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Sally Cappon: Not Just Decorations, Christmas Ornaments Tell Family’s Story One Memory at a Time

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Tree’s up.

Sally Cappon (South Coast Railroad Museum file photo)
Sally Cappon (South Coast Railroad Museum file photo)

For several years, we eschewed a Christmas tree, opting instead for a family gathering at a son’s condo in Colorado.

This year, after our son bought a home in Santa Barbara, the family will gather here.

So we hauled out the tree, albeit a decent looking artificial one.

Digging into the box of ornaments, my husband said, “There’s a lot of memories here.”

Jim took out the shabby angel for the top of the tree from its traditional resting place, a 1967 Toronado model kit box. More than once I’ve wished we had the model kit instead of the damned angel.

Faded red balls are left over from our aerospace days moving around the country when all we could afford was a small tree and a box of 12 bulbs.

Cheap and high end, nostalgia and a bit of whimsy mingle on the tree.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire those who create stunning all-white trees. Unfortunately, mine comes in a mish-mash of colors — red, gold, blue, green, silver, even brown — in all shapes and sizes.

On the tree are Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Princess Leia. A rocket sits on a pad, ready for liftoff — a testimonial to our years at Cape Canaveral.

There are an abundance of birds, a throwback to a Cape Canaveral store owner who swore it was a Scandinavian good luck charm to have birds and nests in Christmas trees. Who are we to mess with good luck?

There are other animals — red reindeer with shiny silver antlers, two or three teddy bears, Snoopy.

There are ornament-reminders of when our kids were growing up — a miniature yellow Tonka dump truck, a dollhouse, a football.

There's a lighthouse, a plethora of trains — two loves of mine.

In a paean to New Mexico are several hot-air balloons, a three-inch-high wood replica of the famed Sanctuario at Chimayo, two Nambé ornaments — one in the shape of a chile, the other set with a turquoise.

There are long-ago gifts from the kids — a paper stocking with names inscribed with red glitter and absolutely the ugliest clay snowman ever, which today nobody takes responsibility for. Conversation pieces, definitely.

On the other hand, there are two exquisite ornaments from Saks Fifth Avenue (an on-sale indulgence when I worked a half-block away).

All, or most, of the ornaments have some meaning, however obscure. But a silver wrench? A tarantula, for God’s sake? Another good luck charm?

Jim grubbed for an ornament he remembered, finding it in the bottom of the box. Triumphantly he held it high — a cheap plastic Santa and sleigh and four tiny reindeer, each with red nose.

I understand how one of the things most mourned by friends who lost their homes in the massive 1990 Painted Cave Fire was Christmas ornaments.

For some, history comes in books.

We find it in ornaments.

Noozhawk contributing writer Sally Cappon is an author and local freelance writer. Contact her at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Geoff Green Starting New Adventure as SBCC Foundation Director

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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He's transitioning from his 18-year tenure with the Fund for Santa Barbara

For the past 18 years, Geoff Green has been the face of the Fund for Santa Barbara, a nonprofit group focused on social-justice issues.

But early next year, Green will begin a new journey as the leader of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, a private organization that helps fund scholarships, programs, tutoring and other areas essential to the local community college.

Green will start his new job Feb. 9, and in the meantime is transitioning from the leadership at the Fund for Santa Barbara, which will be searching for its own new director in his absence.

Noozhawk sat down with Green last week to talk about his past in the Santa Barbara community and his future.

Green has deep roots in Santa Barbara, which began at UCSB, where he studied theater, geology and evolutionary biology, leaving school a few credits short of graduating to take what he calls his "dream job" — the position of park ranger at Yosemite National Park, where he worked to educate visitors to the park.

Prior to that, Green served on the Isla Vista Parks and Recreation Department and was elected president of the Associated Students at UCSB.

After several years of hiring freezes, the Yosemite instituted permanent budget cuts, and Green found himself back in Santa Barbara, after several mentors had recommended he call Nancy Weiss at the Fund for Santa Barbara.

He was hired as Weiss's executive assistant in 1997, and the two of them made up the total of the staff at the organization at that time.

Green recalls their first project while he was at the fund — a group of renters successfully suing local landlord Dario Pini for untenable living conditions.

During that same time, Green recalls attending a retreat for the Downtown Organization at the Montecito Country Club, just a few miles from where those renters lived.

"Those places are barely a mile apart," he said. " The fund's job is connecting those worlds."

During Green's time at the fund, it went from two employees and an annual budget of $150,000 per year, to six employees and a $1.1 million budget.

"It does critical work and it's a great organization, but I'm very much ready for a new adventure," he said of the fund.

SBCC's mission is an important one for Green.

"I come from a family of teachers," he said, adding that he enjoys his role as occasional speaker to classes at UCSB and Antioch University.

The Santa Barbara City College Foundation is key to raising money for new programs, and that the college itself has worked to democratize education, making it accessible for everyone.

"It's not just a neighborhood college, it serves in its capacity as a gateway for higher education," he said, adding that the foundation approached him about the job.

"There is a lot of love for the college," he said.

He's been able to use the past five directors as a resource, and plans to continue reaching out to them for their institutional knowledge.

"They're all just expert fundraisers," he said.

Green's tenure begins as the college is facing some critical issues, including how to deal with housing and the impacts on the lower Westside neighborhood, and the aftermath of bond measures that voters did not approve in the fall to make improvements to the campus.

A Lower Westside Task Force has been formed to discuss the housing issues and has been in talks with the college, and Green said the foundation may have a role to play in those talks.

"That's a place where the foundation may be a critical partner," he said.

As for the bond measures failing,"That was the community saying we still have some questions on this," he said. "It's up to SBCC to make the case."

Green admits the last five years have brought challenges for the college.

A leadership transition from former president Andreea Serban to Lori Gaskin; adult education woes; and tumult with the college's board of trustees have all been in the works.

Green himself served as moderator to public forums discussing how to proceed with adult education programs, a contentious process that took place over several years. 

"I've had glimpses of it," he said of the conversation about adult education.

Four staff from the Santa Barbara Foundation are now working with Green's team at SBCC, as well as others from Partners in Education and other groups.  

It's a staff of 12 and they're ready "to jump right into the big issues," Green said.

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

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Veteran Santa Maria Firefighter Reflects on Career As Retirement Nears

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Battalion chief marks more than three decades on city force — ‘I have loved every minute of it’

The longest-serving member of the Santa Maria Fire Department will hang up his hat after one last shift on Christmas Day.

Battalion Chief Richard Bertram surprised himself by choking up with emotion as he bid farewell during a special recognition before the Santa Maria City Council on Dec. 16 in honor of his 34 years of full-time service. 

“I have loved every minute of it,” he said Thursday. “I’m not leaving because I don’t love my job.”

Chief Dan Orr noted that those who belong to an organization are “simply shepherds of the organization.”

“The goal is always to leave the organization better then you found it,” Orr said. “It is not hard to find Chief Bertram's fingerprints on many of the improvements that have been made to the organization over the years.

"Rick cares deeply the department and the city as a whole and filling his shoes is going to be difficult.”

Bertram chose the career as a youth growing up in West Los Angeles, and attended Santa Barbara City College. He originally spent a year as a member of a Santa Barbara County Fire Department hand crew.

He then attended the Hancock College fire academy en route to becoming a full-time firefighter.

Bertram first served as a reserve firefighter with the Santa Maria department before being hired full-time as the city’s third fire station, then near College Avenue and Donovan Road, was about to open.

While rising through the ranks, he’s seen the department through five chiefs, the addition of three more stations, plus replacement of Station 3 and the celebration of the agency’s 100th anniversary.

“I love these guys. It’s fun to watch them work,” Bertram said. “They are so good.  It’s very exciting to be involved in this stage of the fire service. It’s changed so much, and that’s fun to be involved with.”

During his career, he’s also seen the dramatic changes in equipment and skills employed by firefighters.

“The technology is really incredible. It makes it a much safer job for these guys,” he said. 

When he started, firefighters responded to a few basic medical calls and fires. Nowadays, their training has much more importance as crews must have skills in handling assorted disciplines such as hazardous materials along with urban search-and-rescue situations.

Bertram recalled seeing crews employing some of those skills after the Town Center Inn fire in October 2013, as they built a temporary structure to shore up the unstable facade.

“To watch those guys put that together that quickly and know exactly what they were doing, it’s fun to see,”  Bertram said. “It really is exciting to watch them perform and, as the chief says, to do their craft. They’re very good at it.”

He noted he has worked with three generations of firefighters, including the older ones who were on the job when he joined the agency and retired long ago. He’s the last of his generation and now gets to see a new generation making a mark on the fire service.

“It’s fun to see that evolution and the camaraderie and how they all mold together,” he said. “They are so much better than I ever was at that stage of my career. They are so well-educated, so well-trained.”

When he retires, the Shell Beach resident and his wife, Theresa, plan to travel and enjoy his freedom of not having to regularly report for shifts. 

And he isn’t totally leaving the profession, since he will continue to work part-time as a member of the Central Coast Interagency Incident Management Team, whose members respond as needed to wildland fires across the West.

It’s yet another chance to do the job he loves so much. 

“What I find unique about it is I don’t know a fireman that doesn’t love their job," Bertram said. "I look forward to coming to work. I look forward to being around the people that I’m around and I look forward to everything that we do."

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

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Laurie Jervis: Of Bubbles and Still Wine, Sustainable and Organic Vineyards

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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During the past decade, I've soaked up a ton of wine knowledge. As a bonus, I actually remember most of it. I recently found a new term: grower champagne.

By definition, these champagnes are produced in the Champagne region of France — just like "real" champagnes. The difference: Grower champagnes come from estates that, well, actually grow the grapes that end up in the champagne. The key word here is "grower" of the grapes that are used in the champagnes.

Since I favor those who work the land and vines themselves, be they folks in my county or across the globe, curiosity won me over, and I sidled up to the bar during a "green" tasting at the Los Olivos Cafe & Wine Merchant on Dec. 10.

While huge champagne houses such as Mumm, Moët & Chandon and Perrier Jouët use grapes sourced from several vineyards, grower champagnes come from one vineyard, or just a handful of sites that are adjacent to one another.

During the cafe's event, titled "Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Biodynamic, Organic, Balanced and Natural Wine Fair," representatives from three distributors (Farm Wine Imports, Southern Wine & Spirits and Wine Wise) joined local winemakers who also focus on sustainable, organic and, in a couple of cases, biodynamic and organic grape growing and winemaking.

Jenna Congdon, sales rep for Wine Wise, poured bubbles from five producers who favor sustainability — one of them, the Greek label Karanika, follows organic and biodymanic practices, and another, Vilmart, sustainable and organic.

All five labels happen to utilize grapes from old vines, be they in Germany, Greece or France.

The Geoffroy NV Cuvée Expression Brut Champagne is a blend of pinot meunier, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes from sustainable vineyards. The Geoffroy family has grown grapes in the village of Cumieres since the 1600s, although its first bottling was not until 1980, Congdon told me.

The evening also featured local wines grown from sustainable, organic or biodynamic vineyards. Included were A Tribute to Grace/Farmers Jane, Alma Rosa, Ampelos, Amplify, Beckmen, Bernat, Ground Effect, Lo-Fi, J Brix, Presqu'ile, Solminer and Roark Wine Co.

The winemakers from all of these labels focus on sustainable farming and winemaking. Two vineyards, those of Beckmen and Ampelos, are certified biodynamic sites, and the Bernat and Alma Rosa vineyards are certified organic.

Anna and David deLaski of Solminer Wine also farm a three-acre vineyard in Los Olivos that is certified organic. Yes, in practice, farming organically requires "a lot of labor," Anna deLaski said, "but we want to take care of the Earth." (As the Solminer website states, Anna's motto is "go green or go home.")

The couple are turning heads with their new releases, among them a 2013 Riesling and the 2013 Estate Sparkling Syrah, "Nebullite."

In practice, how do sustainable, organic and biodynamic differ?

Sustainable practices address water conservation and efficient use of energy, as well as air quality, social responsibility and habitat conservation. Click here for more information.

Certified organic vineyards cannot use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

And finally, viticulturists farming vineyards that are certified biodynamic must follow the cycles of the lunar calendar, which dictates certain days for pruning, weeding, harvesting and much more. The biodynamic vineyard is considered an ecosystem, and all chemicals are strictly forbidden.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via winecountrywriter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Steven Crandell: An Open Letter to Bill Gates and Kevin Roberts

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Dear Bill Gates and Kevin Roberts,

Here’s the challenge:

The people of the world are ready for one of the biggest innovations ever — the merger of business and philanthropy.

Climate change has presented the unifying threat. Technology has given us hope for solutions. Governments around the globe seem more willing to collaborate than ever before. But only business has the horsepower to accelerate positive change by adopting philanthropic goals into their strategy.

There is no bigger sales challenge in the world than getting businesses to see that their market share can increase and the long-term profitability can grow as they build sustainable, pro-social goals into their products and services and operations.

There is no greater positive benefit to be reaped than this transformation in how the world operates. (September’s U.N. Climate Summit showed hints of what is possible.)

The big question, gentlemen, is: Are you up to promoting the biggest business and philanthropic opportunity of the century?

“We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.”
Willy Wonka, from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Of course, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which you co-chair, Bill, is already a leader in impact investing and already works with for-profit partners toward philanthropic ends. (Click here to read the foundation’s investment strategy.)

Saatchi & Saatchi, headed by you, Kevin, already supports philanthropy in creative ways.

But I’m asking for more:

I want the man with unmatched achievement and leadership in technology, business and philanthropy (that’s you, Bill) to appear in a campaign devised by the clever minds and hearts of one of the world’s most creative ad agencies (those are your mates, Kevin). The goal of the campaign: build awareness so businesses can start planning now for the collaborative, pro-social/ for-profit future that awaits the planet.

Does the goal seem impossible? The plan far-fetched?

Doesn’t innovation often present this way in the beginning?

What about when two college students decided in 1975 to democratize computers by writing software (the precursor to Windows) that would empower anyone to use the most complicated and powerful tools on the planet?

Wasn’t that far-fetched?

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. / Anything you want to — do it. / Want to change the world — there’s nothing to it.”
— Willy Wonka

Change is upon us whether we like it or not. Once upon a time, baby boomers made up the biggest part of the U.S. population. Not any more. Now millennials (born 1980-2000) are No. 1.

NPR reports that millennials are not only really good at tech innovation — as a rule, they are more tolerant, diverse and optimistic than us boomers.

Is the millennial generation simply going to accept that for-profit companies focus only on growth and an attractive return on investment without regard to the sustainability of the planet or the quality of life of its inhabitants? Or might this powerful new generation start buying more — a lot more — from companies that steward the earth and improve the lot of the people who live here?

Worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Worth discussing.

Bill ... thoughts?

“If technology is purely market-driven and we don’t focus innovation on the big inequities, then we could have amazing inventions that leave the world even more divided. We won’t improve public schools. We won’t cure malaria. We won’t end poverty. We won’t develop the innovations poor farmers need to grow food in a changing climate.”
— Bill Gates, from the commencement speech he made with his wife, Melinda, to Stanford University students in June 2014

Kevin?

“We need radical optimists and extreme enthusiasts but most of all we need ideas. Ideas have magical power. In a world of major impasses and eroding differences, ideas improve the way we live.”
— Kevin Roberts, speech to INSEAD in France, September 2014

I like how this is developing. Let’s continue.

Bill:

“Innovation can solve almost every problem.”

Kevin:

“Institutions such as governments, churches and media are limited as agents of change. Geared defensively; a lot of reporting and policy and a little bit of absolution. Humanity will never strategize, rationalize, negotiate, consult or hope its way to glory. Only business can take direct action to move hearts. Business meets needs, solves problems, innovates, improves lives, create jobs and offers everyday joy. Only business has the freedom to win through imagination and ideas.”

Bill:

“I often talk about the miracle of vaccines: With just a few doses, they protect children from deadly diseases forever. When it comes to clean energy, we need breakthroughs that are just as miraculous. Just like vaccines, clean-energy miracles don’t just happen by chance. We have to make them happen, through long-term investments in research and development.”
Gatesnotes’ blog June 25, 2014

Kevin:

“We live, work and play deep in a participation economy ... Consumers are becoming producers, and small players have big reach.”
Saatchi & Saatchi Red Paper

Bill:

“Optimism is often dismissed as false hope. But there is also false hopelessness. That’s the attitude that says we can’t defeat poverty and disease. We absolutely can.”

Kevin:

“Let’s do it together, for none of us is as strong as all of us.”

Wow, so glad you are both so positive about this.  

I just want you to know that you won’t be in this alone. Not only will I volunteer my services pro bono to write and fundraise for this effort, I am prepared to give 1 percent of my annual income to Saatchi & Saatchi to fund the cause.

Would you both do the same?

I believe profit and pro-social purpose will join forces. It’s ultimately about survival. Collaborate or die. That’s one of humanity’s oldest — and most motivating — stories. The seed of community. The spur for innovation.

The only question is how much time will we waste — and how much suffering we will condone — before we start the process of change.

So, Bill ... Kevin ... can I count on you?

— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at stevencrandell@noozhawk.com, or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Westside Gang Members Sentenced to State Prison for Eastside Robbery

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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A pair of Westside gang members learned their sentences this week after a jury convicted them of robbery and false imprisonment stemming from a 2012 incident outside an Eastside market in Santa Barbara.

Marcial Garcia was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Christian Botello was sentenced to 21 years in prison, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury convicted both men in October of robbery and false imprisonment by violence or menace with criminal street gang allegations and active participation in the Westside criminal street gang. 

“As a result of the rigorous investigation by Santa Barbara Police Department gang detectives and the focused prosecution by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel, dangerous gang members will once again be sent to prison for decades,” Dudley said. 

In a separate bifurcated trial, the jury further found Botello sustained a prior conviction in 2001 for felony active participation in a criminal street gang. 

In a court trial held several weeks after the verdicts, Judge Frank Ochoa found that Garcia also sustained prior convictions for the crimes of robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang in 2006, and grand theft person with criminal street gang allegations in 1999.  

Those findings helped lead to the longer sentences for the two defendants.

Co-defendants and fellow Westside gang members Luis Jaimes and Juan Carlos Gomez pleaded to robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang prior to trial; Jaimes was sentenced to 5 years prison and Gomez was sentenced to 5 years, 8 months in prison.  

Prosecutors contend that on Aug. 26, 2012, Garcia and Botello drove into rival Eastside gang territory with codefendants Jaimes and Gomez, stopping at the Mi Fiesta Market, 410 Salinas St. 

The victim remained in the car while his cousin went inside the market

The victim, who told the defendants he “didn’t bang,” was robbed of his wallet, cell phone, cash and other items, and threatened with being stabbed if he didn't comply with the suspects' demands.

Jaimes and Gomez were accused of acting as lookouts during the robbery.

Garcia, Botello and Gomez were among seven people arrested in October 2012 as part of a gang sweep conducted by Santa Barbara police.

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

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‘Serial Rapist’ Given to 19 Years in State Prison

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Jerry Providence Bonhomme

A man described as a serial rapist was sentenced in Santa Barbara Superior Court to 19 years in state prison for attacks involving two women, District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday.

Jerry Providence Bonhomme, 33, of Santa Barbara received the punishment after being found guilty of raping two women. He also must register as a sex offender and pay restitution costs for the victims' therapy.

A jury convicted Bonhomme in July of four charges including two rape charges.

At the sentencing hearing Tuesday in Judge Frank Ochoa’s courtroom, one victim contended in a statement read on her behalf that she believed Bonhomme is a danger of women.

“In my 32 years on the bench, I have never seen a more sophisticated manipulation of a position of trust and friendship to avail persons into victimization.,” Ochoa said. “I cannot give you enough time for what you did to these [victims].” 

In July 2012, Santa Barbara police detailed three incidents, dating back to December 2011, in which Bonhomme allegedly sexually assaulted highly intoxicated women he met at local bars and parties.

A few weeks later, a fourth victim came forward after reports of Bonhomme’s arrest.

“Jerry Bonhomme is a sexual predator,” stated Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman.  “With this sentence, a serial rapist is out of the public and away from women for the maximum allowable time under the law. We could not have accomplished this just result without the bravery of the victims who came forward and testified.”

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

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Son Arrested in Death of Lompoc Woman Found in La Habra

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 30, of Santa Maria is accused of murdering Emma Posadas-Espinoza

Gabriel Antonio Espinoza

The son of a Lompoc woman found dead amid suspicious circumstances in Orange County during the summer has been arrested in connection with her death.

Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 30, of Santa Maria was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder with special circumstances Tuesday by La Habra police.

His mother, 58-year-old Emma Posadas-Espinoza, was found dead in La Habra on July 21.

A man walking a dog found the woman in foliage, with only the feet and a limited portion of the body appearing to be uncovered, according to police in the Orange County city.

Police initially said the woman’s white, four-door Acura sedan was missing.

However, it was found July 30 in the 600 block of North Curryer Street in Santa Maria after someone reported that the vehicle appeared to be abandoned, police confirmed in September.

The initial findings at the scene and preliminary autopsy were “inconclusive” regarding the cause of death. 

Last week, the Orange County Coroner's Office gave police the final autopsy results, which indicated the woman had died of asphyxiation. 

"Based on the information gathered in the investigation, which included search warrants and court orders, the La Habra Police Department was able to identify a suspect responsible for the homicide," police said in a news release.

At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, La Habra police arrested Espinoza at his Santa Maria residence with the assistance of Santa Maria police.

Posadas-Espinoza moved to Lompoc in 1989, and worked as a licensed clinical social worker with agencies including Head Start, the Community Action Commission and Community Health Centers.

Her son remained in custody in Orange County Jail where he is being held without bail.

He reportedly is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at the Orange County Central Justice Center.

After his mother went missing, Espinoza contacted Lompoc police but never filed a missing person's report last summer, La Habra police said.

Upon the discovery of the body last summer, Espinoza talked to KEYT/KCOY television reporter about his mother, describing her as a caring person and a mom who regularly showed up to support him when he played baseball as a youth and coached as an adult.

"That's my mom. I want that person, whoever it was, I forgive them, but it's just so hard," he said.

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

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Santa Barbara High Raising Funds for New Environmental Science Building Near Greenhouse

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Stacy and Ron Pulice pledge $250,000 for the project, which would replace a dilapidated shed with an outdoor classroom and shade/storage structure

Chickens happily wander around their pen and garden at Santa Barbara High School, unaware that their home will be getting an upgrade.

Private donors and the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School are fundraising to build a new outdoor classroom and storage structure next to the vegetable garden and greenhouse, which is used for Jose Caballero’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science class and Small-Scale Food Production course.

Hundreds of students have taken his courses over the past 11 years, including the three children of Stacy and Ron Pulice, who have pledged $250,000 to the project.

The project was all Stacy Pulice’s idea, who interviewed Caballero for her education dissertation and realized the success and potential for the campus’ garden area.

Everyone she talked to, including her own kids, raved about Caballero’s class.

Their son, Will, is a senior who previously took the APES class and is now working on an aquaponics project, and their daughter, Remi, is studying environmental studies at UC Berkeley, inspired by her time in Caballero’s class and as a teacher’s assistant, Pulice said.

There is a rose garden, native plant garden, vegetable garden, chicken pen, greenhouse and the site of the former shed structure, which was put up without permits and pulled down for structural issues, Principal John Becchio said.

Ideas for the new building include a shaded structure for plants, an outdoor classroom space, a locked storage and office area, solar panels on the roof and even a platform for the school’s bee hives. The structure itself is estimated to cost about $500,000.

Pulice already got the help of architect Brett Ettinger and landscape architect Eric Nagelmann for the plans, which show improvements to the whole area.

SBHS garden
Santa Barbara High School Principal John Becchio shows the space planned for a new oudoor classroom/shade structure building near the vegetable garden and greenhouse used for environmental science classes. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

At a recent meet-up to look at design plans, Caballero and Pulice talked about making a more social environment for students in a new orchard/chicken run area.

It could be more inviting for students and the community, Pulice said.

Instructionally speaking, the vegetable garden is at the core of the program, showing students what to do with the dirt, Caballero said.

The garden’s soil is excellent, “about as good as I can get my hands on,” he said. He has had it tested before and it’s “top notch” from constant management with different plantings and the chickens, which fertilize the soil and eat bugs.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education approved the fundraising plan for the project, which will be half-funded by the Pulice family.

“What was there was absolutely derelict and dangerous,” board member Kate Parker said.

Becchio said he’s not concerned about the school’s foundation taking on too much, since there won’t be much crossover in fundraising between the stadium project and this. They hope to reach out to current students and alumni of the environmental sciences classes.

Design plans will come back to the Board of Education for review and the timeline will depend on fundraising and how fast the project can get approval from the Division of the State Architect, said Dave Hetyonk, facilities director for the district.

“We could have rebuilt a minimal structure for $15,000, it would have just been chain link, poles and fabric — which is a world of difference with what you see before you on the sketch,” Hetyonk said at the board meeting. 

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

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MetLife Blimp Makes Regular Treks Above Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Santa Maria Public Airport serves as stopover for Snoopy Two airship and its crew

The airship dubbed Snoopy Two touched down this week at the Santa Maria Public Airport for its second visit in four days.

The Met Life blimp took off Tuesday morning after another overnight stay on the Central Coast.

The blimp spent the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it flew overhead at the Oakland Raiders game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

En route to the NFL gig above Oakland, the airship and its crew also spent Thursday night in Santa Maria. 

The route north took the blimp over Santa Barbara, where a crew member snapped an aerial photo and posted it to the MetLife blimp Twitter account.

The frequent visits are attributed to geography.

“I think we are just a convenient location halfway between the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas,” said Chris Hastert, airport general manager.

In addition to convenience, Santa Maria’s airfield boasts plenty of room to provide temporary tie-down for airships, he noted.

Also, past airship crews have cited the hotel adjacent to the airfield as another reason they prefer to stay overnight in Santa Maria.

The Met Life blimp Snoopy Two is silhouetted by the sunset this week near the Santa Maria Public Airport (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Snoopy Two isn’t the only airship to visit. The Goodyear blimp also drops by Santa Maria during its West Coast excursions.

The MetLife Blimp Program began in 1987 and underwent an expansion in 1994, according to the company’s website.

MetLife operates three airships known as “Snoopy One,” “Snoopy Two,” and "Snoopy J,” but all three are the same model.

While Snoopy One primarily remains on the East Coast, Snoopy Two winters on the West Coast, touring above California, Nevada and Arizona, and uses the hashtag #Snoopy2 on social media. 

Together, the two airships combine to travel approximately 120,000 miles a year throughout the United States. Each blimp travels with a 14-member crew made up of two pilots and 12 crewmen.

The primary purpose of the blimp program is providing aerial video coverage of sporting and special events, MetLife officials said.

In a typical year, “Snoopy One” and “Snoopy Two” cover approximately 70 events for a variety of networks.

Snoopy Two has made several trips over the Central Coast in the past few weeks while en route to sporting events.

The blimp visits show the diversity of the Santa Maria airport, Hastert said, adding, “We’re a very capable airport.”

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

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Allan Hancock College’s Luis Sanchez Named President of Moorpark College

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A career-long journey to fulfill his dream as an educational administrator has ended for Luis Sanchez, J.D., LL.M. The associate superintendent and vice president of academic affairs at Allan Hancock College has accepted an offer to become the next president of Moorpark College.

Sanchez
Luis Sanchez

“To receive this opportunity is a milestone for me,” Sanchez said. “To be the president of a community college has been a goal of mine since I can remember. I feel incredibly fortunate.”

Sanchez began working at Hancock in July 2011 in his current role. He plans to continue working at Hancock into February, before starting his new position at Moorpark in early March.

“I truly love Hancock, the students and people I work with,” Sanchez said. “I am proud to work at a college where we weathered the biggest possible storm during the economic downturn and came out on top because of everyone’s deep devotion to helping students succeed.”

During his time at Hancock, Sanchez has worked under three presidents: José Ortiz, Ed.D.; Elizabeth Miller, Ed.D.; and current president Kevin Walthers, Ph.D. He said he would take something from each of them to his new post.

“Dr. Ortiz was charismatic and great with students. Dr. Miller was unshakeable and a great steward for the college. Dr. Walthers is highly entrepreneurial and someone I feel will lead Hancock to greatness,” he said.

Walthers wished Sanchez the best in his new position. “Luis is one of the most thoughtful and insightful leaders I have ever worked with,” Walthers said. “Moorpark College is fortunate to have him join the institution.”

Sanchez said the new position allows him to be closer to his two children, Robert and Elizabeth, who live in San Diego, as well as his mother in Seal Beach and his siblings in Long Beach and Irvine.

He plans to immerse himself in Moorpark’s culture for a few months before identifying his main goals.

“I want to see a broader picture before I can figure out how to support Moorpark to becoming as great of a college as possible, ultimately, to the benefit of the students,” he said.

Sanchez earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Los Angeles. He went on to earn his juris doctorate and master’s from McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. He practiced law full time for seven years before he started to teach law full time. Prior to arriving at Hancock, Sanchez spent 20 years at Sierra College where he was an instructor, as well as the dean of business, public safety and technology.

Moorpark has been searching for a new president for nearly one year. Dr. Bernard Luskin is currently serving as Moorpark College’s interim president.

The search for Sanchez’s replacement at Allan Hancock College will begin in the spring.

— Gina Herlihy is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Letter to the Editor: Laguna Blanca School Mourns Loss of Dotsy Adams

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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It is with great sorrow that I share the recent loss of Dorothy "Dotsy" Adams, wife of Jack Adams, our headmaster from 1961 to 1981.

Jack preceded Dotsy in passing in July of this year. Together, they helped build Laguna into the thriving and tightly knit community that it is today. Dotsy will always be remembered for her profound warmth, generosity and dedication toward those around her.

As many of you may recall, Dotsy took great pride in the Laguna community. She attended nearly every school function during her time here, and she was always the first to lend a helping hand to welcome new families into the community. Whether she was organizing the Fall Festival or supporting her husband Jack, Dotsy was without a doubt the heart and soul of our Hope Ranch home.

The family has extended a heartfelt invitation to all members of the Laguna community to attend Dotsy's Celebration of Life on Saturday, Jan. 10 (tentatively at 2 p.m.). The service will take place at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 83 Eucalyptus Lane in Santa Barbara. Afterward, a reception will be held at Casa Dorinda at 300 Hot Springs Road in Santa Barbara.

I deeply regret that I did not have more time to know Dotsy and learn more about her time at Laguna Blanca. It is my hope that Laguna will carry her spirit of compassion into future generations. We are a better school because of the love and care she and her beloved Jack poured into our community, and I know she will be greatly missed.

Warmest regards,

Rob Hereford, head of school
Laguna Blanca School

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Santa Barbara County Unemployment Rate at 5.7% for November

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County was 5.7 percent in November, as we approach the end-of-year holiday season, according to figures released Tuesday by the State Employment Development Department.

A year ago, in November 2013, unemployment for the county was at 6.4 percent.

Between November 2013 and November 2014, total labor force in Santa Barbara County grew from 223,200 to 228,200 or 5,000 workers. The year-to-year change in the labor force in October was 4,600 workers.

“As expected, the sector that produced the most jobs was retail; which is consistent with the holiday season, and are probably temporary jobs,” said Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Raymond McDonald.

“There were unexpected gains in local government jobs (300), while the Professional & Business Services sector was flat — as employers delayed permanent hiring during the holidays, and routinely make up for this lull during the first few months of the new year.”

Looking to the sub-county areas in Tuesday's release, there are some unfortunate changes from the previous month, with Lompoc and Guadalupe slipping back into double-digit unemployment.

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John Daly: New Year’s Bash Dilemmas

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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​It’s almost 2015! And New Year’s celebrations often bring about more questions than answers, whether business–related or personal. I get asked these questions frequently. Let’s look at how to resolve them with ease.

What to Wear?

It’s perfectly fine to ask others how they will be dressing. Here’s a tip: In cold, dry winter weather, silk is victim to static cling, even in Santa Barbara! To prevent it, run a wire hanger over your clothes to eliminate electric charges.

May I Bring a Few Friends?

It’s only polite to ask in advance. Don’t spring it on the host. However, if you are thinking of bringing more than four friends, think again. That’s pushing it.

Do I Have to Bring a Host or Hostess Gift?

That’s the considerate thing to do.

If So, What?

Here are some thoughts:

» Flowers already arranged in a nice keepsake vase

» Chocolates (particularly if you know your host loves them)

» A selection of cards for birthdays, anniversaries and other happy occasions (that will save your host some time)

» A morning-after basket of teas and coffee, muffins or scones and aspirin!

Do I Have to Dress Up for a Masquerade Party?

If you want to show your appreciation, yes! If you don’t want to wear a costume, at least put on a mask. If your host gives out party hats and favors, get in the spirit and just do it!

Does It Matter If I’m Late?

If it’s a cocktail party, don’t arrive any later than an hour after start time, and that’s pushing it. Never arrive early.

If it is for a meal, be on time! It’s rude to be late and potentially will cause difficulty with the timing of the food presentation.

When’s a Good Time to Leave?

Look for clues. If your host starts yawning, taking off her shoes and rubbing her feet, that’s a signal. If you are in a large crowd and the lights are turned up, the food isn’t being replenished and the bar is closed, take the hint.

What About Posting on Social Media at the Party?

Whoever thought that posting your food at a party or a restaurant is worthy of social media is just plain wrong! Nobody cares! Remember that what you post should be of interest to others — something post-worthy to pass along. Don’t bombard Facebook, Instagram and the like with endless selfies of yourself at parties, and don’t take embarrassing photos of your friends in compromising positions. That’s not being a friend at all.

And above all, don’t criticize the party host, food or situation. Remember, that’s a good way to lose friends. Once posted, it never goes away. My best advice yet: unplug from technology when you are socializing.

How Do I Avoid an Unwanted Kiss at Midnight?

To prevent unwanted attention, get together with a bunch of your friends and plan a group hug when the clock strikes midnight. Huddling together will create almost a barrier to unwanted kisses.

How Do I Get Out of An Invitation?

Have your friends invited you to hang out or pay too much money to get into an uninteresting club, and you don’t want to go? Your attendance is not required. First of all, if you do go, you’ll be miserable. And, in turn, you’ll put a damper on everyone else’s fun.

Instead, just politely tell your friends you have other plans. If they push you, explain that you have some things you want to accomplish or that you need some alone time. If they are your friends, they’ll definitely understand.

Remember, never let others push or guilt you into something you don’t want to do.

How Do I Follow Up after Attending a Hosted New Year’s Eve Party?

Definitely send a handwritten thank-you note. It is the polite thing to do and will make you stand out in your host’s mind. If you did take nonembarrassing digital photos, email your host and send him or her a few.

The bottom line to all of this is to be safe. If you plan to drink, go with a designated nondrinking driver or take a cab or an Uber car.

Happy New Year!

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at johnkeyclass@gmail.com. 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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Sheriff’s Department to Conduct ATV Enforcement Near Riverbend in Lompoc

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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In response to a large number of complaints from Santa Barbara County residents living near the riverbed in the unincorporated area of Lompoc, the Sheriff’s Department will be strictly enforcing three county ordinances that prohibit motor vehicles from driving on unimproved public or private property.

Numerous property owners have recently expressed concern over off-road vehicles being operated in the riverbed at various times of the day and night. The complaints include noise from the vehicles, and bonfires and campfires being held in the area. There has also been an increased amount of trash left behind and vandalism of private property, including crop damage and cut fences and gates.

Additionally, cattle have been injured and let loose from their pastures. There has also been a large number of drug- and alcohol-related offenses related to the bon/campfires. Most often the subjects involved in committing crimes in the area accessed the private property illegally on an ATV.

The Sheriff’s Department wants to notify the public that starting this Sunday, Dec. 28, and over the next several weeks, deputies will conduct a riverbed enforcement of Santa Barbara County and state ordinances. The targeted area will be the unincorporated area of the Santa Ynez River bordering the City of Lompoc.

County Ordinances 24-28, 24-29 and 24-30 were amended in 2008 to extend the prohibition of operating motor vehicles on unimproved private property to also include unimproved public property. Individuals who are found in violation of these ordinances or of committing other crimes in the riverbed area will be cited and or arrested and could face potential prosecution.

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

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Tara Jones: Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen Serves as an Oasis Amid the Chaos

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Sean and Gabi Larkins, longtime owners of Vino Divino on De la Vina, have opened this new quaint venue on Anacapa Street

Last year I pushed off Christmas shopping until the last minute, and as my fellow procrastinators know all too well, I was that frantic shopper mowing people down trying to get that last pair of mittens for so-and-so before the stores were all sold out.

This year I started my shopping in August. That’s right. This year I vowed not to be that person who was elbowing her way toward the perfect gift for so-and-so. And my plan would have been flawless if I had bought more than one present that month.

Instead, I found myself wrestling among the masses Thanksgiving weekend and was ready to lie down and take a nap on the nearest bench when I came across an oasis in the land of holiday shopping.

Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen, opened just three months ago, offers rare craft beers such as Chucklehead IPA, a very limited production beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Co., as well as Schonramer Gold beer on tap.

Sean Larkins, along with wife Gabi, are the decade-long owners of the flourishing wine shop Vino Divino on De la Vina Street, known for its fair-priced, hard-to-find wines.

Recently, Larkins has expanded their libation offerings to the new digs on Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara, featuring a revolving menu of German and Bavarian lagers and beer, wine and food.

With a classic sandwich and tapas menu, and plans to eventually expand the kitchen to include a pizza oven, Larkins has teamed up with his wife to offer one-of-a-kind winemaker dinners that pair three courses with five wines for an affordable price of $30 to $40.

And keep an ear to the ground about possible upcoming events, such as bottle sharing nights for all beer aficionados.

This quaint venue is sure to keep frequent beer and wine tasters on their toes and is the perfect respite for all you last-minute holiday marathoners.

Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen is located at 618 Anacapa St. The hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 3 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at tara@eatthisshootthat.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Cynder Sinclair: Time to Assess Your Nonprofit’s Year and Set New Intentions

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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As each year draws to a close, I encourage organizations to look back over the past months and make a list of their accomplishments. Most nonprofits are so focused on projects lying ahead that they forget to reflect on their successes. Yet, acknowledging triumphs can energize the team to surge ahead in the new year with renewed vigor.

I’m not suggesting a formal strategic plan, although that is always critical to long-term success. I’m just proposing a simple reflective process — the secret to replenishing your momentum. Here’s how this simple, effective five-step process works.

Gather Your Team

Don’t do this alone. Others on your team will benefit from this vital process, too. Invite board members, staff members or volunteers to an informal gathering — better yet, invite them all. A cross section of stakeholders always produces a wider scope of ideas and builds a more cohesive team.

Create a welcoming atmosphere by serving a beverage and snacks — and maybe play a little upbeat background music. Start by asking each person to describe what draws him or her to the organization’s mission — a powerful way of helping team members get in touch with their deep commitment to your mission.

Review the Year

Ask everyone to brainstorm a list of all the organization’s accomplishments over the past year — big ones and little ones. Remember the main rule of brainstorming: There are no bad ideas. Let occasional silence encourage timid ones to speak up. You may be surprised at the long list you create. Now make a list of any lessons learned: What would you have done differently? What has this past year taught you?

Celebrate Together

Now it’s time to celebrate your successes. Don’t forget that lessons learned are successes, too. Make your official “celebration list.” Assign a theme for the past year and choose something to represent the theme.

One organization proclaimed it their year of “building our foundation” because they finished reviewing and revising all their governing documents, refurbishing their board membership and restructuring their committees. They gave each person a small ceramic brick to symbolize their theme and to remind everyone to celebrate their accomplishments. Review this celebration list at the next staff meeting and at the next board meeting. Watch as it re-energizes everyone.

Set Your Intentions

Pull out your organization’s goals and review the progress made. Simply acknowledging your positive movement forward will give everyone a sense of accomplishment. Next, peek into the future. Look at each goal individually and list all actions necessary to complete it. Identify the gap between where you are today and where you want to be. Ascertain who needs to do what by when and then create a simple matrix clarifying roles, responsibilities and timelines. Create a plan to hold each person accountable for assigned tasks.

Some organizations use an outside consultant to help shepherd the goals through to completion. If there are goals that never seem to be accomplished, identify potential obstacles and make plans to remove the barriers. Some goals may need to be changed — they made sense at the time you created them but no longer serve the organization.

Conduct an Annual Review

At the end of the year, I also like to review all organizational documents to identify any that need revision or updates. Look at documents like bylaws, a strategic plan, an emergency response plan, financial policies, a board handbook, a board evaluation tool, ethics and conflict of interest statements, a confidentiality statement, a succession plan, a safety plan, a compensation and benefit structure, insurance and contracts, and committee structure. Prioritize these documents according to their need for modification and schedule them on a calendar for revision. Decide which revised documents will be presented at your annual meeting for approval.

Get Ready for an Energizing Year

The secret of this process is a cross section of organizational stakeholders reminding themselves of all they have accomplished in the past year, revisiting their beloved mission and clarifying their intentions for the coming year. This simple practice will reinvigorate your team and focus their energy on greater triumphs for the coming year.

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

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Santa Maria Police Release Shooting Victim’s Name

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The man found shot to death early Monday in the 1000 block of West Morrison Avenue in Santa Maria has been identified as Pedro Antonio Lainez-Lopez, 28, of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria police said they received multiple 911 calls just before 6 a.m. Monday and found Lainez-Lopez in a parked vehicle.

He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Officers attempted to render aid, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“There is no information at this time indicating this crime was gang-related,” police said. 

Lainez-Lopez died on the day before his birthday. 

Police are asking that anyone with information contact the department at 805.928.3781 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

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

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Williams Receives Perfect Score from Consumer Federation of California

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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When it comes to votes on key consumer rights bills, the 2014 Consumer Federation of California scorecard found that Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, has sided with consumers 100 percent of the time.

Williams has a perfect lifetime favorable rating on the CFC’s annual scorecard, which rates lawmakers’ votes on a range of legislative proposals, including protections for vulnerable elders, truth in advertising, cell phone safety regulation, medical credit arrangements, computer spyware, financial privacy and defective products.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a lawmaker who stands up to protect the working people of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties,” Williams said. “It’s important to keep consumers’ rights and protections at the forefront of our laws as we work to rebuild our economy.”

The scorecard includes bills that the CFC sponsored, supported or opposed and grades lawmakers based on votes they have cast as well as non-votes.

Among the bills that Williams is noted for casting the correct vote for consumers is Assembly Bill 1710, which requires a business responsible for a data breach of their customers’ personal information to notify their customers and offer identify theft prevention services at no cost for at least 12 months. Williams also co-authored and voted favorably on behalf of consumers in support of Assembly Bill 1522, which provides that employees are entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, limited to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment.

Click here to view the full scorecard.

— Anett Hurtado is a field representative for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Former President of Orcutt Youth Football League Arrested, Accused of Embezzling $20,000

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A former president of the Orcutt Youth Football League has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $20,000 in league funds, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Tyrome Lee
Tyrome Lamar Lee

The investigation began earlier this month when two board members from the Orcutt Youth Football League filed a complaint with the sheriff’s Santa Maria station accusing former league president Tyrome Lamar Lee, 35, of Orcutt of embezzling money from the organization, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

She said Lee had been president for the past year but resigned shortly after board members questioned him about discrepancies in the league’s bank account.

An internal audit showed the organization was short by more than $20,000, with several questionable checks, falsified invoices and suspicious cash withdrawals, she said.

A subsequent sheriff’s investigation uncovered evidence to support Lee had made unauthorized cash withdrawals and falsified invoices, embezzling a little more than $20,000 in league funds, Hoover said.

Deputies secured a search warrant and stopped Lee for a traffic infraction last Saturday, citing him for driving his BMW on a suspended license, she said.

Lee voluntarily went to the sheriff's station to be interviewed and was arrested on felony embezzlement charges.

Hoover said he was booked into the Santa Maria Jail on $25,000 bail, which he posted the same day and was released.

A search warrant served on Lee’s vehicle and residence found numerous electronic devices, which were seized, and evidence supporting embezzlement allegations, she said.

Deputies also seized two firearms, which Lee was not allowed to possess because he is a convicted felon, Hoover said.

She said the department would be requesting an additional charge for the firearms from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

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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Toyota Named in Products Liability, Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Crash That Killed Buellton Woman

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A products liability and wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Toyota on Friday as a result of a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Buellton woman (Robert Francis Wall Jr. vs. Toyota Motor Corp., LTD et al, Superior Court, Santa Barbara County, Dec. 19, 2014, Case No. 1470003).

On Dec. 19, 2013, Linda Wall, 68, was slowing down from highway speed, approaching a red light at the intersection of Highway 246 and Casino Drive near Santa Ynez. She was driving a 2004 Toyota Highlander. While slowing, Wall’s vehicle was rear-ended by a 2010 Jeep Wrangler, forcing the Highlander into a 2010 Chevy Equinox that was stopped at the light.

The lawsuit states that because of a defect in the Highlander’s design, the rear-end collision caused the Highlander’s driver’s side seatback to break and collapse backward into a fully-relined position. The impact forced Wall toward the back of her vehicle, past the fully reclined headrest, striking her head on the rear seat. Wall died seven hours later at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

According to the hospital, the cause of death was cervical vertebral fractures due to blunt force injury of the neck.

Also named in the lawsuit is Rebecca Sandoval, 37, the driver of the Wrangler. The day prior to the accident, Sandoval drove to the front gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base where the complaint says she was crying hysterically and acting irrationally. Base personnel called an ambulance, and when it arrived, Sandoval became physically resistant while being checked by paramedics. She was eventually taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center. After inspecting Sandoval’s vehicle, base personnel found multiple used and unopened nitrous oxide containers. Her car was towed and placed in a tow yard.

The next day, prior to the accident that killed Wall, Sandoval retrieved her car. She drove to the Chumash Casino Resort, where the complaint says she abused the illegal drugs left in the vehicle, got back into her car, and while under the influence of nitrous oxide, rear-ended Wall.

“Neither Sandoval or the occupants of the Equinox suffered serious injury,” said Barry Cappello, managing partner of Cappello & Noël and one of the attorneys representing Wall’s husband and three adult children in the case. “Sandoval and others, including Toyota, contributed to the cause of Linda Wall’s untimely death.”

Sandoval is charged with murder, felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. She is currently in custody with bail set at $1.1 million.

— Diane Zakian Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Cappello & Noël LLP.

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Ron Fink: Christmas Has Always Meant Goodwill and Happiness

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Christmas is one of the best holidays of the year; it is an iconic day celebrating the birth of Christ.

When I was young, Christmas morning was the long-awaited culmination of a boy’s hopes and dreams. I lived in the San Fernando Valley where we saw angels, mangers, tumble weed snowmen and Santa’s sleighs erected in front of City Hall, the library and many other public places.

My mom and dad always took us to Wilshire Avenue along the “miracle mile” in downtown Los Angeles where all the stores were alight with merry displays. Some had elaborate religious scenes complete with moving figures, huge Lionel train sets looping through miniature towns, and seemingly live reindeer pulling gift-laden sleighs through the winter sky.

Those were the good old days — no 24-hour news networks, no Internet to bombard us with more information than we could possibly process, and no cell phones. There were only a handful of black and white TV stations to entertain us.

I can still remember the first time I saw snow on Christmas — coming from Southern California and the only snow we saw was on our TV screen. One winter it snowed, but then it was quickly gone as the winter sun came up.

I was stationed with the U.S. Air Force at Rhein-Main Air Base, just outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and it snowed several inches of big fluffy flakes on “the night before Christmas.” It was an amazing sight to an 18-year-old far from home. I took a long walk in the pine forest surrounding our air base that morning, and then went to the mess hall for dinner.

The military always has a big feast on Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially overseas where the young men and women are so far from home. This was no different as we ate turkey, stuffing, gravy and lots of baked goods.

As I grew older, I remember “Christmas parties” where people gathered and exchanged small gifts, ate lots of food and shared some cheer. Church celebrations were always full of smiling and singing people who were all very happy with life and brimming with good cheer. There were Christmas plays in schools, and Jimmy Stewart always saved Christmas from the Grinch.

Yes, Christmas has always meant goodwill and happiness.

A few years ago, the displays in public places started disappearing. A handful of misguided people have ruled the day and are trying to totally exclude this joyous holiday from “official” public discussion. Christmas parties have now been replaced with the more politically correct “holiday gatherings.” school children take a “winter break,” we have “holiday parades” or a parade of lights, and mangers now only appear in our neighbors’ yards.

Our grandchildren are not allowed to sing or hum carols in many schools for fear they will somehow be tainted by the positive message of Christmas. And those Christmas skits and plays are mostly gone.

Here in Lompoc, there are some encouraging signs. Some brave shopkeepers have erected Christmas-themed displays in our storefronts. Most developers have done away with the large windows that used to house the colorful displays in their anchor stores because of “security reasons,” but some remain and many are decorated.

But Christmas lights and displays are a common sight in the yards of Lompoc. Hundreds of houses are lit up with icicles, Santas, reindeer and snowmen. The power lines must hum throughout the month of December as local residents erect even larger displays than the year before.

Thankfully the city still places illuminated Christmas trees on all the light poles on the main thoroughfares, and there are those Christmas trees all over town, which is really sentimental. And a couple of years ago, the City Council reinstated the Christmas Parade.

Lately I have noticed that Christmas carols are returning to the lineup on radio stations after a multiyear hiatus. Finally we are slowly getting back to the traditions I remember as a young man.

Some traditions shouldn’t be sacrificed to political correctness, and Christmas is one of those special times that should be left alone. Merry Christmas to all — are those sleigh bells I hear in the night sky?

Now, get ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl game.

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

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Linzy Prudden, Erin Stone of Santa Barbara Graduate from Tufts University

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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More than 3,000 students graduated from Tufts University on May 18 during a university-wide commencement ceremony with public policy expert Anne Marie Slaughter as the speaker, the university announced in a news release sent Tuesday.

The graduates from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering included:

» Linzy Prudden of Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude

» Erin Stone of Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions.

A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

— Robin Smyton represents Tufts University.

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‘Play With Me, Learn With Me’ Parent/Child Workshops to Begin in January at Goleta Library

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System announces the next sessions of the very popular “Play With Me, Learn With Me” parent/child workshop series for parents and caregivers with children ages 1 to 3.

The series of informational and fun meetings will begin Saturday, Jan. 10 and continue each Saturday through Feb. 7, from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room of the Goleta Library, 500 N. Fairview Ave. Pre-registration is required for this five-week program.

“Play With Me, Learn With Me” workshops provide an opportunity for parents to teach their young children early concepts like colors, patterns, shapes and sequences through play, stories, songs, crafts, nursery rhymes and other developmental activities. Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to speak with a different community expert each week on topics of interest such as nutrition, dental health, common stages in the life of young families and much more. Librarians will be present to help find books and other materials on parenting topics as well as fun, learning materials for children.

This project is made possible through funding by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and administered by California State Library. The Friends of the Goleta Library co-sponsors the program.

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

— Anne Curtin is a children's librarian for the Goleta Library.

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Lompoc Council Candidate Darrell Tullis Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Recent City Council candidate Darrell Tullis has been nominated for the 2014 Lompoc Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Darrell Tullis
Darrell Tullis

The phrase "speak truth to power" was a charge given to 18th century members of the Religious Society of Friends, who refused to support the king's military expeditions against Native Americans, to speak up and tell the truth about the wrongness of the king’s military actions.

We believe we saw truth spoken to power in Tullis’ statements during the recent election campaign. He addressed the City Council with regard to controversy over the Lompoc swap meet.

“The swap meet was one of the few places where different parts of our community could come together,” Tullis said. “Some council members said swap meet difficulties were the concessionaire's fault. I told them, ‘If that is the case, [since] the property belongs to the city, you have power to fire the concessionaire and hire a new manager. Don't punish the vendors and the public because the city allowed it to be mismanaged for so many years. Don't close a 25-year tradition when so many were able to benefit from it.’

"Every reason they gave to close it could be solved if they were willing to do the hard work, not the easy thing of just shutting it down.”

Tullis is a 14-year resident of Lompoc. The son of Pastor Dan Tullis (deceased), longtime pastor of Grace Temple Missionary Baptist Church, and Deloris Washington Tullis, he is the father of four and grandfather of three.

He is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran. He holds a degree from Mercer University. He is an associate minister at New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church and is employed at Vandenberg.

Tullis joins nine other nominees, including assistant school superintendent Sid Haro, volunteer Jon Vanderhoof, discussion convenor Lauren Pressman, musician Bill Carlsen, gardener Jan Martinez, writer Luciana Gallegos, chef Norma Anderson, cooperative organizer Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez and winemaker Mark Cargasacchi.

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

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.

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Inogen of Goleta Announces Insurance Reimbursement for Inogen One G3 in Germany

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Inogen Inc., a Goleta-based medical technology company offering innovative respiratory products for use in the home-care setting, announced Tuesday that the Inogen One G3 portable oxygen concentrator has received coverage for insurance reimbursement within Germany.

Germany is estimated to be the second-largest market in Europe for medical oxygen systems, according to independently published market research data.

The GKV Spitzenverband in Germany has added the Inogen One G3 to its approved products list, called the Hilfsmittelverzeichnis or HMV. The HMV is a register which includes medical devices that are covered by the German public health insurance providers. The specific code assigned to the Inogen One G3 is 14.24.04.6007. In like manner, the Inogen One G2 portable oxygen concentrator previously received similar coverage in Germany.

"Inogen's mission to provide freedom and independence to oxygen therapy users is a global mission," said Raymond Huggenberger, Inogen CEO. "The listing issued in Germany should help to improve access to Inogen technology and thereby increase the freedom and independence for more oxygen therapy patients throughout Europe's second largest market."

Inogen has used, and intends to continue to use, its Investor Relations website, www.inogen.com/investor, as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Click here for more information.

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Santa Claus Delights Children in Visit to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Pediatric Wing

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Volunteers bring holiday cheer and gifts for the young patients, part of a decade-long Christmas tradition

As soon as the elevator doors opened Monday to the fourth floor at Santa Barbara Cottage Children's Hospital, 7-year-old Nathan Mendoza began waving excitedly.

Down the hall from his hospital room, Santa Claus had just stepped off the elevator and had two red Radio Flyer wagons full of gifts at his side to hand out to the good little boys and girls in the children's wing of the hospital.

"Hi Santa!" Mendoza called from just inside his room, where he was tethered to an IV drip that administered fluids and medicines.

Mendoza was in the hospital for his monthly chemotherapy visit, but got a little holiday cheer as Santa walked into the young boy's room, ho-ho-ho-ing and laughing with the excited youngster.

Climbing into Santa's lap, Mendoza watched as two elves and Mrs. Claus rummaged through the wagons for the perfect gift.

Tearing through the wrapping, a box of Legos was revealed. Mendoza was delighted.

Mendoza's mother, Naomi, stood nearby, watching her son open his gift and bask in Santa's attention.

"It means a lot to him," she said.

Nathan Mendoza gets a box of Legos during Santa's visit Monday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Santa's appearance in the Cottage corridors is an annual tradition put on by the Santa Barbara Association of Health Underwriters. 

Christmas is just a couple of days away, and many families and children in the pediatric wing of the hospital are unable to experience the holiday from their home, so the group brings some holiday cheer right to their rooms, delighting the children, many of whom are facing serious medical diagnoses.

Santa, also known as Brent Anderson, as well as Mrs. Claus, Kim Novak, and several elves who handed out toys — all of whom work in financial and insurance planning with the association — were all part of the fun Monday as they roamed the hospital's halls. 

The group has been doing the Christmas visits for about a decade and every year "it touches me deeply," Anderson said.

"We look forward to this every year," Novak said, adding that seeing the smiles of the kids make it the "best part of the year."

Excited 14-month-old Jaden Munoz smiles after receiving a Doc McStuffins pillow book from Mrs. Claus. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

A dozen or so children — from 4-month-old Luke to 17-year-old Maria — all got a hug from Santa and a toy or stuffed animal from the wagon.

Nurses and hospital staff also got to hug Santa and take photos with the group.  

One of the last children to receive a gift was 4-year-old Matthew Mayhew, who was in the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital. 

Mayhew's eyes lit up as he saw Santa peer through the glass doors to his room, and was excited to open a gift — dinosaur gift set — from his bed.

"He definitely wasn't expecting this," said Mayhew's mother, Leanne. "We're not sure he's going to be able to go home before Christmas, so I know this means a lot to him."

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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Driver Injured After Hitting Multiple Parked Cars in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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No one else is hurt in the Yanonali Street accident Monday afternoon

A man was injured after hitting three parked cars at a high rate of speed in Santa Barbara Monday afternoon, according to fire officials.

The driver did appear to be "altered' by responding units at the scene and police will be investigating the possibility that it was a driving-under-the-influence case, Santa Barbara City Fire Capt. Gary Pitney said.

The other vehicles involved were unoccupied parked cars. The unidentified driver hit a Toyota Tacoma truck which then hit two other cars, ending up on top of another pickup truck on Yanonali Street near Garden Street, Pitney said. 

The driver was transported to a local hospital with unknown injuries and no one else was injured in the accident, Pitney said. 

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

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Washington-Based Haggen to Buy Some Local Albertsons, Vons Stores

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The acquisition arises out of a merger announced earlier this year between the Albertsons and Safeway grocery chains

Some Albertsons and Vons grocery stores in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Lompoc will be getting a new owner and a new name. 

The stores’ owners, AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., announced recently that they have entered into agreements to sell 168 stores across eight states to four buyers.

Haggen, which is based in Bellingham, Wash., will purchase 146 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The affected local Albertsons stores are at 2010 Cliff Drive and 3943 State St. in Santa Barbara plus Albertsons at 1500 North H St. in Lompoc. 

Local Vons stores at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta, 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, and 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria also will become part of the Haagen chain.

The Haagen deal also includes stores in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos, Ventura and Oxnard.

The full list of affected Albertsons stores is available by clicking here and Vons is available by clicking here.

Divestiture of these stores is part of the process to secure Federal Trade Commission clearance of the proposed merger of Albertsons and Safeway (owner of Vons stores). 

Merger plans for Albertsons and Safeway were announced in March, and the deal is expected to close in January. 

The deal means Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies, and from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees.

“With this pivotal acquisition, we will have the opportunity to introduce many more customers to the Haggen experience. Our Pacific Northwest grocery store chain has been committed to local sourcing, investing in the communities we serve, and providing genuine service and homemade quality since it was founded in 1933,” said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board of directors and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority of shares of Haggen.

“We will continue our focus on sourcing and investing locally even with this exciting expansion.”

After the transaction closes in early 2015, Haggen will convert all of the acquired Albertsons and Safeway stores to the Haggen banner in phases during the first half of the year. 

All Albertson’s LLC and Safeway store employees will have the opportunity to become employees of Haggen as their individual stores are transitioned to Haggen, the company said.

Additionally, Haggen plans to retain the current store management teams, officials said.

“We warmly welcome these new employees and stores into the Haggen family. The stores are well run and very successful, thanks to the dedicated store teams,” said John Clougher, Haggen CEO, Pacific Northwest. “We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes. We plan to adopt the best practices of our new stores to offer a superior shopping experience for our valued customers in all of our stores.” 

“We committed to this acquisition because we knew we had the experience, talent and drive to get it done,” Caple added. “The strength of our management and store support teams, combined with the talent of the store teams at each of the new store locations, will enable Haggen to be a successful West Coast grocer.”

Founded in 1933, Haggen, Inc. is one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading grocery chains and supports regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses. Company officials say Haggen is also deeply rooted in the communities it serves, providing support to local events and partnerships.

The purchase agreements with Haagen and three other buyers — purchasing stores in Texas, Wyoming, Montana and Washington — are all subject to approval by the FTC.

“We’re pleased to have found strong buyers for these stores, and to have completed this important step toward combining Albertsons and Safeway,” said Safeway President/CEO Robert Edwards, who will serve in the same roles with the combined company. “We look forward now to the transaction’s close, so we can begin working together to enhance the loyalty of grocery shoppers by delivering high-quality products, great service and lower prices to become the favorite local supermarket in every neighborhood we serve.”

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

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Santa Barbara Sets Temp Record on First Day of Winter

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The first day of winter? No so much.

Santa Barbara County basked under sunny skies Monday, with balmy temperatures recorded throughout the region.

The Santa Barbara Airport reported a high Monday of 81 degrees, setting a temperature record for Dec. 22, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for the date of 76 was set in 1989.

Forecasters were calling for another summer-like day Tuesday, with a high of 77, followed by a gradual cooling trend through Christmas and the end of the week.

Gusty northeast winds that raked parts of the South Coast on Sunday night were not expected to return with the same intensity overnight Monday, forecasters said, but the National Weather Service did issue a High Wind Warning effective through 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Gusts to 65 mph were possible in the Santa Ynez Mountains, forecasters said.

A High Wind Watch also will be in effect from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 3 p.m. Thursday.

The forecast for Thursday, Christmas Day, is mostly sunny with a high of 67.

Overnight lows are expected to drop into the low 40s by the end of the week.

[Click here for the latest forecast]

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

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Scented Stuffed Animals Bring Joy to Patients in Pediatric Unit at Marian Medical Center

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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On Monday morning, local Scentsy independent consultant Monica Loats generously donated eight scented stuffed animals to the children in the pediatric wing of Marian Regional Medical Center.

She presented 7-year-old Edgar with a scented raccoon, which brought some much-needed cheer and surprise to the young patient.

Through Scentsy’s Charitable Cause Program, Loats has donated the plush toys for three years in a row to bring joy to local children who may spending the holiday season in the hospital.

Loats is always sure to bring more animals than needed should there be any additional patients in the pediatric unit in the coming days. She stacked the extra “buddies” under the tree to share during the remainder of the season.

“It is great to be able to do this for these children,” Loats said. “I am happy to be able to give, year after year, and bring some happiness to these kids.”

— Sara San Juan is a marketing specialist for Dignity Health of the Central Coast.

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Michael Barone: The So-Called Epidemic of Rape on Campus

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The total discrediting of Rolling Stone's story on rape at the University of Virginia has shined a light on one of the least palatable features of American life: the so-called epidemic of rape on campus.

Authorities from President Barack Obama on down have cited the phony statistic that one in five college women is raped. Phony because it's based on a 2007 survey conducted in two Midwestern schools not of a random sample, but of a small number of self-selected respondents and includes unwanted touching and kissing as "sexual assault."

A Department of Justice survey released this month presents a different picture. Between 1995 and 2013, it reports, an average of 0.61 percent of female students were raped or sexually assaulted every year — 2.4 percent over four years, not 20 percent. Moreover, DOJ reports, that rate has been declining significantly in recent years, in line with a national decline in violent rape.

In other words, there is no suddenly raging epidemic of rape on campus. Nevertheless, colleges and universities have been scampering to comply with mandates by the Obama Department of Education to set up procedures in which campus administrators, untrained legally, act as investigators, prosecutors, judges, juries and executioners.

Accused students are not allowed to have lawyers or to confront witnesses, and legal rules of evidence do not apply. The California Legislature has passed a "yes means yes" law requiring express consent at each stage of sexual encounters, with similar effects.

These kangaroo courts can and do expel male students, putting a blot on their records for life. No wonder dozens of them are suing universities and getting big dollar settlements. No wonder 28 current and retired Harvard Law professors signed a letter calling such processes "deeply unfair and undemocratic."

Someday, I suspect, this frenzy will be seen as akin to the hysteria over satanic abuse in day care centers in the 1980s. Many people went to jail over utterly fraudulent charges, based on bogus psychological research. Or as akin to the Salem witch trials.

It's not surprising, however, that these abusive frenzies have taken hold at the nation's colleges and universities. Increasingly, they are our society's least free, least fair and least honest institutions.

Consider campus speech codes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — FIRE — reports that 58 percent of the 427 colleges and universities it monitors have speech codes banning and penalizing speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

The good news is that the number of speech codes is declining, partly in response to FIRE's advocacy and lawsuits. The bad news is that the Obama Education Department continues to use threats to cut off funding to get universities to ban "sexual harassment," defined as "any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." As FIRE notes, "This is an overbroad definition that is not in accordance with the First Amendment."

The rationale for speech codes? Usually it is so that students, especially racial minorities and women, should not encounter anything offensive on campus. Thoughts that someone doesn't want to hear, administrators evidently believe, should not be allowed to be expressed. The authors of the First Amendment had a different idea.

A third way in which universities and colleges are corrupted is in the widespread resort to racial quotas and preferences — literally, racial discrimination — in admissions to selective institutions.

Of course, administrators do not admit they are discriminating by race. That would, among other things, violate the letter of the Civil Rights Act. But everyone knows they are using "holistic" standards to admit more blacks and Hispanics (and thus fewer Asians and whites) than they would under the criteria they admit to using. They evidently feel that "diversity" justifies discriminating by race and lying about it.

Kangaroo courts, speech codes, racial discrimination: I suspect that some older readers cannot believe that such practices have become standard operating procedure at American colleges and universities — indeed, the major focus of many of the administrators who now outnumber teachers on the nation's campuses.

Historically, universities and colleges saw themselves as havens of free speech and fair play, insulated from the larger society to protect those things from interference. Now they insulate themselves in order to violate due process, suppress speech and discriminate by race.

There's still some good scholarship and teaching on campus. But it exists, uneasily, amid a culture of lying and intellectual corruption.

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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Lompoc Police K9 Awarded Ballistic Vest

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Lompoc Police Department's K9 Bolt has been awarded a ballistic vest thanks to nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and a generous donation from the Hausman Family Foundation.

Vested Interest in K9s is a charity located in East Taunton, Mass., whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.

The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four legged K9 officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. provided over 1,125 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $1,068,750.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc. announces its calendar on sale now for $15 online by clicking here and at select retailers. Proceeds from the sales will provide bullet and stab protective vests. All goods and services for the calendar were donated by generous sponsors, photographers and participating law enforcement agency, for police dogs actively working without the potentially lifesaving equipment. 

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Mass., which also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, Mich.

 New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508.824.6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s Inc., P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718, or via the website by clicking here.

— Sgt. Chuck Strange represents the Lompoc Police Department.

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Filipino Star Sarah Geronimo to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Sarah Geronimo, a world-class Filipino entertainer who has earned the moniker of “Popstar Princess” among her fans in Asia, will take the stage at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15.

Geronimo
Sarah Geronimo

Tickets for the show are $45, $55, $65, $75 and $85.

Geronimo is a popular singer, host, dancer and actress from the Philippines who has performed in several worldwide concert tours, often in conjunction with a new album or movie appearance.

Winning the Grand Champion title at the “Star For a Night” singing competition at age 14, in 2002, immediately launched her professional career.

Geronimo substantiated the fame with the release of her first album in the same year titled Popstar: A Dream Come True. It became the best-selling debut album in her country’s history. Following the success of the record, she staged her first major solo concert at Smart Araneta Coliseum, a renowned sports arena in the Philippines.

At age 17, she became the youngest solo artist to have filled “The Big Dome.”

As a singer, she has won eight Awit Awards, seven Aliw Awards, 19 Myx Music Awards and was recognized as Best Asian Artist in the Philippines at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2012 as well as National Best-Selling Artist at the World Music Awards for the year 2013.

At age 26, she has evolved into a multi-talented performer, solidifying her popularity as a singer, recording artist, TV host, movie/TV actress and commercial endorser.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this world-class performer when she takes the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 18-or-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash or online by clicking here.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.

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Chief Assistant District Attorney Hilary Dozer Retiring

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Monday the retirement of Chief Assistant District Attorney Hilary Dozer.

Dozer has been a prosecutor with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office for more than 30 years and was responsible for prosecuting major felony trials for more than 25 years. His varied and significant trial experience included the successful prosecutions of numerous homicides, gang crimes, three strikes offenders, and other numerous serious and violent felonies.

He is a recipient of the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Outstanding Performance and has been twice recognized as the Deputy District Attorney of the Year.

Dozer has also been an instructor for the California District Attorneys Association and served on its Board of Directors from 2000 to 2002. He lectured locally to law enforcement groups on gang crimes and other law enforcement issues and also conducted community outreach on gang prevention in our local elementary schools.

He was appointed to the position of chief deputy district attorney in 2010. As chief deputy district attorney, he was placed in charge of a special prosecution team tasked with concentrating on gang and youth violence along with major narcotics. As chief deputy district attorney, he was also responsible for general felonies, filing and arraignments.

In 2012, Dozer was further promoted to the position of chief assistant district attorney for Santa Barbara County. In this position, he maintained all of his previous responsibilities and also took on numerous special projects, including establishing policies and procedures for implementing new laws.

Dozer will be missed by our entire law enforcement community.

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Santa Barbara Fire, Police Respond to Gas Leak

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Officials say a contractor using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space hit a natural gas line

Santa Barbara fire and police responded to a gas leak Monday afternoon near Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara.

There was a natural gas explosion on the 4000 block of Via Diego around 1:36 p.m., according to Santa Barbara City Fire.

A contractor was using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space and hit a natural gas line, which triggered the explosion and fire. A coworker pulled the worker out of the hole and went to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. A city parks and recreation employee working nearby used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in the hole, City Fire said. 

The workers had left the scene to go to the hospital before firefighters got to the scene, so it's unclear how badly burned the worker was, fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. 

Bystanders said the workers were trying to put out the fire from the broken gas line with a garden hose, but couldn't get it out. The parks worker just happened to stop across the street at the nearby park, Pitney added. 

"He ran over there with an extinguisher because they had no luck with the garden hose." 

Southern California Gas Company crews responded to the scene and City Fire will notify Cal/OSHA, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, of the incident, according to emergency radio traffic. 

City Fire posted a message reminding people to check www.callbeforeyoudig.org or call 8-1-1 prior to digging.

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

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Forest Service Rose Parade Entry Will Include Los Padres Connection

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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U.S. Forest Service rangers, firefighters and volunteers will participate in the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

The agency celebrated its centennial a decade ago with a Rose Parade entry in 2005.

The U.S. Forest Service entry will be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act while highlighting the historic role of packers in supporting wildland firefighters and other backcountry operations, as well as acknowledging the outstanding contributions made by national forest volunteers.

Five employees and a volunteer will represent Los Padres National Forest in the parade. The Forest Service Wilderness Volunteer of the Year award winner Mike Heard will ride in an authentic 19th century wagon along with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore, and Smokey Bear. Two Los Padres firefighters will be part of the 20-person “crew” that walks alongside the wagon, and three other Los Padres employees are part of the pack strings. The all-mule equestrian entry will include an entourage of Forest Service Rangers in period uniforms and anchored by three-mule pack strings.

“The U.S. Forest Service is excited to be a part of the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade,” Moore said. “Our entry is a chance to showcase our outstanding packers and wildland firefighters as well as honor the thousands of volunteers who help care for your national forests every day.”

In addition to about 35,000 employees nationwide, the U.S. Forest Service volunteer workforce numbers in the tens of thousands. These dedicated Americans contribute thousands of hours each year to the conservation of national forests in California and across the U.S. The contributions of volunteers are highly regarded in the U.S. Forest Service and constitute a large part of the workforce.

The entry is unique in that the parade mules are also working pack animals, having come off the frontlines of supporting wildfires across Northern California for several months in the summer and fall. The mules are used for long treks deep into national forest wilderness areas to resupply firefighters and wilderness rangers.

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.

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Warming Centers to Open Christmas Eve and Night

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Freedom Warming Centers in Santa Barbara County will be open Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.

The centers, located throughout the county, are intended "to relieve suffering and save lives to our neighbors without homes on nights of severe weather conditions," according to organizers.

Pets and couples are allowed, and there is no sobriety condition.

The following centers will be open from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Night, Dec. 24 and 25:

» Unitarian Society, 1525 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara.

» Veterans Memorial Hall , 941 Walnut Ave., Carpinteria. 

» University United Methodist Church, 892 Camino Del Sur, Isla Vista.

» Peace Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc.

» Salvation Army, 200 W. Cook St., Santa Maria.

For updates, call the information hotline at 805.324.2372. 

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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Foodbank Collaborates with 330 Community Partners in 2014

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Through the work of community partners along with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s own series of programs, last year 9.3 million pounds of food - half of which was fresh produce, was distributed throughout Santa Barbara County.

The Foodbank collaborates with more than 330 member agencies throughout Santa Barbara County, including top agencies such as: Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs countywide, CALM, Casa Esperanza, Catholic Charities, Community Action Commission, Domestic Violence Solutions, Nipomo Food Basket, Pacific Pride Foundation, People Helping People, Salvation Army, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, Santa Ynez Senior Citizens Foundation, Transition House, Unity Shoppe and many more. Click here for a full list of member agencies.

The following lists the Foodbank's nonprofit partners, followed by pounds of food distributed and the market value.

» Boys & Girls Clubs, countywide — 45,949, $79,032

» CALM — 6,838, $11,761

» Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara — 31,409, $54,023

» Casa Esperanza — 74,249, $127,709

» Casa Serena — 13,252, $22,793

» Catholic Charities — 1,195,516, $2,056,288

» Community Action Commission — 185,371, $318,838

» Council Alcoholism & Drug Abuse (CADA) — 31,606, $54,362

» Domestic Violence Solutions — 33,619, $57,825

» Food from the Heart — 42,143, $72,486

» Good Samaritan Services Inc. — 206,169, $354,611

» Isla Vista Youth Projects — 19,372, $33,320

» Nipomo Food Basket — 154,856, $266,352

» Organic Soup Kitchen — 15,189, $26,125

» Pacific Pride Foundation — 66,802, $114,900

» People Helping People — 222,833, $383,273

» People’s Self Help Housing — 45,007, $77,412

» Salvation Army — 426,329, $733,286

» Sansum Diabetes Research Institute — 17,150, $29,498

» Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics — 4,786, $8,232

» Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center — 22,075, $37,969

» Santa Barbara Rescue Mission — 129,528, $222,788

» Santa Ynez Senior Citizens Foundation — 72,662, $124,979

» Transition House — 7,536, $12,962

» Unity Shoppe — 176,077, $302,853\

» WillBridge of Santa Barbara — 18,692, $32,150

“The Foodbank thanks the community for supporting those in need of nutritious food and resources in our community,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank. “In collaboration with our 330 nonprofit partner agencies, we are able to reach a greater number of people who face food insecurity and offer them nutrition, education and tools.”

The Foodbank strives to solve the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition through education about high quality nutrition and healthy lifestyle, as well as provide the resources necessary to maintain these healthy habits. Foodbank programs that target children along the continuum of development and school ages are: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; Food Literacy in Preschool; Kid’s Farmers Market; Backpack Program; Teens Love Cooking; Grow Your Own Way; Picnic in the Park and Nutritional Independence.

The Foodbank’s programs play a critical role in solving hunger and providing good nutrition in Santa Barbara County. For example, this past summer, Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park program helped to bridge childhood hunger by providing nearly 38,000 nutritious lunches to over 2,650 children at 16 different outdoor sites throughout the summer months.

The Foodbank also providing a forum for partner organizations to share ideas and solve the underlying causes of hunger together. In the fall, Foodbank hosted a Partner Summit themed “Building Relationships for Lasting Impact,” which featured Elaine Waxman, Vice President of Research and Nutrition at Feeding America, as key note speaker. The Summit, which included representatives from 40 local nonprofits, covered topics such as: building capacity to more effectively reach out to clients and innovative practices with community partners.

The Foodbank and partner agencies rely on volunteers throughout the year, and the community is encouraged to make 2015 your year to volunteer! There are numerous opportunities to participate.

As the year comes to a close, there is still a need for food and fund donations this holiday season. People can drop off nonperishable food at both the Santa Barbara warehouse at 4554 Hollister Ave. and the Santa Maria Foodbank warehouse at 490 W. Foster Road between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the holiday, the Foodbank will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 25, Friday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, Jan. 1. You can also donate online to help support food distribution this holiday season. Click here to learn more, or make a secure online donation by clicking here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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Laundromat Fire Near Goleta Contained to Dryer

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Adjacent businesses not affected by blaze at Turnpike Center

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded Monday to a fire at a laundromat at the Turnpike Shopping Center near Goleta, and were able to contain the blaze to a clothes dryer.

Crews were dispatched shortly after 10 a.m. to a report of a dryer fire that was spreading to the building.

The first units on scene at the Turnpike Coin Laundry, 157 S. Turnpike Road, reported light smoke coming from the structure, and described the incident as an "appliance fire."

Fire Capt. David Sadecki said the fire was limited to the dryer, and flames did not extend to other parts of the building.

Crews were able to quickly douse the fire, he said, and ventilated smoke from the building.

Adjacent businesses — which include a dry cleaners, a barber shop, a hair salon and a pizza restaurant — were not affected, Sadecki said.

Cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

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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Granada Theatre Concert Series Hails Return of The Peking Acrobats

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Granada Theatre is thrilled to welcome the return of The Peking Acrobats, the largest and most acclaimed group of its kind, to the stage for an epic performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11.

Carefully selected from the finest acrobat schools in China, these expert gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists and tumblers transform 2,000-year-old athletic disciplines into a family friendly kaleidoscope of eye-popping wonder. Accompanied by a live Chinese orchestra playing traditional instruments, amid a dazzling backdrop of lights and plumes of fog, the dramatic stage completes a scene of spectacular entertainment for the entire family.

Since their Western debut in 1986, The Peking Acrobats have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs; and are experts at trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics. Defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control, they push the envelope of human possibility with astonishing juggling dexterity and incredible balancing feats.

Showcasing tremendous skill and ability, they are masters of agility and grace. The combination of live music and awe-inspiring feats, fused with today’s state of the art technology, creates an exuberant entertainment event featuring all of the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival in the 21st century.

Tickets range in price from $23 to $66 and are available through the Granada Theatre box office. Click here to purchase, or call the box office at 805.899.2222. This performance is presented by the Granada Theatre Concert Series, sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara Independent.

For all sponsorship opportunities, please contact director of development Kristi Newton by phone at 805.451.2932 or via email at knewton@granadasb.org.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.

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Man Found Shot to Death in Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Victim found in vehicle on West Morrison Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds

A man was found shot to death inside a vehicle Monday in Santa Maria, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Officers were called to the 1000 block of West Morrison Avenue shortly before 6 a.m., and found the victim, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, inside a white Toyota Camry, police said.

The man was declared dead at the scene.

Sgt. Paul Van Meel, from the department's Detective Bureau, confirmed they are investigating the killing as a homicide, and were trying to retrace the victim's movements.

"We have no information about it being gang- or drug-related right now," Van Meel said late Monday afternoon.

Investigators spent several hours at the cordoned-off segment of West Morrison on Monday, setting up a screen at the site, presumably to shield the body, while battling strong winds that knocked the shelter over at least once.

The shooting reportedly involved a handgun, but police didn't say what caliber ammunition it used. 

Police did not release the victim's name, age or city of residence Monday. Van Meel declined to say if the suspect lived in the neighborhood where he was found.

An autopsy is expected to be conducted within a week, Van Meel said.

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

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Dan Ellington Named Head Football Coach for Santa Maria High School

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Head varsity football coach Dan Ellington’s winning attitude is moving to Santa Maria High School.

Ellington
Dan Ellington

Ellington, who teaches special education, was recently selected to take over the athletic program from former head coach Gabe Espinoza. Espinoza will remain part of the football program, according to Athletic Director Brian Wallace.

The Orcutt resident has high hopes for the future as students, parents and boosters support a championship-caliber athletic program.

“I am excited," said Ellington, who played football and graduated from Ernest Righetti High School in 1982. “The pieces are here to have a successful program. I am looking forward to putting the pieces together."

Ellington believes athletics and academics play important roles in building responsibility, a work ethic and becoming a better citizen.

“My motto is it turns boys into men using the tools of football," he added.

For the last five years, Ellington has been the Pioneer Valley High School head varsity football coach. He also served as an instructional aide assistant there.

Ellington has more than 26 years of coaching sports under his belt.

Wallace knows Ellington is the right man for the job.

“The team will be taking a community and collaborative approach to our upcoming season," he said. “The school is pleased in Dan’s approach and we expect to have a competitive team in the future."

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

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Birdman’

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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2 Stars — Shallow

It is an easy prediction to say that Birdman will be loved by the cinema community. It is a well-crafted story, artfully told, about a series of remarkably shallow people.

The center of the story is the disintegrating life of a movie star who became famous for portraying “Birdman” (similar to the Batman comic book series) and who walked away from the successful franchise and now lives paycheck to paycheck acting in a show on Broadway.

The film is a filmmaker’s delight, but the people being portrayed are not the kind you would want to invite home to dinner. If anything, they are despicable characters whose day-to-day moral choices are templates for empty and vapid lives.

In an ironic twist, the once famous Riggan (aka “Birdman”) is played by Michael Keaton who in real life twice portrayed Batman in the 1989 and 1992 big screen franchise. Riggan is a self-absorbed actor who has conversations in his head with himself, mostly centered on his loss of celebrity status in the superficial world of Hollywood. He has decided to write, produce and star in a play on Broadway to revive his career.

In order to get the show open, Riggan and his manager, Jake (Zach Galifianakis), will say and do anything to get what they want. What they need most is another lead actor in their play, and through a series of circumstances they entice Mike (Edward Norton), a favorite of Broadway critics, to join the show. Mike is so self-centered that he makes Riggan look like a saint.

Add to this toxic human cocktail Riggan’s ex-wife Leslie (Naomi Watts), his just-out-of-rehab daughter Sam (Emma Stone), and a cattle call of other character actors. Sam is the assistant to her once famous father, and carries a smoldering contempt for his love of self over love of family. Her bitter assessment of her father’s fleeting attempt to recapture his superficial glory is the best dialogue in the show.

There are many comedy moments, but there are also many moments of lying, cheating, sexual immaturity, self-loathing and suicide attempts. If anything, it is a human tragedy masked as a comedy.

What makes fame so attractive? Pop culture is filled with the news of unhappy rock stars, arrests of drug-filled TV actors, and hounded celebrities whose lives end tragically. And yet, the seduction of celebrity culture feeds an ever growing need for recognition — for feeling like I am “somebody important” and my life is a success. It is the ultimate drug-induced illusion.

Birdman may bring a few laughs, but it also brings a sense of sobering disillusionment about the shallowness of fame. Its antidote is to focus on others rather than yourself, sharing your talents for the good of all rather than building a monument to your own ego. The models of great personal fulfillment are found more in Mother Teresa rather than Michael Jackson. Both shared great talent, but one life ended in total fulfillment and the other, like Birdman, in a world of hurt and loneliness.

Discussion

» It is said that living a life of “significant contribution” is basic to a meaningful life. What significant contribution are you making with the years you have on this planet?

» Living a life that feeds a narcissistic ego only makes that malady stronger. How do you deal with your own ego and the egos of others? What would your family and best friends say about your behaviors — do they feed your own ego or love and care for others?

» When we see the pain in Sam, we recognize that it is the children of egotistical people who suffer the most. How do you help relieve the pain of those you know who are suffering from being the child of such a parent?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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First Church of Christ, Scientist Holding Christmas Eve Service of Gratitude

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Those who desire to share their gratitude for the ways God has blessed them are invited to the testimony meeting on Christmas Eve at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 24.

Time will be provided during the meeting for the public to tell others of their gratitude for the healings they have received by turning to God for health and well-being.

Experts report that gratitude is invaluable in promoting a meaningful and progressive life. The founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, understood this when she wrote: “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”

The local Christian Science Church in Santa Barbara holds a weekly evening testimony meeting on Wednesdays, and this year it falls on Christmas Eve.

In recent weeks, people have shared testimonies of permanent healing they have experienced regarding health issues, relationship problems, lost opportunities and financial burdens, all because they have relied on Jesus’ teachings that God is all-loving and all-inclusive in bestowing good to all creation.

The church is a well-known Santa Barbara landmark located at 120 E. Valerio St., between Santa Barbara and Anacapa streets, where ample parking is available.

Children are welcome at the service, and childcare is also open for youngsters, while their parents attend the Christmas Eve meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing First Church of Christ, Scientist, Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Plugs In to Tesla Motors Plan to Expand Site of Future Dealership

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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City Council grants request to allow expansion of Hitchcock Way operation through ‘community benefit’ code

The City of Santa Barbara has made way for a new Tesla Motors Inc. dealership to expand a soon-to-be proposed location on Hitchcock Way by deeming the project a “community benefit.”

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution finding the potential development at 400 Hitchcock Way a Community Benefit Project per city code, allocating 8,700 square feet of nonresidential floor area to the environmentally friendly car dealership in the process.

The request was granted as part of a pre-application review process.

Proposed remodel plans that the Palo Alto-based electric car maker and seller has for the three-acre site — currently Hughes Automobile Co. — required an amount of space conflicting with a Nonresidential Growth Management Program ordinance approved by the city in 2013, according to city planner Renee Brooke.

The ordinance limits total new nonresidential growth to 1.35 million square feet over 20 years, of which 600,000 square feet is reserved for Community Benefit Projects.

The three qualifying categories of such projects include community priority projects, economic development projects and development plan-new automobile sales projects.

Since Tesla falls into the latter, and because the site next to DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara has been an auto dealership since the 1960s, the council approved the designation.

What would happen to Hughes Automobiles Co. and whether the business could reopen somewhere else was not immediately known.

The site that could become the region’s first Tesla sales and service center includes an 8,377-square-foot showroom and approximately 17,433 square feet of storage and open bay structures, Brooke said.

She said Tesla plans to apply to remodel the existing auto dealership showroom by enclosing open service bays to secure its electric automobile repair center, creating 9,700 net square feet of new nonresidential floor area on the site.

Tesla would use the showroom for new automobile display and sales and operate an electric automobile repair and service center from the enclosed structures.

The dealership would also encompass 200 total parking spaces, Brooke said.

Tesla representatives have repeatedly refused to comment publicly on project plans.

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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Isla Vista Report Recommends Uniform Community Policing Practices, Restorative Court

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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To strengthen shared civic responsibilities among stakeholders, UC Santa Barbara trustee committee emphasizes success of policing, justice court, task force

In the minutes and hours after last spring’s murderous rampage in Isla Vista, law enforcement agencies scrambled to respond to the unincorporated Santa Barbara County area adjacent to the UC Santa Barbara campus.

Coordinated confusion was how UCSB senior Ali Guthy described the aftermath.

Blue uniform-clad UCSB police officers, Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers in green and sheriff’s deputies in tan swarmed the area, doing their jobs yet illustrating a potential problem outlined in a recent report by the UCSB Foundation Trustee’s Advisory Committee on Isla Vista Strategies.

The independent report recommended making resources and community policing training more uniform, an interesting idea for an area with so many possible first responders.

“They all look the same to us,” said Guthy, the UCSB Associated Students president who served on the trustee committee that began meeting in May. “Are they being trained the same? Isla Vista is a very unique place. That’s a specialized interaction.

“It’s just getting everyone in sync. The question is always whose job is it? The people who ultimately suffer are the people in the community.”

Establishing an Isla Vista neighborhood restorative justice court, hiring a dedicated deputy district attorney and creating a joint safety task force made up of representatives from local law enforcement, students and local residents were among the other two dozen report recommendations to improve viability and safety in Isla Vista.

The committee also hoped authorities could better compile crime data — a major frustration in developing the report, said Dan Burnham, retired CEO of Raytheon and a member of the panel.

He said statistics back community policing models as a way for officers to work closely with the community they serve, whether that means meeting regularly with residents and business owners or finding ways to unify training and resources to better communicate when it matters most.

“Not simply to fight crime but to be aware of the factors that create crime, and to do that you have to be plugged into the community,” Burnham explained. “The cars look different. The bikes look different. Is that good or isn’t it good? The solution to I.V. is not more policing.”

UCSB police and the Sheriff’s Department already cross-train to some extent, and have the same state-mandated education, but officials from both agencies believe more could be done.

Acting Undersheriff Don Patterson said the department will consider asking the county Board of Supervisors in June for funds to hire the first-ever community resource deputy exclusively serving Isla Vista, similar to the beat coordinator positions used by Santa Barbara police.

“Over the years, the population and the calls for service have increased, but the staffing levels have not,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelley Hoover said. “Now deputies are busy handling calls and it would be beneficial to have a deputy who is designated to handle community outreach services.”

UCSB police already embrace a community policing model — regularly meeting with students and residents — but Sgt. Rob Romero said the department is open to more joint, formalized training.

The model’s main challenge lies with a transient population. As a result, officers are continuously teaching students before more rotate in and out of campus and Isla Vista.

“A lot of these young people are out (on their own) for the very first time in their lives,” Romero said. “This is a growing-up age for a lot of them, and we understand, and we don’t want to ruin their good time. We don’t want to be the party poopers out there. It needs to be a combined effort from law enforcement and the community.

“Everyone can do better. We’re not the experts at everything. It’s the responsibility of the officers to do their best to explain why we do what we do.”

Community policing first came up in a separate joint task force called IV Safe, led by District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

That’s also where Dudley debuted her Isla Vista community restorative court idea.

A veteran district attorney would work from an Isla Vista office to prosecute all local cases, and a paralegal would decide whether offenses could instead go to a restorative court made up of community member volunteers.

“When you live and work in the community, you understand it better,” Dudley said of the dedicated prosecutor. “Most district attorneys haven’t even been to Isla Vista. You have a higher level of vestment in that community.”

Instead of being prosecuted and building a criminal record, a young person charged with minor offenses such as vandalism, public urination, drunk in public, minor battery or other crimes deemed an affront to the community could be sentenced by restorative court to clean up the beach, etc.

“This gives back to the community,” Dudley told Noozhawk. “What we have found is that when people do that ... the community feels better, and the person who committed the crime feels better because they actually improved the community.”

Ideally, Dudley said a joint effort from the county, UCSB and Santa Barbara City College would fund the salary and benefits of the new prosecutor, paralegal and one office staff person at $500,000 annually.

She would want at least a two-year commitment, so she needs $1 million to be safe.

All the entities like the proactive idea, but so far no one has stepped up with money, Dudley said.

“Isla Vista would not be Isla Vista without UCSB and SBCC,” she said. “In my world it seems like a win-win.

“It would be so sad if nothing came out of this report. It’s frustrating for me because I feel like I have one of the answers.”

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 Schools Link Drop in Student Suspensions to Success of ‘Restorative’ Discipline

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara Unified School District’s restorative discipline program has resulted in a significant drop in student suspensions for participating schools, and staff say the positive effects go far beyond that data.

“You come on the campus and you can see a more positive, respectful and responsible culture,” said David Ortiz, principal of La Colina Junior High School.

“It’s a philosophy, a philosophical intervention of a more responsive nature instead of a reactive perspective,” he said.

The program works in tandem with the traditional discipline system, and the criteria for suspensions and expulsions haven’t changed.

Building relationships between students and staff members is at the core of the program, which expanded to include nine schools this year.

“It’s working out great,” Santa Barbara Junior High School Principal Lito Garcia said. “It has definitely allowed us as a teaching staff to take the time to work with kids.

“I think really that’s the main reason behind the reduction in suspensions, is that the students are feeling more connected to the staff, feeling more ownership for their education and wanting to do well because of it.”

SBUSD trustees are concerned with the suspension rates for secondary schools, which — compared to total enrollment — are disproportionately high for socio-economically disadvantaged students and Hispanic or Latino students. They were glad to hear that numbers were heading in the right direction, with suspensions falling across the board.

Superintendent Dave Cash has called the restorative discipline program a “game changer.”

Among the schools that implemented restorative approaches last year, there was a 39-percent drop in total suspensions compared to the six-year average, said Aaron Harkey, a teacher on special assignment to manage the district’s program.

According to district data, the six-year average was 630 suspensions per year, with Hispanic or Latino students accounting for 81 percent of them.

For the 2013-2014 year, there were 387 total suspensions — 78 percent of which were Hispanic or Latino students. Hispanic or Latino students represented 55 percent of enrollment at those schools.

“We could just not suspend on a superficial level and say we’re doing better,” Ortiz said. “What’s better is all of us are evolving as better citizens within the school community and community at large in Santa Barbara.”

Santa Barbara Junior High, which has two full years of experience with the restorative approaches program, showed a 71-percent drop in suspensions for the 2013-2014 year, compared to its five-year average from before, Harkey said.

“Since implementation of restorative approaches at Santa Barbara Junior High, Latino representation in all suspensions decreased from an average of 87 percent in previous years to 73 percent in both implementation years,” Harkey said during a recent presentation to the Board of Trustees.

“The numbers, they’re great, they’re impressive,” Garcia said. “I am proud to see we’ve dropped the suspension rate by over 71 percent, that means over 71 percent more kids are in school.

“But there is more work to do, and I think as a district, one of our charges from Dr. Cash that we all believe in is to be culturally proficient, in the classroom with instruction and in social-emotional work with kids, across the board.”

The restorative approaches program started at Santa Barbara Junior High School in the 2012-2013 school year and expanded to Goleta Valley, La Colina and La Cumbre junior highs and Santa Barbara High School last year. This fall, Cleveland and Washington elementary schools and Dos Pueblos and San Marcos high schools were added.

Restorative approaches focus on a new perspective on discipline and the five Rs: respect, responsibility, repair, relationships and reintegration. When a problem arises, teachers rely on five questions to determine the problem, what harm was done and how it can be repaired.

Some schools have pursued these ideas on their own, but the benefit to a top-down restorative program is that schools have a common language now so it’s easier for students to know the expectations, Garcia said.

“I say it sarcastically, but what a crazy idea,” he said. “We’re teaching kids how to solve problems and be part of the solution. We’re in the business of education and we’re doing that every day with math, science, English and history, so why shouldn’t we be doing it with social issues?”

As the program expands to more schools, it can only make it better for everyone, Garcia said.

“I can’t wait to have kids start rolling in with restorative approaches under their belt,” he added. “My hope is as we have more and more students going through this experience, this eventually will spread out into the community at large.”

The restorative approaches program isn’t the easiest way to do things, but it’s the most effective, Ortiz said.

“You can still incur disciplinary consequences and still go through a restorative approach, the dialog and informal conference to formal conference,” he said. “​But the idea is that we’re going to stay with the person and care about them, support and guide them over time.”

Students may have issues with their home lives that manifest in inappropriate behavior at school, and teachers and staff become more aware of that by talking to students one-on-one, Ortiz continued.

“I’m so proud of our district and schools, but I’m going to be honest with you — many, many of our students are just incredible, caring, respectful, responsible citizens,” he said. “I wish I could take more credit. I just can’t go there because we have these kids who are just amazing.”

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

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Michelle Malkin: Michelle Obama’s Tall Tales of Racialized Victimhood

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Oh, woe is she. In an “exclusive” interview with People magazine last week, first lady Michelle Obama lamented the “sting” of “racist experiences” that she and her husband allegedly still suffer. My message for America’s Marie Antoinette? Cry me a river.

To show how she’s down with The Struggle of post-Ferguson agitators, Obama cited a supposedly horrifying incident at a Target store where she was treated, in her paranoid mind, as a subservient. “Even as the first lady,” she bemoaned, “not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.”

A lowly peon asked her for an innocent favor? It’s Jim Crow all over again! ABC News reports that Obama said such “incidents are ‘the regular course of life’ for African-Americans and a ‘challenge’ for the country to overcome.”

Newsflash: Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe that it is part of the “regular course of life” of tall people of all colors (Obama is 5-foot-11) to be prevailed upon to reach high on behalf of those of us who are vertically challenged. These are not odious “incidents” of racism between slaves and masters. They’re matters of common courtesy between equals.

So overcome your ridiculously hypersensitive, privileged self and deal with it, girl! (And now don’t get all hot and bothered about the “girl” thing. Sheesh.)

There is, of course, a truly insidious “-ism” at work here: cynicism. Obama’s dissemination of her false racial narrative in a popular celebrity rag is cunningly calculated to pander to America’s aggrieved leftists. We know Obama’s victim sob story is a steaming pile of rotten turnips because the last time she talked about The Incident, it was a feel-good late-night talk show anecdote devoid of discrimination.

On David Letterman’s TV show in 2012, the haute-couture-clad first lady recounted the same “incognito” Target visit to demonstrate her just-like-you bona fides. She chuckled as she shared how the shopper asked: “Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?” As the audience laughed with delight and Obama grinned from ear to ear, she told Letterman: “I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good.”

From overjoyed Regular Mom to Oppressed Martyr, can Obama’s shopping fable get any more absurd? To paraphrase a popular slogan of the social justice mob: Jig’s Up, Don’t Compute.

It just goes to show you: Once a race hustler, always a race hustler. The first lady demonstrated a willingness to employ accusations of racial oppression for political gain from the earliest days of her adult life. Take her senior thesis at Princeton University, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.” Decrying her racial otherness, the Ivy Leaguer accused her university of pushing her down the dreaded path toward “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

Yet, while regaling campaign crowds with complaints about bias, burdensome education loans and the beastly lily white corporate world, Obama neglected to mention that it was a white male Princeton alum who went beyond the call of duty to bring her from her imagined “periphery” to the center of power.

As I recounted in my book Culture of Corruption, Sidley Austin corporate law partner Stephen Carlson offered the elite student generous career guidance and mentoring while she was an undergrad and then reached out to her again when she was at Harvard Law. She secured a coveted job as a summer associate in 1987, accepted a full-time job upon graduation and never looked back. Obama, perpetual victim, hopped from Princeton to Harvard to prestigious law firms, cushy nonprofit gigs, an exclusive Hyde Park manse and a crony corporate board appointment before landing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Only in America is such upward mobility possible by a thin-skinned incessant whiner who has fabricated racial tall tales all the way to the tippy-top of the ladder of opportunity. God bless the U.S.A.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at malkinblog@gmail.com, follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Randy Alcorn: Santa Barbara County Supervisors Present Themselves with Generous Christmas Gift

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Sometimes, government feeds at the public trough with such obvious gluttony that it confirms condemnations of its fiscal irresponsibility.

Earlier this month, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, in a quick vote, gifted itself a nearly 12 percent pay raise. At the same time, it also spread the joy of Christmas to five other elected officials, giving them raises ranging from 4 percent to 14 percent. The beneficiaries of this gift giving are the auditor/controller, the treasurer, the clerk recorder, the district attorney and the sheriff, each of whose total compensation now exceeds $200,000 per year.

Only Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam voted against these pay increases, noting that given the county’s large unfunded pension liability and deteriorating roads and other infrastructure, the supervisors shouldn’t make Santa’s list of deserving boys and girls.

Of course, the taxpayers of Santa Barbara County play Santa — willingly or not. For elected officials to have the power to increase their own compensation is like plundering Santa’s sleigh rather than asking Santa for gifts. Santa just doesn’t get the opportunity to check who has been naughty and who has been nice. Any increases in the compensation of elected officials should be approved by voters.

This latest round of self-gifting by the supervisors will cost taxpayers an additional $1.6 million per year — year after year. How many county residents would prefer filling potholes than filling elected officials’ Christmas stockings?

The rationale the county gives for increasing compensation of its elected officials is that elected officials in other counties are being paid more. This is a familiar justification employed by governments at all levels. To escalate their own compensation, even beyond fiscal prudence, governments engage in a tacit game of pay escalation whereby one or more jurisdictions increase the pay of its officials above that of other jurisdictions. The other jurisdictions then justify increasing their pay levels to match or exceed those of the instigating jurisdictions, and away we go on the next round of government gluttony.

This rationale for increasing the pay of elected officials assumes that taxpayers are either stupid or not paying attention — assumptions that are sadly often valid. If Santa Barbara County’s elected officials are so poorly compensated, why do they keep running for re-election? Why is there never a shortage of qualified people interested in running for county offices, even at those paltry six-figure salaries?

And, it’s not as if elected officials can just quit their positions and take the same position in another jurisdiction that has higher pay. Elected officials are, after all, elected, not hired. Is anyone really concerned that if the supervisors aren’t paid more they will establish residence in Orange County and run for supervisor there? Is anyone afraid that without more pay there will be no qualified candidates who will run for office?

For that matter, regardless of pay levels, do we always get qualified candidates for public office? Think of Congress. Voters are likely to be better served by candidates whose primary motivation for seeking office is not how much they can enrich themselves with that office.

Why did the supervisors give the county’s other elected county officials pay increases? Was the sheriff threatening to quit if he didn’t get this latest increase? Did the supervisors fear that, at $189,000 per year and the chance to retire relatively young with nearly full pay and benefits for life, there would be insufficient interest in the position, or that qualified candidates would look elsewhere? Why was a $12,000 salary increase necessary?

This past year’s race for sheriff was hard fought between two qualified candidates who, given the intensity of their campaigns, really wanted to be elected. Apparently their enthusiasm for the office was not diminished by a salary of $189,000. So why did the supervisors find it necessary to raise that salary by nearly $12,000?

Elected officials move on. Some climb the political ladder to higher office; some retire, often with generous taxpayer-funded benefits. The repercussions of their fiscal irresponsibility and greed, however, endure past their tenures. Remember, taxpayers not only pay for the salaries of those government officials and employees reporting for work each day, but also for a growing number of retired officials and employees reporting to the golf course each day.

The generous retirement packages that elected officials have bestowed on themselves and on public employees are not being covered by investment income alone. The resulting shortfalls in funding are, by law, the responsibility of taxpayers. Santa Barbara County taxpayers are currently on the hook for an unfunded county pension liability of about $1 billion.

Jurisdictions in California and other states are staggering under the crushing burden of public employee compensation excesses — especially retirement benefits. Some have declared bankruptcy. Given these disturbing realities, how can the county supervisors increase their pay and that of other county officials?

Merry Christmas, taxpayers.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Winds Pick Up Along South Coast, with 60 mph Gusts and Power Outages

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Westmont College library damaged as strong gusts sweep through region in advance of warming trend through midweek

A weekend wind advisory was extended through Monday morning as gusty northerly winds whipped around Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Sunday.

The National Weather Service said north winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, were expected through at least 9 a.m. Monday. Isolated gusts in excess of 60 mph were possible at higher elevations overnight on the South Coast.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the National Weather Service reported a gust of 86 mph in the Montecito foothills.

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

On the campus of Westmont College at 955 La Paz Road, a large oak tree toppled across the road near Clark Hall on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday night, the wind blew out a large window on the second floor of the Roger John Voskuyl Library.

“It looks like a tornado hit,” Debra Quast, director of library and information services, wrote in an email to staff announcing that the facility would be closed for cleanup Monday.

“The library was open 24 hours a day all last week and was packed with students,” Quast told Noozhawk, noting that students had left for their Christmas break on Saturday. “The window blew in in an area where students love to study.”

There were no injuries in either incident.

On Sunday night, santa ana-like conditions had pushed temperatures into the mid-70s in Montecito, where power was also flickering off and on in some neighborhoods.

Late Sunday, Southern California Edison reported six power outages affecting at least 400 customers. The utility said it expected service to be restored by 4 a.m. Monday. 

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

The weather service said high surf conditions were tapering off along Central Coast beaches as a large northwest swell began to subside Sunday afternoon. Strong rip currents are still possible, however.

Gale force winds were forecast for the outer Santa Barbara Channel through Monday morning, the weather service said. Sustained surface winds of 34 to 47 knots, or 39-54 mph, were expected from Point Sal down to San Nicolas Island.

In spite of a blustery beginning to Christmas week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should see clear skies with daytime highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s and overnight lows in the upper 40s to low 50s.

The weather is expected to cloud up by Christmas Day, with cooler temperatures reaching only into the mid-60s.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

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

Sunday’s wind blew in a plate-glass window at the Westmont College library, damaging books, furniture and ceiling tiles. (Molly Riley photo / Westmont College)
Sunday’s wind blew in a plate-glass window at the Westmont College library, damaging books, furniture and ceiling tiles. (Molly Riley photo / Westmont College)

There were no injuries when this massive oak tree fell across a roadway Sunday on the campus of Westmont College in Montecito. (Tom Beveridge photo / Westmont College via Instagram)
There were no injuries when this massive oak tree fell across a roadway Sunday on the campus of Westmont College in Montecito. (Tom Beveridge photo / Westmont College via Instagram)

Sunday’s sunset at Butterfly Beach in Montecito included a fiery, pink sky. (Dana Fisher photo / www.santabarbarafun.net)
Sunday’s sunset at Butterfly Beach in Montecito included a fiery, pink sky. (Dana Fisher photo / www.santabarbarafun.net)

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

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

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

“I love serving those who serve.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gerald Carpenter: French Organ Music on Menu at Trinity Episcopal Church

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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The Advent Organ Series at Trinity Episcopal Church continues at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with a free concert of “Parisian Masters of the 20th Century” by the church’s new minister of keyboard music, Thomas Joyce.

The gourmet program for this concert includes the Fantaisie-Improvisation sur “​l’Ave Maris Stella” from Cinq Improvisations (reconstituée par Maurice Duruflé) by Charles Tournemire (1870-1931); the Symphonie Gothique, Opus 70 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937); La Nativité du Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992); Trois Poèmes Évangéliques, Opus 2 by Jean Langlais (1907-1991); and Variations sur un Noël, Opus 20 by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971).

“Advent,” as we all know, is the Christmas season, the time of anticipation of Christ’s coming. Although she was decisively and permanently disconnected from the French state by the Revolution (1789-1793), the Roman Catholic Church has continued down to the present as a powerful force in French culture.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, French and Belgian composers have derived a considerable portion of their incomes from church commissions and church offices. Even freethinkers like Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré wrote masses; as did ultra-modernists like Francis Poulenc and Olivier Messiaen.

Many, like César Franck, served most of their lives as organists in the great cathedrals. It is thus not surprising that there is a huge body of French organ music — much of it fabulous stuff — and that French organists still dominate the market.

Most of the time, alas, what plays in France stays in France — until some enterprising Anglo-Saxon Yankee like Thomas Joyce makes a raid on the pantry to serve some of it to his guests.

Admission is free for the concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara, although donations are welcome.

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

Mayor Bob Lingl cast the lone opposition vote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Diane Dimond: Ominous Predictions of Worldwide Ebola Epidemic Prove Untrue

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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How is it that some of the pending catastrophes we read or hear about in the media simply fade away? What seems so cataclysmic today barely gets a mention next week.

If only irresponsible reporting was declared an actual crime, even just a misdemeanor, there might be less of it. And a lot more doubling back to correct the record when journalists come to realize they’ve been duped.

Case in point: the much ballyhooed prediction of a widespread — even worldwide — Ebola epidemic.

Consider this my mea culpa. It’s my attempt to double back to underscore what appears to be deliberate misinformation from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Back in mid-October, I, along with countless other scribes, repeated the dire WHO warnings that new cases of the deadly disease would soon reach 10,000 per week.

Wow. What a frightening prospect. So reporters everywhere dutifully repeated the breathtaking projection. WHO’s Ebola chief, Bruce Aylward, added to his prediction saying that by the “first week in December” the world would come to see the awful consequences of ignoring the Ebola threat.

Well, we’re nearing the end of the month now, and guess what the latest WHO figures show? In the first week of December there were a total of 529 new cases. It turns out that Ebola cases had peaked three weeks before the WHO held that scary news conference.

Too bad official exaggeration isn’t a crime, either.

More WHO facts: The grand total of all Ebola cases is just under 18,000. Approximately 6,400 people have died, almost all of them in West Africa.

Those are sad numbers, but a far cry from the fear-provoking prognostication of our own CDC. Earlier this year, the CDC predicted that by mid-January 2015, Liberia and Sierra Leone alone would see as many as 1.4 million cases.

What a bunch of hooey.

My eyes were opened on this subject after reading — and then double-checking — the work of Michael Fumento, a journalist lawyer who penned a column titled “The Great Ebola Lie.”

“You’ve been lied to, folks,”​ Fumento wrote. “And they’ll keep repeating this Chicken Little game as long as the media keep falling for it and the politicians keep rewarding it with billions of dollars.”

And there you have it. The motive for the exaggeration? Money.

The World Bank originally calculated that combating the spread of Ebola would cost the world $36 billion. Countries across the globe began to chip in. No matter that the bank later reduced its assessment to more like $3 billion or $4 billion.

And, guess which country is tossing a very generous $5 billion into the Ebola-fight honey pot? That’s right, the United States of America. A lot of that money is earmarked to set up more than 50 Ebola treatment centers throughout the United States.

Really?

Do you remember how many cases of Ebola were contracted here? Two. Just two Texas nurses who tended to one of the few patients who came here after contracting Ebola in West Africa. The facilities we already have proved to be more than enough to treat the victims we received. Why build more?

Look, Ebola is still a deadly problem in West Africa, and we should remain hyper-focused on developing vaccines, establishing a few more Ebola treatment centers and monitoring at-risk travelers entering the United States. But I have a nagging feeling that much of that $5 billion is being earmarked by lawmakers who drank the Kool-Aid of a vastly overstated Ebola threat — lawmakers who failed to check the predictions against the reality.

There was a time when public health experts warned of a pending AIDS pandemic among heterosexuals. Billions more dollars were allocated to counter a problem that didn't exist. Is AIDS still a scourge on the Earth? Of course it is, and it continues to effect many heterosexual black women. But the idea that the general population was at risk has now been rejected.

Driven by spasms of misguided (or sensationalized) media coverage, many people were once scared into thinking that swine flu, the Y2K computer glitch or rising sea levels were going to make our lives unbearable. Those events came and went, leaving a mark, but not the predicted catastrophe.

Let’s all put on our critical thinking caps when we hear these most ominous predictions. And to my colleagues in the media, admit when you’ve repeated exaggerations. In doing so, you both increase public awareness and your own credibility.

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: Price of Raising Political Money Too High a Price for Public Trust

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Mark A. Hanna was a wealthy Cleveland businessman who shrewdly laid out the winning strategy and personally, out of pocket, paid all the costs required to secure the 1896 Republican presidential nomination for his fellow Ohioan, William McKinley.

Sometime after McKinley’s election and re-election to the White House, Hanna, based upon his personal experience, offered this timeless insight: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

The New York Times’​ Binyamin Appelbaum has become the latest in a growing number of scholars to argue that political money is not that influential in deciding the winners of congressional elections or even in affecting how the winners, once in office, will vote on policy. We should, Appelbaum writes, be less anxious about cash in campaigns because “over the past year, Americans spent more on almonds than on selecting their representatives in Congress.”

To borrow the immortal phrase of Hollywood's Sam Goldwyn, “Gentlemen, include me out.” Forget the wealthy campaign donors, who — please take my word for it — almost always write their checks not out of altruism but fully expecting a “return” on their “investment.” Instead, think about the typical House candidate, who — just to cover the costs of her campaign — has to raise an average of $18,000 a week, 52 weeks a year, every year. Beyond raising that war chest, if a congressman hopes to rise to a position of leadership within the House or to win appointment to a powerful House committee, then he has to raise money for his party’s campaign committee.

This means going to a cramped cubicle at party headquarters and, several days a week, turning into a telemarketer, calling a list of people, most of whom you don’t know, and begging for money. Because you are provided the information on a sheet, you know what the potential check writer’s legislative and policy priorities are. You emphasize how your voting record is in harmony with the potential contributor’s values, and you are careful to avoid any potential areas of disagreement.

Because the member of Congress does this for hours on end every week, it means that the member is not spending his time meeting with and listening to his constituents or mastering a subject or getting to know personally his congressional colleagues and potentially collaborating on the public’s business.

Beyond all that fundraising lies more fundraising. Why? Because of the legitimate fear that a misnamed “independent” committee, underwritten by anonymous big money, could spend millions of dollars against any at-risk incumbent, baselessly defaming and possibly destroying him politically for being sympathetic to child pornographers or worse. The one insurance policy many members of Congress believe they have against that career-threatening “nuclear option” is to stockpile millions in their personal campaign accounts — which means more hours putting the arm on everyone who lobbies you on any issue from school lunches to bridge repairs.

The casualties of the endless cycle of fundraising are, too often, the independence, integrity and ideals of those who become its prisoners, and sadly, there’s an even greater loss of public trust and confidence in our own self-government.

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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Toppled Trailer Spills Hay Near Vandenberg Air Force Base Gate

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

The driver reportedly was not injured in the wreck.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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

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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Training Mishap

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

Custom Crush Arrangement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternating Proprietorship Arrangement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Question from Max V.

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

Weezy

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

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

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

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

An internship will offer you three layers of opportunity:

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

» You will learn by doing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Tyler W.

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

Weezy

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Kendra B.

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

Weezy

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

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

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

                                                                 •        •        •

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second victim also was taken to Cottage Hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: Another Bad Deal

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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

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

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

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

Diana and Don Thorn
Carpinteria

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Highway 101 Ramp Closures Could Cause Headaches for Motorists

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Preview: Reveling in Tradition with the Santa Barbara Revels

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

Adam Phillips joins the ensemble this year as music director.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For tickets, call 805.963.0761 or click here.

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Villa Serena, Carpinteria 93013

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $3,925,000

Gary Goldberg
Broker ~ Attorney ~ Realtor®
805.455.8910
gary@coastalrealty.com
DRE Licenses #01172139 / #01208634

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

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4063 Naranjo Drive, Santa Barbara 93110

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $1,179,000

The Richardson Team
Mike Richardson, Broker
805.451.0599
mike@mrrealtors.com
License #00635254

Kyle Richardson, Agent
805.680.3131
kyle@mrrealtors.com
License #01902531

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua Graham Packer
Joshua Graham Packer

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

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

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

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

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

He was arrested almost 11 months after the murders occurred.

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

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

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

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

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

Packer will be sentenced on Feb. 6.

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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State Street Motel Evacuated After Report of Suicidal Man

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zodiac Aerospace Expanding in Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zodiac promotes literacy among its employees, she added.

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

Patino said the new manufacturing may bring approximately 100 jobs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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No Injuries in Vehicle Accident, Fire in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Two-car crash occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Sycamore Canyon Road

A vehicle went into a creek and caught on fire after a two-vehicle accident on the 1300 block of Sycamore Canyon Road Friday afternoon, according to Santa Barbara City Fire.

All occupants were out of both vehicles and had very minor injuries or no injuries, fire inspector Ryan Diguilio said.

City Fire was called out to the incident around 3:30 p.m. Friday and found one vehicle over the side of the road and on fire.

The vegetation was still wet from the rain so it didn't spread, and was extinguished by firefighters, Diguilio said. 

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

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David Sirota: The Treasury Secretary’s Misperceptions About Wealth

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Downtown Carpinteria Residential Property Sold to Local Investors

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

Ceja-Gonzalez
Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.

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Captain’s Log: Shop Local for Last-Minute Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Holiday shopping for outdoor enthusiasts, especially people who fish, shoot and hunt, can be a challenge. Other sports are nearly as challenging. And you are running out of time.

The best advice I can give is to go to a local mom-and-pop shop where you can find sales people who are actually knowledgeable, helpful and interested in your business.

I give the lowest scores to online shopping for two reasons. One, you are pretty much just looking at a catalog. Second, all your money leaves your community.

When you shop locally at a mom-and-pop shop, your money stays in your community. That distinction is vitally important for our economy. When you shop at big chain stores at the mall, a little of your money stays in the community because they employ (and generally under pay) locals. Most of your money, however, goes to headquarters elsewhere.

Local shops are the lifeblood of our community economy. Spread your holiday shopping cheer in your own community.

Examples of shopping for outdoor folks are entertaining and heartwarming. At my shop, Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, this happens regularly in December and we are able to give loads of help by asking simple questions.

Even if the shopper is only able to provide a little bit of information, we use our own knowledge to fit together the puzzle and come up with just the right gift item.

stocking
Stocking stuffers for fisherfolk are on display on the front counter at Hook, Line & Sinker in Santa Barbara. (Capt. David Bacon / Noozhawk photo)

Sometimes the question can be as simple as, “When he (or she) brings fish home or gives it away, have you heard the name of the fish, like red snapper, or tuna, or trout?” Any shred of information might give us all of what we need to know to make a solid suggestion.

A fishing rod and reel make a deeply-appreciated gift. Or maybe some tackle items. On the front counter is a display with perfect stocking stuffers for fisherfolk. Gift certificates are much appreciated because the recipient can pick out his or her own stuff and have a blast doing it!

Next door to the bait & tackle shop is Guns of Santa Barbara and Dodge City. You can buy shooting supplies and ammo at Dodge City. These are always welcomed gifts. If you don’t know what caliber the person you are shopping for needs, buy a gift card and let them have the fun of going into a shop and picking out what they need. At Guns of Santa Barbara, you can’t buy a gun and give it as a gift, but you can buy a gift certificate and, again, allow your gift recipient to have a blast shopping right after the holidays.

Nothing would make a sporting shooter or a hunter happier than getting a gift certificate they can buy a gun with. Safety rules apply here, so make sure your gun shop gift recipient has no history of felonies, violence, abuse or mental illness.

Whether the people you buy for ski, backpack, kayak, boat, play tennis, run, shoot, hunt or fish, you can find the best gift at a local shop where you can get great help.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara High Junior Maria DeAngelis Receives Award for Aspirations in Computing

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Maria DeAngelis
Maria DeAngelis

The National Center for Women & Information Technology selected 35 national winners for the 2015 Award for Aspirations in Computing, and Santa Barbara High School junior Maria DeAngelis is on that list.

The 35 winners were selected from 2,691 applicants, representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and overseas military bases.

Wednesday's announcement noted, “The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recognize young women for their aptitude and aspirations in technology and encourages their continued interest in computing, but it is more than just an award. These women become a support system for each other, regularly seeking advice, ideas and direction from their peers.”

On March 7, the 2015 winners will be recognized at the Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase and Awards Ceremony in Charlotte, N.C.

DeAngelis is very excited as this will be her first trip to that part of the country. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize, laptop computer and two engraved trophies, one for her and one for her school.

In addition to her high school academic course load, DeAngelis provides homework tutoring for younger children; volunteers as a tutor at the downtown public library for four to eight hours per week; serves on the board of the Santa Barbara High School Robotics Club; and takes a computer programming course at Santa Barbara City College. She is enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) biology, AP calculus, AP chemistry, and computer programming.

In her class of more than 20 computer science students, there are three females.

“I’m really excited to get the recognition," DeAngelis said. "I’m in a class of guys and there are only a few girls.”

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

Can You Hunt Waterfowl Not Listed in the Regulations?

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

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

Retrieving Game from Private Property?

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

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

Buying Diamondback Rattlesnakes from Texas for Taxidermy?

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

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

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

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

Lobster Hooping from a Public Pier?

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

Now back to Noozhawk’s news:

1. Gusty Winds, Torrential Rains Slam Santa Barbara County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

2. Santa Barbara Bar’s Liquor License Briefly Suspended

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

R.I.P.

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

5. Montecito Planning Commission Delays Decision on Miramar Resort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                 •        •        •

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

(Silas Patlove video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at 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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Santa Barbara School District Refinances Portion of Measure V2000 General Obligation Bond

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Santa Barbara Public Library System Holiday Schedule

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Arrive Early to Santa Barbara Airport This Holiday Season

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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

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

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

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

Some up-to-date holiday travel tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Hazel Johns is director of the Santa Barbara Airport.

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BizHawk: Killer B’s BBQ & Bar Is Back with ‘Same Vibe’ in Bigger Location

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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Santa Barbara Airbus partners with Google Maps, HG Data integrates new platform and the Raytheon building in Goleta is sold to a local investor

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing news@noozhawk.com.]

Lovers of Killer B’s BBQ & Bar will find its new location just behind its former downtown State Street storefront.

The “old-school Southern BBQ” joint has reopened at 731 De la Guerra Plaza — across the street from City Hall in what used to be Tony Ray’s Restaurant — about two months after it closed its doors in order to find a better, larger location, according to owner Will L'Heureux.

The inside of the new location isn’t any bigger than the former opened at 718 State St. in 2011, but the outdoor patio easily puts the square footage over the top.

“The same exact atmosphere, the same vibe,” L'Heureux said. “Pretty much all of our regulars have found us.”

L'Heureux hopes to turn the place into the town’s largest dog friendly patio, with new furniture complementing a menu that’s been slightly revamped. Because the kitchen is smaller, he said cooks will be serving up fresher food options brought in and smoked daily.

“I’m really hoping to capitalize on that,” he said of the patio, which can seat 80 to 100 guests and is available for parties.

Killer B’s is currently open for dinner, with lunch service returning next week.

A grand opening is planned for early 2015, L'Heureux said, hopefully along with new food delivery and curbside pickup options.

Santa Barbara Airbus Enlists Google

Santa Barbara Airbus, which offers daily Los Angeles International Airport shuttle service and chartered bus services, will now showcase its LAX Shuttle Service information, routes and schedule via Google Maps.

Santa Barbara Airbus offers 16 scheduled trips daily between LAX and stops in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Google Maps will provide a simple interface to customize pickup and delivery locations, times and routes. Travelers can search the date and time they wish to travel to see various options, each listing amount of time and number of transfers.

HG Data Announces Partnership

Santa Barbara’s HG Data, a leader in competitive intelligence on installed technologies, announced this the company has entered into a partnership with Leadspace, a B2B demand gen platform.

As part of the agreement, Leadspace will integrate HG Data into its predictive lead scoring and profiling algorithms, further improving customers’ ability to target both the company and the contact level to maximize marketing and sales efforts.

Leadspace uses both sales input and predictive analytics to build an ideal customer profile by analyzing a sample of an organization’s existing best customers based on common job functions, products used, interests and other similarities.

HG Data tracks more than 1,700 technology vendors and more than 5,000 technology products in its proprietary datasets including SaaS, cloud, security, networking, storage, open source, applications, mobile, big data, CRM, virtualization, visualization and analytics.

Raytheon Building Sold

A local investor has purchased the industrial building that formerly housed Raytheon at 5756 Thornwood Drive in Goleta for $2,815,000, according to Hayes Commercial Group.

The 20,800-square-foot building was originally developed as a six-tenant industrial/office property but has served as a single-tenant R&D/production facility for the past 20 years.

Currently occupied by FLIR Commercial Vision, the building’s previous tenants included Indigo Systems, Amber Engineering and Raytheon.

Parrish Trust, James Knight and Alcor Enterprises owned the property for 20 years before selling it to Richard and Candice Doolittle, who plan to remodel the building after FLIR vacates it at the end of 2015.

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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

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

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

Borgeson informed Noozhawk of the planned settlement this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3 Men Arrested in Old Town Goleta Stabbing Case

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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Mario Flores

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

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

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

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

Luis Gonzales-Guerrero

Bryan Ulloa

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Resident’s 1930s-Era Holiday Village on Display at Casa Dorinda

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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Few holiday decorations have the details that Carol Cramer’s 1930s-era Christmas village boasts.

On display now through the New Year's holiday, Cramer’s wonderland features working lights on trees, canvas sails on boats, missing kitty signs, vintage cars, dogs, kids, skating parties, and even a gothic church.

“I love the joy that my holiday village brings to people. You can see their eyes sparkle as they find themselves immersed in the holiday landscape. We’ve been sharing versions of this growing village for more than a decade,” said Cramer, a Casa Dorinda resident. “Setting up this Christmas town, which has grown to nearly 100 pieces, has become one of my holiday traditions.”

Casa Dorinda, 300 Hot Springs Road in Montecito, is California’s premiere LifeCare community. Located in the heart of Montecito on the historic Bliss estate, Casa Dorinda combines private medical care and a culturally rich environment to truly elevate retirement living.

Casa Dorinda is a private LifeCare Continuing Care Retirement Community owned and operated by the Montecito Retirement Association, a nonsectarian, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

— Toby Ayars is a publicist representing Casa Dorinda.

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Women’s Economic Ventures Self-Employment Training Clients Graduate with Plans for Success

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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On Tuesday, a graduation ceremony was held at the Montecito Country Club in honor of 81 new local entrepreneurs (44 from Santa Barbara and 37 from Ventura County) who graduated from the Self-Employment Training Course offered by Women’s Economic Ventures’ Women’s Business Center.

After 14 weeks of training in finance, marketing, leadership skills and more, graduates are confident and ready to use the knowledge they have gained to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

WEV’s latest Self-Employment Training graduate businesses and business concepts include: a program based on yoga that aims to empower women who have experienced domestic violence, healthy fast-food, a matchmaking service and an online swimsuit boutique.

With a robust menu of training, technical assistance, networking services, and access to capital through its Small Business Loan Fund, WEV has provided entrepreneurial training to nearly 4,000 women, loaned more than $2 million to local businesses, and has created an average of 300 jobs in the community each year.

WEV’s Self-Employment Training course is part of WEV’s continuum of programs that help entrepreneurs start up, grow and sustain a business, including business consulting, entrepreneurial coaching, advanced business training, and small-business startup and expansion loans.

WEV’s comprehensive 14 week, 56-hour Self-Employment Training program is designed for women (all services are open to men) to provide guidance on how to start, operate and expand a business. The program is offered in both English and Spanish, and provides week-by-week training in the most important aspects of organizing, financing, marketing and managing a small business.

Topics include personal leadership skills, personal finances, marketing and sales, public relations and advertising, legal and insurance issues, record keeping, cash flow projections and writing a business plan.

Self-Employment Training courses are offered twice each year, with classes starting in September and February. The class runs for 14 consecutive weeks, one night a week for three hours, and includes two full Saturdays. Classes are taught in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Oxnard and Ventura. Interested participants must attend a free one-hour orientation workshop prior to registering for the course.

The next Santa Barbara County orientations take place on:

» Wednesday, Jan. 7 from noon to 1 p.m.

» Tuesday, Jan. 20 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Click here to register or for more information.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures.

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Benefit Concert at Chumash Casino Resort Raises $25,000 for Toys for Tots Campaign

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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The Chumash Casino Resort’s 11th annual Toys for Tots benefit concert raised $25,000 for the Central Coast Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots campaign, which serves children in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

This year, rock legend Melissa Etheridge was the featured entertainer for the annual show. Arriving in Santa Ynez on her “This is M.E.” North American tour, Etheridge electrified the Samala Showroom with her two-hour performance, which included two encores and hits such as “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window.”

Before Etheridge hit the stage, Belinda Miranda, a Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians tribal descendant and director of bingo at the casino, presented a $25,000 check on behalf of the Chumash Casino Resort to Capt. Shawn Connor, 1st Sgt. Soledad Kennedy and Sgt. Dan Cadena of the Central Coast Marine Corps Reserves.

“The Toys for Tots campaign means a lot to families throughout the community who need a little help during the holidays,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We’re proud that our annual benefit concert continues to raise valuable funds for this great cause.”

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $18 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving.

Click here to find out more about the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and its giving programs.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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It was a tough year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By | Published on 12/18/2014

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

Benjamin Cohen
Benjamin Cohen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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