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Contamination Delays Launch of Ocean-Monitoring Satellite from Vandenberg AFB

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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The Jason-3 spacecraft was set to fly to space in July aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket

Contamination spotted during testing of the Jason-3 spacecraft has delayed its planned July 22 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The ocean-monitoring satellite is set to fly to space aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4 East on South Base.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced the launch delay and start of an investigation.

“During spacecraft testing, engineers located contamination in one of the four thrusters on the spacecraft,” Jason-3 officials said. “The problem thruster has been replaced. An investigation into the contamination will continue during the next two weeks, as the new thruster is tested.”

A new launch date will be based on the findings of the review into the thruster contamination, NOAA officials said. 

The discovery occurred before the Jason-3 satellite traveled to Vandenberg from Europe where the U.S.-manufactured and other instruments were integrated on the spacecraft frame. 

Jason-3 is the newest in a U.S.-European series of satellite missions designed to maintain long-term satellite observations of global sea surface height. 

Officials say the data provide critical ocean information that forecasters need to predict devastating hurricanes and severe weather before they arrive onshore. 

Specifically, the satellite's highly accurate measures will be used for a variety of scientific, commercial and operational applications, such as forecasting hurricane intensity, forecasting tides and currents for commercial shipping and ship routing, forecasting for response to environmental problems like oil spills and harmful algal blooms, creating models crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research and forecasting for El Niño and La Niña weather conditions 

Jason-3 is designed to operate for three years, with the possibility of two more years for an extended mission.

NOAA is partnering with the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (France’s governmental space agency), European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Jason-1 launched in 2001 from Vandenberg, while the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on Jason-2 headed to space from the Santa Barbara County base in 2008. Jason-1 was decommissioned in July 2013; Jason-2 remains operational.

The satellites continued an ocean-monitoring mission that began with the 1992 launch of the Topex/Poseidon spacecraft which launched aboard an Ariane 4 rocket from French Guiana.

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

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Santa Barbara Council Makes Little Headway During Discussion on Even-Year Elections

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Santa Barbara City Council members could not agree Tuesday on whether to put a move to even-year elections on November's ballot, with some saying the change was a partisan move that would favor Democratic candidates and others saying turnout would be increased.

The council could not reach a decision, and it's unclear whether the item will be considered again anytime in the future.

Proponents of the move say that including city races on presidential ballots would increase turnout, while opponents say local issues would be drowned out by a crowded ballot of state and national items.  

The issue was further complicated because several options discussed Tuesday most likely would need the consent of plaintiffs who recently won a California Voting Rights Act settlement with the city regarding district elections. Starting in November, Santa Barbara's voters will elect City Council members from within the district they live based on a six-district map of the city, not at-large. 

That consent seemed unlikely to City Attorney Ariel Calonne, who outlined the options to either extend council terms by a year or shorten them by a year to move elections from odd years to even years. To shorten terms, Calonne cautioned, the plaintiffs would have to give their consent.

There was also council discussion about synchronizing the mayoral election with the 2016 presidential election instead of the planned 2017 election. 

The earliest an even-year election could be held would be 2020 and to get there any faster, "You'd need the plaintiff's consent," Calonne told the City Council. 

Muddying the waters was an email sent to Calonne from attorney Barry Cappello's office, stating that Cappello isn't representing the plaintiffs on the even-year elections issue, leaving council members to wonder aloud whether they should risk litigation by even considering the change. Cappello represented the group of Santa Barbara voters who sued the city over district elections. 

Most of the public speakers at Tuesday's meeting supported the second option put forward by Calonne, which would have voters elect the mayor in 2016, as well as candidates for districts 4, 5 and 6.

In November 2015, Districts 1, 2, and 3 will be up for election. Districts 1 and 3 have a majority population of Latino eligible voters and are located on the Eastside and Westside neighborhoods of Santa Barbara.

Four people have already filed papers with the City Clerk's Office to pursue a seat: Sebastian Aldana, Jacqueline Inda and Andria Martinez Cohen are pursuing the Eastside seat and current Councilmember Cathy Murillo is running for re-election in the Westside district.

Both Aldana and Inda were plaintiffs in the district elections lawsuit against the city. 

Public speakers from the League of Women Voters, Santa Barbara County Democratic Party and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy all supported the move toward even-year elections.

Aldana, a resident of the Eastside neighborhood, said he did not support the move to even years.

"If elections are moved to even years, no one will talk about local issues," he said, adding that neighborhood candidates could get drowned out as bigger issues are discussed.

"Even-year elections were voted on and denied by voters eight years ago. Give the new system a chance to work as agreed," he said. 

The City Council was divided on the issue.

Councilman Dale Francisco said that odd-year elections are superior "because it allows people to focus on the issues that affect Santa Barbara."

He said the move to even-year elections has been a goal of the Democratic Party for years because of larger student turnout in presidential years, adding that "students in their youth are largely Democratic."

Councilman Gregg Hart responded to Francisco, saying voters are presented with a myriad of issues each election.

"The idea that they can't retain the information … is preposterous," he said. "There is no credible public policy argument to be made for not having election cycles in an even year."

He said city voters should be given the option to decide whether to switch to even-year elections. 

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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Pacifica Graduate Insititute Celebrates Its 2015 Graduates with Commencement Ceremonies

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Pacifica Graduate Institute hosted its 2015 commencement ceremonies during the Memorial Day weekend, celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of its graduating students.

The ceremonies occurred on Pacifica’s picturesque Ladera Lane campus, located in the Santa Barbara foothills. Graduates, family, friends, faculty and alumni traveled to Santa Barbara from all over the globe to attend these special events.

The 2015 commencement ceremonies featured the traditional Pacifica faculty procession into Barrett Center, where three ceremonies were held, two on Saturday and one on Sunday.

In his welcome address to each graduating class, Dr. Stephen Aizenstat, chancellor and founding president, stated, “This day belongs to our graduates, their accomplishments and to the families and friends that are here to rejoice. Knowing that these graduates will bring their Pacifica experience into the world makes us proud.

“This graduation weekend has very special significance for Pacifica Graduate Institute. We are on the eve of our 40th anniversary year.”

Following each ceremony, Dianne Travis-Teague, director of alumni relations, and Pacifica alumni presented the new graduates with gifts to celebrate their momentous achievements and welcomed them to the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association.

For most graduates, commencement was the culmination of lifelong dreams. During the ceremonies, graduates shared heartfelt gratitude for their rigorous academic experience at Pacifica and for the opportunity to take their life’s work further into the world, carrying forward Pacifica’s motto, animae mundi colendae gratia — for the sake of tending soul in and of the world. Master's and Ph.D. degrees were granted in the areas of Counseling Psychology, Mythological Studies, Engaged Humanities, Depth Psychology and Clinical Psychology.

Pacifica grad
Pacifica Graduate Institute graduates celebrated commencement with friends and family, some who traveled to Santa Barbara from all over the globe. (Pacifica Graduate Institute photo)

With deep acknowledgement and respect, Dr. Thyonne Gordon, chair of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Board of Trustees, recognized the students who graduated, on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Aizenstat presented special awards to faculty, and recognized faculty members who recently achieved emeritus status.

The commencement ceremonies were recorded through a live webcast which is available through the Pacifica’s website at 2015 Commencement. We invite you to celebrate with us and view these special ceremonies.

The Pacifica community looks forward to celebrating Pacifica Graduate Institute’s 40th anniversary in 2016. For more information, contact Heidi Townshend, director of external affairs, at 805.879.7374 or [email protected].

Pacifica Graduate Institute, with two campuses in Santa Barbara, is a WASC-accredited graduate school offering masters and doctoral degree programs in depth psychology, mythological studies, and the humanities. The Institute has established an educational environment that nourishes respect for cultural diversity and individual differences, and a rigorous academic community with a spirit of free and open inquiry. Students have access to an impressive array of resources including the OPUS Archives and Research Center, which is home to the Joseph Campbell Library and Archives.

The mission of Pacifica Graduate Institute is to foster creative learning and research in the fields of psychology, the humanities, and mythological studies, framed in the traditions of depth psychology. Consistent with and supporting this vision, Pacifica Graduate Institute is employee-owned, and practices shared stewardship.

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Peter Hasler Joins CenCal Health as Associate Medical Director

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Hassler
Peter Hasler

CenCal Health is pleased to announce Peter Hasler, M.D., as its new associate medical director.

Dr. Hasler most recently served as a consulting physician for special projects with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

From 2007-14, Dr. Hasler was the medical director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. Prior to that he served as supervising pediatrician for all Public Health Department Health Care Centers, medical director of Children’s Medical Services and staff pediatrician for PHD CHDP Clinics: Carpinteria, Franklin, Lompoc and Solvang.

He was previously a pediatrician at the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Children’s Medical Clinic and Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic.

Dr. Hasler received his medical degree from the University of California-San Diego, completed his pediatric residency at the University of Utah and received his bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara.

Dr. Hasler has served on several boards and committees, including CenCal Peer Review, the Credentials and Medical Advisory Committees, SB Medical Society CME Consortium, Santa Barbara Unified School District and Goleta Union School District as a pediatric consultant, the Terri Toon Memorial Fund, CALM and the Wildland Residents Association & Painted Cave Mutual Water Company.

He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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Supervisors Approve Fee Increases at Santa Barbara County Parks

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved county park fee increases that will impact reservation fees and the prices for camping sites, cabins and park day use.

The non-refundable reservation fee for special events in county parks will increase to $200 from $100, for events such as Old Spanish Days and the Calvary Chapel Easter Service at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden, according to Community Services Department chief financial officer Ryder Bailey.

About 20 percent of the county’s reservations are canceled so the department also proposed a cancelation fee of 50 percent of the rate paid.

The reservation fee at Orcutt Park Sports Field will increase to $15 from $5.

Day use fees will increase, with $2 to $10 increases per day for tent sites, group camping sites, yurts and cabin fees.

The increased fees are expected to generate $180,000 per year, which is about 3 percent of the community services department’s revenues, Bailey said.

New rates will take effect July 1 and the full list can be viewed below. The green fees are changes and the red fees are being eliminated.

The Park Commission recommended approval in March and a study of nearby areas showed the fees are within market rates, Bailey said.

Supervisors unanimously approved the changes.  

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.

Santa Barbara County Proposed Park Fees

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Capps Participates in First National Gun Violence Awareness Day

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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On Tuesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, participated in a special congressional hearing held in conjunction with the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day to address the relationship between domestic violence and firearms.

“I was honored to participate in today’s congressional hearing to help shed light on the highly problematic relationship between domestic violence and firearms,” Capps said. “The need for today’s hearing is clear — we know that when a woman is killed in the United States it is most likely to be at the hands of an intimate partner with a gun. In fact, in a home that has a history of domestic violence where an abuser owns a gun, the risk of homicide is 20 times higher. These numbers speak for themselves; and as a Congress we must act. That’s why I authored the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, a bill that would close loopholes that put abuse survivors at life-threatening risk.”

The hearing was hosted by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and was chaired by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. During the hearing, members of Congress heard from multiple policy experts, community leaders, and several women who had survived domestic violence and attempts on their lives with a firearm by their then spouses.

Two pieces of legislation authored by Congresswoman Capps, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act and the Pause for Safety Act, were lauded by many key leaders in attendance as significant legislative steps forward in addressing the violent relationship between domestic violence, stalking and firearms. 

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! Awarded NEA Grant for Performance Program, Educational Outreach

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! has received a grant of $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to further its program of performances and educational outreach in 2015-16.

The grant coincides with Viva’s 10th season and will support free family concerts, school visits and community workshops for audiences throughout Santa Barbara County from Carpinteria to New Cuyama.

A collaboration between UCSB Arts & Lectures, The Marjorie Luke Theatre, Isla Vista School and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, Viva presents residences with performing artists from the U.S. and Mexico representing important traditions and innovation. Free family concerts at Isla Vista School, Guadalupe City Hall and The Marjorie Luke Theatre engage attendees and provide opportunities for cultural sharing including free workshops, school visits, and meet-the-artist sessions. This past season ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! presented five multi-day residences with bands and performing groups such as Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar, Contra-Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theatre, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, M.A.K.U. SoundSystem and Las Cafeteras.

On hearing the news, Arts & Lectures Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta Billeci said, "We are both proud and humbled each time the National Endowment for the Arts recognizes the value of ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! in our community. To be equal partners with terrific grassroots community organizations is an honor, and to have earned the imprimatur of excellence that comes with NEA support — well, we're thrilled.”

Board President for the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Dawn Ziemer, added, “The Marjorie Luke Theatre is very thankful to the NEA for their kind and generous grant towards our Viva el Arte family concert program. This gift will enable us and our partnership of UCSB Arts & Lectures, Isla Vista School and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center to continue to provide world-class Latin American music performances and music education outreach for free in the diverse Santa Barbara area. We truly value the NEA for recognition of this need in our community.”

Viva’s next season will be announced in August. For up-to-date information, look for Viva on Facebook.

About ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara!

¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! is funded by the McCune Foundation, the UCSB Office of Educational Partnerships, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Wells Fargo Foundation, The Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund, the Stone Family Foundation, Roddick Foundation, William E. Weiss Foundation, Mary and Gary Becker, Patricia and Jim Selbert, and Eric Kronvall. The program is sponsored in part by the “Santa Barbara Independent,” the “Santa Maria SUN,” Radio Bronco, Univisión, KPFK, KCSB, the Sandman Inn, Best Western South Coast Inn and Ramada Limited. Additional support from the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and California Arts Council, Community Arts Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. Co-presented by the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and UCSB Arts and Lectures, in collaboration with the Isla Vista School After School Grant.

— Cathy Oliverson is the manager for performing arts and education outreach for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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Best and Brightest: UCSB Announces Winners of Thomas More Storke Award, Other Top Prizes

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Three remarkable graduating seniors at UC Santa Barbara have been named winners of the university’s top awards for their scholastic achievement, their extraordinary service to the university and the community, and their personal courage and persistence.

Daniel Chu
Daniel Chu

» Daniel Chu of San Diego is the recipient of the Thomas More Storke Award for Excellence, the campus’ highest student honor, for outstanding scholarship and extraordinary service to the university, its students and the community.

» Gloria Campos-Calderon of Los Angeles is the recipient of the Jeremy D. Friedman Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, superior scholarship and contributions to undergraduate life on campus.

» Stephanie Grillo of Northridge is the recipient of the Alyce Marita Whitted Memorial Award, which recognizes a nontraditional student’s endurance, persistence and courage in the face of extraordinary challenges while pursuing an academic degree.

In addition, Christopher Ryan Edwards will receive the Mortar Board Award, which is given in recognition of having earned the highest cumulative GPA of the graduating class; and Kashira Ayers will receive the Yonie Harris Award for Civility in Public Discourse. This award, named in honor of the former dean of students, is presented to graduates who exemplify the principles of free speech and respectful dialogue and who foster a campus climate of civility and an open exchange of ideas.

These and other student award winners will be honored at a University Awards Ceremony and Reception on Friday, June 12 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in the campus’ Corwin Pavilion. The winner of the Storke Award will also be honored at the Sciences ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 13 on the Faculty Club Green.

Chu, the Storke Award winner, is an honors student, researcher and community volunteer. He will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in biology from the College of Creative Studies, with a minor in music.

To describe Chu as an excellent student in both his scholarship and piano performance would be an understatement at best. With an impressive 3.94 grade point average that includes no fewer than 10 A+ grades, Chu is, in the words of one faculty nominator, “one of the best of the best in this year’s graduating class.”

As an undergraduate, Chu performed graduate-level research with Irene Chen, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, where his independent project involved “characterizing phage diversity in microbial infections in order to understand their role in the disease course of chronic infections.” So important is Chu’s research that a post-doctoral student was assigned to work with him so the research can continue after Chu graduates.

Gloria Campos
Gloria Campos-Calderon

But science was not the undergrad’s first choice. From a young age, Chu intended to pursue a career as a concert pianist. However, an opportunity to conduct medical research as a high school student ignited his passion for medical science. He now describes his ultimate career goal as working as a principal investigator studying pediatric diseases, and also as a part-time pediatrician.

The recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, Chu is equally accomplished outside the classroom. Founder and co-president of Project Bridge, he worked with underserved populations in the community to ensure their education about and access to affordable healthcare. He was also an active volunteer with the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and the Casa Esperanza homeless center. In addition, as the healthcare chair of the Mu Delta pre-medical fraternity, Chu made sure his fellow members had updated information about healthcare and professional development opportunities.

After graduating from UCSB, Chu will begin a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. His long-term goal is to earn a medical degree and a Ph.D. Guessing his possible career, “mission specialist for NASA? epidemiologist at the CDC?” one of his nominators noted, “no matter what he ultimately decides to pursue, one thing I am absolutely certain of — he will be excellent at it.”

Campos-Calderon, recipient of the Jeremy D. Friedman Award, is recognized as an innovator, a scholar, a role model and a forceful leader who has worked to raise awareness about the needs of undocumented students.

She set the goal of developing and strengthening services and support for undocumented students at UCSB and then expanded her reach to the entire UC system.

Stephanie Grillo
Stephanie Grillo

In the words of her nominator, “She models beautifully an activist-leader, rallying for awareness on issues of injustice and human rights and sitting at the table working on systemic change.”

Known as compassionate, gentle and dedicated, Campos-Calderon improved the lives of countless students through her leadership of the organization Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success (IDEAS), where she served as co-chair, internal advocacy chair and fundraising chair.

With Campos-Calderon’s assistance, the campus transitioned from a model in which IDEAS students served as the primary experts on undocumented UCSB students to one that includes a growing number of staff and faculty members trained to sensitively and respectfully launch services and support students’ efforts and needs.

Campos-Calderon also assisted in drafting the proposal and budget for what would become UCSB’s Undocumented Student Services. Working tirelessly on behalf of her fellow students, Campos-Calderon participated in the Associated Students (AS) Commission on Racial Equality, the Leadership Education and Action Program, the AS Food Bank, AS Human Rights Board, KCSB-FM radio station and El Congreso.

Her activism also extends beyond the university to include her role as an advocate in the UC system for undocumented students, a mentor in two local schools, a member of the Coastal Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, chair of the National Dream Caucus and San Gabriel Immigrant Youth Coalition.

“Gloria’s community service on and off campus shows a pattern of social justice,” her nominator said. “And it also tells a story about her character. She does not hesitate to act where there is a need and gives of herself tirelessly and paves the way for others to obtain shelter, food and basic rights.”

After graduating from UCSB with Bachelor of Science degrees in Black Studies and in environmental studies, Campos-Calderon plans to return to Los Angeles to work with community organizations dedicated to environmental justice. Ultimately, she hopes to earn her teaching credential and become an ethnic studies teacher within the Los Angeles Unified School District. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning and focus on issues related to affordable housing.

Stephanie Natalie Grillo, a first-generation transfer student and recipient of the Whitted Award, has demonstrated remarkable perseverance as she overcame one challenge after another to achieve her goal of attending UCSB.

Raised in an underprivileged home, while still in high school she assumed the role of parental guardian for her two younger siblings. Financially independent since the age of 19, she continues to provide emotional and financial support to her siblings.

Described as passionate, motivated and hardworking, Grillo used her strength as a leader and volunteer coordinator to inspire her peers to share her vision for Life of the Party (LOTP), a student-run intern program organized under the auspices of the UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program. LOTP seeks to create an environment in which responsible partying is normalized. As an intern and volunteer coordinator for the program, she has tripled the number of students regularly attending volunteer meetings, and nine volunteers have interviewed for next year’s internship (up from the handful of students and one internship applicant two years ago).

As volunteer coordinator for LOTP, Grillo was part of the team that assisted with Delirium, the AS Program Board’s Halloween concert, and The Warm Up, an alternative to Deltopia. As a result of her engagement and leadership, many students chose volunteering over partying and helped make Isla Vista safer during those weekends. She served as the primary contact for the more than 300 LOTP students on the weekly volunteer listserv, assisted volunteers with development of campaign ideas and programs, presented education programs to various student groups, developed and implemented alternative programs and prevention campaigns and assisted with online marketing.

Her nominator said of Grillo, “Her work is always impeccable, her attitude is consistently positive and motivated and she makes every meeting fun and filled with laughter, which is extremely important given the nature of the work Life of the Party tries to do for the community.”

Grillo also has served as a peer facilitator for Gaucho FYI; a clinician and inclusion aid at UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center for children with special needs; a science counselor for UCSB’s Summer Science Camp; and an instructional assistant for Education 122, part of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education’s Pre-Professional Education Program.

After graduating from UCSB with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in education, Grillo plans to work as a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center as well as a bilingual para-educator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District. With some experience under her belt, she hopes to return to UCSB to earn her teaching credential and complete a Master of Arts degree in Education.

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

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30 Birds, 15 Mammals Found Dead Monday During Refugio Oil Spill Response Efforts

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Thirty dead birds and 15 dead mammals were found during the Refugio oil spill response Monday, an unusually high number for the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts organized by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Since the May 19 spill in southern Santa Barbara County, near Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast, responders have found a total of 57 live birds and 80 dead, with five live and 30 dead found during a 12-hour period on Monday.

All the reported birds had visible oiling, and even a dime-sized amount of oil can make a bird cold and cause problems, according to Lt. Sean Moe with the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response.

The spill-impacted birds and mammals, mostly western brown pelicans and sea lions, have been found over a larger area than beaches impacted by the spill since they may have passed through the oily waters, officials have said.

There have been 38 total live mammals found and 45 dead mammals found, some without visible oiling. Cause of death can be determined by a necropsy if the natural resources damages assessment pursues one, Moe said at a press briefing last week.

On Monday alone, crews found two live mammals and 15 dead mammals.

Shoreline and boat-booming cleanup operations have moved from the Refugio and El Capitan state beaches to northern Ventura County so teams are evaluating more beaches, which could be a reason for the spike, said Rusty Harris-Bishop, a public information officer from the Environmental Protection Agency working at the incident's Joint Information Center.

Wildlife officials will be looking closely at Tuesday's and Wednesday’s numbers to see if the numbers stay high or whether it’s just a blip, he said.

“Instead of going out on individual responses as animals are reported, there is more comprehensive canvassing. They expanded the area and they are encountering more animals — it could be that, they don’t know for sure,” Harris-Bishop said. “If the animals are more lightly oiled, it would take longer for them to get ill and come to the shore.”

Response efforts continue along the shoreline in southern Santa Barbara County and there will be a single-lane closure on southbound Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily to make room for heavy equipment, according to the incident command. 

Update on traffic impacts and other response efforts can be found on the main Refugio Response website here

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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Heidi Sandoval Joins Northern Trust’s SoCal Region as Senior Institutional Wealth Strategist

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Sandoval
Heidi Sandoval

Northern Trust, a leading provider of financial services for affluent individuals, families and institutions, announced Tuesday that Heidi Sandoval has joined the Southern California region as a senior institutional wealth strategist for Northern Trust’s Foundation and Institutional Advisors, serving clients and prospects in Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Sandoval will work with midsize foundations, endowments and nonprofit institutions to develop comprehensive financial solutions to meet their financial goals.

FIA services include investment management, investment consulting, asset allocation, manager selection, custody and performance reporting, and investment and spending policy design.

Sandoval has more than 22 years of business development experience in the institutional segment. Prior to joining Northern Trust, she was managing director of the Retirement Division at The Bank of New York Mellon, where she developed the BNY Mellon enterprise retirement strategy. She also served as global account manager for strategic sales and marketing at Mellon Financial Corporation and sales consultant for institutional investments at Dreyfus Corporation.  

Sandoval earned a bachelor of science degree in business management, finance and Spanish from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She is a member of National Charity League, La Canada Junior Women’s Organization and Town Hall-Los Angeles.

Sandoval is based in Northern Trust’s Pasadena office, 201 S. Lake Ave., Suite 600, and can be reached at 626.583.3800.

— Lisa Miller is the regional marketing director for Northern Trust.

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Santa Barbara County’s Northern Branch Jail Project Near Santa Maria Soon Will Go to Bid

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Board of Supervisors approves the move for the new 376-bed jail facility and 228-bed Sheriff's Transition and Re-entry Complex

Santa Barbara County staff are now authorized to go out to bid for the Northern Branch Jail project, a 376-bed facility near Santa Maria at Betteravia and Black roads.

The Board of Supervisors approved the move Tuesday, in addition to moving forward with an insurance program for construction and a lease agreement with the state for the county-owned jail complex site.

The new jail complex will have the 376-bed facility and the 228-bed Sheriff's Transition and Re-entry Complex that is designed to offer more programming to inmates. 

The two construction bids are for the site work and jail construction, with an estimated construction contract value of $62.2 million, and offsite work to provide sewer and water services to the site, with an estimated contract value of $2.25 million, according to General Services Department assistant director Greg Chanis.

County staff members expect to award a bid in November — the last time to turn back if supervisors are having doubts — and start occupying the new jail complex in May 2018.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr reiterated her concerns about the project, saying the three main reasons she saw for building the facility “are slowly evaporating.”

It’s a disappointment that the licensed or certified mental health beds were eliminated from the project design, Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf said. There are 32 “special needs” beds that will be used for medical and/or mental health housing in the jail complex, according to the General Services Department.

Supervisors also approved pursuing an owner-controlled insurance policy, meaning the county will get an insurance policy to cover general liability and workers compensation, instead of the traditional model where all parties and contractors get their own coverage, Chanis said.

It is becoming a trend in large county projects but has never been used in Santa Barbara County before, county counsel Michael Ghizzoni said. With this insurance plan, the county could potentially see lower bid amounts since contractors won’t include coverage in the bids, he added. The county can reject all bids if the amounts are much higher than expected.

Supervisors plan to require the bid-winner to do outreach and encourage local participation through hires from companies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

The next step is to get design plans approved by the state fire marshal’s office, which has been a long process.

Chanis said the design team is meeting with the office next week and wants permission to bid “to try to light a fire” and get the final approvals, he said.

The property is being leased to the state for the time of the financing liability since the majority of construction funding comes from state grants. 

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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Lompoc Police Arrest 4 Suspects in Assault of Bar Worker

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Four people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an assault of a bar employee outside the establishment at 321 W. Ocean Ave. in Lompoc, police said Tuesday.

A Lompoc patrol officer driving near Johnny’s Bar and Grill at 12:50 a.m. May 21 saw several people fighting in front of the bar.

The crowd dispersed when the officer drove up to the scene, where he spotted an adult male on the ground.

The victim, whose name was not released but works at the bar, suffered head and facial injuries.

A follow-up investigation revealed the victim was attempting to escort out two men who were no longer welcome inside the bar. 

“Upon reaching the outside of the bar, the victim was assaulted by the males and the group of people that were with them. The victim was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he was treated for a severe head injury,” Lompoc police said.

Between May 24 and May 28, the Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team and patrol officers arrested Jordan Erving, 23, Devon Dawkins, 27, Andrew Binnebose,  23, and Vannessa Savala, 24, all of Lompoc.

They were arrested on suspicion of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, participation in a criminal street gang and an enhancement for causing great bodily injury.

The victim has since been released from the hospital, police said.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Detective Lucas Signorelli at 805.875.8169.

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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Capps Questions Energy Secretary Moniz on Pipeline Safety

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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On Tuesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, spoke to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz about the impacts of the oil spill on the Central Coast and the need for stronger federal pipeline safety regulations.

Secretary Moniz was testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Power during a hearing on the need to improve energy infrastructure throughout the United States. This is the first energy hearing held since the May 19 oil spill at Refugio State Beach.

“While the exact causes of the recent Plains All American spill are still being investigated, it is already clear that woefully inadequate federal pipeline safety standards played a significant role,” Capps said. “The mere fact that Plains and other companies have oil spill contingency funds shows that there is no such thing as a safe pipeline. We need to take whatever measures possible to ensure stronger federal pipeline safety oversight.”

Text of her speech, as prepared, is below.

Questions — Sec. Ernest Moniz
6/2/15 Hearing on DOE Quadrennial Energy Review (QER)

Thank your Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing, and thank you Mr. Secretary for your testimony.

This discussion of our nation’s energy infrastructure is very important, and the Administration’s work on the QER is important.

I’m particularly interested in the pipeline safety aspect of it.

Over my years on this committee, I have referenced the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill many times.

That oil spill had tremendous local and national ramifications, giving birth to the modern environmental movement and changing the way our nation viewed oil development.

Sadly, the Santa Barbara community was recently hit with yet another terrible oil spill along the coast.

On May 19, more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the ruptured Plains All American Pipeline along the treasured Gaviota Coast just north of Santa Barbara.

The oil quickly flowed under the highway, onto the beach, and into the ocean where the oil slick spread south for miles along the coastline.

While the exact causes of this spill are still being investigated, it is already clear that woefully inadequate federal pipeline safety standards played a significant role.

The Plains All American Pipeline is the only federally regulated pipeline in Santa Barbara County.

It is also the only transmission pipeline in the County that does not have an automatic shutoff valve built into the system.

This is not a coincidence.

Every other comparable oil pipeline in Santa Barbara County has an automatic shutoff valve because the County has required it.

But the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — or PHMSA — does not make that requirement of pipeline operators.

While an automatic shut off valve would not have prevented the spill, it certainly could have minimized it.

Plains was allowed to squirrel away tens of millions of dollars into a contingency fund for when their pipeline would inevitably fail, yet they weren’t even required to spend a fraction of that amount on installing basic spill prevention technologies.

This defies common sense, and it cannot be allowed to continue.

And this is just one example of lax safety standards.

My constituents are understandably angry; and I share their anger.

Oil and gas development is a dangerous and dirty business ...

The mere fact that Plains and other companies have oil spill contingency funds shows that there is no such thing as a safe pipeline.

Spills happen, and they will continue to happen as long as we depend on fossil fuels for our energy needs.

We obviously cannot end this dependence overnight, but we need to take bigger and bolder actions to achieve the clean energy future that we all know is needed.

Secretary Moniz, I appreciate the President’s and your strong commitment to pursuing renewable energy.

The objectives of the QER are important. We cannot build a clean energy future without preparing for new challenges and modernizing our infrastructure.

But we must also do everything in our power to ensure that this infrastructure is as safe as possible.

Congress has repeatedly directed PHMSA to strengthen its standards, yet PHMSA has done little.

The QER specifically mentions a draft PHMSA rule in development that would help strengthen some of these standards, but PHMSA first began taking comment on this rule nearly 5 years ago and nothing has been published.

And in 2011, Congress enacted legislation explicitly directing PHMSA to issue a rule requiring automatic shutoff valves on new pipelines by January of last year.

Still not even a proposal, let alone a final rule. This is inexcusable.

I know DOE does not have direct control over this agency or rulemaking, but what’s the point in replacing aging pipelines and building new ones if they’re built using ineffective and outdated safety standards?

The pipeline that burst in my district was not even 30 years old; age clearly is not the only factor here.

Question: So Mr. Secretary, what is the administration doing to ensure new pipeline infrastructure is as safe as possible?

Secretary answer: Much more work needs to be done on this, and I look forward to working with you and the chairman to making some real progress on this issue.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Santa Barbara Police Activities League Youths to Celebrate End of Session wtih Golf Scramble

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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The Santa Barbara Police Activities League will be celebrating the end of the first session of golf on Monday, June 8 with a golf scramble at the Santa Barbara Golf Course.

PAL teamed up with the city golf course to provide an eight-week instructional golf session to underserved youth in the community. The youth worked weekly on the fundamentals of golf, including hitting, chipping and putting.

They will put their newly acquired skills to the test as they participate in a golf scramble with PAL board members and Santa Barbara police officers, providing an opportunity for them to learn golf etiquette and interact socially with prominent members of our community.

Expected participants include PAL board members John Dixon, Mark Magid and John Van Donge, PAL program officer Bryan Kerr and Police Chief Cam Sanchez.

PAL provides safe and educational after-school programs for middle school and high school students at the Twelve35 Teen Center, including specialty classes, tutoring and teen leadership development. PAL also provides summer camp resources for low income families collaborating with 12 nonprofits to provide one week of summer camperships. Summer class sessions begin June 22 at the PAL Twelve35 Teen Center.

To make a donation to PAL programs, contact Michelle Meyering at [email protected]. To learn more about PAL programs or to volunteer, contact [email protected], call 805.962.5560 or click here. To learn more about summer camp scholarships, contact Elvia Hernandez at 805.962.5560.

—Michelle Hillman Meyering is the development coordinator for the Santa Barbara Police Activities League.


 

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Grunge Rocker Chris Cornell Bringing Solo Acoustic Tour to Granada Theatre

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Multi-Grammy-winning, Golden Globe nominated and acclaimed singer/songwriter Chris Cornell has announced solo acoustic tour dates for fall 2015. The tour will make a stop in Santa Barbara at the historic Granada Theatre on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.

The tour will provide fans the chance to see the iconic rocker perform in an unplugged, up-close and personal setting and will include songs spanning his entire career as well as new material from his highly anticipated forthcoming studio album, Higher Truth, produced by Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Neil Young) and scheduled for release this fall.

From each ticket sold, $1 will go to the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, an organization that supports children facing tough challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.

Starting this Tuesday at 7 a.m. through Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m., fans who signed up for Cornell’s email list will receive an exclusive link and code word to purchase tickets in advance of the public on-sale date. American Express card members can get advance tickets beginning at 10 a.m. this Wednesday, June 3.

Tickets for the general public will go on sale Saturday, June 6 at 10 a.m. For additional ticket purchase info, please visit chriscornell.com.

Cornell is a modern iconic innovator who transcends genre. He was the chief architect of the '90s grunge movement and remains one of the best rock voices of all time. Achieving multi-platinum success with three legendary bands — selling over 30 million records worldwide — he has forged his own unique identity over three decades as a Grammy award-winning, Golden Globe nominated singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer and lyricist. His career began with Seattle trailblazers Soundgarden, whose wild soundscapes combined visceral punk attitude with artistic depth. Powerfully original, they were the first of their generation of Seattle bands to sign to a major label in 1989 and their work continued to evolve over the course of seven groundbreaking albums. Soundgarden made a historic return to the live stage in 2010 and have since toured the world, releasing the all-new studio album, “King Animal,” to widespread acclaim.

Cornell has continually redefined his sound and vision. In 1990, side project Temple of the Dog saw him experiment with a more soulful style alongside the future members of Pearl Jam. Later in the decade, his critically acclaimed solo album “Euphoria Morning” combined lush melody and instrumentation with lyrics that spoke of alienation and despair. And as the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from Rage Against the Machine to create supergroup Audioslave. The multi-platinum band released three albums and toured stadiums around the world, becoming the first American rock group to perform a massive free concert in Castro's Cuba. Cornell has also collaborated with many different artists, most recently the Zac Brown Band on their single “Heavy Is The Head”, which peaked at #1 on rock radio in the US.

His soundtrack work has spanned both big budget and independent cinema. He was the first male American artist to write and perform the theme song for a James Bond movie (“You Know My Name” for "Casino Royale"). With Soundgarden, he wrote the end title song “Live to Rise” for "The Avengers," the third-highest grossing film of all time. He duetted with Joy Williams on his song “Misery Chain” which appeared on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning "12 Years A Slave" and his song “The Keeper” from Marc Forster’s "Machine Gun Preacher" was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2012.

Cornell’s recent solo acoustic “Songbook” tour attracted sellout crowds and critical acclaim worldwide. Jim Farber of the New York Daily News observed, “sometimes you don't recognize the full power of a voice until you strip everything away from it.” The tour’s reinterpretations of classic Cornell songs are featured on his 2011 live album of the same name.

Cornell has also become involved in philanthropy, using music to support causes that help foster change. The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation is currently raising funds and partnering with charitable organizations to mobilize support for children facing tough challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.

He has also just finished recording “Higher Truth,” his fifth solo album to date, which reflects an expressive intimacy similar to that of “Songbook,” while also displaying his evolution and growth as a master craftsman songwriter. This new powerful addition to his catalogue will be released this Fall.

Don’t miss your chance to see Cornell at the Granada Theatre on Sept. 23. Tickets range from $37 to $82, plus applicable service charges. The Granada Theatre is located at 1214 State St., in Santa Barbara. It can be reached at 805.899.2222.

— Jessica Puchli is a publicist for Nederlander Concerts.

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Cynder Sinclair: Systems View of Your Nonprofit Programs Helps Measure ‘So What?’ Factor

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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For the past several years, we’ve heard a lot about measuring nonprofit program outcomes. Funders want proof of program effectiveness. Donors want it. Volunteers want it. Even the government wants it. For many nonprofits, especially human services and the arts, measuring outcomes is a relatively new concept. And it can be confusing.

Many wonder, what is considered an outcome and how we can measure it? How can we tell the outcome of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s new exhibit? How can we measure the result of sending Girl Scouts to camp? What about the Santa Barbara Symphony’s upcoming Porgy & Bess concert?

Looking at your organization’s programs as a system makes measurement easier. But what is a system? It’s an integrated, organized collection of parts that leads to accomplishment of your goals. An overarching system is made up of many smaller systems. Understanding the various components of a system for programs can help ensure you are measuring the right things.

Let’s break a program system down into the following six parts:

» Inputs. These are all the things that go into the program processes. Inputs include things like staff, volunteers, money, equipment, facilities, supplies and ideas. Make a list of all the inputs necessary to propel your nonprofit’s programs.

» Processes. These are the activities you do to manipulate the various inputs to achieve your goals. If you are a food bank, your processes are what you do with the food coming in and going out and what you do to educate your clients.

» Outputs. These are the tangible results produced by the system. Outputs are often mistakenly used to indicate the success of an organization’s programs. Using the food bank example, outputs can be the number of people fed. Carter McNamara in his Field Guide to Nonprofit Program Design, Marketing and Evaluation, which is used by Fielding’s Nonprofit Leadership Certificate program, explains that, “The success of a nonprofit organization or program is determined, not by the range and number of clients … (the program’s outputs), but by how the clients benefited (the program’s outcomes).”

» Outcomes. These are the so what. How did the food bank clients benefit from the food bank programs? Are they healthier? If a health clinic served 1,000 diabetic patients in a given month, how did those patients benefit from the service? How many had reduced A1C levels as a result of treatment? Outcomes are usually knowledge, behaviors or attitudes that have been changed as a result of the programs.

» Feedback. The various parts of the system continuously exchange feedback loops. Feedback can be informal among staff, board members or community supporters, or it can be more formal in the form of evaluations and surveys. Effective leaders use feedback to improve their program processes and outcomes.

» Goals. These are the ultimate purpose for the systems — what your organization wants to accomplish. Since everything flows from the goals, it’s critical that the organization’s leaders establish and communicate goals throughout the entity. Goals flow from the mission, vision and values and are the result of solid strategic planning.

Putting the Program System Together

Given this information, we notice that everything flows from the goals. Once the goals are established, we can identify the inputs (materials), processes (activities), outputs (results) and outcomes (impacts). These are set in motion and continuously adjusted by the feedback and external environment.

It’s important to measure all parts of the system. Just make sure you are measuring the right components for the right reasons. Using a systems approach to your program development and execution can add clarity of vision and high performance. Your funders will love it!

Benefits of Taking a Systems View of your Programs

Taking a systems view of your programs not only helps you measure outcomes for your funders and board members, it provides many additional benefits. Once you are clear about your program system and its components, you can be more effective in your planning, create more pertinent evaluation tools, be a more effective leader, promote more effective communication, do a better job of solving problems and develop your organization more successfully.

Identifying and understanding the major parts of your programs and how the parts work together can help you develop a systems approach to your programs. Once that happens, you will be measuring the right things.

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

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Santa Barbara Foundation Announces 2015 Fleischmann-Floro-Spaulding Scholarship Recipients

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Forty-eight students throughout Santa Barbara County were selected for the Santa Barbara Foundation’s 2015 Fleischmann-Floro-Spaulding Awards. Last Thursday, the awards were presented at a small reception for students and their families.

“These young people are extraordinary. They have demonstrated they are willing to work to achieve their goals while also appreciating the importance of helping others in their community,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “I anticipate that we will hear more about these scholarship recipients and their great accomplishments in the future.”

In total, $127,900 was distributed to recipients this year. The Fleischmann-Floro-Spaulding awards recognize students in Santa Barbara County for academic excellence and dedication to community service. The seniors selected to receive these scholarships represent the top 1 percent of all high school students throughout the county.

Floro award recipients are selected from Santa Maria, Fleischmann recipients are selected from throughout the county with the top candidate in the Fleishmann pool receiving the Spaulding Award. High school students receiving a Fleischmann or Floro Award are given a $2,500 scholarship. The winner of the Spaulding Award receives an additional $1,000 scholarship.

These scholarships were made possible by Gwendolyn Mae Shelly Floro and Max Fleischmann, both of whom made substantial gifts in support of academic excellence and community service.  These generous gifts increase the Santa Barbara Foundation’s ability to support academic achievement through scholarship awards.

The Santa Barbara Foundation is committed to supporting quality education throughout Santa Barbara County. Working in collaboration with many generous donors throughout the history of the foundation, thousands of local students have benefited more than $40 million in scholarships from the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Award Recipients

Floro Awards (28)

» Marie A. Aguinaldo, St. Joseph

» Millicent Angulo, Righetti

» Joseph O. Biggs, Valley Christian Academy

» Destinee N. Clark, Orcutt Academy Charter

» Madalynn A. Cross, Orcutt Academy Charter

» Kevin D. Daily, Righetti

» Kaitlyn A. Domingues, St. Joseph

» Rebecca Drake, St. Joseph

» Sara J. Fierros, Orcutt Academy Charter

» Axelina S. Hallstrom, Pioneer Valley

» Lauren N. Hunt, Santa Maria

» Hannah S. Hurd, Righetti

» Shailynn M. Joseph, Righetti

» Judith Lee, Righetti

» Patricia Martinez Martinez, Pioneer Valley

» Jonah S. Mau, Pioneer Valley

» Brandon-Hao A. Nguyen, St. Joseph

» Lashton R. Papworth, Orcutt Academy Charter

» Yosduan A. Ramos, Righetti

» Courtney L. Reyburn, Righetti

» Brigid L. Rigali, St. Joseph

» Jennifer M. Rios, Pioneer Valley

» Samantha Rojas, Pioneer Valley

» Sierra M. Sanchez, Righetti

» Sarah K. Skidmore, Pioneer Valley

» Jordan C. Tolentino, St. Joseph

» Ryland J. Towne, Righetti

» Victoria M. Valdez, Pioneer Valley

Spaulding Award (1)

» Chanel  N. Diaz, Orcutt Academy Charter

Fleischmann Awards (19)

» Kalina M. Burns, Dos Pueblos

» Katherine R. Carrillo-Castro, Laguna Blanca

» Nicolae Christoffersen, San Marcos

» Rachaell Diaz, Santa Barbara

» Connor Everman, San Marcos

» Jake A. Garner, Santa Barbara

» Hope M. Harrington, Cabrillo

» Mary C. Hoeflinger, Bishop Garcia Diego

» Colin M. Hyatt, Santa Barbara

» Niranjanaa Jeeva, Dos Pueblos

» Isabel Martinez, Dos Pueblos

» Courtney D. Miller, Dos Pueblos

» Kelly C. Robertson, San Marcos

» Samuel M. Robertson, Anacapa

» Emma C. Rosenberg, Santa Ynez Valley

» Hannah C. Ross, Santa Barbara

» Pablo Saleta, Dos Pueblos

» Christopher J. Wagonhurst, Santa Barbara

» Mikayla R. Werner, Santa Barbara

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

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Ron Fink: Behind Schedule and with Deadline Nearing, City of Lompoc Needs to Get Budget Approved

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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By now, most political jurisdictions have completed their budget hearings and are ready to adopt the next budget. Lompoc hasn’t even begun preliminary discussions of its next two-year budget.

This is troubling because this year’s budget will be unlike any other in Lompoc history. When City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller took over a little more than a year ago, he discovered that past budgets had been hastily prepared by staff using methods that didn’t examine expenditures carefully.

In the past, the staff seemed to look at the last budget, add a couple of percent and then called the job complete. Then they would hold a series of workshops spanning two or three meetings to receive “council direction” and a then-willing council would rubber stamp it.

I have attended many Lompoc city budget hearings over the last two decades, and one thing that amazed me was how department heads and whoever happens to be elected to the City Council at the time determined how much to budget for each function without any real justification.

One example of how much analysis went into the budget process was a discussion of how much time a particular staff member spent performing a specific function; during the public workshop, the council raised it by 20 percent without any analysis of past costs or any real justification for the budget increase just because everyone thought it was a good idea!

In another, the council was considering adding fuel service to the city airport. Two items were needed to fulfill this request — a fuel tank and a delivery truck. To my amazement, one council member, supported by others, suggested cutting the fuel truck from the budget to save money.

During public comment, they were asked how they expected to get the fuel from the tank into airplanes without a truck. The truck was quickly restored, but this points out a weakness that prevailed prior to the arrival of Mr. Wiemiller.

This year it’s different. The budget has been reorganized and, according to a presentation made during the May 5 council meeting, the “focus (has) changed to service delivery” — in other words, what does it really cost to deliver the required service.

The staff took this new budgeting approach seriously; they analyzed their service delivery tasks and concluded that the General Fund services needed 40 additional full-time positions at a cost of $6.9 million over the last two-year budgeted amount. Other accounts, which are likely the utility enterprise funds, were asking for 33 additional full-time positions at a cost of $7.3 million.

Some staffing adjustments are justified; for example, grant funding for police and fire department positions will expire during the current budget and both departments are requesting that these positions become permanent.

Other significant changes are proposed. During this presentation, staff revealed that they are proposing a reallocation of existing positions and programs; consolidation of General Fund programs; elimination/reduction of some contract services and replacing them with in-house services and a merger of the public library into city government.

Not mentioned in this presentation were the infrastructure improvements that have been previously identified, including a new fire station ($15 million-plus); police station renovation ($8 million-plus); a transportation center ($8 million); and a complete overhaul of the parks system (cost unknown).

Considering the current flow of tax and fee revenue, this will be a steep hill to climb, and surely some costs must be cut before this budget reaches the council.

This is the first time that any city administrator has taken a cold, hard look at what needs to be done and what it takes to do it — starting at zero funding and working through to a final estimate.

The council will undoubtedly have many questions concerning the preparation, conclusions reached and impact of this new budget. The public will have questions, too, and considering the public process that must be followed it appears that the approval of this budget by June 30 will be tricky.

So who is dropping the ball here? From my perspective, the city administrator and his staff should be commended for their approach to this budget session. That being said, surely they realized that there was a deadline for completing this task.

Anyone familiar with the budget process, and certainly the elected members of the council, some of whom have served for several years, knows that budget discussions usually start in mid-March. So when March and April passed without any hint of a budget workshop, wouldn’t you think the council should have requested a schedule for budget hearings?

And considering the many festivities in June council members and the public are already committed to, finding a convenient time for budget hearings is going to be a challenge.

It’s time to stop stirring the soup and start serving it. No budget is ever perfect, and that’s why the staff returns to the council at regular intervals to request supplemental appropriations to deal with unforeseen situations.

On Tuesday, the council is scheduled to hear a presentation of the draft budget, but it will be no decision-making hearing. Approving the City of Lompoc budget is running late. Let’s get the job done!

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

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Pulitzer-Winning Composer John Luther Adams to Speak as Part of UCSB Series ‘The Anthropocene’

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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A growing number of geologists believe humans have left the Holocene and entered a new period — the Anthropocene — in which the dominant geologic force is humanity itself.

Adams
John Luther Adams

What does this mean for music? And what does it mean for a composer, or for any creative artist, working in any medium today? Can music be engaged with current events and at the same time remain detached from them?

John Luther Adams, who received a Pulitzer Prize for his composition “Becoming Ocean,” will discuss these and other questions at a talk Thursday, June 4. It is part of the UCSB Interdiscipinary Humanities Center’s yearlong series “The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.”

Adams’ talk, “Music of the Anthropocene,” will begin at 4 p.m. in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building at UCSB. It is free and open to the public.

“For our ‘Anthropocene’ public events series, we wanted to approach the topic of current environmental threats and challenges from many different angles and perspectives,” said Susan Derwin, director of the IHC and a professor of comparative literature. “John Luther Adams’ music reflects a profound environmental sensibility and a deep investment in exploring the ways that human beings can expand their relationship to nature.”

Music, especially when it is heard outdoors, can be a means of becoming attuned to the environment through what Adams has called “ecological listening,” Derwin continued. “What’s extraordinary about Adams is that he both composes music and writes about the natural world, including his life in Alaska,” she said.

Adams’ work as a composer is deeply rooted in the natural world. He composes for orchestra, chamber ensembles, percussion and electronic media. His new composition, “Sila: The Breath of the World,” will have its west coast premiere at the Ojai Music Festival, which begins June 10. 

“Having a brilliant composer address issues relating to the Anthropocene in an artist’s talk will be a marvelous opportunity to expand awareness of pressing environmental issues and also to remind people that music can be a powerful means of inspiring change,” Derwin said.

More information about the IHC series is available by clicking here.

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

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County Arts Commission Executive Director Ginny Brush Announces Plans to Retire

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Ginny Brush, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, has advised city and county staff of her plan to retire in October after more than 15 years at the Arts Commission, the last nine as executive director.

Prior to that, she served as the visual arts coordinator for the city and county.

“Ginny Brush served as an incredible ambassador between the city, our business community and our many local artists and arts organizations," Mayor Helene Schneider said. "Under her leadership, Santa Barbara's cultural economy thrived and it will continue to soar. On behalf of the City Council, I wish her the best as she enters this new chapter in life.”

In her letter to the city administrator and county community services director, Brush thanked the city and county for the opportunity to serve the community.

“The executive director position has given me a platform to engage the community and advance art and cultural opportunities in the City of Santa Barbara and throughout Santa Barbara County,” Brush wrote.

Brush was hired by the county in 2000 to serve as visual arts coordinator and was responsible for exhibitions, public art programs and projects including the State of the Gallery. In 2007, she was hired as executive director when Patrick Davis retired.

During her tenure, she did much to promote the city’s Cultural Arts District. She was instrumental in the development of the Storefront Gallery Program and the Public Art installations at the new airport terminal. Brush was involved in the development of 1st Thursday, and fostered collaborations that resulted in the popular Pianos on State project and the free Summer Movies in the Sunken Garden series. In 2009 she received the Citizen of the Year award from Santa Barbara Downtown Organization and in 2011 the Independent recognized her as a Local Hero for her Arts Advocacy.

At the county, Brush was involved in facilitating the gift of the Berkus Collection, and in instituting the annual County Arts Symposium, the Leadership in the Arts Award, Brown Bag Arts Lunches, Poetry Out Loud County Competition and implemented the Community Arts Enrichment Grant Program, made possible through a partnership with the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and its Arts Subsidy Fund.

Brush serves on a number of nonprofit boards including Downtown Santa Barbara, Ensemble Theatre, County Parks Foundation, Santa Barbara Beautiful, the Community Arts Workshop Task Force and the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, an organization she helped found.

Renée Bahl, assistant county executive officer, stated that the region “was fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Ginny’s expertise, work ethic and commitment to the arts community. While we will start the recruitment process later this summer, Ms. Brush is truly irreplaceable.”

— Renée Bahl is the interim community services director for Santa Barbara County.

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Three County Democratic Party Chairs Endorse Salud Carbajal for Congress

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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In an early show of Democratic Party support, the elected chairs of the three county Democratic Party committees that comprise the 24th Congressional District have endorsed Salud Carbajal for Congress.

They join a growing list of over 100 elected officials, business and community leaders who have endorsed Carbajal.

Santa Barbara County Democratic Party Chair Daraka Larimore Hall: “Salud is a problem solver who brings people together, and that’s exactly the kind of leadership we need in Congress. As a county supervisor, he’s worked with diverse voices to get results — from delivering health insurance for Santa Barbara’s kids to rebuilding our roads and bridges.”

San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party Chair Pat Harris: “No one has fought harder than Salud to protect our natural environment and our special way of life on the Central Coast. He’s fought tirelessly to block additional offshore oil drilling and preserve our open spaces. Salud’s reached out to community groups and small businesses across SLO County to make sure our voices are heard, and I know we can count on him in Washington.”

Ventura County Democratic Party Chair Thom Tibor: “As a former Marine, Salud has devoted his life to public service and giving back to the community that gave him so much. Growing up in public housing where his family struggled to make ends meet, Salud is committed to improving education and creating opportunity for all Central Coast families to get ahead.”

Other community leaders already endorsing Carbajal for Congress include:

» California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

» Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell

» Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley

» San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson

» Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf

» Ventura County Supervisors Steve Bennett, Kathy Long and John Zaragoza

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

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Noozhawk’s Note: No News Is NOT Good News

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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As our e-Bulletin subscribers are well aware, we’ve been having some technical difficulties the last two days.

We’re working to resolve the issue and will be re-sending Tuesday’s A.M. Report as soon as we can.

It may be a problem with source coding in our database, or our vendor, MailChimp, may have monkeyed around with its platform, making it temporarily incompatible with our template. Let’s just say we have our best people working on it. (Scroll down for further explanation.)

Either way, this is an inconvenience for you, and we apologize for that.

Thank you for your understanding, and for your support.

Oh, and if you’re not a subscriber to our A.M. Report or our P.M. Report, and want to see what this hullabaloo is all about — or are just curious about whether we’re smart enough to fix it — click here to subscribe. It’s free, and most of the time we even include words.

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

(James Jennings video)

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CCCSAA Celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month at Eastside Library

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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The library’s historical photo essay on Asian Pacific Americans of the Central Coast. Storytelling and poetry about experiences as Asians in America. Kembang with gamelan music, hula and dragon dance. The staple rice, Chinese chow mein, Thai kai kua, Japanese sushi and Filipino chicken-pork adobo.

With these, locals of Asian Pacific descent along with friends and supporters once more connected this May during the observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the Eastside Library, where supervisor Marivel Zambrano-Esparza had prepared a month-long display of photos on this ethno-cultural group.

May Is for Asian Pacific Americans

Since 1979, May has observed Asian Pacific Heritage week in the U.S. from resolutions by Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Mineta of California and Sens. Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga, later signed by President Jimmy Carter, then extended to a month by President George W. Bush in 1990.

By 1992, the law officially designated May as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. May was chosen to remember the first Japanese immigration to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, in which majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Collectively paying tribute each year are national institutions including the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Local Celebrations

Here in the Central Coast, local Asian Pacific Islanders jointly celebrate as well. This year, the lunchtime event was was held at the Eastside Library, which had its photo exhibit on Asian Pacific Americans.

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CAMFT Chapter Organizes Summer Mixer for Mental-Health Workers

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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Mental-health workers are invited to a summer mixer event from 5 to 7 p.m. June 19 organized by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and hosted by Antioch University on the rooftop patio, 602 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.

Enjoy the Santa Barbara sunset while sipping wine and munching on delectable appetizers catered by Jolly Brothers.

The cost is $20 for Santa Barbara CAMFT student members, $30 for non-CAMFT students, CAMFT nonstudent members and SBCPA/SBNASW members, and $40 for non-CAMFT guests.

Click here to register.

The event is designed to encourage connection and collaboration among mental-health professionals in Santa Barbara.

— Jenn Kennedy represents the Santa Barbara Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

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Letter to the Editor: Pope Francis, the Poor and the Environment

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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The recent change in the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) bodes well for the poor and the planet. Pope Francis has made both the poor and the environment real priorities. In the past there have been many priests and entire orders within the RCC that labor for the poor and advocate for the environment. After all, it is the poor who suffer the most from climate chaos.

Until recently, they had only tepid support from the Vatican. One priest that did so was Father Oscar Romero, who was gunned down while he performed Mass for his opposition to the killing of the poor in El Salvador. Thanks to Pope Francis he is now on the path to well earned sainthood.

Like Father Romero, the SVD and the Jesuits work for the poor and the environment. Catholic means inclusive, and Catholic activism spans the range of philosophy to living on the world’s largest garbage pile. Some “Christians” only concern themselves with the salvation of the soul and ignore the suffering of the body. At the beginning of two years as a missionary to assist the poor when I stayed at the Catholic Trade Center, a hub for the Society of the Divine Word, I found social activists working in the shelter of Christian teachings to assist the poor.

There is nothing false or tenuous about their interpretation of the gospel. Theirs seems the most literal interpretation. They labor in love of the poorest of the poor but strive to listen, recognize and reflect back the unrealized potential of the poor, their gifts, talents and power in community. Catholicism has a mixed legacy as you would expect from a church that hopes to be all inclusive. Father Ben Beltran, who recruited me in California, attempts to include indigenous respect for Mother Earth in his works and termed that work the "Stewardship of Creation." Similarly a Jesuit Archbishop, Father Antonio Ledesma here in Mindanao also focuses on the environment with the same term.

Father Ben was the parish priest of Smokey Mountain in Tondo, one of the largest garbage pile on the planet. After the Philippine government relocated the scavengers of Smokey Mountain to an unprepared rural location, the scavengers returned and the Fathers assisted them in organizing cooperative efforts for a better life at Smokey Mountain. The alliance is called the Sambayang Kristiyano Alyanza, and it is run by the scavengers for the scavengers with only support from the Fathers. The cooperative teaches at all levels for employment and parenting, and places scavengers into jobs that they want in repairing, reusing and recycling things — as well as other trades that allow them to live in the city.

This shows how the Fathers listen and learn from the experience of the poor. They witness the spirit in every individual and bring it out and then facilitate a natural alliance of spirit and solidarity between scavengers. The abstract “Christ” of the philosophers remains abstract, but the “Christ” within the poor is very real to this work of love.

“When we are dreaming alone, it’s only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it’s the beginning of a reality.” — Dom Helder Camara

The Fathers also engage the wealthier members of the Philippine society. Through the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, many Smokey Mountain children are sponsored to education and advancement. The cooperatives of Smokey Mountain lobbied Presidents Cory Aguino and Ramos, and in 1992 got the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project.

This is all I know to this point, but I am trying to learn. My information is dated, and this came from the 1994 book Smokey Mountain: Ravaged Earth and Wasted Lives available online. I recommend it!

Now finally Father Ben and the SVD missionary order of the Catholic Church have a leader in the Vatican who will help them in their missions.

Rowland Lane Anderson
Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines
Formerly of Santa Barbara

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Come Drum with Hidden Wings and the Grateful Dead

By | Published on 06/02/2015

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A local nonprofit has been given the chance to share its mission with hundreds of thousands of people at the upcoming Grateful Dead concerts, and Hidden Wings wants you to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Hidden Wings, a Solvang-based nonprofit catering to young adults on the autistic spectrum, will be filming one of its drumming jam sessions on Saturday, June 6 at Knapp’s Castle in Santa Barbara. That footage will then be played before deadheads and lesser fans of the iconic band before they enter the Grateful Dead concert venues this summer at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara on June 27-28 and at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 3-5. The concerts were sold out hours after tickets went on sale.

Hidden Wings has the rhythm, and the Grateful Dead is giving the nonprofit some momentum to raise funds and awareness for its therapeutic drum work.

Drummer Mickey Hart has long been a supporter of Hidden Wings — even auctioning off memorabilia to raise donations — and he’s taking the organization under his wing again for the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well Tour, which is expected to draw a significant amount of people for the band’s last hurrah.

Founded in 2009, Hidden Wings began to hit its stride after introducing therapeutic drumming to its students, who come from around the Santa Ynez Valley and the country to build friendship bonds by beating to the same drum as others.

Since finding a job and a friend are the key goals founders the Rev. Jim Billington and his wife, Dr. Julia Billington, set out to achieve nearly seven years ago, drumming has become a critical part of the nonprofit’s life skills-focused curriculum.

“We found early on that a shared rhythm brings people together, whether hiking up a mountain, kayaking on the ocean or bicycling through a ravine,” the Rev. Billington said. “A drum, shaped like a round dinner table, with the beat simulating a human heart, provides an everyday opportunity to fall into a common rhythm. Developing a common beat brings people together at the most intimate level: the pulse of life.”

The Billingtons are asking anyone and everyone to participate in the filmed Hidden Wings drum circle at Knapp’s Castle, landmark ruins located on East Camino Cielo off Highway 154 in the mountains above Santa Barbara.

Drumming was originally supposed to take place at Refugio State Beach, which Hidden Wings frequents, but that state park has been closed until further notice because of an oil spill in the nearby Pacific Ocean. The plan is to meet at Hidden Wings at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday to head to Knapp’s Castle. The nonprofit’s headquarters are at 517 Atterdag Road in Solvang.

Those coming from Santa Barbara don’t have to drive all the way to Solvang. There will be a rendezvous point about a quarter-mile after turning onto east El Camino Cielo at the U.S. Forest Service.

Anyone wishing to attend can contact the Billingtons at 805.705.3918 to RSVP. Drums will be provided, or bring your own.

— Rev. Jim Billington represents Hidden Wings.

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Caltrans Making Another Effort to Mop Up Soggy Castillo Underpass

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Interlocking pavers will be used in an effort to solve the problem along the water-plagued roadway

Traffic engineers are once again seeking to dry out the soggy conditions of the Castillo underpass that have presented an annoyance to drivers and a hazard to cyclists in Santa Barbara for decades.

The pooling water in the underpass makes pavement maintenance for longer than five years a challenge, and Caltrans, the state agency that owns and maintains the underpass, has announced its latest effort to deal with the water will begin this summer. The exact date construction will start has yet to be announced, but the project is expected to wrap up by August.

Noozhawk wrote last year about how an earthquake in 1971 caused a rift in the pavement under the highway, and how Castillo Street sits about 10 feet below the water table, two problems that allow water to perpetually leak onto the roadway.

The cost to replace the concrete under the highway and railroad would be at least $20 million and cause traffic to be rerouted for years while construction took place.

The agency has said funding isn't there to tackle the fix permanently, but numerous temporary fixes have taken place over the decades.

In its most recent attempt to quell the waters, Caltrans is planning to install interlocking concrete pavers on Castillo Street, and on the surface of the onramps and offramps to Highway 101.  

Engineers are hoping the pavers will drain the water from the surface and allow a smoother area for the cyclists and motorists who travel through the area each day.

Noozhawk spoke with Caltrans Project Manager David Beard, who acknowledged all the previous efforts that have been made.

The underpass has long been the subject of consternation for roadway planners.

About 10 years ago, Caltrans tried an experimental approach, using electrical currents to repel water, which worked for a while, but couldn't provide the long-term results the agency was looking for.

Every few years, there have been repaving operations done, the last of which was about four years ago, when grades were placed in the pavement to allow the water to run off.

"The intrusion of water just broke the pavement apart, it only took a few years," Beard said, adding that the high traffic in the area causes the pavement to breakdown faster, 

Interlocking pavers were installed in 1999, but moved around as traffic increased.

"We noticed that it looked fantastic when it was new," Beard said, but the pavers began to jostle and create gaps in the surface as the traffic made its way over the top. "The disappointment was it only lasted maybe five years."

This time, the pavers will be installed with some concrete curbs to contain them in sections, instead of as one continuous layer.

"They won't have as much room to move around," Beard said, adding that if a repair is needed in the future, it will be limited to one section at a time.

This approach is more expensive than expected, over $800,000 as opposed to the $500,000 that officials had initially forecast, but the hope is that the project will be able to last more than five years.

"We think it's a better investment," he said, adding that "it really is a short-term solution."

Since Castillo is essentially the only highway exit that directly accesses West Beach and Santa Barbara City College, the traffic disruption for a full fix would be significant.

Beard said that a permanent plan may come up in the future, but "we haven't really even proposed that."

"The cost of all of our repairs is still significantly less than that large number," he said.

The current plan will disrupt traffic for about two months, and one lane of traffic will be open in each direction at all times.

Detours are planned as the southbound offramp and onramp are expected to close at different times.

Businesses will remain open during the project, and updates on the project and other Caltrans project can be found by clicking here.

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

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Writers Sign-Up! 43rd Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference Begins Sunday

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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From June 7-12, writers from all over the world will take their writing and industry contacts to the next level at the 43rd Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, held at the oceanfront Hyatt Santa Barbara.

Since 1972, the SBWC has helped writers hone their craft, and connect their work with mentors, agents and publishers. Recently named the No. 3 premiere writers conference in the country by The Writer’s Edge publication, SBWC has provided world-class instruction, industry connections, encouragement, networking and community through workshops, lectures and panel discussions.

“Our conference has changed writers’ lives and careers,” owner and author Monte Schulz said. “We teach them to find their voice, construct their story and polish their work to a professional level. As well as introduce them to agents, publishers and an endlessly supportive community of writers.”

Successful international authors who started at the SBWC include best-sellers Fannie Flagg, Christopher Moore (Lamb) and Catherine Ryan Hyde (Pay It Forward).

“You can’t imagine what this conference meant to me,” said Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. “If it had not been for this conference, I’d probably still be sitting on a re-run of the The Dating Game somewhere.”

With more than 20 daily workshops taught by award-winning authors, poets, playwrights and screenwriters, students will learn successful storytelling and writing techniques focusing on story structure, voice, style, editing and characters, as well as how to self-publish, query agents and market themselves.

“SBWC will provide writers the exclusive opportunity to meet face-to-face with several noted agents and editors from HarperCollins, St. Martin’s Press and ICM Partners, among others, to pitch their book ideas, poolside,” co-director Nicole Starczak said. “My favorite event of the week is the First Book Panel. This year, three of the four panelists are alumni, students we’ve been watching for years. It’s quite inspiring to be able to put them on stage and hear their literary journeys.

“There is always a bit of luck and getting introduced to the right person, but mostly theirs are stories of perseverance.”

The literary agents and editors from major publishing houses will not only be accessible to writers, but will be dishing out insider tips on acquiring agents and getting published. This is a rare chance to make an impression with the publishing industry’s movers and shakers, who are scouting for new talent.

Each night, a renowned author will speak and share his or her inspiring path to success, including international best-selling, award-winning and Oprah pick authors Mona Simpson, Anthony Breznican, Danny Bland, Meg Gardiner and Tawni O’Dell. For nonattendees, tickets to the evening speakers are $10 at the door. First come, first served.

An intimate conference of only 200 students, with a faculty/student ratio of 3-to-1, it is recommended to sign up before Sunday to reserve your spot. Registration for the full week of events, including workshops, panels, speakers and access to publishing and screenwriting power players is only $650.

Click here for a detailed schedule, including workshop descriptions. For more information, contact [email protected].

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Facing ‘Tough Choices,’ Santa Barbara Council Discusses Budget Priorities for New Fiscal Year

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The Santa Barbara City Council talked Monday about priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, and will have to weigh how quickly to restore the city's reserves to full strength while balancing requests from city departments to restore cuts and make capital improvements.

While some clarity was reached at Monday's budget hearing, city staff will come back with more information on June 16 and then return for a council vote on June 23.

The recommended budget for the 2016 fiscal year has a $292 million operating budget and a $106 million capital program.

The city has experienced strong growth in transient occupancy tax, and also sales taxes, to a lesser degree in the past year.

The city's general fund experienced several setbacks last year, however, including district election litigation, and the city paid out $1.7 million in settlement costs.

The city's reserves could see a $1.9 million shortfall in 2016, and City Administrator Paul Casey said the council would have to decide on priorities between replenishing the reserves, requests from city departments to restore positions that had been cut in prior years and capital needs.

"They're tough choices," he said.

Councilman Frank Hotchkiss piped up that a discussion about the legality of vacation rentals will be coming up soon. The city could stand to lose as $800,000 in revenues if it chooses to make them illegal, he said.

"It could have a substantial impact on the budget," Casey admitted, but said that staff was not planning yet on that loss.

Several public speakers were on hand to encourage the city to approve discretionary spending.

Officials from the homeless shelter Casa Esperanza were on hand to request $125,000, and TV Santa Barbara staff were present to ask for $19,000. The Community Environmental Council asked for $50,000 for an alternative energy feasibility study.

By the end of the meeting, most of the council expressed support for funding for organizations such as Casa, Common Ground Santa Barbara and the CEC's energy study.

Additional funding for TV Santa Barbara received more mixed support, however, with several of the council members expressing concern that the station needed to become self-sustaining.

The council also agreed to look at restoring reserves within two to three years and will be looking at both options in the coming weeks.

Councilman Gregg Hart said that fully funding the reserves will prove to voters that the city has its house in order should a sales tax go forward asking voters to help maintain infrastructure. 

"That is the starting point to me to make the case to voters," he said.

The council also agreed earlier in the meeting that it would not cut public safety as part of the airport's budget. The airport, which is an enterprise fund separate from the city's general fund, has seen revenues decline in the last year due to less travel.

As a way to make up some of those costs, the three-member Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting team, or ARFF, was proposed to be reduced to two people, but the council unanimously stated the unit should stay at three.

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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Councilman Harwood ‘Bendy’ White Serves as Santa Barbara’s Man in the Middle

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The longtime public servant has his sights set on a possible mayoral bid in 2017 and plans to propose a sales tax increase to fund infrastructure improvements

If there's a guy who could honestly say he's "been there, done that," it's Harwood "Bendy" White.

Even in this time of extreme drought, the Santa Barbara city councilman has been through it. As a member of Santa Barbara's Water Commission in 1992, he was part of the team that reactivated the $35 million desalination plant, only to see the heavens pour down rain shortly afterward. Now, we're in the same situation. White and the council need to pull the trigger on the desalination plant, even as speculation swirls about the the return of El Niño next winter.

Whether it's despair over the drought or heartache over the homeless, White has seen it all — multiple times — in his more than 30 years of public service for both the city and the county.

White, 68, has emerged as both the elder statesman and the conscience of the council. Although he's a registered Democrat, he's not a party darling, largely over the independent voice and votes he sometimes displays. Privately, some political insiders consider his independent voice to be more of an example of  indecisiveness or sometimes wavering approach on issues.

Earlier this year he broke a council tie to privatize maintenance services at the Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Course, siding with conservatives on a philosophy that privatizing some government services saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.

In this case, it put 11 unionized city employees out of a job, although many had opportunities to transfer positions. The move could save the city as much as $400,000 annually. White's vote earned him praise from Republican council colleague Dale Francisco, who acknowledged the good work of the "fiscally conservative Democrat."

His vote, however, irked others who have endorsed him in the past.

"That was a disappointment," said Daraka Larimore-Hall, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party

Now, White is assuming a higher profile on the council in 2015 — pushing a proposed tax initiative to fund infrastructure improvements — in what is likely a stage-setter for a mayoral bid in 2017. 

He's pushing a half-cent sales tax increase to generate $11 million a year to help pay for repairs to streets and roads, and the big ticket item — a new police station, which is seismically unsafe, and former holding cells have been converted into offices. The city estimates that unfunded infrastructure needs will top $400 million over the next 20 years. 

"This is a very big year for me," White told Noozhawk. "We live in a magnificent community, but we are not taking care of it the way that we should."

White will face an uphill battle convincing a majority of his colleagues to place the sales tax measure on the ballot, although if there's a moderate who could pull it off, it would be him.

"He's an independent vote," Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider said. "He's not someone who is just going to vote lockstep with what one special interest group says."

Schneider said she has heard "rumors" of White possibly running for mayor.

"He has a longstanding background and ties to this community," Schneider said. "He knows people from very different constituencies. He works hard. He is genuine in his approach to city government. He would certainly be a formidable candidate."

White, who lives on the Riviera, began his political career more than 30 years ago, serving as a member of the county's Planning Commission. He joined the city's Water Commission before jumping to the Planning Commission, in the days when the Planning Commission served as a springboard to the City Council for people such as him, Brian Barnwell, Grant House and Dr. Dan Secord. 

His election to the City Council in 2009 seemed inevitable, as does his mayoral run. 

"I might be able to make a difference," he said. "I am intent on taking care of this place."

White works as a land-use consultant and is self-employed, mostly taking jobs these days in Goleta.

White is proud that he is a "lifelong Democrat." He said he doesn't like conflict and wants to solve problems. He said he also doesn't like to play "gotcha" on the council and works to find middle ground. 

"I really like to keep things civil," White said. "I will back off myself when I touch a nerve."

White touched a few nerves behind the scenes — not for his public votes, but for his early private endorsement of Mayor Schneider in her attempt to replace Rep. Lois Capps for the 24th congressional district seat. Schneider is running against another formidable Democrat, Salud Carbajal. White is the only member of the City Council who has endorsed Schneider. It's a move that may complicate his mayoral run and initiatives going forward.

White said Schneider has been "a really strong advisor, supporter and friend."

"We have two good candidates running," said White, who has shared a political consultant, Jeremy Lindaman, with Schneider in previous council campaigns. "It was not easy for me. I am a big fan of Salud's as well."

While said he will continue to plod forward in support of a sales tax increase to fund infrastructure repairs. He's hoping the council will vote to place something on the November ballot. 

"My emphasis has always been on local government," White said. "I love it. I still love it."

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

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Refugio Oil Spill Response Effort Expands to Ventura County Beaches

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Pipeline company replaces 50-foot piece of ruptured pipe that was removed and sent away for testing

Refugio oil spill cleanup efforts expanded to Ventura County over the weekend, but officials cannot confirm whether the tar balls discovered on those beaches are from the spill on the Gaviota Coast of southern Santa Barbara County.

Teams of people have been sent to Ventura County beaches to evaluate the need for cleanup, and responders are being careful not to disturb cultural resources or the nesting areas of the endangered western snowy plover, officials said Sunday.

Affected areas include Ventura Pier and Oxnard Shores, according to Plains All American Pipeline, the responsible party for the spill. Plains is financially responsible for the costs of the oil spill response effort and is part of the incident’s unified command.

Federal, state and local agencies are managing the response, which is led jointly by the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency

Officials said they have sampled the oil and are working on a “fingerprinting” process to determine the sources, just as they have for other oil found along the coastline in the last two weeks.  

The source of the May 19 oil spill is about a mile north of Refugio State Beach, or about 10 miles from the edge of Goleta and about 40 miles up the coast from the Ventura County line.

“Until we know more, Plains is responding as if this is related to the Refugio incident and commits to do what is necessary to clean Ventura’s beaches,” Plains senior director of safety and security Patrick Hodgins said in a statement.

Caltrans District 7 placed informational signs along Highway 101 "to make sure that motorists were aware of the oil leak in Santa Barbara," spokesman Patrick Chandler said. The changeable message signs were placed along the northbound lanes in the Mussel Shoals and La Conchita areas and said, "Beaches open; avoid contract with oil or tar." 

Samples were also taken from the tar balls found last week at Los Angeles County beaches, including El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches. Several beaches were temporarily closed late last week while cleanup crews in the now-familiar white hazardous-materials suits worked along the shoreline.

Boats and a barge are still deployed along the southern Santa Barbara County coastline and teams of so-called shoreline assessment teams are combing the beaches to collect oiled sand, oiled vegetation such as kelp and seaweed, and meticulously scraping oil off rocks on the beaches.

The investigation continues into the cause of the spill, overseen by the pipeline company’s federal regulatory agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. A 50-foot section of the underground 24-inch pipeline, including the ruptured portion, was removed and trucked away to a laboratory for testing last week.

Brad Leone, Plains’ director of corporate communications and stakeholder relations, said the company replaced the section of pipe on Saturday and will cover the exposed section with clean soil after all the oiled soil is removed.

The Refugio and El Capitan state beaches on the Gaviota Coast are still closed and the campgrounds are being used as staging areas for the clean-up efforts. No other beaches have been closed to the public, despite the shoreline oil found along the coastline in many areas. Public Health officials have been constantly monitoring air, water and soil quality and say they will close a beach immediately if there is any threat to public health and safety.

The fishery closure is still active and impacts all fishing and shellfish taking in the area between Coal Oil Point and west of Gaviota State Beach, extending seven miles out from the shoreline.

There’s also still an active Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction in the airspace of Refugio State Beach, which includes a five-mile radius around the park with a 1,000-foot ceiling.

Santa Barbara County’s Emergency Operations Center has hosted the response’s unified command post since the day after the spill, but operations moved to an undisclosed building in Goleta near the Santa Barbara Airport over the weekend. 

A class action lawsuit was filed against Plains on Monday on behalf of sea urchin diver and nearshore fisherman Stace Cheverez, according to attorney firms Keller Rohrback LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. The suit alleges Plains negligently operated the pipeline which caused the oil spill and that the lack of an automatic shut-off valve contributed to the spill. 

The fishery closure impacts where the area Cheverez fishes for grass rockfish and the spill in general has caused losses for local businesses, the complaint alleges.

“These waters are home to hundreds of sensitive animal species, and serve as the backbone of the local economy,” the complaint says. “Tourists come to these beaches to enjoy the unspoiled sand and water. People support themselves and their families by harvesting fish and shellfish from these waters. All that has been damaged by this spill, and that damage will likely last for decades.”

Keller Rohrback, which has a Santa Barbara office, represented fishermen, landowners and businesses after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and won a $5 billion judgment, according to a statement issued by the firm.

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 Man Gets 28-Year Prison Term for Molestations

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Carlos Israel Pineda Xitumul

A man who pleaded guilty to molesting two children he was baby-sitting on Santa Barbara's Westside was sentenced to 28 years in state prison on Monday.

Carlos Israel Pineda Xitumul, 36, was arrested in May 2013, and faced charges that he had molested two 5-year-old boys.

Xitumul was a family friend who baby-sat for the children when their regular baby-sitters were unavailable, police said. 

The children's mother returned home to find Xitumul and the children in “states of partial undress,” police said, adding that Xitumul admitted to molesting the victims on multiple occasions.

On May 26, 2015, Xitumul pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a lewd or lascivious act by force or violence against a child under the age of 14 years, and one count of committing a lewd or lascivious act against a child under the age of 14 years.  

Xitumul will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to a statement sent out Monday from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The sentence was the result of a negotiated plea after input from the parents of the victims, the statement said.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley commended the parents for immediately calling the police, and thanked the Santa Barbara Police Department and the investigators at the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office for their joint investigation efforts.  

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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MedBridge Announces Two Additions to Executive Management Team

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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MedBridge is pleased to announce three recent strategic additions to its executive management team: Jill Himlan, Esq., as general counsel and Patty Harrison, MN, BSN, RN, as director of clinical services of Southern California.

“As MedBridge continues its growth and expansion in the healthcare arena, we are fortunate to have such talented leaders as a part of our executive team," President David Odell said. "With the knowledge and depth that Jill and Patty will bring in their respective areas of expertise, we are well-poised to continue growing our mission of providing outstanding management services to our healthcare partners throughout California.”

Himlan joined MedBridge in the fourth quarter of 2014.

She began her legal career as an associate attorney at Lang, Richert and Patch in Fresno, where she focused on creditors’ rights, construction defect and commercial litigation. Upon relocating to Santa Barbara, she became an associate attorney for the law firm of Griffith and Thornburgh LLP. During her time at Griffith and Thornburgh, she specialized in the areas of bankruptcy and insolvency, corporate restructuring, intellectual property rights, business litigation, and education law.

Himlan received her bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, cum laude, from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where she was also a NCAA Division I cross-county athlete. She received her Juris Doctor, with Great Distinction, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

While attending the McGeorge School of Law, Himlan was recognized with numerous accolades, including the Order of the Coif, membership in the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society, four-time recipient of the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, and placement on the Dean’s List during her entire academic career. Her professional associations include the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association and the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.

Himlan is also actively involved in the community as a member of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association and Santa Barbara Running and Racing, and as a volunteer mentoring young athletes.

Harrison joined MedBridge in the first quarter of 2015 and oversees the clinical operations of MedBridge’s Southern California ambulatory surgery centers.

With over 10 years of nursing and management experience, Harrison guides each center to achieve excellence in healthcare standards and quality patient care. She is well versed at achieving and maintaining all accreditation and certification standards and oversees the accreditation processes for MedBridge’s Southern California surgery center partners.

With expertise and knowledge in project development and business advancements in the surgical arena, Harrison has managed and operated medical outpatient and surgical centers, taking a collaborative approach among staff and surgeons. In addition to her passion for patient care, Harrison has been involved in numerous medical volunteerism programs both locally in Santa Barbara and abroad. This includes volunteering in South East Asia, particularly in Cambodia, where she helped fund raise educational costs and deliver medical supplies.

Harrison received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Linfield College in Portland, Ore., and her master of nursing degree from Washington State University. She is a recipient of the Wilma Pope Award, the Spirit of Nursing Award, and a recipient of the Washington State University Outstanding Master of Nursing Student Award.

MedBridge is a socially responsible health-care development and management company based in Santa Barbara, California. MedBridge exists to free surgeons, specialists and other medical experts to spend their best energy on healing patients and advancing human performance.

With over 13 years of serving physicians and ambulatory surgery centers around California, MedBridge has fine-tuned cost-effective solutions for healthcare management, billing, and cycle revenue processes in order to serve physicians and their patients with the highest quality of care.

— Christy Cain represents MedBridge.

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San Marcos High School Jazz Band Scores First Place in Santa Barbara Jazz Festival

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The San Marcos High School Jazz Band took first place at the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival on Saturday.

They performed four jazz charts, including "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk, "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Duke Ellington, "Four" by Miles Davis and "Swing State" by James Miley.

They were judged on solos, intonation, time, articulation, balance/blend, dynamics, style/interpretation and choice of material/presentation. It was a close festival where San Marcos edged out Dos Pueblos 160-152 to win.

jazz band
Senior alto saxophone player Matthew Jimenez, left, and junior trumpet player Stephen Ziliotto were recognized for their outstanding solos. (San Marcos High School photo)

After a great start to the year with a first-place finish at the Dos Pueblos Jazz Festival, San Marcos worked hard to finish the year on a high note.

"It's a good feeling knowing we went into the performance playing the best we were capable and were recognized for our hard work," senior tenor saxophone player Ryan Wiener said.

Other awards included senior alto saxophone player Matthew Jimenez and junior trumpet player Stephen Ziliotto, who were recognized for their outstanding solos.

— Aaron Solis is the activities director for San Marcos High School.

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Michael Smith Joins FastSpring of Santa Barbara as New Chief Technology Officer

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Global award-winning digital e-commerce leader FastSpring of Santa Barbara proudly announces that industry leader Michael Smith has joined the company as its new chief technology officer.

Smith joins FastSpring as the former CTO for Verisk Analytics, and brings to his work for FastSpring an impressive track record of experience in partner engagement, risk management, systems thinking, data visualization, transparent modeling, scenario-based forecasting, and more.

“We’re really thrilled to bring Michael onto the FastSpring team,” FastSpring CEO Chris Lueck said. “Michael is a highly valued executive who has spent his career successfully facilitating technology initiatives and strategies. His background and expertise will play an essential part as FastSpring continues to evolve, and to accelerate and enhance customer options and platform features across the globe.”

Before his work with Verisk, Smith was the chief technology officer for Interthinx (a Verisk Analytics company), where he managed the design and deployment of hosted software services for automated fraud and compliance analysis, loan file reviews and more. Before Interthinx, Smith was chief software architect for Strategic Analytics, where he developed patented technologies in non-linear time series decomposition and scenario-based forecasting for retail lending. He also taught courses in complex systems analysis and portfolio modeling to top retail lenders around the world, developing new business in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and Asia.

This wealth of combined teaching and real-world experience ensures that Smith will feel right at home in FastSpring’s atmosphere of constant innovation.

“Serving thousands of customers worldwide, FastSpring powers the digital economy with its superb cloud-based eCommerce and subscription management platform,” Smith said. “There’s no one better than FastSpring at helping companies to monetize their products and services online. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help them move forward to even greater success in the years to come.”

— Gabriela DeGuzman is a marketing assistant for FastSpring.

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Curvature Donates $300,000 to MOXI Museum, Kicking Off Corporate Campaign Initiative

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Curvature, an international tech firm headquartered in Santa Barbara, recently donated $250,000 to MOXI The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is launching the local children’s museum’s corporate donor campaign.

Sheldon
Curvature President/CEO Mike Sheldon

The gift is in addition to a previous contribution of $50,000 and it signifies the importance Curvature places on providing engaging science education to children.

“We believe that all children should have early access to science and engineering programs, and we are honored to partner with MOXI to bring a fun and educational museum to the Santa Barbara community,” said Mike Sheldon, Curvature’s president and CEO. “Children who are exposed to engineering and sciences early on are far more likely to succeed in school, and will have endless career opportunities. We hope that some of those who spend their youth in the STEAM program will even become future Curvature employees.”

Curvature’s donation kicks off MOXI’s public effort to engage local corporations with the science-focused museum. MOXI, scheduled to open late 2016, has already raised $16 million of its $25 million goal, mostly from private donors, including naming benefactors Dick and Noelle Wolf. The museum hopes that local businesses will support the nonprofit, which estimates attendance at over 100,000 visitors per year and will be a significant boost to the local economy.

The Association of Children’s Museums claims the total economic activity of its children’s museum members is estimated at $448 million. In addition, more than 30 million individuals visit children’s museums annually worldwide.

Though MOXI is small by comparison, it will still have a sizeable impact on the local economy. MOXI will also benefit our community by offering interactive kid-powered exhibits designed to align with the national agenda to boost student interest in math and science, in addition to offering a teen docent program and partnerships with local organizations and Santa Barbara area schools.

“Santa Barbara is the proud home to many leading international organizations, including a growing number of technology and engineering greats, and we welcome their innovation and collaboration. From UCSB’s six Nobel Prize winners to our high tech corridor, Santa Barbara clearly has some powerful minds and we look forward to the partnership opportunities that can exist between MOXI and our corporate neighbors,” said Steve Hinkley, MOXI CEO.

Curvature has sponsored the “Build It, Test It, Race It” exhibit which gives visitors a chance to design and build modular cars that can be raced on the museum’s speed track. The car’s design can be configured in many different ways, altering variables like shape and size to see how they impact speed. They can even change the contour of the track, thereby learning, through hands-on play, the effect of slope on velocity.

“This exhibit allows visitors to experiment with the laws of inertia and momentum and we hope to introduce data collection components that measure things like mass and average speed,” explained Hinkley, who said there’s a significant educational component to every exhibit. The powerfully playful exhibits are open to corporate sponsorships.

Curvature, formerly known as Network Hardware Resale, is the world's leading provider of pre-owned and new surplus networking equipment and services solutions. Giving back to local communities is an important part of the Curvature culture. In addition to the $300,000 MOXI donation, Curvature has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to other local youth and educational programs, such as Ice in Paradise, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, will be a 21st century museum dedicated to igniting learning through innovative, interactive experiences that spark a lasting passion for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. Scheduled to open in late 2016, MOXI will serve children of all ages as well as lifelong learners. Santa Barbara County’s first LEED-certified museum. MOXI will be located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s redeveloped tourist area at 125 State St.

For more information, contact MOXI at 805.680.7235; email [email protected] or visit moxi.org.

— Ann Pieramici is the communications chair for the MOXI The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.

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Here Comes Commencement: UCSB’s Exercises to Celebrate 5,256 Graduates

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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By the close of the 2014-15 academic year, UC Santa Barbara will have awarded a combined 5,256 undergraduate and graduate degrees. That accomplishment will be celebrated in eight official commencement ceremonies, to be held on campus over eight days, starting June 7 and concluding June 14.

The ceremonies are organized by college, level of degree and field of study. Chancellor Henry Yang will shake the hand of every student graduating from the College of Creative Studies, the College of Engineering, the College of Letters and Science, the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and the Graduate Division.

The College of Creative Studies will lead off with its ceremony Sunday, June 7 at 11 a.m. in Campbell Hall. The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management will conduct its ceremony Friday, June 12 at 10 a.m. in the Bren Hall Courtyard.

On the weekend of Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14, six ceremonies — three each day — will be held on the Faculty Club Green fronting the UCSB Lagoon.

All eight ceremonies will be webcast live. Over June 13-14, web coverage will be continuous, beginning at 8:30 a.m., running through and between the 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. events. A link to the webcasts will be available via the UCSB home page by clicking here.

A listing of ceremonies and guest speakers follows. Complete biographical information on all speakers is available on the UCSB commencement website by clicking here

Sunday, June 7, Campbell Hall

11 a.m. — College of Creative Studies

Guest Speaker — Jack Van Zandt ’76, composer; president, American Composers Forum of Los Angeles

Student Speakers — Victoria Wu, biology; Alexandra Phillips, biology; Larry Lin, physics

Friday, June 12, Bren Hall Courtyard

10 a.m. — Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Guest Speaker — Jennifer DuBuisson ’08, senior manager for environmental sustainability, LEGO

Saturday, June 13, Faculty Club Green

9 a.m. — Sciences

Guest Speaker — Miguel de los Rios ’98, ’05, vice president of research and development, Sevion Therapeutics

Student Speaker — Claudia Jette, pharmacology

1 p.m. — Engineering and Sciences

Guest Speaker — Padmasree Warrior, chief technology and strategy officer, Cisco

Student Speakers — Janice Chee Jing Ong, psychology; Saili Raje, computer engineering

4 p.m. — Social Sciences I

Guest Speaker — Mick Ebeling, CEO, Not Impossible Labs

Student Speaker — Alexandra Guthy, sociology, psychology

Sunday, June 14, Faculty Club Green

9 a.m. — Social Sciences II

Guest Speaker — Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO, PolicyLink

Student Speaker — Sean Tanabe, global studies

1 p.m. — Humanities and Arts

Guest Speaker — Diane Rodriguez, associate artistic director, Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles, and co-curator, RADAR LA Festival

Student Speaker — Isabelle Geczy, English

4 p.m. — Graduate Division

Guest Speaker — David Marshall, UCSB executive vice chancellor, professor of English and of comparative literature

Student Speaker — Mario Galicia Jr., education, cultural perspectives and comparative education (Ph.D.)

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Assemblyman Richard Bloom Backs Schneider for Congress

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Demonstrating her continued momentum, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider on Monday announced that California Assemblyman Richard Bloom has endorsed her campaign to represent California's 24th Congressional district seat.

Bloom previously served as a California Coastal Commission member and as mayor of the City of Santa Monica. He served on the Santa Monica City Council from 1999 until he was elected to the state Assembly in 2012.

In announcing his endorsement of Schneider, Bloom released the following statement: "Mayors understand the needs of their community and how to get things done. That's one of the many reasons that I'm pleased to endorse Mayor Helene Schneider for California's Congressional District 24. Helene knows the importance of bringing leaders and competing interests together in order to find common ground. That's why she has been such a great Mayor and why she will be outstanding in Congress."

Schneider responded to the endorsement by remarking: "I sincerely appreciate this support from Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Like me, he shares a passion for protecting and preserving our environment, while simultaneously developing innovative strategies to spur economic growth, create jobs, and expand the use of clean and renewable energy. As a former mayor, California Coastal Commissioner and current state Assemblyman, Richard Bloom's endorsement illustrates the wide-ranging support that our campaign is building every day."

Beyond Monday's announcement, Schneider has secured endorsements from several influential organizations and local leaders, including the following:

» International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E.) Local 501
» International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
» City of Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann
» City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte
» City of Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell (retired)
» Hope School District Board of Trustees Member Kristi Newton
» City of Santa Barbara City Council Member Harwood "Bendy" White
» City of Ventura City Council Member Carl E. Morehouse
» Santa Barbara Unified School District Board President H. Edward Heron 
» Environmental Defense Center Founder Marc McGinnes
» Central Coast Water Quality Control Board Member (retired) and Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Sharon Hoshida
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Lois Phillips
» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Alissa Hummer
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner (retired) and board member with Coalition Against Gun Violence Christine Silverstein
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Catherine Woodford
» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Don Olsen
» Santa Barbara City Council Member Grant House (retired)
» Founder of The Key Class John Daly
» Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Bruce Bartlett (retired)
» Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb

Schneider was elected to her second term as Santa Barbara’s mayor in November 2013. She has served at Santa Barbara City Hall since January 2004, winning her first election as City Council member in 2003 and first election as mayor in 2009.

Schneider serves in leadership roles on a number of regional-wide policy issues, such as transportation, air quality, solid waste, public education, youth violence prevention and homelessness. She represents the City of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, Air Pollution Control District, Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force, Partners in Education, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness. She is the immediate past-president of the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division.

Prior to elected office, Schneider spent 11 years in human resources management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

For more information, please visit HeleneSchneider.org.

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Fire Prevention Project Available for Homeowners on Ladera, Hidden Valley Lanes in Carp-Summerland

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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June 1-4, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, in continuing partnership with residents living in wildfire-prone areas, will offer Ladera Lane and Hidden Valley Lane homeowners an opportunity to participate in a hazardous fuel reduction.

These homeowners will have an opportunity to clean up and reduce the volume of flammable vegetation on and around their properties.

The objective is to create defensible space around these homes. Once the vegetation is cleared, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District, in conjunction with two nonprofit organizations — the California Conservation Corps and The C.R.E.W. — will chip it.

The California Conservation Corps is a state agency that puts together young people ages 18 to 25 and the environment to the benefit of both.

The C.R.E.W. has employed and trained more than 1,500 male and female youths ages 14 to 17 from our area as well as surrounding communities. Approximately 40 percent of C.R.E.W. participants are disadvantaged.

MarBorg Industries has once again generously donated “roll-off” dumpsters to be placed at 2885 Hidden Valley Lane and at 1030 Ladera Lane for the gathering of vegetation.

— Grace Donnelly is a public information officer for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.

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Neighborhood Meeting to Discuss Municipal Tennis Center Upgrades, New Playground

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department will hold a neighborhood meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 to discuss design options for the development of a new playground and site improvements at the Municipal Tennis Center.

“Muni,” the city’s largest tennis facility, is located at 1414 Park Place.

The first four courts were constructed in 1937 and additional courts followed. The facility is home to the Parks & Recreation Department’s tennis lessons and tennis summer camps.

The project design objectives include providing recreation for neighborhood children, improving site access and safety through pathway improvements, and creating a tennis seating area.

The neighborhood meeting will include a review and discussion of some preliminary conceptual designs. The public is invited to attend and participate in a discussion of the project, which is still in the very early planning stages.

The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department proudly maintains a wide range of parks, facilities and programs designed to serve the needs of the community.

The mission of the department is to provide clean and safe parks, beaches and recreation facilities; to enhance Santa Barbara’s beauty; to promote stewardship of resources; and to provide quality recreation and cultural experiences and community services to improve the quality of life for Santa Barbara residents.

To find out more about the department, please follow us on Facebook by clicking here or visit the City of Santa Barbara's website by clicking here.

— Jill Zachary is assistant director of the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.

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Rotary Clubs Wrap Up Mock Interviews at San Marcos High School

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Volunteers from both the Rotary Club of Goleta and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise recently stepped up to conduct the last mock job interviews of the school year at San Marcos High School, for seniors in Spring Econ classes.

This is a real world rite of passage for every senior at San Marcos, and these final 188 seniors proudly rose to the occasion, dressed in crisp interview suits and carrying polished resumes.

The Rotarians are always able and willing to equip students with essential life skills. Their motto, “Service Above Self” was clearly evident over the two-day event.

"One of Rotary International's areas of focus is education, and it is our clubs' pleasure to serve the youth of our local community in this area,” said Brian Rocha, president-elect for the Rotary Club of Goleta. “The ability to engage with teenagers through mock interviews allows the opportunity for them to learn real world, practical skills that are not taught in the traditional classroom."

— Lori Clayton is a career guidance advisor for San Marcos High School.

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CompuVision, Celebrating 20 Years, Launches New Corporate Brand Identity and Website

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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CompuVision, a leading technology service provider, recently announced the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding and the launch of a new corporate brand identity and website in support of its growing regional presence.

CompuVision was founded on May 15, 1995 by Chief Executive Officer John Hunt. CompuVision and its sister division, Vision Communications, have provided services that include acquisition, implementation and ongoing management of technology solutions for clients in Central and Southern California.

CompuVision has recently expanded its offerings to include cloud-based solutions, digital forensics, two factor authentication as a service and cybersecurity solutions. Vision Communications has recently added an audio/video division to support commercial and residential clients.

“CompuVision and Vision Communications are proud of their 20-year track record of organic growth and sustained profitability while delivering best in class technology solutions and services,” Hunt said. “At the same time, we are forward-focused on this next decade and have significant plans to deliver substantial added value to our clients and innovation to our industry.”

In celebration of embarking on its third decade of business, CompuVision has unveiled a new corporate brand identity that reflects the company’s future strategic direction, mission and goals. Included in the new branding is an updated company website.

“We plan on becoming a corporate household name and a single source for all technology needs for our clients,” Hunt said.

— Jessy Raspiller is a client advocate for CompuVision.

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Letter to the Editor: Changing Santa Barbara Elections Makes Sense

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Dear mayor and council members:

After a very long, drawn-out argument with Mr. DeWitt in the comments section of his letter to the Independent, l decided it would be best to contact you and give you my position on the matter of moving local elections to even numbered years.

In my opinion, this move makes perfect sense! Proving the justification for such a change to a politician requires a lot of wisdom. What is most difficult is getting around the idea that people are stupid political sheep moving to one party like a wandering herd!

So let's say for a moment you can put aside politics, parties and the influence of media and money. Now you have the mindset of a new voter before they become the aforementioned sheep. Whether Republican, independent, Libertarian or Democrat, you know that it's in your best interest to bring that voter into the democratic fold. The republic's best defense is a good offense!

As you probably know, more people become voters in even numbered years. Why would you allow those new voters to enter the democratic process without giving thought to choosing the city leaders?

One can easily argue these recent long, drawn-out election cycles lead to apolitical thinking. With the lack of campaign finance reform and the changes occurring within social media, people are indeed "tuning out" to what the candidates have to say.

Politicians have learned they can stay forever in the limelight merely by saying they're deciding whether to run. Elected officials have also learned how to use the tax dollar to remain in political power. No one should be using government resources to obtain campaign contributions, but we see it every day.

People are beginning to catch on. As they do, more folks will use the ballot to change the system. Why should local elections be left out of that process?

Those of you who decide not to choose this change will have to live with the consequence of your decision. For years now I've seen many of you on the wrong side of the winning arguments regarding district elections, gang injunctions, militarize police (on patrol), etc.

Choices have consequences. If partisan politics is the consequence of even numbered election, I'm sure the voters will succeed in reversing that by using a (cost effective) democratic process.

Steven C. Reynalds
Santa Barbara

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Charlotte Ponticelli to Discuss ‘The Situation of Women in Afghanistan’ in Channel City Club Talk

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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Charlotte Ponticelli will speak about "The Situation of Women in Afghanistan: Priorities, Challenges, and Possibilities" at the Channel City Club luncheon on Monday, June 15 in the Reagan Room at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

Ponticelli
Charlotte Ponticelli

Check-in-will begin at 11:30 a.m.

The cost is $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers.

For reservations or for more information, click here, call 805.564.6223 or email [email protected].

Ponticelli is an international and governmental affairs expert currently serving as program director and advisor for the American Committees on Foreign Relations. She is also an adjunct professor in the Business and Economics School at The Catholic University of America, where she lectures on Global Community Development Policies.

With 23 years of U.S. government experience, Ponticelli began her career on Capitol Hill and served most recently as the State Department’s senior coordinator for international women’s issues and later as deputy undersecretary for international labor affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor

Previously, Ponticelli was senior advisor for State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Director of Human Rights in State’s Bureau for International Organization Affairs; congressional liaison for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and director of congressional correspondence in the Legislative Affairs Office of the White House. She has also served as commissioner assistant at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Ponticelli is a member of several organizations assisting Afghanistan, including the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership founded by President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2002 to assist Afghan women in the areas of political leadership, economic opportunities, education and health. She is also on the boards of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, which provides educational and career opportunities for young Afghan women eager to participate in the governance and development of their country; and the Bayat Foundation, which focuses on alleviating the plight of at-risk Afghans, particularly in the areas of maternal and child health. She is currently assisting the Bayat Foundation with a project to expand telemedicine and humanitarian-relief technologies for Afghanistan.

Ponticelli has received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the “Loyalty Award” from the American Women for International Understanding, the “Inspiration Award” from the Foreign Investment Network and Global Trusted Alliances, and the “Afghan & American Sisterhood Award” from Ariana Outreach.

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Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s New Season Invites Listeners to ‘See the Music’

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, celebrating the start of its 37th season since its founding in 1978, invites music lovers of all ages to sit back, close their eyes and “see the music” with the announcement of their upcoming 2015-16 concert season of the same theme.

Composers have long been known to write music to accompany an existing story, or create a narrative to their music. But listeners often create images in their own imaginations while listening to music and the Chamber Orchestra is stressing this wonderful component to musical enjoyment this season. Composers work in the “realm of the imagination” (as Robert Schumann wrote) — it is no wonder that imagery and music go hand in hand.

“Our mission is to provide the finest classical musical performance experience in the region. With a dedicated and energized board of directors, highly skilled and gifted musicians, and you … our faithful patrons, the future is bright, full of music and fun,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

Whether German composer Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) music evokes images of soldiers, battles, royalty and romance or visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head, thanks to Mendelssohn; listeners will delight in seeing the music this enchanting, inspiring season.

Guest artists Alessio Bax and Martin Beaver will also return to perform with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra this season.

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra 2015-16 Season

The new season will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 and runs through Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

The 2015-16 season schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Season Opening / "Fire & Ice" party and concert

“Enchanting …”

Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D-Minor, Opus 120

Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Overture, Opus 21

Stravinsky, “Firebird”

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Alan Chapman, guest lecturer

“Exquisite …”

Mendelssohn, Symphony for Strings in C-Major No. 9 “Swiss Symphony”

Dvořák, Serenade for Strings in E Major, Opus 22

Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Guest artist: Martin Beaver, Violin

“Inspiring….”

Mozart, Overture: The Marriage of Figaro

Mozart, Symphony No.40 in C Minor, K. 550

Mendellsohn, Violin Concerto Opus 64

Tuesday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Lobero Theatre

Guest artist: Alessio Bax, piano

“Glorius …”

Schumann, Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 54

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5 “Reformation” Opus 107

Two Special Events!

Chamber Music at the Museum

February 9, 7:30 p.m.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Heiichiro Ohyama, Viola

Mozart, Horn Quintet in E-Flat Major, K.407

F. Devienne, Quartet for Bassoon & Strings in G Minor

Mozart, String Quintet No.4 in G minor for two violas

Chocolate and wine pairing included!

Music-Dialogue with Maestro Ohyama and Alan Chapman

University Club of Santa Barbara

Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.

A conversation featuring Maestro Ohyama with musicologist/KUSC radio host Alan Chapman and select players from the Chamber Orchestra

Mendelssohn, String Quintet No. 2, Opus 87

Dessert and wine included!

Additionally, the SBCO Supper Club will continue at select concerts (pre-concert buffet on the Lobero patio, $50 per person including wine, dessert, tax and tip) as well as the SBCO Concert Seats for Families (free tickets for children accompanied by parent/host).

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

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Santa Barbara Wastewater System Inspections Scheduled to Begin in June

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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The City of Santa Barbara Public Works Department will begin its annual inspection of the wastewater collection system (sewer) pipeline in June.

Inspections will occur at various locations throughout the city for about four months.

The majority of work will take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. In some locations, work may be performed outside of those hours to avoid impacts to traffic on busy streets.

Businesses and residents near each inspection location will receive notice 72 hours prior to the start of the inspection. Short-term parking restrictions may be required; however, driveways will not be impacted.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Lisa Arroyo, supervising engineer, at 805.564.5486 or by email at [email protected].

— Lisa Arroyo is a supervising engineer for the City of Santa Barbara.

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UCSB Researchers Study Fine-Motor Coordination of Fruit Flies

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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In all animals — from humans to fruit flies — coordinated physical movement relies on two regimes of motor control: gross and fine. In humans, gross motor control enables large movements of the body and limbs, such as during walking, running or throwing; fine motor control is necessary for more precise movements — pressing a specific key while playing a musical instrument, for example.

Akitake
Bradley Akitake

Montell
Craig Montell (George Foulsham photo)

In fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), rhythmic walking depends largely on gross motor proficiency, while fine motor skills are essential for accomplishing more difficult tasks, such traversing large gaps in the terrain, which requires highly orchestrated and precise movements of multiple appendages, all at the same time.

In a new study that focuses on locomotion in the fruit fly — a relatively simple animal that exhibits many of the same behaviors as humans and other mammals — UC Santa Barbara’s Craig Montell and his research team have identified a transient receptor potential (TRP) channel that plays a key role in the insect’s fine motor coordination. Their research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Most significant, according to Montell, UCSB’s Duggan Professor of Neuroscience, the team has demonstrated that null mutations in the TRPy (gamma) channel specifically impair highly coordinated movements while leaving gross motor control intact. As described by Montell this “breakthrough in understanding fine motor control in animals such as the fruit fly might shed light on the molecular processes that underlie fine motor control in other animals, including humans.”

During the past few years, members of the TRP superfamily have emerged as key molecular channels that participate in a variety of senses. For example, one TRP channel is expressed in taste buds and allows mammals to taste sweet and bitter ingredients, while others function in light sensation or in sensing stimuli that cause itching and changes in temperature.

“There’s a TRP channel in mammals, including humans, that not only senses hot temperatures but is also turned on by the pungent ingredient in hot chili peppers called capsaicin,” said Montell, a faculty member in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and the paper’s senior author. “That’s why you feel hot when you’re eating spicy food. You’re activating the same TRP channels that are activated by hot temperatures.”

The current study, however, focuses on a less recognized sense — proprioception, sometimes referred to as the “sixth sense.” Proprioception gives your brain information on how your body is positioned in space. “Animals must have a sense of the position of their body parts to survive,” said Montell. “You have to know where your body parts are — whether they’re static or moving, whether they’re straight or at angles.”

Added Bradley Akitake, a postdoctoral fellow in the Montell lab and the paper’s lead author, “The mechanically activated TRP channel that we characterized is critical for this task.

“We already know from previous research that there are some mutations disrupting TRP channels that cause these animals to be absolutely spastic,” he continued. “These mutant flies display profound and obvious defects in motor control. We detected a problem in TRPy mutant flies only after increasing the difficulty of the locomotion tasks.”

To separate fine and gross motor behaviors, the researchers shot high-speed video of their wing-clipped fruit fly subjects — both wild type and TRPγ mutants — completing two locomotor tasks: walking and gap crossing. “Walking across a catwalk is an easy task for a fruit fly, whereas gap crossing, having to fully stretch out your body while keeping your rear feet planted and not fall into the water, is much more challenging,” said Akitake. “We can adjust the difficulty by changing the size of the gap.”

When looking at how well the fruit flies maneuvered small, less challenging gaps, the researchers found little difference in the success rates of the wild type and TRPγ gamma mutants. Gross motor proficiency was normal in both. However, upon increasing the gap to 3.5 millimeters, just over 1.5 times the body length of the fly, the wild type had an approximately 60 percent success rate, whereas only a small percentage of TRPγ mutant animals crossed successfully. “By slowing down the video and measuring in detail the body angles and leg reach of the flies, we found that TRPγ mutants were not making the fine posture changes necessary to successfully cross large gaps,” said Montell.

So what does the discovery of a role for the TRPγ channel in fruit fly proprioception mean for other animals, including humans? Additional research is necessary, but according to Montell, diseases that specifically target the human nervous system — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, for example — devastate motor ability in affected individuals. “In order to restore motor function,” he said, “we need to first understand the sensory systems that contribute to fully coordinated movements.”

Other contributors to the study include Dr. Takaaki Sokabe, a project scientist in UCSB’s MCDB department and Neuroscience Research Institute; Jinfei Ni of UCSB and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Nina Boiko, James D. Stockand and Benjamin A. Eaton of the University of Texas Health Science Center.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Health Effects of Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/01/2015

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I recently heard of the oil spill in and around Santa Barbara.

I have firsthand experience with never-ending possibilities of the direct and indirect results of a similar situation. I hope this letter will serve as a note of caution for people in your affected area.

My name is Rocky Meadows. During the 2010 BP oil spill, I lived and worked on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This disaster is now known as the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. While I have no details of the magnitude of your oil spill nor its "cleanup" effort, I urge you to please take this as a very serious matter.

I, along with thousands of others, became sick during this time. Many of us are still very sick with a totally changed life, while many others were sickened to life-ending proportions. From the human health perspective, our symptoms were varied and wide ranging. However, we usually would have many common symptoms, too. When all aspects of life are suddenly affected, (air, water, food and etc.), it is to be expected that individuals will react differently. Our medical experts can sometimes have difficulty determining the exact and precise origin of certain symptoms but the overall health impact is very easily recognized and traced back.

I am writing to you with no outside influence on my message. I went from being a perfectly healthy, very active and athletic person to someone who is now disabled and struggles with basic life. I do not need outside influence to give you a first hand accounting. From a business professional to a survivor, I ask you to please be vigilant and take this matter very serious.

I have little knowledge of environmental issues, most of which are visibly recognized. However, I have extensive knowledge of the human health issues, which are not so easily recognized. I also believe that our health is directly connected to the health of our environment. Therefore, the environment must be meticulously maintained.

Be aware of professional "spokespersons," slanted news reports, doctors who don't want to get involved, etc. Anticipate stories that downplay the amount, the negative impact and, yes, even a change in the basic but pertinent numbers.

It is difficult for me to write this basic and informal letter. I do so as I experience yet another night with little or no sleep at all. Therefore, do not anticipate more correspondence from me. If anyone has questions I welcome your phone call at 228.623.1500. Depending on the time, medication and other factors, I may or may not be able to field your call with an informal and intelligent conversation. I have a voicemail system in which anyone can leave a message if so desired.

It is my prayer that no one would have to endure the change of life such as I have. Therefore I write to you in hopes of helping you understand the serious nature of such an event in which you may be experiencing.

Rocky Meadows
Ocean Springs, Miss.

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Police Trying to Unravel Conflicting Circumstances of Shooting of Santa Maria Teenager

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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Santa Maria police early Monday were investigating the circumstances surrounding the Sunday night shooting of a 17-year-old boy.

The incident initially was reported as an attempted robbery gone awry.​

Lt. Daniel Cohen said officers responded shortly after 9:30 p.m. to Marian Regional Medical Center after being notified that a gunshot victim had been brought to the emergency room.

Late Sunday, he had reported that the teen and another person were walking through a parking lot in the 1300 block of South Broadway when they were approached by a man who demanded money.

“During the robbery attempt, multiple shots were fired, with one round striking the victim in the chest,” Cohen said.

The suspect was described as about 30 years old, 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, and wearing a black hoodie.

However, early Monday, Cohen said further investigation had determined that there was no robbery attempt nor did the shooting occur where it first had been reported.

“Evidence suggests it occurred in the area of Pershing and Russell,” he said, indicating an area about a block east of South Blosser Road on Santa Maria’s west side.

“The exact circumstances are still under investigation,” Cohen said.

Details on the teenager’s condition were not released, but authorities said the wound is not believed to be life threatening.

No arrests had been made as of early Monday.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781.

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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Jeff Moehlis: Peter Frampton Eager to Return to Santa Barbara, Jam with Seymour Duncan

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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There’s an element of truth to Wayne Campbell’s declaration in the movie Wayne’s World 2 that “Everybody in the world has Frampton Comes Alive! If you lived in the suburbs you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of Tide.”

Frampton Comes Alive! was Peter Frampton’s 1976 smash live double album, which sold millions of copies and established him as a superstar.

While that album was the high point of his career, he has also had other notable successes — before “coming alive,” he had hit songs with The Herd (the U.K. hit “I Don’t Want Our Loving to Die”) and Humble Pie (“Natural Born Bugie,” “I Don’t Need No Doctor”).

Afterward he released the Grammy Award-winning instrumental album Fingerprints and has been on many successful tours, including the Frampton Comes Alive! 35 tour that stopped at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2011.

Now we have a chance to see Frampton come alive in Santa Barbara’s more intimate Lobero Theatre, where he’ll be Sunday for the Fifth Annual Notes For Notes Benefit Concert.

Notes For Notes has the admirable mission of providing musical instruments, instruction and facilities to young musicians, and Santa Barbara’s guitar pickup guru and Notes For Notes patron saint Seymour Duncan also will be on hand for the Frampton show.

Frampton talked to Noozhawk about his previous and his upcoming visits to Santa Barbara. Click here to read the full interview — with Frampton’s take on the talk box, B.B. King, Humble Pie and his relationship with cellphones.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: I enjoyed seeing you in Santa Barbara a few years ago when you were here for the Frampton Comes Alive! 35 concert.

Peter Frampton: Thank you. Yeah, that was a wonderful tour.

JM: Was it fun for you to revisit that album?

PF: Yes. It was the first time I had done it in its entirety — ever, I think — because even in the days right after (Frampton) Comes Alive!, we never did the whole thing. We left out a number here or there.

But we just about did everything, I think, on FCA 35. It was something that I wanted to do, and I also wanted to not just do that. That’s when we did (Frampton Comes Alive!) first, and we just went straight through and did another hour and 15 of everything that I wanted to do after that. So there was stuff from Fingerprints, and the best of the other records.

They got what they wanted, the audience, and then I brought them up to date. I thought it was a very nice way of doing it, and it was a great success.

JM: Do you have any thoughts on what the magic ingredients were that made that album strike such a chord with the public?

PF: It’s something that you can’t see, smell or feel (laughs). Who knows, really? I can only surmise and put my best effort into thinking about what it could be. I’ve had some time to think about that — like about 40 years.

I think there’s something that happens for me and for a lot of performers, that when they go onstage there’s something that they can’t bring to the studio, and they can’t bring to the living room when they’re writing.

So you’ve got the goods — when you’ve got some great songs and you’ve got a great band — then you go and you play them, a lot of acts will want to play them exactly like the record every night. Which I think is great for them, boring for me.

So Comes Alive! was that way that one night. The solos were always different every night, and the lengths of the songs change depending on how inspired we all are, when we play off each other. It’s more of the ad lib side that I enjoy.

But on top of that, I think there’s something in the communication that I have with an audience, that you can hear it and feel it when you listen to that record. There’s something about that record that when you put it on it makes you smile.

And I don’t know why. I just get such such a high, and always have, from playing in front of an audience. It’s a privilege to be able to do that. And that they love it so much, it’s a feedback thing. It feeds back more and more and more and more as the show builds. 

It’s that indefinable thing. I remember when I played it for a friend of mine before it came out, and I just watched him smile as he was listening. He said, “This is really good!” And then a lot of other people said that (laughs).

Then more people than I could ever dream said, “Oh, this is pretty good!”

The answer is, I have no idea (laughs). I have no idea what it is, but it’s definitely something where my enjoyment shines through. I think that’s what it is.

JM: What can people look forward to at your upcoming concert at the Lobero Theatre?

PF: That’s for Seymour (Duncan)’s Notes For Notes. We’ve been trying to do this — he’s asked us every year — and we’d already booked the date. So we told him this time, “Tell us when it is, and we’ll book around you.” So it’s his fifth anniversary.

Seymour and I have worked together for many years on pickups. I’ve got them in loads of my guitars, and he’s a dear friend. It’s funny because he started his life in Cincinnati, and I lived up there for 18 years. He started on local TV up there in Cincinnati, and ended up being one of the world’s greatest pickup makers.

It’s just been overdue, and I’ve been looking forward to doing this for him for so long. We’re finally doing it. And he’ll come up and jam with us and play guitar with me, and that’ll be so much fun because he’s a dear friend.

                                                                        •        •

Click here to read the full interview with Peter Frampton, who performs Sunday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido. Click here to purchase tickets online.

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

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In Response to Oil Spill, Demonstrators Make Stand in the Sand for Alternative Energy

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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Anti-oil rally kicks off with speeches before chanting marchers move to West Beach for symbolic photo opportunities

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

“What do you call a solar spill? A nice day!”

Approximately 500 people marched down State Street to the beach in Santa Barbara on Sunday, chanting slogans like that for Stand in the Sand.

The group first gathered at De la Guerra Plaza in front of City Hall. The peaceful anti-oil rally featured guest speakers, creative chants and a fervent audience — all summoned in response to the May 19 pipeline leak and oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

Down at the waterfront, the demonstrators temporarily blocked the busy intersection of State and Cabrillo Boulevard at the base of Stearns Wharf, before organizers cleared the streets and got everyone re-grouped on West Beach. There, they formed a single-file line across the sand.

People brought their children, dogs and plenty of homemade signs, which painted a colorful picture as they held hands for photo and video opportunities on the beach.

Among the props were some floating fish and squid puppets, and a giant, black “pipeline” that had to be carried by dozens of people at a time.

“We have seen this before: the 1969 spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and in 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico,” Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider told the crowd. “The reality is that under the status quo we will see more spills like these in the future.

“We are here because we want to see another alternative. We’re here because we want to get ourselves to a better place that is less reliant on oil and more reliant on new clean and renewable technologies.”

Stand in the Sand was first organized in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as a way to stand in solidarity with those affected by the environmental catastrophe. This year, organizers resurrected the rally to stand up for their own turf, Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.

Officials say about 105,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the broken pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline, with an estimated 21,000 gallons spilling down the hillside and into the ocean along the Gaviota coast. The cause of the breach remains under investigation.

The incident is said to be the largest oil spill to hit Santa Barbara-area beaches since the 1969 blowout, when 3 million gallons of oil spilled from a drilling platform about five miles offshore. The modern environmental movement traces its roots to that spill. 

That movement is still going strong, with all kinds of local groups stepping in to support clean energy any way they can. Not to mention that UC Santa Barbara is considered one of the greenest public university in the United States.

Phil McKenna, board president of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, gave a poetic speech, emphasizing his own detailed descriptions of Refugio Beach.

“It is a place that is in constant motion yet is known for its tranquility; a place so ephemeral that it changes twice a day; a place so dynamic that it transforms from summer sand to hard cobble in winter,” he said.

Although the overarching message of the day was positivity, many of the speakers expressed their melancholy over the gathering.

A recurring theme in the speeches was the necessity to use the negative impacts of the Refugio spill for good — for new legislation, more clean energy opportunities, and attention from the rest of the world to better spread this message.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, were represented by staff who had prepared statements from the legislators.

The day’s final speaker, Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, finished on a strong note.

“We have all the recourses necessary to switch from our past to the future, to sit down with our decision makers, governments and industries, and tell them that, in going with renewable energy, they will continue being in business,” he said.

“We need to protect and preserve our life support system ... We are the only species on the planet that has the choice and the privilege not to disappear.”

Noozhawk intern Ana Mezic​ can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Local Launches Messy Mutt Wipes Business to Clean Up After Slobbery Dogs

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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Frustrated by the drool, Elizabeth Baker starts a business designing and selling alcohol-free clean wipes

Bogart is one messy mutt, a fact that wasn’t lost on the 3-year-old French bulldog’s owner.

Elizabeth Baker, a Santa Barbara native, was working in Washington, D.C., when she got the small, slobbery puppy. She desperately searched for the best way to clean up her pet — and herself in the process — ordering free samples from far and wide.

When she moved back to the Central Coast and still hadn’t found a suitable cleaner, Baker decided to come up with her own product.

She began selling her wet wipes, Messy Mutt Wipes, last month in a local pet store and online, with enough positive feedback to already be thinking about expansion.

Baker, who works full time as a program manager at Goleta-based Direct Relief, thinks of Messy Mutt Wipes as a fun side experiment, especially considering she’s never started a business before.

“It’s really good for dogs and the owners,” she told Noozhawk on a recent afternoon, with a grunting Bogart in tow.

Bogart’s likeness adorns every container of the stuff, each containing 26 moist towelettes made from fiber, deionized water, aloe vera, lanolin, glycerin and Vitamin E.

Most important, Baker said, is that Messy Mutt Wipes are alcohol-free, given that alcohol is an ingredient that sometimes dries out the skin.

The wipes can attach to a leash or be stowed in a bag until your dog gets into something else.

Baker knows the wipes are strong, soft and natural because she tried out a lot of different recipes on herself.

“I would never use anything on Bogart I wouldn’t use on myself,” she said. “People are always surprised by how soft they are.”

Messy Mutt Wipes are in the George Pet Store in Montecito, with plans to get them into pet shops in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and other locations. They’re also available online for $6 on Baker’s website.

Baker has more pet-product ideas but said she’s waiting to see the level of demand and how this first foray into entrepreneurship pans out.

“Santa Barbara is such a dog-friendly place,” she said. “I think we’re going to see what happens. It’s been fun.”

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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Susan Estrich: At a Time of Malaise, Hillary Clinton Brings Out Smiles While Republicans Frown

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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It’s “June gloom” in Southern California, that period well known to locals when the sunshine you expect doesn’t show until the end of the day, if at all. This year, the gloom couldn’t wait until June, and so it came in May.

That may also be true for the country.

Back in the 1970s, when inflation and interest rates were hovering near double digits, then-President Jimmy Carter gave a speech that was understood, not entirely fairly, as accusing the country of suffering from “malaise.” Carter was widely ridiculed by those who put the blame on the accuser and called it lack of leadership. A bloody intra-party war ensued.

I grew up believing the glass was always getting fuller, not because that described the fortunes of my family, but because it really was the national narrative. We were the children of the generation that beat Hitler. We were headed to the moon. We were also divided by lines of race, religion, sex and wealth — but we were fighting those lines.

So, OK, at least half-full. We were optimistic, or at least we believed in possibilities.

The Democrats have a one-word answer to the national sense that our cup today is, sadly, half-empty: Hillary.

People smile when they say it. The idea of a woman who has paid her dues and then some and is so clearly qualified for the job finally getting that job is definitely a half-full cup.

It will have to do for now. Hillary Clinton may be no better at targeting ISIS or attracting good jobs, but the very idea of her in the offing somehow makes the cloud of disappointment surrounding President Barack Obama more tolerable.

The Republican answer offers nothing to smile about. They stand and out-scream one another while blaming Obama.

But does anyone really believe them? Sure, there’s disappointment, but it’s not as if anybody has been out there offering better for the past six years.

And, to be honest, one of the things that so poignantly distinguishes our national mood today from the one I grew up with is the sense that so many of the most important problems are out of our control as Americans, frankly — out of our control as human beings who value the lives of other human beings, none of which has much to do with Obama.

Of course, the Republicans go on to paint Hillary as the wicked witch in whose hands we would be in great danger because she kept emails private. Seriously. Too small.

You may or may not like Hillary Clinton, but do you really think the world would be in safer hands with Ted Cruz? Who on that stage could survive the red phone ad? Who should?

The problem with campaign season is that it is entirely the wrong season for malaise. This is when we are looking for the chicken in the pot. This is when the politicians outdo one another to promise us whatever it is they think it will take, especially in caucus states, where you’re dealing with activists who tend to be very particular about their lists of particulars.

But the answer to our malaise almost surely does not lie with political leaders or election politics. Carter was right about that.

The appearance of the glass, in our civic life, as in all things, is as much a matter of choice and attitude as it is of objective fact. Very few glasses are entirely full or empty.

And then there is our response, which is really what matters: Walk away, leave it to the screamers, damn the whole thing, or actually find some small piece of it you can change or shape or just understand, and then own a tiny share of the problem.

Things look different when you own even a small piece of them.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Obama’s Poor Economic Performance a Climate Problem?

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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President Barack Obama has the lowest average first-quarter GDP growth of any president on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economics Analysis.

Must be global warming or climate change. That is his excuse for everything.

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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3 Suspects Face Charges After Santa Maria Carjacking

By | Published on 05/31/2015

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Three people are facing charges following a weekend carjacking in Santa Maria.

Celena Garcia

Alejandro Bretado

The incident began shortly after 9 p.m. Friday with a report of a carjacking in the 400 block of Benwiley Avenue, a few blocks northwest of Santa Maria Town Center, Santa Maria police Lt. Mark Norling said.

“The victim was approached by a male and female and was beaten, threatened with a knife, and his vehicle was stolen,”​ Norling said.

“After a short period of time, the stolen vehicle was found abandoned in a nearby alley.”

Norling said investigators set up surveillance on the vehicle, and observed two people getting in and driving off.

A high-risk traffic stop was conducted in the 300 block of North Oakley Street, during which the driver ran into a nearby residence.

“The male and female carjacking suspects were found inside the residence, along with the driver who had run from the high-risk stop,”​ Norling said.

He identified the arrested carjacking suspects as Alejandro Bretado, 27, and Celena Garcia, 24.

Garcia faces charges of carjacking, possession of methamphetamine and a felony warrant. Bretado faces a carjacking charge.

Lorraine Melendez

The driver who allegedly ran away after the traffic stop, Lorraine Melendez, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

All were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

There were no injuries in the incident.

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

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Gerald Carpenter: ‘Music at Trinity’ Showcases Brian Chin on Trumpet, Thomas Joyce on Organ

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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The next “Music at Trinity” concert — at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara — is called “The Majesty of Trumpet & Organ,” and it celebrates the powerful affinity between those two instruments.

Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. (chinmusik.com photo)
Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. (www.chinmusik.com photo)

You might reasonably expect that the program for this concert would be all but exclusively baroque, but as you can see below (and will hear Sunday), only two of the six works come from that era. The other four are products of the 20th century.

Trumpeter Brian Chin and organist (not to mention organizer) Thomas Joyce open with the Sonata in D Major, G.1 by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709). Then follows Joyce with the Toccata in F Major, BuxWV 156 of Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707).

The rest of the program, performed either by Chin and Joyce, or Joyce alone, consists of “The Hollow Men,” Opus 25 by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987); the Prayer of St. Gregory, Opus 62b, (1946) by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000); the Improvisations on the “Te Deum” for Solo Organ (1930) by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939); and the Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, 1995 by Naji Hakim (born 1955).

The Persichetti was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem of the same name (“This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper”). Virtually everything this American composer touched turned to very high-carat gold, and this dreamy, melancholy masterpiece might even be more valuable than that. Originally written for trumpet and string orchestra, it was beautifully translated by the composer for trumpet and organ.

The Hovhaness piece is actually an Intermezzo from his 1946 opera, Etchmiadzin, Opus 62. “​Etchmiadzin” is the popular name for the Armenian city of Vagharshapat, which was once the capital of Armenia, and remains the main religious center for Armenian Christianity. Hovhaness, born in Massachusetts as Alan Vaness Chakmakjian, was extremely proud of his Armenian antecedents, and he is often identified as an “Armenian” composer.

But he was an American composer, too. The trumpet, you will recall, plays a significant role in his most famous work, the Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” Opus 132 (1955).

Tournemire was a child prodigy, and the youngest pupil ever accepted by César Franck. In 1898, when Gabriel Pierné resigned as organiste titulaire at the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris (Franck’s old church), Tournemire took over the position and kept it until his death in 1939. At the same time, he was a professor of Chamber Music at the Conservatoire de Paris, and also published a biography of Franck (1931).

In 1930, Tournemire recorded a number of improvisations and other organ pieces. The original set of 10 78s won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1931. The improvisations recorded on this occasion, including these on the “​Te Deum,” were later transcribed by the celebrated organist and composer, Maurice Duruflé.

Hakim’s name comes from his native Lebanon, but musically, he is entirely French. He succeeded Olivier Messiaen as organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris.

This concert is free, although public contributions are always welcome. Trinity Church is located at 1500 State St. at Micheltorena Street.

For more information, call Trinity Episcopal Church at 805.965.7419, or contact music minister Thomas Joyce at [email protected].

— 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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Diane Dimond: Who Are We As a Nation, and What Do We Believe?

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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We live in a world of confounding contradictions.

We call ourselves a peace-loving people, yet we continue to engage in far-flung wars. Domestically, gangs, guns and drug dealing proliferate. This is not a recipe for peace by any measure.

Nearly half of us say we are morally against the death penalty. Yet a jury in Boston — a decidedly anti-capital punishment region of the country — sentenced to death the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Another jury in Aurora, Colo., is currently considering the death penalty for an admitted killer who, in July 2012, shot to death a dozen movie-goers and wounded at least 70 others at a midnight showing of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. This defendant also outfitted his apartment with an elaborate and deadly booby-trap, hoping to kill those who arrived to investigate.

We earnestly say we feel for families struggling to help a relative with mental illness, but society has done little to help establish institutions to treat these unfortunate people. We seem blind to the idea that if we help the most tortured souls among us, they can’t or won’t harm themselves or others.

We automatically expect that when we call 9-1-1, police will instantly and heroically come to our rescue. Yet many fail to understand that officers are constantly confronted with situations that require snap decisions, and the deadly, daily dangers they face can cause their very human instinct of survival to kick in — even when it’s not really a life-or-death situation.

We preach personal responsibility then think nothing of suing over an accident hoping someone or some entity with deep pockets will make us rich.

Many cry for “income equality” across the land. But stop and think about that. A nation where everyone makes the same money, regardless of work product, is socialism. Is that really what we want? Forced equality is not fair.

Many condemn Big Business and corporations as “evil” and want them abolished. Yet they have never run a business or provided job opportunities for their fellow Americans. They fail to realize where jobs that can lift people out of poverty come from. Conversely, corporate leaders who advertise their good deeds but pay no taxes are an abomination.

We claim we are for good government, yet continue to re-elect politicians who lack the integrity and foresight to do what’s right for the country. We know Washington is a mess, but our busy lives keep us from demanding ways to fix it. We repeatedly fall prey to huckster politicians who promise everything and only deliver to their own political party. Even worse, a majority of us don’t even bother to vote.

Some law-abiding Americans make pleas for amnesty for all those who have entered our country illegally. They extol the virtues and good intentions of the alien working class while ignoring the very real problems that come with opening our borders. Overtaxed hospitals, schools and welfare programs, for example. Giving away resources comes with a price.

Contradictions abound, yet few seem to notice. Seems we’ve just stopped thinking through today’s issues.

Who among us doesn’t say they want an exemplary, competitive, affordable education system for our youth? But can you honestly say we have one? No.

When will we stop saying we’re for something and then fail to act to make it happen? That’s more than a contradiction, I fear. It is self-destructive.

We claim to be an enlightened group of parents who protect our young like no generation before us, but check the growing number of missing, exploited and sexually abused children. We may brag we are “helicopter parents” who perpetually hover to swat away danger, but sadly, the statistics prove there aren’t enough good parents to go around.

We distract ourselves and argue about things that mean so little. Like whether the word “thug” is racist. Criminal thugs live in crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods, and they commit multiple murders in Waco, Texas, over something as silly as a motorcycle gang rivalry. Thugs are white, black, Hispanic, Asian and lots of colors in between.

A wise man once told me that when confronted with a myriad of problems, there is really only one main problem.

So what’s this nation’s one problem? It is us.

We have failed to install the leadership this country deserves. It is way past time to change that. I wonder if we will see that change in our lifetimes.

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: Among Republicans, 2016 Presidential Race is Almost Anyone’s to Lose

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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Let us stipulate that Republicans have consistently been a lot more orderly than Democrats.

For example, in the past 60 years, the Republican presidential candidate who was leading in the polls one year before the party’s nominating convention has become the GOP’s nominee 12 months later in 13 of the 14 elections.

The lone exception was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the field in 2007 before making the terminally dumb decision to skip the decisive 2008 contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina and fading into irrelevance.

By contrast, front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination, when the party has not had an incumbent in the White House running, have won the nomination only thee times — John F. Kennedy in 1960, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Al Gore in 2000.

Democrats who led the field before either fading or not competing have included then-Sens. Edward Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, Gary Hart, Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman and then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Eventual nominees George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all trailed badly in the year before their conventions.

But with the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland barely 13 months away, this GOP race is without a front-runner.

The most recent national poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters by Quinnipiac University produced a statistical fluke: Five declared or likely GOP candidates — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and neurosurgeon Ben Carson — all tied, with just 10 percent each.

The current Democratic race is not yet a race, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coasting as the preferred pick of 57 percent of her party’s voters, which translates into a 42-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.

The historical patterns of the two major parties are now totally reversed. The Republican race for the 2016 nomination is undoubtedly the most wide open since World War II, while the Democratic front-runner is now further ahead than any of the party’s nonincumbent nominees have been in six decades. It’s no longer your father’s — or your grandfather’s — Republican Party.

Another major change among Republican voters is that they no longer seem disposed to reward candidates who have been the runners-up in past presidential competitions with the next nomination.

Think about it. What did Republican presidential nominees Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney all have in common? Each of them had run before — twice before in the cases of Dole and Reagan — and finished second before the party chose them as its nominee.

But former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — who won 11 state primaries and caucuses in 2012, finishing second to Romney for the nomination — is currently getting no respect from GOP voters for that good showing. In the most recent measurement before he formally announced his 2016 candidacy, Santorum was the choice of less than 1 percent of his party’s voters.

Instead, Republicans, who regularly fault Obama for having been only “a first-term U.S. senator” and for his having had “no executive experience” before running for president, are now excited about Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, all of whom are first-term U.S. senators with no executive experience. Not to mention Carson, who has never served a day in public office.

This is obviously a very different Republican Party and campaign.

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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Thousands Help 2015 Santa Maria Rodeo Parade Reach for New Heights

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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Elks Rodeo queen Taylor Glines, grand marshal Cotton Rosser lead annual tradition accompanying Santa Maria Elks Rodeo

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Horses, bands and floats proceeded along 1½ miles of Broadway on Saturday morning, accompanied by the newly crowned Santa Maria Elks Rodeo queen.

With overcast skies greeting participants and spectators at the 9 a.m. start, the clouds quickly cleared as the parade traveled south on Broadway between Mill Street and Enos Drive.

While gray skies didn’t interfere with most of the entries, the lack of visibility was responsible for a tardy descent for skydiver Kent Lane.

In all, more than 125 entries and hundreds of participants rode, walked, marched or danced along the route for the two-hour parade, held as part of the 72nd Annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo.

Several entries reflected this year’s parade theme, “Reaching for New Heights — Shooting for the Sky.”

Flying U Rodeo Co.’s Cotton Rosser, a longtime provider of stock used in the rodeo, served as the parade grand marshal.

This year’s junior grand marshal was Elijah Herrick of Nipomo.

And Taylor Glines, an Orcutt Academy High School sophomore, made her first official appearance the morning after winning the title.

Crowned on Friday night during the rodeo, Taylor and her sponsor, VTC Enterprises, raised the most money — $200,870 — during the six-week campaign, rodeo officials said.

The money raised by the 2015 queen, three princesses and their sponsors pushes the grand total to nearly $11 million through the years. 

The three princesses and other sponsors were Sarai Calderon, Your Orcutt Youth OrganizationTaelor Janes, Santa Maria Noontimers Lions Club; and Jasmine Rodriguez, Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe.

Funds will be used for recreation and other programs benefiting Santa Maria Valley youths.

On Saturday afternoon, parade organizers announced winners of six awards: 

» The Grand Sweepstakes (Best Overall Float) — County Oaks Care Center

» Grand Sweepstakes (Best Musical Unit) — Santa Maria High School Saints Band

» Exalted Ruler’s Trophy (Most Outstanding Equestrian Individual) — Santa Monica Mounted Posse

» Mayor’s Trophy (Best Community Entry) — Smith’s Alarms & Electronics

» The Bobby Acquistapace Memorial Trophy (Best Mounted Group) — Al Arenal charro group

» Chairman’s Choice (Best Youth Entry) — Santa Maria Northside Little League

After three evenings, the four-day rodeo’s final performance is a matinee, set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center, 4040 Highway 101.

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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Open House Doesn’t Close Door on Questions Surrounding Refugio Oil Spill Response

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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Public gets a chance to press officials involved in cleanup and recovery, but some say frustration remains

Critical questions remain about the oil pipeline leak that spilled into the ocean near Refugio State Beach two weeks ago, and an open house was held Saturday to give the public a chance to talk with those working on the spill response and cleanup.

The Oil Spill Response Open House was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta, and several hundred people packed the place, mingling over sandwiches and cookies.

It was an impressive display, with booths sets up from each of the myriad of local, state and federal agencies that form the Unified Command that has been working on the cleanup effort.

Several large-screen monitors displayed a map of sections of coastline that had been the most affected by the spill, as well as video of birds and mammals being scrubbed of oil.

Multiple Santa Barbara County departments were on hand Saturday, among them the Public Health Department, whose officials talked about the health impacts of the spill and the air monitoring that has been taking place at local beaches.

County ​Fire Department officials at the open house included Battalion Chief Steve Oakes, who said several people had approached him with their frustrations about the spill. He was able to help connect them to the various agencies that might have answers Saturday.

“It’s so much better to be able to bring in the subject matter experts,” he explained.

A booth was also set up so the public could find out more information about the claims process.

Charlie Bilbe of Worley, a Louisiana-based catastrophe response company that is handling claims for Plains All-American Pipeline, was working the table and said the company has been processing claims calls since the day after the May 19 spill.

“The calls are being taken,” he said, adding that smaller claims, like those from campers who had to switch state parks campgrounds or give up their reservations after the beaches were closed, have already been refunded.

Those still looking to make a claim can reach a 24/7 hotline at 1.866.753.3619.

The Oil Spill Response Open House featured dozens of local, state and federal agencies, and was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
The Oil Spill Response Open House featured dozens of local, state and federal agencies, and was hosted by the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 in Goleta. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The information and documents each individual will need for a claim will vary, but examples would be catch tickets for fishermen wanting to make claims for affected catches, Bilbe said.

Yvonne Addassi, who works for the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, a branch of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the agency has already received about 1,000 applications from volunteers, so they aren’t taking any more specifically for cleanup efforts.

There are organizations that still have opportunities for volunteers, however, including for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training through Goleta’s Aware and Prepare initiative, she said.

Addassi had talked to about 20 people Saturday.

“Mostly what I’ve heard was some of the local frustration about getting involved,” she said. “It is obvious how passionate people are about this coastline.”

The event was packed with uniformed officials from the various agencies. At one point, officials and reporters appeared to significantly outnumber members of the public the event had hoped to attract.

Noozhawk approached one man wearing a hoodie and tennis shoes for comment about the event and the spill, but the man sheepishly admitted he was actually a county employee who had been asked to attend.

One resident who did show up looking for answers and accountability about the spill was Joie McKay of Santa Barbara.

“This community is angry and wants a full accounting of that first day,” she told Noozhawk.

McKay said she had talked to several U.S. Coast Guard officials Saturday, but had not been satisfied about the response time and wondered why volunteers were not allowed to help with cleanup.

“To me, this is a way to diffuse the situation,” she said of the open house.

Another local, Camille Dupuis, was standing nearby, and also skeptical.

“It’s a see-and-be-seen thing,” she said of the officials working the room.

Dupuis lamented that a quick response on the ground to train locals on the basics of beach cleanup could have lessened the impacts.

Action to contain the oil at sea also should have been quicker and could have helped curb damage to that area of the coastline, which is known for its diversity of marine life, she said.

“It’s the marine equivalent of Yosemite National Park,” she said.

Unified Command officials have stressed repeatedly that they are cooperating in cleanup efforts, but the public still has questions about the immediate response to the leak’s first hours, which no one at the open house seemed to want to answer.

“I know they’re doing the right thing now, but where were they that first day?” McKay asked.

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.

An aerial view of the area between Ellwood and Devereux provides evidence of how dark the water is off Ellwood Beach. The photograph was taken late afternoon on May 29. (John Wiley photo)
An aerial view of the area between Ellwood and Devereux provides evidence of how dark the water is off Ellwood Beach. The photograph was taken late afternoon on May 29. (John Wiley photo)

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Teen Artists Go to the Wall to Create New Mural for Exterior of Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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Nearly 2 dozen youths create panels depicting various museum exhibits as part of Arts Fund mentorship program

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A close-up look at Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum exhibits inspired a teen-designed mural now adorning an outside wall on the building.

Created through an Arts Fund program, the mural involved some 20 teen artists mentored by master muralist John Hood, an Allan Hancock College art teacher.

A public unveiling is planned for 10 a.m. to noon June 6 at the Discovery Museum, 705 S. McClelland St.

“They were completely inspired by the museum,” said Amy Asman Blasco, program director. “It’s beautiful and we couldn’t be happier. “

Hood met with the Santa Maria Valley high schoolers for several weeks at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, where they collectively came up with the design, executed it and installed it with the help of local adult artists.

Against a dark background with white dots to represent stars or snow, the mural features panels shaped like gears, turning museum exhibits into art on 5-foot-by-5-foot panels. Each panel reflects a key exhibit in the Discovery Museum.

The tree that sits on the sidewalk blocking some of the wall became part of the mural — a shadow of the tree is on the wall and a youngster leans against it reading a book. At the wall’s western end, a child blows bubbles.

“It’s kind of like a day dream,” Hood added.

He said many of the teens involved in the project didn’t have any art experience.

“This was a first for a lot them,” Hood said, while standing on a scissor lift used to reach upper areas where he worked to glue the panels on the wall.

Throughout the mural workshop, the youths worked diligently on their artwork, he added.

“All of this was their design,” he said. “It was a great collaboration.”

Installation of the various elements took approximately three weeks.

The nonprofit Discovery Museum, which opened in 1996 and now is housed in 13,000 square feet of space, has 40 exhibit areas aimed at providing “learning fun.” The museum also hosts weekly programs and special family events.

Museum leaders have long sought something colorful for the big bland outer wall along East Jones Street.

“We’ve been wanting a mural for a long time,” said Blasco, who added that they are especially excited the wall includes works of young artists.

For more than 20 years, the Arts Fund Teen Arts Mentorship program has provided promising young artists the opportunity to work closely with local professional master artists. The teens receive specialized training, produce portfolio-quality work, gain insight into future careers in creative fields, and participate in a group exhibition in a professional gallery.

The Teen Arts Mentorship Program is funded by The Morris B. Squire Foundation and others.

The program has occurred sporadically in Santa Maria.

“This is the first one we’ve done in recent years,” said Marcello Ricci, Arts Fund program director.

While the Arts Fund typically tries to limit mentorship sessions to 10 teens to ensure they each receive one-on-one time, Ricci said they decided to include all 20 who applied for the Santa Maria project.

Diane Adam, who serves on the boards of the Santa Barbara Foundation and Discovery Museum, reportedly helped connect the various participants — museum executive director Chris Slaughter, who offered up wall space; Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department representatives who allowed use of the youth center room for the workshop.

While seeking a mentor, one name — John Hood’s — came up repeatedly, Ricci said. 

“We met with him and he was game,” Ricci said.

The panels created on special material meant the artists didn’t have to spend a long time on Santa Maria’s windy spring days while standing on scaffolding to paint, Ricci said. It also allowed teens to create their own art within the larger mural.

Those involved in the project are enthused about the finished artwork.

“It’s so amazing,” Ricci said. “It’s really really cool.”

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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New Cuyama Rancher Airlifted to Santa Barbara Hospital After Rattlesnake Bite

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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A rancher in the New Cuyama area was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on Saturday afternoon after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

At 12:18 p.m., a medical call reported the bite, which occurred while a 28-year-old man was working in his barn off of Castro Canyon Road, according to firefighter Sky Bonillo of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The man had been moving some bales of hay inside the barn when a juvenile rattlesnake struck, biting the man on his thumb, Bonillo said.

The ranch is located about 20 minutes from county Fire Station 41 in New Cuyama, in northeastern Santa Barbara County. A fire engine and a rescue ambulance were dispatched.

Bonillo said the decision was made to airlift the man to the hospital via Calstar helicopter because of the ranch’s remote location.

The man was in stable condition at the time he was loaded into the helicopter and flown to Santa Barbara. 

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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Make a Game of Reading at the United Learning Center This Summer

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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United Way of Santa Barbara County helps students improve reading skills with interactive computer programs

Can reading be a game? The ​United Learning Center thinks so.

This summer, the United Learning Center, part of the United Way of Santa Barbara County, is helping kids tackle the fundamentals of reading with a combination of computer programs, one-on-one attention and small group activities.

The core of the program lies in the online literacy programs that the ULC uses: Lexia Reading and Reading Plus. These programs target the five basic areas of reading, teach students about vocabulary and sentence structure, and help them analyze words using Latin roots.

Former teacher and the current United Learning Center manager Mary Beth Adams says the Lexia Reading program, intended for pre-kindergarten to third-grade students, could be used up until fifth grade because it is so thorough.

“While it sounds scary and big, it is actually very fun,” she said of the game-based programs.

Because of the animation and graphics, the programs have kids focused on gaining levels and collecting badges instead of going through a bunch of tests. This not only makes it very motivational, but also very fun.

“Initially, any kid coming into tutoring, especially an older kid, will be a little skeptical,” Adams said. “My experience is that it takes about a week and then you can’t stop them. They’re so focused on moving ahead.”

Adams told Noozhawk that her students usually progress through a grade level of reading within a few months of using Lexia or Reading Plus. Part of this success is due to the individualization that is built-into the program.

“There is an artificial intelligence built into each program that will move along with the child and will identify skills that the child needs to work on,” said Melinda Hodge, the United Way’s community impact officer.

“So you can have two third-graders sitting on Lexia, for instance, but their screens will never be the same because it’s highly adaptive.

“It will work with the individual student as they progress through the program, focusing on skill sets they need to work on.”

The United Learning Center has partnered with more than 36 area schools, and implemented these computer programs into the curriculum through the United Literacy Initiative with major success.

“The kids love it,” Hodge said. “And I think teachers love it equally, if not more because it is so individualized.”

Not only are these programs used in schools, but they are also available online to children and parents 24/7. Because of this, kids can work on their reading skills at school, at home and now during the summer time in the ULC’s summer program.

“It’s nice for kids who don't have the luxury of these programs in their school days to have this to supplement their current curriculum,” Hodge said of the United Learning Center’s programs.

“It’s also nice for the kids who do use the programs in school because they are familiar with it, so it’s a continuation of their everyday accomplishments.”

If parents are skeptical about their children spending more time on electronics, there is no need to worry. Kids will be spending a short amount of their day on the computer and the rest of the day is spent working on activities in small groups.

The United Learning Center is hoping to get 20 to 25 students for this first year of the program, allowing the program to grow from the pilot program’s 15 students, but still keeping a ratio of four students for every teacher.

“(The students) are getting that one on one small group attention constantly,” Hodge said, “and I think that’s key to working with kids who are struggling academically.”

With its combination of one-on-one attention, fun games and group activities, the ULC is sure to make your child’s summer productive and fun.

Click here for more information about the United Learning Center, or call 805-882-0513.

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‘Suspicious’ Fire Damages 3 Trucks, Business in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 05/30/2015

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Firefighters had to cut through a metal driveway gate to gain access to the Lower Eastside blaze

[Scroll down to see video of the fire.]

Three trucks were badly damaged by flames early Saturday in a fire on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside that officials are calling “suspicious.”

Santa Barbara firefighters had to cut through a metal gate to gain access to a fire at a Lower Eastside business early Saturday on Calle Cesar Chavez. (Urban Hikers photo)
Santa Barbara firefighters had to cut through a metal gate to gain access to a fire at a Lower Eastside business early Saturday on Calle Cesar Chavez. (Urban Hikers photo)

A nearby building also sustained damage.

Santa Barbara firefighters were called out at about 2:30 a.m. to 130 N. Calle Cesar Chavez after a fire alarm was triggered, fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said.

He said the first crews to arrive saw smoke and flames coming from the parking lot, but were hampered in reaching the fire by a metal gate.

Using metal-cutting tools, firefighters gained access to the fire, which was burning in three box trucks belonging to an insulation company, Mercado said. One truck was engulfed in flames and the other two were starting to catch fire.

No injuries were reported, and the blaze was under control in about 15 minutes, he said.

Crews also checked to make sure no one was in the adjacent building, which is used by Insulate SB, and that the flames had not spread to the structure.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $100,000 to the vehicles and $25,000 to the structure.

An investigator was called in, and the fire was labeled as “suspicious,” Mercado said.

He noted that about 95 percent of the time, fire-alarm calls turn out to be false.

In this case, he said, smoke drifted into the adjacent building, setting off a smoke alarm and likely preventing a larger blaze.

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.

(Noozhawk and Urban Hikers video)

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While Animals Suffer at Surface, Refugio Oil Spill’s Underwater Impacts Still Unknown

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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The numbers of oil-impacted birds and mammals are rising, but there are no reports yet on the impact to the ocean environment

A black cliff side faced Dave Valentine and his team earlier this week as they approached the Refugio State Beach area, where crude oil had spilled from a 24-inch onshore pipeline, cascading down the bluffs and into the ocean on May 19. 

"You could certainly see where it happened," said Valentine, who is a UCSB professor of earth science and biology and one of the scientists and researchers working to determine the spill's impact on ocean life.

The oil spill's effects are obvious above the surface — there are widely disseminated photographs and statistics of the oil-impacted mammals and birds that have been found dead or injured.

But the spill's impact under the ocean surface is less clear. Response agencies are not offering data on how fish, invertebrates and kelp bed ecosystems have been affected by the spill. 

As of Thursday night, there had been 40 live oiled birds and 22 dead oiled birds, according to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Responders, including volunteers from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, have reported a total of 28 live mammals and 14 dead mammals. Officials have said that most of the birds have been brown pelicans and most of the mammals have been sea lions. 

Birds are being taken to the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro for cleaning and rehabilitation, and mammals have been transported to Sea World in San Diego, according to state officials. Some birds and mammals have died in care facilities. 

On the shore, UCSB staff and scientists announced this week that they are working to protect the western snowy plover, which is nesting right now near the Coal Oil Point Reserve.

The species is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Some of the plovers there have been seen with oil on their bodies, and they nest around high tide, near where oil has been deposited, according to reserve director Cristina Sandoval. 

“We need to remove that oil because the plovers are getting tar on their wings and hair. Almost all of them have little black boots because their feet are black from oil," she said.

"They’re getting oil in their beaks because they go peck to try to get the beach hoppers around the kelp and the kelp is tarred. We need to balance the cleaning up with not impacting the plovers too much while they nest.”

Sea birds and mammals aren't the only wildlife being impacted by the spill, however.

"There's a lot going on under the surface," Capt. Mark Crossland of the Department of Fish & Wildlife told Noozhawk.

Crossland, who works with the department's Oil Spill Prevention and Response, said dive teams will soon be sent out to gather information about the oil spill's impacts on invertebrates, the kelp forest and fish, "in order to come up with an accurate count."

He mentioned dead kelp bass, lobsters and other invertebrates washing up on shore in the first few days of the response. 

The dive teams will rely on the expertise of the scientific community, including researchers from UCSB, Crossland said.

Valentine has significant experience with oil spills and studying their impacts on the ocean, including being part of the scientific response team that worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

At one point, Valentine was just 1,500 feet from the source of that spill and collected samples in the area. He also led expeditions to study the ocean floor and where the oil would end up.

Valentine said last week's Refugio oil spill ran along the shore and "was a heavy oil to begin with."

Crude oil is very adhesive, and any oil that picks up sand in the surf zone could end up sinking to the sea floor, he said. 

So far, no one knows how much oil will end up there, or what that will mean to ocean life under the surface. It's a big enough concern that officials are sending out dive teams to survey the coastline and look for submerged oil. 

"It's an issue of concern," Valentine said. "It worries me and it's something that needs to be looked at." 

As oil is moved to sea, it could change in form by gathering up as tar balls, which could be as small as a penny or as large as a basketball. 

Valentine has already seen some of that coagulation occurring in the form of "tar pancakes," which were seen up to 11 miles offshore.

Since submerged oil has been found along the coast in the spill area, response teams are planning ways to remove it without harming the environment more. 

Plains All American Pipeline, which owns and operates the ruptured line causing the spill, is sending out dive teams to follow up on underwater areas where oil was found. 

Divers searching near Refugio State Park observed pea-sized droplets of oil and oiled kelp in the area, said Rick McMichael, senior director of operations for Plains.

"We don't know the amount of the oil at this time, but it's approximately 20 feet under water and about 150 yards off the beach," he said. "We respect the sensitive biological nature of the kelp beds, and regret this incident has affected them."

Back near the shore, the rocky intertidal zone is home to many invertebrates and other creatures that make their home on some of the rocks that are now covered with oil.

Carol Blanchette, associate research biologist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, focuses on that intertidal habitat, which is home to algae, crabs and invertebrates such as barnacles, sea stars and snails. They all "vary in their sensitivity to things like oiling," she said. 

Her team was out sampling at some of their research sites last week, which include areas from Arroyo Hondo to Coal Oil Point.

Those locations haven't seen much impact yet, but Blanchette said they likely won't be able to see much until the next negative low tide, a few weeks away.

Blanchette said she plans to look at research from other spills impacting rocky shore areas, such as the Exxon Valdez spill, as they study local changes. 

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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Letter to the Editor: Oil Companies and the Kochroach Klub

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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The environmental and moral filth of oil/gas companies, on almost constant display, have had their most recent exposure with the oil spill at Refugio State Beach, caused by rupture of a pipeline operated by Plains All American Pipeline.

Widespread news coverage of this event, backed in some cases by extensive research, has revealed (1) massive previous regulatory violations by this company, and (2) that the spill was not quickly contained because no automatic shutdown valve had been installed at the site. (It appears the company had vigorously, and successfully, fought any county regulation requiring installation of such a valve, claiming that since it operated nationally, only federal — not local — restrictions could hamper it.)

There are also concerns that Plains did not report the spill, and did not contain it, as quickly as it could and should have. California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey sent a letter (May 28) to the Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration, asking for an investigation into evidence that Plains took “ … 'about 90 minutes after the oil spill was confirmed to notify the National Response Center,' a clearinghouse for reports of hazardous material releases that coordinates responses. Additionally, Plains had reported problems with the line earlier that day.

"'We are concerned that Plains Pipeline may not have detected this spill or reported it to federal officials as quickly as possible, and that these delays could have exacerbated the extent of the damage to the environment ... .'

“Linda Krop, chief counsel of the Environmental Defense Center, said she was at the shore until 10 p.m. the day of the spill and nothing was being done to prevent crude that had fouled the beach and rocks from washing into the sea” (Associated Press).

Of course this event is only the latest in a never-ending tale of oil company corruption, environmental damage, and actual or potential sickening of men, women and children.

My previous posts here have cited and detailed environmental and health damage by oil/gas conglomerates ad infinitum, including law-breaking attempts to prevent discovery of same and innumerable violations of existing environmental regulations.

The vast majority of Americans recognize climate change as a real threat to us and our offspring; they approve measures to combat it, including reduction or elimination of carbon dioxide and methane emissions spewed into the atmosphere by oil/gas conglomerates.

Pope Francis, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Bill McKibben and many other notables have cautioned what we risk by ignoring, and failing to deal with, climate change. Globally, institutions, pension funds and church groups, among others, have begun to divest funds from investment in fossil fuel conglomerates.

But a crew of locals spend much of their lives touting the virtues of these climate-busters and climate-denier-liars.

They are the Kochroach Klub, named in honor of the multi-billionaire brothers whose immense wealth, including oil/gas holdings, have enabled them to fund and prop up the Tea Party as well as the modern GOP, and launch huge media campaigns in an attempt to discredit the science of global warming.

“Under the nearly five-decade reign of CEO Charles Koch, [Koch Industries] has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. And in 1999, a jury handed down to Koch's pipeline company what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its type in U.S. history, resulting from the explosion of a defective pipeline that incinerated a pair of Texas teenagers” (RollingStone.com, Sept. 24, 2014).

How timely then, and how appropriate, to name and describe the local Kochroach Klub, whose members regularly infest these forums.

They are mostly oil company shills, who daily dart from site to site, touting the virtues of oil/gas conglomerates; excusing, denying or downplaying the extent, or the significance, of the constantly accumulating instances of environmental and health damage these corporations inflict.

Kochroachers daily denigrate or personally insult others while hiding behind fake names. They are of course cowards who, like real roaches, foul wherever they go while hiding their identities in dark places.

Deny — divert — digress — dismiss — distort — denigrate. These are Kochroacher tools. They:

(1) Deny the massive evidence, supported by innumerable scientific organizations, that climate change poses great harm to the Earth and its people and is largely the result of humans' use of fossil fuels.

(2) Divert attention from the known instances of well failures (see below) when citing no known poisonous contamination of clean aquifers by the thousands of injections wells containing carcinogens drilled into protected underground streams in California.

“ ... industry studies clearly show that five to seven per cent of all new oil and gas wells leak. As wells age, the percentage of leakers can increase to a startling 30 or 50 percent” (resilience.org, Jan. 10, 2013).

(3) Digress from verified citings of oil/gas company corruption and contamination by sneers and ad hominem attacks on the person or organization providing the evidence.

(4) Dismiss as trivial or meaningless the nature and extent of verified oil company environmental and health damage.

(5) Distort the record of oil/gas conglomerates by cherry-picking statistics, and ignore histories of repeated illegal activity and/or regulatory violations.

(6) Denigrate Noozhawk columnists and contributors, elected and appointed officials, religious leaders, news publications, environmental organizations, university professors, scientific study groups, online “watchdog” groups — in effect anyone or anything that criticizes or exposes oil/gas company environmental and health damage.

Kochroachers almost never reveal who they are, what profession they have, whether they are paid, or in any way compensated, by oil/gas companies or by organizations dependent on such companies, what standards of accomplishment they have achieved in life so that one can compare their sneering evaluations of others with their own lives.

Years ago, when I moved from New York City to Los Angeles, I was relieved seemingly to have escaped ever-present roaches. Now, in different form, they are scurrying about among us right here.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Ruptured Section of Pipeline Dug Out for Testing as Refugio Oil-Spill Investigation Continues

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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A 50-foot portion of the pipeline is being transported to a federally-approved laboratory; a community open house is scheduled for Saturday

A 50-foot section of pipeline is being trucked to a laboratory as the investigation into the cause of the Refugio oil spill continues.

Plains All American Pipeline, which owns the crude oil pipeline and is responsible for the spill, confirmed that the 40-foot affected joint, plus 5 feet on either side, was removed Thursday morning and split into two pieces to fit on trucks.

Both pieces were wrapped up to preserve the condition and sent to a federally-approved laboratory, which is undisclosed for “security reasons,” Plains operations director Rick McMichael said.

No information is being disclosed about the condition of the pipe or possible causes of the rupture and the spill that sent thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the coast and into the ocean near Refugio State Beach.

The federal Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the pipeline and is overseeing the work being done to excavate and remove the piece of pipe. PHMSA also issued an order for Plains to shut down Line 901, which carries crude oil from ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc. offshore oil and gas production platforms, and get approval before making repairs and restarting operations.

PHMSA hasn’t been part of the daily media briefings, since the response efforts are being kept separate from the oil spill investigation, officials have said.

On the response front, cleanup teams continue to find and remove oil from the area near the pipeline, the bluffs, the beaches and ocean surface, particularly in the areas of Refugio and El Capitan state parks, which are closed for at least three more weeks.

Dive teams from UC Santa Barbara explored the Refugio Beach area and found submerged oil, so response team divers are further exploring those areas, officials said Friday.

Dave Valentine, a biology and earth science professor at UC Santa Barbara who has been involved in the response effort, said the submerged oil was found mainly in shallow reef areas.

“All along we expected some to sink, which has been confirmed,” he said, adding that crude oil is very adhesive and on the beach it sticks to sand which then acts as ballast, causing it to sink.

Lt. Sean Moe from the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response team, gave an updated number of oil-impacted birds and mammals found as of Thursday night.

There was one live bird and four dead birds found on Thursday, for a total of 40 live birds and 22 dead birds related to this spill, he said. Responders also found six live mammals and four dead mammals on Thursday, for a total of 28 live and 14 dead animals. Most of the birds have been brown pelicans and most of the mammals have been sea lions.

There is a community open house scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Goleta, 150 N. Kellogg Ave. Officials plan to have experts on hand to provide information about environmental impacts, cleanup response efforts, public health and safety, volunteer opportunities and animal rescue. 

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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Neverland Ranch, Former Home of Late Pop Star Michael Jackson, Up for Sale for $100 Million

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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The Los Olivos property is described as 'the ultimate ranch retreat and gated estate'

The Los Olivos Neverland Ranch, the former home of late pop star Michael Jackson, is officially for sale and listed at $100 million.

Colony Capital LLC of Santa Monica has been managing the property since 2008, when it bought a million-dollar note on it from Jackson, who was embroiled in post-trial financial woes.

The firm refurbished the property and started considering selling it last year.

Jackson called the property home from 1988 until 2005 and famously added a locomotive, amusement park rides and a zoo to the large estate.

Fans flocked to the property after Jackson’s death in 2009, and the property’s future has been the subject of wide speculation with suggestions to designate the land as a state park, similar to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, or turn it into a Graceland-style attraction, which locals vehemently opposed.

The property at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road is called Sycamore Valley Ranch in the real estate listings and is described as “the ultimate ranch retreat and gated estate.”

According to Sotheby’s International Realty broker Harry Kolb's website, one of the brokers, the property includes the 12,598-square-foot main house, staff quarters, three guest homes, a stable and other ranch buildings, pool and pool house, tennis court, gardens, a four-acre lake and a 5,500-square-foot movie theater with a stage.

Knowing that the property still has a hold on Jackson fans, real estate brokers told the Wall Street Journal that there would be a strict prequalification process for potential buyers and no tours are planned.

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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Pioneer Valley High School to Break Ground on New Performing Arts Center

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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The first dramatic steps for a Performing Arts Center will occur during a groundbreaking ceremony at Pioneer Valley High School on Monday, June 1.

The estimated 16,411-square-foot structure includes three classrooms and the stage. The complex will be placed on the northeast section of the campus next to the music building and will have a seating capacity of 298.

“This Performing Arts Center represents another step in the right direction for the students in our district,’’ Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson said. “Having viable elective programs with commensurate facilities is key to program success.’’

The estimated project cost is $9.6 million, of which $6.9 million will be the estimated actual building costs, according Gary Wuitschick, director of support services. The total cost includes inspections, surveying, testing, consultants, architects and related fees.

The funding is through C2000 and 2004 bonds, according to Yolanda Ortiz, assistant superintendent of business services.

Construction is expected to start in June and be completed within 14 months, Wuitschick added.

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

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Joseph Kirkland Named New President of Rotary Club of Montecito

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Kirkland
Joseph Kirkland

Joseph Kirkland has been tapped to be the new president of the Rotary Club of Montecito, starting July 1.

All Rotary clubs across the world will be instating new presidents on that date.

Kirkland’s commitment to community involvement is made clear by his track record as a board member, secretary and president-elect for the Rotary Club. He also works with individuals who are interested in socially responsible investment practices.

Kirkland is an assistant vice president and financial advisor at UnionBanc Investment Services in the Central Coast area. His professional career includes positions at Merrill Lynch and Edward Jones.

He is married and has lived in Santa Barbara and on the Central Coast for 21 years.

The Rotary Club of Montecito is a service organization for the local Montecito and Santa Barbara County region established more than 60 years ago. It supports both local and international humanitarian projects.

The group meets every Tuesday for a luncheon at the Montecito Country Club. For more information about attending a Tuesday luncheon at the Montecito Country Club or joining the club, please contact the RCM’s membership chair, Lynda Nahra, at 805.804.1606.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Rotary Club of Montecito.

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Oil-Coated Sea Lion Makes Escape from Truck on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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A sea lion that was being transported to Sea World for treatment of oil exposure decided to take a detour in Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon, and was found trying to cross Highway 101.

The original report at about 2:15 p.m. was for an injured dog in the lanes of northbound Highway 101 between Highway 154 and El Sueno Road, but the California Highway Patrol soon reported that it was a seal and was bleeding.

However, it turned out the marine mammal was actually a sea lion — one of many affected by the Refugio oil spill, according to Alexia Retallack, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Somehow the sea lion had slipped its cage and jumped out of the truck that was transporting it, she said.

“They’re very clever animals,” Retallack noted.

She said the wayward animal was corralled by Santa Barbara County Animal Services officers, and was checked out by personnel from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network from UC Davis.

“It turns out it was OK,” she said.

The sea lion eventually was put back on the truck — presumably with a securely locked cage — and sent on its way to San Diego for cleaning and treatment.

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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Man, Woman Injured in Lompoc Vehicle Incident

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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A female who was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on Friday afternoon was one of two people injured in an odd crash in Lompoc.

Emergency crews responded to the 1200 block of West Maple Avenue at 3:51 p.m., where they found a man and woman who had been injured after their vehicle crashed into a parked vehicle, according to Sgt. Allen Chisholm of the Lompoc Police Department.

Officers found the female who was identified as the passenger and the male driver on the ground.

Both victims had been inside a vehicle, but apparently were injured while they were outside the vehicle, police said. 

"This collision is still under investigation, but at this time it appears that both the driver and passenger exited the vehicle prior to the vehicle colliding with the parked vehicle," police said.

A CalStar helicopter landed at nearby Thompson Park to pick up the woman, who had significant injuries.

The man, was taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center for treatment.

A nearby school bus stop and students in the area were not involved in this incident,  police said.

Lompoc police asked that anyone who saw the accident or the actions of the driver and passenger prior to the collision contact the Police Department at 805.736.2341. Officers also are seeking any video of the crash.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates as they become available.

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

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Pink, Jeff Bridges Join Celebration in Support of Free Summer Meals for Kids

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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On May 21, at the Westside Boys & Girls Club, 500 students, their parents and community members gathered to enjoy performances by youth bands and dancers, while eating nutritious food from the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s mobile cafes.

Actor Jeff Bridges and singer/songwriter Pink met with kids and took the stage to enthusiastically lend their support and introduce the youth performances by Girls Rock SB, musical duo Rico & Nico, and dancers from Santa Barbara Dance Arts.

Rep. Lois Capps, county Supervisor Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, City Council members Cathy Murillo and Randy Rowse, and Santa Barbara school board members Ed Heron and Monique Limon, along with representatives from Supervisor Doreen Farr and Assemblyman Das Williams’ offices participated in the community-wide celebration.

With summer around the corner, the goal of the event was to showcase the 40 places throughout Santa Barbara County where any child can get a free meal. The coalition behind this effort includes the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara, the Community Action Commission and the City of Santa Barbara, and is supported and inspired by No Kid Hungry national spokesman Bridges, who lives in Santa Barbara with his family.

Those gathered were thrilled with the surprise appearance of Pink, who is committed to making Santa Barbara County a No Kid Hungry county. She was accompanied on stage by her daughter.

"I am so excited to be a part of this amazing community,” No Kid Hungry supporter Pink said. “It means a lot to be able to raise awareness about essential programs like summer meals that help keep our local kids happy and healthy."

In Santa Barbara County, summer is a magical time, but for thousands of children, it’s when hunger is at its worst. Nearly one in four children in Santa Barbara County struggle with hunger, and in the summer only 15 percent of them participate in the 40 free summer meal programs.

“Even in our wonderful community, too many of our children are not getting the meals they need, especially when school is out," Bridges said. "With so many strong partners like the Foodbank, CAC, the City of Santa Barbara and our local schools, we’ve been working together to make sure that more families take advantage of the summer meal programs throughout the county. There are 40 places that any child can get a free summer meal, no paperwork required. Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to celebrate our kids. What a better way to do that than to enjoy delicious food and hear good music from talented youth musicians and Radio Bronco."

In addition to the new radio campaign, No Kid Hungry has developed a texting program to make it easier for families to find out where summer meals are served. Families throughout the county can text SUMMERFOOD to 877.877 to find a summer meals site in their neighborhood. The texting program is supported nationally by the Arby’s Foundation.

— Laura Burton Capps represents No Kid Hungry.

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#SantaMaria Fave 5s for This Weekend

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Friday, May 29

Santa Maria Elks Rodeo

The Santa Maria PRCA sanctioned rodeo performances are held at the Santa Maria Elks Unocal Event Center, just off Santa Maria Way in Santa Maria.

Each rodeo performance is loaded with edge of your seat entertainment! Friday: 5 p.m. gates open for 7 p.m. performance; Saturday: 4 p.m. gates open for 6 p.m. performance; Sunday: noon gates open for 2 p.m. performance. Tickets: 888.695.0888 / www.elksrec.com.

Wine Down Friday at Cottonwood Canyon Winery

Every last Friday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring live band performances in our outdoor grass amphitheater, food vendors, and wine for sale by the glass and bottle (no outside food/alcohol allowed). Blankets and chairs are welcome. Admission is free! 3940 Dominion Road, Santa Maria. 805.937.8463.

Saturday, May 30

Elks Rodeo Parade
9 a.m. to noon

This beloved Elks Rodeo event will follow a route from South Broadway to Enos Drive featuring over 200 entries: Marching bands, majorettes, floats, equestrians, clowns and more! Streets will be closed from Mill Street to Enos during this parade.

Costa de Oro WineMaker Dinner

Join us at the Point San Luis Lighthouse Winemaker Dinner with Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods! Tour the lighthouse, a historical landmark and learn the history of this important Central Coast monument. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a four-course meal with current and library CDO wines! $125/person. RSVP: 805.922.1468.

Sunday, May 31

The Clark Center Presents: The Addams Family
487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande

The Arroyo Grande High School Theatre Company presents a twist on The Addams Family with a musical comedy: Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. Tickets at the door: $12 for students and $17 for adults. 805.489.9444.

For more events information: SantaMariaVisitor.com.

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Mona Charen: Obama Not Offended Enough by Anti-Semitism

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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What to make of President Barack Obama's interpretation of the Iranian leadership? Challenged by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg to account for the seeming inconsistency of relying on the rationality of a regime that holds a profoundly anti-Semitic world view, the president denied that the "venomous anti-Semitism" (his words) of the mullahs is a barrier to rational decision making:

"Well, the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn't preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn't preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn't preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn't mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders — and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country."

Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest made an important observation: "It seems clear from this exchange that the president either doesn't understand or flatly disagrees with the point Goldberg has in mind. Goldberg's point is that serious anti-Semites (that is, people whose world views are shaped and informed by Jew hatred as opposed to people who have, for example, a social prejudice against associating with Jews) don't understand reality the way that other people do. They see a world dominated by Jewish plots and secret cartels, and believe that the Elders of Zion rule the world behind a screen of deception and misdirection."

Exactly. The anti-Semitism of the Iranian regime is not remotely comparable to the prejudice you can still find in America. With a knee-jerk reliability, Obama cannot permit any acknowledgment of the evils of other nations to pass without mentioning our own sins ("there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country"). This is both an intellectual and moral failing on Obama's part.

It's an intellectual failing because Obama has clearly failed to grapple with the nature of the Iranian theocrats. Iran's leaders are infected by a disease of the mind that prevents them from perceiving the world accurately. Their anti-Semitism is Nazi in intensity. They believe, as Adolf Hitler did, in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy that is responsible for wars, sectarian conflict among Muslims (!), disease and oppression. The regime hosts Holocaust denial conferences. They ceaselessly refer to Israel and Jews as "cancers" or "rabid dogs." What do you do to cancers and rabid dogs? You kill them.

The regime has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map and has referred to Israel as a "one-bomb country" and a "threat to the world."

Is such a regime rational? During the Iran/Iraq war, the mullahs sent children as young as 12 to the front lines with promises of Heaven if they died in battle (some say they were issued plastic keys to paradise to wear around their necks).

It's profoundly worrying that Obama can shrug off the abundant evidence that the Iranian regime is in the grip of dangerous illusions about Jewish power and Jewish evil, and casually compare it to the kind of anti-Semitism found in modern-day Europe and America.

It's also morally offensive. The mullahs' anti-Semitism, along with their threats, should be enough to cause Obama, or any decent person, to recoil in disgust. Instead, he has made it the cause of his second term to reach a rapprochement with Iran. He has invited the regime to take the "path" he's offering to become "a very successful regional power."

Obama claims that he first became inspired to enter politics by the plight of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. At Mandela's funeral, he said, "Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today."

How would Obama have felt about an American president who minimized the nature of apartheid South Africa, or failed to prevent that regime from acquiring nuclear weapons, or invited the racist state to become a "very successful regional power"?

The analogy is imprecise, because South Africa, though brutal and reprehensible, did not nurture genocidal ambitions, but it's enough to demonstrate that Obama's morality is always in service of his politics, not the other way around.

Mona Charen is a columnist with National Review magazine. Click here to contact her, follow her on Twitter: @mcharen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Showcases Its Scholarship Recipients

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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The period of competition and evaluation is over, the committees have made their decisions and the recipients of this year's Santa Barbara Music Club scholarships have been chosen.

The 37 awards will be distributed under five establishing sponsors: the La Fair/Rokoff/Gilbert Award (one recipient), the Gertrude Richman Award (one), the Ellen Riedel Memorial Award (three), the Nathan Rundlett Vocal Scholarship Award (three), the Emil Torick Award (14) and the Santa Barbara Music Club Award (15).

Now, for the music-loving public, comes the fun part, where we reap the benefit of all that youthful achievement. The wonderful young musicians who have earned the support of their community will offer a brace of free concerts in United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St., at 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 30, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6.

The June 6 concert I will preview next week. This Saturday's concert will contain the following musicians and works: Caroline Luce (piano), 13, J. S. Bach's Invention No.12 in C-Major, BWV 772; Sofiya Prykhitko (violin), 19, the fourth movement of Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy in Eb-Major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 46 (Chis Davis, piano); Zephan Bornfreund (violin), 11, Oskar Rieding's Concertino in A-Minor, Opus 21 (Erin Bonski, piano); Andy Yang (piano), 12, the "Tarantella" from Sergei Prokofiev's Music For Children", Opus 65; Jessica Kozachuk (flute), 20, the "Allegro" from Carl Reinecke's Sonata Undine, Opus 167 (Chis Davis, piano); Eliana VanRenterghem (flute), 16, Georges Hüe's Fantaisie for Flute and Orchestra (Neil DiMaggio, piano); Elizabeth VanRenterghem (flute), 17, the first movement, marked "Heiter Bewegt" (cheerful agitation), of Paul Hindemith's 1936 Sonata for Flute and Piano (Neil DiMaggio, piano); Luana Psaros (mezzo-soprano), 18, "Laurie's Song" from Aaron Copland's opera, The Tender Land (Sharlae Jenkins, piano); Rebecca Shasberger (cello), 22, George Crumb's Sonata for Solo Cello (1955); Matthew Karle (piano), 15, Johann Burgmüller's L'Orage/The Storm; and Maia Ziaee (piano), 18, Seymour Bernstein's The Dying Moth.

The vital and necessary portion of this preview is now concluded. You don't need to be sold these young artists; all you need to do is listen to them. What follows is a brief meditation on the musical life, inspired by the presence of the Hindemith sonata on the program.

Barring a string of hit operas, classical composers seldom get rich. Until composers settled in academia, in the 20th century, and started getting tenure, job security was all but non-existent. Before the French Revolution, they were the indentured servants of the aristocracy and royalty (two groups who notoriously never pay their bills); after that they were nearly in the same position with their publishers. Singers and instrumentalists have generally lived as factory workers, except for the divas and virtuosos who have managed to parlay their name recognition and gifts into a fairly comfortable existence. But for the sine qua non of classical music, the composer, life has always been hand-to-mouth, at best. In the 20th century, when ideology reared its ugly head, things got a lot worse. The Nazis and the Soviets saw politics in everything, and they had decided opinions about what was acceptable and unacceptable in music. In both regimes, unacceptable could get you killed.

When Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote this flute sonata, in December of 1936, he had been a professor at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik for nine years; the Nazis had been in power for three. Two years before the flute sonata, Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, had publicly called Hindemith an "atonal noisemaker." Things were not getting better. The Nazis started banning his compositions as “cultural Bolshevism,” and by 1936, all of his music was banned. Shortly after completing the sonata, he resigned his professorship. Two years later, he fled with his family to Switzerland (though not himself Jewish, one of his wife's parents was a Jew), and in 1940, he came to the United States. He became a U.S. citizen, but returned to Europe, to Zürich, in 1953, and spent his last 10 years there.

The sonata does not reflect the dark and tragic time in which it was written. It is light-hearted and melodious and exceedingly well written. According to his wife, the composer sat up in bed, in the middle of the night, went to his desk and began to write it. Twelve days later, he had it done.

Click here for information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists.

— 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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Santa Barbara Matchmaking Launching Social Club for Central Coast Adults

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Santa Barbara Matchmaking is launching a Social Club in June to help Central Coast adults find the best cultural, dating and social events in the area plus many other benefits to help them navigate the dating waters.

The unique, color-coded Social Calendar includes monthly listings available only to Santa Barbara Matchmaking’s growing number of members.

Santa Barbara Matchmaking is a discreet, upscale company for successful, commitment-minded singles who want to find their soulmates. Click here for more information.

Those who join the Social Club want to know the best events to meet singles, find new places to date, get expert answers to their dating questions and receive great offers exclusive to them. Three local companies will be featured each month to help singles look, feel and have a great date.

Some of these businesses partnering with Santa Barbara Matchmaking include Louie’s Restaurant, Tru Beauty skincare, Grassini Family Winery, Heather Bond fitness and nutrition, Channel Island Outfitters, Santa Barbara Self Defense, Jamie Sloane Wines and many more.

Santa Barbara Matchmaking memberships start at $9.95 a month.

Moving into its fourth year of operation, Santa Barbara Matchmaking just concluded its quarterly mixer at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, and founder Lisa Darsonval-Amador was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship competition, which honors top women business owners on the South Coast.

For more information, call Lisa at 805.699.5650.

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Captain’s Log: Of Spilled Oil and Critters of the Sea

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Anywhere along the coast between Campus Point and Gaviota can be a truly terrible place to incur an oil leak, in terms of impacts on critters. The finfish, shellfish and other sea life of the area are accustomed to naturally-occurring oil seepage and a sheen on the surface. They know how to deal with it and little harm comes to them. Consequently, they have no fear of oil and that puts them at heightened risk when an unnatural oil spill happens.

Those of us who work at sea and ply this coast regularly call this stretch of coast the “oil patch.” There is always seepage through the sea floor. There is an old and ongoing discussion about whether we should try to pump more oil out to lessen the pressure and reduce the natural seepage.

Other than getting oil on our feet when visiting the beaches of the area, I’m not sure there is a lot of reason to try to reduce natural seepage. The critters are used to it. The natural stuff seeps out of the seafloor and floats slowly to the surface in gooey globules. Once at the surface, it is spread out into a natural sheen and then currents and wind accumulate it into long, meandering current breaks. While floating toward the surface, critters easily move around the stuff.

This unnatural oil spill is very different, but the critters don’t know it and they put themselves in deadly interaction with the yucky stuff. This spilled oil may become thickened by the sea, but it isn’t in globules that can be easily navigated around. This nasty stuff floods an area and coats everything it comes in contact with, including fish, invertebrates and even clams, which are unable to filter this stuff. So this spill is reaching below the surface and killing critters.

Some fish and other sealife have high site fidelity, which means they tend to stay put, waiting out the bad times and knowing fully well how to use their familiar habitat to make the most of the good times. This oil spill is making habitat such as rocky structure spots unlivable, at least the way our critters need to live. The result is dead sealife.

Our volunteers out there working diligently and tirelessly to save fish are my heroes. They are cleaning habitat and finding critters that may be saved, with the right treatment. A harsh fact they deal with and at times can break their hearts is that when you have a finite number of volunteers, trying to saves so many lives, they know they can save the most lives by focusing on the ones that can be saved quickly and relatively easy. It is natural to want to spend time on the worse cases, but that takes so much time, during which other critters are taking a turn for the worse and will die. Making those tough decisions is saddening.

The mechanical methods of the oil spill cleanup may be exacerbating the problem. Mechanical cleanup resources (such as booms, skimmers and scrubbers) are so foreign to critters that many can be killed in the process. This whole incident is saddening and infuriating. We’ll do the best we can.

My hope is that we can open back up the giant incident closure zone rapidly because of the major socioeconomic damage it is doing. Many of the people who have their favorite fishing spots or beaches to visit, also have high site fidelity and don’t tend to just go someplace else. That relates to fewer people recreating. Tourism suffers from the oil spill, and that has a profound effect on lots of businesses besides the ones that support fishing and boating. Our commercial fishers are also taking a pounding because their market is down, even for fish from elsewhere in the Channel and around the Channel Islands. Businesses need saving as well as the critters.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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QAD Awards Nearly $65,000 in ‘Project Upgrade’ Grants to Four Local Schools

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Each year, the Santa Barbara-based global software company QAD calculates a percentage of its profits for reinvestment into innovative projects that allow students to spend hands-on time with technology.

Total "Project Upgrade" grants awarded this year were $64,822. Recipients included Santa Barbara High School ($21,605), MAD Academy ($10,000); Hollister Elementary ($23,217) and Foothill Elementary ($10,000).

The grants will be presented on Tuesday at the Multimedia Arts & Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School.

Speakers will include Bill Keese, QAD senior vice president of research and development; Ellen Barger, Santa Barbara County Education Office assistant superintendent; Dr. Dave Cash, Santa Barbara USD superintendent; and William Banning, Goleta USD superintendent.

MAD Academy students and teachers, Computer Science Academy students and teachers, county and school district administrators, MAD Academy board members, and select parent also will be in attendance.

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

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Homeowners Invited to Develop Energy Efficiency Plan at Free Interactive Workshop Series

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Santa Barbara County’s emPower program will guide single-family homeowners through the process of making their home more energy efficient during its first free Interactive Workshop Series beginning June 10.

Participants who attend all four of the weekly workshops at the Santa Barbara Veterans Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd., will leave with a customized energy efficiency plan and five free LED light bulbs — a $75 value.

The workshops will each include dinner and focus on a range of energy-saving techniques designed to make homes more comfortable and safe.

“There are a lot of issues that are sending local energy bills sky-high, but luckily there is a lot that can be done to save you some cash and also make your home more comfortable and healthier in the process,” said Jason Scheurer, emPower energy coach. “We’ll be taking a careful look at everything you need to know, from figuring out where your home is wasting energy to how you can make some necessary home upgrades without breaking the bank.”

Each workshop sessions will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Veterans Building and focus on the following topics:

» June 10 — Intro to Home Energy Efficiency: Learn the basics of how your home uses and loses energy. The cracks and crevices in many homes adds up to a hula-hoop size hole that is letting heated and cooled air escape.

» June 17 — Choosing the Right Energy Improvements for You: Learn about the changes you can make to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Having the cracks and crevices in your homes sealed could help save 20 percent on heating bills.

» June 24 — Overview of the emPower Program: Learn how the County’s emPower Program can help make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. An emPower energy coach is available to assess a home’s energy efficiency troubles for free, and the program can help homeowners take advantage of utility incentives and low-interest financing for making energy efficiency upgrades.

» July 1 — Individual Energy Efficiency Plans & Graduation: Design a customized energy efficiency plan for your own home.

For more information or to RSVP, contact emPower Central Coast at 805.568.3566 or click here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing emPower Central Coast.

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Free ‘New to Medicare’ Seminar Scheduled for July at Carpinteria Library

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) will sponsor a free seminar for people interested in better understanding Medicare.

The "New to Medicare" presentation will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 17 at the Carpinteria Branch Library, 5141 Carpinteria Ave. in Carpinteria.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help new beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program,” said Jim Talbott, board president for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

Even those who currently have Medicare coverage could benefit from this detailed overview.

Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance, Part D prescription coverage, Medicare and employer group health plans and retiree health plan considerations.

HICAP is pleased to partner with the Carpinteria Branch Library in presenting this important information to the community.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company or health plan. The presentation is a service of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, HICAP with financial assistance, in whole or in part, through a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medical services, the federal Medicare agency.

For more information about the "New to Medicare" presentation and to reserve a seat, call the local HICAP office at 800.434.0222 or 805.928.5663, email [email protected] or RSVP online by clicking here.

— Bill Batty represents the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.

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Bill Macfadyen: Taking a Stab at Mending a Broken Heart Probably Isn’t the Wisest Course

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 cleans up after two more wrecks, goes riding for a fall, and rescues a trio of UCSB students channeling their inner tubes

Amid the grim — and shocking — news of a bribery scandal in Soccer World, there were 93,171 Noozhawk readers who were able to play through the pain. Here are your top stories:

1. Santa Barbara Man Accused of Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Breaking up is hard to do. According to authorities, a Santa Barbara man’s apparent inability to let go is going to cost him some jail time after he allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

Police say Daniel Adam Jasso should have left well enough alone. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)
Police say Daniel Adam Jasso should have left well enough alone. (Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

As our Tom Bolton first reported, 24-year-old Daniel Adam Jasso was arrested May 25 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an altercation the night before.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood told Tom that officers arrived at an apartment in the 400 block of West Padre Street just before midnight May 24, to check out reports of a woman screaming and a likely domestic disturbance.

Inside, he said, they found the female resident along with a 24-year-old Goleta man who had been stabbed in the chest and slashed in an arm.

Harwood said police learned the victim and the woman are dating, and that Jasso was none too happy about it.

“Jasso, apparently angry that his ex-girlfriend was in a new relationship, went to the apartment to confront both her and the victim ...,”​ Harwood said.

“He subsequently pushed his way in through the front door. Jasso and the victim then fought inside the apartment, during which time Jasso stabbed the victim.”​

The victim, whose identity was not released, was transported to nearby Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment. Authorities said his wounds did not appear to be life-threatening.

The suspect was long gone by the time officers arrived, but detectives obtained an arrest warrant and searched Jasso’s apartment in the 1200 block of Gillespie Street.

He was arrested while at work the next morning and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

All that’s left of a Ford Focus after a fatal rollover wreck 20 miles east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
All that’s left of a Ford Focus after a fatal rollover wreck 20 miles east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

2. Bakersfield Woman Dies in Highway 166 Crash East of Santa Maria

A 20-year-old Bakersfield woman was killed May 24 in a high-speed rollover wreck on Highway 166 east of Santa Maria.

The California Highway Patrol said the woman was ejected from her Ford Focus when the eastbound car tumbled down an embankment near Rockfront Ranch, about 20 miles from Santa Maria. The crash was reported around 7:30 a.m.

The woman, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of relatives, was pronounced dead at the scene, Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The CHP said it was not known if alcohol or drugs were factors.

3. Woman Hurt in Fall From Horse in Hope Ranch

A woman riding her horse at Hope Ranch Beach took a nasty fall May 25, suffering a moderate head injury in the midday incident.

County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the rider, a woman in her 40s, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

The woman’s name was not disclosed. No other details were released.

4. Motorcyclist Suffers Major Injuries in Highway 154 Crash Near Rancho San Marcos Golf Course

A motorcyclist was badly injured when he lost control of his bike on Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley the morning of May 24.

According to county fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, the crash happened around 10 a.m. near Live Oak Camp and Rancho San Marcos Golf Course.

The rider, whose identity was not released, suffered a likely broken femur and shoulder injuries in the wreck, Zaniboni said. He was taken by an American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.

Not a typical day at the beach. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Not a typical day at the beach. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

5. 3 UCSB Students Rescued in Ocean Off Goleta Beach

Three UC Santa Barbara students took to the sea in inner tubes May 22. It wasn’t their intention to sail over to the Channel Islands from Campus Point, but before they knew it, brisk winds had pushed them well away from shore.

Mike Eliason, a county Fire Department spokesman, said a boat associated with the Refugio oil-spill cleanup called 9-1-1 after spotting the ragtag flotilla.

A rescue operation was launched about 4:15 p.m., and Eliason said firefighters on personal watercraft picked up the trio within 15 minutes.

He estimated the three were in the low-60-degree water for more than 90 minutes. Only one of them was wearing a wetsuit.

Two of the students were transported to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment of hypothermia. The third declined medical attention.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Coffee Could Reduce Risk of Erectile Dysfunction.

HT to my good friend, Jerry Roberts, who — purely by coincidence, I’m sure — sent this to me the morning after his giants humiliated my Dodgers in a series sweep.

Careful with the premature exultation, giants fans. A baseball season’s all about stamina.

But at least it’s not soccer.

                                                                 •        •        •

No matter how many times you click Replay, this won’t rub you the wrong way.

(Aquariumdeslagons1 video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

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Santa Barbara Summer Camp Aims to Teach Youths How to Be Financially Responsible Adults

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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Camp Millionaire
Creative Wealth International's Camp Millionaire teaches useful money management principles and habits for youths ages 10 to 14. (Creative Wealth International photo)

This summer kids in Santa Barbara County and around California will learn the ins and outs of creating financial freedom at our local Camp Millionaire and Moving Out! for Teen camps. Attendees learn everything from budgeting and investing in assets to how to rent their first apartments and get their first jobs.

Camp Millionaire and Moving Out are offered by Creative Wealth International, which started teaching personal finance summer camps for kids and teens in a fun, unique, camp-like setting in Santa Barbara in 2002 with 39 kids stuffed into a room at a local Boys and Girls Club. Since then, they have become the provider of the popular financial education curriculums, Camp Millionaire and The Money Game, sold all over the United States and Internationally.

Using an experiential, active money simulation curriculum makes learning about money fun!

Camp Millionaire emphasizes immediately useful money management principles and habits for ages 10 to 14. Moving Out! for ages 14 to 19 teaches teens about money and what it takes to move out and live on their own. Using accelerated learning techniques, group activities, role-playing and games, attendees explore popular beliefs about money and then learn the information and tools they need to grow up to be financially free.

The curriculum focuses on time-tested money management principles and habits such as Paying Yourself First, Put Your Money to Work for You and Only Borrow Money When It Makes You Money. They learn that investing in assets that produce passive income is the key to becoming financially free and the way they go out into the world to do a lot of good!

"As kids, most of us weren’t taught about money so we don’t have a clue what to do with it as adults. By creating a fun, game-filled, experiential, learning environment, Creative Wealth’s goal is to create future generations of adults who value financial security and freedom over social status," said Elisabeth Donati, creator of the program and author of The Ultimate Allowance, Rocks to Riches and The Money Jars: Your Magical Money Management System.

For more information on Creative Wealth’s summer money camps or its financial education curriculums, click here, email [email protected] or call 805.957.1024. Scholarships are available for every program.

— Elisabeth Donati represents Creative Wealth International.

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UCSB Protesters Call Out UC Administration Over Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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On Thursday, the UCSB community rallied outside of the university’s administrative building — Cheadle Hall — calling out the University of California for its investments in the fossil fuel industry and having financed the May 19 oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

The rally began with a press conference. A master’s student, Theo LeQuesne, called out to the crowd: “To protect our society, environment and economy, we must stop the source of these tragedies — the fossil fuel industry.”

After the press conference, students participated in street theater featuring UC Regents paying Exxon executives to dump “oil” on students, representing the universities' active investment practices and their impact on their environment and students.

“We are here to share in our anger and sadness,” first-year student Abi Pastrana called out during the mic check. “But we must channel this in positive directions.”

Miranda O’Mahony, a first-year student, called out to the crowd, “This spill was not an isolated incident. It is just one more preventable yet inevitable instance of the fossil fuel industry’s disregard for communities and the environment.”

Oil spills and other accidents related to the fossil fuel industry happen all the time, primarily in areas with communities of color. We cannot discuss the fossil fuel industry’s environmental impacts and ignore the inherent environmental racism it perpetuates.

“While Plains All American is liable, Exxon it culpable," O’Mahony said. "Without Exxon’s offshore drilling, there wouldn’t be a pipeline in the first place.”

ExxonMobil contracted out Plains All American, a company with a track record of spills and violations, to transport its crude oil from Exxon’s storage tanks to a pump station in Gaviota.

The students marched from Cheadle Hall to the Multicultural Center, chanting and carrying the pipeline. Student onlookers met the demonstrators with cheers joined in chanting “UC Regents lead the way, divest our UC today,” and, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible.”

The University of California currently invests its endowment in ExxonMobil, alongside many other coal, oil and gas companies.

Emily Williams, campaign director with the California Student Sustainability Coalition and alum of UCSB, said, “By consciously investing in these companies, the university is willingly profiting off of the practices and ecological, societal and climatological impacts of the company.”

In addition to funding one of the worst perpetrators of social injustice and environmental degradation, the university blatantly demonstrates that it places its profit margins above it students. As administration decides to support the biggest climate drivers, administration is actively condemning its students to facing the worst impacts of climate change

“It’s really very simple,” Pastrana said. “We’re calling on our university to start investing in students, not in spills.”

This industry not only disproportionately impacts communities of color, but also youth and future generations. The Climate Vulnerability Monitor estimates that today 400,000 people die per year from climate change-induced disasters. That number will skyrocket when today’s youth and future generations take office.

This spill is just one example, in a sea of disasters, of the ecological and social impacts of the extractive fossil fuel economy.

We know what the alternatives are to fossil fuels — increased investment in and production of renewable energy that is community owned and operated. We also know that the fossil fuel industry will not lead the renewable and just revolution. Big Oil in the last decade collectively invested $9 billion in renewable energy development, compared to the $341 billion they spent in the same period on tar sands extraction. Comparing those figures to the $257 billion that was invested globally in 2011 in renewables, $9 billion is barely a drop in the ocean.

— Emily Williams is the campaign director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Lompoc Incident With Reportedly Barricaded Man Ends Quietly

By | Published on 05/29/2015

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An incident involving a possibly suicidal man with weapons barricaded inside a trailer in Lompoc ended quietly early Friday morning.

Officers from the Lompoc Police Department responded about 9 p.m. Thursday to the 500 block of North Poppy Street about the possibility of a suicidal man who had been drinking alcohol and had two firearms while inside a trailer parked in front of a residence.

The man made comments which concerned family members and prompted a call to police.

Officers helped get the family to a safe location and began talking with them. 

“This led to a dialog via cell phone with the disturbed subject,” Capt. Ed Lardner said. “He began making statements like ‘I’m locked and loaded’ and ‘I’m gonna go Full Metal Jacket’ as he was walking around the location banging on doors and windows.”

Family members confirmed the man had a rifle and handgun with him, police said.

The combination of the weapons and statements, prompted the Lompoc Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team and SWAT Team to respond to the scene.

A phone conversation with the man nearly brought resolution, but he stopped communication with police, Lardner said.

At one point, a loud bang, possibly a gunshot came from the site, and attempts to reach man again were unsuccessful and there was no movement in the trailer.

Authorities used a public address system to contact the man, who began moving again.

“Aid was offered for any injuries he may have suffered during the time of non-communication, but again the subject did not respond and appeared to be OK. In the end the subject covered himself with a blanket and appeared to go to sleep,” Lardner said. 

“It was decided, forcing a violent confrontation, was not in the best interest of any involved party. Since the subject appeared to now be asleep LPD gathered its gear and personnel and left the scene,” Lardner said.

The family vacated the residence for the evening, as a precaution.

Police were investigating Friday if the loud bang was a gunshot, since intentionally or accidentally discharging a weapon is a misdemeanor violation of the city code, Lardner said. If it was determined to be a

For a time during the incident, police block College Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.

Residents received reverse 911 calls advising them to remain inside their homes as a precaution.

The effort involved the crisis negotiation team with personnel from the Lompoc Police Department as well as the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

"It's a great partnership," he added.

Additionally, the Sheriff's Department assisted with other 911 calls in the city, Lardner said.

City street crews and American Medical Response ambulance also responded to the incident.

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

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Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi Honored for 30 Years of Championing Special Olympics

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Longtime volunteer receives Community Service Award at organization's seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region proudly announced that Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi was the organization’s Community Service Award recipient at a Thursday luncheon at the county Courthouse Sunken Garden.

The sun-drenched venue attracted a loyal crowd of supporters, Leadership Council members, sponsors, and Special Olympics’ athletes and their families.

A family-style lunch of shared platters of smoked baby back ribs, roasted chicken quarters, green salad and cornbread — all prepared by Georgia’s Smokehouse — gave a warm, community vibe to the seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon.

Arnoldi — a Santa Barbara native, 41-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Department and the Goleta police chief — has been a volunteer and champion of Special Olympics for more than 30 years.

He organized Santa Barbara’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1982 — and continued the tradition every year since. He is also a long-standing member of the Special Olympics Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run Council.

“Lt. Butch Arnoldi has been a guiding force for over 30 years in making the Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising component of Special Olympics Santa Barbara Region very successful,” said Gina Carbajal, regional director.

“Butch continues to provide stellar support in ensuring that law enforcement officers not only provide support in fundraising, but are present at events to cheer on athletes, give high-fives, and honor the athletes with giving out awarded medals.”

Arnoldi graciously accepted the award.

“Special Olympics is an outstanding organization,” he said. “It allows people of all ages with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete in various sporting events that truly make a difference in the lives of not only the Special Olympics athletes and their families, but for all of us.”

In addition, Special Olympics honored four other individuals at the Inspire Greatness Luncheon, including Special Olympics Athletes of the Year Lamarcus Briggs and Jerry Raffealli, Outstanding Youth Volunteer Cameron Woods and Outstanding Adult Volunteer Dan Weiner.

 

Year-round sponsors include Cox, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Union Bank and Deckers Outdoor Corp. Top luncheon sponsors were Andrew Tymkiw, Montecito Bank & Trust, Edison, The Bank of Santa Barbara, Prospect Mortgage, Coca-Cola, Cottage Health System, the Hutton Parker Foundation, Driscoll’s and others.

Following the parade of Special Olympic athletes from the top of the courthouse stairs through the Sunken Garden lawn to the tented stage, Jerry Siegel, co-chairman of the Special Olympics Regional Leadership Council, addressed the crowd.

“Special Olympics is important to these athletes because it provides year-round recreational and social activities,” he said. “Friendships are formed that last for decades between the athletes as well as the athletes and coaches.”

Seigel further explained how important 2015 is locally to the organization. The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles from July 25 to Aug. 2 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

LA 2015 marks the second time that the World Games will be hosted in Los Angeles, and it is expected to attract 500,000 athletes, spectators and volunteers. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries are scheduled to compete.

The event will be the first Special Olympics World Summer Games held in the United States in 16 years.

Prior to the World Games competition, Special Olympics delegations from around the world will be treated to three days of recreation, entertainment and cultural exchange at their Host Towns, including Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, July 21-24.

At their Host Towns, delegations of athletes will be welcomed and celebrated. In Santa Barbara, the athletes will be housed at Westmont College, will visit the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and will enjoy a barbecue at Leadbetter Beach, as well as practicing and resting for the games.

Click here for more information about Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region, or call 805.884.1516. Click here to make an online donation.

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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Santa Maria Elks Give Youths Taste of Rodeo

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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72nd annual tradition runs through Sunday, and includes four performances and a Saturday parade

Riding a sheep racing into a rodeo arena is akin to being on a dirt bike, first-time mutton bustin’ competitor Nicholas Romero discovered Thursday. 

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Nicholas Romero, left, and dad Aaron Romero pose for a photo after the boy won the Mutton Bustin' contest during the Minetti Mini Rodeo on Thursday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

His skills at hanging onto the woolly beast landed him the belt buckle and bragging rights as the top mutton bustin’ rider during the Minetti Mini Rodeo on Thursday morning when thousands of youngsters got a sampling of the sport.

The invitation-only Mini Rodeo where 6,000 students filled the stands is a prelude to the 72nd Annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, which kicked off Thursday night and continues through Sunday at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center. Each performance will include a full slate of rodeo competition plus entertainment. A schedule is available by clicking here.

Before announcing this year’s Minetti Mini Buckeroo Award winners, volunteer Tony Gonzales noted it was dedicated this year to the late Rosalie Minetti, who died in April. The annual award is presented in honor of rodeo co-founder Clarence Minetti, who died in 2011, and his wife.

Clarence Minetti led the effort to introduce local youngsters to event through the mini rodeo, Gonzales said.

“This was his vision to see all you out here in the stands having a good time. Are you having a good time?” Gonzales asked as the  youngsters shouted affirmatively. “Then we see the completion of his vision.”

Among those in the audience was Michelle Smith, a Minetti granddaughter who teaches first grade at Guadalupe’s Mary Buren School.

“This was one their favorite events,” she said. “Seeing all of the kids in the grandstands is what truly made their day and to kick off the rodeo like this in their memory is very special. We’re very honored to be here and honor all of the award winners that epitomize what being a buckeroo is.”

Armed with small American flags students held high in the sky to wave, the youngsters stomped their feet on the metal stands and shouted on command during the event. With feet pounding on the metal stands, thousands of elementary school students cheered on athletes races.

A bulk of the students came campuses in Santa Maria-Bonita School District, but other students attend from Guadalupe, Lompoc and Lucia-Mar schools.

In addition to some pro rodeo participants, most of the competitors in the morning session were youths who compete in rodeo. 

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Seven-year-old Kaiden Fernandez of Santa Maria was the winner of the best dressed competition for the Mutton Bustin' competition during the Minetti Mini Rodeo. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s kind of cool they see someone their own age,” Maggie White, spokeswoman of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, said of the youth audience. “It also gives our local rodeo contestants an opportunity to compete in front of an audience and it gives them the experience they need if they’re going to continue this on.”

Transportation costs for schools that send students — typically third-graders — is covered by the Elks so districts don’t have to scour their budgets to find the money to make the field trips happen. 

“The Elks just fantastically have all kinds of sponsors who make it possible for the students to be here from throughout Santa Maria Valley,” White said. “It’s the first time a lot of them have seen the rodeo.”

Teachers returned to school with a goodie bag filled with curriculum and teaching resources along with kid’s activity books for each student that included free admission for the students to encourage families to return.

“They see part of Santa Maria’s tradition that they might not have experienced before,” White said. “And the Elks and the rodeo is such a big part of Santa Maria. The rodeo money that’s raised allows the Elks to do the charitable activities throughout the year that make Santa Maria a great community. So we’re showing the kids this is the activity that raises the money that comes back to your community for youth sports and that kind of thing.”

White noted the event also attracts vast volunteer support from local organizations.

“With this many kids you need a lot of eyes and ears," White said. "The Elks make it possible and the volunteers make it safe and fun.”

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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Officials Extend Oil Spill Closures for Refugio, El Capitan State Parks

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Popular coastal campgrounds, beaches and day-use areas won't reopen before June 18 as the cleanup continues

There was more bad news Thursday for people hoping to spend time at Refugio and El Capitan state beaches on the Santa Barbara County coast.

At the daily press conference providing updates on the Refugio oil spill, which sent thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the shore and into the ocean on May 19, officials said the parks' campgrounds and day-use areas would remain closed until at least June 18.

The previous estimate for reopening was June 4.

"That date is not set in stone," said Eric Hjelstrom, the State Parks superintendent for the two coastal parks shut down by the spill. "State Parks will reopen the parks as soon as we possibly can."

Clean-up efforts continued at full pace Thursday, with workers removing oil from the shores of Refugio State Beach and the adjacent bluffs, as well as the culvert that funneled an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil downhill from a break in a Plains All American Pipeline pipeline on the north side of Highway 101.

Two oil-skimmer vessels continued to operate offshore, Plains officials said Thursday, but little oil has been recovered over the last few days.

The two state parks were shut down almost immediately after the spill, and Refugio in particular has served as the operations hub for the clean-up efforts.

Dozens of steel bins full of oil-soaked material are scattered around the campground, along with vehicles and equipment used by the clean-up crews.

"We can't really reopen the parks until that goes away," Hjelstrom said.

Normally both campgrounds are full at this time of year, but reservations have been canceled for all sites through June 18, Hjelstrom said.

The closures were an especially sad blow for this past Memorial Day weekend, Hjelstrom said, noting that visiting the parks is a tradition for many people.

Refugio has 80 regular campsites and three group areas, while El Capitan has 140 sites and five group areas.

Campers pay $35 to $40 per night for a regular site, and day-use fees are $10 per vehicle.

That means State Parks is losing as much as $8,000 a day in camp fees alone, money that the department expects to recover eventually through a damages claim with Plains All American.

Moreover, on the busiest days, some 2,000 people flock to the day-use areas, Hjelstrom said, losses that would added to the tally.

State Parks personnel continue to staff the parks, Hjelstrom said, and hope to have them reopened quickly once they get the go-ahead from federal officials overseeing the spill response.

"It won't necessarily be 24 hours, but we don't expect it will take long," he said.

The section of pipe where the rupture occurred was finally removed on Thursday, according to Rick McMichael, senior director of operations for Plains All American.

The 50-foot length of pipe was cut in half after removal and wrapped for shipment to a metallurgy lab.

McMichael said Plains officials could not comment on anything they saw or any conclusions they might have drawn after seeing the damaged pipe section.

The remaining oil-soaked soil will be removed, and a new section of pipe will be installed, McMichael said.

The pipeline, which carries crude for ExxonMobil and Venoco from Las Flores Canyon to Gaviota, will remain shut down indefinitely while the investigation continues.

Officials were asked at the press briefing about the spread of oil to other locations, including the discovery of oil on beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Jordan Stout with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said investigators were still trying to determine the source of the oil on the beaches to the east and south of the spill, but acknowledged it was possible for oil from Santa Barbara County to travel that far.

The latest tally of oil-affected wildlife was 39 live birds found, of which 18 have died, since the beginning of the response. In addition,22 mammals have been found affected by oil and 10 have died.

Nearly 1,200 people were still assigned to the incident as of Thursday evening, officials said.

The following spill-related phone numbers and websites are still active:

» To report oiled wildlife: 877.823.6926 

» Volunteer information: 800.228.4544

» Volunteers interested in signing up for cleanup operations are required to visit https://calspillwatch.dfg.ca.gov/Spill-Archive/Refugio-Incident/Volunteer

» Claims number: 866.753.3619

» For more information: www.refugioresponse.com.

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

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Santa Maria ‘Prosecutor At Heart’ Leaving Full-Time Position with District Attorney’s Office

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Kevin Duffy, called a 'tireless warrior,' has worked for Santa Barbara County since 1999 and plans to continue part-time handling selective cases

With retirement looming, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy didn’t slow down as he handled three back-to-back trials for deadly drunken driving, homicide and sexual abuse cases since February.

This, his boss District Attorney Joyce Dudley said, is reflective of Duffy’s approach to his job as a prosecutor.

“Kevin is a tireless warrior who thrives on fighting for crime victims and justice,” Dudley said. “Year after year he has taken on our most heart-wrenching cases, often without any reprieve. He will be greatly missed by me and his colleagues and he will be remembered for his work ethic and passion.”

Duffy’s last day was Thursday, ending a full-time gig he began in 1999. 

“I feel like I’ve had a full career,” the 45-year-old Duffy said. He’s leaving, calling it retirement, “because there’s other stuff I want to do in life.”

After graduating from Cal Poly, Duffy attended Cal Western School of Law in San Diego. 

Following a series of internships, he briefly worked in San Diego prosecuting misdemeanors. A short interview with then-Santa Barbara County District Attorney Christie Stanley led to Duffy landing his job in the District Attorney’s Office in Santa Maria.

While he is leaving his full-time job, Duffy will work part-time handling selective cases.

“I’m just a prosecutor at heart. If you’ve got to work, this is the best job possible. I get paid to do right thing for the right reason,” he said.

He had high praise for the current district attorney — “Joyce Dudley has just been a dynamite boss. The taxpayers of Santa Barbara County are very lucky to have her as the elected DA,” he said — as well as the three others he worked for locally. “I’m very pleased that she’s going to allow me to continue to satisfy that part of me that loves to talk to juries and loves to advocate for vulnerable victims.”

After prosecuting domestic violence cases for two years, he has since handled serious and violent felony cases, including several homicide cases with multiple victims.

Some cases stand out for different reasons.

One included the triple homicide for a man charged with killing his girlfriend, her eight-month fetus and her 2-year-old child at the Palms Motor Hotel on West Main Street in July 2001.

“It was really intense,” he said. “Child homicide is just heartbreaking.”

He also prosecuted quadruple-murderer Lee Leeds, convicted of shootings in an auto salvage yard that killing Leeds’ father and three other men in 2008.

The Leeds case proved to be intellectually challenging as the case involved a half-dozen experts testifying about insanity.

Duffy’s final months in his full-time job have been spent prosecuting Benjamin Bettencourt, convicted of drunk driving causing great bodily injury to his passenger, and Brian Keith Reid, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder in the shooting of his parents. Duffy also handled a sexual molestation case in his back-to-back trials earlier this year. 

“It was a great way to end my career,” he said, noting he had tried more than 80 cases as prosecutor. 

“I can’t imagine ending my career on a better note. It was just kind of fortuitous how that turned out,” he added. “Now that I’m done it feels that way.”

Prosecuting sexual molestation cases is “emotionally and psychologically draining,” he said, recalling a heart-wrenching case where the teenage victim — and some jurors — were crying as he asked some difficult questions to establish the elements of the case.

“Doing those cases for the last 14 years, it’s been a blessing but it’s also taken its toll on me,” he said.

He called it “extremely rewarding” to have former victims share about the successes in their lives and the healing they received by standing up their abusers in court.

One former victim visits and has invited him to important milestones in her life. 

“I’ve had little kids come and tell me that I’ve changed the course of their lives, that I was there at the most difficult time of their lives,” he said. “How many professions get that kind of additional reward to their job? I feel very very blessed.” 

He already has a busy schedule planned. As a volunteer with the Central Coast Literacy Council, he will continue teaching a man from Vietnam how to speak and read English.

Once his wife retires in a year, they plan to travel across the United States, Canada and Mexico to visit state parks and rock climb. 

This summer, he and a college-bound son will hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago, retracing several ancient pilgrimage routes in Spain.

“It’s going to be a last chance to bond with my son before he heads off to college on his next adventure,” Duffy 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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Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation the New Title Sponsor of Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half has a new presenting title sponsor in the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

The seventh edition, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, will include two annual highlights: the vintage war plane flyover and the Veterans Final Mile tribute.

With 4,000-plus participants, the largest running event on the Central Coast honors veterans and features courses that begin in the orchards of Goleta and winds past the beautiful UC Santa Barbara campus before heading toward “The World’s Most Beautiful Finish Line” on Santa Barbara’s famed waterfront.

“We welcome Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation as our new presenting title sponsor, and together, we look forward to putting on our best event yet for the runners and the community,” said Rusty Snow, race director. “We also thank Select Staffing for its support and title sponsorship for the past six editions.”

Since 2012, the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half has partnered with the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, which has organized the vintage war plane flyovers and a participant favorite, the Veterans Final Mile. The event also offers discounts to members of the military as well as commemorative race T-shirts and dog tags.

“We have been involved with the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half since 2012 and it has been a wonderful complement to our weekend of events honoring our nation's veterans,” PCVF founding director John Blankenship said. “It is so inspiring and thrilling to see the thousands of finishers concluding their incredible journeys with the one-of-a-kind Veterans Final Mile.”

In addition to Saturday’s races, the expanded sponsorship adds to the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation weekend of Veterans Day events, including the Military Ball, Veterans Day Parade and Concert, and collectively making it one of the largest Veterans Day weekends in the country.

Click here for more information or to register for the 2015 event.

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

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Santa Barbara Police Data Show Rise in Burglaries/Thefts, Drop in Ped/Bicycle Accidents

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Attached is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening) and Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening) calls for service remained within performance objectives. The average response times to Priority 3 (non-emergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service improved from the previous month but still slightly exceeded performance objectives. Longer response times appear to coincide with a spike in total call volume; greater than the previous six years. Year to date there have been 13,310 calls for service, representing a 12 percent increase compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and an 11 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013.

» Positive trends: The rates of pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic accidents are significantly lower than previous years. Year to date there has been a 37 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 39 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 55 percent decrease in bicycle traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 27 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. The rate of DUI traffic collisions seems to be trending slightly down. Year to date there has been a 12 percent decrease in DUI traffic collisions compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 17 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

» Areas of concern: The rates of burglaries and thefts from vehicles and crimes classified as other types of theft (larceny other than burglaries, auto theft, and theft from vehicles) has risen significantly from the last year, back to the levels seen prior to 2014. Year to date there has been a 90 percent increase in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared to the year to date figure from 2014, however this still represents a 3 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 27 percent increase in other types of theft compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 1 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

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

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Santa Barbara County DA Working with State, Federal Prosecutors on Refugio Oil Spill Case

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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There’s been a lot said about the federal government’s plan to investigate the ruptured pipeline that caused the Refugio oil spill, but in the background, prosecutors are meeting up and preparing for potential civil and criminal cases against the oil company responsible for the spill.  

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley has been meeting with DAs from several Southern California counties to get insight on potential prosecution, she told Noozhawk.

She’s also been working with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and state Attorney General’s office.

“I think it’s pretty clear we’re all going to stay involved, be involved and pursue prosecution or civil remedies,” she said, adding that county, state and federal agencies all have jurisdiction in terms of potential prosecution and the three levels are in constant communication with each other. Her office will use “everything we can in our search for the truth,” including sharing information, interviews and possibly even grand juries, she said.

It appears to be a strict liability case — Plains All American Pipeline owns and operates the Line 901 carrying crude oil that ruptured and caused the spill — but the investigation could discover some third-party cause for the spill, such as an earthquake or someone sabotaging the line, Dudley noted.

Prosecutors could consider civil and/or criminal charges in this case.

The investigation of the oil spill’s cause is ongoing and authorities aren’t releasing any information about the section of ruptured pipe, which was uncovered Wednesday and will be transported to an independent laboratory for testing.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the pipeline and representatives have been on scene to oversee the pipe section removal and repair work, authorities said. PHMSA ordered a shutdown of the pipe and will approve any plans to restart operations on the line.

Line 901 carried oil from Las Flores Canyon to Plains’ Gaviota Pump Station, and the shutdown includes operations at ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc., which both use the pipeline to carry oil north from its offshore oil and gas production platforms. 

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard, which are leading the response effort, issued a Clean Water Act order that formally requires Plains to complete the clean-up. Plains is also financially responsible for all cleanup and response costs, the company has said.  

Dudley has an environmental attorney on the scene of the pipe excavation, and has since Wednesday morning, and brought on retired Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian as extra help with the investigation.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Office is working with Dudley’s office and other agencies to investigate the incident.

“My office is working closely with our state and federal partners on an investigation of this conduct to ensure we hold responsible parties accountable,” she said in a statement.

In addition to potential prosecution, Plains faces significant costs from paying for cleanup response efforts and claims for damages, which can be filed be calling 866.753.3619.

Claims can be filed for a variety of reasons, including a loss of business (for commercial fishermen, hotels in the Santa Barbara and Goleta area, kayaking adventure companies, etc.) and damages to personal or real property.

Governmental costs during the response can be reimbursed, and Santa Barbara County will be filing for staff costs and can even file a claim for lower transient occupancy taxes if the spill impacts hotel bed revenues, county counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.

The county’s Emergency Operations Center has been used as the central command post for the incident, hosting 200 to 250 people every day from numerous agencies. Command will move closer to Refugio State Beach on Friday to an “undisclosed location” and the county will continue running its response operations from the EOC, county emergency management director Ryan Rockabrand said.

He said this incident has been a good “stress test” for the county facility, which was built in 2011 and previously was used for the eight-hour Miguelito Canyon Fire response.

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

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Outdoors Q&A: 8 a.m. Abalone Start Time Unfair for Rock Pickers

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Q: Just a note (complaint) … The start time of 8 a.m. for abalone is very, very unfair. The two lowest tides of the year are in May and June, and you just eliminated them. Rock pickers are put into a shorter collection time and can make even more hurried decisions to take an under-size ab off a rock. You are punishing all rock pickers and putting them in danger by forcing them to dive for abs when they are not good divers (thus, in danger of drowning).

The 8 a.m. rule does not adversely affect the divers at all. You already closed off way over half the state of California. There is no way that abalone hunters can wipe out the abalone population. I go rock picking for abalone with six others and we all share these thoughts. (Fred M., San Francisco).

A: The California Department of Fish & Wildlife made recommendations to the Fish and Game Commission to reduce the take of abalone because recent scuba surveys had shown lower numbers of abalone at popular abalone sites, particularly in Sonoma County.

According to CDFW marine environmental scientist Jerry Kashiwada, the current Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) recommends a 25 percent reduction in the take of abalone when the density (number of abalone in a standard area) reaches the low levels seen in the most recent surveys. Density in the Fort Ross area was so low it reached an ARMP “trigger” for closure to allow the abalone population to recover.

The commission had a choice between the 8 a.m. start time, reduction of daily limit to two abalone, reduction of the limit on the abalone card, reduction of the season (more closed months), reduction of take for Sonoma and Marin counties or some combination those proposed changes.

The 8 a.m. start time was initially proposed by CDFW wildlife officers who had been seeing large numbers of rock pickers at all low tides and believed that segment of the fishery was unsustainable. The officers observed rock pickers were taking more time to find legal limits, were less likely to get a limit and were removing and returning more short abalone, many of which were unlikely to survive the handling. The later start time also helps officers by eliminating predawn fishing hours when the light is too dim to observe violations. The effect of the new start time was estimated using data from returned abalone report cards, but the actual effect is unknown since it depended on whether many people would shift to later hours. Data from abalone cards returned this year will provide a clearer picture of the effects of the regulation changes.

The timing of low tides is variable from year to year and while the 8:00 a.m. start reduces the number of low tides available, there usually are some days with suitable tides. The lower numbers of abalone being taken by rock pickers may make it easier to find abalone at higher tide levels than in the past. The activities of sport fishermen might not be sufficient to cause extinction of abalone species but they can reduce abalone populations to the point that the abalone are spaced so far apart that their chances of reproducing are very low. At low abalone population levels, many people might stop participating in the fishery because it is too difficult to find abalone. Reducing abalone populations to low levels also makes them more vulnerable to events like the 2011 die-off that affected abalone in much of Sonoma County.

CDFW is in the process of developing a Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan to revise sections of the ARMP. Those interested in expressing their preferences for the management of the abalone fishery may take an online survey by clicking here to provide input.

Can a Nonhunter Carry an Unloaded Shotgun When with Other Hunters?

Q: While hunting on a game bird club, can a nonlicensed, nonhunter carry an unloaded shotgun while walking with other hunters? (Anonymous)

A: While it may not technically violate the law for you to carry an unloaded shotgun without a license, by doing this with others who have ammunition and are taking game, it will likely generate many questions by the wildlife officer contacting you in the field. Whether or not you have a hunting license is not an element of “take.” You may argue you are not taking game, but the officer has sufficient evidence to prove you are. Do you really want to put yourself through the hassle of going to court? Leave the firearm behind if you want to go with your buddies while they are taking game.

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

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David Sirota: Big Questions About Arms Deals for Clinton Foundation Donors

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Among all the rivers of money that have flowed to the Clinton family, one seems to raise the biggest national security questions of all: the stream of cash that came from 20 foreign governments who relied on weapons export approvals from Hillary Clinton's State Department.

Federal law designates the secretary of state as "responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales" of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Clinton's State Department did a whole lot of approving.

While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton's three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American military contractors and their affiliates that donated to the Clinton Foundation — and in some cases, helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton — also got in on the action. Those firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.

Under a directive signed by President Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to take foreign governments' human rights records into account when reviewing arms deals. Yet, Hillary Clinton's State Department increased approvals of such deals to Clinton Foundation donors that her own agency was sharply criticizing for systematic human rights abuses.

As just one of many examples, in its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton's State Department slammed Algeria's government for imposing "restrictions on freedom of assembly and association," tolerating "arbitrary killing," "widespread corruption" and a "lack of judicial independence."

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton's State Department approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment." The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before.

During Hillary Clinton's 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said the Clinton Foundation should stop accepting foreign government money. He warned that if it didn't, "foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state."

The Clintons did not take his advice. Advocates for limits on the political influence of money now say that Lugar was prescient.

"The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation," said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.

While these arms deals may seem like ancient history, Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University's Safra Center for Ethics, says they "raise a fundamental question of judgment" — one that is relevant to the 2016 presidential campaign.

"Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise?" he said. "And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?"

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

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BizHawk: Family Behind Shalhoob Meat Co. Plans to Open Funk Zone Patio Deli

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Killer B’s BBQ closes amid ownership change, Mermaid’s Chest extends closure date and actor Kurt Russell hosts inaugural wine club party

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected].]

LJ Shalhoob couldn’t find the type of outdoor environment he was looking for in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, so his family set out to create it.

That vision will come to life as Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio, where the longtime local purveyor of custom-cut meats and poultry — Shalhoob Meat Co. at 220 Gray Ave. — has established an outdoor space for lounging, eating and (hopefully soon) drinking.

LJ Shalhoob manages the Shalhoob shop with sister Leeandra as the children of company president John Shalhoob, who took over the family-owned and operated business his father, Jerry, founded locally in 1973.

LJ calls the patio deli “his baby,” a new idea to keep the longtime staple fresh and to capitalize on the growing popularity of the Funk Zone area, where wineries and breweries are opening faster than new eateries.

Custom-made canopies, picnic tables and metal gates were key parts of renovations completed nine months ago, he said. Now the Shalhoob family waits for official permits to get started.

The business that traditionally serves restaurants, hotels and homes has also expanded into off-site catering and corporate lunch services, with cooking classes in the works.

“Now we’re catering to the public,” Shalhoob said. “This is our vision. It really got us excited.”

The family hopes to open the patio later this year or in early 2016, teaming up with longtime friend and local chef Pete Clements to work on a menu that will undoubtedly include tri-tip sandwiches and more. The plan is to add local beer and wine, too.

Killer B’s BBQ Sold

Santa Barbara’s Killer B’s BBQ has closed and will reopen this summer under new ownership and a new name.

Gabe Clark, who worked as a chef at the restaurant the past three years, recently bought the business at 731 De la Guerra Plaza from its original owner, Will L’Heureux.

After a few months on the job, Clark said he decided to close the eatery this month to renovate the interior and reopen sometime in July as State Streets Backyard, a restaurant concept that will turn the joint into a destination for outside fun with music and games.

“Changes to the outside and inside will be made, but we are keeping our food and vibe the same,” Clark told Noozhawk in an email.

An exact opening date wasn’t yet known, he said.

Mermaid’s Chest Extends Closure Date

The Mermaid’s Chest antique shop has extended its last day to Aug. 1 instead of closing at the end of May, owner Debbie Moore said.

Moore’s mom-and-pop shop near the waterfront at 16 Helena Ave., Suite B, will keep its 50-percent off sale going and will eventually switch to a 75-percent off sale, she said.

Actor Hosts Wine Club Party

Film actor and wine producer Kurt Russell recently hosted an inaugural wine club party for his wine label, GoGi Wines.

The private event was held at the historic 1880 Union Hotel in the quaint town of Los Alamos, featuring the release of his newest vintage of Pinot Noir — 2012 “Tiger,” named for his brother-in- law, Jack Philbrick.

Both Russell and actor Kate Hudson have their wine labels at the Los Alamos hotel.

Rocha Swim Hosts Benefit

Rocha Swim, a locally made line of Brazilian-inspired bikinis, is teaming up with the Dream Foundation to host a runway show fundraiser on June 4.

The Swimwear Runway Show called “Summer Dream” is from 5-8 p.m. at Aperture Collective and Cabana Home in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the nonprofit.

“I have lost a few family members to illnesses, and now I am dealing with losing another aunt to cancer,” Rocha Swim owner Danielle Rocha said. “The Dream Foundation helps people like myself, my family and my aunt. The Dream Foundation hit close to home when I heard the stories from other families going through the same thing when I attended their Gala this past year, I knew this was a non profit that I wanted to raise money for.”

Tickets for the event are $75, and more information can be found by clicking here.

Johnson
Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson Hired at Broadview Mortgage

Mark Johnson has joined the Santa Barbara branch of Broadview Mortgage as a senior loan originator, according to branch manager Kelly Marsh.

Johnson will assist clients in choosing the financing options that best suit their individual needs using his expertise in jumbo mortgage products and new residential housing projects.

He has been in the mortgage business since 1999 and previously worked at HomeServices Lending in Montecito, Santa Barbara and Los Olivos, as well as in private mortgage banking at Wells Fargo.

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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Kim Collins’ Jazz Combo Workshop, Idiomatiques Holding Benefit Concert for SB Youth Music Academy

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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On Tuesday, June 2, starting at 7:30 p.m., the Free Methodist Church at 1435 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara will be swinging with the sounds of cool, sweet jazz performed live.

Kim Collins
Kim Collins

Kim Collins, the Jazz Combo Workshop and The Idiomatiques welcome the public to come and join in the fun and help support the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

For 25 years, Santa Barbara jazz bassist, singer, composer and arranger Collins has been teaching the Jazz Combo Workshop. The JCW is now a premiere Santa Barbara-based forum for musicians to learn, practice and perfect the techniques of jazz performance.

Two or three times a year, the JCW stages a student concert open to the public to show off what a swinging good time the musicians have had learning jazz. In this final concert of the 2014-15 school year, everybody present is in for a very special treat.

Santa Barbara’s newest professional Gypsy Jazz band, The Idiomatiques, will be performing in the show. If you like jazz but you’ve never experienced the pure joy and fun of this style of jazz, pioneered by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, you won’t want to miss this event!

The suggested donation is $10. Make checks out to the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, pay at the door. All proceeds go to the Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

JCW, a proud affiliate of the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, will donate all proceeds from this concert to the SBYMA Young Musicians Scholarship Fund.

The participants in the JCW — mostly adults — are very happy to feel that their efforts can benefit the next generation of musicians, and to give them and the public more exposure to America’s great original art form: jazz.

To learn more about The Idiomatiques and Gypsy Jazz, visit the Idiomatiques website by clicking here. If you are interested in joining the Jazz Combo Workshop or to learn more about Kim Collins, click here to visit the Robert Kim Collins website.

— Ed Seaman is a board member for the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.

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Mark Richardson: Setting the Record Straight About Grievances Against Santa Maria School District

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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In a recent article for the Santa Maria Times, Faculty Association President Mark Goodman made certain claims about the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and alleged a record 19 grievances had been filed by the Faculty Association this year. I have been repeatedly asked by parents, teachers and community members to set the record straight about these grievances.

Richardson
Superintendent Mark Richardson

Our district, along with all school districts across the state, is going through a transformative process, implementing significant changes to the educational system and school financing. That process is very exciting, and I am sure will enhance the education received by all of our students. However, big changes can be difficult, and I believe collaboration is the key to student success.

To help implement these changes, the district has utilized committees that include all stakeholders. Teacher voice is instrumental to this process, and Faculty Association leadership has been involved since the beginning along with students, parents and other community members.

Obtaining input from all of these groups is required under the new state reforms. This represents a fundamental shift in our district and has been a cause for concern for some.

So why so many grievances? The district is required to track the number of grievances filed, and there have been seven grievances filed this year. Even that number is, from my perspective, too high. The grievance process is designed to resolve disputes related to contract, and it is the Faculty Association who decides whether to file a grievance.

Neither the district nor individual teachers can use this process to file grievances against the Faculty Association. Once a grievance is filed, the district is legally required to address grievances alleging a contract violation regardless of whether there is any merit to those claims.

For example, I believe that graduation is a significant rite of passage for our students and it is important for teachers to be there. We have had low faculty attendance in the past, so this year, we decided to conduct a pilot program where graduation is held during the workday so teachers can attend and the school sites can staff the event at appropriate levels. As a result, we are currently handling a grievance where the entire point of the grievance is that teachers not be required to attend student graduation ceremonies during their workday.

I know a large majority of our high-quality teachers are looking forward to attending student graduations and recognize the positive message teacher attendance sends to our kids. I also know that many district teachers are unaware that these types of grievances are being filed.

Recently, the district has also been defending teachers at Pioneer Valley High School and their right to determine how they utilize their collaboration time. Collaboration time is basically time reserved for teachers to work together (without students present) to better assist students to succeed in the classroom. The teachers at PVHS voted to use a small portion of this time (10 minutes) to meet with their principal. Despite the fact that the teachers at the school site made this decision, the Faculty Association has now filed multiple grievances on the exact same subject maintaining that teachers do not have the right to meet with their principal during this time.

When I was hired in this district by Dean Reece, along with the rest of the school board, I was instructed to engage all stakeholders, set a progressive direction for the district, and to focus on creating the facilities and programs that will best serve our students. With the help and input of all the people who make up our district community, I believe we are well on our way.

I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.

— Dr. Mark Richardson is superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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Garden Street Academy Sculpture Class Learns to Think Big and Bold with ‘Entropy’

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Teacher Patrick Faulk encourages students to push themselves, follow through with larger-than-life projects

“Ridiculous” seems to be the word to describe the giant, neon green sculpture that is displayed in the middle of the cubicles at Garden Street Academy. The 14-foot structure — made up of 108 equilateral triangles — was designed and constructed by the 12 students in Patrick Faulk’s sculpture class.

Twelfth-grader Connor Lavelle, one of the students who took the lead with the project, describes the tedious process of trial and error, even showing Noozhawk some of the broken-down cardboard prototypes for “Entropy.”

“We made a lot of smaller models at first,” he said. “If one triangle was off, then the whole piece wouldn’t work. So everything needed to be cut precisely.”

Once the idea was in the works, most class periods were spent cutting triangles and testing materials. The process took about six months. Faulk thought that the project took longer than expected.

“I thought, ‘Hey, we’ll be done by September! It will only take a month!’” he said with a laugh. “There were times where we were just yelling at each other for class periods.

“But I think it’s been a good process. It was a bit ridiculous and I kind of think we spent too much time on it. But you need to spend time to make something big like this.”

At Garden Street Academy, this type of “larger-than-life” thinking seems to have a big impact on its students. In Faulk’s art class, students recently were working on their personal projects, all of which include a musical kinetic sculpture, a claymation video, a sculpture of the USS Enterprise as a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, a sculpture of a cat’s head, bees encased in a resin heart, or a fish bowl with hanging crystals.

Many of these projects are interdisciplinary, showing off the wide range of extracurricular activities that students can take at Garden Street Academy. Students also must take general courses like math and English at the independent, accredited K-12 school.

“I was sick at some point this year and I was upset about not going to school,” said Ray Kutcher, a sophomore. “The teachers here are so great. I’m taking anatomy, and because it’s a higher-level class, I thought I wouldn’t like it. But it turns out there’s a lot of interesting things that I’ve learned about anatomy and the human body.”

Along with engaging classes and a well-rounded student body, Garden Street Academy teachers are always pushing students to do something they never thought they could.

“I had a student who came in only drawing small things and I said, ‘Why don’t you go big?’” Faulk recalled. “I’m a teacher and it’s my job to facilitate and kind of find the ‘where are you weakest?’ and push you to develop in that way.”

This mentality helped Garden Street Academy students create “Entropy” and can help any child accomplish anything in their future endeavors.

Even if “Entropy” may now be at the point where it’s breaking down and “dying,” as Faulk says, it is an achievement that his students can definitely be proud of.

“I honestly didn’t think we’d finish it,” said ninth-grader Luna Kuttner, who described some structural issues during the last stretch of the project. “We had to revive the sculpture a couple of times. But it’s really awesome to be able to finish something like this.”

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Dozens of Businesses Join Santa Barbara’s Yellow Bin Foodscraps Program

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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Spurred by economic incentives and a genuine desire to do the right thing, dozens of local businesses have joined Santa Barbara’s innovative foodscraps composting program in the last six months.

Coffee shops, grocery stores, offices, schools and full-service restaurants have all deployed the yellow bin in the kitchen.

Under the program, they are able to divert food and paper waste from the landfill and frequently save money on their utility bill. The rich compost created from their scraps is used on area parks and returned to school gardens.

The total number of participating establishments is now close to 200. Recent additions include:

The Lark
Anacapa School
Lilac Patisserie
Yellow Belly
Allen Construction
The Little Door
Joe’s Café
Opal
The Shop Café
Apeel Sciences
Cajun Kitchen
Persona Pizza
Palace Grill

in La Arcada

Cielito
Jeannine’s American Bakery and Restaurant
La Arcada Bistro
Petit Valentien

Chris Vigilante, owner of The Shop Cafe on Milpas Street, explains his motivation for joining: “The decision to participate was really a no-brainer for us. We were frustrated by the amount of recyclable material that was being thrown in the regular trash. So the only solution was to make sure that we make it as straightforward as possible in order to really have an impact."

Since debuting in 2009, the foodscraps composting program has become one of the flagships of City Trash & Recycling. It results in 3,000 tons of waste being diverted every year from Tajiguas Landfill. Instead, the items are sent to an industrial composting facility in Santa Maria where they are converted back into a high-quality soil additive that is used by local landscapers and on our parks and school yards. The yellow bin accepts far more than can be composted in a backyard bin: produce, meat, dairy, waxed cardboard, soiled paper towels, dirty napkins and kitchen paper.

City Trash & Recycling staff are available to help local food-serving businesses with a free waste assessment to determine whether this program serves their interests. Free training is offered to kitchen staff, along with assistance selecting and placing bins. Business inquiries can be made to 805.564.5631, and more information is available online by clicking here.

— Seth Nickinson is the outreach coordinator for the City Trash & Recycling for Santa Barbara.

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Capps Announces Central Coast Winner of Congressional Art Competition

By | Published on 05/28/2015

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art comp
"Half Dome, Half Paper" by Jenna Skiff, a junior at Mission Valley Preparatory High School in San Luis Obispo, is the Central Coast winner of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition and will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for a year.

On Thursday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that Jenna Skiff, a resident of Cayucos and a junior at Mission Valley Preparatory High School in San Luis Obispo, is the Central Coast winner of the 2015 annual Congressional Art Competition.

Skiff’s winning piece, a collage titled "Half Dome, Half Paper," depicts Half Dome dusted in snow, as seen from Columbia Rock on the trail to Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park in California.

“California is home to so much natural beauty, and Jenna has done a wonderful job capturing some of that beauty in her piece 'Half Dome, Half Paper,'" Capps said. “Jenna should be proud of her work, and I look forward to seeing her artwork represent the Central Coast’s young artists in the United States Capitol for the next year.”

The annual art competition is open to all high school students in California’s 24th Congressional District. The winning student’s artwork is exhibited in the U.S. Capitol for one year, and the winning student receives two round-trip tickets to Washington, D.C., to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the new display in June.

Skiff’s piece was chosen by a panel of judges out of more than 30 entries.

— C.J. Young is a legislative assistant for Rep. Lois Capps.

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