Santa Barbara-Goleta, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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West Victoria Street Block Party Celebrates Local Businesses

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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First-ever event showcases the New Victoria Theater, the recently opened Santa Barbara Public Market and nearby restaurants

The owner of the Bouchon Santa Barbara restaurant was worried about the state of West Victoria Street when he moved in 16 years ago, with the Vons supermarket in disrepair and some less than desirable neighbors.

But Mitchell Sjerven was all smiles Wednesday evening during a West Victoria Street Block Party, which drew a sold-out crowd of about 350 locals to the first of its kind event sponsored by a host of local organizations.

The New Victoria Theater, the recently opened Santa Barbara Public Market and other businesses have redefined the block between State and Chapala streets, and Sjerven couldn’t have been more grateful to see the promising transformation.

“We’re thrilled to see the turnaround of this little block,” Sjerven told Noozhawk. “This should be one of the liveliest blocks in the city.”

Victoria Street stayed open for the event, but merchants happily welcomed everyone inside from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Guests, who bought tickets to attend, started the celebration at the New Vic, enjoying local beer, wine and fare from Olio e Limone, Scarlett Begonia, SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, the Granada’s Marquee events, Arlington Tavern and Bouchon — the last two of which showed off new outdoor patio dining areas.

“We wanted to say hello and welcome,” said Kate Schwab, marketing and communications director for Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, one of the organizers.

Visit Santa Barbara, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, the Ensemble Theatre Company and the Santa Barbara Restaurant and Lodging Association also helped spread the word to members.

Block Party
The Arlington Tavern showed off its newly completed patio during Wednesday's West Victoria Street Block Party. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s such a great block between Chapala and State,” Schwab said. “We’d love to have more (block parties).”

After brief remarks from Mayor Helene Schneider and others, guests headed over to tour the Santa Barbara Public Market in six groups according to the color of wristband they received when they walked in the door.

The market at 38 W. Victoria St. is part of the mixed-use Alma del Pueblo development.

Block party attendees strolled past 15 vendors inside the mini-supermarket, which emphasizes handmade, eco-minded food, beer and wine.

Developer Marge Cafarelli was on hand Wednesday, explaining the positive response the market has received from the community since opening to the public April 14.

The 37 second- and third-floor residential units should be ready for residents in May, according to developers, who haven’t said how many have been sold or to whom.

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

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Santa Barbara Police, Kiwanis Club Join Forces to Honor Extraordinary Citizens

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Recipients of the Extra Step Awards are recognized for their heroic efforts on behalf of law enforcement and the community

When Santa Barbara police Officer Ethan Ragsdale saw a fellow officer get “linebacker tackled” by a highly intoxicated man downtown one night, he was worried they would both get seriously injured.

That’s when Daniel Green, the head of security for Wildcat Lounge, came to their aid, according to Ragsdale.

Green has helped police with multiple cases downtown over the years and helps keep the local nightlife safe, he said. Ragsdale was never so happy to see Green as that night in the alley, when he was struggling to handcuff the man.

He was with a newer officer and she got tackled into a wall in the alleyway next to Wildcat. When Ragsdale tried to arrest the man, he also got attacked.

“I think Dan just picked the guy up by his foot and said, ‘So what do you want to do with him?’” Ragsdale said. “Without his aid, I don’t know what we would have done. I probably would have been seriously injured, and the suspect would have fled after injuring two police officers.”

Green was one of the extraordinary citizens honored Wednesday with Extra Step Awards from the Police Department and the Kiwanis Club. These people put in extra effort to help local law enforcement, police Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

William Barbaree and Nicholas McGilvray pulled over at a brutal accident scene after a DUI driver hit a motorcycle carrying two Canadian tourists. James and Ellen Atwood each lost limbs but both survived, thanks to the fast-acting duo who used wreckage from the accident to place tourniquets.

“I’ve never been happier to see two people on the side of the road in my entire life,” Officer Heather Clark said.

Barbaree, a Cottage Hospital surgery tech, and Barbaree, a former Army Ranger, were strangers but worked in sync to help both victims at the scene. They still keep in touch with the Atwoods, who credit these young men with saving their lives. The driver, who was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the collision, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Extra Step
Officer Heather Clark nominated William Barbaree, center, and Nicholas McGilvray for their lifesaving efforts when they pulled over to help Jim and Ellen Atwood of Canada, who were struck by a DUI driver in 2013 while riding a motorcycle down Old Coast Highway near Montecito. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Officer Jaycee Hunter nominated the three witnesses who followed the suspect car after they saw Raymond Morua hit 27-year-old Santa Barbara woman Mallory Dies and leave the scene. Morua has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, great bodily injury and fleeing the scene and will serve 20 years to life in prison.

Hunter, the traffic investigator for SBPD, said video shows Morua speeding up and blowing through a red light on Anacapa Street before hitting Dies, who was crossing the street with three friends.

Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling and Steffanie Colgate were driving in the area and saw the accident. Morua’s car came to a stop, backed up to get around Dies’ body and kept driving, Hunter said.

Shaw shouted out his window for Morua to drive back to the scene, but Morua shook his head, Hunter said.

These three went in pursuit, following him down to the dead-end of Anacapa Street and then down to the waterfront, when he drove down State Street and ultimately hit a palm tree at Cabrillo Boulevard.

A bouncer at the scene got two digits of the license plate, but that may not have been enough to find the suspect if Shaw, Pagaling and Colgate hadn’t followed the car.

“If our heroes hadn’t chased him down, I can’t promise you guys I would have found him,” Hunter said.

Santa Barbara High School track coach Thomas Eck was honored for stopping a man from stealing a van and potentially running over a group of student athletes and crowd of people leaving a meet at Santa Barbara City College.

The man had earlier been confronted and removed from the grounds for stealing a backpack, but he came back and tried to steal Santa Barbara High’s van, which was unlocked and running as Eck loaded equipment in the back, Officer John Reyes said.

“It was a situation on the verge of becoming deadly” when the man tried to put the van into gear and get away, Reyes said.

Eck was able to open the door, wrestle the gear shifter back to park and pull the man out of the van. Several others ran over to help — including Ventura’s coach and San Marcos High shotput coach Juan Carlos Toral — and five people had to pin the man down until police arrived.

Officer Rich Washington nominated Scott Houston, who was the only bystander to help pin down a bank robbery suspect. Washington had spotted the suspect trying to change clothes and chased him when he made a run for it. Washington tackled the suspect and was fought off twice, Officer Kasi Beutel said.

“Mr. Houston here drove up and said, ‘Do you need some help?’” she said.

There were plenty of people on the scene as Washington was fighting the suspect in the street, but only Houston helped pin him down until backup officers arrived. Houston also noticed money exposed in the suspect’s underwear after the fight. The suspect, a prolific bank robber, is awaiting trial for this case, which Beutel said would be his third strike.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Bob Banner: Chemtrails in the Sky in San Luis Obispo

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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I live in San Luis Obispo and went for a walk this morning (Monday, April 21) at 9 a.m. (at 8 a.m. it was a blue sky), and by the time I finished my walk the sky was already filled with chemtrails. I could still see three or four planes spraying their aerosol near sunrise and imagining that thousands of people would look up and see what they would interpret as passenger planes simply emitting exhaust. And that saddens me.

At about 10:30 a.m., that blue sky turned into a milky haze and what is traditionally called a "heavy spray day" from the chemtrail researchers and activists.

I do what I do to alert people, make them aware of certain conditions, policies dictated by corporate interests, have people investigate on their own — sites, articles, video trailers, speeches at the United Nations, excerpts from documentaries, whistleblower presentations — and when I showed two films including dinner recently, the total amount of people seeing those films was 35, mostly women who are very concerned about how in the early morning a sky that is clearly blue and within a couple of hours can turn to a milky haze. They want answers.

The word "concern" is important, and I wish to refer to it occasionally throughout this blog. I also realize we are inundated with issues that have stressed perhaps to the maximum point of human capacity — acquiring data about the collapse of various systems and the emotional makeup to even take in any more concerns. Is it possible that we have reached our limit of what we can become aware of? Is there a point where we simple exclaim, "OK, enough already!"

I do what I do, we all do what we do. I have various email lists that include thousands of email addresses, including the media, to alert people to the many “causes” that happen to be on my radar at the time, or a new interest or passion that a friend manages to entice me to become aware of.

I try to distill certain information to give people enough to create a pause in their usual day-to-day concerns. I also understand that they/we are inundated with normal day to day activities:  like loving a spouse, feeding and housing and giving tenderness and love to their children amid the plethora of car payments, utility bills, insurance (car, home, health, teeth), ad nauseam. It almost appears like a conspiracy to keep many of us locked down and simply deal with money matters so we are not too concerned about what's happening to people outside of our immediate concern.

But through it all, people do get involved in understanding important things like GMOs in our food. They will sign petitions that come across their computer screens or iPads or iPhones, understanding that they ought not to eat junk food (some are even talking about the old wise saying “let thy food be thy medicine”) and learning about Fukushima contamination, gardening with permaculture techniques, drought situations, financial takeovers, more pipeline legal hanky panicky are all read from sources that we respect.

But to return to chemtrails, or to use the more scientific term "geo-engineering," that criss-crossing of trails in the sky that expand to become that milky haziness that you may see in the sky orchestrated and planned from airplanes spewing out aluminum particulates, barium, boron and other chemicals with the intention to reflect the solar rays back into space to give us some more time against intensifying climate change. And if you turned me off or have tuned me out so far I'd highly recommend that you read the report by the IPCC about how it is recommending that chemtrail/geo-engineering keep going with their spray, since they feel that it appears to be a viable way to curb climate change in comparison with the non-events at the various climate change global summits that often times simply do nothing (click here for details).

Just a note about the ridicule factor. Perhaps my mind has hardened over the decades but now I'm used to it. At one time I took all sorts of ridicule as personal attacks. I now take them in stride and in a way I'd better be able to take the ridicule since I have this rather strange proclivity toward studying and reporting on the unusual edges around consensus reality. You may call them fringes, but it all depends on how expansive and inclusive your mind can be. And especially in light of growing concern over more devastation, I sense that I personally need to go to and become more acquainted with those edges or fringes in order to find some real solutions since consensus reality is really not offering many viable solutions, unless they are forced to. As Einstein has said: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." I don't think he declared any methodology how t shift that consciousness so we could absorb the solutions or even allow them into our consciousness.

Water catchment 20 years ago was considered fringe and now our city is giving people credit for installing water catchment devices. Eco-communities were fringe and now more and more people are aware of them and actually we have in this county two cohousing communities that have emerged decades ago and are doing quite well. Permaculture was at one time fringe and now very recently people are applying their strategies and techniques for their shelter, waste, water and garden areas in more harmony with nature rather than forcing an alien system on a natural system.

And community groups are now speaking of mulching, using waste for food production, using mycelia (mushrooms) to assist the soil, water catchment and a plethora of ideas now current that were once considered strange. Even green burials are now being discussed in wider circles rather than the popular and almost obscene process to eliminate the deceased body with pollutants and the incredible waste of energy. (Visit our calendar since we will be screening a film called A Will for the Woods on May 22.)

And on and on.

Some pioneering researchers are dropping other environmental concerns and focusing on chemtrails since they feel its more important than all the other ones. Even if we clean up other areas, if the government is in cahoots with spraying the sky under the guise of aiding in the climate change fiasco and no one is investigating them then what good are all the other concerns. It's not just a matter of adding these chemicals to the soil after they fall from doing their work in the sky but also blocking the sun's rays that are creating more vitamin D deficiencies (click here), as well as going deeper into the rabbit hole of weather modification (see Monsanto's recent acquisition of a weather modification company for $1 billion (click here).

There is obviously a war out there (as well as internally). With all of the stresses of our speedy lives in the developed world, how do we choose how to spend our time on issues that are important to us: signing petitions, joining and supporting various political or environmental organizations, speaking out, organizing new alternative currency models, SlowMoney, Bioneers, writing letters to the editors, buying food that is certified organic (but if it's being sprayed from above with particulates that are affecting our food, what can we do?).

"What can we do?" always seems to be the next question when challenged by some serious accusations or from a new emerging issue. Noam Chomsky once remarked in a documentary interview that he always had requests from the developed world as to what to do, while in the developing world he always heard from people who always knew what to do. Why is that?

Started a Facebook Page

After I focused on investigating a peculiar non-cold cough that I experienced and after some simple Google research it led me to chemtrails, coughing without having a cold was a symptom of many people who were claiming that it had to do with the overhead chemtrails. I put the information on my facebook wall and within days my wall got so inundated with resources and articles and video clips from "friends" that I decided to create a separate Facebook group that was entirely focused on chemtrails in SLO County.

Now after a month it has increased to more than 300 people who are signed in to learn more. When it came time to show the second film about chemtrails called LOOK UP! a number of us asked the APCD (Air Pollution Control District) to discover what they could tell us as well as inviting them to come to our film/dinner gathering. They simply told us that they don't investigate what comes from the sky and that was that. And no one from the APCD accepted our invitation to our film gathering to answer questions.

To learn more or simply see what the concern is all about, look up, get curious and band together with others who are also trying to figure this out. Please join the Facebook page. Also the group is having a booth (No. 50) at the Earth Day festivities in SLO. See the information flier we created by clicking here.

— Bob Banner is publisher of HopeDance.org online and screens films nearly 10 times a month in SLO county and elsewhere, and provides a space where people can communicate their feelings, ideas and activities amidst the myriad of different edgy films. He can be reached at info@hopedance.org or 805.762.4848. The opinions expressed are his own.

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American Riviera Bank Reports Strong Growth and Innovative Technology

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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American Riviera Bank announced Wednesday unaudited net income of $286,000 (11 cents per share) for the first quarter ended March 31. The bank’s focus on building relationships and addressing the lending needs of the community has resulted in strong growth in loans.

In the first quarter of 2014, American Riviera Bank originated $14.5 million of new loans locally. The bank reported $148 million in average loans for the quarter ending March 31, which represents a 14 percent increase from the same reporting period last year. Loan quality remains high with no other real estate owned and no loans past due 30 or more days at March 31.

American Riviera Bank has also experienced consistent growth in deposits; reporting $42 million in non-interest bearing demand deposits at March 31, a 35 percent increase from March 31, 2013. Total deposits reached $157 million at March 31, a $19 million or 14 percent increase from the same reporting period last year.

American Riviera Bank is the only Santa Barbara-based community bank offering its customers the ability to deposit checks by mobile phone. Its electronic banking platform combines applications for Apple and android devices, online banking, bill pay and mobile deposit. There has been significant interest in our mobile banking capabilities, with 78 new enrollees in the first quarter of 2014.

Jeff DeVine, president and chief executive officer, stated, “The bank is excited to deliver this innovative technology to our clients. By offering accounts that combine free ATM withdrawals at other banks nationwide and mobile phone deposits; our clients can truly withdraw and deposit anywhere and at any time.”

American Riviera Bank has $188 million in total assets, and maintains a strong capital position with Tier 1 Capital to total average assets of 13 percent as of March 31, well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well-capitalized institutions. The book value of one share of American Riviera Bank stock was $9.85 at March 31, an increase from $9.36 at March 31, 2013.

— Michelle Martinich is senior vice president and chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.

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Year of Milestones: Eight UCSB Departments Mark Important Anniversaries in 2014

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Four are gold, one is ruby, one is pearl, two are china.

UC Santa Barbara has a lot to celebrate this year. Eight departments are celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2014 with a host of special events and activities.

Among the honorees, mechanical engineering, religious studies, sociology, and theater and dance hit the 50-year mark. The Department of Geography and the Department of Communication turn 40 and 30, respectively; and the Asian-American studies and East Asian languages and cultural studies departments are two decades old.

“Fifty years old is fairly young in the academic world and certainly 30 or 40 years much more so,” said Joel Michaelsen, UCSB’s interim executive vice chancellor and professor of geography. “And yet a number of these departments have grown to be world class, top-ranked departments. I think that’s indicative of the transformation that’s happened at UCSB all across the campus, where we have gone from essentially being a state teachers’ college to being a top research institution and a member of the American Association of Universities in a relatively short period of time.”

The anniversary celebrations begin at UCSB’s All Gaucho Reunion April 24-27. The geography department gets the party started with a presentation by professor Keith Clarke. “Remote Sensing: The Missing Decade” will take place Thursday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m. in 1930 Buchanan Hall. The department open house follows at 5 p.m. in Ellison Hall.

At 10 a.m. Friday, April 25, the department hosts its first-ever Gaucho GeoHunt, which combines elements of scavenger hunts and geocaching to provide a unique way to explore UCSB. Teams assemble at Ellison Hall where they will receive maps before embarking on a campus quest. The department’s 40th anniversary barbecue will begin at 1 p.m. at Stow House. Information and registration are available by clicking here.

According to Michaelsen, the changes in the geography department since its inception have been dramatic.

“The department really helped define what the role of geography is in the world nowadays with all of the geographical analysis and techniques that have become commonplace, like GPS and GIS. The underlying theories and procedures that make those things work were, in many cases, developed here or at least brought into wider applicability,” he added. “There are many other programs, some celebrating anniversaries here, that followed similar paths and redefined their areas of the academic landscape in similar ways.”

The Department of Religious Studies marks its golden anniversary with a workshop for alumni on April 25, at 2 p.m. The “Alumni Panel on Non-Academic Careers” will be led by five program graduates who work outside of academia. On Saturday, April 26, at noon, “The Vietnam Class and Beyond: A Report on War” will reflect on the impact of one of the most popular classes offered at UCSB in the past 35 years. Two other roundtable events will review the history and the legacy of the department. Alumnus Gary Laderman (Ph.D., 1992) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Alumni Awards Dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. in the West Conference Center. For details, click here.

The sixth annual Communication Career Day is also set for April 26 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Corwin Pavilion. In honor of the department’s 30th anniversary, this year’s event will offer students an even greater opportunity to interact with alumni. In addition to three alumni panels — Entertainment, Marketing/Public Relations and First Few Years — speed mentoring will bring together undergraduate students and alumni. Please click here for details.

To honor the milestone of its 50th anniversary, the Department of Theater and Dance presents four events on April 26. At 3 p.m. on the Science Green, the UCSB Dance Company will perform an excerpt from its latest repertoire before going on tour in Italy. At 4:30 p.m. in the Hatlen Theater, a panel of alumni will share their experiences in the profession in “Life after UCSB: What have you done since graduation?”

Evening activities include a reception for alumni, faculty and staff members and students with a special presentation by theater and dance chair Risa Brainin on the future of the department. The reception will begin at 5:45 p.m. in the Theater/Dance Plaza. An open house, where visitors can tour the facilities and pop into rehearsals, will follow at 7 p.m.

Anniversary celebrations continue throughout the year and into 2015. The 50-year-old Department of Sociology began its Ph.D. program during the 1964-65 academic year at the peak of the civil rights movement. In honor of this milestone, the department is planning a series of scholarly and social events, including an anniversary reception at the August meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco. A research conference next February will bring together Ph.D. alumni, past and present faculty members, current graduate students and community members to consider the history of sociology as an academic department at UCSB and its impact on the discipline and on local and national communities.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall. Events are in the planning stages and will be available later in the year on the department website by clicking here.

“Our department was ranked solidly among the top 10 mechanical engineering departments in the nation in the 2010 National Research Council survey,” said department chair Francesco Bullo. “We intend to energetically continue to improve our rankings and our reputation. Mechanical engineering is one of the most selective majors at USCB largely because we offer a vibrant research atmosphere in both our graduate and undergraduate programs.”

The very first department at a major research university dedicated to the study of Asian-American culture and history began at UCSB in 1994. It was the first in the United States to offer an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in that field, and will mark its 20th anniversary with a conference next spring.

“Our founding chair, Sucheng Chan, is leaving UCSB after more than 25 years as a faculty member,” department chair John S.W. Park said. “As a scholar for 45 years in the field, she left an indelible mark on Asian-American studies in general and on our department in particular. In just the past 10 years, our current faculty members have published or edited over a dozen scholarly volumes on Asian-American history, cultural studies, literary theory and immigration studies, and so we look ahead to a very bright future here at UCSB.”

The seed for UCSB’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies was planted 50 years ago with a course in Chinese language and literature. A course in Japanese language and culture followed a year later. These were augmented by courses in East Asian religions taught by faculty members from the Department of Religious Studies. It took almost 30 years from that first Chinese class for East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies to become a department in 1994.

“We started very small and we are growing,” said chair Fabio Rambelli, professor and chair of East Asian language and cultural studies, whose department has been recognizing its 20th anniversary with numerous events this year. “We have been quite successful in developing East Asian languages and East Asian studies here on campus both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Our department is also a hub of everything connected to East Asia here on campus because we have affiliated faculty in many other departments.”

Michaelsen concluded: “The fact that we have a relatively young university makes it easier for us to work across traditional disciplines. Interdisciplinary study is one of our trademarks.”

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Ed Fuller: The Top Five Most Valuable Home Improvement Projects for Sellers

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Today's home sellers should focus on curb appeal and home staging above larger-scale home renovations, according to a new national survey of real estate agents and interior designers.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

Asked to identify the most valuable home improvements for sellers, the experts agreed that minor improvements such as landscaping and painting walls in neutral colors are the most cost effective, and attract buyers faster.

Agents in the nationwide survey agreed that sellers should avoid costly projects prior to listing their home, as the increased sale price may not outweigh the time and money spent on the remodel. Instead, agents and designers recommended spending money on minor renovations that will bring the home up to current market standards while also appealing to the broadest number of potential buyers.

While minor improvements may bring the greatest increases in value for the least dollars invested, in our area, with our exceptionally high prices, the costs of major remodels may have a better return than the national averages as they are a smaller proportion of the final selling price.

According to the survey, the top five projects for sellers are:

» Curb appeal: Creating a strong first impression is imperative as buyers begin making assumptions about a home well before they step inside. A well kept, vibrant, flowering entry will not only invite buyers inside, but will encourage them to make an offer.

» Declutter: This sounds simple, but according to experts, it's one of the most important things a homeowner should do before selling. Remove all personal photos, memorabilia and articles that don’t present a complimentary theme. A clean house feels more spacious and helps buyers easily envision themselves in the home.

» Staging: A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight a home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings.

» Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances: Most buyers are still requesting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Incorporating granite and new appliances can help catch a buyer's eye. But when placing them with dated cabinets, special attention must be paid to the cabinet finish and hardware or they will look out of place.

» Invest in small home improvements: These kinds of projects include updating lighting fixtures, cabinet or door handles, and minor kitchen and bathroom updates. If you are considering major remodeling before selling, both agents and designers agree that you should consult a Realtor first.

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

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Cartoonist’s Opus-Inspired Surfboard to Be Up for Bid at Santa Barbara Middle School Auction

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Catch the wave and island vibe at Santa Barbara Middle School’s “Gilligan’s Island” annual dinner and auction at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Rockwood’s Women’s Center.

Berekley Breathed, SBMS parent and renowned illustrator, author, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and creator of the well-loved “Bloom County” cartoon, has generously drawn and painted his cartoon character, Opus, on a surfboard, shaped by Dave Johnson of Progressive Surfboards, that will be up for bid at the SBMS live auction.

This art project began with sixth-grade-inspired Jackson Pollock artists creating the playful base layer of the surfboard with their splatter paint artistry; Breathed then added Opus hanging ten onto the colorful surfboard.

Other event highlights include one-week stays at spectacular beachfront homes in Nicaragua and Kauai, and a stunning freshwater pearl necklace courtesy of Gaspar Jewelers.

Lorraine Lim Catering will serve mai tais and a gourmet Pan-Asian inspired dinner.

Proxy bids are being accepted for all items, including Breathed’s surfboard. Contact Christine Cowles Bergamin at christine@sbms.org.

— Sue Carmody is a community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.

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Bill Cirone: Warning Signs of Drug Use That All Parents Should Know

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Many parents worry about their children experimenting with drugs, but very few parents know the warning signs that could indicate a child is actually abusing or addicted to drugs. It is powerful and important information.

Addiction can ruin a child’s life, and it can also ruin the trust that is so necessary for a family unit to thrive. That’s why early detection and intervention become so vital.

Here are eight major warning signs:

First, there are usually physical clues, such as a change in eating habits and unexplained weight loss or gain. You may notice your child’s inability to sleep or wake up at usual times. There could also be red or watery eyes, pupils larger or smaller than normal, a blank stare or constant sniffing. You might see excessive sweating, tremors or shakes; cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands; nausea or vomiting; extreme hyperactivity or excessive talkativeness. The key is to look for more than one of these signs, and to notice if they persist over time.

Sudden and sustained emotional changes are also warning signs. These could include loss of interest in the family; signs of paranoia, such as being overly secretive or hiding behind locked doors; a general lack of motivation and energy; or chronic dishonesty, moodiness, irritability or nervousness.

Another sign is a pattern of change in school attendance or grades. Schools sometimes use automated phone messages to inform parents of an issue, but young people can delete the message before a parent can hear it. Talk to school officials directly if you suspect truancy or tardiness is becoming an issue.

If you see several instances of your child having unaccountable money or unexplained loss of money, that could be another warning sign. Drug users can become drug dealers to make the needed money. Or a user could start stealing from parents or siblings to support the drug use. Watch for lies like “I’m just holding this money for a friend,” or “I lost the money you gave me.” Check debit card statements.

Another warning sign could be a dramatic change in friendships. If a child is abusing alcohol or drugs, it’s common to have old friends drop away and new friends enter the scene. Or a child could suddenly have multiple sets of friends. At the same time, children might become ultra-secretive about their cell phones.

Depression or other uncharacteristic changes in mood or personality can also be signs of addiction. Depression can arise from many other causes as well, so if it persists it is best to seek professional advice.

If you notice prescription drugs missing from your medicine cabinet, that could be another alert. Young people with drug problems will often search the medicine cabinet at home, or while at relatives’ homes, with friends or even while babysitting.

Finally, parents should look for deterioration in a child’s appearance. Addicted young people pay less attention to how they look and to their hygiene. Lack of sleep can make them look especially drawn or tired.

Dr. Leslie Adair, director of mental health and family services at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Adolescent and Young Adult Services program, offers this advice about trusting your own instincts: “Parents are usually the first to sense a problem, even if they don’t know what it is.”

The important point, if you have concerns, is to talk to a professional who can help determine whether your child’s actions indicate that further assessment is needed. It can be tempting to hope the problem will take care of itself as a child matures, but when it comes to drug abuse, the earlier the intervention the more likely the outcome will be positive.

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

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Two UCSB Faculty Members Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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UC Santa Barbara faculty members Catherine Albanese, the J. F. Rowny Professor Emerita in Comparative Religions; and Anthony Zee, a professor of physics, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Catherine Albanese
Catherine Albanese

Their selection brings to 33 the number of UCSB faculty members who have been so named.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Its members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, the arts and education.

“The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the country, and to be elected fellow is a most prestigious distinction,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “Our campus is honored and delighted that our colleagues Catherine Albanese and Anthony Zee have received such a meaningful recognition from their peers, and we congratulate them on their outstanding achievement.

"Professor Albanese’s expertise and renown in American religious history reflects her distinguished contributions to teaching, to research and to our society. Professor Zee’s extraordinary work in particle theory reflects his distinguished contributions to research, to teaching and to our understanding of physics.”

The impressive 2014 list of fellows features winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; the National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony Awards.

The new class includes writers Annie Proulx, George Saunders and John Irving; actor and director Al Pacino; Nobel-winning chemist Dan Shechtman; computer scientist and Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller; archaeologist Timothy Earle; sociologist Sherry Turkle; and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

The academy also elected 16 Foreign Honorary Members from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Albanese specializes in religion in 19th- and 20th-century U.S., religion and American culture, metaphysical religion in the U.S., and religion and healing. Among her many publications are the award-winning A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (Yale University Press, 2007) and the textbook America: Religions and Religion, now in its fifth edition (Cengage, 2013).

Anthony Zee
Anthony Zee

The president, in 1994, of the American Academy of Religion, Albanese is the organization’s American Lecturer in the History of Religions for 2014. She joined the UCSB faculty in 1987.

Considered a leader in particle theory, Zee also specializes in high energy physics, field theory, cosmology, biophysics, condensed matter physics, mathematical physics. The author of several books for the general public and a textbook on quantum field theory, he received a 2011 Humboldt Research Award in recognition of his contributions to and impact on his discipline.

Zee joined UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Department of Physics in 1985.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” Don Randel, chair of the academy’s board of directors, said in announcing all the 2014 fellows. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity — and responsibility — to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 11, at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

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County Public Health Assists Thousands During Health-Care Enrollment

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department successfully assisted more than 6,000 community members with their enrollment into Covered California.

As of April 15, the PHD estimates that more than 3,900 people were enrolled into Medi-Cal or Covered California during the open enrollment period.

"As we were beginning to develop our enrollment process last summer, we set a lofty goal of assisting 6,000 people in obtaining health insurance. It's a true testament of people’s desire to access health care and the phenomenal quality of our public health staff, contractors and community partners who rose to every potential barrier and made it easy for people to enroll in Covered California," said Public Health Director Takashi Wada, M.D., MPH. "We will now focus our efforts on enrolling those who remain eligible for Medi-Cal and have not yet applied for coverage.”

Covered California’s open enrollment is closed until October with exceptions for a few qualifying life events such as loss of employment insurance, new family addition and a few others, but consumers may still be eligible for Medi-Cal based on income.

To find out more about special enrollment and Medi-Cal coverage please call any of the local Public Health Department Health Care Centers:

» Carpinteria Health Care Center — 805.560.1050
» Franklin Health Care Center — 805.568.2099
» Santa Barbara Health Care Center — 805.681.5488
» Lompoc Health Care Center — 805.737.6400
» Santa Maria Health Care Center — 805.346.7230

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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Santa Barbara Heart Beach Ball to Support Initiative Fighting Childhood Obesity

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association will proudly host the 15th annual Santa Barbara Heart Beach Ball on Saturday, May 3 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Coral Casino.

The event will commence at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and Adult Science Night followed by a silent auction, dinner and dancing.

The Heart Beach Ball will celebrate the American Heart Association’s mission, philanthropists and lives impacted by cardiovascular disease. Proceeds from the event will benefit the AHA’s Healthy Futures Program.

For the second consecutive year, the Heart Ball will highlight the accomplishments of the Healthy Futures Program, aimed to empower and inspire students and their families to lead healthy lives through proper nutrition. Hundreds of  students in Santa Barbara County have already been impacted through the efforts of this program.

As child obesity has tripled in children ages 6 to 17, it is more crucial than ever to raise awareness and bring back the health of America’s children. Currently in Santa Barbara County, only 51.5 percent of children ages 2 to 11 and 16.9 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 ate the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

Dressed in white cocktail attire, Santa Barbara community leaders will enjoy an evening of grandeur and will join the fight against the leading causes of death in Santa Barbara and in our nation.

The event is sponsored locally by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Wells Fargo, BMW Santa Barbara, St. George Associates, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP, Ron and Marlys Boehm, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, MarBorg Industries, Montecito Bank & Trust, Samsum Clinic, John Westwick, Bella Vista Designs Inc., Boone Graphics and Foley Wines.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here or call 805.963.8862.

— Belinda Gordillo is the marketing director for the American Heart Association.

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Santa Barbara Dance Arts to End Its Season with ‘Roaring ‘20s: Remixed!’

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The Arts Mentorship Program and Santa Barbara Dance Arts present "Roaring '20s: Remixed!" at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School.

"Roaring '20s: Remixed!" is Santa Barbara Dance Arts' annual year-end production.

A senior show will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, followed by a youth show at noon Saturday, May 17 and a junior show at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 17.

The Friday evening performance is a special treat as it exclusively features our pre-professional advanced dancers. It will be a stunning display of talent and artistry and a perfect evening of high-quality dance for all ages and dance lovers alike.

Saturday’s matinee performance showcases our youngest dancers who are new to the program and the stage. This adorable display of joy and fun is a memorable moment for these young performers and their families.

In Saturday’s late-afternoon performance, we present our emerging pre-advanced dancers who will be showcasing their diverse performance skills during this high-energy show.

A portion of the proceeds of the show will benefit the Arts Mentorship Scholarship Fund. Since 2004, AMP has given out more than $105,000 in scholarships and created the unique Scholarship Mentor Program. The recipients of all of the dance scholarships have a personal mentor who meets with them once per session for a private lesson and overview of the dancer’s goals and dreams.

Tickets are available starting May 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Santa Barbara Dance Arts, or from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at Marjorie Luke Theatre. Tickets are $22 for general admission, $5 for performers, $16 for students (nonperformers through high school seniors) and $50 for VIP.

Santa Barbara Dance Arts, under the direction of Alana Tillim, is celebrating its 17th year of dance in Santa Barbara. In this pivotal year, we relocated to 531 E. Cota St. Our new home is a 9,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art performing arts center.

In this time of new beginnings, the annual show reminds us of the core of our mission, which is to mentor and expand the creativity of Santa Barbara’s emerging artists. We are excited that our shows not only attract friends and family, but also community members who love dance!

Dance Arts students have gone on to professional universities including Cal Arts, Stanford and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study dance. Notable alumni from SB Dance Arts include: Trevor Dow, a regular on Glee and Jackie Rotman, who started the nonprofit Everybody Dance Now which has been featured on MTV’s America's Best Dance Crew and has chapters all over the world. The qualified staff is comprised of professionals who gently guide students to perfect their craft and teach them to perform.

For more information on Santa Barbara Dance Arts or the Arts Mentorship Program, call 805.966.5299, or click here or click here.

— Kelly Marshall represents Santa Barbara Dance Arts.

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City of Goleta Offering Additional Funding for Community Grants

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The City of Goleta’s community grant program has gotten a makeover and the results are significant. The city has traditionally offered its Community Project Grant Program, giving away $20,000 to $30,000 annually. The council recently supported a complete overhaul of the program and increased the pot of funding to $71,000.

“There are many organizations that provide amazing services to our community, and it’s clear they need our support to continue filling these needs,” Mayor Michael Bennett said. “I’m thankful that we are able to allocate additional funds to provide even more support through a broader grant program.”

The new program, renamed the Goleta City Grant Program, is now accepting applications for services, programs and events that enrich the lives of Goleta residents. The application period runs through May 19 and provides the opportunity for grants of up to $3,500. The City Council is expected to consider grant recommendations in June for funding that will be awarded in the next fiscal year beginning in July.

The City of Goleta invites nonprofit organizations to apply for the program and continue to help our community thrive. Projects and programs eligible to apply for funding include:

» Civic projects or services sponsored by Goleta community organizations

» Educational programs

» Public services such as senior services, youth programs and health services

» Cultural activities, such as music, art, dance, and recreation

» Goleta-oriented special events

» Regional projects that are a benefit to Goleta

Previous grant recipients include a variety of organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Food From the Heart and PathPoint, among others. With the last year’s grant funding, the ADL was able to offer No Place for Hate, an initiative that supports education to fight bullying, intolerance and bigotry in students and adults. The funding they received also supported the first Diversity Day at Girsh Park.

Food From the Heart used its grant to continue delivering nutritious meals weekly to 200 homebound and ill clients and their caregivers. These families shared the relief in not having to worry about preparing daily meals. One recipient said, “We will forever be grateful for the wonderful food and inspiration you provided due to our need.”

PathPoint is another previous grant recipient. PathPoint provides quality support services for people with disabilities or disadvantages, and has been awarded grants for the past five years through the Community Project Grant Program (now the Goleta City Grant Program). Last year, PathPoint helped 36 disabled or disadvantaged people become employed as a direct result of Goleta’s grant funding.

“[The city’s] contribution truly makes a difference for low-income people with special needs living and working in the Goleta area,” said Cynthia Burton, president/CEO of PathPoint.

Application forms can be downloaded by clicking here or may be picked up at Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B. Questions regarding the program should be directed to Claudia Dato at cdato@cityofgoleta.org or 805.961.7554.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.

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PacWest Bancorp Reports 1st-Quarter Net Earnings of $25.1 Million

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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PacWest Bancorp announced on Wednesday net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 of $25.1 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 of $3.1 million, or 6 cents per diluted share. For the fourth quarter of 2013, net earnings included a $12.2 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, after-tax charge for accelerated restricted stock vesting.

This press release contains certain non-GAAP financial disclosures for adjusted earnings from continuing operations before income taxes, adjusted efficiency ratio, adjusted allowance for credit losses to loans and leases, return on average tangible equity, and tangible common equity ratio. The company uses certain non-GAAP financial measures to provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the company's operational performance and to enhance investors' overall understanding of such financial performance.

As analysts and investors view adjusted earnings from continuing operations before income taxes as an indicator of the company's ability to both generate earnings and absorb credit losses, we disclose this amount in addition to pre-tax earnings.

The comparability of financial information is affected by our acquisitions. Operating results include the operations of acquired entities from the dates of acquisition. The operations of First California Financial Group Inc. ("FCAL") have been included since its acquisition date of May 31, 2013. The CapitalSource merger closed on April 7. Accordingly, CapitalSource operations will be included in second quarter 2014 results from that date.

Highlights

» Net earnings of $25.1 million or 55 cents per diluted share
» Net interest margin at 5.95 percent
» Credit loss reserve at 1.75 percent of loans and leases (excludes PCI loans)
» Credit loss reserve at 115 percent of nonaccrual loans and leases (excludes PCI loans)
» Demand deposits reach 45 percent of total deposits
» Core deposits at 88 percent of total deposits
» CapitalSource merger closed April 7; deposit system converted April 12

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Santa Barbara Council Takes Public Vote in Favor of Proposed Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The case will proceed to trial as scheduled on May 5, when a judge will decide whether to grant the injunction

The Santa Barbara gang injunction will go to trial May 5 as scheduled after the City Council took its first public vote Tuesday in favor of the civil suit, which would restrict alleged gang members from certain activities.

Councilman Gregg Hart and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo argued against the injunction — as did dozens of people during public comment — and urged the council to have the city attorney withdraw the civil case and stop the process.

That motion lost in a 2-5 vote.

The injunction case was filed in March 2011, and it’s scheduled for trial in two weeks. Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne will hear testimony from both sides and decide whether to grant an injunction.

The City Attorney’s Office, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office are the plaintiffs, and while some of the defendants have attorneys, others do not. The list of 30 defendants has dropped to 27 as the city dismissed a few names, and the city is in the process of dropping more, according to council members.

The number of people who still live in town and would be subject to the injunction’s rules is more like 12, Hart said.

Only a judge can add names to an injunction after it’s granted, according to City Attorney Ariel Calonne.

Hart and Murillo argued that prevention efforts are more effective and less divisive to the community. They also said gang crime rates are decreasing and that the injunction could damage Santa Barbara’s reputation and property values.

“I defend my neighborhood as a beautiful and safe community,” said Murillo, who lives on the Westside.

The injunction assumes people will commit crimes in the future, she said.

“I cannot imagine a bigger violation of civil rights,” Murillo said.

Dozens of opponents spoke during the public comment period, expressing the same concerns raised during the only other public meeting last year.

Some said an injunction wouldn’t address any of the root problems of youth violence and that the city should focus its money and energy on prevention and intervention efforts.

“It tears neighborhoods apart and ultimately it tears communities apart. We don’t need to do that in Santa Barbara,” said Tom Parker, a member of Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Commission, which opposes the injunction.

He also said there isn’t evidence that Santa Barbara has a significant gang problem.

“I can think of 16 people who can’t be here today who would disagree with you,” Councilman Frank Hotchkiss said. “The people who were killed.”

Since the injunction would target Latinos as alleged criminal street gang members, community members also expressed concerns about racial profiling and designating a third of the city in the restrictive safety zones.

Several men spoke about their own experiences as teenagers in Santa Barbara and said it was the attention and love of mentors, not punishment, that turned their lives around.

“He showed me somebody cared about me,” Vincent Castro said of youth mentor Matt Sanchez.

During the council’s comments, Councilman Dale Francisco said gang crime rates are down now but they move in a wave, ebbing and flowing over time.

“When people are getting killed in our streets by gang members, we have a gang problem,” he said.

He also disagreed with critics who say the injunction could damage the reputation of areas within the proposed safety zones. 

“This does not stigmatize a neighborhood,” Francisco said. “Murders stigmatize a neighborhood.”

Public comment during this and the previous meeting has been overwhelmingly against the injunction, but council members say they’ve received “a lot” of letters from community members who support it and want to stay anonymous. That fear shows there is still a problem, Councilman Randy Rowse said.

Once it was clear which way the vote was going, most of the crowd left the council chambers and started chanting in the hallway outside.

“Whose streets? Our streets!” they shouted, frustrated with the outcome.

The next hearing date for the injunction is scheduled for May 5 in Sterne’s courtroom of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Letter to the Editor: Bundy Ranch Crisis a Power Grab

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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What was really behind the Bundy Ranch crisis? Not the protection of the desert tortoises. Was it instead a federal government power grab, greed, acquisition of water and mineral rights, or access to remote locations?

According to Rusty Hill, a Nevada land expert who worked for the Bureau of Land Management, Sen. Harry Reid, Reid Bunkerville LLC and the Reid Family Trust are linked to land surrounding the Bundy family ranch. Rusty claims Nevada is also a secret testing and dumping ground.

Why is Cliven Bundy's land so important? Mr. Hill explains that gaining access through Bundy's land would save Reid and company millions of dollars in construction costs and give them access to remote areas. He further states that in the past, land was strategically taken from people. Indeed, Bundy is the last rancher standing in this area. For information, click here.

Speculation also arises that land in the Bunkerville area contains minerals, especially magnesium dolomite, and water sources are very valuable in this area.

There are other troubling facts concerning this area. Why was a major highway (Interstate 15) built in this remote area? Why did the BLM pay a whopping $700,000 for 10 acres near the Bundy Ranch? Why have standard 640-acre parcels been subdivided and sold, sometimes at no cost or recorded inaccurately?

America, is the Bundy crises just the tip of the iceberg? Will other Western states be treated the same way by the BLM and the feds? Most recently, the BLM is now reviewing the possible takeover of 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma border.

When is enough, enough? Whatever happened to states' rights, private property rights and the rule of law?

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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ADMHS Leaders Describe ‘Culture Change’ as Department Implements Reforms

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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"Culture change" was a phrase that came up numerous times during Tuesday's meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, who heard about changes being made to the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Department.

The department's struggles are well documented, and supervisors wanted to know what department leaders have done since the results of an audit commissioned in 2012 found that the department was poorly run and not adequately serving vulnerable patients.

Changes have been made, such as reducing the wait time it takes for a patient to see a psychiatrist, encouraging department staff to point out problems without fear of being penalized and filling some key vacancies in oversight positions. Those highlights represented the bright spots in a presentation that at times was heavy on clinical jargon.

Dr. Takashi Wada, who has been at the helm for the transformation, said there are still areas where the county can improve. For example, the county still sees a high number of people who use a large amount of services — 222 high-cost beneficiaries who represent a third of claims submitted, he said. The average across the state for high users is about 25 percent.

In September 2012, the board commissioned an audit of the department and worked all through 2013 to implement changes to the department.

"We're now starting to see some results," Wada said, adding that the department has seen some large state grants this year that will help beef up services.

A year ago, "there was really a pretty dire clinical situation" at ADMHS, said Andrew Keller of Tri-West, a company the county hired to look at the problems within the department.

Then, the department was described as "reactive" and "crisis driven," he said, and a culture that needed to change.

Now, the department is trying to shift focus to prevention and early intervention rather than letting patients get to such a level that they end up in crisis services, which cost significantly more, he said.

Wada was asked by the supervisors, including Salud Carbajal, about how to ensure that the department doesn't revert back to its old culture.

"Unless it's self-sustaining, it's a waste of time," Carbajal said.

Wada admitted that "it's still a work in progress," but that the department is committed to seeing culture change.

The department is also moving toward adopting a recovery model, "from treatment to people to treatment with people," said Michael Camacho-Craft, director of clinical programs.

Medi-Cal reimburses for quantity of services regardless of patient outcomes, he said, but the department will be working to measure how patients do in the long run and have metrics to back that up.

The department has been able to drop access to psychiatrist time by 40 percent since starting the improvements, despite the fact that they need to hire six additional psychiatrists and additional clinicians. People are waiting anywhere from 10 to 60 days to see a psychiatrist, staff said.

Ideally, people in crisis would be seen immediately, and others would be seen in a two-week window, which would most likely be accomplished when the vacant psych positions are filled.

"Care delivered when it's needed, even in a pre-crisis situation, keeps the system from backloading," Camacho-Craft said.

Camacho-Craft's position was one that had been vacant for five years before he was hired, which meant clinical programs lacked coordination.

Others said that the community-based organizations that contract with the county for mental health services also have been brought into the process to a greater degree, helping to create more of a spirit of partnership.

A committee of those organizations was formed, including Cecilia Rodriguez of CALM, who said she was surprised when the department was open to the suggestions from the committee.

Before, the department would issue quarterly scorecards to organizations that "felt like a trip to the woodshed," she said.

"It felt really demoralizing," she said. "We want to be accountable but the process of that has profoundly changed. … We feel like partners."

That feeling also seemed to extend to staff.

Carlos Olsen, a therapist for CARES in Santa Maria, said "this is an exciting time" for staff and that input is encouraged from staff for the first time.

A chief of compliance position was also established as a result of the audit, and Celeste Anderson has been in that position for nine months, ensuring that the department is in compliance with state and federal statutes as well as their own policies.

Supervisor Peter Adam said that metrics for improvement "were still inadequate," and he pressed staff about how they'll define clinical success.

Camacho-Craft said recovery will happen "when people return to level of functioning that is meaningful to them."

Adam wanted more of an answer, however.

"I want to have some way to measure the success of the program," he said, asking that staff come back with at least two measurements that quantify success for patients.

"I'd like to cut through the clinical jargon stuff and get it into language that regular people can understand," he said, adding that he wanted to know how many people in crisis are diverted from hospital or jail, which was met with applause from the audience in both North and South County meeting rooms.

About 17 people spoke, encouraging the changes, many of whom have been involved in the mental health community for decades.

Annmarie Cameron of the Mental Wellness Center said she's "participated in no less than four times to reform this department."

"This time we have it, and we're going to get it right," she said, because there are hundreds of people involved, the time is right with new resources and the board is supportive.

Accountability and regular check in will be key to success, however.

"Ask us to come back regularly and report where we are," she said. "The more you ask us to stand behind this the more likely we will succeed."

Rich Detty, whose son, Cliff, died in the county's Psychiatric Health Facility in 2010, said he'd like to know what changes have been made in the PHF, which works with the most vulnerable mental health patients.

Detty raised concerns about patient care, how often doctors check on patients after they are given injections at the PHF and the availability of medical staff during evening hours

"I wonder if this situation has been changed," he said.  "I'd like answers."

Supervisor Doreen Farr said that when she first took office, she was hearing bad things about the department consistently but that those reports have tapered off.

"One of my major measures of success is that I don't hear about ADMHS anymore," she said. "This is really quite tremendous when we think about where we were a few years ago."

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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AJAX Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Marks 65 Years in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The business, family owned since its founding, continues its growth and has a little fun with its new 'penguin mobile'

Making refrigeration fun was a tough task, but somehow a smiling, green-scarf wearing penguin balancing ice cubes on his flipper has done the trick.

That’s the new logo seen zipping around town on the maintenance van of AJAX Santa Barbara Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, a locally owned and operated business since 1949.

The “penguin mobile” was unveiled last year to revamp the brand of the company that in 2014 marks its 65th anniversary.

“Kids love it,” said AJAX owner Christopher Montigny, who took over the business from his father, Bernard, in 2008.

And adults remember it.

All the more reason for AJAX to thank Sidekick Creative for that new design and loyal clientele for keeping the company in business when many others have folded or left town.

More than 3,000 clients in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties — mainly restaurants, hotels and other businesses — rely on AJAX for their commercial refrigeration repair, installation, maintenance and air conditioning needs.

Bacara Resort & Spa is AJAX’s largest hospitality client, while Brophy Brothers is its biggest restaurant.

The business has been family owned from its founding by James Hollander. Bernard Jean purchased it from Hollander’s son in 1992. He then handed the reins to his son, who began working full time shortly after graduating from San Diego State University with an international business degree in 1995.

AJAX anniversary
AJAX owner Christopher Montigny, center, is surrounded by his service team. (Gabriel Knapp photo / Gabriel Knapp Photography)

“It’s too expensive,” the elder Montigny said of why many companies move away.

AJAX made it work by emphasizing customer service and staffing after hours and weekend shifts that mirrored the operations of its customers.

The shop moved from the corner of Cota and Garden streets to its current location in 1998 at the dead end at 401 E. Montecito St. The spot puts AJAX close to 70 percent of its clients, those in downtown.

AJAX also grew, adding management staff for 14 total employees, eight of them technicians.

“It’s something of a testament to who and what the business is,” Chris Montigny said. “Santa Barbara is a tough town to do business in.”

The company has a leasing program, mostly ice machines, and 80 percent of business is refrigeration related.

Sales and leasing manager Mike Gardner said AJAX implemented pricing to compete with the Internet — AJAX charges sales tax on a $2,500 refrigerator, whereas online companies don’t — and pushed quarterly maintenance instead of waiting for something bad to happen to equipment.

AJAX hopes to grow by building clientele, switching to paperless billing and selling equipment in San Luis Obispo County.

If all goes well, the company will soon have a fleet of penguin mobiles instead of just one.

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

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County Supervisors Vote to Put Bed-Tax Increase Measure on November Ballot

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Voters will be asked this fall whether to approve a slight increase on taxes paid by visitors who stay in hotels in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County.

The county Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday, with Supervisor Peter Adam dissenting, to put a ballot item before voters that would ask them to increase the transient occupancy tax from its current 10 percent to 12.5 percent, a move that would bring more money into county coffers for general use.

Hotels in the county's unincorporated area currently pay 10 percent in bed tax, while the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Solvang and Buellton pay 12 percent.

The ballot measure would be countywide on the Nov. 4 ballot but would apply only to hotels located within the unincorporated areas of the county and would go to the county's general fund.

If approved, the county would bring in almost $8 million next year, as the tax would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. That's an increase of more than $1 million without the increase, staff said.

The county supervisors were asked to approve a TOT increase to 12 percent or 12.5 percent, and ultimately chose the higher number.

Several public speakers came out to support the item Tuesday, including Kathy Janega-Dykes, executive director of Visit Santa Barbara. She said the group supported an increase to 12 percent, but also encouraged the county to invest in the tourism industry over the long-term.

Mary Harris of the group Visit Santa Ynez Valley, which represents 33 hotels, said the cities of Solvang and Buellton raised TOT years ago, and they've seen no problem in visits, she said.

The TOT in unincorporated area would create a "level playing field" among all hotels in the valley, she said.

Joe Armendariz of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association also said the group supported the move.

Supervisor Adam said he couldn't support the vote without designating where the money would go. Without that, "the money gets thrown in the black hole of the general fund," he said.

"What will make a huge difference is making a commitment to spend the money on economic development," he said. "If it was up to me I would propose a special tax and make a commitment with the money."

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said TOT in the county's unincorporated area was last changed in 1990.

"I don't really want to get into a special tax," Lavagnino said, adding that the two-thirds threshold is hard to overcome.

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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Dos Pueblos Boys’ Tennis Takes Down Royals, 13-5

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High School boys' tennis team played without three starters Tuesday and had to perform with total focus on every court. That they did with a 13-5 win over the San Marcos Royals.

The players cheered for each other between points. The Chargers hit a snag with Kento Perera, who swept, losing only four games. However, the Chargers took the other six in singles.

As for doubles, we took seven sets. Mason Casady and Josh Wang improved to a 38-1 record with a sweep, losing only two games.

I am pleased with the team's performance, as they dug deep to finish this seventh league match.

Our three Ojai participants will head to Thacher on Thursday to represent Dos Pueblos in the CIF Individual Tournament.

Next week is a busy week. We host Santa Ynez on Monday, and then host Ventura in our final league match of the season on Tuesday, and then, for the final match of the season, we head to Westlake on Wednesday.

DP's record improves to 14-2 overall and 6-1 in the Channel League. San Marcos falls to 7-9 overall and 3-3 in league.

» Dos Pueblos Singles: Patrick Corpuz 2-1; Miles Baldwin 2-1;Mason Dochterman 2-0; Dylan Zapata 0-1

» Dos Pueblos Doubles: Mason Casady/Joshua Wang 3-0; Andrew Tufenkian/Ankush Khemani 2-1; Sanad Shabbar/Gary Steigerwald 2-1

» San Marocs Singles: Kento Perera 3-0; Christo Anderson 0-3; Cody Krueger 0-3

» San Marcos Doubles: Oliver Piltch/Nick Leeds 0-3; Owen Lincoln/ Travis Smelley 2-1; Dan Coulson/Matthew Lockwood 0-3

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

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City of Santa Barbara Releases Recommended Budget for Public Review

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara released its Recommended Operating and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins this July 1.

The proposed budget includes a total operating budget of $275.9 million and a capital budget totaling $36.7 million.

The General Fund covers traditional municipal services such as police, fire, parks, recreation, library, and building and planning services with a proposed operating and capital budget of $115.5 million. The General Fund budget includes a surplus of $1 million. Due to growth in transient occupancy tax, sales tax, and property tax revenues, certain services that were cut during the recession are proposed to be restored.

Key services recommended for funding include a zoning associate planner position to improve turnaround times for building permit applications, a police records specialist position to address the backlog of mandatory records management duties, and a part-time park volunteer coordinator. An increase in hourly staffing is recommended to support after-school sports programs, community special events, and inclusion services for children with special needs to participate in recreation programs. Additional hourly staffing is also proposed to improve customer service and programming at the Westside Center, Carrillo Recreation Center, and Parks and Recreation Office counter.

The recommended budget includes additional funding to improve maintenance of street medians and parkways, add children’s materials at the library, reinstate supervised youth skate hours on Saturday mornings, and address deferred maintenance in recreation facilities. A 2 percent increase in funding for community arts and promotion contracts is also proposed.

Recommended capital improvement projects include the refurbishment of the Kids World Playground, renovation of the Cabrillo Ballfield, installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Police Building, and a burn training system for the Fire Department. Additional funds are also budgeted for street maintenance.

During April and May, each department budget will be presented to the council with an overview of revenues and expenditures for the upcoming year, culminating with the council’s adoption of a budget by June 30. The budget document and a schedule of public review meetings are available on the city’s website by clicking here. The budget document is also available at the City Clerk’s Office at 735 Anacapa St., the Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. and the Eastside Library at 1102 E. Montecito St.

— Nina Johnson is an administrative assistant for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Ty Warner Sea Center to Celebrate World Oceans Day

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Create a splash and celebrate World Oceans Day at the Ty Warner Sea Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Get to know funny fish “from here to there.”

Come out of your shell and enjoy Dr. Seuss-styled activities: “If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

For more information, contact Jackie Hunt at jhunt@sbnature2.org or call 805.962.2526 x110.

— Jackie Hunt is a programs coordinator for the Ty Warner Sea Center.

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Fielding Graduate University Named Member of Carnegie Project on Education Doctorate

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Fielding Graduate University President Katrina Rogers is pleased to announce that Fielding’s School of Educational Leadership for Change has been selected for inclusion in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate.

The CPED is a consortium of colleges and schools of education who are working together on a critical examination of the doctorate in education. Fielding one of 87 institutions working in collaboration to redesign the Ed.D. and will comprise the third cohort to join the Consortium.

In a press release from CPED Executive Director Jill Perry, the following was announced:

The executive director of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate is pleased to announce the addition of 33 new member institutions and four additional California State System campuses. Of this new cohort, CPED will have its first international membership with two institutions from Canada and one from New Zealand.

“The expansion of the consortium to a third cohort speaks to the credibility of this faculty-led effort and to our dedication to learn from diverse settings around the U.S. and beyond its borders as a means to develop the strongest professional preparation in education,” stated Jill Perry, the executive director.

The vision of the consortium is to transform the Ed.D. (referred to as a Professional Practice Doctorate within the Consortium) into the degree of choice for preparing the next generation of practitioner experts and school (K-12) college leaders in Education, especially those who will generate new knowledge and scholarship about educational practice (or related policies) and will have responsibility for stewarding the Education profession.

This vision aligns with Fielding’s academic quality and innovation strategic objective about aligning existing degree programs with current market trends and demands of the profession and needs of society.

This initiative was led by Mario Borunda, Ed.D., Fielding interim provost, along with Fielding faculty members Nicola Smith, MDA, JD, Kathy Tiner, Ph.D., and Anna DiStefano, Ed.D.

President Rogers stated, “They are to be commended for achieving this goal, which puts Fielding squarely into a national conversation on the future of education doctorates.”

— Hilary Edwards is the university relations manager for Fielding Graduate University.

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Goleta Rotary Clubs’ Fourth of July Fireworks Event Is in the Works

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Mark your calendars for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks at Girsh Park, because the two Goleta Rotary clubs are busy planning a family day to be remembered for years.

Activities will include games, contest, bouncers, face painting, music, balloons, a rock-climbing wall, volleyball courts and several new food vendors, all of which will make this Fourth of July not only fun but a safe day for all to enjoy.

The Fourth of July Fireworks event is one of Rotary's biggest fundraising events, and all the money raised will be given back to our community in a variety of way — one of the most important will be college scholarships for local high school students to help them with their future higher education.

Everyone can help make this the most successful Fourth of July by attending the Rotary Fireworks at Girsh Park, so be sure to mark your calendar and bring your family, neighbors and friends. As we get closer to the event, we will give more specific information.

In the meantime, contact Goleta Rotary fireworks event chair Scott Phillips at scott@synergyinc.net or Rotary Club of Goleta membership chair David Dart at sbdart@cox.net.

Click here for more information on Rotary Club of Goleta. Connect with the Rotary Club of Goleta on Facebook.

— Lynn Cederquist is publicity chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Goleta.

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I Heart UCSB: Fans Share What They Love About the University

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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It’s the ultimate brag book. Except it’s a website, and it isn’t so much bragging as it is highlighting points of pride.

That’s the goal of “I Heart UCSB,” an initiative designed to give students, faculty and staff members and even people in the community an opportunity to share what they love about UC Santa Barbara.

The love fest will be featured during the All-Gaucho Reunion April 24-27 with a series of events, education opportunities and daily giveaways that celebrate what it means to be a Gaucho. It will continue beyond the reunion, however, with events through Wednesday, April 30, such as UCSB’s Got Talent and a time capsule ceremony.

“We want to start a new campus tradition dedicated to highlighting all the positive aspects of UCSB,” said Mark Shishim, acting director of UCSB Health & Wellness who, along with Associated Students President Jonathan Abboud, is one of the main forces behind I Heart UCSB.

“The theme of this year’s reunion is Discover UCSB, and we’re asking alumni when the last time was that they discovered UCSB. There are things that even for people who graduated 10 years ago weren’t here,” added John Lofthus, associate director of the UCSB Alumni Association.

Lofthus noted that the Alumni Association’s Passport to Discovery will shine a light on the campus’s Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science (OCTOS), EMBODI (Engineering, Medicine, Biology, Discovery, Innovation) initiative and Translational Medicine Research Laboratories (TMRL) and Department of Theater and Dance, among others.

Among other events, TEDxUCSB will bring together UCSB scholars on April 26 to discuss “Energy to Power: Harnessing the Potential of Today for Tomorrow.” Speakers include faculty members John S.W. Park; Petra Van Koppen; Jeffrey Moehlis; Gary Horowitz; Don Aue; and Jason Raley. Information and applications for students to participate as audience members can be found by clicking here.

“We focus on alumni, but we don’t see any difference between students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community,” Lofthus noted. “If people feel they have a connection to the university, they’re Gauchos. This idea of I Heart UCSB is that UCSB is a center of activity for the whole county.”

More information about I Heart UCSB, including a schedule of the weeklong events, is available by clicking here.

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John Daly: What Employers REALLY Want

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Wish you knew how to win the hearts and minds of current or perspective employers? Want to make them beam at the thought of making you a part of their team or hand you that next big promotion?

Every employer seeks unique skills that match a particular job. But they also seek out “universal skills” or “soft skills.” If you don’t have these “soft skills,” you can definitely gain them with training or coaching and mentoring from someone who understands them. Once you’ve got them, you can tailor your job search résumés, cover letters or interview language to highlight them.

What are these magical “employable skills”? I went on a search for them and found them in a list that Drs. Randall S. and Katharine Hansen compiled. The list was culled from a number of recent studies. While I haven’t included them all of them, I’ve listed what I feel are the criticals.

Critical Skills Employers Seek

» Listening, Verbal and Written Communications. A communicator who actually listens and then conveys the information effectively both verbally and in writing.

» Analytical/Research Skills. Your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed. On a résumé, you’d want to stress you possess highly analytical thinking and talent for identifying, scrutinizing, improving and streamlining complex work processes.

» Computer/Technical Literacy. Almost all jobs now require basic understanding of word processing, spreadsheets and email. Let the employer know you are computer-literate on a wide variety of apps.

» Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities. Show you can multitask, adapt to changing work assignments and prioritize. Stress you are a flexible team player who thrives in juggling simultaneous projects.

» The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict. Indicate you are a relationship-builder with highly effective interpersonal skills.

» Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness. Diversity is the biggest issue in the workplace. Workers who illustrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures are prized. State flat-out that cultural sensitivity and building rapport with a diverse workforce in a multicultural environment is a strength.
 
» Planning/Organizing. Ultra important. Means you can design, plan, organize and coordinate projects with deadlines. It also means you know how to set goals and achieve them. Play up the importance of your planning and organizational skills and detail orientation.

» Problem-Solving/Reasoning/Creativity. The ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning and past experiences along with the available information and resources. State that you are a problem-solver who can provide solutions and resolve issues.

» Teamwork. The aptitude to work with other professionally to achieve a common goal. Make a point to illustrate you can build trust with colleagues and customers.

Wondering where you stand on some of the most sought-after soft skills? Take the Employability Skills Assessment  prepared by Dr. Randall S. Hansen.

Next week, I’ll take a look at the “values” employers want in their employees.

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

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Westmont Tops Forbes Magazine’s List of Best ROI Colleges

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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For the second straight year, Forbes Magazine has ranked Westmont College in the top 100 colleges and universities in its survey “The 100 Top ROI Colleges 2014: The Grateful Grads Index.”

Westmont, No. 81, is one of three Christian colleges in the list and just one of eight schools in California, including Claremont McKenna, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Pomona, Mills, USC and Occidental.

In the ranking’s second year, Forbes tweaked the formula to focus more on the rate of alumni giving. Its goal is to measure the value of a college degree by listing the median amount of private donations per student over a 10-year period.

“The idea is that the best colleges are the ones that produce successful people who make enough money during their careers to be charitable and feel compelled to give back to the schools that contributed to their success,” said Matt Schifrin, Forbes managing editor of investing, markets and personal finance.

Westmont’s 10-year median amount of private donations per student is $7,722.

“Westmont receives tremendous financial support from alumni, parents and friends who invest in our mission of rigorous academics combined with deep love of God,” President Gayle Beebe said. “This support helped us achieve a high ranking, and I’m grateful for the many people who believe in our distinctive education.”

In September 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Westmont in the top 100 best liberal arts colleges for the fifth straight year. “America’s Best Colleges, 2014 Edition” lists Westmont as 94th out of the nation’s 248 liberal arts colleges.

In October 2013, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked Westmont among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in its annual list. The report, which named Westmont No. 83, features colleges that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost. Westmont is one of eight liberal arts colleges in California to make the list and the only California member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities to be included.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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Victor Dominocielo: Let’s Bring Back Bloodletting!

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The great granddaddy of all medical techniques and treatments is bloodletting. It is the longest running and most widespread medical technique in all of recorded history.

Origins of the technique are attributed to the ancient Egyptians of about 3,000 years ago when it was used to remove evil spirits that caused disease. Some websites suggest that it may have originated in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine from around the same time period. Over the last 3,000 years, bloodletting spread from Egypt to India, the Far East, Greece and through the Roman Empire to most Mediterranean cultures.

A good history of bloodletting can be found on the PBS website by clicking here.

There are two questions that this incredibly prolific procedure brings immediately to mind: How and why did this supposed medical technique captivate and fool the best and the brightest minds of so many civilizations over such a long period of time, and why was it abandoned? Answering these questions will provide important insight into how each new generation understands its relationship to disease and individuals’ proclivity to fool oneself in regards to medical procedures.

As a group, humans are renowned for making medical mistakes. Many civilizations perpetrated the erroneous ideas of the Egyptians, then the Greeks and Romans for over 3,000 years. The “theories” of Spontaneous Generation (life from non-life) and the Four Humors (fluids in the body had to be balanced — the basis for bloodletting) continued until the 1870s!

George Washington, who had access to the best medical care of his day, bled to death in 1799 in response to a cold, developing pneumonia and a swollen throat. Louis Pasteur and others finally proved that Spontaneous Generation did not exist around the 1860s and that disease was caused by germs, not by an imbalance of bodily fluids. As this Germ Theory of Disease became widely understood and accepted by the medical profession, bloodletting gradually fell out of favor in the late 1800s and was finally discontinued by a very embarrassed medical profession.

In addition, the medical profession realized that in hindsight, bloodletting violated the Hippocratic Oath (“First, do no harm”) by actually first harming the patient and then hoping that the body would rally against the harmful insult it received. So the two reasons above — the widespread acceptance of the germ theory of disease, and the realization that bloodletting violated the Hippocratic Oath — are the reasons why bloodletting stopped.

The next question is, “Why did bloodletting persist so long?” If we asked practitioners of bloodletting to explain their rationale, legitimacy and beneficial results, they would have said that bleeding “is a renowned and ancient medical practice that has been improving health for thousands of years.” The most confounding and amazing thing about bleeding is that it did convince the best and brightest minds of many generations and different civilizations that, “It works.”

No matter what your complaint of pain, stress or illness, the drama of watching your life’s blood stream out of your body caused a significant distraction from your medical condition and a significant placebo effect. Patients and the “physicians” of the time were convinced of bleeding’s benefits. How many alternative medical treatments today (homeopathy, aroma therapy reflexology, etc.) use the same argument of “It works” even though there is no scientific evidence of any benefit other than the placebo effect?

Today we scoff at this misguided idea of bleeding, which lacked any evidence and was perpetuated through the millennia by the patient-generated placebo process. Yet we turn around and so easily become enamored of foreign folk medicine practices, like acupuncture, whose legitimacy is explained by stating that it “is a renowned and ancient medical practice that has been improving health for thousands of years” despite using the same basic technology as voodoo in the pursuit of invisible “chi” and the balancing of yin/yang “forces” along invisible “meridians” in our bodies.

So, let’s bring back bloodletting! It produces a slam/bang placebo effect: There is absolutely nothing that dramatizes and distracts a patient from whatever ails them more than watching their life’s blood stream out of their body. With today’s knowledge of wound cleaning and suture repair, we could keep down the infection rate and charge buckets of money for the drama.

Forget those minor placebo therapies like cranial massage, iridology, aroma therapy and bio-field realignment — bloodletting is a real winner! Forget those moral issues about first harming the patient, charging patients for their own patient-generated placebo effect and deceiving patients with magical explanations about invisible body parts and vibrational forces. Bloodletting is a real winner!

If Eastern, Western and other cultures can pursue and perpetuate medical nonsense for millennia, how do we go about making better decisions for our health?

The development of a formalized process to negate the distorting effects of human belief, emotion and wishful thinking in the pursuit of accurate evidence was needed by the different cultures of our civilization. In order for this process to self-correct for the inevitable mistakes that would occur, it had to be based on the simple biology of how all mammals learn — mimicry and repetition over time. Thousands of years of trial and error gradually pointed toward a pattern for success: random subjects, double-blinded experimenters and placebo control groups performing carefully measured experiments, which are repeated over time by different groups in different places and under constant review by peers, yielded stable evidence from which an accurate body of knowledge was built.

Most all fields of study at universities throughout the world use this same basic scientific methodology. The resultant science-based medicine is a worldwide standard. In order for any medical procedure or drug to become part of science-based medicine, only one simple and straightforward criterion must be met: The procedure or drug must significantly beat the placebo effect.

If you have questions about any medical remedies or procedures, look them up on Skepdic.com (the Skeptic’s Dictionary) and Sciencebasedmedicine.org. You’ll find out their history, development and whether or not they can beat the placebo effect.

— Victor Dominocielo, a California-credentialed teacher for 36 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Cox Celebrates Earth Day with Launch of Cox Conserves Heroes Awards Program

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Cox Communications, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, is seeking nominations for environmental volunteers in Cox’s service areas in Santa Barbara. Nominations are being accepted at CoxConservesHeroes.com through 5 p.m. May 21 for volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces.

Three finalists will compete through online voting to be named the 2014 Cox Conserves Hero for Santa Barbara. A total of $15,000 will be donated to Santa Barbara environmental nonprofits on behalf of the winner and finalists.

The winner will receive $10,000 to donate to his or her local environmental nonprofit of choice. The two additional finalists will receive $2,500 for their environmental nonprofit of choice.

Voting will be held in mid-July, with the winners announced in mid-August.

In 2013, Susan Epstein was selected as the 2013 Santa Barbara Cox Conserves Hero. The program launched in San Diego in 2009 and expanded to Santa Barbara and Orange County in 2012. In Southern California, Cox Conserves Heroes has recognized 36 volunteers and donated nearly $140,000 to environmental nonprofits.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications.

Cox Conserves Heroes also takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area; Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson); Georgia (Atlanta); Louisiana (Acadiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans); Virginia (Fairfax County/Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Roanoke) and Washington (Seattle).

— Ceanne Guerra is the media relations manager for Cox Communications.

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Rona Barrett Foundation Announces 2014 Board of Directors

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Rotary Club of Carpinteria Honors Zoe Iverson for Vocational Service

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Rotary Club of Carpinteria bestowed an annual Vocational Service Award to Carpinterian Zoe Iverson.

More than 40 club members and their guests attended the April 17 luncheon meeting held at the Carpinteria Lions Community Building.

Employees of members were also recognized to celebrate those who serve in a variety of vocations.

Award winner Iverson has been able to link the need for clothing in the poorest parts of Africa and other countries around the world to those in the community who enjoy sewing. She and her volunteers, working in a donated space at the Carpinteria Community Church, have made dresses out of clean pillow cases and shorts out of gently used T-shirts totaling 600 garments — so far.

Iverson and her team continue to work on the projects and will take pillowcase and T-shirt donations through the Rotary Club of Carpinteria. Iverson was lauded by the club and introduced by vocational co-chair Michelle van Wingerden.

Donation questions should be sent via email to club member Donna Treloar at dawnuh@cox.net.

— Pat Kistler is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Carpinteria.

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Bibi Taylor: Women Face Challenges in Planning for Retirement

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Women face special challenges when planning for retirement.

Bibi Taylor
Bibi Taylor

Because their careers are often interrupted to care for children or elderly parents, women may spend less time in the workforce and earn less money than men in the same age group. As a result, their retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits and pension benefits are often lower.

In addition to earning less, women generally live longer than men, and they face having to stretch limited retirement savings and benefits over many years. To meet these financial challenges, you'll need to make retirement planning a priority.

Begin Saving Now

To maximize your chances of achieving a financially secure retirement, start with a realistic assessment of how much you'll need to save. If the figure is substantial, don't be discouraged — the most important thing is to begin saving now.

Although it's never too late to save for retirement, the sooner you start, the more time your investments have to potentially grow. The chart below shows how just $2,000 invested annually at a 6 percent rate of return might grow over time, showing the amount you'll have saved by age 65 if you begin saving for retirement at the following ages:

» 20 — $451,016
» 30 — $236,242
» 40 — $116,313
» 50 — $49,345
» 60 — $11,951

Note: This is a hypothetical example, and does not reflect the performance of any specific investment. Results assume reinvestment of all earnings and no tax.

Save as Much as You Can — You Have Many Options

If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or a 403(b), join it as soon as possible and contribute as much as you can. It's easy to save because your contributions are deducted directly from your pay, and some employers will even match a portion of what you contribute.

If your employer offers a pension plan, find out how many years you'll need to work for the company before you're vested in, or own, your pension benefits. Women struggling to balance work and family sometimes shortchange their retirement savings by leaving their jobs before they become vested in their pension benefits. Keep in mind, too, that because your pension benefits will be based on your earnings and on your years of service, the longer you stay with one employer, the higher your pension is likely to be.

Most employer-sponsored plans allow you to choose from several investment options (typically mutual funds). If you have many years to invest or you're trying to make up for lost time, give special consideration to growth-oriented investments such as stocks and stock funds. Historically, stocks have outperformed bonds and short-term instruments over the long term, although past performance is no guarantee of future results. However, along with potentially higher returns, stocks carry more risk than less volatile investments.

A good way to get detailed information about a mutual fund you're considering is to read the fund's prospectus. It includes information about the fund's objectives, expenses, risks and past returns. A financial professional can also help you evaluate your retirement plan options.

Save for Retirement — No Matter What

Even if you're staying at home to raise your family, you can — and should — continue to save for retirement.

If you're married and file your income taxes jointly, and otherwise qualify, you may open and contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA as long as your spouse has enough earned income to cover the contributions.

Both types of IRAs allow you to make contributions of up to $5,500 in 2014 (unchanged from 2013), or, if less, 100 percent of taxable compensation. If you're age 50 or older, you're allowed to contribute even more — up to $6,500 in 2014 (unchanged from 2013).

Plan for Income in Retirement

Do you worry about outliving your retirement income? Unfortunately, that's a realistic concern for many women. At age 65, women can expect to live, on average, an additional 20.3 years.

1. In addition, many women will live into their 90s. This means that women should generally plan for a long retirement that will last at least 20 to 30 years. Women should also consider the possibility of spending some of those years alone. According to recent statistics, 37 percent of older women are widowed, 14 percent are divorced and almost half of all women age 75 and older live alone. 2. For married women, the loss of a spouse can mean a significant decrease in retirement income from Social Security or pensions. So what can you do to ensure you'll have enough income to last throughout retirement? Here are some tips:

» Estimate how much income you'll need. Use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may change dramatically by the time you retire.

» Find out how much you can expect to receive from Social Security, pension plans and other sources. What benefits will you receive should you become widowed or divorced?

» Set a retirement savings goal that you can work toward, and keep track of your progress.

» Save regularly, save as much as you can and then look for ways to save more — dedicate a portion of every raise, bonus, cash gift or tax refund to your retirement savings.

» Consider purchasing long-term care insurance to help protect your retirement savings and income from the high cost of nursing home care.

What's Your Excuse for Not Planning for Retirement?

I'm too busy to plan.

Perhaps you're so wrapped up in balancing your responsibilities that you haven't given retirement planning much thought. That's understandable, but if you don't put retirement planning at the top of your to-do list, you risk shortchanging yourself later on. Staying focused on your goal of saving for a comfortable retirement is difficult, but if you put yourself first it will really pay off in the end.

My husband takes care of our finances.

Married or not, it's critical for women to take an active role in planning for retirement. Otherwise, you may be forced to make important financial decisions quickly during a period of crisis. Unfortunately, decisions that are not well thought through often prove costly later. Preparing for retirement with your spouse will help ensure that you're both provided for, and pave the way to a worry-free retirement.

I'll save more once my children are through college.

Many well-intentioned parents put their own retirement savings on hold while they save for their children's college education. But if you do so, you're potentially sacrificing your own financial security. Your children have many options when it comes to financing college — loans, grants and scholarships, for example — but there's no such thing as a retirement loan! Why not set a good example for your children by getting your own finances in order before contributing to their college fund?

I don't know enough about investing.

Commit to spending just a few minutes a day learning the basics of investing, and you'll become knowledgeable in no time. And remember, you don't have to do it by yourself — a financial professional will be happy to work with you to set retirement goals and help you choose appropriate investments.

— Bibi Taylor, MBA, is a wealth manager for AmeriFlex, 3700 State St., Suite 310, in Santa Barbara. Call 805.898.0893 for more information.

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UCSB Conference to Examine Labor Movement in America

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Scholars will consider ways to strengthen organized labor and increase its influence in the workplace

The decline of organized labor’s influence in the U.S. can be summed up in two numbers: 35 and 6. The first is the percentage of unionized private-sector workers at its high in the 1950s. The second is the current percentage.

What might be done to reverse that decline will be the focus of a two-day conference this Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, at UC Santa Barbara. Hosted by UCSB’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, “The American Labor Movement: Crisis and Creativity” will begin at 8 a.m. Friday in the multipurpose room of the Student Resources Building. Saturday’s events will take place in the University Center’s State Street Room beginning at 8:30 a.m. The conference is free and open to the public.

“The trade union movement in America is in extremely big trouble, and it requires some new, creative thought,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Professor of History and director of the center. “And sometimes this can be done much better on a college campus.”

The conference will bring together a mix of academics and labor officials for what Lichtenstein described as “freewheeling discussions” and debate on a number of topics in six sessions over the two days.

“They’re trying to find new ways to be relevant, to organize, to raise wages, to stop inequality,” he said.

Among featured speakers are Will Jones, Larry Cohen and Jake Rosenfeld. Jones, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver the keynote address on Friday. His topic will be “Labor’s Vital Role in the 1963 March on Washington.” He will give a separate talk on Thursday at 4 p.m. in UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Theater.

His lecture, “The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights,” is part of this year’s Critical Issues in America series, “The Great Society at Fifty: Democracy in America 1964/2014.”

Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, chair of the AFL-CIO’s organizing committee and founder of Jobs for Justice, will speak Friday at noon.

Rosenfeld, who will participate in a panel discussion beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday, is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington and the author of “What Unions No Longer Do,” which studies labor’s decline and its impact on society. Particularly hard hit are minorities and immigrants, Lichtenstein noted.

“One of Rosenfeld’s most important findings is that when private sector unions decline ¾ and they’re down to 6 percent of the of the whole workforce ¾ the impact it’s had politically is that Latino and immigrant and African Americans have much, much less political voice,” Lichtenstein said. “We’ll have a session about him and his findings and what to do about it.”

The conference is co-sponsored by Jacobin magazine and the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Click here for more information, including a complete schedule and registration.

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Teens Killed in Highway 101 Wreck Were Best Friends

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Two best friends from  a Torrance high school were among those killed Monday in a vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

Danielle Murillo

The seniors from North High School died along with a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles as they were returning home from a concert in Santa Maria. A fourth person was critically injured.

Danielle Murillo and Jessica Leffew, both 17, were seniors at North High. Also killed was Jessica’s boyfriend, Brian Adonay Lopez of Los Angeles.

All three were in a red 2005 Mazda traveling southbound on the highway near Castillo Street at about 12:45 a.m. when the vehicle veered right for unknown reasons and crashed into a guardrail, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The car flipped onto its roof and came to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway.

Moments later, a white 2013 Ford Mustang, also traveling on southbound 101, smashed into the car, ejecting two occupants, who both died.

The Mazda driver, 20-year-old Erick Hoel August of Los Angeles — Danielle’s boyfriend — suffered major injuries and reportedly was in critical condition at a hospital.

The driver of the Mustang, 52-year-old Kimberly Ann Kreis of Santa Barbara, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. She was treated for minor injuries to her chest, back and right knee, the CHP said.

The mood at the North High was somber on Monday. Teacher Julie Shankle said her room is across the hall from an office used by a grief counselor.

“I’ve had to close my door multiple times today because of the crying,” she said. “It’s been a very quiet day.”

Jessica Leffew

On Monday afternoon, students and family members filtered in and out of the home of Murillo’s mother, catty-corner from North High, offering condolences.

“She was really outgoing and positive. She always looked at the bright side of everything,” said Manuel Murillo, Danielle’s father. “It’s just crazy.”

Murillo said his daughter, who played soccer and participated in school plays, was planning to attend El Camino College and later a university and become a forensic psychologist.

Murillo, Leffew and their boyfriends had driven up to Santa Maria for a concert and were driving back home Sunday night, he said.

“Cheryl (Danielle’s mother) talked to her around 10. They were tired, but they were coming home,” Manuel Murillo said. “I guess her boyfriend fell asleep and lost control of the car and someone T-boned them.”

Murillo said he and Cheryl, who are divorced, were waiting to hear from their daughter, but she never showed up, and calls to her phone went unanswered. Then the police showed up at their door Monday morning.

Murillo said the family’s prayers are with August, his daughter’s boyfriend, who was in critical condition late Monday.

A North High student walked up to Murillo and gave him a hug.

“We’ll keep her spirit alive at school,” the student told him.

A group of students walking home from North High after school said they had been close friends with the girls since attending Magruder Middle School in Torrance.

Kouy Chhay, a senior, said Danielle loved to laugh.

“She really liked making people smile when they were down,” he said. “Whenever I’d see her, she’d always say hi and give me a hug, and then she would slap me, like messing around.”

The group of students said Jessica had planned to study nursing at the Southern California Regional Occupation Center — also known as SoCal ROC — in Torrance. Jessica had participated in JROTC during her sophomore year.

Ron Graham, the school’s JROTC instructor, said he remembers her as a well-mannered young lady who knew how to stick up for herself.

“If you stepped on her toe, she wouldn’t sock you, but she’d maybe say, ‘Hey, you stepped on my toe. How about an apology?’ ”

Graham remembers that, even after Jessica quit JROTC, she would address him in the hallway.

“Anytime she saw me she’d say, ‘Good morning, Sgt. Graham. How are you?’ ” he said.

A memorial for Leffew and Murillo will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school, where Principal Ron Richardson sent out a bulletin to families Monday.

“It is very difficult to lose a member of our community,” he wrote. “We are very heartbroken by the tragic loss of two of our students. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families, teachers, classmates and friends.”

[Click here to read more from the Torrance Daily Breeze.]

Carley Dryden and Rob Kuznia are reporters at the Torrance Daily Breeze. They can be reached at carley.dryden@langnews.com and Rob.Kuznia@dailybreeze.com. 

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Goleta Appoints Michelle Greene as Interim City Manager

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The city is working to find replacements for the positions of city manager, public works director and finance director

The City of Goleta needs to replace three of its managers at once, a unique situation for the 12-year-old city.

Michelle Greene
Michelle Greene

City Manager Dan Singer, Public Works Director Steve Wagner and Finance Director Tina Rivera all resigned in the last month to leave for new jobs, so the city is using search firms to find and hire permanent replacements.

The Goleta City Council will appoint Michelle Greene as interim city manager following Singer’s resignation. Greene has worked with the city since 2004, first as Administrative Services director and then as deputy city manager.

She’s the only other employee who has oversight over the entire city’s staff, according to public information officer Valerie Kushnerov.

Singer has headed Goleta’s employees since 2006 and will leave for the City of Poway next month. The City Council met in closed session Monday to discuss Greene’s appointment, and it will be made official with an agreement adopted at the May 6 council meeting.

The city is scheduling a meeting next week with executive recruiting firms to find a new city manager, Kushnerov said.

Singer handed in his resignation the same week that finance director Rivera left the city for a job with the United Water Conservation District in Santa Paula, where she lives. She’s been finance director for almost eight years, and the city has picked John Herrera to fill in temporarily. 

Herrera, a certified public accountant, has served as interim director in Buellton and several other communities, Kushnerov said.

Wagner left at the end of March to become the assistant general manager of the Goleta Sanitary District. Rosemarie Gaglione, the assistant city engineer and capital improvement program manager, has been appointed as interim public works director.

Goleta will use Teri Black and Co. to search for a new finance director and public works director, a process that is expected to take several months. Kushnerov said those positions will ultimately be hired by the new city manager.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Montessori Students Pay It Forward by Donating Books to School in Costa Rica

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Montessori Center School upper elementary students (children in grades 4 through 6) recently donated 70 copies of the beloved bilingual children’s book Vuela, Vuela Mariposa (Fly, Fly Butterfly) to Escuela Catie, an elementary school in Costa Rica.

The book’s author and local Santa Barbarian, Diego Pedreros, visited MCS and presented the book, which highlights the life and migration journey of the famed monarch butterflies that land in our very own Ellwood Butterfly Preserve every winter.

During his visit, Pedreros gifted each of the students with a donated copy of his book. In turn, the children decided they wanted to continue the cycle of giving and pay it forward. By spending student-raised funds they voted to purchase nearly 70 copies of the book for children at Escuela Catie. Each of the students then composed a letter in Spanish that was included with the books.

“There is a deep value in Montessori philosophy placed on the role education plays in the development of world peace and global understanding,” MCS Head of School Patricia Colby said. “Maria Montessori firmly believed there were universal tendencies in humans which, if properly nurtured would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. We at MCS want to nurture and uphold the belief that children can make a difference in the global community. It is our hope that experiences like this will foster a lifelong habit of civil responsibility.”

Since 1965, Montessori Center School has implemented the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching in the Santa Barbara area.

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

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SBCC Senior Holly Highfill Selected as Coca-Cola Academic Gold Scholar

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Holly Highfill
Holly Highfill

Santa Barbara City College senior Holly Highfill recently was selected as a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar.

Sponsored by the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation, the program is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and an independent panel of judges considers outstanding academic rigor, grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

A total of 150 scholars at the gold, silver and bronze levels were selected from an applicant pool of 1,700 students and nearly $200,000 in scholarships are awarded annually.

As a Gold Scholar, Highfill placed in the top 50 and will receive a $1,500 scholarship upon transfer to a four-year university and special commemoratory medallion.

An eighth-generation Santa Barbaran, Highfill has a long-term association with SBCC. She was a dual enrollment student while in high school and has been actively involved in campus life as a full-time student. She has served as president of the SBCC Honors Program, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as assistant to the director of the Political Science Sacramento Internship program in which 30 students shadow state and local leaders at the state Capitol.

Highfill will graduate as an English major from SBCC in May and plans to attend UCLA in the fall.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Santa Barbara Matchmaker to Discuss ‘Sexy Secrets’ at Granada Book Shop

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Santa Barbara Matchmaking founder Lisa Darsonval will discuss the new book, Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 at the Granada Book Shop, 1224 State St.

Lisa Darsonval
Santa Barbara Matchmaking founder Lisa Darsonval, left, meets with Michelle Jacoby at this month's Matchmakers and Dating Coaches Conference in Sandpiper Bay, Fla.

A professional dating and relationship coach, Darsonval wrote a chapter titled “Secrets to Successfully Brand Your Online Dating Profile” in Sexy Secrets, which recently hit the No. 2 position on the Amazon International Bestseller Lists in the categories of “Love and Romance” and “Sex.”

Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life is a collaboration of 29 dating coaches, matchmakers, psychotherapists and personal coaches who share their secrets. The book was compiled “to make every woman around the globe successful at creating a juicier love life so she can avoid frustration, unhappiness and the worry she’ll be alone forever,” according to the book’s website. “It seeks to unselfishly provide energy to keep the flow moving; to direct you along the right path to success in finding your soulmate.”

“There is no better feeling than knowing I’ve introduced two great people and then watching them fall in love,” Darsonval said.

She has a knack for building confidence and creating enjoyment of the dating process. Helping people through transitions is one of her favorite things to do.

Darsonval said she believes dating should be a dignified process where people treat each other with kindness and care. She knows dating can be frustrating, time consuming and difficult. She said her goal is not only to find her clients love, but to make sure the matchmaking and dating process is easy, relaxing and fun.

In March, Darsonval was a speaker at the Matchmakers Alliance 2014 Matchmakers and Dating Coaches Conference in Sandpiper Bay, Fla., where she discussed why singles events are important. After organizing a series of such gatherings since 2012, she plans to launch monthly singles events called “First Thursday After-Parties” at Blush Restaurant and Lounge, beginning May 1, and her next “Meet Your Match” singles event will be at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on May 18.

Darsonval also writes about relationships for YourTango.com and LavaLife and has contributed to eHarmony.

Darsonval is a member of the Matchmakers Alliance and was recently certified through the Matchmakers Institute in New York City. Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Matchmaking.

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PARC Foundation’s ‘Magic on the Urban Wine Trail II’ to Benefit Youth Programs

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The PARC Foundation’s benefit “Magic on the Urban Wine Trail II” presented by Mission Linen Supply promises to be a fun-filled afternoon of wine tasting, magic with strolling magicians Mark Collier and Chris Ballinger, delicious food and a great silent auction.

The event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27 at the historic Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St.

Appetizers will be created and served by the teens of the city’s successful culinary arts program, which gives youth job skills and helps them to make healthy food choices before they set out on their own for college and the workplace, establishing habits that last a lifetime.

Proceeds from the event will support the Parks & Recreation camp scholarship fund for underprivileged children and the department’s youth culinary arts program.

The list of wineries pouring at the event has grown since last year’s founding event, and now includes Area 5.1 Winery, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards & Winery, Happy Canyon Vineyards, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Kalyra Winery, Oreana Winery, Pali Wine Co., Sanford Winery, Santa Barbara Winery, Silver Wines, Summerland Winery and Whitcraft Winery.

Tickets for the event are $45 in advance or $60 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at the PARC Foundation’s website by clicking here or by calling 805.897.1946.

The Parks & Recreation Community Foundation supports the work of the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department by promoting, preserving and enhancing parks, recreation programs and open space in Santa Barbara for the enjoyment, appreciation and improved quality of life for present and future generations.

PARC thanks presenting sponsor Mission Linen Supply and Montecito Bank & Trust, the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, Casa Magazine, Pacific Western Bank, Bryant & Sons Ltd. and MarBorg Industries for their sponsorship of the event.

For more information, call recreation programs manager Judith McCaffrey at 805.897.1946.

— Summers Case is a marketing coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Renovation Project of Gaviota Rest Areas on Highway 101 Postponed

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The closure of the Gaviota Safety Roadside Rest Areas on Highway 101 scheduled to begin Monday, April 28 for approximately nine months for a major project to improve this facility has been postponed. Caltrans will announce a new date as soon as it is available.

This project will include an extensive renovation to the plumbing systems in two restroom buildings that will include water conservation measures such as low-flow fixtures and faucets that will automatically turn off.

This facility will also receive upgrades to the electrical system and improvements to tile, carpentry, paint, landscape and irrigation systems.

These improvements are necessary due to the 1 million visitors who use these rest areas each year.

The contractor for this $927,000 project is Prism Engineering Inc. of Hayward. This project is expected to be completed in January.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, click here or call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Billy Baldwin Returning as Host of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s ‘Saks & The City’ Event

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer, is thrilled to announce the much anticipated seventh annual “Saks & The City” event to be held Thursday, May 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara.

Billy Baldwin
Billy Baldwin

The event features a James Bond theme and provides guests a “License to Shop” for the latest must have designer brands! Saks & The City offers up a special night to go out and be spoiled with mini-makeovers from Saks Fifth Avenue artists, massages from Santa Barbara's finest masseuses, signature cocktails, music, entertainment, casino tables and more!

Dapper actor and Santa Barbara resident Billy Baldwin serves as master of ceremonies and auctioneer for a unique live and silent auction featuring a dress worn by Katy Perry during her 2014 Prismatic World Tour; a memorable surf experience with Shaun Tomson; a Hawaiian Luau package for 50 guests; a luxury vacation to Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; a stunning 18K Yellow Gold ring from Daniel Gibbing Jewelry; and art by James Paul Brown. Be 007 for a day with a James Bond experience which includes luxury accommodations at Bacara Resort & Spa and secret missions that will take you to land, sea and air! Only the winner will find out!

“I love hosting 'Saks & The City' because it is such a unique and fun event," Baldwin said. "It brings together all the wonderful community members of Santa Barbara to shop, drink and raise money for one of the most important and vital organizations in our community.”

This extraordinary event is led by event co-chairs Donna Barranco Fisher, Vanessa Decker and Sheela Hunt, and a dedicated and hardworking committee.

“I am proud to support the organization’s mission to ensure families from Ventura to San Luis Obispo are provided the assistance they desperately need," Barranco Fisher said. "I encourage those of you that have not attended this event before to please join us! It will be a great evening in support of this critical cause!”

Guests attest one of the highlights of the event is sampling food from local restaurants. This year, attendees will enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Butler Event Center, Chocolate du CaliBressan, Coveted Cakery, India Club, Marmalade, Miso Hungry, Olio e Limone and Olio Pizzeria, Omni Fresco Catering, The Shop Café and Sama Sama. Sipping signature cocktails made from vodka donated by Tito’s Handmade, wine tasting from Zinke Winery and tequila tastings from Paloma Restaurant & Tequila Bar are also on the list of “must-do’s” at the event!

Guests also love the raffle drawing which this year includes a chance to win a Santa Barbara Staycation, a Santa Ynez Getaway, and a wine-rack filled with a variety of 47 red, white and rosé premium wines generously donated by Saks & The City VII event committee members' personal collections. Raffle tickets are $20 for one ticket or six tickets for $100 and are now available for purchase; winner need not be present.

After the event, the Canary Hotel will host an after-party that will donate a percentage of sales from the evening to TBCF and where guests can dance the night away to the beats of DJ Tru. Saks Fifth Avenue will also generously donate 10 percent of proceeds when you shop May 1-3 and mention Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

“We greatly appreciate Saks Fifth Avenue’s support of our organization’s mission to support families. ‘Saks & The City’ generates 20 percent of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s annual revenue. The community’s support of this event is essential so we can meet the needs of families that have a child with cancer living in the Tri-County region,” said Lindsey Guerrero, executive director of TBCF.

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation would like to thank Diamonds Are Forever event sponsor Bobby Ryan and family as well as Goldfinger event sponsors Dr. Robert Kammer and family; Julia Delgado, M.D.; the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation; and Suneva Medical. The following businesses and families are Casino Royale sponsors and include ARDEN; Jim and Vanessa Bechtel; Formigli; IOA Insurance Services Inc., Jon Valois, CIC, CRIS;  Mer James; Pacific Plastic Surgery; Eric and Nina Phillips; Project Dynamics; Technical Glass, TGP, Patrick and Cynthia Murphy; Toyota of Santa Barbara; and John Woodward, attorney and counselor. Special thank you to Joe Newberry Photography and Kim Byrnes Photography; Via Vai for donating food for event volunteers; Mission Tuxedos for suiting up our volunteer firefighters; and major event underwriters including Barranco Fisher, Dr. Robert Kiken, Dr. Jesse Lanzon, Montecito Bank & Trust, Prospect Mortgage and SB Philanthropy.

The mission of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is to provide financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Each year the organization serves over 650 individuals. To learn more about Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation or purchase event tickets and raffle tickets to Saks & The City VII, click here or call TBCF’s Development Director Bryan Kerner at 805.563.4723.

— Lindsey Guerrero is executive director of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

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Capps Pushes for More Federal Funding in Fight Against Panga Smuggling

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The congresswoman and Sheriff Bill Brown meet with federal and state authorities to discuss strategy

Santa Barbara County officials are trying to get continuous funding for the fight against panga boat maritime smuggling. 

Sheriff Bill Brown and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, met with federal and state authorities Monday morning to discuss strategy for stopping the influx of drug- and people-smuggling boats landing on the Central Coast.

There have been 42 landings in Santa Barbara County since 2010, including 20 in 2012, Brown said. The boats used are traditional Mexican fishing boats, typically about 30 feet long, open-bowed and powered by multiple outboard motors.

Capps wrote a letter asking for federal funding last year, and the county got $375,000 for Operation Stonegarden, the collaborative law enforcement effort focused on the country’s borders. She wrote another letter to the congressional Subcommittee on Homeland Security last month asking for $55 million in grant funding for Operation Stonegarden.

“We can’t give our guard down especially given the history of success lately,” Capps said, adding that the panga boat drivers and passengers put themselves at risk with such dangerous conditions, which implies a level of desperation.

Brown said local funding has paid for equipment and overtime for Sheriff's Department employees to work on the task force and panga response effort.

The number of panga landings and interceptions at sea has decreased over the years (only two so far in 2014), but it’s still a threat, Brown said. Law enforcement agencies have seized almost 30,000 pounds of marijuana — worth $71.6 million on the street — and arrested 120 people, he said.

The Central Coast is an attractive location to smugglers since there are more than 100 miles of coastline close to the highway, he said. Boats land on beaches, unload bales of drugs or people into waiting vehicles and “are gone before we know it,” he said.

With more pressure put on Mexican drug cartels, smugglers went from over-the-border efforts to tunneling, having people grow marijuana in the United States and now using boats to get up the California coast, Brown said. They’ve been found as far north as Monterey County, he said.

“As pressure has been put on smuggling in southern areas like San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, they’ve moved further and further north,” Brown said, adding that the marijuana smuggled in by boat gets distributed nationally.

He and Capps reached out to federal agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to share information, spot boats and respond to incidents.

He wouldn’t discuss specific law enforcement strategy from Monday's meeting, but he said some boats probably make it all the way up the coast without stopping while other ones may stop at “some kind of mothership” to refuel or get supplies. Some of the boats go out to sea as far as 100 miles.

The Santa Cruz Islands have been a stopping point for some boats as well. Most land on beaches under the cover of darkness, so they may get to the islands, wait until nighttime and then head to shore, Brown noted.

In late 2012, a U.S. Coast Guard officer was killed when his vessel was rammed by a panga boat. Two Mexican nationals were convicted of murder in the death of 34-year-old Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III.

Horne and other boarding team members of the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut approached the boat in the Smuggler’s Cove area off Santa Cruz Island. They were thrown into the water when the panga boat operator rammed the inflatable boarding vessel, according to the official report on the incident.

When the panga fled the scene after the collision, the outboard engine propeller hit Horne’s head in the water and he died of his head injuries.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Crooner Bryan Ferry Performs at Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Poster/T-shirt Design Unveiled for Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Each year, there is an artistic competition for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice T-shirt and poster design that is sold as a fundraising vehicle for the festival celebrating the longest day of the year.

Drum roll, please: This year’s winner ― of a sun and moon playing hopscotch ― is by Pali-X-Mano.

The popular playground game hopscotch is in keeping with the parade’s theme, which is Games.

“With the World Cup this summer in Brazil and the popularity of Game of Thrones, Games is a timely subject,” Solstice Executive Director Claudia Bratton said. “A good theme is usually one word, and everyone pictures something in their mind when they hear that word.”

Like past themes Jungle and Circus, Games gives ample inspiration for fun floats and costumes.

“When I was a boy, I loved to play hopscotch with my four sisters back in Budapest,” said artist Pali-X-Mano, a graduate of the Hungarian Academy of Art & Design.

Since 1990, Pali has been an integral part of Solstice, and this is his sixth winning design. He’s also created 27 of the large inflatable creations that traditionally close the Solstice parade. Regarding his name, Pali is Paul in Hungarian, the X is for eXperimental and Mano is “little mischief” in Hungarian.

The hopscotch poster ($20 unsigned and $25 signed) and T-shirts will debut at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park this Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27. Visit the Solstice booth to make masks with the kids and for information about upcoming events including workshops.

For adults, there are 100 percent cotton T-shirts in black and white with the sun on the front and the moon on the back; unisex S-XXXL, $20. There are also tanks in black with the moon on the front; adult S-XL, $20. The children’s shirt is gold and emblazoned with the sun; XS-L, $15.

Or visit the online store by clicking here. Let the games begin!

— Wendy Jenson for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration.

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Santa Barbara Library Hosting Free Presentation on Home Foreclosure

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System is hosting the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County and SurePath Financial Solutions for a free public information session on home foreclosure.

The presentation, in English and Spanish, will be in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 14.

Legal Aid Foundation attorneys Jennifer Smith and George Terterian will discuss California’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights, assistance for homeowners as risk for foreclosure and how to avoid foreclosure avoidance scams.

The Central Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The presentation will outline the broad spectrum of legal and financial services available to distressed homeowners including legal intervention, loan modifications, bankruptcy filing and housing counseling. Where foreclosure cannot be avoided, homeowners and tenants can be assisted through eviction defense, relocation, financial education, credit rebuilding and referrals for counseling and educational resources.

This program is supported by California’s National Mortgage Settlement Grant Program, which awarded 21 grants statewide to assist Californians affected by the state’s foreclosure crisis.

“The foreclosure crisis has inflicted wide-ranging and deep harm to California homeowners and communities,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “These grants will give homeowners and families the financial and legal tools they need to recover.”

Click here for information about programs, events and services of the Santa Barbara Public Library System. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Christine Gallery represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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The Samarkand Offering Guided Tours of New LifeCenter During Open House

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Samarkand, a faith-based, nonprofit, continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities, invites the public to see its new showpiece — the LifeCenter — from 10 a.m. to noon May 8.

Residents and staff of the senior living community will guide tours of the $4 million building, including the café with indoor and outdoor seating areas; the aerobics/multipurpose room; the wellness clinic and fitness center; the computer lab; office space for the community’s 40 resident-led committees; the studio for the in-house TV channel; and the residents’ clothing/accessories resale boutique.

The third building the retirement community has added to its campus since 2000, the 9,527-square-foot, twostory, Santa Barbara mission style building demonstrates the community’s commitment to remaining in the forefront of senior living. It was designed with significant resident input and reflects Santa Barbara’s passion for environmental sustainability. It features LEED-certified design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions.

Refreshments will be served. For information, click here or call 877.231.6284.

The Samarkand residents and staff is located to 2550 Treasure Drive in Santa Barbara.

— Colette Claxton represents The Samarkand.

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Radius Releases South Coast Commercial Real Estate 1st Quarter Report

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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As we predicted, the combination of limited supply and hungry buyers started the year with a bang.

The first quarter of 2014 was undoubtedly the strongest first quarter we have seen in three years. The 23 commercial sales recorded easily trumps Q1 2012’s 11 deals and Q1 2013’s 14 transactions.

If this pace continues — with inventory remaining low and investors poised to pounce — 2014 could produce the greatest number of commercial sales in the South Coast in more than 17 years.

As we alluded in our 2013 year-end report, one major factor driving this sales activity is the proliferation of 1031 exchange transactions. We expect this practice to continue.

New buyers are absorbing the limited supply, driving prices ever higher and breaking off-market properties loose, forcing sellers to then exchange into new properties and continuing the cycle.

New Development

Several new development projects are beginning to take shape in different parts of Santa Barbara.

» The Alma Del Pueblo Public Market on Chapala and Victoria streets opened April 14 with much fanfare. The market offers a unique shopping and eating experience with an eclectic mix of upscale restaurants and artisanal shops selling wine, cheese, seafood, meat, fresh bread and many other pantry goods.

» In the Funk Zone, the freeway-visible Youth Hostel located at State Street and Highway 101 is now under construction. Several new multifamily projects are also under construction including one complex on the corner of Olive and Canon Perdido streets in which a local developer is building 19 apartment units with ocean views attached to an existing 18,000-square-foot office building. Additionally, the site at 1820 De la Vina St. is being graded in preparation for a 40-unit residential care facility to house Alzheimer’s patients.

» The long-awaited Entrada de Santa Barbara Hotel project is expected to break ground in June, and the Prado Hotel located at 1601 State St. also has undergone a major renovation and is now flagged as a La Quinta Inn.

» The Sevilla condo development project at 401 Chapala St. downtown was completed in May, and all of the commercial units are currently in escrow and a number of the residential units have already sold.

Will the Market Slow Down?

The most logical obstacle to sales continuing at this pace would be a rise in interest rates.

Rates did jump dramatically in May 2013, yet 10-year treasury rates seem to be hovering right around 2.75 percent, and new Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen appears to echo the views of Ben Bernanke, so it does seem unlikely that we will see a sharp jump in rates.

For the moment, it looks like the train may keep rolling unimpeded into 2015.

Commercial Leasing: Santa Barbara Office

There is a palpable shift in the market as vacancy downtown continues to tighten. At the beginning of 2013 the vacancy rate was 6.3 percent. A year later it has fallen to 4.3 percent, causing the average asking rate to climb to $2.85 per square foot gross, its highest level since 2007 before the recession hit. Asking rates remained relatively flat between 2009 and the beginning of 2013 but have been on a steep upward trajectory since then.

Last year was largely about companies like Sonos and RingRevenue gobbling up many of the larger spaces downtown. Now we are seeing a number of tenants in-filling the quality office spaces and leasing various sized spaces, and this has noticeably chipped away at inventory.

This undoubtedly should impact Goleta and Carpinteria as tenants who cannot fulfill their office requirements downtown will open up their parameters in order to stay in the very coveted Santa Barbara market.

Click here to view the full report online.

— Vince Coronado is the marketing director for Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.

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Boys’ Tennis: Short-handed Chargers Net Win Over Campbell Hall

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High School boys' tennis team played Monday without starters Quinn Hensley and Greg Steigerwald but managed to eke out a 13-5 win over Campbell Hall.

The Chargers swept in doubles. Mason Casady and Joshua Wang improved their record to 35-1. Other sweepers included Miles Baldwin and Andrew Tufenkian, who lost only two games, and Alex Yang and Sanad Shabbar. The latter kept us in suspense with a long set that finished with a tiebreaker 7-5.

In singles, we gained four sets — Patrick Corpuz took three and Mason Dochterman, one. Patrick's match with Gilbert Chung (two-star recruit) proved to be a long one. Patrick grinded out that set to take the win in a set tiebreaker 7-4.

The team showed excellent concentration as well as resolve to do well. Both teams displayed outstanding sportsmanship.

The Chargers head to San Marcos on Tuesday for their seventh league match, with a 2:30 p.m. start time.

On Thursday, Patrick Corpuz (singles) and Mason Casady/Andrew Tufenkian (doubles) head to Ojai to represent DP in the CIF Division. Draws will be posted at noon Tuesday.

DP's overall record improves to 13-2. Campbell Hall falls to 8-5.

» Dos Pueblos Singles: Patrick Corpuz 3-0; Dylan Zapata 0-2; Kellen Roberts 0-1; Mason Dochterman 1-2

» Dos Pueblos Doubles: Mason Casady/Joshua Wang 3-0; Miles Baldwin/Andrew Tufenkian 3-0; Alex Yang/Sanad Shabbar 3-0

» Campbell Hall Singles: William Silverstein 1-2; Bryce Pereira 2-1; Gilbert Chung 2-1

» Campbell Hall Doubles: Jack Gerzenshtein/Adrian Detchmendy 0-3; Garrett Elconin/Preston Harvey 0-3; Sam Spier/Daniel Gobel 0-3

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

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Congressional Candidate Tony Strickland Advances in NRCC’s Young Guns Program

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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On Monday, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced that Tony Strickland has been elevated to "contender" in the NRCC’s Young Guns program.

The program helps provide candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run effective, successful and winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents.

Originally founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Young Guns program supports and mentors challenger and open-seat candidates in races across the country.

Strickland is running in California’s 25th Congressional District.

“Voters believe strongly that the country is on the wrong track because of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s failed legislation, like Obamacare. Tony Strickland has reached the ‘contender’ status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington, D.C., to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington,” said NRCC chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore. “I am confident that Tony will continue to work hard for his district and bring sound, conservative principles to Congress.”

Strickland’s core philosophy is his belief in personal responsibility and creating an efficient, responsible government with low taxes. A former member of the California Senate and Assembly, Strickland has been a leader in California in fighting for lower taxes and limited government. In Congress, his top priority will be reducing the bureaucracy and taxes that are stifling our economy, so we start creating jobs again and lower unemployment.

As a business owner, Strickland is a Partner at Endeavor Public Affairs, a communications consulting firm that advises California companies and nonprofits.

At home, Strickland is a husband of 13 years to his wife, Audra, and a father to two children, Ruby Ruth and “Tiny” Tony.

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Michael Barone: Political Competition, Not Racism, Changes Voter Alignments

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Have the Republicans become the white man's party? Are the depth and bitterness of Republicans' opposition to President Barack Obama and his administration the product of racism?

Those are questions you hear in the clash of political argument, and you will hear plenty of answers in the affirmative if you click onto MSNBC or Salon.com with any regularity. You can find a more nuanced and thoughtful analysis in Jonathan Chait's recent New York magazine article, "The Color of His Presidency."

Chait, a liberal, starts off by noting that the post-racial America that Obama seemed to promise in his 2004 national convention speech and his 2008 campaign has not come into being.
On the contrary, "Race, always the deepest and most volatile fault line in American history," he writes, "has now become the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world."

Many liberals see racism in every criticism of the Obama presidency, even though, as Chait points out, Bill Clinton met with similar and in some cases more strident opposition.

Conservatives, he argues, "dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs." Understandably so, given his description of liberals' "paranoia of a white racism."

Chait defends liberals by arguing that the debates on big government were inevitably produced by the Obama agenda and "there is no separating this discussion from one's sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America."

But he also admits that "advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist." And he seems to ignore the argument that policies that directed large sums of money disproportionately at blacks — like the welfare programs from the 1970s to the 1990s, which the Obama administration is trying to partially resurrect — harm more than benefit their intended beneficiaries.

This is, after all, what House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan was getting at when he lamented "a culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working." The fact that Obama has made similar arguments didn't prevent Ryan from being excoriated as racist by some liberals.

On balance, Chait absolves Republicans (and Democrats) of the charge of racism. But he is one of many analysts, including some conservatives, who have warned Republicans of the danger of becoming a party made up almost exclusively of white people.

That puts them at risk, the argument goes, of becoming a permanent minority in a nation with increasing percentages of Hispanics and Asians and with blacks voting almost unanimously for Democrats.

There's obviously some peril there. Mitt Romney won 59 percent of white votes in 2012, the same as George H.W. Bush in 1988. But with a smaller nonwhite electorate, Bush won 53 percent of the total popular vote to Romney's 47 percent.

History tells us that Republican presidential candidates have never won more than Romney's 59 percent of the white vote except in 1972 and 1984 when incumbent presidents were re-elected in landslides. But history also tells us that until the 1940s (except during Reconstruction), whites constituted nearly 100 percent of the electorate. Southern blacks weren't allowed to vote, and there were few Hispanics or Asians.

The relevant electoral divisions in the past were between groups of whites — Southerners and Northerners, Catholics and Protestants, New England Yankees and Jacksonian frontiersmen.

The parties competed by maximizing solidarity among favorable demographic or regional minorities, while quietly seeking inroads among other groups.

Awareness of minority status tends to produce greater partisan solidarity. Extreme examples include Irish for 120 years after the potato famine, white Southerners for 90 years after the Civil War and blacks since 1964.

That may be happening again. Political scientist Larry Bartels points to research that shows that when independent voters in the West were asked "if they had heard that California had become a majority-minority state," they were more likely to vote Republican by a sizable 11 points.

These days, voters nationally are being told, by triumphant liberals and defensive conservatives, that America is headed toward becoming a majority-minority nation. So whites may become more Republican than ever, not because of racism but because of the dynamics of competitive party politics.

Republicans still face challenges among nonwhites. But Democrats may face similar challenges among whites, and charges of racism won't help.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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10 Educators in Santa Barbara County Selected to Receive Venoco Crystal Apple Awards

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Ten outstanding educators in Santa Barbara County will receive the 2014 Venoco Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Awards on May 8 at the Education Celebration that is hosted each year by the Teachers Network of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

For 12 years, Venoco Inc. and the Santa Barbara County Education Office have partnered to present these awards to five exceptional educators from the North County and five from the South County. The celebration will take place at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.

The Crystal Apple recipients are chosen for their dedication; instructional and motivational skills; ability to challenge and inspire students; and their ability to interact with students, staff and community members.

“We are so pleased to be able to acknowledge the exceptional work of these outstanding educators,” said county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the program. “They represent the hundreds of professionals working day in and day out to make a difference for the students of Santa Barbara County.”

Each year, school employees, parents and students are invited to nominate educators who have provided exceptional service to students. Crystal Apple winners receive a crystal apple plaque and a $500 stipend, generously provided by Venoco.

“Venoco is proud to acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments of this year’s Crystal Apple honorees,” said Marybeth Carty, community partnership manager for Venoco Inc. “This peer-nominated award allows us to recognize the best of the best, and express our thanks for the daily dedication and faith our local educators apply to the supremely important task of helping our children thrive.”

This year’s Venoco Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Award winners are:

North County

» Elementary Teacher — Gordon (Kenji) Matsuoka, Alvin Avenue School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
» Secondary Teacher — Tina Hughes, Fesler Junior High School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
» Classified Employee — Dennie Upton, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
» Certificated Support Provider — Shannon Lopez, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
» Administrator — Bridget Baublits, Principal, Los Olivos School, Los Olivos School District

South County

» Elementary Teacher — Robert Cooper, Adams School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
» Secondary Teacher — Carolyn Teraoka-Brady, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
» Classified Employee — Leslie Grieve, Canalino Elementary School, Carpinteria Unified School District
» Certificated Support Provider — Rebekah Wagner, Cold Spring School, SBCEO Special Education
» Administrator — Felicia Roggero, Principal, Brandon School, Goleta Union School District

For more information, call Steven Keithley, director of SBCEO Teacher Programs and Support, at 805.964.4710 x5281.

— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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New Beginnings Counseling Center Hosting ‘Comic Relief’ Fundraiser

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Greg Otto
Greg Otto

New Beginnings Counseling Center is kicking off a new annual fundraising effort this May, Comic Relief Santa Barbara.

“We are very excited to be launching a fresh and engaging approach to raising funds to solve some very serious local issues,” said Diane Pannkuk, president of the Board of Directors of New Beginnings Counseling Center.

The event will be held May 8 at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. in Santa Barbara. Three of L.A.’s best-known comedians — Greg Otto, Karen Rontowski and Cary Odes — will perform in two shows at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The agency, which provides mental health counseling, housing case management and safe overnight parking for the homeless living in their vehicles, sees this event as an opportunity for attendees to “experience the healing power of laughter," New Beginnings Executive Director Kristine Schwarz said.

"So much of our work is spent helping people who have significant challenges in their lives," she said. "Laughter is often a defense mechanism used to lighten and defuse a tense or sad situation. Experiencing a good belly laugh, or being able to find humor in some of the more challenging situations in our lives often helps us to develop the capacity to endure traumatic events and eventually move through them.”

The event is fashioned after the improv stage founded in New York in 1963 by Broadway producer Budd Friedman. The iconic red brick wall — originally left behind by the previous Vietnamese restaurant tenants — gave the club its signature and stage time to such comedic legends as Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor and Andy Kaufman.

The use of “Comic Relief” as a means to raise money to change lives began most notably in the UK and Africa in 1985 and in Los Angeles to raise funds to help those in need in 1986.

The inaugural event in Santa Barbara will feature headliners Otto, Rontowski and Odes.

Cary Odes
Cary Odes

“It’s a delight to bring together some of the funniest people I know for such a great cause,” said Odes, whose television credits include Melrose Place and Touched By an Angel.

Odes studied at Second City with improv legend Del Close and then toured the country doing stand-up for more than 10 years. Odes now runs The Standup Workshop in L.A.

For more than 30 years, Otto has appeared all over the world in 60 countries on five continents entertaining at venues such as the Mirage, MGM Grand and the Comedy Store.

He has appeared on many television shows, including Evening at the Improv and Newhart, and on channels Comedy Central, A&E and Showtime, and has shared the stage with Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Dennis Miller, Jerry Seinfeld and many others.

Karen Rontowski
Karen Rontowski

From the Late Show with David Letterman to Sirius satellite radio, Rontowski has a stand-up career that spans more than 20 years and includes performances on Comedy Central, Live at Gotham, the Late Show with David Letterman and Comics Unleashed.

Rontowski has opened for such show biz legends as Bob Hope, Ray Charles and David Brenner, and she is a regular on the Bob and Tom Radio Show.

Tickets and sponsorship information can be found by clicking here or by calling 805.963.7777 x104. New Beginnings is a 501(c)(3) organization. For federal income tax purposes, attendees can deduct as a charitable contribution the price of this ticket less its fair market value.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Are You Worried?

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Worry is very much in the air these days. Millions and millions of dollars are spent on anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers each year. Our time has even been called the Age of Anxiety.

But why is that so? We are not in exile, like refugees from war in Syria and violence in Somalia. We don’t live in a harsh dictatorship, like North Korea. We aren’t starving or homeless. We have political freedom, and enough to eat, and clothes to wear. What do we have to worry about?

Well, how many times this past month have we worried about the drought? When rain is forecast, we worry about mudslides. Ninety-eight percent of the reporting on TV amounts to worry about some issue large or small. Then there is the existential threat of climate change. So, when you think about it, there are legitimate reasons for us to worry.

If you look back some 2,000 years to the time of Jesus, you’ll notice that there was a lot to worry then as well. The Jews of that time lived in an occupied country and had no political power. They had to toil long hours to provide food, clothes and homes for themselves and their families, while also paying tribute to the Romans. They came to Jesus with all those worries.

Jesus’ response to them was to say: “I tell you not to worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing.” He goes on to tell them to look at the birds in the sky and the flowers in the field, and they will see that God takes care of all these. He observes that God values humans even more than those other creatures. So it follows that God will do so much more for them. Then Jesus said: “Stop worrying, because God knows everything you need,” and “seek first the reign of God and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you besides.”

Fast forward 2,000 years back to our time and consider whether those words can apply to us and our worries. But how do we just stop worrying when we’re all caught up in cares and concerns? And, if the answer really is seek the reign of God, how do we do that?

We have a clue from Jesus who said: “No one can serve two masters …. You will either hate one and love the other, or be attentive to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

I used to believe that mammon was the devil — an evil force out in the world that tempted us to sin. God was the good force out in the world that wanted us to be good.

I’ve come to discard that way of thinking. Here’s what I’ve come to believe. What if both God and mammon are forces that are within me? You could call those two forces: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Me. There are a lot of times when I have a hard time getting in touch with the Kingdom of God because I’m so wrapped up in the cares and concerns of the Kingdom of Me. For example:

» I worry about my list of tasks to be accomplished today.

» I worry about troublesome relationships.

» I worry about drought and climate change and nuclear weapons.

» The list goes on and on.

It’s exhausting, and what’s really the problem is that all those worries make it impossible to spend much time living in the Kingdom of God.

Could it be that the first step in changing this situation would be to notice just how much time I spend in the Kingdom of Me? Could it be that, if I consciously took a break from my worries every single day by meditating or praying or being in nature, those worries might loosen their grip on my time and energy?

Could it be that taking just 20 minutes to sit in silence each day would ease me into giving myself over to God’s will more — and my will less? Could it be?

And if I began to live — day by day — more consciously, might I learn to place my worries and cares in God’s care? Could it be that eventually everything that passes through my mind and heart and nervous system will also pass through God’s divine presence — consciously and purposefully? Could it be that is how we seek the Kingdom of God — one thought, one feeling, one worry, one decision at a time? Could it be that God will then say to us, “Don’t worry. I know everything you need”?

Mary Becker is a member and homilist at the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, which celebrates Mass at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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Assemblyman Williams Calls Out For-Profit University Abuses

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, joined Sen. Ted Lieu and the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, the Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee to hear from Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education chief Joanne Wenzel and state Auditor Elaine Howle on Monday in the state Capitol.

"These colleges can play an important role in meeting the state’s educational and economic needs,” Williams said. "But the blatant abuses by some within the for-profit sector, which we read about in the news almost weekly, have forced California to focus on the business regulation and consumer protection side of oversight.”

According to Howle, the state's program for regulation of private colleges and vocational institutions has historically been plagued by problems; today's bureau continues to fail in meeting its statutory mandate to protect consumers and enforce the law.

Legislators heard testimony indicating many of the challenges facing the bureau can be tracked to delays in spending authority, inadequate staffing resources and expertise, and an inability to prioritize cases and establish clear and workable procedures.

“Given the large amounts of public money these private and for-profit institutions receive through financial aid and veteran's education programs, a strong oversight structure is necessary to ensure accountability in spending taxpayer dollars,” Williams said.

The primary goal of the hearing was to identify the statutory changes necessary to ensure regulation of schools that promotes student success and supports quality innovative programs, while also preventing predatory practices.

Of the 26 recommendations raised in the hearing background report, committee members expressed strong interest in reestablishing the bureau as a public board, increasing staffing and resource expenditure authority, and requiring degree-granting institutions to obtain accreditation.

— Josh Molina represents Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club Offers More to Summer Sports Camp with The Parisi Speed School

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Tennis and swim camps offer your child the chance to not only help build up sports skills, but also gain confidence in knowing fundamentals of movement.

While we all know that eating healthy foods, exercise, posture, etc. is important for health and wellness, did you know that how you start and stop a motion is just as important?

At the Parisi Speed School, a youth-based performance training program housed at the Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, 5800 Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta, kids learn exactly how athletic movement can affect their performance in a sport.

According to the Parisi School director Rich Alvarado, it’s all about developing hip and core strength.

“Ninety percent of kids have no range of motion (in that area),” he said.

Why?

“In youth sports, coaches aren’t really concerned (with these areas of strength),” he explained. “They’re more worried about if their player is focused.”

Along with not getting enough training in specialized sports, Alvarado also attributes the lack of hip and core strength in kids today with the “awful positions” that kids and teens sit in while they use any technology.

This is the first summer that Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club will be offering summer camps with the Parisi Speed School. The club is offering a half-day Tennis Camp and a full-day Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp.

Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp promises to be a full day of fun for kids. Half of the day will be spent in the pool, and the other half will be spent in Parisi Training.

Parisi Speed School training doesn’t involve simply running. Alvarado assures Noozhawk that any type of athlete will benefit from Parisi Speed School Training.

While Tennis Camp at Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club will not have the Parisi School component available for your child, tennis director Jake Nelson promises that kids will come out of the camp feeling “confident because they are learning.”

“We want to help you increase your skill set and abilities,” he said. “Summer is a unique opportunity — kids have more time to put on the court and have no obligations from school.  We want to have a good blend of fun and learning.”

Tennis camp will also be supervised by certified Parisi Speed School coaches.

With sports camps rooted in increasing special skills and confidence in all kinds of sports, Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club has a fun summer program lined up!

Registration for Tennis Camp and for Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp is happening now! Participants between the ages of 6 and 18 are welcome. If you register by June 1 for Tennis Camp, your child will received a free tennis racquet.

For more information on Tennis Camp, please contact tennis director Jake Nelson at jake.nelson@swellclubs.com.

For more information on Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp, please contact Parisi Speed School director Rich Alvarado at coach.alvarado@swellclubs.com.

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Partners in Environment Recruiting Members to Boost Volunteerism

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Partners in Environment, a coalition of environmental nonprofits that operate on the South Coast, has begun recruiting members in an attempt to boost local volunteerism.

Already signed on to the partnership are Goleta Valley Beautiful, Explore Ecology, Los Padres Forest Watch, UCSB Sustainability, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Bikes and more.

By pledging to post all volunteer opportunities to VolunteerMatch.com, the members of Partners in Environment are creating a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering with an environmental organization.

This central location for searching through environmental opportunities will make it easier for volunteers to find the organization or event that best suits their interests, skills and time commitment. Members also pledge to meet annually to discuss current and future collaborations and opportunities for improvement.

The idea was hatched at the 2012 Central Coast Sustainability Summit by Ben Romo, former director of the Center for Community Education and Partners in Education, from which the Partners in Environment gets their name but to which they are not affiliated. After explaining the model that Partners in Education has implemented with great success throughout Santa Barbara County, Romo asked those in attendance why there was not something similar for environmental volunteers.

A community workshop was held in April 2013 to generate ideas for such a service, and a working group spent the next eight months deliberating those ideas, surveying local organizations to better understand what they needed, and drafting a pledge for members to sign.

All organizations related to environmental, social or economic sustainability are welcome and encouraged to join. For more information about PIE, check out its website by clicking here, or email Zac Trafny at z.trafny@hotmail.com. Be sure to look for the Partners in Environment at Earth Day!

 — Zac Trafny represents Partners in Environment.

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Grad Slam: UCSB Graduate Students Perfect the Competitive Art of 3-Minute Research Talk

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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James Allen, whose research uses satellite imaging to model ocean ecosystems, wins the top prize of $2,500

Aubrie Adams used teacher-to-student emails to highlight the optimal number of emoticons for students to perceive teachers as both competent and caring. Matt Cieslak created an algorithm to analyze wiring in the human brain, comparing imaging of people who stutter with those who don’t.

Adams and Cieslak, graduate students in communication and psychological and brain sciences, respectively, were among 64 three-minute research presentations featured at UC Santa Barbara’s second annual Grad Slam, whose tagline is “Research Worth Sharing.”

But it was James Allen, whose research uses satellite imaging to model ocean ecosystems, who came away with the top prize of $2,500. Allen survived preliminary and semifinal rounds to compete against nine other graduate students in the finals last Friday.

“I needed the kind of practice necessary to do an effective three-minute talk,” said Allen, a doctoral student in the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science. “Grad Slam was the perfect opportunity to get some lessons in that. It was great because one of my goals in the future is to be able to communicate science to the public.”

Runners-up Deborah Barany and Damien Kudela, graduate students in dynamical neuroscience and chemistry, respectively, each received $1,000 for their research. Barany analyzes fMRI data to study the regions in the brain responsible for voluntary action. Kudela’s research focuses on using nanoparticles to deliver clot-accelerating drugs to internal bleeding sites.

A panel of six judges selected the grand-prize winner and the runners-up. The judges were California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and, from UCSB, Gene Lucas, former executive vice chancellor and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering; Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research and professor of physics; Denise Stephens, university librarian; John Wiemann, former vice chancellor for institutional advancement and professor emeritus of communication; and Sarah Cline, professor emerita of history.

“This really showed the breadth of research across campus,” Witherell said. “It’s really great training for these students, not only as they become teachers, but — as one of the students said during the question-and answer period — you don’t really understand what you’re doing until you have to explain it people who don’t do it. I think that is actually something very, very important about doing something like this.”

Overall, more than 30 areas of study were represented, covering a variety of arts and humanities disciplines as well as many areas of science and engineering. Linguistics was represented by two finalists, one who studies the dying languages of Siberia and another who works in Papua New Guinea describing certain languages for the first time.

UCSB’s Grad Slam came about last year as an effort to better profile graduate students and to raise their visibility on campus.

“We wanted to make a more cohesive graduate student community,” said Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division. “We want them to identify with the institution in a meaningful way beyond the boundaries of their labs.”

Last year, the inaugural Grad Slam earned the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education, which is presented annually to one member school by the Western Association of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service. Genetti traveled to Fargo, N.D., in March to pick up the $2,500 award and to give a workshop on how to stage a Grad Slam.

“There were a lot of people who had already started or were thinking of putting on something like Grad Slam,” she said. “We had produced materials about the logistics and what it required to do a three-minute talk and how to handle judging. I also talked about some issues that came up last year and how we resolved them. It was a really productive, fun and exciting workshop.”

UC San Diego held its first Grad Slam this year, modeled after UCSB’s competition, and UC Riverside is also interested in holding one in the near future.

“If we could get other campuses to put on similar events and have it spread UC-wide, that would be wonderful,” Genetti said. “Each school could send two or three finalists to compete in semifinals and finals. I would love to host the first one here.”

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Karen Telleen-Lawton: Whale Feces Yield Big Clues for Marine Biologists

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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One of my favorite cartoons, by retired cartoonist Gary Larson, is about canine poop. In my recollection, two leashed dogs chat while one of their owners stoops to pick up a fragrant pile. “I like to sniff it as much as anyone,” the dog smirks, “but I don’t collect it!”

That particular owner may not have been collecting per se, but the pooch is right about people gathering poop.

At the turn of the millennium, my husband and I spent several weeks gathering frass in the Guanacaste tropical dry forest of Costa Rica. It sounds adventuresome, even romantic, until you learn that frass is insect poop. For this privilege, we paid our own costs plus part of the research cost.

What I’d like to tell that dog is that we collect poop because it has answers.

In the case of the frass, the researchers for whom we volunteered were investigating the intertwined life cycles of flowers and their insect pollinators. They studied whether climate change was affecting the convergence of the insects’ flying and gathering stage with the flowers’ fertile stage. If the flowers bloomed before the insects hatched, pollination would be difficult, at least by their normal pollinator. At that time, their cycles still overlapped somewhat.

More recently I listened to a National Public Radio story reported by Robert Krulwich featuring poop on the other end of the size spectrum — whale feces. It seems marine biologists have puzzled for years over the question of how many whales swam the seas before whaling. In particular, they thought the number of blue whales had been about a hundred times the current number.

The problem with that estimate is that it would require a gargantuan amount of the tiny crustacean called krill that blue whales eat. Krill, in turn, require a large intake of iron — more than is available in the sea.

That’s when Dr. Victor Smetacek, a Danish marine biologist, proposed that the whales themselves provided an extra nutritious “manuring mechanism,” as he termed it, for the krill. Thus the need to collect whale feces. They discovered that indeed whales concentrate iron and excrete it in iron-rich deposits — deposits sufficient to provide for zillions of tiny krill.

Another benefit of investigating whale poop has been learning more about the nutrient cycle of the seas. An Australian biologist named Trish Lavery believes that sperm whales enhance the productivity of the Antarctic Ocean by gathering nutrients, especially iron from animals like deep-water colossal squid.

Lavery and her colleagues measured surface iron deposits by counting the brown patches floating on the water. Eew. But these patches point to an important function as we look at services whales provide and the benefits of slowing climate change. Nature’s “services” is economist-speak, but necessary for those who think animal species need to be providing something to be worthy of surviving.

I sincerely hope no one is measuring what service humans are providing the Earth. But you see, Oh Larson’s dog, that we humans are pretty smart. We’re strong enough to affect the climate of the Earth, and smart enough to measure the effects. We may yet gather the discipline to make changes to avert great catastrophe. We deserve to be on top of the heap.

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor (www.DecisivePath.com) and a freelance writer (www.CanyonVoices.com). Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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The Top Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Beat Them

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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As a personal trainer, I hear every excuse in the book from the hundreds of clients and customers I have worked with over the years. The truth is, it all comes down to your "why."

Why do you want to exercise and eat healthy? Maybe it is because you just had a baby and want to get your body back, or maybe you have a new job and all you do is sit at a desk all day, or maybe you are bored with your current workout routine and need a change. Or, maybe you are entering middle age and know that your metabolism is slowing down and you want to do anything in your power to reverse that cycle.

For me, I want to be around for my kids when they grow up to be adults as I had my kids later in life than most.

So, sit down and reflect on the reason (your "why") you are exercising, and you will find that you make up fewer and fewer excuses and that your exercise and eating healthy become your lifestyle instead of something you dread. Let's go over a few of the top excuses people have these days:

Excuse #1 — Too Busy

To improve your health, the American Heart Association says that two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activities (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) is all you need to squeeze in each week. Or, one hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities (i.e., jogging or running) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Tips

To find pockets of unused time, keep a 24-hour log of one weekday and one weekend day. You'll quickly see pockets of time where you can add in some exercise. Try scheduling it into your PDA or datebook the same way you plan meetings or other commitments. If exercise is a priority to you, you will make time for it.

Make exercise a habit. It takes 21 days to develop a habit. Try working out five days per week for three weeks and see how you feel. I bet you will be craving your next workout and will have more energy for your day.

Excuse #2 — I’m Too Tired

Go to bed a half-hour early and get up early. For many, early mornings are the only time they have to workout. Working out in the early morning also allows you to get it done and not wait until after work when you may find yourself too tired from your long workday or something else comes up and eats up the time you allotted to get your workout in.

Excuse #3 — I Don't Want to Redo My Hair and Makeup

Here is a way you can take care of post-workout primping in five minutes flat with this regimen. Give your sweaty spots a once-over with an antibacterial wipe, and do the same on your face, with an all-in-one cleansing pad. Next, apply a beauty balm, which is similar to a tinted moisturizer. Touch up mascara and use a three-in-one color stick to add shimmer to eyes, cheeks and lips. Lastly, apply a little dry shampoo to the crown of your head to freshen up your hair, and that is it!

When I worked an office job in the Finance Department at Disney, I was also training for the Olympic Trials in the pole vault and had to squeeze in my training during my lunch hour because I had a little 3-year-old at home that I had to get ready for preschool, and the early mornings were too dark to workout at the track. So I slipped out of my career clothes and got into my running clothes, jetted over to the nearest track, blazed through my sprint workout and hurried back to work. I did my version of a sponge bath, sprayed some body spray on and I was good to go. I had a dream and a goal to make it to Atlanta in ‘96, and I wasn’t going to let the inconvenience of a job get in my way. Find your motivation!

Excuse #4 — My Kids Get in the Way

I know kids are usually not with you at work, but if you are trying to get some workouts in during the weekend to get in your 150 minutes of exercise per week, then one way to do it is to have them exercise with you by hiking, walking, biking or playing an outdoor game.

Excuse #5 — I Am Too Fat

As we age, it is typical that we gain weight. We tend to be less active and our metabolism slows down. Especially with a desk job, research has shown that people are less active than people who work part-time or do not work at all and tend to burn about 500 calories fewer per week. Forty-five percent of workers have gained weight since starting their current jobs, a recent CareerBuilder.com survey finds. Twelve percent have experienced a weight gain of more than 20 pounds, while 26 percent have gained more than 10 pounds.

Excuse #6 — I Am Thin Already

Even if you are in a healthy weight range, you may still may have too much body fat percentage — what I call “skinny-fat.” You might have a very fast metabolism, but what you are feeding your body is food that might be unhealthy and can contribute to diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. Everyone can benefit from exercise for their heart and muscles to help prevent falls and help them do everyday activities.

To summarize, learn the benefits of working out and eating clean not only for the benefits of looking your best, but for what it can do for your body from the inside out. If you make small changes every day, you will feel the difference and start to have more energy and vitality. Spend some time to really think about the reason you started an exercise routine and healthy eating in the first place — find your why. Maybe pin up a photo of yourself when you were at your best, or a photo of an idol and look at it every day.

The best time to workout if you have a 9 to 5 job is in the early morning. Go to bed a little early and wake up a little earlier to get that workout in. If you don't get your workout in during the early hours of the morning, you are taking a chance that you will be too tired or life will get in the way.

Good luck on your journey to better health and fitness.

Sue McDonald of McDonald Fitness hosts monthly Online Clean Eating and Fitness Accountability and Support Groups helping people reach their goals of better health and wellness. The next group starts April 28. Click here for more information. Click here to connect with her Facebook page for fitness and health tips, recipes and motivation!

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Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care to Pay Tribute at Mother’s Day Luncheon

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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In honor of Mother's Day and to pay tribute to the important mothers and women in our lives, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care will host its 13th annual Mother's Day Luncheon beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, May 9 in the La Pacifica Ballroom of the Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Each year at this unique spring event, the nonprofit organization honors two mothers — one living and one in memory — and celebrates their lives and acknowledges their contributions to the community. This year, VNHC will pay tribute to Jill Levinson and Barbara Ward Rollerson.

VNHC board member Neil Levinson, together with his family, will honor wife Jill, a local philanthropist. She has dedicated herself to many local organizations and causes, including the Santa Barbara Children's Museum, Crane Country Day School and Lotusland, among others. VNHC is honored to recognize a mother who has selflessly devoted herself to the Santa Barbara community, and her family, for so many years.

The tribute in memory will be bestowed upon Rollerson, who passed away in 1977. She was the mother of Thomas Rollerson, founder and president of Dream Foundation.

"It's a privilege to be amongst a community of kindred hearts who understand the value in compassionate end of life care," Rollerson said. "My mom inspired me to fulfill dreams big and small, and I'm truly honored that this beloved organization has recognized her generous contribution to our Santa Barbara community."

This year's event co-chairs are Jodi Fishman-Osti and Pamela Dillman Haskell, returning to the helm for a second year in a row. The dapper Andrew Firestone will emcee the luncheon festivities and program. A stylish new highlight added to this year's event will be a fashion show, showcasing the latest in spring trends from local boutiques, including Allora by Laura, Bonita, Giuliana Haute Couture, Indian Summers, Lana Marma, Lola Boutique and Lola. The beautiful and talented Shirin Rajaee of KEYT will be the fashion show emcee. Click here for more details on the fashion show.

Guests will enjoy a lovely lunch and have the chance to bid on a number of incredible auction items. The exciting live auction item from Robertson International Travel features a luxury cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 in a top-of-the-line suite with veranda, in a transatlantic passage from New York to London. The journey for two begins and ends with two-night stays in deluxe accommodations at the Four Seasons, embarking in New York City and finishing in London.

Silent auction packages include items such as a Cabo San Lucas getaway to the luxurious The One & Only Palmilla resort; VIP tickets to Ellen, American Idol and Magic Castle with a two-night stay at the Lowes Santa Monica, and much more. To see all of the details on the auction items, please click here.

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the VNHC Mother's Day event is that it is completely underwritten through the Peter Murphy Men's Night, an evening where men — husbands, fathers, sons and friends of the luncheon attendees — gather for an evening of socializing and fundraising to help cover the costs of the luncheon. This year's Men's Night was hosted by Neil Levinson and Tom Dain. The event is named in honor of the late Peter Murphy, a longtime supporter of VNHC, who began the tradition of Men's Night 12 years ago. Peter's wife, Judy Murphy, is the honorary chair of this very special event.

In keeping with the celebration of honoring our mothers on Mother's Day, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care invites the community to visit the Appreciation Garden in honor of Mother's Day on its website. Beginning April 25 and continuing throughout the entire month of May, the public will have the opportunity to recognize mothers, grandmothers, sisters and all the wonderful women in their lives through this online Appreciation Garden. For a donation of any amount, VNHC will include the name of the honored women in their online garden, and also recognize these women with weekly updates on the VNHC Facebook page. To recognize an important woman, please click here.

VNHC would like to recognize the many sponsors that have so generously supported the 13th annual Mother's Day Luncheon. As of last Wednesday, these sponsors include American Riviera Bank, Margo and Jeff Barbakow, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP, Ginny and Tim Bliss, Louise and David Borgatello, Brown & Brown Insurance Services, Carl's Jr. (Andy and Dee Puzder), CenCal Health, Cottage Health System, DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home), Roberta and Stan Fishman, Gail and Roger Haupt, HUB International Insurance Services Inc., Irma and Morrie Jurkowitz, Impulse Advanced Communications, Karl Storz Imaging, Kayne Anderson Rudnick Wealth Advisors, LEGACY (Nancy Kimsey), Barbara and Bob Kummer, MarBorg Industries, Mission Wealth Management, Montecito Bank & Trust, Alan Porter, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Thomas Rollerson and Michael Erickson, Bobbie and Ed Rosenblatt, Sansum Clinic, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Maryan and Dick Schall, the James D. Scheinfeld Family Foundation, Schipper Construction Co., Christopher Toomey, Union Bank, Marlene and Bob Veloz, Venoco Inc., the Volentine Family Foundation, the William E. Weiss Foundation (Merryl and Monte Brown) and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

For information regarding this event, please contact Elizabeth Adams at 805.690.6261 or elizabeth.adams@vnhcsb.org, or click here. At this time, the luncheon is sold out.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission Oppposes Santa Barbara Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission is appointed by the presiding judge of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court pursuant to the California Welfare and Institutions Code. It has the responsibility and authority to monitor all aspects of the juvenile justice system in the county.

The commission is statutorily comprised of no less than seven and no more than 15 commissioners representing all geographical areas of the county. Their duties include reviewing, examining, inspecting, conducting investigations, holding hearings and making recommendations to the court and to the State of California on the effectiveness and efficiency of the county’s juvenile justice system. The commission has subpoena authority through the presiding judge to assist it in conducting its business.

For the past year, the commission has been studying and gathering information on the proposed gang injunction currently being sought by the City of Santa Barbara. In addition to reviewing many of the court filings by both sides regarding the proposed injunction, we have received presentations by representatives of the District Attorney’s Office, attorneys representing the defendants named within the proposed injunction, former high-level law enforcement officials familiar with gang issues in other Southern and Central California cities, and community-based organizations working with at-risk youth residing in the city. Officials of the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s Office refused to appear before the commission.

The commission also received information on past and current crime rates, arrests of individuals designated as gang-affiliated, and the alleged gang connections of the named defendants in the proposed injunction.

The following findings were made by the commission:

» 1. The constitutionality of gang injunctions is still under serious judicial review in some areas of the state.

» 2. There is little reliable evidence of a serious criminal gang problem in Santa Barbara when compared to other California cities with identifiable and proven criminal gang problems, that   cannot be addressed through existing criminal and juvenile delinquency statutes and adequate law enforcement staffing, training and management.

» 3. There is a plentiful array of both federal and California adult and juvenile criminal statutes available to, and historically utilized by, law enforcement officials to combat criminal and gang    activity.

» 4. The overall crime rates in Santa Barbara, including violent crimes, youth crimes and gang-related crimes, have significantly declined since the injunction was first proposed several years ago.

» 5. The majority of the named defendants in the proposed injunction are already in prison, or have left the gang-life and/or are employed, raising families and otherwise living law-abiding lives.

» 6. There is evidence supporting the fact that gang injunctions tend to move crime problems from the so-called “Safety Zones” to adjacent and nearby low-crime neighborhoods.

» 7. The enforcement of the injunction would likely place significant additional resource and budgetary burdens on the governmental entities within the juvenile justice system, such as the courts, juvenile and adult detention facilities, the Probation Department, etc., which are already meager.

» 8. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that have already been expended by the city and the county in their efforts to obtain this injunction could have been better used in delinquency     prevention programs and enhancing police department staffing levels and training.

» 9. Too much discretion is left to law enforcement in applying the injunction to previously non-enjoined individuals.

» 10. The proposed injunction does little to address the many issues of at-risk youth that make them vulnerable to gang recruitment.

» 11. Instead of seeking to prevent gang and criminal behavior, the proposed injunction appears to extend the reach of law enforcement authorities into activities which would not otherwise be  considered of a criminal nature.

» 12. The injunction’s proposed “Safety Zones” encompass almost one-third of the city of Santa Barbara, thus potentially stigmatizing those major geographic areas and the citizens, especially innocent youth, residing in them.

» 13. These “Safety Zones” tend to create and foster suspicion, fear, dissension, isolation, a lack of community integration, decreased property values and urban decay.

After careful consideration and deliberation on the proposed injunction and the evidence regarding the need for same, the commission reached a unanimous decision, with one abstention, at its meeting on April 10 to oppose the issuance of the injunction.

— Tom Parker is chairman of the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Commission.

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Allan Hancock College Offering Wide Variety of Summer Classes in Santa Maria

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Get a jump on your fall semester — take a summer class! This summer, more than 160 credit classes will be offered at the Allan Hancock College Santa Maria campus. Many are eight-week classes; others last four or six weeks.

Another 38 summer classes are being offered at the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg AFB centers, and 101 are being offered online.

Details about all summer classes are available at www.hancockcollege.edu; click the Class Search link on the home page. Class Search provides real-time information available 24/7. For details about a specific class, click its blue CRN (Course Reference Number).

Summer classes in Santa Maria include anthropology, art, biology, computer business office technology and information systems, culinary arts, chemistry, dance, drama, early childhood studies, English, film, geography, history, humanities, math, PE, philosophy, photography, paralegal, Spanish, viticulture operations, Spanish and more.

Priority registration for summer credit classes is April 28-May 2. Open registration begins May 3. For registration details, see Admission & Registration Information.

All summer credit classes begin June 16. Six-week classes end July 24, and eight-week classes end Aug. 7.

To register online, click here and log on to the myHancock student portal. Click the Student tab, then Register/Add/Drop/Search Classes.

All California residents pay a $46 per credit enrollment fee. In addition, all students pay a $16 health fee for the summer term. Students attending classes at the Santa Maria campus also pay up to $10 a year for the Student Center fee. Other minimal fees may apply.

Financial aid is available. To see if you quality, contact the Santa Maria campus financial aid office at 805.922.6966 x3200 or finaid@hancockcollege.edu. For more registration information, call the Admissions & Records office at 805.922.6966 x3248. The toll free number in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties is 866.DIAL.AHC (342.5242) followed by the four-digit extension.

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Tropicana Students Package 7,500 Meals for Stop Hunger Now

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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For several hours on a sunny Thursday afternoon, more than 75 Tropicana Student Living residents and staff along with UCSB lacrosse, UCSB field hockey and local youth soccer teams came together to prepare meal packets for Stop Hunger Now.

Tropicana Gardens Café turned into an assembly line to create 7,500 meals of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and nutrients.

"Isla Vista hasn’t been seen in the greatest light the last couple weeks, and we want to show that our students are doing great things here at Tropicana Student Living,” said Dave Wilcox, Executive Director of Tropicana Student Living. “This is just an example of something that they’re doing that’s great for the community and great for the world.”

The 7,500 meals that the Tropicana students and staff assembled will be distributed to Guatemala through Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that ships them to school feeding programs in developing countries.

Stop Hunger Now coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world, with a mission to end hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now’s meal packing program began in 2005, and since then, more than 100,000 volunteers have packaged nearly 30 million meals to feed the world’s impoverished.

— Brendan Langley represents Tropicana Student Living.

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Three Dead in Crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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At least two of the fatalities reportedly were high school students from Torrance

A critically injured patient is wheeled to a waiting ambulance after a crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara early Monday. (Urban Hikers photo)

Three people — including at least two high schools students — were killed early Monday in a crash on Highway 101, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Another person suffered major injuries in the collision, which occurred at about 12:45 a.m. on the southbound freeway at Castillo Street, the California Highway Patrol said.

All lanes of southbound Highway 101 remained closed for several hours following the wreck, the CHP said, leading to major traffic tie-ups in the area.

As of 1:30 p.m., the Castillo Street offramp had been reopened, and all lanes of the freeway were reported flowing again, the CHP said.

The accident occurred when a Mazda sedan driven by Erick Hoel August, 20, of Los Angeles veered to the right for unknown reasons and struck a guardrail, the CHP said.

The vehicle overturned, coming to rest in the middle lane and facing the center divider.

Moments later, a Ford Mustang driven by Kimberly Ann Kreis, 52, of Santa Barbara slammed into the left side of the Mazda, causing two people in that vehicle to be ejected, the CHP said.

The three people killed — a male and two females — and the critically injured patient were in the Mazda, fire said Battalion Chief Lee Waldron.

Arriving firefighters found two victims in the roadway, and two had to be extricated from the vehicle, he said.

Those killed were Danielle Nicole Murillo and Jessica Lee Leffew, both 17 and from Torrance, and Brian Adonay Lopez, 20, of Los Angeles, the CHP said Monday afternoon.

Two of the victims were seniors at North High School in Torrance in Southern California, according to the Torrance Daily Breeze.

School officials in Torrance did not immediately release the names of the students, citing an ongoing investigation, the newspaper reported, but both students reportedly were seniors.

At North High on Monday, a team of grief counselors was on hand to console the students. Principal Ron Richardson sent out a bulletin to families.

“It is very difficult to lose a member of our community,” he wrote. “We are very heartbroken by the tragic loss of two of our students. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families, teachers, classmates and friends.”

Kreis did not appear to be seriously injured, Waldron said.

She subsequently was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, the CHP said.

August was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and was listed in critical condition.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Santa Barbara Appears to Be Embracing Mobile Ride-Sharing Services

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Local taxi companies lament car services that use part-time, self-employed drivers, but newcomers seem to be expanding the marketplace

Turns out folks traveling around Santa Barbara do like summoning rides using smartphone apps and credit cards.

Santa Barbara’s tech-savvy population has seemingly embraced the taxi-on-demand nature of ride-sharing services such as Uber and LYFT, the latest company — recognizable by its pink mustache-wearing cars — to use cell phones and maps to connect riders with the closest drivers.

Passengers pay a flat or pre-determined rate, touted as cheaper than regular cabs, and can split the cost on multiple credit cards, the only form of payment accepted.

No running meters or tips are involved.

Uber launched locally in October and has grown so popular that this month the company added a fare to the Santa Ynez Valley, with plans to soon expand to Ventura and San Luis Obispo, said Andy Iro, a UC Santa Barbara graduate and local Uber manager.

Uber, which first launched in San Francisco in 2009, hires independent contractors to transport up to four passengers in the drivers’ own pre-inspected cars — an UberX or slightly more expensive black-car option.

LYFT operates in a similar way, except its prearranged-ride platform calculates fares based on a mix of time and distance.

A service of the still-young startup Zimride, LYFT arrived in Santa Barbara in late February, billing itself as a social “your friend with a car” experience, said Katie Dally, a company spokeswoman.

“In addition to the trademark pink mustache on the grilles of drivers’ cars, which acts as a great ice breaker during rides, Lyft passengers are invited to sit in the front seat, charge their phones, choose the music and connect with another member of the community while they travel around town,” Dally said.

LYFT serves streets in more than 30 cities nationwide, about the same number Uber boasted worldwide at the end of last year.

That number hits 100 this month, Iro said.

“The response to Uber in Santa Barbara has gotten global recognition, in terms of how well it’s doing,” he said. “I will say, ultimately, we are looking at expanding literally everywhere. We wouldn’t be doing that if there wasn’t enough demand.”

Meanwhile, traditional cabbies continue logging fruitless complaints about the new services with the City of Santa Barbara and the police department.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said all grievances must be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the transportation network companies and requires that each obtain an operating permit — but not for individual drivers.

Traditional taxi company owners secure a business license from the city, and all drivers need costly permits and meters in their cars.

The state PUC has laid out special rules for the new cars, which include a no-hail policy that cabbies say is ignored.

Police have better things to do than to enforce the regulations, which is why new cars are breaking rules, said Sue Morris, operations director of Santa Barbara Yellow Cab.

She said those cars can charge more during peak times, and they don’t offer the same safety guaranteed by long-standing local operators.

“I’m all for free enterprise,” Morris said. “But why would anyone who works with a taxi company go through paying so much when they can just go out there and basically work for free?”

LYFT and Uber won’t share how many drivers each employs, but Iro hinted that popularity has the company putting out calls for more.

“I think LYFT is purely about this fun community-based experience,” Iro said. “We try to focus on the overall experience, meaning price and luxury. Even though Uber is cheaper, I think the cars are a lot nicer, and all drivers are encouraged to give their own feel.”

Dally noted that LYFT recently reduced its prices by up to 20 percent in all markets, including Santa Barbara.

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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Rotary Clubs of Goleta Help Girsh Park Get Rolling with Annual Egg Hunt

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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The Rotary Clubs of Goleta were out in force as volunteers helping with this year’s Easter Egg Hunt for hundreds of children at Girsh Park. The soccer fields were covered with thousands of brightly colored plastic eggs that had been stuffed with chocolate surprises.

Families come out each year to watch the children’s laughing faces as they burst onto the field with their empty baskets, eager to collect as many eggs as they can find. Before and after the Egg Hunt, the children enjoyed taking pictures with the life-size Easter Bunny, jumping in bouncers, face painters, arts and crafts, and the accordion musical clown who made the children laugh with her many magic tricks.

This is a family event enjoyed by all age groups, and it was free for all, thanks to Girsh Park and The Rotary Clubs of Goleta.

The Rotary Club of Goleta meets bimonthly at Glen Anne Golf Club’s Frog Bar & Grill Restaurant, 404 Glen Annie Road, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Each dinner meeting includes guest speakers and interesting programs.

If you are interested in learning more about Rotary International and how you can become involved in local and international projects to make this a better world, contact club president Mike Pitts at chilemike@yahoo.com or membership chairman David Dart at davidwdart@cox.net. Guests are welcome!

Click here for more information on Rotary Club of Goleta. Connect with the Rotary Club of Goleta on Facebook.

— Lynn Cederquist is publicity chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Goleta.

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Santa Barbara Montessori School Brings ’20s Roaring to Life with Great Gatsby-Themed Auction

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Guests go all in at annual extravaganza to benefit 37-year-old Goleta school and its long history of successful local alumni

The annual Santa Barbara Montessori School Auction Extravaganza is well known for imaginative and innovative party themes, and parents, faculty and the community eagerly await an opportunity to dress up to raise funds in celebration of a worthy cause.

This year’s theme did not disappoint with 1920s-style decorations in tune with the “Great Gatsby,” and guests arrived at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club clad in attire with glam beaded details, flapper fringe, unique hats, elbow-length gloves, fur and other vintage-inspired ensembles.

The mood was festive as guests mingled, sipped champagne and moved about the appropriately decorated ballroom complete with gold and white details and the artistry of local balloon artists from Balloon Affair.

A video production entitled, Happy I Am, that was directed and created by Colin Fitzpatrick, director of the Coryat Media Center, captured the spirit of the organization and the evening’s boisterous mood.

Children from the school were shown in daily classroom activities, joined with choreographed dancing around the school’s Goleta campus that inspired guests for a jitterbug dance contest later in the evening.

The ballroom floor was converted into a dance floor that quickly filled up with energized guests who danced to rollicking tunes from DJ Danny.

SBMS originally opened its doors as The Montessori Children’s Home in 1975. In 1987, the school began an administrative change by expanding programs and adopting its new name. Today, celebrating 37 years, the school at 7421 Mirano Drive in Goleta is the only recognized AMI Montessori school in the Santa Barbara area.

The impressive list of notable Montessorians is of novel proportions and head of school and co-founder, Jim Fitzpatrick, joyously shared some highlights.

“There’s hundreds of Montessori alumni who are recognized for their successes — a sampling includes the founders of Google — Sergei Brin and Larry Page, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Julia Child, Yo Yo Ma, Sean Combs, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jimmy Wales, Sir Ken Robinson, Leo and Tatiana Tolstoy, Taylor Swift, Will Wright, Dakota Fanning, Gordon Ramsay, John and Joan Cusack, Clyde Drexler, Peter Drucker and George Clooney,” Fitzpatrick exclaimed.

“The list also includes Anne Frank and Helen Keller, and we can add our own Bill Pintard, manager of the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball team, who has lead our local college all-star team to a record 16-straight California Coastal Collegiate League championships, and four times the champions of the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas.”

The main objective of SBMS is to provide each student with a specialized curriculum that aims to help children develop within themselves the fundamental habits, skills and ideas needed for a lifetime of social development, creative thinking and learning.

Original founder Dottoressa Maria Montessor was born in 1870 and would become Italy’s first female doctor in 1896. She later developed the concept of individual, cognitive learning fostered in a child-centered environment.

This unique and revolutionary approach to learning adapts to a child’s capabilities by utilizing the changing characteristics and sensitivities of each pupil’s developmental stage and incorporating them into all curriculum areas.

In a Montessori classroom, children acquire knowledge through the use of scientifically designed concrete materials that develop conceptual thinking and lead to abstract thought.

Thus, the child-centered learning process respects individual differences and fosters self-motivation. Students are encouraged by their AMI-certified teacher to learn at their own pace and are free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish.

And, equipped with the freedom to explore his or her particular subject matter, this structure enables the student to reach his or her highest potential and achieve inner discipline, which subsequently enhances the child’s ability to learn by doing.

The innovations of Santa Barbara Montessori School and its programs were echoed in the excitement of an exceptional evening that successfully blended the pomp and spirit of the classic period in American history portrayed in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s acclaimed 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, as guests were already eagerly anticipating next years creative theme for the annual event.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Craig Allen: The Lark’s Continuing Success Has Made Me a Believer

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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I must admit that when The Lark opened last year, I was very skeptical. After all, another premium restaurant in Santa Barbara, especially one with 130 seats located in the Funk Zone, seemed to me to be a big risk. However, the consistent crowds and my recent experience have made me a believer in the staying power of this successful business.

The Lark, located at 131 Anacapa St., is the anchor business in the Anacapa Project. It was named for the overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 to 1968. Doug Washington, owner of the acclaimed Town Hall and Salt House restaurants in San Francisco, was responsible for the design of the interior and exterior spaces, which feature an urban theme throughout, integrating “vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility.” Original lighting, handmade furniture, and a 24-seat live-edge communal table stacked on vintage radiators work perfectly to create a space that is warm yet exciting.

Washington collaborated with Dan Bush Design/Build of Portland and Santa Barbara-based AB Design Studio and Young Construction for this eclectic, interesting design. To me, the décor perfectly blends comfort and casual sophistication to create a very enjoyable experience that is unique in the Santa Barbara marketplace. The string lighting and fire pits in the outdoor area create a soft elegance that invites patrons to linger.

No matter how interesting, cool, sophisticated or exciting the ambiance of a restaurant, if it doesn’t have good food, it will not survive. The Lark certainly does not disappoint in this area, with a very focused, simple but ample menu that offers locally sourced and responsibly grown food from the Central Coast served family-style. On a recent visit, we ordered the fried castelvetrano olives stuffed with goat cheese and rosemary with chorizo aioli ($9), followed by the cast-iron roasted broccolini with black garlic, toasted walnuts and cucumber yogurt ($10). We followed with marinated and grilled hanger steak with charred broccoli, Calabrian chilies, crispy shallots and mint ($17), and citrus-cured Scottish salmon with house-made black‍ pepper Crème fraîche, yuzu, dill, pickled shallot and brioche ($14). Everything was amazing, and the prices are very reasonable given the quality, quantity and presentation.

The Lark also offers a full bar featuring classic, well and craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits (including Cutler’s also located in the Anacapa Project), mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. The comprehensive wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers and artisan winemakers from many other regions.

As much as I enjoyed the aesthetic experience and the food, no restaurant can compete in Santa Barbara without superb service. Once again, The Lark did not disappoint in this critical area. Using a team approach, servers were attentive without being smothering, knowledgeable, prompt and polite. In short, the service was truly outstanding. Mike was our primary server and he was fantastic. His passion and enthusiasm were infectious, which further enhanced our experience.

When I first heard about The Lark — the size of the operations, the menu, the price point, the cost, etc. — I was dubious. Santa Barbara is not only a city with a high concentration of high-end restaurants, it is also a relatively small town. Patrons are fickle, and they are reluctant to drive more than a few minutes to go anywhere, even if they really want what the business is selling. Add to this the incredible cost for commercial real estate and you have a very challenging operating environment for restaurants.

The Lark has more than met this challenge, using a winning formula that exceeds expectations for ambiance, food and service, and creating a truly amazing dining experience.

Craig Allen, CFA, CFP, CIMA, is president of Montecito Private Asset Management LLC and founder of Dump That Debt. He has been managing assets for foundations, corporations and high-net worth individuals for more than 20 years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA charter holder), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification. He blogs at Finance With Craig Allen and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.1400. Click here to read previous columns or follow him on Twitter: @MPAMCraig. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Judy Foreman: Katie and Dominique Gaspar Reset a Gem of a Jewelry Store

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Following in their parents’ footsteps, daughters take over the family business — but with a signature style that is all their own

On Coast Village Road, the Gaspar name has been associated with fine jewelry and customer service since 1982. The family-run business started by Maria and Art Gaspar was a must-stop for anyone looking for custom fabrication of anything diamond, sumptuous pearls, gold earrings or watches, to name a few of the items that filled the cases of their jewelry boutique.

During the early years of their business, while the Gaspars were juggling work and family, their two daughters, Katie and Dominique, could often be seen scampering around in the back room or behind the counters at the small shop at 1213 Coast Village Road.

In 2013, after one of the great retail runs in the 93108, Gaspar decided it was time to hang up his jewelers loupe. The announcement was met by a collective sigh and a bit of a tear. A closing sale was held, with people lining up down the block for days.

The event brought out just about everyone who had ever done business with A.H. Gaspar Jeweler. People were not just looking  for a piece of bling but to bid farewell to a family that has been at the center of Montecito business for so many years.

I was one of the customers who was sad to see Gaspar’s go. As did so many others, I liked to peak over the dutch door to say hello after grabbing a coffee at the iconic Tutti’s, which became The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Fortunately, my sentimental sadness was quickly replaced when I found out that the now-grown daughters, Katie and Dominique, were taking the reins from their dad and creating their own signature style of a fine jewelry store with a modern twist. 

A familiar face is also on board for the new venture, mom and grandmom Maria Gaspar-Baltieri, whose official title is store manager, marketing and communications director at Gaspar Jewelers and pearl aficionado. When I stopped by the newly renovated Gaspar’s to express my surprise at the turn of events, she told me “people just did  not want us to go.”

The Gaspar girls always had star power and often appeared in ads for the family-friendly A.H. Gaspar Jeweler business. (Gaspar family photo)
The Gaspar girls always had star power and often appeared in ads for the family-friendly A.H. Gaspar Jeweler business. (Gaspar family photo)

Katie’s love of jewelry began as young girl when her parents would bestow upon her rocks, gems and baubles from their buying trips for the jewelry store.

“I recall being mesmerized,” she related, “and would spend hours in my bedroom examining the rocks and organizing the box.”

Brought in after school and on weekends to assist in displaying jewelry and cleaning the cases, Katie discovered her entrepreneurial bent when she set up her own stand of homemade, friendly, plastic jewelry in front of the store in sixth grade. Up until she took a diamond grading course at the Gemological Institute of America when she was 19, she was convinced she would be on the business side of retail jewelry.

As it turned out, she said, “I LOVE diamonds.” So in early 2001, she began working as a graduate gemologist while pursuing her certification.

Her sister, Dominique, a real estate investment analyst for an international asset management company in London, also had the entrepreneurial spirit early on. When her sister approached her late last year about taking over the store upon their dad’s retirement, she was reticent. While Katie had been working alongside Art for more than 10 years, Dominique was always on the sideline. She pitched in during the holidays and when she was home from overseas, but her involvement was mostly limited to online buying and heading up the digital marketing side, including social media.

Katie, left, and Dominique Gaspar exhibited entrepreneuerial prowess at an early age and are putting those skills to use today as owners of Gaspar Jewelers. (Gaspar family photo)
Katie, left, and Dominique Gaspar exhibited entrepreneuerial prowess at an early age and are putting those skills to use today as owners of Gaspar Jewelers. (Gaspar family photo)

Dominique’s role is now primarily focused on strategy and as support for Katie.

“Living in London, I have great opportunity to keep an eye on the European jewelry and fashion trends,” she explained. “Part of our new look is a fresh, younger approach to a younger demographic while continuing to cater to our long-time customer base.”

The sisters have posted much of their products online via social media and their website, www.gasparjewelers.com, but they also offer their products on Facebook, where they are quickly gaining an engaged following.

Both sisters are huge advocates of green, sustainable living. Katie has an AA in Environmental Studies and has worked at local farms and volunteers at her son’s Montessori school.

“Sustainability may not seem like something that immediately comes to mind with jewelry,” Katie said. “It’s not an entire transformation yet, but Gaspar’s has already switched from Swiss- to American-made batteries whenever possible, and is carrying local designer Johnny Ninos from Los Olivos and American designers Mark Patterson and Alex Sepkus.”

They also buy gold that gets recycled and reused. Repairs are also a big part of their business, and they have an on-site goldsmith to design and create custom jewelry.

Just like their father, Katie and Dominique emphasize customer service. The next generation of Gaspars intends to keep the approachable, down-to-earth style of doing  business started by their parents more than 32 years ago.

While they seek to appeal to the contemporary buyer, they’re actively looking for new designers but will continue to carry the classic and traditional jewelry their customers have grown to expect.

Click here for more information about Gaspar Jewelers, 1213 Coast Village Road, or call 805.969.6362 or email info@gasparjewelers.com.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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At Least One Hurt in Rollover Wreck Near El Capitán State Beach

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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At least one person was injured Sunday evening in a rollover vehicle wreck on Highway 101 near El Capitán State Beach west of Goleta, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A northbound PT Cruiser went out of control and overturned shortly before 6 p.m., and ended up blocking the southbound fast lane, the CHP said.

The vehicle came to rest on its wheels, the CHP said.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s Week-Long 12th Primavera Festival Is ‘Textual, Tactile, Astoundingly Ne

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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UC Santa Barbara carillonist Margo Halsted will ring in the opening of the university’s 2014 “Primavera” Festival at 7:45 a.m. Monday with a concert of three works by UCSB composers Emma Lou Diemer, Alexis Crawshaw and Halsted herself.

The unique annual festival was established in 2003 “to highlight the work of UCSB faculty, staff and students in the performing, visual and media arts.” As Jeremy Haladyna has pointed out, Primavera was originally designed on the model of an acoustic musical festival, but each one, like a crystal, has always kept several edges growing toward whatever creative ideal is sacred to the heart of the individual participant, be it acoustic, electronic, multimedia, dramatic, graphic or any other creative medium. No two of the festivals are alike, no one of them is ever boring. This year’s Primavera runs through Saturday.

The festival continues at 8 p.m. Tuesday with a concert in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall called “Text Me” by UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music (ECM), under the direction of Haladyna. As the somewhat tongue-in-cheek title suggests, the theme of the concert is the written word, especially poetry, and the program features new, text-based works by Leslie A. Hogan and Cristina Lord. Hogan’s Suite for the Senses distills her pianistic responses to poems of Californian David Shaddock (read by Jeff Mills of the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance), while Lord’s Songs of American Women (world premiere) are settings of poems by Emily Dickinson, Louise Bogan, Sylvia Plath and others, with the composer at the piano and mezzo-soprano Alice Chung will perform, with the composer at the keyboard.

The program also includes Diemer’s powerful Psalms for Organ and Percussion, selections from Peter Racine Fricker’s Diversions for Solo Piano, Opus 95, and the provocatively titled Gooseberry Pie for Liszt and Me by Haladyna. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 students, and are available at the door.

 The remaining events, as described by their creators, are as follows:

Creations 2014 by the Center for Research in Electronic Arts Technology (CREATE)

8 p.m. Wednesday, Lotte Lehmann Hall (Free)

“Creations 2014 features two esteemed guests, New York-based composer Elizabeth Hoffmann, and Cologne-based composer Markus Schmickler. A special presentation is a world premiere of a new electronic work by UCSB faculty composer Joel Feigin, in collaboration with Ron Sedgwick. UCSB’s Corwin Chair of Composition, Clarence Barlow, will present a new audiovisual composition. In addition the CREATE Ensemble, a band of laptop/tablet musicians led by Matt Wright, will premiere their latest experimental interactive work live in concert.”

Des Gestes Touchants by Crawshaw, with guest artist Maud Watel-Kazak, mime and dance, and the CREATE ensemble, directed by Wright.

6-7 p.m. Thursday in the Music Bowl (Free)

“Touching Gestures is an interdisciplinary, collaborative improvisational performance with the computer music of the CREATE Ensemble led by Matthew Wright, comic mime and dance performance by guest artist/actress Maud Watel-Kazak and a vibrotactile music component by Alexis Story Crawshaw. This work will explore different rapports of ‘mapping’ and ‘feedback’ between the domains of theater and electroacoustic music. It will also investigate the musicality of touch using vibrotactile actuators, thereby inviting synaesthestic associations through gesture across three modalities: sonic, visual and tactile.”

Made in California by the Now Hear Ensemble (Federico Llach, double bass-artistic director; Jonathan Morgan, viola; Anthony Garcia, percussion; Joel Hunt, saxophone; Amanda Kritzberg, clarinet)

8 p.m. Thursday in the Old Little Theater (Free)

“The Made in California project is an exciting collaborative concert series with 11 composers throughout the state. Now Hear Ensemble believes that collaboration is a tremendously useful mode of creation for new music. The landscape of Californian music is rich and diverse, and as a part of this artistic realm, NHE seeks to create an accessible, uniform medium for the interchange of ideas between composers, performers and audiences. Made in California will be presented in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco.” The Primavera concert includes works by Todd Lerew, Eoin Callery, Kevin Zhang, Carolyn Chen, Iván Naranjo and Dan Van Hassel.

La perception transamplithéâtrale by Crawshaw, Watel-Kazak and Marcos Novak.

4 p.m. Friday in transLAB, 2615 Elings Hall (Free)

“This transdisciplinary installation/performance explores the ideas of fractured perception, multiphrenia (after psychologist Kenneth J.Gergen, that one personality becomes fragmented into many as a symptom of the demands of modern society and the sometimes conflicting roles that we must play within it), apophenia (the tendency of the mind to construct meaning or agency in otherwise meaningless data), and how our experience of the world is shaped by context and environment. A collaboration between Alexis Crawshaw, guest artist Maud Watel-Kazak and Marcos Novak, this work is an investigation, through diverse modalities, into the contiguous relationship between performance/artistic gesture (by the artists), perceptual gesture (by the audience member), and contextual gesture (by the manipulation of space in the venue of performance).

“Present in the work is the use of 3D-generated masks expressing multiphrenia and inviting multiple interpretations on the part of its perceiver. It will feature original poetry in ‘Franglish’ that develops author Raymond Roussel’s method of procédé and psychologist Diana Deutsch’s study of ‘phantom words.’ Virtual art projections will develop how one can approach and thus perceive the same physical space in multiple ways, depending on the point of focus and the context, also as a function of accumulated memory. There will equally be a study of the psychosomatic influences of the installation on audience members through vibrotactile infrasounds, using feedback from a heart-rate sensor.”

Electronic CounterpointLucia Mense, recorder

8 p.m. Friday in Karl Geiringer Hall (Free)

“New compositions for recorder and electronics, including works by Clarence Barlow, Ori Barel (World Premiere) and Anthony Paul Garcia (World Premiere).”

and Loxodroming III with Ignition Duo (Ramon Fermin and David Gonzales)

7 p.m. Saturday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (Free)

“Ignition Duo, the Bay Area guitar duo, will return to Santa Barbara to perform an entire program of works from UCSB composers for the Primavera Festival. Close to 10 works from UCSB students and alumni were specially written for the duo and will be premiered in the festival. Ignition Duo has gained a significant experience with programs and repertory specially composed for them as their commitment to new music is very exciting and inspiring. Their project ranges from performance with acoustic classical guitars to electric guitars and also includes interaction with fixed media and live electronics. The concert will feature works from Barel, Cho, Crawshaw, Evans, Garcia, Gordon, Jette, Norton, Rolle, Taylor and Yoon.”

Click here for a full schedule of Primavera 2014, with event times, venues and admission charges.

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

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Mona Charen: Time Bombs Ticking in Democrats’ Unity Coalition

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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The Republican Party is roiling with internal conflicts, say the analysts. The Tea Party is confronting the establishment. The noninterventionists are at war (forgive the expression) with the interventionists. The libertarians would like the party to endorse same-sex marriage.

Fair enough. These conflicts will play out during the primaries in 2016, and we’ll discover whether they are serious fault lines or merely squabbles.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, supposedly the firm fortress of the middle class, minorities and women, is actually showing some internal stresses as well. Little fissures are snaking through the crust, perhaps reflecting tectonic movement beneath.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has been tumbling downhill. Obamacare, the poor economy and now also foreign policy are considered weaknesses. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 58 percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs. Nearly twice as many Americans believe the economy will worsen in the coming year as say it will improve. The Institute of Politics at Harvard University reports that among voters between the ages of 18 and 39, 57 percent disapprove of Obamacare. By a 2-to-1 margin, voters under 30 believe that the quality of their care will get worse as a result of the law.

The grand alliance of minority groups, young voters, public employee unions and women that propelled Obama to two comfortable victories may be fraying.

Although the Democrats encourage the fiction that members of their coalition have the same interests, this is not the case. Children, especially black and Hispanic children, have an interest in school choice and charter schools. The teachers unions have an interest in preventing reform of the public schools.

Asian-Americans have an interest in eliminating racial quotas in education, as quotas tend to set ceilings, rather than floors, on their acceptance to college. Black and Hispanics think (though it’s a matter of vigorous dispute) that their interests are served by maintaining racial quotas. (Count me among the doubters: Proposition 209 in California, the 1996 referendum that outlawed racial preferences, actually increased the number of black and Hispanic graduates at the University of California.)

Asian-Americans now constitute about 15 percent of California’s electorate. Since the 1990s, they’ve leaned toward the Democrats. They gave Obama 72 percent of their votes in 2012. This has confused some Republicans, who note that Asians tend to uphold the kinds of values Republicans champion: high rates of marriage, self-reliance, entrepreneurship and educational achievement. It may be that Democrats have done a better job courting them. Or it may be that Asians’ liberal views on gay marriage, immigration and abortion incline them toward the Democrats.

But recent moves by Democrats in California to reinstate preferences in higher education have met with a backlash. Writing in The American Magazine, Abigail Thernstrom notes that when a constitutional amendment was proposed that would have overturned Proposition 209, Asian-Americans rebelled and forced Assembly Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, to table it. This is the first time Asians have broken with the Democratic Party over this issue.

In New York, one very liberal Democrat, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, met resistance from a slightly less liberal Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when he struck at charter schools. Charters are precious to voters who are strongly attached to the Democratic Party — blacks and Hispanics. They are anathema to another loyal Democratic constituency — the teachers unions. The sound you hear is the cracking of an alliance.

As for the “war on women,” it may be wearing thin. Wendy Davis, a candidate for governor of Texas, who has carried all the familiar liberal standards into battle, is trailing her Republican opponent even among women voters, only 32 percent of whom view her favorably compared with 46 percent who are unimpressed.

Sure, that’s Texas. But a November 2013 poll found that Obama’s approval rating among women had dropped by 10 points since the election. The Paycheck Fairness dog-and-pony show, choreographed by the White House, elicited some snickers when Jay Carney was confronted with the fact that women in the White House earned only 88 cents on the dollar compared with men. The point was not, as Carney seemed to think, that the administration had been caught in hypocrisy, but that comparing gross wages of the two sexes without considering other factors is inherently fraudulent.

Republicans, meanwhile, have advertised the fact that poverty among women has increased to 16.3 percent from 14.4 percent during Obama’s presidency.

The Democrats may be able to hold their coalition together in 2016, but the fissures suggest openings for challenge.

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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Susan Estrich: Senators at Play with Vital, Quality Obama Administration Nominees

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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With luck, Michelle Friedland, a highly qualified appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will be confirmed when the Senate returns from its two-week recess on April 28.

Actually, if the Senate were comprised of grownups who work for us, instead of grownups who act like children, she would have been confirmed before the recess, but that’s not the way things are going in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had hoped to hold the vote on Thursday, April 10, but under the rules, Republicans can insist on 30 hours of debate per nominee, which they now are doing routinely to punish the Democrats for pushing through the new rule that a judicial or executive nominee can be confirmed by a majority vote.

“We have not yielded back post-cloture time on judicial nominations since the so-called nuclear option was triggered last November,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “We have followed the rules of the United States Senate.”

In Friedland’s case, that would have meant a vote at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 11, not April 10. But the fact is, the Republicans were not actually planning to use the time to have a debate on this nomination. They were planning to leave town for the two-week recess.

Reid tried to claim the high ground for Democrats, but that wasn’t exactly true, either.

“I’m so sorry for the inconvenience ... but Republicans know, for them, it’s pretty easy,” he said. “They can just walk out of here. It’s our burden to run the country. We’re not going to be able to do that. We’re going to have to vote and approve these two people. ... We’ve been elected to be U.S. senators.”

Not so fast.

Late that Thursday, Reid postponed the vote on Friedland to April 28 because, as one Senate aide told the media, everyone left town, including the Democrats.

Friedland really is very lucky. I know any number of nominees, especially to ambassadorships, who may never reach the floor of the Senate, even though no one is opposing their nominations. President Barack Obama’s administration and Democratic Senate leaders are, for obvious reasons, focusing on judges, who will serve long after Obama leaves office. That leaves a lot of other folks waiting in the wings for an opportunity that may never come.

Do all of these people deserve to be confirmed? Not necessarily. Before the nuclear option was invoked, some of them would have been voted down, or never brought up for a vote, because of legitimate questions about their qualifications.

The tradition of appointing major fundraisers to plum ambassadorships is an old one. I remember campaign officials in the first Bush administration complaining that not enough of their big donors had gotten the plums they’d been promised (including one, a New Hampshire car dealer, who was probably about as knowledgeable about foreign affairs as the favorite whipping boy of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the nominee to serve in Norway who didn’t know that Norway is a monarchy). Grownups might agree that ambassadors, for instance, should have visited the country where they will serve before coming up for a vote and should know who the leader is (a test candidate George W. Bush once failed, as I recall, when asked by a Boston reporter, but that’s another story).

But this isn’t about fairness. It isn’t an exercise of logic. This is politics, played at the schoolyard level, with people’s lives and reputations held in the balance.

Republicans say that Democrats started it by changing the rules to allow 51 votes to confirm instead of 60. Democrats say they had no choice because Republicans were being obstructionist — and now Democrats say Republicans are being obstructionist. Meanwhile, important posts go unfilled, and nothing gets done. If the Republicans controlled the White House and the Senate, does anyone doubt that they would be doing just what the Democrats are doing, and that the Democrats would be following the Grassley playbook?
If our kids played this way, we’d call a timeout and tell them they need to “grow up.” But what do you say to the grownups?

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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Egg-citement Prevails at Girsh Park’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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For the fifth year, hundreds of children swarmed Girsh Park on Saturday for the annual Egg Hunt.

More than 10,000 brightly colored Easter eggs filled with candy, toys and prizes were scattered around the 25-acre park. Additionally, several “magic” eggs were hidden with certificates that allowed finders to host a future party at the park for free.

The park was divided into six age-appropriate fields for egg hunting. One of the fields was specially reserved for children with physical and developmental disabilities. Children in wheelchairs were given extended handle “grabbers” to collect eggs.

In addition to the egg hunt, face painting, inflatable jumpers and interactive games were available. Children were also able to take pictures with the Girsh Park Easter Bunny.

The event was sponsored by MarBorg Industries, Union Bank, Rotary Club of Goleta, Camino Real Marketplace, Luna’s Jump, AMS Entertainment, Montecito Bank & Trust and Cottage Health System.

While attendance to the event was free, donations were accepted for The Foundation for Girsh Park, a nonprofit organization that relies on community donations to sustain the park’s ongoing operating budget.

Click here for more information about Girsh Park, or contact executive director Ryan Harrington at rharrington@girshpark.org.

Noozhawk intern Kathy Tran can be reached at news@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Neighborhood Clinics’ Newest Health Center to Open Across from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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Fueled by $813,500 federal grant, temporary facility opens May 1 while officials search for permanent home in Old Town Goleta

After a tumultuous few years, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics is using new federal grant funding to open a temporary clinic in Goleta.

The four-clinic system was at risk of closing after years of operating with a $250,000-per-month deficit. A coalition of local foundations and donors raised $600,000 and implemented a turnaround plan last year to cut costs and keep the doors open at the Eastside Dental Clinic, Eastside Neighborhood ClinicWestside Neighborhood Clinic and Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic.

In November, new CEO Trula Breuninger announced the agency had received the Health Resources and Services Administration grant, which will fund another clinic location for the Goleta area.

Officials are looking for at least an 11,000-square-foot space in Old Town, but for now the new clinic will be operating out of temporary quarters at 334 S. Patterson Ave., Suite 203, across from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

The facility in the Cavalletto Medical Office Building opens May 1 and will provide family medicine, pediatric care, women’s health, cancer detection, diabetes, health testing, urgent care, vaccinations and behavioral health services. Appointments can be made at 805.617.7878, and walk-ins are also accepted. 

The temporary clinic is the first step of a two-year plan to establish a larger, permanent site, Breuninger said. By the end of that two-year grant period, she added, seven providers will deliver services for about 3,750 patients.

Officials expect the new Goleta clinic to handle 13,000 patient visits by the end of 2015, Breuninger said.

The federal grant funding gave SBNC $813,500 and annual funding of $650,000, starting this year. That money isn’t expected to fully fund a larger site, so the clinics will continue to depend on donor support to keep going.

Like all federally qualified health centers, the clinics must serve every patient, regardless of ability to pay. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could help the bottom line since more uninsured patients will be eligible for Medi-Cal or other forms of insurance, which means the clinics get paid in reimbursements.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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In Between Coachella Weekends, CHVRCHES Makes Central Coast Debut at Majestic Ventura Theater

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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The Scottish electronic indie band CHVRCHES made its Ventura debut Tuesday night to a completely sold-out show at the Majestic Ventura Theater.

The show was opened up by Canadian electronic indie band Austra, which was accompanying CHVRCHES on a mini tour through Southern California in between Coachella weekends. The two bands played at The Glass House in Pomona the night before.

Both bands are playing at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival for the first time this year. The festival’s second weekend concludes Sunday.

Austra performed hits from its two albums Olympia and Feel It Break as concertgoers poured into The Majestic, filling the theater. Vocalist Katie Stelmanis’s draping red robe and magnetic energy got the vibe hyped up for the headliner’s set.

While CHVRCHES’ performance was not as energetic as its Canadian opener, nonetheless, the band sounded as flawless as the songs off its album The Bones Of What You Believe. Lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry and synthesizer Martin Doherty occasionally switched places as vocalist in between songs, with Iain Cook remaining on guitar.

Prior to the show, CHVRCHES performed two of its hit singles, “Recovery” and “The Mother We Share,” on Santa Barbara-based rock radio station 92.9 KJEE. Radio DJ Phat J interviewed the band about their Southern California tour and Coachella experience prior to their leaving for the venue in Ventura.

In addition to the interview, KJEE also gave out tickets to the show in a radio contest. Winners were also entered into a drawing to win Coachella Weekend Two passes.

After Ventura, the band was headed to Reno for a show before performing at Coachella Weekend Two.

Noozhawk intern Kathy Tran can be reached at news@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Paper, Ink. Moving to Coast Village Road from Loreto Plaza

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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Paper, Ink. at 3325 State St. in Santa Barbara is moving to 1150 Coast Village Road to join its sister store, Letter Perfect, at the end of the April. For nearly 20 years, Paper, Ink. has provided personalized papers, invitations, one-of-a kind stationery, unique gifts and party items from its location in the Loreto Plaza Shopping Center. Between now and April 30, Paper, Ink. will host a Moving Sale with the entire in-store inventory of stationery, specialty paper and party items between 20 percent and 90 percent off the regular price.

“Paper, Ink.’s current location has served us very well for many years, and we now look forward to the exciting expansion of our Letter Perfect store,” said Leslie Person, owner of Paper, Ink. and Letter Perfect.

“As sad as we are to be leaving our San Roque home and neighbors, we will continue our 30-year tradition of providing excellent customer service and offering the highest quality products.”

For stationery and gift enthusiasts, Letter Perfect is Santa Barbara’s rare treasure trove that specializes in cutting-edge invitations and unique gifts. In May, Person plans to unveil a newly designed store with freshly unseen merchandise. Sneak peaks include a much larger pen inventory, new gift items, and a garden patio and floral shop that will feature orchids, succulent centerpieces, edible trees and herbs, espaliers and garden accessories. Person will also introduce family-friendly classes highlighting gardening, creative paper crafts, calligraphy and culinary workshops using edible plants and trees. Letter Perfect’s Open House will take place in June.

Customers who are new to Letter Perfect on 1150 Coast Village Road are encouraged to stop by the store. Parking for customers is located in the lot just past the Letter Perfect building. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information about Paper, Ink. or Letter Perfect Ink • Design • Nature, contact Leslie Person at 805.969.7998 or letterperfectidn@gmail.com.

— Trinity Ann Schwartz represents Paper, Ink.

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Dos Pueblos Boys’ Tennis Pounds Buena but Falls to Mira Costa

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High Chargers played an efficient and focused Channel League match in their 17-1 rout of Buena on Thursday.

We used 15 players. Mason Casady and Joshua Wang improved to 29-1. In singles, we had Patrick Corpuz, Miles Baldwin, Mason Dochterman, Quinn Hensley, Dylan Zapata, Sanad Shabbar and Kellen Roberts.

In doubles, Mason Casady and Joshua Wang improved to 29-1. Greg Steigerwald partnered with Ankush Khemani and Jeffrey McDaniel to sweep, and Andrew Tufenkian partnered with Noah Gluschankoff and Ryan O’Gorman to sweep.

We had only one mishap: Sanad hurt his knee in his singles’ match and had to limp off. He finished his match and iced up.

The sportsmanship between the two teams was outstanding. Way to go, Chargers!

With the win, Dos Pueblos’ overall record is 12-1 and 5-1 Channel League.

The next day, Dos Pueblos fell to Mira Costa, 11-7. The match was very tough all the way around, as well as quite lengthy (nearly three hours). I am proud of our team for battling tough to the end.

In singles, we took only one set, thanks to Patrick Corpuz. He lost a long and close match against the No. 1 Alex Gaal and had to regroup. Sometimes, it takes a set to regroup.

In doubles, Mason Casady and Joshua Wang continued their sweep and improved to 32-1. Greg Steigerwald and Ankush Khemani took one set, after losing two long sets. Then, Miles Baldwin and Andrew Tufenkian took two sets, after losing narrowly the first set.

Although tough to endure losses, we learn from them. Playing high-caliber teams helps us improve our tennis.

Sportsmanship prevailed and the two teams (including coaches and parents) went to dinner together at Ming Dynasty.

With the loss, the Chargers dropped to 12-2 overall.

On Monday, Dos Pueblos hosts Campbell Hall at 3 p.m.

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

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Pacifica Commercial Realty Reports Strong Commercial Sales, Leasing Activity in 1st Quarter

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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Market momentum continued from 2013 right into the new year. Sales and leasing activity continued its steady pace — nothing extraordinary, but solid activity in each submarket, and across all product types.

There is no doubt that the South Coast markets are all in healthy condition, with low vacancy rates, and finally signs that lease rates are trending upward. This has been the case for sales valuations for the past couple of years, and seeing upward trends in lease rates bodes well for local investors.

Higher rental rates boost returns for investors who have purchased assets at extremely low capitalization rates, which has characterized the market recovery.

Click here for Pacifica Commercial Realty’s full South Coast market report.

— Mark Mattingly is executive vice president of Pacifica Commercial Realty.

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Diane Dimond: Private Investigators Become For-Hire Soldiers in the Fight for Justice

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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Time for a word about private investigators.

TV dramas of the past left the impression that the primary reason to hire a PI is to tail an unfaithful spouse. There was always the obligatory scene in which a semi-shady-looking private detective appeared with a stack of 8-by-10-inch photos as proof of infidelity and slithered away with a check from the not-so-shocked husband or wife.

Certainly, that is one of the services a PI can provide, but today licensed private detectives are much more valuable than just that.

These days, police departments are too busy, underfunded and undertrained to follow up on every complaint. Corporate espionage, computer hacking, identity theft and missing persons reports abound, and it is the ranks of private investigators that often come to the rescue.

Private detectives can also offer a valuable extra set of eyes when it comes to reviewing old police files and, specifically, working to help those who were wrongfully convicted.

Take the PI team of super-sleuths Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin of Management Resources Ltd. They are the unsung heroes in the recent case of exonerated prisoner Jonathan Fleming, who spent 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

In August 1989, a man named Darryl Rush was murdered outside a Brooklyn, N.Y., housing project. Fleming’s car was seen speeding away from the scene, and an eyewitness said she saw Fleming. At trial, the jury heard evidence that Fleming was 1,000 miles away — in Orlando, Fla., with his family — at the time of the murder. His attorney produced airplane tickets, video, photos and hotel and telephone receipts, and several members of the Fleming family testified that Jonathan was with them at Disney World when the murder took place.

But the prosecutor maintained that there were 53 different flights Fleming could have taken back to New York to commit the crime and that he then could have quickly returned to Florida. Despite the fact that no evidence was ever produced showing Fleming took any extra flights, he was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Fleming’s mother never gave up the fight to free her son. Over the years, she hired a couple of different private detectives, who took her money but did little. Finally, last year, the family found the PI team of Rahn and Anklin.

“We took a small retainer for a few weeks worth of work,” Anklin told me.

They started their investigation by poring over a boxful of old legal files, including the original police reports, which revealed solid leads never pursued. Rahn and Anklin visited the crime scene, took measurements and realized the eyewitness could never have seen the murder from her vantage point. After they tracked her down, she admitted she had been high on crack that night and had recanted her statement to police three weeks after the murder.

“We realized pretty quickly that Jonathan didn’t do it,” Rahn said. “There just was no physical evidence except that one faulty eyewitness.”

The retainer soon ran out, but this dogged team decided it just couldn’t abandon the case.

“Jonathan’s mother begged us to keep working,” Anklin said. “And I told Bob, ‘This case is going to haunt us the rest of our lives if we don't do something.’” During their frequent phone calls with Jonathan, they promised to keep working to help win his freedom.

The PIs discovered that buried within a police report was the name of a witness who was never mentioned in court. They tracked her down, and she said she had told police the murder occurred right outside her window. She had seen three men looking for the victim (one had a gun in his waistband) and heard the victim being menaced by them right before the fatal shot. She had given police two of the men’s names, but detectives never followed up, thinking she was not trustworthy.

Rahn and Anklin also found a witness who swore that right after the murder, she had seen the trio and overheard their conversation.

“She heard them say to each other, ‘Is he dead?’ and ‘How many times did you shoot him?’” Rahn explained. One of the men was her brother, and she said that when she later confronted them, they admitted to committing the murder. The jury never heard this witness, either.

The PIs reported their findings to the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, and together they set out for South Carolina to question one of the three men. Almost unbelievably, he confessed to his part in the murder and identified the other two guilty parties. He also admitted he had been the one seen fleeing the scene that night in Fleming’s car. Fleming had entrusted him with the keys while he vacationed in Florida.

On April 7, 2014 — exactly one year after Rahn and Anklin took the case — Fleming, now 51, was exonerated by a judge and walked free. His lawyers are now suing “everyone,” as they put it. If they win a monetary settlement, Rahn and Anklin expect they will finally be compensated for the more than 1,000 hours of pro bono work they put in on the case.

Naturally, not all private investigators are so honest and devoted. And most won’t work without being paid. But this pair has suggestions should you ever need to hire a PI. First, check out PIs on the Internet.

“Make sure they are properly licensed,” Rahn said. “See if they have any complaints against them. Ask for references from the PI, and call them. And any investigator worth their salt is going to be a member of a professional organization — probably more than one.” Also, check to see that the investigator has experience in working your type of case.

Google is your best friend,” Anklin said. “But use your common sense with what you find out. And ask a lot of questions — just like the Flemings did with us.”

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

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Mark Shields: Indiscreet Republicans Could Use Lesson in Sincere Contrition from John Profumo

By | Published on 04/19/2014

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Of the 432 members today serving in the House of Representatives, he is 429th in seniority, having won a special election barely five months ago. But by now, Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., is known to tabloid readers everywhere as the “Kissing Congressman” after someone, apparently a staff member, leaked a surveillance video of the married McAllister in his Monroe, La., district office on Dec. 23 amorously kissing a woman congressional employee who is also married.

The Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, who has a reputation for being smart, self-inflicted some serious damage on that reputation by calling for McAllister’s resignation from the House because he is “an embarrassment.”

You may remember that Louisiana is represented in the Senate by Republican David Vitter who, with his hurting wife next to him, publicly confessed his “very serious sin,” telling the world he had asked for “forgiveness from God and my wife” after his phone number turned up several times in the phone records of the Madame running a Washington prostitution ring. Obviously more “embarrassed” by a 30-second video replay of one illicit kiss than by repeated illegal connections with prostitutes, Jindal has continued to enthusiastically endorse Vitter.

This reminds me of the Senate’s four-year refusal to seat Republican Reed Smoot, a Mormon leader who was elected in 1902. In spite of the fact the Mormon church had renounced all future plural marriages in 1890, Protestant groups were adamantly opposing a Mormon in the Senate, even though Smoot was happily married to just one wife. Smoot was finally accepted after Sen. Boies Penrose, R-Pa., argued: “I would rather have seated beside me in this chamber a polygamist who doesn’t ‘polyg’ than a monogamist who doesn’t ‘monog.’”

Personal political scandals almost always follow the same script. The penitent wrongdoer is diagnosed with some previously unnoticed medical condition and, almost miraculously, undergoes a profound religious experience. This is one reason why I so personally value the late and irrepressibly colorful and able Rep. Charlie Wilson., D-Texas. When it became public that the Justice Department was investigating the use of drugs on Capitol Hill, Wilson denied he had ever used cocaine and then added that whatever happened, “I won’t blame booze, and I won’t suddenly find Jesus.”

When it comes to public penance for personal wrongdoing, no politician has ever rivaled the genuine character of John Profumo, the British secretary of war who consciously lied to the House of Commons by testifying that there had been no impropriety in his relations with a woman named Christine Keeler. The problem was not just that the married Profumo had been sleeping for two years with Keeler, but that Keeler, at the height of the Cold War, was simultaneously sleeping with the Soviet naval attaché in London. The scandal ended Profumo’s then-promising career and helped to bring down Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government.

The next 40 years were one long act of personal contrition. The well-born Profumo worked with and for the poor. For four decades at Toynbee Hall, a refuge for the disadvantaged in East London, he was out of public sight. He washed dishes. He cleaned and scrubbed toilets. He helped feed the hungry. He visited prisoners in jail. He raised money to train youth. He used his remaining connections in Parliament to win greater support for housing and schools. And he never once, in all that time, had a news conference or a “media team” to tell us the good he had done or how much he had changed.

That, dear readers, is called character.

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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Hart, Murillo Call for Santa Barbara Council to Take Public Vote on Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Two Santa Barbara City Council members are calling for a public vote Tuesday on the city's proposed gang injunction — just weeks before it is headed to court for trial.

Even though the council initiated the injunction, it has never taken a public vote or had a public discussion on the subject.

The proposed gang injunction is a restraining order of sorts for the defendants, who allegedly are involved in Santa Barbara criminal street gangs.

The proposal has come under fire for banning otherwise legal activities such as congregating near local schools and parks, and associating with other alleged gang members.

Gregg Hart and I think the City Council should discuss it one more time before the trial and take a public vote,” Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said Friday. “One of the reasons people are uncomfortable is because we’ve been talking about it in closed session since it’s a legal matter, but there are so many implications.”

Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne is scheduled to take up the case May 5 and decide whether the injunction should be granted.

Loud critics have raised concerns about racial profiling, and spent the last few years holding forums and protesting public meetings. The ACLU filed an amicus brief with the court calling the case unconstitutional.

The City Council could, with a majority vote, order City Attorney Ariel Calonne to file a motion to withdraw the case, Murillo said.

The District Attorney’s Office is also involved in the case, but the conditions apply to city limits, city residents and the city’s Police Department.

When the injunction was filed, Police Chief Cam Sanchez called the 30 defendants “the worst of the worst.”

However, Calonne removed three names from that list a few weeks ago, and is in the process of removing several more, Hart said.

Several defendants are in jail, awaiting trial or serving long prison sentences.

The number of defendants who would be affected by the injunction has dwindled to about 12, he said.

Meanwhile, crime statistics show fewer gang-violence incidents and fewer people on juvenile probation with gang terms over the past three years, which Hart and Murillo argue is proof that traditional law-enforcement techniques are working.

The city’s cost of pursing the gang injunction — in terms of  city attorney and police time — was $481,866 as of June 2012. The City Attorney's Office has spent an estimated $113,000 since then, so the total is $594,866 as of now.

Sanchez is expected to give an updated number for police time at Tuesday's council meeting, Murillo said. 

It’s an issue that typically would go through a full vetting by the community, Hart said, but there has been only one public meeting on the topic and council members made no comments.

“This is the opportunity, and I think it’s been long overdue and important,” he said. “I’m hopeful folks can look at the situation as it exists today and keep an open mind, where we are today versus where this started.”

There will be “hefty public comment” at Tuesday’s meeting, and then Hart and Murillo will call for a vote, Murillo said.

Council members won’t be able to talk about specific defendants since the court case is ongoing, but they can make arguments about the injunction as a policy issue.

“I hope we can change somebody’s mind,” she said.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St., but the gang injunction item isn’t expected to be heard until 4 p.m., according to the agenda.

“The threshold issue for me is, Santa Barbara never had to do this before, despite gang issues coming and going over time, and it says a lot about what the community’s about, to go to this level,” Hart said. “The effect on property values is significant; the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors opposed the gang injunction for that reason, and a huge area of the city is covered by the gang injunction. There’s a million reasons, and we’ll talk about all of them on Tuesday.”

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Man Accused of Killing Uncle and Dumping Body Near Santa Barbara Pleads Guilty to Murder

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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A Southern California man who allegedly killed his uncle and then dumped the body — before setting it on fire — in the mountains above Santa Barbara in 2011 pleaded guilty to murder charges this week.

Kirk Michael Galvin, 25, of La Palma in Orange County entered the guilty plea on Monday to one felony count of second-degree murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

He faces a maximum of 15 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 23 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

According to prosecutors, Galvin murdered his 53-year-old uncle Douglas Galvin on July 27, 2011, in his father’s La Palma apartment while he was out of town.

Galvin then allegedly drove his uncle’s dead body up to Santa Barbara and dumped it in a remote area off of East Camino Cielo Road, near Painted Cave Road off Highway 154.

In an attempt to destroy the evidence, Galvin allegedly set the body on fire and then fled the scene, according to the DA’s Office.

Three days later, two people out on a walk in the mountains above Santa Barbara found Douglas Galvin’s burned body and contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

“Our detectives were determined to figure out who the victim was and find out who was responsible for this heinous crime,” Hoover told Noozhawk. “Even after it was determined the victim was missing from the La Palma area, and the case was turned over to La Palma police, our detectives collaborated on the case.” 

Following the investigation, Kirk Galvin was arrested Aug. 5, 2011.

“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is happy to hear that the Douglas Galvin murder case has come to a successful conclusion,” Hoover said. “This was a cold-blooded murder, and we are pleased that Kirk Galvin will be held accountable for killing his own uncle. 

“It is always a victory when the person who committed a crime is identified and brought to justice. This case is a great example of a successful collaboration, which involved multiple jurisdictions, and we are pleased to have been a part of the effort.”

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

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Santa Barbara Reports Strong Growth in Transient Occupancy Tax Revenue

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara received $1,233,255 in transient occupancy tax (TOT) for the month of March, a 16.5 percent increase over March 2013.

This strong growth rate is particularly notable because March 2014 contained one less weekend night than March 2013. The continued warm, sunny weather likely led to the higher growth.

Through the first nine months of the fiscal year, the city has collected more than $12.16 million in TOT revenues, 14.7 percent ahead of last year through the same period.

With three months of collections remaining in this fiscal year, revenues are tracking ahead of the 10.4 percent growth rate needed to meet the adopted budget of $16,202,000.

Click here for additional information on transient occupancy tax results.

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

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Congressional Candidate Justin Fareed Takes First Step in NRCC’s ‘Young Guns’ Program

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Friday that California congressional candidate Justin Fareed has been elevated to "On the Radar" in the NRCC’s "Young Guns" program.

The program will help to provide candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run effective, successful and winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents.

Originally founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Young Guns program supports and mentors challenger and open-seat candidates in races across the country. Fareed is running in California’s 24th Congressional District.

“I am confident that Justin Fareed will be a successful and dedicated member of this program and that he will continue to work hard to reach the crucial campaign benchmarks that have been established ahead of the 2014 elections,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden said. “California’s hardworking families deserve better than skyrocketing health care costs, financial instability and mountains of debt on their backs. I am certain that Justin Fareed will be a strong contender this election cycle.”

Fareed is a third-generation cattle rancher and currently serves as vice president for his family’s entrepreneurial business, Pro Band Sports Industries Inc. headquartered in Santa Barbara.

He was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended Santa Barbara High School, where he lettered in football for three years and was captain of the football team as a senior. He successfully fulfilled his childhood dream when he was admitted to UCLA, where he played football and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science.

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Alleged Gang Members Jailed in Santa Maria Shooting

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Randy Duane Ramirez

Two alleged gang members are facing attempted-murder charges stemming a shooting last month, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Randy Duane Ramirez and David Anthony Martinez Jr., both of Santa Maria, were arrested late Thursday night after search and arrest warrants were served on the 600 block of West Creston Street and the 1600 block of North Mary Street, said Sgt. Woody Vega.

Ramirez and Martinez were both booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of attempted murder with gang enhancements, Vega said.

The shooting occurred March 11 on the 1600 block of North Mary Street.

David Anthony Martinez Jr.

No injuries were reported in the shooting, in which bullets reportedly struck nearby residences and vehicles.

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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Therapy Bunny Brings a Soft Touch to Local Nursing Home Residents

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Axel Rose, a certified pet volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, makes the rounds in Santa Barbara and Goleta

Easter came a bit early for residents of local nursing homes in Santa Barbara and Goleta when they got a chance last week to spend time with a therapy bunny that is a certified pet volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara.

Tucked inside a wicker basket, dwarf bunny Axel Rose made the rounds at several places, including Heritage House, where he was cuddled by residents.  

Axel's owner, hospice volunteer and animal trainer Andrea Bratt, carried him around to say hello to residents, who each got a chance to pet the small bunny and hold him.

"At first they're a little hesitant. Sometimes people even ask me if he's real," Bratt said of the bunny, who has black rings around his eyes, making them look almost cartoonish.  

Heritage House resident Martha Riel was glowing after getting a chance to hold Axel on the residence's patio.

"I love all little bunnies," she said. "It was wonderful to hold him."

Axel is a rescue bunny from Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter, and is a certified therapy pet. Bratt, who has even trained Axel to do a dance routine, said sometimes Axel is able to connect with hard-to-reach people in ways no one else could.

Bratt became a volunteer while visiting the organization's loan closet, where people in the community can borrow things such as wheelchairs and crutches at no cost.

She was borrowing a wheelchair to help train her dogs when a volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care told her about the program. Bratt went through the volunteer training and her animals, already certified as therapy pets, come with her on visits.

Arlene Stepputat, VNHC's manager of volunteer services, owns a certified therapy cat named Angel who also visits hospice clients and said animals often make an instant connection.

"Part of that is because animals are unconditionally loving," she said, adding that people also benefit from the kinesthetic experience of petting an animal like Axel. "They have a lot to teach us about being present and being still and listening."

She said the organization has four pet therapy dogs, but Axel is the only bunny.

Volunteers with hospice go through extensive training, she said, and the organization has about 120 people who currently volunteer.

Animal volunteers must be certified through an outside organization — dogs through Therapy Dog International and non-canines through Love on a Leash — and also be certified by their veterinarians that they are up to date on their vaccinations and have the appropriate disposition, Stepputat said.

To learn more about volunteering with VNHC, click here to visit its volunteer webpage.

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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Castillos Named Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s Adams School Family of Month

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s Adams Family of the Month program honors hardworking, ethical and socially engaged families who contribute to Adams Elementary School and provide positive role models for their children and the entire community.

The Castillo family is RCSBN’s Adams Family of the Month for April, and at the April 2 club meeting they were honored.

The Castillo/Garibay family typifies the type of parent involvement that makes Adams a great school. Mom Lourdes Garibay, dad Fidel Castillo, fourth-grade student Natalie and first-grade student Karina all work hard to support Adams.

Lourdes volunteers in the classroom frequently and serves as the president of the school’s English Language Advocacy Committee (ELAC). She is also the Adams representative to the Santa Barbara Unified School District ELAC committee. Lourdes is also a board member of the Adams Parent Teacher Association and serves as the group bilingual representative. She has been instrumental in founding and sustaining the English language program at Adams and she has helped many parents improve their English skills.

Lourdes chaired Adams’ first Las Posadas holiday presentation and tamale feed, which celebrated the traditions and lessons of Las Posadas. This event also featured the food and festivities of the celebration and gave our students and all the participants a taste of the delicious traditional foods. Lourdes marshaled the efforts of many parents, grandparents and volunteers to provide tasty tamales, bunuelos and fruit for almost 600 students. Because of Lourdes and Fidel's vision and commitment, Las Posadas will likely become an annual tradition at Adams.

While both parents work full time at their separate jobs, both are highly committed to helping their children learn. Natalie, a fourth-grade student in Ms. Nelson's Montessori class, loves learning, and is very focused and well liked by her peers. Their youngest daughter, Karina, in Mr. Wheeler's first-grade class, was able to bypass kindergarten. Her success is due in large part to the commitment her parents made to read to and with her and Karina has as a result become an Adams “Top Scholar” student in her first grade classroom.

The Castillo family is committed, concerned and helpful, and a wonderful example of the great parent body at Adams.

— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.

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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Offers an Afternoon of Song and Dvorak

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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María Grever
Whether or not you have heard of María Grever, you have certainly heard her songs.

At 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., members of the Santa Barbara Music Club will perform another of the club's legendary free concerts.

The hour-long program falls neatly into halves. The first half is vocal, and will feature soprano Takako Wakita and pianist Betty Oberacker, with the collaboration, as needed, of Bob Nyosui Sedivy playing a Japanese bamboo flute called a "shakuhachi."

This trio will perform "El tra la la y el punteado" by Enrique Granados (1867-1916), the "Lamento gitano" by Maria Grever (1885–1951), "De donde venis, amore?" by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) and "A Piper Plays 'Oiwake'" by Kozaburo Hirai (1910-2002).

The second half is Antonín Dvořák's String Quartet No. 10 in Eb-Major Opus 51 (1879) — sometimes called the "Slavonic" — performed by the Channel Islands String Quartet (Irving Weinstein and Ted Lucas on violins, Diana Ray-Goodman on viola and Ervin Klinkon on cello).

It has long been obvious to me that Granados composed some of the greatest art songs from 1900, give or take 15 years. "El tra la la y el punteado" is a trifle, lasting barely a minute, and yet once heard it is never forgotten. It is both completely Spanish and universal.

Grever — or, to give her birth name in full, María Joaquina de la Portilla Torres — as Wikipedia rather bluntly puts it, "was the first Mexican female musician to become a successful composer."

Her name may not be familiar outside of Mexico, but her songs certainly are, since some of her most memorable tunes appeared first on the soundtracks of Hollywood motion pictures, and Dinah Washington's 1959 recording of "What a Difference a Day Makes" ("Cuando vuelva a tu lado") put Grever among the immortals of popular song.

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

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David Sirota: Will Government Use Its New Leverage Over the Financial Industry?

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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If you read one business book this year, make it Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. The journalist famous for Moneyball and The Big Short takes readers inside the parasitic world of high-frequency trading that is harming the broader economy.

The technical architecture of high-frequency trading is right out of a sci-fi movie — the schemes rely on algorithms that seem artificially intelligent, and the velocity of transaction signals approach light speed. As Lewis recounts, all that technological wizardry is marshaled to let insiders know information before everyone else, which consequently lets those insiders extract wealth from the market.

The good news is that a financial transaction tax can at once raise public resources and disincentivize the most predatory schemes. The even better news is that structural changes in the industry have made such a tax more economically viable than ever.

Before getting to that change, consider the basics of the tax proposal. The idea is that if a tiny fee is slapped on securities transactions — say, a cent — the tax will barely affect the average investor but will force high-frequency, high-volume traders to pay a lot. Consequently, those predators might see less of an upside from — or even abandon — their market-rigging schemes. And if they don't, then at least the government will generate new resources to enforce laws protecting average investors.

Of course, when this idea gained steam before, it was deflated by those arguing that the tax would prompt stock exchanges to move to jurisdictions that don't impose such a levy. In this tale, the city, state or country that creates a transaction tax won't stop high-frequency trading — it will only hurt itself by driving financial business to another locale.

On its face, it is a powerful argument — so powerful, in fact, that when Chicago's municipal government recently considered a financial transaction tax, the proposal was quickly dismissed. The Illinois legislature then gave the Chicago Mercantile Exchange an $85 million tax cut when company executives threatened to move the company out of state.

No doubt, fear of such flight seems logical. Essentially, tax opponents ask us to assume that in the Internet era, stock exchanges — like many other information-sector enterprises — are no longer moored to specific geographies because they can supposedly conduct business through any digital conduit.

But that's where the aforementioned structural change has created a flaw in the logic. In a financial world where microseconds are now king, all conduits are not created equal and average Internet velocity is no longer enough. That reality potentially reduces some of the industry's geographic mobility. Why? Because while speculators themselves no longer need to physically be on specific trading room floors, they do need their computers to either be physically near those exchanges' computers or hooked up to them through special ultra-fast conduits. Additionally, the newly computerized exchanges need ever-more massive data centers and conduits to process the accelerating information flow.

All of that technology requires financial firms to make huge investments in lots of immobile digital infrastructure. That means it may now be prohibitively expensive and/or logistically difficult for those financial firms to simply pick up and move. Indeed, just like petroleum companies cannot realistically threaten to leave oil-rich locales if they don't like a tax, parts of the financial world are captive to the locales in which they've built their digital systems.

This is the silver lining of speed-driven finance. Simply put, the federal, state and local governments that host the financial industry have more leverage because, despite threats, they don't have to fear the industry leaving.

The only question, then, is political: Will those governments use this new leverage? Or will they do nothing to protect the average investor?

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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Judy Crowell: San Sebastian, Spain — A Basque Country Slice of Heaven

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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With stunning natural beauty, the beach resort along the Bay of Biscay has become an acclaimed destination

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from San Sebastian.]

San Sebastian, a beach resort located along the Bay of Biscay and bordering the south of France, is an area of north Spain called The Basque Autonomous Community. In other words, an age old struggle for independence from Spain. A conundrum too tangled to even try to relate.

What is clear is that this area of stunning natural beauty has become an acclaimed international destination with major events including the International Film Festival, the Jazz Festival and August’s Semana Grande (Big Week). A spectacular fireworks display and contest are held over the bay each night with parades of giants and big heads each afternoon.

You won’t find many old buildings in San Sebastian. A devastating fire in 1813 destroyed most of the city. In 1845, Queen Isabella II was sent by her doctor to the sea to cure skin problems. The beautiful people and members of the court began to follow, and by 1900 wealthy Spaniards were flocking to this lovely bay and rebuilt city for summer holidays. Soon Queen Maria Cristina made it her summer residence, and in 1912 a hotel fit for a queen opened bearing her name.

Today Hotel Maria Cristina, situated in the center of the city, is still fit for a queen with soaring columns, opulent chandeliers and rich silk brocades. Nearby is another queenly hotel option, Villa Soro, a lovely renovated 19th century villa.

Attractions not to be missed are the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, built in 1897 in Neo-Gothic style; the modern Kursaal, creatively lit at night; the Miramar Palace; the Aquarium, where you’ll scamper in fear through a glass tunnel with sharks on all sides; Museo de San Telmo, paintings in a former 16th century monastery; Monte Igueldo, gorgeous views from the summit, accessed by funicular railway; and Monte Urgull, where you can walk to the top and be rewarded with breathtaking views and an up-close look at the imposing 12-meter-high Christ statue dominating the landscape of the bay.

Known for its Basque cuisine, San Sebastian boasts the most Michelin stars per square foot in the world. So let’s head for the cocinas (kitchens).

Located in Parte Vieja (Old Town), the traditional core of the city, are the cocinas turning out the best, most creative flavors. Imagine a big, rowdy cocktail party with unlimited guests crowding into pubs on both sides of narrow cobblestone alleys. Basically bar-hopping, this tradition is called Txiquiteo (Chi-kee-TAY-oh). Delicious snacks, similar to tapas, called pintxos (PEEN-chos) are being offered everywhere. Anchovies and olives, foie gras and carmelized onions, crab and salmon, all held together by toothpicks — toothpicks counted as you leave to tally your bill.

Be sure to try Bar Martinez, Atari Gastroteka, Bar Ondara and La Cuchera de San Telmo. For a more civilized, sit-down experience, there’s Arzak, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world; Mugaritz, another best in the world; Bar Nestor, for a great bar; and Raviolina for family dining.

After all the pintxos grazing, how about a hike? A glorious half-day hike along St. James Way, over the Ulia Mountain from San Sebastian to the charming fishing village of Pasaia. Once there, you can cross the picturesque inlet by boat and stop at the seafront Txulotxo restaurant for grilled fish dishes or a local favorite, Casa Camara.

The golden sands of La Concha, Zurriola and Ondarreta beaches create a unique promenade and are enveloped by deep blue seas and lush green mountains. Queens Isabel and Maria discovered a slice of heaven more than 100 years ago. You will, too.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and part-time Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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Capps to Hold Office Hours at Santa Barbara Farmers Market

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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From 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will meet and greet visitors and customers at the weekly Santa Barbara Farmers Market.

She will be walking around and also spending time at the table with California Tropics, a Carpinteria-based fruit company, to discuss issues important to local residents.

"The Santa Barbara Farmers Market is an opportunity for our community to gather and stock up on the flowers, fruits, vegetables and meats grown and raised by our local farmers and ranchers," Capps said. "And it is also a place to take some time to come together and catch up with our Santa Barbara neighbors. I always enjoy spending time at the Farmers Market, and I am looking forward to meeting and talking with anyone who would like to stop by and say hello."

The Farmers Market is located at the corner of Cota and Santa Barbara streets.

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

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Unemployment Rate for Santa Barbara County Drops to 6.7% in March

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The State Employment Development Department released on Friday the unemployment rate and other jobs data for the month of March.

In Santa Barbara County, the unemployment rate decreased to 6.7 percent in March, from a revised 7.2 percent in February and below the year-ago estimate of 7.4 percent. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.4 percent for California and 6.8 percent for the nation during the same period.

The county’s unemployment ranking in March, compared with the other 57 counties in California, positioned Santa Barbara County in 10th place behind Alameda, Sonoma and San Luis Obispo counties.

Industry sectors in Santa Barbara County gained 4,300 jobs, from the 5,000 positions lost last month. Every industry sector in Santa Barbara County gained positions or remained steady for the month of March.

Professional and Business Services gained the most number of positions with 1,200 jobs; Government increased by 600 positions; Leisure and Hospitality was up by 300 jobs; Construction and Manufacturing both gained 100 positions each. All other industries experienced no change in their labor force.

Between March 2013 and March 2014, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 2,300 jobs or 1.2 percent. Some of the highlights for this period included:

» Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Professional and Business Services — up 7.3 percent or 1,700 jobs; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services — up 6.9 percent or 800 jobs; Management of Companies and Enterprises — up 10.5 percent or 200 positions; Administrative and Support and Waste Services — up 7.2 percent or 700 jobs.

» Some of the Industries that lost jobs for this period of time included: Mining and Logging — down 8.3 percent or 100; Federal Government — minus 200 positions or 5.3 percent and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation — down 3.2 percent or 100 jobs.

“We are delighted to see our unemployment numbers return to normal; nevertheless, we still continue to work with our community partners and the private industry to find ways to put people back to work," Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Director Raymond McDonald said. "As an example, the Workforce Investment Board, together with other local government agencies and private organizations, will be hosting the second annual Job and Resource Fairs in Lompoc May 1 and Santa Maria June 12. We are inviting employers and job seekers alike to come out and join us.”

The number of people unemployed in the county’s major cities also decreased. Santa Maria had the most residents unemployed with 4,300 (10.6 percentof its workforce), followed by Santa Barbara city with 2,700 unemployed (4.7 percent of its workforce), and Lompoc with 2,400 residents looking for employment (11.9 percent).

The labor force in the county, defined as the number of individual in the workforce looking for employment, grew by 4,800 more workers looking for jobs. This left Santa Barbara County with a labor force of 209,700 workers for the month of March. The cities with the highest labor force continue to be Santa Barbara with 56,800, followed by Santa Maria with 40,400 and Lompoc with 20,500 workers.

Santa Barbara County cities' unemployment data for January, February and March, respectively:

» Santa Barbara County — 7.3%, 7.1%, 6.7%

» Lompoc — 12.8%, 12.7%, 11.9%

» Guadalupe — 12.4%, 12.3%, 11.6%

» Santa Maria — 11.3%, 11.2%, 10.6%

» Buellton — 5.2%, 5.2%, 4.9%

» Santa Barbara — 5.1%, 5%, 4.7%

» Santa Ynez — 3.6%, 3.6%, 3.4%

» Carpinteria — 3.6%, 3.5%, 3.3%

» Goleta — 3.6%, 3.5%, 3.3%

» Solvang — 2.7%, 2.7%, 2.5%

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Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North Celebrates 25-Year Partnership with Adams Elementary

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Club members, principals, teachers and other guests with a focus on education gathered on April 2 to celebrate 25 years of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s partnership with Adams Elementary School.

The annual meeting at the school highlighted the many programs and personalities featured over the 25-year span of RCSBN’s volunteer efforts at Adams.

2014 Rotary President Stanley Weinstein kicked off the meeting inviting Lucille Ramirez, representing Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, to lead in the invocation. Afterward, two Adams students, Natalie and Karina Castillo, teamed up to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Castillo children and their parents also received the “Adams Family” Award initiated and presented by RCSBN member Tom Jacobs. The award celebrates the volunteer efforts of supportive families whose efforts to give back to the Adams community mirror and support the work of Rotary volunteers.

Dennis Waid, a club member and longtime Adams volunteer, then introduced the many special guests who have been instrumental in the club's partnership with Adams School for the past 25 years. Special guests included Kate Parker, president of the Santa Barbara school board; Lucille Ramirez, County of SB Partners in Education Board; Jo Ann Caines, principal of La Cumbre Junior High and former Adams principal; Kathy Escobar, retired Adams teacher and Rotarian; and Larry Bender, Rotarian from District 5280 in Los Angeles.

All of the special guests took a moment to reflect on the 25-year partnership between Adams School and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North and to offer thanks to RCSBN for its efforts in supporting Adams School.

Community Service chairman Tom Jacobs then took over and highlighted the many avenues of service provided to Adams school over the past 25 years. In the classroom contributions include tutoring, supporting the Computers for Kids Program, and holding an annual Rotary themed essay contest. RCSBN has extended its support to the Library by supplying books for the Rewards Program, donating a book each week to celebrate Club program speaker topics, and sponsoring yearly library purchases from Club donations. RSBN’s efforts at Adams inspired Los Angeles area clubs in Rotary District 5280 to donate 1,000 books to the Library.

RCSBN was also active on the school grounds, planting trees in honor of Arbor Day, creating planter boxes for a garden area, and funding a large play structure with a Rotary Grant. In addition, Club members regularly pitch in on School Beautification Days and other school festivals. Outside the school the club annually sponsors an Adams Chalk Art Square for I Madonnari Festival. Over the 25 years of partnership the club has provided over $65,000 in cash grants to the school.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Adams Principal Amy Alzina presented a strategic plan integrating technology in the Common Core State Standards. She demonstrated how the school’s new 3-D printers and modeling of mathematical concepts have made learning more concrete. The new technological tools supported by the club have enabled students to work to
their maximum potential, nurturing both college and workplace skills.

Alzina stressed that beyond technology, Adams believes in reaching children through cultivating caring relationships, relationships built around trust and developed through work and play. Fostering an environment of success and service is how Adams is creating a winning environment for every student, and in numerous ways for over 25 years, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North has been partnering with the school to realize that goal.

— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.

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Highway 192 Between Ortega, Sheffield to Close Next Week for Utility Work

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Highway 192 (East Valley Road) will be closed next week to allow Southern California Edison to perform utility work.

Motorists should be advised of these closures in the following areas:

» Highway 192 (East Valley Road) will be closed during the overnight hours between Ortega Ridge Road and Sheffield Drive beginning Monday, April 21 through Friday morning, April 25 from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m.

Electronic message boards have been activated to inform the public about this project. Residents will be able to maintain access to their homes during these full closures.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, click here or call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans District 5.

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SBCC Hosting Free Panel Discussion on Media Freedom

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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On a recent trip to China, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with Chinese students about the importance of the free flow of ideas over the Internet and through the media. She stressed that free speech and unfettered access to information strengthen nations and should be universal rights.

In light of current events both in the U.S. and abroad, these issues continue to be at the forefront of public discussions of media today.

On Wednesday, April 23, the Sigma Chi Eta Communication Honor Society and the SBCC Communication Department will be hosting a panel discussion on open access to information around the globe.

This free event will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the SBCC Business Communication (BC) Forum on West Campus.

This presentation is open to the Santa Barbara community and features a panel including Michael Gilbert, a leading USC researcher on digital media, as well as SBCC student panelists from China, Russia and Venezuela. These individuals will all speak on the topic of information access with a specific focus on the dynamic democratization of knowledge via the Internet and the potential for change in the Global City.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Santa Barbara Foundation Honors 2014 Scholarship Award Recipients

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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“I believe being a role model requires a person of character who is willing to share themselves and their abilities with others,” award recipient Emma Andersen said. “It is about being involved and doing good things for the community.”

This sentiment is echoed by all of the Santa Barbara Foundation Spaulding, Fleischmann and Floro award recipients who have followed their passions in their willingness to give back to the communities they live in.

Most have donated their time and efforts to a variety of important issues and organizations, volunteering at Safety Town, the Lompoc Convalescent Center, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Good Samaritan Shelter, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Goleta Public Library, and Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, to name a few. For their great academic success and devotion to community service, each student was given a scholarship award.

The scholarship recipients are beneficiaries of forward thinking individuals whose bequests have a rich history of recognizing and rewarding extraordinary student achievement. In the case of Edward Spaulding, Max Fleischmann and Gwendolyn Floro, their wish to support academic excellence and community service in part contributes to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s ability to support academic achievement through scholarship awards.

“When we focus on education, we move in a direction that gets back to what made our country great — educating our children so that they might take their place as future leaders,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “I am hopeful that through their great achievements, these scholarship recipients will continue to lead all our communities forward.”

Fleischmann Award recipients are students who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance and commitment to community service. A $2,000 award was bestowed upon each of the 20 students.

The candidate from the Fleischmann pool receiving the highest rating from the Fleischmann Subcommittee is also awarded the Spaulding Award. The Spaulding Award carries an additional $1,000 award.

Floro Award recipients are students from the Santa Maria area who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance and commitment to community service. For their efforts, each of these 19 students received a $2,500 award.

The Santa Barbara Foundation recognizes the importance of education and the strength that it brings to communities. Providing students with the opportunity to pursue continued education is key to giving them the skills they need to be productive individuals of this county. Thanks to the generosity of many donors and working in collaboration with the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, last year the Santa Barbara Foundation awarded $1.6 million in student aid. Throughout its history, the Santa Barbara Foundation is proud to have awarded more than $40 million in scholarships and loans to local students.

Award Recipients

The recipient of the 2014 Spaulding Award is Samuel Andrew from Cabrillo High School.

The recipients of the 2014 Fleischmann Awards are: Anmole Ahdi from Dos Pueblos High School; Emma Andersen from Dunn High School; Grace Apostolopoulos from Santa Barbara High School; Foster Campbell from Santa Barbara High School; Kaileen Cruden from St. Joseph High School; Patricia Davis from Lompoc High School; Sara Doyle from dos Pueblos High School; Ivy Hirsch from Santa Barbara High School; Tina Javanbakht from Dos Pueblos High School; Kyle Kovacs from Dos Pueblos High School; Matthew McFadden from San Marcos High School; Laurel Mead from San Marcos High School; Molly Miller from Carpinteria High School; Jorge Moran from Pioneer Valley High School; Emerson Pizzinat from San Marcos High School; Sarah Rich from San Marcos High School; Alex Rickman from Dos Pueblos High School; David Wagstaffe from Santa Ynez Valley High School; and Natalie Wilkie from Dos Pueblos High School.

The recipients of the 2014 Floro Awards are: Marie Aguinaldo from St. Joseph High School; Rebecca Aldrich from Ernest Righetti High School; Angelica Castro from Pioneer Valley High School; Kaileen Cruden from St. Joseph High School; Hayden Downum from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Diana Farfan-Ayala from Pioneer Valley High School; Samantha Galicinao from Santa Maria High School; Enrique Jacobo-Gonzalez from Santa Maria High School; Andrew Kufeldt from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Brad Kufeldt from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Alexis Laggren from St. Joseph High School; Jorge Moran from Pioneer Valley High School; Alyssa Moreno from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Stephany Rubio from Pioneer Valley High School; Kylie Sagisi from Ernest Righetti High School; Nancy Sandoval from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Hannah Savaso from Ernest Righetti High School; Ciara Smith from Pioneer Valley High School; and Lesther Lem Valenzuela from Ernest Righetti High School.

— Jessica Tade is the communications director for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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Bill Macfadyen: Shell Shocks Solvang, But Explosive Situation Is Safely Resolved

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Beneath a ‘blood moon,’ NoozWeek’s Top 5 runs off a road, finds a long-lost wedding ring and opens a public market, but it’s Noozhawk’s Tom Bolton who’s No. 1 in our book

Cora Boden, Billy Barbaree and Nick McGilvray are humble, ordinary people who each did something extraordinary. To their clear discomfort but with our community’s lasting gratitude, they were honored for their courage by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Also commended at the April 11 ceremony was sheriff’s Detective Ray Gamboa, who insisted he was only doing his job.

A fifth individual was recognized, however, when District Attorney Joyce Dudley bestowed a Media Award, naming our executive editor, Tom Bolton, its first recipient. I want to take a moment to thank him for work that was no less important, and to say that his colleagues at Team Noozhawk could not be more proud.

For more than a year, Tom had been reporting on Tibor “Ted” Karsai, a sexually violent predator who was being released from custody — in prison and in a state mental institution — after a Placer County judge decided he was sufficiently rehabilitated and could return to Santa Barbara County where he grew up. Dudley put up a ferocious fight but failed to convince the state Supreme Court that there were valid reasons to keep him away. One year ago, he arrived “home,” as a transient, living in an RV and supervised by a private security contractor.

Tom Bolton’s reporting on the Tibor 'Ted' Karsai case earns richly deserved recognition. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)
Tom Bolton’s reporting on the Tibor “Ted” Karsai case earns richly deserved recognition. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

In early 2013, Tom tracked down the mother of the young woman Karsai attacked in 1973 after following her home from a trailer park laundromat on Outer State Street. Now in her 70s and still heartbroken over her daughter’s 1985 suicide, the retired mental-health professional resolutely told her story while making the case that a monster like Karsai should never again breathe free air.

“It’s being released on this Earth,” she said, asserting that violent sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated and inevitably will attack again. “The only treatment is when they pass away.”

Tom’s account of their hours-long interview was powerful, intense and emotionally draining. But what he wrote also inspired one of his readers to come forward with a tale of her own, one that caught even veteran detectives and prosecutors by surprise.

The woman, a 54-year-old Orcutt resident, contacted authorities to reveal that she had been raped by Karsai in 1971 when she was just 13 years old. The news was astonishing. Not only had Karsai struck twice, there apparently was a third attack — two years before his first known assault. It sure makes you wonder whether there are others that followed.

The survivor said she would only share with Tom the secret she had kept for decades, and her story also was powerful, intense and emotionally draining. From the time Karsai allegedly raped her during a sleepover with her best friend, his younger sister, until details of her more than 40-year burden tumbled out during the interview with Tom, it’s obvious how transformative her experience was.

“It took me a lot of years to figure out that it had a major effect on how I lived my life,” she confided to Tom. “When I saw the last article, that he (Karsai) was definitely getting out, that was the one that brought chills down to the bone. I couldn’t hold my legs underneath me, and I realized I needed to tell my story.”

In honoring Tom, Dudley credited him with helping the healing process of one crime victim’s family member as well as helping another crime victim come forward. Neither would have happened without the compassion and empathy he extended to two strangers who were revealing the most painful, raw and intimate details of their lives.

Having read and edited Tom’s reporting for nearly 30 years, I can tell you that these two articles are his best work. Thank you to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for recognizing that, too.

                                                                        •        •

There were 77,312 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top five stories?

1. Evacuations End After ‘Military Ordnance’ Rendered Safe in Solvang

Hundreds of Solvang residents and tourists were evacuated late on the afternoon of April 16 after an apparently live, military ammunition shell was discovered in an alley in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive. No one was hurt and the 18-inch ordnance was safely removed and destroyed.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said a citizen called 9-1-1 about 3:30 p.m. to report finding the shell lying amid trash in an enclosed area behind a downtown business. The department’s bomb squad and Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were dispatched to investigate.

After determining that the 105-millimeter shell’s fusing system was still in place and that the device was potentially unstable, authorities ordered the evacuation of businesses, homes and hotels within a 1,500-foot radius of the site. About 700 people were affected, Hoover said.

She said authorities eventually were able to retrieve the shell and transport it to a remote location, where it was destroyed. The evacuation order was lifted by midnight.

Where the shell came from is anyone’s guess, Hoover said.

Dale Weber was one of many Noozhawk readers to send in photos of this week’s spectacular blood moon. (Dale Weber photo)
Dale Weber was one of many Noozhawk readers to send in photos of this week’s spectacular blood moon. (Dale Weber photo)

2. Clear Skies in Forecast for Tuesday Morning’s Blood Moon Appearance

Clear skies may have been forecast for the total lunar eclipse early on April 15, but stubborn coastal fog and haze got in the way for stargazers in some neighborhoods.

The “blood moon” began to emerge around 11 p.m. April 14, with the full effect seen shortly after midnight and lasting a little more than an hour.

The celestial phenomenon occurs only during a full moon, when the Earth is aligned almost exactly in the middle of the sun and moon, creating a total lunar eclipse. The reddish appearance is the result of clouds and dust being filtered through Earth’s atmosphere.

If you missed this one, another blood moon will appear Oct. 8, followed by April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

Firefighters carry a car crash victim to a waiting ambulance after a vehicle ran off Tunnel Road in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon. (Urban Hikers photo)
Firefighters carry a car crash victim to a waiting ambulance after a vehicle ran off Tunnel Road in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon. (Urban Hikers photo)

3. Three People Injured When Car Drives Off Road in Mission Canyon Crash

Three people survived a Mission Canyon crash after their car drove off a precarious roadway at a particularly sharp turn and tumbled down a steep hillside.

According to county firefighter Paul Christensen, a Mercedes-Benz sedan went over the side about 8:30 p.m. April 13. The car rolled several times before landing about 50 feet below the 1200 block of Tunnel Road.

Christensen said the three occupants — a man and two women — were injured but one managed to clamber up the hillside to get help. All three were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate to minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.

What might have been just another day at the beach for Jenn Birchim, left, led to an improbable reunion for Sara and Greg Lindsay after Birchim found their long-lost wedding ring. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)
What might have been just another day at the beach for Jenn Birchim, left, led to an improbable reunion for Sara and Greg Lindsay after Birchim found their long-lost wedding ring. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

4. Wedding Band Lost in Ocean Two Years Ago Resurfaces on Ellwood Beach

Nearly a year and a half after an Ojai man lost his wedding ring in the ocean off Ellwood Beach, a Goleta woman found it while beachcombing with her children. Even more incredibly, she was able to locate the couple who had figured it was gone for good.

Jenn Birchim and her kids were exploring tide pools and hunting for seashells when she spied what she thought was just a bottle cap. In fact, it was a ring with a distinctive inscription: “My love, my life, my lobster.”

After she brought it home and cleaned it up, she decided to post a picture of it on her Facebook page.

“Let’s see if we can find the owner of this wedding band I found today at Ellwood beach in the super low tide,” Birchim wrote. “There is an inscription on the inside — ‘my love, my life, my lobster’ ... Maybe a lobster fisherman? Pass it along friends! Let’s stoke someone out and return it!”

Facebook fans thrive on these kinds of challenges, and within two days “it had 1,100 shares,” the UC Santa Barbara Community Housing Office employee told our Lara Cooper.

One of those shares made its way to Sara Lindsay, a Ventura teacher who contacted Birchim and listened in disbelief as she described the inscription.

“That’s my husband’s ring,” she recalled exclaiming.

Lindsay said her husband, Greg, lost the ring in the surf while they were at Ellwood Beach with their Bible study group. He didn’t even know it had slipped off his finger until after they had left.

“The guys were playing football, and my husband jumped into the ocean to get the ball, and that’s when he lost the ring,” she said.

“I was pretty upset. He loses a lot of things. ... The ring was in the ocean. We just figured it was gone.”

The Lindsays met up with Birchim last weekend to retrieve their wedding band, and to marvel at the power of social media. As of April 17, Birchim’s post has been shared nearly 32,000 times. 

“They’re super happy,” she said. “It was a fun happy ending.”

Curious locals streamed through the Santa Barbara Public Market to check out the goods after its April 14 opening. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
Curious locals streamed through the Santa Barbara Public Market to check out the goods after its April 14 opening. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

5. Santa Barbara Public Market Opens for Business

Just a few steps from Noozhawk World Headquarters, the Santa Barbara Public Market officially opened April 14. I knew something was different when I arrived at the office that morning because our parking lot was largely devoid of the construction trucks that often had been sloppily clogging it for the last couple of years.

The market complex, built on the site of the former Vons grocery store at the corner of West Victoria and Chapala streets, is part of developer Marge Cafarelli’s mixed-use Alma del Pueblo project.

                                                                        •        •

What’s it take to build a Ford Mustang on the top of the Empire State Building?

(fordvideo1 video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

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UCSB Offers Admission to 24,127 for Fall 2014

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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UC Santa Barbara has offered a place in its fall 2014 entering class to a total of 24,127 high school seniors. The prospective UCSB freshmen were selected from a total of 66,803 freshman applicants — the largest applicant pool in UCSB history. The campus expects its fall 2014 entering freshman class to number about 4,510.

Both the academic qualifications and the diversity of the applicant class accepted by UCSB continue to be very high:

» The average high school GPA of applicants admitted is 4.05.

» The average total score achieved by applicants admitted by UCSB on the required SATR Test is 1902 out of a possible 2400.

» Of all applicants admitted, 64.4 percent identify themselves as members of a racial or ethnic minority group. (Individual applicants to UC are not identified to the campuses by race or ethnicity until after admission decisions are made.)

Admission to UC Santa Barbara continues to be competitive. This year, just over 36 percent were offered a place in next fall’s entering class, down from 44 percent last year.

All nine of the UC undergraduate campuses are releasing admissions statistics Friday. The UC Office of the President is posting systemwide statistics on its website available by clicking here.

Applications from 14,137 students seeking to transfer to UC Santa Barbara are still under review, with decisions to be announced by the end of April. The number of transfer applications increased this year by 500, or 3.7 percent. All UC undergraduate campuses except Merced saw an increase in transfer applications.

UCSB acceptance letters were sent in mid-March, and applicants were able to check their admission status via a protected website. Freshman applicants who have been accepted by any UC campus have until May 1 to submit a Statement of Intent to Register.

Led by Chancellor Henry Yang, UCSB officials and faculty and staff members have been working diligently to ensure that the class enrolled this fall is the campus’ most talented and diverse ever. In March, Yang served as the host of three well-attended California receptions, one each in Los Angeles, Irvine and San Jose, for high-achieving applicants. At these events, volunteers from the UCSB campus — faculty and staff members, as well as alumni and students — met with applicants and their family members to answer questions about UCSB academic programs, student life, financial aid and other topics. Receptions were also hosted at several locations outside of California.

“We’re were very impressed by the academic quality of our freshman and transfer applicants and anticipate that the entering class will be the highest-achieving group ever,” said Lisa Przekop, director of admissions at UCSB. “We’ve admitted students who are extremely bright and actively involved in community service and leadership activities. These students will enhance our community and we look forward to welcoming them to campus in the fall.”

The UC system received a record 183,510 applications for fall 2014 — 148,688 from freshman applicants and 34,822 from transfer applicants. All nine undergraduate campuses experienced increases in freshman applicants.

The 2014 freshman enrollment target of 4,510 is slightly lower than last year last year’s target of 4,550. The smaller target is related to an increased undergraduate retention rate. For the same reason, the 2014 enrollment target for new transfer students remains steady at 1,550.

Of all applicants admitted, 78 percent, or 18,539, are California residents. Among those California students, members of underrepresented minority groups (African-American, American Indian and Chicano and Latino students) totaled 5,361 or 28.5 percent, up slightly from 26.8 percent last year.

Of the total number of admitted applicants, 2,875, or 12 percent, are international nonresident students. With the exception of UC Berkeley, the number of international nonresident admitted applicants has increased at every undergraduate UC campus.

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Solvang Nonprofit to Host Workshop on Relationship Between Police and People with Special Needs

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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How those with special needs should best interact with law enforcement — and vice versa — will be the topic of an upcoming workshop hosted by Hidden Wings, a Solvang-based nonprofit that serves young adults on the autism spectrum, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 9 at Stacey Hall at St. Mark’s-in-the Valley Episcopal Church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave. at the corner of Alamo Pintado Avenue, next door to Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos.

Emily Iland, past president of the Autism Society of Los Angeles who has a son with autism, will show episodes from a new educational film called Be Safe The Movie. Be Safe features seven “case studies” explaining possible encounters people with special needs might face with the law, and how they should respond in situations ranging from an innocent mistake to an arrest.

Run-ins with law enforcement can be especially difficult for those who can’t properly, or quickly, respond. The training uses video modeling to help attendees know what to expect in police encounters, procedures and questions.

Law enforcement officers will be present to take part in the live, situational reenactments, role-playing, games and activities, which provide an excellent opportunity for officers to interact with members of the community.

While the training will be geared toward teens and adults with special needs — from autism to attention deficit disorder to Tourette’s syndrome — the workshop will involve real-life situations applicable to any teenager. In addition, an opportunity to register for the Take Me Home program, a database which allows for the safe return of those who may not be able to communicate vital information to law enforcement officers or first responders, will be available.

Founded in 2009, Hidden Wings is honored to host the workshop, which aligns with its mission to provide a successful transition of people with special needs from high school into the workforce. Iland, an adjunct professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University-Northridge, also designed the movie with parents, caregivers, teachers and high school safety officers in mind.

The event was made possible by a grant from St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Bedford, N.Y.

Please RSVP to Hidden Wings founder Jim Billington at jim@hiddenwings.org, because space is limited. For more information, contact Billington, or Iland at emily@besafethemovie.com.

— Jim Billington represents Hidden Wings.

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