDinaberg.


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Santa Maria Man Accused of Child Molestation

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Mario Alberto Cambronero

A 60-year-old man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly sexually molesting several children, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Mario Alberto Cambronero of Santa Maria was taken into custody at his workplace, said Sgt. Paul Van Meel.

During their investigation, detectives were contacted by numerous victims who reported that Cambronero had committed lewd acts and child-molestation against them, Van Meel said.

The number of alleged victims and a timeline for the acts were not released.

Cambronero was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault, lewd acts with a minor and penetration with a foreign object, Van meal said.

Bail was set at $500,000.

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 County 4-H Members Gear Up for Exhibit Day

By | Published on 05/06/2015


4-Her’s from throughout Santa Barbara County are grooming their animals, sprucing up their showmanship skills, creating displays and information boards and polishing their demonstration skills for the upcoming Santa Barbara County 4-H Exhibit Day on Saturday, May 16 at the Santa Maria Fair Park.

“This is an opportunity for our members to showcase what they have been working on all year. Exhibits range from show animals to table setting and photography skills, flower arranging skills, or raising bees,” said Ron Rivera, organizer of the event this year. “It’s an exciting day and a lot of fun to see these kids shine.”

The public is welcome to attend this free event where novice and experienced exhibitors get a chance to meet and share ideas with other 4-H members.

The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau will be selling a barbecue lunch during the lunch break to enhance the event for attendees and visitors. In addition, there is a silent auction with lots of exciting things to bid on. All proceeds of the auction benefit Santa Barbara County 4-H Exhibit Day.

“It’s a full service event and the committee has been working hard for the last few months to make sure it’s a learning experience for our members and an opportunity for the public to see what 4-H is all about,” Rivera said. “We are going to have a great day!”


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Land Trust for Santa Barbara County Receives Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund Grant

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Earlier Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a $23,000 Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grant to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for its Coronado Butterfly Preserve Revitalization project.

"The board and staff of the Land Trust are extremely grateful that the Board of Supervisors has joined our other funders, the Goleta West Sanitary District and the UCSB Associated Students Coastal Fund, in our efforts to revitalize the Coronado Butterfly Preserve, a property the Land Trust acquired 16 years ago," Executive Director Chet Work said.

In 1998, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County acquired the nine-acre Coronado Butterfly Preserve, immediately adjacent to one of the region’s largest and most important overwintering sites for the Monarch Butterfly, the Ellwood Main Butterfly Grove. At the time, the now-Sperling Preserve was still privately owned, so the Coronado Butterfly Preserve was the only protected property that Monarch Butterflies could use to forage for water during their over-wintering period (October to March). Today much of the adjacent land has also been preserved.

"This CREF grant will be used to restore and enhance the Butterfly Preserve and update our interpretive signs," said Bruce Reitherman, Land Trust conservation director and Coronado Butterfly Preserve project manager. "We will use the grant to identify where we can expand and diversify native plant communities and increase the site’s natural resource value."

Children from all over the region come to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve to learn about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly, the only migratory insect in the world. Over the course of a year, Monarchs that winter at and near the Coronado Butterfly Preserve fly as far as the Rocky mountains for the summer. This migration is so great and takes so long that it must be achieved through multiple generations of Monarchs. In the fall, they begin their return trip to California’s west coast. Those that arrive at the Coronado Butterfly Preserve are many generations removed from those that left the prior spring.

"The Land Trust is very excited about the possibility of constructing a vernal pool on the Coronado Butterfly Preserve if studies find an appropriate location for one," Work said. "We will then be able to educate visitors, especially school children, not only about Monarch Butterflies, but also about the importance of vernal pools."

Vernal pools are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. Usually devoid of fish, vernal pools allow the safe development of native amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish. When winter rains replenish pools, they teem with life. Several species of native frogs, toads and salamanders utilize vernal pools for reproduction, as do endangered species of fairy shrimp.

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1985 and dedicated to preserving and enhancing Santa Barbara County’s natural resources, open spaces and agricultural heritage for present and future generations. To date, the LTSBC has helped to preserve nearly 24,000 acres of natural resource and agricultural land and has assisted landowners in placing conservation easements on 43 properties totaling more than 16,000 acres, including the Carpinteria Bluffs, Sedgwick Reserve and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. These lands help Santa Barbara County maintain a productive agricultural economy, while the public enjoys open vistas and locally grown food.

Click here for more information.

The Coronado Butterfly Preserve Revitalization Project is partially financed by the County of Santa Barbara's Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund, a partial mitigation of impacts from the following offshore oil and gas projects: Point Arguello, Point Pedernales and Santa Ynez Unit.

— Jennifer Stroh is the outreach coordinator for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.


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Fork & Cork Fundraiser Helps Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Take a Bite Out of Hunger

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Benefit event features an array of wine and food tastings served by local restaurants and vintners

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Nearly 600 food and wine aficionados savored tastings from an array of select wines and gourmet dishes prepared by more than 20 Santa Barbara County chefs, restaurants, caterers and vintners at the Fork & Cork benefit for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

The Montecito Country Club served as the venue, which offered supporters panoramic views of the Santa Barbara coastline along with catchy DJ music, fantastic wine and food, fun games, and a chance to bid on one-of-a-kind auction items.

Proceeds benefited the Foodbank, which is part of Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 foodbanks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that provide food and services to hundreds of thousands of people each year in 50 states.

The process of getting food to hungry Americans requires a robust infrastructure and sophisticated management to secure donations from national food and grocery manufacturers, retailers, shippers, packers and growers, government agencies and other organizations.

The donated food and grocery products are then distributed to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and other foodbanks. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County distributes food and grocery items through food pantries and meal and snack programs that serve families, children, seniors and others at risk of hunger.

Feeding America development manager Erika Weiss traveled from Feeding America’s national office in Chicago to observe and support Fork & Cork. Along with enjoying the sunny California weather, Weiss was impressed with the large community support of the event.

“This is so impressive how the South Coast region embraces the need to address hunger in this community. Together, we can truly make a difference to help families and individuals in need,” she told Noozhawk.

Major sponsors included Chumash Casino & Resort, Green Hills Software, Cox Communications, 805 Magazine, First Click, Samy’s Camera, Produce Available, Irene Hoffman, The Berry Man, vCore, Courtland Dane, Merrill Lynch and many others.

Food purveyors included Blue Owl, Blush, Ca'Dario, Cielito Restaurant, Duo, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Finch & Fork at the Canary, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Industrial Eats of Buellton, Jessica Foster Confections, Julienne, Los Arroyos, Montecito Country Club, Patxi's Pizza, Rori's Artisanal Creamery, Sama Sama, Santa Barbara Yacht Club, Succulent Café, The Secret Ingredient, The Pasta Shoppe, Via Maestra 42 and Whole Foods.

Event leadership included Mickey Neal, Elise Geiger, Todd Atkins, Michael Blackwell, Irene Hoffman, Clarissa Nagy and Catherine Wastweet.

Participating wineries and sips included Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Ampelos Cellars, Ascendant Spirits, Beckmen Vineyards, Blair Fox Cellars, Caribbean Coffee Company, Casa Dumetz Wines, Cutler´s Artisan Spirits, Consilience, Marianello & Tre Anelli, CORE Wine Co., Deep Sea by Conway Family Wines, DV8 Cellars, Falcone Family Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Foley Estates Winery, Island Brewing Company, Kaena Wine Company, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, Pegasus Estate & Winery, Scott Cellars, Silver Wines LLC, Summerland Winery, Turiya Wines, The Real McCoy Rum, Water Store, William James Cellars, Whitcraft Winery and Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards.

Annually, the Santa Barbara Fork & Cork honors a local chef and winemaker for the contributions they have made toward advancing their respective crafts as well as their efforts to support for the local community, including the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. This year, the FoodBank honored Justin West of Julienne Restaurant and Blair Fox of Blair Fox Cellars.

For more information about the Foodbank, visit 1525 State St., Suite 100 in Santa Barbara, call 805.967.5741 or click here.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Closures Scheduled for Painting of Santa Barbara’s Ortega Parking Garage

By | Published on 05/06/2015


The Santa Barbara Public Works Department’s Downtown Parking Program has hired a contractor to clean and paint the interior of City Lot 10 (Ortega Garage), located at 621 Anacapa St., to enhance the overall appearance, attractiveness and cleanliness of the Lot 10 parking structure.

During this project, there will be a full closure, partial closures and potential delays while entering and exiting Lot 10. The project schedule is as follows:

» Expected start date: Monday, May 11

» Expected end Date: Friday, June 12.

» Nightly closures (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.): Monday, May 11 through Thursday, May 14

» Full closure: Monday, May 18 through Friday, May 22. The Lot 10 parking structure will be fully open for public parking during Memorial Day weekend, and construction will resume on Tuesday, May 26.

» Limited parking available: Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, June 12

Additional public parking is available in City Lot 2 (914 Chapala St.), City Lot 9 (921 Anacapa St.), City Lot 11 (523 Anacapa St.), City Lot 12 (11 W. Gutierrez St.), and the public parking garage located in the Paseo Nuevo mall.

Click here to view the Downtown Parking Map with all public parking locations in the downtown core.


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SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center Announces Student Winners of New Venture Challenge

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation announced student winners of the fifth annual New Venture Challenge pitch competition held Friday, May 1 at the Fé Bland Forum on SBCC’s West Campus.

The $5,000 collegiate grand prize went to SBCC student John Harmon, for his eco-friendly non-toxic beach tar remover. He formulated his winning product, Oil Slick, after tiring of removing tar from his feet with harsh chemicals after surfing. He launched Oil Slick in the Scheinfeld Center's popular Enterprise Launch program last fall and currently sells his product online and in six stores.

Students in the Enterprise Launch program develop a product or service in a single semester, and the program consistently produces winners of the New Venture Challenge. Last year’s winner, Doni Nahmias, has gone on to launch his own clothing line, Fortune Designs, which he currently sells in six local stores after only one year in development. Nahmias was also a finalist in this year’s New Venture Challenge.

The second-place collegiate award ($3,000) went to the SBCC team of Spencer Shulem and Lincoln Liechti. Their winning product, Onus Retail, is a software application designed for small retail business managers that combines employee communication functionality with a task management system to ultimately increase employee productivity. The mission of their business, Onus Technologies, is to create simple products that make people productive.

The third-place collegiate award ($2,000) went to SBCC student Dan Stroud for his collapsible diving fins. Stroud's business, Wyvern, creates and sells innovative high-quality diving equipment.

In a standing-room-only event, the presenters were polished and ready.

“The hard work, dedication, and innovation of these students were apparent by their high-quality pitches and the diversity of concepts presented. Even more, by advancing their business concepts, these students have gained critical entrepreneurial skills needed for success in our rapidly changing business environment. All presenters have good reason to celebrate their accomplishments," said Julie Samson, Scheinfeld Center director.

The collegiate judges were a formidable team including Lynda Weinman (, Kathy Odell (NutraHealth Partners) and Susan Block (business merger and acquisition consultant).

At the high school level, first place went to Santa Barbara High School student Mackenzie Fell presenting Fell Design, a student-run graphic design, marketing and social media management business; second place went to Lompoc High School student Sarahy Guzman for SGC Gluten-Free Bakery; and third went to Lompoc High School student Kadie Pulliam for The Blue Puzzle Project, which designs and sells T-shirts with unique designs to spread awareness and raise funds for special needs education and assistance related to autism. Honorable Mention went to the Finding Common Ground team from Santa Barbara High School (Madalyn Mender, Julia Danalevich, Victor Valdadez and Elizabeth Ramirez) for their international social enterprise venture.

The high school panel of judges brought extensive industry experience with startup ventures: Michael Holliday (Synergy Business & Technology Center), Dan Colbert (Colbert Venture Consulting) and David Goldmuntz (business equity and finance expert).

The winners receive their awards at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on May 8 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. The awards banquet serves as a fundraiser for next year’s awards, and the attendance of the student winners and their guests are generously sponsored by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered pitch competition honoring the business concepts of local college and high school students. $15,000 in cash awards for the collegiate winners is generously supported by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation and Montecito Bank & Trust. The Bank of Santa Barbara has sponsored a $25,000 rolling scholarship fund for the high school winners.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is also co-sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara County Small Business Development Center, a public service offering no-cost one-on-one counseling and coaching to small business owners, and the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board.

For more information, please visit the Scheinfeld Center website by clicking here.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.


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Relay for Life Team Serving Up Benefit Event at Los Arroyos Restaurant in Montecito

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Celebrity dads will serve you at the second annual Relay for Life benefit at the Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant in Montecito, with 20 percent of proceeds and all tips donated to the American Cancer Society.

The event, hosted by Barbara Reed and the Relay for Life team, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 at 1280 Coast Village Road in Montecito.

Other participants include Tony Arroyo, Dan O'Keefe, Otto Laula, Chrisley Reed and Marcus Kettle.


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Jeanine Burford Named President of National Charity League-Santa Barbara

By | Published on 05/06/2015


Jeanine Burford

Jeanine Burford has been named president of the National Charity League-Santa Barbara Chapter.

Burford was born and raised in Santa Barbara. She attended Dos Pueblos High School and UCSB, majoring in business economics.

She recently celebrated her 19th year as a senior financial advisor, first vice president for Wells Fargo Advisor in Santa Barbara.

She actively participates on three local boards — National Charity League, Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara and Safety Town.

Her husband is Jerrad Burford, and they have four children, Grace, Ava, Jerrad and Jaxon.

They are very involved with Montecito Union School, Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High.

— Ann Pieramici is a publicist representing the National Charity League-Santa Barbara Chapter.


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Author Michael Cervin Delves Into Current Water Crisis in ‘Our World of Water’

By | Published on 05/06/2015


The only book about all aspects of water geared for a consumer audience, Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource, discusses water from a historical context to its spiritual element, to the present water crisis and looks to our collective future and the inherent value of water, in spite of it being taken for granted.

Our World of Water
The cover of Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource by Michael Cervin.

Beginning with the essential nutrients that water gives us to keep our bodies healthy, author Michael Cervin walks us through the good that comes from pure water — the minerals and trace elements that keep our bodies running smoothly, to the bad — toxic contamination including specific detailed accounts of Hinkley, Calif. (made famous in the film Erin Brockovich) to North Carolina’s military base disaster, Camp Lejeune.

Along the way Cervin discusses:

» The state of municipal water systems

» Behind the scenes look into the world’s oldest water competition

» Water privatization

» The 411 on fluoride

Plus state-on-state lawsuits, water as a spiritual element, and even some of history’s most destructive water impacts including the little known St. Francis Dam catastrophe, one of the worst civil engineering failures in American history.

Lastly, Our World of Water provides practical information about water conservation; simple steps anyone can do to make our world of water better.

Filled with Cervin’s reporting on water over the last decade, Our World of Water is a call to respect and defend our water — to appreciate its awesome power while recognizing its fundamental importance.

Cervin has been the senior editor of BottledWaterWeb for a decade, water judge at the longest running water competition in the world; his TV appearances include Fox News Health and Oasis TV. His water articles have appeared on FoxNews, Santa Barbara News-Press, The Tasting Panel, Draft, Food & Beverage World, The Pacific Coast Business Times, Goldenseal, Vision Magazine, Offbeat Travel, The Big Blend, Exploracation, and the Ventura County Reporter. He has been quoted as a water authority in various media including FoxNews, FoxNewsHealth, Water Quality Products Magazine, Nature Connection Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine, Big Blend Radio, the Herald Mail, OpEd, The Daily Meal and others.

As a dedicated water professional, Cervin has committed that 10 percent of every sale of every book, every time will be distributed to water charities across the globe.

Our World of Water: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource is available at, Infinity Publishing and select stores, including The Museum of Berkeley Springs in West Virginia, and Tecolote Books and Healing Circle Natural Health, both in California.


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Attorneys Deliver Closing Arguments in Trial of Man Who Shot His Parents in Orcutt

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Prosecutor says Brian Keith Reid should be found guilty of murder; the defense attorney argues for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter

Closing arguments are expected to wrap up Wednesday in the trial of a man who fatally shot his father and wounded his mother at an Orcutt park, with attorneys disagreeing whether jurors should find the defendant guilty of murder or a lesser charge.

Attorneys began delivering their closing arguments Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, winding down the trial of Brian Keith Reid, 42, before Judge Rogelio Flores. 

Reid is charged with killing his father, William Forrest Reid, 73, and wounding his mother, Pamela Reid, then 66, during a Labor Day barbecue at Orcutt Community Park in 2012.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy accused Brian Reid of conducting “vigilante justice” to execute his father, who had admitted inappropriately touching the defendant’s three daughters.

“He decided to be judge, jury, executioner of his father for acts that happened back in 2005,” Duffy said.

Duffy urged the jurors to find Reid guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder for willful, deliberate premeditation in shooting his parents multiple times.

Defense attorney Robert Ikola told jurors that Reid admitted to shooting his parents, but argued the defendant should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

“Brian was driven crazy by what happened,” Ikola said. “He was driven beyond his ability to cope.”

The defense attorney argued that intense emotion provoked Reid to act rashly in shooting his parents.

William Forrest Reid admitted the molestation allegations during a recorded interview with Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies five days before his death.

But the son never saw the video, Duffy said, adding the defendant can’t claim he acted in a heat of passion since the shooting occurred 2,513 days after he learned of the molestation allegations.

The shooting occurred as the trio gathered for a barbecue, where Brian Reid grabbed a .40-caliber Glock from his Jeep, loaded it and began shooting, telling his father, “I’m going to kill you.”

Brian Reid carefully chose an isolated park for the barbecue and retrieved the weapon after making multiple trips to the vehicle, the prosecutor said.

“It’s all very cold and calculated,” Duffy said, claiming the defendant had an intent to kill that day.

The molestation case against William Forrest Reid was moving forward, and Duffy noted the irony is he likely would have handled the prosecution. But Brian Reid’s actions in 2012 mean his father never got to face a jury for the allegations, Duffy said.

“We can’t have a lawless society where you can kill anyone who’s accused of a crime, even if they confess to a crime,” Duffy said. “You can’t kill them. It’s not open hunting season.”

In the months before the shooting, Brian Reid returned from Arizona to Santa Maria and eventually moved back into his parents’ house after losing his job and his marriage.

Duffy questioned how Brian Reid could claim such intense emotion from the molestations yet move into their house.

“What really happened is Brian lost everything that mattered to him,” Ikola said, adding his client had hit “rock bottom.”

In the days before the shooting, the defendant claimed his parents were poisoning him. When he showed up at the hospital after the shooting, nurses and other staff said they thought Brian Reid was a psychiatric patient, Ikola said.

He told the jury that a letter from one of Brian Reid’s daughter spells out how the pressure was affecting him. 

“She said, 'I think my dad is losing it,'" Ikola added. “He ended up killing his dad and shooting his mother because he was crazy.”

The defense attorney urged jurors not to even consider convicting Brian Reid of murder and attempted murder and to instead find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter and attempted voluntary manslaughter.

A conviction of the lesser charges also would prove to Reid’s three daughters that the jury finally believes they were victims of molestation and the effects on their father.

“It’s just. It’s appropriate. Nobody’s getting away with anything …” Ikola said. “He’s going to pay the price anyway. No one’s going to be a winner. But, let those girls win, let them win by accepting their version of what happened to Brian.”

Duffy is scheduled to give his rebuttal closing argument Wednesday morning before the case lands in the jury's hands. The trial began with jury selection in early April.

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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Carpinteria-Summerland Bond to Build New Fire Station Failing in Early Election Results

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Early results show the $10.65 million bond measure to build a new Summerland fire station failing in Tuesday's special mail-only election.

The Santa Barbara County Elections Office had counted 2,875 votes as of Tuesday night and the measure had 54.82 percent in favor, which is short of the two-thirds majority required to pass. 

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District put the Measure Z bond to voters so it could fund a replacement for the Summerland station on Lillie Avenue and major improvements for the main Carpinteria station, making both of the old buildings earthquake-safe.

Initial turnout was 30.97 percent, but County Elections will process all valid ballots that were mailed by Tuesday and are received by the end of Friday, according to Renee Bischof, chief deputy registrar of voters. The final election results will be certified on Monday. 

Tuesday's semi-official election results show 1,576 votes in favor and 1,299 votes against Measure Z. 

"We are deeply disappointed that our community did not take advantage of this incredible opportunity to upgrade and seismically retrofit our firefighters' facilities," said Lisa Guravitz, a former fire district board member and member of the Measure Z SAVES Committee. "It is our hope that with additional education our community can work together with the first responders to try again, as the need will only become more critical. While we did not get the 66 two-thirds percent threshold, we did win a majority of the ballots returned." 

The bond money would be used to replace Station 2 in Summerland, at 2375 Lillie Ave., with a larger, modern station about a block away at 2450 Lillie Ave. That project is expected to cost about $4.8 million, leaving about $5 million for upgrades at the station at 911 Walnut Ave.

The mail-only election applied to all voters within the district boundaries, which are the same as the Carpinteira Unified School District including the City of Carpinteria and unincorporated Santa Barbara County, including the community of Summerland.

Opponents argued that a new station and improvements won’t increase response times or fire protection for the area. The new Summerland station, planned to house eight on-duty firefighters and four apparatus, is larger than necessary, they wrote in ballot arguments.

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


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Santa Barbara Council Bans New Groundwater Well Permits, Skips Ban on New Swimming Pools

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday night banned new groundwater well permits, declared a higher-level drought and approved additional drought regulations, putting out the message that the city’s conservation successes need to continue.

Council members approved an ordinance banning new private groundwater well permits for properties served by the city’s water system.There hasn’t been a rush on well permit applications like the one seen in the Montecito Water District, but the council decided to be proactive.

Councilman Dale Francisco dissented, saying he was reluctant to impose regulations if there isn’t an issue — Santa Barbara hasn’t seen a private groundwater well application in several years.

“There’s no rush because we’re not in Stage 4 with really significant watering restrictions, and the best example of where there has been a rush is Montecito, where they did exactly that and had a big rush,” Councilman Gregg Hart said.

The water board in Montecito, which is unincorporated, asked the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to temporarily ban new groundwater wells during the drought but was denied. The number of well permit applications in the county increased almost 300 percent between 2013 and 2014. In 2014, 107 of the 248 permitted new wells were in Montecito.

Council members also declared a Stage 3 drought Tuesday night but decided not to ban new swimming pools or limit commercial auto dealership car washing, two options presented by city staff.

The council instead approved the state-mandated restrictions for water use, including a ban on watering within 48 hours of measurable rainfall (a quarter-inch or more in 24 hours) and not overwatering to the point of causing runoff onto sidewalks and driveways.

Water customers have cut back use by 22 percent based on an average year’s demand and the city is now aiming for 25 percent. A state calculation, based on per-capita use, is expecting Santa Barbara to cut back by 16 percent, water resources manager Joshua Haggmark said.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order wants 25-percent cuts statewide, proof that the city is doing better than most at saving water.

Santa Barbara is expecting no water entitlements from Lake Cachuma next year, an unprecedented situation, and Gibraltar Reservoir is “essentially empty,” city staff said. Even if the seawater-to-potable desalination facility comes online, there will soon be a shortfall in water demand, Haggmark said.

The city purchased water from outside the area this year, but probably won’t be able to again, Haggmark said.

“If this continues, there’s nothing next year to buy — there was nothing really this year to buy,” he said. The recent water purchases were really “renting” the water, since the city has to pay it back in 10 years, he said.

Conservation was encouraged by drought rates adopted in July 2014, and even higher water rates will go into effect this summer. It’s a balance of encouraging conservation and keeping revenues coming in, since 70-80 percent of the city’s water costs are fixed, Haggmark said.

If city residents and businesses cut back by more than 25 percent, the city could have to raise rates again to compensate for the lack of water sales. A 25-percent cut in water sales translates to a $5 million revenue loss, he said.

Since conservation efforts have been so successful, the city only added state-mandated restrictions along with its declaration of a Stage 3 Drought on Tuesday.

City staff had suggested banning new pools and limiting car washing at auto dealerships, but there was pushback from the public and council members so those rules weren’t approved. The pool ban is mostly symbolic since no significant water savings would come from banning new ones, city staff said.

About 14 new pool permits come in per year, water conservation coordinator Madeline Ward said. City rules already require people to cover their pools to cut back on evaporation losses.

Allen Cooper, owner of Pintado Pools, has three pool projects in the city’s review process right now and argued that filling a pool takes less water over time than watering the same square-footage of lawn.

Council members said they’d rather focus on restrictions that significantly impacted water savings, not symbolic cuts. Councilwoman Cathy Murillo dissented, saying she wasn’t sure why the city wasn’t adopting all of the proposed restrictions to cut back on water use.

The city could consider a ban on watering lawns later this year, which Ward said could save about 1,100 acre-feet of water per year, significantly cutting down on the expected shortage in water supplies.

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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Goleta City Council Gives Approval for First Gas Station to Sell Liquor

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Fuel Depot on Fairview Avenue already sells beer and wine but wants a new license classification

For the first time ever, Goleta residents may soon be able to buy liquor at a gas station within the city limits.

The Goleta City Council on Tuesday gave approval to the Fuel Depot at 180 N. Fairview Ave. to sell liquor in addition to beer and wine, voting 3-1 in favor of the gas station and convenience store obtaining the proper liquor license to do so.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr voted no because he worried the decision would set a bad precedent, and Mayor Paula Perotte was absent.

Council members were tasked with determining whether the issuance of a license served public convenience or necessity, and their recommendation will be forwarded to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a final determination.

Along with approval, officials asked that staff bring all future proposed liquor license changes before the council.

Fuel Depot owner John Price is asking the ABC to issue a Type 21 license for off-site consumption at a retail establishment instead of its current Type 20, which allows sale of beer and wine only.

All Goleta gas stations that sell alcohol hold the Type 20 license, and staff said only two gas stations on the South Coast — Fuel Depots on the Mesa and on Carrillo Street, both owned by Price — have the Type 21 license.

There are 19 establishments with Type 20 licenses and 15 with Type 21 licenses in Goleta, for a total of 34 businesses selling alcohol for off-site consumption.

Price said he’s planning on expanding his Fairview Road location, and obtaining the new license was one way to bring in more money.

Councilman Roger Aceves asked whether Price’s Fuel Depots have had problems such as selling to minors, etc.

“In 38 years, we’ve never had tobacco or liquor violations,” Price said, noting an employee-training program and new equipment that soon will let cashiers scan a driver’s license to check its authenticity. “We also have a policy on loitering.”

What type of alcohol someone drinks isn’t the issue, Councilman Michael Bennett said, so much as how responsible that person is while consuming it.

One public speaker questioned whether the council fully examined the heart of the task. He cited ABC materials, which stated an area could limit the number of off-sale licenses issued based on population or on the U.S. Census Tract where the business is located.

Based on Goleta’s population, the ABC determined the number of total licenses was sufficient concentration to support the population — one for every 2,500 people (Type 20) and one for every 1,250 people (Type 20 or 21).

The Census route showed Fuel Depot created an over-concentration of licenses because it’s so close to Albertson’s, CVS, Nikka Japanese Market, Trader Joe’s and Walgreens.

“I don’t see convenience as an issue here,” Farr said.

Bennett countered that liquor licenses are hard to come by, so the city wouldn’t see an influx in these types of requests.

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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Judge Rules Against Defamation Claims of Former Congressional Candidate Chris Mitchum

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The Republican claims incumbent Lois Capps' campaign ads deliberately misled voters about his positions, costing him the election last fall

A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge has ruled against a former congressional candidate who sued Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for defamation.

Former congressional candidate Chris Mitchum announced in February he was suing Capps for defamation, alleging that her campaign ran ads taking his comments out of context, a move he said ultimately cost him the election.

Mitchum, who challenged Capps last fall for the 24th Congressional District seat, lost the race during a close election against the 16-year incumbent.

Judge Donna Geck upheld her ruling Friday, which stated that Mitchum had not demonstrated actual malice.

Capps spokesman Chris Meagher told Noozhawk on Tuesday that the lawsuit had been baseless.

"As the congresswoman has maintained from the beginning, there was no validity to this frivolous lawsuit," he said. "She was pleased to see that the law was applied as it should be."

Josh Lynn, Mitchum's attorney, said that while he respected the court's position, he felt the time was right to have the discussion about truth in political advertising.

"Our goal remains to change the dialogue from this visceral attack between the candidates to something that resembles the truth. Our opinion of the case law is that the county, the state and the country are ready for that," he said.  

Lynn said he suspects appeal will be the next step, but "we will examine our options carefully."

Mitchum's lawsuit had named Capps, Friends of Lois Capps as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as defendants, and maintained that two ads run during the campaign "deliberately edited Mitchum’s filmed and audio comments so as to completely alter and falsify what candidate Chris Mitchum actually said."

Central to the lawsuit was a 2012 interview Mitchum had done with Cal Poly TV, in which he stated, "I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District to bring back baseball fields, that's not why I am going. I am going to fight for my country and I happen to be from the 24th District."

The lawsuit maintains that Mitchum had a narrow lead when the Capps campaign began running ads with a clipped version of Mitchum's statement, in which he only said, "I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District," and then the ad maintains that Mitchum will represent Tea Party advocates.

"The editing changed the meaning of the statement to make voters believe that, by his own words, Mitchum had no intention of doing his job if elected, and essentially stated he would use the elected office for his own purposes, not those of his district," the lawsuit states.

Geck stated in her ruling, however, that campaign ads fell under free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest. Geck also said the statements in the ad were not demonstrably false.

"Clearly the Capps campaign does not think a Tea Party agenda serves the interests of the 24th District. But the ad is not necessarily unfavorable, depending on one’s view of the conservative agenda represented in the ad," she wrote. "The only alleged alteration of Mitchum’s statement was the presentation of an incomplete sentence he uttered. It did not materially change the meaning."

The ads do not suggest, as Mitchum argues, that he was not going to do his job, Geck wrote.

"There are many members of Congress pursuing his goals while doing their job," she wrote. "The ads suggest that the agenda he would pursue in Washington is not in the interests of the 24th District. Whether that agenda is or is not in line with the voters of the district is up to them to decide."

She ultimately wrote that Mitchum had not sufficiently shown that the ad made a materially false statement.

"Since the court does not find the ad false, the court cannot find defendants made false statements with actual malice," she said. "Mitchum’s inability to demonstrate actual malice by clear and convincing evidence is another reason he cannot demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the defamation claim.

Geck said in her ruling that the court doesn't offer an opinion on whether either party's ads in the campaign were admirable or fair.

"Sadly, that is not the standard for a modern campaign in which even good people are not always at their best," she wrote.

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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Orcutt Schools Roll Out the Red Carpet for Inaugural Education Media Innovation Awards

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The event showcases the work of students in the district's first digital media academy

Students, parents and teachers walked the red carpet Tuesday for the Orcutt Union School District’s inaugural Education Media Innovation Awards.

Dubbed EMI — and pronounced “emmy" — the event recognized participants in the district’s first digital media academy.

Some students and adults donned fancy dresses and ties, walking along a red carpet as “paparazzi” — Orcutt Academy High School photo students — snapped pictures.

Pacific Christian Center hosted the event, which included the airing of student-made productions from the inaugural digital media academy.

Emcees for the night were Bob Hatch, who serves on the school board, and Ashley Tarquin, an Apple Distinguished Educator with the Encinitas Union School District, who helped train Orcutt’s digital media academy instructors.

The school board approved the digital media academy last fall, and district officials implemented an abbreviated program for the first year. 

The winners were: 

» "Juvenile Glaucoma" by Rebecca Belanger, Pine Grove School

» Educational, Upper Elementary — "Are Decimal Points Important?" by Rebecca Belanger, Pine Grove School

» "Art Is ..." by Karen Cornwell, Patterson Road School

» "The Look" by Kacie Jackson, Orcutt Junior High School

»" Life in 2015" by Karen Cornwell, Patterson Road School

» "Matter of Fact" by Jill Scarry, Patterson Road School

» "Pledge of Allegiance" by Jim Hoffman, Pine Grove School

» Special Effects — "Eric in Art Class" by Jim McManus, Orcutt Academy High School

» Junior High — "Don't Steal" by Kelli Zamudio, Orcutt Junior High

» High School — "The Semblance" by Jim McManus, Orcutt Academy High School

» Grand Recognition (Teacher Created) — "The Other Chair" by Jim McManus and Graham Culbertson, Orcutt Academy High School

» Grand Recognition (Student and Teacher Created) - "Belonging" by Bob Schmalbach, Ralph Dunlap School

» People's Choice — "How to Fill a Bucket" — by Jeff Hamilton, Alice Shaw School

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 Police Warn of Active IRS Telephone Scam

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The Santa Barbara Police Department is warning residents that a pervasive Internal Revenue Service impersonation telephone scam is once again active in this area.

Please review the information below from the IRS website regarding this fraud:

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not.  These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. 

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

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


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5 Suspects Arrested in String of Robberies in Isla Vista

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies have arrested five people in connection with a string of alleged Isla Vista armed robberies and a residential burglary, all of which occurred over the past three days and three of which most likely were related. 

Brenden Lewis

Christianna Horton

Deputies believe two alleged armed robberies and one residential burglary — all reported at an apartment complex in the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista — were related in some way, but authorities weren’t ready to make the determination official, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.

Tevis Johnston

Levi Roman

The first robbery was reported about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, when a resident at the apartment complex said three suspects wearing dark hoodies and masks came into his unit and stole his cell phone and laptop, Hoover said.

Savannah Arias

Two of the suspects, who were reportedly armed with handguns, fled the scene and evaded authorities, she said.

The following morning, at 2 a.m. Monday, deputies and UCSB Police responded to a neighboring unit in the same complex on a report of residents arguing over drugs and money owed, Hoover said.

She said a female victim told authorities that four or five people she was acquainted with stole money from her and that two were armed with knives.

Deputies detained five suspects who attempted to flee, and four of them were charged in connection with that robbery and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, Hoover said.

Brenden Lewis, 21, of Ventura was charged with robbery, burglary and transportation of a controlled substance (cocaine and alprazolam, a Schedule 3 controlled substance).

Christianna Horton, 25, of Ventura was booked on charges of burglary and robbery; Tevis Johnston, 19, of Buellton was booked on charges of burglary, robbery and transportation of controlled substances; and Levi Roman, 20, of Buellton was booked on charges of robbery, burglary and possession of an illegal knife.

The female who reported that robbery — 27-year-old Savannah Arias of Isla Vista — was arrested Tuesday after deputies allegedly found her burglarizing a residence in the same apartment complex just after noon, Hoover said.

She said the Isla Vista Foot Patrol was also investigating a third, unrelated armed robbery that occurred later Monday about 5:30 p.m. 

A male victim, who is a Santa Barbara City College student, was walking in the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde when he was reportedly robbed by four or five black male adults armed with a handgun. She said the suspects took off with an undisclosed amount of cash and were still outstanding Tuesday.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call the Isla Vista Foot Patrol at 805.681.4179 or the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip-line at 805.681.4171.

“The Isla Vista Foot Patrol would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents to keep their doors and windows locked and to always be aware of their surroundings,” Hoover said. “If you are the victim of theft or see suspicious activity, please report it right away to law enforcement.”

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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Jim Hightower: An Epidemic of CNE Syndrome Strikes Our State Governments

By | Published on 05/05/2015


It's well-known that harsh climate conditions can mess with your mind — from cabin fever to heat delirium. But America is now experiencing an even more dangerous mind-numbing disease called Climaticus Non-vocalism Extremism.

Oddly, CNE Syndrome almost exclusively afflicts a narrow segment of our population: Republican political officials and candidates. Scientific studies suggest that CNE Syndrome might stem from a genetic defect, but scientists say more research is needed on that.

The symptoms, however, are uniform and include an obsessive impulse by GOP politicos to deny that human-caused climate change is happening. It's often accompanied by a feverish insistence that government employees be banned from studying it, discussing it or even uttering such phrases as "climate change" and "global warming."

Hard to believe? For an example of the mind-altering impact of Climaticus Non-vocalism Extremism, look at Gov. Scott Walker's Wisconsin administration. The Koch-funded governor and Republican presidential wannabe is an ardent climate-change denier — but the state's public lands board has escalated his denial to Orwellian censorship. The two GOP commissioners on the three-member board, which oversees the ecological health of thousands of acres of Wisconsin forestlands, have banned agency employees from even considering damage caused by climate change. Worse, they have such severe cases of CNE Syndrome that they've imposed a gag order on freedom of speech by public lands employees, prohibiting them from even talking about climate change while on the job.

The heartbreak of CNE is that its victims even deny that they're in denial about the disease. Thus, the Wisconsin duo say their no-speech rule is not censorship, because employees are still free to talk about climate change at home — or even chit-chat about it "by the water cooler," just as they might talk about sports.

Gov. Walker — who wants to be your president — says that he finds that censorship perfectly reasonable.

But it's not just Wisconsin that has imposed such ridiculous levels of science-denial and censorship. This begs the question: If a state government issues a right-wing political order, but it's not written down, does it make a sound? Let's ask Florida.

Bart Bibler, a respected employee of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, says you betcha it makes a sound — even though the order directed at state employees like him was meant to enforce the sound of silence. Since Rick Scott became governor of the Sunshine State, various agencies run by his appointees have issued 1984-style newspeak decrees that "climate change," "global warming," "sustainability" and other terms related to Earth's looming climate disaster are verboten.

Unaware of this censorship edict, Bibler innocently blurted out the phrase "climate change" in a February teleconference. To his amazement, his breach of ideological correctness earned him an official letter of reprimand, a two-day suspension without pay, and — get this — an order to undergo a doctor's evaluation to verify his mental "fitness for duty."

When outrage over this blunt attempt to banish the idea of climate change spread across the country, the governor and his appointees doubled-down on Orwellian denial: "It's not true," said the slippery Scott, insisting that no such gag policy exists. By "exist," though, he means his dictate is not written down. As many employees have confirmed, however, state officials verbally impose their policy of outlawing the language of climate change. The official taboo is so extreme that even a phrase as benign and factual as "sea-level rise" is banned. Instead, Scott's team has mandated that this measurable (and alarming) reality be referred to as "nuisance flooding."

It's their mental fitness that needs to be evaluated! Trying to ban words only amplifies their sound, meaning and impact — while also exposing how pathetically scared and stupid the censors are.

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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Fire Crews Respond to Gas Line Break at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The museum and nearby buildings are evacuated after a ruptured PVC gas line is found

A gas line break was reported at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Tuesday afternoon, two weeks after another break caused by construction crews working in the parking lot area.

At about 3 p.m., Santa Barbara City Fire crews and the Southern California Gas Co. responded to the 2500 block of Puesta Del Sol, according to Battalion Chief Robert Mercado.

Two engines and a truck responded to the scene, where crews discovered a ruptured PVC gas line, about an inch-and-a-half in diameter, he said.

The museum and nearby buildings were evacuated and firefighters checked on the gas levels to see they were dangerous. Mercado said they did not find high levels of gas in the atmosphere, but requested that the gas company come to the scene.

He said the gas company arrived about 10 minutes later and will be assessing the leak.

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


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Jackson to Host Business Seminar and Expo on Thursday in Ventura

By | Published on 05/05/2015


A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, will host a business resource seminar and expo on Thursday, May 7 to showcase the resources and services available to help start and grow a small business.

The event, sponsored by Jerome Horton, chairman of the California State Board of Equalization, will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ventura College Wright Event Center, 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura.

This business resource seminar and expo will provide information on a number of important topics affecting small businesses including: different forms of ownership, how to avoid common sales and use tax problems, recordkeeping, employee and independent contracting, loan programs and services, preparing your sales and use tax returns, and much more.

The California Board of Equalization serves the public through fair, effective and efficient tax administration.

This event is free and open to the public. Register online by clicking here or by calling 888.847.9652.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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Letter to the Editor: The Real Storyline Behind the Muhammad Art Exhibit Attack

By | Published on 05/05/2015


On Monday, two pro-ISIS terrorists attacked and wanted to kill 200 people who attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas.

The heroes of the day were the police who shot and killed the two attackers.

How did the media, including the New York Times and leftists, handle the storyline? By blaming the promoter of the event.

If we as a nation cannot tell the truth about what is really happening, how can we win the war against radical Islam?

Don Thorn


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Seventh Patient from Closed Santa Barbara Clinic Tests Postive for Hepatitis C

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Santa Barbara County Public Health officials announced Tuesday that a seventh patient at a local clinic closed down by authorities has now tested positive for hepatitis C.

The department closed the Santa Barbara clinic of Dr. Allen Thomashefsky in March after an inspection revealed that unsafe injection practices may have happened at the clinic. 

An investigation ensued and Public Health is encouraging testing of current and former patients for blood-borne illnesses including hepatitis C. Seven people who were former patients of Thomashefksy's have now tested positive for hepatitis C, six of whom are believed to be new, acute cases. One person had a prior, existing infection, according to Public Health.  

As of Monday, a total of 248 former patients had been tested.

The department is continuing to investigate the exact cause of the disease in the patients and stated last month that five of the newly-infected Hepatitis C patients had injections procedures performed by Thomashefsky on the same day.

"Our investigation has not identified any other common elements between these 5 patients other than their treatment at Dr. Thomashefsky clinic," Public Health said in a statement. No other links between the patients have been found, according to the county. 

All blood samples from the identified cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for molecular genetic testing, which will help find patterns of the disease in infected patients and would support the findings of ongoing investigation.

Public Health spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild said that it will be a few weeks before the tests from the CDC are finalized.

"In the interim, we are continuing to follow up with those who have had positive tests as well as encourage others to get tested," she said. "The infection control breaches were not on a single day so others who received treatment may have been exposed. Testing is the only way to know."

The county has set up an information line for former patients at 805.681.4373.

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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Rona Barrett: Family Caregivers Serve as Unsung Heroes on the Homefront

By | Published on 05/05/2015


"The greatest casualty is being forgotten."

Let’s offer a hearty salute to the Wounded Warrior Project for using this call to action as a catalyst in its 12-year battle to bring out from the shadows a disorder suffered by 15 percent of returning veterans — post-traumatic stress disorder, or PSTD.

It’s because of their efforts that we now know people in high-stress positions, including first responders, law enforcement personnel and those exposed to trauma as a victim or eyewitness, can also suffer from PTSD.

But what many of us don’t realize is there is another group of wounded — about 10 percent out of 60 million — who are, or are at risk from, suffering from PTSD. They are our "silent soldiers” — our unsung heroes — our family caregivers.

Fighting their own day-to-day battle on the homefront with the same mettle and valor as our soldiers and first responders, family caregivers — many of them seniors — must often take on their new roles with little warning or no training. They are often unequipped with the emotional tools or support resources to cope with the stress of ongoing care of their ailing loved one.

Consequently, our silent soldiers, like their wounded warrior brethren, must battle the symptoms of PTSD: fear and anxiety, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, irritability, sadness, feelings of isolation, guilt, changes in sleep or eating, crying spells, emotional numbness, nightmares, shock, increased heart rate, muscle tension, rapid breathing, and inability to stop replaying traumatic events.

Take it from this veteran of the caregiver wars, all of this adds up to battle fatigue. How can you not feel helpless, overwhelmed by responsibilities, caught up in the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the disease or illness your loved one is enduring?

The debilitating effect of PTSD on caregivers under the gun is just beginning to be realized. There are some resources and support. And those who need it, those caring for shut-ins, have in some form become the same: emotional and physical shut-ins. So getting the information to those who need it is the challenge.

The Wounded Warrior Project's first attack on PTSD was to raise awareness. It worked because President Barack Obama proclaimed to veterans, "We got your back."

Their second attack is continuing to help veterans realize these symptoms are not a sign of failure or mental fragility. There is treatment for the mind, body and spirit.

Their third attack is providing support, resources, treatment and relief to ensure veterans of all ages are marching on the path to living productive lives.

And what about our silent soldiers? As seniors become the largest population on the planet, the number of family caregivers will grow exponentially.

Last year, November was proclaimed “National Family Caregivers Month.” Let’s not wait until then to offer our appreciation and support to our silent soldiers. Let’s tell them, “I got your back." Because whether selfless soldiers are fighting the good at the battlefield, on the homefront or in their own home, “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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George Runner: Tax Hikes Look Silly as State Gets Financial Windfall

By | Published on 05/05/2015


It must be silly season in Sacramento. As the state receives billions of dollars in unanticipated revenues, liberal tax-and-spend lawmakers are proposing massive tax hikes, proving once again that they are out of touch with reality.

George Runner
George Runner

One key measure of reality ignored by liberal lawmakers is Tax Freedom Day. Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.

This year, National Tax Freedom Day arrived on April 24, but Californians didn’t achieve tax freedom until May 3. That means Californians had to work nine days longer than the national average to fulfill their tax obligations.

California’s Tax Freedom Day is the fourth latest in the nation. Only Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have later dates.

By proposing higher taxes, liberal legislators are trying to make taxpayers work even longer to pay their tax bill.

The other reality ignored by would-be tax hikers is that state government already has more than enough money. Due to the state’s volatile tax structure, a booming tech sector and soaring stock market, state officials are now swimming in cash.

In the critical month of April, state income tax revenues exceeded budget projections by $1.8 billion.

Just how much money is $1.8 billion? If state officials put the money in $1 increments, they could string those bills together and have a chain long enough to travel the California coastline more than 200 times. The same chain of dollars could wrap around the Earth nearly seven times. It could even stretch more than seven-tenths of the distance to the moon.

And that’s just counting unexpected revenue from April alone. Experts believe unbudgeted surplus revenues for the current fiscal year will exceed $4 billion by June 30, an amount larger than the entire budgets of four states.

With state coffers overflowing, it’s becoming increasingly bizarre that Sacramento spenders are proposing new taxes. Is their appetite for taxpayer dollars insatiable?

Among other schemes, they are plotting how to extend Proposition 30, the “temporary” sales and income tax increases voters approved in 2012. As I’ve observed many times, it’s rare to see a temporary tax go away, regardless of promises made to voters.

Reinforcing how out of touch they really are, prominent Democratic legislators have proposed massive tax increases on driving, gasoline purchases and vehicle registrations (SB 16), insurance policies (AB 1203), real estate documents (AB 1335) and services that could include haircuts, movie tickets and many more (SB 8).

In addition, big spending lawmakers have introduced two constitutional amendments (ACA 4 and SCA 5) aimed at making it easier to approve regressive local tax hikes, including parcel taxes on homeowners. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association warns that these measures are a direct attack on Proposition 13, which voters approved in 1978 to protect homeowners from losing their homes to rising tax bills.

It seems that — regardless of reality — in California another day means another proposed tax increase. Despite our state’s high tax ranking and surging revenues, spending-addicted lawmakers always want more of your dollars.

Instead of ensuring taxpayers receive value for the dollars they send to Sacramento, lawmakers are taking the easy road by simply proposing new taxes. This allows legislators to avoid tough decisions and keep saying "yes" to special interest groups.

Let’s hope there are a few folks left in the state Capitol who have the good sense to say no to their proposals.

George Runner represents more than 9 million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the California Board of Equalization. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Buellton CHP Offering Free ‘Start Smart’ Class for Teen Drivers

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart class scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their sons or daughters (ages 15 to 20) for this free one-time, two-hour class can make reservations by calling the Buellton CHP area office at 805.688.5551.

The class will be held at the California Highway Patrol office at 166 Industrial Way in Buellton.

Start Smart addresses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers in a way no other program does. Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians.

Some of the topics of this class include collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities, local collision trends and a viewing of Red Asphalt V. This 15-minute film emphasizes the necessity to drive responsibly and the consequences drivers face when they don’t.

For reservations, information or questions please contact the Santa Maria CHP office at 805.688.5551.

— Officer John Ortega represents the California Highway Patrol in Buellton.


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Five County Supervisors, District Attorney Endorse Salud Carbajal for Congress

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf and Ventura County Supervisors Steve Bennett, Kathy Long and John Zaragoza have endorsed Salud Carbajal for Congress.

“I am proud of the more than 100 endorsements I’ve received from elected officials, community leaders and individuals,” Carbajal said. "In Congress, I will be a strong advocate for issues that voters care about on the Central Coast — creating jobs, educational opportunity for all, preserving essential safety net services, improving our infrastructure and protecting the environment. I have a proven track record of working in a bipartisan way to get results on these issues in my service as county supervisor and want to bring the same effective and collaborative approach to Congress.”

“I am strongly supporting Salud Carbajal for Congress,” Wolf said. “Having worked with him for many years on the Board of Supervisors, I know his deep commitment to our community and issues including women’s rights, stimulating the economy, protecting our environmental resources and children’s health care. There is no better choice for the Central Coast than Salud Carbajal for Congress.”

Carbajal recently announced that he will run for the 24th Congressional District, which includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and portions of Ventura counties.


Carbajal has a proven and effective track record of bringing people together to work to make our community stronger. He’s running for Congress to continue fighting for opportunity and security for middle-class families and to protect the unique quality of life we enjoy here on the Central Coast.

He spent his early childhood in a small town in Arizona, where his father moved the family from Mexico so he could work in a copper mine. When the mine closed, Carbajal’s father found work in the fields in Oxnard where the family later moved. Attending junior high and high school in Oxnard, Carbajal applied himself and focused on his education while also working to help the family after school and during summers.

He went on to attend UC Santa Barbara, earning his bachelor's degree, followed later by a master's degree in organizational management from Fielding University. He served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, including active duty service during the 1991 Gulf War, while also working in various roles with several Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organizations and in local government.

In 2004, Carbajal was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. In his tenure, he has demonstrated a commitment to protecting our environment, promoting sustainability, strengthening our schools, and enhancing the health and safety of our community.

A leader in protecting our open spaces, he’s stood up against developments on the Gaviota Coast that threatened preservation efforts and has opposed new offshore oil development along our coastline. He has worked to implement a Climate Action Plan for Santa Barbara County and helped to make solar energy an affordable and efficient option for homeowners. He has promoted innovative solutions to addressing environmental stewardship and sustainability and advocated for quality job creation in this emerging industry.

Drawing upon his own childhood experiences growing up in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood, Carbajal shares a passion for improving the lives of at-risk youth. He found innovative ways to strengthen our schools by creating a job skills and mentorship program for at-risk youth and providing summer programming opportunities for our kids.

He has been an advocate for health programs that help our children and seniors receive the care they need, co-sponsoring an initiative that provided health insurance for all of Santa Barbara County’s children.

Carbjal is married to Gina and they have two children, Natasha and Michael.

He has served on a number of national and regional committees focusing on environmental protection, children and families, and senior issues. He has been awarded for his leadership by a number of organizations.

» 2014 Community Environmental Council Environmental Hero

» 2009 Santa Barbara Public Education Foundation Hope Award

» 2009 Area Agency on Aging Public Official of the Year

» 2008 Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo

» Counties "Sticking His Neck Out" Award

» 2008 Santa Barbara Jewish Federation Ambassador of Freedom Award

» 2008 Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber Elected Official of the Year

» Named a "Community Role Model" by Women's Economic Ventures

— Cory Black is a publicist representing the Salud Carbajal for Congress Campaign.


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UCSB Professor Peter Ford Wins Royal Society of Chemistry Award

By | Published on 05/05/2015


UC Santa Barbara’s Peter Ford, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received the 2015 Royal Society of Chemistry Inorganic Mechanisms Award for his fundamental contributions to the mechanisms of inorganic photochemistry, homogeneous catalysis and the bioinorganic chemistry of nitric oxide and related nitrogen oxide species.

Peter Ford
Peter Ford

RSC award winners are recognized for the originality and impact of their research as well as the quality of the results shown in publications, patents or even software. An illustrious 47 previous RSC award recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work.

“I am greatly honored to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry Inorganic Mechanisms Award,” said Ford, who is the founding director of the multicampus National Science Foundation Center for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Feedstocks (CenSURF) headquartered at UCSB. “The RSC is one of the foremost scientific societies in the world, and this award is especially meaningful since it recognizes the collective research achievements of the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other colleagues with whom I’ve collaborated here at UCSB.”

Ford’s research has encompassed numerous topics related to quantitative photochemistry, catalysis and transition metal complex reaction mechanisms.

His research group focuses on three major areas: the quantitative reactions of coordinated nitrogen oxides relevant to mammalian biology; the photochemical delivery of small molecule bioregulatory molecules to physiological targets; and the catalytic conversion of biomass feedstocks to chemicals and fuels.

Ford earned his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at Yale University and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University before joining the faculty at UCSB in 1967. His work has appeared in more than 400 publications and he holds six patents.

In addition, Ford has served as a visiting fellow at the Australian National University, a guest professor at the University of Copenhagen, a Humboldt Research Award senior scientist at the University of Regensburg and at the University of Münster, and a guest investigator at the National Cancer Institute.

His many honors and awards include the 2013 American Chemical Society National Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, the 2008 Inter-American Photochemical Society Award in Photochemistry and the 1992 Richard C. Tolman Medal of the American Chemical Society. Ford is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“In a complex and changing world, chemistry and the chemical sciences are vital in responding to some of humanity’s biggest challenges and our prize and award winners are at the forefront of meeting that challenge,” RSC Chief Executive Officer Robert Parker said.

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


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SBCC Student Government to Dedicate Campus Memorial Site for Victims of Isla Vista Tragedy

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Santa Barbara City College’s Associated Student Government will lead a campus memorial tree grove dedication at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 in honor of the victims of last May’s tragic shooting in Isla Vista.

Six red bud trees have been planted in a secluded area near the entrance to SBCC’s West Campus with a commemorative plaque and six individual plaques honoring UC Santa Barbara students George Chen, Katherine Cooper, James Hong, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, David Wang and Veronika Weiss.

Future plans for the site also include a garden-like entrance as well as flowers and handmade beaches in the surrounding areas.

Remarks will be delivered by SBCC Associated Student Government President Colette Brown, Student Senator Grace Katzenson and SBCC President Lori Gaskin.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.


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Santa Barbara Festival Ballet to Perform Scenes from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Libraries

By | Published on 05/05/2015


The Santa Barbara Public Library System invites the public to the Goleta and Central libraries to see several scenes from Alice in Wonderland, performed by students from Santa Barbara Festival Ballet wearing wonderful costumes.

People of all ages will enjoy the classic tale of a girl, a rabbit and a fanciful land, written by Lewis Carroll.

» Goleta Library — Tuesday, May 12 at 4 p.m.

» Central Library — Tuesday, May 26 at 4 p.m.

The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet is a local performing company and dance conservatory.

The Goleta Library is located at 500 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta. The Central Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events and programs is available at All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Jody Thomas represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.


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Drew Wakefield to Emcee Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Charity Golf Tournament

By | Published on 05/05/2015


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Drew Wakefield, director of sales and marketing for the Ramada Santa Barbara, will once again be the emcee for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, May 8 at the Glen Annie Golf Club.

We are grateful to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation for being this year's Eagle Sponsor.

We also would like to thank Kenecta Federal Credit Union, the Bar Sponsor; On Q Financial, the Lunch Box Sponsor; and TKG Financial, the Golf Glove Sponsor for supporting this charity event.

The golf tournament is sold out, but tickets are still available to the Cocktail Party, which will start at 5 p.m.

There will be music, an awards ceremony, food and a silent auction. All the money raised will go to support the Alpha Resource Center, specifically Katie’s FUNd.


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Four Selected as Santa Barbara County Classified School Employees of the Year

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Four extraordinary people whose selflessness, work ethic, enthusiasm and compassion have had lasting impacts on the lives of the schoolchildren they encounter every day are being recognized as the 2015 Santa Barbara County Classified School Employees of the Year.

Cassandra Locke

Connie McGuire

This year’s honorees include an “angel.” Another is a “compassionate and supportive self-starter.” There is the peerless career specialist who is known for putting on robust career fairs for a diverse student population, and a “lunch lady” whose “positive rapport with students and families” has benefited multiple generations of Santa Barbara County schoolchildren.

Karen Apple

Leora Summer

Being honored this year in the Support Services and Security category is Connie McGuire of Santa Maria High School. Ellwood School's Cassandra Locke is the winner in the Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance category. The Office and Technical category winner is Karen Apple from Pioneer Valley High School. Leora Summer wins in the Child Nutrition Category. She has been at the Isla Vista School for more than 40 years.

They will be recognized May 14 (about 2:10 p.m.) by the Santa Barbara County Board of Education, and will represent the county for potential selection as California Classified Employee of the Year.

“These professionals’ accomplishments speak to the passion and dedication they bring to work every day,” county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone said. “And they represent all the school staff members who play such a vital role in supporting children’s achievement, safety and health. Classified employees are instrumental to our job of educating tomorrow’s leaders, and we honor them for all they do for children.”

The selection process began with all local school districts being invited to nominate employees from different employment categories. A nominee must be a classified employee of a California public school (preschool through 12th grade), district office or county office of education in a nonmanagement position and have been in the same service category for at least five years. Nominations can come from a superintendent, administrator, principal, supervisor, colleague, student or parent. Recommendations focus on the nominee’s work performance, school community involvement, leadership and commitment. A committee then reviews the nominations and selects the winners.

McGuire has worked nearly 40 years in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, and has changed the lives of thousands of students over the years. A community liaison specialist, she has brought tens of thousands of dollars into Santa Maria High School for the sole purpose of helping underserved student populations.

“Most of the money is brought in through grants that she has networked into our schools,” Santa Maria High School Principal Joseph Domingues said. “There is a reason why we call her ‘Saint McGuire!’”

“If you ask her what she does,” vocational advisor Heather Reese says, “she may tell you that she works to eliminate barriers that keep our students from being successful.” But that is the kind of modesty that comes as second nature to McGuire. “The reality is,” Reese concludes, “she has created a network of medical contacts that donate or offer reduced fees for major and minor dental and medical procedures.” It is little wonder that her tirelessness and concern for others leaves those she works with “in awe.”

“Connie has been with the district for over 36 years,” notes Tammy Rhine, the executive assistant to the district superintendent. “Her commitment to Santa Maria High School and the District is evident through the success stories of the students that she helps.” It is clear from the feedback of her peers and students that McGuire is building a lasting legacy.

Locke, an instructional assistant in the Goleta Union School District, possesses the qualities that make her an “essential piece” of the instructional program, says Ellwood School Principal Abby Vasquez. She is “compassionate and supportive,” Vasquez says, “but she will take no excuses from any child about ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t.’ She develops trusting relationships with each of the children she works with, and they know that Mrs. Locke cares about them and is there to help them to learn.”

But it is not just her actions during the school day that set her apart, says district education and behavior specialist Amanda Martinez-Iqbal. “Cassandra would take home the teacher manuals in order to gain a better grasp on how to teach a Direct Instruction Curriculum,” observes Martinez-Iqbal. “And each morning she would come back, armed with a list of questions she had compiled from her reading the night before.”

It is that kind of relentlessness and drive for self-improvement that many adults have benefited from when they were schoolchildren themselves. Ellwood parents should take heart that such an educator works among their children every day, in the person of Locke.

Apple is a career center specialist at Pioneer Valley High School in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. Apple has been working in this capacity since the school opened in 2004, and her colleagues testify to the growth and enhancement of the program since its inception. The College and Career Fair that Apple organizes for Pioneer students and parents “is a campus highlight each year,” says library technician Jeri Vogt, “that brings valuable resources to the campus.”

But Apple doesn’t simply provide students with information about different courses of study beyond their high school years; she also educates them and their families about the means to pursue those studies. “Through scholarship and financial research,” Vogt adds, “Karen is able to help students make their dreams a reality.”

And she is ever mindful of the “career” aspect of her duties too, sensitive to the fact that not every student is ready or inclined to pursue post-secondary education. “Karen brings a variety of speakers from different professions and training institutions,” says Pioneer Valley High School teacher Tony Ramos. “She also brings military personnel to speak to our students who are interested in military service.” By offering such an array of options, adds her colleague Tami Contreras, she provides her students with information on “all the opportunities and assistance that is available to them to achieve their personal career and educational goals.”

Sumner, a food services cashier at Isla Vista School in the Goleta Union School District, has been positively impacting the school children she encounters every day for over 40 years. With that kind of longevity, Sumner has developed something of a minor celebrity status in town, notes food services director Sharon Baird.

“Students recognize Leora out in the Goleta area for years after they leave IV School,” Baird says, “and finally see her again at school when their children are students at IV.” With a world that is changing as constantly as ours, that kind of stability and consistency can be reassuring. Not to mention exceedingly rare.

“Leora is serving the kids and grandkids of students she had come through her lunch line long ago,” marvels Isla Vista School principal Mary Kahn. But the work is hardly drudgery for the long-time employee. She has “terrific energy,” Kahn continues, and Sumner is key to serving over 340 students each day. “She always has a friendly hello and smile for students and staff that she connects with.”

Indeed, her longevity and her infectious enthusiasm have resonated not just with her co-workers and the children she serves, but with senior school district officials as well. Sumner possesses “the remarkable combination of the loyalty, dedication, and experience of a veteran,” Goleta Union School District Superintendent William Banning notes, “and the positive energy and enthusiasm of someone more recently entering her chosen career.”

It is indeed a special privilege to count the likes of Sumner — and each of this year’s winners — among us. As concerned and involved parents, we enjoy the comfort and reassurance that comes with knowing that our children’s lives are being shaped in positive ways by smart, compassionate adults.

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


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Two Hurt in Rollover Crash in Santa Maria; Occupants Flee Scene

By | Published on 05/05/2015


Santa Maria police are investigating a single-vehicle rollover crash at E Street and Stowell Road on Monday in which all four occupants fled the scene.

Sgt. Daniel Rios said officers responded to the scene about 4:34 p.m. and found the vehicle off the roadway and in an agricultural irrigation canal.

He said two of the passengers, both 17-year-old girls, were located in the area with unknown injuries. One was transported to Cottage Hospital via CalStar, and the other was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Two men, one of them believed to be the driver, fled and were not found, according to Rios.

He said the cause of the accident is under investigation, but that alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the SMPD Traffic Bureau at 805.928.3781 x277.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson 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 Ynez Valley Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Fatal DUI Crash

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Benjamin Bettencourt also loses his license for a year and is ordered to pay restitution for the 2012 accident that led to the death of teacher Jennifer Clark

A judge on Monday sentenced Santa Ynez Valley resident Benjamin Bettencourt to five years in state prison for driving drunk in 2012, crashing his van and critically injuring a popular teacher who died several days later.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores said he chose the midterm sentence for Bettencourt, and noted the devastating effects of the crash on the families.

A passenger in Bettencourt’s van, Jennifer Clark, 39, of Los Olivos died days after the Nov. 24, 2012, crash on Highway 246 between Solvang and Buellton.

The crash occurred due to irresponsibility regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol, the judge said.

“This is something that did not have to happen,” Flores said, noting the loss of the “bright young and energetic woman.”

Bettencourt had faced a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

A jury last month convicted Bettencourt guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

Before handing down the sentence, Flores rejected a defense motion for a new trial.

Bettencourt is expected to serve 85 percent of the time, or slightly more than four years, under today’s sentencing laws. The judge also suspended Bettencourt’s license for one year and ordered him to pay restitution and fees exceeding $23,000.

No sentence would bring Clark back to life or give Bettencourt, a paraplegic from a 1998 accident, the chance to walk again, the judge said, adding his heart went out to both families.

"The justice system is just not designed to handle things like this. You can’t punish people back to life,” Flores said. “You can’t do that.”

The judge added he is convinced Bettencourt and Clark were friends and noted a letter from the defendant expressing “profound sorrow” about what happened.

“That doesn’t bring her back, either,” Flores said.

The victim’s sister, Erin Parsons, read victim impact letters from their parents and herself while the urn holding Clark’s ashes sat nearby.

Afterward, she said she had hoped Bettencourt would receive the maximum sentence after hearing the judge instead pick a middle prison term.

“I’m OK with that,” Parsons said. “I’m just glad that it’s all over.”

The judge also granted a request from Bettencourt’s attorney, Darryl Genis, who asked to be removed and have a court-appointed attorney take over the case to handle the appeal.

During the trial, Genis challenged the breath test and blood tests, and argued that Clark actually was driving, contending she grabbed the steering wheel.

The prosecution contended Bettencourt abandoned his role as designated driver for Clark when he got behind the wheel while intoxicated.

The trial began in early February and ended in April, longer than normal for a similar case.

“As the judge said, it was a very challenging, hard-fought battle,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy said.

Duffy said he felt the midterm prison sentence was appropriate for the case.

“I’m very happy for the victim’s family in that, although it won’t bring back their loved one, they got some closure today and they got some justice,” Duffy 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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Woman Charged with Attempted Murder in Goleta Pitchfork Stabbing

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Madeline Shaw

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies have arrested a young woman they believe was under the influence of methamphetamine when she allegedly stabbed a woman with a pitchfork in Old Town Goleta.

Madeline Shaw, 19, of Santa Maria was arrested Sunday on charges of attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing or resisting arrest, and entering a non-commercial dwelling, according to Kelly Hoover, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Shaw was also on probation at the time of her arrest, and was being held without bail in Santa Barbara County Jail.

At 2:20 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 5600 block of Gato Avenue, where Shaw had been spotted at multiple residences, Hoover said.

The first resident on the street heard a noise outside, and when he walked out of his home to investigate, he spotted Shaw waving a pitchfork she had taken from his yard, Hoover said.

The man ran inside and locked his door, and Shaw proceed to enter the home next door, walking inside and picking up a cell phone she found there, Hoover said.

The resident in that home was able to take her phone from Shaw, who ran out the door and proceeded to a third home, also on Gato Avenue.

A resident there was exiting her vehicle "when the suspect made a threatening comment and stabbed her in the arm and abdomen," Hoover said. "Fortunately, the wounds were superficial and the victim did not need to be transported to the hospital."

The suspect took off on a bicycle in that woman's yard after dropping the pitchfork, and deputies apprehended her on Hollister Avenue at Nectarine Avenue, near the 7-Eleven store, Hoover said.

Shaw was combative, "but they managed to take her into custody."

Hoover said deputies believe the young woman was under the influence of drugs at the time of her arrest.

Shaw is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Tuesday.

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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Third Robbery in 2 Days Reported in Isla Vista

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Residents of Isla Vista were being warned to be vigilant after the third robbery in two days occurred Monday afternoon.

The robbery involving a group of men occurred at about 5:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road, according to an automated alert sent out by the UCSB Police Department.

The suspects, who fled on foot, were described as 4-5 black male adults.

"The suspects are outstanding, so if you are in the area, use caution and be alert of your surroundings," police said in the alert.

Five people were arrested early Monday in connection with another robbery in the community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara.

A sixth suspect remained at large.

That incident occurred at about 2 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

Details on the robbery were not provided.

The remaining suspect was described as a white male in his 20s, 5-foot-11 and 165 ponds, wearing a dark hoodie, and last seen headed towards Trigo Road.

That incident occurred just a day after an armed robbery was reported in the same area.

Three suspects committed a robbery at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, also in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

The suspects in that case remained at large.

Police did not indicated whether they believe any of the robberies are related. All three were being investigated by the Sheriff's Department.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact police at 805.893.3446, or through the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's anonymous tip program.

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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Boys Tennis: Channel League Individual Tournament for Singles in Full Swing

By | Published on 05/04/2015


The Channel League Individual Tournament for singles hosted by San Marcos High School began Monday.

The tournament consisted of talented players from the five Channel League schools — Buena, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Ventura. It was a long day under mild, cool conditions.

We began at 2:30 p.m. and finished around 6:50 p.m.


#1 Kento Perrera (San Marcos)

#2 Joshua Wang (Dos Pueblos)

#3 Taggart Mills (Santa Barbara)

#4 Miles Baldwin (Dos Pueblos)

#5 Harry deBoer (Santa Barbara)

#6 Lars Scannell (Santa Barbara)

#7 Logan Lender (Santa Barbara)

#8 Nolan Rucker (Ventura)

Round 1

Perera (SM) def Justin Ross (B) 6-0,6-0

Rucker (V) def Tanner Gray (B) 6-1,6-1

deBoer (SB) def Derek Tilton (SM) 6-2,6-0

Baldwin (DP) def Won Jong (V) 6-1, 6-0

Mills (SB) def Mason Billing (V) 6-0,6-0

Scannell (SM) def Salem Ozaki (V) 6-0, 6-0

Lender (SB) def Quinn Hensley (DP) 6-1,6-2

Wang (DP) def Dan Coulson (SM) 6-3, 6-2

Round 2

Perrera (SM) def Rucker (V) 6-0,6-1

Baldwin (DP) def deBoer(SB) 6-3,6-3

Scannell (SM) def Mills (SB) 6-3,6-7,6-2

Wang (DP) def Lender (SB) 6-2, 6-4

The semifinals will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at San Marcos.


Perrera vs Baldwin

Wang vs Scannell

— Liz Frech coaches boys tennis at Dos Pueblos High School.


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Sheriff’s Deputies Help Save Life of Toddler Found Choking on Chumash Reservation

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Lah’nee Cota, 18 months, has made a full recovery after choking and becoming unresponsive Saturday on the Chumash reservation. (Courtesy photo)

Two Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies are credited with helping to save the life of an 18-month-old child on Saturday who was found choking on the Chumash reservation.

About 2 p.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to an unrelated call at a residence in the 100 block of Sanja Cota when a neighbor, Amber Cota, came running outside screaming for help holding her daughter, Lah’nee (Lah-nay) Cota.

The toddler was choking, unresponsive and purplish in color.

Sheriff’s deputies Brian Flick and Jorden Walker immediately took Lah’nee from her mother and began efforts to dislodge any items that may be blocking her airway. They conducted a series of “back blows” followed by the infant Heimlich maneuver (or sternum thrust) and then a finger sweep to ensure her airway was clear.

About 30 seconds later, the child was able to breathe on her own even though her breathing was labored. The deputies took Lah’nee inside the residence and stayed with her until personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and American Medical Response arrived.

Lah’nee was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and since then has made a full recovery. Today, her mother expressed appreciation for the efforts made to save Lah’nee’s life.

“We are incredibly grateful to the deputies for their actions," Cota said. "Every second mattered; this was a life or death situation. They did not hesitate and cared for her as if she was their own child. On behalf of the Cota family we thank them.”

In January, a new sheriff’s sub-station opened on the Chumash reservation allowing for not only faster response times on the reservation but for the entire Santa Ynez Valley as well.

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


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Freeman’s Flying Chicken Cooks Up New Dinner Club

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Freeman’s Flying Chicken has introduced a new way to do dinner, and it’s one of a kind. Now available throughout the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities, the Freeman’s Flying Chicken “Dinner Club” is a special online service that allows a customer to sign up, select the night of the week that they want dinner delivered and pre-choose what they want to eat dinner.

Freeman’s Flying Chicken's new “Southwestern” dinner includes corn tossed with cilantro and bell peppers and spritzed with fresh lime. (Freeman’s Flying Chicken photo)

New “club only” dinners and sides are available, as well as special reduced pricing to club members, and side dishes can be swapped out or upgraded with the click of a button.

Freeman’s goal with this new offering is to make it easier for busy families to bring the family dinner back.

“We’re trying to give mom or dad the ease that not only do they not have to cook, but they can sit down and enjoy the hassle-free and healthful convenience of Freeman’s Flying Chicken on a regular schedule at a time that works for them,” owner Paul Freeman said.

Freeman hopes that others will pick up on the idea, too. Parents can order for hungry college students or people with parents or home-bound relatives can purchase to be sure there is at least one healthy meal delivered each week.

“There are many ways this service could be used,” Freeman added.

As part of this launch, Freeman will be offering a new “Southwestern” dinner that includes corn tossed with cilantro and bell peppers and spritzed with fresh lime, its signature spicy black beans, and new creamy chipotle aioli sauce. The dinner is currently available to club members only. Additional “club only” meals will be released in the coming months, including special dishes for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.

The new club site is, and it’s free to sign up. Also this month, Freeman’s has expanded its catering service, bringing tasty and healthful food to birthday parties, team dinners, wedding dinners and other events in town.

Noelle Ballew heads up the catering sales team and can be reached at [email protected]. Take out or delivery orders can be placed online or by calling. For walk-up and take-out orders, FFC is located just inside Gate C of Earl Warren, right off of Highway 101 at the Las Positas exit in Santa Barbara.

Freeman’s Flying Chicken is open from 4 to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

— Noelle Ballew is the catering sales director for Freeman’s Flying Chicken.


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Roger Roberts Joins Devereux California Advisory Board

By | Published on 05/04/2015


The Devereux California Advisory Board recently added a new member with a high-tech and big-business background.

Roger Roberts
Roger Roberts

Roger Roberts has more than 20 years of executive management experience in medical device, bio pharm and electronics manufacturing. He brings a broad base of experience having served as an entrepreneur, operations executive and general manager for national and international companies.

Roberts is currently the director of manufacturing for Medtronic in Goleta. Medtronic is a global leader in medical device manufacturing. The Goleta facility specializes in manufacturing medical devices that treat congenital and acquired hydrocephalus including traumatic brain injury.

He has served as a board member of the Orange County Adult Achievement Center for the last six years. OCAAC is the largest rehabilitation center in Southern California serving autistic and developmentally disabled adults.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and has served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

We welcome Roberts to our board and look forward to an active service with great experience in board work.

Established by Helena Devereux in 1912 in Pennsylvania and in 1945 in Santa Barbara, Devereux provides services to thousands of individuals with a wide range of disabilities, from mental retardation and neurological disorders, including autism, to emotional behavioral disorders and mental health issues.

Devereux California provides adult residential and day programs on its Santa Barbara campus, and Independent and Supported Living Services for adults in the communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara and Lompoc, serving a total of 80 individuals with developmental disabilities.

As the largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health care in the country, Devereux operates 15 centers in 11 states, with approximately 6,000 staff serving 15,000 individuals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Devereux California is celebrating 70 years in California this year!

— Cassi Noel represents Devereux California.


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Jackson Bill to Prohibit Drones from Invading Private Property Passes Off Senate Floor

By | Published on 05/04/2015


A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that would prohibit drones from trespassing on private property without the owner’s permission and invading Californians’ privacy passed off the Senate floor Monday on a bipartisan vote. The vote was 24-9.

California law already prohibits someone from entering someone’s private property — their home or backyard, for example — without their permission, and prohibits them from photographing or recording conversations. Senate Bill 142 would clarify that the rules pertaining to trespassing and the physical invasion of privacy also apply to entry by remotely operated aerial vehicles known as drones.

“Drones have a lot of useful and extremely innovative uses. But invading our privacy and property without permission shouldn’t be among them. When we’re in our backyards, with our families, we have an expectation that we have a right to privacy, “ Jackson said. “We assume that our daughters can swim in a backyard pool without fear of being videotaped. But drones have upended all those expectations, and it’s important that we set reasonable boundaries so that our privacy and security remain intact.

"This bill would extend our long-established definitions of trespassing and privacy, and bring them into the 21st century, by applying them also to drones.”

SB 142 would not impact of the use of drones in public spaces — such as roads, beaches, schools, public utility easements, and other spaces where drone use is not restricted — nor in the navigable airspace approximately 350 feet above ground, which is subject to federal regulation.

Owners also would be free to use drones on their own property, or on property in which they had been given permission by the owners to use drones. In addition, the bill would preserve the ability for commercial drones to be operated between 350-500 feet above ground for commercial drone use, should that use eventually be needed.

Jackson’s bill was introduced days after a drone was flown onto the White House lawn. Following the incident, President Obama has called for more regulation of drone use. In recent weeks, the use of drones near the Golden Gate Bridge has prompted security concerns.

Often, drones are equipped with video cameras and sound-recording equipment.  As they become more widespread, the potential for colliding with established privacy rights increases.

“This bill establishes clear rules so that we can prevent problems from occurring,” Jackson said. “Drones are an emerging and exciting technology. But because they can easily travel over fences and other structures, we need to take extra precautions to ensure they don’t compromise our privacy or security and blur long-standing boundaries between public and private space.”

Jackson is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees legislation on privacy issues. She represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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Michael Barone: Clinton Defenders Advance an Unpersuasive Argument

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Some of Hillary Clinton's defenders have taken to saying that voters shouldn't pay attention to the latest Clinton scandals — the gushing of often undisclosed millions to the Clintons and their organizations by characters seeking official favors — because the charges are just one more in a long series: Whitewater, the Rose law firm billing records, the Buddhist temple fundraising, the Lippo Group.

So, the theory goes, because the Clintons have been accused of so many scandalous doings before, people shouldn't be concerned now about Secretary Clinton's actions that helped certain donors turn over 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves to a state-run Russian company.

Common sense might tend to make you more suspicious of those who attract many accusations. But the Clintons' defenders expect and hope in their case that you will instead be suspicious of those who make so many accusations. After all, they're always saying nasty things! In this view, even charges advanced and amplified by the New York Times may be summarily dismissed as the products of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Of course, for some voters, the just-one-more-scandal argument may cut the other way. They may decide that they've endured enough Clinton scandals.

Still, Clinton defenders have some basis for thinking that the just-one-more-scandal argument has worked for the Clintons before. Bill Clinton may have been interrogated and impeached, but he wasn't removed from office. Instead, Newt Gingrich was knocked off the speaker's chair days after Republicans lost seats in the midterm election.

But there's a big difference between then and now. Bill Clinton was the incumbent president when he was impeached. Hillary Clinton is a private citizen who is running for president.

Most voters wanted Clinton to remain in office. He was re-elected in 1996 by an eight-point margin over Bob Dole. Before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, his job approval was in the high 50s. Once he was threatened with removal, that bounced up to 70 percent.

In effect, a crucial number of Americans were saying not to boot him from office. He's been elected to two terms; he's been performing tolerably well — so what if he lies under oath about conduct that is personal and outside his official duties?

(That doesn't mean that Clinton's conduct didn't have political consequences. The Lewinsky revelations put an end to negotiations between Clinton and Gingrich on serious entitlement reforms. They've been delayed now going on 20 years.)

But that doesn't mean voters were necessarily buying the Clintons' defenses. Even as his job approval rose, Clinton's favorable/unfavorable ratings declined. People thought less of him personally, but they also couldn't accept the idea of pushing him aside.

Hillary Clinton is in a different position. She is a candidate, not an incumbent. Candidates are easily dispensed with, as former Sen. Gary Hart learned when the photos of him sailing on the "Monkey Business" appeared in May 1987 when he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His staffers vowed he would hold onto his support, but it wasn't his to hold on to. He quickly withdrew and faded from view.

Hart's position in 1987 was weaker than Clinton's position today. His lead in Democratic primary polls was not overwhelming, and there were other serious active or potential candidates in the field or just over the horizon. That's because even in Ronald Reagan's 1980s, Democrats of varying ideological stripes were winning major offices around the country. Democrats had reason to think they had a good chance of nominating a strong ticket without Hart.

Today's Democrats fear they are not in this comfortable position. They've been losing most elections lately in constituencies beyond those where their core constituencies — blacks, some Hispanics, gentry liberals — are clustered. They don't have many prominent plausible alternative candidates.

Absent Hillary Clinton, they would be faced with a choice of tax-raiser Martin O'Malley, socialist Bernie Sanders, Reagan appointee Jim Webb, former Republican scion Lincoln Chafee or the gaffe-prone Joe Biden. None run as well as Clinton in general election polls.

But how strong is Clinton? Her numbers have been declining, and she runs under 50 percent against lesser-known Republicans in most national and target-state polls. All voters know her, and most don't favor her. She runs stronger in polls of all adults, not just registered voters. That gap suggests she could have a hard time inspiring maximizing turnout.

The argument that the Clintons have always faced scandal charges is intended to shore up her support. But it may have the opposite effect.

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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John Daly: Nothing Replaces Persistence As a Formula for Success

By | Published on 05/04/2015


A recent blog post written by my associate, Carol McKibben, really captured my interest. It outlined how her persistence had brought her success in life.

I have numerous friends who, through hard work and persistence, have achieved great success. I think President Calvin Coolidge stated it best in his famous quote:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

I know that my own persistence has taken me further than I had anticipated. This all got me to thinking about how does a person become persistent? If not really inclined to do so, what will give individuals the ability to develop persistence?

Here’s the action plan:

» Set a definite goal or purpose

This needs to be backed up by a burning desire to fulfill the goal.

» Develop a definite plan

It never hurts to write your plan out. What steps will it take to get from A to Z and achieve the goal? Follow each step to completion — all the way through from beginning to end.

» Keep a positive attitude

Along with that goes a mind that is tightly closed to negativity. Don’t let self-doubt or setbacks stop you. Even if everyone around you is telling you “it can’t be done.”

» Create friendly alliances

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dreams. Find people who will encourage you, support you and help you follow through with both plan and purpose.

Don’t take my word for it. This action plan above is paraphrased from Napoleon Hill’s best-seller, Think and Grow Rich.

Originally published in 1937 and inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie, the title implies that the book deals with how to get rich. According to Hill, however, the philosophy taught in his book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and do or be almost anything they want. (Note: By 2011, this book had sold more than 70 million copies.)

What I’ve outlined above is part of the essence of the book. It’s worked for millions of people. Why not you?

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


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UCSB Students Spearhead Fundraising to Provide Long-Term Assistance to Quake Victims in Nepal

By | Published on 05/04/2015


For three UC Santa Barbara students, the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that rumbled through Nepal a week ago hit close to home — literally. For them, the temblor wasn’t some faraway event, but a force that wrought devastation on their homeland — the country where they were born and raised.

Pawana Shrestha (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

Dhilung Kirat (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

In response to the natural disaster, the students have initiated a fundraising campaign to support ongoing relief and recovery efforts. Monetary donations are being solicited via the fundraising site Crowdrise, with 100 percent of all proceeds going to Shikshya Foundation Nepal. The local nonprofit organization based in Nepal’s Lalitpur district not only provides immediate relief assistance to earthquake victims but also supports long-term sustainable rebuilding efforts.

Shekhar Paudel (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

“Thousands of people have lost their lives, tens of thousands have been injured and over a million have been rendered homeless,” said Pawana Shrestha, a doctoral student in UCSB’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Shrestha is from the capital city of Kathmandu, where her family currently resides.

“The situation of many far-flung villages is still unknown,” she continued. “There is urgent need of food, water, tents and medical attention in the affected areas. In the long run, massive amounts of financial and human resources will be required for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructures. The road to recovery for Nepal will be a long and difficult one.”

The need for long-term assistance impelled the students to choose the Shikshya Foundation as the object of their fundraising efforts. “Past experiences of relief efforts, such as during the Haiti [earthquake] relief, have shown that the long-term relief and recovery efforts are more effective when local organizations are empowered instead of international charity brands,” said Dhilung Kirat, a doctoral student in computer science at UCSB.

“I grew up in one of those remote villages in Nepal,” he continued. “I have experienced the remoteness and the disconnect from the outer world while growing up,and I can only imagine the devastated community after such a massive earthquake. I hope our fundraising effort will help ease the current relief efforts and long-term recovery efforts of those remote communities.”

The Crowdrise campaign is designed to raise not only dollars, but also awareness of the plight of the 8 million people impacted by the earthquake. “We want to show capable people what they can do to help,” explained Shekhar Paudel, an undergraduate student in physics who considers himself a Nepali-American. Paudel moved to the U.S. with his immediate family a few years ago. His extended family remains in Nepal. “With a collaboration with the UCSB community we want to be able to channel what already exists — people’s compassion — to something meaningful for those in need,” Paudel said.

Noted Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division and a professor of linguistics whose research focuses primarily on Nepal, “The efforts of these three Nepalese students in the face of the momentous challenges in Nepal are truly impressive. Like so many other UCSB students, they have a strong ethos of service and a deep commitment to their home country.

“I am impressed that they have also used their research skills in selecting a highly regarded Nepalese foundation to receive the funds that are raised,” Genetti added. “People donating can know that their money will be directed by local people to where it is needed most. I know that many want to help but don’t know how to do it or how to choose which organizations to send money to. I’m thankful to our students for making a clear avenue for people that want to do this.”

More information about the Shikshya Foundation can be found by clicking here. Tax-deductible contributions in support of relief efforts can be made by clicking here.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts Welcomes Three New Board Members

By | Published on 05/04/2015


The Granada Theatre is pleased to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, which owns and operates the historic theater: Scott Brittingham, Palmer Jackson Jr. and Gretchen Lieff.

Scott Brittingham

Palmer Jackson Jr.

Gretchen Lieff

The mission of the SBCPA is to serve as a support organization to the resident companies of The Granada Theatre by providing a state of the art venue in an historic landmark, and to promote the overall vitality and sustainability of the performing arts in Santa Barbara.

“On behalf of the SBCPA, we are very fortunate to welcome Scott, Palmer, and Gretchen to the board,” says Sarah Chrisman, President of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors. “They each offer a unique contribution and generous heart that supports our mission to ensure that all of our community members have access and the ideal venue to enjoy the arts.”

Brittingham, a graduate of Williams College (BA) and USC Marshall School of Business (MBA), is a private investor and founder of the Brittingham Family Foundation, which advises and supports nonprofits in Santa Barbara and Southern California.

He brings local leadership experience to the SBCPA, including having chaired successful capital campaigns for leading organizations such as the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Crane Country Day School. He currently serves on the board of public radio station KCRW and is Chair of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at USC Marshall School of Business, along with the capital campaigns for Thacher School and Santa Barbara Children’s Library.

Jackson, a fourth-generation Santa Barbara native, is a graduate of Yale University (BA) and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (MBA), who has spent most of his business career leading marketing teams in Santa Barbara high tech companies. He has previously served as Chairman of the Board of The Lobero Theatre and of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

He currently serves as a Trustee at Cate School, the Ann Jackson Family Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History where he chairs the Museum’s recently announced Centennial Campaign. A life-long musician, Palmer is passionate about the performing arts and can be seen playing around town with his band, The Doublewide Kings.

Lieff is the Founder of the Lutah Maria Riggs Society and Executive Producer of the documentary “Lutah.” Gretchen is passionate about Santa Barbara history and is a staunch supporter of Casa del Herrero, Lotusland, the Pearl Chase Society, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Montecito Historical Society, and the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara. In addition to local history and architectural preservation, Gretchen is a supporter of UCSB Arts & Lectures, Planned Parenthood, Channelkeeper, Human Rights Watch, and Domestic Violence Solutions. Gretchen has worked closely with the Napa Land Trust and Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County where she was instrumental in preserving substantial open space. Currently Gretchen is President of Lieff Wines, and serves on the Members Committee of the Coral Casino. Gretchen is a former KGO Radio/ABC News reporter in San Francisco, and holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from USC.

The 2015 Granada Theatre Board of Directors includes Sarah Schlinger Chrisman, president; Dan Burnham, vice president; Marla McNally Phillips, vice president; Roberta Griffin, treasurer; Mary Tonetti Dorra, secretary; Scott Brittingham; Richard Caleel; Hal Conklin; Patricia Gregory; Palmer Jackson Jr.; L. Robert Johnson; Chris Lancashire; Gretchen Lieff; Philip Marking; Nancy O’Connor; Carrie Ohly-Cusack; Eric Phillips; Sharol Siemens; Rob Sternin; Michael Towbes; H. Wallace Vandever; Carol Wilburn; and Chrisman Executive Director Dr. Craig Springer.

To learn more about how to support the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts or the Granada Theatre, please contact Kristi Newton, director of development, at [email protected] or 805.899.3000 x130, or click here.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


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Allan Hancock College Foundation to Award Record $537,000 in Scholarships

By | Published on 05/04/2015


A record-breaking amount of more than $537,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year by the Allan Hancock College Foundation.

The college’s 46th annual scholarship awards banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21 in the Joe White Memorial Gymnasium at the college’s Santa Maria campus.

Nearly 1,000 students, relatives, friends, donors and community members are expected to attend the event.

A total of 424 scholarships ranging from $500 to $10,000 will be awarded to a record 364 students. The number of recipients represents a 38 percent increase from the record of 266 students that was set last year.

The total dollar amount will be a 12 percent increase from the $479,000 awarded by the foundation in 2014, and a 79 percent jump from the $307,000 given in 2013.

“The generosity of our community is inspiring,” said Jeff Cotter, the foundation’s executive director. “It’s amazing how much of a response we have seen this year from our friends and neighbors because they believe in our students and believe in Allan Hancock College.”

Seventeen new scholarships will be awarded this year, including the Presqu’ile Winery and Murphy Family Scholarships, as well as the Bartlett Family Scholarships.

A scholarship committee composed of 15 Hancock faculty and staff determined the recipients from nearly 750 applications.

“Once again we had an impressive applicant pool,” said Toni McCracken, the foundation’s scholarship program coordinator. “Our faculty and staff did an amazing job encouraging students to apply, and our new online application process was a huge success.”

Applicants will be notified in late April that they would receive a scholarship. However, they do not know the specific scholarship or dollar amount, which makes for a night to remember for hundreds of students and donors.

“The awards banquet will be an evening of great moments and memories,” Cotter promised.

“It’s my favorite night of the year,” McCracken added.

The keynote speaker will be former scholarship award recipients Vicky Giese and Allan Hancock College trustee Hilda Zacarías.

— Stefanie Aye represents Allan Hancock College.


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Letter to the Editor: Lois Capps Escapes Once Again

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Once again we see laws that apply to some, but not all. So it is with Lois Capps (and other politicians) who escape penalties for breaking the law, while we common folk would land in jail with the key thrown away for doing the same.

The latest is the court handing down a decision that while purposely leaving out part of a sentence spoken by Chris Mitchum, it's OK to advertise such. Never mind it being misleading by intent so voters will get a completely negative impression of Mr. Mitchum.

This sort of behavior in politics needs to be stopped, regardless of which party you support. It happens on both sides, but that doesn't make it right. Run a clean campaign and your opponent will stomp all over you with deceiving remarks solely intended to defame your good name.

This latest shambles by Capps and her bunch get the support of the court system. Isn't that wonderful? Lawsuits happen with such matters between people and with such a blatant editing of what someone states, the court usually doesn't defend this sort of behavior. However, Capps, being a politician with "benefits," is a person of higher rank than average folk.

As to the misleading campaign advertising against Mitchum, Capps approved the advertising and she now "owns" it. It's quite a stretch of the imagination to actually believe no malice was intended with such purposeful editing of Mitchum's words.

Why the court would think it was harmless and not intended to make Mitchum appear poorly to voters makes me wonder what planet the judge lives on. Of course it was intentional to make Mitchum look bad. Why else would such a piece be edited and run close to the end of the campaign? All of this financed by a last-minute influx of money from the Democratic Party. Silly me, I keep forgetting this is a politician and many aren't held accountable for such evil doings.

Then, there's the Mallory Dies matter. Capps claims Raymond Morua wasn't on the clock at the time he hit and killed Ms. Dies with his car. However, the federal government paid out a big sum of money despite Capps' denial. If one were to believe Morua wasn't working as a staff member at the time, then that is someone who has their head buried in the sand. Staff members of Capps even appear to escape what would land any others behind bars. So far, nothing has come of forged signatures and the filling out of paperwork in an attempt to have the hit and run driver of Dies be protected in a special program. All illegal, but once again it's politics and we must not prosecute. After all, these are the elite who are beyond the laws for the masses.

Loyal defenders of Capps will no doubt come out of the woodwork (not unlike termites) to unleash their destructive furor over anything negative said about Capps. It's expected, as they are also in denial as well and even if it's truth they are facing, they will say it's all lies.

Steve Simpson
Santa Barbara


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Personal/Business Coach Dr. Lynn Jones Adds Online Coaching to Services

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Dr. Lynn Jones

Certified executive, personal and business coach Dr. Lynn Jones has added online coaching, in real time, to her in-person and phone coaching, consulting, training and retreats services for leaders and organizations.

“Like most of us, leaders and executives don’t have enough hours in their day. With real-time online coaching, implementing strategic positive changes, whether they be personal or for business, is accessible to all,” says Dr. Jones, who has more than 25 years experience in personal and executive coaching and is a faculty member of the USC School of Social Work Virtual Academic Center.

According to the Harvard Business Review, coaching is a popular and potent solution for ensuring top performance from an organization’s most critical talent.

Typically, coaches are hired primarily to work with executives on the positive side of coaching — developing high-potential talent and facilitating a transition in or up.

Dr. Jones is a board-certified coach BCC #1487. To contact her, email [email protected] or call 805.448.7681.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Dr. Lynn Jones.


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Jackson Sproul Earns Military Order of the Purple Heart Award from Army and Navy Academy

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Jackson Sproul of Santa Barbara was presented with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award on Sunday during a Military Review and Awards Ceremony at Army and Navy Academy.

It was the culminating event of the school's annual Alumni Weekend.

The Military Order of The Purple Heart Award is a significant achievement. It is presented annually to a cadet who has an exceptionally positive attitude toward JROTC and his country. He must be active in the school and within the community, muyst have a GPA of higher than 3.0, and must hold a leadership position within the school's Corps of Cadets.

"Congratulations on this major accomplishment," said COL Kevin Batule, USA (retired), and commandant of cadets at the Army and Navy Academy. "You should be very proud of your outstanding performance of duty."

Founded in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy is a private nonprofit institution that provides an academically robust, character-based education for young men, grades 7 through 12. It is the only private boarding school in San Diego County and the only private military academy for high school-age students in California and surrounding states.

— Paige Maslen represents the Army and Navy Academy.


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Montessori Center School to Host Open House on May 13

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Montessori Center School will host an Open House from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 13.

Come and see for yourself the school’s spacious garden campus and beautiful Montessori classrooms!

The tour of MCS will begin at 9 a.m. Bring the whole family! Reservations are appreciated. Drop-ins are welcome.

Montessori Center School, at 401 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

Contact MCS Admissions Director Alyssa Morris at 805.683-9383 x104 or [email protected] for more information about the school or to RSVP for the Open House!

Click here for more information about the Open House.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.


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Union Bank Partners with Local Organizations to Host Free Community Shred Day

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Union Bank, in partnership with Camino Real Marketplace, NewsChannel 3, Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, Victory Outreach, Lompoc Unified School District, Community Environmental Council and Lompoc Police Explorers and Volunteers, will sponsor another free Community Shred Day in Lompoc.

The event will be held, rain or shine, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Lompoc High School, 515 W. College Ave.

Items that can be shred:

» Six “banker box” containers maximum per vehicle

» All types of paper, any color (no need to remove staples, paper clips or rubber bands)

» File folders, any color

» Not able to accept three-ring binders, cardboard, common trash, hazardous materials, plastics or metals, CDs, DVDs or binders.

This is the fourth year that Union Bank has as led the Community Shred Day. As a responsible bank, Union Bank is committed to supporting local communities and Shred Day is a great event where the public can safely discard — at no cost — important documents, help eliminate the risk of identity theft and keep tons of materials out of the landfill.

— Suzanne Crosina-Sahm is a communications consultant for Union Bank.


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Karen Telleen-Lawton: Whales and Navy’s War Games

By | Published on 05/04/2015


“I know we've come a long way, We're changing day to day, But tell me, where do the children play?”Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), Tea for the Tillerman.

What happens when the U.S. Navy and 22 of its favorite friendly countries congregate in the Pacific Ocean? For the navies, it was an opportunity to practice war games over 2.7 million nautical square miles of ocean, an area larger than the continental United States. For the dolphins and whales in the area last summer, it was more like real torture than war games.

Planned sonar and explosives activities for the event represented a 1,100 percent increase in incidents of harm to the echolocation communication systems of whales and dolphins.

The war games, spread out across the Pacific, were the Rim of the Pacific Exercise event for naval ships, submarines and aircraft. RIMPAC is, according to the Navy’s website, the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. RIMPAC is held during June and July of even-numbered years, hosted by the Navy’s Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and coordinated with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Hawaii National Guard.

Likely the exercises were successful, but in the wake of last year’s event, the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of environmental groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to fulfill its obligations toward marine mammals. Just last month, a federal court judge ruled the government’s training exercises did not safeguard the NMFS’ legal obligation.

In its defense, the Navy pointed out that it had set aside some space for the humpback whales: a block of sea 3.1 miles long along Hawaii’s coast. It contended that any additional restrictions would hamper operational ability.

The ruling supporting marine mammals, if it holds, actually stands to benefit the military as well. Its Marine Mammal Program has long studied the military use of marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Animals were used in the Vietnam and Iraq wars to perform tasks such as ship and harbor protection, mine detection and clearance, and equipment recovery. The program is slated to shut down in 2017, replaced by robotic mine-hunters, but the dolphins have served honorably and presumably without Navy pension for generations.

With dolphins-as-bomb-carriers being retired, attention is swiveling to understanding these highly intelligent and social creatures for their own sakes, and the Earth’s. The May issue of National Geographic describes researchers’ efforts to understand how dolphins think. In 30 years of research, Denise Herzing listens and records vocalizations, laying the foundation she hopes will one day result in a shared vocabulary. Teri Turner Bolton teaches increasingly complex “tricks” that include the command to “innovate” — performing any of the dozen or so maneuvers in their repertoire, but not repeating anything they’ve done in a session.

What can these types of research expect to yield for humankind? Like any basic research, the end goal is knowledge. But all practical knowledge depends on basic research as the building blocks.

All humankind depends on the building blocks of nature. And thus, the federal ruling is a win for everyone. The answer to “Where do the dolphins play?” may be again someday, “Dolphins play all over.”

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor ( and a freelance writer ( Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’

By | Published on 05/04/2015


3 Stars — Wholesome

Far from the Madding Crowd, a classic tale written in 1874 by Thomas Hardy, is beautifully portrayed with a new set of fresh faces.

Set in Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer who she has known since her youth and is 6 years older than she; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a reckless, but dashing, military sergeant her own age; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and shy bachelor 14 years her senior.

If the title sounds familiar, it is because Far from the Madding Crowd starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch was nominated for an Oscar in 1967 and won the National Board of Review’s award for Best Picture that year. Author Hardy took the title from Thomas Gray’s poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)." “Madding” means “frenzied” here.

Bathsheba Everdene, or Miss Everdene as she likes to be addressed, inherits a great deal of property at a young age and finds herself having to compete in a Victorian era where women are not expected to be equal with men in business. She is immensely attractive to suitors who would like to take over the management of her property and subjugate her to the role of a wife. However, she is headstrong and holds her own in a world of men. Unfortunately, she is also influenced by her station in life and the one man that she trusts and loves is a shepherd, a position below hers in the social order of the day.

Throughout the story, her longtime trust and affection for Gabriel Oak is entangled in her life when she hired him to watch over the affairs of her sheep and farming operations. Oak protects her from the advances of suitors, even though she fights him every step of the way.

William Boldwood, her prosperous older neighbor, longs to marry her, but she is not in love with him and continues to decline his advances. In a moment of passion she agrees to marry the handsome Frank Troy, who dazzles her with his handsome uniform and charming demeanor, but later comes to realize that he cares little for her and is only after position, money and power.

Without revealing the entanglements that ensue, the romantic undertones that have been built over the years between Miss. Everdene and Mr. Oak cannot be denied, and like any good English novel, all’s well that ends well.

What makes these Victorian tales attractive beyond their romantic gloss, is the fact that the virtues of Victorian England are beautifully portrayed. Virtue is protected, spiritual values are shown to produce a depth of character, and the people involved have their faults without giving into moral failure. In that sense, this is more Pride and Prejudice than Downton Abbey.

Filled with great visuals of 19th century England, this a romantic tale satisfies on many levels. It is a good date night film, but it is also a good portrayal of moral and ethical choices and possible consequences to share with your family.


» The leveling of society from the strata of Victoria England only changes the way people rank themselves today. How do you see the community in which you live being stratified? By economics, race, creed or some other distinction?

» When we make a decision out of passion, we often regret it, yet not always. How have your decisions made in passion effected your life?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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City of Santa Maria Hosting Free Seminar on Driving Safety for Seniors

By | Published on 05/04/2015


The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department will be hosting a free driving safety seminar from 11 a.m. to noon Friday, May 8 at the Elwin Mussell Center, 510 E. Park Ave.

Theresa Thompson, Department of Motor Vehicles ombudsman, will inform the public about driving safety and the rights that seniors have with the California DMV as a continuing effort to keep them driving as long as possible.

The public is invited to this and future seminars taking place the second Friday of each month covering a wide range of informative topics.

Light refreshments will be provided, and no pre-registration is required.

Questions about this event may be directed to Marjorie Gjerdrum at 805.925.0951 x347.

— Cindy Hoskins is a recreation supervisor for the City of Santa Maria.


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‘We Are All UCSB’: Remembrance Events Planned for One-Year Anniversary of Isla Vista Tragedy

By | Published on 05/04/2015


With a focus on remembrance, reflection and healing, the UC Santa Barbara community is holding several events to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2014 tragedy in Isla Vista that claimed the lives of six students and injured many others.

A community planting, a memorial lighting installation, a candlelight vigil, a public discussion and a paddle-out are among the things set for various dates throughout the month. A concert, an open mic night and an exhibit sponsored by the UCSB Library are also planned.

“The first-year anniversary of a tragedy is so important as a time to reflect on what happened,” said Kum-Kum Bhavnani, a professor of sociology at UCSB and chair of the Academic Senate. “These events are a means of honoring the people who lost their lives and of respecting those who were injured. And through that honoring and respect, I think, as a campus, we will heal more.”

The candlelight vigil will serve as an emotional anchor to the events. An effort of Associated Students, who have taken on a leadership role in all the remembrance planning, the vigil will be held on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Starting at Storke Plaza, participants will then traverse across campus, continue through the Pardall Tunnel and into Isla Vista. The walk will end with an open mic session at People’s Park.

“We hope this won’t necessarily be somber, but that it will give that feeling of community — the solidarity is what we’re trying to convey the most,” said graduating senior Benjamin Simons, commissioner of the AS Program Board. “We want to make it as positive as possible because we’ve come a long way. So many things have happened and the community and the university have taken action.

“We went through something together,” Simons added. “And now we need to build community together, because we are all UCSB.”          

As vigil participants make the stroll to Isla Vista, their handheld candles will have some accompaniment from a new light installation being designed expressly for the occasion. The interdisciplinary endeavor was inspired by UCSB art professor Kim Yasuda, created and designed by both she and Marcos Novak, of the Media Arts and Technology program, and sponsored by UCSB’s Academic Senate, among others.

Starting in mid-May, the installation, “Hesperus is Phosphorus: Light Passages,” will feature solar-powered lights illuminating the trees and populating the grass verges along the main campus walkway to Isla Vista. A motion-activated lighting system will illuminate the Pardall tunnel. Envisioned as a series of art exhibits, the light galleries created through this project are meant to become permanent features of the campus.

“For me the most crucial thing is how do we look forward while recognizing and acknowledging the anniversary of something so painful and tragic,” said Yasuda. “I felt that the bringing of light into Isla Vista was critical, and the whole idea of light, symbolically, as a healing concept. What we envision for the vigil is a river of light coming through the campus and into Isla Vista, a light bridge that connects the campus to the community and demonstrates that we can come together in very visible solidarity.”

It’s a solidarity that will also be reflected — permanently — in a memorial garden one year in the making. Conceived by a UCSB alumnus shortly after the tragedy, the Isla Vista Love & Remembrance Garden at People’s Park was realized through collaboration between local businesses, the university, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District and community members on and off campus. Serving as the garden’s focal point are six commemorative benches, meant to honor the six students whose lives were lost, designed by UCSB art students from Yasuda’s Isla Vista Open Lab class.

A community event on Saturday, May 9, at 10 a.m., invites the public to help plant native trees, shrubs and flowers in the newly created garden. The site will be officially dedicated with a public ceremony on the following Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m.

“The garden is a really beautiful gesture,” said Debbie Fleming, senior associate dean for student life at UCSB. “Even symbolically — it’s community, it’s faculty, it’s staff, it’s alumni, it’s UCSB students — all using their ingenuity and creativity to memorialize the students we lost in a way that fits Isla Vista.”

In addition to the light installation, another prominent remembrance on campus is a memorial exhibit being sponsored by the library and mounted at the Red Barn, or old gym, near the bus loop. Spearheaded by graduate student Melissa Barthelemy, “We Remember Them: Acts of Love and Compassion in Isla Vista,” will feature photographs of planned and unplanned memorials, artifacts and messages left at spontaneous memorial sites and documentation of support from around the globe.

The exhibition is meant to remember those who died and were injured, and to tell the story of a community empowered by its own humanity in reacting to a collective loss. Opening May 20 and running through June 20, it can be viewed Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 3 to 7 p.m. Over commencement weekend, on Saturday, June 13 and on Sunday, June 14, it will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.

Click here for a complete listing of remembrance events.

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Lompoc Crews Contain Travel-Trailer Blaze

By | Published on 05/04/2015


One firefighter injured battling fire that occurred shortly before midnight in the 200 block of North L Street

A firefighter suffered minor injuries late Sunday while battling a trailer fire in Lompoc, according to the Lompoc Fire Department.

Firefighters responded just before midnight to a trailer fire in the backyard of a home in the 200 block of North L Street, Fire Chief Kurt Latipow said.

Upon arrival, firefighters found one trailer engulfed in flames that were threatening to spread to another trailer and a neighboring structure, he said.

“Crews took aggressive action, knocking down the fire in 10 minutes (and) minimizing the threat to adjacent properties,” Latipow said.

The Santa Barbra County Fire Department and Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire assisted on the fire.

The blaze caused $3,190 in property damage and $500 in content damage, he said, with one firefighter receiving minor injuries during the fire attack.  

Latipow said the cause was under investigation. 

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


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Santa Barbara County Deputy DA Ann Bramsen Named Prosecutor of Year

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Monday that for the first time in the history of the award, the California District Attorneys Association has named a Santa Barbara County deputy district attorney — Ann Bramsen — as Prosecutor of the Year.

"We were thrilled to receive this great news," Dudley said. "Although Ann was proudly nominated by me, her nomination packet was filled with glowing letters of support from Chief Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola, Sheriff Bill Brown, Santa Maria Police Department Chief Ralph Martin, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser and volunteer Amir Tab.

"Ann is being recognized for her unflappable determination to stop gang violence in Santa Barbara County by aggressively prosecuting the most dangerous gang leaders in our communities. I am sure she appreciates this extraordinary honor, but I believe she would be the first to say that she shares it with her colleagues at the District Attorney’s Office, Santa Maria Police Department, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, Lompoc Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Santa Barbara Police Department.

"Ann has never sought the spotlight nor has she shied away from zealously seeking justice and fighting for public safety. She is both admired by her colleagues and deeply appreciated as the ultimate team player."

This is one of two awards for Prosecutor of the Year that will be presented on the evening of July 9 at the CDAA Summer Conference.


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Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara Takes Part in Alzheimer’s Conference

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Highlighted and applauded at the most recent Alzheimer’s conference, “Dementia: Current Trends & Future Directions” held at the Montecito Country Club, architect Jay Blatter, neurologist Dr. Robert Harbaugh and Rosemarie Harris, executive director at Heritage House, along with Julie McGeever of McGeever Management all contributed to the conference.

Oak Cottage is the newest senior memory care community in Santa Barbara, focusing specifically on care and empowerment for residents with age-related cognitive decline. The project is the brain-child of Mark and Valerie Maldonado, who envisioned a family owned and operated project, embedded within the fabric of the Santa Barbara community. They partnered with McGeever Management — which owns and operates the assisted living community Heritage House, also located in Santa Barbara — to bring an elevated approach to care at Oak Cottage.

Hochhauser Blatter working in conjunction with Santa Barbara Neuroligists and Geriatric designers developed a community whereby a safe and engaging environment was as paramount in the design, as is the activity and therapy programs offered to each resident.

Nestled within the residential 1800 block of De la Vina Street, the project has been designed in an art and crafts vernacular, with deep porches, high ceilings and gracious windows allowing maximum access to natural light and beautiful views of the area.

Forty apartments are split into three intimate neighborhoods, each graced with a large grand living area offering immediate access to activities programming, one on one personalized medical oversight, and farm to table dining.

Residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia are given every opportunity to maintain their existing abilities, and to receive assistance with physical ambulation, memory prompts, and whole body wellness.

Oak Cottage’s staff has been trained in the latest care protocols focusing on dementia capable care, the intent of which is to remove frustrating physical and intellectual barriers, and focus instead on those activities a resident can still participate in successfully, and with enjoyment. Oak Cottage has also become certified as part of the nationally acclaimed Music and Memory program, which uses personalized playlists for each resident to use on I-shuffles, or as part of a larger activity within their neighborhood. Oak Cottage has partnered with local vendors wherever possible in creating their dining program, focusing on local farmer’s produce, meats and seafood. Meals are event worthy, welcome the whole family, and include multiple choices to encourage appetite, hydration and overall well-being.

— Joe Franken is executive director of the Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara.


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Letter to the Editor: Yet More Filth from Oil Companies

By | Published on 05/04/2015


To the never-ending instances of environmental filth — pollution threatening our health and safety — caused by oil conglomerates in our state, add this:

Methylene chloride, classified as a potential carcinogen, and acetone have been found in oil companies' recycled waste water that they are selling to California farmers for use in agricultural irrigation.

The disposal of drilling's wastewater is a pain in the butt for oil companies — more so since the recent disclosure of their illegal dumping of the toxic-laden stuff into 2,500 disposal wells drilled through California aquifers containing clean water.

So “cleaning up” this wastewater and selling it to farmers is a sweetheart deal for them; they get about $30 per acre foot for it, and farmers are delighted to pay only half the open market price.

What's in this recycled water? Over the last two years, Scott Smith, chief scientist for the environmental group Water Defense, “collected samples of the treated irrigation water that the Cawelo Water District buys from Chevron. Laboratory analysis of those samples found compounds that are toxic to humans, including acetone and methylene chloride — powerful industrial solvents — along with oil.”

“Sarah Oktay, a water testing expert and director of the Nantucket field station of the University of Massachusetts Boston, reviewed Smith's methods … 'My next step would be most likely to look and make sure the crop is healthy.'” (Los Angeles Times, May 2)

Who's doing that? Who's testing the crops fed with this water?

Or, to shift for a moment, who in the state is verifying or refuting Mr. Smith's findings?

“Jonathan Bishop, chief deputy director of the State Water Resources Control Board, said that monitoring oil field activities has been a 'low priority' in recent years. He said the onus for disclosure and testing rests on the discharger, in this case Chevron.”

How many replays of this unfunny movie do we have to see? The gluttonous, law-breaking fox is appointed to guard the chickens. And yet another California regulatory agency, charged with seeing to our health and safety, says, “Gee, we just haven't gotten around to that.”

State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, whose efforts have made her a heroine to anyone concerned with environmental matters in the state, said it is “'obviously unacceptable' that oil contaminants are found in irrigation water. 'Anyone would be extremely concerned.'”

Smith, who has consulted for the Environmental Protection Agency, took samples from 10 points along the eight-mile Cawelo Canal, which contained “concentrations [of acetone and methylene chloride] higher than he said he had seen at oil spill disaster sites.”

So is this toxic material getting into the food plants it waters?

Carl K. Winter at UC Davis, who studies the detection of pesticides in foods: “'It's difficult to say anything for sure because we don't know what chemicals are in the water.'”

Seth B. C. Shonkoff, a researcher analyzing hydraulic fracturing for the state legislature: “'You can't find what you don't look for.'”

No kidding!

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


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Santa Barbara Airport Partners with Thanks Again to Enhance the Passenger Experience

By | Published on 05/04/2015


The Santa Barbara Airport has joined Thanks Again, the world’s only airport loyalty coalition, to offer travelers valuable rewards when they park, shop or dine at the airport.

Via Thanks Again, SBA is now afforded the opportunity to better engage its passengers and positively impact their day of travel experience.

Thanks Again member passengers automatically earn more frequent flier miles, hotel points or cash back when they park, shop, dine or utilize services at the Santa Barbara Airport. Once enrolled, travelers can also earn the same cherished benefit at 150 other airports and thousands of neighborhood businesses across North America.

Enrollment in the Thanks Again program is free, convenient and secure. Passengers simply register any American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit/debit cards at and then use those cards for purchases at participating locations to automatically earn 1 mile or two points per $1 spent. New members will also receive 100 bonus miles or 200 bonus points when they enroll with a mobile device over the web or by texting FLYSBA to 82257.

“In addition to offering a superior day of travel experience, we are excited to recognize and reward our passengers for choosing our airport and utilizing our parking, shopping and dining options,” Santa Barbara Airport Director Hazel Johns said. “It is important that we recognize our passengers and properly engage them with relevant offers and push notifications while they travel through Santa Barbara Airport.”

In addition to the airport, Santa Barbara area merchants can also participate in Thanks Again to enable member passengers to earn their favorite rewards in the local community.

“Frequent travelers tend to be the best customers of both airports and off-airport businesses," Johns said. "We see an opportunity for the airport to further extend its reach into the community by encouraging local merchants to participate in the Thanks Again program. This Santa Barbara coalition loyalty opportunity is seamless, easy to implement and beneficial to everyone.”

“We are excited to partner with Santa Barbara and provide SBA with a turnkey, airport-wide loyalty and engagement solution,” said Jay Ellis, Thanks Again senior vice president of global network development.  “Thanks Again’s partnership with Santa Barbara Airport delivers additional value to SBA, SBA passengers and other airports that participate in our unprecedented Airport Loyalty Coalition.”

— Lynn Houston represents the Santa Barbara Airport.


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Five People Arrested in Isla Vista Robbery

By | Published on 05/04/2015


Five people were arrested early Monday in connection with a robbery in Isla Vista, according to the UCSB Police Department.

A sixth suspect remained at large.

The robbery occurred at about 2 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road, according to an automated alert to the campus community from the Police Department.

Details on the robbery were not provided.

The remaining suspect was described as a white male in his 20s, 5-foot-11 and 165 ponds, wearing a dark hoodie, and last seen headed towards Trigo Road.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact police at 805.893.3446 or through the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's anonymous tip program.

The incident occurred just a day after an armed robbery was reported in the same area.

That robbery, which involved three suspects, occurred at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, also in the 6500 block of Seville Road.

The suspects in that case remained at large.

Police did not indicated whether they believe the two robberies are related. Both are being investigated by the Sheriff's Department.

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


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Go Vegan Santa Barbara Protests Sale of Foie Gras Outside of Bouchon Restaurant

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Go Vegan Santa Barbara and its supporters held a demonstration Sunday afternoon in front of Bouchon, 9 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara, to protest the sale of foie gras by local businesses.

The foie gras available in our local restaurants is made using a technique called gavage. During this process, a large tube with an auger is shoved down the throats of ducks and geese to force feed them vast quantities of food so their livers grow up to 10 times the normal size.

The production of foie gras causes severe stress and injury to the animals.

Go Vegan Santa Barbara organizers is asking the public to join in taking a stand against this inhumane product and ask businesses to cease its sale.

Protesters were in costume and our local celebrity pet duck, Pomi, made an appearance. Canine companions and children were also in attendance to speak out against the mistreatment of their animal friends.

“Foie gras is a cruel and antiquated ingredient that is simply unnecessary in our modern culinary landscape,” said Sayward Rebhal of Go Vegan Santa Barbara.

“Whether or not you agree with eating animals, there is a line that we can all draw between good farming practices and torture. Foie gras production falls on the wrong side of that line.”

Click here for a faux gras recipe with all of the flavor and none of the torture.

The mission of Go Vegan Santa Barbara is to provide resources and information for current vegans in the Santa Barbara region, as well as to encourage others to oppose cruelty by adopting a plant-based diet.

Click here for more information about Go Vegan Santa Barbara.

— Dawn Gregory represents Go Vegan Santa Barbara.


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Developers Spruce Up Historic Timbers Restaurant In Hopes of Making a Go of Troubled Property

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Among revitalization plans for far-western Goleta location are an organic farm, market, restaurant — and respect for past

The building stands strong and alone, a bit imposing but not enough to scare away the various owners who have tried but failed to keep Timbers Restaurant up and running on the western outskirts of Goleta.

Built in 1953, famously with oil-streaked timbers procured from the nearby Ellwood Pier, where a Japanese submarine shelled the oil platform a decade earlier during World War II, the restaurant has seen several iterations over the years. It’s also been intermittently empty — the state it’s maintained since 2005.

A new developer hopes to revitalize the property at 10 Winchester Canyon Road near Highway 101, planning an organic farm for hands-on vegetable picking, a local market, bakery, commercial kitchen and a reopening of the historic Timbers Restaurant.

Montecito resident Sandy Boyd of the former Fresh Choice Restaurant and Espresso Roma Café chains has a lease on the property, and he’s hired Jeremiah Higgins and his team at HJL Hospitality Advisors to get the job done.

Crews began cleaning up the old, vacant dining hall in March and have planted the 2½-acre farm, hoping to open the market in June and the restaurant this fall.

The prospect is exciting to Goleta residents but sounds all too familiar.

“It’s been sort of hot and cold over the years,” said Ron Nye, a longtime historian with the Goleta Valley Historical Society. “Every few years somebody would open it up or say they would. There’s been 100 ideas; it’s just so big.

“It’s a shame something profitable and useful to the community can’t be done. It’s a terrific building.”

Boyd and Higgins have accepted that challenge, and they hope locals will come on board, too.

                                                                 •        •        •

As the story goes, H.C. “Tex” Blankenship bought 20 acres of Ellwood land in 1953 with the intention of building a restaurant. Oil companies were leaving the area and giving away timber from the nearby platform, so Blankenship bought the wood.

The wood used to build the Timbers probably came from the oil pier, Nye said, but no evidence proves it was from the platform that was shelled in 1942 by a Japanese submarine, the first assault on the U.S. homeland since Pearl Harbor was attacked the year before.

Nye and other historians also haven’t been able to back up whether shrapnel remnants are visible inside the timber — another myth — or if its gigantic fireplace is actually made from stones from the Lake Cachuma Dam project, which was completed around the same time.

But the uniqueness of the architecture and materials has landed the building on a “historic resource” list in the City of Goleta’s general plan.

Timber that size — 12 inches by 15 inches — can’t be found anymore, Nye said, noting Blankenship’s vision of creating a theme park or roadside attraction.

“The fact that it used oil field piers in its construction ... that makes it significant because that was an important part of Goleta history,” Nye said. “A lot of Goletans worked in the oil fields.”

For whatever reason, Blankenship never opened his restaurant. He handed the reins over to Sam Velliotes and his family, who opened the Timbers in 1963.

At some point in the ’70s, the Timbers became a popular steakhouse called Ruby Begonia’s Roadhouse — kind of a “hippie hangout,” Nye said.

The restaurant reopened in 1985 as the Timbers, and business was booming when it was purchased 22 years ago by Hoosh Santa Barbara Real Estate Investments LLC, boasting an on-site café and catering company used by United Airlines.

The owner planned to build lodging nearby until the 9/11 terrorist attacks. United Airlines pulled out of the catering business after that, and the restaurant soon followed, closing in 2005.

The owner, who asked not to be named, has held onto the building ever since, understanding its architectural and historic value enough to not let anyone tear it down.

Over the years, he’s had several offers for the property but wasn’t interested in pursuing any of them.

He likes Boyd’s new concept and hopes it works out.

                                                                 •        •        •

Boyd, whose grandparents moved to Santa Barbara the year the Goleta shore was shelled, has had a lease on the Timbers building for a few years while toying with its possibilities.

He started the Fresh Choice Restaurant chain and still operates four locations, although at one point there were 20. His six Espresso Roma Cafés were born in Berkeley in 1980.

Boyd’s vision is to create a farm where you pick your own vegetables, and check out at a kiosk or purchase the produce from the market, roadside “barns” or stands, or from the restaurant. Cauliflower, kale, romaine lettuce, peas, pumpkins, squash, radishes and carrots are already growing.

A corresponding market will sell 100 percent local fare and drink, such as olive oils, honey, wine, beer, pistachios, avocados, citrus and more.

Kids could visit an on-site petting zoo, and barbecue grill pits are also in the works.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Higgins, a longtime restaurant and hospitality veteran who’s helped open more than three dozen restaurants, including local joints like Blush, Savoy and Tonic in Santa Barbara and Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.

He’s still searching for more local food, beer and wine vendors, and encourages any interested businesses to email him at [email protected].

The developers recognize what the Timbers means to the community and are happy to help preserve its charm.

Before long, they hope the Timbers Restaurant will once again bustle with activity and become a roadside attraction that finally lives up to its potential.

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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Sister Won’t Let Distance, Difficulty Deter Her from Quest for Justice in Jenny Clark’s Death

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Arizona woman to be in court today in Santa Maria to see Benjamin Bettencourt sentenced for felony DUI convictions stemming from 2012 wreck

Erin Parsons has waited nearly three years to see justice for her sister, who died of her injuries a week after the crash of a van operated by a man a jury recently convicted of drunken driving at the time.

This week, the Arizona resident may finally hear the sentence for Benjamin Bettencourt, a Santa Ynez Valley man who was found guilty for his role in the Nov. 24, 2012, crash that led to Jennifer Clark’s death.

On April 3, jurors found Bettencourt guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, felony driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

Bettencourt’s sentencing is scheduled for Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores’ courtroom in Santa Maria. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

As the trial started in early February Parsons said she was committed to ensuring her older sister, known as Jenny, received justice.

“We’re fighting for the truth to be told,” she said. “I’m representing my sister like I know how she would do for me.”

Parsons added that she believed Bettencourt deserved to be punished for his actions.

For most of the trial, Parsons sat in the courtroom’s front row, often accompanied by her husband, Ryan, and other family members and friends, listening as the defense blamed the crash on Clark.

Bettencourt contended Clark, who had a blood-alcohol content of .20, sat on his lap, yanked the steering and caused the wreck. He was represented by attorney, Darryl Genis, noted for vigorously defending his DUI clients.

During the trial, Genis challenged breathalyzer equipment used to measure his client’s blood-alcohol level and contended laboratory workers mishandled the contents.

While the trial reopened the wounds of her loss, Parsons had praise for Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy, who prosecuted the case, calling him “a voice for us.”

She said she also appreciated the work of the District Attorney’s Office, including that of the support staff during her family’s ordeal.

“Their diligent work and their character has been very helpful for my family to get through this,” Parsons said.

Traveling to the Central Coast for the trial gave Parsons, her husband and their sons a chance to visit Clark’s roadside memorial, which sits near the crash site on Highway 246 between Buellton and Solvang.

Clark grew up in San Diego and moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 2004.

At the time of the crash, the 39-year-old served as a physical education teacher at Oak Valley School in Buellton, taught adaptive physical education for the Santa Ynez Valley Special Education Consortium, and coached volleyball.

“She was an incredible person,” Parsons recalled.

Clark “absolutely loved the outdoors,” participating in all sorts of sports, she added.

“She was pretty radiant with her personality,” she said. “She could light up a room with that smile.”

Clark also was known for her sense of humor and “could crack a joke at anything,” Parsons added.

Word of the horrific crash reached Parsons while she was in labor with her second son at a suburban Phoenix hospital.

Clark had been taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major head injuries. A time of celebrating new life suddenly became a moment of mourning a life cut short.

Days after giving birth, Parsons traveled to Santa Barbara, where Clark was being treated for severe brain trauma.

Parsons introduced her unconscious sister to her newest nephew.

“I was able to say goodbye to her,” Parsons said.

Clark died Dec. 2, 2012.

Parsons soon learned that the fatal wreck wasn’t Bettencourt’s first.

He reportedly was involved in a speed contest on Alisos Canyon Road in 1998 when his vehicle crashed, killing 18-year-old Lesley Alejo.

The wreck left Bettencourt a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He was found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, and was sentenced to probation and community service.

When the jury returned the guilty verdict last month, Parsons didn’t just have her sister in mind, noting it also was vindication for Alejo.

“Justice for Jenny is finally served,” Parsons said after the latest guilty verdicts. “God, that makes me so happy to say.”

After the judge sentenced Bettencourt to a mid-term of five years in state prison Monday morning, Parsons said she was OK with outcome.

"I hope that he does feel remorse one day for Jennifer's and Lesley’s lives," Parsons said.

Her family still has not received an apology for the Jennifer's death.

"It adds to the pain," she 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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Letter to the Editor: The Drought Disaster Before Us

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Gov. Jerry Brown must act now to defend California against the drought disaster before us.

Delta water must be redirected to agriculture and residential use and non-existent fish left out of the use of scarce water until the reservoirs are filled again by natural rain.

The state must arrange ship and tanker truck shipments of water from out of the state to all points in the state.

California must initiate a crash program of desalination plant construction along the coast to provide water now and in the future for other droughts we are sure to have.

The state must initiate a crash program for reservoir construction to capture more of the rain water now running into the ocean.

We have no idea when the drought will end and, if it does, how long it will take to refill reservoirs and the aquifers.

The steps recommended above may be our only solution. Only time will tell.

Are the politicians in California willing to risk everything on continued inaction?

Only bold actions now will head off the looming disaster.

Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C.

Justin Ruhge


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Sansum Clinic Pediatrician Refutes Claim Doctors Are Refusing to Sign Vaccine Waiver, Outlines Steps

By | Published on 05/03/2015


While public health officials remain concerned about vaccination rates in the Santa Barbara area, doctors from one local clinic say they will still sign personal belief exemptions, provided the person requesting an exemption brings in the child for an exam and a consultation.

Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)
Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)

Noozhawk received a tip last week that Sansum Pediatric Clinic providers were refusing to sign the Personal Belief Exemption form required for children entering school without the necessary vaccinations.

Local doctors and public health officials have expressed concern over the number of parents opting out of vaccinating their children, particularly in wealthier pockets of the South Coast.

Last month, doctors met at a public forum on immunization, and stated that for about 40 percent of schools in the area, there is excellent immunity, but for most local schools, the rates of immunity need to rise.

Dr. Karen Johnson, chairwoman of Sansum’s Pediatrics Department, spoke with Noozhawk last week and said that while her colleagues don’t want to sign the waivers and would rather that children be immunized, “we do sign the documents under certain situations.”

Johnson said doctors in the department will sign the forms if an appointment is made, and the doctor has a chance to counsel the parent about the benefits of vaccination.

If the parent still refuses, the doctor will sign the form, she said.

“People will fax them in or drop them off at the desk when they haven’t had an appointment in the last couple of years,” she said. “That’s inappropriate.”

The doctors will recommend that families without an appointment have the form handled by another qualified signer, which would include nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, naturopathic doctors or credentialed school nurses.

Johnson said parents can also sign the form themselves under a religious belief exemption.

She said she’s had several people fax in the forms rather than come in for an appointment. When she asked why, she said, they replied that they didn’t have time.

Johnson, herself a mother of four, said she understands but doesn’t think it’s a valid excuse.

Of the thousands of children the clinic sees each year, she said those whose parents have opted out of vaccinations make up a small percentage.

“It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she said, with areas like Hope Ranch and Montecito compiling higher rates.

“It’s really the wealthier patients who do it,” Johnson said.

She recalled one father who brought in his children for their check-ups but was refusing vaccination. She said she was able to explain each vaccine, and the father eventually allowed the immunizations.

Johnson said doctors must help parents with the “fear factor” about what they have read or have heard from other sources.

“It takes a lot of energy and time to go through and reverse the hysteria,” 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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Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Reinvogorates Your Home Décor at a Fraction of the Price

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Nonprofit agency builds a business supplying locals with repurposed building materials, appliances

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

If you find something you like or need at ReStore, the retail store selling items for the home and run by the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, it is best to to move quickly.

The Goleta store advertises and sells a lot of its repurposed items online, and those in the know pick up home décor, appliances and building materials (such as windows, doors and countertops) at discounts of 50 percent to even 80 percent.

Ruairi​ Bateson, ReStore manager, explained that, “ReStore has been in Santa Barbara for eight years and in its current location for two.”

Every week the store receives at least 20 drop-offs from as far east as Carpinteria and as far west as Gaviota. The items come from homeowners cleaning out their attics, but also include less vintage items like ovens, washing machines and cabinetry pulled by contractors and construction crews from remodels.

A quarter of ReStores sales are actually doors.

Bateson is particular about what the store accepts — no upholstered items or hollow-core doors, for example.

“They don’t sell,” he explained, “and every inch of the store is precious in a place with high rents like Santa Barbara.”

Even though the organization cuts costs by maintaining a skeleton crew of staff and relying heavily on volunteers, “our costs are high here,” Bateson added.

“We pay Habitat’s second highest rent in Southern California, but you pay for your location by getting great stuff like we do here,” he said of the site, 6860 Cortona Drive near Camino Real Marketplace.

Making every inch in the store efficient is important to Habitat for Humanity because all of the profits from the store pay for both rent and administrative expenses and local housing projects. Another 10 percent of unrestricted funds goes to Habitat’s international projects.

According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the organization is a “nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds with people in need regardless of race or religion” with the vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live ...”

In the past 10 years, Habitat for Humanity has built 19 new homes and housed nearly 70 local residents and U.S. citizens in the Santa Barbara area, as well as repaired another 19 homes through the A Brush with Kindness program, which provides exterior repairs to low-income families that fit within the organiztion’s guidelines.

The most recent Habitat for Humanity building project was on East Canon Perdido near downtown Santa Barbara.

For anyone remodeling a home or even looking to do DIY home improvements — especially anyone trying to make these improvements on a budget — Habitat’s store in Goleta is an important resource. There are great deals on high-end home furnishings, appliances and building materials, as well as a large selection of practical items such as kitchen sinks and faucets.

Good prices, while also helping those in need in one’s own community, makes purchasing these items a winning proposition.

Hidden in the back of a business park, the Goleta based ReStore may be off the beaten path and hard to find the first time, but it’s well worth the effort. Just bring a truck, a tape measure, some creativity and readiness to shop.

Click here for more information about the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Click here to make an online donation.

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


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Michelle Malkin: Debunking Obama’s Bilious Baltimore Babble

By | Published on 05/03/2015


It’s never enough. American taxpayers have surrendered billions and billions and billions of dollars to the social-justice-spender-in-chief. But it’s never, ever enough.

The latest paroxysm of urban violence, looting and recriminations in Baltimore prompted President Barack Obama on Tuesday to trot out his frayed Blame The Callous, Tight-Fisted Republicans card. After dispensing with an obligatory wrist-slap of toilet paper-and Oreo-filching “protesters” who are burning Charm City to the ground (he hurriedly changed it to “criminals and thugs”​ midword), the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner got down to his usual business: hectoring his political opponents and grousing that America hasn’t forked over enough money for him to make the “massive investments” needed to “make a difference right now.”

If we are “serious” about preventing more riots, Obama declared, then “the rest of us” (translation: all of us stingy conservatives) have to make sure “we are providing early education” and “making investments” so that inner-city youths are “getting the training they need to find jobs.”

Narcissus on the Potomac wheedled that “there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now.” Me, me, me! His laundry list of the supposedly underfunded cures that he can’t get through Congress includes “school reform,” “job training” and “some investments in infrastructure” to “attract new businesses.”

I’ll give POTUS credit: He can lay it on thicker than a John Deere manure spreader.

Let’s talk “massive investments,” shall we?

In 2009, Obama and the Democrats rammed the $840 billion federal stimulus package through Capitol Hill under the guise of immediate job creation and economic recovery. An estimated $64 billion went to public school districts; another nearly $50 billion went for other education spending. This included $13 billion for low-income public school kids; $4.1 billion for Head Start and child-care services; $650 million for educational technology; $200 million for working college students; and $70 million for homeless children.

How’s that all working out? Economists from the St. Louis Federal Reserve recently surveyed more than 6,700 education stimulus recipients and concluded that for every $1 million of stimulus grants to a district, a measly 1.5 jobs were created. “Moreover, all of this increase came in the form of nonteaching staff,” the report found, and the “jobs effect was also not statistically different from zero.”

More than three-quarters of the jobs “created or saved” in the first year of the stimulus were government jobs, while roughly 1 million private-sector jobs were forestalled or destroyed, according to Ohio State University.

Obama later admitted “there was no such thing” as “shovel-ready projects.” But there were plenty of pork-ready recipients, from green energy billionaires to union bosses to Democratic campaign finance bundlers.

About $230 billion in porkulus funds was set aside for infrastructure projects, yet less than a year later, Obama was back asking for another $50 billion to pour down the infrastructure black hole.

In 2010, Obama signed the so-called Edujobs bill into law — a $26 billion political wealth redistribution scheme paying back Big Labor for funding Democratic congressional campaigns. A year later, several were spending on the money to plug budget shortfalls instead of hiring teachers. Other recipients received billions despite having full educational payrolls and not knowing what to do with the big bucks.

In 2012, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act “to encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.”

In July 2014, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to “help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.” (Never mind that a Government Accountability Office review of the feds’ existing 47 job-training programs run by nine different agencies “generally found the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive or restricted to short-term impacts.”)

In December 2014, the White House unveiled nearly $1 billion in new “investments” to “expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America” from “birth and continuing to age 5.”

That’s all on top of the $6 billion government-funded national service and education initiative known as the SERVE America Act, which was enacted less than a month after the nearly $1 trillion stimulus with the help of a majority of Big Government Senate Republicans. The SERVE America Act included $1.1 billion to increase the investment in national service opportunities; $97 million for Learn and Serve America Youth Engagement Zones; and nearly $400 million for the Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund.

The “social innovation” slush fund was intended to “create new knowledge about how to solve social challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures, and to improve our nation’s problem-solving infrastructure in low-income communities.” The biggest beneficiaries? Obama’s progressive cronies.

Apparently, the richly funded “social innovators” haven’t reached the looter-prone neighborhoods of Baltimore yet. But it’s not ideologically bankrupt Obama’s fault. It’s ours.

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


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Dale Francisco: With Santa Barbara District Elections Ahead, Beware the Pros — and Cons

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Santa Barbara was recently sued by plaintiffs who accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

Dale Francisco
Dale Francisco

The law is a great example of how powerful interest groups have seized control of politics in California. While supposedly protecting the rights of minority voters, it in fact further empowers the Democratic Party and two of that party’s main allies: labor unions and attorneys.

The California Voting Rights Act was written by two attorneys: Robert Rubin, senior counsel at San Francisco’s Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and director of its California Voting Rights Institute, and Joaquin Avila, a Seattle University law professor and former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF.

In 2001, the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature on party lines: Every Democrat voted for it, and every Republican voted against it. Gov. Gray Davis signed it into law in 2002.

The law targets “at-large elections” — elections in which all of the voters in a jurisdiction vote for all of the members of that jurisdiction’s governing body (for example, up until very recently, Santa Barbara City Council elections, in which all city voters voted for all members of the City Council).

Most small cities and school districts in California have at-large elections, and thus are potential targets of lawsuits filed under the Voting Rights Act.

An interesting feature written into the law is that a prevailing plaintiff attorney is entitled to have all of his or her attorney fees and expenses paid by a losing defendant, but a prevailing defendant cannot recover any costs.

This creates a tremendous financial incentive for Voting Rights Act lawsuits. In 2009, Michael Blood of The Associated Press found that in the first seven years of the law’s existence, attorneys Rubin and Avila had earned roughly $4.3 million for their firms by suing school districts and cities for violating the Voting Rights Act.

Even if a defendant chooses to settle, the costs of such lawsuits can be crippling for small jurisdictions.

Many of Rubin and Avila’s original targets were Central Valley school districts. In 2010, then-Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, introduced AB 2330, which would have given school districts 30 days to respond before attorneys could file a lawsuit, thus allowing defendants potentially to avoid paying attorney fees.

Unfortunately, Arambula’s bill never made it out of committee. (Arambula, the son of migrant farmworkers, later left the Democratic Party and became an independent over his belief that labor unions had too much control over the party.)

The California Voting Rights Act makes it much easier for minorities to claim that they have been discriminated against. They need only demonstrate that there is “racially polarized voting” — meaning the candidates chosen by minorities (such as Hispanic voters) are different from those chosen by the majority.

Here’s an example of how “racially polarized voting” lowers the bar for proving racial discrimination. Cruzito Cruz, one of the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit against Santa Barbara, has run for City Council three times. Cruz has never raised any money for campaigning, and so has never advertised, and thus is virtually unknown outside of his neighborhood.

In the 2013 election, he did best in his home precinct (105 votes) and the adjoining precinct (109 votes). His vote totals in other precincts were much lower.

Since virtually all of Cruz’s votes came from a minority neighborhood, there was, by definition, racially polarized voting. Under the Voting Rights Act, that is automatic proof of racial discrimination. Yet in his home precinct, Cruz came in eighth out of 10 candidates. So it seems unlikely that even with a new Hispanic majority district that Cruz could have been elected.

To avoid millions of dollars in costs, the City Council decided to settle the Voting Rights Act case before it went to trial. The city is now divided into six districts, two of which are “majority-minority” districts — ones in which Hispanics are a majority of the voting-age population.

This is the payoff for the Democratic Party, and the reason that the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature strictly on party lines.

Let’s compare District 1 (the Milpas area), one of the two new majority-minority districts, and District 4 (Riviera, Upper East and eastern San Roque). The two districts are roughly equal in population. But because District 1 is majority Hispanic, and many of its residents are not citizens, there are only 8,231 citizens of voting age, whereas in District 4 there are 11,369.

The difference in registered voters is even greater: 5,735 in District 1, compared to 10,328 in District 4. Yet each district gets to elect one City Council member. This means that the voting power of each voter in District 1 is effectively twice as great as that of a voter in District 4.

In California, 59 percent of likely Hispanic voters are Democrats and 18 percent are Republicans. Over time one would expect the newly empowered Hispanic voting districts to elect more Democrats. Unfortunately, because most Democratic candidates in California are financed by the public-employee unions, this could mean even greater union control over local politics, which means continued, unsustainable increases in union wages and benefits — at the expense of taxpayers.

How can we fight back? We must reach out to voters, and make sure they understand that continued, corrupt union control of city politics is harmful to whites, blacks, Hispanics — to everyone. A bankrupt California will serve no one’s interests.

Here’s a simple rule when evaluating candidates in this fall’s City Council race: If a candidate has received financial support from the public-employee unions, especially over a period of years, don’t vote for that candidate. Vote for leaders who represent all the people.

Dale Francisco is a Santa Barbara city councilman.


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Michael Rattray: Tide Shifts in Favor of Goleta Beach Park, and Coastal Commission Could, Too

By | Published on 05/03/2015


[Noozhawk’s note: This article has been updated below to reflect the endorsement from the local Sierra Club chapter, and not another local organization. An earlier version was incorrect.]

By far the biggest decision on the future of Goleta Beach Park will be made May 13 when the California Coastal Commission votes on the fate of the park’s current protection.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

In the last 13 years, Santa Barbara County crews installed rock buffers in front of the park’s lawn and its western parking lots. The intent was to prevent major erosion during the awful El Niño storms that many of us pray for today during California’s chronic drought.

This journey to save the county’s most popular park — which draws 1.5 million visitors a year — has been a long and arduous battle that finally can have a long-term solution.

Now with a unanimous 5-0 vote for permanency from our county Board of Supervisors, support from both the county and Coastal Commission staff, and an endorsement from our local Sierra Club, we — hopefully — can get an agreement of “no change” from the Coastal Commission itself.

Among the counter arguments for removing this protection are that the rocks are set in the surf line, scouring our beaches and depriving sand from naturally moving down coast. But these assertions were put to rest by a factual environmental impact report that proved otherwise.

It was finally documented that the rocks’ placement doesn’t impede normal ebb and flow of surf during high tides, but instead they are truly doing their job of protecting landward park assets when needed most.

Next on the list of arguments against the rocks was the threat of sea-level rise.

But again, the EIR found that when or if such rises materialize in the Santa Barbara Channel, any impact on beach erosion would be after 2050, eliminating the need of removing the rocks today.

And, by the way, the NOAA has been monitoring sea-level changes in our channel since 1974, and in 40 years there has been less than an inch of rise, a far cry from the 2 to 5 feet that computer models continue to predict.

With these arguments out of the way, all citizens of this county finally will be able to enjoy this wonderful beach park without the threat of destruction like we have experienced during past winter storms — before the buried rocks were installed.

But we can’t ease up now. Your support in defense of this position is most welcome, either through writing to the Coastal Commission or by attending the May 13 commission hearing in Santa Barbara. The hearing begins at approximately 4 p.m. in the Board if Supervisors hearing room on the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

— Michael Rattray represents Friends of Goleta Beach Park.


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Steven Crandell: 3 Ways to Reboot Your Spirit

By | Published on 05/03/2015


Think of it as our human software — the spiritual operating system that orients everything we do. It guides us as we think, work, play, love, create and give. Have you checked what spiritual OS you’re running? Are you happy with its functionality? Would you like to know three ways to update and restart your spiritual self?

The following ideas are ancient and modern, commonplace and mysterious, available and rarely accessed. They can be applied to all belief systems, including atheism.


I believe awareness brings connection. And connection brings wholeness and love.

What brings awareness?


To me, it’s a vital sign not only because it keeps our heart beating, but also because it opens our spirit for connection. In a truly wonderful irony, we breathe to keep our body functioning so our spirit can connect far beyond the confines of our cellular structure.

Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh writes that: “Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

And our thoughts connect us to the cosmos — everyone and everything.

Try this: Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowly. Say “Thank you.” (It helps me to think of something about which I feel authentically grateful on the exhale.) Try it three times. See how you feel. Try it five more times. See how you feel. Now try it 10 times. (This will take less than two minutes in total.)

There are many ways that breathing can help connect body and spirit. But sometimes we just need to reverse the negative inertia that can drain our energy so we can direct our own journey in a manner that fits with our most heartfelt values.


Why do you think everyone sings “Happy Birthday” as a way to celebrate an individual’s entrance on the planet?

Why do faithful folks sing or chant in every spiritual tradition?

Singing transforms language into music. And music is an invitation to emotion and movement. It’s all about connection and community. The vibrations of our vocal chords become vibrations in others’ ears. Feelings become easier to express and understand.

As we hear a good song, the artificial divisions of body, mind, heart and spirit become difficult to keep separate. Do you tap your foot to the beat? Do you want to dance? Does a memory come to mind, revived and made potent by the simplest tune? Do you want to sing along?

Yet so many of us think we “can’t” sing. Or that our voices are somehow “bad.”

This stunts our spirits. When we sing we can find instant connection with the creativity in our own bodies. When we sing with other people, we can feel the instant community that a shared song can bring.

Try this: Find some privacy and then sing your name. To any tune. Make one up. Or just use “Twinkle, Twinkle.” And while you sing, put one hand on your voice box — that’s in the throat area of the neck if you’ve never checked — and the other hand on your heart. You will feel the vibration.

Then put your fingers in your ears and sing again. You will sound different, but you will be able to hear yourself much better.

Then sing a simple song using only the words “thank you” repeated. See how you feel after this. Try it with an understanding friend if you like. Feel their voice as it vibrates in their body. Touch the miracle of another’s voice singing. Then sing along.

Always Have Plan B Ready to Implement

My Plan B is for when things don't work out, for when I suffer, for when my loved ones suffer, for when I feel disconnected and spiritually stuck.

My Plan B is not fancy or complicated.

My Plan B is just to keep trying. No matter what. Learning where possible. Never giving up. I love my Plan B. It’s the ultimate backup.

Try this: When things go badly, think of something you are authentically grateful for. Once you have it in mind, just say, “Thank you.” Say it even though your misfortune may be uppermost in your mind.

Gratefulness can come from the most basic things. That we’re alive. That we have friends. That we have food and shelter. No bonus points for complexity here. The idea is to get a toehold. To keep trying by staying engaged, by staying in relationship with the positive aspects of our lives.

In many ways, our thoughts forge our experience and we mold our thoughts moment by moment through free will. Finding an authentic thank you is a way to exercise our spiritual power to choose integrity, grace and connection.

I often think of the process like this: We go inside to connect outside. We seek our own balance to unite with a balance that transcends our divisions and unites us all.

Our breath, our voices, our ability to keep trying — these are all declarations of our belonging.

Truth is, we humans focus on our differences in blatant disregard for our common biology and experience. Have you ever stopped to consider that we are all sons or daughters, all part of a remarkably long line of humans nurturing other humans?

I believe we just need to let the light of this connection permeate to our deeper selves. That’s why the simple spiritual reboot I’ve proposed can help. It reminds us of what we already have — a shared humanity, a shared legacy and a shared destiny.

— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Three Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Armed Robbery

By | Published on 05/03/2015


An armed robbery involving three men occurred early Sunday in Isla Vista, and the suspects remained at large, according to the UC Santa Barbara Police Department.

The robbery was reported at about 4:30 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road, the department said in an automated alert to the UCSB community.

One of the suspects may have been armed with a firearm, police said.

Residents were advised to stay indoors and avoid the area.

Shortly after 10 a.m., police issued the following update:

“The area of the robbery has been thoroughly searched and checked by deputies and officers,” a statement said. “The suspects have not been located, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation into the crime.”

Additional details on the incident were not available.

Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call UCSB police at 805.893.3446.

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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Cinema in Focus: ‘The Water Diviner’

By | Published on 05/03/2015


3 Stars — Thought-Provoking

Directing himself in the title role, Russell Crowe creates a multilayered romantic tale in The Water Diviner.

Set within World War I when Australia invades the Ottoman empire, the story of a father whose three sons are lost in a particularly brutal battle is true. Based on that fact, Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios work together to create the screenplay from the book of the same name written by Andrew and Dr. Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios.

The romance is both expected and exotic. Joshua Connor (Crowe) lives with his family in the Australian outback, where he has a special skill of identifying where to dig his wells. Deeply in love with Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie), they live an idyllic agrarian life together with their three sons Arthur (Jack Douglas Patterson and Ryan Corr), Edward (Aidan Liam Smith and James Fraser) and Henry (Ben Norris and Ben O’Toole).

Deeply connected to his sons, Joshua nevertheless encourages them when they join the Australian and New Zealand army and soon engage in the Battle of Gallipoli. Using flashbacks and dreams throughout the film, the tale weaves Eliza and Joshua’s sorrow with their sublime past.

When Eliza demands that Joshua go find their sons’ bodies and bring them back to the ranch, he hesitates until she commits suicide and now he goes to Turkey to fulfill her wishes. It is a journey inward as he faces his own complicity in their loss as well as outward as he discovers and recovers life.

As such romantic tales go, Joshua soon crosses paths with a beautiful widowed Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), whose son, Orhan (Dylan Georgiades), helps fill the emptiness in his heart.

In a more complex way, Joshua is befriended by the Ottoman officer who was in charge of the army that killed his sons, Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdoğan). This relationship adds a new level of intrigue and hope.

Being able to divine where water might be available below the surface is a helpful metaphor for the love that Joshua has for others, which also lies beneath the surface. Knowing where to give love and how to reignite his family is a helpful ability for all of us.


» It isn’t often that a father sends three sons to war together. Joshua regrets that, in their teens, he had taught them about God and country in romanticizing war. How were you taught about war and what do you teach others?

» When the stern pastor notes that Joshua’s wife prayed weekly for her sons, do you believe this prayer was answered? In what way was it answered?

» Why do you think Joshua rejected God?

» The ongoing war in the Middle East is many centuries long. What do you think will bring peace to that region of humanity?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Driver Hurt When Vehicle Strikes Utility Pole, Overturns East of Santa Maria

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Minor injuries reported in crash on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road

A driver escaped with only minor injuries Saturday night when his vehicle slammed into a utility pole east of Santa Maria, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

After the vehicle struck the pole, he said, it continued into an agricultural field, where it overturned.

County fire personnel, assisted by Santa Maria firefighters, had to do extensive work to free the driver from the wreckage, Zaniboni said.

The victim, a man in his 40s who was not otherwise identified, was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center.

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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Alternative Energy Storage Has a Mountain to Climb, Which May Be What It Needs to Succeed

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Montecito’s Bill Peitzke builds on the idea that gravity and railroad tracks are just the right combination to redistribute wind and solar energy

Some railroad tracks, shuttle trains and one steep hill could be the linchpin to solving the world’s renewable energy woes.

The challenge so far lies largely in figuring out how to efficiently store and redistribute the energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines after the sun goes down and the breeze stops blowing.

Bill Peitzke may have the answer.

The longtime Montecito resident has co-founded Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), which aims to store renewable energy while leaving a relatively light environmental footprint and without using any water — a sought-after resource that’s needed for the more commonly used pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

ARES is piloting a project that takes solar or wind energy off an electrical grid and places it into a shuttle train, the motors of which operate as generators to propel the train up a steep hill on a railroad track.

When that potential energy is needed, the parked train descends to the bottom of the incline, where gravity-generated energy is redistributed into the grid.

In that way, Peitzke said, his company is harnessing the power of 100-year-old technology while producing six times more energy than hydroelectric storage.

ARES built and successfully tested a pilot in 2012 on a ranch in Tehachapi, southeast of Bakersfield in Kern County. Now the company is looking to construct the real thing in Pahrump, Nev., a Mojave Desert community near the California border west of Las Vegas.

The first-of-its-kind, 50-megawatt grid-scale ancillary services facility should produce enough electricity to power 50,000 homes, said Peitzke, who serves as director of technology development and has nearly 30 years of experience in the energy business.

Peitzke co-founded the company with San Diego engineer Matt Brown and recently hired CEO James Kelly, a retired Southern California Edison executive.

Before that, Peitzke served as a broker of long-term natural gas contracts and founded Williams Resources Corp. to provide a wide range of energy services.

“I’m passionate about climate change,” he recently told Noozhawk, referring to the lofty renewable energy goals the United States is supposed to soon reach.

In California, 33 percent of electricity must be from renewable sources by 2020 — just five years away.

“That requires a lot of energy storage,” he remarked.

The $40 million Nevada project is going through permitting channels now, although ARES has already struck a deal with the California Independent System Operator to redistribute the energy its trains will produce. The CISO oversees the state’s bulk electric power system, transmission lines and electricity market.

The operation — involving the steepest unmanned traction-driven railroad at an 8-percent grade — will eventually employ 16 people full time in a control room once it becomes fully operational, likely by December 2017.

ARES is already in talks to build similar projects across the country, said Peitzke, who said he is excited to break into a lucrative energy-storage market.

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.

The ARES Tehachapi Pilot Project railroad and vehicle, the steepest traction drive railroad in the United States seen here on a 9 percent-grade track section, aims to store wind energy with its gravity-based system. (Felix Adamo photo)
The ARES Tehachapi Pilot Project railroad and vehicle, the steepest traction drive railroad in the United States seen here on a 9 percent-grade track section, aims to store wind energy with its gravity-based system. (Felix Adamo photo)

(TodaysGreenMinute video)


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Former Colleagues Remember Late Santa Maria Police Chief Aubrey Patterson

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Retired longtime officer, who died last month at 74, served as interim chief in the 1990s

A retired Santa Maria police officer, who served as interim chief for several months in the 1990s, died last month. In spite of his reluctance to take credit, he is being remembered for his role mentoring multiple officers.

The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.
The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.

Longtime Santa Maria Valley resident Aubrey Patterson, 74, died April 22, his family said in an obituary.

He worked for the Santa Maria Police Department for 28 years, starting as a patrolman and finishing as a chief.

Cmdr. Kendall Greene said Patterson’s mentoring continued after the former chief left the police force.

“If it wasn’t for Aubrey Patterson, I wouldn’t be a police officer today,” Greene told Noozhawk.

“Sometimes he was just an ear to which I could vent,” he added.

Patterson shared “invaluable words of wisdom,” and helped Greene learn to deal with disappointment.

“I’m just thankful for the advice he gave me,” he said. “He’s a good man and he will be missed.”

Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant and former city councilman, also considered Patterson a mentor.

“You knew you could trust him and you knew he had high standards that you had to live up to in order to work for him,” he said.

“He was just an all-around great guy,” Cordero added.

Patterson’s friends and former co-workers recalled the retired officer’s love of sports. He played on SMPD’s baseball team.

“He had a great sense of humor, a high standard of work ethic, and he had clear, high demands for the people who worked for him,” Cordero said. “He had expectations and he didn’t hold back in telling you ... I learned a great deal from him and I always felt that I could trust him.”

Patterson also was “an outstanding homicide investigator” when he worked in the detectives’ bureau, he added.

In a cost-saving move, for a time the city made the police chief also manage the Fire Department. At that time, Patterson was named department chief for the law enforcement agency while Dan Shiner oversaw both agencies, according to Cordero.

After Shiner left in 1998, Patterson filled in for several months as police chief until a permanent replacement could be hired. However, his name is not on the official list of chiefs on the department’s website.

Before joining the Police Department, Patterson served in the Air Force for eight years.

While stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Patterson met and married his wife, Mary Sue. They have a daughter, Jeania Ann Reasner, and a son, Joey Patterson, along with three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Patterson also is survived by a brother, Jack.

At Patterson’s request, no funeral is planned.

“He didn’t want a big deal made of his accomplishments in life,” his obituary said. “He also didn’t want a big deal made, he said, when he was called home.

“He wants no funeral. He said he’d like it if his family and friends would remember him once in awhile with a smile and maybe do a favor for someone to try and make their journey just a little better.”

Funeral arrangements were handled by Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary of Santa Maria.

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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Diane Dimond: How to End Cycle of Civil Unrest? Stop Running, Stop Shooting

By | Published on 05/02/2015


After watching the situation in Baltimore these past couple of weeks — yet another American city strangled by violence stemming from the death of yet another unarmed black man — it suddenly dawned on me. It all starts with one stupid action.

I want to yell advice at the top of my lungs.

Stop running away from police!

But that is only half of the problem.

Stop instinctively shooting or manhandling suspects!

It is clear that both sides in these deadly clashes are to blame for inviting and escalating their situations. President Barack Obama calls it a “slow-rolling crisis” and reminds us that, “We shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”

I agree. Baltimore, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia — among the many American cities with a history of police brutality allegations.

More advice.

Stop assuming every cop is out to get you for something.

Stop assuming every young minority male is guilty of something.

Stop engaging in suspicious or criminal activity that you know will likely attract the police.

Stop giving handcuffed suspects with no seat belt protection retaliatory “rough rides” in the back of police transport vans.

Some young men of color do not respect or trust the police. They often don’t obey commands to stop, show identification or answer questions. These young men only make it worse for themselves.

At the same time, some officers lack respect as well. They see a young man of color and automatically go to extremes. They aggressively approach; they speak to them in a tone that goes against their status as a protector of all citizens. A few officers reach for their guns first and think later, in my opinion.

When these two forces converge, they can create a deadly encounter.

The senseless death of Freddie Gray, 25, of Baltimore, touched off this latest spasm of violence. On the morning of April 12, police on bicycles locked eyes with Gray (likely known to them as a man with a serious drug-dealing record dating back to 2007) on a Baltimore street corner. Gray suddenly began to run. Police followed, caught him and took him into custody on unknown charges. He was tossed into a police transport van for the ride to booking.

Gray’s family says he died after his neck was broken, his upper spine was smashed and his voice box crushed. They believe the injuries happened after he was arrested and given one of those “rough rides.” There is no official confirmation of this, but something happened in that van.

Less than an hour later, Gray was admitted to a hospital, where he went into a coma and died several days later.

Peaceful protests were organized in Baltimore, but they morphed into what can only be called bloody riots. Stores were looted; cars were set on fire; police officers were attacked and sent to the hospital. Dozens of protesters were arrested. Firefighters were outnumbered by rioters — their fire hoses cut by thugs. The governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The mayor decreed a week-long curfew. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts revealed much of the damage was done by rampaging high school kids.

“You had one mother who grabbed their child who had a hood on his head, and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed,”​ Batts said during a news conference. “I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”

That mother’s name was Toya Graham, and video of her pulling her son Michael, 16, away from a group of young thugs — smacking him all the way home — brought hope to my heart.

I am a friend to good police officers, and they are mortified by all the recent deaths of unarmed black citizens.

In Cleveland, Tamir Rice, just 12 years old, was shot dead on the sidewalk after he failed to drop his toy gun fast enough. Walter Scott, 50, of South Carolina, was shot in the back multiple times as he ran away from a traffic stop, apparently afraid his unpaid child support would catch up with him.

Other unarmed black men, like Eric Garner in New York and Ezell Ford, a mentally challenged unarmed black man in Los Angeles, also died at the hands of police.

So let me ask you this. How do we stop this awful cycle? Which side finds respect for the other first — or does neither?

How about starting with a call to all mothers of young men to do what Toya Graham did? Take responsibility for their own progeny and teach them to respect the law whether they are young minorities or police officers with a badge. Stop running. Stop shooting.

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: Voters Prefer Governors Over Senators for President

By | Published on 05/02/2015


In the past 94 years, American voters have elected a total of two U.S. senators — John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Barack Obama — president. By contrast, before Obama, four of the past five men elected to the White House — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — were either sitting or former governors.

Why the electorate’s preference for governors over senators? Governors have to make tough choices about how to balance the state budget, which the governor then has to persuade reluctant state legislators to pass. Senators instead make tough speeches and then issue a news release endorsing an unattainable — and unworkable — constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

Governors, who often deal with natural disasters and public emergencies, can point to real changes in people’s lives — the opening of a new community college or jobs with employers they brought to their state.

Senators, who speak in their own jargon about “lacking a quorum” or “tabling the motion to recommit” that means nothing to most Americans, represent the Congress, a universally disliked institution, and Washington, an unpopular place.

But because a senator is only one of 100 and accountable only for her or his own voting record, most voters don’t get upset when their ambitious senator misses the hearings of the Subcommittee on Weights and Measures to travel to a county convention in Iowa or to a party dinner in New Hampshire. That’s what senators do; they run for president. And it isn’t as though being in the Senate involves real work or heavy lifting.

The disadvantage for a governor — not as the party’s nominee for president in the general election but in leaving the state capitol to seek that presidential nomination by traveling to the primary and caucus states — is that the constituents, though they may take some home-state pride in all the national attention, want their governor on the job full time.

Consider New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state’s credit rating has been downgraded nine times during his administration. By a 2-to-1 margin in a Quinnipiac University poll, New Jersey voters do not think Christie should run for president. And if he does, 70 percent of his constituents believe he should immediately resign as governor.

Wisconsin voters are only slightly less unenthusiastic about the fact that their governor, Scott Walker, who is at the top of many national surveys, may run for the White House. By a 3-to-2 margin in the most recent Public Policy Polling survey, Dairy State voters do not think Walker should run for the highest office.

His job rating — according to the tally of the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker has been out of state about half the days in 2015 — has dropped to its lowest point in four years. A presidential bid by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would also be opposed by about two in three Louisiana voters.

You can hear the identical campaign case against Christie, Jindal and Walker from Republican rivals for the nomination: “Let’s listen to those who know him best, his home-state voters — who overwhelmingly do not want him to run.”

If you are the presidential nominee, it can be good to be a governor. But the real job of being governor can make it difficult to win that nomination.

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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Orcutt Schools Roll Out the Red Carpet in Celebration of Inaugural Digital Media Academy

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Tuesday awards night to showcase range and creativity of students’ new technology skills

Complete with red carpet arrivals, paparazzi and stars — aka students and teachers —the Orcutt Union School District will celebrate the first digital media academy with a Hollywood-style event.

The sold-out event set for Tuesday evening at Pacific Christian Center, 3435 Santa Maria Way, will include showings of student-made productions for the first Educational Media Innovation — dubbed EMI, it’s pronounced “emmy” — Awards.

The academy, led by 30 teachers on campuses in the district, aims to provide the digital literacy skills that today’s students need.

“This is where education is moving,” Superintendent Deborah Blow said. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.”

EMI Awards will be given in 10 categories. Six People’s Choice nominees will be chosen by those at the EMI Awards with voting via text messaging at the end of the night. Two Grand Recognition Awards also will be presented.

In all, 18 student productions will be shown, trimmed from a field of 110 submissions.

The 30 participating teachers applied for the district’s inaugural program last fall.

“It just seemed like a really neat opportunity to integrate technology in the classroom,” said first-year Olga Reed Elementary School teacher Nick Spaht, from a classroom with sixth  and seventh grades.

Orcutt Academy Charter School teacher Michelle Clayton said she applied because the program sounded like an exciting opportunity — both for her and for her students.

“It can never hurt to build technology skills in today’s educational world,” she said.

Clayton said students worked in groups of four to create public service announcements.

“The collaborative piece for them was amazing because I really saw kids working together on a final product and it was something they had never done before …,” she said. “There were kids who ended up being the main videographers and the main editors, but they all had a hand in every part of it, which is great.”

Spaht agreed.

“They did a fantastic job with their videos,” he said, adding that his students’ productions centered around character words such as perseverance, trustworthiness, honesty and integrity.

Clayton’s students’ topics run the gamut but center on “kid issues” — belonging, bullying, making a difference in the world.

Spaht and Clayton were able to collaborate since Orcutt Academy and Olga Reed share the Los Alamos campus. They said they plan to make educational videos to benefit both schools.

From camera angles to voice overs to all kinds of software, eighth-graders Liana Clark, Domeneque Remirez and Thomas Cardona, along with seventh-grader Leticia Ruvalcaba, said they learned assorted skills while working on their productions.

The students said they came away with more than technological lessons.

“Teamwork — definitely teamwork,” Thomas said in describing what he learned.

“Trying to listen to others to see everyone else’s ideas,” Leticia added.

“And being more open to other ideas,” Liana said.

It also boosted students’ confidence with technology, they agreed.

“I think, overall when we were making these videos, I think that we got closer together as friends,” Domeneque added.

Their teacher taught them how to use the hardware and software, but otherwise let the students create without interference.

“It was really nice how she made it our video, instead of a teacher video, and how she let it be a reflection us,” Liana said. “It was learning by experience.”

The students also gained an appreciation for longer productions after seeing how much work went into their one-minute shows.

Some of the students confessed to nerves and excitement for the awards night.

“I’m excited to see what all the other students have done throughout the district,” Leticia said.

When she was hired last year, Blow cited the digital media academy as one her goals for the district.

Teachers were equipped with technology and attended training sessions before taking the lessons into their classrooms. Schools also received carts that carry laptop computers for classroom use across the campus.

Not only does the program give some students and teachers new skills, it also provides infusions of technology for campuses, which often had relied on donated — also known as older — computers, officials noted.

“I think that’s why this program has been such a shot in the arm because the teachers and students were ready for some new technology,” Blow explained. “While we’ve done a great job with what we’ve had, it’s nice to get some current equipment in place.”

Next year, more teachers will be equipped and prepped to lead the academy, with the inaugural group serving as mentors while expanding their own skills.

Approved by the Orcutt school board in October, the $300,000 program was not really launched in classrooms until January, so this year’s academy is abbreviated compared to future versions.

Knowing that, Blow said she’s impressed.

“They’ve just blown me away with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time,” she said.

Spaht is already looking ahead to having a full year and expanding his lessons in 2015-2016.

“I’m super excited to see what else we can do with this technology,” he added.

Blow also expects next year to hold two shows since the venue is expected to be standing-room-only with this year’s group of participants Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to be a great evening,” Blow said of awards night. “I know the films that are going to be shown, and it’s going to be such a nice variety of inspirational videos, educational videos, a lot of innovation and special effects and some humor.

“We’re going make people laugh and we’re going to touch their heart.”

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.

Superintendent Deborah Blow brought the digital media academy to the Orcutt Union School District to boost students' technology skills. “This is where education is moving,” she says. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.” (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)


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United Launch Alliance Union Workers Vote To Ratify Contract

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Company urged Vandenberg AFB employees to approve pact, machinists’ negotiating committee declined to recommend

United Launch Alliance employees represented by the machinists union at Vandenberg Air Force Base and in Alabama and Florida narrowly voted Sunday to ratify the company’s final offer, which union leaders had said they couldn’t recommend.

Union officials said Sunday afternoon that 53 percent of the voters approve the contract, which becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday. While workers at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., voted in favor of the contract, the majority of the employees at ULA’s Decatur, Ala., manufacturing plant rejected it, according to a union Facebook post that later was removed.

The favorable vote means ULA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers avoided a strike.

ULA had urged workers to approve the three-year contract.

“In the coming years, ULA will face several daunting challenges, including fierce competition for new launch opportunities, a government-mandated deadline for an American-made engine, and customer demands for a lower-cost rocket,” said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive officer. 

“ULA has a finite window to secure our place as the spaceflight partner of choice for the next generation of government and commercial customers.”

Bruno also appealed to employees’ own interests.

“We believe the proposed contract is fair, recognizes our world-class workforce, offers our IAM-represented employees a wage and benefit package that exceeds what can be found elsewhere in the communities where we live, and enables us to succeed and secure a future we can all be proud of,”  he said.

Noting “these were tough negotiations,” machinists union leaders said they fought hard for members’ priorities, particularly retirement and medical costs. However, ULA remained firm on freezing the pension plan in 2017, union officials added.

“There are good things and bad things in this offer,” union leaders said in a letter to members, urging them to read the union’s summary and discuss it with their families.

“The contract offer fell short of our expectations and what we wanted to bring back to our members. Therefore, your negotiating committee decided unanimously that we cannot recommend this contract. The final decision as ALWAYS, rests with you, our membership.”

Both sides opened contract negotiations in mid-April.

ULA officials said the proposed contract calls for: 

» A 7 percent cumulative pay hike over the term of the agreement

» $6,000 ratification agreement

» $850 lump sum payments annually for supplemental cost of living, three health care plans with ULA paying between 80 percent and 82 percent

» More related to pension and employer-matched savings plans.

Formed in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin and, as of last fall, employs approximate 850 machinists union members, at Vandenberg and facilities in Decatur, Ala., and at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Vandenberg and Florida are the launch sites for ULA’s Atlas and Delta families of rockets while Decatur is home to the manufacturing plant for the company, which has its headquarters in Centennial, Colo.

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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Louise Palanker: Transgender Transitions, Sister Flirting with My Ex-Boyfriend, Paying for Prom Limo

By | Published on 05/02/2015


Question from Melissa

Hi. I have been thinking to tell my mom I want to really transition right now, but sometimes she tells me wait and I do, but I just can’t wait to be who I want to be, and she knows :( (I’m transgender male to female.)


The best thing to do would be to see a specialist. Your mother understands that this is a very important decision and she wants you to be certain, but there is medical wisdom that says the sooner a child starts transitioning, the less he or she will have to deal with adolescence and puberty in the wrong body.

For example, hormone blockers are an excellent initial step as they halt the onset of dramatic changes while also being reversible should you decide that you would like to remain a physical boy.

An expert will help you make your decision. Google the words transgender and the name of your town. Start researching and talking to experts and other families who are grappling with the same issue.

Click here for more information about cross-sex hormone therapy for transgender teens.

To help everyone better understand transgender children, please watch this TED Talk delivered by Dr. Norman Spack:

(TED video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Samantha

Hello Weezy. So ... I am still in love with my ex-boyfriend. I always noticed my sis flirting with him. She knows I love him. She saw me cry my eyes out every single night for eight months and she told me she was not flirting. She would never do that to me.

Well I SAW IT. She finally admitted it last night. She flirted with him.

And the worst part of the story is she said she’s in love with him. Yesterday she cried with me, and said sorry but just ... The heart wants what it wants!

I know I’m depressed when I need sleeping pills and tonight I needed one. I can’t sleep! I can’t stop thinking. I still can’t believe it.

My sister and I are so close and we do everything together. We know everything about each other, so how could she do this to me? I really need an answer.

Please, help me.


Tell your sister that when she says, “The heart wants what it wants,” she is quoting Woody Allen, a man who dated and married his stepdaughter, the sibling of his children.

The heart may want to knock over a liquor store, but it doesn’t do that because the head says, “Hey, Heart, that would be wrong.” There are a lot of boys on this planet. Your sister chose to go after your crush. She could have found him very attractive and still decided not to flirt with him until you, her sister, were completely over him.

But do keep in mind that she, too, is growing up and learning that actions come with consequences. You may not feel very close to her right now, so if she experiences you pulling away it is because she decided to romantically pursue your ex-boyfriend.

In doing so, she was not showing a great deal of concern for you. Timing and sensitivity are so important. Sisters really should not be going anywhere near a romantic connection with each other’s exes, unless the coast is completely clear. Meaning, whenever you are ready to move on. Whenever you are prepared to say “I now love him as a brother and I would be happy to see my sister with this guy.”

On some level, your sister understands what she did, so continue to cry with her and also make a request that seems appropriate. You can say, “If you are in love with him and you wish to date him, I will need to distance myself from the two of you. I don’t know how long I will feel angry and hurt but it may be for a long while.”

Or you could say, “Can you please wait a month to date him? By then I may be over him.” But talk to her. Have a dialogue.

We don’t want you getting addicted to pills. Please be careful. These heartaches do fade into memory but right now, as you heal, think about this. A guy who would go after your sister may not be much of a guy.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Sabrina

OK, so me and my friend are going to prom together. My mom is paying for a luxury car. It’s $140. My mom doesn’t know my friend’s parents and she is not going to ask them to help pay.

Now, I am really annoyed because my friend’s parents are telling her that she can’t go with me because they don’t know me or my mom. And they say they can’t trust anybody. So my friend asked if my mom can go over to her dad’s store and talk to him about it!

I’m like WTF! My mom is paying for your stupid ride. Are you serious? Now my mom has to walk all the way to her dad’s store to do him a favor? Like seriously?! Who does she think she is?! Like YOU’RE NOT EVEN PAYING ANYTHING AND YOU’RE BEING SO PICKY!!!

And her parents didn’t even offer a little money at least. Oh, and now they also want to meet the driver! Like WTF! YOU’RE NOT EVEN PAYING ANYTHING!!! It just gets me so mad!!!!!!! What do I say to her? How do I hold my anger? I just feel like I’m so mad.


You are angry because you are not aware of the bigger picture. There are things in life that we value. Money is certainly one of them. But money is a human construct and its value has been assigned to it by us as a society.

You refer often in your post to the money being spent to purchase this car as if that trumps all else. It does not. The Beatles have in fact advised us that “Money Can’t Buy You Love.” They should know. They made a lot of money.

Money also can’t buy you wisdom. If it could, you would not have felt a need to post this question.

There is nothing that people value more highly than their children. Prom is a notoriously dangerous night. A LOT can go wrong. Yes most parents want their child to experience prom. But they NEED to hold out hope that their child is safe at prom.

Your paying for this ride has NOTHING to do with these people’s sense of safety and security.

What they are requesting is entirely acceptable and expected.

If you want the pleasure of this girl’s company in a car that is being arranged by you, then it is YOUR responsibility to help her parents feel OK about it. This is no different than you having a party and inviting people over. Are parents supposed to just send their kids over to a raging kegger because you’re paying for it?!

Arrange a conversation between her parents and yours. If a nice ride is commissioned for prom then the family that pays is the family that can afford such luxuries. It is then this family’s responsibility to make the other family feel comfortable about the evening’s plan.

Hopefully, understanding all of this from her parents’ point of view will help alleviate your anger.

                                                                 •        •        •

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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Community Organizations Hold May Day Rally in Santa Maria to Protest New ICE Facility

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Protesters say they fear the soon-to-open Immigration and Customs Enforcement office will separate families through deportations

A new Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Santa Maria provokes fear to thousands of families in the Santa Maria Valley, speakers said Friday afternoon while standing yards from a new but not-yet-occupied facility.

“Today, we combat that fear with love and a message welcoming immigrants here in Santa Maria,” said Hazel Davelos from CAUSE, before calling on city leaders to show that immigrants are welcome and treated with respect and dignity.

A coalition of community groups including unions, religious organizations and others gathered near 740 W. Century St. to air their concerns that the facility will lead to separation of immigrant families through deportations. The group numbered approximately 20 people.

Friday evening, about 70 people gathered at the corner of Broadway and Main Street for a May Day rally, noting International Day of the Worker and the role of immigrants in the community.

Drivers in passing vehicles at the busy intersection honked in support of the group, whose members were holding signs saying “No ICE,” “The only ICE we want is in our raspadas” and “Immigrants are workers too.”

Department of Homeland Security officials have said the facility will replace aging buildings at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. The relocated operations have occurred in northern Santa Barbara County since 1996.

Like the Lompoc operations to be replaced, the Santa Maria facility will have “secure space for interviewing and briefly holding individuals who are coming into ICE custody following their release from area jails or prisons,” Homeland Security officials said.

Councilwoman Terri Zuniga attended Friday afternoon’s event, and said immigrants make Santa Maria a vibrant and diverse community 

She pledged to do her best to hold federal officials to their assurances regarding the number of people who will be processed at the Santa Maria site, the scope of the operations and their hours of their operations

May Day
Armed with various signs, about 70 people participate in a May Day rally Friday evening in downtown Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The city’s review of the proposed ICE facility prompted thousands to attend the City Council and Planning Commission meetings in protest in 2014.

Local business owner Tony Coles said diversity fuels economy and noted that the work of many immigrants makes local firms successful.

“Part of diversity is our immigration population and they need to be welcomed in and incorporated into the economic development of our city …,” he said. “Some of the most successful businesses here employ that population. They’re feeding them in restaurants. They’re shopping in our stores. They’re a big part of the business here so it’s time that we embrace our diversity here in Santa Maria.”

May Day is important to labor unions because it represents the formation of the eight-hour workday, according to Juan Cervantes of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

“Farm workers were excluded from the 8-hour day and we’re still being excluded now,” Cervantes said, adding it’s a shame to spend government money on a new ICE facility to process immigrant workers “who have done nothing but look for a better life.”

The national union has made it a priority to protect immigrant workers, he said.

“They are needed for their hard labor,” he said. “They want a job but they want to be part of the community. They pay their property taxes. They pay their taxes for gasoline. They pay all taxes and this is unfair to this community.”

The Rev. Cannon Deborah Dunn from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church said she wants immigrant families to feel welcome.

“At St. Peter’s, when we say everyone is welcome we mean everyone,” Dunn said.

The afternoon event ended with a “unity clap” followed by chants of “Si se puedes” or “Yes, we can.”

“I’m just so disappointed this building exists,” said the Rev. John Dear from the Catholic Church's Monterey Diocese. “Today, we stand together on behalf of the immigrant community to call upon the federal government to do everything possible to make sure this new ICE facility does not detain, process, separate immigrant families who have not committed serious crimes — simply living and working here in Santa Maria.”

He called on local policymakers show immigrants they are “welcome and safe in Santa Maria.”

“Immigrants are a great blessing. In the Christian tradition, they are Christ in disguise,” Dear 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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Santa Barbara Welcomes Home Remains of Army Sergeant Captured During Korean War

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Thousands of people line Hollister Avenue to pay their respects to Wallace Dawson, who died in 1951 of malnutrition after being captured by enemy forces

Sgt. Wallace Dawson

The remains of a U.S. serviceman who went missing more than 60 years ago after being captured by enemy forces during the Korean War were finally laid to rest at Goleta Cemetery on Friday morning, where the sergeant was given full military honors.

Army Sgt. Wallace Dawson of Santa Barbara was 21 at the time of his death from malnutrition in June 1951, after he was captured by enemy forces, according to the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA.

In early February 1951, Dawson and elements of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division were occupying a position in the vicinity of Sang-sok, South Korea, when their unit was overwhelmed by Chinese forces. 

The attack caused the unit to withdraw south to a more defensible position, and Dawson was reported missing Feb. 14, 1951, according to a statement from the DPAA.

Two years later, during Operation Big Switch, returning American prisoners reported that Dawson was captured by enemy forces and died in June 1951 from malnutrition and was reported to have been buried at prisoner of war Camp 1 in Changsong, South Korea.

The remains of those who had died in the war were exchanged by the United Nations and Communist forces in 1954, and all of the remains were turned over to the Army Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan, for analysis. 

The unidentified remains were interred as unknown soldiers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii

In 2014, the Department of Defense laboratory in Hawaii re-examined the records and scientists from DPAA, and the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory was able to identify Dawson's remains. Chest radiography and dental comparison and other circumstantial evidence that matched his records were used in the effort.

The remains of Army Sgt. Wallace Dawson are removed from the hearse before being laid to rest Friday at Goleta Cemetery. (Cyndie Young photo)

The DPAA said that nearly 8,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, and investigations are still ongoing to identify remains.

More than 2,000 students and staff of San Marcos High School lined Hollister Avenue on Friday to their respects during Sgt. Dawson's procession.

From Ward Drive to San Antonio Road, people lined each side of the roadway, waving American flags.

Dawson's high school class of 1949 came to the service, along with local veterans who fought in the Korean War. 

More than two dozen motorcycles from the Patriot Guard Riders also followed the procession, and two Santa Barbara County Fire trucks were also on hand to raise a large American flag in Dawson's honor.

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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Minor Injuries Reported in Highway 154 Crash

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Single-vehicle accident occurred near Windy Gap

One person was injured Friday afternoon when a vehicle crashed off the side of Highway 154 near Windy Gap, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 2:45 p.m., and the vehicle ended up about 20 feet off the roadway, the CHP said.

Santa Barbara County firefighters who responded reported that they had a single patient who had sustained minor injuries, and was requiring extrication from the wreckage.

Traffic on Highway 154 was stopped in the area for a time, causing a major traffic backup.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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


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Disaster Preparedness Focus of Saturday Event in Lompoc

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Nearly a year after Lompoc neighborhoods were evacuated as flames raced toward the city, residents can learn more Saturday about being better prepared in the event of a disaster like a fire or earthquake.

Disaster preparedness and wildfire awareness will be the focus Saturday at the Lompoc Fire Department’s annual event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Home Depot parking lot, 1701 E. Ocean Ave.

This year’s event will include The Big Shaker, the world’s biggest mobile earthquake simulator which can re-create the intense shaking of an earthquake up to a magnitude of 8.0. The Big Shaker is designed to educate citizens about what can happen inside their homes during an earthquake and how to prepare.

Fire Chief Kurt Latipow noted the trailer’s visit is especially timely due to the massive earthquake that struck Nepal recently.

In addition, Saturday’s event will showcase the countywide “Ready, Set, Go!” Program, a three-step process that allows firefighters to teach homeowners to create their own action plan of getting their property prepped for a potential wildfire.

Being ready before a fire sparks and getting set to flee with the necessary items also will be part of the presentation which will help residents understand the role of evacuations.

“We timed this event with a statewide Wildfire Awareness Day,” Latipow said. “We try to time it so we get the message out as early as possible.”

The event comes just weeks shy of the anniversary of the Miguelito Fire, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in southern Lompoc flames in the nearby hills raced toward the city.

“What we found last May is as hard as we worked getting the preparedness message out there, it’s a natural feeling for people to say it’s not going to happen to me. This is a much different event than our open house,” Latipow said, explaining Saturday’s will provide valuable tips on how families can prepare for evacuations of themselves and pets. 

The event will include 37 interactive displays hosted by preparedness partners such as the American Red Cross, Aware and Prepare, Santa Barbara County Fire, Lompoc CERT, PG&E, Vandenberg AFB Fire Department, the Fire Safe Council, The Gas Company, the Lompoc Fire Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

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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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Serving Up Bach, Goethe and Saint-Saëns

By | Published on 05/01/2015


The next free concert of the Santa Barbara Music Club — absolutely free, of course — takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 in its traditional venue, the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

Violinist Han Soo Kim will play Saint-Saëns' "petite phrase" sonata at the next Santa Barbara Music Club concert.

The program est omnia divisa in partes tres. First, the incomparable pianist Betty Oberacker will play Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Solo Keyboard in the Italian Style, "Italian Concerto," BWV 971.

Then, soprano Takako Wakita will team up with Oberacker to explore an overlooked genre that I have also investigated: literary works that have inspired multiple musical settings. My favorite example is Maurice Maeterlinck's Pelleas et Melisande and the very different music it provoked from Schoenberg, Debussy, Faure and Sibelius. Wakita and Oberacker have uncovered a much more spectacular example: the poem Heidenröslein/Little Rose on the Heath written in 1799 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which has received no less than 154 musical settings. The duo have selected six of these, by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Franz Lehar, Romanos Owakilowitsch Melikjan, Robert Schumann and Heinrich Werner.

The third part of the concert's triad will be Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin-Piano Sonata No. 1 in D-Minor, Opus 75 (1885), performed by violinist Han Soo Kim and pianist Neil Di Maggio.

I daresay everybody attending this concert will have heard the Bach, whether or not you recognize the title. The first few bars will bring it all back.

Romanos Melikyan (1883-1935) was an Armenian composer; beyond that, I know nothing of him. Heinrich Werner (1800-1833) was another of those gifted 19th century composers who died young (of the hyper-romantic ailment,  tuberculosis).

Werner's setting of the Goethe was more popular than the hundred or so versions that preceded it, and only the Schubert has gained more fame.

For information on this and other Santa Barbara Music Music Club offers, club programs and performing artists, visit

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


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Evacuations Ordered After Car Slams Into Building

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Injury accident occurred on Mission Street near corner of Chapala Street in Santa Barbara

Two buildings were evacuated as a precaution Friday after a vehicle slammed into a two-story structure on Mission Street in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The accident occurred at about 12:40 p.m. on Mission Street, just west of Chapala Street., said Fire Inspector Ryan DiGuilio.

A late-model Volkswagen bug exited the parking lot of a veterinary clinic and, for unknown reasons, crashed into the two-story building across the street at the northwest corner of Mission and Chapala Street that houses a Buddhist center and a tattoo parlor, DiGuilio said.

The driver, reportedly an elderly woman, was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor to moderate injuries, DiGuilio said.

Firefighters evacuated the building, and a single-story building next door at 106 W. Mission St., as a precaution pending an evaluation by a city structural engineer.

The two-story building was later yellow-tagged for limited entry, while the other building was cleared, DiGuilio said.

Mission was shut down in both directions for a time between Chapala and De la Vina Street.

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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Judy Crowell: High Society Never Goes Out of Style in Newport, Rhode Island

By | Published on 05/01/2015


Salvaged, luxurious Gilded Age mansions along Bellevue Avenue are among the many treasures awaiting visitors to the seaside city

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A favorite movie, High Society starring Grace Kelly, was filmed in Newport, R.I., in 1956, telling the sad story of Gilded Age mansions going down with the wrecking ball, a way of life gone forever. Fortunately, the Preservation Society of Newport County stepped in to rescue, preserve and maintain several of these treasures.

At the top of the list is The Breakers, the 70-room summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Marble House, another Vanderbilt home, is also a must-see. Here the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt and her daughter, Consuelo, can be heard on the audio tour. The monumental artworks and advanced technology of The Elms should be experienced, along with its fascinating Servant Life Tour — a true Downton Abbey precursor. Rosecliff, modeled after a French palace, is the mansion featured in High Society.

All these salvaged beauties are lined up like a string of pearls on Bellevue Avenue, but be sure to go by car. You’ll wear your feet out just touring The Breakers!

You’ll also want your car for the glorious 10-mile drive on Ocean Drive, ending at lovely Castle Hill with its working lighthouse and charming restaurant and inn. Sink into one of the Adirondack chairs for a spectacular sunset view with drinks from the bar and small plates delivered to your chair.

During the filming of High Society, Kelly would sneak away to this secluded beach, climbing down the precarious, rocky incline for timeout and privacy. Climbing back up was so difficult that the staff built a staircase for her. Locals now call it the Grace Kelly Beach.

For walking vistas of the ocean, take the beautiful 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, beginning at The Chanler, bordering mansion backyards and ending at The Breakers. It, too, has some difficult, rocky inclines.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is well worth seeing.

Shopping along Bellevue Avenue and Thames Street (Newport’s Main Street) delights at every corner. No malls along here. Restaurants include Bouchard, again at the top of the list for five-star perfection, wharf side; Spiced Pear, good food with an updated Victorian ambiance; Annie’s for breakfast, lunch and ginger chicken noodle soup; the White Horse Tavern, since 1673, a "bucket list bar"; Muse, by Jonathan Cartwright, for serious fine dining; and The Mooring, an absolute must for waterfront food and spirits.

If you love inns, Newport has many choices: The Francis Malbone House, probably the most luxurious of the B&Bs; Cliffside Inn, in the heart of the historic district; Bouchard Inn, steps from the harbor; and Hydrangea House Inn, a charmer.

For me, if I’m ever lucky enough to return to Newport, there’s only one choice, The Chanler at Cliff Walk. One of the most historic mansions in Newport, it was built in 1870 by John Winthrop Clark, a New York congressman, and is now a luxurious European-style boutique hotel. Guest suites are all individually decorated and are Gilded Age luxurious.

If you’ve never seen High Society, you’re missing something very special. In one of the most memorable scenes ever filmed, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, after imbibing a few in a hidden wall-bar at a formal party and extolling the attributes and foibles of Newport, come bursting through French doors into the blue-blooded crowd hoofing it and singing at the top of their talented lungs, “Well, did you evah? What a swellegant, elegant party this is!” And that pretty much sums up Newport.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.


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