Santa Barbara-Goleta, Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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United Way Seeks Volunteers to Serve Community for Day of Caring

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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On Saturday, Sept. 20, United Way of Santa Barbara County will hold its 23rd annual Day of Caring, an opportunity to give back to the local community.

Throughout the day, volunteers will help more than 40 local nonprofit organizations, schools, parks and churches throughout the county of Santa Barbara.

The Day of Caring will start with a free kickoff breakfast rally, sponsored by Albertsons, at 8 a.m. at the Page Youth Center in Goleta.

Volunteers of all ages will proceed from the breakfast to community service assignments in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Maria for a wide range of important projects, including cleaning and painting at Casa Esperanza, making adobe bricks for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation at the Presidio, orchard cleanup at Alpha Resource Center, and gardening at Monroe Elementary School.

With last year’s volunteer hours estimated to be worth $375,000 in services to the community, Day of Caring continues to have a significant impact on the Santa Barbara community and is a testament to the spirit of our local volunteerism.

We would like to thank our sponsors: Albertsons, BEI Sensors, Montecito Bank & Trust and Easy Lift, and many more!

To receive a free T-shirt, you must register before Aug. 31. Students qualify for four hours of community service.

To volunteer, sign up by clicking here or calling 805.965.8591. For a full list of 2014 worksites, please click here.

— Kerstin Padilla is the Day of Caring manager for United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Spokes Accepts $1,500 Donation from Rabobank

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Spokes, the nonprofit resource center for the Central Coast, is excited to announce that Rabobank has become a donor/partner with a gift of $1,500.

“We are grateful to have Rabobank as a first-time donor to Spokes,” said Lesley Santos Dierks, CEO of Spokes. “With Rabobank’s support it continues to add to the momentum of the Spokes' mission 'to empower nonprofits to reach their missions.' Rabobank is a strong community supporter for so many wonderful causes, and we are excited to have them on our team so we can continue to empower all the non profits we serve.”

Rabobank wanted to support Spokes in the San Luis Obispo community to help support nonprofit leaders by providing resources for the local nonprofit sector.

"With these resources, this will benefit the entire SLO community,” said Lisa Adams, vice president and retail marketing manager for Rabobank.

Spokes is a nonprofit management support organization with over 100 members, providing training, consulting and resources to empower nonprofits to fulfill their missions. Spokes was founded as the Nonprofit Support Center in 1996 and, in 2011, relocated to San Luis Obispo and rebranded to become Spokes.

For more information about Spokes and its programs, click here or call 805.547.2244. Click here to support the Spokes campaign “Pacesetter 101.”

— Mitch Massey is the COO for Spokes.

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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Give Conditional Approval of Cell Sites in Montecito

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday upheld an appeal filed by a company seeking to place numerous cell tower nodes and areas of cable in Montecito.

Crown Castle is the company working to install the infrastructure in order to increase the capacity of the Verizon cell network in the area.

The item was last before the Montecito Planning Commission earlier this summer, and resulted in a seven-hour hearing. 

The company has made 162 design chances since the beginning of the design process, said Crown Castle's Sharon James, including getting rid of two cell nodes and reducing the size of the battery back-up systems that had caused the ire of neighbors.

"We feel we've done just about everything we could," she said.

Montecito resident John Gura said that one of the antennas would sit near his driveway and that the aesthetics in the area "are very unique," asking that the utility pole be removed as trenching begins in the area.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted that the company can move forward on the coast and inland portions of the project, with conditions.

The board asked that a new permit application be submitted to move the utility pole near Gura's home that would no longer be needed after trenching begins. 

Another condition was that Crown Castle's trenching of underground utilities would not impede neighbors' work to improve Bella Vista Road.

One point of contention, the back-up battery units which opponents said presented an eyesore, would be eliminated from the plans because they are not required by federal laws.

"That was a major part of the blight that the community would have to endure," said Supervisor Salud Carbajal, whose district includes the cell towers.

Earlier in the meeting, he said the Crown Castle plans had "evolved dramatically" throughout the design process.

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

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Santa Maria Council Shelves Proposed Library Rule Restricting Belongings

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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A proposed rule to limit the size of items people can take into the Santa Maria Public Library unfairly targeted the homeless population, several speakers told the City Council on Tuesday night.

The City Council postponed the proposed rule about restricting belongings but adopted a law that allows the librarian to ban problematic patrons from the library after committing a major offense the first time. Rules currently require two warnings with the person banned after the third incident.

Several people spoke out against restricting belongings as the City Council was poised to approve the second reading of the ordinance implementing the new rules. No one spoke when the council introduced the ordinance Aug 5.

Library staff had proposed requiring that customers’ personal items be able to fit under a chair and prohibit “large personal items that cannot fit under a chair.”

Santa Maria resident Helen Galvan called the proposal “veiled discrimination against our homeless population.”

“The library is an oasis of knowledge, of ideas, of opportunity,” Galvan said. “In the event one of these homeless individuals, carrying a large tote, would like to take advantage of everything our library has to offer, this ordinance would deny them that opportunity.”

Former librarian Jack Buchanan said officials didn’t plan for this kind of contingency when the library was being built.

If library officials had planned for this issue when the new facility was built, they might have included lockers like those found at bus stations, he added.

“I think there must be some way to do better for these people,” Buchanan said.

Patty Dark, a deputy public defender and “vigorous” user of the library, called the restriction “morally wrong,” unconstitutional and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s an invitation to a lawsuit and it serves no purpose,” she said. “It’s going to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The facility has 400 seats, with vast expanses of unused space to safety accommodate large items. 

“This ordinance is unconstitutionally vague, it’s over broad … and it’s prohibiting lawful conduct,” she said. “How are you going to enforce it? What are personal belongings? Are you going to enforce it against the student on his way home from his guitar lesson or only against the homeless man who carries his belongings in a guitar case?

“This ordinance is mean-spirited. It doesn’t speak as to who we are in Santa Maria and invites a lawsuit.”

Jacqueline MacNeil, who serves on the library board of trustees, said this is a growing problem in the library and had been discussed by the advisory group.

“In today’s world, I have to tell you, an unattended backpack or package can be scary,” MacNeil said. “How many times have you heard about airports that were completely emptied because somebody left a backpack sitting there? You don’t like to think it can happen here, but of course it can.”

She said it shouldn’t fall upon the library to make all the accommodations for homeless residents to leave their items during the day. 

A homeschool teacher said she recently saw a big orange suitcase wide open in library, noting that her students aren’t allowed to bring large items into the facility.

Librarian Mary Housel said the intent of the rule isn’t to discriminate against any group of people but to deal with tripping hazards and other safety matters. 

“Libraries have had the goal of welcoming everyone for years and years and that’s what we stand by. That’s our passion and we want to keep doing that, but we also want to recognize that we need to have safety and comfort in the library and make it that way for everyone coming in,” Housel said. “The intent is to do what many other libraries have done. … Many libraries in the U.S. have these restrictions. It’s not unusual. It’s very common and very reasonable.”

Lompoc and Santa Barbara libraries have similar restrictions regarding personal belongings but use specific dimensions. Housel said the idea of limiting belongings to those that fit under a chair gives an estimate what size items are allowed.

She showed a plastic containers like those used by the post offices to demonstrate the approximate size of items, explaining it was 18 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches. 

“To me this is a reasonable size item we would accommodate in the library,” she said. 

Larger items seen in recent months include backpacks, gym bags and luggage. 

“Staff has concerns about shooters coming in the library. We have concerns about items being stolen,” she said. 

In San Luis Obispo County, library staff found 100 stolen DVDs in a large bag, she noted.

The rule also is protection for customers after some have reported having items stolen recently while in the library.

Councilman Jack Boysen said the proposed rule began with the best intention but may have some unintended consequences.  Boysen noted that Santa Maria doesn’t have a day center for homeless people.

“I would like to see this go back and rethought and take a look at what specifically we’re trying to exclude. If we’re specifically trying to exclude shopping carts full of possessions let’s say shopping carts full of possessions,” Boysen said.

The council voted 4-1 to postpone implementing the rules on restrictions, with Mayor Alice Patino casting the lone no vote.

The other rule, which the council adopted by a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, would allow the librarian to ban people who commit serious violations such as fighting, stalking or harassing fellow library patrons or staff.  Councilwoman Terri Zuniga voted against the law.

Currently, the staff issue a verbal warning for the first offense, then a written warning for the second offense before finally issue the ban letter.

"We need something with teeth in it to make our job easier," Housel said.

Boysen also he wanted to make sure the librarian is deciding who receives an exclusion letter so it's not left to low-level staff or volunteers.

The one-strike rule for major offenses will take effect in mid-September.

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 School District Introduces Four New Principals

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Superintendent Dave Cash holds a back-to-school news conference to discuss implementation of Common Core standards and new assessment tools

Four new principals are joining the Santa Barbara Unified School District this year and will take over schools that have struggled with administrative turnover the past several years.

Superintendent Dave Cash introduced them at his annual back-to-school news conference Tuesday and talked about the district-wide implementation of the new Common Core State Standards and assessment tools starting this year.

Superintendent Dave Cash outlines the Santa Barbara district's goals for the coming school year. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The Board of Education has already gone through its first year of the new Local Control Funding Formula and accountability plan, which requires much more community outreach into funding decisions.

These “are not only changes in how we do business, but huge changes in what we value, what we believe in and how we will continue to support students,” Cash said.

Students will start school Aug. 27, and the four new principals talked briefly about their plans for the coming year.

Veronica Binkley recently served as assistant principal at Juan Lagunas Soria School in Oxnard and worked as an elementary school teacher and education consultant.

She was a consultant for Harding University Partnership School’s primary years program and will now join the school as principal.

“It truly is a lifelong dream of mine to be an administrator at an International Baccalaureate school,” she said Tuesday.

She’s already met with most of the teachers, who have worked to integrate Common Core State Standards into the school’s inquiry-based learning programs.

Harding already partners with UC Santa Barbara and will be joining with Dos Pueblos High School’s IB program this coming year, she said. Binkley also plans to get community members and parents more involved.

Sierra Loughridge worked on child development and afterschool programs for the district and will now take over Washington Elementary School.

Outgoing principal Anne Hubbard gave her a quick training and Loughridge is excited to be participating in the iPad pilot program, which is being tested in four schools.

She also asked for her school to be included in the new restorative approaches discipline program.

“I firmly believe that is going to revolutionize the classroom community and the culture of our schools because it gives every student and all stakeholders a chance to be heard,” she said. “It teaches children how to communicate and work through issues, and it really is all about respect and taking responsibility and making things right in your community — so I’m very, very excited to be at Washington.”

Jacqueline Mora will take over as principal at McKinley Elementary and brings experience from school districts in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Glendale.

She received two bachelor’s degrees from UCSB in Chicano studies and Spanish so she has a local connection, Cash said.

Her first priority is to learn about the school and support the students, teachers and parents.

“I think it’s really to assess where we are as a school and how I can support that work," she said.

Open Alternative School is getting Colleen Million, a longtime local educator who has worked in the Goleta Union School District, as executive director of Santa Ynez Valley Charter School and at Antioch University, Cash said.

As a child, she attended La Colina Junior High School — where the OAS campus is located — and graduated from Santa Barbara High School.

“The school has gone through a lot of transitions the last seven years I would say, and my first goal is really to establish relationships and trust and go forward from there, and to bring us into the 21st century,” Million said.

The new standards fit in well with the alternative education teaching context, and teachers are excited to be able to take more creative approaches to lessons, she said.

District leaders have the same goals for the coming year as the last three years: to implement the new standards, integrate technology into learning, and creating culturally-proficient classrooms and schools.

His administrative staff has hired more than 85 new certificated staff members for the coming year, added to more than 70 last year and about 50 the year before.

“We have a very new and different teaching staff in our schools,” he said, noting that the majority of new faculty members are first-time teachers.

Among the new hires are 19 elementary school teachers, 14 special education teachers, 11 math teachers, seven science teachers, five English teachers, five Spanish teachers, five psychologists, five counselors and two music teachers.

Many of the elementary school teachers are returning to the community where they were students, Cash added.

The district has worked to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural certificated staff members and Cash said this group has the highest percentage of Spanish-speaking hires in a single year so far.

Santa Barbara Unified is expanding its restorative approaches discipline program to all secondary schools and three elementary schools for the fall semester and making sure the rules are being implemented consistently.

Depending on the results, the program could be expanded district-wide next year.

“We’ll make sure that there’s no mistake from classroom to classroom, from school to school in what restorative approaches is and how it gets accomplished,” Cash 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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Goleta Council Appoints Incumbents In Lieu of Election, Votes to Increase Salaries

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Goleta City Council on Tuesday voted to appoint its three incumbents to new terms instead of holding an election in November, since no additional candidates filed for those seats in city government.  

Council members Roger Aceves, Michael Bennett and Paula Perotte will be appointed and the new four-year terms will start in January 2015, just as if they were elected in the Nov. 4 election.

It will be the third term for Aceves and Bennett, and the second term for Perotte.

Goleta will save about $17,000 in election costs by canceling the election, according to a staff report.

The council members also unanimously voted to increase their own salaries to $532 per month, an increase from $484 per month.

When Goleta incorporated in 2002, the City Council salaries were set at $300 per month.

Under state law, it can be increased by 5 percent per year, and the next opportunity to increase salaries would be in January 2017, City Attorney Tim Giles said.

The rate hasn’t increased in two years, he said.

Council members voted to approve the increase and make it effective in December.

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

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Lompoc Kidnap-Torture Retrial Continues with Defense Opening Statement, First Witness

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The case against Raymond Daniel Macias involving a gang-related kidnapping and torture in Lompoc relies on testimony of felons motivated by lighter sentences and lacks any proof Macias ordered the attack, defense attorney Michael Scott said Tuesday afternoon.

Referring to the prosecution witnesses as a “cast of characters” who are longtime gang members and career criminals, Scott delivered his opening statement in the Santa Maria retrial of Macias for the charge of kidnap for extortion plus special allegations for gang and gun involvement.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen delivered her opening statement to the jury in Judge Patricia Kelly’s courtroom Monday afternoon in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria. 

Opening statements from both sides included insight into gang culture, where members must pay “gang taxes” and disrespect toward the gang is considered a major offense. Testifying against gang members is a top offense where a gang member can be “green-lighted,” or targeted for killing, Bramsen noted Monday.

Earlier this summer, a jury in the first trial deadlocked on the kidnap charge but found Macias guilty of torture and sale of methamphetamine.

The case stems from the Jan. 3, 2013 kidnapping and torture of a drug dealer and user known by the gang moniker of “Sicko” who reportedly owed Macias for “gang taxes.”

“Despite a vast amount of investigation, there is not a single piece of solid evidence where Mr. Macias tells anyone to kidnap Sicko,” Scott said.

Instead, those who testify cooperated with police in exchange for cutting deals in their own self interest, he added.

“They committed the crimes, they did not want to do the time,” Scott said.

He added his client is an admitted member of the Santa Barbara-based Eastside Krazies. The prosecution claims that as a high-ranking Sureno, Macias, also known as "Boxer," collected taxes for the Mexican Mafia.

In June 2013, the Santa Barbara Grand Jury handed down indictments against multiple defendants in this case.

But Scott said another gang member — Luis “Lucky” Almanza, Macias’s co-defendant in his first trial — “broke the code” and committed the assault out of embarrassment that he was knocked to the ground by Sicko. The incident left Sicko with a broken arm and other injuries.

“The evidence will show Mr. Macias was a drug dealer. The evidence will show that was his primary motivation,” Scott said.

Scott said he also will show that Macias gave people second and third chances to pay up, “not senseless violence.”

The defense attorney added that Macias was involved with Santa Barbara’s Palabra, which works to minimize youth-on-youth violence.

After Scott’s opening statement, the prosecution’s first witness to take the stand was a third-generation gang member from Lompoc. 

Outside the jury’s presence, Scott objected to allowing testimony from the former gang member regarding a recent incident in which he claims he was threatened for snitching on the gang. 

Scott contended that the apparent threat was not corroborated and unrelated to his client, while Bramsen said the law doesn’t require a direct threat and said the incident is “highly relevant” to this case.

The judge said the question of whether to allow testimony about the incident would be settled in a to-be-scheduled hearing.

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: Vintage 2014’s Film and Wine Pairing Tour Focuses on Season of Growth

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Multimedia alliance is set in Santa Barbara County during the current grape-growing season

"Vintage 2014," a multimedia alliance set in Santa Barbara County during the current grape-growing season, will hold the first event in its film and wine pairing tour on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos.

Funded late last year through Kickstarter.com, Vintage 2014 matches visual artists, musicians, writers and wine farmers in its multimedia documentation of viticulture.

In June, Vintage 2014's producer and director, Wil Fernandez, described the project as "evolving as I learn more about viticulture in general. It's kind of like a journey, as I discover interesting things along the way.

"We're definitely not following a script," he added.

He plans events similar to the Los Alamos one in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York and throughout Southern Florida in January.

"The Los Alamos event is meant to bring people into the vineyards and meet the producers as they try the wine, giving them a personal connection while also entertaining and educating them on the lesser known viticultural aspects of winemaking," he said.

Along with Fernandez, the team behind Vintage 2014 is Jonathan Baudoin, director of photography, and Laura Booras, associate producer and the general manager at Riverbench Vineyard & Winery.

During the Wine Bloggers Conference in July, Fernandez showed a short, overview film to participants gathered for the closing night's dinner. The crowd watched, rapt, and heartily applauded Fernandez and his crew.

While Vintage 2014's goal is to call attention to viticulture, the producers want to recognize the winemakers and wineries whose wines make Santa Barbara County special.

During an event in Phoenix earlier this year, wines from Buttonwood and Riverbench were poured to guests. Among them were those representing retail outlets, and "Buttonwood got a new vendor while we were pouring, which was a side bonus" of the evening, Fernandez notes. 

The evening at Flatbread will open with a short film — 15 minutes in length — that highlights dormancy and bud break in grape vines, he said. Following the film will be a wine reception and hour of dining paired with the wine from winemakers involved in the project.

Those folks include Ryan Carr, Dick Doré, Wes Hagen, Michael Larner, Clarissa and Jonathan Nagy, Karen Steinwachs and Bill Wathen.

The vineyards and wineries featured are Clos Pepe Estate, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Flying Goat Cellars, Larner Vineyard & Winery and Carucci Wines.

Among the videos and interviews at www.vintage2014.com are topics ranging from cover crops, drought, dry faming, fruit, vines and FAQ about viticulture.

Come September, the full www.vintage2014.com website will launch with content that spans the entire vintage, from bud break to harvest, and will utilize "unfiltered" audio interviews with "wine farmers" from throughout the season, along with photo essays from several different photographers, Fernandez said.

— 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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Inaugural iSurf School Block Party on Board with Inspiring Women — One Wave at a Time

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Support for the mission of husband-and-wife team Alelia Parenteau and Thomas Oretsky swells at a benefit event for the Watergirl Fund and Girls Inc.

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The swells of inspiration and empowerment rolled through the Funk Zone at a benefit event bringing 250 guests together for the inaugural iSurf School Block Party held at Pali Wine Co. and The Valley Project, with all proceeds going toward the Watergirl Fund and Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara.

Established in July 2013, iSurf is a surf school just for women founded by Santa Barbara husband-and-wife team Alelia Parenteau and Thomas Oretsky, who saw a lack of women in local surf lineups.

The couple set out with a mission to change the perception throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and help women of all ages and backgrounds get into the water and change their lives, one wave at a time.  

“Our whole motivation is to really break down the barriers of getting into the surf, whether that’s economic, emotional or physical,” Parenteau told Noozhawk. “Our oldest lady who surfs with us is 72 and our youngest is 5. We span all the ages.”

iSurf offers private, semi-private and group lessons, as well as trips and camps for both surfing and stand-up paddleboarding.

“We have surf camps, and we have over 100 women who surf with us on an annual membership basis. We do Baja trips and trips to San Diego. We’re also planning a trip to Nicaragua,” Parenteau said.

The movement has grown not only to include surf lessons and camaraderie for women of all ages, but also an after-school program and the establishment of The Watergirl Fund in partnership with Girls Inc.

“We’re raising money for the fund to send girls surfing,” Parenteau said. “iSurf is creating awareness to raise the money and then Girls Inc. is providing the girls.”

The first year of the Watergirl Fund will benefit approximately 30 girls with additional opportunities growing as scholarship funding is available with the cost for each girl estimated at $550 for the program.

“It’s been so inspirational in the last year seeing how the sport of surfing has affected all of the women in their lives whether its the family that is born out of surfing with other women or traveling it has been such a personal inspiration to me," Parenteau said, "and as a mother it has shown me the importance of teaching new skills.”

Heidi Rost is a neighbor of Parenteau and Oretsky and was inspired by the uniqueness of the mother and daughter camps that iSurf offers, along with the program designed to get girls of all ages into the water.

“I thought, 'This is amazing.' I always thought I was too old or I had missed my window of opportunity,” Rost said. “I just thought what a great opportunity for young girls to feel empowered through a sport that has traditionally been more male dominated.”

Rost and her 6-year-old daughter, Stella, are looking forward to the upcoming camp they will be participating in this month, and will face the intimidation of the waves and the lineups together.

“She, Stella, said I’ll be brave for you and we’ll go together, which I think is exactly what I think Thomas and Alelia were hoping for,” Rost said.

Girls Inc. offers educational programs and advocacy to girls ages 4½ to 18 years, with the opportunity to experience success, learning skills to gain confidence, self-reliance and practice leadership.

According to Monica Spear, executive director of Girls Inc., the joint venture with iSurf forms a continuum from a November 2013 event that Girls Inc. held with Santa Barbara resident and world-ranked professional surfer Lakey Peterson.

Spear, who grew up surfing in Northern California with her brother and his male friends, said she knows firsthand of the intimidation of being in the water in a male-dominated arena and the impact of the iSurf program on local women throughout the county.

“It’s been really fabulous, I can’t even stress that enough because our mission is to inspire all girls to be strong smart and bold and so thinking about a sport that has often been prohibitive for girls to participate,” Spear said. “So this has provided the best opportunity to ensure that as many girls as we can have the chance to really learn and excel in this specific sport.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz

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John Daly: You Don’t Like My Customer Service Skills?

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Have you experienced poor customer service from businesses, restaurant personnel or in retail shops? What are the main reasons we experience poor customer service these days? Does it all go back to training and education? A group of etiquette coaches and customer service experts shared their thoughts with me to provide insight.

Several associates thought the problem was training and education—in part. If it’s just having employees in customer-facing roles who do not actually like people, it may be more of a managerial or hiring issue. The point is that anyone in a customer-facing role should really like to work with people. Most of my associates agreed that the challenges that come with dealing with people become too much for someone who would rather be in a back-office role.

Could it be that poor customer service is a reflection of poor self-esteem? “People carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and then transfer this over to others,” said Deborah Choma, an instructor at Final Touch Finishing School.

To combat this, Choma has a motto that she applies in her own life every day: Be nice to everyone, because everyone is having a tough day.

“I have experienced, firsthand, poor customer service turnaround because I was aware of this principle and looked for a way of being kind to them and making them feel good about themselves,” she said. “Should it be this hard? Unfortunately, it is this hard.”

Ruby Syring, a 28-year veteran of customer relations and specials events at Boeing, offered that the more social media, video games and cell phones children and teens have access to, the more withdrawn they are from face-to-face interaction with people.

“This leads to awkward social skills and, therefore, what is perceived as bad customer service,” Syring said.

Christine Chen, president of Global Professional Protocol in Washington, D.C., agrees with Syring but believes there is so much time spent in solitude in today’s society that it’s not just children and teens.

“I see adults who lack people skills due to lack of people interactions,” she said.

Chen thinks poor customer service happens for a number of reasons.

“The organization itself has to have a culture of providing world-class customer service,” she said. “That needs to trickle down to the hiring stage and the training and education of employees. However, the training should not just consist of a one-day session. This needs to be ongoing — daily huddles (even a five-minute meeting), newsletters, communication, refresher courses, etc.

“I do believe the hiring process should be extremely intentional and rigorous. Too often, organizations hire just to fill a spot. It’s better to leave the position vacant in order to find the best person who will take seriously the company’s value of world-class customer service.”

Teri Haynes of Business Interaction in Shreveport, La., took it even further.

“In looking at the big picture, I think so many of our problems are because of our ME attitude,” she said. “As a society, we are concerned with ourselves more than with other people. This is reflected in poor customer service, road rage, petty crime, etc. Although we can and should certainly work with adults to develop better manners, starting in the home is the most effective cure.

“My appreciation goes to all of the etiquette instructors who work with children. Perhaps we should consider developing parental etiquette classes!”

Parental etiquette classes — not a bad idea. What do you think?

A Collage of Poor Customer Service Examples

(tmuka video)

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, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. 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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Ron Fink: Is Measure P Needed to Protect Santa Barbara County, or Is It a Trojan Horse?

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The rhetoric surrounding Measure P, a so-called anti-fracking measure, is at a fever pitch. Now that it’s on the November ballot, proponents are scrambling to try to convince poorly informed voters that there is nothing to worry about — we (environmentalists) will take care of you and hoping that voters of Santa Barbara County can be duped into believing that voting yes on Measure P will save the planet from imminent destruction.

The opening paragraph of the initiative says “the purpose of this initiative is to protect the health and environment of Santa Barbara County — its air and water quality, water supplies, agricultural lands, scenic vistas and quality of life — by prohibiting the use of any land in the county’s unincorporated area for High-Intensity Oil Operations. High-Intensity Oil Operations include hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steam injections and other types of oil and gas development that use advanced well stimulation technologies.”

That statement describes all of the oil extraction methods used in the county — thus end game of the initiative appears to be to ban all oil operations. Oh, fracking isn’t now and won’t be one of the methods used because it isn’t feasible in this geological area.

Lately there have been many meetings and workshops to try to flesh out the details since this action will likely result in what is known as a “taking” of private property and may result in hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation for the loss of use that would be paid to private land owners by taxpayers — that’s you and me.

When asked during a recent public workshop how many wells in current production would be impacted by Measure P, the answer was 100 percent. And concerning potential “taking” lawsuits, the county attorney is asking for two additional full-time lawyers just to handle the caseload.

Now to the “not to worry, we’ll take care of you” component of this process; the county Planning and Development Department is going to try to develop policies and interpret what the measure means so they can provide voters some level of assurance that nothing bad is going to happen.

“Prohibiting the use of any land in the county’s unincorporated area for High-Intensity Oil Operations” doesn’t provide much wiggle room and can’t be interpreted any other way than to mean you can’t use your property for oil operations.

You may remember that a few weeks ago P&D informed a Santa Ynez woman who painted in her barn for the last 15 years that she had committed two violations of the county planning rules: unpermitted conversion of a barn into an artist studio, and unpermitted home occupation.

Since she sold two paintings in the last year by mail and occasionally allowed visitors to watch her paint, they determined that this constituted a business and not only would she have to obtain costly permits but she would also have to do significant modifications to her barn.

Considering how this artist was treated for practicing what many would consider a hobby in her own barn, would you trust P&D to make any interpretation of Measure P that favored the oil industry?

So, what is the hazard of oil production? Spills, you say. OK, what if you knew that UCSB scientists, using sophisticated sonar devices and mathematical models estimate that each day an astonishing 4,895 gallons of crude oil and 71 tons of methane gas escape in our county without any mistakes being made by those nasty oil producers! Nature does it all alone.

If these figures are relatively accurate — and who could doubt an official U.S. government report prepared by UCSB researchers? — that means that about 1.78 million gallons of oil are released naturally in the Santa Barbara Channel each year. That’s over 80 million gallons, which is 80 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska that has been released since 1969!

Has this adversely impacted the quality of life on the beaches of Santa Barbara? Apparently not. The tourists still visit and the homeless still camp out, don’t they?

Another claim is that the water table will be contaminated if we don’t stop oil production immediately. Oil production has existed in our county for over a century, and steam injection has been commonly used to help extract the oil for at least 50 years.

Even though there have been many accidental releases of oil to the environment, how many reports do you know of that indicate that the water table, quality of life or agriculture in the Santa Maria or Cuyama valleys or anywhere else in Santa Barbara County has suffered any permanent damage as a result of oil operations?

If there were any such reports, you can bet your bottom dollar that those ever vigilant environmentalists would be waiving them at every public meeting and press conference concerning this subject.

This initiative is just another try to ban all oil operations in our county. Think for yourself, use logic and then vote no on Measure P.

— 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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Chris Snowden Joins AmeriFlex Financial Services as Financial Advisor

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Santa Barbara-based AmeriFlex Financial Services announces the addition of its newest team member, financial advisor Chris Snowden.

Chris Snowden
Chris Snowden

Snowden is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. He spent a number of years in the wine industry as part of his family’s vineyard before obtaining a master’s in business from Pepperdine University.

For the past six years, he has worked as a financial advisor in the Santa Barbara area. During that time he has developed a passion for working with people in transition — be that career changes, business succession or retirement.

“My background in running small companies and experience with family business gives me insight into some of the challenges that successful people are faced with when preparing for retirement,” Snowden said.

As a member of the AmeriFlex team, Snowden will focus on providing retirement/income planning services under the honeyigothitbyabus.com and gotomycfo.com banner.

“Chris brings a real passion to help pre-retirees, and entrepreneurs as they prepare to position their assets to generate income for their decumulation years,” President Justin Anderson said. “We are excited to welcome him aboard.”

Snowden, his wife and son live in Santa Barbara and are active in a number of community organizations.

AmeriFlex Financial Services is a privately owned financial services firm based in Santa Barbara. Its team of professionals has provided financial confidence to businesses, nonprofit organizations, families and individuals since 1988.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing AmeriFlex Financial Services.

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Lou Cannon: Congress Fails Immigrants — and the States in Which They Live

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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When a do-little Congress went home without addressing the crisis caused by the flight of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America across U.S. borders, immense strains were placed on state-supervised programs that provide social services, job training and preventive health care for immigrants — legal and otherwise — who are already living in the United States.

President Barack Obama sought $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Congress recessed without providing any money, leaving a $94 million shortfall in what is known as the “unaccompanied alien minor program.” In order to care for the refugees, the federal government is taking money from useful existing programs, many administered by the states, pending court decisions on the immigrants’ fate.

“To have all these children who need help and do nothing is really beyond the pale,” said Ann Morse, program director for the Immigration Project for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Morse, the NCSL and this publication (State Net Capitol Journal) are nonpartisan. But whether one is partisan or not, it’s disappointing that the federal government once again dropped the ball on immigration reform.

It’s not just the plight of desperate children fleeing violence in Central America.

The absence of a comprehensive federal immigration law also means that growers in some Western states lack sufficient labor. A farmer in Santa Maria, in the heart of California’s bountiful strawberry industry, was recently asked by a television reporter if the state’s extreme drought was his worst problem. The farmer surprised the reporter by answering: “No, the shortage of labor.”

Guest-worker programs allowing temporary importation of foreign agricultural labor were once the norm in the Unites States. States have the capability to run such programs on their own, but when Utah proposed doing this a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled — correctly — that immigration is a federal responsibility. A shortage in farm labor isn’t headline news but translates into higher prices for fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.

At the opposite end of the economic spectrum, Silicon Valley and other high-tech centers are scrambling to hire engineers, who are in high demand and short supply. Presently, only 85,000 visas are allowed each year for importing engineers and other high-skilled workers.

The absence of a comprehensive federal law also encourages unequal treatment of the estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. A dozen states and the District of Columbia and 13 cities have “sanctuary” policies that provide aid and shelter to these immigrants, while other states and cities have made it clear that they are not welcome.

The more welcoming states have attempted to fill the vacuum caused by federal inaction. Eleven states and the District of Columbia now offer driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants. Sixteen states offer in-state tuition rates for higher education. No state did either five years ago.

But even the most generous states know their authority is limited by the Supreme Court’s ruling that the federal government has primacy on immigration. That’s why many states backed a comprehensive federal bill.

The hope for such legislation seemed bright early in the year, especially after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he would work with the Obama administration to accomplish it. Rubio was promptly denounced by conservatives, many of whom oppose a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. Liberals should have rallied to Rubio’s defense but didn’t. Many of them want a more expansive plan than the one he was offering.

With little support from any quarter, Rubio backed off, and the immigration debate degenerated into its usual partisan bickering. Partisanship was especially evident in response to this summer’s influx of Central American children. Some 63,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the southern border since last October; another 63,000 children arrived at the border accompanied by adults.

Republicans blame Obama, saying the influx was encouraged by his 2012 executive order that allowed immigrants brought to this country as children — the so-called “Dreamers” — to remain here. An estimated half-million immigrants have taken advantage of this order, although their future is uncertain. In issuing the order, Obama emphasized it was not a path to citizenship.

But although the influx of children reached crisis proportions only this summer, it began in 2009, spurred by a bill passed with bipartisan support in 2008 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. That measure, designed to halt sex trafficking, contained a provision assuring immigrants of a court hearing before they could be deported. This established a ludicrous double standard under which unauthorized immigrants from most countries are entitled to a hearing, while immigrants from Canada and Mexico are not. The year after this bill passed, 20,000 children from Central America fled to the United States.

During his campaign for the presidency in 2008, Obama promised he would submit comprehensive immigration legislation in his first year in office. Struggling with economic problems, he ignored his promise and instead stepped up deportations of unauthorized immigrants, the vast majority to Mexico. The administration has deported more than 2 million immigrants, a record.

Latino groups have been critical of these deportations, and they are not alone. The Economist, for instance, excoriated the Obama “deportation machine” and called him the “deporter in chief.” Obama has since eased deportations and hinted he might use executive action to allow more unauthorized immigrants to remain legally in the United States.

The surge of children supposedly was encouraged by smugglers, who spread the rumor that children reaching the United States would find safe haven. But the root cause is violence in Central America. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, more than 19 times the U.S. rate.

The U.S. response to the surge has been more political than effective. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, sent 1,000 National Guard troops to a border that is already heavily militarized. This didn’t change the equation on the border because most of the children were already giving themselves up once they reached the United States.

Obama didn’t change the equation either. He asked Congress not only for money but for authority to bypass the 2008 law and deport the children without a hearing. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, refused to do this. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives provided a pittance for refugee aid, knowing that its bill had no chance of Senate passage. Overall, the Washington gamesmanship did not reflect well on either party or branch of government.

States, cities and the child refugees were left, in the British phrase, to muddle through. It is pot luck for the refugees. Roughly half have been housed by relatives. The rest have been placed by a U.S. government agency in shelters of varying capacity and quality, helped by churches and other nonprofit organizations.

Although some towns noisily refused to accept any refugees, staging protests that were heavily covered on television, many cities in border states, including Los Angeles and San Antonio, quietly opened their doors. New York City took the useful step of appropriating nearly $5 million to provide immigrants with legal counsel. Although refugees are entitled to a hearing before a federal judge, they are not guaranteed an attorney, and most appear at their proceedings without one.

With Congress in recess, the next move in the immigration drama is up to Obama, who is reported to be considering an executive order that would permit as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States. This would raise constitutional issues and prompt determined opposition that would not be limited to Republicans. The Washington Post editorially noted that legislative power is vested in Congress and said a unilateral action by Obama would “tear up the Constitution.”

A constitutional confrontation might fire up the Democratic and Republican political bases for the midterm elections, but it would be damaging to the country. Far better would be a bipartisan legislative solution that responds to both conservative and liberal concerns by tightening border security, establishing a path to citizenship for immigrants already living here, and creating a guest worker program.

These key elements of immigration reform have long been recognized, most recently in Rubio’s now-abandoned bill. What’s needed in Washington are legislators on both sides with the courage to compromise and put immigration reform above politics.

Lou Cannon, a Summerland resident, is a longtime national political writer and acclaimed presidential biographer. His most recent book — co-authored with his son, Carl — is Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. Cannon also is an editorial adviser to State Net Capitol Journal, which published this column originally. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Schizophrenia in a Dish: UCSB Plays Role in Revealing How Illness-Linked Genetics Affect Neurons

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Scientific consensus holds that most major mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, are genetically rooted diseases of synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain. Now research has demonstrated how a rare mutation in a suspect gene corrupts the on-off switches of dozens of other genes underlying these connections.

The study appears online in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Employing a disease-in-dish technology called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the team of investigators, including UC Santa Barbara researchers, studied iPSCs from four members of an American family affected by genetically linked schizophrenia and related mental disorders.

Decades ago, researchers traced a high prevalence of schizophrenia and other major mental disorders — which often overlap genetically — in a Scottish clan to mutations in the gene DISC1 (Disrupted In Schizophrenia 1). However, until now, most of what is known about the cellular effects of such DISC1 mutations has come from rodent brain studies.

“This new study’s design was the first of its kind to examine multiple affected and healthy members of the same family,” said co-author Matthew Lalli, a Ph.D. candidate working in UCSB’s Kosik Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Lab, which conducted the RNA sequencing portion of the study. “Our results showed a clean, close resemblance of the neurons cultured in a dish to some biochemical features of the disease.”

The research team collected skin cells from a mother and daughter who have neither the variation nor mental illness as well as the father, who has the variation and severe depression, and another daughter, who carries the variation and has schizophrenia. For comparison, they also collected samples from an unrelated healthy person.

Lead author Zhexing Wen, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, coaxed the skin cells to form five lines of stem cells and to mature into very pure populations of synapse-forming neurons. UCSB scientists observed how these patient-derived neurons developed and interacted in a petri dish in order to determine the effects of the genetic variation on young brain cells.

“One unexpected result was that many of the disregulated genes were interaction partners with DISC1, the gene that causes disease,” said. Lalli. “The other finding is that a lot of the disrupted genes were already known to contribute to various mental disorders.”

The researchers found that the iPSC-induced neurons — of a type found in frontal brain areas implicated in psychosis — expressed 80 percent less of the protein made by the DISC1 gene in family members with the mutation compared to members without the mutation. In a cascade effect, the gene products that interact with DISC1 were also reduced. These mutant neurons showed deficient cellular machinery for communicating with other neurons at synapses.

“We didn’t know that the disease would manifest so clearly at synaptic junctures and be expressed so clearly in a dish,” said Lalli. “But this work confirmed our hypothesis that schizophrenia is at least partially a disease at the synapse.”

To find out how DISC1 acts on synapses, the researchers also compared the activity levels of genes in the healthy neurons to those with the variation. To their surprise, the activities of more than 100 genes were different. According to the scientists, this is the first indication that DISC1 regulates the activity of a large number of genes, many of which are related to synapses.

“The fact that the single mutation could be corrected in the disease line or introduced to the healthy line converting it to a disease line really implicated this gene as being causal of the disease,” Lalli explained.

“The ability to re-reate features of schizophrenia in neurons produced from patient skin fibroblasts brings us one step closer to developing treatments because this model system is highly suitable for screening drugs that could repair the biochemical defects,” added co-author Kenneth S. Kosik, the Harriman Professor of Neuroscience in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and co-director of campus’s Neuroscience Research Institute.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, the One Mind Institute, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation.

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

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Jackson Bill to Halt Forced Sterilizations in Prisons Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to prohibit forced or coerced sterilizations in prisons passed off the Senate floor Tuesday on a unanimous, bipartisan vote and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. The vote was 33-0.

Senate Bill 1135 is a response to media reports from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year of unlawful and coercive sterilization of female inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women that were occurring as late as 2010.

SB 1135 adds a section to the penal code to prohibit sterilizations in correctional facilities for the purposes of birth control except in cases when a patient’s life is in danger or if it is needed to treat a medical condition and no other less drastic measure is feasible. In addition, a second independent physician must consult with the patient about the effects of the procedure before it is undertaken. Counseling about the permanency of the procedure must be provided as well.

“It’s clear that we need to do more to make sure that forced or coerced sterilizations never again occur in our jails and prisons,” Jackson said. “Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights.”

In 2013, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, of which Jackson is the vice-chair, wrote a letter to California Correctional Health Care Services Federal Receiver Clark Kelso expressing outrage over reports of unlawful sterilization of female inmates. At the request of the leadership of the Women’s Caucus, the state auditor conducted an audit of this issue. A copy of the audit’s findings, released in June, can be found by clicking here.

SB 1135 is coauthored by the current chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, and the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, Senator Loni Hancock and Senator Joel Anderson.

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

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Makeup Artist Patricia Guerrera to Give Free Demonstration at Carr Winery

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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“All About You,” a free demonstration by longtime Santa Barbara makeup artist and licensed esthetician Patricia Guerrera, is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Carr Winery, 414 N. Salsipuedes St.

Guerrera is owner of Tru Beauty, her studio at 120 W. Mission St. in Santa Barbara. The “All About You” event will include demonstrations of makeup touch-up and brow waxing by Guerrera.

The event also will feature Vidal Sassoon alumna Tara Jenée, who has 11 years of experience in hair styling, specializing in precision cut and color, keratin smoothing, natural hair extensions, weddings and events. (She can be reached at tarajeneehair@yahoo.com.) She will be demonstrating style, up do and braiding at Carr Winery.

For the “All About You” event, Guerrera is offering $25 Tru Beauty gift certificates toward any Tru Beauty services. Purchase of a certificate includes a glass of Carr wine the night of the event. Admission is free to anyone older than 21 years of age.

“All About You” gift certificates can be purchased online by clicking here. The gift certificates may used toward any of Tru Beauty’s services, including the “Mimosa Cocktail,” which is a facial treatment that includes: a shot of concentrated vitamin C; two shots of cell renewal; one shot of brighteners; a shot to repair sun damage; and a shot to boost collagen for brighter skin.

Guerrera started her career in South Coast retail stores and spas. She has conducted skin therapy and training sessions locally and in large cities across the nation. Her passion and creativity led her to open her own business where women can feel special and pampered.

Born in Italy and raised in Santa Barbara, Guerrera has 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She has traveled all over the nation from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston helping women look beautiful.

She was influenced by a family artist growing up in Italy. Now, she creates artistry on live canvas of beautiful faces.

“Tru Beauty is what I believe,” she says. “Tru Beauty starts from within.”

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Man Found Dead Near Guadalupe Was Homicide Victim

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Victim has been identified as Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, of Santa Maria

A Santa Maria man whose body was found Tuesday near Guadalupe Beach was definitely a homicide victim, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

"I can confirm this is a homicide," sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told Noozhawk Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly before 7 a.m., a group of farm workers found the remains of Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, just off the side of West Main Street, west of the city of Guadalupe, Hoover said.

They flagged down a passerby who called 9-1-1.

Detectives were examining what Hoover described as "an active crime scene."

Limon's body, dressed in jeans and a dark shirt, was lying face down about 15 feet off the roadway, next to an irrigation ditch.

"At this point we don't have any suspects," Hoover said.

Hoover said no additional information was being released due to the ongoing investigation.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene

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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Montecito Bank & Trust Will Add to Community Donations for Triathlon Beneficiary Girls Inc.

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara Triathlon is just days away, and the race is on to reach the fundraising goal for this year’s nonprofit beneficiary, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Each fall, Montecito Bank & Trust, the Presenting Sponsor of the Triathlon, allows the public to vote for the triathlon beneficiary, and dedicated Girls Inc. supporters worked tirelessly to get the word out and secure the most votes. As the triathlon beneficiary, Girls Inc. will receive all funds raised by the community and over 1,800 triathletes, a goal set at $50,000 each year.

The triathletes are hard at work training for the upcoming event and gathering fundraising support from friends and family, but it takes a true community-wide effort to reach the $50,000 goal. Donations can be made at any Montecito Bank & Trust branch, or online by clicking here.

To help boost community support and encourage donations, Montecito Bank & Trust will tally donations at the end of the month and match up to $5,000 of all money donated in their branches and on their donation website during the month of August.

“MB&T is proud to partner with the Santa Barbara Triathlon in support of Girls Inc.," President/CEO Janet Garufis said. "In addition to providing volunteers for the triathlon event, our associates are supporting Girls Inc. through internal fundraising. What is more quintessential Santa Barbara spirit than to have a world-class athletic event that supports a local nonprofit? We are glad to provide an easy way to get our community involved in this fundraising effort. Whether you have time, treasure or talent to share, the triathlon and Girls Inc. need you! Together, our community can reach this goal.”

Girls Inc., recently ranked among the top high-impact youth service nonprofit organizations, has made it their mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Through research-based educational programs, activities and advocacy, Girls Inc. offers girls ages 4½ to 18 opportunities to experience success as they prepare to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Areas of focus include leading healthy and physically active lives, managing money, navigating media messages and fostering an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Girls Inc.’s curricula also encourage young women to take risks and help them master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Thanks to Girls Inc., thousands of girls in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria have ongoing access to empowering programs delivered by trained mentors in a positive all-girl environment.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with nine branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, and Westlake Village, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

The Santa Barbara Triathlon, established in 1981, is one of the longest running triathlons in the world. And it's no wonder: Stunning scenery, flawless operations and an ocean-front transition area and finish line ensure a sell-out event every year. Stick around after the event for children's beach activities, a fabulous sports expo and convenient on-site dining.

Participants can select from either our famous long course (including Aquabike divisions) or one of our sprint courses. Sprint course options include a women's-only event, parent/child team event (compete side-by-side with your child) as well as the traditional co-ed format.

The start and finish lines for the Santa Barbara Triathlon will be at the Cabrillo Bathhouse at East Beach, 1118 Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. The event runs daily on Saturday and Sunday starting at 7 a.m. sharp. A sports expo (open to the public) and check-in begin run from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

For more information about the event, click here or call 805.682.1634.

— Andy Silverman is a marketing coordinator for Montecito Bank & Trust.

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Epicure.SB: Savor Santa Barbara Throughout October

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Epicure.sb, an homage to Santa Barbara’s culture, cuisine and libations, returns this October for its sixth year and 31-plus days of culinary-inspired fun.

The region’s abundance of natural bounty is celebrated in cornerstone events such as the Avocado, Lemon, Harvest and Seafood festivals, as well as at local restaurants, hotels and wineries. Get the secret scoop on the Santa Barbara lifestyle with this year’s new theme: epic-Scoop. Guests can take advantage of a password used by participating businesses to unlock secrets locals already know and receive unique offerings or experiences only available during epicure.sb.

Celebrating its sixth year, the epic-Scoop theme is designed to give an authentic, insider look at the Santa Barbara lifestyle. Participating businesses craft culture, cuisine and libation events that fall under one of three categories: epic-Dish, epic-Venture and epic-Gathering.

Get the scoop on all the events and hotel packages by clicking here.

epic-Dish: Guests mention the password and unlock secret prix fixe menu’s, off-the-menu dishes or libations, to indulge in all month long. Don’t miss:

» Secret Beer Blend Menu at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.: Mention “epic-Scoop” to any of the servers and choose from a secret menu of beer blends — delicious combinations of beers with fun names.

» Finch & Fork’s Secret Password Menu: Follow Finch & Fork on social media each week to retrieve the password allowing guests to indulge in a unique bite, one time cocktail, special dessert and more.

» Epic Lemon: In honor of the Lemon Festival, The Lemon Tree Inn’s own Crocodile Restaurant & Bar is offering a special prix-fixe menu featuring the celebrated citrus, the lemon, in every course.

epic-Venture: Mention the password (“epic-Scoop”) for exclusive cultural experiences only available during epicure.sb. Highlights include:

» Maritime Tastings — Cultured Shellfish & Finfish (Oct. 2 and 23): Go behind-the-scenes at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and learn how local fishermen catch local seafood, then watch local chef demonstrate how best to prepare it. Wine and olive tastings included.

» Italian Mixology 101 (Oct. 8): Be treated like a VIP at the S.Y. Kitchen as you learn to craft the perfect cocktail from master mixologist Alberto Battaglini; then design your own signature cocktail all while savoring “stuzzichini,” small bites of Italian appetizers.

» Desert. Wine. Photography. Pairing 101. (Thursdays in October): Enjoy a unique local food and wine pairing at Riverbench Winery in the Funk Zone with photo lessons from Eat This, Shoot That! The best pairing photo is eligible for a special prize.

epic-Gathering: Festival’s, pop-up experiences and one-time events fused with a cuisine, libation or cultural element. Make time for:

» Bacara in Bloom (Oct. 18): Join master floral designer and creative director Lorrene Balzani for a hands-on workshop at Bacara Resort & Spa featuring the newest trend in floral design, the “forager.” Learn to create beautiful and sophisticated early fall arrangements from your everyday floras.

» Curated Cocktails (Oct. 2): The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara pairs signature cocktails with guided tours of current exhibitions. Come for the cocktails, stay for the art.

» SB Open Streets — ¡Calles Vivas! (Oct. 25): From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., more than 2.5 miles of beautiful Santa Barbara beachfront road will be closed to vehicle traffic and open to car free activities and adventures.

Hotel packages: Throughout the month, hotels are partnering with restaurants and activities for guests to create epic-memories.

» Epic-Indulgence: Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara’s Epic-Indulgence package includes the Epic-Scoop (redeem for specialty drinks and homemade ice cream at Blue Tavern Restaurant located at the base of the hotel) and Epic-Art (redeem for a limited edition poster from the Museum of Contemporary Art).

» Epic-Value: The Ramada Santa Barbara is giving guests an Epic-Value for only $99 midweek that includes a 2-for-1 dinner and discounted passes to wineries cultural attractions, restaurants and more.

» Epic-Stay: Enjoy a romantic stay at any of the five Santa Barbara Hotel Group properties with dinner at Toma Restaurant overlooking the water, wine tasting at Santa Barbara Winery and a complimentary bottle of wine at check-in.

Signature festivals: These annual festivals are a great way to share Santa Barbara’s bounty with locals and visitors.

» California Lemon Festival (Sep. 20-21): Lemons in Goleta date back to the late 1800’s when they were first planted in the area. This family-friendly event celebrates the lemon with food, entertainment & more.

» California Avocado Festival (Oct. 3-5): The largest vat of guacamole, avocado beer, avocado ice cream and more can be found at this popular festival highlighting Carpinteria’s favorite food - the avocado.

» Celebration of Harvest Weekend (Oct. 10-13): Celebrate this year’s wine bounty with the winemakers themselves. Take part in special events hosted by wineries from winemaker dinners to barrel tastings.

» Santa Barbara Beer Festival (Oct. 18): Enjoy the beautiful grounds of Elings Park while sampling phenomenal brews from the best brewers in the west, noshing on local food and listening to good tunes.

— Jaime Shaw is the communications manager for Visit Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara County Firefighters Head to Blaze Near Yosemite

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is sending a strike team to help battle a wildfire that is raging near Yosemite National Park.

The team, made up of a battalion chief and five engines, was dispatched to the Junction Fire, which was burning near the town of Oakhurst west of Yosemite, and had charred at least 500 acres, according to Calfire.

The blaze, which broke out shortly before 2 p.m., has prompted Madera County officials to order the evacuation of more than 1,500 homes in the foothill community east of Fresno, according to the Merced-Sun Star.

Two homes were burned and some 300 others were threatened, the newspaper reported on its website.

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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Paved Pathway Opens on Property Near El Camino, San Marcos Schools

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Unified School District, which owns the undeveloped lot, plans to build a senior housing project

On Monday, officials from Santa Barbara County and local school districts celebrated the completed pathway-improvement project that weaves through the undeveloped lot adjacent to El Camino Elementary School.

It replaces a dirt path with a paved trail for pedestrians and bicyclists to access shopping areas or the two nearby schools — El Camino in the Goleta Union School District and San Marcos High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

When El Camino Principal Liz Barnitz started at that campus two years ago, there was a stabbing in the neighboring vacant property and helicopters circled over the campus.

There have been numerous violent crimes on the undeveloped land known as the Tatum property or Granny’s Field, which is situated between San Simeon Drive and South San Marcos Road on the west and San Simeon Drive behind the Turnpike Center on the east.

In one assault case last year, both nearby schools were briefly put on lockdown.

“It was horrible before,” Barnitz said of the property.

El Camino Principal Liz Barnitz thanks Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, left, and county Public Works Director Scott McGolpin for their help in finishing the Safe Routes to School paved pathway project. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

She gave credit to county leaders, including Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Public Works Director Scott McGolpin, for getting the project moving.

She also thanked Goleta Police Chief Butch Arnoldi and his deputies for helping clean up the area and address the homeless encampments on the property.

The new pathway project originally was going to include lighting, but that was cut out of the final design.

It does have drainage improvements to prevent flooding.

About 10 to 20 percent of El Camino students use the pathway to get to school now, and Barnitz hopes the safety improvements will encourage more students to bike to class.

The unofficial dirt pathway that cut through a vacant lot has been paved over to improve safety for the many families and students who use it every day. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

This project has been two years in the making, and was made possible by a partnership between the county and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, which owns the property.

“It was very easy for us to say yes,” Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dave Cash said.

Funding came from Measure A Safe Routes to School money, which was approved by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

The pathway also weaves through an easement allowed by San Marcos Growers, a wholesale nursery.

Santa Barbara Unified is planning to build a senior housing project on the property and selected VinCal Senior Housing LLC/The Towbes Group as the finalist for a developer.

Architect Detty Peikert suggested the senior housing project to the Santa Barbara Unified School District board members in December and they were interested in pursuing the idea.

Housing project have been considered in past studies for the Tatum property, including one that would build homes for school district teachers and employees. 

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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Retrial Under Way for Gang Member Accused in Lompoc Kidnapping and Torture Case

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Opening statements begin in the case against Raymond Daniel Macias, for whom a jury previously deadlocked on two counts

With a jury selected Monday morning, the retrial of Raymond Daniel Macias got under way in Santa Maria, and a prosecutor called him a top-level gang leader in Santa Barbara County who ordered the kidnapping and torture of a Lompoc drug user. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen gave her opening statement on Monday afternoon in the case against Macias, known by the gang moniker of Boxer. He faces a count of kidnapping for extortion plus a gang enhancement and another special allegation because a gun was involved.

Defense attorney Michael Scott is scheduled to make his opening statement Tuesday afternoon in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

Judge Patricia Kelly is presiding over the trial.

The retrial comes almost two months after a jury said it could not reach a verdict in the counts of kidnapping for extortion and solicitation for extortion against Macias. They did find him guilty of torture and sale of methamphetamine.

The same panel convicted his co-defendant Luis “Lucky” Almanza of kidnapping for extortion and torture, plus special allegations for use of a firearm, gang involvement and use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. 

Macias “ran” all the gangs in Santa Barbara County, according to Bramsen. A Santa Barbara resident, he belonged to the Eastside Krazies.

“He is a hard-core Sureno gang member who worked directly for the Mexican Mafia for three years,” Bramsen said, adding that he was responsible for seeing that “taxes” were collected on drug sales in the county and delivering the proceeds to a Mexican Mafia representative. “The Mexican Mafia is all about the money.”

The case stems from the Jan. 3, 2013, kidnapping and torture of a gang member known as “Sicko,” who reportedly owed Macias hundreds of dollars in taxes.

“You are going to meet a group of hardcore gang members in this case,” Bramsen told the jury.

In all, nine people were indicted by the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, officials announced in June 2013, and many are testifying for the prosecution. 

Gangs make money by selling drugs, fencing stolen property and doing other criminal activity, she added.

“Not paying taxes is one of the most serious offenses a gang member can do,” she said, adding gangs use fear and violence to ensure against tax scofflaws.

Although Sicko was charged with collecting taxes from Lompoc Westside VLP gang members, he wasn’t being paid and also used drugs, both of which quickly put him in debt to Macias, according to Bramsen.

“If you don’t make a payment there are severe consequences including death,” Bramsen said. 

On Jan. 3, 2013, several gang members, including one with gun, took Sicko to a garage in Lompoc, where Almanza used the dull side of a hatchet to hit the victim, breaking his arm. Almanza also used a sharp blade to slice Sicko’s torso. They later bound and gagged Sicko while waiting for Macias to arrive.

“There’s no doubt in his mind he is going to die that day,” Bramsen said of Sicko.

Through recordings from an informant with the gang moniker of Happy, Bramsen said, the jury will hear some defendants talk about plans to kill Sicko and bury his body on a nearby ranch. The final planned involved Sicko agreeing to be “poked,” or stabbed, and paying the back taxes he owed to Macias.

In a jail recording from January, Macias refers to a gang member who will testify against him in the trial, telling his girlfriend, “He was there when I had Sicko,” Bramsen told the jury.

The retrial is expected to stretch into September. 

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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SBCC Fostering Collaborative Approach to Preventing Violence in Aftermath of IV Rampage

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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In an effort to reiterate civic responsibility on campus and in the community, starting this fall students will be required to sign an honor code

College students were packing up or had already cleared out of the area on May 23, the end of finals week and evening of graduation for Santa Barbara City College.

Because of the exodus, many of them heard from afar news of the mass shooting and stabbing rampage that happened the same night in nearby Isla Vista, a community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara and heavily populated with college students.

SBCC students returning for fall classes next Monday will see what student leaders and college officials have been working on since — with a collaboration between UCSB and SBCC student leaders, amplified awareness of mental-health training and a regular recommitment to a student honor code among the efforts.

Officials would prefer SBCC students lived closer to the Santa Barbara campus, and not in Isla Vista, but cheaper rent and a fun, youth-filled atmosphere have made the community more attractive in recent years, SBCC President Lori Gaskin told Noozhawk.

The number of SBCC students actually residing in Isla Vista varies depending on who you ask. SBCC says about 1,200 of its total 20,000 students live in I.V., data based on students who self-report an I.V. address in their profiles.

UCSB officials noted that some estimates place the number closer to 5,000, a figure derived from 2010 U.S. Census data and not accounting for growth since then. The census shows 21,000 college students live in IV, and UCSB says its students in on-campus housing and IV make up 15,000 of that.

The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District keeps track of SBCC student boardings on its bus lines running between IV, SBCC or downtown, but not where students boarded along the route or how many individuals the boardings represent. From July 2013 to June 2014, MTD recorded more than 101,000 student boardings for Line 11, nearly 263,000 for Line 15x and more than 66,000 for Line 24x.

While Gaskin thinks those numbers are a bit high, she conceded the SBCC student population was likely more than 1,200.

“We don’t think being 13 miles from campus is in the best interest of students, but we can’t stop it,” she said. “The density and the culture that has grown in the area is not one that we support.”

Even before May, SBCC officials worked on ways to quell and prevent violence taking place in IV, which last school year included a gang rape and rioting during April’s Deltopia street party.

SBCC already offers crisis and alcohol and drug counseling — not a requirement for community colleges — and regularly assesses student attitudes and behavior via a survey.

The college also provides training to help staff and students identify peers who might be stressed or otherwise mentally troubled, and a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) made up of college officials reviews any submittals to determine if counseling or disciplinary should be taken.

Stressed-out students can be contacted by the Office of Student Life for counseling, and disruptive, potentially dangerous cases could require sending welfare checks from Santa Barbara police or Isla Vista Foot Patrol, said Ben Partee, dean of educational programs.

PERT came out of another tragedy in 2001, he said, when David Attias, a UCSB student with an alleged history of mental illness, fatally struck an SBCC student and three others with his car as they walked on an Isla Vista street.

The incident has haunting parallels to May’s shooting and stabbing rampage, which was carried out by Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old former SBCC enrollee and IV resident who authorities described as “severely mentally disturbed.”

He was briefly enrolled in SBCC classes in 2011 — not as a full-time student — but he never completed a course, Gaskin said.

Since Gaskin came on as SBCC president in 2012, the college has extended its disciplinary jurisdiction, working with law enforcement outside campus borders to punish students violating college conduct codes off campus with similar warnings, parental notifications or even suspension, Partee said.

“I met with every single student that IV Foot Patrol alleged to have violated laws during Deltopia,” he said, noting some received sanctions. “We need to make our students responsible for their actions.”

New this fall is an honor code students must read and electronically sign before registering for classes.

Gaskin said she planned to send students a letter reiterating civic responsibility on campus and in the community.

She and Partee also serve on task forces spearheaded by District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who governs the Isla Vista area.

“I’m trying to communicate with students that it’s a privilege to attend SBCC,” Gaskin said. “The best minds in this community are thinking about this and trying to figure this out. It’s going to take our collective, collaborative thinking over the long term. I’m not one for band-aids.”

The SBCC Associated Student Senate hopes to lead by example, setting up monthly meetings with local authorities and UCSB’s Associated Students.

They also plan to attend the next Isla Vista town hall meeting and to launch a “Keep it safe, keep it local” campaign leading up to Halloween, another alcohol-fueled IV event.

“We are part of the community here, and we need to respect it,” said Nicholas Steil, an SBCC Student Senate member and student trustee. “The responsibility is lacking, but I believe it’s in part due to the lack of community. The students out there at this time feel like it’s them against the police.”

Steil wants to bring back “coffee with senators” events on or near campus so students can share concerns and ideas with student leaders. A poll for SBCC’s student population in Isla Vista is also in the works.

“It’s sad what happened,” he said. “I see it as a mental health issue and lack of support services. We need to look at these kinds of events and see what we can do as a student body for our students. Hopefully we can move forward from this and do some good.”

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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Former Laguna Blanca Student Sues School for Not Reporting Alleged Sexual Abuse

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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A Hope Ranch private school is being sued, accused of not properly training teachers to report sexual abuse after a teacher reportedly heard about the alleged abuse of a student and did not report it. According to the lawsuit, the young woman was again victimized by a former teacher several weeks later.

Laguna Blanca School, located at 4125 Paloma Drive, is being sued for negligence and is listed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed July 25 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

The filing names Jane Doe as a plaintiff and, in addition to the school, lists as defendants teacher Martha Elliott and an unidentified suspect accused of victimizing the then-student.

Elliott declined to comment and referred questions to Laguna Blanca Head of School Rob Hereford, who did not respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

The complaint alleges that the student began attending Laguna Blanca in seventh grade in the fall of 2008. She was a junior in high school during the 2012-13 school year, and Elliott is listed as her 11th-grade history teacher.

That year, the complaint said, the student would take her lunch breaks in Elliott’s classroom with other students. During one of those breaks, she told two other students that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being sexually molested.

Elliott asked the girl if the molestation had been reported or if she had told her parents, and she said no.

“Just weeks after the plaintiff told Elliott she had been molested, near the end of her junior year at Laguna Blanca, plaintiff fell victim to an adult sexual predator, who also happened to be a former Laguna Blanca teacher who the plaintiff trusted,” the complaint states.

“The plaintiff also told this former teacher that she had previously been molested and he took advantage of this information and preyed on the plaintiff's weakness,” adding that she was seduced into performing various sexual acts with him on three separate occasions while she was 17.

The lawsuit maintains that the school was negligent by failing to train its employees on mandatory reporting requirements.

If the girl’s report of molestation had been properly reported, she might not have been re-victimized, according to the victim’s attorney, Elizabeth O’Brien.

All schools, whether public or private, have a legal obligation to report suspected sex crimes to law enforcement, she said.

“They are mandated by law to do so,” she said, adding that both private and public schools are required to conduct training on reporting laws before a teacher can work one day in a school.

“Presumably this wasn’t done or she didn’t follow the rules,” O’Brien said of Elliott.

O’Brien said the victim is committed to getting the proper treatment, and “is doing her best to recover but she still suffers daily.”

O’Brien said the former teacher was not working at the school at the time of the alleged abuse, and the victim reached out to him because he was “in a position of trust,” only to be taken advantage of.

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

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Santa Barbara County Unemployment Inches Up in July

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Unemployment rose slightly in Santa Barbara County last month, although the percentage of jobless residents was a full point lower than a year ago.

The county unemployment rate was 6 percent in July, up from a revised 5.4 percent in June, according to data released last week by the State Employment Development Department.

That 6 percent is the highest rate since March, when the county posted 6.7 percent.

The most recent rankings show the county is faring better than others across the state, however. California had an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent for the same period, with a national rate of 6.5 percent.

Statewide, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties were tied with the eighth lowest unemployment rate, trailing a first-place finish by Marin County of 4.4 percent.

A year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was 7 percent, meaning 2,000 jobs were added countywide since last July.

All cities saw slight increases in unemployment last month except Solvang, which was down 2.2 percent, according to the data.

Santa Maria continued to lead the county with the most unemployed residents at 3,800, with Santa Barbara (2,400) and Lompoc (2,200) rounding out the top three.

Santa Barbara was down by 4,000 jobs since June, with the largest losses going to government — 2,800 eliminated positions — and agriculture-related jobs, which declined by 1,000 nearing the end of growing season.

Professional and business services sectors lost 300 jobs and educational and health services industries employment decreased by 100 jobs. 

“Overall, our county continues to fare better than many of the 57 other counties and our targeted industry sectors are performing well,” Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County Executive Director Raymond McDonald said in a statement.

“My takeaway from today’s report is that the government sector — that includes seasonal layoffs in education — is being reflected in the slight tick up of our countywide unemployment.”

The seasonal leisure and hospitality sector, construction and manufacturing continued to see increases in job creation — all logging 100 new positions since June.

WIB also identified health care, energy and environment, building and design, technology and innovation and tourism and wineries as areas of employment opportunity.

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

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Santa Barbara Police Department Taking Applications for Next Citizens Academy

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Police Department is now taking applications for the next Citizens Academy, which will begin on Sept. 3.

This will be a bilingual academy, taught in both English and Spanish languages.

The Citizens Academy is a great way to learn about the Santa Barbara Police Department, police work and our community. During the eight-week program participants will be exposed to police training, investigative techniques and technology. They will also have the opportunity to ride along with officers on patrol.

Classes will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. until Oct. 22, at a location still to be determined. This program is very popular and class size is limited. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and there is no cost to participate.

For more information, please contact Officer Jon Reyes at 805.897.3748 or jreyes@sbpd.com. Applications can be downloaded by clicking here.

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

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Library Schedules September Trainings for New Adult Literacy Tutors

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Volunteer tutors can make a difference in their community by teaching reading, writing and other basic skills to other adults. The Santa Barbara Public Library System’s Adult Literacy Program will offer two volunteer tutor trainings for new adult literacy tutors in September.

A three-session daytime training course runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2. A four-session evening course will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22. All sessions meet in the Townley Room at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Free library tutoring helps adult learners reach their personal goals, including building job skills, communicating more clearly, and learning how to help their own children with schoolwork.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of California Library Literacy Services, which has help tens of thousands of Californians improve their life skills through no-cost, one-to-one tutoring at public libraries throughout the state.

Tutors are asked to make a six-month commitment to tutoring, and to sign up for the training course by calling 805.564.5619 or emailing literacy@SBPLibrary.org.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org for more information about library programs, services, hours and locations. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Beverly Schwartzberg is an adult literacy coordinator for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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National Authority on Prosecution of Animal Abuse to Speak in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Attorney Allie Phillips from the National District Attorneys Association will be in Santa Barbara for a one-day presentation on “Understanding the Link between Violence to Animals and People and Why People Abuse Animals: Practical Solutions for Keeping Your Community Safe.”

The program is open to the public and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 4 in the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Phillips is an active animal advocate and animal shelter volunteer and is a nationally recognized expert specializing in the co-occurrence between animal abuse and violence to humans.

She has conducted over 200 trainings across the United States to prosecutors, judges, and child, family violence and animal protection professionals, and has authored more than 50 publications.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley invites you to participate in this “extraordinary opportunity to come together to learn more about how to truly make a difference in the investigation and presentation of animal and human abuse.”

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Jazz at La Cumbre Plaza Returns Every Thursday in September

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Summer is just heating up, bringing some beautiful evenings to Santa Barbara and the perfect climate to enjoy Jazz at the Plaza, a local favorite at La Cumbre Plaza.

Every Thursday evening in September will feature complimentary music from renowned musicians along with a wine and food tasting from 5 to 7 p.m.

Each week, crowds gather to enjoy live music, and to help set the mood, wine and food tasting is available for a $15 contribution to the evening’s featured nonprofit beneficiary, including Angels Bearing Gifts, Moms With Heart and the Santa Barbara Dance Institute.

Sept. 4: Jon Crosse & The Jazz All Stars
Benefiting Moms with Heart

Sept. 11: Teka and NewBossa
Benefiting Angels Bearing Gifts

Sept. 18: The Idiomatiques
Benefiting Santa Barbara Dance Institute

Sept. 25: Mezcal Martini
Benefiting Angels Bearing Gifts

Wine tasting provided by The Winehound. Food provided by Marmalade Café.

Spend the evening enjoying the sounds of talented musicians while relaxing with tastes of local wine and delicious foods — and it’s all for a good cause.

Concerts will take place in front of Macy's. Music is complimentary. Limited seating available on a first come basis; feel free to bring your own chairs. Wine and food tasting ($15) is optional; tickets are only available at the event with cash. Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol.

Click here for more information and to view the complete schedule.

— Mary Lynn Harms-Romo is the marketing manager for La Cumbre Plaza.

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets Hosting Chamber of Commerce’s September B2B Breakfast

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets will kick off Lemon Month and host the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s September Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Come hear how Anne Pazier, Entrepreneur of the Year, can enhance your business with custom gourmet gift baskets while working with your budget. Santa Barbara Gift Baskets creates gift baskets with your unique brand, corporate message, or occasion and personal taste of the recipient in mind.

Attendees will be provided an opportunity to introduce themselves and their business in a 20-second elevator pitch to the crowd.

A hot breakfast from Marmalade Cafe, coffee from Zizzo’s and water from Team Cashman of State Farm will be served promptly at 7:30 a.m.

The cost is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Dan Skidmore at 805.967.2500 x5 or dan@goletavalley.com.

Before the Breakfast — 7 a.m. at Earl's Place

For the former employees of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and anyone else who is unemployed and looking to improve their presentation skills, this is the time to spend on yourself to learn how to present yourself powerfully in 20 seconds. Learn tools and gain confidence for your next job interview.

For more information or to register, call 805.665.3033 or email admin@vocalcoachingbysloane.com.

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CenCal Health Ranks in Top 10th Percentile Nationally for Medicaid Plans

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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CenCal Health has been recognized by the Department of Health Care Services for exceptional quality of care as measured by independently-certified HEDIS results reported to the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

This commendation was earned in recognition of exceptional performance for CenCal Health’s Santa Barbara County HMO product, based on the number of results for which CenCal Health rated in the best 10th percentile for Medicaid plans nationally. Medicaid is administered as “Medi-Cal” in the State of California.

This prized award was earned based on HEDIS 2013 results. This recognition was particularly significant since, barring a tie in the scoring for any particular award, only four quality of care awards are available for approximately 38 DHCS Medi-Cal regions statewide.

This year’s results reflect an improvement upon the results reported during 2013, which recently earned recognition from the DHCS for the quality care CenCal Health members can access.

“This marks the seventh such Quality Award earned by CenCal Health for the quality of care that our plan and its providers make possible for our Medi-Cal membership,” said Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. “I would like to thank our staff and provider partners who deliver high quality care to our members each day. Everyone’s contribution to this achievement is genuinely appreciated.”

CenCal Health has earned many DHCS Quality Awards since 2000, when DHCS first developed a system to reliably measure and compare the quality of care delivered by Medi-Cal managed care plans. Since that time, CenCal Health has earned three gold awards, one silver award, one bronze award and two honorable mention awards.

Areas of Excellence

For CenCal Health’s Santa Barbara County Medi-Cal program, performance rated among the best Medicaid managed care plans for two vital aspects of diabetes management, including hemoglobin A1c control (59% had A1c levels <8.0%) and diabetic eye exams (70% had a recommended retinal exam). CenCal Health also sustained a year-over-year track record of excellent childhood immunization rates (85% completed a comprehensive series of timely childhood vaccinations). San Luis Obispo County Medi-Cal providers also achieved an excellent level of performance for members with controlled hemoglobin A1c levels <8.0% (61%).

A complete summary of CenCal Health’s latest HEDIS 2014 results are available for review by clicking here.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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RRM Design Group Names Five New Associates

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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RRM Design Group recently named five new associates: Chris Dufour, Scott Hopkins, Lisa Plowman, Joshua Roberts and Michael Scott.

The Associates Program at RRM is designed to develop the abilities, skills and talent of the key leaders of RRM and propel the company forward to achieve the greatest possible success for our employees, clients and the environment.

Dufour, LEED AP, is a senior landscape architect in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He has worked on a wide array of private and public projects, including Hermosa Beach’s Pier Avenue, Arana Gulch Multi-use Trail, Serra Meadows and the Pismo Beach Promenade. His technical skills are complemented by his experience in large-scale irrigation design and water conservation.

Hopkins, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the assistant manager of architecture of RRM’s Santa Barbara office. He serves on numerous local and professional organizations, including the City of Santa Barbara Architectural Review Board, the City Sign Committee and as president of the local Toastmasters Group. He has been instrumental in many projects for RRM, including Hancock Terrace, a 268-unit housing project in Santa Maria, and Cypress Court, a 60-unit senior housing project in Lompoc.

Plowman is the planning manager of RRM’s Santa Barbara office. She has worked in the land use planning field for 25 years and has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors. She has played a key role for many notable projects, including the Golden Inn and Village, Arlington Village, Hillside House, Jardin de las Rosas and Cypress Court Senior Apartments. She is active in her community, as president of the Coastal Housing Coalition and board member for Santa Barbara for All.

Roberts, PE, is a civil engineering project manager in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He has a diverse portfolio of projects, including The Vistas at Pismo Village in Pismo Beach, Eagle Ranch Specific Plan in Atascadero and The Village at Pacific West in Pismo Beach. He is active in the Central Coast Home Builders Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Public Works Association.

Scott, LEED AP, is a project manager of architecture in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He specializes in large-scale, complex commercial and public projects, including the Los Angeles Regional Fire Station No. 82, IQMS Headquarters in Paso Robles, MindBody Campus in San Luis Obispo and the Manteca Transit Center. He is a guest lecturer for Cal Poly and Pioneer Valley High School, and has involved himself in the community as past recreation director for the County of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara foster care programs.

RRM Design Group is an award-winning, multidisciplinary design firm, comprised of architects, landscape architects, planners, civil engineers and surveyors. RRM has offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and San Juan Capistrano.

— Nicole Stephens is a senior marketing coordinator for RRM Design Group.

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Marian Family Medicine Residency Program Welcomes Inaugural First-Year Resident Physicians

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Marian Regional Medical Center, which along with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center are Dignity Health’s Central Coast hospitals, is excited to announce the commencement of the Family Medicine Residency Program.

The first group of resident physicians began their post-graduate training program in July.

The Family Medicine Residency Program, which is affiliated with USC's Keck School of Medicine and with Western University, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, began the resident recruitment process in the fall of 2013. From that process, five highly-qualified candidates were selected to receive educational support and patient experience from faculty physicians at the Family Medicine Center.

The Marian Family Residency program will be comprised of up to six residents per year, rotating through the Family Medicine Center, the medical center and Dignity Health outpatient clinic/health center sites.

The Marian Family Medicine Residency Program is led by program director Richard McClaflin, M.D., and Director of Medical Education David Oates, M.D. Dr. McClaflin is an experienced family medicine physician who comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine where he was an associate professor and the associate chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

“As a teaching hospital, Marian will remain at the forefront of the latest medical developments, be technologically up-to-date and offer a program that is built on a solid foundation of clinical science,” explains Dr. McClaflin. “Since family medicine physicians will be broadly trained and have the competencies required to practice in a variety of settings, our residents will receive training to provide the whole spectrum of primary care services.”

The Dignity Health Family Medicine Center, a state-of-the-art physician practice, opened on the MRMC campus in May 2013. It will serve as one of the teaching sites for the program’s physician residents where they will learn by caring for their own panel of patients under the supervision of practicing faculty physicians.

The Marian Family Medicine Residency Program’s mission is to provide resident physicians with the full spectrum of the family medicine specialty while also promoting a scholarly environment that fosters a balance of personal and professional growth and enhances patient health. Resident physicians will be trained by specialty physicians at MRMC, from labor and deliver to geriatrics, and every stage in between.

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

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United Blood Services Issues Urgent Appeal for Type O Donors

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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United Blood Services on Monday announced an urgent appeal for type O blood donors, joining a growing number of blood centers across the country that are encouraging blood donors to step up and help out during the final weeks of August.

United Blood Services has fixed site centers located in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Ventura with mobile blood drives throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Donors may call 877.UBS.HERO (827.4376) or click here to find a mobile blood drive or to make a convenient appointment to donate.

Only 6 percent of the population has O-negative blood, yet patients of all blood types can safely receive it. O-positive is the most prevalent blood type — 37 percent of the population has it — so it is needed in greater quantities.

“O-negative can be given to anyone in an extreme emergency situation when there is no time to crossmatch the donor’s blood with the patient’s,” explained Scott Edward, regional recruitment director for United Blood Services, this area’s non-profit community blood service provider. “Another special need for O-negative blood is in the treatment of babies. Neonatal care facilities require fresh units of O-negative blood each day to treat their tiny patients.”

If eligible, type O donors can maximize their donation by giving a double red cell donation. Donors who give just their red blood cells through a special donation called apheresis can double the amount of red blood cells donated at one time.

“Every two to three seconds in this country, someone needs blood. And you never know when you or someone you love will be the one," Edward said. "We all expect blood to be available when we need it, but only a few of those who can give actually roll up their sleeves. If you have type O blood, it’s time for you to get involved.”

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors age 22 or younger, and donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

— Jennifer Van Donge is a publicist representing United Blood Services.

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Trent Benedetti: Santa Barbara County’s North and South — Can We All Get Along?

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The horrible image of a man on the ground being beaten with nightsticks is seared in our collective memory. We live in a world changed as a result of what happened to Rodney King and the events that followed. In the midst of those events, Mr. King famously asked, “Can we all get along?”

Trent Benedetti
Trent Benedetti

That is a question fairly posed to the two halves of Santa Barbara County, North and South. We do not always share our geography gracefully. A split has been considered several times and voted upon as recently as 2006. But we are still together. And we still have disagreements. So what does that mean?

Agreeing is not necessary for getting along. However, mutual respect is. Hold that thought. We will come back to it.

First, Committee INC (the Committee to Improve North County) must congratulate Janene Scully, a longtime professional journalist familiar with our area, upon her selection as Noozhawk’s North County editor. By naming a North County editor, Noozhawk has clearly signaled its intent to expand coverage of North County affairs.

Perhaps comprehensive countywide reporting will somehow help both North and South answer yes to Mr. King’s question? Committee INC is hopeful.

Lest you wonder, Committee INC is comprised of citizens who want the North County to be always changing and becoming a better place to live, work and raise a family. We want safer neighborhoods, cleaner parks and better schools. We want houses priced within reach of everyone who dreams of home ownership. We want jobs for everyone, including our children and our grandchildren. And we want those jobs to pay well enough to provide economic security and upward mobility for all.

Perhaps the things we want for North County are not the same things the South County wants? That does not make either of us wrong. It makes us different. That brings us back to mutual respect; we must respect our differences.

You may prefer community gardens and gentlemen farmers. We don’t, although we have nothing against them. Our agricultural activities are conducted on a much larger scale. Each time we eat broccoli, lettuce, strawberries or the plethora of other fruits and vegetables grown in North County, we say thanks for our commercial farmers. Our farmers are like mom and apple pie — quintessential American.

You may prefer software design companies to industrial manufacturing. We don’t, although software design companies are most welcome in the North County. We value both brains and brawn. Both are essential to the manufacturing that goes on in our area. We are grateful for the manufacturers operating in the North County. American manufacturing has long been a source of jobs for the American middle class, and a strong middle class has long been vital for a strong America.

You may prefer to buy oil overseas and transport it to our ports over thousands of miles in foreign-flagged vessels. We don’t. Instead, we prefer to produce here as much of the oil we use as possible. We are fortunate to have abundant oil resources in the North County. We want to continue producing the resources already developed and continue developing the resources that are not. Oil is essential to our economy and energy independence is essential to America’s security. We think we should produce more oil here and send fewer soldiers to protect oil while it’s produced elsewhere.

We may not always agree with the South County but we respect the fact you are entitled to your preferences, just as we are entitled to ours. We hope you will respect our preferences, just as we respect yours. If we have mutual respect, we’ll get along just fine.

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

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Jenny Schatzle, Core Power Yoga Step Up to Support Join Jacob Campaign Benefiting Foodbank

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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This summer, 10-year-old Jacob Mansbach invited a team of third- through seventh-graders in the Santa Barbara Unified School District to join him in the Santa Barbara Triathlon on Aug. 24 and to raise money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

This year, Liam, Gwen, Hank, Madeleine, Olivia, Sarah, Lucy, Madeline, Alana, Allison, Rhaya, River, Jackson and Joe have all joined Jacob on a mission to help other kids in our community get the food and nutrition they need. They have formed the "JOIN JACOB" Triathlon and Fundraising Team to help provide nutrition and education to kids and families in our community through the Foodbank.

Jacob and his team have set a fundraising goal of $50,000 by the time of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. They are in the final stretches of the Join Jacob Campaign, and community partners are stepping up to help them reach their goal. Exercise guru Jenny Schatzle and Core Power Yoga have generously agreed to host free exercise classes in support of Jacob and the team. Attendees will be asked to make a donation to the Foodbank in lieu of the class fee.

Schatzle will host a free family class at her studio on 590 E. Guiterrez St. from 6 to 7 p.m. this Monday, Aug. 18. All ages and abilities are welcome. Many Join Jacob team members will also be in attendance donning their Join Jacob team shirts.

Core Power Yoga will also host a free, adult only, hot yoga class at 1129 State St. from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Team members Madeleine, Hank, Jake and Joe will give a short talk to the class before it begins.

The Join Jacob team has spent their summer volunteering for the Foodbank, raising money and awareness, and learning all about the sport of triathlon. Donations from the classes will not only support the work of the Foodbank, it will send a clear message to this team of kids that they can make an impact on the lives of others and that helping their community can be extraordinary.

Additional team sponsors include Mission Wealth Management, Hazard's Cyclesport, Blenders in the Grass, Bryant & Sons and Riverblue Salon Spa.

For more information or to make a donation, please click here.

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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Rona Barrett: ‘Romantic’ Attachments Not Uncommon in Alzheimer’s Patients

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Birds do it ... bees do it ... even our parents or loved ones in the throes of Alzheimer’s do it.

OK, a songwriter I am not. So I’ll tell you a couple of true stories.

I remember the day my sister called my widowed father and the first thing he said was, "I have a girlfriend." My sister replied, "What's her name?" Silence. He put down the phone and walked away. Several minutes later he returned with a card in his hand and replied, "Her name is Cheryl!" Seems my Dad could not recall his new girlfriend’s name, so he wrote it down on a piece of paper in his wallet, which he left in his bedroom. He remembered that, but not much more.

Now, imagine yourself in a loving marriage for over 50 years. The unconditional pact you made with each other was if one needed help, the other would always be there. Then, for two decades you watch your beloved slip further into Alzheimer’s. The time inescapably comes when you realize your loved one would have a better quality of life in a well-chosen care facility.

Then, within 48 hours after moving into the care facility, your beloved is in love once again. But not with you!

Should you be shocked your loved one, who no longer recognizes you and has forgotten the tender loving care you have given over the years, is now enamored with a fellow Alzheimer’s patient? According to Richard Powers, M.D., of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, romantic attachments among the more than 5 million Alzheimer’s patients “is common enough that we need to be able to deal with patients’ need for intimacy in a thoughtful and compassionate way.”

Should you be angry? Dr. Powers cautions, "You have to remember that it's not that your spouse is rejecting you, or that they don't care about you anymore, but they lack the ability to recognize these memories or their feelings. It's the disease; it's not personal."

Should you feel guilty for not providing enough care or intimacy? “Forgive yourself,” says the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s blog. “Guilt is often the result of refusing to accept that some things are beyond our control and accepting there are often no perfect solutions.”

Whatever your personal reaction is to this caregiver’s conundrum, Gray Matters will raise and discuss issues that many of us are uncomfortable thinking about — issues from which none of us will be exempt as the 65-plus population nearly doubles by 2050.

Case in point: the caregiver’s beloved spouse who fell in love with another Alzheimer’s patient — Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Supreme Court justice. Her reaction? According to her son in a USA Today article, she was “thrilled [he] was relaxed and happy … he was a teenager in love … a relief after a painful period.”

This moral dilemma illustrates one of the many unprecedented, perplexing, emotionally charged issues faced by those of us caring for elderly loved ones. Issues without any clear cut “should” or “should not.”

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— In honor of her late father, entertainment journalist, author, senior activist and Santa Barbara County resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village, the area’s first affordable senior living and care facility, scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. Contact her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Laguna Blanca Welcomes Rob Hereford as New Head of School

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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As the new school year approaches, Laguna Blanca School is pleased to announce its new head of school, Rob Hereford.

Rob Hereford
Rob Hereford

Hereford brings more than 20 years of experience in education, and is looking forward to leading the Montecito and Santa Barbara campuses.

“Rob is a genuine school leader who believes in a collaborative leadership model,” board chairman Tom Pickett said. “We are confident he will lead Laguna Blanca into a successful future.”

Hereford comes to Laguna Blanca from Forth Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, Texas, where he held the position of Upper School Division head for eight years.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Vanderbilt University and his master’s degree in history from the University of Georgia. Hereford began his teaching career at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, where he taught history, coached basketball and served as the History Department chair and associate academic dean.

In 2001, Hereford furthered his education and earned his master’s degree in private school leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also served as the Upper School principal at Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie, La. During his tenure, he helped run New Orleans West office, which helped find schools for students who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

“My personal philosophy is that relationships are the foundation for success in every child’s education. I don’t just want to recognize my students — I want to know to every single one of them, and their parents and teachers,” Hereford said. “I am excited to be part of the Laguna family — to truly live Laguna everyday, and make it an amazing experience for the entire school community.”

Hereford is looking forward to engaging in the exciting new programs awaiting Laguna Blanca this coming school year, from the Early Kindergarten program, to the STEM Entrepreneur Program, new sand volleyball courts, expanding alumni programs and so much more.

Hereford and his wife, Amanda who is also an educator, have three sons, 19-year-old Scott, 6-year-old John and 4-year-old Joseph.

Families interested in meeting Hereford and learning more about Laguna Blanca, please call 805.687.2461.

Laguna Blanca School is an Early K-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. It guides students to greater heights by building upon the 80-year tradition of academic excellence with new and innovative teaching methods and programs. With the thriving experiential learning, STEM, and global studies programs, resourceful iPad initiative and competitive Condor League athletics, the school continues to broaden and enrich its students’ educational experience.

Click here for more information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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Carpinteria Workforce Homebuyer Program Offers $75,000 Deferred Loans

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The City of Carpinteria, in collaboration with the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County, is offering 30-year deferred payment loans up to $75,000 to assist qualified first-time homebuyers in purchasing an entry-level home in Carpinteria.

The Workforce Homebuyer Down Payment Loan Program is designed to help bridge the homeownership affordability gap and expand homeownership opportunities for low to upper moderate-income households who purchase homes in Carpinteria.

The pilot program provides loans to eligible workforce borrowers up to 16.5 percent of the home acquisition price or a maximum loan of $75,000. Loan funds can be used for down payment and closing costs. The loans have no current interest or principal payments and are repaid, with shared appreciation, upon the sale or refinancing of the home, or at the end of the 30-year loan term.

Borrowers must not have owned a residence in the past three years, must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, live or work within Santa Barbara County and have a combined household income that does not exceed 200 percent of Area Median Income, adjusted for household size.

Funding for the program has been provided by the City of Carpinteria. The Housing Trust Fund, which operates successful homebuyer assistance programs in North County, is managing the program for the City of Carpinteria.

The program removes financial barriers to the dream of homeownership by lowering home acquisition and carrying costs so that qualified working households can purchase a home that strengthens the family, the neighborhood and community.

For more information about the City of Carpinteria Workforce Homebuyer Down Payment Loan Program please contact Jennifer McGovern, president/CEO of the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County, at 805.685.1949 or j.mcgovern@sbhousingtrust.org. You may also contact the City of Carpinteria Community Development Department at 805.684.5405 x405 or x410.

Additional information about the program is available online by clicking here or clicking here.


 

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United Way’s Young Leaders Society Celebrates Five Years with Sunset Cruise

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Recently, close to 100 members of United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Young Leaders Society celebrated the group's fifth anniversary with a sunset cruise aboard the Condor Express.

YLS was formed in 2009 to provide community involvement and personal development opportunities for young professionals in Santa Barbara County to meet like-minded civic and business leaders and become acquainted with Santa Barbara's prominent philanthropists.

“We are thrilled to celebrate five years of Young Leaders Society, as well as five years of United We Read,” said Sarkes Khachek, YLS committee co-chair. “We are all proud to be part of an organization that encourages philanthropy and aims to directly make a difference in people's lives.”

In the last five years, members have enjoyed many exclusive opportunities that have positively influenced the lives of the members, program recipients and our community. These events included volunteer projects, such as crafting holiday day cards with seniors and participating at Day of Caring, launching youth mentoring programs such as United We Read, participating in the national award-winning summer learning program Fun in the Sun, networking and business workshops on leadership and management, the global economy, green business, teambuilding and other fun events, such as the annual fundraising bowl-a-thon, United We Bowl.

YLS aims to continue to promote and encourage philanthropy and volunteerism among young leaders of Santa Barbara County, through participation in a variety of social, educational and volunteer opportunities.

Click here for more information.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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UCSB Expert on Stigma, Self-Esteem Receives Scientific Impact Award

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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For decades, common wisdom in psychology held that people who are stigmatized in some way — whether due to physical or learning disabilities, mental illness, racial differences or something else entirely — experience low self-esteem.

Brenda Major
Professor Brenda Major

Theory after theory offered some variation of the idea that how we perceive ourselves is determined by how others see us, or how we feel we measure up in comparison to them. Then, in 1989, UC Santa Barbara psychology professor Brenda Major decided to examine the data used to support those predictions about self-esteem and stigma. What she found turned existing notions on their heads and altered the trajectory of studies in her area of social psychology.

Major conducted her research with Jennifer Crocker, a colleague at Ohio State University, and they co-authored a paper that appeared in the journal Psychological Review.

Two and a half decades later, that paper, “Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma,” has earned Major and Crocker the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. The award honors the authors of a specific article or chapter offering a theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution that has proved highly influential over the past 25 years.

According to Google Scholar, the paper by Major and Crocker has been cited more than 3,500 times.

“When we started looking at the data, very seldom did we find the differences the theories predicted,” Major said. “In fact, members of stigmatized groups often have self-esteem as high as or even higher than those in advantaged groups.”

According to Major, the paper had a huge impact for two reasons. First, it challenged prevailing wisdom. Second, it put the focus on victims of stigmatization rather than on the perpetrators.

“Psychology has long been interested in issues of prejudice — why people are prejudiced, what individuals or groups of individuals are the objects of prejudice, how prejudice is manifested, how stereotyping develops,” she explained. “But not much attention had been paid to understanding the psychological impact of prejudice on those who are its targets.

“The prevailing assumption was that people are passive recipients of prejudice — I look down on you so you look down on yourself. We were more interested in resilience and how people challenge and resist the effects of prejudice. How do people push back? It was a very different perspective from what people were taking. And it really changed the field.”

Stigma has become a huge topic in social psychology since the 1989 article, she noted, and thousands of papers have emerged based on her and Crocker’s work.

In addition to reviewing the data on stigma and self-esteem, Major and Crocker’s paper also proposed three strategies people employ to maintain their sense of self-worth in the presence of stigma. One strategy involves social comparison processes, in which an individual compares himself or herself to people who are similar and avoids comparing with people who are better off.

“If you compare with others who are in the same boat, you’re not making those unfavorable comparisons that the theories suggest,” Major said. “In fact, you’re making comparisons with others like yourself. Data show, for example, that working women typically compare their wages to that of other women, not men. Thus, even though women are typically paid less than men, they often report being just as satisfied with their wages.”

The second strategy involves selectively valuing domains in which one’s group does well, and selectively devaluing domains in which one’s group doesn’t. For example, people who are physically disabled might emphasize the importance of intellectual ability over physical prowess.

“It’s the idea that you can maintain a sense of self-worth by being strategic about what you care about and what’s important and what matters to you,” Major said. “With people who have stigmas, it is, in a sense, a realignment of priorities.”

The third — and most controversial — strategy people use to maintain self-esteem is to blame negative outcomes on discrimination, and not on themselves.

“Someone might feel better about himself or herself by saying, ‘I wasn’t offered the job not because I interviewed poorly but because they’re discriminating against me,'" Major said. “Our hypothesis that blaming discrimination could be protective of self-esteem turned out to be the most controversial of all of the strategies we proposed. That’s because we know that, in general, being a victim of discrimination is associated with poor health and other negative outcomes.

“Nonetheless, we have found that when people face rejection or get negative feedback it can help them maintain self-worth to see it as due to discrimination rather than as their own fault. And, of course, when you are stigmatized, that is often the correct attribution.”

Major’s recent work focuses on weight stigma, examining the effects of the rising stigmatization of overweight and obese people in the United States.

“Americans are becoming obsessed with obesity and the ‘obesity epidemic.’ I am interested in the impact of this stigmatization on people who are overweight,” she said. “Does stigmatizing weight make people lose weight? In fact, our data shows it has the reverse effect; stigma actually backfires. We found that overweight women who read a news article stigmatizing overweight people actually ate more, not less, compared to those who read a normal article.”

That particular research, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, was published earlier this year in an online edition of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.   Currently, Major also has a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of diversity initiatives within companies and how the presence of such initiatives affect the likelihood that discrimination occurring within those companies will be detected.

“Ironically, we found that the presence of diversity initiatives actually decreases the likelihood that discrimination against minorities will be detected,” she said. “People tend to assume that a company won’t discriminate against minorities or women because it has a diversity initiative.

“We also have new data showing, however, that when white college men apply to a company that describes itself as having a culture that fosters diversity versus one that fosters uniqueness, they become physiologically threatened. Their arteries constrict. To white males, ‘diversity’ reads like ‘not me’ and they feel very excluded on a gut level.”

Major is currently looking at how ethnic minorities respond to the same situation. For minorities, she expects that an organization that fosters diversity may engender a greater sense of belonging and may make them feel safer and more protected.

Major’s newest research initiative is the UCSB Resiliency Project, in which she plans to follow a group of students as they go through the university, tracking immune functioning, cardiovascular reactivity, a sense of belonging, school integration, psychological wellbeing and academic achievement, among other things.

“We’re taking a collection of variables related to resilience that have been studied in isolation and seeing how they relate to one another,” she explained. “We want to see if we can determine who’s going to thrive or not and what predicts resilience, assessed in multiple ways. The idea is to explore resilience at a really deep level.”

Resilience, according to Major, is a topic whose time has come.

“At UCSB I have located 37 faculty members across departments who are interested in resilience at all sorts of levels — what makes the brain resilient; resilience to addiction; and resilience in the face of traumas and disasters, for example,” she said. “What I’d really like to do is try to get people talking and doing research across the disciplines and across levels. My piece is primarily about the self and identity and how one can maintain a positive sense of self in the face of stigma, but resilience is a much deeper and broader construct and we are pushing it in exciting new directions.”

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

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‘Understanding Medicare’ Presentation Set for Sept. 23 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) will sponsor a free seminar for people interested in better understanding Medicare benefits and recent changes.

The "Understanding Medicare" presentation will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 at the Garden Court Senior Housing Community Room at 1116 De la Vina St. in Santa Barbara.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help people with Medicare and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program and current changes,” said Jim Talbott, president of the Board of Directors for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

Topics will include a general overview of 2014 Medicare changes and recent changes related to the Affordable Care Act.

HICAP is pleased to partner with the Garden Court Senior Housing organization in presenting this important information to the community.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company or health plan.

The presentation is a service of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, HICAP with financial assistance, in whole or in part, through a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medical services, the federal Medicare agency.

To reserve a seat and for more information about the ”Understanding Medicare” seminar, contact HICAP at 805.928.5663 or seniors@kcbx.net, or RSVP online by clicking here.

— Bill Batty represents the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.

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Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Hosting Pozole Feast for Presidio Neighborhood

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is hosting a special event for the Presidio neighborhood from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

This festive Pozole Feast is intended to share and celebrate plans for upcoming changes and improvements to the neighborhood, brought about through the current SBTHP 4x4x4 Campaign.

The event will be held in the parking lot next to the Pico Adobe at 115 E. Canon Perdido St. on the original site of El Camino Real.

All in the Presidio neighborhood will benefit from the 4x4x4 Campaign. These exciting developments mark the fulfillment of a vision set forth by Dr. Pearl Chase and many others who have made Santa Barbara the great city it is today. SBTHP will unveil a flyby video of the project that uniquely illustrates the upcoming changes.

Plentiful pozole, festive food, and drinks will be hosted by SBTHP while guests enjoy live music and tours. Interactive demonstrations will be offered on crafting adobe bricks, as guests are invited to try their hand at plastering and whitewashing the Presidio perimeter wall.

RSVP required at christa@sbthp.org or 805.965.0093 so there will be enough Pozole for all.

For more information about the 4X4X4 Campaign, please visit the SBTHP website by clicking here.

— Christa Clark Jones represents the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Lee & Associates Negotiates Lease with PetSmart for Milpas Street Space

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Lee & Associates has negotiated a 10-year, $2.6 million retail lease at 222 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara.

Clarice Clarke and Steve Leider of Lee & Associates-Central Coast represented the sublessor, The Fresh Market LLC.

The new tenant, PetSmart, a retail chain with more than 1,200 stores, will occupy the 8,367-square-foot space adjacent to The Fresh Market. 

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Small Business Development Center Wins Service Excellence and Innovation Award

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Small Business Development Center of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties was selected for the Service Excellence and Innovation Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Los Angeles District Office and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Santa Barbara City College’s James D. Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is the host for SBDC in Santa Barbara County.

The districtwide award honors the SBDC, which provides free one-on-one business advising and workshops to small businesses, for exceeding operational goals, implementing innovative programs, actively developing counseling staff and advancing opportunities for entrepreneurial development.

“Since its inception, SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center has closely aligned with the SBDC,” said Melissa Moreno, dean of educational programs. “The SBDC is a critical component of our program. The no-cost assistance takes our students to the next level after completing the academic program. The SBDC helps our students start a viable business concept, create jobs and increase sales through targeting consulting, and the results are astounding.

“We congratulate Director Ray Bowman and his associates for this richly deserved recognition.”

In addition to creating 186 jobs and retaining another 493 jobs last year, the SBDC and its advisors and partners developed several innovative resource and information tools for clients. Other impacts include the startup of 39 new businesses and helping existing businesses access more than $37 million in loans and equity infusions.

The SBDC is administered by the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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David Sayen: What Medicare Does — and Doesn’t — Cover

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Medicare helps pay for a wide variety of medical services and goods in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other health-care settings. But it doesn’t cover everything, and it’s useful to know what is and isn’t included.

Sayen
David Sayen

Services are covered either under Medicare Part A or Part B. If you have both Part A and Part B, you can get many Medicare-covered services whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare health plan.

Part A is hospital insurance and it helps pay for:

» Inpatient care in hospitals

» Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long-term care)

» Hospice care services

» Home health care services

» Inpatient care in a religious nonmedical health-care institution

You can find out if you have Parts A and B by looking at your Medicare card. If you have Original Medicare, you’ll use this card to get your Medicare-covered services. If you join a Medicare health plan, in most cases you must use the card from the plan to get your Medicare-covered services.

Part B (medical insurance) helps cover medically necessary doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services, durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers, and other medical services.

Part B also covers many preventive-care services.

Under Original Medicare, if the yearly Part B deductible ($147 in 2014) applies, you must pay all costs (up to the Medicare-approved amount) until you meet the Part B deductible before Medicare begins to pay its share.

After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount of the service, if the doctor or other health-care provider accepts assignment. (“Accepting assignment” means that a doctor or other provider agrees to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.)

You’ll pay more if you see doctors or providers who don’t accept assignment. And there’s no yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO) or have other insurance, your costs may be different. Contact your plan or benefits administrator directly to find out about the costs.

Under Part B, Medicare pays for many preventive services (such as screenings for cancer and heart disease) that can detect health problems early when they’re easier to treat. You pay nothing for most covered preventive services if you get the services from a doctor or other qualified provider who accepts assignment.

However, for some preventive services, you may have to pay a deductible, coinsurance, or both.

Medicare doesn’t cover everything, of course. If you need certain services that aren’t covered under Part A or Part B, you’ll have to pay for them yourself unless:

» You have other insurance (or Medicaid) to cover the costs.

» You’re in a Medicare health plan that covers these services.

Some of the services and goods that Medicare doesn’t cover are:

» Long-term care (also called custodial care)

» Routine dental or eye care

» Dentures

» Cosmetic surgery

» Acupuncture

» Hearing aids and exams for fitting them

— David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 800.MEDICARE (633.4227).

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Nicholas Burdick Named New Music Director at Ernest Righetti High School

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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A new music director will bring the beauty of music to the academic world at Ernest Righetti High School.

Nicholas Burdick
Nicholas Burdick

Nicholas Burdick is responsible for the music program with more than 50 students involved in marching, jazz and beginning bands. He also instructs a music history course, designed to capture the interplay between culture, arts and history and provide a deep feeling for what the past was like.

This musician and choir singer believes the special sensation of sounds teaches students vital life skills such as focus, balance, responsibility and team work.

"If they learn form and balance in a piece of music, they can apply that to design, structuring an essay and other tasks,” Burdick said. “Music is one of those things that makes life worth living.''

Burdick plans to strengthen the Warrior musician ranks by building up the beginning band. The band is for students who never played an instrument before or for those who play but have not done it in awhile.

The marching band will participate in field shows, parades and community events, and perform for media television shows and various competitions. The jazz band musicians are headed for concerts and into the community where they can strengthen their confidence and skills by performing at nearby restaurants and public events to promote the band program and help fundraising efforts.

Burdick graduated from Irvine High School in Orange County and played the trumpet in the marching band. He previously taught choir at a school in Indiana, was a band director at a middle school in San Jose and a high school band director in Arizona. He has a bachelor's degree in music from Iowa's Luther College and a master's degree in instrumental conducting.

Burdick replaces Scott Davis, who teaches science at ERHS.

— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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Man Facing DUI Charges After Colliding with CHP Patrol Car

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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A Santa Barbara man is facing DUI charges after his vehicle slammed into a parked CHP patrol car on Highway 101 near Los Alamos over the weekend.

Kevin M. Dawson, 28, was taken into the custody after the incident, which occurred at about 4 a.m. Saturday on Highway 101 north of Palmer Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Dawson was northbound in a Ford Ranger at about 85 mph when he approached the patrol car, which was parked on the right shoulder of the highway while two officers investigated a traffic collision, the CHP said.

Dawson's pickup struck the left side of the patrol car, then continued northbound, colliding with an embankment and overturning several times, the CHP said.

Dawson and the officers escaped injury in the crash, while both vehicles sustained major damage.

Dawson was arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, the CHP said.

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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Closer Look Reveals Coast Not So Clear for Water Quality Issues in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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Many streams and beaches plagued by contamination, especially during storm runoff, but prevention and protection challenges abound

Recently, two children were playing in Santa Barbara’s Sycamore Creek, where it pools up at East Beach, when a well-dressed man got out of his car and shouted, with some urgency, “Get out of there, that creek is polluted!”

The children climbed out and the man drove away, but the incident raised a widely asked question.

Just how clean are the creeks that cut through area beaches? The answer turns out to be a little disturbing.

A review of the ongoing government testing of Sycamore, Mission, Arroyo Burro and other creeks that carry runoff to the Pacific show that all of them are highly contaminated during storm runoff periods and can have adverse human health effects.

“Whenever it rains and there is drainage, every creek fails the state pollution test every time,” said Willie Brummett, director of Santa Barbara County’s Ocean Monitoring Program.

Persistent skin rashes, staph infections, gastronomical problems, lung infections and antibiotic resistance are among the potential dangers to beachgoers.

While the Legislature has been active in setting pollutant standards for waterways, it appears that few watersheds in Santa Barbara — or anywhere else in California — consistently meet these standards.

A billion-dollar state water bond measure cleared the Legislature last week. If approved by voters in November, the bond would, among many other priorities, generate funding for counties and cities to help enforce water quality.

Mission Creek, which meets the ocean at East Beach in Santa Barbara, often experiences elevated levels of toxins during the rainy season. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

While coastal water contamination seems to be old news to surfers and longtime residents, even they stop short when told that one of the most prevalent of these pollutants is fecal coliform.

DNA studies are under way by Patricia Holden, an environmental microbiology professor UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and the City of Santa Barbara, to determine the exact source of the fecal indicators.

It has not been determined how much of the pollution is from human waste, but leaky sewage pipes and homeless encampments along the creeks are two of the sources listed in government reports. Other pollutants include a bacterium called enterococcus that, if left untreated, can cause urinary tract infections and even meningitis.

“That’s really gross,” was the comment of the day when a random sampling of Santa Barbara’s beachgoers and surfers were told of the fecal findings.

Yet, none of them said it would keep them from enjoying the beach.

“We all know, to some extent that the water is not always good, especially during the winter,” one surfer said. “But, we all love the waves too much to stop coming here.”

Some surfers along the Los Angeles coastline get voluntary vaccinations each year for some of the more serious diseases the pollutants there can cause. Even in Santa Barbara, the term “overhead hepatitis” is a common slang for big winter waves.

Like nearly every other city in California, Santa Barbara is faced with stiff challenges regarding water quality in its creeks.

Discarded trash, oil and hydrocarbon runoff from roads, fecal matter from animals and humans, and nitrogen and fertilizers from lawns and agriculture are a few of the pollutants found daily in the waterways cutting through the city to the sea.

Santa Barbara has mounted an aggressive effort to fight this onslaught of toxins, more so than nearly any city in the state. Measure B, passed in 2000, provided funds for a city program aimed specifically at cleaning up the creeks.

A sign on a bridge above Sycamore Creek encourages the public to avoid polluting the waterway. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

“We not only monitor the creek waters, we are hoping to pinpoint as many of the sources of pollution as possible,” said Jill Zachary, the city’s assistant parks and recreation director and former creek division manager. “The problem wasn’t created overnight and it won’t be resolved overnight. We’re working hard on it.”

Although East Beach and the city’s main beach near Stearns Wharf are often subjected to elevated levels of toxins during the rainy season, the most polluted is Arroyo Burro Creek, which empties into the ocean at Arroyo Burro Beach, also known as Hendry’s Beach, according to state and local reports.

“When it’s not raining, the water quality in most of our creeks is generally decent, but an exception is the lagoon at Arroyo Burro; that one creeps me out,” said Ben Petterly, watershed and marine program director for the nonprofit Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

The high-profile environmental group recently settled a water-quality lawsuit against the city of Santa Barbara. The city agreed to accelerate its efforts to fix its sewage infrastructure, which Petterly said was responsible for an “excessive number” of sewage spills in the past.

The city was repairing only 1 percent of its sewage pipes per year before the lawsuit.

However, even the recent drought has not reduced all of the water-quality problems. In mid-July, county samplings showed that the beaches where Sycamore and Mission creeks drain into the ocean exceeded the state’s limit on enterococcus toxins by nearly 10 percent. The creeks were put on the county’s warning list as a result. Leadbetter Beach was also added to the list at the end of the month.

Warning signs are posted at every beach that fails to reach state standards, according to Brummett, but there are problems with this system.

First, because of the time it takes to test the water, the signs are often placed on the beaches up to 48 hours after the pollution is detected. But there is an even larger problem.

“When we put the signs up on the ocean side of the beach, they are most often carried away by the high tide or they are used as firewood by the homeless,” he said. “They don’t stay up very long.”

As a result, many of the 50,000 visitors to Santa Barbara’s beaches every year are not warned when water quality goes bad.

“We don’t really know the human health effects of all of this because people usually don’t associate whatever illness they might have with exposure to the water,” Petterly said. “Studies have shown that all of these pollutants can have harmful health effects, we just don’t know the numbers.”

There are websites, including the Channelkeeper site, where people can check local water quality, but there is often a time lag involved, and relatively few people, other than veteran surfers, check these sites before heading for the beach.

Holden’s studies could prove to be a critical part of finding a solution.

“These DNA-based tests are very accurate in allowing us to determine exactly where the fecal matter is coming from, whether it is from humans, dogs, cows or any other animal,” she told Noozhawk.

She added that while much progress has been made in the science of understanding ground pollution — and she gives the Santa Barbara high grades for attempting to deal with the issues — there are inherent problems.

She pointed out the complexity of dealing with everything from ground and surface water to recycled water and wastewater treatment plants.

The state sometimes has been uneven in dealing with this maze of water-quality issues, passing laws that are too broad in some cases and too narrow in others, according to Holden.

She is one of a growing number of scientists who are urging governments to look at all water as a single continuum, rather than as segmented and separate issues, each governed by different laws passed by different state, regional and local entities.

Holden is optimistic, however, that local water-quality issues are being addressed as aggressively as possible.

“The public agencies in Santa Barbara are very forward-thinking and they are trying to do the right thing,” she said. “I’m impressed at how pro-active they are.”

The issues are not likely to go away soon, however, because as Holden, Petterly and others are quick to point out, there are water-quality challenges beyond the creeks and beaches.

Agricultural toxins, oils, heavy metals, pesticides and the flushing of unused pharmaceuticals that make their way into our ground water are just some of the pollutants and problems that must be faced.

— Michael Bowker is a local freelance writer.

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Orcutt Union Schools Superintendent Ready to Hit High Notes in New Job

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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Deborah Blow touts as strengths district’s commitment to ‘whole child,’ arts education and community partnerships

Orcutt Union School District band members shouldn’t be surprised to see a high-level guest artist during their performances this year.

“I’ve been known to sit in with the bands in my district during a concert,” said Deborah Blow, new superintendent for the Orcutt Union School District and a music major. “I still have my French horn, obviously.”

Blow, 56, started July 1, coming to Orcutt after five years at the smaller Cambrian School District in San Jose.

The first day of school for most students in the Orcutt district is Wednesday, with seventh-graders at Orcutt and Lakeview Junior High schools set to show up the day before. Orcutt Academy kindergartners through eighth-graders also start Wednesday. However, Orcutt Academy High School kicked off its new school year Aug. 13.

“I’ll be excited,” Blow said about her first day of school in Orcutt.

The combination of the Orcutt district’s focus on students and strong support for arts programs lured Blow to apply for job to lead the district after former Superintendent Bob Bush retired.

“I think the first thing that attracted me to Orcutt was the logo on the website, ‘Where Kids Come First,” Blow said. “That is the most important thing to me. To have a district that puts that up front speaks to the district’s focus being where it should be.”

Her former district has five schools, with all but one being dependent charter schools, much like Orcutt Academy’s kindergarten through eighth-grade classes plus the high school. In addition to the charter schools, Orcutt has eight traditional schools.

Blow also appreciated the district’s focus on the whole child and support for arts education, including its relationship with the nonprofit Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation.

“It’s very rare,” she said. “Unfortunately with budget cuts the arts are one of the first things to go ... I’ve been fortunate the districts in which I’ve worked have supported the arts.”

She added that she focuses giving students 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration and innovation.

“There were some things that we were doing that we were doing with the integration of technology that I want to bring here,” Blow said.

For instance, her former district had a digital media academy in which teachers participated and then helped students make a digital video project.

One of the challenges facing expansion of the charter schools centers on the Orcutt district’s limited facilities. For instance, the charter high school uses a former elementary school campus so, along with limited space, it’s also a matter of having the right type of facility for the ninth- through 12-graders, according to Blow.

“That really is probably our No. 1 challenge,” she said.

The charter high school and charter elementary school both have waiting lists.

“They are both doing really well,” she said. “They provide a good program for the kids.”

Bush, Blow’s predecessor, spent his entire career at Orcutt schools as a teacher, principal and superintendent.

“We had an extensive search, hired a search firm to do it and they brought us several top-quality candidates so we were able to get the best of the best,” said Bob Hatch, an Orcutt school board member.

The trustees interviewed a handful of candidates for the job.

“It became apparent about midway through that she was going to be the one,” Hatch added.

Joe Dana, district director of charter programs and principal of Olga Reed Elementary School, said the new superintendent is attuned to the needs to the district.

“Her experience has her poised and ready to do a great job for all of us,” Dana said. “She is passionate about the arts and about student learning, and she has experience in so many different areas that are going to be applicable for the Orcutt Union School District.”

Blow grew up on a Wyoming cattle ranch — “that’s another thing that attracted me to Orcutt,” she said.

She and her husband, Keith, have been married 34 years. He is a consultant involved in land acquisition for energy projects.

Since arriving on the Central Coast, Blow has been busy meeting with staff and community members, especially important since she strongly believes in community partnerships.

Her former district developed partnerships with businesses, such as a semiconductor company, and she hopes to do the same in Orcutt.

“There’s a lot of opportunities,” she said.

In her month on the job, Blow said she has learned that her new district has extremely dedicated staff on the classified, certificated, administrative levels.

“I do feel Orcutt walks the talk of where kids come first,” she said. “There’s a great deal of pride in the district.”

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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100th Anniversary of World War I a Reminder of YMCA’s Service at Time of Need

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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August 2014 brings to mind Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Guns of August, which tells in detail the story of the first month of the Great War, World War I, in August 1914. It is now 100 years ago that Europe erupted into the greatest war the world had ever known, a war that was to have such far-reaching consequences.

Those of us of a certain age learned about World War I at school later on, but our first acquaintance with the war was from listening to our fathers and uncles talk about it, as much talk as they ever did. We were sitting on screened porches on summer evenings, rapt as my father explained the results of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, or as he and his contemporaries spoke of the impact of the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania, a British ship from which 128 American passengers lost their lives and which began to draw the United States out of our neutrality.

It was 1917 before we actually entered the war, a full two and a half years after the conflict began. A lot of young American men shipped out to France, something that had never crossed their minds. In smaller numbers, a lot of American women also went to France, many as nurses and a good number as YMCA volunteers. Enormous social changes came about. As the old song says, “How you gonna keep down on the farm once they’ve seen gay Paree?”

The Y’s involvement as wartime volunteers goes back to the American Civil War when the Y sponsored nurses, aides and others, the best known of whom was Walt Whitman, who cared for the wounded and who wrote as soldiers dictated letters home. By the time of World War I the Y was sponsoring not only health-related services but also, and more memorably, rest and recreational volunteers and professionals — 26,000 of them, about 2,600 of whom were women. The Y posters from that era can be found in many local YMCAs and can get rather pricey in antique shops.

What formed in 1941 as the USO, the United Service Organization, represents the joining together of the Y with five other groups (the Salvation Army, the YWCA, the National Catholic Community Service, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board) with whom the Y had worked during World War I to provide emotional support — “homes away from home” — for exhausted service personnel who were ready for a break from the front lines.

Successive generations of military personnel, including this writer, have appreciated the hospitality of USOs, and many of us continue to make annual contributions for the valuable work the USO still does. It is no small thing that the Y raised more than $235 million in voluntary contributions — equivalent to $4.3 billion today — to finance its war relief efforts.

Not as well-known was the Y’s post-war educational scholarship program, begun as a sign of appreciation to those who served and as an encouragement to further occupational and professional development in promising young adults. The YMCA awarded 80,000 scholarships to returning veterans. What would now be regarded as a small beginning became the prototype of the well-known G.I. Bill of Rights, which has benefited subsequent generations of military personnel, again including this writer.

War, at best, is tragic. However, sometimes the demands of war call forth the best we have to give, and World War I was certainly a time for the YMCA.

Click here for more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, or stop by your local branch of the Channel Islands YMCA:

» Camarillo Famiy YMCA, 3111 Village at the Park Drive, 805.484.0423

» Lompoc Family YMCA, 201 W. College Ave., 805.736.3483

» Montecito Family YMCA, 591 Santa Rosa Lane, 805.969.3288

» Santa Barbara Family YMCA, 36 Hitchcock Way, 805.687.7727

» Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, 900 N. Refugio Road, Santa Ynez, 805.686.2037

» Ventura Family YMCA, 3760 Telegraph Road, 805.642.2131

— Thomas H. Schmid is a program specialist for Active Older Adults at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.

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Michelle Malkin: Meet the Cops Who Gave Their Lives

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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If you’ve been watching cable news, reading Hollywood celebrities’ tweets and listening to race-hustling opportunists, you might think that every police officer in America has a finger on the trigger, hunting for any excuse to gun down defenseless youths.

This hysterical nonsense must be stopped.

The Cirque du Cop-Bashing, with Al Sharpton as ringmaster, is working overtime to exploit the deadly incident in Ferguson, Mo. That means stoking anti-law enforcement fires at all costs.

Are there bad cops? Yes. Does the police state go overboard sometimes? Yes. Do the demagogues decrying systemic racism and braying about “assassinations" know what happened when teenager Mike Brown was tragically shot and killed earlier this month? No.

Here’s a reality check. While narcissistic liberal journalists and college kids are all posting “Hands Up” selfies in hipster solidarity with Ferguson protesters, it’s law enforcement officers who risk their lives in “war zones” every day across the country.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) reports that a total of 1,501 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 58 hours or 150 per year. These include local and state police officers, federal officers, correctional officers and military law enforcement officers.

Fact: Last year, 100 law enforcement officers were killed. On average, over the past decade, there have been 58,261 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in 15,658 injuries.

Fact: New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 697 deaths. Texas has lost 1,675 officers, more than any other state.

Just last week, NLEOMF released preliminary fatality statistics from August 2013 to August 2014. Total fatalities are up 14 percent, from 63 last year to 72 this year. “Five officers were killed in ambushes, which continue to be a major threat to law enforcement safety," the group notes.

Among the men in uniform who gave their lives this summer:

» Police Officer Scott Patrick of the Mendota Heights Police Department in Minnesota. He was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop on July 30. Patrick leaves behind a wife and two teenage daughters.

» Police Officer Jeffrey Westerfield of the Gary Police Department in Indiana. Westerfield was shot in the head and killed in a July 6 ambush while sitting in his police vehicle after responding to a 9-1-1 call. The suspect had been previously arrested for domestic violence and for kicking another officer. Westerfield, a 19-year police department veteran as well as an Army veteran, leaves behind a wife and four daughters.

» Officer Perry Renn of the Indianapolis Police Department. He was shot and killed while responding to reports of gunfire on July 5. After 20 years on the job, Renn chose to serve in one of the city’s most dangerous areas, even though his seniority would have allowed him to take a less dangerous role. “He chose to work in patrol to make a difference in the field,” Police Chief Rick Hite said at Renn’s funeral. “Every day, Perry got out of his police car.” Renn is survived by his wife.

» Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares Jr. of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana. The 15-year law enforcement veteran was shot and killed June 23 while investigating two suspicious suspects. Bares had been mowing his lawn while off-duty when he witnessed a suspicious car crash. When he went to investigate, he was gunned down. The assailants stole his truck as he lay dying. “He’s the type of person who would give his shirt off his back to anybody,” a cousin said in tribute. “Anyone who knows Allen will tell you that he was that kind of person.” Bares leaves behind a wife and two children.

» Police Officer Melvin Santiago of the Jersey City Police Department in New Jersey. Santiago, a proud rookie cop who loved his job, was ambushed July 13 by a homicidal armed robber. Santiago was 23 years old. After Santiago’s killer was shot dead by police, the violent Bloods street gang vowed to “kill a Jersey City cop and not stop until the National Guard is called out.”

Al Sharpton, concocter of hate-crimes hoaxes and inciter of violent riots against police, had no comment.

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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Susan Estrich: Don’t Do Stupid Stuff Applies to Hillary Clinton, Too

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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If you are the last person in America wondering whether Hillary Clinton is running for president, her recent interview with The Atlantic should vanquish any doubts. In that interview, the former secretary of state, who during her tenure was unfailingly loyal to her boss and former adversary, sharply criticized certain aspects of his foreign policy.

Criticizing the Obama administration for its lack of an “organizing principle,” Clinton famously (already) said: “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

President Barack Obama’s team was not pleased.

“Now is not the time to second guess the commander in chief, particularly when you’re a former member of his Cabinet and national security team,” said Christine Pelosi, activist and daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“Just to clarify,” Obama’s longtime political guru, David Axelrod, pointed out, “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.” A bad decision that — and this was the obvious point — then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., supported.

For her part, Clinton denied any intent to attack Obama, issuing a statement saying that she had called to reassure him of that — a statement that likely reassured no one of anything except Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

Vice President Al Gore didn’t need to distance himself from President Bill Clinton when he ran for president in 2000, because when he ran, the country was in very good shape: strong economically and not at war. He did it anyway, and it was, in many people’s estimate, mine included, one of the reasons he lost.

The next Democratic nominee will have no such luxury. History may well be kinder to Obama than current polls are, but that’s beside the point. As the midterm elections are making painfully clear, Obama is loaded down with baggage that no future candidate should be forced to carry. If Clinton does not find a way to gracefully separate herself from the most recent Democratic presidents — not just Obama, but also her husband — the Republicans will shove their worst mistakes right down her throat. 

And that is especially true of the next Democratic nominee if she happens to be a woman. The first woman president will have to be her own woman — neither the next Bill Clinton nor the next Barack Obama.

Perhaps the cruelest thing ever said of Hubert Humphrey was that he had the soul of a vice president. Vice presidents are supposed to be eternally loyal, which is why it is so difficult for some to figure out how to succeed their bosses. Separating in September or October just doesn’t work.

Clinton does not have the soul of a vice president, which is only one of the reasons she will make a great president. But blind loyalty won’t get her there.

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

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‘Suicidal Man’ Rescued After Overnight Motorcycle Crash Near Highway 154

By | Published on 08/17/2014

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Emergency personnel searched in the early morning darkness Sunday for a “suicidal man” who had crashed his motorcycle in the rugged foothills above Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The man called 9-1-1 shortly before 1:45 a.m. to say he had driven off the roadway on North San Marcos Road, about halfway between Cathedral Oaks Road and Highway 154, said Mike Eliason, a Fire Department spokesman.

“While talking with dispatchers, the man relayed the extent of his injuries, but did not know his exact location,” Eliason said.

Emergency personnel were able to use the victim’s cell phone signal to “triangulate” his approximate location from cell towers in the area, and he eventually was located about 300 feet off the roadway in the 2200 block of North San Marcos Road, Eliason said.

“Trangulation is not an exact science, however, and it took firefighters some time to locate the victim,” he said.

No Santa Barbara County helicopters were on duty at the time, so a Ventura County Fire Department helicopter with a hoist was called in, Eliason said. Many locals heard the helicopter as it flew low overhead just before 3 a.m.

The man, whose name was not released, was flown to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries, Eliason said.

The California Highway Patrol is handling the investigation of the crash.

Click here for suicide-prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.

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

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Santa Barbara County Eyes $50 Million Trash-to-Energy Project for Tajiguas Landfill

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Rates could rise as much as $3 a month to pay for the facility, which is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Santa Barbara County is proposing a $50 million trash-to-energy project that would double the life of the Tajiguas landfill and radically redefine trash diversion as we know it.

The Resource Recovery Project would pull recyclable and organic material that residents throw into their trash, sort it, and then turn the organic waste into methane gas. The gas would be converted into energy, to power on-site generators and also sell back to the grid.

“It’s a regional solution to our solid waste problem,” First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal told Noozhawk. “It’s environmentally friendly. It’s going to be fantastic for the county.”

The county released a draft environmental impact report last week and will hold a public meeting on Sept. 4. The project — bureaucratically called the Materials Recovery Facility and Dry Fermentation Anaerobic Digestion Facility — would blanket 60,000 square feet and would strip the recyclables and organic materials from the trash. The remaining trash would get buried in the landfill 17 miles west of Goleta.

At the current rate, the landfill will reach capacity in 2026; officials hope the new facility will extend the life of the landfill through 2038.

As it stands now, the county diverts about 70 percent of its trash from the landfill. It still buries about 200,000 tons, which when buried under dirt creates methane gas that escapes into the air and creates greenhouse gases. With the new anaerobic digester, county officials hope to only bury about 100,000 tons a year, the equivalent of removing 27,000 passenger cars from the road.

The county is the lead applicant on the project, but will partner with the other local agencies. The county plans to hire Newport Beach-based vendor Mustang Renewable Power Ventures to use proprietary technology for the operation; Mustang in turn will contract with MarBorg Industries to run it. AJ Diani of Santa Maria will build the facility.

Crews would also build a new groundwater well would to provide water to the project, and two new self-contained commercial wastewater units to treat the project’s domestic wastewater. The project would also require a new 220,000-gallon fire suppression water storage tank to provide water for the building sprinkler systems.

At its current rate of receivables, the Tajiguas landfill west of Goleta will reach capacity in 2026. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
At its current rate of receivables, the Tajiguas landfill west of Goleta will reach capacity in 2026. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

“This is really aimed at getting the recyclable material that we are leaving in the trash can,” said Matt Fore, manager of the City of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Division. “We still leave a lot of recyclable material in the trash.”

The trash that is sorted will go into the landfill, but the organics will be stripped away. They will then be placed into an airtight chamber, similar to a storage bay, and sprinkled with water. Unlike burying the trash under the dirt, the technology in the digester will capture all of the methane gas and turn it into energy.

“It’s all enclosed,” Fore said. “The technology we are planning is enclosed and airtight.”

The project, however, will cost ratepayers more.

Mark Schleich, deputy director of the county’s Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division, said he hopes that the rates stay “on par” but that they probably would increase between $2 to $3 per month. He balanced those higher rates with the benefits of reduction in greenhouse gases from burying it in the landfill, and the creation of new jobs.

Schleich said the facility would create 40 construction jobs and 56 permanent jobs to operate it.

At a recent Santa Barbara Planning Commission meeting, commissioner Michael Jordan said he had mixed feelings about the project.

“The whole project is driven by the fact that we are collectively not just doing good enough with our recycling,” Jordan said. “The public overall is not doing as good as it could do.”

But Schleich and Fore countered that the county is already at a 70 percent diversion rate and this new facility would increase that rate to possibly 80 percent.

“Our goal is to minimize the amount of material that goes into the landfill for the long term and provide a cost-effective solution to the community,” Schleich said. “This is a cost-effective way and long-term solution for providing for waste management that is environmentally conscious.”

The new facility will enhance the good efforts already being made, Fore said.

“The anaerobic digester is a really big change,” he said. “That is a new piece of infrastructure that we don’t even have.”

San Jose recently built and opened a similar facility, but on a larger scale, Schleich said, adding that the digester would single-handedly reduce the most greenhouse gases of any other project currently proposed locally.

Schleich said residents would still be incentivized to separate their own recyclables and organic waste from the trash because the result is much cleaner. For example, paper that is thrown into the trash would have less resale and recyclable value if it gets wet in the trash, even after getting stripped at the new facility.

“By people sorting at home we get a cleaner value,” Schleich said.

The public is allowed to comment on the draft EIR through Sept. 24.

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

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Orcutt Academy K-8 To Open Year in New Digs on Spacious Los Alamos Campus

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Olga Elementary School to share facilities with charter school while also enjoying a newly renovated gymnasium

Students and teachers returning to Olga Reed Elementary School for the new year will be greeted by another school on the Los Alamos campus, as well as a major modernization of the gymnasium.

The campus is the new home for Orcutt Academy K-8 classes, filling previously unused rooms and sharing some of the same facilities as Olga Reed School’s approximately 200 kindergartners through eighth-graders, plus staff.

OAK-8 had been housed at the Casmalia school, but last spring the Orcutt Union School District board of trustees agreed to relocate the school to Los Alamos.

The charter school’s 81 students will be located on the Helena Street side of the campus, according to Olga Reed Principal Joe Dana, who is also the Orcutt district’s director of charter programs.

“Basically that move is going well,” Dana told Noozhawk. “The teachers have pretty much been here all summer, unpacking boxes, getting their rooms set up.

“What I think is kind of cool is ... we’re going to have a ‘school warming’ event for Orcutt Academy families, kind of like a house warming where we’re going to invite them to come and see the campus,” he added. “They’ve already been here, but we’re going to invite them to come and see what we’ve done so far.

“We’re going to invite them to bring a school-warming gift of some sort, whether it be a ream of paper or a box of pencils or whatever. We’re kind of excited about that.”

To ready for the newcomers, the maintenance staff performed various chores such as painting, mounting screens, installing pencil sharpeners — “basic nuts and bolts types of things,” Dana said. They also completed electrical upgrades to accommodate computers and purchased storage cabinets for classrooms.

The Los Alamos campus offers more facilities for students than Casmalia.

“That is a very limited campus,” Dana said. “This campus has additional classroom space for the Orcutt Academy, and it also gives the academy the chance to use larger common facilities, such as a gym, cafeteria, the science lab, the library, a grass field, a track, proximity to the Los Alamos community.”

The first day of school is Wednesday for Orcutt Academy and Olga Reed students. The campus also houses a county special-education program with about eight students, along with a county-operated preschool.

Olga Reed School had been operated by the Los Alamos School District before becoming part of Orcutt’s district four years ago.

Another major project occurring on campus is modernization of the gym, which was built in the 1940s, according to according to Scott Stearns, the district’s director of maintenance, operations and transportation.

“But it really has never been modernized since then,” Dana said.

The gym is getting new roof, lighting, windows and other upgrades in a project estimated at $400,020. J&P Construction of Los Alamos is the contractor.

Construction crews recently removed the roofing material in anticipation of replacing it and adding gutters and downspouts.

Some of the demolition has uncovered dry rot and termites in the old changing rooms.

“They haven’t really been in good shape for a very long time,” Stearns said.

Dana is already eyeing those small rooms for much-needed space for counseling, speech therapy, academic integration and more.

“We’re having a great time with it,” Stearns said, adding the concrete structure was built like a tank, which has made parts of the demolition challenging.

Work is expected to continue through October and means the gym won’t be available until then.

“We’re going to go without the gym for the first few months of the school year,” Dana said. “We can live with that because we’re excited about the improvements that are going to happen. We’re looking forward to a sparkling, modernized gym.”

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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Scientists Puzzled By Warmer Ocean Waters Off Santa Barbara Coast

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Unpredictable winds push temperatures to mid-60s while current conditions bring unusual sightings of tuna and turtles

Chris Voss has been a commercial diver off the coast of Santa Barbara for more than 20 years.

During that time, he’s seen a lot of strange things; El Niño years, the heavy winds, the lack of them, the good catches, and the seasons that were less bountiful.

And this summer there’s something else that’s a bit unusual going on: warmer ocean waters.

As anyone who has ever touched the water here knows, the ocean off the South Coast is cold. Brrr. But in addition to the lack of heavy rains, this year’s oddball wind patterns have contributed to noticeably warmer waters, changes in the catch, and a new array of critters hanging out closer to our shores.

“There have been some sightings of turtles recently in this area that don’t happen every day and that’s because of the warmer water surge,” said Voss, a former abalone and sea urchin diver and lobster fisherman, who still dives for sea cucumbers commercially. “Warmer water surges influence what we catch.”

Scientists are befuddled over the unpredictable wind patterns, which have contributed to a lack of rain, erratic weather and warmer water temperatures. The first seven months of 2014 have been the hottest on record in California, and so far this summer the water temperatures off the Southern California coast have risen to the low-to-mid-60s from the mid-50s.

“We have had a warm ocean,” said Nate Mantua, a research scientist for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. “The wind patterns have been unusual and persistent.”

A lack of winds from the north have been supplanted by stronger winds from the south, which is pushing the typically warm ocean water closer to the coast. High pressure has steered the jet stream in the opposite direction, reversing the up-welling off the coast.

“There is no good answer for why this is happening,” Mantua said. The warmer waters, he said, are affecting the fish catch and could continue to do so well into next year.

“It has an impact on marine life,” he said. “The big pelagic critters you usually go to Baja for are coming up to U.S. waters.”

He also said yellowtail, yellowfin and bluefin tuna could become more present if the warm waters continue. There’s already an increase in anchovies, up the coast, which increases the number of squid that feed off it, he added.

“There’s a lot of marine life doing well,” Mantua said.

The warm water, however, could have some downsides. If it lasts too long, Mantua said, the food chain could face disruptions.

“It changes the whole community of sea life out there,” he said.

Despite the warm weather, Mantua said it’s not a sign of a pending El Niño, a periodic major storm that starts along the equator in the middle of the Pacific and moves toward the Western coast. Earlier this year scientists expected a massive El Niño, but they are not so sure now.

“It doesn’t look like it will be a strong event,” he said.

For Voss, the president of the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, the strange weather is just part of life off the Santa Barbara coast.

“It is just a super dynamic situation,” he said. “We’re in a transition zone, where warm and cold water currents collide from the north and south. We deal with a variety of water temperatures on a regular basis.

“It’s not a totally unheard of situation. You could almost characterize it as normal every five to 10 years.”

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

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Woodies at the Beach Revs Up Vintage Car Crowd and Fans of Panel Discussion

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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SBCC hosts scores of classic station wagons as 14th annual show raises money for local charities

The Santa Barbara Woodie Club pulled into the west campus of Santa Barbara City College on Saturday to show off retro wood-panel station wagons while raffling off prizes to raise money for charity.

The 14th annual Woodies at the Beach event gathered local vintage car enthusiasts from around Santa Barbara to celebrate the fearsome, partially woodworked sports cars of the past. West campus was lined with roughly 90 vintage station wagons with club members and visitors pooling around car owners for model information.

“Woodies” are cars with real bodywork made from wood, usually with visible wooden exteriors or paneling.

Santa Barbara chapter president Bill Sampson said he got into woodies when he and his wife bought a 1948 Mercury in 2002. Sampson has since developed a love for the cars and has served as president three times since 2009.

“Fun,” he told Noozhawk. “That’s all you need to know about woodies.”

“The members of this community become like family to you. Ultimately, if we do make money, we donate all of it to local charities.”

Saturday’s event benefited several local nonprofit organizations, including Unity Shoppe, which supports at-risk families with the help of 300 county affiliates. Tom Reed, executive director of Unity Shoppe, praised the Woodie Club as one of its most gracious donors.

“The people of the Woodie Club have great hearts,” he said. “Not only do they put on wonderful shows, but they contribute to the great effort of helping the community.”

Among the cars on display was a 1950 Mercury Woody outfitted as a police squad car and a 1924 Dodge Brothers C-Cab.

One car in particular, a 1948 Ford Woody, belonged to Michael Gabriel and his wife, Chris. With a stock V8 engine and six-volt system, it was one of the few unrestored vehicles at the show.

“We drive ours around, so it’s a bit more ratty than the other cars,” Gabriel said with a laugh. “Some of these other cars have all new parts, but this one is totally original — as it was when it rolled off the assembly line.”

The public also participated in silent raffles for prizes that included a surfboard, artwork, jewelry and automotive apparel. In addition to Unity Shoppe, proceeds benefited World Dance for Humanity, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, and a $1,000 automotive technology scholarship for SBCC.

The National Woodie Club has 18 affiliates nationwide, including Santa Barbara. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at skahmann@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Target Takes Step Back in Long Quest to Buy Goleta Property for Much-Anticipated Store

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Retailer asks property owner to resolve outstanding issues on 11-acre site at Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Way

Target is no longer under contract to buy property to build a store in Goleta, taking a step back so the local property owner can resolve some issues.

The move, which came last month, pauses what so far has been a three-year process to build on 11 acres at 6466 Hollister Ave. The land is currently home to Goleta Valley Athletic Club, Santa Barbara Motor Sports and landscaper Enviroscaping. A portion of what is now Los Carneros Way also would be utilized in the project.

The national retailer is still very much interested in the parcel, however, said Greg Bartholomew, a Hayes Commercial Group partner who is handling the deal.

“They are hopeful we are able to get back into contract,” Bartholomew told Noozhawk. “It’s a complicated property. A lot of nuisances, and a few things need to be resolved under contract before we can proceed.”

HCR LLC, a local family-operated entity, has owned and maintained the property in question for 40 years, he said.

He couldn’t offer a timeframe or exact information about outstanding property issues.

“Dealing with tenancies is just one of many issues,” Bartholomew said. “Target decided to take a step back while we resolve some of the issues in order to move forward. Target hopes the property owner can help.”

Target has not withdrawn its application with the City of Goleta, he said, and he hasn’t heard any indication of that happening.

The Goleta City Council gave an initial go-ahead to Target’s plans and application a year ago, making way for the start of an environmental review process that has yet to commence.

So far, Target has not put a deposit down to start that process.

“As far as the city is concerned, Target still has an active application,” Goleta municipal spokeswoman Valerie Kushnerov said. “We are waiting for them to make their deposits so the environmental work can begin.”

No timetable is associated with when Target must start the process, since official project approval was never given, she said.

The company offered no information about a change in plans last week.

“Goleta is a great market for Target, and we continue to consider new opportunities to serve guests there,” Target spokeswoman Kristen Emmons said. “However, I have nothing to share at this time around plans for a new store.”

Locals have been waiting for a Target since November 2011, when the Goleta council unanimously voted to authorize a public planning process and to change the city’s General Plan for the company’s purchase.

The store’s initial site plan, submitted in 2012, was sent back for further clarifications. In April 2013, revised plans were presented for the 160,000-square-foot store — reducing square footage and increasing parking, among them — and planners signed off on the project.

If Target pulls its application, the retailer would have to start from scratch — an outcome Bartholomew said was unlikely considering Target has been hunting for an ideal Goleta location for more than a decade.

“When first went under contact they envisioned the issues were going to be resolved by now,” Bartholomew said. “Target is patiently sitting by.”

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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David Sirota: Republican Moves Helping to Open Doors for Corruption’s Influence

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party’s potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states’ pension funds.

In the case, New York and Tennessee’s Republican parties are represented by two former Bush administration officials, one of whose firms just won the U.S. Supreme Court case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors. In their complaint, the parties argue that people managing state pension money have a First Amendment right to make large donations to state officials who award those lucrative money management contracts.

With the $3 trillion public pension system controlled by elected officials now generating billions of dollars worth of annual management fees for Wall Street, Securities and Exchange Commission regulators originally passed the rule to make sure retirees’ money wasn’t being handed out based on politicians’ desire to pay back their campaign donors.

“Elected officials who allow political contributions to play a role in the management of these assets and who use these assets to reward contributors violate the public trust,” says the preamble of the rule, which restricts not only campaign donations directly to state officials, but also contributions to political parties.

In the complaint aiming to overturn that rule, the GOP plaintiffs argue that the SEC does not have the campaign finance expertise to properly enforce the rule. The complaint further argues that the rule itself creates an “impermissible choice” between “exercising a First Amendment right and retaining the ability to engage in professional activities.” The existing rule could limit governors’ ability to raise money from Wall Street in any presidential race.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, a spokesman for one of the Republican plaintiffs suggested that in order to compete for campaign resources, his party’s elected officials need to be able to raise money from the Wall Street managers who receive contracts from those officials.

“We see (the current SEC rule) as something that has been a great detriment to our ability to help out candidates,” said Jason Weingarten of the Republican Party of New York — the state whose pay-to-play pension scandal in 2010 originally prompted the SEC rule.

The suit comes only a few weeks after the SEC issued its first fines under the rule — against a firm whose executives made campaign donations to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat. The company in question was managing Pennsylvania and Philadelphia pension money. In a statement on that case, the SEC promised more enforcement of the pay-to-play rule in the future.

“We will use all available enforcement tools to ensure that public pension funds are protected from any potential corrupting influences,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “As we have done with broker-dealers, we will hold investment advisers strictly liable for pay-to-play violations.”

The GOP lawsuit aims to stop that promise from becoming a reality. In predicating that suit on a First Amendment argument, those Republicans are forwarding a disturbing legal theory: Essentially, they are arguing that Wall Street has a constitutional right to influence politicians and the investment decisions those politicians make on behalf of pensioners.

If that theory is upheld by the courts, it will no doubt help Republican presidential candidates raise lots of financial-industry cash — but it could also mean that public pension contracts will now be for sale to the highest bidder.

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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Larry Kudlow: Secular Stagnation Is a Cover-Up to Stifle the American Dream

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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[Noozhawk’s note: This column was co-written by Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation.]

John F. Kennedy campaigned for president in 1960 by belittling Dwight Eisenhower’s three recessions and declaring, “We can do bettah.” He was right. In the 1960s, after the Kennedy tax cuts were implemented, prosperity returned, the economy grew by almost 4 percent annually, unemployment sank to record lows and a gold-linked dollar held down inflation.

But today many leading economists are throwing up their arms in frustration and assuring us that 2 percent growth is really the best we can do.

President Barack Obama’s former chief economist, Larry Summers, began this chant of “secular stagnation.” It’s a pessimistic message, and it’s now being echoed by Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer. He agrees with Summers that slow growth in “labor supply, capital investment and productivity” is the new normal that’s “holding down growth.” Summers also believes that negative real interest rates aren’t negative enough. If Fisher and Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen agree, central bank policy rates will never normalize in our lifetime.

Unfortunately, Americans seem to be buying into this dreary assessment. A new Wall Street Journal poll finds that three out of four Americans think the next generation will be worse off than this generation. So long, American Dream.

But secular stagnation is all wrong. It’s a cover up for mistaken economic policies that began in the George W. Bush years and intensified during the Obama administration.

It would be hard to conceive of a worse set of policy prescriptions than the ones Summers and his Keynesian collaborators have conjured up. We’ve had bailouts, massive spending-stimulus plans, tax increases on “the rich,” Obamacare, rudderless monetary policy that has collapsed the dollar, the Dodd-Frank bill, anti-carbon policies, a vast expansion of the welfare state, and on and on.

These measures have flat-lined the economy. It’s as simple as that. There has been no divine intervention, with God ordaining: Thou shalt only grow at 2 percent!

The blame falls on the White House and the Fed, and the discredited Keynesian model that government spending, debt and cheap money are the way to restore growth. Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. We’re still waiting for the government-spending multipliers and the Fed’s escape-velocity rebound to kick in.

Amazingly, the architects of this colossal policy failure are the same people who promised they would rebuild the U.S. economy “for the long term,” as Obama put it in 2009. But they’re now blaming the stagnant economy on structural problems beyond their control. Oh, we get it. Consumers and businesses are wrong because they didn’t adhere to Keynesian economic models.

We have paid people not to work by raising eligibility and time limits for various benefit plans, substantially raised marginal tax penalties when people move from welfare to work, disincentivized employers from hiring more workers (Obamacare, minimum wage), raised taxes on investment, passed new regulations to strangle our energy industry, unionized even when workers don’t want it, continued corporate-welfare cronyism and refused to fix a corporate tax system that sends jobs abroad. And then we wonder why the economy won't shift into a higher gear.

And sadly enough, this is all happening when the potential for growth, productivity, and wealth are at an all-time high.

First, thanks to the underperformance of this recovery, we are $2 trillion and nearly 10 million workers below potential output and employment. We could recapture this almost immediately with the right policies.

Second, the digital age and technological revolution have made hyper-growth more, not less, achievable. Just consider how Uber has led to amazing price reductions and efficiency improvements in the taxi-cab industry. Or think of how smart phones, robotics, disease-killing advances in biotech, and new oil and gas drilling technologies are expanding our output and wealth. Because of this private-sector productivity revolution, we can produce far more in a day than our ancestors could in a month. And it’s only just starting.

We learned in the 1960s and ’80s how fast the economy can get back on its feet when policy mistakes are reversed. That’s the real case for optimism. Imagine for a moment that we abolished the corporate income-tax rate, slashing it to zero from 35 percent. The positive results would be near instant. In a matter of weeks, a tidal wave of capital and businesses would flow across our borders and deep into the United States.

The secular-stagnation argument is just an excuse for liberal policy failures. Keynesianism should now be recognized as snake oil. And Republicans should recognize they now have a big opening to convince America that “We can do bettah.”

Larry Kudlow is economics editor at National Review Online, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, and author of the daily web blog Kudlow’s Money Politic$. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @larry_kudlow, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Rotary Club of Goleta Accepting Goleta Teen of the Year Nominations

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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The Goleta Teen of the Year Community Service Award Program is now accepting nominations for Goleta Teen of the Year for 2014. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 8, 2014. This program, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime, recognizes male and female teens for their contributions to the Goleta community.

Scholarship funds are awarded to all finalists, plus a donation is given to nonprofit charities selected by each finalist.

To be qualified, candidates must be a senior at Bishop DiegoDos Pueblos, Laguna Blanca or San Marcos high school (or an accredited home school) with a minimum grade-point average of 2.75. He or she must live in the ZIP code areas of 93110, 93111, 93117 or 93118, and must contribute to community, school, youth group, church, service clubs or other nonprofit organizations. The candidate must be willing to commit enthusiastically to serving as Goleta’s Teen of the Year through November 2015.

Funds for scholarships are provided by the Rotary Clubs of Goleta’ annual Fourth of July Fireworks Festival at Girsh Park as well as donations from local businesses and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, raffle ticket sales, and booth proceeds from the California Lemon Festival and the annual Rotary Clubs of Goleta Fireworks Festival.

Click here for the nomination form for Goleta Teen of the Year. Click here for more information about Goleta Teen of the Year, or call Connie Burns at 805.967.6166.

Click here for a related article on the 2013 Goleta Teen of the Year.

— Scott Phillips is a member of Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime.

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Review: The Odyssey Project Is More Than a Hero’s Journey

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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In his opening remarks to an enthusiastic, packed house at Center Stage Theater on a recent Sunday afternoon, The Odyssey Project creator and director Michael Morgan called it “a mode of artistic intervention.”

This innovative collaborative theater project began in 2011, bringing together teens from Los Prietos Boys Camp, a residential treatment facility for incarcerated youth, and undergrad theater students from UC Santa Barbara under the direction of Morgan, a senior lecturer at the school’s Department of Theater and Dance.

They use Homer’s Odyssey as a framework, exploring how the mythic elements of this ancient, archetypal story relate to events in their own lives, and interweaving the original text with their own stories. By reframing and retelling their stories in the context of a hero’s journey, they are empowered to rise above the mistakes of their pasts and chart a new course for their lives.

The performance is of mythical proportions itself. Using mime, movement, masks, music, aspects of ritual, creative staging and shifting roles among the actors, they bring to life Odysseus’ heroic trials with Cyclops, sirens and the underworld, and his struggle to return home to Ithaca.

Yes, the theater students are more polished and practiced in their acting skills, but the young men from Los Prietos clearly have worked hard and do a fine job, their raw emotion coming through the lines of dialogue.

Together, these dedicated and talented young people portray a world where challenges may seem insurmountable at times, but with the support of your peers and belief in yourself, anyone can be a hero.

Click here to read more about The Odyssey Project and to keep in touch regarding next year’s performance

— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.

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KC And The Sunshine Band Get Down With Disco Laden Concert

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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Performance at Chumash Casino delighted crowd with medley of hit songs

Harry Wayne Casey, better known in the music world as KC, brought his South Florida Sunshine Band to a delighted diverse crowd at the Samala Showroom in the Chumash Casino Resort on Aug. 7.

The band, which had a long string of disco hits in the 1970s, is benefiting from a resurgence in popularity of the much maligned disco dance era musical genre. Bands like mega-disco hit makers Chic, led by the legendary Nile Rodgers, have found a new generation of dance music fans embracing the style and substance of their endeavors.

Much like, Chic, The Sunshine Band, is made up of veteran musicians with an immense talent for performing an amalgamation of R&B, Funk, and Dance Boogie music. The band featured four dancers, two of whom acted as talented back up singers, a black funk rock rhythm section composed of a bass guitar, lead guitar and drummer, a jazz funk horn section with four members, a Latin infused percussionist, and two keyboardists (three when KC played keyboards).

KC acted as MC as well as the lead singer, and bantered with the audience, telling extended, well rehearsed jokes and song anecdotes. Sharing the same birth date with Justin Timberlake, all be it t30 years earlier, KC joked, “This is what Justin Timberlake is going to look like in 30 years. What the hell happened to me?”

The portly singer's self effacing humor endeared him with audience members old enough to remember his disco era hits, back when the hit songs were still in regular rotation on the radio. But there were a surprising number of very young disco fans in the crowd as well, including a large group of teenage girls with flowers in their hair, who were born long after the disco era.

The show opened with “[Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” setting the disco tone early, with dancers prancing around in ever changing outlandish disco outfits. A giant mirror ball reinforced the disco-era dance theme and highlighted a spectacular light show.

Harry Wayne Casey, also known as KC, kept up a banter with the audience throughout the concert. (Gary Lambert photo)

Then KC spent several minutes telling jokes about his age (“I’m 63 years old now. What the hell happened?”) and weight (saying he quit smoking and gained so much weight that he's going to change the band’s name to KFC and the Sunshine Band).

Apparently he pretty much tells the same jokes verbatim all throughout his national tour, but the banter was well received just the same.

KC then launched into a set of ballads including “Please Don’t Go,” one of six No. 1 songs the band had 1975-79, making them one of disco’s foremost act. He sang in a strong clear voice and followed up with a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home.”

Later he sang another classic ballad, Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me," and revealed that he was about to release an album of 1960s covers.

Then the band kicked into full gear and launched into a medley of their biggest dance hits along with more classic funk dance covers. The talented musicians jammed on several of the songs while KC disappeared backstage and took turns doing classic rock concert solos.

By the time the crowd was allowed to swarm the dance floor in front of the stage, nearly everyone in the venue found themselves gyrating to the infectious dance beats. The old adage seemed to ring true this night — if you wait long enough everything old will become fresh and new again in time.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Deceptive and Damaging to Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 08/16/2014

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I attended the Planning Commission hearing for Measure P in Santa Barbara last week. I am now even more convinced that “Measure P” is bad, really bad for Santa Barbara County.

Measure P is so bad that the proponents have asked the Planning Department to try and fix it. But the facts, and facts are stubborn things, are that the county can’t fix this misguided initiative.

I heard a lot about the proponent’s “intent” at that meeting. Unfortunately, the words of Measure P are what they and their San Francisco law firm saddled us with.

Again some of those stubborn facts are:

Despite what proponents are claiming that Measure P will not impact existing oil production, the county’s legal counsel admitted that 100 percent of existing well production will be impacted by the initiative. It serves to ban all current safe and productive oil extraction processes that have been used for over 100 years

Santa Barbara County will lose more than $290 Million dollars a year in economic activity and thousands of good paying jobs will be lost

If Measure P passes, Santa Barbara County will be subject to devastating and costly “takings” lawsuits. In fact, the county is being made to create an ordinance, and rather quickly, to help mitigate the legal threat it foresees, that will be inevitable, if the measure is approved.

The County Counsel specifically stated that Measure P poses the greatest liability risk the county has ever faced.

Currently California receives 2 percent of its oil from Vladimir Putin’s oil fields. Is he someone we really need to support? We have the technology, the oil and the people here to safely extract this oil.

As I said at the Planning Commission meeting, Measure P is like a pig in need of make-up, but no one has enough lipstick for this pig.

Vote No on Measure P for our county, our kids, and our families.

Scott W. Dunn

Santa Maria

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Historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse Is the Center of More Than Our Attention

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Iconic landmark is much more than a tourist attraction, and Courthouse Legacy Foundation works to help keep it that way

[Noozhawk’s note: This article is one in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation.]

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Thousands of Santa Barbara County residents commute past it daily, and it’s one of the nation’s top tourist attractions.

It’s the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and even after one visits multiple times, “there’s always something new to see,” said Loretta Redd, a member of the 10-year-old Courthouse Legacy Foundation, which is devoted to the preservation and restoration of the courthouse.

Odds are excellent that any Santa Barbara resident has attended a wedding at the courthouse. Countless nuptial ceremonies occur in the Sunken Garden, under the main archway or inside the Mural Room.

It’s the contrasting elements that make the courthouse such a testimony of architectural detail.

Patricia Gebhard and Kathryn Masson, the authors of the 2001 book, The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, call the historical structure a “complex arrangement of white walls, widely varying windows, loggias, galleries and ornamental and architectural details.”

The courthouse comprises four buildings that total 150,000 square feet, and the five-acre grounds cover an entire city block bordered by Anacapa, Figueroa, Santa Barbara and Anapamu streets.

Santa Barbara County handles maintenance of the grounds at the courthouse, but it has neither the funds nor artistic resources to restore the structure, said Bill Mahan, president of the board of trustees of the CLF.

Designed by architect William Mooser III beginning in 1926, the courthouse was dedicated in August 1929, replacing the smaller, Greek Revival courthouse that was damaged beyond repair in Santa Barbara’s June 25, 1925, earthquake.

The popular Sunken Garden occupies the site of the original courthouse, Mahan said.

He recalled how the influential 20th century architect Charles W. Moore, who died in 1993, called the courthouse “the grandest Spanish Colonial Revival structure ever built.”

Among Moore’s many designs were Sea Ranch in Sonoma County (with landscape architect Lawrence Halprin), the UC Santa Barbara Faculty Club and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Mahan, a retired architect, recently led a visitor on a clockwise tour of the outside of the courthouse, starting on the Anacapa Street entrance outside the main archway.

He pointed out designs atop the assorted iron light fixtures — a dragon outside the main Anacapa Street entry to the courthouse, a snake outside the Hall of Records on Anapamu Street, and, adjacent to the rear of the main arch, a crown.

At first glance, the various archways may appear similar — but nothing could be further from the truth. Take the arch above the “wedding door” at the rear of the building closest to Anapamu Street: “It gets wider as it goes up,” Mahan said.

“Their (the architects) intention was to make everything different and beautiful, and they executed this plan very well,” he said.

The wider arched doorway facing north to a tiled patio above the Sunken Garden is a popular site for weddings.

Connecting two sets of buildings are two bridges — one between the old jail and the building along Figueroa Street, and the other nearly hidden between the Hall of Records and the structure containing the main archway.

The former bridge, connecting the jail, is referred to as “the bridge of sighs,” both Redd and Mahan said.

It takes its name from a bridge in Venice, Italy, that offered prisoners there the last view of beautiful Venice before they were led back to their cells.

Santa Barbara courthouse jail inmates apparently uttered similar sighs while traversing the bridge on their way back to the jail, where many spent time in isolation in an 8-by-8-by-8-foot solid steel cell on the uppermost floor, Mahan said.

The former jail sports both a turret and tower.

Take a walk around the perimeter of the courthouse, and study all the windows. One would be hard pressed to find two that are alike, as there’s very little symmetry, Redd noted.

Perhaps less obvious is the use of tiles throughout the courthouse. From floors to the underside of beams, to window seats and benches, are pattern upon pattern of Saltillo and Tunisian tiles, seeming never to repeat from room to room, hallway to hallway.

Outside the courthouse entrance from Figueroa (the lawyers’ arched entry), the Saltillo tiles used are large, small and large again, gradually repeating along the outside wall.

“Somebody really cared” about the detail given to the tile placement, the soft-spoken Mahan said.

The Tunisian tiles used in wainscoting contain three small indentations (clay dabs) from braces used when stacked in kilns, allowing more to be fired at one time, Redd explained.

Moors would tile wall surfaces in corridors, adding a burst of color to dark interiors.

                                                                          •        •

The Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation was founded in 2004 to fund the conservation, preservation and restoration of projects for the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Although the courthouse is a county building, the county only serves to maintain the courthouse. It does not have the necessary funds or resources to complete historic preservation or artistic conservation. SBCLF ensures all conservation, restoration and restoration projects meet federally mandated standards as a National Historic Landmark.

The foundation is embarking on a $700,000 capital fundraising campaign for the restoration of the Mural Room. The room’s 83-year-old historic paintings (a mural timeline of Santa Barbara), ornate ceilings, furniture, ironwork, lighting and draperies will be restored as part of this campaign. To date, more than half of the money has been raised, including a recent gift of $10,000 from the City of Santa Barbara. Work on the Mural Room is to begin in January 2015.

» Click here to make an online donation to the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation.

» Click here for more information about SBCLF.

» Connect with the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation on Facebook.

Noozhawk contributing writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at winecountrywriter@gmail.com. Click here to read her blog, Central Coast Wine Press.

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Kids Clamor to Get a Bounce at Cloud 10 Jump Club Classes

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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New Goleta trampoline park teaches martial arts-gymnastics blend

A crowd of parents and other well-meaning looky-loos silently stood behind tall, black mesh netting, gathered as a makeshift audience to observe a lesser-known sport none of them quite understood.

Urban gymnastics “tricking,” a relatively new sport to those who have even heard of it, has quickly become the fastest-growing and most popular class offered in the Air Academy at Cloud 10 Jump Club in Goleta’s Turnpike Center.

Professionally trained gymnasts describe it as a freestyle flip with a literal twist, with forward and backward versions allowing the more flexible among us to perform the aerial trick that’s less bound by the traditional gymnastics rules.

A blend of martial arts and gymnastics was the easy explanation offered by Cloud 10 aerial jump coach James Hunt, a fourth-year UC Santa Barbara student.

Hunt led the members-only two-hour class at the area’s first trampoline park on a recent evening, drawing that audience to the USA Gymnastics Air Academy serving those walking age up to 23.

Seven grade-school students — six boys and one girl — launched into deep lunges, cartwheels and butterfly stretches inside the netted Air Academy and its bouncy 7-inch spring floor before moving to the Top Flight trampoline court to try tricks.

The court features trampoline surfaces on the floors and walls, similar to those on the nearby open jump court, dodgeball and basketball courts and 40-foot half-pipe with a stunt airbag.

“Keep your body open,” Hunt said as kids took turns making the tricky jumps look easy. “Good flexibility, boys.”

Cloud 10 Jump Club general manager Suzanne Wolfe Jewell classes that offer a blend of martial arts and gymnastics have been very popular. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Strong, clean tricks warranted a high-five or approving look from the young teacher.

Hunt likened “tricking” to parkour, which originated as a fluid way to use invasive moves to get from Point A to Point B, jumping or flipping off objects. Parkour enthusiasts next turned to free running and then tricking about 10 years ago.

“It’s really its own sport at this point,” said Hunt, a walking encyclopedia on the subject.

What kids can practically do with these skills matters less than getting them interested in exercise at all, said Suzanne Wolfe Jewell, vice president of operations and safety for Trampolines Unlimited Inc., the company that built Cloud 10 and soon-to-be 23 other parks across the country.

Gymnastics in particular has not been popular in this area, something Wolfe Jewell often hears from parents. She would know, having 23 years of teaching experience that includes operating Beach Stars Gymnastics in Carpinteria, where her family lives before opening Cloud 10.

Since the trampoline park opened in its high-ceilinged, 19,000-square-foot facility in February, nearly 19,000 people have come through the doors to jump — a third of them return visitors.

Maybe two percent of kids in gymnastics will do so competitively, Wolfe Jewell said.

“We teach the other 98 percent,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s such great exercise. We get cheerleaders in here all the time. It’s just a stress reliever.

“You can’t frown on a trampoline.”

Eight certified coaches taught six packed summer camps, offered to members who pay $50 a year. 

Wolfe Jewell was happy to report just two injuries since the park opened —in the open jump court — and that boys make up at least 60 percent of most classes.

“Is she wearing you out?” Wolfe Jewell asked a class.

“It’s fun!” said 12-year-old Santa Barbara resident Kylee Heather, who added an enthusiastic nod.

The tricking class is so sought-after, Wolfe Jewell said, that another section was added.

She can’t wait to see the response the Air Academy gets after another six months in business.

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

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Judge OKs Court-Appointed Attorney For Lead Defendant in Santa Maria Murder-Torture Case

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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A judge on Friday allowed the lead defendant in a Santa Maria gang-related torture and slaying case to again have a court-appointed attorney five months after Ramon David Maldonado requested to represent himself.

Maldonado made his request Friday near the end of a hearing where Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown rejected several motions from the defendant who is accused of spearheading the torture and killing of Anthony Ibarra, 28, on March 17, 2013. 

Seven defendants will stand trial for the death of Ibarra who was killed in a West Donovan Road house in north Santa Maria, authorities said. His body was found in a U-Haul rental truck located in Orcutt.

The other defendants are Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr. and Jason Castillo. Four other defendants, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas, Verenisa Aviles and Robert Stan Sosa, accepted pleas in the case.

Ramon David Maldonado

Near the end of the hearing, Ramon Maldonado requested Friday afternoon the judge reappoint Michael Scott, who had previously represented Maldonado and later served as legal advisor.

“I’m not too proud to say that,” Maldonado said. “I cannot handle this at this time.”

Brown warned Maldonado that he could not flip-flop.

“Let’s be clear — I wouldn't let you switch back again,” Brown told Maldonado. “We can’t go back and forth.”

Maldonado’s request came after Brown rejected a motion for an extension with the jailed defendant complaining he has had limited time and access to prepare his defense in the three and half months he served as his own attorney. A bulk of the discovery information is under a protective order and can’t be shared inside the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen noted Maldonado has served as his own attorney for five months.

“For him to say he doesn’t have any discovery is not true,” Bramsen added.

She also said that the defense investigator working on the case didn’t change when Maldonado began representing himself.  Maldonado also reportedly said in a jailhouse postcard that he regularly meets with the investigator, the prosecutor told the judge.

“He has not in his declaration asserted a good cause and his motion should be denied,” Bramsen said.

The judge has been emphatic at starting the complex trial Nov. 17, reminding attorneys repeatedly and remarking on it even when they appear before him in other cases.

He noted that it is appropriate to set deadlines, and said good cause must be shown for a judge to postpone the start date. The judge also said the Nov. 17 date was set in the spring with Maldonado’s concurrence.

“There is very strong grounds for a continuance,” Maldonado said, citing thousands of pages and more than 100 compact discs with evidence related to the case.

Maldonado denied he asked to represent himself to delay the trial, saying he sought “a fair chance for a fair trial.”

“My life is on the line right here,” Maldonado said.

Attempts to line up court-approval to hire expert witnesses also have been delayed by another judge’s vacation, Scott said, adding those experts won’t begin work on the case until they’re assured payment.

“You need to get the job done. You can do it. You’re getting a lot of help, a lot of assistance,” Brown told Maldonado before denying the motion for a continuance.

Maldonado also asked the judge to dismiss the gang allegation and the count of dissuading a witness.

But Brown also rejected that motion, contending testimony in front of the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury provided probable cause for the charges to remain.

“That’s really all we need for this,” Brown said after reading some of the alleged statements from the grand jury transcript. “I’m going to deny that motion.”

When Maldonado tried to cite a police report, Bramsen objected and Brown agreed.

“You have to base it on the transcript from the grand jury report,” Brown told Maldonado. “The police report has nothing to do with this.”

Because the case has so many defendants and attorneys, major hearings are being held at the Santa Maria Juvenile Court facility.

Details involving the murder of Ibarra were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT.

Several defendants face life in prison without parole if convicted.

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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Elderly Woman Attempts Suicide at Goleta Trader Joe’s

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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An elderly woman attempted to kill herself Friday afternoon at the Trader Joe's market in Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies, county firefighters and paramedics were called to the store at 5767 Calle Real at about 3:20 p.m., said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

The woman, believed to be in her 70s, was found hanging in the women's restroom by a store employee, Hoover said.

She was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Her name and details on her condition were not available.

Click here for suicide-prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.

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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UCSB, Bicyclists Remember Rider, Disability Advocate Killed in Crash

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Matthew O'Neill, who was killed Aug. 10 while riding his bicycle east of Santa Maria, was a graduate student at UCSB. (Contributed photo)

The Chula Vista man killed east of Santa Maria on Aug. 10 was an avid rider of recumbent bicycles and a UCSB graduate student who advocated for people with disabilities.

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School Education remembered 33-year-old graduate student Matthew O'Neill, who died after his bicycle was struck by a truck pulling a horse trailer near Foxen Canyon and Dominion roads. 

The California Highway Patrol listed O'Neill's hometown as Chula Vista, but he reportedly lived in Carpinteria while attending UCSB.

O’Neill had just finished his third year as a doctoral student in the special-education research area, under the direction of his advisor, Dr. George Singer, UCSB officials said. 

Friends and colleagues remembered O’Neill “as a quiet and seemingly shy individual who became strong and forceful when advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities and their families,” according to UCSB Gevirtz School statement.

O’Neill was adding a doctorate degree to his legal training to help parents and teachers better meet the needs of their children and students.

He was an expert in special-education law, and had worked as a legal advocate in the Los Angeles area before entering the graduate program, UCSB officials said.

“As a person, Matt is remembered as witty, intelligent and kind,” says Senior Associate Dean Betsy Brenner. “He was into extreme long-distance bicycling events, having traveled from Paris to Normandy in one event, and more recently down the coast of California. I will miss Matt, as will many others here.”

The Gevirtz School of Education plans to hold a memorial event in honor of O’Neill this fall. Details will be sent out when the event is planned.

O’Neill belonged to a group called PCH Randonneurs that promoted long-distance rides. On the group’s Facebook page, fellow riders recalled how he often helped them.

At the time of the accident, he was participating in the California Central Coast Randonnee.

“He would ride with you through tough times, guide you through a tricky route, feed you peach gummy rings when you were bonking, and keep you upright on your bike when you were delirious at night,” fellow rider Stacy Kline wrote on a forum for the California Randoneurrs.

Kline said she told California Highway Patrol officers at the scene that vehicle drivers passed the bicyclists too closely during the entire ride, although the cyclists were riding legally and visibly.

“If we can teach all drivers to change the lane completely when they pass, really make a campaign out of this, Matthew will not have died in vain. We need to stop close passes and the ‘I didn't see him’ mindset. Regardless of the situation, when we motorists change lanes to pass, we cyclists are safer,” Kline wrote.

The vehicle was driven by a 16-year-old whose name wasn’t released due to his age, the California Highway Patrol said. An 18-year-old, Abel Nicolas Maldonado, was a passenger in the vehicle.

CHP Officer Craig Carrier said Friday the accident remains under investigation.

State law doesn’t prohibit teens with a driver's license from driving a vehicle towing a horse trailer, he said. 

“Depending on the circumstances, it’s not necessarily illegal,” Carrier said. “It’s all based on weight ratings.”

Those weight restrictions would determine if a driver should have a different type of license, he added.

The driver and passenger reportedly are the sons of Abel Maldonado, a former lieutenant governor who earlier this year canceled his bid for governor. He did not return a call for comment.

This is the second fatal accident involving Nicolas Maldonado, who also was a passenger in the SUV his mother was driving in 2012 near Foxen Canyon and Dominion roads.

At the time, Abel Maldonado was running for Congress.

In that incident, a 32-year-old man failed to the yield the right of way to the Maldonados’ vehicle. The driver who died, Joseph Scott Scheurn, was later found to be under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the collision, the CHP said.

Investigators also determined his vehicle had improperly maintained brakes.

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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Pipe Rupture Floods La Cumbre’s Theater Renovation Project

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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An exterior sprinkler line ruptured outside La Cumbre Junior High School last week, causing minor flood damage to the school's nearly-completed theater project. 

The new theater, which was set to open on the first day of school, will now be delayed for at least a few weeks while carpeting and portions of the theater's wood flooring are replaced.

The Aug. 11 rupture occurred at 6 a.m. and ran for an hour before school officials could arrive to shut it off. Two ventilation ducts under the theater will also need to be replaced.

Carl Mayrose, project manager for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, said the ducts actually helped prevent the damage from being more extensive than it could have been.

"Insulation inside the ducts actually soaked up water while the floor ducts themselves acted as a drain that kept water from spreading farther into the theater," Mayrose told Noozhawk.

The theater will still be used for school assemblies and other non-public functions until repairs are complete, since the flooding wasn't so bad to prevent it being used. 

This is one of the district's projects funded by Measure Q general obligation bond money

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at skahmann@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Medical Facility Evacuated Due to Possible Hazardous Incident

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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A medical facility on East Main Street was evacuated Friday afternoon after five people complained of stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea — “all the same time, unrelated,” according to Battalion Chief Mike Barneich of the Santa Maria Fire Department.

Firefighters evacuated the two-story building in the 1400 block of East Main Street, which houses several medical offices including the Shepard Eye Center, Community Health Centers-Arbor Medical Group and Lab Corp. 

One person was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center while the others were checked at the scene by American Medical Response crews. 

Santa Maria firefighters consulted with the Santa Barbara County Hazardous Materials Unit officials regarding the incident, but stopped short of declaring it a hazmat incident.

“We didn’t have a visible smell, we didn’t have a visible cloud, we didn’t have anything we could point to to call it hazmat,” Barneich said. 

What caused the sudden unrelated illness isn’t known, but Barneich noted that the facility has cleaning solution for sterilizing medical equipment.

With the building emptied, Barneich said, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will run and the building owner will bring in their experts to evaluate the systems before employees and patients return. 

“We shut down the building for the weekend and they’re going to work with their contractors to make sure the building is safe before they open up again on  Monday,” Barneich 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

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UCSB Professor Sentenced to Probation, Anger Management in Abortion Confrontation

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Mireille Miller-Young had pleaded no-contest to charges stemming from altercation with anti-abortion group in March

An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara was sentenced Friday to three years probation, 100 hours community service and 10 hours of anger-management classes after pleading no contest to several charges stemming from a confrontation she had with an anti-abortion group on campus in March.

Mireille Miller-Young faced three charges of grand theft from a person, battery and vandalism based on the March 4 incident, during which prosecutors allege the professor took a protestor’s sign, committed battery on another protester, and then destroyed the sign.

The confrontation occurred between Miller-Young and several abortion protesters who carried graphic images on posters. The professor told police she found the literature and pictures “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights, and because she was pregnant at the time.

Miller-Young appeared before Judge Brian Hill, dabbing her eyes while sitting in the front of the courtroom.

Three women spoke, including sisters Joan and Thrin Short, who were protesting on campus that day, as well as their mother, Cathryn.

Joan Short told Hill that that the group of young women set up in the free speech zone with their posters that day and were having productive discussions until Miller-Young appeared and began to incite students.

Thrin Short, who was among the group of anti-abortion protestors involved in a confrontation with UCSB Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young, attended Friday's sentencing hearing. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

"Tear down the sign" was repeated many times by Miller-Young and other students, creating a mob like atmosphere, she said.

Thrin Short also spoke, and said that though Miller-Young issued an apology to the court, "she should issue an apology to her students."

Cathryn Short said that the apology said nothing about grabbing or scratching her daughter, and encouraged the court to enact community service with a group that thinks differently than Miller-Young, in an effort to think "beyond the squabbles of the like-minded in the faculty lounge."

Miller-Young herself did not speak during the sentencing, but her attorney, Catherine Swysen, reminded that court that "it was an emotionally charged encounter," and that both sides were shouting.

"Those images were very disturbing to many people, and while that doesn't excuse what happened, that is a fact," Swysen said, adding that some students were even crying by what they saw on the posters.

Prosecutor Ron Zonen said that Miller-Young didn't seize the signs because they were offensive, but because they expressed a message she didn't agree with.

"She embarrassed herself, the university… she set a poor example for her students," he said.

Zonen also said that Miller-Young was a talented member of the faculty, and that many of the articles and comments written about her and the incident were "heavy-handed."

Hill opined that free speech interests were at play in the case.

"It's a clash of First Amendment interests, which both sides had a right to express," Hill said, adding that when "speech turns to something like physical invasion, then you have something criminal and that's why we are here."

Hill said that Miller-Young had a tremendous number of positive letters and references and no criminal record.  Because of her position at the university, "she's getting the kind of scrutiny that the average defendant would not get," he said.

"I have no question that she's of impeccable character outside of this incident," he said.

Hill ultimately sentenced Miller-Young to serve her community service in conflict-resolution workshops run by the Quaker Church, 10 hours of anger management and $493 in restitution to the Shorts, which was paid in court Friday.

"I think you should feel as though you've been vindicated," he told the Short family, and even though many may have found the posters offensive "it's still protected speech, and you have a right to that."

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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Captain’s Log: Whale Watching and Fishing Trips Are the Best Combination of All

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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There are whalewatching trips and there are fishing trips. Lately, it seems like my fishing trips are becoming combo trips because there are so many whales and dolphins around that at times we’re surrounded by them. Trust me ... I’m not complaining! This is a powerful blessing.

One day during the week, we were fishing at the 4-Mile, which is, oh, about 4 miles out of the Santa Barbara Harbor (I love simple naming conventions!), when a mile-long pod of dolphins cruised in and moved by us on either side and underneath.

We hadn’t yet calmed down from that excitement when a resounding Whoosh! sound spun us around to watch a humpback whale come up several times in rapid succession to take breaths and leave footprints on the water before fluking and diving to feed.

Fortunately, the family who chartered us that day enjoyed those moments as much as the great fishing.

We continued to catch red snapper, copper rockfish, lingcod and other fabulous fresh table fare. Then on the way in, a minke whale decided to track along with us for awhile. Again, we had hooting and hollering people. I sometimes wonder what the critters think of our hooting and hollering and gesticulating ...

Two days later, I got a call from a fellow fisher I know who was fishing the 1-Mile (I’ll leave it to you to figure out how far out of the harbor this spot is) and had marine mammals literally all around him. A short while later, we fished the same spot and enjoyed the experience ourselves, when the critters moved past us. Sometimes they will get curious and turn back around to come check us out.

On Santa Barbara Channel crossings, it is common to see pods of dolphins numbering in the hundreds and even thousands. The population of common dolphins appears to be strong and they have lots of youngsters with them. The little football-size babies are so cute they are adorable.

Once at the Channel Islands, we catch our fish, enjoy the spectacular scenery and on our way back we fervently hope for another encounter with our magnificent whales and dolphins.

— 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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Jonathan Lukas: Memories of Robin Williams, and What We Need to Keep In Mind

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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I’ve been trying to comprehend the death of Robin Williams. There are very few of those people — in our own lives or celebrities we admire — who move you so profoundly, in life and in death. Of course, no one expected this or at least really believed it would happen. I keep thinking about each movie that I’ve really loved throughout my life, and Robin Williams shows up in so many. Each time I watched one of those movies, I felt relaxed, peaceful, anxiety-free, less sad, and I could laugh or even tear up, more and more, every time I watched him.

Like so many others, I used to watch Good Will Hunting religiously. Each character, there was a slight part of you. Fighting having to grow up and face our fears or feeling like you’re not good enough to deserve those wonderful things in life. Feeling that you are constantly comparing yourself and, in turn, finding your self esteem plummeting. Feeling totally broken inside but knowing just what to say to others. Every time you watched Good Will Hunting, you related more and more, felt more bonded and even safe for a little while in our lives. Especially Robin Williams.

And in so many movies, Williams just made you want to keep watching and exploring what a depth of understanding he had about knowing what made people feel good inside. Just last week I had watched Dead Poets Society again because I always go back to my favorites. Where I feel safe. It was like you knew the lines to the movie and knew each scene and felt the pain in that movie like any pain you have felt in life.

When I watched Jack recently, once again I was reminded how he helped me escape for a short time into childhood, free of worries, no where else to be but watching Robin Williams grow old in the span of a few years. At the end, when he looks curiously like Albert Einstein, he was such a perfect human being — so insightful and at a level of feeling that rings so loud it hurts too much sometimes.

There were so many funny movies and classic TV that you never got tired of going back to late at night just to get a laugh and feel nostalgic. I can’t stop thinking about how much I learned about myself, watching a Robin Williams movie. He made you look at yourself differently, every time. You understood the movie in a slightly new way, each time. Williams had something to give in each character that really made you feel like he got it, no matter what character he was. Even dark characters, like those he played in One Hour Photo and Insomnia. He could always test the boundaries because he was so believable. And he was so in touch with some of the most brutal of the evil games the mind will play. I believe he really understood aspects of each character that only someone who felt so much, could nail with such precision.

But I also know with that level of intensity of laughter, perfect timing, insightfulness and total randomness comes a level of pain that is equal, if not greater, than those tremendous moments that we watched him excel at. He felt those moments of despair like so many can relate to, yet he couldn’t find a way out this time. It’s obviously so horrible what his closest family and friends are dealing with. I understand he openly shared many of his anxieties and depressive thoughts. But not even the closest person in his life will know everything because it is so hard to take or imagine, that sharing it would be equally as traumatic. No one knows the depths of Robin Williams except him. It took its toll long enough for him to bare the pain anymore. So many are heartbroken and in shock because there is nothing else to feel for someone who you felt like you knew like a best friend, like even better an more idealized than anyone we know. Williams just leaves a gaping hole. He was the best.

So like those people who pass away and we talk about for awhile, he will become a memory that you come back to with melancholy and feel sad that he’s never going to move us again. Yet there are always his classics. And there are so many. It just hurts that he doesn’t get to enjoy them. It’s so tragic to think that he felt too much despair and hopelessness that he had no other option.

Unfortunately, your tunnel of vision becomes smaller as more builds up. Even hinting at it with friends, talking about it on late-night TV shows or sharing with the world could not diffuse much of the pain. No amount of treatment or help can put you back together when you feel so broken that the vision just becomes a tiny dark dead end. It feels impossible to get out from. It’s a disease that’s often more terrifying than anything imaginable because it’s constant. It’s truly relentless and consumes you at all times. It might linger on the sidelines and invade your mind on occasion, but triggers will increase those thoughts.

When thoughts become so consuming they affect us not just emotionally, but also physically, it really becomes a sign of danger. How we eat, how we sleep and how we function are so intertwined with depression. Because of this, it can ultimately affect our decision making, or how we perceive our world or the world around us.

I imagine it being so deafening for Robin Williams and so painful, it just hurts that much more because of how much he gave of himself to the world. So I just want to say thank you to Robin Williams for giving us forever a soul that we will never experience again. And all those great movies to watch with awe and that allow us to forget about life for short time. It’s an unimaginable loss because of the tremendous talent that he was, the amount of empathy and understanding of humor and emotional torment. He made us laugh and cry, and without him in this world, it just feels more empty.

There was something in Robin Williams that you could feel, no matter who you are. He was more than an actor. He was a gift to so many who needed an escape. His star was so bright and you sincerely felt that he cared so much about making others smile. Yet the pain he felt inside was so vast and unforgiving.

Goodbye, Robin Williams.  

Jonathan Lukas MFT is a psychotherapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy. He is in private practice and runs The OCD Treatment Center of Santa Barbara, working with adolescents and adults with anxiety disorders. Click here for more information or call 805.453.2347. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Lucy’

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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3 Stars — Challenging

What do we really know about the human mind? In the last few hundred years of scientific history, or the last few thousand years of recorded history, our understanding of the mind has given us a vision of a remarkable tool beyond anything we could imagine or create.

In Lucy, we are challenged with our own capacity to even understand what makes up matter in the universe, let alone how the mind has the capacity to “know it.” If you accept the notion that we have been evolving for 13 billion years since the “big bang” brought forth our cosmos, then it might be that we will have to wait another 13 billion years before we will have reached a point of true understanding. In some ways we are no more than a caterpillar trying to fathom how a human thinks.

Lucy is not a documentary on the mind, but rather a tale of evil men trying to manipulate the sale of drugs that affect the mind. Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a young woman who makes bad choices in men and finds herself manipulated by a date to deliver a package to a drug kingpin on his behalf. She balks at the idea, but ends up being forced into what appears to be a simple exchange.

Needless to say, what she discovers changes her life forever. Within minutes her boyfriend is eliminated and she is face to face with a vicious Korean drug lord named Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) and his henchmen. Jang brutally eliminates anyone who gets in his way. In fear of her life, Lucy agrees to transport a new drug to Europe.

Unfortunately for Lucy, she ends up ingesting the new drug, which has the ability to stimulate the mind’s capacity to function. Without spoiling the story, the premise is that mankind only uses 10 percent of its brain, and this drug will allow a person to increase that capacity. What happens next is that Lucy is in a death spiral that will both accelerate her demise and increase her brain capacity to 100 percent. What happens over the next 24 hours completes the journey.

On the positive side, the leading expert in brain theory is Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), a man who sees the brain’s potential from a straight-forward, if not cold, set of evolutionary circumstances. Lucy reaches out to him after reading his entire body of work in a matter of minutes. Her hope is that he can learn something from what she is experiencing, and she has little time to do it. When Lucy’s journey is completed, his will be just beginning. What Lucy discovers is a remarkable and intricate connection of being in the universe that is well beyond science to describe. It is the prose of the supremacy of all being.

Whether you see this film as a murder mystery or a book on theology, each viewer will have to decide what they learn from it. What we do know is that our capacity to understand the universe is woefully inadequate on a scientific level, even though we pride ourselves on our superior intellect. It reminds me of the time that one of my children, at the age of 3, told me how they now understood how everything worked. All you could do is smile and think, you are cute in your emerging innocent childlike world, but someday in the future you will know.

Discussion

» The Decade of the Brain has now been followed by the Decade of the Mind, from 2012 to 2022. Do you believe we will understand what the mind is in the next eight years? Why or why not? How do you think the mind and the Source of All Being are related?

» Often our advances in science are used by people for making money with little thought of the harm they might do. What do you think can be done to protect ourselves from such greed?

» The belief that mind could control matter requires us to see all things as connected. Do you believe there is a connection of body, mind and spirit, or are we living in only a material world?

— 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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AmeriFlex Financial Services Adds Financial Advisor Chris Snowden to Team

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Chris Snowden

Santa Barbara-based AmeriFlex Financial Services announces the addition of its newest team member, financial advisor Chris Snowden.

Chris is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He spent a number of years in the wine industry as part of his family’s vineyard before obtaining a master’s in business from Pepperdine University.

For the past six years, Chris has worked as a financial advisor in the Santa Barbara area. During that time he has developed a passion for working with people in transition — be that career changes, business succession or retirement.

“My background in running small companies and experience with family business gives me insight into some of the challenges that successful people are faced with when preparing for retirement,” adds Chris.

As a member of the AmeriFlex team, Chris will focus on providing retirement/income planning services under the honeyigothitbyabus.com and gotomycfo.com banner.

“Chris brings a real passion to help pre-retirees, and entrepreneurs as they prepare to position their assets to generate income for their decumulation years,” says President Justin Anderson. “We are excited to welcome him aboard.”

Chris, his wife and son live in Santa Barbara and are active in a number of community organizations.

AmeriFlex Financial Services is a privately owned financial services firm based in Santa Barbara. Its team of professionals has provided financial confidence to businesses, nonprofit organizations, families and individuals since 1988.

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Gerald Carpenter: Goleta Ballet School Ends Summer Term with ‘Giselle’

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Performance of beloved romantic ballet is Friday night at Center Stage Theatre at Paseo Nuevo

The Goleta School of Ballet will conclude its five week "Summer Intensive" course with a full-length performance of the beloved romantic ballet, "Giselle, or the Wilis" (1841)— music by Adolphe Adam; libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, based on passages by Heinrich Heine and Victor Hugo; choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot (as revived and codified in the late nineteenth century by Marius Petipa).

The performance will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Center Stage Theater, upstairs at the Paseo Nuevo Mall.

There is a purity about "Giselle" that has earned it a special position in the standard repertory, and it is the purity of the dancing human form observed with virtually no distractions from the music or plot.

You enjoy the score of "Swan Lake" or "Romeo and Juliet" or, as we were recently reminded, "Petrushka," without ever having watched the ballet itself; not so, "Giselle."

Adam was a skilled musical tailor, and every note fits the dancers' limbs like skin, but heard without the visual element, it just disappears.

The plot is similarly streamlined and serviceable. Most romantic ballets feature the death of a young woman, but few bring the event to pass so soon as "Giselle." The eponymous heroine is a pretty young peasant girl who dies of a broken heart when she learns that the man she loves is going to marry someone else.

She is brought back to life by The Wilis, a group of supernatural feminist avengers whose sole activity is dancing men to death. They revive Giselle in order that she might perform this execution upon the man who jilted her, but she frustrates their design and lets him live, preferring to return to the grave herself rather than kill the man she still loves.

That's all there is to it: love and death triumph at the same time. What could be more purely romantic?

Tickets to this "Giselle" are $20 and all seats are general admission. Owing to the particulars of the auditorium seating arrangements, late-comers will not be seated after the performance starts.

For tickets and other information, call 805.963.0408, or go on line to: centerstagetheater.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=2972

— 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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Bill Macfadyen: Mass Murder Sure Seems to be Hitting Closer to Home These Days

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 tries to lift spirits with an affordable-housing lottery and Michael Jackson’s old Neverland Ranch, regresses to two gruesome collisions, and ends with a Street Fight

There were 92,722 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Sheriff: Mass Murder Suspect Told Investigators Killing Family Was ‘His Destiny’

In Santa Barbara County’s second mass murder in less than three months, a husband and wife, their two grandsons and the family dog were found stabbed to death in their home near Goleta the night of Aug. 11.

Arrested at the scene of the grisly killings was the man who allegedly called 9-1-1 to confess to the crime: Nicolas Etienne Holzer, the retired couple’s 45-year-old son and the father of the two boys.

“In a calm and matter-of-fact manner, (Holzer) told a dispatcher that he had killed his family,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told an Aug. 12 news conference that was team covered by our Lara Cooper and Tom Bolton.

The victims were identified as William Charles Holzer, 73; Sheila Garard Holzer, 74; Sebastian Holzer, 13; and Vincent Holzer, 10, along with the family’s Australian shepherd.

All — including the dog — had been stabbed multiple times, Brown said.

“It is my sad duty to report to you that we have had another mass murder in our community,” Brown said, referring to homicidal maniac Elliot Rodger’s May 23 killing spree in Isla Vista.

Holzer was booked into County Jail on four counts of murder, and was being held without bail. He appeared in Superior Court on Aug. 13, but his arraignment was postponed until Sept. 9.

When deputies arrived at the house in the 600 block of Walnut Park Lane, they were met by Holzer, who was taken into custody without incident, Brown said.

Vincent Holzer
Vincent Holzer
Sebastian Holzer
Sebastian Holzer

He said deputies first found the dead dog, and then Holzer’s father, who had been slain in the den of the neatly kept single-story home. The body of Holzer’s mother was found at the doorway of a bedroom, he said, and his sons were found dead inside that room.

“Holzer told detectives that he had killed his family to fulfill what he believed was his destiny,” Brown said.

He said Holzer had gained full custody of his sons following a divorce eight or nine years ago. For the past seven years, they had been living with his parents in the house on a quiet cul-de-sac off Ribera Drive near Foothill School.

William Holzer, a scientist, had worked with Raytheon. Sebastian was entering the eighth grade at La Colina Junior High School and Vincent was going into fifth grade at Foothill School.

The Santa Barbara Unified and Goleta Union school districts have made grief counseling available for students and faculty at the schools.

“This is right in the heart,” La Colina Principal David Ortiz told our Giana Magnoli. “As I talked to teachers of Sebastian’s from last year, each described him as a very caring, sensitive individual fully engaged in class and in school.”

Sebastian’s teachers said he was very social and friendly, and a high achiever with a 3.8 grade-point-average and a fantastic attendance record.

“He was a very upbeat, sweet boy,” Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher Rebecca Lowi said in a statement. “He had a big smile, and I don’t know a day that Sebastian was in a cranky mood. He was easygoing, mellow and friendly. He got along with girls and the girls liked him, and the guys liked him.”

She described him as a “peacemaker” who never had conflict with others.

“He was always friendly and upbeat, with a smile that I’ll always remember,” Lowi said.

Can you imagine yourself living in Sevilla? It may be closer than you think. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)
Can you imagine yourself living in Sevilla? It may be closer than you think. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

2. Lottery Opens for Affordable Condos in Santa Barbara’s Former Chapala One Complex

The City of Santa Barbara is now accepting applications for a lottery to purchase one of seven below-market-rate condominiums at Sevilla at the corner of Chapala and Gutierrez streets downtown.

“It’s an appealing opportunity for an entry-level homebuyer who is looking to have homeownership in Santa Barbara,” Melissa Bonillo, a city housing programs specialist, told our Josh Molina. “It gives them that opportunity at an affordable price.”

Originally called Chapala One, the 46-unit development was completed in 2008, but the condos were never sold because of an immediate — and ongoing — legal battle between previous owner Don Hughes and the contractor, the now-defunct Melchiori Construction Co. The project eventually was purchased by Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld of Woodridge Capital Partners LLC, and renamed and rebranded as Sevilla.

The homes finally went up for sale last October, and Sotheby’s International Realty agent Michael Calcagno is pleased with the progress.

“We have sold and/or are in escrow on roughly 50 percent of the building,” he said.

The below-market rate condos must be occupied by full-time residents with minimum income amounts ranging from $36,842 to $77,901. There are 11 units in all, but four already have been allotted to those who won the initial lottery under the auspices of Chapala One.

Click here to download an application.

3. Child Ejected, Suffers Major Injuries in Highway 101 Crash

A child suffered major head injuries after being ejected from a vehicle in a crash on Highway 101 in Santa Maria the evening of Aug. 12.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the collision between a tractor-trailer and another vehicle was reported at the northbound Betteravia Road exit ramp around 7 p.m.

The child, whose name and age were not disclosed, reportedly suffered severe head trauma and was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center.

No other details were immediately available.

Could your fairy tale come true at Neverland Ranch? (Channel Islands Helicopters photo)
Neverland Ranch ... it’s like a fairy tale. Of some sort. (Channel Islands Helicopters photo)

4. Owner of Michael Jackson’s Former Neverland Ranch Considering Sale

It’s not my taste but wouldn’t you like to own Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos? The flamboyant fairytale estate owned by the late King of Pop Michael Jackson may soon be on the market.

As our Gina Potthoff reported Aug. 8, Colony Capital LLC is considering selling the 3,000-acre property at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road. The Santa Monica private-equity firm bought out Jackson’s mortgage in 2008 when he was facing foreclosure.

Santa Barbara County has assessed the property at $30.4 million, but media reports suggest it could fetch upward of $60 million in a sale situation.

Jackson bought the ranch in 1988, famously adding a choo-choo train, a zoo and amusement park rides. He was accused of pursuing other kinds of amusements, however, and authorities raided the place in 2004 as part of an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct with young boys.

Jackson was arrested, but was acquitted on all charges after a five-month trial in Santa Maria in 2005. He reportedly never returned to the ranch, and he died in 2009 at age 50.

Colony Capital spokesman Owen Blicksilver said the estate has been refurbished under his company’s ownership.

“It was in some disrepair because no one had been on the property in some time,” he told Noozhawk.

Over the years, a number of kooky proposals have been floated for the property, including turning it into a state park or a Graceland-type shrine in Jackson’s memory.

5. Bicyclist Struck and Killed By Vehicle Near Santa Maria

A Chula Vista man was killed when he was struck by a pickup truck as he rode a recumbent bicycle on Foxen Canyon Road east of Santa Maria on the evening of Aug. 9.

According to authorities, Matthew O’Neill, 33, was riding westbound on the rural roadway when he was hit from behind by a Chevy dually pickup pulling a horse trailer.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said bystanders administered CPR to O’Neill under the guidance of an emergency dispatcher talking to them on a cell phone. Firefighters took over after they arrived at the scene, but O’Neill was pronounced dead.

The driver of the truck, a 16-year-old boy from Santa Maria, and his 18-year-old passenger were not injured.

The California Highway Patrol said alcohol and drugs were not factors in the collision. The investigation is continuing.

                                                                  •        •        •

Thank you to Tom Grubisich at Street Fight for the kind writeup about Noozhawk. We appreciate the attention from a key news and information source for those of us in hyperlocal news.

We also will put in a plug for our colleagues in the Local Independent Online News Publishers Association (LION), which Noozhawk was privileged to co-found a few years ago. Kim Clark, one of my partners and our business development vice president, and I will be attending the 2014 LION Summit at Columbia College in Chicago in October. This year’s theme is Innovation for Local Digital Media Entrepreneurs, a timely topic that we think about almost every day.

As I’ve said often, it’s cool to be a pioneer and it’s an exciting time to be in journalism. That publications like Street Fight and organizations like LION exist just go to show how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time.

                                                                  •        •        •

The comic genius — and timing — of Robin Williams, during a USO performance in Afghanistan. R.I.P.

(MS46Z 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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Michael Barone: Fidelity to Principle Can Make Needed Flexibility Impossible

By | Published on 08/15/2014

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Politicians have ranges of positions of varying widths that they find acceptable. Hillary Clinton, like her husband, has a very wide range of stands she finds acceptable, depending on timing and circumstances. President Barack Obama’s range of acceptable positions has been far narrower.

This is reflected in their attitudes about military action in Iraq. Clinton was for it in 2002 and was against it by 2007. Obama was always against what he called a “dumb war.”

As for President George W. Bush’s surge strategy, Clinton told Obama, in front of a surprised and dismayed Robert Gates, that her opposition to the surge was “political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.” Obama, according to Gates, merely conceded that opposition to the surge — by whom? — was political.

So perhaps it was not too surprising that Clinton told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that “Hamas initiated this conflict” with Israel (a contrast with Obama’s condemnation of violence on both sides), that Iran has no “right to enrichment” (which Obama is conceding in negotiations) and that Obama’s refusal to aid acceptable Syrian rebels in 2011 “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

Clinton’s dismissal of Obama’s foreign policy philosophy was contemptuous: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

Circumstances have changed, so the once-loyal secretary of state, now contemplating her second presidential candidacy, was engaging in Clintonian triangulation. She would be less rough than Bush, less dreamy than Obama: a Goldilocks candidate.

But perhaps circumstances have not changed so much. After Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted that “stupid stuff” referred to the Iraq war, Clinton announced she was ready to hug Obama again. There are lots of left-wing peacenik voters in Democratic primaries. You have to win the nomination before getting to the general election.

Clinton’s turnaround was not as surprising, however, as Obama’s. The president who declared in June 2011 that “the tide of war is receding” and that the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “will come to a responsible end” has ordered hundreds of U.S. troops back to Iraq and launched air strikes with no end in sight there.

For a politician whose range of acceptable positions has previously been very narrow, this is an astonishing turnaround. There is only one explanation: Obama’s foreign policy is in shambles.

Decisions he took in 2011, perhaps with the 2012 election in mind, have come to seem gravely mistaken. The refusal to aid Syrian rebels, which Clinton opposed in internal administration councils, has left the field open to the Islamic State rebels who control much of Syria and Northern Iraq and threaten U.S.-friendly Iraqi Kurdistan.

The decision to leave Iraq without a residual U.S. troop presence, contrary to military leaders’ recommendation to station 10,000 there, has left the United States with little political or military leverage.

Obama now cites Iraq’s refusal to give parliamentary approval of a status of forces agreement as the reason for total withdrawal. But he did have administrative approval, which is the basis for American status-of-forces agreements elsewhere.

In the 2012 foreign policy debate with Mitt Romney, Obama sang a different tune. He didn’t want a SOF agreement, Obama said: “What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down.”

That stand was within the narrow range of positions Obama found acceptable. Keeping troops in Iraq was not.

Now, it cannot be said for certain that different decisions would have produced optimal results. Aiding Syrian rebels was a dicey proposition at best, and there was no guarantee it would have produced an acceptable alternative to the Assad regime.

Keeping a troop presence in Iraq might not have prevented the dysfunctional course of the al-Maliki government, either. But it probably would have imposed some restraint. And it would give the United States a better logistical position to repel the Islamic State, protect the Yazidis and guard Kurdistan than we have now — the goals Obama says he is now pursuing.

No president can anticipate all the twists and turns the world will take during his tenure in office. But this president has been proven dreadfully wrong. Between rounds of golf and political fundraisers — first things first — he has been forced to realize that America cannot withdraw from troublesome parts of the world without terrible consequences.

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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Randi Rabin: Woman Has Love-Hate Relationship with Food; Husband Concerned About Wife Viewing Porn

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Dear Feelings Doctor: I have this love/hate relationship with food. It's my best friend and worst enemy. I don't relate to anyone like I do my meals.

I have stopped going out and even talking with friends just so I can eat three or four plates full of anything. I need your help!

— Cynthia in Santa Barbara

Dear Cynthia: Be gentle with yourself and begin going out and dining with your friends again.

When we are accountable to others, we become stronger all together. And food, well, it can take the place of many things if we let it!

Join a group for this specific purpose, one that will help you “speak your peace, instead of eat your piece.”

In this culture of fast food, it truly is easy to eat things that have no nutritional value, so fix the healthiest of lunches and dinners, see how much better your body will react.

Then, go dancing with the like-minded people who honor food in the new way that you do!

Good luck…

Dear Feelings Doctor: This is an unusual situation for me. My wife and I don’t enjoy intimate moments at all, and it's been two years since our twins were born.

I have recently caught her on a porn site, and when I checked her computer, it was filled with things that were so unlike her!

How do I get her to come back to me?

— Waiting in Ventura

Dear Waiting: Some wives have this “purity veil” connected with their womanhood that may tend to be a bit boring for them after awhile so being curious about things that are considered taboo can be an exciting avenue.

Women watch porn for the same reasons men do…excitement, new ideas, getting in the mood and perhaps this one is just for them: to become educated on what they like, how they can be pleased.

Perhaps this is your wife’s way of learning how to be playful and out of the box, but not over the edge. Sit down with her and tell her what you’ve discovered.

Ask if there’s room for you… that’s a beginning. See where it goes from there.

Imagine This . . .

Can you believe it’s been over a year and a half since we began this adventure together! Wow, how time really does fly when you’re having a blast. Thanks to all my followers and friends who have been with me on this fun, fabulous, delicious journey.

Follow me on feelingsdr.com, Facebook and Twitter!

See you inside the rainbow.

Blessings and peace,

— The Feelings Doctor

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Crowded Field Seeks Two Seats on Lompoc City Council

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Eight people, including one incumbent, are vying for two seats on the Lompoc City Council in the Nov. 4 election, according to the final filings.

The extended filing period closed Wednesday night for several city council, school board and special district races in Santa Barbara County. 

The filing period opened July 14 and ran though Aug. 8. However, in races where the incumbent didn’t file, the deadline was extended to Wednesday to give others a chance to run for the seat.

Lompoc’s filing period was extended because Councilwoman Ashley Costa decided not to run for re-election after serving one term.

That means incumbent Dirk Starbuck will face former councilwoman Ann Ruhge, along with David Grill, Frank Campo, Robert Cuthbert, Victor Vega, Steve Chudoba and Darrell Tullis in the race for a pair of four-year terms.

Lompoc voters also will have a choice for mayor as the incumbent John Linn will face a challenge for the seat by Councilman Bob Lingl.

The city of Guadalupe is the only other council race with an extended deadline. Since Mayor Frances Romero chose not to run for re-election, Councilman John Lizalde, whose term expires this year, will face off against Councilwoman Gina Rubalcaba, who is in middle of her four-year term.

For the two City Council terms, current City Clerk Joice Earleen Raguz will run against two former council members, Ariston Julian and Virginia Ponce.

The filing period for the following school board and special district terms had been extended to Wednesday, according to unofficial information released by the County Elections Division, and the candidates who have filed papers by the second deadline are listed here: 

Santa Barbara Community College District Trustee Area No. 6 — Ethan Stone, retired entrepreneur; Jonathan Abboud, community organizer.

Carpinteria Unified School District Trustee Area No. 1 (two seats) — John Arthur Stineman Jr., parent; Andy Sheaffer, incumbent; Michelle Robertson, school administrator.

Cuyama Joint Unified School District (two terms) — Tamra Cloud, incumbent.

Lompoc Unified School District (two terms) — Steve Straight, incumbent; Richard T. King, retired service member; William “Bill” Heath, father/dentist.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District (three terms) — Jan Clevenger, retired educator; Jerry Swanitz, incumbent; Kyle Abello, incumbent; Karen Jones, housewife/mother/grandmother.

Ballard School District (two terms) — Christina Kazali, business owner.

Cold Spring School District (three terms) — Jennifer Miller, businessperson/parent; Kim Thomas, parent; John Murphy, portfolio manager.

College School District (three terms) — Molly Carrillo-Walker, incumbent; Debbie Parisotto Goldsmith, incumbent.

Goleta Union School District (three terms) — Luz Reyes-Martin, appointed incumbent; Richard Mayer, incumbent; Carin Ezal, community volunteer.

Guadalupe Union School District (three terms) — Mary Lou Sabedra-Cuello, incumbent; Diana Arriola, incumbent; Sheila Marie Costa Cepeda, business owner/parent.

Hope School District (three terms) —  Anthony Winterbauer II, incumbent; John Kochis, business consultant; Jeffrey Polito, physician/parent; Kristi Lynn Newton, parent/nonprofit administrator; Nels Henderson, marketing project manager.

Los Olivos School District (two terms) — James Lohnas, real estate consultant; Christopher Brady, international development consultant

Montecito Union School District (four terms) — Peter Charles Van Duinwyk, school board member; Les Mayfield, feature film director; James Chase, general contractor.

Montecito Union School District (1 short term) — Gwyn Lurie, school board trustee. 

Solvang School District (three terms) — Csaba Illes, educator/school volunteer; David Pick, business owner; Becky Firth, parent; Melissa Parlee Hirth, communications consultant/parent.

Vista Del Mar Union School District (3 long terms) — Alethea Dematteo, appointed incumbent; Oswaldo Medina, appointed incumbent.

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District (three terms) — I. Nilo Fanucchi, retired general contractor; Margaret Baker, community volunteer; Pete Thompson, technology salesperson.

Cuyama Valley Recreation District (2 terms) — Nicole Cristina Rodriguez, parent/educator/rancher; Kim Eichert, appointed incumbent; Troy Carpenter, parent.

Cuyama Valley Recreation District (3 short terms) — Maria Medina, appointed incumbent.

Goleta Sanitary District (two terms) — Jerry D.Smith, incumbent; Steven T. Majoewsky, engineer/business owner; Edward Easton, retired city council member; Beverly Herbert, mediator; Phebe Mansur, small business owner; Bev Swann, disaster preparedness chairperson.

Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (two terms) — Ken Warfield, retired public librarian; Austin Peterson, university graduate; Jacob Lebell, student; Stephen McDonough, local coffeehouse proprietor; Paola Dela Cruz, no ballot designation; Kit Delmarsh, local business owner.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center (three terms) — Linual White Jr., retired fire chief; Mary Sharp, appointed incumbent; Roger J. McConnell, incumbent.

Mission Hills Community Services District (two terms) — James S. Mackenzie, incumbent; Bruce Nix, no designation.

Montecito Fire Protection District  (two terms) — John K. Venable, incumbent; Peter Charles Van Duinwyk, retired school administrator.

Montecito Sanitary District (two terms) — Judith M. Ishkanian, incumbent; Robert E. Williams, retired infrastructure executive.

Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District Improvement District No. 1 (1 at-large seat) — Lee Rosenberg, retired executive; R. Brad Joos, retired fire chief.

The filing period closed without any candidates submitting paperwork for several smaller special districts.

For more information, go to www.sbcvote.com

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

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New Santa Barbara Airport Project Would Demolish World War II-Era Hangars

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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City Officials Embark on Draft EIR for Next Stage of Airport Expansion, Which Could Impact Goleta Slough

Three years after Santa Barbara unveiled its new $54 million Airport Terminal, officials are back with more changes that would dramatically reshape the facility.

Among the proposed changes:

» Demolishing two World War II-era hangars, which are currently eligible for consideration on the National Registry of Historic Places.

» Building a new long term parking lot to create 1,315 new or relocated parking spaces to avoid shuttling from overflow parking lots.

» Relocating the area's two fixed based operators — which serve local and visiting pilots.

» Extending Taxiway H.

» Moving the Airport Administration Building and replace that current site with a conference center and restaurant.

The changes are part of the Airport's Master Plan, intended to guide development at the site for the next 20 years. The city plans to start an environmental impact report on the project this month. The results will be available in February.

Already city officials have identified potential environmental concerns over the project, particularly the taxiway extension, which would also "significantly impact" the Goleta Slough, including the riparian, wetland and grassland habitats.

Scott Cooper, a professor of aquatic biology at UCSB, said he hopes the EIR will identify all the environmental concerns related to the Goleta Slough. 

"All of these possible changes affect habitats, plants and animals," Cooper said. "The EIR needs to assess biological responses to the plan."

Cooper said particular concerns surround the proximity of the Taxiway H extension to Carneros Creek, and also the impact on sensitive species.

Tidewater gobies, he said, have been found in Carneros Creek, and the Goleta Slough is listed as critical steelhead habitat under the Endangered Species Act. 

Changes proposed for the Santa Barbara Airport could affect wetlands areas that support a variety of wildlife, including this great blue heron. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

"The EIR needs to address potential project impacts on these rare and endangered species," he said. 

Some people have concerns about demolishing the 90-year-old hangars.

Deborah Schwartz, chairwoman of the city's Planning Commission, asked at a recent commission meeting if airport officials had spoken with the city historian or anyone else about placing the hangar buildings on the registry list of historic places.

Project Planner Andrew Bermond said there were many complexities with going that route.

"One of the problems that exist with submitting it to be on the national register is that both of those hangars are in very poor condition, and they would need to be rehabilitated in order to bring them up to building code, let alone to record them as historic structures," Bermond said. 

It would also be difficult to save the buildings in their current condition, he said. 

"They are in the floodway, so restoring them is fraught with challenges," he said. 

The project will need a local coastal plan amendment.

Once the draft EIR is released, city officials expect the Master Plan EIR to be certified by July 2015.

"I think you are on the right track," said planning commissioner Michael Jordan. "Many airports are in the same situation. They are next to the coast. They are in wetlands. They are increasingly constrained by commercial and residential development around them that wasn't there 50 years ago."

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

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BizHawk: Local Siblings Launch ADASA Online Fashion Marketplace

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Wine Cask hires new executive chef, Les Marchands celebrates one-year anniversary; Select Family of Staffing Companies adds executive

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.

America’s best boutiques can now all be found in one place, according to the founders of ADASA, a new online fashion marketplace.

Santa Barbara siblings Eric and Gwen Jones launched the website this month, with the idea of aggregating the inventory of specialty boutiques nationwide and presenting the sought-after designer brands online.

The site that exclusively sells higher-end women’s contemporary wear and accessories has drawn even more interest than expected, boasting more than 30 boutiques and 150 brands, with a price point between $250 and $2,000, said Gwen, ADASA CEO.

“We provide regionally based local independent specialty retailers with a low-cost platform,” she told Noozhawk. “Customers do get a truly unique shopping experience.”

As longtime locals, the siblings with backgrounds in e-commerce have a small office headquartered downtown, although customers won’t find any merchandise there.

Bringing on eight to 10 new boutiques each month seems within the realm of possibility, and it’s also in line with the brother-sister duo’s plans to expand as successfully as a European fashion platform counterpart.

“Because they don’t produce as many of these units, there are only so many, and most of those are located in very specialized boutiques throughout the country,” added Eric, a UC Santa Barbara graduate. “We see extraordinary potential.”

Wine Cask Taps New Chef

Santa Barbara’s Wine Cask restaurant has hired a new executive chef in David Rosner, who will also work at Intermezzo.

Rosner brings an extensive culinary background, with 20 years of experience from across the globe, including work from Europe, New York City, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Rosner to the Wine Cask team,” Wine Cask co-owner Mitchell Sjerven said in a statement. “His culinary expertise and passion for sustainable, organic produce allows him to employ a unique, modern approach with classic techniques to each dish — which we believe is the perfect blend for the Santa Barbara palette.”

Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant Turns 1

The Funk Zone’s Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant will celebrate its one-year anniversary later this month with a special wine-infused event.

The celebration, which includes a raffle, will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St., Suite B.

Tickets are on sale for $25 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Steve Mills Named New Executive

The Select Family of Staffing Companies in Santa Barbara has announced the addition of Steve Mills to its senior executive management team.

Mills joins as the president of the Franchise Division, which includes more than 50 franchisees operating more than 150 U.S. offices under the Remedy Intelligent Staffing and Westaff brands. He will also be a member of Select’s Executive Committee.

Having started his career as a staffing recruiter working a desk, Mills brings more than 25 years of experience in the Human Capital space, including 15 years in franchising.

Persona Neopolitan Pizzeria Expands to Florida

Downtown Santa Barbara’s Persona Neopolitan Pizzeria this week announced it has signed a franchise-development agreement to open as many as 20 locations in South Florida over the next five years.

The create-your-own pizza joint at 905 State St. opened last February, and its cofounders, chefs Glenn Cybulski and Joseph Baumel, have always had expansion on the mind.

Development rights for the South Florida restaurants have been awarded to Sager Management Group, a multi-unit franchisee that already owns and operates 20 Subway and Auntie Anne’s in the area.

Sager, a 30-year veteran of the franchise industry, plans to open the first Persona restaurant by the end of 2014.

Coast Hills Announces Expansion

Coast Hills Credit Union is expanding to five Central Coast counties, including Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz.

The bank’s new state-chartered status allows Coast Hill to serve members beyond its former coverage area, which was limited to the northern half of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Board of directors chairman Hugh Rafferty said the decision to expand was by a vote of its 57,000-plus membership.

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-Based Developer Buys 80-Acre Site In Orcutt

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Bradley Village slated for apartments, single family homes, park and open space

A Santa Barbara-based investment group, Bradley Ventures, LLC, recently purchased an 80-acre site proposed for single-family homes and apartments in Orcutt.

The project, dubbed Key Site 30, also is known as Bradley Village, and is one of the last infill developments in Orcutt.

The vacant land recently used for grazing is on the west side of Bradley Road between Union Valley Parkway and Patterson Road.

The housing project has been planned for nearly 12 years.

Bradley Ventures’ principles want to remain anonymous, a representative said.

The previous owner sought $8 million for the property. The purchase price wasn’t released.

In May 2013, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission gave permission to develop residences, open spaces and trails on the land.

A 10.6-acre portion of the property consisting of six separate parcels would be developed with up to 212 residential apartment, senior housing, and/or condominium units. 

In addition to these units, the project has approvals for 69 single-family lots in three separate regions of the site, plus a 3.5-acre passive park and a 44.3-acre area for open space with a public multi-use trail.

Development would be limited to corner pockets of the property, since the majority of the undeveloped property is located within the Santa Maria Public Airport flight approach zone and no-build corridor, bisecting the site in a northwest to southeast direction.

Construction on the land likely won't begin for 18 to 24 months, according to Bradley Ventures representative Christos Celmayster of Hayes Commercial Group.            

The owners noted in a press release that Orcutt’s housing stock is predominantly single-family homes with only a few apartment projects offering rentals.

“Although Orcutt is no stranger to residential developments — with new homes still being released in projects such as Rice Ranch — very few apartments have been built in the area in the past decade,” Celmayster said.

“The Santa Maria market has seen a steady rebound from the recession, and no other segment of the investment market has fared as well as the apartment market. 

“Rents in the area have been increasing, so acquiring a site that provides for new apartments in the most desirable region of the Santa Maria Valley was a no-brainer for the buyer. Couple that with the flexibility of the site’s six separate multi-family lots, and you see that this was a great investment.”

Homes in Orcutt sell for approximately $425,000, while the purchase price of newer homes (houses built within the past 10 years) average $525,000. 

“There are very few sites like this in Orcutt, and we expect interest from several local and national builders,” Celmayster said. 

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

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Letter to the Editor: Wielding the Whip

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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For generations, Jews have suffered persecution, discrimination and a variety of ugly biases. They were, so to speak, on the receiving end of whiplashes administered by every variety of nation, ethnicity and religion.

But as a result of courage, persistence, imagination, luck, the support of the United Nations, Britain and, perhaps most significantly, the United States, in 1948 they achieved for the first time in many generations a homeland, made possible by the displacement of thousands of Arabs in a part of the Middle East we know as Palestine.

After successfully resisting several military attacks, after having established themselves in their new land through discipline, hard work, being strengthened by an influx of Jews from all over the world and bolstered militarily by the mighty United States, Israelis gradually realized that, in their immediate area, it was they who now held the whip. It was they who now had power over others rather than the reverse. It was they who could now do the lashing.

And for decades this is what they have been doing.

With regard to Palestinians, Israelis have increasingly — and with growing enthusiasm from American Jews — subjugated, humiliated and exploited these people. Israelis made of Palestinian communities armed and occupied camps. Israelis stole their land, stifled their economic lives and at some point decided gradually but permanently to eliminate any possibility of Palestinians having a political entity of their own. While pretending in recent years (at the insistence of the United States) to negotiate a political agreement with Palestinians, Israelis have in fact annexed more and more Palestinian territory for their own “settlements” — a baldly obvious plan to leave Palestinians with nothing of worth.

Anyone who has read “Our Harsh Logic,” compiled by Breaking the Silence — 373 pages of Israeli soldiers’ testimony as to what they did and saw in the “Occupied Territories” — can have no illusions as to how Israelis have treated these subjugated people.

A similar about-face has occurred among Jews in the United States. Once suffering the usual biases and discrimination, they began, very properly, to establish “defense” organizations to protect their rights, uphold their dignity and preserve the memory of their Holocaust suffering.

But as has been the case in Israel — perhaps because of it — many of these organizations have now become attacking aggressors. They call those with whom they disagree “anti-Semites” or, should those also be Jews, “self-haters.” They try to have teachers and college professors fired or reprimanded for expressing (or even giving access to) opinions they don’t like and, in this community, have even concealed their affiliations in order to be put on “judging” committees of such professors; they seek to have educational institutions establish policies whereby they as students won’t be subjected to unwanted points of view. They have secretly monitored the communications of “enemies,” have paid police to spy on people, have been sued for it and settled.

An Israeli ambassador to the United States, when asked to describe his most significant success, said, “That’s easy. I’ve convinced Americans that being anti-Israel is anti-Semitic.”

There are some Jewish organizations, however, such as J Street and Jewbonics, who’ve not succumbed to the brain-washing.

Every powerfully armed nation that wants the territory of a weaker one uses the ploy of small attacks, real or feigned, by the latter to destroy and occupy it. If Palestinians had not been subjugated, abused, and made indentured servants by Israel they would have had little cause to launch rockets. But once they have done so, Israel will kill every man, woman and child in range of their weapons to wipe Palestinians from the face of the earth.

And the United States is giving them the wherewithal to do it.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Lompoc Teenager Killed in Head-On Crash on Highway 246

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Skyler Kindschy, 17, declared dead at the scene; 62-year-old Lompoc woman in critical condition after collision near Campbell Road

A head-on collision on Highway 246 east of Lompoc Thursday afternoon left a teenager dead and a 62-year-old woman critically injured, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. when a Honda Civic traveling east on Highway 246 drifted across the solid double yellow lines for unknown reasons and slammed into a westbound Chevy Malibu, CHP Officer John Ortega said.

The driver of the Civic, identified as Skyler Kindschy, 17, of Lompoc, was declared dead at the scene, Ortega said.

The Malibu driver, Jocelyn Presson of Lompoc, was trapped in the wreckage and had to be extricated by firefighters, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki.

She was airlifted by helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with critical injuries, Ortega said.

"Alcohol and/or drug impairment does not appear to be a factor in this collision and both parties were properly restrained," Ortega said.

The accident blocked off Highway 246 and the roadway was closed for more than an hour, but was subsequently reopened. 

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

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Santa Barbara Police Stepping Up Skateboard Enforcement

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Beginning next week, the Santa Barbara Police Department will step-up enforcement of skateboard violations in the downtown corridor.

The impetus for increased enforcement is public safety: collisions involving or caused by skateboarders. A few of the collisions involve motor vehicles, but many more involve pedestrians struck by fast moving skateboarders weaving down sidewalks.

Many struck pedestrians were elderly; some sustained injuries. Complaints of near-misses number in the hundreds. The growing crescendo of citizen complaints can no longer be ignored.

Prior to the increased enforcement, the Police Department’s goal is education: Inform the public, explain the hazards, and enjoin skateboarders to voluntarily comply with the law.

While many local skaters already know the law, police officers are currently giving warnings and handing out flyers explaining the regulations. More flyers are being posted in downtown businesses frequented by skateboard enthusiasts.

Our goal is voluntary compliance. Repeat violators are being cited, and there will be stepped-up enforcement beginning next week.

Skateboarding is not a crime; it is allowed on the vast majority of city sidewalks and parkways. The city maintains a free skating facility on prime beachfront property, at 100 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

However, Santa Barbara Municipal code section 10.06.010 prohibits skateboarding, roller skating, and in-line skating on sidewalks and public walkways within the following areas:

» On any public street. This is prohibited by the Vehicle Code. Skateboarders are considered pedestrians.

» Sidewalks, walkways, and public ways maintained by the City, bordered by: Sola Street to the north, Chapala Street on the west, Santa Barbara Street on the east, and Cabrillo Blvd. on the south. This area is commonly called the downtown corridor.

» The south sidewalk of Cabrillo Blvd, from Santa Barbara Street to Milpas Street.

» The sidewalks on either side of Coast Village Road.

» The Breakwater; and docks, floats, and ramps in the Harbor.

» Any other location posted with prohibitive signs.

The public’s cooperation is appreciated. For further information, contact Sergeant Holtke, 805.897.2300

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Fire Forces Evacuation of Hotel Indigo, Restaurant in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Fire started in wood burning stove's duct system, Santa Barbara City Fire Department investigators say

A fire broke out at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara at 121 State St. after a problem with the restaurant's wood burning stove duct system. 

Nearby police officers alerted the Santa Barbara City Fire Department at 11:30 a.m. after seeing smoke.

Officers blocked off a portion of the street in front of the hotel between East Yanonali Street and West Mason Street for firefighters to work once they arrived.

Two hotel employees evacuated roughly 10 people from the building before firefighters arrived and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters used a ladder to scale the two-story building and isolate the fire. They then cut into the roof of the hotel to make sure the fire did not spread to the inside.

No interior fire damage to the hotel has been reported.

The initial reports at the scene were that the HVAC unit malfunctioned and some insulation caught fire, but investigators later found the problem was in the restaurant’s wood burning stove duct system, Fire Capt. Mike de Ponce said.

The ducts ran parallel to the HVAC system ducts in some places so there was confusion as to where the fire started, he said.

Investigators found the problem inside the wood burning stove duct, which runs vertical, then horizontal, and then vertical again.

With the horizontal portion, unburned particulate from the stove gathered, heated up and ignited since it can’t go straight up like a chimney, de Ponce said.

Investigation found that a sprinkler head had activated inside the wood burning stove hood system within the restaurant, which remained closed temporarily, according to City Fire. 

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at skahmann@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Bill Cirone: Students Need Help Getting Year off to a Good Start

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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Some children get excited about a new school year beginning, while others seem to dread the end of summer vacation.

Either way, parents have an important role in preparing children for a smooth start of the school routine.

There is a requirement for a whooping cough vaccine booster, “Tdap,” for seventh- through 12th-graders. 

Older children benefit from a reminder about the rigors of homework and class work, and the need to get organized. 

For first-time students, it’s important to make sure all the proper immunizations have been given. 

For students of all ages, parents can play an important role to support school achievement throughout the year.

This is a good checklist to repeat:

Breakfast: Children should begin each day with a good breakfast, followed by healthy snacks and other meals at regularly scheduled times. This helps small bodies maintain maximum capacity throughout the day.

Schedules: Children should know their parents’ or caregivers’ schedules at home and on the job. This helps establish a sense of time, but also reassures children about accessibility, consistency and order.

Reading: Parents should read to their children every day, if possible. Newspapers, short stories, books, and poetry can all be the basis of enjoyable shared experiences.

Homework:  If possible, a specific time each day should be scheduled for homework and study. Children should know that homework is a number one priority, yet they should also be granted flexibility if soccer practice or band tryouts fall during homework time. Working together to manage daily and weekly schedules becomes a good lesson in the budgeting of time and energy.

Adults should resist the temptation to do children's homework for them, yet it’s important that children know an adult is available for help. If children seem to be asking for help because they want someone else to do the thinking, a good response is: “I think you can figure this out on your own. You try first.”

Tests:  When children are studying for a test, they should be discouraged from “cramming” the night before. Instead, ask your children to bring their notes and books home every night so they can teach you what they have learned in school. These discussions could be held at the dinner table for everyone's benefit.

When children are preparing for a test, help them avoid panic. Advise them to study one section at a time, and use several sessions to review the material. Encourage a good night's sleep and a nutritious meal before the test.

If children are procrastinators and seem to do everything but homework, it might help to set up a reward system. Also, let children take homework breaks every half hour to refresh their minds.

A voice recorder is a great study aid for children whose parents are short on time. One technique is to record a definition or question, pause for about five seconds, and then record the answer. Children can then play it back, have a chance to test their knowledge, and get immediate feedback.

If children are having trouble with an assignment, be careful not to criticize. Find out what the problem is and work with children to address or solve it.

The most important point for adults to remember, at all times, is that their positive attitude toward homework, teachers, and school can have great influence on a child's success. That's the bottom line for all of us, and it reaps great rewards in the future.

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

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Former Inmates Graduate from Santa Barbara County Day Reporting Centers

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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More than 70 formerly incarcerated Santa Barbara County residents are better equipped to be in society after completing a comprehensive reentry program at the Day Reporting Centers in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

At a ceremony held Wednesday at the Unitarian Church in Santa Barbara, 28 clients received their graduation certificates and medals before a room full of supportive family and friends.

On August 6, another graduation ceremony was held at the Historic Santa Maria Inn for 46 clients who successfully completed the program.

Graduate John Piccirillo, who served 30 years in prison on a bank robbery conviction, said that participating in the Day Reporting Center’s program saved his life.

He said, “I have been a criminal all of my life. I have never had a job and never cared for anyone other than myself. This gave me the opportunity to make something out of my life and give back while I am doing it.”

All of the graduates are former state prisoners who were referred to the Day Reporting Centers from their parole agents and participate voluntarily. Because each client is unique, case managers and specialists focus on issues specific to the individual and their circumstances.

The range of topics include, but are not limited to, substance abuse treatment, cognitive behavioral intervention, employment services, career planning, school counseling, transitional housing support and service opportunities. The participants set personal goals and develop skills to help them make positive changes in their lives.

The Day Reporting Center’s Program Director, Katie Ward, spoke at the graduation ceremony in Santa Barbara today and said, “These graduates have accomplished a lot. They are employed, in school or otherwise self-sufficient, they are sober, they’ve learned to make better choices and they are contributing.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and Community Solutions, Inc. opened the Day Reporting Centers in 2010. This year, more than 300 clients participated county-wide.

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United Boys & Girls Club Kids Spend Day at Camp Whittier

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County spent a day at Camp Whittier through their annual Camp4Clubs on Monday, Aug. 11.

Santa Barbara Airbus drove 170 kids and staff from our Lompoc, Westside, Goleta and Carpinteria Clubs to participate in a day full of rock wall climbing, zip lining, hiking, swimming, and archery.

The children and staff also took special time getting to know other members and staff from different clubs through team building exercises, arts and crafts and snowcone making.

Camp Whittier is a favorite summer fieldtrip for the club members and highly recommended for parents wanting to prepare their children for the week-long, overnight camps they offer throughout the summer.

With technology changing how children interact with each other, Camp Whittier offers youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime.

“Camp Whittier is such an amazing piece of the United organization. It offers our kids a peaceful place to challenge themselves and step away from their daily routine. Our one-day Camp4Clubs offers youth a unique opportunity to explore the outdoors in a safe, positive environment. This year was huge success and we look forward to growing the program and getting more kids outdoors having these experiences throughout the year.” – Jamie Collins, Club Director- Carpinteria & Westside.

Founded in 1948, United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara boasts 7,000 youth members who utilize Club locations in Carpinteria, Westside, Goleta, Goleta West and Lompoc, as well as a 55-acre residential camp- Camp Whittier.

The mission of United is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential, as productive, caring and responsible citizens."

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Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale Preparing for Holiday Programs

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale and professional Concert Orchestra are excited to begin rehearsals for holiday concerts featuring the Baroque masterpiece, “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi, the juxtaposition of two settings of the poem by James Agee, “Sure on This Shining Night” with musical settings by Morten Lauridsen and Samuel Barber, the international award-winning “Sanctus” by our own Chris A Bowman, and carols from around the world, and more!

Performances are scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14.

Vocalists 17 years and older are invited to join the Chorale to prepare for this special holiday event.

Chorale rehearsals will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 9. New singers should be at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2672 Janin Way, Solvang, at 7:15 p.m. for a brief audition. Returning members may come at 7:30 p.m.

Rehearsals are every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. with two or three additional practices just prior to the concerts. Members are expected to prepare between rehearsals.

The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale has “brought music to life” to the valley for 37 years.

Last spring, the Chorale and Orchestra presented Mozart’s Requiem in D to 700 concert goers and on July 4, the Chorale and it’s All Star Band entertained the valley with Americana favorites.

Conductor Chris A Bowman has directed the Chorale for the last 18 years.

For more information, singers are invited to call 805.350.4241.

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Copter Transports Man to Hospital From San Miguel Island Area

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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The U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter to pick up an elderly man who went unconscious on a boat near San Miguel Island Thursday morning.

A helicopter was dispatched from the Los Angeles air station around 10 a.m., Petty Officer Andrea Anderson said.

The vessel was three miles offshore of San Miguel Island and the man, who had a history of heart issues, became dizzy and passed out, she said.

The helicopter transport took him to the Santa Barbara Airport to get transferred to emergency medical services, since the helicopter pad at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital was unavailable, she added.

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

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Santa Barbara High’s Forge Newspaper Looking for Staff Alumni to Help Celebrate 100th Anniversary

By | Published on 08/14/2014

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People and institutions have at least one thing in common: when they start out, they don’t even think about lasting 100 years.

After the years have rolled by, though, planning a centennial celebration is difficult due to that natural lack of forethought.

A case in point is the upcoming 100th birthday for The Forge, Santa Barbara High School’s student newspaper. Said to be California’s second-oldest school paper, The Forge’s longevity will be recognized on Oct. 17-18 by both its current staff and by the Santa Barbara High School Alumni Association.

Sharon Henning, alumni membership chairwoman, is coordinating the celebration. Thanks to current Forge faculty adviser Otto Layman and last year’s staff, she has at her disposal a composite list of almost 1,700 students and faculty members who served the paper at some point between 1914 and now.

“Contacting them, especially those from somewhat distant decades, is one of our biggest problems,” Henning noted, acknowledging that most from the 1930s on back have passed away.

Sun City, Texas, resident Bob Wakefield, then known as Bob Johnson, was editor-elect of The Forge in 1947-1948 school year. He has stepped up and started “surfing the web” to locate various people on the master list.

“This is a purely voluntary effort for everyone, but for me at least it’s also a labor of love,” Wakefield admitted. “I treasure my time with The Forge. It has links to a large part of my later life.”

When Wakefield began his research, he already had contacts with about six former Forge members from his time. As a result, he began searching for all members of a given year’s staff and got stymied more often than not.

“I learned my lesson early, though, and switched to locating just each year’s editor — or in a few cases, co-editors,” he said. “That’s been hard enough. It has taken hours using a variety of search engines, some free, some requiring subscriptions, to find a single person.

“Still, almost all whom I have contacted were appreciative and supplied personal background information.”

Many of them, it turns out, have gone into adult careers that involve writing. There are historians, authors, magazine writers and public relations people among former editors and staffers contacted from the 1940s through the ’70s.

With the celebration nearing and many former staffers perhaps still not aware of the centennial, Henning has advice for anyone interested in attending or at least learning more.

“Write the SBHS Alumni Association, PO BOX 6121, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-6121 or email sbhsalumniassoc@gmail.com,” she said.

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Santa Maria Chamber Honors Top Citizens, Business

By | Published on 08/13/2014

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Banquet at Elks Lodge draws large crowd to honor Community Bank of Santa Maria, Bob Hatch and Joni Gray

A longtime public servant, a homegrown bank and a veteran volunteer were recognized Wednesday night by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The 95th annual awards and installation banquet was held at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge with approximately 300 people in attendance. 

Former county supervisor Joni Gray was presented Robert F. Grogan Award for Public Service, retired chamber leader Robert “Bob” Hatch was given the Citizen of the Year Award and Community Bank of Santa Maria was named the Business of the Year. 

Officials also announced that the Citizen of the Year Award will forever bear Hatch’s name.

James “Jim” D. Glines and Janet Silveria accepted the award on behalf of the local bank they helped start as mergers made large financial institutions, and eliminated those that started on the Central Coast.

Glines, a fifth-generation Santa Maria, was former executive vice president of Bank of Santa Maria. He approached William “Bill” A. Hares, former president of Bank of Santa Maria, about forming a new bank with the goal of delivering hometown banking spirit to Santa Maria area residents.

Silveria, who also had worked for Bank of Santa Maria, joined them.

Community Bank of Santa Maria opened for business on March 1, 2001. 

Hares serves as chairman of the board, while Glines is chief executive officer and Silveria is president and chief operating officer.

The bank has $200 million in assets and 50 employees who work in offices in Santa Maria and Orcutt plus a division Lompoc Community Bank.

From the beginning, Community Bank of Santa Maria had a strong sense of community, Glines said.

“We’ve always had a very strong corporate conscience,” Glines said.

In accepting the award in a room that represented the “epitome of local business in Santa Maria,” Glines noted that he is distressed when he hears people talk about shopping online. Local businesses are where sports teams and other organizations go for support, not those online merchants, he noted.

“Shop local,” Glines said, drawing applause from the crowd.

Hatch’s honor came on the heels of his retirement in June as the chamber executive director/chief executive officer.

While announcing the creation of the Robert P. Hatch Citizen of the Year Award, presenter Jim Diani said the chamber board of directors decided to honor and recognize his commitment to the organization.

“The naming of this award after Bob is not a token appreciation,” Diani said. “This honor is bestowed as an example for those who follow as to the attributes necessary to qualify a candidate for recognition.”

Those attributes include patriotism, integrity, professionalism, commitment, vision, sense of humor, generosity, community involvement and more, Diani said.

Chamber officials noted that in addition to his normal duties, Hatch demonstrated his philosophy of giving back to the community by serving on various boards and commission.

He is a long-time member of the Orcutt Union School District board, and he has served as the chairman of the Santa Maria Valley Economic Development Commission, chairman of the Northern Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership, chairman of the St. Joseph High School Principal’s Advisory Board, and was named Chairman Emeritus of the Central Coast Development Corporation. 

He also co-founded the Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial to recognize fallen military members.

Gray, who served on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for 12 years, was recognized for a lifetime of public service.

“It really truly doesn’t seem like service to me,” Gray said. “It just seems like an honor, a deep honor to represent this community. It’s just special.”

A former teacher at Santa Maria High and Allan Hancock College, Gray spent 10 years on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District school board, acted as County Schools Superintendent Bill Cirone’s administrative assistant, worked for then-county Supervisor Harrell Fletcher, and unsuccessfully ran for Assembly, losing in the June 1994 Republican primary to eventual winner Tom Bordonaro.

She spent two years on the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission before another door opened. In 1998, Gov. Pete Wilson picked Gray to fill the 4th District supervisor vacancy created when the incumbent, Tim Staffel, was appointed judge.

This was a big year for the Chamber of Commerce, which saw Hatch retire after 20 years leading the Santa Maria Valley’s leading business organization. He was replaced by Glenn Morris, who came from a stint leading the Visalia Chamber of Commerce in Tulare County.

New officers also were installed for the organization’s board, which will be led by Chairman Tim Ritchie, Home Motors.

Other members are Chairman Elect / Treasurer: Eddie Murray, Morgan Stanley; Vice Chairman: Cameron Stephens, SM Tire; Vice Chairman: Ed Carcarey, Mega 97.1; and  Past Chairman: Donna Randolph, State Farm.

Randolph also unveiled the new Chairman’s Award, to recognize a volunteer in the organization. The first recipient was Carolyn McCall.

During the event, George Majoue was named the Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador of the Year, for his dedication in participating in some 70 out of 100 events.

“I love this organization, and I hope you love it as much as I do,” Majoue  added.

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

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Annual Agility Dog Show Coming to Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/13/2014

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Over a 150 dog-and-handler teams from all over the state will once again participate in an Agility Dog Trial at Elings Park on Saturday and Sunday.

The trial is hosted by the Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club, which was formed in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s. The club’s membership is made up of local dog owners and their well-prepared athletic canine partners who really enjoy training and competing together.

The Santa Barbara Flyers offers on-going classes in both dog obedience and dog agility, and invites interested dog-owners to come and watch the trial and seek information about participation.

Agility has become the new craze in dog sports around the world. In agility, a human handler and his dog work as a team as the handler directs the dog through a course that is made up of hurdles, tunnels, weave poles, a see-saw, and other challenging obstacles.

National and international agility competitions can frequently be seen on TV shows produced by the Animal Planet Channel and ESPN. At an authorized competition, dogs will show in a range of classes ranked according to the dogs’ height and experience in the sport.

The rules are prescribed by the various agility organizations. The American Kennel Club and the United States Dog Agility Association are locally the most well known of these organizations. This upcoming event in Santa Barbara will be sponsored by the USDAA.

“This is the fifth consecutive year that we have held this event in Santa Barbara,” says club captain Cary Harrison, “and it is now officially an annual affair. We are delighted by the number of teams participating. We hope many local dog-lovers will come out, observe the action, and rev up their desire to participate in this exciting sport.

"The Santa Barbara Flyers Dog Sports Club is one of the city’s sources for classes and practices, and we make it very easy to become involved.”

This year’s Santa Barbara trial will start at about 8:30 a.m., and run until late afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors are always welcome at a Santa Barbara Flyers event—and entry for observers is free.

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Check Fraud Reported by UCSB Employees After Payroll Data Breach

By | Published on 08/13/2014

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The personal payroll information for approximately 11,000 UC Santa Barbara employees may have been exposed, leading to reported cases of identity theft and check fraud.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the data breach, which UCSB first noticed last month, according to university spokesman George Foulsham.

UCSB believes the unauthorized access to archival payroll data — employees’ first and last names, social security numbers and banking information — actually occurred last November, however, Foulsham said.

He did not provide a more specific number for employees actually affected.

In a letter to the university community earlier this month, Business and Financial Services Department Director Jim Corkill said the investigation began after the university noticed an increase in the number of employees with direct deposit reporting check fraud on personal bank accounts.

Fraudulent checks were passed at retail establishments in amounts that were generally in the range of $50 to $100, Corkill wrote, but employees have since confirmed that all charges have been reversed. 

“We deeply regret that any of our community members were affected by this unauthorized access,” he wrote in the letter.

“We are fully committed to working with anyone who may have been affected by this incident, and we will help to resolve any possible unexpected financial issues in the future.

“In response to this incident, we have taken measures to prevent this type of unauthorized access. These steps include a review and strengthening of processes for the management and storage of archived personal information. The university is also examining systems to identify personal data that may legally be omitted from future archival records.”

UCSB is also contracting with ID Experts to provide free credit monitoring and identity-theft insurance coverage for up to $20,000.

Employees must enroll within three months to take advantage of the FraudStop services.

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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Driver Shears Off Hydrant on Milpas Street, Leaves Scene

By | Published on 08/13/2014

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A hit-and-run driver sheared off a hydrant on Milpas Street Wednesday evening. (John Curach photo)

A hit-and-run driver knocked over a fire hydrant on Milpas Street near Highway 101 around 5:15 p.m., sending a huge plume of water into the air.

It’s the second hydrant sheared off in as many days, after a vehicle sheared off a hydrant and drove into a house on Cliff Drive and Oliver Road.

The driver reportedly headed northbound on Milpas Street after the collision at Milpas and Indio Muerto streets.

Santa Barbara police are looking for the suspect.

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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Winifred Lender: When Searching for Happiness, Look Inward

By | Published on 08/13/2014

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Happiness is a state that people, regardless of nationality or culture, want to achieve. In fact, when you ask parents of newborns what hopes they have for their child, universally they will include happiness as a goal.

While happiness is something we all strive for, it tends to be elusive. The equation of money, talent and success leading to happiness does not hold true. We can all site examples of many highly successful, rich, talented and successful people who are unhappy and unfulfilled.

Many may ask, what can we do to be happy? While specific strategies to cultivate happiness are important, it is also imperative to focus on the content of goals you choose to bring you happiness. The type of aspiration you choose will not only affect your level of happiness, but also your overall well-being and physical health.

Researchers have found that people generally identify two types of aspirations in their pursuit of happiness: intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals relate to personal growth, enhancing personal relationships and community connectedness. Extrinsic aspirations include financial success, social recognition and appearance.

While both of these types of aspirations can be worthy goals, research has shown that intrinsic aspirations are more closely tied to happiness. For example, researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of Missouri surveyed students about their goals and well-being during college and a year post-graduation.

They found that the graduates who pursued goals that contained mostly intrinsic content reported greater levels of happiness and overall well-being during and after college. In contrast, the subjects who had focused on goals with primarily extrinsic content during and after college reported lower level of well-being and happiness. Of note is the fact that regardless of how achievable the goals were or how sure the participants were that they could achieve the goals, intrinsic goals consistently lead to greater sense of well-being.

More research by Tim Kasser, Richard Ryan and Ken Sheldon found that extrinsic goals not only yield less happiness and well-being, but are also associated with a host of other negative conditions. These researchers found that individuals who endorse extrinsic aspirations as their top priorities report higher levels of anxiety, depression, narcissism, psychosomatic symptoms, conduct disorder, high-risk behaviors and lower levels of self-actualization, self-esteem and social functioning.

It seems that when we consistently pick extrinsic goals, we do not achieve the happiness we strive for even when we meet our goals. It appears that many of those pursuing and achieving primarily extrinsic goals are left feeling unhappy or unfilled, or worse, result in depression, anxiety or a host of other negative conditions.

Even if extrinsic goals do not lead to happiness, they have an important role in our lives. Achieving extrinsic goals can lead to financial success, prestige, financial security and decrease stress related to finances. In addition, accomplishing extrinsic goals, such as getting a higher-paying job with more free time, can allow for the pursuit of intrinsic goals such as spending time with family who live far away, nurturing your passion for painting and pursuing charity work. However, it is important to note that pursuing extrinsic goals, without any focus on intrinisc ones, will yield little happiness and potentially negative emotional and behavior states.

The best course of action is to appreciate the role extrinsic goals play in allowing you to pursue intrinsic aspirations, which have been proven to enhance happiness and well-being.

When seeking happiness, make certain that your top priorities of aspirations include intrinsic goals. Maintaining a focus on intrinsic goals, such as striving for meaningful relationships, personal growth and community contributions, will lead to a deeper sense of well-being and happiness.

Overall a set of aspirations that prioritizes intrinsic goals, along with the requisite extrinsic ones, will in the end, help you achieve the happiness you are seeking. In short, when looking for happiness, look inward and let aspirations relating to self-acceptance, meaningful connectedness and community contributions, guide you.

Wishing you happiness ahead!

— Winifred Lender, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Santa Barbara and can be contacted at drwinifredlender@gmail.com. She is the author of A Practical Guide to Parenting in the Digital Age: How to Nurture Safe, Balanced and Connected Children and Teens available at Chaucer’s and Amazon. Dr. Lender completed her undergraduate work at Cornell University and received her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and is a past president of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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