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Santa Maria Elks Honor Law Enforcement Officers

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Seven agencies represented at 44th annual appreciation night

A Santa Maria police sergeant, a Guadalupe police officer and a senior deputy district attorney were among seven honorees Wednesday at the Santa Maria Elks Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. 

Several hundred current and former law enforcement members in addition to local officials showed up for the event, which has been hosted by the Elks for 44 years.

“This is always one of the biggest events of the year for the Santa Maria Elks Lodge,” said Exalted Ruler Dick Parker. “In a very, very small way, it’s our way of showing our appreciation for all that you do for the community.”

Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin introduced Sgt. Russ Mengel as his agency’s top officer, recognizing the 15-year veteran for developing and implementing an Incident Command System. He also leads the department’s Community Service Unit. 

The Incident Command System ensures supervisors’ vehicles are equipped to serve as mobile command posts during emergencies. 

“Our department has been described now as a model to follow as other agencies implement the ICS system,” Martin said.

Mengel, like the other recipients who followed, expressed appreciation for the recognition.

“It’s been a hard year for us in law enforcement throughout the United States,” Mengel said. “We’re lucky to be here and to have the support of the Santa Maria Valley and our partners here in law enforcement.”

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office recognized Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser, who has prosecuted gang cases, including one where criminals threatened a store owner.

"Her passion for this community for doing justice was to hold gang members accountable for intimidating and threatening store owners who were just trying to do their jobs and support our community," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco.

Gresser, who joined the department nine years ago, also provides a voice for those who can not speak, Greco said, noting the award recipient successfully presented a case to a grand jury to get criminal indictments against two women accused of killing Solvang ALS patient Heidi Good. 

"I could not think of a better recipient of this award than that person who will stand up for those who are incapable of standing up for themselves," Greco said.

Guadalupe Public Safety Director Gary Hoving said his agency’s members chose Julio Carrillo as the top officer. 

After putting himself through the law enforcement academy, Carrillo has been with agency for six years plus spent another year as a reserve officer. 

“Some of the attributes of Julio is he’s a hard worker, he’s extremely reliable and he’s highly skilled in his profession,” Hoving said. 

Other honorees Wednesday night were: 

» Hector Elenes, deputy probation officer, Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Even after Elenes took a man into custody, his mom and brother expressed gratitude for the law enforcement officer’s respect for the household and family, the probation officer’s colleagues said.

» Donna Torres, office services supervisor, California Highway Patrol, Santa Maria Office. Torres is retiring after 32 years with the agency, and helps keep officers in line, her coworker said.

» Sgt. Matthew McFarlin, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. Presented by Undersheriff Barney Melekian, the award recognized the man who became a law enforcement officer in 1994 and took over the Compliance Response Team created to work with AB 109 inmates to ensure safety and rehabilitation or a return to prison. 

“It’s an incredibly challenging and complex task,” Melekian said. “It demands law enforcement skills and it demands human compassion. Sergeant McFarlin displays all of those qualities.”

McFarlin noted the award is shared by this team, and called on the members to stand up for recognition. 

» Central Coast Safe Street Task Force from the FBI. The task force was credited for an investigation that culminated in a federal criminal indictment charging 13 southern San Luis Obispo County residents with conspiring to distribute high purity methamphetamine and other narcotics, among other charges, 

The indictment targeted the alleged drug trafficking activities of the Rocha family, which operated in and around Santa Maria. 

The investigation involved the FBI, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and CHP. Law enforcement from several agencies assisted the day of the arrests including Guadalupe and Santa Maria police departments plus other agencies.

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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High School Brothers Launch Online Volunteer Portal for Santa Barbara-Area Students

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Santa Barbara High Schools Give Back would help connect students with nonprofit organizations for community service

Connecting high school students to fulfilling volunteer opportunities could get a lot easier in Santa Barbara because of two enterprising teenage brothers.

San Marcos High School junior Ryan Fay was trying to add another extracurricular activity onto his plate when he realized just how archaic the process of searching for a nonprofit organization could be.

Students at one of five Santa Barbara Unified School District high schools are required to log 60 to 200 hours of community service in order to graduate.

A student typically picks a nonprofit from a four-page paper list of 250 organizations, cold calling phone numbers.

“When I look at this, my eyes glaze over,” the 16-year-old told the district’s Board of Education during a meeting last week.

Ryan and his brother Nate, a 14-year-old San Marcos sophomore, presented their solution as the Santa Barbara High Schools Give Back, an online portal that will allow tech-savvy teens to search for nonprofit volunteer opportunities on one website.

The brothers already did the leg work — typing up profiles of each organization with their parents, Matt and Sheri, and older sister Rachel over last winter break, including a website, email address and phone number.

Nonprofits could post when volunteers are needed, students can search by category (health, animals, etc.) instead of settling for less meaningful opportunities and the school district wouldn’t have to do any of the work.

Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dave Cash and the Board of Education loved the idea, giving unanimous approval to move forward with a pilot at San Marcos High School this year. 

If all goes well, the Give Back portal could be used district-wide as soon as fall 2016.

“I think you just made 10,000 students really happy,” school board member Kate Parker said.

Board members were excited about the possibilities but curious how the tool would be evaluated and how students would get hours approved. The Fays are still working those details out.

The portal — a sort of Fay family service project — would be operated by Volunteer Match, a San Francisco company that’s been hosting the same information for two decades.

Volunteer Match charges an annual fee of $5,000, a cost that’s expected to be defrayed by donations from nonprofits and local families in the first year, possibly with individual school contributions in the future.

“We are very excited about the launch of SB Schools Give Back,” San Marcos Principal Ed Behrens said.

“This is a much-improved platform created by students for students to access their community service opportunities online. I like to give a great deal of credit to Ryan and Nate Fay for coming up with this brilliant concept. One of the most exciting features I saw is the ability for students to get live text updates when their favorite community service opportunity provider updates the opportunities.”

The Fay brothers, who both want to be entrepreneurs and play basketball and beach and indoor volleyball together, agreed the portal would be a lot easier for a generation that prefers texting to calling.

“It is a bit easier emailing,” Ryan said, especially when you’re involved in sports and don’t get home to call until late.

The next phase involves handing nonprofit profiles over to Volunteer Match, which will hopefully have the portal up and running by early next year.

The Fays are confident in the Give Back product and hope to keep it running long after they’ve graduated, possibly by starting a club or joint high school committee.

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 Airport Has High Hopes for More Commercial Air Service

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Master Plan looks to keep facilities in line with passenger demand, available funding

The Santa Barbara Airport is looking to attract more air service while also planning for the future of its facilities.

Airport officials realize that for a small, one-terminal airport sandwiched between the city of Goleta, UC Santa Barbara and the Goleta Slough, getting flight service back to levels of yesteryear — before all the airline consolidations lessened competition — is a tough task.

Taking a creative approach, Airport Director Hazel Johns has been pitching to airlines, and recently applied for a grant that could add a much-sought mid-continental flight to Houston, Dallas or Chicago.

Right now, Santa Barbara flights transport some 635,000 commercial passengers annually to western locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Denver and Phoenix.

An extra two flights per day to a mid-country hub could mean fewer transfer connections for passengers, not to mention the financial boon to an airport that has lost about 25 percent of air service in the past decade due to airline mergers.

“The competition for air service is just incredible,” Johns said. “The airport needs to come up with some additional service.”

Regaining service is accounted for in the airport master plan. The city released a draft environmental impact report of that updated plan this week, outlining development goals for the next 15 to 20 years.

The main changes include extending Taxiway H and relocating all general aviation and smaller planes to the north side of the field, with all commercial planes on the south side. Both moves are meant to improve safety and security.

Eventually, the airport would also relocate Atlantic Aviation from the south at 404 Moffett Place to the north end of the field — not for at least 10 years, Johns said — so a new long-term parking lot could be built in its place.

Long-term parking is currently off site at the old drive-in off Hollister Avenue.

All changes will be based on projected flight activity, as well as available Federal Aviation Administration funding for projects, and depending on comments obtained between now and Oct. 16, the end of the draft EIR public comment period.

Two public meetings will be held on the master plan topic, including at the Airport Commission Sept. 16 and before the county Planning Commission meeting Oct. 1.

By the end of September, Johns will have heard whether Santa Barbara Airport earned the Department of Transportation grant to expand service. She said Oxnard and Santa Maria airports have received similar grants in the past.

While writing the grant, Johns gained support from area chambers of commerce and Visit Santa Barbara, which will help develop a marketing plan if new service comes through.

“Visit Santa Barbara believes that improved air service is vital to our area’s continued economic growth and the development of new markets for our tourism outreach,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, Visit Santa Barbara’s president and CEO. “A successful resort community must have air service to stay competitive and attract visitors year round. According to our research, air service is critical to attracting meetings and conference business as well as leisure visitors.

“In attracting more visitors, additional money is generated for the local economy. Visit Santa Barbara is pleased to be one of a number of community partners who are trying to assist our airport to attract more air service to the area.”

Johns said she would continue courting other airlines in the meantime.

“We’re just a strong market,” Johns said of Santa Barbara’s handy location between Los Angeles and San Francisco, where customers may grumble but still pay higher prices to not have to drive to a larger city airport.

She added that the airport doesn’t set rates, airlines do.

“I do want people to know that we are working hard to improve service,” Johns said.

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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Airman With Santa Maria Roots Identifies Girl in Iconic Hurricane Katrina Photo

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Former Air Force pararescue jumper identifies 'Katrina Girl' whom he helped rescue from Gulf Coast hurricane's aftermath a decade ago

A decade after Mike Maroney received a hug from a girl he hoisted to safety in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — a moment captured in an iconic photo — the retired special ops airman has finally learned her name.

Maroney, who grew up in the Santa Maria Valley and served for 18 years as a pararescueman in the Air Force, told People magazine and Wednesday announced on his YouTube channel that the pink-shirted girl with ponytails has been identified.

In September 2005, a military photographer captured the moment of the airman and the girl hugging, both smiling broadly as Maroney helped her off the helicopter after he and colleagues got the youngster and her family off a rooftop.

The girl, LaShay Brown, is now 13 years old and lives in Waveland, Mississippi, her mother Shawntrell Brown told People. 

Maroney and the girl’s mother have talked on the phone and he hopes to meet them in person soon, with plans to give her copies of the photo that appeared in newspapers and military “coin” used for money in the war zones. 

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Maroney, the son of Wes and Rose Maroney of Orcutt, said in a video posted on YouTube.

“Words are failing me at this moment to explain what I’m feeling so I’m pretty happy.”

Pararescuemen — also called pararescue jumpers or PJs for short — are part of a special forces unit with the motto “That Others May Live.” They are trained in emergency medical tactics as well as in combat and survival skills.

The career field was created to pluck pilots downed behind enemy lines, but PJs also perform assorted humanitarian missions.

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, military members responded to help rescue families trapped by flooding.

Maroney recalled repeatedly being lowered between some trees and power lines to retrieve the girl and her family of approximately seven to hoist them into the helicopter so they could be taken to safety.

Amid the hectic pace of rescues, the quick hug had a long-lasting effect on Maroney who now lives in Texas.

“She wraps me up in this hug,” Maroney said in one video. “Everything bad melts away. All that matters is a little girl is just giving me this hug and I’m just in heaven.”

Earlier this year, word of his efforts to find and reunite with the girl went viral in the spring, but failed to turn up any clues about her identity. The effort spawned a social media hashtag of #findkatrinagirl.

Eventually, a connection between the two families was made via social media, he said, adding he hopes to meet the family in a couple of weeks.

This summer Maroney, who was medically retired from the military in July, met with producers and a director interested in making a movie about pararescue jumpers’ 21 days of Katrina, his parents said.

“I never call myself a hero,” Maroney said, adding that reading stories about him make view his actions in a different and humble way.

The true heroes, he said, include people like the Air Force combat controllers — Capt. Matthew D. Roland and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sable — who died of wounds received during an attack on their vehicle in Afghanistan.

“I think I’m just a dude who does my job and, you know, likes helping people,” Maroney said.

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

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Santa Barbara Supervisors Deny Project Changes at Gaviota Coast Ranch

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Preserving the Gaviota coastline has long been a contentious issue known to draw out leagues of public comment before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, and Tuesday’s meeting over the future of Las Varas Ranch was no exception.

Those on both side of the issue claimed they had the area’s preservation as the ultimate goal, but offered different approaches on how to get there.

The applicant of the Las Varas Ranch project is the Doheny family, represented by attorney Susan Petrovich of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, who made the case that family patriarch, Tim Doheny, who died in 2009, had envisioned preserving his ranch land in its current state, and felt that a plan to create limited building envelopes with cattle grazing among the parcels would be the best way to do that.

Others, including the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, assert that the changes would pave the way for residential development in the area.

They took issue with the project’s environmental impact documents, and said that any improvements to the area made by the projects would be outweighed by the development possibilities.

The supervisors ultimately agreed with the latter group, voting 3-2, with Supervisors Steve Lavagnino and Peter Adam dissenting.

Before Tuesday’s vote, the county Planning Commission had voted to deny the project in April, except to approve two applications to rezone and a conditional certificate of compliance.

The Planning Commission said that the denial was primarily because the project was inconsistent with county and state policies, and that plans to address impacts to agricultural, biological and visual resources weren’t adequate.

The project involves a reconfiguration of the properties at the Gaviota Coast ranch, which Doheny purchased in 1969, and each parcel would have a residential development envelope, even though no residential development is proposed at this time.

However, development of a private shared water system and access-road improvements would go forward as part of the project.

The entire ranch is made up of 10 parcels, totaling about 1,800 acres. 

The project includes nine of the lots, seven of which are considered residentially developable, and involves lot-line adjustments and a tentative parcel map that would put two lots north of the highway and five lots on the ocean side.  

The project’s changes also accounted for shifting one developable lot from the north side of the highway to the south side.

Petrovich said that the project includes an offer of dedication, including three new public trails and a parking lot.  

The area has long attracted surfers to Edwards Point in the area, and the only access involves parking on the highway and trespassing on the property.

Only 14 acres out of 1,800 would be used for building envelopes, she said.

Doheny proposes no immediate development, she said, but that could change in the future.

Petrovich said that Tim Doheny started the project, and was considering what would happen to his estate after he died.

“His thought was, 'I need to have this land look in the long-term how it looks today,'” she said.

Several of the property’s neighbors thought approving the changes would preserve how the coast looks today, including Catherine Emerson, who farms avocados in Las Varas Canyon next to the Doheny’s property.

“The EIR is correct in that there are no significant impacts as far as I can see,” she said. 

Emerson also implored the supervisors to consider the property rights of the owners.

Phil McKenna of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy said that the property’s easements as set up are the foundation of their groups’ work to permanently preserve the coast.

“We strongly support your denial of this project,” he said.

Attorney Ana Citrin, from the office of Marc Chytilo, who is representing the GCC, said that the applicant continues to spin the facts in attempts to get the project approved.

Only seven of the existing parcels are developable anyway, Citriin said, and the changes would increase development potential in resource-sensitive areas.

Without the changes, any future development would be subject to a review process, including a coastal development plan, she said.

Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes the ranch, thanked the Dohenys for their stewardship of the land, as well as the other ranching families who spoke.

Farr said that the family could have preserved the land by entering into a Williamson Act contract, which keeps the property in agricultural status in exchange for reduced property tax assessments.

“This is what the families do that are trying to do estate planning and preserve the ranch for future generations,” she said. “I do see that as the single best tool that could be utilized but wasn’t.”

Farr said she thought the changes could cascade into other impacts, and creating a water source that hasn’t been there makes development more attractive.

“It’s no accident that [Santa Barbara County] is a beautiful place,” she said, and that preservation at the Gaviota Coast is key to that beauty.

Supervisor Peter Adam said he felt there would be litigation and then the property could be split into pieces. 

“The Dohenys have been too generous if anything,” he said. “The project offers so much stuff that you’re going to wish you had taken that in 20 years when individuals purchase the pieces,”

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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Former Haggen Grocery Employee Claims Wrongful Termination

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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A former Haggen employee has filed a lawsuit against the grocery chain, alleging she was forced out for trying to correct a price-scanning method that systematically overcharged customers.

The complaint was filed Wednesday in Santa Barbara Superior Court, alleging the Bellingham, Wash.-based chain wrongfully terminated and violated labor code by intimidating an employee at a recently converted Haggen store in Carpinteria.

Six former Albertsons and Vons locations in Santa Barbara County were converted to Haggens earlier this year after the regional chain acquired 146 stores from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., the entity created when Safeway (owner of Vons) merged with Albertsons.

Bruce Anticouni of Santa Barbara’s Anticouni & Associates filed the lawsuit on behalf of Debra Sukiasian, who had worked at a Safeway or Vons store for 38 years, most recently as a pricing specialist.

According to the complaint, Sukiasian chose to stay at the Carpinteria Vons where she had worked since 2004 through its June transition into a Haggen location instead of transferring to a different Vons.

When the store switched over to Haggen’s price scanning system, Sukiasian noticed a discrepancy.

“From the very first day plaintiff’s store reopened as a Haggens, plaintiff became aware of discrepancies between the prices marked on shelves for items and the prices the price scanner at the cash registers recognized and charged to customers,” the complaint states. “The register prices were uniformly higher than those marked on the shelves.”

Some customers complained, but many didn’t notice the pricing difference, which Sukiasian pointed out to managers as unlawful false advertising.

When her concerns were ignored, she wrote an email in July to Haggen CEO Bill Shaner, who acknowledged the email and said she’d be contacted by the support team.

According to the complaint, the managers who showed up at the Carpinteria store the following day reprimanded her for telling the CEO and asked a manager to find a way to fire her — a fact the manager told Sukiasian.

Although she was of retirement age, Sukiasian planned to work another two years, the complaint said.

Because she was under such stress at work and worried about explaining to future employers why she had been fired, Sukiasian elected to retire instead of being terminated.

Her last day was Tuesday — the same day Haggen blamed its pricing discrepancies and other woes on false retail data from Albertsons in a $1 billion lawsuit.

Since moving into new markets, Haggen hasn’t been able to find footing. The company has cut employee hours, laid off some workers, and is planning to close or sell 26 stores in five states, many of them acquired this year as part of its deal with Albertsons and Vons.

Haggen is also facing lawsuits from a local workers union and a class-action complaint for letting go 14 developmentally disabled employees.

In the latest lawsuit, Sukiasian demands a jury trial and is suing for an unknown amount of damages.

Late Wednesday, a Haggen spokesperson said the company wasn't aware of the lawsuit and couldn't comment.

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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PathPoint Recognized by Senior Service America

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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PathPoint received praise from Senior Service America, Inc (SSAI) for achieving 90 percent or more of their goal of both creating service-level, unsubsidized employment to help those most in need and enhancing employment services in San Luis Obispo.

SSAI nationally advocates for older Americans who are low income or disadvantaged.

Founded in Santa Barbara in 1964, PathPoint provides support services that empower people with disabilities, economic disadvantages and mental illness to live and work as valued members of their communities, and it celebrates the potential of over 2,100 people throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.

PathPoint partners with community health centers, senior nutrition centers and America’s job centers spanning numerous counties.

In addition to its host agency partnerships, PathPoint also collaborates with 52 employers throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Through the support of the Department of Labor and Senior Service America, ​PathPoint’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provides support and job training opportunities to older Americans with economic disadvantages and other barriers to employment.

In fact, over the last five years, PathPoint SCSEP has infused local non-profits with over $3.4 million in labor. This not only provides valuable work experience for SCSEP participants but also enhances the workforce of community partners.

PathPoint is honored to be serving San Luis Obispo’s senior population with SCSEP and are thankful for the continued funding of this program. 

Because of this partnership, PathPoint has enabled older adults faced with poverty to find successful employment, life skills and assistance to a brighter future. SSAI’s recognition and continued support depicts the hard-earned efforts of PathPoint and allows for future employment, alongside competitive wages for participants in community placed jobs.

Thank you SSAI for the funding. PathPoint is proud to provide unwavering services.

— Claire Blakey is the communications manager at PathPoint.

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Santa Barbara County Woman Arrested in Siskiyou County After Alleged Child Abduction

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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A local woman has been arrested in Northern California after she allegedly abducted her 3-year-old son after failing to appear at a custody exchange with the child’s father earlier this summer.

Faith Merritt, 31, of Carpinteria, was arrested Wednesday in Siskiyou County by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, according to a statement released from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Merritt will be transported back to Santa Barbara County where she will be arraigned on charges of felony child abduction and violating a court order for failing to comply with the court-ordered custody arrangement.

The office announced last week that a warrant had been issued for Merritt and she was being sought for the abduction of her son, 3-year-old Maxwell DiNardo, resident of Santa Barbara County.  

Merritt allegedly shared joint custody of Maxwell with his father, who reported the boy missing in early August after Merritt failed to exchange custody with the father.  

“Maxwell is safe and will be turned over to the custody of his father,” the DA's Office said in a statement.

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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Eight Shakespearean Histories Converge in UCSB’s Naked Shakes Adaptation ‘The Death of Kings’

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Producing one of William Shakespeare’s history plays is complicated enough, but eight? And at the same time?

Some might call that downright crazy, but director Irwin Appel, who has taken on the challenge with groundbreaking results, isn't one of them.

In “The Death of Kings,” Appel, a professor of theater arts at UC Santa Barbara, has adapted all eight of Shakespeare’s histories into a two-part epic to be performed by UCSB’s Naked Shakes.

The first, “I Come But For Mine Own,” melds “Henry IV,” parts 1 and 2; “Richard II” and “Henry V.” The second, “The White Rose and the Red,” brings together “Richard III” and parts 1, 2 and 3 of “Henry VI.”

While “The Death of Kings” will have its world premiere in February, this week Naked Shakes is giving audiences a glimpse of what they can expect to see in full six months from now.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 2 and 3, the actors will present excerpts from each part of “The Death of Kings” at 8 p.m. in UCSB’s Hatlen Theater. The performances are free and open to the public.

“The original plays themselves have a wealth of material,” said Appel, “and what I was attempting to do when I began this project a year ago was to see which characters in particular, which arcs would really shine through if I tried to put them all together. What I found were some very exciting things.”

Irwin Appel

Appel noted that for the upcoming preview, narration has been added to help fill gaps in the storyline, and because this summer production includes two UCSB Summer Sessions courses, on some occasions more than one actor will play the same role.

Like other Naked Shakes productions, “The Death of Kings” is both scholarly and interdisciplinary in nature. Simon Williams, former chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, is serving as the dramaturg, or the scholar of the production, as Appel described it, and he will include his graduate students in the process.

In addition, Appel has formed academic alliances with faculty members in the English department who teach courses on Shakespeare ,so their students can benefit from the production. Appel hopes to connect with other departments and areas of campus, including the history, Renaissance studies and, perhaps, religious studies departments, as well as the College of Creative Studies.

“I also hope we can create academic events surrounding the play that will bring together scholars and practitioners,” he added.

According to Appel, distilling the eight plays into two has been quite a challenge.

“I have spent my entire yearlong sabbatical on this, and I have worked on it every single day,” he said.

It wasn’t until he’d finished some early drafts that he believed the adaptations would work.

“And now we’re doing the summer workshop production, which is a very exciting preview or, as I call it, a trailer production,” he said. “We are creating some theatrical imagery in the Naked Shakes tradition where it’s just the actor and what they can do on a blank stage with a few simple elements.”

Bare-bones theatricality is the hallmark of Naked Shakes, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Each play is presented clearly and directly so the audience inhabits the imaginative world of the play through Shakespeare’s language.

The barren physical theater space is very important to the Naked Shakes concept; it takes on the identity of whatever locale or particular poetic language is described, and yet continues to remind the audience they are in a theater.

“When Prospero in ‘The Tempest’ describes ‘the great Globe itself,’ he is not only referring to the entire Earth, but also the ‘Globe’ Theater — Shakespeare’s theater,” said Appel. “That duality is what Naked Shakes is all about.”

Previous Naked Shakes productions include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Tempest,” “A Winter’s Tale,” “Twelfth Night,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Measure for Measure,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “Macbeth.”

Per Naked Shakes philosophy, the job description of an actor is to step into the shoes of another individual, so roles are not necessarily cast based on the “right” gender, ethnic background, height or weight.

“In our production, for example, we have cast a woman in the role of King Richard II,” noted Appel. “We have not changed the gender of Richard’s character; the pronouns are the same: ‘he’ is still a male character and King. We simply found a wonderful actress who exemplifies the essence of this character, so we cast her.”

— Andrea Estrada is the public affairs writer at UC Santa Barbara.

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Montecito Rotary Selects Nonprofits to Receive $900 Grants

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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The room at Montecito Rotary was packed last week with non-profit leaders and Rotarians alike to participate in the awarding of grants to some wonderful and deserving organizations. 

Each nonprofit, which was nominated by a Rotarian and chosen by the Montecito Rotary Foundation received $900.  

This grant cycle's recipients consisted of Cottage Hospital (Junior Wheelchair Ramp), Police Activities League (PAL), Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Friendship Adult Daycare, Explore Ecology and Family Services Agency.

Every organization has unique plans for their grants, and each was received with an explanation of a much-needed use for the money that will help them continue to serve our community and flourish as a non-profit.

The Montecito Rotary Foundation awards grants to local nonprofits twice a year.

In addition to helping Rotary International’s worldwide philanthropy efforts, the most well-known being polio eradication, the Rotary Club of Montecito also strives to benefit its local community through service projects and grants.

— Alexandra Kutcher is a publicist representing the Rotary Club of Montecito.

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Rally for Californians with Developmental Needs Marches Sept. 3

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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We’re Here to Speak for Justice!

Thursday, Sept 3, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., a local rally in Alameda Park (by the Gazebo facing Anacapa St.), in support of the larger rally happening simultaneously in Sacramento, will urge the Legislature to fix the funding crisis affecting the Department of Developmental Services.

Hear from families and self advocates about the effects of the budget crisis that are felt locally followed by a march down State St. to Canon Perdido, where 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal will say a few words.

“We’re here to Speak for Justice!” was the rallying cry in the late 1960s that created the Lanterman Act. It is once again our rallying cry! 

Sept. 3 will be a day of action to keep the promise of The Lanterman Act alive

The developmental services community has endured a decade of rate cuts and freezes. We are a community that is falling apart, and we need help now! 

Join the rallying cry of a community in crisis along with self and parent advocates, service providers and local representatives who have already contributed their voices.

After the march, Slingshot Art Studio, 220 West Canon Perdido St., will screen "We’re Here to Speak For Justice," a provocative and moving documentary on the founding of the regional center system for people with developmental disabilities and their families in the state of California, which will run from 6–7 p.m.

The following letter was sent to Speaker Toni Atkins, Assembly Reublican Leader Kristin Olsen, Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon and Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, urging the majority leaders to help fix a damaged system.

Dear  Legislative  Leaders:

On  behalf  of  the  below signed  organizations, as well as the attached list of agencies and individuals throughout California, we issue a desperate plea — one in which we ask that you solve the developmental services funding crisis before adjourning session September 11th.

Lives are at risk.

Critical community-based programs that serve our neediest and most vulnerable citizens are shutting down or turning away desperate Californians who rely on State-funded services to survive. Additionally, caseloads at regional centers are higher than the state promised the federal government they would be. We are in crisis at every level of this system, putting billions in federal funds at risk, and we cannot continue to provide safe and adequate service levels without your IMMEDIATE intervention.    

The time for finger-pointing and blame is over. We need your help NOW.  

We understand you may have differences of opinion on how to address California’s neglected developmental services system. We also know that many legislators on both sides of the political aisle have worked in good faith this year toward an acceptable solution. But those efforts have thus far failed, leaving us with an unacceptable and unconscionable situation that must now be fixed.

If the Legislature chooses to adjourn September 11th without addressing this issue and approving this desperately needed funding, we would have no choice but to consider that failure an act of indifference and disregard for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and those that serve them.

Our dire situation is well-documented and has been discussed exhaustively at legislative hearings attended by people and programs that serve them from across California.    
Community-based  programs and regional centers that implement existing law under the state’s famed “Lanterman Act” — such as housing, employment opportunities, meaningful day activities and other services — have received just ONE rate increase this century, while the cost of providing services has risen approximately 30 percent.  

The Lanterman Coalition has been consistent this year in calling for a 10 percent, across-the-board increase to provider rates and regional center operations funding to stabilize the system that serves this very vulnerable population.

As the first year of this legislative session comes to a close, Californians with developmental disabilities, their families and those that serve them are watching closely and counting on you to do the right thing.

Sincerely,

The Lanterman Coalition.

— Jennifer Griffin represents the Lanterman Coalition.

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Zappos HR Head to Discuss Holacracy and the Future of Organizational Structures in Business

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Holacracy: the New Management/Non-Management Approach – Is it Chaos or Leadership?

Hollie Delaney, head of people operations at Zappos, will speak to the Santa Barbara Human Resources Association Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, 12 p.m. at the Fess Parker Doubletree.

The topic will be Holacracy, the company's new management approach.

This program provides local businesses the opportunity to learn how this 1,500+ organization has made the transition from traditional top down leadership. 

Is it state of the art or an experiment?  To find out, register to attend at www.sbhra.org.

Holacracy allows employees to self-organize and self-direct. 

The topic of Holacracy and how Zappos will succeed under this new structure has been reviewed by Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times and a variety of other news sources. 

Over 200 employees left the company as a result of this change. What lies ahead for this very successful business?

— Karen Harris is the human resorces director for The Samarkand Retirement Community.

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Parents Welcome at ‘Back-to-School Night’ at Santa Maria High Schools

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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It’s “Back-to-School Night” time again at Pioneer Valley, Ernest Righetti and Santa Maria high schools Thursday, Sept. 3.

The events provide a time for parents, guardians and families to follow a student’s schedule and communicate with staff and administration.  

Delta High School will complete the series Sept. 10.

Parents and students at Pioneer Valley, Righetti, Santa Maria and Delta High Schools are also urged to check out “Lunch Application Open House,” where students and families can get information about signing up for SMJUHSD’s Free and Reduced Meal Program. Times for individual schools are shown below:

» Pioneer Valley: 5–7 p.m. inside the library, Sept. 3.

» Righetti: 6–8 p.m. inside the cafeteria, Sept. 3. (Free and Reduced Meal Information is at 3:30–6 p.m.)

» Santa Maria High School: 5:15–7:30 p.m. inside the gym, Sept. 3.

» Delta: 5:30–7 p.m., Sept. 10.

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

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Capps Kicks Off Central Coast Water Tour

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Wednesday, Sept. 2, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) began a two-day tour up the Central Coast to highlight local efforts to address the historic California drought. 

Capps’s trip includes site visits and meetings with community officials to receive updates on local water projects such as the Santa Barbara desalination plant and the water recycling program at the Goleta Water District.

“The ongoing drought is one of the toughest challenges our state and region face," Capps said. "It requires a redoubling of our efforts to not only conserve water but also to develop and improve technologies to help our water resources stretch farther in the future. Tackling these difficult challenges requires everyone to do their part, and I look forward to seeing firsthand some of the efforts along the Central Coast.”

Earlier this summer, Capps joined over 20 California members of Congress, introducing comprehensive drought legislation.

This bill would provide emergency funding to help local communities stretch existing water supplies and improve water infrastructure in response to the California drought.

During the visits Capps will discuss how this bill would help the Central Coast deal with both the immediate water crisis, as well as prepare for long-term drought resiliency.

Capps met with Mayor Helene Schneider at the Santa Barbara Desalination Plant along with Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark and Project Manager Bob Roebuck to tour the facilities and to discuss updates on the plant's renovations.

She then toured the Goleta Water and Sanitary Districts with General Manager John McGinnis. 

She finished the day with a visit to Santa Barbara Blueberries, where owner Ed Seaman highlighted agricultural efforts to conserve water.

Capps's final stop will take place at the Cambria Fire Department Thursday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m. She will meet with Cal Fire Chief Robert Lewin, Cambria Community Services District General Manager Jerry Gruber and local officials to consider the drought's impacts, including increased fire risk.

— C.J. Young is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Grant Applications from Youth-Led Organizations Accepted by YMC through Oct .16

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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The Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change (YMC) program is a year-long, teen-led grant-making program that provides young people with the opportunity to engage directly in grant-making.

Youth ages 13 to 19 are recruited annually to join the YMC boards. One in Santa Maria and one in Santa Barbara, YMC boards conduct a grant cycle and distributes a total of $30,000 in grants to youth-led projects that address issues and challenges directly affecting young people in Santa Barbara County.

The Youth Making Change grant application is available now for download in English and Spanish from the Fund for Santa Barbara website or by visiting the Fund offices, located at 120 East Jones Street - Suite 120, Santa Maria, CA  93454, and 26 West Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA  93101.

Basic guidelines include the following:

» Be led by youth ages 12 to 24

» Provide a benefit to teens in the community

» Attempt to fix a problem affecting youth by providing a solution

» Be located in Santa Barbara County

» Have a sponsoring organization such as a school or community-based group.

See the application for a complete list of project requirements.

Groups can apply for up to $3,000 for their youth-led project.

Interested groups are encouraged to attend a YMC grant-writing workshop.

The first workshop will be held in Santa Barbara Thursday, Sep. 17 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Orfalea Downtown Center, 1221 Chapala Street.​ A second workshop will follow in Santa Maria Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Community Room, 705 S. McClelland Street.

Questions may be directed to Regional Program Manager Cristina González at 805.922.1707 x200 or [email protected].

Applications for funding must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, 2015.

The Fund For Santa Barbara is a nonprofit community foundation that supports organizations working for social, economic, environment and political change in Santa Barbara County. 

Since its inception in 1980, The fund has awarded over $5 million to more than 900 projects throughout Santa Barbara County.

— Cristina González represents Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change

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Cottage Health Psychiatrist Dr. Paul Erickson Awarded for Exemplary Service

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital's Dr. Paul Erickson, medical director for psychiatry and chemical dependency, received the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2015 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award Thursday, Aug. 27 at a dinner in his honor at the Mental Wellness Center. 

He was one of only 16 psychiatrists nationwide to receive this respected recognition, which was announced at NAMI’s 2015 national convention in San Francisco earlier this summer.

Dr. Erickson was nominated for the award by NAMI’s local affiliate, NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County, which operates as a program of the Mental Wellness Center

“Dr. Erickson was named a 2015 Exemplary Psychiatrist because of his commitment to NAMI’s ideals and support of the local affiliate,” said George Kaufmann, president of the affiliate and a board member of the Mental Wellness Center. “He exhibits extraordinary patience, empathy and caring for both his patients and their families, and as a result he is an asset to our local mental health community.”

NAMI’s annual Exemplary Psychiatrists Awards honor doctors who go “an extra mile” in their commitment to provide excellent mental health care.

They work tirelessly to reduce the stigma that has traditionally surrounded mental illness and work closely with NAMI members in their communities to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in mental health care.

For many years, Dr. Erickson has referred families to NAMI services, such as support groups and the “Family-to-Family” program, which helps people learn to cope with the impact of mental illness on the family. 

A longtime board member of the Mental Wellness Center, he has also served as a frequent speaker at local monthly NAMI meetings on a variety of topics from marijuana use by people with mental health disorders to “Ask the Doctor” forums on various mental illnesses. 

Additionally, Dr. Erickson inspired the affiliate to develop a new service for family members impacted by mental illness, a weekly “Family Discussion Group” that was recently implemented and has been very well received.

Dr. Erickson has been medical director for psychiatry and chemical dependency since 2002. He is board certified in psychiatry and has American Society of Addiction Medicine certification.

Dr. Erickson completed his residency in psychiatry at the Harvard Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts, with chief residency in psychopharmacology and family therapy.

Previously, he was clinical chief at the Cambridge Hospital Department of Psychiatry and also associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

NAMI is a national non-profit grass roots mental health advocacy and education organization with affiliates in all 50 states and hundreds of communities nationwide.

The Mental Wellness Center, NAMI’s local host agency, is a local non-profit organization which provides recovery, education, support and family services for people living with mental illness and their families.

For more information about NAMI, the Mental Wellness Center or its services, please call 805.884.8440 or visit www.mentalwellnesscenter.org

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Mental Wellness Center.

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Montecito Family YMCA Asks Community to Join in Annual Day of Caring

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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On Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, the community is invited to join the Montecito Family YMCA for the 24th Annual Day of Caring with the United Way of Santa Barbara County.

The event, which will focus on beautifying and cleaning the YMCA facility, will start at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. 

Day of Caring has become a Santa Barbara County tradition to many local area charitable organizations. More than 1,600 volunteers will spend time in the community at different worksites including the Montecito Family YMCA to help get much needed projects done. 

Following the Albertsons Kick-Off breakfast at Ben Page Youth center, teams of volunteers from across the county will gather to complete much needed tasks such as painting, landscaping, gardening, sorting goods and general repairs.

Day of Caring is a great opportunity to give back to the community through a morning of helping out at various nonprofits in our community.

Over 46,000 people turn to the Channel Islands YMCA each year for support and opportunities that empower families, individuals and communities to learn, grow and thrive.

Last year, support from volunteers helped the Montecito Family YMCA provide services to thousands of community members:

» 1,595 children that were cared for in YMCA preschool and school-age child care centers

» 1,501 children that attended a YMCA Summer Day

» 311 campers that participated in YMCA resident Camp Programs

» 373 families that joined programs like Y-Guides, Y-Maidens, Trail Blazers and Adventure Guides

» 4,897 teens that got involved in YMCA youth programs

» 3,777 children that learned to swim

» 3,059 that participated in a variety of sports

Established in 1887, the Channel Islands YMCA is a cause-driven organization of seven YMCA branches serving Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

It serves over 46,000 individuals and provides over $1.3 million in financial assistance to low-income families for child care, YMCA memberships, away camps, youth sports and teen after-school-programs such as Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter and the Isla Vista Teen Center.

— Ann Wirtz is the marketing coordinator for the Montecito Family YMCA.

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O-Negative Blood Types Encouraged to Donate Due to Holiday Weekend

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Labor Day may mark the end of summer, but the need for blood continues. United Blood Services asks for donors to give the week before and the week following the holiday to ensure there is an ample supply of blood on hand for the holiday weekend and subsequent week.

While donations of all blood types are encouraged, donors with Type O-Negative are especially needed, as inventories of type O-Negative blood are low. 

Type O-Negative blood is found in just 6 percent of the population. Known as the “Universal Donor” this blood type can be transfused to anyone, and it is often transfused in emergency and trauma situations, when there is little time to “type” a patient’s blood.

Patients often need multiple units, in some cases even hundreds of units to survive. It is blood on the shelves that saves lives.

When it is needed, there must be a steady supply on hand. Donors are needed each day to maintain an adequate supply, and currently usage for Type O-Negative is running very high.

When you help your community out this Labor Day by donating blood, you will receive a coupon for a free medium 1-topping pizza from Domino’s. 

All blood donors will also receive points for great rewards like ice cream, movie tickets, gift cards and more through our Hero Rewards store. You can read more about the exciting details of our rewards program at www.Blood4Life.org.  

Donations may be made at convenient locations throughout the Central and Southern California Region in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and a number of community blood drives happening throughout the region.

Donors are asked to make an appointment by contacting United Blood Services at 877.UBS.HERO or online at www.Blood4Life.org. Just click on “Donate Blood” and type in your zip code to find a list of drives nearby.

Appointments are appreciated, but not necessary. Walk-ins are welcome and will be honored.

— Sergio Coppa is the marketing and communications manager for United Blood Services.

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Firefighters Rescue Dogs, Cats From Lompoc House Fire

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Firefighters in Lompoc rescued three cats and two dogs from a burning house Wednesday morning.

Lompoc Fire Department members who arrived at the fire at 7:20 a.m. found smoke showing from the roof and vents of the single-family residence at 138 North E St., Chief Kurt Latipow said.

“Crews took aggressive initial attack actions to keep the fire from spreading throughout the home and adjacent structures,” Latipow said.

During the initial attack, crews saved the family's pets and treated them at the scene before turning them over to the owners who had been at work.

The fire was controlled at 7:30 a.m. but crews remained on scene until 9 a.m. to conduct salvage and overhaul operations.

"We're glad there was no one hurt," Latipow said. "We’re glad we were able to retrieve the pets for the homeowners."

Lompoc city firefighters were assisted by crews from Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Vandenberg Fire Department.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but is not suspicious, Latipow said.

The loss of property and content is estimated at $20,000. 

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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CSU CI President Honored as ‘Spirit of Community’

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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United Way of Ventura County will award CSU Channel Islands President Richard R. Rush its Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's annual awards luncheon. 

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President Rush will be honored at the 11th Annual United Way of Ventura County "Spirit of Community Partnership Awards Luncheon" to be held Sept. 17, 2015.

"Dr. Rush is an extraordinary leader who led the effort to create a world-class public university," said Eric Harrison, president and CEO of United Way. "His vision to unite public and private partnerships is the very core of what we at United Way believe transforms communities. Ventura County is a better place because of his service and we are forever grateful for his remarkable legacy."

President Rush — who recently announced that he intends to retire at the end of the academic year — said he is honored to be recognized by an organization that does so much good.

Richard R. Rush

"United Way has always been close to my heart, having volunteered for the United Way in Ventura County, San Diego and Minnesota," Rush said. "This gesture is particularly meaningful to me, and I am honored to receive it."  

United Way of Ventura County will also present six other awards in recognition of other individuals, corporations, volunteers and organizations that provide their time, funds and talent to the community.

Registration and networking will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the luncheon and awards from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For additional information about the event, visit www.unitedway.org/spirit

— Kim Gregory represents CSU Channel Islands.

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Goleta Councilman Jim Farr Says He’s Recovering from Stroke, Hopes to Return Soon

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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Jim Farr

After several weeks of silence, Goleta City Councilman Jim Farr issued a statement Wednesday confirming that he had suffered a stroke last month, but is now recovering.

Farr released the statement through city channels, stating that he suffered the stroke on Aug. 8.

“Though my cognitive abilities were unaffected, the stroke resulted in some paralysis on my left side,” he said.

Farr also thanked the Cottage Rehabilitation Institute and staff for his “rapid recovery.”

Up until Wednesday, both Farr and the city of Goleta had declined to provide further information on what was described only as a medical problem.

The five-member city council has been operating as normal in Farr's absence, though at least one high-profile vote faced a deadlock in his absence.

Farr said Wednesday he's looking forward to returning to the job.

“I want to thank the people of Goleta and City government for their patience regarding my absence. I am looking forward to returning to my City Council duties very soon to continue to serve the people of Goleta,” the statement said.

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

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Santa Maria Hotel Revenue on the Rise in Past Fiscal Year

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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The Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) reports substantial increases in transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues recorded for the past fiscal year in its 2014–2015 Annual Report.

Santa Maria’s TOT receipts from the months of July 2014 through June 2015 indicate a 13 percent increase over the previous year, with revenues totaling more than $3.2 million.

According to the VCB, numbers were up every month of this past fiscal year compared to the previous year, with the months of January through June showing the highest gains.

“Local hoteliers say that a variety of factors have made a difference, including warmer-than-usual weather, consumer spending confidence, positive press coverage and group events taking place in Santa Maria Valley,” said Gina Keough, director of the Santa Maria Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau. 

The City of Santa Maria’s TOT is assessed on hotel, motel and bed & breakfast occupancies at a rate of 10 percent. The ensuing revenues are directed to the municipal general fund, where they contribute to everything from public safety to recreation and parks to community development. 

"The more TOT you're collecting, the more impact you get from overnight visitation overall," Keough said. "There's an automatic residual effect on sales tax, because people are then buying more food and beverages, and they're spending more time in the community shopping and enjoying our many other attractions.” 

To encourage the residual effect, the VCB operates as a distribution center for information on local attractions. This includes providing complimentary brochures and maps and acting as a resource for email and phone requests as well as walk-in traffic at the VCB Visitor Center. 

“This year our staff handled more than 1,700 inquiries from the general public and tour planners and also provided nearly 800 complimentary ‘welcome bags’ to visiting organizations,” Keough said. 

According to Keough, Increases may also be attributed to the VCB’s ongoing marketing, advertising and media relations programs as well as a rapport built with the group tour market at tradeshows.

The VCB also works closely with Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing arm, and the Central Coast Tourism Council to increase awareness of Santa Maria Valley attractions.

“We strongly encourage local businesses and organizations to get involved, share their news with us and take advantage of the VCB’s promotional programs and leads,” Keough said. 

— Malei Weir is a publicist representing The Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau.

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Two Woman Nonprofit Leaders Join County’s Commision for Women

By | Published on 09/02/2015

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The County Board of Supervisors has recently made two appointments to the Commission for Women, Victoria Juarez and Sigrid Wright. 

The Commission for Women promotes the well-being and equal status of women in Santa Barbara County and advises the Board of Supervisors.

Victoria Juarez, executive director at Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, represents the First District and was appointed by Supervisor Carbajal.

Sigrid Wright, CEO and executive director of the Community Environmental Council, represents the Second District and was appointed by Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Each supervisor can make three appointments to the Commission for Women, which meets monthly in Solvang. To attend a meeting or to find out more information, visit the Commission for Women's website.

Juarez, MPA, brings 18 years of community and nonprofit experience to her position as executive director at Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

Juarez previously served as associate director of Storyteller Children’s Center in Santa Barbara, a preschool for homeless children. Earlier in her career, she held various leadership and programmatic positions for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Project Access Inc. and the US Peace Corps.

In her work with Girls Inc., she is interested in creating opportunities and resources for girls to learn and grow, navigate the unique challenges they face growing up, and discover their potential as leaders with the courage and vision to change the world.

Sigrid Wright has 25 years of experience in nonprofit environmental management and is currently CEO and executive director of the Community Environmental Council.

On energy and climate related issues, she is co-author of "The Santa Barbara County Regional Energy Blueprint," editor of more than a dozen CEC policy documents and program facilitator for the South County Energy Efficiency Partnership (SCEEP).

On food system issues, she is on the executive team and advisory board of the countywide Food Action Plan. She also leads the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival production team.

Wright is an alum of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Katherine Harvey Fellows program and the Courage to Lead program for non-profit leaders and sits on the board of Leading From Within.

— Laura Burton Capps represents the Commission for Women

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Goleta City Council Tweaks Final Design for Old Town Neighborhood Park

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Council members ask for larger skate park, drought-tolerant landscaping and bike-path changes before giving final OK

Goleta residents got a glimpse at the final design of a new Old Town neighborhood park Tuesday, but city officials want to tweak some aspects before giving approval.

Goleta City Council liked the overall layout but mainly worried the plans — held up while more water-wise plants could be added during drought — wouldn’t provide enough toilets in restrooms or account adequately for the future.

The park is slated to go into a four-acre site at Hollister and Kellogg avenues, a vacant parcel the city’s now-defunct redevelopment agency bought in 2011 after seeing a need for a recreation area in that part of the community.

Goleta began the park planning process in early 2012 — hiring Van Atta Associates Landscape Architects to design and conduct public outreach — but new water restrictions imposed by the Goleta Water District in October 2014 prompted some Parks and Recreation Commissioners revisions.

The design City Council unanimously voted to punt to a future meeting for approval included a larger skateboard plaza of 5,000 square feet, additional multi-use hard courts (for use including bocce and hand ball) and more drought-tolerant species of plants and trees.

The park will also feature a multipurpose field, basketball court, playground, restrooms (two stalls each for men and women, for now) and a 22-space parking lot.

Goleta’s Parks and Recreation Commission approved the revised water-wise design in May with some conditions, including adding a bike path connecting the parking lot to the eastern San Jose Creek Bike Path and fencing around the perimeter of the Sister Witness Tree’s root zone to prevent soil compaction and to provide some level of protection.

The initial park design would’ve required 6.4 acre feet of water per year, but the Goleta Water District says the new maximum water allowance is 4.62 acre feet per year.

Councilman Michael Bennett suggested staff keep plans for a splash pad despite the drought by giving the water district a way to lock and shut it down.

A splash pad shoots out recycled water, Bennett said, noting how many kids were in favor of the amenity.

“As we continue to encourage our community to get rid of lawns and things … then I think it’s really incumbent that the public agency takes on the responsibility,” he said.

“I think it’s a bigger picture item.”

His concern about having big enough restrooms was shared by other officials, who also liked his suggestion to enlarge a storage room for athletic equipment like basketballs.

Planners said the intent was to serve the neighborhood kids — not to be a regional draw — but staff agreed to double-check the restroom formula.

A walking path will meander around the perimeter of the site, and officials asked to relocate a bike path to the west side of a rare Sister Witness Tree instead of the east.

“We’ve been talking about this park for a long time,” Mayor Paula Perotte said. “It’s exciting.”

She made sure staff looked into providing safe passage across the busy streets into the park with pedestrian traffic signals, which will be part of a separate project and not overall park design.

Local skateboarders — many of them teenagers — dominated public comment asking for a slightly larger skate plaza while showing appreciation for its inclusion.

“This isn’t intended to be the only skate park in the community of Goleta,” Bennett said, noting discussions to put a larger one on the city’s west end.

Seeing no rush, Councilman Roger Aceves asked staff to make the tweaks before coming back for final approval in two to three months.

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

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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Oppose Oil-Train Proposal

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Three board members vote in favor of sending letter to San Luis Obispo County objecting to Phillip 66 rail spur extension in Nipomo

A divided Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to ask its neighbors to the north to reject a request to expand a rail spur at the Phillips 66 refinery, which wants to process oil transported by train.

The matter was brought by supervisors Salud Carbajal and Doreen Farr, who suggested the board should send a letter urging the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to deny the Phillips 66 application.

The Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery has operated on the Nipomo Mesa in southwestern San Luis Obispo County for more than 50 years, but is seeking to bring crude oil via five trains weekly, each with 80 tank cars and an oil capacity of 49,670 to 53,532 barrels.

Santa Barbara County’s elected officials have no say in the matter since the project falls in San Luis Obispo County’s jurisdiction.

“To me, the very least we can do  — because we can’t really stop it — is write a letter to our neighbors to the north. and say please, please don't let this happen to our community,” board Chairwoman Janet Wolf said, calling it “a very dangerous industry.”

The rail spur would stretch 6,915 feet and occupy approximately 47 acres of the 1,644-acre refinery site, allowing crude oil to be transported by what one speaker called "a pipe on wheels."

“If the infrastructure is built, the trains will come,”  Farr said. “So I think it’s really important that we are on record of not supporting the expansion of the Phillips project.”

The route includes highly populated areas in addition to environmentally sensitive habitats, Carbajal sad, and could put the community in danger.

“At the end of the day, I think residents expect their government to really make sure that, first and foremost, their health and safety is taken care of, and I think that's what we're doing here ... I think what we’re doing today is prudent,” Carbajal said.

The national trend has seen a rise in the number of oil shipments by train, leading to a hike in unintentional releases, which include both leaks and catastrophic accidents, Farr said.

Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino voted against sending a letter.

“The problem is we live in a petroleum-based society and you oppose pipelines, you oppose trucking it, you oppose barging it, you oppose putting it on a train, I’m not really sure how else we can get it to where it needs to be,” Lavagnino said.

Adam recited several examples using National Safety Council data about other risks.

More than two dozen people, most of whom opposed the rail spur expansion project, spoke during the board’s meeting. Many represented local environmental groups and community associations along the route.

Communities within the 1 mile blast zone of what opponents call “bomb trains” include Guadalupe, Casmalia, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Montecito and Summerland. 

Jenna Driscoll from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper urged the board to send a letter opposing the project. 

“The risks are simply too great to allow this project to move forward,” Driscoll added.

Atascadero resident Al Fonzi, a former hazardous-materials specialist instructor and retired emergency services coordinator, said he had heard and read a lot of false information about the product and risk.

“I feel there is a campaign of gross misinformation designed by very cynical groups to scare the public into taking incorrect action that’s against their long-term interest,” Fonzi said. 

A revised draft environmental impact report for the project was released last fall.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department is working toward releasing a final environmental impact report for the project, staff said in July. 

County staff also is reviewing recently released updated regulations from the federal Department of Transportation and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 

A San Luis Obispo County staff member said it is not known when the final EIR would be released or when the matter would go before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission.

The board’s actions follows Goleta Union School District, which sent an opposition letter in June.

Also opposing the project are Goleta, Santa Barbara, Ventura County, Moorpark and the city of San Luis Obispo.

After hearing from proponents and opponents, Guadalupe City Council decided in March not to take a stand on the issue.

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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Lompoc Boys and Girls Club Announces 43th Annual Stillman-Walker Memorial Golf Tournament

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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The United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County's Lompoc Club invites the public to attend the 34th Annual Stillman-Walker Memorial Golf Tournament “Fiesta on the Fairways” Friday, Sept. 4, 2015,

The tournament begins with a shot gun start at 1 p.m. at Village Country Club (4300 Clubhouse Road, Lompoc, CA 93436).

The entry fee of $125 per person includes lunch and dinner complimented with a fun live and silent auction with something for everyone. 

Proceeds will benefit the youth of Lompoc Valley.

You are also welcome to attend the awards banquet and dinner for $35 per person (reservations required) and learn more about the work the Lompoc Club does within the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County and those we honor on this day.

Please visit the United Boys & Girls Club website for more information.

— Carla Leal is the executive assistant for The United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County.

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Maritime Museum Presents Lecture on Sunken Ships of the Pacific

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Off the California Coast is one of the greatest underwater maritime museums in the country. There are thousands of prehistoric and historic submerged sites waiting to be discovered. 

West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Robert Schwemmer, who served as a principal investigator during 2014 and 2015, will share his research Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

In his lecture, he will reveal the final moments leading up to the sinking of various ships and the cutting edge technology used to record each wreck, one in nearly 3,000 feet of water.

Schwemmer coordinates and conducts archaeological surveys and research for the five National Marine Sanctuaries located along the Pacific West Coast. This work includes recording and mapping submerged sites utilizing SCUBA equipment, submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).

Deep-water projects include working from a manned submersible to perform a site assessment of the shipwreck Montebello, a WWII era oil tanker located at a depth of 900 feet off Cambria, Calif., that led to receiving the Award of Operational Merit from the United States Coast Guard for his exceptional service during this historic and unprecedented underwater assessment of the shipwreck.

Expeditions utilizing ​ROVs in California waters include a site assessment of the shipwreck Pacbaroness, a bulk carrier located at a depth of 1,500 feet off Point Conception, as well as the first archaeological survey of the USS Macon, a 785-foot U.S. Navy dirigible lost off Point Sur and now resting in 1,500 feet of water. 

Schwemmer has worked with other NOAA scientists on projects in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Arctic, the Great Lakes and assisted topside during the recovery of the gun turret from the civil war navy ship USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

More recently he has served as a principal investigator during discoveries of new shipwrecks off the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco and offshore Farallon Islands.

His discoveries and surveys in 2014 and 2015 include the passenger ships City of Chester, the City of Rio de Janeiro, termed the “Titanic of the Golden Gate,” the tramp steamer Selja off Point Reyes, the aircraft carrier USS Independence and a 100 year-old seagoing mystery tug off the Farallon Islands.

Schwemmer currently serves on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and is the current President of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Society. 

Entrance to the lecture is free to Maritime Museum members and costs $10 for non-members. It will be preceded by a members-only reception from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.

To register, go to www.sbmm.org or call 805.962.8404 x115

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at 113 Harbor Way, Suite 190, Santa Barbara, California 93109. Please visit sbmm.org for more details.

— Dennis Schuett is the marketing coordinator at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

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No Place Like Home: UCSB Social Psychologist Redefines the Concept of Home in New Book

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Lonely and emotionally rudderless after a divorce, but determined to build a healthy home for her son, Carmel Sullivan did something outside the box: She posted an ad seeking another single mom to “pool resources and share a house … create a safe environment for our children.”

Hoping for even a single promising response, she got 18 — and an idea. Sullivan ultimately found a great housemate and parenting partner and launched a web service, CoAbode (now 70,000 members strong), which matches single moms looking for a similar arrangement.

That story illustrates just one of the many unique living situations documented in a new book by social psychologist and UC Santa Barbara project scientist Bella DePaulo. “How We Live Now” (Atria Books, 2015) examines a modern lifestyle movement that is foregoing the conventional nuclear-family-in-suburbia model for a no-size-fits-all, home-is-what-you-make-it approach.

“It’s a question that so many people have: If I don’t live in a nuclear family, how do I live?” said DePaulo, a noted expert in research and writing on singles. “It’s becoming relevant to so many people — not just single people and young adults who are getting married later, but people who get divorced or widowed. There are now fewer people living in households of mom, dad and the kids than there are people living alone. It’s a whole different landscape.”

DePaulo set out to explore that landscape by traveling across America to find, meet and interview people who are driving this evolution of what she calls a “lifespace” — the ways we live and who we live with.

Through personal stories, media accounts and in-depth research, DePaulo reveals a range of creative lifespaces, from the intergenerational homes and neighborhoods fostering friendships between at-risk youths and the elderly, to the married couples who chose to live apart.

“There is no one life path anymore,” DePaulo said. “We used to think you find someone to marry, you have kids and stay married, have grandkids and stay in a house in the suburbs forever. And some people still do that, but now there are so many different ways to live, and people can come up with the way of living that really works for them that makes their lives most meaningful and fits who they really are.”

Her longtime study and chronicling of the single experience is what led DePaulo to the subject of her new book, after a blog post about the myriad, non-nuclear-family ways to live today sparked a lively discussion.

With a growing number of readers writing to her with tales of their own progressive “lifespaces” and frequent media coverage of the unique ways Americans are redefining home, DePaulo knew she had to dive deeper.

“I wanted to learn more about the creative ways of living that today’s adults are fashioning,” she explains in the opening chapter. “I wanted to go beyond the mostly brief sketches that had been published and explore in greater depth the psychology of the choices people are making. I wanted to know how people living in different ways get help when they need it and companionship when they want it. I wondered what ‘home’ means to people who are not living with family. I wanted to hear about the different arrangements people tried, what worked for them and what didn’t, and what they learned about themselves along the way.”

Some of the most creative situations DePaulo said she discovered were among the senior set, from older women living together as housemates — “The Golden Girls” come to life — to the senior co-housing communities that are increasingly popular with older Americans looking for a more familial alternative to institutionalized care.

“One of the things I was so delighted to discover is the Santa Barbara Village, which is part of a nationwide movement that started in Boston,” DePaulo said in an interview. “It’s a membership organization where you can sign up and they’ll help you, in many ways, stay in the place where you live as long as possible — get you help with errands or rides — and there’s a social aspect, too. So many people as they get older don’t want to end up in institutions or ask for too much help, but when you have this village in your area you have a way of getting the help that you need and maybe getting access to some social events as well. I had no idea about that before.

“What’s the future? Who knows?” she continued. “I never would have predicted most of the possibilities I found, so who knows what they’ll come up with next. I think a lot of people fantasize, ‘How could I live if I had no impediments or misgivings about what other people think?’ I hope this book provides some inspiration for people to really follow their dreams.”

— Shelly Leachman is the public affairs and development writer for UC Santa Barbara.

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Goleta Backs But Won’t Fund Community Choice Energy Study

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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The city of Goleta supports a multi-agency effort to study whether more renewable energy sources could be used in electricity serving Central Coast communities.

A majority of officials just didn’t want to put any money toward the idea on Tuesday.

Goleta City Council unanimously voted to back a Santa Barbara County-led effort to consider Community Choice Energy, or Community Choice Aggregation, which allows California cities and counties to choose the source of electrical power and to set their own rates.

Local governments can purchase electricity from cleaner sources like solar or wind, which would then be delivered through existing utilities transmission lines.

Where council member opinions differed, however, was if Goleta should allocate $15,000 from its general fund to participate in a technical and financial feasibility study.

Mayor Paula Perotte and Councilman Michael Bennett were in favor, but councilmen Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo didn’t want to give the county any more money than the millions Goleta already provides annually via a revenue-neutrality agreement the city signed with the county when Goleta incorporated in 2002.

Because Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr has been absent from meetings since August with a yet-to-be-disclosed medical problem, the funding vote would’ve been deadlocked 2-2.

A dozen public speakers were in favor of the allocation, since a CCE is mentioned in Goleta’s Climate Action Plan as the best local strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“CCE will offer rate payers something they’ve never had before — competition and choice,” said April Price of the Community Environmental Council, which allocated $50,000 of its own funds for the study.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in June approved $400,000 in funding for the initial phase of evaluating the formation of a CCE program.

The county estimates the feasibility study will cost $500,000. To offset its contribution, the county asked other agencies to put in money and, in exchange, those agencies get a representative on an advisory working group that helps choose a consultant and review a study draft.

The Santa Barbara City Council and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors allocated $50,000 each toward the study, and San Luis Obispo County officials will soon consider a similar $50,000 request, Goleta’s advance-planning manager Anne Wells said.

Vallejo likened the county’s financial request to “a guy who mugs you on the street corner” and then asks for cab fare.

Wells assured officials that participating in the study wouldn’t alter Goleta’s existing electricity provider — Southern California Edison — but she noted a CCE could lead to surcharges.

Cities would negotiate contracts with energy providers and could also save customers money. She said customers could also opt out of a CCE program.

After completion of a study, the state would have to approve a CCE before it’s rolled out to customers, Wells said.

Aceves said he had no problem with participating, but opposed contributing money to the study. 

Staff confirmed the city wouldn’t have to pay to be involved in the study, since a CCE would need to work with Goleta to collect data.

“The study will definitely tell us what we want to know,” Perotte said.

“It’s unfortunate that Mayor Pro Tem Farr is not here, but that’s where we are at this point.”

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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$1 Billion Haggen Lawsuit Claims Albertsons Sabotage Over Store Rollout

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Suit alleges grocery chain misled FTC, attempted elimination of competition after selling 146 stores

The Haggen saga continued this week when the grocery chain filed a lawsuit against Albertsons, alleging the grocer undermined sales efforts and intentionally provided false retail data for recently sold stores — causing Haggen to unknowingly inflate prices at former Albertsons locations.

Haggen, a Bellingham, Wash.-based chain, filed the complaint on Tuesday in U.S. District Court against Albertsons LLC and Albertsons Holdings LLC, seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

The lawsuit follows Haggen’s recent announcement to close or sell 26 stores in five states, many of them acquired this year as part of the 146 Haggen picked up from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., the entity created when Safeway (owner of Vons) merged with Albertsons.

None of the six Santa Barbara County stores are set to close, but Haggen won’t rule out future closures.

Sixteen California stores are on the chopping block.

In the complaint, Haggen alleges Albertsons purposefully sought out the Haggen chain to convince the Federal Trade Commission to allow the merger with Safeway — planning all along to violate terms of the deal by engaging in “coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition and Haggen as a viable competitor in over 130 local grocery markets in five states.”

Albertons damaged the Haggen brand, the complaint says, coordinating efforts to launch Albertsons advertising campaigns to coincide with Haggen store re-openings, removing store fixtures and inventory Haggen paid for, diverting some inventory to other Albertsons stores and failing to perform routine maintenance on stores and equipment.

Other “malicious and unfair actions” cited included deliberately under-stocking certain inventory at Haggen-acquired stores below ordinary levels so products would be out of stock upon grand openings and overstocking perishable inventory so that Haggen had to throw away significant amounts of paid-for inventory.

Haggen also alleges Albertsons illegally accessed confidential data to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

Since taking over stores, Haggen has struggled to find footing, reducing hours for employees and catching heat — and a class action discrimination lawsuit — after laying off 14 developmentally disabled people working as courtesy clerks at some of six Santa Barbara County stores.

The Albertsons on Calle Real in Goleta rehired some of those developmentally disabled employees last week, according to a store manager, but no other details were available.

Albertsons spokesman Carlos Illingworth confirmed some employees were rehired, noting that claims made in Haggen's lawsuit were "completely without merit."

"We are happy to have these employees back with us and are proud of our long standing history of providing employment to people with diverse backgrounds and abilities," Illingworth said in an email statement.

Last week, Los Angeles-based United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 770 filed charges against Haggen stores, Albertsons and Vons, claiming the grocery chains failed to fully inform workers about job protections — alleging Haggen had always planned to close stores and lay off employees.

In Haggen’s lawsuit, the chain places all the blame on Albertsons for providing false information and for trying to create a monopoly.

Instead of focusing on succeeding in new markets, the complaint states, “Haggen has had to focus on strategies to recover from Albertsons’ wrongful acts, which include, sadly, Haggen’s efforts to find new jobs for displaced employees who, too, are victims of Albertsons’ actions.

“Albertson’s anti-competitive conduct caused significant damage to Haggen’s image, brand, and ability to build goodwill during its grand openings to the public,” according to the complaint. “Albertson’s unlawful acts destroyed or substantially lessened the economic viability, marketability and competitiveness of the [Haggen] stores, depriving consumers in each of the relevant markets the benefits of substantial competition from a new market entrant.”

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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Cottage Health Hopes to Curb Lung Cancer with Free Screenings for Eligible Patients

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Lung Association. With early screening and intervention, the incidence of lung cancer deaths due to smoking may be minimized.  

Cottage Health now offers a lung screening program using low-dose X-ray technology to provide a detailed look inside the lungs. 

As an ACR-Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center, Cottage Health’s Center for Advanced Imaging provides a fast, noninvasive CAT-scan that can identify smaller nodules and cancers more readily than a traditional chest X-ray.

Studies show that this scan can find up to 85 percent of lung cancers in the earliest, most curable stages and has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths by up to 20 percent.

The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, U.S. Preventative Task Force and American Lung Association highly recommend doing early lung cancer screening for patients who may have the highest risk for the disease.

To qualify for the lung screening service, patients must meet the following criteria:

» Be a current or former smoker with a history of smoking for at least 30 years of smoking at least one pack a day, or two packs a day for 15 years, etc.

» Aged 55–77

» Have no major signs or symptoms of lung cancer or a related condition that would prevent receiving cancer treatment

» Get an order for the test from a physician

Lung cancer screening is covered by Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as private insurance with a written order from a physician or qualified mid-level practitioner.

Cottage Health has a murse navigator available to help patients through the screening process, detection, follow-up and cancer diagnosis and care.

For more information or to make an appointment for a screening, please contact our Nurse Navigator Kate Moesker at 805.324.9235. 

— Maria Zate represents Cottage Health.

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CoastHills Employees Remember Efforts in Katrina 10 Years Later

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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 After 10 years , Seanna Ochoa still remembers the 8-year-old boy who mirrored her every step. His family was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and Ochoa was volunteering at a shelter on a special leave from CoastHills Credit Union. 

“There was this little boy; he followed me everywhere,” said Ochoa, now the collections quality assurance officer for CoastHills. “He was a child of one of the victims, but once he got into the shelter, all he wanted to do was help.” 

When CoastHills Credit Union decided to sponsor aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, the credit union’s leadership team decided to allow for a select group of five employees to volunteer in relief efforts with American Red Cross while continuing to be compensated for their entire time of service.

Staff response was rapid, and within a few days, the CoastHills relief team was in place. 
 
“Once we began to see the devastation, we really wanted to respond in a way that would make a difference,” CoastHills President and CEO Jeff York said. “Looking back 10 years, I am so proud of what this credit union did and what our relief team members were able to contribute. Honestly, to allow for those five employees to immerse themselves in the relief effort was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.” 

Marla Hernandez had twice spent her vacation from work volunteering in flood relief efforts, and Ochoa had studied to be an EMT. 

Still working at the credit union 10 years later, the pair of Lompoc, Calif., residents remembered the anniversary of the Category 3 hurricane’s landfall in Southern Louisiana Aug. 29, 2005, by recalling the disaster’s profound impact.

“It was amazing how rewarding it was to help,” Ochoa said.

After a day of training with the Red Cross in Santa Maria, Calif., Ochoa was placed in a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. There, some refugees arrived after having been stranded for days on their rooftops back in Louisiana.

Others had been moved from the Superdome in New Orleans. Ochoa divvied supplies, served food, babysat children and helped register those who had lost IDs, wallets, purses, social security cards and birth certificates — everything.

She was struck by the spirit in the shelter, which she described as a warehouse full of cots, very few belongings and even less privacy.

“They told us to be prepared. People have lost everything. You’re going to be dealing with people who were at their lowest of lows,” said Ochoa. “Once I got there, I was so shocked at how positive they were. They were actually very thankful.”

A CoastHills Collections Officer, Hernandez used her own vacation time to aid in flood relief efforts in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1993 and again in Sacramento, Calif., in 1997.

Her own home was flooded in a 1998 El Niño storm. After Katrina, that experience landed her in Falls Church, Va., the site of a major Red Cross call center. She directed callers to shelters and local organizations where they could receive vouchers for food, clothing and medical aid.

The call volume was so high, Hernandez said, callers were waiting on hold for extreme lengths of time, and the conversations were so intensely personal, they usually lasted an hour or more once a connection was made. Often, the caller’s home had been flooded and he or she had little idea how to proceed. 

“We had people on the line waiting 24 hours,” Hernandez said. “People would go to sleep and have a family member sitting by phone with the phone off the hook. We would yell, ‘Hello! Hello!’ Then you could hear feet running and people yelling, ‘Don’t hang up!’"

Hernandez and Ochoa each returned having made a difference elsewhere and use that life-changing experience to bring a unique level of dedication and service to our members. Each was enriched by the experience and would encourage others to volunteer should the opportunity arise.
 
“If people want to get prepared for a disaster should it come,” Ochoa said, “they should go do their part, get certified by the Red Cross and be ready.”
 
Said Hernandez: “You go through something like that, and you come back knowing, ‘I can handle anything you want to throw at me.’ ”

— Joshua D. Scroggin is the social media officer at CoastHills Credit Union.

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Leadership SB Seeks Nonprofit Proposals for Community Service Project

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Does your nonprofit organization have a project that could benefit from the time, energy and expertise of 25 emerging leaders?  

Leadership Santa Barbara County (LSBC), a local leadership development program, seeks proposals from local nonprofits for service projects in southern Santa Barbara County.

The ideal project will have a deep enough scope to engage the entire 25 member class and the ability to be completed between Nov. 2015 and May 2016. 

In addition to planning and executing these projects, LSBC class members have historically raised $5,000–$10,000 and solicited in-kind gifts to support the completion of the projects. It is expected that the selected nonprofit will supply volunteers and additional funding as needed.

Past class projects include Chicken Coop for Fairview Gardens Educational Program, Onsite Mini-Libraries for Housing Authority of SB, Structural Improvements and Murals for DAWG, Garden and Mural for Girl’s Inc., Composting at Garden Court and Playground for Isla Vista Youth Projects.

LSBC classes seek projects where they can have a hands-on experience in addition to raising funds and awareness. The organization that is selected to partner with Leadership Santa Barbara must provide a staff liaison to coordinate with the class members. 

Proposals must be submitted through an online application, by Sept. 30, 2015.  

The top four proposals will be invited to make a 10-minute pitch to the LSBC class Nov. 13, 2015.

Throughout the year, the class will work hand in hand with a non-profit of its choice to complete an in-depth project. The scope of work is determined by the class, in collaboration with the selected nonprofit, as members develop, plan and execute the effort before May's graduation event.

The May topic day unveils the project to the public.

While each year's project will provide benefits to a non-profit organization, class members gain unparalleled exposure and training in project management that transfers to future volunteerism, workplace and philanthropic efforts.

Non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit their project ideas annually. Up to four organizations will be invited to present at the November skills day session where the class will use skills acquired that day to choose its project.

— Valerie Ellis is a board member for Leadership Santa Barbara County.

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Day-Care Provider Ordered to Trial On Child-Torture Charges

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Georgina Ruiz

A Santa Maria day-care provider will be tried on felony child-torture charges, a Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge ruled Monday.

The hearing to determine whether enough evidence exists for a trial for Georgina Ruiz, 51, started Friday afternoon before Judge Patricia Kelly and resumed Monday.

The preliminary hearing wrapped up at mid-afternoon, Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens said.

Ruiz was arrested in February on suspicion of child-torture and endangerment charges in a case involving multiple victims, authorities said. 

She operated a licensed day-care facility in her home on Bungalow Drive. 

Several Santa Maria police detectives testified during the preliminary hearing about the case involving alleged incidents in 1998 and 1999 with two victims, and another more recent case involving a different child.

Santa Maria Police Department Detective Cassandra Coria said one of the earlier victims remained mum about her injuries because Ruiz told the girl to lie about how her leg became broken. 

“It was during the time she was in fear she felt she would be killed,” Coria said. 

Detectives testified about bruises and scrapes on the young girls. A boy told police Ruiz hit him and made him take a cold shower.

“He just told me it was really cold," Cpl. Michael Huffman said.

The boy also described being hit by Ruiz and pointed to areas he was struck, Huffman said.

Defense attorney Tom Allen spent time Friday questioning whether police, after taking Ruiz into custody,  properly administered her Miranda warning regarding a person's rights to remain silent.

Allen also tried to poke holes in police testimony that Ruiz, a 30-year resident in the United States, sought to be freed from jail because planned to flee to Mexico.

The defense attorney said the woman with diabetes simply wanted out of jail due to health concerns in addition to fearing for her safety.

“Did you feel her pleading was disingenuous, that her life was in fear?” Allen asked Detective Jose DeLejia Jr., who listened to several recordings of Ruiz’s conversations in Spanish with her husband and other relatives during phone calls.

“I don’t know her so I don’t know if it was genuine or not,” DeLejia said.

Her bail initially was set at $500,000, but was revoked two days after her Feb. 10 arrest because police officers expressed concern she intended to flee the country.

A judge later set bail at $1.6 million. She remains in custody.

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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Victor Dominocielo: Why We Must Restructure Our Science Curriculum

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Mathematics is, inherently, the perfectly sequenced curriculum. Basic numerical skills must be mastered before moving on to the next level of complexity.  

If one cannot add, subtract, multiply and divide, it is impossible to do algebra, geometry, calculus, etc.  So, mathematics has this rational, logical progression which cannot be supplanted by curriculum fads; teacher, parent or administrative fancy or federally funded programs.  

Four aspects of teaching mathematics should be noted:

» Basic mathematical skills are continuously used and reinforced during all subsequent higher mathematical instruction.

» Math instruction uses mistakes made to instruct until concepts are learned.

» The four basic math skills are pervasive in all aspects of our everyday life.

» Few students will become PhD mathematicians.

The same could be said for some non-science subjects.

English instruction must be carefully sequenced to build upon what has gone before: vocabulary, reading ability, basic sentence and paragraph composition must take place before reading Shakespeare.  

The basic skills of vocabulary, reading and writing are prioritized and focused upon at every level of instruction just as in the study of mathematics.

Other school subjects may not be as dependent upon and tied to strict sequencing. For example, one can study American history before or after Greek and Roman history.  

In science instruction, the curriculum has been hijacked out of its natural learning sequence by driving younger and younger students toward overspecialization, a high pressure learning environment and a narrow focusing on only one single aspect of scientific methodology: experimentation.  

We have been led to believe that experimentation is the ultimate basic skill of science. It is not.  

What are the most basic skills of science that should be emphasized every day in every science class? I suggest that the rigorous examination of evidence, including understanding the tool used to collect, analyze and interpret that evidence (the brain), are the most basic skills of science.  

All schools and all school subjects are seeing a drive toward overspecialization at younger and younger ages. The rationale is that if a certain depth of learning can occur in college, maybe then it can be pushed down to seniors in high school.  

Then if it can be pushed down to high schoolers, maybe it will work in junior high, and so on down the line. Intertwined with this phenomena, is a high pressure learning environment which is driven by a, “We can always do more; we can always do better” rationale.  

This overspecialized, high pressure learning environment is well documented in the award winning film, “Race to Nowhere."

Every educator I know will acknowledge the detrimental aspects of the “Race To Nowhere,” and then some will, within the next minute, espouse the, “We can always do more; we can always do better” philosophy.  

It may take teachers a while to hear the incompatibility of these two ideas and change their classroom teaching styles. “Replace the race” is the new buzz-phrase.

This high stress/high pressure environment is also apparent in athletics. Elementary and Junior High coaches observe this drive toward over specialization and over-focus at younger and younger ages.  

The cost to our student athletes is high in burnout at younger ages and repeat injuries that become chronic and negate wonderful high school and college athletic experiences.  

Regarding the science curriculum, the problem is an over focus on experimentation to the detriment of the rigorous examination of evidence. Very few science students will go on to professional science careers in which they perform experimental research; however, every single science student will be asked to evaluate evidence continuously, on a daily, even hourly basis throughout their entire lives.  

From grocery shopping (buying anything), renting an apartment, cooking a meal, considering work related variables, school social situations or to listening to family and friends, the evaluation of evidence is one of the most important aspects of our lives and the most basic skill of science.  

And…we are terrible at it.

Our science curriculum produces graduates who believe in alien visitation, Sasquatch, ghosts and telepathy. Some are conspiracy theorists; they think that “remote viewing” is a scientific skill and that magnets, copper pyramids and holographic bracelets will combine with nano vibrations to channel unseen “energy” to heal whatever ails you.

The adults who promote this nonsense and fall for these scams were once our students. We taught them everything they know about how to examine the world scientifically…and we failed them.  

Every one of these people graduated from elementary, middle and high school science programs. They took our tests and passed our science courses. They met the State requirements and the Federal No Child Left Behind or Common Core requirements. They did experiment after experiment.

They became good “cookbook” lab rats and lab technicians, and then when the first unexplained event happened in their lives, they immediately abandoned science and went to psychic, supernatural or “new age” fringe explanations.  

We failed to teach our former students how to think scientifically about everyday life. We failed to teach them what is a simple, basic prescription about questions to ask, how to examine evidence and how their perceptions and their pattern-forming brain can be fooled.  

We made them do experiment after experiment but didn’t teach them to use the basic skills of scientific investigation with every breath they take in their everyday lives.

Science is not about learning how to do an experiment. Science is about thinking and reasoning in a certain way. Just like mathematics is about reasoning, philosophy is about reasoning, history is about reasoning and intelligence is about reasoning.

Why this focus on experimentation?  

Historically, lack of experimentation is the main reason why science was a disjointed, mostly individual pursuit over the course of our civilization.

The ancients relied on philosophy, “natural philosophy,” logic and reason to know and understand their world. They didn’t bother to experiment because their philosophy led them directly to “knowledge” for thousands of years.  

As we began to understand the process for discovering the natural forces at work in our world (i.e. scientific methodology), teachers naturally embraced and even over-emphasized experimentation at every level of science instruction to make up for millennia of lack of experimentation. But experimentation is still not a basic skill of science.

Having students focus on laboratory skills and experimentation at younger and younger ages produces specialists who don’t know how to question seemingly incompatible observations in their everyday lives. 

This tendency in schools and the drive by teachers and parents to “always do more; always do better” and to make every student a “real scientist” by sixth grade has been a failure.

Experimentation became the be-all, end-all, must-do-all, hands-on splinter skill.  

Sacrificed on the altar of “laboratory experimentation” was the rich history, development and the how-and-why of scientific thinking in everyday life that is scientific literacy.

 “It is possible for a student to accumulate a fairly sizable science knowledge base without learning how to properly distinguish between reputable science and pseudoscience, write Walker, Hoekstra, Vogel in “Science Education Is No Guarantee of Skepticism.” 

College professors frequently lament that college level science students do not arrive with basic science skills. College students can do college level science work because they’ve been practicing college level experimentation in junior high and senior high school, when they should have been focusing on the rigorous examination of evidence.

They’re good in the lab, they can do experiment after experiment, but they're not so good about experimental rationale, interpreting scientific results or examining the quality of evidence produced.  

Of course, evaluating evidence can be done as part of every scientific experiment, but the skill of evaluating evidence must be emphasized in all aspects of everyday life, not just formal laboratory experiments.  

Science instruction and sequencing should follow the mathematical template:

» Use and reinforce basic scientific skills (question, analyze, interpret and evaluate evidence) at every level of instruction.  

» Use scientific mistakes throughout history to highlight scientific development.

» Show how basic scientific thinking and methodology is pervasive in everyday life.

» Few students will become PhD experimental research scientists, so focus on basic skills.

Considering the above four points, every science class can be two courses: the specific subject (biology, chemistry, physics, health, etc), which includes experimentation, plus a scientific methodology and investigation course or unit.

Gradually, over a few years, science teachers could develop a continuous thread of instruction incorporating the following:

1.  The history of their branch of science, mistakes made and how eventually corrected

2.  Everyday scientific investigation: What ideas, events, products and processes claim to be scientific but are not (psychics, aliens, crop circles, anti-aging scams, miracle weight loss, etc)?

3.  How our pattern forming brain works and can be tricked, video analyze some simple magic tricks, (students at every level, even adults love to learn how they can be distracted and fooled by simple magic tricks)

4.   Simple questions that highlight scientific thinking and methodology such as the following:

  • » What is the exact source of the information?  
  • » Does the source have a vested interest in the information?
  • » Does the research suggest a preliminary association or a causal relationship?
  • » What explanation has the most scientific evidence?
  • » What explanation makes the fewest assumptions (Occam’s Razor)?  That is, what’s the more likely explanation?
  • » Can the claim be disproved by gathering evidence? (Could someone falsify the information?).
  • » Does the explanation use scientific jargon to confuse rather than to clarify?  
  • » Have scientific experiments failed to disprove the claim?  
  • » Is the evidence positive?

5.  Does the information have a mechanism that conforms to the basic operations of physics, chemistry and biology? Reikian energy, psychic clairvoyance, dowsing, chi, yin, yang and drinkable sunscreen are all immaterial belief concepts without scientific mechanisms.

These are just a few of the areas and some of the sample questions that can be asked in any science course that examines scientific methodology and investigation in everyday life.  

There is a great deal of excellent material on this subject: the works of astronomer Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World", mathematician Martin Gardner's "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science" and science historian, Professor Michael Shermer "Why People Believe Strange Things" and "The Believing Brain," to name but a few.

As we start our new school year, I hope all teachers will consider the detrimental effects of the “Race to Nowhere,” and I hope all our science teachers will incorporate the rigorous examination of evidence in all aspects of life into their courses.  

Our science students will be the better for it.

— Victor Dominocielo, M.A., a California-credentialed teacher for 38 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local school. He earned his master of arts degree in education from UCSB. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Congressional Runner Justin Fareed on Iran Nuclear Deal

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Congressional candidate Justin Fareed attended an event this past weekend to discuss Obama’s recent Iran nuclear deal. He comments:

"Negotiating from a point of profound weakness is a mistake with very predictable, immediate and long term consequences. With this deal, the notion of a nuclear proliferated Middle East is a certain reality and the implications that it will have on future generations are significant and globally far-reaching. 

"The complete circumvention of the wellbeing and consideration of surrounding states is blindly ignorant. I urge Congresswoman Capps to reconsider. Of note, Representative Capps was one of the members who supported the boycott of Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to the American people.” 

"Iran continues to be the world’s largest and most prolific exporter of terrorism and is dangerously close to developing nuclear weapons. Imagine what an extra release of $150 billion will do for them! It is important to understand the parameters, provisions and ramifications within this deal. Read the fine print!

"Rep. Capps chose to walk out of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress. In doing so, Rep. Capps abandoned her constitutional obligation to fully represent her constituents and showed complete disregard for one of our greatest allies. Her lack of respect for a highly intelligent global leader is unimaginable. At the very least, one might ask what has happened to diplomacy."

Justin Fareed is a congressional candidate for the CA-24 open seat. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Overnight Parking of RVs, Oversized Vehicles Banned in Isla Vista

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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To the delight of Isla Vista residents, Santa Barbara County supervisors told overnight parkers of RVs and other oversized vehicles to hit the road after they passed an ordinance Tuesday that would deter such activity, and even allow those vehicles to be towed away.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance unanimously, to the applause of a dozen or so long-term Isla Vista residents who showed up Tuesday to spoke in favor of the vote.

Earlier this summer, the board adopted an oversized vehicle ordinance, and the penalty for the violation is $50 plus administrative fees.  

The municipal code defines an oversized vehicle as any motor vehicle, boat or trailer that meets or exceed at least one of the criteria of being 24 feet long, 7 feet tall or 8 feet wide.

With the affirmative vote, the ordinance now allows for the vehicles to be towed if they are found in violation.

According to the ordinance, oversized vehicles will not be allowed to park between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on public streets in Isla Vista.

Signs warning people of the parking ordinance will be installed within 120 days of Tuesday’s vote, and the ban will take effect. 

Area residents had asked supervisors to consider the move, saying that more of these vehicles have been showing up in Isla Vista neighborhoods after the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta passed their own bans. 

Eleven speakers showed up at the meeting, most of them residents of Isla Vista for decades, who supported the ordinance changes.

Bonnie Murdoch said that the streets were crowded enough without large vehicles parked overnight.

“There’s barely enough parking overnight for our residents,” she said.

Others expressed concern about witnessing people dumping waste, noise from generators and vehicles parking near playgrounds that often have young children in the area.

David Hubbard, a 24-year-old resident of Isla Vista, said he was “so pleased” the board members were taking the issue on and commended them for their interest.

“The board has paid a lot of attention to Isla Vista lately,” he said, adding that the community it seeing the result.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes Isla Vista, said that it’s been a cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and people living in the oversized vehicles, some who would be told to move and would only move their vehicles an inch or two to meet the bare minimums of the request.

With this year's opening of the Pescadero Lofts, a $10.3 million supportive housing project that supports 32 formerly homeless people, Farr said felt the county was doing more to help the homeless in that area.

She and her staff will also continue to explore locations for a safe parking programs, where vehicles could be parked overnight safely and without being in violation.

Though the ordinance would not change RV parking availability during the day around playgrounds, Farr encouraged the residents to talk with the new community resources deputy in Isla Vista.

“The rules are only as good as the enforcement, but I think this has been a longstanding concern,” she said of the vehicles.

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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Romantics Opening Planned for Camerata Pacifica’s 26th Season

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Camerata Pacifica, Southern California’s critically renowned chamber music ensemble, will open its 26th season of chamber music concerts Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Principal artists Warren Jones, piano; Richard O’Neill, viola and Ani ​Aznavoorian, cello, will be joined by violinists Paul Huang and Agnes Gottschewski in a program of the romantics. 

Immediately endearing himself to the Camerata audience, Paul Huang was introduced to the ensemble just two seasons ago.

Earlier this year he was a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Award. Huang will launch the Camerata season with Ysaÿe’s virtuosic "Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, 'Georges Enescu.'"

Following, long-time Cameratans Jones and ​Aznavoorian will present Brahms’s "E Minor Sonata No. 1 for Piano & Cello, Opus 38."

Huang and Jones will close the first half of the program with smiles of delight and Sarasate’s "Opus 22, Romanza Andaluza."

Violinist Paul Huang (David Bazemore photo)

The second half of the program is devoted to the rarely performed, mighty "F minor Piano Quintet" of César Franck. Gottchewski and O’Neill will join Huang, Aznavoorian and Jones in this work, which is romantic both in form and expression, and intensely passionate from beginning to end. 

Four- or eight-concert subscriptions for Santa Barbara's Hahn Hall, San Marino's The Huntington, Los Angeles's Zipper Hall and Ventura's Temple Beth Torah range from $121–$403.

First-Timers, those who have not before enjoyed a subscription, can purchase any four concerts for $125 plus applicable facility fees.

Single Tickets for Hahn Hall cost $60. Students can purchase rush tickets for $10 30 minutes prior to concert time with valid student ID.

— Donna Jean Liss represents ​Camerata Pacifica.

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Elmer Bernstein Memorial FIlm Series Launches ‘The Sweet Smell of Success’

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts (SBCPA) is proud to present the 2015–2016 Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series, celebrating distinguished film music on the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art digital screen, surrounded by the spectacular beauty of The Granada Theatre.

This notable film series will be curated by Jon Burlingame, the nation’s leading writer on music for film and television and an expert on the music of Elmer Bernstein.

The series will kick off Monday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m., with the "The Sweet Smell of Success," starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.

The full lineup of films is as follows:

Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series 2015-2016

» "The Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, 7 p.m.

» T"rue Grit" (1969), Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, 7 p.m.

» "Hawaii" (1966), Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, 7 p.m.

» "Airplane" (1980), Monday, March 7, 2016, 7 p.m.

» "The Age of Innocence" (1993), Monday, May 9, 2016, 7 p.m.

Established by the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts to honor the life and work of noted film composer and Santa Barbara resident, Elmer Bernstein, the Elmer Bernstein Memorial Film Series presents films noteworthy for the importance of their musical scores to the telling of each film’s unique story.

A guest curator is selected each year to program the series, host the screening, discuss each film and moderate a question and answer session with the audience and other special guests. 

“Elmer’s greatest passion was creating music for the arts, and it is truly an honor to have his legacy in film be memorialized in Santa Barbara, a city he called home,” said Elmer Bernstein’s widow, Eve Bernstein.

Curator ​Burlingame is the nation’s leading writer on music for film and television. He regularly writes for the Daily Variety and the Los Angeles Times and has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, Premier, Emmy and The Hollywood Reporter.

He is the author of four books on music in motion pictures, television and recording. He is also a leading expert on the music of Elmer Bernstein and contributed a chapter on Bernstein in the book "Moving Music: Conversations With Renowned Film Composers."

Tickets range in price from $10–$20 and are available through The Granada Theatre’s box office. Please click here or call 805.899.2222 to purchase tickets. 

Dates and film titles are subject to change. 

For all sponsorship opportunities, please contact Director of Development Kristi Newton by phone at 805.451.2932 or via email at [email protected].

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts.

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John Daly: How to Be on Top of Your Game, and Know When You’re Not

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Not long ago I signed with a service provider to work with me on The Key Class. By “service provider,” I don’t mean an Internet service, but someone to help me accomplish my goals with my company.

After the first initial meetings, I was so excited and ready to go. I was given lots of ideas on what I needed to be doing ... but after about a month or so ... I realized that nothing that had been promised on the other end of the relationship was being delivered.

I had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d made a mistake. Another few months later and that feeling became a reality.

So rather than let it go on, I decided to own my mistake and correct it. That led to a meeting at which I determined with the provider that we both had a lack of understanding of each other’s needs. As a result, we terminated our agreement.

So onward and upward.

About a month ago, I found someone else to fulfill the services that I so desperately needed. I signed the dotted line and held my breath. Within two days, my inbox was inundated with positive accomplished tasks!

By the end of the first two weeks, this person had accomplished more than her predecessor had in three months! I was in heaven, and still am.

But, what makes the difference between someone who talks a good game compared to someone who is at the top of her game?

» Excellent time management

» Fine-tuned organizational skills

» Attention to detail

» Delivering more than is promised

» Great and continuous communication

» Providing quality work in a time-efficient manner

» Keeping a positive, upbeat attitude

» Dealing with others with respect

» Always maintaining a courteous, friendly manner in person, on the phone and via email

» Handling all issues in a highly ethical manner

» Taking responsibility for your actions

» Being a team player — there is no “I” in team

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. It’s one thing to be personable enough to win a contract with a client. It’s another thing to uphold your end of the bargain.

Whether you make that bargain with an employer or as an independent contractor, if you want to build a great reputation and assure yourself of long-term or repeat business, these are the skills to keep in mind.

Talent and skill are merely the basic price of entry. How you deliver them involves soft skills that will be the critical difference between your success and failure in the eyes of others.

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

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Merging Banks Unanimously Agree on Name ‘American Riviera Bank’

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Following the recent announcement of their definitive agreement to merge, American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara commissioned a locally based firm, Idea Engineering, to conduct a branding study. 

As a result of the findings, both banks are excited to announce that the unanimous decision for the name of the merged bank will be: American Riviera Bank. 

The study included interviews with the banks’ directors, employees and customers as well as community members. Past press releases, press coverage and advertising was reviewed as well as current website and social media presence to assess overall brand impact in the community to date and prospective impact going forward.

“The decision on naming was not taken lightly,” according to Jeff DeVine, President and CEO of American Riviera Bank. “Both banks have strong brand loyalty within their client base and are attached to their existing names for good reasons. However, after reviewing the branding study it was concluded that the ‘new’ American Riviera Bank is a name that best embodies our culture and is a brand that can be further developed over time even with geographic expansion.” 

Next steps include submitting all necessary applications to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) as well as drafting proxy materials for the shareholders of both banks.

On Oct. 27, 2015, American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara will hold separate shareholder meetings to vote on the merger. Once shareholder approvals are obtained, the FDIC and DBO will have final approval authority for the merger which is anticipated to close on Jan. 1, 2016.

“The selection of American Riviera Bank as the ‘new’ name was a uniting moment for the entire team, and we look forward to obtaining approvals and seamlessly integrating the two banks,” said Joanne Funari, interim CEO of The Bank of Santa Barbara and eventual chief operating officer of the proposed bank. “We all realize the name is secondary to delivering the service our clients are accustomed to and being the very best community bank that existing and prospective customers want to be a part of.” 

The merged American Riviera Bank will be the second largest community bank based in the City of Santa Barbara and will serve local businesses and consumers with branches in downtown Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta.  

The combined bank will offer full-service mortgage and small business lending departments and will have a legal lending limit of approximately $10 million, which is higher than either institution previously held. 

For now, it’s business as usual at American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara. 

Clients should continue to utilize their existing branches, ATMs, check supplies and deposit slips at the branch locations of their current bank. 

In early 2016, customers will have the ability to utilize any branch location and ATM of either bank. 

— Jennier Goddard is a publicist representing the new American Riviera Bank.

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Ron Fink: Council Members Should Serve for Community, Not Paychecks

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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The Lompoc City Council recently discussed whether they should raise their pay. The result of this discussion was informative.
 
Two issues were associated with the raise; the first was whether to reinstate the 20 percent mileage allowance cuts they made in 2010, and second whether to raise the stipend they receive for attending meetings and city-related functions.

The staff pointed out that the last time the council considered raising their stipend was back in 1999 when it was doubled to the current rate. 

And prior to that, they discussed it in 1985 when the town was considerably smaller and the agenda much shorter.  

In 30 years, the council has raised its stipend only twice — would they do it at this meeting?

 

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cost-of-living index as a guide, the staff pointed out that the council member monthly salary rate of $600 in 1999 has the same buying power as $859.44 in 2015 dollars, and the mayoral monthly salary of $800 in 1999 has the same buying power as $1,145.92 in 2015 dollars.

Then there is the mileage allowance. The city uses an assumed 450 miles a month to pay a flat rate for travel — that’s a lot of travel, and it’s doubtful that all of them consistently travel this far on city business each month.

The city requires no mileage logs to justify these payments. If they did, I am sure that some months members may travel this much, but in all likelihood the allowance would be much lower if based on actual miles traveled rather than this overly generous assumption.

The staff recommended that they consider raising council members stipend to $1,000 and the mayors’ stipend to $1,200 and reinstate the mileage reduction. Thus the stipend increase would have been about 60 percent higher than today for a total impact of about $12,000 a year.

When was the last time you heard of politicians not wanting to raise their pay?

Mayor Bob Lingl separated the discussion into two parts — first was the mileage allowance.

Councilman Dirk Starbuck seemed to think that 450 miles a month was a little bit too much.

“I certainly know I don’t travel as much as some of you do," he said. "I don’t feel entitled to as much travel as I get, but I appreciate staff looking at this and bringing it forward, but I don’t think it would be a good issue for us to discuss voting in a pay raise for ourselves, so I’ll probably vote against any of these recommendations.”

Councilman DeWayne Holmdahl, who voted in favor of the increase while serving on the council in 1999, disagreed, saying he felt that the raise was justified due to rising gas prices. 

When the vote was taken, raising the mileage rate failed 3-2 with Holmdahl and Victor Vega favoring the increase.

Then came the council stipend. Lingl, who probably puts in more hours representing the city than some of the others do, seemed to express it best.

“We don’t do it for the money. It’s an honor to do it," he said. "I feel comfortable with the amount of compensation I am getting, and I didn’t need it, and I don’t think future councils will need it.”

Councilman Vega disagreed. 

“Sure it’s an honor to be on this council, being an elected official, but we are putting in a lot of time also to make sure that we do our homework and make sure that we are doing the right thing for everyone.”

To be fair, council members and the mayor represent the city by attending many meetings and functions in addition to the council meetings. 

Some of these meetings require extensive preparation; for example as the representative to the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

Lingl must review several detailed staff reports that require a study of several pages of facts, figures and charts and then digest the staff recommendations.

About 70 other people and I, city residents, serve on the several committees and commissions that discuss various issues.

Like Mayor Lingl, these folks serve because they care about the community and expect nothing in return except the satisfaction that they may have helped in some way.

When the vote was taken, raising the stipend failed 3-2 with Holmdahl and Vega favoring the increase.

Mayor Lingl and Council members Starbuck and Jim Mosby deserve credit for recognizing that it isn’t the money that counts here. 

As far as I am concerned, if you want to make money, serving as a local elected official isn’t the best way to do it.

In Lompoc, at least three of the council members realize that serving the community shouldn’t be considered a profit center for their personal budget.

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

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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Appoints Project Manager for Multi-Family Housing Project

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing has appointed Eric Blacker as project manager in its Multi-Family Housing Development Department, announced John Fowler, President/CEO of PSHH, a nonprofit affordable housing and services provider headquartered in San Luis Obispo.

Blacker previously worked as a real estate development analyst at The Hampstead Companies in San Diego and as an administrative assistant at Marview Holdings in Del Mar.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business-administration-finance from San Diego State University. 

A San Luis Obispo resident, he enjoys running, hiking, surfing and other outdoor activities on the Central Coast.

Eric Blacker

Founded in 1970, PSHH is an award winning non-profit organization that develops affordable housing and community facilities for low-income households and homeownership opportunities for working families and special needs populations, such as seniors, veterans, the disabled and the formerly homeless.

With nearly 1,200 self-help homes completed and over 1,500 rental units developed, PSHH is the largest affordable housing developer on the Central Coast, with offices in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

For more information on Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, visit www.pshhc.org, email [email protected] or phone 805.781.3088.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples' Self-Help Housing.

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25 Tips to Keep Kids Safe During Back to School Season

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Now that school has started for most schools in Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Office would like to take this opportunity to remind students and parents of some very important safety tips. 

These “Top 25 Ways to Make Kids Safer” were compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Sheriff's Office encourages every parent of a child in school from pre-school to high school to take time out now, at the beginning of the school year, to go over these potentially life-saving safety tips. 

We appreciate your efforts to educate our children on how to best protect themselves from potential predators. The Sheriff’s Office wishes everyone a safe and successful school year.

At Home

» Teach children their full name, address and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.

» Make sure children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.

» Teach children how and when to use 911, and make sure they have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.

» Instruct children to keep the doors locked and not to open doors to talk to anyone when they are home alone. 

» Choose babysitters with care. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children about their experience and listen carefully to their responses.

Going to and from School

» Walk or drive the route to and from school with children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. 

» Remind children to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school and to stay with a group at the bus stop. 

» Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is okay to do so in each instance.

Out and About

» Take children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you. 

» Teach children to ask permission before leaving home.

» Remind children not to walk or play alone outside.

» Remind children it’s okay to say no to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Teach children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.

» Teach children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or other trusted adult.

» Practice “what-if” situations and ask children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?” 

» Teach children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.

» During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet should you get separated.

» Teach children how to locate help in public places. Identify people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.

» Help children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.

» Teach children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.

On the Internet

» Learn about the Internet. Visit www.NetSmartz.org for more information about Internet safety.

» Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited and establish rules for Internet use.

» Know what other access children have to the Internet at school, libraries or friends’ homes. 

» Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users and make sure ​screen names don’t reveal too much about children.

» Encourage children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared or confused.

» Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.

— Kelly Hoover is the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. Tips courtesy to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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Sen. Jackson’s Economic Equality Bill for Women Heads to Governor’s Desk

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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A bill by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to close the wage gap that women face at work cleared its final hurdle in the Legislature today, passing off the Senate floor on a bipartisan 39-0 vote.

The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk just a few days after his office took the unusual step of announcing the Governor’s support for the bill on Twitter.  

Jackson’s Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, would ensure that women are paid equally for work that is substantially similar to the work of their male colleagues and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask how much their male colleagues are paid. 

When signed into law, it would be the strongest equal pay law in the nation.

On Women’s Equality Day, which marked the 95th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, Nancy McFadden — executive secretary for legislation, appointments and policy for Governor Jerry Brown — tweeted, “Breaking w/convention on #WomensEqualityDay to announce@JerryBrownGov will sign CA Fair Pay Act when it reaches his desk. #EqualPay #SB358.”

At a press conference recently, Jackson was joined by Democratic and Republican members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, as well as equal rights advocates and the California Chamber of Commerce in urging support for the bill.

“This is a momentous day for California, and it is long overdue," Jackson sad. "... Equal pay isn’t just the right thing for women, it’s the right thing for our economy and for California. Families rely on women’s income more than ever before."

"Because of the wage gap, our state and families are missing out on $33.6 billion dollars a year," said Jackson. “That money could be flowing into families’ pocketbooks, into our businesses and our economy. After years of dealing with a persistent wage gap, and an equal pay law that has been on the books since 1949, but that is not as strong as it should be. The time is now for women’s paychecks to finally reflect their hard work and true value. It is time that we fix the wage gap that women face at work and lead the nation in showing how it can be done.”
 
Aileen Rizo, a Fresno resident and math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education, has testified numerous times in support of the bill. She has a complaint pending in court over pay inequity she discovered while working at the Fresno County Office of Education in 2012.

A male colleague was being paid $12,000 more per year for the same work, even though he was hired four years after she was and had less experience, education and seniority.

The court will soon decide whether Rizo’s case goes to trial. 

“This bill will give women more tools to fight pay discrimination and close loopholes that hold women back,” said Rizo.

“Women are critical to building a strong and vibrant economy in this state and have played a pivotal role in the economic recovery of the past few years," said Jennifer Reisch, legal director for Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization and co-sponsor of the bill. "They are also breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. Yet women, especially women of color and mothers, continue to lose precious income to a pervasive, gender-based wage gap. SB 358 will make California’s equal pay law clearer, stronger, and more effective.” 

The bill has the support of dozens of organizations, including a a broad spectrum of labor groups, women’s and legal advocacy organizations and local government. Although they were initially opposed, the bill now has the support of the California Chamber of Commerce and is unopposed by the California business community. 

The bill would go further than the federal Equal Pay Act in a number of ways:

» It would prohibit retaliation against employees who discuss or ask about pay at work.

» It would allow employees to challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to other workers at different worksites of the same employer. For example, a female grocery store clerk who works at a store could challenge higher wages being made by male grocery store clerks at a store owned by the same employer just a few miles away.

» Employees could challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to those doing substantially similar work. For example, a female housekeeper who cleans rooms in a hotel could challenge the higher wages being paid to a male janitor who cleans the lobby and banquet halls.

» It would require employers to show that differences in wages are due to factors other than gender, that the factor is job-related and reasonable and that these factors — rather than discrimination — account for the difference in pay. If a male chef is making more money than a female chef because he works weekend shifts, the employer would have to show that the weekend shifts are busier and require more work and account for the difference in wages. In addition, the employer would have to prove that the weekend shift position was open to all chefs and that the employer hired the male chef because he was the most qualified or willing to work the shifts.

In 2013, a woman in California working full-time made a median 84 cents to every dollar a man earned, according to the Equal Rights Advocates. The gap is significantly greater for women of color.

Latinas in California make only 44 cents for every dollar a white man makes, the most significant Latina wage gap in the nation. African-American women are only paid 64 cents on the dollar. 

As a group, women who are employed full-time in California lose approximately $33.6 billion every year due to the wage gap.

Sen. Jackson is chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. SB 358 is one of the bills prioritized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus this year as part of a package entitled, “A Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women,” designed to advance women’s economic opportunities as the state rebounds from the economic downturn.

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

— Lisa Gardiner represents Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris Backs Salud Carbajal

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris joins hundreds of national, state and community leaders in endorsing Salud Carbajal for Congress.

California’s top law enforcement official and the first woman to serve as California’s Attorney General, Harris recognizes Carbajal’s track record of both working across party lines to get results and fighting for the middle class.

"Salud Carbajal is a hard-working and effective advocate for California’s working-class families," Harris said. "He has a proven track record of bringing people together and delivering real results. I am proud to endorse Salud Carbajal for Congress.”

Harris is a leader on bringing smart, innovative and effective approaches to fighting crime and bringing justice to consumers as well as standing up for equal rights for all Californians.

She has fought to preserve our state’s natural resources and coastline and is working with local officials on taking legal action in response to the recent oil spill. 
 
“I am honored to have the support of our state’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris," stated Salud Carbajal. “She’s an advocate for smart approaches to crime and supportive of our efforts to protect our coastline and preserve our quality of life. Together, we are going to fight every day to strengthen the middle class and preserve our unique quality of life on the Central Coast.” 

— Cory Black represents Salud Carbajal.

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CAMA Presents Pianist Sir András Schiff​ and ‘Last Sonatas’ Oct. 14

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Community Arts and Music Association presents its Masterseries at the Lobero for its 97th concert season, which was sponsored by Esperia Foundation.

Sir András Schiff​ returns to CAMA’s Masterseries Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, 8 p.m., with his “Last Sonatas” Project.

The world-renowned and critically acclaimed pianist, conductor, teacher and lecturer will play the final piano sonatas of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert.

Although only Schubert wrote his last sonata when approaching death, all of these works testify to the highest level of artistic maturity and pianistic possibility.

“Among current piano titans, András Schiff is the Zen master," writes San Jose Mercury. "He is both utterly relaxed and absolutely awake; taken together, those qualities add up to an unbreakable focus. He is tireless and seemingly infallible, and his playing is window-clear. Listening to Schiff play is like looking into a running stream and seeing all the colorful, round pebbles beneath the water.”

The evening's program will include Franz Joseph Haydn's Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob.XVI/52, L.62, Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Sonata No.18 in D Major, K.576 and Franz Schubert's Sonata No.21 in B-flat Major, D.960.

Ticket prices are $49–$59 and include a $4 facility fee. To purchase, contact the Lobero Theatre box office at 805.963.0761 or visit their website

For other information regarding the Masterseries or Schiff's performance, email [email protected].

Sponsors include the Esperia Foundation, Sara Miller McCune, Virginia Castagnola-Hunter and Ted Plute & Larry Falxa.

— Justin Rizzo-Weaver is the concert and publicity manager for Community Arts and Music Association.

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Corner Capital Adivsors Helps Texas Grocer Sell Off 2 Dozen Stores

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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With help from a Santa Barbara M&A advisory firm, a Texas grocery chain has agreed to sell more than two dozen of its stores.

Lufkin-based Brookshire Brothers announced last month that it is selling 26 of its Polk Pick-It-Up stores to Partners Investors C-stores Ltd. The company said it will keep its Polk Pick-It-Up locations in the East Texas communities of Central, Central Heights, Hudson and Wells.

“The sale of these locations enables us to focus on our core business — providing an exceptional shopping experience for our customers in all of our formats, including the recently launched Brookshire Brothers Express banner,” Jerry Johnson, Brookshire Brothers’ president and CEO, said in the announcement.

The company utilized Santa Barbara-based Corner Capital Advisors LLC for valuation and structured sale advisory.

“Corner Capital’s knowledge of the industry and attention to our assets were critical to the success of the sale,” Johnson said. “We relied on their services and expertise throughout the process.”

Corner Capital provides M&A and specialty advisory in the downstream energy industry, which includes convenience store chains.

Even with the sale of the 26 stores, the Brookshire Brothers footprint continues to expand. The employee-owned company opened new locations in Hamilton and Pilot Point, Texas, this summer, and is on track to open a Canyon Lake store in December. Future plans include a Grapeland store in 2016.

Founded in 1921, Brookshire Brothers’ assets include retail outlets incorporating grocery stores, convenience stores, and free-standing pharmacy, tobacco and petro locations in Louisiana and Texas. The company acquired Polk Oil Co. in 2007.

 

Corner Capital Advisors LLC provides M&A and specialty advisory to all constituencies in the downstream energy industry, including convenience store chains, fuel wholesalers and distributors, lubricant retailers and distributors, propane and heating oil distributors, and transportation companies.

Click here for more information about Corner Capital Advisors LLC.

— Andy Weber is the founder of Corner Capital Partners LLC.

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Mission Wealth’s Week in Review: A Volatile Market Spells Losses for Hasty Investors

By | Published on 09/01/2015

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Feel like you have whiplash after watching the markets over the last week?

It’s important to recognize that volatility is a normal part of investing, and history has shown that those who stay the course benefit over the long-term. 

Most importantly investors should have a financial plan and portfolio built to meet their long-term financial goals and objectives. If this is the case, investors shouldn't be concerned with short-term market fluctuations.  

Here is Mission Wealth Management’s day-by-day assessment of the turbulent past few days.

Monday, Aug. 24

Dow -3.57%, S&P 500 -3.94%, Nasdaq -3.82%

The market opened Monday's trading session dramatically lower, with the S&P 500 falling -7 percent, before retracing much of those losses through the morning, then easing through the afternoon before finishing the day down -3.9 percent.  

We believe a heavy amount of program trading and many emotionally driven investors were large factors behind the weak open.

Bargain-hunting investors then appeared to take advantage of the weak open, with the market grinding its way back toward where it closed last Friday, Aug. 21.  

In fact, the S&P 500 was down just -1 percent at the midpoint of the day's trading.

The afternoon session saw some renewed selling pressure, as stocks moved down -4.5 percent before bouncing somewhat during the last 30 minutes to finish the day with the S&P 500 at -3.9 percent.

Tuesday, Aug. 25

Dow -1.29%, S&P 500 -1.35%, Nasdaq -0.44%

In another big day on Wall Street, stocks initially rebounded significantly at the open, but subsequently trimmed those gains before experiencing an afternoon sell-off, with the S&P 500 eventually finishing the day down -1.3 percent.  

Stocks were up +2.9 percent earlier in the day after China took steps to alleviate investor concerns.

Chinese policy makers cut interest rates and lowered the required cash reserve banks must set aside. Both measures were intended to help address the slowing economy and stem recent stock market volatility.  

Wednesday, Aug. 26

Dow +3.95%, S&P 500 +3.90%, Nasdaq +4.24%

After a volatile session, domestic equity markets finished the day with an impressive gain of +4 percent (the Dow Jones rose 619 points, and the S&P 500 rose 73 points). 

The session marked the largest percentage gain in domestic stocks since 2011 and the third-largest absolute point gain ever for the Dow Jones.

A significant volume of buy orders were observed in the final hours of today's trading (which is the opposite of what occurred on Tuesday), potentially indicating a higher level of short covering.

Thursday, Aug. 27

Dow +2.27%, S&P 500 +2.43%, Nasdaq +2.45%,

In another positive day, the S&P 500 rallied +2.4 percent, with the majority of gains experienced in the final hour of trading. 

Stocks initially bounced positively on the open, then ground higher through the first half of the session before experiencing a short-lived sell-off. 

In fact, the S&P 500 briefly slipped into negative territory before closing the day out strongly in the final hour of trading. 

The very positive revision to Q2 GDP growth, a bounce in Chinese stocks attributed to government intervention and oversold conditions were all cited as key catalysts behind the market’s positive move.

Friday, Aug. 28

Dow -0.07%, S&P 500 +0.06%, Nasdaq +0.32%,

The market was essentially flat on this day, but the S&P 500 ended the week up +1 percent. 

Oil proved even more volatile, rallying +18 percent from the lows on Monday, Aug. 24, to finish the week with a gain of +6.5 percent. 

This marks the first positive week for oil in nearly two months.

In Summary

In our view, the primary reason for the uptick in volatility during the course of the week was behavioral.

Investor psychology hasn't been helped by the media either. The media has a tendency to fixate on the downside: "the sky is falling" sells the news.

This can lead to poor decision-making when it comes to investments. Unfortunately, we have seen this episode play out time and again.

Many investors sell-out when volatility increases, only to miss out on the subsequent rebound, essentially locking in those losses. This rash decision-making is a primary reason why the "average investor" underperforms most asset classes over extended periods of time.

Whether the markets are surging upward or retreating in volatile times (as we have seen over the past week), we recommend patience and a focus on long-term objectives and financial goals. 

— Kieran Osborne, CFA, is a portfolio manager at Mission Wealth Management.

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After Fatal Accidents, Lower Speed Limit Coming To Part of Highway 246

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Santa Ynez Valley residents welcome news of 45 mph zone planned for busy roadway

The speed limit for a busy stretch of Highway 246 will be lowered, welcome news among Santa Ynez Valley residents lobbying for safer roads in the wake of recent fatal accidents.

Instead of the current 55 mph, the limit for the 2.3-mile segment of Highway 246 between the Janin Acres neighborhood and Meadowvale Road will be reduced to 45 mph.

That section of road is especially busy since it includes El Rancho Market, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Santa Ynez Valley Christian Academy, the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, the under-construction Golden Inn  & Village, the Chumash Casino Resort, and roads leading into downtown Santa Ynez.

Mary Beth Kerr, who has been spearheading a roadway-safety campaign in the valley, announced the reduced speed limit last week after a meeting with local California Highway Patrol Lt. Kurt Kruse.

“The big news is the lowered speed on the dangerous section of 246,” Kerr said on a Facebook page SYV Lives Matter! Project 1 =  4 Way Stop 154/ROBLAR. “It is brilliant news!

“We all want safer roads, and this is part of the solution. Pressing our fellow citizens to abide by this speed and to put safety first on all roads needs to be part of the solution,” Kerr added.

Caltrans District 5 spokesman Jim Shivers said the agency has received several concerns from the community and Buellton-based California Highway Patrol officers.

The concerns centered on the area of Highway 246 encompassing the high school, Shivers said. 

Due to the residents’ complaints, Caltrans prepared an engineering and traffic survey to determine if the speed limit could be lowered below the 55 mph statutory level, Shivers added.

Caltrans must conduct such a survey to  justify a new speed limit. 

The new speed limit will take effect once the 45 mph signs have been installed, Shivers said.

When students are present, the speed limit still will be 25 mph near the schools.

A number of accidents, several fatal, on Highway 154 spurred Kerr and others to lobby for safety improvements, including getting a stop sign install at Roblar Avenue.

But a March tragedy helped widen the focus to include Highway 246 after Santa Ynez Valley Union High School freshman Carina Velazquez was fatally injured when she was struck by a vehicle in front of the campus.

The driver wasn’t charged after the investigation determined she was not at fault for accident.

Led by Kerr, residents also have lobbied for increased enforcement by CHP along the local highways, with another campaign planned this fall.

Kerr said she also hopes to hold a town hall meeting about local road safety issues with participation from local lawmakers and law enforcement members in addition to members of the public.

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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Mobile Home Park Attorney Lambasts Lompoc For Billing Snafu

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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An attorney for Del Norte Mobile Estates has fired off a strongly worded letter saying the residents should not be penalized by the city of Lompoc’s “bureaucratic incompetence” that led to a huge hike in wastewater bills. 

The letter demanded the city retract statements the attorney claims disparaged the business and personal reputations of the owner and management, and asserted that the city should take responsibility for its faulty billing.

Additionally, the city should forgive the past claims, amortize the city mistake over a longer period and provide loans for residents who can’t handle the cost, the letter from Orange-based attorney Maureen A. Hatchell Levine said.

“In summary, the city has falsely characterized and besmirched the business practices and reputation for honest dealing by the owners of the park,” Levine wrote. “Worse, the city has attacked my client’s reputation in the effort to obfuscate the true reasons for city action, which trace back to bureaucratic incompetence of the city. “

City Manager Patrick Wiemiller said the letter arrived in Monday’s mail.

“We have not yet internally reviewed or discussed the letter yet, so we are not yet in the position to provide additional information to the public,” Wiemiller said. “Because it is a private billing account issue, we plan to review the merits of the letter and discuss with the customer or their authorized representative.”

Those who live in the 179-unit Del Norte Mobile Estates at 321 W. North Ave. mobilized in July after receiving a notice from property managers that the added costs would first appear on Aug. 1 bills.

The city claimed it had undercharged the park for sewer costs. Those costs are billed to the park, with space tenants providing reimbursement.

Instead of charging $48.09 per month, the city had billed the park residents $15.32 per month for wastewater costs, park managers said.

The new monthly sewer rate as of Aug. 1 was $53.20, plus another $24.58 that is labeled a sewer adjustment fee, putting the new monthly total at $77.78.

The city maintains “rigid controls” over the cost of space rent at the park in addition to utilities, the attorney said. 

“The ineptitude of local government is emblematically reflected in the recent events, which continued to fester in the hands of the city,” Levine wrote. “Perhaps it is too much to ask for fair and honest treatment and competency in the city’s service offered to property owners in the city.”

In the Aug. 27 letter to city leaders, the attorney contends park representatives attempted to point out the problem to city employees, and spells out five errors allegedly committed by city staff.

While the August 2014 bill at $8,608 was correct, the September 2014 was one-fourth the amount, $2,741, the attorney said.

A park representative notified the city and a correct bill was sent. However, the error reappeared with the October 2014 bill. City staff promised to research and matter and contact the mobile home park, but never did.

A city staff member reportedly told a Del Norte representative in November 2014 that the smaller amount was correct, Levine said.

Since this coincided with a project to replace water lines, Del Norte representatives concluded the improved equipment brought water saving measures that meant lower usage, the attorney said.

In June, the city again sent a bill with the alleged wrong rate, and a day later claimed the statements covering September 2014 to June 2015 were in incorrect, the attorney said.

Yet, the city left it up to the park owner to notify residents of the error and need for reimbursements, Levine noted.

And in July, the city sent a statement with a credit of $11,733.96. When the park representatives inquired, the city claimed an adjustment incorrectly was added as a credit — it should have been listed as a charge. 

“On behalf of the owner, a modicum of accuracy is requested in future billing,” the letter said, noting the substantial time park staff spent trying to unravel the city errors in addition to auditing and reconciling park records, city sewer charges and the park’s collection from its residents.

Del Norte resident Jackie Claycamp is hopeful a resolution will be reached.

“Getting the park’s attorney involved — and that was at the owner’s request — I think that was the best thing to do,” she said.

Even as the city sorts this this billing issue, it is scheduled to settle an overcharging and underbilling matter with Santa Barbara County by reimbursing nearly $235,000 for electric services according to the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lompoc City Council.

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 Officials Pledge Action After OSHA Violations Reported at Police Station

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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City of Santa Barbara officials have pledged to correct violations found after a series of workplace safety inspections took place in the city's police station.

Employees had raised questions about lead, asbestos and other substances in the station, and the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued a citation last week documenting seven infractions.

Cal/OSHA's inspections occurred between February and August of this year, and the violations included not having an effective injury and illness prevention program as well as several infractions related to "bad housekeeping," the report said.

Black dust was observed in the men’s locker room, mold was observed in the fitness room, and stains from water leaks were seem in Murphy’s Room.

The city had established an exposure control plan for officers exposed to hazardous materials such as bloodborne pathogens, but the decontamination area didn't have all the required materials, according to the report. 

There was also documentation stating that the city had not provided asbestos and lead workplace records. Lead was found in samples taken inside the shooting range and asbestos containing materials were found in ceiling material that had fallen on the floor of the station’s fitness room.

The citations must be corrected by Sept. 30, and the $7,875 fine must be paid within 15 working days.

Mark Howard, risk manager with the city's finance department, said that the Cal/OSHA document arrived Monday afternoon and staff from multiple departments met to discuss.

"The important thing is that we do take safety seriously," he said, adding that the city has been working for a while on some of the concerns police have had about air quality at the station.

Because the citations fall into the category of housekeeping, "the good news is those are easily correctable," Howard said. He believes the city can meet the deadline for the changes.

"It's not as if the building is filthy, it's an older building and even when you clean it to your best ability, it still looks well worn," he said.

The fines will be covered by the police department's budget, which comes out of the city's general fund. The police chief will decide exactly where the money comes from, Howard said.

City Manager Paul Casey echoed similar thoughts, saying that the city wants to keep officers safe and will make the changes needed.

“Police employee safety is a top priority and we will fix whatever corrections OSHA has identified,” he said.

Sgt. Mike McGrew, president of the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, has been pushing for the changes.

McGrew has worked for the department for 29 years, and said more incidents of cancer among employees and retirees have caught his attention in recent years.

“We’re just grateful that the OSHA took this seriously and looked into these matters,” McGrew said Monday.

McGrew said he’s been able to talk with city management and command staff, who have said they’ll get the violations fixed.

“We suspected that there was asbestos in the ceiling,” he said. “We weren’t surprised by anything the report found.”

McGrew represents about 180 members of the Police Officers Association, and said they were “grateful” for the OSHA action.

“It’s been on their minds for quite some time,” he said.

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

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Tropicana Student Living Selects 2015–2016 Resident Staff

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall is proud to announce its Residence Life team for the 2015–2016 academic year. 

After an intensive 5-week interview and training process, the top candidates were chosen to provide leadership and build community at Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall for SBCC students.

“Tropicana Gardens’s Residential Life Program is designed to ensure a successful transition from home to independent living for SBCC students," said Dave Wilcox, Executive Director. "Many of our residents form life-long friendships with the people they meet at Tropicana, and the Resident Assistants are essential for nurturing an environment conducive to creating those friendships. Our team works hard to build community and to support our residents’ personal quest for independence and academic success.”

Tropicana’s renowned Residence Life programming follows a wellness model that encompasses physical, spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual and environmental aspects. RAs sponsor over 300 community events designed to nurture, entertain, encourage and integrate new students into their college “home.”

“Resident Assistants are students who help the students living in our communities to get know each other,” explained Director of Residence Life Anna Rodgers. “Each year we interview more than 100 candidates for our resident assistant team. Resident Assistants serve as educators, peer counselors, policy enforcers and resource persons. The candidates we choose are leaders who can inspire our residents and are crucial for creating a tight-knit community.”

New Tropicana RAa for the 2015–16 school year include Pierre Barban from Paris, France; Abby Bolter from Sonora, Calif.; Jeff Carlson from Anaheim Hills, Calif.; Chris Chang from Traverse City, Mich.; Derek Chen from Oakland, Calif.; Chris Cook from Hollister, Calif.; Donovan Floyd from Greenwich, Conn.; Julia Hernandez from Salou, Spain; Brian Ogle from Sonora, Calif.; Blair Rogers from Sacramento, Calif.; Reign Ross-Elliot of Carson, Calif.; Lauren Saussy of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Danitza Valenzuela of El Centro, Calif.; Maria Velez of Madera, Calif. and Samuel Watkins of Fresno, Calif. 

Returning Tropicana Resident Assistants include Clarissa Fernandez from Riverside, Calif. and Presley Maron from Pasadena, Calif.

Yoli Gavaldon from Garden Grove, Calif. and Jon Sokol from Thousand Oaks, Calif. will be the two new residence directors at Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall for SBCC students for the 2015–2016 academic year.

Allan Ramirez from Los Angeles will be residence director of Tropicana Del Norte Residence Hall.

Tracy Pfister of Naperville, Ill. will return as programming coordinator.

Roger Rodarte of Jurupa, Calif. will work as the courtesy patrol coordinator. 

Community Coordinators of Tropicana Villas Upperclassmen Apartments will be Morgan Ryan of Salt Lake City, and Marisa Allan of Spring Valley, Calif.
 
— Brendan Langley is the director of marketing and communications at Tropicana Student Living.

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New Goleta Ice Rink will be Home Base for Santa Barbara Royals High School Hockey Team

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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The Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association has announced that the Santa Barbara Royals is one of eight teams taking part in the LA Kings inaugural 2015–2016 High School Hockey League.

Ice in Paradise will have one team representing the Santa Barbara area this year but hopes to expand to multiple teams as well as a JV team in the future.

Steve Heinze, Olympian and former Los Angeles King will be head coach of the high school team.

The Southern California teams are as follows: West Ranch High School Wildcats, East County Outlaws, El Segundo Strikers, Greater Santa Barbara Royals, Kern County Knights, San Gabriel Valley Cougars, Santa Clarita Hockey Club and South County Aviators.

The Kings are sponsoring helmets, gloves, home and away jerseys, bags, jackets and more for all players the first three seasons a team is part of the league.

"We are extremely excited to be able to field a High School Hockey Team as soon as we open our doors" said Larry Bruyere, general manager of Ice in Paradise. "The fact that many of these high school players have been developing their game while skating at other ice rinks here in Southern California makes it even more special that they can now represent their sport right here in Goleta.”

The Ice in Paradise ice skating arena, scheduled to open this Oct. 2015, will provide a permanent, state-of-the-art and energy efficient public recreation facility serving youth, adults, students and families in the Santa Barbara area.

The building features a NHL size main rink, a studio rink, homework center, daily public skating, learn to skate programs, facilities and programs for figure skaters, hockey players, and ice-sports for participants with disabilities.

Special design features will also allow for adaptive ice sports.

— Jennifer Ono represents Ice in Paradise.

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Woman Sentenced to Three Years in Prison in Santa Maria Pandering Case

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Brianna Shawntay Jackson Robinson

A 19-year-old woman was sentenced to the three years in prison for pandering while law enforcement officials continue to look for her co-defendant, an alleged pimp accused of human trafficking charges.

Brianna Shawntay Jackson Robinson pleaded guilty to pandering, a felony charge which involves procuring another person for the purposes of prostitution, according to a statement from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Robinson was sentenced to three years in state prison on Monday in Judge John McGregor's Santa Maria courtroom, said Jennifer Karapetian,the  deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.

Robinson, who is from the Bay Area, was arrested March 9 after an 18-year-old victim contacted a human trafficking hotline on the same day, Karapetian said.  

Santa Maria police officers responded to the victim’s location, the Santa Maria Greyhound Bus Station, and took Robinson into custody, who was there with the victim, according to authorities.

Robinson’s pandering charges took place at different locations throughout the state, Karapetian said.

The District Attorney's Office said authorities are still searching for Robinson’s co-defendant, Marcale Emon Alexander, who has been charged with human trafficking and pandering in the case and was allegedly working as a pimp with Robinson.

He is also charged with two separate counts in an unrelated 2014 human trafficking case involving an underage minor, Karapetian said.

Alexander’s charges are alleged to have taken place across California as well as outside the state.

Alexander, who is from the Bakersfield area, remains at large and anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the Santa Maria Police Department at 805.928.3781, and ask to speak with Detective Michael McGehee.

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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Coldwell Banker Presents Donations to High School Arts and Sports Programs

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Coldwell Banker manager John Nisbet was honored to represent his agents and company Tuesday, Aug 25, by presenting $5,000 checks to each of the three local Santa Barbara public high schools, as well as Carpinteria High School.

Coldwell Banker agents created the CB STAR (a loosely translated acronym for Student Athletics/Arts Resources) program locally, and through the Coldwell Banker Foundation are helping to fund student athletics and the arts in our local schools.

The mission of CB STAR is to partner with our local public high schools and help fill a very real void in funding for athletics and arts programs. 

Coldwell Banker agents fund the program with contributions from their transactions and other fundraising activities.

— John Nisbet is a manager at Coldwell Banker.

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Local Diving Pro Joins SOS California Board

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Stop Oil Seeps California welcomes Santa Barbara City College Professor Don Barthelmess to its board of directors.

Barthelmess is a Professor of Marine Technology at SBCC, where he has trained professional commercial divers for 27 years.

He is passionate about diving safety and marine education and shares his love of the Santa Barbara Channel and the ocean as a critical but fragile resource.

Barthelmess's career has taken him on diving projects all over the world in support of marine research, offshore oil and gas operations and film projects for many organizations, including the National Geographic Society.

This past year, he trained divers for each of SeaWorld's parks.

Professionally, he serves on the board of directors of the Association of Commercial Diving Educators and the technical diving advisory board for the National Association of Underwater Instructors.

Locally, he serves on the board of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and is currently vice-president of the board of directors. He is also a past president of the Historical Diving Society.

Barthelmess received his associate degree in underwater technology from Florida Institute of Technology and completed his undergraduate work in occupational studies at Cal State Long Beach. He earned his graduate degree in educational technology from Pepperdine University.  

Barthelmess was the Director of SBCC's highly acclaimed Marine Technology Program from 1994–2003, after which he returned to full-time teaching.

In 2007, his peers selected him as Santa Barbara City College's 29th Faculty Lecturer, SBCC's highest honor.

He and his wife Carol Kallman live on the Mesa in Santa Barbara. They have two adult children, son Robby and daughter DeeDee.  

SOS California aims to alert the public to the magnitude of natural seep pollution in the Santa Barbara Channel and to the availability of an invaluable resource to fund environmental cleanup and develop alternative energy sources.  

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FSA Brings Annual Senior Expo to Earl Warren Showgrounds

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Family Service Agency, a local nonprofit organization, is the new presenting sponsor for the Senior Expo of Santa Barbara, the county’s largest health and active aging fair.

Previously managed by Senior Programs of Santa Barbara, the 27th annual event will take place Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.

“We are grateful to Senior Programs of Santa Barbara for this wonderful opportunity,” said Lisa Brabo, executive director of Family Service Agency. “With more than 90 exhibitors offering new and creative ways to meet the needs of seniors, family members and caregivers, this annual event is a tremendous resource for our community.”

More than 1,000 seniors attend the Senior Expo held at Earl Warren Showgrounds each year. The event offers low-cost flu shots, health assessments, information for active seniors looking for everything from new fitness programs to financial services, as well as tips for those who need assistance getting around safely and affordably.

Platinum sponsors for the 2015 Senior Expo include Family Service Agency, Cottage Health, Sansum Clinic, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care and Organic Soup Kitchen.

Additional sponsors include Sharon Kennedy Estate Management and Stevens & Associates Insurance as Gold Sponsors and Casa San Miguel, DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home), Home Care Assistance, the Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara and Union Bank as Silver Sponsors.

Exhibitors are encouraged to register quickly, because spaces are limited. 

Please visit www.seniorexposb.com or contact Expo Director Elizabeth Yingling at 805.963.0474 or [email protected].

— Melinda Johansson is the development and marketing manager for Family Service Agency.

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Wolves, Disc Dogs and ‘Pawsitive’ Thinking Part of Upcoming Wags n’ Whiskers Festival

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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On Sunday, Sept. 13, C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts its seventh annual Wags n’ Whiskers Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The free, fun-filled event — the largest animal festival on California’s Central Coast — features dozens of adoptable dogs, cats and bunnies from local animal shelters and rescues and showcases a wide range of pet service providers.

Festival-goers also enjoy a great mix of activities, including a frisbee show with Southern California’s famous Disc Dogs, dog agility, fast-paced flyball with Santa Barbara Supersonic, an exciting military dog performance, as well as cat and bunny training.

They can also meet “Little Star,” a mini therapy horse, along with wolfdogs from WHAR Wolf Sanctuary in Paso Robles.

C.A.R.E.4Paws’s fun Pawsitive Thinking Youth Corner invites kids to learn more about animals and what it means to be a loving, responsible pet caretaker.

In fact, this year — for the first time — Wags n’ Whiskers includes a Pawsitive Thinking Youth Contest. Students K–12 countywide have been invited to create an art piece or poem on the concept of “kindness to all living beings” and submit it to C.A.R.E.4Paws by Aug. 31.

Ten finalists will come up on stage and receive prizes and diplomas at Wags n’ Whiskers. All projects will be on display in the Youth Corner.

Additionally at the event, Project PetSafe provides low-cost vaccines, microchipping and licensing for dogs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., while the festival raffle and silent auction features lots of great prizes, including a chance to win a trip for four to Disneyland.

Wags n’ Whiskers is already attracting a record number of supporters, including VCA Care Specialty and Emergency Animal Hospital, the festival’s “Elite Pack” (top) sponsor and C.A.R.E.4Paws’ “Elite Partner” corporate sponsor.

“We’re thrilled to partner with C.A.R.E.4Paws and support Wags n’ Whiskers again this year, as the festival aims to promote forever homes for Santa Barbara County dogs, cats and bunnies,” says VCA Care’s Dr. Eileen Gillen. “We have been working diligently with this wonderful organization since its inception, and we’re proud to be a member of a community and organization so engaged in keeping pets out of shelters and ensuring their safety and welfare.”

The festival not only joins the local animal community and inspires many forever homes for deserving pets (as many as 40 animals got adopted in 2014) but also creates awareness around the tremendous need for rescue and adoption and sheds light on the crucial work that animal welfare groups do in this community.

C.A.R.E.4Paws (short for Community Awareness, Responsibility, Education) is a Santa Barbara County nonprofit whose mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and keep animals out of shelters.

Services include free spays and neuters for low-income dog and cat owners, bilingual community outreach, "Pawsitive Thinking" humane education, intervention programs that keep animals in their homes and countywide adoption events like Wags n’ Whiskers.

Visit care4paws.org/wagsnwhiskers.html for more details and a list of festival participants or contact anytime with questions at 805.968.2273 or [email protected].

— Isabelle Abitia is the executive director at C.A.R.E.4Paws.

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HICAP brings Free ‘New to Medicaire’ Seminar to Santa Barbara Central Library

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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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 "New to Medicare" presentation will be held Wednesday, Sep. 30, 2015 beginning at 10:30 am. at the Santa Barbara Central Library at 40 East Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help new beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program,” announced James Talbott, 

president of the board of directors of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

Even those who currently have Medicare coverage could benefit from this detailed overview. 

Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare including what medicare covers, supplemental insurance, part D prescription coverage, medicare and employer group health plans and retiree health plan considerations.

HICAP is pleased to partner with the Santa Barbara Central Library in presenting this important information to the community.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. It 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 Medicaid services, the federal Medicare agency.

To reserve a seat and for more information about the ”Understanding Medicare ” seminar, contact HICAP at 805.928.5663, [email protected] or RSVP online at www.CentralCoastSeniors.org.

— Bill Batty represents Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.

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Superior Court of Santa Barbara Honors 20 Prop. 36 Graduates During National Recovery Month

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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On Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, Judge Kay Kuns will host a commencement ceremony to honor 20 graduates of the Proposition 36 Treatment Court.  

The graduation will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Building located at 313 West Tunnel Street.  

The 20 graduates have successfully completed the 6-month treatment program and have maintained sobriety.  

Graduates will receive certificates of completion and will be given an opportunity to speak about their experience in the Prop. 36 program. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony.

Proposition 36, The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), was passed by California voters in November 2000 and implemented in July 2001. Under Prop. 36, defendants are sentenced to a minimum of 6 months of treatment, probation supervision and multiple court reviews.

The program promotes sobriety, recovery and stability. Successful completion may result in dismissal of charges and early termination of probation.

The court program is multi-departmental collaboration of Superior Court; probation; the Offices of the Public Defender and the District Attorney; the Department of Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services; UC Santa Barbara and the Sheriff’s Department.

The month of September marks National Recovery Month. On Sept. 2, following the Prop. 36 graduation ceremony and reception, the treatment community will celebrate National Recovery Month.  

Recovery Day 2015: A Celebration of Families in Recovery will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at Buena Vista Park located at 406 West Morrison Avenue in Santa Maria.  

The event is open to the public. Recovery Day 2015 is a community-wide collaboration to promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery.

To learn more about Treatment Courts including resources, legislation and statistics, visit www.nadcp.org.

To learn more about National Recovery Month visit www.recoverymonth.gov.

— Kristina Brumbaugh is the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Probation Department.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 118) — Stop Making Left Turns

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Oblique Divorce Strategy #14 — Stop Making Left Turns

"A Woman of Independent Means" by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey was published in 1978 and has been in print ever since. It’s an “epistolary novel” taking the form of a series of letters and telegrams written by the protagonist, Bess Steed Garner.

For thirty-five years I’ve been paraphrasing and pontificating Bess Garner’s wisdom because she says things that my mother might have said when I wasn’t listening.

Even though Bess is fictional, she can be annoying in an especially motherly way; however, she isn’t my mother — and she isn’t your mother — so it’s easier to appreciate her wisdom.

One online reviewer put it aptly, “Bess grows because of her losses.” For Checkov and other Russian writers, those who haven’t suffered are not to be taken seriously.

Given the opportunity, I’ve frequently paraphrased an aphorism I remember as part of a telegram from Bess printed in all caps and addressed to one or all of her children. I recall it saying:

“REMEMBER, YOU CAN GET ANYWHERE YOU WANT TO GO WITHOUT EVER HAVING TO MAKE A LEFT TURN; SO LONG AS YOU AREN’T IN A HURRY.”

Early this summer I took a car trip with my brother, Bruce, and there was an opportunity to interject Bess’s maxim into the conversation.

I am accustomed to and not annoyed by the way he often attempts and usually succeeds in “one-upping” my attempts to make astute observations. One-upsmanship, informed by Stephen Potter's book of the same name, was considered great sport in the house of our youth. 

With respect to left turns, Bruce enlightened me: FedEx had an employee contest that offered to pay $100,000 to the person making the best suggestion for improving business.

One guy scribbled “Don’t make left turns” in pencil on a scrap of paper and dropped it into the box. In a show of good faith, FedEx conducted a mini-experiment where they had a few drivers record the amount of time it took to complete their normal route.

Then, they designed and timed an alternative, no-left-turn route under similar conditions. Management was surprised to discover that a somewhat longer route avoiding left turns could be completed faster than a shorter route that served the same customers.

The conclusion was that it is actually faster to get to wherever you want to go without making left turns.

According to Bruce, the FedEx experiments eliminated the qualification, “SO LONG AS YOU AREN’T IN A HURRY.”

I was trumped, but I’m not sure I was one-upped because the proscription against left turns survives, or was I trumped by not being one-upped?

It doesn’t matter because I want to believe that I’m beyond being trumped or even one-upped.

I’m sure the conversation continued with one of us saying that since the idea was good enough to use throughout the company, paying the employee a mere $100,000 was cheap on the part of FedEx.

If I had been on my game, I could have given Bruce a cue that would have compelled him to say something like, “Oh, FedEx also gave him a 75 percent raise and promoted him to VP.”

Then I would have asked, “VP of what, Bruce?”

He would have replied, “Vice President of Imagineering — what else?”

I would have rolled my eyes and shaken my head but, if challenged at this point, Bruce would have at least a dozen replies, including: “Why would it bother you or anyone else if I describe the world as I think it should be; the world as it could be?”

∙ ∙ ∙

To write this column I checked two things: (1) what the book said about left turns and (2) Bruce’s FedEx story.

I was surprised to find that the text I’ve been paraphrasing for so many years does not appear in a telegram, and it is not in all caps — nor is it addressed to Bess’s children.

And while I remember the reference to driving cars was implicit so that the statement was unmistakably metaphoric, that was wrong too.

After two sentences in the second paragraph of a letter to a “Mr. Ferguson” that begins page 34, Bess writes:

“… My husband bought me an automobile of my own last month and though it was terrifying the first time I took the wheel, I now find the experience quite exhilarating. I of course proceed with the utmost caution and plan my routes carefully in advance to avoid left-hand turns. But as long as I am not in a hurry, I find I can reach any destination by turning right.”

I’m surprised I didn’t skim right over these three sentences mistaking them for a worn-out joke about women and driving rather than an instructive metaphor. Was it intended as metaphor?

Yes, it was. Even after 34 pages you know that when Bess writes, there’s a difference between what she says and what she means; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the latter.

Here, for the literal minded raised by straight-talking mothers (you probably spend life wondering why so many people don’t say what they mean), is the metaphor revealed.

The familiar proposition (the metaphier*) comes from the experience of driving a car (or riding a bike, etc.). We are told or reminded that the shortest distance to get from A to B often requires you to fight the flow by making left turns.

You can get to the same location by deliberately avoiding left turns and thereby engaging with the flow, but it might take longer.

The object of the demonstration (the metaphrand*) is nothing less than the way to live your life. You can go with the flow as long as you are patient and as long as there isn’t a compelling need to deliberately buck it.

The reference to automotive travel is more explicit and the comparison to life is more implicit than suits my taste, so I intend to continue using the same paraphrase with attribution to Elizabeth Hailey despite the inaccuracy because I’m confident that it’s what she meant to say.

(She’s a living author and could correct me, but I’m also confident that she is utterly indifferent to my interpretation of her work.)

∙ ∙ ∙

Here’s what I discovered from Google about my brother’s account of the FedEx exclusion of left turns from delivery routes: It appears to be, ah, bullshit!

As far as I can tell, the story has nothing to do with FedEx.

UPS advises drivers that it may be faster to avoid left turns against traffic. It’s not a policy or even a rule of thumb.

The one driver I questioned explained, “We are always getting safety tips and that’s one of them. Driving is the driver’s responsibility and ultimately depends on the driver’s discretion.”

If there’s a metaphor in that, I don’t see it.

∙ ∙ ∙

The point is simply that there are life tasks you can complete more easily by going slowly. Divorce takes longer than most think it will.

You go slowly whether you like it or not, so STOP MAKING LEFT TURNS and you’ll still get to the end — and you will be in better shape when you arrive.

∙ ∙ ∙

If you believe my brother, you might conclude that you would complete the experience of divorce faster by taking the longer and apparently slower route. I think the conclusion is probably sound, so my brother gets credit if his story helps someone find and adopt this attitude.

Here’s another conclusion: it’s just my personal opinion, but over the years I’ve gathered a lot of evidence suggesting that my brother, Bruce, is definitely a perpetuator and possibly the originator of urban myth. If so, our parents would have been proud.

*The only place I’ve ever seen the use of the terms “metaphier” and “metaphrand” is in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), and both terms are useful.

None of the books mentioned in this column are available in the Santa Barbara Public Library; Amazon has them all.

Anyone interested in Bruce’s mind can see it exposed in a blog post I wrote last year.

Next column: Oblique Strategy #15 — Get a tarot card reading without thought or delay.

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara Search & Rescue Team Members Help Rescue Missing Hiker in Sierra National Forest

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Two Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members are back home and forever changed after assisting in an unforgettable rescue that made national headlines. 

Miyuki Harwood, 62, of Orangevale, Calif., was remarkably found alive on Saturday in the Sierra Nevada National Forest near Fresno after being missing for nine days. 

Harwood, who suffered broken legs, survived by drinking filtered creek water and by using a whistle to lead rescuers to her location.

Search and Rescue team members Don Gordon and Craig Scott were searching in the area near where Harwood was found and were able to assist in her rescue.

On Thursday, the SBCSAR team received a state-wide mutual aid request from Fresno County to help search for Harwood who was last seen Aug. 22, near Horsehead Lake, approximately 19 miles from the Wishon Reservoir Trailhead. 

The search area was located in high alpine terrain at elevations over 10,000 feet. Smoke from the Rough Fire, located about 10 miles to the south, was heavy throughout the search area, hampering search efforts and the use of helicopters for search and deployment of over 50 ground search personnel.

The SBCSAR team, a Type I Mountain Rescue team, was assigned four separate search areas that covered approximate 4 square miles located about 1 mile west of Harwood’s last known position.

The team arrived in the field Friday and immediately began a search through technical boulder fields below local steep alpine slopes in their assigned search areas. They set up camp in the area Friday night and continued their search early the next morning. 

At approximately 8:30 a.m., another team heard a whistle down in a ravine near a creek about ½ mile from where SBCSAR personnel were searching. After climbing down steep rocky ledges, a team from Marin County Search and Rescue found Harwood within the Fall Creek Drainage with two broken legs she suffered from a fall after she went for a solo hike nine days earlier. 

SBCSAR responded to the location and was on scene shortly after she was found. They assisted in her medical treatment and rescue which included packaging her in a stretcher, raising her up over a ledge out of the ravine, and then carrying her ¼ mile to a landing zone. 

Harwood was placed into a CHP helicopter and air lifted to a Fresno hospital where she is recovering from her ordeal.

Due to smoky condition, SBCSAR, along with about a dozen other search and rescue teams from throughout California, stayed an extra night and were picked up early Sunday morning by a California Air National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

Don Gordon, who has been on the SBCSAR team for four years, said it is an experience he will never forget recalling.

"It was very cold at night as was evident in the ice I found in my helmet when I woke up Saturday morning, so to find her alive after all these days was incredible," he said. 

Due to the remoteness of the area and the dense smoke from the Rough Fire, many searchers had to hike in for a day-and-a-half just to get to the search area. When the smoke cleared enough, a Blackhawk helicopter, a Chinook Helicopter and drones were used. 

Search managers felt Harwood was at the end of the time period they thought one could survive. 

However, Harwood was in excellent physical condition and mentally tough as a result of her triathlete training, so searchers were hopeful she could be found alive. After breaking her legs, she crawled two days to reach a small creek with water. 

While she went without food for nine days, she fortunately took a water filter pump with her. 

After filling up a water bottle, she then crawled back up the bank to an area with a layer of pine needles from overhanging trees to provide some insulation from the ground during the nights. Each morning she would crawl back down to the creek to filter water into her bottle before returning to her makeshift bed to await help. 

Several times during the days she was lying on her bed of pine needles, helicopters flew right above her but due to the trees they could not see her. 

Saturday morning she heard voices up on the ridge and, using a whistle she had with her, alerted them to her location. 

Searchers found her conscious and alert, saying how grateful that she was found.

Craig Scott, who has been with SBCSAR for six years said, “We train hundreds of hours each year for these types of search and rescue missions. To help in her rescue after all these days was an amazing experience that just reinforces why we do this work. To have dozen of volunteers throughout the state give up their personal time to participate in this search is pretty incredible.”

SBCSAR is an all-volunteer mountain search and rescue team under the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. As part of the statewide mutual aid system, SBCSAR is frequently requested to assist other counties for lost individuals in wilderness areas.

The SBCSAR team is currently in the process of recruiting new members. If you are interested in learning more how you can participate in this elite volunteer organization to share in these type of experiences and give back to the community, the SBSCAR team is holding a recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the SBCSAR Station located at 66 South San Antonio Rd. in Santa Barbara.  

Also for more information, go to the team’s website at www.sbcsar.org or visit its Facebook page under Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue.

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

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ICE Sweep Nets 20 Arrests in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 20 foreign nationals in Santa Barbara County last week as part of a multi-county sweep of “criminals and individuals who pose a threat to public safety.”

Three others were taken into custody in San Luis Obispo County.

In all, 240 people were arrested in the week-long enforcement action, which encompassed six South California counties — Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo — according to a statement released Monday by ICE.

“The majority (56 percent) had criminal records that included felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges and drug violations,” according to the statement. “The remaining arrestees had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors.”

Four of those arrested had previously been deported after serving time for criminal offenses, ICE said, and are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for felony re-entry after removal from the U.S.

Those detained who are not being criminally prosecuted will be processed administratively for deportation.

Other who already are subject to deportation orders, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country, ICE said.

The remainder are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

Most of those arrested — 191 — were from Mexico, but a total of 21 countries are represented in the total.

“This operation exemplifies ICE’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing convicted criminals and public safety threats for apprehension and removal,” said David Jennings, field office director for enforcement and removal operations in Los Angeles. “By taking these individuals off our streets and removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone.”

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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7 Healthy Habits for Children Year-Round

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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As thousands of students across the South and Central Coast head back to school, parents have an opportunity to get a fresh start on creating healthy habits and routines to help their children succeed in the school year.

While most parents place high priority on their child’s health, 76 percent of parents were unaware of the recommended standards for healthy eating and physical activity for children, according to the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot survey conducted in March in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight.

“Not being informed of how to best support a child’s health can lead to poor behavior patterns during the school year,” said Sal Cisneros, president and CEO of the Channel Islands YMCA. “With better knowledge, parents can make a positive difference in their child’s health and motivation.”

This summer, the Channel Islands YMCA sought to overcome gaps in learning and health through its “Hop the Gap” program that aimed to help kids reach their full potential.

More than 2,000 local youth participated in the program, which focused on five key areas: nutrition, health, learning, water safety and safe spaces.  

While healthy habits and learning retention are at higher risk during the summer months, lessons learned from the program provide valuable knowledge for creating good habits the rest of the year.

Here are seven key ways parents can help their kids succeed year-round:

Nourish Development Through Proper Nutrition

1. Ensure meals are well-balanced.

Less than 50 percent of kids eat the recommended amount of vegetables. Half of your child’s plate at each meal should consist of fruits and vegetables, and they should be served at every meal and snack. 

Allow children to serve themselves (family-style) to limit portions.

Remove partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), fried or pre-fried foods from kids diets, and serve whole grains when grains are served.

Serve foods with less than 8 grams of added sugars and foods free of sugar as one of the first three ingredients on the list.

2. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.

About a quarter of kids average one or more sweetened beverages daily or nearly daily, the Family Health Snapshot survey found.

Offer water at the table during every meal and have it accessible at all times. Serve only water and plain, low-fat (one percent) or non-fat milk.

Model an Active Lifestyle

3. Limit screen time.

Sixty-four percent of parents admit that their kids spend three or more hours a day online or watching TV in the summer.

While being at school helps reduce this, screen time can be a big distraction during the school year inhibiting schoolwork completion and exercise time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you limit screen time to one to two hours per day.

4. Encourage your child to be active.

Children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Though many schools have gym class, it’s important to reinforce this at home.

Go on a walk or bike ride after school. Play games outdoors after dinner.

The YMCA offers sports clubs and youth activities and programs to help your child stay fit and healthy.

Close the Achievement Gap

5. Support holistic development.

By fifth grade, children in low-income households are two to three school years behind in reading compared to kids in middle-income households.

Through holistic programs that support academic, physical and social-emotional development, the Y helps students realize who they are and all they can achieve.

Seek a quality, licensed after school program. A 54 percent improvement in social-emotional skills was seen in students who participated in the Y’s Afterschool Child Care.

This state-licensed program is designed with the working parent in mind. Like all Y programs, child care is open to all, with financial assistance available.

Keep Kids Safe

6. Promote water safety.

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1–14.

While pools, ponds, oceans, rivers and lakes tend to be a central part of summer activities, they can pose a threat year-round.

Seek a quality swim program staffed by expert instructors and certified lifeguards.

The Y offers recreational, competitive and specialty aquatics programs for all ages and abilities, including parent-child classes, water exercise and therapy, water safety and rescue and water sports.

7. Provide safe spaces.

Unsupervised youth are at high risk for juvenile crime, accidents, substance abuse, gang involvement, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school.

Make sure that children and teens have a space where they can be themselves, learn and make friends, surrounded by caring adults.

The Y offers afterschool enrichment programs as well as Teen Centers to provide a safe and fun place to study and socialize.

To learn more about the various programs mentioned above and how to enroll, visit www.ciymca.org to find your local branch offerings or call .805.569.1103.

— Hannah Rael is a publicist representing Channel Islands YMCA.

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Bill Cirone: Collaboration is the Stuff of Growth

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Nearly all our Santa Barbara County students have returned from summer break and are back in school. Not long after the school year begins, the time comes for parents to meet with teachers and discuss their children’s progress.

Parent-teacher conferences can be a very helpful means of communication, and they should be a two-way exchange of information about a child.

Parents always want to know how their child is doing, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they can help, but teachers also want to know of any stresses in a child’s life that could affect classroom performance and, of course, any special needs that a child might have.

To increase the effectiveness of these conferences, parents should consider taking some preliminary steps.

First, take time before the conference to think about your child’s strengths, weaknesses, study habits and classmates.

Ask your child: What do you like about the classroom? What would you like to change? Do you understand the work? Do you feel you’re doing well?

There are also several questions a parent should consider asking the teacher during the conference:

» What are my child’s best and weakest subjects?

» How can I help him improve?

» Is my child working up to his ability? If not, why do you think so, and how can I help?

» Is my child’s schoolwork progressing as it should? If not, how can I help her catch up?

» If my child is ahead of other students, what will challenge or encourage her?

» How does my child get along with other students?

» Are there any special behavior or learning problems I need to know about?

» What kinds of tests will be given this year? What are the tests supposed to reveal?

» Is my child’s homework turned in on time, in completed form, and does it meet your expectations?

» How much time should be spent on homework each night?

Parents and teachers have much in common. Neither wants a child to fail. Neither wants a child to be caught between the pressures of differing standards at home and at school. Both know that learning goes on at school and at home.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present,” says best-selling author and Californian Alan Lakein, “so that you can do something about it now.”

I would encourage parents to plan that conference early. Together, parents and teachers can become a powerful force for positive change in the life of a child.

It’s worth taking a little time to make sure the initial conference is helpful and informative for all involved.

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

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Domestic Violence Solutions Introduces Six New Board Members

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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The Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) board announced Aug. 26 that six new members will join its board of directors.  

Cynthia Garner, Virginia Benson Wigle, Jackie Hall, Diana Lambeth, J’Aimee Oxton and Dawn Sproul bring with them skills and knowledge that will contribute significantly to promoting community awareness and helping DVS provide shelter and safety to the thousands of Santa Barbara County victims of domestic violence.  

Founded in 1977, DVS for Santa Barbara County works to end the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence by providing prevention and intervention services and by challenging society’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to effect social change

“As the only full service domestic violence organization serving Santa Barbara County, we are committed to providing safe and confidential shelter, emotional support, personal advocacy and empowerment to battered women, men, teens and children” said Julie Capritto, board president.  “We also play a leadership role in educating the community and supporting the work of other women’s rights and social change organizations.”

“Our role is to provide the first (highly emotional) emergency step in an integrated community system that aims to restructure the lives of women, teens and children who are in desperate situations because of violence,” Capritto said.

Cynthia Garner

Cynthia Garner graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor's in secondary education and a double major in history and psychology. She earned her master’s in curriculum leadership.  

Garner is involved with the Junior League, Girl Scouts, Parent Teacher Organizations, the Children’s Museum and Mercy hospital.

In 2010, Garner started her own non-profit called 5 to Live By, which raises money for women and children in need.

She has lived in California for 25 years with her husband Ted and her four grown children: Brittany, Liza, Katherine and Daniel.

 

Virginia Benson Wigle

Virginia Benson Wigle has played integral roles in the local non-profit sector for over 25 years.

She worked for the Rape Crisis Center and volunteered at the Shelter Services for Women, the Santa Barbara and Ventura Public Health HIV/AIDS Taskforce, Central Coast Coalition for Responsible Parenting and the Teen Task Force.

Wigle served on the board of the Carpinteria Lou Grant Parent/Child Workshop and the Carpinteria Education Foundation.

She graduated UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in history and art history and resides in Santa Barbara.

Jackie Hall

Jackie Hall is originally from Silicon Valley, and graduated from UCSB with a bachelor's degree in law and society and a minor in global peace and security. She earned her Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude, from Santa Clara University School of Law.  

She served as the pro bono coordinator at the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County.

In addition to serving on the Domestic Violence Solutions board, Hall served on the board and is currently co-chair of the New Member Committee for the Junior League of Santa Barbara, and she served as past board member of the Santa Barbara Barristers. 

Hall lives in Santa Barbara with her husband Jeff, daughter Abigail, and they expect the addition of a son to their family this fall. 

J'aimee Oxton

J'Aimee Oxton is a Santa Barbara native and Bishop Diego Alumni. She attended UC San Diego and earned her bachelor’s in sociology with a minor in law and society.  

Her law practice helps individuals with legal matters related to criminal defense, family law, juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, divorce/legal separation/nullity of marriage adoptions, child custody, visitation, child support, domestic violence, parental child abduction and pre and post-marital agreements.

Oxton volunteered at Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center and CASA. In addition to being a member of the board for Domestic Violence Solutions, J'Aimèe is also a member of the League of Women Voters, the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and the Santa Barbara Barristers.  

She is a devoted single-mother to her daughter, Ashlyn. 

Dawn Sproul

Dawn Sproul earned her bachelor's in communications from UCSB and has a background in both the private and public sectors.

She received recognition as the Pacific Coast Business Times’s “Top 40 under 40” and “Top 50 Women in Business.”

Sproul has volunteered with the United Way of Santa Barbara County, Unity Shoppe, American Heart Association, and she is a current board member for the Goleta Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of the Cox Cares Foundation.  

She currently serves as the Domestic Violence Solutions co-chair for the High “Esteem” Luncheon.  

In addition to her career in executive management and sales development, Sproul is the proud mother of two daughters, Kaylie and Riley.

Diana Lambeth

Diana Lambeth is a psychotherapist in private practice; she works with couples as well as individuals and families and is part of the adjunct faculty at Antioch University in Santa Barbara. 

Lambeth has been involved with Domestic Violence Solutions working as the clinical director for three years. 

She has spent her career working with families and children who have experienced some sort of trauma from teens in out-of-home placement to adolescent sex offenders to women and children at risk due to stressful, challenging life circumstances.

Lambeth lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Lyndon, three children, Lauren, Geoffrey and Bailey and one grandchild, Zoe.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact Charles Anderson or visit www.dvssolutions.org.

— Charles Anderson is the executive director of Domestic Violence Solutions.

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On Women’s Equality Day, Helene Schneider Rolls Out Expansive Equality Plan

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Continuing to drive the policy discussion in the race for California’s 24th Congressional District seat, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider unveiled Aug. 26 her wide-ranging position paper on the need to protect and expand women’s rights and equality. 

Upon releasing the position paper, titled, "Helene Schneider’s Plan for Full Equality for Women," Mayor Schneider remarked: “Instead of moving our nation forward and towards a more just and equal society for all Americans, particularly when it comes to women — this Congress continues to turn back the clock on our rights."

“Like so many Central Coast residents, I’m fed up with Washington’s lack of action on the issues we care most about — especially as it relates to advancing equality issues," she said. "For far too long, Congress’s relentless partisan bickering and the 'politics as usual,’ where the establishment makes the rules and the status quo is the name of the game, has stood in the way of real progress," she said.

Schneider points to politics as the chief barrier to progressing women's rights and sees herself as a solution to Washington's rigmarole.

“And rather than allowing the Washington power brokers to dictate decisions for local voters by picking candidates who will put politics in front of getting things done — it’s finally time for something different. It’s time for a transformation of our politics. It’s time to put an end to the old ways of doing things and to embrace a new approach," she said. "The issues women are confronting are real and affect millions of us in America every single day. That’s why I’m running for Congress, because it’s vital that we make our government work again."

In addition to championing women, Schneider aims to represent typical Americans, who make up the majority of the population.

“We need a new role for government that recognizes change comes from the bottom up and not the top down, where the priorities of average Americans are more powerful than the billionaire and political class or their financial contributions," Schneider said. "I've heard from Central Coast voters and they tell me that Washington, D.C. is dysfunctional and that it's time for something new" 

“That's why we are building a voter-led, voter-energized and voter-powered campaign to take back Washington and make it work again for women, middle class families and average hard working Americans," she said.

Schneider remains hopeful for political change and results for all citizens. 

“Once we accomplish this, there is no limit to the problems we can solve and the issues we can tackle on behalf of all Americans.”

— Dave Jacobson is a publicist representing Helene Schneider.

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CenCal Health Partners with Care to Care to Manage Advanced Imaging Services

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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CenCal Health, which provides service to low-income residents of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, announced a multi-year agreement today that establishes Care to Care as their exclusive provider of radiology benefit management (RBM) services.  

This agreement was based on the principle of providing the right test at the right time, with a focus on patient safety through the use of proprietary evidence-based criteria. 

Working closely with CenCal Health’s providers and hospitals, Care to Care will both assist in promoting the safe use of advanced imaging and provide an objective basis for informed evidence-based clinical decisions.

“Care to Care seeks to collaborate with CenCal Health providers to promote the most effective use of advanced imaging studies through informed clinical decision-making that results in better patient outcomes," said Julian ​Safir, MD, Care to Care’s Chief Medical Officer. "We feel strongly about raising awareness of radiation safety.” 

Care to Care will partner with CenCal Health to manage outpatient advanced imaging for its members including; magnetic resonance (MR), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and nuclear cardiology (NUC). 

“CenCal Health is excited to move the radiology benefit program forward with Care to Care as its new partner," said Mark Maddox, Chief Medical Officer. "Flexibility, quality, and service to our population were critical in the decision to use Care to Care.” 

Together, Care to Care and CenCal Health are focused on promoting a culture of increasingly thoughtful and judicious use of medical imaging.

— Hannah Rael is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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Remodeling Magazine Designates Allen Construction as 11th Largest Remodeler in the Country

By | Published on 08/31/2015

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Remodeling Magazine has designated Allen Construction as the 11th largest full-service remodeler in the country in the its "2015 Remodeling 550" report. 

The report was generated based on participating companies’ 2014 remodeling revenues. (Allen Construction income also includes revenue from constructing new homes, commercial projects and energy services.) 

Allen Construction was also included in Remodeling’s Big 50, a special designation for companies that have achieved operational and financial excellence.

The Remodeling 550 covers 4 groups: 325 full-service companies, 150 replacement contractors, 20 insurance restoration firms and 55 franchises.

The report also shares good news about the health of the remodeling industry. According to the report, America's biggest full-service remodelers saw their revenues grow 14 percent last year and are looking for another 13 percent climb in 2015. 

There is even more good news about the health of the building industry as a whole; according to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. home construction picked up in July at a rate of 0.2 percent, higher than previously estimated and the most since October 2007. 

The gain was led by single-family homes, the mainstay of the market.

Allen Construction has received four other major national and regional accolades this quarter. On July 15, Allen Construction’s President, Bryan Henson, was named to Professional Remodeler Magazine’s annual 40 under 40 list.

On Aug. 14, Allen Energy’s Division Manager Shawn Jacobson was named to Pacific Coast Business Times’s annual "Who’s Who in Clean Tech and Sustainability" list.

Allen was also graced with two Professional Remodeler Design Awards for their residential and commercial work during July. Their work was evaluated in 23 categories based on quality, design, problem solving and creativity.

— Karen Feeney is the community relations and PR manager for Allen Construction.

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Spay Mobile Takes Pet Surgeries to Fertile Sources of ‘Loose’ Dogs and Cats

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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C.A.R.E.4Paws vehicle provides vital veterinary services in neighborhoods where pet owners often can’t afford them or have limited transportation options

After just a few hours parked outside a house on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside, an animal-care organization was able to offer free services to a pet owner that could keep hundreds of dogs out of local shelters.

Earlier this month, the nonprofit C.A.R.E.4Paws, which provides spay and neuter services for pets whose owners can not afford them, drove its “Spay Mobile” to an East Cacique Street residence that is home to 11 dogs, eight of them puppies.

The vehicle is sort of a surgical unit and veterinarian office on wheels. Over the course of several hours, a team of vets was able to alter nine of the dogs, including all of the puppies and Simba, their pit bull father.

The Boxer mother of the puppies was set up to spayed at a local veterinarian’s office, and the family’s Chihuahua/Corgi mix was too old to be altered.

All of the dogs were vaccinated and microchipped, as well, and the services were performed before the puppies were found new homes.

Because the average female dog can have around 100 puppies in her lifetime, Santa Barbara Animal Control Officer Stephanie Burgard estimates that — potentially — more than 300 unwanted pit bull mixes were prevented from entering the shelter system as a result of the day’s work.

Two weeks earlier, Burgard had gone out to the house, which has received multiple animal control visits over complaints about dog bites, barking and sanitation.

She discovered more dogs than she expected after talking with the owner, who told her that two of her dogs had just had eight puppies between them, in addition to the three dogs that were already living on the property.

“They were super cute and rambunctious, but there were eight of them,” Burgard recalled.

None of the dogs had been altered, licensed or vaccinated.

Burgard was able to explain to the owner that pets that aren’t fixed contribute to full animal shelters, and that there is a large number of pit bulls and pit bull mixes already in the shelter system.

Getting pets altered is technically up to the owner’s discretion, but state and local laws require that dogs be licensed, and licenses cost more for unaltered pets. A note from a veterinarian is also required.

A citation for an unlicensed dog can cost as much as $170, and the cost of the surgery usually runs about $200, Burgard said.

Because the owners were unable to perform the services, Burgard reached out to Isabelle Abitia, executive director of C.A.R.E.4Paws.

“We’re able to help alter about 1,000 cats and dogs each year,” Abitia told Noozhawk, adding that the organization is on target to reach out to even more pet owners this year.

C.A.R.E.4Paws has bilingual workers who help educate pet owners on how spaying and neutering pets can prevent shelter overcrowding, which has been a longstanding problem in Santa Barbara County.

In addition to the Cacique stop earlier this month, C.A.R.E.4Paws has been able to target high-need areas across the county, including major efforts in Guadalupe, Lompoc and New Cuyama.

The Spay Mobile got its start in 2013, and the vehicle allows the organization to bring services directly into neighborhoods — since many clients don’t have transportation. Abitia said New Cuyama, for example, doesn’t have a no- or low-cost veterinarian clinic closer than a 90-minute drive away.

When the C.A.R.E.4Paws team was last in New Cuyama, she said, they were able to alter 38 dogs and cats in one day.

“We can bring it straight into the neighborhoods,” she exclaimed.

In Lompoc, where the group sets up almost every Friday, she said C.A.R.E.4Paws volunteers have seen shelter intake neighbors decline.

They’ve also altered 1,500 dogs and cats there over the last five years, she added.

C.A.R.E.4Paws also works with a dozen veterinary clinics to provide free services.

Burgard said that while the surgeries were being performed at the Cacique Street location, many neighbors came out asking if the vaccinations and surgeries could be made available to their dogs, too.

C.A.R.E.4Paws will be back in the Eastside neighborhood on Sept. 11. Those who cannot afford the procedures can email [email protected], or call 805.968.2273 for an appointment to bring their pets by that day.

On Sept. 11 at Girsh Park, C.A.R.E.4Paws will be holding its Wags n’ Whiskers benefit, the largest animal adoption festival on the Central Coast.

Burgard said she feels the case highlights some of the positive work that animal control is able to accomplish in the community.

“We really aren’t bad guys,” she said. “We do care about animals, and we do try to make a difference.”

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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Vegetation Fire Breaks Out on Jalama Road Near Lompoc

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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Firefighters responded late Sunday to a vegetation fire on Jalama Road south of Lompoc.

Crews were called out at about 10 p.m. to the blaze, which was reported in the 4000 block of Jalama Road, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department dispatchers.

There were reports that at least one structure was threatened in the area, but that could not immediately be confirmed.

Initial units on the scene indicated they could handle the fire, and other incoming firefighters were canceled.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Santa Barbara School District May Allow Alcoholic Beverages for On-Campus, Non-Student Events

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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A new state law allows the use or sale of alcohol on public school campuses when students aren’t present, so Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dave Cash polled the Board of Trustees on whether to tweak district policy.

From the five members, prevailing opinion seemed to be ... “maybe.”

As of now, no alcohol is allowed on SBUSD school properties, regardless of whether students are around.

AB 2073, introduced by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, permits school districts to use facilities for events involving the acquisition, possession, use or consumption of alcohol when a gathering has a special-events permit (and when students aren’t there).

School board member Kate Parker asked district staff to add an informational item on the topic for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, but no action was taken.

Instead, the trustees gave Cash direction. All of them expressed at least the tiniest bit of interest in allowing alcohol on sites for fundraisers thrown by nonprofit organizations that regularly donate to local schools, such as the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Where exactly alcohol would be allowed — only high schools, just elementary schools or locations kids never go — wasn’t fleshed out.

Board members asked Cash to gauge interest in the nonprofit community, possibly offering a very limited option for which event organizers would need to obtain a permit from the district and adhere to strict time or security conditions.

“These are things we need to think about,” Parker said, adding that the practice could be OK “in a super-restricted way, maybe on a site that doesn’t normally have students.”

She mentioned the district’s Tatum property, a 23-acre undeveloped parcel with a bicycle and pedestrian path near San Marcos High School.

School board vice president Pedro Paz agreed with Parker, saying it might be best to keep alcohol out of high schools, where students are encouraged not to drink and drive or where they could find empty containers in trash cans. It also could result in an additional cleaning responsibility if facility-use agreements change.

Board president Ed Heron felt the opposite, adamantly opposing any alcohol on elementary school sites.

“That’s not the environment I want to see on our campuses,” he said.

Board member Monique Limón called the option “creative.” She suggested leaving current policy as is while allowing limited exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

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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Judy Foreman: Montecito Mobilizes to Support 3 Young Men on a Mission for Zimbabwe

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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Teri and Ken Lebow inspired to host Keegan Cooke, Daniel Hagemann and Taps Mugadza in fundraiser for St. Joseph’s Home for Boys

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

On a recent Saturday evening, Teri and Ken Lebow opened their Montecito house for an unusual art event to benefit St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The distance between the Lebows’ historic San Leandro Lane home, once owned by the late Dame Judith Anderson, and impoverished Zimbabwe could not have been more vast. But the fundraiser was inspired by the couple’s relationship with Amy and Keegan Cooke, friends from Zimbabwe now living and working in the 93108.

In 2007, Keegan Cooke and two fellow countrymen — artist Daniel Hagemann and musician Tapiwa Mugadza, better known as “Taps” — relocated to the United States.

The three, who first met on the St. Joseph’s soccer field, share a desire to see Zimbabwe rise beyond its current state, and believe the best way it can happen is through its children and young people.

To help achieve that, they’ve partnered with the nonprofit Rock of Africa Mission, a Costa Mesa-based Christian relief organization working in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Zimbabwe.

Mugadza was left on the steps of St. Joseph’s when he was just 2 days old. He spent his childhood yearning to do something big with his life through music.

Growing up in an orphanage gave him a perspective on life like no other, he told the more than 100 guests listening at rapt attention at the Lebows’.

When he was accepted to the Musicians Institute-College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, Mugadza said, “I vowed to never forget where I came from.”

Hagemann grew up loving art, majored in graphic design at Laguna College of Art + Design in Laguna Beach, and sells his graphite drawings to pay the bills. At the gathering, he showed off many of his pieces, which reflect his love for his homeland; the art depicts elephants, zebras, lions and young Zimbabweans.

Keegan Cooke was accepted to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, and starred in track and field. After competing in his first decathlon and breaking the Zimbabwe national record in the event, he was offered a full track scholarship to the University of Arizona in Tucson.

After graduating from UofA in 2013, Keegan made the transition to the world of professional track and field. He is training with the Santa Barbara Track Club under the direction of U.S. national coach Josh Priester. He hopes to become the first Zimbabwean to compete in the decathlon at an Olympic level.

The young men have been holding annual fundraising events to help address the most pressing needs of the place that Mugadza used to call “home.” Funds from previous fundraisers have helped install toilets, repair broken windowpanes and provide real beds so children are no longer sleeping on the ground.

This year’s proceeds will be focused on purchasing a new industrial stove and a generator to smooth out the challenges of an unreliable electrical grid.

Those in attendance nibbled on hors d’oeuvres, enjoyed South African wine and had some photo ops with the guests of honor.

After a short presentation by Cooke and Hagemann explaining their interest in helping the “kids back home,” the audience was treated to a guitar performance by Mugadza.

On hand to support St. Joseph’s Home for Boys were many locals with ties to the African continent, as well as athletes and friends of the boyhood trio.

In addition to Hagemann’s artwork, fine artist Karen Bezuidenhout — who splits her time between South Africa and Santa Barbara — donated one of her paintings to help raise funds for the Harare orphanage.

Her paintings, described as rich with an earthy color palette, reflect Bezuidenhout’s sense of adventure, and are sold worldwide. They can be viewed and purchased locally at Upstairs at Pierre Lafond in Montecito’s Upper Village.

Click here for more information about Rock of Africa Mission, or call 949.610.6295.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Zugan Health Appoints Integrative Medicine Expert as Medical Director

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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Zugan Health, a progressive urgent care clinic and wellness provider, has named Alex Torres, M.D., as medical director of its Santa Barbara-headquarted clinic.

Dr. Torres brings to the clinic more than 20 years of sports medicine experience along with more than 15 years practicing family, occupational urgent care and integrative medicine.

His diverse background enables him to address a wide range of patient needs, from common ailments like respiratory or gastrointestinal problems to physical activity-related injuries. 

In addition, he has experience with wellness-related treatments, including nutrition and hydration therapies.

He spent 20 years serving as the team physician for the national volleyball teams, including appointments at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and the 2008 World Volleyball Championship.

He is board certified in the following disciplines: integrative, holistic, functional regenerative, preventative, nutrition, anti-aging and sports medicine. 

“Dr. Torres is a tremendous resource for our patients, whether they come into the clinic for an injury, need a virtual consultation because they are sick or want to discuss preventative care and wellness treatments,” said Maggie Lacy, CEO and co-founder of Zugan Health. “He personifies the Zugan Health approach by progressively combining tenets of acute care and wellness care to address patient health holistically.”

As medical director, Dr. Torres will direct Zugan Health’s overall operations, which include treating patients in the clinic, at home or work through Zugan’s mobile care services unit and through scheduled “telehealth” video consultations.

He will also develop preventive health and wellness care services to complement and expand Zugan’s current offerings in hydration and nutrition therapy. 

“Consumers today expect more from their healthcare provider in terms of access to care as well as the quality of the experience and outcome,” said Lacy. “With Dr. Torres’s expertise, Zugan Health can continue our commitment to deliver better care that’s convenient and accessible. The clinic will be an ongoing resource to patients who want support in achieving higher levels of health and wellness.”

Prior to joining Zugan Health, Dr. Torres served the Center for New Medicine in Irvine, Calif., as an anti-aging, sports and integrative medicine physician as well as the Harden Urgent Care Clinic in Salinas, Calif., as an urgent care physician.

In 2013, he was a family and integrative medicine physician with Ryan Ranch Medical Group in Monterey, Calif. Prior to that, he served as medical director of Osceola Health and Wellness Center in Kissimmee, Fla., from 2010–2011. 

— Kathleen Porter is a publicist representing Zugan Health.

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Last Dog Days of Summer: Hike Safe with Your Pooch

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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Santa Barbara is home to several hiking trails and offers some of the most breathtaking views in California.

Experiencing one of these hikes is a great way for you and your dog to get some exercise and to unwind; however, if not adequately prepared, hiking can be a dangerous activity.

Santa Barbara Humane Society is an expert in pet and large animal rescue and professional safety and rescue training through its Technical Rescue Training program, and it has collected a list of tips to ensure both you and your dog have a fun and safe hiking experience. 

» Bring a leash. Hiking on a trail with other dogs, wildlife and people can be very exciting and distracting for you and your dog. Your dog should have basic obedience and be able to walk on a loose leash.

» Don’t overdo it. Ease in to a fitness routine if your dog is a couch potato. Start with shorter hikes to stay in tune with your pup’s stamina.

» Pay special attention to your dog on hot days. Dogs can overheat very quickly because they do not sweat. Bring plenty of water and remember to give your dog a chance to cool down if they seem overheated. Temperatures can rise quickly as you hike up a trail due to the lack of shade and water. Dogs can only cool themselves off by panting, but if the air is hot and they are dehydrated, they can easily suffer from heat exhaustion.

» Apply sunscreen to both yourself and your dog. If your dog has white or light-colored fur, apply sunscreen on them to prevent sunburns. Human sunscreen can be toxic to pets, so ask your veterinarian to recommend a pet-safe sunscreen for your dog.

» Bring the necessities. Make sure to bring dog tags with your contact information, your dog’s current rabies license tag and bags to scoop up the poop. 

» Don’t wander off. Stay on the trail for your dog’s safety as well as your own. You don’t know what you might encounter in the vegetation or under rocks, so be aware of rattlesnakes, scorpions and foxtails.

» Protect your dog from fleas and ticks. Bring a tick removal tool with you on the hike (available at most pet stores) and be sure to use a safe topical medication once a month or as advised by your veterinarian. It can take up to 24 hours for the medication to fully absorb. For large dogs, you may want to put the medication on several places along his or her spine for faster absorption.

» Be polite to other fellow hikers on the trail. Pull your dog to the side when passing other hikers. Always let horses and cyclists pass you first.

» Be considerate of other dog owners. Always ask a dog owner first if your dog wants to meet an approaching dog. Not everyone will be ready to meet a strange dog; asking first and walking up slowly to the other dog usually allows for a friendly greeting.

Have fun!

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Humane Society.

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Randy Alcorn: Socialism Isn’t What Matters, What Matters Is That It Works

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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Bernie Sanders, an independent U.S. senator who is running for president under the Democratic Party banner, is routinely referred to as a socialist — even by himself, although he clarifies that he is a “democratic socialist.”

For many Americans, the term “socialist” is associated with tyrannical governments, state-run economies and the general suppression of individual liberty — the primary historical example being the late Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

This negative connotation of the term is wielded by some as a verbal spear to impale anyone who proposes or supports any government action that would impede or interfere with a free market and the acquisition of unlimited personal wealth.

In today’s absolutist ideological thinking, capitalism is always the antagonistic antithesis of socialism. And, indeed, capitalism has been the superior approach to organizing an economy.

Attempts to organize economies around state-run collectivist models have been dismal disasters. The clear winner of the Cold War has been capitalism.​

Capitalism won because it complements rather than clashes with natural human tendencies of competition and greed. By sublimating these tendencies into individual enterprise and invention, capitalism has broadly raised living standards and spread prosperity among more people than any economic system ever has.

If left unattended, however, free-market capitalism eventually degenerates into abusive exploitation. Some prudent policing is necessary to keep the marketplace clear of piratical predators and entrenched monopolies.

Regulatory mechanisms that ensure equal opportunity for all players and prevent manipulations that concentrate wealth with the few are crucial for maintaining a democratic society and vibrant markets.

The essential economic mainstay of democracies — and of free-market capitalism — has been a strong, expanding, middle class. Marxists clearly understood this and saw “the bourgeoisie” as a formidable obstacle to establishing their communist paradise.

The threat to America and free-market capitalism, is not socialism, it is unmitigated greed.

The “trickle-down” brand of capitalism sold to the nation 30 years ago by President Ronald Reagan’s band of Randian economists has resulted in the steady demise of the American middle class and a growing national debt abetted by reckless tax cuts. Not to mention the transmogrification of health care, higher education, charity, government service, and just about every sector of the economy into voracious profit centers for the grasping economic elite.

Corporations and the 13,400 American families who own most of them have effectively captured government and declawed the regulators.

Notice that virtually no Wall Street banker was prosecuted for the massive fraud that resulted in the Great Recession. Although independent journalists found more than 100 insider whistle-blowers who fingered bank executives, federal prosecutor Lanny Breuer claimed he could not find enough evidence to indict any of them.

Breuer later resigned his federal post to become vice chairman of a law firm that represents many of the banks he had so feebly investigated as federal prosecutor.

A continuing cascade of data reveals that the greed of the few is undermining the general welfare of the nation.

For example, nearly all the wealth generated in the United States since the Reagan years of the 1980s has gone to the tiny tip of the economic pyramid. In that time the economic elite have increased their annual incomes several fold, while the annual income of the average American has virtually stagnated.

Is this happening because Americans are not working hard enough? No.

U.S. productivity has increased significantly since the Reagan years. The problem is that the forces of greed have uncoupled compensation from productivity and have compressed American wages to the lowest level among the world’s advanced economies.

In fact, America’s wage profile looks more like that of a developing nation than that of an advanced one.

Reagan’s voodoo economics promised prosperity for the many, but mostly enriched the few. A key element of voodoo economics is lowering tax rates on wealthy individuals and corporations.

But for the forces of greed, that isn’t enough. By working the tax code and exploiting offshore tax havens they have driven their effective tax rates even lower — well below the nominal rates, even into the single digits.

Those who howl that efforts to remediate economic imbalances are class warfare are right about the warfare part. But as Warren Buffet noted a few years back, “There has been class warfare going on now for the last 20 years and my class has won.”

Compared to the United States, Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, with its high pay scales, ample benefits, and health care and college provided for all, is a socialist country. The same can be said of Australia, New Zealand and many northern European nations.

These nations have strong middle classes and vibrant economies with a more even distribution of wealth. They are not oppressive collectivist tyrannies. They are social democracies that practice a healthy form of capitalism.

The forces of greed attempt to discredit Sanders by calling him a “socialist.” But, listen to what he has to say and evaluate his proposals objectively.

Whether they are called “capitalist” or “socialist” doesn’t matter. What matters is what works to strengthen the nation and preserve capitalism for the benefit of everyone, not just the few.

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

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CenCal Health and Cottage Health Create New Program To Serve Vulnerable Populations

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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CenCal Health, the health plan serving the Medi-Cal population in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and Cottage Health have partnered to create a unique program to serve the area’s homeless and lower income populations.

The Access to Care for the Expansion Population (ACE) program is aimed at coordinating the many health care needs of those approximately 16,000 previously uninsured individuals that now have health coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The rollout of this program is intended to identify, address and coordinate the medical and social needs of these individuals to successfully transition them into seeking appropriate care in the appropriate setting, as opposed to utilizing hospital emergency departments.
 
“CenCal Health now provides health insurance for one in four residents of Santa Barbara County" said Bob Freeman, CEO of CenCal Health. "Giving patients better access into our health care system is more important now than ever. Cottage Health was well suited to provide patient education and connect these patients into primary care clinics.”
 
“The ACE program reinforces the commitment of both organizations to maintain a healthy population,” said Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health. “Our community care management program has been successful in ensuring that high risk patients served by CenCal Health were able to connect to resources that enabled them to thrive in their home environment.” 
 
Cottage Health will help facilitate the following for CenCal Health patients who are part of the ACE Program:

» Arrange primary care provider follow-up after hospital discharges

» Improve and simplify medication management for patients after hospital stays

» Help patients avoid readmission to the hospital for the same or similar health events

» Connect patients to community resources that support health and well-being

» Enhance care coordination across the health delivery system through partnerships with skilled nursing facilities, physician clinics, home care agencies and other post-acute care agencies

» Improve patient health outcomes and reduce the risk of adverse events by arranging home visits, providing case management services and coordinating with primary care providers as needed

— Hannah Rael is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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UCSB Grad Students Break Down Micro Bacterial Warfare

By | Published on 08/30/2015

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It’s bacteria against bacteria, and one of them is going down.

Two UC Santa Barbara graduate students have demonstrated how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them.

The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead authors Julia L.E. Willett and Grant C. Gucinski have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate and deliver protein toxins into neighboring cells.

By studying the bacteria E. coli, they were able to document how CDI “translocation domains” can use multiple pathways to transfer those toxins into a cell. By understanding that mechanism, Willett said, it could be possible to use it as a model for pinpoint targeting of bacteria.

“The long-term, real-world potential is that if we know bacteria can deliver their own proteins into other cells, we might be able to use this as a delivery system for antibiotics and other therapeutics,” said Willett, a doctoral student in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

She and Gucinski conducted the work under the direction of faculty adviser and MCDB professor Chris Hayes. Hayes is the third author on the paper.

“If we know the detailed mechanisms of delivery, maybe we can target specific groups of bacteria,” Willett continued. “Instead of taking an antibiotic that targets all bacteria, we might be able to deliver one that could specifically target one group of bad bacteria that leaves the good bacteria in your gut alone.”

Gucinski, a graduate student researcher in UCSB’s Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program, began studying E. coli as an undergraduate. Although it has a reputation as a nasty pathogen, that group of bacteria is generic enough to make an ideal research subject.

“E. coli is the easiest system to work with and very representative of the majority of other bacteria,” Gucinski said. “The kind of CDI systems that we study are also found in a lot of different kinds of bacteria. This is the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of what we’ll find in other CDI systems in other bacteria.”

CDI were first described by David Low, professor of MCDB, in 2005. Low, a co-author of the current PNAS paper, reported how a bacterial cell would touch a neighboring cell — one that was competing for resources in the environment — and inject it with a toxin.

Willett and Gucinski’s research builds on Low’s work by identifying the multiple ways CDI toxins exploit target cells. The key was in understanding the genetics of those targeted bacteria.

“We know that the cells would have these CDI systems; we know the genetics that are required to make this toxin system, but we were interested in the genetics on the other side, the genetics that are required in the cell that’s being inhibited or the cell that’s receiving this toxin,” Willett explained. “What specifically in that cell is required for the toxin to go from outside the cell to inside the cell?”

Willett and Gucinski found that mutations in the target cells allowed CDI to exploit those cells and inject them with toxins.

“What these CDI systems have done is they’ve actually hijacked machinery that the cells already have,” Willett said. “And so cells when they’re growing need to take in nutrients, and the CDI systems hijack those pre-existing systems to deliver these toxins."

Looking ahead, Willett and Gucinski say potential therapeutic applications are tantalizing but years away.

“We’re still trying to understand the routes that we can get different CDI toxins into the cell,” Gucinski said. “One interesting direction would be what other cargo we can deliver with E. coli, how we can manipulate and control the system to target the pathogens.”

Given the rise of drug-resistant bacteria and a dearth of research into new antibiotics, Willett and Gucinski’s research has the potential to open a new front in the fight against pathogenic bacteria.

“We hear on the news that a lot of pathogens are becoming resistant or people can no longer take certain antibiotics,” Willett said. “And so this might be a new way to get around that. Instead of treating everything on a broad spectrum, if we could learn how a natural antibacterial system delivers things that kill other bacteria, we might be able to more learn how we can deliver things like specific proteins or specific antibiotics to kill other bacteria.”

Also contributing to the research was UCSB undergraduate Jackson P. Fatheree. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

— Jim Logan for UC Santa Barbara.

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Cal/OSHA Issues Citation, Fines for Santa Barbara Police Station Workplace Violations

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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East Figueroa Street building has been under investigation since February for mold, dust, lead paint residue and inadequate decontamination areas

Cal/OSHA issued a citation to the City of Santa Barbara for workplace violations found during its inspections of the police station, mainly related to “bad housekeeping,” documents show.

The Santa Barbara Police Department’s building at 215 E. Figueroa St. has been investigated since February, according to the state Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The citation, with seven separate items totaling $7,875 in penalties, accuses the city of establishing but not implementing an effective Injury and Illness Prevention program for employees.

In the police station, there is “bad housekeeping throughout the facility, such as mold on walls, dirty locker rooms, construction dust and debris in work areas, the deterioration of lead paint on the wall of the fitness room, and stained ceiling tiles in Murphy’s Room, as well as the lack of controls in relation to dust and construction material being released by renovation activities.”

Work areas were not kept clean from mold, construction dust, or a black dust that built up in the men’s locker room, according to the citation signed by Andreea Minea, Cal/OSHA district manager and compliance officer.

The building’s two eyewash stations hadn’t been activated monthly to verify they operated properly, and the designated decontamination area didn’t have the materials to use in case of exposure to human blood or body fluids — which include hot water, germicides, antibacterial soup and bleach solution — according to Cal/OSHA’s investigation.

Additional items pointed out violations for not keeping surfaces as “free as practicable” of accumulations of lead, as found from wipe samples taken in the shooting range.

Pieces of ceiling material found on the fitness room floor were tested and determined to have asbestos-containing materials, the citation states.

All the violations must be abated by Sept. 30 and penalties paid — unless the findings are appealed — within 15 days, according to the Cal/OSHA documents.

The citation was delivered to the city Friday, which was a no-work day for the city, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood, an SBPD spokesman.

Municipal officials, including City Administrator Paul Casey and Police Chief Cam Sanchez, plan to discuss the citation Monday, Harwood said.

“The Police Department takes these concerns identified by OSHA very seriously,” Harwood said.

Members of the Santa Barbara Police Officers’ Association have long had concerns about asbestos in the building and lead exposure in the building’s shooting range.

Sgt. Mike McGrew, president of the POA, said employees pushed for testing and noticed pieces of the ceiling falling onto desks during renovations to replace the HVAC system.

He also pushed for a decontamination area; He was one of five officers who was treated after being exposed to a violent subject’s blood after the man slammed his hand through a window and then resisted officers.

McGrew said the suspect’s blood made contact with an open wound on his body, and McGrew and the other officers had to be tested for HIV and hepatitis C.

Officers didn’t have anywhere to clean up after the incident, he has told Noozhawk.

After news of the Cal/OSHA investigation came out, the city released a statement saying employee safety is a top priority.

“The police station is an old building, but the city has been assured on multiple occasions by environmental health professionals that the police station is a safe work environment for its employees,” the statement said.

“Nevertheless, management continues to take all employee concerns seriously, and will respond in any way we can to alleviate these concerns.”

Noozhawk managing 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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Select UCSB Freshmen Check Out Campus Early, Get Head Start on College

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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Ahead of fall's first day of classes, 400 teens get a chance to gain academic credits and get to know the campus

An incoming freshman at UC Santa Barbara emerged from a dark campus lecture hall last week, trying to get his bearings as the bright sun and heat enveloped him.

Once his eyes adjusted, he smiled, waved and said “hello” as he walked past Jane Faulkner, the university’s student success librarian.

UCSB’s fall 2015 quarter doesn’t begin until Sept. 24, but already this student — along with about 400 others — was getting to know the lay of the land.

He was also earning college credit through the university’s Freshman Summer Start Program, which allows incoming students to jump-start college careers by earning seven to 13 college credits in the six-week summer session before fall.

“It’s a big deal to have six weeks,” said Faulkner, who teaches a seminar during the program to acclimate students to the library — a place she says will undoubtedly be a big part of their college careers.

“They come in and they think they know everything (about academic research),” she said, adding that the breadth and pace of college coursework soon humbles them.

Now into the fourth week, more than 100 students listened Wednesday to a lecture on Greek mythology (in that same dim, theater-like classroom).

Many took notes on laptops or in notebooks, but a large number seemed unsure about what information was important.

The program gives first-timers the choice of 90 courses, seminars and workshops, with most students this year majoring in pre-biology, pre-psychology and economics.

Program director Ralph Gallucci, who is also a lecturer in UCSB’s Classics Department, said any student could enroll, especially those interested in learning about undergraduate research or finding a faculty mentor.

When Freshman Summer Start Program began in 2002, just 200 students signed up. The program has steadily grown since until reaching 400, which taps out how many students can live in San Nicolas Hall.

Gallucci hopes the program will keep growing by possibly commandeering another dorm.

Highly motivated academics tend to enroll, wanting to graduate early — the early graduation rate is higher among FSSP participants — or to save some money.

Out-of-state and international students pay the same for summer credits as in-state students, and the program awards more than $1 million in grants and loans annually.

“We want them to bond with each other,” Gallucci said. “We want them to think about the next four years.”

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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45 mph Wind Gusts Turn Up the Heat on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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As the sun set Saturday, hot, gusty winds began kicking up in the upper foothills along Santa Barbara County’s South Coast. The ​National Weather Service issued a wind advisory through Sunday morning.

The weather service said intermittent northwest to north winds of 25 to 35 mph were expected overnight, with gusts up to 45 mph.

A second Wind Advisory was issued Sunday morning — effective from 5 p.m. until 4 a.m. Monday.

The winds are likely to be strongest below canyons and passes of the Santa Ynez Mountains, especially in the Montecito foothills, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass, and along Highway 101 on the Gaviota coast.

The strongest winds are expected to taper off after midnight, and the advisory is set to lapse at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday’s high temperatures should reach the upper 70s and low 80s on the South Coast, with overnight lows in the 60s. The rest of the week should see more of the same.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

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

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Serve Santa Maria Volunteers Fan Out, Pitch In for 10th Community Cleanup Day

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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Scene of a brutal murder is among sites receving TLC from hundreds of volunteers tackling projects at homes, parks and schools

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A broken saw and two overgrown juniper trees were no match for determined Serve Santa Maria volunteers Saturday. After a quick phone call, help arrived and the trees were cut down to size.

Similar chores — and collaborations — were completed across the Santa Maria Valley at nine private residences, four parks and three schools Saturday by approximately 350 volunteers participating in Serve Santa Maria 10.

Additionally, a team visited sites to pray for participants’ safety and success.

Volunteers who descended on a house in the 900 block of North Dejoy Street, a few blocks south of Oakley School, were briefly thwarted by equipment failure as they tried to remove stubborn juniper trees.

But Santa Maria police Sgt. Eligio Lara called a buddy, retired Santa Maria firefighter Dennis Szczepanski, who came right over with a chainsaw.

Within minutes of his arrival, the juniper branches rested on the ground, where volunteers picked them up to toss into a nearby roll-off debris bin.

“That guy’s a lifesaver, believe me,” volunteer Alfonso “​Jasso” Diaz, a retired Montecito Water District employee, told Noozhawk during a short pause from the buzzing saw.

Serve Santa Maria, a community cleanup launched five years ago by Pastor Carl Nielsen of Bethel Lutheran Church, involves work teams spreading out across the Santa Maria Valley to complete various projects twice a year.

Other organizations and businesses supported the projects. Pepsi Bottling Co. donated 500 bottles of water, Hugh Bedford of Bedford Enterprises provided five roll-off debris bins, and The Salvation Army delivered lunches for the volunteers.

Additionally, Thrivent Financial and the Santa Barbara Foundation provided funding to support the day’s projects. The Santa Barbara Foundation has selected Serve Santa Maria as the recipient of a $5,000 challenge grant, with any donations to be matched up to $5,000 through Dec. 31.

On Saturday afternoon, Nielsen emailed a report of the “amazing” day as he noted efforts to turn Serve Santa Maria into a nonprofit organization.

“We are paid, not with dollars, but with a glad heart and a good feeling of helping another person or the community,” he said. “And we know God is honored through our service.”

At municipal sites throughout the city, volunteers spread bark. At schools, they painted and removed weeds. And at individual homes, they cleaned yards.

A future project, planned for another day due to its complexity, will see the installation of a wheelchair-accessible ramp at a residence occupied by dialysis patients.

Those who worked at the North Dejoy Street address were particularly driven. The house was the home of Marilyn Pharis, who was viciously attacked as she slept July 24. She died of her injuries eight days later.

Two men, one of whom is an undocumented immigrant with prior arrests, face first-degree murder charges as well as other charges in the case.

Diaz’s wife, Nancy, a friend of Pharis’ and a previous Serve Santa Maria volunteer, served as the project leader at the house.

“We’re trying to soften up and give this house a little curb appeal,” Diaz said, adding that the work focused on front and back yards, including removing the juniper trees so the home can be treated for termites.

Nielsen said most of the volunteers at the site were Pharis’ friends and coworkers.

“It was very healing for many of her coworkers to do something,” he said.

Mayor Alice Patino was among those at the site, picking up brush and twigs and loading debris in a wheelbarrow.

“It brings all of Santa Maria together,” she said. “It’s beautiful. It’s so energizing for all of us.”

Observing workers quickly transform the yard, Nancy Diaz said she was overwhelmed.

“The family is just going to be amazed,” she said, adding that Pharis’ family had seen police photographs from the gruesome crime scene.

“Now it’s going to be a whole new picture.”

In Orcutt, First Christian Church volunteers loaded equipment after completing the day’s list of chores, and were making plans to return to tackle the backyard of the residence, according to project leader Lynn Spier.

The home’s octogenarian resident, who asked not be named, said the help meant a lot to her.

“They’ve just been wonderful,” she said. “I’ve always been a giver and I had to learn to receive today.

“It’s nice when people give like this and don’t expect anything in return.”

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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Mark Shields: Pat Moynihan Would Call Donald Trump a Mole of the Democrats

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan — four-term U.S. senator from New York, ambassador and White House adviser — was that rarest of combinations: a gifted public intellectual and a talented, practical politician.

He alone, in January 1980, during the depths of the Cold War, dared to say, “The defining event of the decade might well be the breakup of the Soviet empire.” On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.

Moynihan also had a wicked sense of humor. At Washington’s annual Gridiron Club dinner March 28, 1981, with President Ronald Reagan sitting not 10 feet away from him, the Democrat told the crowd how David Stockman, Reagan’s controversial boy-wonder budget director, had, as a graduate student, been the Moynihan family’s live-in baby sitter.

Young Stockman, according to Moynihan, railed endlessly against “American imperialism and the immorality of the Vietnam War.”

Moynihan continued: “So we installed him in the top floor of our house and got him into the Harvard Divinity School. There he was taught, of course, that there is no such thing as morality.”

Moynihan then “confided” to the dinner crowd and Stockman’s boss that “Dave was everything you could dream of in a mole,” that Stockman had been programmed to sabotage the Republican revolution from within by running up record-shattering budget deficits, thus swelling the national debt and destroying any Republican claim to fiscal responsibility.

Do we not know that if Moynihan ​— who departed these earthly precincts in 2003 — were still here, he would have, long ago, sounded an eloquent alarm on the Republican presidential front-runner, real estate billionaire Donald Trump, and identified him for what he obviously is, a Democratic mole?

Look at what the maverick front-runner has already done to subvert the party where there had previously been, at the presidential level, overwhelming consensus — for example, on the virtue and value of free trade.

Trump inconveniently pointed out how the United States’ trade deficit with Mexico increased more than 50-fold in the first 15 years of NAFTA and has insisted on ignoring the big picture of increased “economic growth,” while harping on the American jobs that have been sacrificed to foreign competition and on the people who lost those jobs and their hometowns.

The only non-negotiable unanimity among contemporary Republicans is found in the party’s uniform opposition to any increase in taxes.

So what has Trump done? He has spouted heresy, saying he would be “OK with” raising taxes. He, of all people, wants to punish success.

Of big earners in hedge funds, he has said: “They make a fortune. They pay no tax. ... The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder.”

Yes, he would even “take carried interest out” (referring to the preference that taxes hedge fund and private equity income at only about 20 percent).

This man is clearly a Democratic plant, subversively but brilliantly undermining the Republican Party by smashing party consensus while rising to the top of polls of party members.

All this is not to mention Trump’s immigration position, which has effectively driven voters who are themselves or who have family or loved ones who are immigrants away from the GOP and into the open arms of the Democrats.

Reagan was the man who put a smiling face on American conservatism, and Trump could be the man who puts a pouty face on this year’s conservatism.

Moynihan would have warned us months ago: Donald Trump is obviously a double agent for the Democrats bent on sabotaging Republican hopes for 2016.

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Vehicle Rollover on Highway 101 Turns Tables on Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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Veteran firefighter Robert Mercado escapes serious injury in Gaviota mishap while driving home to Buellton

As a battalion chief for the Santa Barbara Fire Department, Robert Mercado has responded to countless car crashes, many with tragic consequences.

But on Saturday, Mercado for the first time found himself on the receiving end of an emergency call after his SBFD vehicle overturned on Highway 101 near Gaviota.

“I don’t like being part of the news story,” he told Noozhawk on Saturday afternoon from his home in Buellton.

Mercado, who suffered only a few minor cuts to his hands in the wreck, was northbound on Highway 101, heading home at about 8:30 a.m., when his right rear tire began to delaminate.

“It felt like I’d run over something,” he recounted. “I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw rubber flying up in the air. Then I started to fishtail and couldn’t control the vehicle.”

The Ford Excursion went up a dirt embankment and overturned, trapping Mercado in the wreckage for a time.

“I couldn’t get myself out of there, I was essentially hanging upside down in my seat belt,” he said, adding that his foot was caught beneath the dashboard.

Eventually he was able to free his foot and crawl back through the busted-up vehicle, then extricate himself through a rear window.

He was standing near the wrecked SUV when Santa Barbara County firefighters from nearby Station 18 arrived on the scene minutes later.

Mercado, who has seen more than his share of highway carnage in nearly three decades as a firefighter, was quick to point out how important it was that he was wearing his seatbelt.

“I’m really lucky to be walking around after something like that,” he 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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Saturday Night’s Super Moon Is Summer’s Biggest, Brightest

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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If the full moon rising Saturday evening seems larger and brighter than usual, well, it is. The moon is just about at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, making this full moon a “super moon.”

At around sundown Saturday, the moon will reach its closest point, known as an orbital perigee, at 222,631 miles away from Earth. On average, the moon is 238,855 miles away.

Lunar scientists say the moon will appear about 14 percent larger than normal Saturday.

This super moon is the first of three that will be appearing over the next two months.

On Sept. 27, the Harvest Moon will herald autumn’s arrival. One more super moon will follow on Oct. 27, but it will be slightly more distant than the previous two.

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

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yCREATE After-School Program Directs Students’ Focus to the World of Video, Film Production

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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Innovative, new TV Santa Barbara opportunity cues the art of broadcasting and media production, as well as critical career skills

yCREATE, a new innovative after-school media program, provides local youth with hands-on, real-time experience in broadcasting and media production.

Youth and teens ages 10 to 18 will gain invaluable experience into the world of video production, including learning about a number of techniques and skills, such as basic animation, script writing, video editing, sound design and more.

Essentially, “they will be learning about how media is created,” said Matt Schuster, executive director at TV Santa Barbara.

“It takes them from being just a consumer of messages to showing them how different messages are shaped,” he said.

The program was a collaboration between TV Santa Barbara and other community partnerships to expand its Teen News Network into both an after-school and Saturday morning program.

Although the after-school yCREATE program might be new, the organization has been doing youth programs in partnership with other community nonprofit organizations for almost a decade.

Throughout the quarter, students will have an opportunity to create their very own short or documentary-style film with the help of the experienced crew at TV Santa Barbara, whose studio is located at 329 S. Salinas St. on the Lower Eastsisde.

During the after-school sessions, students will be encouraged to create a video documentary or news packet for Teen News Network, while the Saturday morning classes will be focused on creating short films.

Not only will the students be learning highly valued media production skills, but they will be learning “workplace skills that they can apply to any career down the road,” Schuster said.

Using the skills taught in each session, students will create and produce their very own short film, which will be aired on TV Santa Barbara at a later date and premiere at a community screening event in December.

Students and their families will have the amazing opportunity to watch their creations live on a big screen at the screening event toward the end of the semester.  The event, which will be open to the public, will be hosted in partnership with Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara and The Arts Fund Santa Barbara.

Click here for more information about yCREATE at TV Santa Barbara, or call 805.571.1721.

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Cliff Drive Care Center After-School Program Has Your Child’s Back — School or No School!

By | Published on 08/29/2015

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Long-standing program on campus of Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara provides caring environment, homework help and plenty of play time

For more than 50 years, the Cliff Drive Care Center after-school program has been providing Santa Barbara’s children with a fun, caring and safe environment so they can do what kids love most: Play!

The center is one of the only after-school program that works hard to provide care for children even during half-days and most school holidays. Operated by Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara on its campus at 1435 Cliff Drive, the center is open more often than not and is always being adjusted in conjunction with local schools’ schedules.

From arts and crafts and board games, to sports and games of tag, the kids rarely tire from the different activities that the Cliff Drive Care Center offers. One always-popular activity is playing and building with Legos.

While there is always lots of fun to be had, the trained and knowledgeable staff also tutors and helps children with their homework.

On Mondays, the children are invited to attend a weekly chapel service led by the center’s high-spirited youth pastor.

For some of community’s children, the center is simply a safe place to decompress after a long school day under the careful watch of warm and professional child caregivers.

“We create a safe loving environment where children can simply be themselves,” explained program director Jenny Yznaga.

The Cliff Drive Care Center is a fully state-licensed program whose mission is to provide the highest quality of child care possible for children ages 5-12. Although they regularly pick up children from Adams, MonroeOpen Alternative, Vieja Valley and Washington elementary schools, all local children are welcome to attend.

Click here for more information about Cliff Drive Care Center, or call 805.965.4286 x221. 

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Refugio Oil Spill Cleanup Prepares to Enter Final Phase

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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The initial grunt work of the Refugio oil spill clean up is nearly complete, but that doesn’t mean a mass exodus of crew members will be happening any time soon.

Sure, most volunteers doing less-specialized cleaning of sand and rocks following the May 19 pipeline leak near Refugio State Beach have gone home.

But according to Refugio Response Unified Command, which is handling clean-up efforts along with Plains All American Pipeline, the Texas oil company responsible, two Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams are sticking around for the third phase of cleanup — monitoring.

Unified command folks are also sticking around, albeit a smaller staff of 17 at a smaller office, said unified command’s Alexia Retallack, who works for California Fish & Wildlife.

This week, unified command announced the second phase of cleansing oil-covered cobblestones and rocks was complete, except at beaches closest to ground zero, where as many as 142,800 gallons of crude oil flowed down the hill and into the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Park.

The first phase involved gross oil cleanup, and the third includes surveys and SCAT teams regularly checking from Arroyo Hondo to Rincon Point, Retallack said.

“There’s still cleaning going on,” she said. “The area is much more concentrated now.”

Because some of the beaches can only be reached at low tide, Retallack said crews are limited to scraping oil from cobblestones at night.

During phase three, SCAT teams survey for oil uncovered through sand erosion, respond to reports of oil deposits, and conduct periodic sampling.

Samplings are scheduled for December and May 2016, as well as any time there’s a significant storm event, since storms tend to erode beaches and could reveal oil deposits, Retallack said.

Those samples are then compared to oil originating from the spill.                                                                                              

“If they find anything, that team will go back and see if it needs to be cleaned again,” she said.

Along with monitoring comes restoration planning, Retallack said, which involves public comment, results of an investigation, determination of costs, and many years of wildlife habitat re-establishment.

“They’re going to be monitoring for a very long period,” she said.

Unified Command is following a phased cleanup approach according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Shoreline Assessment Manual.

Anyone who sees unusual amounts of tar or oil can report the sighting with the USCG National Response Center at 800.424.8802 or the California Office of Emergency Services at 800.852.7550.

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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Mona Charen: The Republican Face of Caesarism

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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Among a very long list of harms inflicted upon the United States by Barack Obama and his party, perhaps the worst was Caesarism.

Obama relished the worship of millions in 2008. From his star turn at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was treated not as a political candidate, but as a savior.

Progressives fell into a swoon, typified by Newsweek editor Evan Thomas's 2008 comment, "I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above — above the world; he's sort of God."

Now, a similar kind of unreasoning adulation is greeting (improbably enough) Donald Trump. Fred Barnes reports that a focus group of Trump supporters is swept up in a kind of worship, too: "He's not just their favorite candidate. Their tie to him is almost mystical. He's a kind of political savior, someone who says what they think."

If Obama had accepted the reverence of the crowd but governed as a normal president, his sin would have been merely aesthetic, but he did not.

Contempt for law and tradition has been the hallmark of his presidency. His lawlessness makes Richard Nixon's look penny ante

In addition to his blatantly illegal grant of legal status to 4 million illegal immigrants — a move Obama himself declared he lacked the authority to make — Obama has acted as an autocrat in dozens of other instances.

Without any legal basis, he imposed a fine on BP after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and unilaterally suspended offshore drilling.

He bypassed the plain language of Obamacare multiple times, whenever enforcing the unpopular or unworkable aspects of the law would be politically inconvenient. (The employer mandate, for example, was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.)

He attempted to make recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not in recess.

He waived the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that the Obama administration "set a new record again for more often than ever censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act."

His administration has ignored repeated congressional subpoenas, while his attorney general was found in contempt of Congress.

Obama perhaps calculated that he could get away with this lawlessness because of his uniqueness. The Constitution provides a remedy for lawless executives — but while Obama has arguably committed acts that merit impeachment, he knows that his status as the first black president gives him immunity.

Impeachment would tear the country apart.

The courts have thwarted some of Obama's power grabs. The Supreme Court has rebuked him several times. The NLRB appointments were reversed, and the immigration waiver has been judicially stayed for now. But much damage remains.

Obama's legacy is a profound weakening of respect for law and tradition in this country.

That Democrats are fine with this isn't a huge surprise. They've long demonstrated that they are ends-justify-the-means types.

Since the era of Woodrow Wilson, they've decided that if they cannot get their preferred policies through legislatures, they're happy to see them imposed by courts — and if not by courts, then by executive fiat.

They conveniently uphold a "living" Constitution — which is pretty much no Constitution at all but just the raw exercise of power by those in robes.

Conservatives and Republicans, by contrast, have traditionally stood for the rule of law — with all of its frustrations and inefficiencies.

Respect for the rule of law is more precious than any given policy outcome. If we are not, as John Adams said, a "government of laws and not of men," we will soon drift into the kind of despotism that characterizes nations without a strong legal tradition.

Putinism is destroying what is best in Russia. Peronism devastated Argentina. Franco crushed liberty in Spain for half a century. The Castro brothers have imposed their tyranny on Cuba for longer than that.

The list of countries that succumbed to Caesarism is very, very long.

The appeal of Trump falls into this category, too. Though one might suppose that his borderline pathological narcissism, his arrested emotional development and his nearly incoherent ramblings would exclude him from consideration for county clerk, he sits atop the GOP field.

The message from a segment of the Republican Party is: "OK, we're an autocracy now. So let's have this guy govern by fiat."

Unless the rest of the Republican Party makes a different case — namely that the answer to Obamaism is a return to law — it may be game over for self-government in the world's oldest democracy.

Mona Charen is a columnist with National Review magazine. Click here to contact her, follow her on Twitter: @mcharen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Outdoors Q&A: Blue Crabs in Mission Bay?

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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Q: I have seen what appear to be blue crabs in the Mission Bay area of San Diego that look like crabs normally found in the southern U.S. What are these? What is the limit, size and permitted way of catching them in California? I cannot seem to find it in the handbook. (Don F.)

A: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has received several reports of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in the Mission Bay area of San Diego; however, none of the reports thus far have been substantiated.

According to CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist Travis Buck of San Diego, the crabs you have seen are most likely Portunus xantusii (swimming crab), which are native to Southern California and resemble the East Coast/Gulf of Mexico blue crab.

To harvest these crabs, you will need a California sport fishing license with an ocean enhancement stamp.

There is no closed season or minimum size limit, but the bag limit is 35, and these crabs may be taken by hand or with a hoop net.

No more than five hoop nets may be used per person from a boat and no more than two per person from a pier or jetty.

There is a maximum of 10 hoop nets per vessel. Also, divers may not possess any hooked devices while diving for crustaceans, including crabs.

Regulations for these crabs fall under section 29.05, “general regulations for invertebrates,” and 29.80, “gear restrictions for crustaceans,” found on pages 46, 49 and 50 in the current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

Can drones be used to find and track wildlife?

Q: A discussion came up at our rod and gun club the other day about whether there are any official regulations or restrictions regarding hunters using drones to assist in locating and tracking big game and/or other wildlife.

I personally can’t believe they would be legal to use but none of us have ever heard any official determination on this subject one way or another.

With deer season in full swing and more people now owning drones, I shudder to think that these increasingly sophisticated aerial contraptions might be used by other hunters for wildlife surveillance and even possibly for the driving or tracking of animals that they are hunting.

Or conversely, what about anti-hunters using them to spook wildlife and disrupt hunters while they are tracking and stocking their animals? What is the official word on this issue? (Anonymous)

A: It is unlawful to use a drone to assist in taking wildlife as you describe, and it would be unlawful to harass legal hunters with a drone (Fish and Game Code, section 2009).

It is also unlawful for any person to “… use any motorized, hot-air, or unpowered aircraft or other device capable of flight or any earth orbiting imaging device to locate or assist in locating big game mammals 48 hours before and continuing until 48 hours after any big game hunting season in the same area” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251).

Drone owners/pilots should keep in mind that additional legislation is currently being considered that may further restrict the use of drones in different public and private areas.

Drones are already prohibited in National Parks, and that list may soon grow, so stay tuned.

Crayfish trap limits?

Q: Had a question about crawfishing that no one can seem to answer for me. My question is how many traps are allowed per person with a fishing license?

I have been told that it’s a limit of two, but when I look into the California Fish and Game for 2015–2016 Handbook, it doesn’t say anything about how many traps are allowed. (William P., Lemoore)

A: Crayfish may be harvested year round with a sport fishing license (except for closures listed below), and there are no limits on the number you can possess or take home.

Regarding methods of take, crayfish may be taken only by hand, hook and line, dip net or with traps. There is no limit on number of traps; however, they may not be over three feet in greatest dimension. Any other species taken must be returned to the water immediately. Traps need not be closely attended.

For a list of those areas closed to harvest in order to protect the Shasta crayfish, please refer to section 5.35(d) on page 21 of the 2015–2016 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

In addition, crayfish may not be used for bait in sections of the Pit River (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 4.30).

The season closures in Chapter 3 (District Trout and Salmon Special Regulations) do not apply to crayfish fishing with methods other than hook and line (see sections 7.00 and 7.50(a)(2)).

Multi-day trip for abalone

Q: I’m a rock picker for red abalone. Because of long distance driving I plan to go for a two-day trip.

With daily limits of three, I would get three on the first day and another three on the second day before driving home. I will then have six abalone in possession. Would this be legal? (Henry)

A: No. The bag limit is also the possession limit. You may only legally possess up to three red abalone.

You would have to eat or give away all or part of your first day’s limit before you picked more abalone on a subsequent day.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Donna Polizzi: From Retro to Chic, Laid-Back Los Alamos Makes the Living Easy

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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Old West tranquiltiy and cultural sophistication are part of the draw, but don’t forget the food, wine and antiques

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Wonder where the celebrities hang out these days? Believe it or not, the answer is Los Alamos.

The quiet, rustic town is in the heart of Santa Barbara County Wine Country. It’s less than four square miles, along Highway 101, just 10 miles north of Buellton and 18 miles south of Santa Maria.

Highway 135, which is Bell Street through town, is where you’ll want to hang out. It’s home to The Victorian Mansion, a bed and breakfast at 326 Bell St., and to Gussied Up Antiques, 349 Bell St.

Two blocks away is Los Alamos Depot Mall, 515 Bell St., if you want antique, choice retro and vintage items at reasonable prices. Before you go, grab a croissant across the street at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery, 550 Bell St., but give yourself ample time to browse because the place is huge, and it’s full of treasures.

Trust me, you want to eat lunch at Bell Street Farm, 406 Bell St. Owner Jamie Gluck will greet you with a big smile, a handshake and a list of the day’s delicious farm-to-table menu specials. I like to eat on the back patio, which is dog friendly.

Los Alamos should boast about being home to the 1880 Union Hotel & Saloon. The hotel is a story in itself. Walking inside is like traveling back in time to, well, 1880. There’s really nothing like it in Santa Barbara County.

Originally, the place was a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop. The hotel now has 14 rooms, each with unique themed décor but a definite Old West ambiance.

I always enjoy stopping in for a cool drink and sitting at the bar or out back in the beautiful garden with friends. But you’ll never be bored with the friendly people, pool table or outdoor giant chess set. There are so many interesting things to do and see!

Speaking of seeing things, I’ve been told by a very convincing long-time employee that the 1880 Union Hotel is haunted. She told a compelling story that seemed sincere about things being moved around when she was the only one there. She says she often stays at the hotel, but there is one room that she will no longer sleep in. All I can say is, “Who ya gonna call?”

The 1880 Union Hotel has a rich musical history. “Say, Say Say” what you want in a small town and you’re sure to hear that Michael Jackson, a Los Olivos resident who died in 2009, and Paul McCartney produced a video by that very name at the hotel. The song was released in 1983 and became a No. 1 hit in numerous countries.

The song was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. If that wasn’t impressive enough, “Say, Say Say” was No. 7 of 10 of Jackson’s No. 1 hits in a 12-month period.

Johnny Cash also sang at The Union Hotel in the 1950s.

Los Alamos effortlessly juggles antique and chic. Along with its Western feel and roots, it has some of the region’s best wine tasting, beer and food.

On any given Friday or Saturday night, while enjoying a glass of good local wine and a tasty dinner at Full of Life Flatbread, 225 Bell St., you’re just as likely to run into someone famous in this little town as you are on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

A great place that features great food, an espresso bar, local wines plus an art gallery featuring contemporary art by local artists, is Café Quackenbush at The General Store, 458 Bell St.

Few small towns can offer old-town tranquility and cultural sophistication as seamlessly as Los Alamos.

Another jewel is Terramonary Porcelain Dinnerware, 273 Bell St. Its collection is world class, and features porcelain dinnerware, ceramics, gifts and books. 

If wine tasting is your thing, Casa Dumetz, 388 Bell St., is a fun place. On Friday nights, you’re likely to run into Emilio Estevez, a close friend of the owner. Oh, and the wine isn’t bad either. On the weekends, there’s often live music, as well.

Next door is Bedford Winery, 448 Bell St., featuring local wines from the Valley. The staff is like running into old friends —personable, friendly and knowledgeable.

Los Alamos is easy to find and well worth the drive. It’s right off Highway 101 in between the Santa Ynez and the Santa Maria valleys, adjacent to horse ranches, wineries and rolling hills.

It is evident what attracts the rich and famous to live, and play here. But it’s really the locals who make this place shine. Los Alamos has good old-fashioned neighborliness, where everyone knows everyone, the vibe is relaxed and laid back, but with its own “buzz” that never seems to stop.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys to the Coast, a Central Coast travel resource providing members with a customized list of recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Judy Crowell: A Foggy Day in Cambria Town

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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Hearst Castle is the crown jewel of this quaint San Luis Obispo County community

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How is it that a shroud of fog can transform an already charming ocean-side town into a place of mystery and mystique?

So it was on a foggy autumn day in Cambria, California, an already charming seaside town in San Luis Obisp County midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and perfectly located minutes away from the magnificent Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s architectural jewel.

After a day or two of viewing the palatial castle gardens and rooms, you’ll welcome the small town ambience of Cambria.

Even the lodging embraces the ocean mist, as Fog Catcher Inn’s name conveys. Its old English country warmth with fireplaces in every room has made it a top choice of visitors to Cambria.

Also located mere steps from the beach and seaside boardwalk is the Blue Dolphin Inn and Cambria Landing Inn & Suites for ocean-view bungalows.

B&Bs abound in this quaint town. To be transported back in time, there’s the historical Squibb House with the quirky charm (and conveniences!) of the 1800s. Perhaps best viewed from the outside.

Don’t miss the delightful atmosphere and wonderful menu offerings at vegan friendly Robin’s Restaurant. Their salmon bisque alone is worth the drive up the coast, and was so mouth-watering, I brought back an armful for my freezer. All gone!

Madeline’s Restaurant and Wine Shop is a gem. Save this spot for an elegant dinner with excellent wine choices and chocolate truffle mousse cake to top it all off. For fresh seafood served beachside, try the Sea Chest Oyster Bar and chat with the chefs as your dinner is being prepared in full view.

Wine tasting is a favorite here and one of Cambria’s best is the Moonstone Cellars, with award winning wines and its own 24/7 radio station, playing music to taste wine by. No kidding!

Other suggestions: Fermentation, Twin Coyotes Winery, Black Hand Cellars and Stolo Family Vineyards.

Nearby activities include Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, for the mournful cry of the foghorn; elephant seal viewing; live theater; whale watching; art studios and galleries; tide pooling and wildlife viewing; surf and pier fishing; kayaking, hiking and surfing; and unique shopping and antiquing in both the East and West ends of Cambria Village.

If you’re lucky enough to catch the whimsy of the autumn Cambria Scarecrow Festival, you’ll see folk artistry at its most creative.

The 2014 theme was Water Conservation, so on the minds of every Californian, and we laughed and smiled our way through all the outstanding entries.

Favorites were the dapper skeleton and traditional Mexican folk figure, La Catrina, and the hysterical ‘sacred water’ clergy and nuns outside a local church, doing their best to conserve precious and ‘holy’ water.

If you’re REALLY lucky, you’ll catch picturesque Cambria and imposing Hearst Castle enveloped in fog….a sight you’ll never forget.

Turkish novelist, Mehmet Murat Ildan said it best: “The joy of the fog is to beautify further the existing beauties.”

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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Stranded Hikers Rescued from Cathedral Peak near Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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At approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from two individuals that had become lost while hiking down from Cathedral Peak due to darkness.  

They had driven from their homes in Lompoc to specifically hike this difficult trail above the city of Santa Barbara.

They started their hike from Tunnel Road around 4 p.m. that day and felt they could return before darkness but neglected to take any lighting with them.  

While unhurt, the two subjects indicated they were stuck on a cliff and were not able to go any further fearing they could fall and injure themselves.  

Ten members of the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) team responded and coordinated a search in the Mission Canyon area.

Using various methods of cellular location triangulating, night vision equipment and phone conversations with the subjects about where they might have taken a wrong turn, they were located at approximately 11 p.m.  

Due to their location, SBCSAR personnel had to hike above the subjects and installed a rope anchor system to allow four rescuers to rappel 200 feet down to the stranded subjects.  

After securing the subjects into harnesses, the SBCSAR team then set up additional anchor points and lowered the subjects down the cliff face to a point where they could be hiked out by the rescue personnel back to their vehicle on Tunnel Road.

SBCSAR reminds the public to be prepared when venturing out into the backcountry, which include taking sufficient lights in case of delays.  

For further hiking tips please visit the Search and Rescue Team's website.  

SBCSAR is an all-volunteer branch of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office offering search and rescue services to the public at no charge since the early 1960s.

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

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Santa Barbara Doctor Found Guilty on 79 Counts of Overprescribing

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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A former doctor who worked out of a Milpas Street office before being arrested for overprescribing has been found guilty on 79 counts and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, according to a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Julio Diaz was arrested by federal agents on Jan. 4, 2012 after an affidavit accused Diaz of prescribing “profound” doses of drugs, including strong painkillers such as OxyContin, fentanyl and Dilaudid to patients.

The case was drawn out after Diaz pleaded guilty in January 2014 to federal charges of overprescribing painkillers that led to 11 patient deaths, but U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney allowed him to later withdraw the guilty plea, ruling that Diaz had not been properly advised by his attorney at the time.

The two-and-a-half week trial began Aug. 11 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, and the jury began deliberating late Wednesday afternoon.

It returned the verdict on Friday afternoon and found Diaz guilty of all 79 counts he was facing.

Diaz's attorney, Kate Corrigan, said that her client plans to appeal.

The prosecution brought forward a range of witnesses to testify, including doctors from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, medical experts, several pharmacists, former patients and family members of those patients. 

“There was a quite a lot of very painful testimony,” said prosecutor Ann Wolf of the U.S. Attorney's Office.  

“It was a difficult case for everyone.”

Each of the counts Diaz faced relates to one prescription written, and the counts involved nine different patients of Diaz.

The prosecution put forward a case that had financial motive as a dominant theme for why Diaz began to prescribe such large amounts of powerful drugs to people trapped in addiction, and also painted the former doctor as someone who felt untouchable by the law.

The prosecution looked at 50,000 prescriptions written by Diaz during the scope of his practice, but primarily focused on a small snapshot of those, which were given out when Diaz expanded to include “pain management” as part of his practice from 2007 to 2011.

The patients in the lawsuit had been prescribed drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and fentanyl, among others.

Wolf said she feels the case’s outcome is a warning to doctors who choose to take advantage of vulnerable people.

“Any medical provider that turns people into addicts and takes advantage of that will be held accountable,” she said.

“The fact that someone is wearing a white coat doesn’t give them carte blanche to deal drugs. (Diaz )was a drug dealer.”

Anyone who is a legitimate doctor and is caring properly for their patients has nothing to fear, Wolf said, adding that she feels people like Diaz, seeking to turn a profit off their patients' addictions are rare.

Diaz will be sentenced on Dec. 14, and though Wolf has not done the calculation of prison time for each count, the prison time will be substantial.

“I anticipate he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” she said. 

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

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Helene Schneider and Youth Interactive will Unveil Postcards of SB Mural

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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On Sept. 5, 4 p.m. at the Indigo Hotel (121 State Street), Mayor Helene Schneider on behalf of the City of Santa Barbara and in collaboration with Youth Interactive, will unveil 16 8' x 6' murals from the Postcards of Santa Barbara Public Art Mural Project.

Youth Interactive is a 501(c)(3) and a creative entrepreneurship academy supporting youth and the arts in Santa Barbara County.

This one of its kind collaborative within the Santa Barbara art community would not be possible without Santa Barbara’s amazingly talented artists young and old from all walks of life, including Anke Gladnick, Aviel Hyman, Barbara Eberhart, Danny Meza, David Diamant, Earl Arnold, Jess Nieuhues, Jonathan Hernandez, Kathee Christie, Lauren Manzo, Maryvonne Laparliere, Matt Rodriguez, Metrov, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Sara Wilcox, Shannon McCain Jaffe and Yanely Delgado, as well as the talented assistants Victoria Cutbirth and Madison Dykstra.

The generous benefactors that made this project possible were Santa Barbara Beautiful, The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, The Santa Barbara Foundation, The Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Trust, The McDonald Boersma Foundation and The High Tide Foundation.  

These murals, created in the future home of the Community Arts Workshop, will serve to beautify the lower block of State Street by covering the construction project which is taking place opposite the Indigo Hotel for one year.

The Sept. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony with Helene Schneider and patron of YI Michael McDonald will include music from a Mariachi band, canapes and a street celebration with the Santa Barbara community and art enthusiasts.

Please join us in thanking our collaborative working partners, which include; Santa Barbara Beautiful’s 50th Anniversary, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, The Downtown Organization, Visit Santa Barbara, the City Arts Advisory, the Visual Arts in Public Places Committee, the Creative Arts Workshop, the Historical Landmark Committee and Woodbridge Capital.

Moreover, we would love thank MarBorg, Art Essentials and CAW for their invaluable support.

This project is created and managed by Youth Interactive, located in the Funk Zone at 209 Anacapa Street, where a youth-run retail shop and studio is open six days a week.

More information and artwork previews for this event can be found on Facebook.

Inquiries about this event or Youth Interactive can be directed to Nathalie Gensac at [email protected] or by phone at 805.453.4123.

— Nathalie Gensac is a publicist representing Youth Interactive.

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CEC Diversifies Partnership Council with Five Incoming Members

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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The Community Environmental Council is proud to announce that five new members have joined its partnership council in 2015.

This group represents a broad spectrum of individuals in the Santa Barbara community who act as ambassadors to advocate, network and promote on behalf of CEC.

Gillian V. Grant has deep roots in Santa Barbara, with a family that goes back a few generations in the area.

She lived in other parts of the U.S. and in India for several years while building Deloitte’s offshoring operations and working as a chief of staff in the office of the CEO.

Now back in Santa Barbara, she is the director of operations and event producer for Merryl Brown Events, a company with close ties to CEC.

Grant was drawn to CEC by the diverse talents of the oard and partnership council, as well as their commitment to getting rid of plastic.

Susan Owens is an artist specializing in pieces made from salvaged materials. She recently won a "bill presenter" contest at The Lark with her beautiful tin bird collage.

She blogs about art, food and gardening.

A dedicated community volunteer, she has served on several PTA boards and committees, and she is currently on the sustainability committee at Santa Barbara High School and is a driving force for greening school events through waste reduction and other means.

With the recent graduation of her youngest child, and thus less participation in the public school arena, Owens is ready for a new volunteer opportunity.

She sees climate change as the single most critical issue of our day and feels that working as a CEC partner is an exciting and meaningful way to be involved in the community.

Laura and Russ McGlothlin are a community-minded, philanthropic couple who live on a ranch they recently refurbished in Goleta. 

Laura is a longtime Green Gala Committee member, who has been instrumental in the success of the annual auction.

Russ is a former CEC Board Member. An attorney at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, he specializes in water rights and helped to pass the first-ever groundwater legislation in California last year. 

Perrin Pellegrin is a managing partner at Innovative Workshop Consulting, a company that specializes in sustainable planning.

She has been involved in LEED certified projects at UCSB and MarBorg Industries, winning numerous awards for her work.

From 2000 to 2008, she served as the sustainability manager at UCSB.

Civically active, she serves on the board of Fairview Gardens and is involved in planning the new Santa Barbara Children’s Museum.

Pellegrin is an active part of the Santa Barbara environmental community, and joining CEC allows her to work toward goals that she values.

— The Community Environmental Council's mission is to identify, advocate and raise awareness about the most pressing environmental issues that affect the Santa Barbara region, and its goal is to change entire systems that were built up over the last 100 years, and to do it in a way that creates jobs, saves money and strengthens the economy. 

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CHP Identifies Goleta Man Who Died in Fatal Highway Collision

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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Driver of Volkswagen Beetle apparently had medical condition, hit another vehicle and veered off the roadway

The man who died in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 101 Wednesday afternoon was 44-year-old Goleta man Ismael Gil, according to the California Highway Patrol

Gil was driving a 1963 VW Beetle southbound near Los Carneros Road and suffered a medical condition while driving, CHP Officer John Gutierrez said. 

The Beetle veered to the right, colliding with another vehicle that was entering the freeway from the Los Carneros Road onramp.

After the two cars collided, the Beetle drove to the right, down an embankment and overturned, landing on the passenger side, Gutierrez said. 

Gil was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders and the passenger was transported with minor injuries to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to the CHP. 

The collision pushed the other car, a Volkswagen Cabrio, into the center divider. Both occupants had minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene, Gutierrez said. 

"At this point in the investigation, it does not appear drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor to this collision," he said. 

Noozhawk managing 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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Bill Macfadyen: In a Race Against Time, Noozhawk Is in the Right Place to Get a Big Picture

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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This NoozWeek Top 5 is a tough one, with 2 fatal crashes, a gut-shot woman, and felony charges in the case of a severely burned Santa Barbara boy

​​​

There were 111,109 people who read Noozhawk this past week while waiting to see what Joe Biden will say next.

As that oxymoron is yawning on you, here’s my take on your top stories.

1. Motorcyclist Nabbed in Santa Barbara After High-Speed Chase from Santa Maria

Noozhawk is accustomed to chasing the news so it’s a welcome change when the news comes to us. On Aug. 23, however, our Tom Bolton had less than 10 minutes to prepare for it.

Tom and our Janene Scully had been listening to law-enforcement scanner traffic that afternoon as a motorcyclist was leading authorities on a high-speed chase around Orcutt.

The pursuit started about 1:45 p.m. when a Guadalupe police officer tried to pull over a reckless biker on Highway 1 near Brown Road.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol units took over the pursuit, and the suspect got on Highway 101 at Clark Avenue and headed south.

When Tom heard that the motorcyclist had raced past Refugio State Beach with no end in sight, he grabbed his camera and headed to the highway from his home in far western Goleta.

He was standing on the shoulder west of Ellwood when the guy rocketed past — not five minutes later. Tom had one shot, and he got it.

Hoover said the rogue biker took the Turnpike Road exit, then headed east on Hollister Avenue and Modoc Road through Santa Barbara’s Westside.

She said he raced up Miramonte Drive and over TV Hill to the Mesa, then cut back to Carrillo Street into downtown Santa Barbara.

Had he only looked up, Kaichi Sato might have saved himself some trouble. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)
Had he only looked up, Kaichi Sato might have saved himself some trouble. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

After speeding around city streets, Hoover said the man ditched the motorcycle on Highway 101 near Laguna Street and tried to run for it, this time on foot. Officers collared him a few minutes later in the 500 block of East Montecito Street.

Hoover identified the alleged perp as Kaichi Sato, 28, of Santa Barbara, and said he was charged with attempting to evade a peace officer, evading a peace officer and wrong-way driving — all felonies.

He also was charged with misdemeanor driving with a suspended license related to an April drunken-driving charge.

Sato was booked into County Jail, but posted $75,000 bail and was released. A court date has not been set.

The hour-long chase reportedly reached speeds of 130 mph during the more than 70-mile pursuit down Highway 101.

Although officers backed off at various times for traffic safety reasons, the would-be Fast and Furious fool just could not shake the county helicopter that was following him for much of the way.

Game over.

Emergency personnel tend to a woman with apparently self-inflicted shooting pain. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Emergency personnel tend to a woman with apparently self-inflicted shooting pain. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

2. Woman Shoots Self in Stomach at Goleta Shopping Center

Until authorities reveal more details, your guess is as good as mine as to how and why a woman came to shoot herself Aug. 21 at a Goleta shopping center.

The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, called 9-1-1 just before 2 p.m. to report that she had shot herself in the stomach at University Plaza, in the 7100 block of Hollister Avenue to the west of Camino Real Marketplace.

Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Bonner said deputies first secured the weapon before emergency personnel could tend to the woman.

She was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but her condition was not available.

A smashed Bug killed one occupant and injured another. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)</div></div></p>
 (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
A smashed Bug killed one occupant and injured another. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

3. Man Killed, Another Injured in Highway 101 Collision in Goleta

Two Volkswagens apparently collided as the cars drove south on Highway 101 through Goleta on Aug. 26, launching one of them down an embankment near Los Carneros Road.

That car, a Beetle, overturned, killing its driver, who was identified by the California Highway Patrol as 44-year-old Ismael Gil of Goleta. A passenger was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor injuries.

No one was hurt in the second car, a Cabrio.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the crash, but indications are that Gil had some kind of medical emergency just before the collision.

The driver didn’t make it but the passenger did. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
The driver didn’t make it but the passenger did. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

4. Single-Vehicle Crash Near Red Rock Kills Driver, Seriously Injures Passenger​

A Ford Mustang plunged over the side of Paradise Road in the Red Rock area along the Upper Santa Ynez River on Aug. 20, landing upside down 100 feet below the roadway.

The driver was killed in the crash, but his passenger was able to extricate herself from the wreckage and somehow scramble up the steep slope. Passers-by summoned help.

Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Bonner identified the dead man as Reed Gorder, 21, of Isla Vista. He apparently was a Santa Barbara City College student.

The passenger — a woman in her mid-20s whose identity was not disclosed — suffered moderate injuries and was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, which may have been the result of excessive speed on the steep, winding roadway.

5. Juveniles Face Criminal Charges in Fire Incident That Badly Burned Santa Barbara Boy

Two teenagers are facing two felony charges as a result of a February incident in which a companion suffered life-threatening burns. If they meet certain conditions, the charges will be dropped.

Jacob Keefer, a 14-year-old Santa Barbara Junior High School student, was severely burned Feb. 28 while the three boys were playing with fire at a house in the 700 block of California Street on Santa Barbara’s Riviera.

Keefer was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and later received extensive treatment from the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center Burn Unit. He’s recovering back home in Santa Barbara.

On Aug. 24, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced that Keefer’s friends — identified only as John Does 1 and 2 — will face charges of arson of property and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. Both are felonies.

Because the case involves juveniles, Dudley said she could provide few details.

“They were good friends, all of them, with promising future,” she told a courthouse news conference. “They used really poor judgment, and now they want to do all they can to make amends.”

​Dudley — and Keefer’s family — hope to use the prosecution of the case as a cautionary tale. She said the pre-plea diversion agreement was reached last week, and involves working with children with cancer, community service, counseling and a fire education program. All of the terms must be completed by Feb. 29.

If the teenagers don’t meet the criteria, they’ll face the criminal charges through the court system.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Woman from Famous 9/11 ‘Dust Lady’ Photograph Dies of Cancer.

You know the one. R.I.P. Marcy Borders.

                                                                 •        •        •

Hey, U.S. military veterans, thank you for your service. The commander in chief proclaimed just last month that “patient safety is a top priority at VA hospitals ... Veterans continue to tell us that once they get through the door, the care is often very good.”

Just don’t try to find any at the Memphis VA Medical Center.

HT to my friend, Jim Geraghty

(Timothy Matthews video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Ynez High School Cancels Friday Classes After Power Failure

By | Published on 08/28/2015

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After a transformer failure near the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Scott Cory canceled classes for Friday. 

The repairs couldn't be finished by 8 a.m. Friday, and the school couldn't open without fire and safety systems, and lights, the school said in a brief statement on its website. 

It also means the air conditioning wouldn't work, and the National Weather Service predicts highs near 98 degrees for Friday, but temperatures falling to around 83 by Monday. 

School officials encouraged others to spread the word through social media and other means, and the Santa Ynez High School PTSA posted a message on its Facebook page to help notify families. 

Classes are expected to resume on Monday. 

Noozhawk managing 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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