Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Surf Beach to Reopen as Nesting Season Ends for Western Snowy Plover

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Public access was cut off in June over violations of restrictions that were implemented to safeguard the federally protected shorebird

Surf Beach and other beaches at Vandenberg Air Force Base will reopen Wednesday following the end of the federally protected western snowy plover nesting season.

Since June 27, the Air Force has prohibited people from the closest publicly-accessible beach for Lompoc Valley residents. The shoreline access remained closed for the remainder of the nesting season after the number of violations topped the limit of 50.

This year’s complete closure at Surf Beach marked the earliest in the more than 10 years the base has implemented the restrictions.

Even after the closure, docents remained at the entrance to the beach to educate visitors about the rules and reasons for the restrictions.

Limited access begins each March 1 and typically runs through Sept. 30, the nesting season for the small shorebird which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to allow people access to the coastline while protecting the snowy plover, the Air Force restricts access to one-half mile of Surf Beach, one-quarter mile of Wall Beach and one-half mile of Minuteman Beach. 

Wall, just north of the Santa Ynez River mouth, and Minuteman, located on North Base, are accessible to people with base access. Ten violations are allowed at each beach. This season the number of violations hit five for Wall and three for Minuteman.

Because Vandenberg has 20 percent of the western snowy plover population, Fish & Wildlife officials have said the base beaches are considered critical to the recovery of the shorebird. 

In 2014, Vandenberg recorded 214 breeding adult snowy plovers, up from the 204 spotted at the base in 2013's survey.

Fish & Wildlife officials have said the rules are more strict at Vandenberg, compared to other Central Coast beaches, because it’s federal property, which has a higher responsibility under the Endangered Species Act.

The recovery plan calls for an average of 3,000 breeding adults for 10 years and distributed among six segments on the West Coast. Those goals say San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, should have 1,200 breeding adults. Specifically, the recovery plan calls for Vandenberg to sustain a population of 400 breeding adult snowy plovers for 10 years.

Vandenberg officials also noted that beach visitors should not litter (including fishing bait and fish remains). People are urged to use trash containers located at beach entrances. 

Additionally, the rules don’t allow off-leash pets, camping, beach fires, fireworks, kite flying, wildlife feeding, horses or all-terrain vehicles (except for authorized enforcement personnel).

Since lifeguards are not present at Surf Beach, base officials said people should never swim alone and should be cognizant of their surroundings.

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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UCSB Professor Arrested on False Imprisonment Charge

By | Published on 09/30/2014


A UC Santa Barbara professor is facing a charge of felony false imprisonment after a domestic dispute allegedly occurred at his home in faculty housing.

Kevin Falvey, 56, was arrested Friday after University of California Police responded to his home, according to UCPD Sgt. Rob Romero.

Falvey is listed as an associate professor for UCSB's Department of Philosophy and is a UCSB employee. 

Just after 6 p.m. Friday, a female victim reported that a domestic disturbance had taken place involving Falvey at his apartment at UCSB's North Campus Faculty Housing Complex, police said. 

Romero said the department had received a call earlier that day for vandalism, and that the reporting party, one of Falvey's neighbors, believed he was involved.

Romero said police received another call later that afternoon reporting "loud yelling and thuds" from the home, and officers were asked to check the welfare of the residents.

The female victim, whose name was not released, suffered no injuries, Romero said, and Falvey was arrested without incident when officers arrived.

Falvey was released from custody and is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 21 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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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Pedestrian Killed on Highway 101 in Santa Maria Identified as Transient

By | Published on 09/30/2014


The man struck and killed while walking on Highway 101 in north Santa Maria last week has been identified.

The California Highway Patrol identified the man as Michael Scott Cimoric, 50, a transient whose last known address was on Chapala Street in Santa Barbara.

The CHP said the incident happened at 9:05 p.m. Sept. 24 on southbound Highway 101, south of the Broadway overpass.

A 35-year-old Nipomo woman driving an Acura struck the man walking on the freeway.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy confirmed his cause of death was blunt force trauma from the accident, according to the CHP.

The incident remains under investigation.

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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Statewide Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Signed Into Law

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Residents all over California will be urged to bring their reusable bags when shopping, thanks to a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday that makes the state the nation's first to ban single-use plastic bags.

The bill, known as SB 270 and authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, prohibits grocery stores and pharmacies from distributing single-use plastic bags after July 2015 and enacts the same ban for convenience stores and liquor stores the following year.

More than 120 local governments — including Santa Barbara and Carpinteria — have approved their own bans on single-use bags after state measures failed in the past due to heavy lobbying from the plastics industry.

Advocates of the ban maintain that single-use bags end up in waterways and the ocean, adding pollution to the environment and taking a toll on marine life.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

Some agencies in Santa Barbara County are already ahead of the game, and the law states that a city, county or other local agency that adopted a ban before Sept. 1 can continue to enforce that set of regulations.

Carpinteria approved a single use bag ban in 2012, and not only bans plastic bags but paper as well.

The City of Santa Barbara approved its own ban last fall and is implementing that decision in phases. 

In May, supermarkets and stores with a pharmacy that are 10,000 square feet or larger were required to begin charging 10 cents for paper bags and have reusable bags available for purchase.

Bags used for produce, meat and fish are still allowed, as are plastic trash liners.

On Nov. 14, smaller stores will have to adopt the ban in Santa Barbara.

Kathi King of the Community Environmental Council said her organization has been handing out reusable bags at school carnivals, health fairs and in grocery store parking lots to raise awareness about the ban and get people in the habit of using the bags in preparation for the full implementation.

King said she and her group had been working for six years to get Santa Barbara's bag ban passed, and that local action enacting bans made all the difference at the state level.

"We got the momentum and that's what it took," she said.

The day after Santa Barbara's ban passed, the City of Los Angeles passed its own ban, and "that was a huge tipping point" for a city of 3 million people to pass such a law, she said.

Statewide, King said the decision to ban the bags will result in 12 billion fewer plastic bags being distributed.

"Other states look to California for leadership," she said, adding that it's likely that Tuesday's decision will spurn others to adopt similar legislation. 

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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Judy Foreman: Success of Girls Rock Santa Barbara Is Music to Jen Baron’s Ears

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Self-empowerment, mentoring among the many musical interludes nonprofit provides while strengthening self-esteem — and you can help

Small but mighty, Santa Barbara is a philanthropic juggernaut. With an estimated 1,500 nonprofit organizations (last time I checked), there is something for everyone to get involved in. Giving back to the community is what we do.

Kristi Marks, marketing director at Saks Fifth Avenue, is one of those people. Each year she chooses to partner with a local nonprofit to donate a portion of sales from the store’s annual fall beauty event. This year, Saks is partnering with Girls Rock Santa Barbara.

“It is a special opportunity to highlight one of the local organizations in our community,” she said.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara was started in 2012 by Jen Baron, a Santa Barbara High School and Antioch University grad who had been writing songs and playing music most of her life. Although her professional background was in marketing and public relations, she decided at her father’s suggestion to get herself out there as a musician.

“Music is meant to be shared,” went the reasoning.

Baron took her dad’s advice at a time when he had been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. She went to work in a studio and eventually recorded her own music with the help of Robinson Eikenberry. Two of her songs were purchased for a Sharon Stone film.

Zeroing in on her true calling, Baron decided — without knowing much about the nonprofit world — to create a program that would help instill self-confidence through music in girls aged 6-17. The seed for Girls Rock Santa Barbara was planted.

After a year spent researching everything she could about how to start a nonprofit, the now-34-year-old Baron launched the first summer program in 2013. It attracted 100 girls.

Since then, the organization has grown to a community of more than 600 students, and now boasts an after-school program running five days a week.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara differentiates itself from other community arts programs by using music to deliver its messages of self-empowerment and mentoring. As part of Baron’s research, she discovered some startling statistics that plague young women with low self-esteem. They tend to underestimate themselves academically, she found, and are prone to eating disorders, cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking and early sexual activity. Any and all of these conditions can negatively affect their future endeavors.

Jen Baron plays a mean bass of her own. (Girls Rock Santa Barbara photo)
Jen Baron plays a mean bass of her own. (Girls Rock Santa Barbara photo)

“The goal of GRSB is to help change these statistics,” Baron told me. “Girls Rock is doing that in a lot of different ways within the programming — from female-to-female mentorship built into their curriculum, to their bands of diverse backgrounds that bring girls together as a group to write songs that represent their unique vision, to partnering with Girls Inc., which offers weekly workshops on self-empowerment.”

While leadership, team building and life skills are important individually, perhaps the biggest impact the Girls Rock has is its continued investment in diversity.

“We bring girls together from all different backgrounds, and together they learn to tell their group story,” Baron said.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara created an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity and teamwork. Under Baron’s leadership, Girls Rock challenges gender stereotypes, encourages collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provides comfortable space for girls of all backgrounds to express themselves.

Through music lessons, workshops, group activities and performance, girls learn skills that will help guide them throughout their lives. Baron and her staff and volunteers — among them chief cheerleader Sandy Stahl, a Realtor who met Baron through her involvement with the Santa Barbara Bowl’s community education outreach program — make sure that young girls have a forum for their music.

“The emphasis has really nothing to do with nailing that chord or drum solo,” Baron said. “It’s that these girls ... are given the forum and freedom and encouragement to create art without perfection, permission and without peer pressure.

“We are not just teaching girls to play an instrument, we are teaching them to find their voices.”

Girls Rock Santa Barbara’s annual performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. Click here to purchase tickets, which also are available at the door.

Meanwhile, Saks Fifth Avenue’s annual fall beauty event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the store, 1001 State St. Local singer-songwriter Jamey Geston will be playing live music, and free champagne and appetizers will be served. The Saks staff will be providing beauty makeovers and henna tattoos. Girls Rock of Santa Barbara will have an information table and live-streaming video.

Rock on, ladies.

Click here for more information about Girls Rock Santa Barbara, or contact executive director Jen Baron at 805.861.8125 or Click here to make an online donation.

— 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.

This girl band is ready to rock on. (Jen Baron photo){
This girl band is ready to rock on. (Jen Baron photo)


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City National Bank, United Way Provide Free Backpacks and Supplies to Franklin Students

By | Published on 09/30/2014


On Sept. 23, 20 students at Franklin Elementary School received a wave of backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks were distributed to students in need, compliments of City National Bank.

These back-to-school backpacks help ensure local low-income youth have the tools and supplies necessary to be successful, confident and prepared students this school year.

“Most of us remember well the excitement of starting the new school year with a new backpack and school supplies,” said Leo Hamill, senior vice president and regional manager for City National Bank’s Private Client Services Group in the Central Coast. “Every student in our community deserves the chance to know how that feels and to not be worried about how they will carry their supplies back and forth to school. We’re thrilled to be opening a new office in Montecito and for the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause.”

Improving education is one of three major focus areas for United Way of Santa Barbara County. The organization is working to achieve a community driven 10-year goal to increase local high school graduation rates and the number of students reading at or above grade level in every grade by 50 percent. Getting backpacks to students who need them the most is just one piece of the larger picture.

“United Way of Santa Barbara County is advancing the common good by helping local students get access to some of the most basic tools they need to succeed,” said Paul Didier, president and CEO. “Organizations, businesses and individuals have the power to work together to improve local education and create long term improvements.”

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing City National Bank.


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Cynder Sinclair: UC Santa Barbara Profoundly Impacts Our Entire Community

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Think of yourself as a Gaucho? You can and should — whether you attended UCSB or not. I recently had the opportunity to speak with George Thurlow, executive director, and John Lofthus, associate director, of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. I was amazed to discover the far-reaching impact UCSB makes on our entire community. I think what follows will surprise you, too — and make you realize that you are indeed a Gaucho.

Chances are that whether or not you traveled to the UCSB campus today, you interacted with UCSB in one way or another. Don't believe me? Have you listened to Jack Johnson, Rebelution, or Iration on the radio or your iPod today? All of these musicians started at UCSB. Went out for a nice meal? Gaucho-owned restaurants include Bouchon, Wine Cask, Paradise Café, Beachside Bar & Café and Enterprise Fish Co. Perhaps you had some wine with your meal? Gaucho vintners include Au Bon Climat, Gainey, Margerum and Municipal Wine Makers.

Looking for something special? Log onto FindTheBest, where lots of Gauchos help you find the best of over 2,000 topics from plumbers to headphones to boarding schools and more. Needed a "lyft" back home? Lyft was co-founded by UCSB alum Logan Green. Ordered shoes online? was started by another Gaucho, Nick Swinmurn. Many of us work for Gaucho-grown businesses. Some of Santa Barbara's larger Gaucho-grown businesses include Deckers Outdoor Corp., Citrix Online, QAD, AppFolio, Kinko’s, Ring Revenue and InTouch Health.

UCSB Ranked 10 in the Nation

It’s no wonder UCSB ranked No. 10 out of the top 30 public national universities in the U.S. News & World Report on best colleges released this past week. Over 90 companies in the Santa Barbara area were started by UCSB alumni and faculty.

People are beginning to realize the overwhelming impact UCSB has on our community and showing they really care about the well-being of the university. UCSB is a powerful economic engine for the South Coast business community, with an overall impact of $1 billion and 11.6 percent of the Central Coast economy and employing 9,500 people.

George Thurlow
George Thurlow

There has been a huge explosion of tech companies in our area, in large part fueled by UCSB. Many high-tech companies are beginning to choose Santa Barbara as their headquarters in part due to the large talent pool of potential employees coming out of UCSB. In fact, Internet search giant Google has leased a new facility in the Hollister Avenue high-tech corridor, planning to staff the facility with a team of scientists and researchers from nearby UCSB.

Chances are that many of the folks in Santa Barbara work for a Gaucho-grown business. Startup business is a huge hub of activity to our region from starting companies, visiting faculty and visiting researchers.

There’s a myth that people who go to UCSB aren’t from here and they don’t stay here, but our studies show that nearly 20,000 UCSB alums live in the Santa Barbara area. Compared with adult-age, college-educated public, that’s significant, so the myth just isn’t true. People love Santa Barbara and choose to live and work here.

Collaborating with Community Organizations

Everyone who lives in Santa Barbara benefits from our incredible university and can consider themselves a Gaucho. Many help support their university. And the university realizes it has a responsibility to show people the positive change we make in their lives.

John Lofthus
John Lofthus

Realizing there are a lot of fantastic causes in Santa Barbara, UCSB works collaboratively. For example, the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet (GEM) came together with support from the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Goleta and UCSB. Another wonderful example of collaboration is the Harding University Partnership School, an unprecedented partnership between Harding Elementary School and UCSB. This program achieved status as an International Baccalaureate Programme, making it the only Santa Barbara elementary school currently using this highly acclaimed approach that emphasizes 21st-century skills and international mindedness. UCSB is always looking for new ways to collaborate with community-based institutions.

Where Does UCSB Get Its Funding?

UCSB’s funding is multifaceted, depending more and more on alumni and community generosity (state support now makes up less than 17 percent of UCSB’s annual budget). Private schools, like Princeton or Stanford, carefully craft their message to students well before they begin attending classes. Before they even step onto campus they have already spoken with alums who have assured them they are going to have the most amazing experience of their life. The alums assure the new students that their connection will not end when they graduate. They are told that when they graduate it’s up to them to continue the tradition to make their school a world-class university by giving and staying involved. When you look at giving to private schools, their alumni make up a large percentage of gifts.

But not so with public schools like UCSB. For example, when I went to college, the California State system cost only $50 per semester. The fee was so low because the state was providing the overwhelming majority of funding. As such, public universities were supported by taxpayers. So public universities haven’t had the mind set to engage alumni to give back.

Alumni Associations Play a Key Role

Alumni associations in private schools are seen as vital support for the university; whereas at public universities alumni associations have focused more on ways the association can serve alumni rather than alumni serving the university. Alumni engagement at public universities has consisted of putting on fun events, providing career services and participating in networking events — all focused around the alum. Only recently have they realized the critical role of alumni in serving the university.

UCSB is beginning to shift its approach to its students and alumni. The university is now looking at alumni support as a necessity not a luxury. We need alumni and friends to stay involved with their university and to give back financially.

At the same time, UC Santa Barbara’s alumni population is quickly changing. Our alumni population is seeing dramatic changes in average age, gender balance (has shifted toward the fairer sex) and ethnicity. So we must re-examine how we reach out to our alums.

As UCSB’s alumni populations become more youthful (more than 60 percent of UCSB alumni have graduated in 1990 or later), we will need to shift our message as to why they should give back. Older generations gave back to their university out of loyalty, whereas younger generations want to see what their donation will impact. So we need to show how their investment will benefit the greater community and the greater good.

Additionally, we are battling alumni giving percentages that are going down nationwide, and a quickly changing alumni population (for instance, the incoming undergraduate student population now contains 40 percent first-generation students). So the landscape is changing in terms of the demographics of our alumni and we must respond accordingly.

Educating the Best and the Brightest

The total annual expense for attending UCSB has grown from $14,870 in 2000-01 to $31,600 in 2013-14, more than doubling in just over a decade. What is the draw of California? We have a world-class educational system that is affordable. It’s becoming more and more difficult for families to afford college for their kids. State support is never going to go to back what it was so it will only be through private giving that we will be able to educate the best and brightest and continue to build a world-class community through efforts like the Koegel Autism Center, which is part of the Gevirtz School, Arts & Lectures, which engages many visiting artists and speakers that make public performances, visit local schools, and conduct master classes both on and off campus, the Hosford Counseling & Psychological Services Clinic, the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic, the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve and many more.

We have a major focus on entrepreneurship at UCSB. But since we don’t have the resources of Silicon Valley, it takes community-wide effort for entrepreneurs to be viable and for them to stay in our area. UCSB needs everyone’s support to continue to offer world-class education — foundations, corporations and businesses, alumni, parents, friends and community members.

UCSB launched a $1 billion campaign in 2001, and we have raised $875 million to date. Of that, less than 15 percent is from alumni donations; whereas at private schools the percentage would be as high as 40 to 50 percent. There have been some transformational gifts from alumni, with Jeff and Judy Henley’s (Jeff is a 1966 alumnus) $50 million gift to the Institute for Energy Efficiency and the College of Engineering leading the way, but alumni giving is still a relatively small percentage of private donations.

Private funding provides resources for everything from endowed fellowships and undergraduate student scholarships to the Moser Alumni House. UCSB still has a public mission — to educate California’s best and brightest. But to raise the needed funds for this we must function more like a private school when it comes to funding, not relying solely on funding from the state.

For More Information

As you can imagine, this is a much bigger story than I can fit into this article. I hope you can see why I was so surprised at all UCSB is doing that impacts all our lives on the Central Coast. So, remember you are a Gaucho. If you would like to know more about our phenomenal university, sign up for the university’s twice-weekly eNews by clicking here or contact Lofthus at

Biographical Information for John Lofthus

» Born and raised in Seattle, Wash.

» Has two degrees from UCSB (bachelor of arts in economics and a master’s degree in educational leadership)

» Married the woman of his dreams (she’s a Gaucho, of course — Jenny Lofthus) on the beach at UCSB

» Proud father of a 3-year-old girl who will probably save the world (or come up with a new dance craze)

» Involved locally in the following areas: serves on the board of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association, serves on the Goleta Lemon Festival Planning Committee, former assistant cross-country coach at Dos Pueblos High School

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


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UCSB Researchers Help Produce the First Health Index That Rates All of Earth’s Oceans

By | Published on 09/30/2014


The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth’s oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high-seas areas) — all critical regions for maintaining a healthy climate, safeguarding biodiversity and providing sustainable food sources.

In the third annual update of the index, a partnership led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and Conservation International, the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean region scored 72, while the average score of the high seas was 67 out of 100. These distant areas had not been included in earlier assessments because they required additional data.

Together with the 220 exclusive economic zones (EEZs) measured in 2012 and 2013, the index now measures all of the oceans on planet Earth. The overall score for global EEZ, accounting for modification and updates of data and methods, was 67 in the first two years and 68 in 2014. These EEZs along with the inclusion of the high seas and Antarctica and the Southern Ocean assessments begin to provide a more complete picture of ocean health, even though most of those areas are not yet adequately studied.

“During our first two years, we were able to show the health of the oceans within 200 nautical miles of coastlines, but it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle where you put the edges together first,” said Ben Halpern, professor at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and an NCEAS associate. “Filling in the rest of the puzzle with Antarctica and the high seas completes the picture and is a major step toward better understanding the state of our entire oceans.”

For the Antarctic and Southern Ocean the eight goals assessed were Food Production (55), Natural Products (29), Coastal Protection (99), Economies and Livelihoods (83), Tourism and Recreation (55), Sense of Place (46), Coastal Protection (99), Clean Water (100) and Biodiversity (94).

“The Antarctic’s biodiversity score of 94 out of 100 is encouraging, but it is based on data from only 132 species that have been formally assessed,” said Catherine Longo, project scientist at NCEAS and lead scientist of the Antarctica assessment.

“Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are protected by distance from many of the threats caused by human populations, such as chemicals, excessive nutrients, and pathogens and trash,” noted Greg Stone, chief scientist and executive vice president of the Moore Center for Science and Oceans at Conservation International. “That’s why we see a very high score in a goal like Clean Water.”

“The score of 100 that is set as a target for each goal reflects a status that is feasible to achieve and can sustainably produce maximum benefits now and in the future,” added Steve Katona, managing director for the Ocean Health Index. “Any score below 100 means there is room for improvement.”

The high seas assessment included three goals and subgoals: Fisheries, Iconic Species and Biodiversity (measured as the threat of extinction to all assessed species). “The high seas are home to important fisheries for species such as tuna and provide habitat or migratory pathways for iconic species such as whales, sharks and sea turtles,” said Elizabeth Selig, conservation scientist with CI and the lead scientist on the high-seas assessment. “Like the Antarctic assessment, the vast size and remoteness of the high seas has limited our ability to study all of the habitats and organisms present, so the biodiversity scores for these regions were based only on species whose populations have been formally assessed.”

The Western Indian Ocean and Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean scored highest overall at 79 and the Northwestern Pacific Ocean scored lowest at 53. The Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean had a Fisheries score of 81 out of 100, followed by the Western Indian Ocean with 80, making them the highest-scoring sectors for fisheries. At 7, the Northwestern Pacific Ocean had the lowest Fisheries score because, among other things, its stocks were farthest from the biomass that provides maximum sustainable yield.

In addition to this third global update of the Ocean Health Index, two regional assessments were issued this year: one that evaluated ocean health of Brazil’s 17 coastal states and a second measuring the health of the United States West Coast. The next global assessment is planned for September 2015.

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


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Letter to the Editor: CLUE-SB Board Endorses Measure P

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Dear members of the Board of Supervisors:

The Board of Directors of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-Santa Barbara (CLUE-SB), after prayerful discernment, has chosen to endorse the Healthy Air & Water Initiative, Measure P, on the November countywide ballot.

We believe this is a watershed opportunity for our fellow local citizens to determine their future emphasis on energy usage.

Instead of allowing future extraction of more oil from over 10,000 newly proposed wells by companies in Santa Barbara County, using techniques like fracking, acidizing and steam injection, they may choose to reduce carbon emissions by fostering a clean energy economy. We believe the risks to health and well-being of all life in the county and beyond are too high to continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Santa Barbara has been a bellwether in the awareness and stewardship of our local ecology, and can again inspire the state and the nation to choose an environmentally healthy energy future.

Sincerely yours,

John A. Michal, M.D.
CLUE-SB, on behalf of the members of the board


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Rae Largura: Common Core 101 — What Does It Mean for Our Children?

By | Published on 09/30/2014


If you have a child in school, you have more than likely heard about one of the biggest education reforms in history — Common Core.

Seven years in the making, it is in full force as of this month. With hours of research and reaching out to colleagues for help, I am attempting to simplify the complicated and to answer what we all want to know: What does this mean for our children?

The Common Core State Standard Initiative is a state-led effort intended to provide more clarity and consistency in the expectation of every student to be prepared for college and careers. Until now, every state and every district has had its own set of public school academic standards with obvious different levels of funds and means. Forty-five states in our country, including California, have adopted this set of standards.

College and career readiness is the heart and purpose. Consistency and uniformity are fundamental; giving every student a level playing field, and for all states to be on the same “page.” In addition, Common Core was developed with the intent to be more challenging than the current standards, to better prepare students for life.

In general, there will be fewer requirements per subject, but the standards will require a deeper understanding. Students will be required to focus more on critical thinking and problem solving than the memorization of facts.

In English language arts, we will see more emphasis on reading nonfiction, more complex reading and more writing. More writing will be given in all subjects. Our children will be required to back up assertions based on evidence found in information sources.

In math, we will see more emphasis on “depth versus breadth.” Students will learn fewer skills and topic in each grade, but will spend more time practicing and mastering each skill. They will be expected to understand and explain the problem and to use math to solve real-world problems.

Until now, in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the math track was pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra 2, trigonometry, then statistics. Now, our math track takes a more comprehensive approach and includes all of these subjects on some level starting in elementary school. Statistics, a subject not even mandatory for high school graduation, is now introduced in sixth grade and incrementally gets more in depth. High school math is now Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3.

In science, there will be more emphasis on writing, clarity, taking positions, then explaining the position using evidence — basically, defending the understanding. The higher literacy standards will be visible in all subjects.

Teachers are going through their own learning curve, and change doesn’t happen overnight. The “core” of Common Core wants consistency, equality, better critical thinking skills, more problems-solving skills, higher-level writing skills and articulation of what is learned.

Click here for more information about Common Core, subject and grade level specifics, FAQs, articles and even a newsletter.

Any subject, any grade: What is your question for a tutor? Email

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Santa Maria Students to Explore Local Career Options During National Manufacturing Day

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Students with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District will find out Friday that they don’t have to manufacture jobs in the Santa Maria Valley.

More than 80 students from Santa Maria, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Delta high schools will explore careers during “National Manufacturing Day” at Allan Hancock College.

The students will get a chance to meet local representatives from companies in the manufacturing industries, ask questions and take a tour of the college’s new $17.6 million industrial technology building.

Manufacturing instructor Robert Mabry believes many students need to know about jobs and opportunities available after graduation and the important role manufacturing plays in the U.S. economy.

“Santa Maria is a manufacturing center, and many students are not aware with some post-secondary education, career opportunities are plentiful right here at home," said Mabry, adding that more than 82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of skilled production workers nationwide.

SMHS student Kimberly Gomez Santos plans to explore how welding skills fit into the manufacturing world.

“I’m very excited to see the welding components and hoping to see the different varieties and skills used to create and weld things," the 11th-grader said. “This is an opportunity to learn about a future career that I never thought was possible."

Participating companies will include Helical Products, Melfred Borzall, North American Fire Hose, Malcolm DeMille Sculptor, Hardy Diagnostics and Titan Frozen Fruit.

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


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Adams Elementary School to Host Internet Safety and Internet Sign-Up Night

By | Published on 09/30/2014


If you wish to learn the keys to keeping your child safe online and hear the latest in what students are doing online, you are encouraged to attend Internet Safety and Internet Sign-Up Night at Adams Elementary School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Eligibile parents will have the chance to sign up for discounted Internet at $9.95 per month and secure a wireless router. There is also an opportunity to win a new printer. All this while enjoying pizza and snacks.

To be eligible for the Connect 2 Compete Internet discount, you must not have had Cox Internet during the past three months and have no outstanding bills with Cox. At least one of your children must be on the free lunch program.

To reserve a spot, you must contact Adams Elementary School by Tuesday. Connect 2 Compete is presented by the Santa Barbara County Education Office and Cox Communications.

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.


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UCSB Fun & Fitness Festival on Wednesday to Feature Vendors for First Time

By | Published on 09/30/2014


The UCSB Department of Recreation will once again host its annual Fun & Fitness Festival on Wednesday during the university’s Week of Welcome.

The event showcases the many offerings of the department, including exciting opportunities through UCSB Recreational Sports programs such as Adventure Programs, Sport Clubs and Intramurals. Information and sign-ups for programs, demonstrations and live presentations will be featured at the event along with contests, demo exercises, live performances and free giveaway items.

First held in 1993, the popular campus event has grown over the years to draw crowds of over 7,000 students, faculty and community members.

New to the 2014 event will be the presence of local vendors such as IVSP and Juice Ranch, who will be selling and advertising their products and services. Additionally, the festival will feature the launch of two newly redesigned recreation programs: GauchoREC and the Wellness and Fitness Institute.

GauchoREC is a rebranding of the popular Leisure Review exercise and arts classes, launching alongside the 50th anniversary of the Department of Recreation. GauchoREC will continue Leisure Review’s tradition of providing a variety of classes focused on dance, well-being, music and sports.

The redesigned Wellness and Fitness Institute is a human performance lab designed to provide education, experience, and personal health/fitness assessment. Originally founded in 1985, the new lab will be located in UCSB’s Recreation Center, offering BMI testing, information on nutrition and workout plans and more health related information.

The Fun & Fitness festival will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Recreation Center. Entry is free, and all are welcome to attend. Attendees are encouraged to wear active clothes in order to participate in demonstration activities, and to bring money to purchase discounted food and merchandise from vendors.

The Department of Recreation at UCSB offers a wide variety of activities, programs and services for students, faculty/staff and the community. The Department of Recreation’s goal is to encourage the development of new skills and interests essential to a balanced, healthy, and active lifestyle.

The UCSB Recreation Center is located at 3025 Ocean Road in Santa Barbara. Lots 16 and 18 of the Mesa Parking Structure are located across the street on the corner of Mesa and Ocean roads.


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Supervisor Doreen Farr to Dedicate Little Free Libraries in Isla Vista

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr will be speaking at the celebration and dedication of the Little Free Libraries at Isla Vista Children’s Park, 810 Camino Del Sur, at 4 p.m. Oct. 6.

The Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 secured funding through the Elks National Foundation to complete the purchase and installation of four Little Free Libraries, which are placed in accessible community locations in Isla Vista, including Isla Vista Children’s Park, the Isla Vista Food Co-Op, the Isla Vista Teen Center and the Peoples’ Self Help Housing unit on Phelps Road. 

The Elks Lodge collaborated with the Isla Vista Youth Projects, G.F.W.C. Town & Country Women’s Club, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks, Isla Vista Food Co-Op, People’s Self-Help Housing, and Isla Vista Teen Center (a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA) in the completion of this project. Additionally, United Way is donating books and reading materials. 

Little Free Libraries provide easy access to books and other reading materials, with no late fees or memberships. Children, youth and adults of all ages and backgrounds can participate by donating or taking books. The Little Free Libraries are officially registered with Little Free Library, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world.

Founded in 2009, this grassroots effort encourages participation for people of widely diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, influencing community quality of life and building social capital.

— Tyler Speier is the business manager for Isla Vista Youth Projects.


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Speaking of Stories Seeks Submissions for November Performances

By | Published on 09/30/2014


On Nov. 22-23 at Center Stage Theater, Speaking of Stories will present a show inspired by the Moth Radio program — true stories, performed by their authors, without scripts, notes or props.

If you are interested in participating in this unique performance submit first-person true stories for consideration.

The selection of the stories for the performances will a two-phase process. Artistic Director Maggie Mixsell will review the submissions and narrow it down to a group that will be invited to audition.

From the auditions she will select the final stories/authors for the show, and they will receive one-on-one coaching and direction in preparation for the final performances.

The submission deadline is Friday, Oct. 3. The word count should be 500 to 2,000, and take three to 15 minutes when read aloud.

Stories can be submitted by email to, or mail hard copies to Speaking of Stories, 751 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, call 805.966.3875 or email


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Hope School Board Candidate Nels Henderson Announces Endorsements

By | Published on 09/30/2014


Nels Henderson, candidate for Hope School Board, has announced that his campaign has been endorsed by well-respected present and former public officials, school board members and two Democratic Party organizations.

Last week, former Santa Barbara council member Dan Secord joined present council member Gregg Hart; Goleta council members Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo; as well as Santa Barbara school board members Ed Heron, Kate Parker and Monique Limon in endorsing Henderson’s campaign.

“I am honored to have support from both sides of the aisle, and from a growing list of public officials that don’t always agree but have a commitment to our schools,” Henderson said. "I’ve been meeting voters and excited to get my message of 'education first’ out loud and clear. Hope is a small district with a great reputation — I’d like to keep it that way.”

Although a nonpartisan race, the Democratic Party endorsed Henderson earlier this month. The Democratic Women of Santa Barbara joined the county party last week in endorsing Henderson in his campaign.

The Hope School District governs Vieja Valley, Monte Vista and Hope schools. Interestingly enough, the race for Hope School Board is one of the only local races in Santa Barbara County that is contested, with five people seeking three seats. In comparison, the race for Goleta City Council, Santa Barbara City College Board and multiple other jurisdictions did not have enough candidates to have a contested race.

Henderson has been a senior web project manager for Citrix System's SaaS Division in Goleta for over six years. Prior to that, he was a freelance graphic design, marketing and political consultant for over 20 years. Also an educator, he has served as adjunct faculty for Antioch University Santa Barbara on a part-time basis for over 15 years.

For more information on his campaign, please visit


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Suspects Sought in Convenience-Store Robberies

By | Published on 09/30/2014


A pair of gunmen committed back-to-back robberies at two convenience stories Monday night, and escaped with an undisposed amount of cash, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

The first hold-up occurred shortly before 10 p.m. in the 1100 block of South Blosser Road, Sgt. Terry Flaa said.

"At gunpoint, the suspects demanded money from the store clerk," Flaa said. "Once they obtained the undisclosed amount of money, the suspects fled the business in an unknown direction."

Both suspects appeared to be male, wore dark clothing, and had their faces covered, Flaa said.

About 15 minutes later, two suspects matching the same descriptions entered a convenience store in the 500 block of East Boone Street and robbed it at gunpoint, Flaa said.

They remained at large as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about either crime or the suspects is asked to call the Santa Maria Police Department at 805.928.3781 ext. 277 or CrimeStoppers at 877.800.9100.

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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After Tumultuous Year in Isla Vista, UCSB Chancellor Outlines Safety Plan

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The university plans to increase police presence and discourage out-of-town visitors to the campus and Isla Vista

As UC Santa Barbara prepares for its first day of fall classes, Chancellor Henry Yang took time last week to address some of the safety concerns that have become an issue on campus and in the Isla Vista community. 

Yang sent a lengthy email to the campus community on Sept. 25, listing specifics about what the university is doing to prevent sexual violence and boost student safety.

It's been a difficult year for UCSB with student safety issues off-campus in Isla Vista as well as on campus.

The community is still reeling from the May 23 rampage that left seven people dead, including Elliott Rodger, who lived in Isla Vista and killed six UCSB students before he shot himself.

Earlier this spring, also in Isla Vista, a riot broke out during the Deltopia street party, during which several law enforcement officers were injured and tear gas was deployed.

Though the problems were largely attributed to out-of-town instigators, the university and its relationship with a sometimes unruly Isla Vista community became a discussion point.

The campus has also seen cases of sexual violence over the last year. A 19-year-old woman was gang raped and beaten on UCSB's campus in February, and officials have not released any news of progress in that investigation. 

In a separate case, a group of UCSB students announced they had filed Title IX complaints with the federal government, saying the university didn't properly discipline a student who had allegedly raped another undergraduate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In that article, university officials maintained that they take reports of student sexual assault extremely seriously and have an adjudication process in place for such cases.

In a separate letter to faculty earlier this summer, Yang stated that several students enrolled for the fall semester withdrew their applications, indicating "that the culture and incidents in Isla Vista were the reason for their cancellations."

"These concerns are yet another indication of how important it is for our community to address these issues," he wrote in the July 30 letter.

However, even after the recent events of violence, Yang said that cancellations for this fall were still significantly lower than years past.

In last week's letter, Yang said that incoming students from the spring and summer semesters were given an orientation that included more information about safety, sexual-violence prevention and UCSB's Code of Conduct.

Students coming back for the fall semester will also be briefed on expectations of behavior, he said.

"Making sure our students know what the university expects from them as community members and what they can expect if they violate the Code of Conduct is essential to effecting change in Isla Vista," he said.

Improving Isla Vista has been the subject of much community dialogue since Deltopia and the May 23 shootings, and Yang said he'd attended three town-hall type meetings over the summer with long-term residents. 

Engaging the county has also been part of the effort to improve Isla Vista, and Yang said that the university is pushing for the development of a permit parking initiative in Isla Vista that would limit street parking for visitors between midnight and 5 a.m. in an effort to address safety issues.

"In addition, we support new ordinances to improve safety conditions in Isla Vista, such as the ability of the county to double fines during Halloween and Deltopia, and ordinances related to addressing problem properties," he said.

Students can also expect to see an increased police presence on and around campus from Thursday through Saturday nights, especially in Isla Vista.

Yang also said that several sobriety checkpoints will be conducted in the fall quarter by the UCSB Police Department; vegetation on campus was trimmed or removed as suggested by a recent safety audit; and the university is considering installing security camera on campus.

A committee has been established to explore the issue.

He also addressed the prevention of sexual violence, and said that the university's Campus Advocacy Resources and Education Program, or CARES, has been working to provide training for faculty and staff so they know how to respond to survivors and connect them with resources while understanding the duty to report.

The largest portion of Yang's email was devoted to addressing Halloween, which will fall on a Friday this year and has been the subject of planning for "some time."

Last Halloween was relatively subdued compared to years past, but still resulted in 225 jail bookings between Thursday and Sunday, 173 of which were for public intoxication, according to Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

There were 48 medical calls made, and 42 of those patients were transported to the hospital. Twenty search-and-rescue calls were made.

The university has been working with multiple agencies to discourage out-of-town visitors from descending on the community during the holiday, Yang said.

In an effort to do that, Student Affairs and Associated Students will be hosting several events on campus, including a concert at the Events Center, and those activities will take place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Most of the events will be restricted to students with a proper ID.

"We hope this will draw many UC Santa Barbara students away from Isla Vista, and discourage students from inviting their friends to campus for the weekend," he said.

UCPD expects to triple the numbers of UC Officers in I.V. that weekend by drawing resources from sister campuses, as well as increased numbers from the California Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Department.

Yang also said that overnight visitors won't be allowed in campus housing during the Halloween weekend, and access will be restricted to overnight parking by non-UCSB affiliates.

"The city of Goleta has informed us that they also plan, throughout Halloween weekend, to restrict parking in the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to Isla Vista," he said, adding that the city is also working with businesses such as the Camino Real Marketplace to prohibit overnight parking during the weekend in an effort to deter out-of-town visitors.

A social media campaign is in the works to discourage visitors from coming to the area for Halloween.

"To be successful, we are making similar efforts every weekend," Yang said. "Although they may not be as intensive as our Halloween efforts, these measures, which began in August, will continue throughout the year.

"Continuing to improve the living and learning environment on campus and in Isla Vista will require a sustained and coordinated effort."

Yang added that he has formed a committee on Isla Vista that will include student leaders, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, alumni, and liaisons for off-campus stakeholders to continue to explore solutions.

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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Lompoc School District Awarded $1.2 Million to Provide Fresh, Healthy Meals

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The grant, from the Orfalea Foundation School Food Initiative, will help remodel the central kitchen, with an aim toward reducing childhood obesity

The Orfalea Foundation School Food Initiative has awarded the Lompoc Unified School District $1.2 million to help bring healthier, fresh foods to 10,000 children in the district.

The money will allow the district to replace its central kitchen to prepare and cook more foods from scratch, and offer a fresh daily salad bar. 

"This will not only be a gift for today, but will be a gift for future generations," said Trevor McDonald, president of the district's board of trustees. "We will get healthier, more quality foods into the hands and stomachs of our children."

The new kitchen will feature more refrigerator space, and an additional cooking line with a tilt skillet, two steam-jacketed kettles, a roll-in combo oven, and exhaust hood and a new blast chiller.

The money will also pay for a new area for processing fresh produce, a new dishwasher for pots and pans, new flooring and an upgraded air-conditioning system.

"We are able to cut, prepare and serve fresh food all in the same day," McDonald said. 

McDonald said the district five years ago began to move away from the traditional school lunch program, where meals were prepared and frozen days and weeks in advance.

"They are not the healthiest things that kids should be eating," he said. 

The grant will allow the district to expand its fresh food ingredients with local produce for meals such as salads, stir fry or wraps. 

Lompoc Unified Superintendent Trevor McDonald is working with the Orfalea Foundation's director of the School Food Initiative, Kathleen de Chadenèdes, to help bring healthier food to students. (Lompoc Unified School District photo)

"It is a whole shift in thinking in the way we are doing things and the way we are serving kids," McDonald said.

The fresh produce for those meals, however, takes up a lot of storage space. 

"We have slowly been making the push for whole ingredients, but that hits a ceiling when prep space storage space reaches its capacity," McDonald said. "Now we can continue to push the limits on preparing this quality whole food for the students."

The new facility, at the district's headquarters at 606 E. Central Ave., will benefit three high schools, two middle schools and 10 elementary schools.

Officials hope the facility, which is already under construction, will be completed by the end of the year.

The healthier foods, McDonald said, will also help Lompoc continue to educate about the challenges of childhood obesity.

"This is a phenomenal investment in the youth of Lompoc," McDonald said. "We are hoping to continue the education of the community ,of parents and the children, to really highlight that there's a significant problem, but we also have solutions."

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


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Montecito School District Asks Voters to Approve Bond Measure

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Outdated plumbing, aging buildings and safety improvements are some of the issues the Montecito Union School District is hoping to tackle if a school bond measure is approved by voters in November.

Measure Qone of several bond measures Santa Barbara County school districts will have on the Nov. 4 ballot — would have to be approved by 55 percent of the voters in the district before it could move forward.

It would authorize the district to obtain financing for no more than $27,150,000 to go toward specific school facilities projects.

Montecito Union School at 385 San Ysidro Road was built in 1927, and although classroom additions were made in the 1990s, supporters of the initiative say upgrades are needed.

Those projects deal with upgrades to meet current health and safety codes, reducing traffic and improving safety on San Ysidro Road, as well as renovating heating, plumbing, electrical and energy systems.

The district's single K-6 campus has about 460 students. 

Some of the specific projects might include expanded parking, new classrooms, expanding the library and computer labs, and upgrades to extend the life of the district's buildings.

Gwyn Lurie, president of the district's board of trustees, was one of a handful of people who authored the arguments in favor of the measure.

Lurie said that a committee of teachers, staff, parents, neighbors, architects and many others had given input on what projects to include in the measure, and that the process had been an "exceptionally thoughtful one."

While Lurie said most of the bond will be spent on safety issues and mandated programming, building a cafeteria is also in the plans.

Up until now, students have had their lunches brought in through a mobile cafe from the Santa Barbara Unified School District, "with the understanding that we would solve this problem on a more permanent basis."

"Building a cafeteria so that we can provide healthy, hot meals to our students is our solution to this problem," she said.

No argument against the measure was filed.

The money could not be seized by the state, and would come from property owners in the district, who would pay an estimated $12 for every $100,000 of assessed property value each year, according to district Superintendent Tammy Murphy.

The bond monies are prohibited from going towards other expenses, such as teacher or administrative salaries or other school operating expenses.

The measure also includes language requiring an annual, independent performance audit to make sure the monies have only been used for the projects listed.

A citizen's oversight committee to monitor expenditures and make sure the monies go to the approved projects will also be formed.

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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Home Alone Safety for Kids Course Now Offered in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 09/29/2014


A new safety course designed to prepare children to be on their own at home or elsewhere for short periods of time is being introduced in Santa Barbara.

The Home Alone Safety for Kids course will be offered by Safety Matters Certified Training. The first class session will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. Safety Matters is located at 4141 State St., Suite A3.1 in Santa Barbara in the El Mercado Plaza.

There are fewer stay-at-home parents, so there comes a point where independence becomes part of development.

“Some kids are fearful staying home on their own, and some parents are fearful of making that first step,” said Justin Haagen, owner of Safety Matters Certified Training. “There’s a planning process the entire family needs to be committed to, to ensure the child’s safety.”

One of the program’s key components is cyber safety.

“We show kids how easily anybody can pull up enough information to find them," Haagen said. "We ask them to tell us why certain comments, pictures or videos posted on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube are dangerous or inappropriate. It really does open their eyes.”

Another critical learning piece is first aid training, Haagen said.

“We teach them what to do in the event of choking or accidental poisoning, for example, and when to call 9-1-1,” Haagen said, adding that age isn’t a fair assessment to determine a child’s readiness to stay home alone. Only three states have laws governing when you can leave a child alone; California is not one of them.

Parents should talk to their children and make that decision as a family.

“One 10-year-old might be ready to stay home alone whereas another 12- or 13-year-old might not," Haagen said. "The more proactive families are in keeping their children safe, the safer our community will be.

“Our No. 1 goal is to help educate families and help keep children safe. With or without this course, these children are going to start staying home alone. There will come a time when a parent is either not able to make it home, schedules collide so neither parent can be at home or finances just won’t allow for paid after school care any longer. We want families to feel confident when they leave their kids home alone.”

The course uses digital technology and interactive tools to teach children ages 9 to 13 about Internet safety, people safety, street smarts, house rules, injury prevention, fire and emergency safety, and first aid.

Safety Matters Certified Training, a fully insured local company, specializes in providing CPR/AED, first aid, babysitter training, safety and occupational training for businesses, organizations, community members and health-care professionals in Santa Barbara County. For more information, contact Haagen at or 805.705.9222.


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Michael Barone: Obama Stands Aloof from America’s Four Foreign Policy Traditions

By | Published on 09/29/2014


President Barack Obama's speech at the United Nations last week was "an important turning point in American foreign policy — and in his presidency." That's the verdict of Brookings Institution scholar and former Clinton White House aide William Galston, a Democrat who has not been an unqualified admirer of this Democratic president's foreign policy.

Whether Obama's decision to launch air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Khorasan terrorists is a turning point, it was at least a move in the direction of a tradition in American foreign policy that has been conspicuously lacking in his administration.

That tradition was christened by Walter Russell Mead in his 2001 book, Special Providence, as the Jacksonian Impulse, one of four that have together shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the republic. The others, named after American leaders, are the Hamiltonian, Wilsonian and Jeffersonian traditions.

Jacksonians, like their namesake, Andrew Jackson, are generally not much interested in foreign policy. But when Americans are attacked, they respond with righteous fury and a determination to utterly destroy the enemy.

Franklin Roosevelt invoked that tradition when in his Pearl Harbor speech he said, in a line that drew not just applause but whoops and hollers, "The American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory."

That's not Obama's style. He came to office pledged to make nice with hostile Iran and unfriendly Russia. Even while announcing air strikes in Iraq and Syria, he made sure to say America needs allies and will not put boots on the ground.

Obama's reluctance to take a Jacksonian stand is obvious, but ISIS' beheadings of Americans were something he could not let pass unrebuked. Mead's analysis in his American Interest blog was headlined, "A President Surrenders."

Which of Mead's other three traditions has Obama followed?

Certainly not the Hamiltonian tradition, named for Alexander Hamilton, which seeks to make the world safe for American commerce, accepts amoral concepts like national interest and balance of power and is willing to use force in morally ambiguous situations.

Obama has been willing to let Pacific and Atlantic trade negotiations languish in order to placate labor unions nostalgic for long-gone steel and automotive jobs. He invokes but does not imitate the supposed "realism" of George H.W. Bush. He has allowed the budget sequester to hollow out American military forces.

One might expect Obama to embrace a Wilsonian affection for international institutions and respect for international law. Many Democrats criticized George W. Bush for ignoring them. As a presidential candidate, Secretary of State John Kerry disparaged the "trumped up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted."

But Bush's coalition that went into Iraq included more than 30 nations, most of them democracies. Kerry's and Obama's coalition against the Islamic State includes maybe eight, mostly autocracies. On Iraq, unlike both Bushes, Obama has not sought authorization from Congress or the United Nations.

He was happy to pocket the Nobel Peace Prize. But unlike Woodrow Wilson, who sought to subordinate the United States to the League of Nations, Obama seeks only applause, not approval, from international organizations.

The one of Mead's four traditions that Obama comes closest to embracing is the Jeffersonian. Thomas Jefferson wanted to keep a pristine agricultural America apart from the evil European empires. Obama talks repeatedly about "nation building at home," which appears to mean maintaining and expanding a tottering entitlement system and welfare state.

Jefferson did make accommodations to reality. He swallowed constitutional qualms and purchased Louisiana. He sent the Navy and Marines to quell the Barbary pirates. His successor, James Madison, accepted a Hamiltonian Bank of the United States.

Obama's actions against the Islamic State, however limited, and his support for the Dodd-Frank Act, which props up the big banks, are in the same spirit.

But the impulse is different. Jeffersonians want to protect virtuous America from a vicious world. Obama has generally sought to keep a too-often vicious America from sullying a supposedly virtuous world. Obama's foreign policy initiatives — negotiations with Iran, the reset with Russia, mollifying rhetoric for Muslims — were based on the assumption that his own election would make the rest of the world take a benign view of America. That assumption seems to be in tatters.

Mead's argument is that American foreign policy has been successful because American leaders have, in varying proportions, blended its four traditions together. Obama seems to be aloof, to varying degrees, from all of them.

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


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Montecito Fire District, La Casa de Maria Mark 3 Years Since Installation of Remote Weather Station

By | Published on 09/29/2014


In 2011, the Montecito Fire Protection District and La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center entered into a cooperative agreement for the installation of a second Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS).

For the past three years, the RAWS has assisted the Montecito Fire Protection District, the National Weather Service and Santa Barbara fire service agencies in monitoring up-to-the-minute weather observations to better provide for fire severity predictions and weather-related emergencies.

“The benefits of this installation are outstanding, and we are grateful to La Casa de Maria for welcoming this installation on their private property for the benefit of our entire community,” said Al Gregson, fire marshal at Montecito Fire Protection District. “As our region sits between mountains and canyons, we have microclimates that can differ greatly from one another. Weather stations located at both this ‘ground-level’ and the 1600 ft. elevations are imperative to predicting real-time data.”

Because the RAWS has been in place on the La Casa de Maria property for three years, meteorologists are able to identify patterns that they are now able to track, which has become a beneficial tool for weather prediction services. With two RAWS stations now in place, Montecito Fire is able to prepare real-time data at both the 1,600-foot elevation and 375-foot levels. Relying solely on the former RAWS presented a huge difference in weather predictions. Access to the RAWS data greatly affects how agencies are able to view daily fire danger ratings and gauge a potential fire threat.

“As the severe drought drives fire season into a year-round event, access to real-time weather data is one of the few things that allow citizens on the ground to prepare for disaster,” said Geri Ventura, public information officer for the Montecito Fire Protection District.

The RAWS provides hourly weather observations that measure wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture, precipitation, solar radiation, and can be accessed by the public via the Internet. Information is also readily accessed by fire officials for current and real-time results via radio transmissions. Furthermore, the RAWS is registered as part of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and is utilized by fire management agencies to assess current fire danger predictions at local, regional, and national levels.

“We are thrilled to house the RAWS at La Casa de Maria,” said Stephanie Glatt, co-director of La Casa de Maria. “We delight in the fact that we are assisting in protecting local homes and the safety of our entire community.”

La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center in Montecito has long maintained an active partnership with the Montecito fire district with regard to public service contributions. As members of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group (MERRAG), La Casa de Maria has made a continued commitment to assist the MFPD and the community with support during emergencies. By partnering to allow the installation of the RAWS on La Casa de Maria property, they continue to further that commitment to serve the Montecito and Santa Barbara communities.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center.


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Dream Foundation Announces Honorees of Celebration of Dreams Gala

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Dream Foundation, the only national adult wish-granting organization for individuals and their families suffering life-threatening illness, is pleased to announce its 2014 Celebration of Dreams Gala honorees.

The 20th anniversary celebration will recognize Humanitarian Award recipient John Paul DeJoria and 2014 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award recipient Genentech.

Best known as the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patron Spirits Company, DeJoria has made a significant impact through his vital contributions to Dream Foundation programs, helping dream recipients and their families since 2002.

“John Paul DeJoria is a caring and accomplished humanitarian who has helped bring peace, comfort, and closure to countless dream recipients and their loved ones through the fulfillment of final dreams,” Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer said. “A true humanitarian, he lives each day by his renowned philosophy that ‘success unshared is failure,’ and he has demonstrated this in the time and resources he’s invested in making the world a better place for our dreamers.”

In addition to his generosity toward Dream Foundation, DeJoria supports a multitude of organizations dedicated to helping others. He launched the solely-funded philanthropic venture, Grow Appalachia, which aims to empower the hunger-stricken people of Appalachia by providing skills and resources to grow, prepare and preserve organic, nutritious food.

DeJoria has not lost sight of his humble beginnings, and regularly supports the Los Angeles community where he grew up. His ongoing support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where he spent much of his time as a child, includes funding the renovation of his hometown, Echo Park, Variety Boys & Girls Club location. He also takes great pride in his support of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Chrysalis, dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. John Paul routinely visits the center to share his story of change and provides generous financial support.

Genentech has been a Corporate Partner in Dreams since 2006. The biotechnology company is committed to treating diseases beyond scientific development by helping patients realize their dreams. Through Genentech’s highly successful employee volunteer program, more than 1,000 team members have served as dream hosts to ensure dreams are delivered with joy, an embrace and a celebration.

“We are thrilled to express our gratitude to Genentech, whose philanthropic support extends beyond generous funding,” Heyer said. “Their invaluable support for the Dream Foundation mission has helped to inspire hope and provide joy in communities across the nation.”

The Celebration of Dreams Gala will be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara on the evening of Nov. 8. Celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters will gather to enjoy a night of heartwarming dream reflections, unparalleled entertainment and both a silent and live auction. Net proceeds are vital to supporting the program, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has never turned down a qualified dream request.

— Dani Cordaro is a publicist representing the Dream Foundation.


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Steven Crandell: Listening Is Often the Best Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits

By | Published on 09/29/2014


A philanthropist and a nonprofit executive director walk into a bar ...

The philanthropist sighs and says she has money to give, but no nonprofit will agree to carry out her intent as she envisions it.

The executive director commiserates, saying he has a program that really helps the community, but he can’t find the right donors to provide the money his nonprofit needs to keep operating.

The bartender approaches and waits for them to stop talking. Then he asks if they would like a hammer.

They look at him incredulously.

“What about a pair of pliers?”

They shake their heads.

“How about a crescent wrench?”

Irritated, they both say, “No!”

The bartender pauses and wipes the bar thoughtfully. It’s a slow evening.

“If you don’t want a hammer, pliers or a wrench, what do you want?”

“A drink would be nice,” says the executive director.

The bartender takes their order and swiftly fills it. His customers take their first sips of micro-brew. The philanthropist catches the bartender’s eye and asks, “What was all that about the hammer, the pliers and the wrench?”

The bartender smiles. “I have a little Internet hardware business on the side. Most people come in here for drinks, but I ask them anyway. I know chances are slim for a sale. And I get rejected a lot, but I almost always learn something.”

“What have you learned?” says the executive director.

“The only real mistake is to stop asking.”

“Why is that a mistake,” asks the philanthropist.

“If I don’t ask, I can’t listen to the answer. And the listening is the best deal-making strategy I’ve ever found.”

“I thought everyone tells you no,” says the ED.

“They do.”

The philanthropist shakes her head. “Then how do you make deals?”

“By finding out what they do want. By having a conversation. There was this guy. He didn’t want a hammer or a drill. But when I asked him what he did want, he told me he needed a birthday present for his 10-year-old son. So I suggested he take him to The Lion King.”

“Did you get a commission?” asks the ED.

The bartender smiles. “I got something better — a relationship. Turns out the kid loved Timon and Pumba. Dad was a hero. Three months later, I got an order for 200 carpenters’ tool kits. The guy ran a construction company that built high-rises.”

A silence falls over the three people.

The bartender straightens. “Anything else?”

“Have you ever considered a career in fundraising?” says the ED.

“I’ll have a screwdriver,” says the philanthropist. “And two more beers.”

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


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SBSPA Workshop to Help High School Performers Prepare for Collegiate Auditions

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts is pleased to announce a day of workshops designed to bring performers from pre to pro from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11.

"How to Get Into College: For Actors, Singers and Dancers" is designed to help high school students prepare for the vigorous process of auditioning for a collegiate performing arts program. Led by a professional panel of college professors and advisors, this workshop day will be invaluable to the aspiring studying artist.

Members of the panel include San Marcos High School alumni William Christensen, professor of music at Oklahoma City University; Laguna Blanca alumni Kameron Tarlow, former admissions counselor at Emerson College in Boston; and Heather Castillo, professor of dance at CSU Channel Islands and prominent Southern California choreographer.

The day will include mock auditions in front of the panel, talk back and Q&A sessions, and individualized workshops on monologue preparation, song choice and performance, and dance calls. The entire workshop is generously priced at $95 and will take place at La Colina Junior High School in the auditorium.

To enroll, please click here and download the registration form. Please send your check and enrollment to SBSOPA, 27 W. Anapamu St. #175, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Students should prepare a one-minute monologue (classical or contemporary) and 32 bars of a musical theater selection. Dress appropriately for an audition, but bring clothes for a dance workshop.

Please contact Jessica Hambright at or 805.705.7310 with any questions.

— Jessica Hambright is a co-director of the Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts.


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Santa Barbara Axxess to Host Goleta Chamber of Commerce’s October B2B Breakfast

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Santa Barbara Axxess will host the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s October Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

The 2015 Axxess book is available now! Learn more about how Axxess can promote your business while supporting the local community.

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

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

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

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


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UCSB Move-In Weekend Kicks Off Next Big Adventure for Undergrads and Their Families

By | Published on 09/29/2014


UC Santa Barbara’s residence halls were abuzz with excitement and emotion over the last few days as the rite of passage known as Move-In Weekend brought new and returning undergrads to campus. Thousands of students, their families and friends rolled onto campus in vehicles packed with all the necessities to create a comfortable home away from home, while Housing and Residential Services staff and Move-In volunteers were on hand to make sure everything moved swiftly and smoothly.

“We have lots of excitement, lots of parents, lots of students,” said an animated Brennan Bowen, a newly minted resident assistant who, like his colleagues, trained for weeks on keeping the steady stream of people organized and providing information as needed. Other volunteers helped with transport, pushing rolling bins of belongings to their appropriate destinations.

Amid the hustle and bustle, the lives of thousands of people underwent change, from the freshmen starting the next phase of their lives, to parents seeing their children begin their transition into adulthood. Everyone spoke of excitement and optimism and the hope of the best that was yet to come, as well as gratitude for all the support and love that brought them to this moment.

Move-In was a momentous step for incoming freshman Daisy Gonzalez and her tight-knit family. Originally from Hawthorne, in the southwestern area of Los Angeles, Daisy traded her familiar urban environment for the suburban and college-town aspect of the Santa Catalina residences. Though not the first in her family to attend university — her sister Melinda just graduated from Cal State Long Beach — she is the first of the Gonzalez sisters to move far from home.

“It’s a new freedom that I’m going to have, that I’m excited for, but I feel that I’m also going to miss home a lot,” said Daisy, who initially considered staying closer to home.

A Young Eisner Scholar, she prepared well for college, attending the highly regarded private coed prep school in the L.A. area. To be prudent, she considered other universities in the state but fell in love with UCSB.

“When I came, I could imagine myself walking and going to class here,” said the new psychology major, who was considering about a dozen other universities at the time.

“Whatever she does, it’s going to be amazing,” said her teary-eyed mother, Maria. “I want her to be happy, take advantage of all the opportunities and every experience, every happy moment…and be safe.”

For John Mead, father of Madison, also a new UCSB psychology student, coming to campus was like coming back home. A graduate of the UCSB College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he’s careful to point out that he did not try to sway his daughter’s choice of UCSB.

“I didn’t say a word even though I went to school here,” he said. Just a few yards away from the Santa Cruz residence hall, where the family was helping Madison move in, was his own stomping ground at Santa Rosa Hall.

“I wanted to choose UCSB because it had so many great things about it,” said Madison, listing decision-making factors such as the environment, the activities, the opportunities for outdoor adventures and the education. She looks forward to meeting new people and learning more about herself as well, and comparing notes with dad about her experience.

Students moving into the Santa Cruz residence hall were in for a treat. The latest of the residences to be remodeled for sustainability, the building features the latest in energy-efficient design, with elements such as LED lighting for cooler burning light and double-paned glass for insulation. As part of UCSB’s ongoing effort toward sustainable building and design, the 60-year-old building also got revamped plumbing, new flooring and paint, and some other amenities such as remodeled kitchen and laundry facilities. The remodel also resulted in a high-end TV lounge, complete with soundproofing, giant high-definition TV screen and theater-style seating. The other two residences in the area — Anacapa and Santa Rosa — had been remodeled in previous years.

It was pride, anticipation and perhaps a touch of apprehension for 17-year-old Zoey Brandt and her mother Zelah as they prepared for the next big step in Zoey’s life, one that would take them away from each other for extended periods of time. “I will definitely miss my baby,” Zelah said. “She is my only one, and we are very close.”

UCSB represented the best choice for various reasons, including the mix of education, environment and experience. It also helps that Zelah graduated from UCSB with a bachelor’s in sociology in 1992 and has maintained close ties with friends in the area, friends to whom Zoey can turn if she needs any assistance. With those contingencies covered, the travel time between campus and their home in Northern California will feel not so long, and the brand-new English major can still spread her wings, maybe dive into choir and theater, or even try out for the campus’s unofficial quidditch team.

“It’s kind of scary,” Zoey said. “I keep looking at things and realizing that I won’t be seeing them every day anymore. It feels like I’m saying goodbye to a whole era…But at the same time, it’s exciting to have the freedom that comes with living five hours away from home.”

The Move-In events continue until the first day of class, Thursday, Oct. 2, with the Week of Welcome — activities designed to help students become better acquainted with the campus and with each other.

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Governor Signs Bill to Combat College Campus Sexual Assaults

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Enacting critical policies and procedures to change the way colleges prevent and treat sexual assault, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 967, jointly authored by Sens. Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, and Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

Known nationally as the yes-means-yes bill, SB 967 makes California the first state in the nation to define affirmative consent and require institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault. To ensure a fairer campus adjudication process, the bill requires increased training for the faculty reviewing complaints so that survivors of assault aren’t revictimized by inappropriate questions when they seek justice. The bill also requires access to counseling and health service resources which are absolutely critical for recovery when assaults occur.

Meghan Warner, chair of the University of California Associated Students Sexual Assault Commission and the leader of the Cal Consent Campaign at UC Berkeley, declared, “I am so grateful Gov. Brown has signed SB 967 into law. Education and outreach measures will help create a culture of consent where survivors are supported instead of blamed, doubted and ignored, as many of us are. The affirmative consent standard will help change the re-victimizing, insensitive reporting procedures, instead allowing students to seek help and hold perpetrators accountable. This is a major victory for all California students, not just survivors. I hope the rest of the nation will follow suit and require these much needed changes.”

“Our sisters, our daughters, our nieces — every woman deserves the right to pursue the dream of higher education without being threatened by the nightmare of violence and sexual abuse,” de Leon said. “The governor’s signature on this legislation is an important step to prevent that kind of nightmare on our college campuses.”

Joint author of SB 967 and vice-chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, Jackson said: “This bill is about changing the culture on college and university campuses to a culture of ‘no excuses’. No excuses for rape, no excuses for blaming the victims of rape, no excuses for not supporting these victims, and no excuses for turning a blind eye to the problem of campus sexual assaults. SB 967 will create safer environments for students.”

After months of discussions with stakeholders to develop workable solutions to a devastating problem, SB 967 received support from all three public higher education systems in California. University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White, and California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris all sent letters to Gov. Brown asking for him to sign the legislation.

Sexual assault survivors from all across California came to the Capitol to testify in front of committees, and most recently to deliver thousands of petitions to Brown asking for his signature.

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


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Transitions-Mental Health Association Plans Two Suicide Prevention Forums

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Transitions-Mental Health Association is hosting two Suicide Prevention Forums on the Central Coast. One is focused on college age youth while the other features an internationally recognized speaker and author.

» Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo: The Suicide Prevention Forum at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will feature Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds Inc., from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 in the Chumash Auditorium. A resource fair will be available before and after the program.

Malmon’s brother died by suicide during her first year in college after a protracted and silent struggle with schizoaffective disorder. Left with more questions than answers, she looked for a student organization on her campus that was talking about mental health. Finding none, Malmon started her own.

Today, Malmon has been executive director of Active Minds Inc. for over 10 years and continues to inspire audiences with her story and calls to action. While dispelling the myths, fear and shame that surround people who struggle with their mental health, she mobilizes communities to take action and join the mental health movement. Active Minds Inc. is the leading national organization that uses students as the driving force to change the perception about mental health on college campuses.

This event is presented by Transitions-Mental Health Association, Cal Poly Health & Counseling Services in partnership with Cal Poly Active Minds and the Student Veteran Organization/Veteran Success Center. This event is funded by CalMSHA.

» Santa Maria: The Suicide Prevention Forum in Santa Maria will feature Kevin Hines, author of Cracked ... Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt, from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria (near the airport). A resource fair will be available before and after the program, as well as a book signing with Hines. Books will be available for sale for $25.

When Hines was 19 years old, two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of 33 to survive the fall and now actively spreads the message of living mentally healthy around the country and the globe. Cracked ... Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt is his first book.

A discussion will follow the keynote presentation, led by Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. Dr. Firestone is the director of research and education at The Glendon Association and senior editor at She is a clinical psychologist and suici­dologist specializing in the assessment, treat­ment and management of high-risk individuals. Learn more about Firestone’s work by clicking here.

This event is presented by the Transitions-Mental Health Association and The Glendon Association and is funded by CalMSHA. Click here for more information about these events.

— Shannon McOuat is the marketing coordinator for the Transitions-Mental Health Association.


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Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Musicians Finalize Labor Agreement

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and the American Federation of Musicians Local 308 have finalized their union labor agreement for the next three concert seasons.

“The board and the musicians were able to negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement so quickly because we share the same vision for the future of the orchestra and its importance to the Santa Barbara community,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

Local 308, the labor union for professional musicians located in Santa Barbara, represents the 30 to 40 musicians in the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. The national union comprises 424 Locals representing 85,000 musicians throughout North America.

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, a critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra that has performed well-known classical repertoire and hosted world-class soloists since 1978, kicks off its 2014-15 concert season with a tango-themed gala event titled “Tapas and Tango” and presented by Chaucer’s Books. The gala starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Lobero Theatre.

Professional tango dancers Sandor and Parissa, from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, will perform during the gala. The concert, sponsored by the Walter J. & Holly O. Thompson Foundation, starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

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


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Heat Wave, High Fire Risk Expected in Santa Barbara County Starting Thursday

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Another heat wave is expected to head into Santa Barbara County on Thursday, bringing toasty temperatures and heightened fire danger through the weekend.

Balmy 90-degree temperatures moving into the county’s coastal and inland areas — and falling humidity levels — will give Thursday through Saturday the greatest potential for red flag warning conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

Although the weather service has not yet issued an official warning or advisory, forecasters on Monday were keeping an eye on offshore flow in anticipation, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“They’re not going to put out anything at this point because they haven’t really decided on what activity can happen as far as with the offshore flow,” Seto said. “It looks like this weekend’s going to be a hot one.”

Warm, dry conditions were expected Monday through Wednesday, as temperatures linger near 80.

However, accompanying 10- to 20-mile-per-hour winds could decrease relative humidity down to single digits by Friday or Saturday, Seto said.

Moderate northerly winds were supposed to begin affecting passes and canyons on the western South Coast on Monday night, with the strongest offshore winds likely to occur late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, he said.

Temperatures are likely to spike into the 90s in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley beginning Thursday and peaking Saturday.

Seto said that’s about 15 degrees above average, since temperatures this time of year are normally in the mid-70s, but likely won’t break any of the 100-degree records already on the local books.

More than heat and winds, Seto said forecasters were concerned with humidity levels, something they’ll be monitoring most.

The National Weather Service warned the hot, dry conditions could possibly continue into early next week as well.

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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Laurie Jervis: Raise a Glass to Autumn Warmth with Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Residents of Santa Barbara County know that our region's warmest days show up in late August and linger through September.

While the calendar proclaims "autumn," Mother Nature happily dishes out more summer-like days.

So the odds are good that the Santa Barbara Vintners' annual Celebration of Harvest festival Oct. 10-12 will feature balmy temperatures ideal for outdoor wine tasting.

This weekend-long event will be the second time Santa Barbara Vintners has teamed with Relevé Unlimited, an event planning company, to produce its twice-yearly festivals.

The addition of the Solvang-based Relevé for the April Vintners Festival expanded the weekend from the traditional Saturday Grand Tasting and weekend-long Vintners Visa to a multiday jubilee with a golf tournament, wine seminars, vineyard tours and private winemaker dinners.

Poor ticket sales forced the cancelation of an all-day wine education seminar program and a couple of outings, but the Saturday tasting and most of the vineyard- or winery-specific events resonated with attendees.

The Celebration of Harvest weekend, for many years based at the rustic Rancho Sisquoc Winery on Foxen Canyon Road, relocates this year to Solvang's Mission Santa Ines. This site hosted both the original Vintners Festival in 1982 and the April 2013 event.

The Grand Tasting will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mission. Participating will be more than 110 member wineries, as well as food and lifestyle purveyors. Cost: $75.

After being pulled from the April Vintners' Festival lineup, the popular Vintners Visa will return for October's weekend. At $50, it remains a bargain for those who eschew the crowds. The visa is ideal for those who wish to visit new wineries and partake of special tastings offered throughout the weekend. Check details by clicking here.

Each Visa provides one free wine tasting at 12 of the participating wineries, Friday through Sunday or, in some cases, Monday. Check the above link for details.

New to the Celebration of Harvest this year is the Santa Barbara Wine Seminar, 10 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, across from the Mission. The cost is $30.

Matt Kettmann, senior editor of the Santa Barbara Independent and a contributing editor and reviewer of Central Coast wines for Wine Enthusiast, will moderate a panel of six Santa Barbara County winemakers. 

The panelists are Dick Doré, Foxen Vineyard & Winery; Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz Wines; Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company; Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray Vineyards; Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards; and Peter Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards

Click here for details on participants.

And raise of glass to our beautiful fall weather. Everyone should be so lucky.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Yes and No of Measure P

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Yes, I work for an oil company.

Yes, I have worked in the industry for 45 years.

Yes, I have lived in this county for 51 years.

Yes, I am an American.

Yes, I am a veteran

Yes, I breathe the same air as everyone else.

Yes, I drink the same water as everyone else.

Yes, I would like to believe people think before they act.

Yes, I believe Measure P proponents are misguided and are easily influenced.

Yes, Measure P is misleading and counterproductive.

No, I do not have cancer nor does my family.

No, I am not from Texas.

No, I am not big oil but a working citizen of this county for many years.

No, I am not influenced by those who protest something that does not exist.

No, I do not want the county countryside looking like Mojave, or Tehachapi, Calif.

No, I do not want solar sites like State Line, Nev. 

No hope for hypocrites.

No on Measure P would be a great choice when you vote.

Phil Hosch
Santa Maria


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UCSB’s Paul Atzberger Uses Mathematics to Advance Problems in the Sciences

By | Published on 09/29/2014


In popular culture, mathematics is often deemed inaccessible or esoteric. Yet in the modern world, it plays an ever more important role in our daily lives and a decisive role in the discovery and development of new ideas — often behind the scenes.

UC Santa Barbara’s Paul Atzberger, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, often works in areas where science and math intersect. Some of his recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) and featured on the cover of the journal Soft Matter focuses on problems specific to lipid bilayer membranes. These microscopic structures can form a sheet that envelopes the outside of a biological cell in much the same way that human skin serves as the body’s barrier to the outside environment.

In the PNAS paper, Atzberger and his graduate student Jon Karl Sigurdsson worked in collaboration with the experimental laboratory of Patricia Bassereau and David Lacoste at the Institut Curie in Paris, to develop new mathematical approaches to gain insights into how proteins move around within lipid bilayer membranes.

“Proteins are not just passive voyagers within the bilayer, but rather their very presence can change the local properties of the lipid bilayer membrane in interesting ways,” Atzberger said. “This includes bending the bilayer with a local preferred curvature or changing the nature of a viscous flow. This dual coupling of responding to the local geometry while also affecting it makes it very difficult to formulate concise models and to make predictions.”

To address these issues, Atzberger developed a statistical mechanics description of the membrane sheet and the proteins based on his past work on immersed-boundary approximations. The idea is to treat the heterogeneous membrane-protein material uniformly but use a moving marker to demarcate the parts associated with the proteins. This approach allows for a simple and reliable description, which captures many of the essential features of membrane-protein dynamics and not only facilitates not only performing analytic calculations but also carrying out efficient computational simulations.

“It used to be just theory and experiment,” Atzberger added. “Now computation serves an ever more important third branch of science. With simulations, one can take underlying assumptions into account in detail and explore their consequences in novel ways. Of course, theory and abstraction are still very important to gain understanding. What computation provides is the ability to grapple with a level of detail and complexity that is often simply beyond the reach of pure theoretical methods.”

Sophisticated mathematics is often required to bridge the realms of theory, simulation and experiment. Atzberger notes that the order of complexity in biology is especially tricky.

“If you look at a biological cell, many of our current methods for investigation are similar to looking down from a low-altitude blimp at a big city such as New York or Hong Kong,” he explained. “It’s phenomenally complex, and the level of understanding that can be attained with current methods — while impressive — is also very limited. While experimental methods are advancing, it cannot be ignored that new mathematical approaches are going to be needed for progress.”

For example, Atzberger’s collaboration with his colleagues in France sought to explore specific mechanisms by which proteins move within bilayers using the idea that the protein locally bends the bilayer and creates a little bump that moves along with the protein.

“Not only is the protein diffusing but so is that little bump that has to be carried along with it,” Atzberger explained. “This idea has been suggested by a number of theoretical papers.  However, in practice this is a really hard thing to measure, particularly because such a mechanism cannot be seen directly since it occurs on length scales that are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. A typical protein is about 10 nanometers in size; the wavelength of visible light is on the order of 300 to 700 nanometers.” 

Because the researchers could not make direct observations, they tagged the protein with quantum dots that emit light when excited. They then tracked and analyzed the motions of individual quantum dots to obtain a measurement of how the individual proteins moved within the bilayer. Like temporarily pulling wrinkles out of a shirt, they applied a tension that would reduce the size and shape of a possible bump induced by a protein. The investigators found that the locally induced shape appears to matter a great deal to a protein’s rate of diffusive motion within the bilayer. 

“This showed us that you cannot ignore the local interactions of the protein that augment the bilayer when considering protein motion,” Atzberger said. “Unlike a particle diffusing in a simple fluid, such complex membrane-protein interactions appear to be at the heart of protein diffusion.

“These studies are potentially useful, since the rates of protein diffusion play an important role in many cellular processes,” he added. “If you really understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for protein diffusion, you might be able to come up with novel ways to augment it.”

In related work with UCSB colleagues, Atzberger has also applied his mathematical expertise to analyze experiments on supported lipid bilayers (SLB). SLBs are membrane sheets that are bound directly to a surface or anchored in close proximity. They are important in many biophysical studies of membrane-protein interactions and in the development of biosensors.

Atzberger analyzed experiments conducted by Kim Weirich, then a student in UCSB’s interdepartmental graduate program in biomolecular science and engineering, who investigated an approach in which lipid vesicles are induced to rupture on the substrate to form the SLB. A big challenge is to obtain reliable vesicle rupture and coverage of the substrate. 

To better understand this process, Atzberger and his students developed a mathematical model and computational methods to study the stages in the process of SLB formation. A central question addressed by the model concerns how the SLB process initiates from the crowding of vesicles on the substrate. Another important question is how the lipids from the ruptured vesicles spread out on the substrate as either isolated islands that grow in size or as a multitude of small distinct islands that merge in parallel.

“Using our computational methods, we were able to simulate rupture events and island dynamics that matched well the trends seen in the experimental data,” Atzberger said. “This led us to strongly favor a specific hypothesis concerning the SLB formulation process: that a local critical concentration of vesicles is required and that the rupture occurs from a mechanism we call ‘adhesive jamming.’

“By attempting to model the experimental data quantitatively, we found that many of our initial ideas were simply not plausible,” he added. “This led — after a fair amount of thought — to our final model. Of course, more experimental work will be required to see if our theory is ultimately correct. This work was featured on the cover of the journal Soft Matter.

“I’m proud of these works because we managed to make links between theory, computation and experiment,” Atzberger concluded. “One of my goals as an applied mathematician is to be a bridge between these worlds. When everything comes together harmoniously, this type of research is not only productive but also a lot of fun.”

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


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Community Action Commission Providing Free After-School Snacks

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Community Action Commission Community Child Nutrition Snack Program will provide a nutritious daily after-school snack each weekday.

Four sites* are open to children and youth with the only requirement being that those who receive a meal be under 18. Ten more sites are open to children whose families are eligible by income and who are attending after-school programs in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe.

CAC anticipates serving over 1,000 snacks daily for the Community Child Nutrition Snack Program. This is the 15th year that CAC has operated the program, which is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Snacks will be provided at the following sites, dates and times (*sites with an asterisk are open for snacks to anyone age 17 or younger):


Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, 4849 Foothill Road — After-school snack, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 13)
Carpinteria Girls Inc., 5315 Foothill Road — After-school snack, 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. (through June 12)

Santa Barbara

St. Vincent’s, 4234 Pozzo Circle, Santa Barbara — After-school snack, 3:30 to 5 p.m. (through June 6)
Girls Inc., 531 E. Ortega St. — After-school snack, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. (through June 6)
Salvation Army, 4849 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. (through June 6)


Goleta Boys and Girls Club, 5701 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 6)
Girls Inc., 4973 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 2:45 to 4 p.m. (through June 12)
Goleta Boys and Girls Club (UCSB), 7966 Seaway Drive — After-school snack, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 6)

Santa Maria

Good Samaritan, 401 D W. Morrison St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (through June 10)
*Boys and Girls Club, 200 W. Williams St. (Evans Park) — After-school snack, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 13)
*Boys and Girls Club, 901 N. Railroad Ave. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 11)
*New Love Community Services, 1619 S. Thornburg St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (through June 11)


*Boys and Girls Club, 4689 11th St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (through June 6)


Lompoc Boys and Girls Club, 501 North W St. — After-school snack, 2 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 12)

(Locations and times subject to change. Most locations are closed on federal holidays — please check.)

Snacks will be provided to all eligible children free of charge. To be eligible children must meet the income guidelines for reduced price meals in the National School Lunch Program. The income guidelines for reduced-price meals by family size are listed below. Children who are part of households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible to receive free snacks.

Acceptance and participation requirements for the Community Child Nutrition Snack Program and all activities are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

— Elizabeth Lee is a grant writer for the Community Action Commission.


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Letter to the Editor: See What Fracking Can Do for You

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Does fracking use — and bring into the environment — chemical substances that can harm, sicken or even kill you?

Pennsylvania, New York: ( 17:52

Wyoming: ( 08:02

California: ( 04:33

Does the oil/gas industry create fake names — shills — to discredit critics of fracking? Do oil/gas industry and government representatives lie as to to the source of environmental damage caused at a fracking site? Does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce teach oil companies how to respond to online fracking critics?

Colorado: ( 18:45

Can wells on your property pollute your drinking/irrigation water?

Illinois ( 10:53

How close to you can they drill?

Texas: ( 15:00

Text messages:

Is cyclic steam injection safe?

Canada: “This report highlights the wide-aperture fracture that exists between those in the industry that write advertisements and PR and those in the industry, the engineers and scientists who know what they don't know.” (

United States: “Scathing state reports show new and serious problems in the oil field … where a Chevron worker died in a sinkhole” (

Is acidizing drilling technology safe?

California: “A critical tool — but mistakes can be deadly.” (

What they have said:

“A problem not confronted is a problem that grows.”
“There is a system here that is corrupt.”
“Cheaper [for oil/gas companies] to pay the fine and keep on goin'.”
”We're destroying our country day by day, little by little”
“It's toxic to the environment; it's toxic to the political process.”
“It's not about energy independence, it's about human rights.”
“If I drink water, breathe air, or eat food, this is my business!”

Measure P will ban the use in Santa Barbara County of the oil/gas drilling technologies called hydraulic fracturing (fracking), cyclic steam injection and acidizing.

Working together, we can protect ourselves, our families and neighbors from the sickness, pollution and environmental/social damage these practices have brought others.

Measure P protects. Vote yes on Measure P on Nov. 4.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


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Dos Pueblos PTSA to Host Screening of ‘Race to Nowhere’ Documentary

By | Published on 09/29/2014


The Dos Pueblos High School PTSA will be screening the documentary Race to Nowhere at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 in the DP Performing Arts Center.

A Q&A session will follow with Dos Pueblos administrators and counselors, who will discuss what is being done to “Replace the Race at DP.”

— Carrie Hawn represents the Dos Pueblos High School PTSA.


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Central Coast Bioneers Conference Will Explore Our Blue Minds

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Four water-related events are among the featured workshops and keynote talks at the 2014 Central Coast Bioneers Conference, scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at the San Luis Obispo Grange Hall. As we end a third year of drought and rationing is implemented, water is much on the minds of all Central Coast residents.

J Nichols
Wallace “J” Nichols

On Friday morning, Oct. 23, a field trip to Kukkula Winery in Paso Robles will show us "The Future of Farming."

Kevin Jussila, owner of Kukkula, farms 33 acres of walnuts and 49 acres of vines without irrigation. He has eight acres of French varietal olives that are minimally watered through a drip system.

To put this in perspective, Jussila’s 80-acre parcel, including the winery facility, tasting room and residence, uses about 80,000 gallons of water per year, compared with an average of 250,000 gallons per week at neighboring, irrigated vineyards. Jussila will talk about his research into dry farming best practices and how he and the plants make it work. Participants will enjoy lunch and wine tasting at the winery.

On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Water Committee chair Charming Evelyn will provide alternatives to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Giant Bay Delta Tunnels, which would divert Delta-bound water from the Sacramento River and accelerate the decline of the largest estuary on the West Coast.

“California needs a statewide water policy that gives all residents adequate clean drinking water, respects and protects our rivers, streams, bays and deltas, and supports a sustainable economy,” state the December 2013 Sierra Club White Paper on the subject. We do not have to pit environmental issues against jobs creation. Alternatives will be discussed about how we can have it all.

Also on Saturday, Ecologistics will present its annual "Dreaming the Salinas" workshop, as part of its region-based restoration and conservation initiative to restore the Salinas River.

This year, Gretchen Hayes, a scientist, environmental planner and principal with Tessera Sciences, will take the stage with Devin Best of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District, and Bob Fredenburg, chief consultant for the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Material to vision a Salinas River that runs free from the mountains to the sea. Hayes was instrumental in the Napa River Rutherford Reach Restoration Project, a private-public partnership that was successful in funding and implementing a watershed management plan for the Napa River.

Finally on Saturday, Oct. 25, the recorded National Bioneers keynote talk by award-winning scientist, eco-activist and author Wallace “J” Nichols “I Wish You Water” will be shown. According to Wallace, the cognitive and emotional benefits of healthy oceans and waterways have been celebrated through art, song, romance and poetry throughout human history. He will dive deeper and explore our “blue minds” through the dual lenses of evolutionary biology and cognitive science, reminding us that we are water.

Tickets to the conference and more information about other activities at the conference can be found online by clicking here. Tickets can also be purchased at Earth Tones in Paso Robles, Bambu Batu in San Luis Obispo or Volumes of Pleasure in Los Osos.

Ecologistics Inc., a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, hosts the annual Central Coast Bioneers Conference in San Luis Obispo every October. Other projects include the Dreaming the Salinas Initiative, the Community Café project in conjunction with the SLO County Food System Coalition, and the SLO Down Cancer project with the Noor Clinic to provide free cancer screening for residents of SLO County. Ecologistics also operates the Blue C Community Garden in Los Osos.

— Stacey Hunt represents Central Coast Bioneers.


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Santa Barbara Library Starting New Season of Theatre Book Club

By | Published on 09/29/2014


Theatre Book Club is not a typical book discussion group. It is a program of the Santa Barbara Public Library that provides copies of plays that Ensemble Theatre Company produces, for community members to read, analyze and talk about.

The theater company’s dramaturg, Anna Jensen, leads a discussion of each play — the written script — at the Central Library, bringing nuances and meaning that are often not apparent at first reading.

The first meeting of this season’s Theatre Book Club will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 15 to discuss Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, the tale of an artist of average talent living in the shadow of a genius.Ensemble’s publicity describes the play this way: “Life is comfortable for Antonio Salieri, Court composer to Austrian Emperor Josef, until the greatest musical genius of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lands on the scene, leading to jealousy and political intrigue.”

Book club discussions are held in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. Ten copies of each play are available at the Central Library for one-week checkout, beginning four or five weeks before the discussion.

The other play discussions this season are set on the following dates:

» Dec. 10 — The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor

» Feb. 11 — Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage

» April 22 — Woyzeck adapted by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan

» June 17 — Venus in Fur by David Ives

Readers who are new to play discussions are encouraged to attend and join the conversation, or just sit and listen. It is not necessary to see the play to participate in and enjoy Theatre Book Club. Call the library’s reference desk at 805.564.5604 or email for more information.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at to find out about library locations, hours, programs and events. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Christine Gallery is a reference librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.


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Jim Armstrong Proud of Continuity as He Retires After 13 Years as City Administrator

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Official credited with steady leadership through recession, fiscal shortfalls, political changes and the day-to-day challenges of running Santa Barbara

In a week Jim Armstrong will trade one Riviera for another when he boards an airplane headed for the south of France and says goodbye to Santa Barbara, the city he has run since 2001.

He’ll come back after a three-week vacation with his wife, Linda, but when he returns he’ll be on the outside looking in, no longer the city’s top administrator. Armstrong, the straight-shooting, fiscally conservative man of few words, is about to retire from City Hall.

While most city managers last about six years in the position, in his 13 years Armstrong has weathered the Great Recession, the liberal-to-conservative-back-to-liberal City Council political shift, and major turnover within municipal departments.

A cyclist, runner and avid pilot with an airplane at the Santa Barbara Airport, Armstrong has come to know Santa Barbara from top-to-bottom, from inside of City Hall to the downtown streets and from the air above.

Armstrong arrived from Fullerton to succeed retiring City Administrator Sandra Tripp-Jones and immediately found himself facing a myriad of challenges. A jury awarded two female police officers a combined $3.2 million in a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Police Department, although the amount later was reduced. A 15-year-old girl drowned in a city pool. And Armstrong took on a task that would eventually define his tenure: cutting the city’s $170 million budget, which in 2002 projected a $4.8 million shortfall.

“What he did in terms of the financial organization during the Great Recession has to go down as masterful,” said Dave Davis, executive director of the Community Environmental Council and a former longtime city community development director.

“He came out of a very dark, dark, financially challenging time to a place where the city is probably stronger now than when we went into the Great Recession.”

When Armstrong was hired he was heralded as a straight talker who knew how to manage money. During his first year, he set the tone inside City Hall, ordering department heads to cut their budgets by 2.6 percent.

He also introduced a “P3” program of performance measurements that linked department to goals. If departments achieved the goals they identified for themselves annually, Armstrong would reward those managers with more money. The program forced department heads to scrutinize their activities, and take nothing for granted. Although performance measurements are common in the private sector, the concept is not often found in government.

“Jim stressed efficiency and looking for ways to do the job better,” said Paul Casey, the acting city administrator. “He instituted a performance management plan that allowed the organization to focus on the tasks that are most important, and then ask the question if there is a better way to do things more effectively or more efficiently.

“‘This is how we’ve always done it’ was never a satisfactory answer.”

Armstrong also zeroed in on public-employee unions in the area of pension contributions. The city had guaranteed that 9 percent of police officer salaries would go toward their pension plans, but Armstrong wanted them to pay more of the contribution.

Under his leadership in 2008, in the throes of the recession, the city was able to get public-safety employees to pay more into their pensions, and eventually commit to a 100 percent contribution.

“I give a lot of credit to his leadership working with all our bargaining units and senior management in creating a situation where we weathered the financial storm while still providing key services and without layoffs,” Mayor Helene Schneider said. 

Layoffs were never implemented but the city has fewer employees today than it had when Armstrong was hired. When somebody left, he often asked whether the position was needed, or if the job could be absorbed by existing employees.

Armstrong, who earned $230,000 annually, developed a reputation for being a tough budget cruncher, but also for his even hand in dealing with the city’s elected leaders. 

When Armstrong was hired, the late Harriet Miller was finishing up her last few months as mayor before handing the gavel to Marty Blum. Armstrong was there in 2003 when young liberals such as Schneider and now-Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, took office, giving the council a wide liberal dominance. But he was also there in 2007 when a new majority of moderates and conservatives emerged, led by Dale Francisco, followed by Michael Self and Frank Hotchkiss.

Armstrong was respected by the conservatives for his approach to fiscal matters, but also by the liberals for his ability to stay out  of the politics and leave the decision making to those who had been elected. 

“We went from where we were to the rise of the Franciscans and some division on the council and some split votes and that whole period of disruption, and frankly he worked very well to insulate his staff from some of the negative politics happening above,” Davis told Noozhawk.

“At the same time, he continued to be quite responsive to the changing nature of the community. He worked with Helene to bring civility to the council meetings.”

Davis said Armstrong could always be counted on to be “the grown-up in the room.” Council members trusted him, and he typically met one on one with them to discuss agenda items, helping to prepare them for the council meetings.

Whether it was support of a living-wage ordinance or increases in salaries and benefits for public-safety employees, Armstrong didn’t always like the council’s decisions, but he know ultimately that the final decisions weren’t his to make.

“He is the most politically savvy nonpolitical city administrator who I have every worked for,” said Marcelo Lopez, who began his career in Santa Barbara as Tripp-Jones’ assistant and advanced to assistant city administrator under Armstrong. “He never crossed roles with the City Council. He never played games with the City Council.

“He knew that his responsibility was to give the City Council the best recommendation possible and let the City Council make the political decision.”

Councilman Gregg Hart is in the unusual position of having been on the council when Armstrong was hired, taking an eight-year-break, and then returning to the council toward the end of his tenure.

“If you think about the way the council has evolved over the past 13 years when Jim was there, it has been pretty incredibly,” Hart said. “There was Rusty (Fairly) and Dan Secord, Helene Schneider, Roger Horton, Grant House, Das Williams, Dale Francisco — you could not have a more different group of policy makers. He’s incredibly savvy, but he doesn’t get involved, scrupulously so.”

In recent years, Armstrong has overseen another kind of transition, but one that has been less visible to the public. He has seen several of his top managers retire, from his right-hand man, Lopez, to City Attorney Steve Wiley, to airport director Karen Ramsdell and waterfront director John Bridley. Only Police Chief Cam Sanchez remains a department head from the time Armstrong was hired.

When asked to analyze himself, Armstrong told Noozhawk he’s proud of the continuity he was able to build over the years and his ability to thread differing perspectives from his council bosses along with the needs and desires of the community.

He said he appreciates the fact that employees and the employee unions agreed to concessions, and department heads made cuts to help rescue the municipality. Today, the city has a $277 million budget, and Armstrong believes it’s financially well-positioned for the future.

Armstrong is happy with how Santa Barbara has revitalized its downtown, reduced crime and emerged from the recession. He said he hopes the city continues to focus on its homeless troubles as well as on downtown investments that he says are possible even without the redevelopment agency.

“The homeless problem has probably been one of the most vexing issues I have had to deal with, just because we continue to hear from the Downtown Organization or merchants,” Armstrong said. “Whether it’s any worse than when I got here I don’t know, but it continues to be an area of concern.”

He said locals must remember that being homeless is not illegal, nor is asking people for money on State Street. Despite the homeless problem, Santa Barbara is doing well, he says.

“We can complain about the homeless problem, but just look at State Street not even in the summer, but the winter,” Armstrong said. “There are tons of people who come here to visit.

“Despite all the protestations from people, the vacancy rate on State Street is like 1 percent.”

Armstrong said it can be tempting for locals to emphasize every problem Santa Barbara has, but outsiders are impressed with how the city handles itself.

“We have one of the most successful downtowns in California, if not America,” he said. “We’re the envy of every city in the state that I talk to.”

So much so, that Armstrong, who loves to travel and could live anywhere in the world, is choosing to stay here in retirement. But only after he takes that last vacation.

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


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Postcards-Only Policy Revoked for Santa Barbara County Jail Mail

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Santa Barbara County Jail inmates can now receive mail other than just postcards after county authorities revised the mail delivery policy — one deemed unconstitutional in Ventura County.

The Sheriff’s Department originally revised its codes to include a postcards-only policy in March 2013, meaning no letters or other packages could reach those behind bars.

At the time, the logic was to restrict incoming, nonprivileged mail to postcards only to cut down on contraband being smuggled into the jail, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said last week.

Inmates and outsiders alike abhorred the so-called security measure change, and a group called Right to Write SB actively fought it.

Hoover said the policy was revised again effective Sept. 15, removing the ban on nonpostcard material after a recent policy review.

“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office regularly reviews the Custody Operations policies and the inmate management procedures to remain consistent with the most recent laws and court rulings,” she said. “The only change was the postcard-only portion of the policy was removed. The inmates at the jail have been notified of the change.”

The department’s decision did not directly correlate with a recent Ventura court case, according to Hoover.

In May, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that a similar Ventura County Sheriff’s Department policy that allows jail inmates to receive only postcards was unconstitutional.

However, Hoover did say the original policy was changed in 2013 after a department review of court rulings from several different jurisdictions, including Ventura County.

The action is considered a victory for Right to Write SB, whose volunteer members worked more than a year to switch the anti-privacy policy back.

“We’re all really, really excited,” said Anni Telfer, a group organizer who regularly writes notes to incarcerated friends. “Everybody here is, or has been at some time, affected by jail policies. All were upset about having to switch to postcards. I definitely noticed, for myself, that the content of the letters I was writing changed because of that.”

Telfer expressed gratitude for the Ventura activities and lawyers, some of whom contacted Right to Write SB. She said the group was considering filing legal action if the policy wasn’t reversed.

“The Sheriff’s Department hasn’t really given a reason for why it changed either,” Tilfer said. “I’m so, so happy that it was able to change without a lawsuit.”

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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Buellton Voters Mull Direct Election for Mayor vs. Continued Rotation Among Council Members

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Voters in Buellton will decide Nov. 4 whether their mayor should be directly elected in the future or continue to be rotated among the five members of the City Council.

Measure R also asks the city’s voters whether they want the directly elected mayoral term to be for two years or four. 

If approved, the changes would take effect with the council’s election in November 2016.

The City Council is divided on whether Buellton should have a directly elected mayor, with a 3-2 vote earlier this year to place the measure on the ballot.

Mayor John Connolly and Vice Mayor Leo Elovitz opposed the measure while Council members Ed Andrisek, Judith Dale and Holly Sierra favored it.

Currently, the council rotates the gavel-wielding job and role of vice mayor among the five members with one-year stints beginning at the reorganizational meeting in early December.

Those who support the measure say the directly elected mayor provides some continuity.

The measure also lets voters have a say in how the city is run, supporters say.

Those who oppose it say the current rotation system allows each council member to gain experience and new insight into the city operations.

If voters approve the measure, Buellton would join other Santa Barbara County cities in directly electing their mayors, including Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Solvang and Guadalupe. 

Carpinteria and Goleta rotate the job among council members, however.

In addition to the mayoral measure on the ballot, Buellton’s voters are choosing three council members to serve four-year terms.

The three incumbents, Andrisek, Connolly and Dale, are running for re-election and are challenged by Ron Anderson, a Realtor and president of the Buellton Chamber of Commerce; Dan Baumann, an RV resort manager; Joe Padilla, a local restaurateur/winemaker; Mark Preston, a retired program manager; and Tom Widroe, a local business consultant.

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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Michelle Malkin: Colorado Education Battle About Teachers’ Unions, Not Censorship

By | Published on 09/28/2014


There’s a big battle brewing in the Jefferson County, Colo., school system. The manufactured controversy over a proposed curriculum review is generating national headlines. But the fight is not about what misguided students and biased reporters say it’s about. “Censorship” is a red herring. The real issue is union control.

Here’s the deal: Public school teachers in this Denver-area district walked out of their classrooms last week to protest the implementation of performance-based pay. The JeffCo school board recently approved the new compensation system, which rewards the most highly effective teachers with 4.2 percent raises, effective teachers with 2.4 raises and inferior teachers with nothing. Only 2 percent of teachers received no pay raises.

One fact the grievance-mongering teachers conveniently left out of their politicized pep talks to student sympathizers: The board gave bonuses to 450 teachers who would have otherwise received no raises under the union’s arbitrary step scale. The old system didn’t take performance into any consideration at all.

Despite the hefty rewards for teacher competence and excellence, disgruntled union leaders called for a strike on Sept. 19 (or as they prefer to whitewash it, a “sickout”). The Big Labor avengers succeeded in shutting down two schools — and enlisting students to protest with them. But the optics of robbing kids of valuable educational time to protest an $18.2 million salary compensation package did not play well with taxpayers.

Enter the “censorship” fakeout.

At the same board meeting where the new pay system was approved, elected school board members heard a proposal to form a curriculum review committee. Under the state Constitution, elected local school boards are responsible for instructional and curriculum matters. It’s their duty. The proposal called for the creation of a new, nine-member panel “to review curricular choices for conformity to JeffCo academic standards, accuracy and omissions, and to inform the board of any objectionable materials.”

The panel’s first review items would be the elementary health curriculum and the A.P. U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum, which has undergone a radical revamp over the past few years.

The chief architect of the APUSH revisions is David Coleman, a progressive ideologue who is also one of the prime movers and shakers behind the Common Core standards scheme. Objections to the shoddy, intrusive, costly, top-down, backroom-designed Common Core agenda cross party lines. Rank-and-file teachers across the country have joined a diverse anti-Common Core coalition of parents, administrators, scholars, grassroots activists, privacy advocates and anti-cronyism watchdogs.

The JeffCo school board takes its deliberative role seriously. The proposal is the opposite of censorship. The debate over history standards is part of a wider battle between left-leaning militant teachers’ unions, who explicitly see their primary role as Saul Alinsky-trained political agitators, and those who want to restore academic excellence, rigor and ideological balance in the schools.

While every liberal “-ism” has been incorporated into the school day — from environmentalism and collectivism to social justice activism to mandatory volunteerism, feminism and transgenderism — JeffCo school board members are now being mocked for simply proposing that citizenship, individualism and patriotism have a fundamental place at the schoolteacher’s table.

Somehow, this perfectly reasonable proposal morphed into “JeffCo wants to remove slavery from the history curriculum!” Next thing you know, students were walking out of class two days in a row last week with “We (Heart) Our Teachers” signs. And the liberal Denver Post was running propaganda stories on Twitter mockery of the school board.

“It upsets me greatly to see children being used as pawns and missing educational time,” school board president Ken Witt told me. And “we’re not just going to rubber-stamp” the top-down APUSH changes, he says. But the bigger picture, Witt points out, is that the district’s “union contract expires in August. It will be entirely redrafted.” The agitators’ ultimate goal is “to create turmoil and discredit board before those negotiations.”

And they are trying to do so by any means necessary — including misleading kids, spreading falsehoods in the classroom and instigating walkouts through student-managed organizing websites.

The parting words of former top National Education Association lawyer Bob Chanin a few years ago in explaining the union’s main agenda say it all. After calling conservative opponents “bastards,” he said: “This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary — these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.”

Listen up, class. For public employee union leaders, it’s not really about the children or academic excellence or curricular freedom. It’s about their own political self-preservation. Always.

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


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Craig Allen: Good News is Now Bad News for Financial Markets

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Investors in both the stock and bond markets, throughout the recovery, beginning in mid-2009, have viewed positive economic data as positive for financial markets, and they have traded accordingly. With the clock ticking on the inevitable start to Fed interest rate increases, good news will become bad news for financial markets, and for investors.

Despite the weak durable goods number this past week, which showed a larger than expected decline of 18.2 percent (economists had expected a decline of about 17 percent), the majority of economic data recently has been positive. Everything from GDP growth of 4.2 percent for the second quarter of 2014, to unemployment dropping to 6.1 percent, consumer confidence of 92.4 percent, strong auto sales, and more, have underscored the improvement in the U.S. economy. This improving economic landscape has provided a strong foundation for multiple new all-time highs for U.S. stock market indices, and historically low interest rates across the yield curve have driven bond prices sky-high.

The most recent Federal Reserve meeting yielded no surprises, but what was made perfectly clear is that the Fed intends to begin raising interest rates sometime next year — most likely around the middle of 2015. The takeaway for investors should be that regardless of exactly when the first rate increase takes place, higher rates are coming shortly. The timing of the first rate hike will be determined by the pace of the continuing improvement in the economic data.

This week we will receive September employment — the ADP private sector payrolls report on Wednesday, as well as the Commerce Department’s official U.S. employment report due Friday. While these reports, and especially Friday’s government data, will be the most important economic data of the month, we will see various other reports this week, including consumer spending, inflationary trends and auto sales. Virtually every economist expects these reports to be positive, with the average economist’s estimate for employment topping 200,000 versus the 142,000 reported for August employment.

Last week’s volatility, with the net drop of 166 points for the week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, could turn into a significant and sustained downtrend this week. The markets’ overall direction will be determined by the way in which investors choose to interpret the economic data this week. If the data disappoints, investors, taking their cue from last week’s action, could resume their selling. Should the reports contain positive results for the economy, investors may choose to view it as a reason to buy. However, given the dwindling time window for the beginning to the next interest rate-raising phase for the Fed, investors may choose to see positive data as a reason to sell stocks and bonds.

Another reason for investors to be nervous is that technical indicators for U.S. stock market indices have turned decidedly negative. This past week the Russell 2000 experienced a “death cross” where the 50-day moving average crossed below the 200-day moving average. Also this past week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index traded below their 50-day moving averages, and the Dow is sitting on its 50-day moving average.

While moving average breaks are fairly common, it is far more uncommon for so many different indexes to exhibit breaks at the same time. If we add to this picture the fact that valuations are incredibly high, that the stock market has not had a significant — 10 percent or greater — correction in abut three years, and the pending increase to interest rates mentioned above, you have a technical and fundamental alignment of indictors all signaling lower market levels.

Investors throughout the current 5½-year bull market have been consistently bullish, even in the face of some formidable obstacles. They have been willing to step in and rally markets after minor corrections with supreme confidence. It will be interesting to see if the pattern repeats this week, or if investors begin to view good economic news as bad news for financial markets, with the result being the start to a major market correction.

Craig Allen, CFA, CFP, CIMA, is president of Allen Wealth Management and founder of Dump That Debt. He has been managing assets for foundations, corporations and high-net worth individuals for more than 20 years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA charter holder), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification. He blogs at Finance With Craig Allen and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.1400. Click here to read previous columns or follow him on Twitter: @MPAMCraig. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Manuel Liñán Brings a Spanish Flair to Santa Barbara’s Flamenco Arts Festival

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Weekend of performances capped off with a blaze of color and choreography at The Granada Theatre


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Distinguished Gentlemen Ride With a Purpose — Even in a Sidecar

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Owners of classic motorcycles don dapper duds while raising awareness, funds for prostate cancer cause

Instead of donning traditional motorcycle gear, J.P. Prichard and some buddies put on their Sunday-morning finest for an event that was part fun and part fundraising while showing off their classic rides.

They participated in the Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a worldwide event to raise awareness for prostate cancer while “smartly dressed gentlefolk” have fun in fine clothing riding classic motorcycles.

Participants, who came from Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Arroyo Grande, included four owners of Russian-made Ural sidebar motorcycles.

“The whole point of this ride isn’t about going on a long ride,” said Prichard, who lives in Los Alamos. “It’s mobile theater with a purpose.”

As participants parked in front of Corner House Coffee in Los Olivos on Sunday morning, they attracted quizzical looks and spectators interested in learning more about the unique Urals, which featured different paint themes, and dapper riders.

“Told you it was mobile theater,” Prichard added.

Santa Barbara resident Jeff Carroll rode his red Ural in Sunday’s event, which he learned about from a friend.

“It sounded right up my alley,” Carroll said. “I think the sidecar is a gentlemanly way to ride.”

Arroyo Grande resident Mike Byrd drove with his wife, Eve, both decked out in distinguished suits and ties.

Facebook calls us a group,” he said. “I prefer to call us a motorcycle gang.”

Distinguished gentlelady Eve Byrd takes a photo of a dapper Mike Byrd. The Arroyo Grande couple participated in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Distinguished gentlelady Eve Byrd takes a photo of a dapper Mike Byrd. The Arroyo Grande couple participated in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“Three axles of evil,” Eve added.

Riders dressed in their best distinguished attire, which can range from a tuxedo to a three-piece suit to tweed.

“Typically it turns into a tweed-fest,” Prichard said.

Prichard has ridden motorcycles for 40 years but said he has had more fun with his Ural equipped with a sidecar. 

Formerly an enlisted airman during the Cold War, he noted the poetry of owning a motorcycle purchased on the commercial open market from a former foe. Fittingly, the civilian who oversees the Space and Missile Heritage Museum at Vandenberg Air Force Base calls his Ural motorcycle Yuri, after the former Soviet Union’s first astronaut.

“I can tell you have I have had more fun in my sidecar than any of those other machines,” he said. “It’s a mobile cultural experience. It really fits the distinguished gentleman theme in that it’s from that romantic lost era. ... You can’t take somebody for a ride in a sidecar without them smiling from ear to ear.”

The Distnguished Gentleman’s Ride began in Sydney, Australia, in 2012 before spreading across the globe thanks to social media. It was inspired by a photo from the television series Mad Men.

A friend in Australia forwarded the Facebook link to Prichard.

“He sent it to me and said, ‘Here’s a challenge for you’,” he said.

He participated alone locally the first year and had eight participants in 2013.

“The first year, it was just for fun,” Prichard said. “Last year, it was decided to make it purposeful.”

Organizers chose a men’s health issue — prostate cancer — as the cause they would focus on to raise both awareness and funds while working to end the stigma of the exam.

“The real issue is about awareness about the subject,” Prichard said. “It’s one of the most survivable cancers so early diagnosis is absolutely imperative.”

This year’s event was expected to include 258 rides in 57 countries and 20,000 riders while raising more than $1.3 million. Last year, they raised $277,000.

Among those drawn to the motorcycle riders Sunday morning was Robert Spining, a Franklin, Tenn., resident visiting Los Olivos with his wife, Jackie, to attend a friend’s wedding.

“What a spectacle,” he said.

Attracted by unique motorcycles and dapper riders, he later found out the event’s secondary purpose, timely since September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

“I’m just really excited,” the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner said upon learning the ride’s purpose for prostate cancer awareness.

The purpose is personal for Spining. A prostate cancer survivor, he is former chairman of the Prostate Cancer Education Committee in his hometown and remains involved in a research initiative.

Since his 2004 diagnosis, Spining has worked to urge men to get the both the digital rectal exam plus blood test to measure the PSA level because each play vital roles in early detection.

“The awareness is not there” he said. “We’re chivalrous. We don’t want to talk about health. And it’s all early detection.”

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.

Participants in Sunday's Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride stopped for coffee in Los Olivos. Pictured are Kyle Milliken of Oceano, Josh Snow of Santa Maria, Billy Haas of Santa Maria, J.P. Prichard of Los Alamos, Jeff Carroll of Santa Barbara, and Eve and Mike Byrd of Arroyo Grande. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Participants in Sunday's Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride stopped for coffee in Los Olivos. Pictured are Kyle Milliken of Oceano, Josh Snow of Santa Maria, Billy Haas of Santa Maria, J.P. Prichard of Los Alamos, Jeff Carroll of Santa Barbara, and Eve and Mike Byrd of Arroyo Grande. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride participants J.P. Prichard, left, and Kyle Milliken discuss the Ural motorcycles with Tanner Antles and Rich Antles, dirt bike riders from Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Distinguished Gentleman's Ride participants J.P. Prichard, left, and Kyle Milliken discuss the Ural motorcycles with Tanner Antles and Rich Antles, dirt bike riders from Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)


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Randy Alcorn: From a Host of Critics, Unnecessary Roughness on the NFL

By | Published on 09/28/2014


Like buzzards flocking to road kill, the media are feasting on several incidents of domestic violence committed, or allegedly committed, by a few professional football players. Squawking and screeching over every fetid morsel of real or suspected NFL sin, the ravenous media vultures are circling over wounded NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and voraciously picking away at the career carcasses of the affected players.

While battering defenseless women and children is a most reprehensible crime, why is the NFL responsible for investigating, judging and punishing its employees for such off-duty criminal behavior? Isn’t that the function of the judicial system?

Imagine if everyone convicted or even accused of a crime or of a perceived immorality would have to forfeit his or her job. Every arrest or conviction for DUI, incorrect tax filing or possession of marijuana would result in job loss. If legal and moral purity were a requirement for employment, half of Congress would be unemployed. And, certainly, hundreds of Catholic priests would have been fired a long time ago.

When contemplating the extent, duration and severity of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, the moral outrage directed at the NFL over the transgressions — real or alleged — by a few football players is curiously disproportionate. I don’t recall flocks of media buzzards circling over the Vatican for weeks on end calling for the pope’s resignation. If entire institutions are to be damned for the bad behavior of some of their members, why limit condemnation to professional sports leagues?

The typical response given to this question is that because football players are considered roll models for children they must be held to a singularly high standard of exemplary behavior and, therefore, any pedestal falls must be quickly, severely and publicly punished.


Professional athletes are not responsible for socializing children, parents are. One can argue that nearly any adult is a role model for some child. Ask boys who they admire, who they want to emulate, what they want to be when they grow up, and you will get a range of answers that typically includes fireman, policeman and doctor as well as professional athlete. Some kids even want to be rock stars.

Yet, how many rock stars are forced to stop performing because their flagrant immoral or illegal behavior might pervert young minds? How many police departments quickly, severely and publicly punish or fire cops who abuse police power? There have been far more transgressions by these “role models,” as well as attempted cover-ups of their criminal behavior, than anything found in the NFL. Why are so many more personal foul flags being thrown on professional athletes than on other failed role models?

Focus on any segment of adult society, any profession, and you will find spousal and child abuse. Doctors, lawyers, judges, police and politicians are all role models, yet some beat their wives and children. Even so, medical, judicial and political institutions are not seen to be indifferently incubating and harboring brutal criminals, but the NFL is.

Probably the most disturbing load of rubbish stemming from this NFL fiasco was dumped by a morally incensed sports commentator who ranted that the constitutional right to due process of law should be suspended or denied for anyone accused of crimes against children. Essentially, this guy is advocating a guilty-until-proven-innocent system of justice. Sort of like what existed centuries ago when one could be accused, even by children, of witchcraft, then bound in a rock-filled sack and thrown into a river. If the accused floated to the surface, he or she was innocent. If not, well, guilty as charged.

That seems to be what passes for justice in the NFL, at least for players accused of battering women or children. Imagine that because a 7-year-old accuses you of sexually or physically abusing him, you are presumed guilty. You lose your job, and go to jail, until you can prove your innocence.

Does the overwrought sports commentator not realize that with a system of justice that presumes guilt, anyone including himself could be subject to witch hunts? I never cease to be amazed and appalled by the eager willingness of people to surrender constitutional civil rights for some emotionally exaggerated, often poorly thought out, reason, typically to protect society from some evil like drugs, terrorism or, now, child abuse.

Let’s not jump offsides here. Because a few football players behave badly does not mean every player in the league is a moral reprobate any more than a few rogue cops mean all cops are arrogant thugs. And, it certainly does not mean that fundamental civil rights should be curtailed or suspended for anyone.

— 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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Letter to the Editor: 843 Days to Go

By | Published on 09/28/2014


On Monday, Sept. 29, there are just 843 days until the end of President Barack Obama’s term in office.

The 22nd Amendment does not allow him to return to that office, thank God.

Perhaps he will resign before then.

Justin Ruhge


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The Recovery Ranch Expands Outreach to Costa Rica

By | Published on 09/28/2014


The Recovery Ranch men’s sober living has expanded its opportunities for residents. On Feb. 12, 13 graduates of the program will leave Santa Ynez on a nine-day trip to Costa Rica.

These gentleman have reached a point in their recovery where they push each other to keep giving back. Partnered with Habitat for Humanity, they will travel to Biolley, Costa Rica, a rural area four hours south of the capital San Jose and build homes for people less fortunate than themselves.

Recovery Ranch guides and supports each resident to develop strong work ethics, lead with selflessness, and live in gratitude. They are actively involved in helping the communities of Santa Barbara County and have recently pursued possibilities outside the country. Recovery Ranch is not tied down by any government regulations and has the freedom to expand what their program offers. To be able to do something like this in recovery, with a sober living home, is an exceptional example of the gifts quality sobriety can bring at the Recovery Ranch.

The Ranch is organizing fundraisers and accepting donations online. Click here for more information about The Recovery Ranch’s Costa Rica trip. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here for more information about The Recovery Ranch, or email Connect with The Recovery Ranch on Facebook.

— Sean Terwilliger represents The Recovery Ranch.


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Santa Barbara Heart Walk Draws 1,000 Participants, Raises $200,000

By | Published on 09/27/2014


More than 1,000 people from Santa Barbara and nearby cities raised $200,000 for the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run on Saturday. The 5K walk and run encourages healthy habits while raising funds to support the American Heart Association’s research and education efforts to fight heart disease and stroke — the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers.

The three top finishers in the Men’s and Women’s 5K run were awarded medals.

Women’s Winners

» Jose Steeves, first place

» Darina Pearson, second place

» Hilary Morman, third place

Men’s Winners

» Kyle Visin, first place

» James Sanchez, second place

» Dominic Capmass, third place

Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are the leading killers in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 831,000 men, women and children every year. The Heart Walk brings the community together to raise awareness and much-needed funds to fight these diseases.

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving lives from heart disease and stroke by funding innovative research, setting best practices for improving patient care, fighting for stronger public-health policies and providing lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat the leading causes of death in the United States.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run.

— Tamara White is the communications and marketing director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.


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Letter to the Editor: Oil Money Fills the Airwaves

By | Published on 09/27/2014


The local media is saturated with big ads against Measure P. Who is paying for all those ads and slick mailers? Obviously oil companies, and that includes big out-of-area companies in addition to our local ones.

They have promoted the idea that Measure P will shut down all existing oil production in Santa Barbara County, even though the County Counsel’s office has stated on several occasions that this shutdown scenario is not true. If you want to hear it yourself, go to the Sept. 3 Planning Commission meeting on the county website starting around 04:26:00 and listen. Realize that if existing production is not shut down, then all the fears about lost tax revenue and lost jobs and money in our economy are not true.

Of course, saying they want to drill 10,000 new wells would not be so popular so they don’t mention that. The oil companies are even telling their own investors, in private publications, that the shutdown idea is absurd.

Yes on Measure P is all volunteer and is endorsed by every environmental group in the county as well as many elected officials, farmers, businesses and others. See the endorsement list at the website. None of these folks have the millions to buy a lot of advertising so if you want to see Measure P pass take some time now to study it and to tell all your friends to vote YES on P. Help it go viral!

Linda Bernson


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Carpinteria School District Seeking Voter Approval of $90 Million Bond for Campus Upgrades

By | Published on 09/27/2014


The Carpinteria Unified School District is pursuing its first general obligation bond initiative in 20 years, and officials hope local voters support the $90-million amount to upgrade aging facilities.

The K-12 district’s nine schools in Carpinteria and Summerland serve about 2,300 students.

“The need is very self-evident,” Superintendent Paul Cordeiro told Noozhawk.

“You’ve got old schools and you can’t have bake sales to raise the money you need to make the improvements — the only recourse is to go to the voters.”

The district studied its facilities for about 18 months and adopted a Facilities Master Plan that outlines all the needs, he said.

Most classrooms were built in the 1960s or earlier and fall short of today’s technological needs, with only two or three electrical plugs and low capacity for Internet access, Cordeiro said.

With the switch to Common Core State Standards, educational technology is given a central role in the curriculum, and students will be doing Smarter Balanced Assessments testing on computers, not with pencils and paper.

Bond money will also be used for “essential repairs and upgrades,” according to the ballot language, with needs such as fixing leaky roofs, tearing out asbestos, repairing broken restrooms and updating antiquated safety systems.

A large portion of the bond money will likely be used to remove the district’s 63 portable classrooms, which are in poor condition. A consultant firm recommended that 50 of them be demolished outright.

To replace them, the Carpinteria district has its eyes on modular classrooms, which are built offsite and then placed onto cement foundations on the school grounds.

They’re cheaper than traditional buildings, more energy-efficient than the portables and would be constructed with “green” building materials, Cordeiro said.

It would cost an estimated $24 million to replace the portable classrooms with the modular structures at $250 per square foot, compared to $13.8 million for the basic modular buildings or $33.5 million for traditional classroom buildings.

Another specific project is adding a science wing at Carpinteria High School and creating a space for the design and engineering program, Cordeiro said.

“This isn’t about extravagance,” he said. “This is about taking a facility built in 1962 and taking it into the 21st century. These buildings are old!”

Preliminary polling showed strong community support for the measure but advocates are still launching a full campaign, said Marybeth Carty, a board member of the Carpinteria Education Foundation.

“The basic infrastructure of the entire district needs an overhaul,” Carty said. “We haven’t floated a bond in 20 years, so this is the one that should be built to last.”

The proposed science wing and design/engineering space at the high school would replace the “really obsolete science lab that’s kind of a joke — it’s out of the ’60s,” she said.

“The marvel of all of this is, kids being as resilient as they are, it hasn’t inhibited their ability to learn. I think it’s inhibited their ability to compete.”

To pass, the $90-million Measure U on the Nov. 4 ballot needs 55-percent approval from voters.

Carpinteria residents Bernard Fink and Royce Stauffer wrote the ballot argument opposing the measure, but there doesn’t appear to be any campaign fighting the bond.

“It is remarkable that 63 individual buildings should all fail at once,” Fink wrote. “School upgrades should be limited to individual projects, as needed, that the public can monitor and understand.”

Stauffer said the bond was too large and the ballot wording is too vague, not tying the district to explicit projects.

The district estimates the bond will cost property owners $47 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for the first year after bonds are issued and will remain unchanged, but tax rates can’t be accurately predicted 10 years into the future.

School board member Alison Livett, a former physics teacher, said the high school science classrooms are so out of date she’s amazed the faculty can even teach in them.

Carpinteria Middle School was modernized with the last school bond in 1995, so students go from those facilities into “pretty bad facilities” at the high school, particularly with the science classrooms, she said.

Measure U ballot language says the bond-funded facilities improvements will help the district attract and retain teachers.

Livett says the nicer facilities will contribute to teachers wanting to work there and the upgrades will allow more money for salaries if the board isn’t using general fund dollars for expensive emergency repairs.

“We’ve realized that we needed to do a bond because the money we had in the general fund wasn’t even enough to really cover the basic maintenance at the schools,” she said.

“It sounds weird, but we’re the few people in California who hope it’s not going to rain, because when it rains, we know we’re going to have a lot of leaky roofs.”

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


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Measure P Backers Set Record Straight at League of Women Voters Forum

By | Published on 09/27/2014


Supporters of Measure P came out in force to the League of Women Voters of Santa Maria Valley forum in Santa Maria to see Katie Davis and Linda Krop set the record straight about Measure P, the initiative banning the expansion of high-intensity oil extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection and acidization.

Opponents of Measure P have attempted to minimize the risk of water contamination, pollution and health problems caused by these techniques, while claiming that Measure P bans existing oil production in Santa Barbara County. Davis, of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, and Krop, of the Environmental Defense Center, soundly refuted opponents’ claims.

“Extreme oil extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection and acidizing waste billions of gallons of precious water,” Davis said. “The oil companies make empty promises saying we can trust them not to contaminate our air and our water supply, but they have broken those promises all across America. We simply cannot afford to let them drill over 10,000 new high-intensity extraction sites using these techniques.”

Krop pointed to recent actions by the county Planning Commission confirming that conventional drilling and current wells will not be affected by Measure P.

“As the county Planning Commission reaffirmed, conventional drilling and existing wells will continue to operate as before under Measure P,” she said. “Measure P does not cut a single existing job or a single dime of current tax revenue.”

Measure P will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. It is widely expected to be a close race, despite more than $2 million in spending against the measure by foreign and out-of-county oil companies.

Click here for more information about Yes on Measure P.

— David Atkins is the campaign manager for Yes on Measure P.


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Pedestrian Critically Injured in Apparent Santa Maria Hit-Run; Public’s Help Sought

By | Published on 09/27/2014


A 20-year-old pedestrian was critically injured early Saturday when she apparently was struck by a vehicle, and the public’s help is being sought in the hit-and-run investigation, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Beatriz Milan-Absalon of Santa Maria was discovered shortly before 5 a.m., lying in the roadway in the 1600 block of North Blosser Road, Sgt. Mark Streker said.

Milan-Absalon was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, where she was reported in critical condition, with her family by her side, he said.

“There were no vehicles located at the scene,” Streker said, “and officers are developing leads that will assist in determining the pedestrian’s location prior to the accident and her destination.”

Anyone who may have been with Milan-Absalon during the early morning hours Saturday or the previous evening — or has information about the vehicle involved — is asked to contact Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781, or CrimeStoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

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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Diane Dimond: Calling the ISIS Conflict What It Is — War

By | Published on 09/27/2014


Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.

Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter planes are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria, we are at war.

When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight, we are at war.

When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan, we are, in fact, engaging in a multilevel war.

Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots on the ground, it isn’t really a war. But the fact is we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.”

Our elected officials might believe that if they don’t utter the word, then it really isn’t a war. Don’t buy it.

ISIS cowards and their sympathizers brazenly beheaded two innocent Americans, a Briton and a Frenchman — all on video. They taunt the free world from behind their headscarves and dare us to do something to stop them. Their bloody campaign across the Middle East has, so far, claimed the lives of countless thousands of people who refused to sign on to their Byzantine idea for a bloody Muslim Caliphate.

Because they have been astute enough to seize valuable property and assets as they go, ISIS has become, according to The New York Times, the wealthiest terrorist group in the world, having access now to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Some may view America as a diminished country, but we are still a superpower, the conscience of the world. We are morally right to engage this enemy in battle.

So, why can’t Congress and President Barack Obama step up and call it what it is? A justified war against a sworn enemy. THIS IS WAR.

I believe it’s because the American people will have to be told some unpleasant realities, and politicians will have to acknowledge — just weeks before the midterm elections — that thoroughly defeating this evil will take many years and, undoubtedly, cost more American lives.

Our political leaders today are very adroit at dodging unpleasant messages. They’re also experienced at dodging their duty.

The U.S. Constitution lays out a format for Congress to make an official “Declaration of War” for times like this. Yet Congress hasn’t officially declared a war since right after the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Think of how many battles we’ve sent our young warriors out to fight since then.

The War Powers Act of 1973, passed after presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were seen as overstepping their authority by committing U.S. troops to Vietnam, mandates that Congress has to OK the use of U.S. troops if they are in a combat region for more than 60 days.

Yet we’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for 13 years, and Congress never bothered to take an approval vote on continuing what became the longest undeclared war in U.S. history. Easier to do nothing and tiptoe around reality than to stand up for a principle, right?

Our more than eight years of conflict in Iraq was also never officially labeled a war (declared ended in December 2011), yet here we are in the skies over that same country still attacking another group of religious extremists who want us dead.

No, our “leaders” will not call it what is it or explain what it all means. So, I will humbly say what they will not.

Get set, America. This could be an epic battle — one that lasts a decade or longer. Diplomacy or reasoning with this enemy will never work. The zealots we face care nothing about human life. They willingly blast themselves into oblivion believing heavenly rewards wait for them on the other side.

Before this fight is over, I predict there will have to be a lot more American boots on the ground in that region — and more U.S. forces in the sky and on the nearby water. Yes, we have allies who will help us in the battle, but make no mistake about it: The United States of America is the driving force now and in years ahead. And we aren’t in that region of the world to make nice-nice.

Forget looking to the politicians for answers. Ask any seasoned military person. They will tell you honestly. This is war.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at, follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Chalk Art Provides a Canvas of Color in Old Town Orcutt, and a Boost for Arts

By | Published on 09/27/2014


Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation stages annual arts benefit and festival geared toward families

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

South Broadway in Old Town Orcutt became a canvas for artists of all ages and abilities Saturday as Disney characters Olaf and Sven shared asphalt with a snake, suns and more.

The Orcutt Chalk Festival, organized by the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation, attracted multiple artists, including professionals, amateurs and students.

“It’s to help raise awareness of art and to raise funds for the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation,” said Rick Corbo, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.

The event also included musical performances by students, including the Righetti High School Jazz Band and dance groups.

A purchased passport, dubbed a “PassArt,” provided youths who attended the festival a box of pastel chalk for coloring a square on the asphalt, a chance to participate in crafts, and impetus to track down and read arts-related quotes worn by volunteers.

“It’s not just about visual arts,” Corbo added. “Art is in everything we do.”

Covered in chalk from working on his creation, Lompoc resident John Gayton offered passersby a chance to view a section of his chalk art close through a magnifying loupe.

“Would you like to see the flower?” he asked, providing a pillow for knees, and loupe to peer through.

Laura Ortega, 8, of Orcutt, was one of several youths and adults to take turns observing the small flower tucked into his larger artwork as Gayton delivered an impromptu lesson linking math and art.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “I though it was really awesome.”

After Gayton was done, Laura’s mom, Audrey Ortega, said, “Thanks for bringing math to the Chalk Art Festival. It makes it less scary for me. ... To have it combined with art makes it palatable.”

Ortega said her son worked on his small square of art on the asphalt, getting inspiration from the images created by the more experienced participants and making improvements to his own throughout the day.

She also said she appreciated having a weekend arts-themed event aimed at families.

Tyler Harding, a student at Allan Hancock College, carefully worked on his depiction of Sven and Olaf from the movie Frozen.

“I do Disney characters every year just because the kids like it better,” he explained.

Proving his point, a young girl walked by, blurting out, “That’s cute.”

Harding is studying animation and has participated in the event for three years.

“I love art” he added. “I like supporting art and the community.”

Recognizing that arts programs were vulnerable to budget cuts, OCAF started in 2002 to keep arts programs — visual and performing — alive in Orcutt Union School District classrooms.

“I think this is fabulous,” OUSD Superintendent Deborah Blow said. “It’s just a great community event to promote the arts.”

It’s something the longtime educator, who started her Orcutt job in the summer, hadn’t seen at other districts.

“It means art at all,” added Kathy Meissner, who said arts programs weren’t available when her son attended local schools.

“What OCAF does for the Orcutt school district cannot be measured,” added the former Orcutt school board member.

The foundation doesn’t just support elementary students but those at all levels in the district, Meissner said. 

The organization holds an annual gala and auction — the next one is Feb. 21 — to get some of the funds for the programs. OCAF needs to raise between $30,000 and $40,000 each year in addition to grants used to fund programs for the students.

OCAF also now offers after-school and summer art programs.

“Anything we do now we want it to be about art,” said Hannah Rubalcava, OCAF executive director.

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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Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Circle Soirée Celebrates Women in Business

By | Published on 09/27/2014


Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s New Venture Challenge gets a boost from Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Women empowerment was the inspirational theme at an intimate gathering hosted last week by The Fess Parker. The celebratory evening featured a group of successful businesswomen from across Santa Barbara County at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Winners’ Circle Soirée.

The mixture reunited the past and current winners from an awards ceremony that the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation held in May, and offered an opportunity to assemble old friends and new acquaintances alike in the same room.

The foundation honors women as well as students associated with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, business academic programs offered at Santa Barbara City College. The experimental curriculum teaches youths the tools necessary to build and launch their businesses in a class taught by successful entrepreneurs, a combination that was clearly in evidence from the overwhelming support and in the words of the award winners themselves.

“I am proud to play a part in this amazing circle of women and I am thrilled that the foundation also finances scholarships for student entrepreneurs,” said Kymberlee Weil of Strategic Samurai who won the 2014 Professional Services award. “This is validation that we can look forward to a steady stream of future young winners who will be acknowledged for their ideas and financially supported for their aspirations.”

Proceeds from the awards event benefited the winners of the Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge. The program is a business plan competition for regional high school and college students.

Darya Bronston of Annovium Products, the 2012 Science and Technology award winner, echoed Weil’s enthusiasm regarding the organization’s investment “in the next generation of inspirational women.”

“The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship Foundation is a truly special organization to be involved with,” she said. “They provide a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward, to pay it backward and to pay it sideways.”

The mission of the SOE Foundation is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County.

Carol Ashley, the 2013 Real Estate and Construction award winner and owner of Demo 2 Design, is another example of a woman breaking down barriers.

“It is unusual for a woman to build and maintain her own business in the construction industry,” she told Noozhawk.

“Demo 2 Design inspires creative re-purposing of structural building materials by providing sustainable options to depleting our natural resources.”

Kathy Griver, PhD, LMT, RM, won her 2012 Health, Fitness and Beauty award for a medical massage practice, but she is also host of a national TV series, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, on OTV, and an author who has a zest for life.

“I do flying trapeze for fun and someone recently asked me if I had a death wish,” she said. “I said no, I have a life wish, I want to stretch my boundaries and comfort zone; body, mind and spirit. I want to live each moment to the fullest and experience everything.”

The SOE Foundation was well represented on this special evening and acknowledged a few board members who were unable to attend, including Kathy Ackley, catering manager at The Fess Parker; Liz Seitz, vice president and branch manager at Bank of the West; and Sabrina Tinajero, downtown branch manager of Wells Fargo.

Another talented woman who was honored by the SOE Foundation this year with the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award was Betty Hatch, who ran the La Belle Modeling Agency and has since formed the La Belle Foundation website with her life stories and the curriculum that she followed for her own long-term success.

“I realized the value of the training was the curriculum on professionalism — training in appropriate presentation, excellent performance and a loving personality — I called them the three Ps,” she said.  

“Now I know that any woman can succeed in her own business by sharing the work she loves with others.”

Click here for more information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, or call Cathy Feldman, CEO and board chairwoman, at 805.682.8775. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Mark Shields: Republican Gains in 2014 Likely to Portend Big Loss in 2016

By | Published on 09/27/2014


If Republicans have become more bullish about their party’s prospects for victory Nov. 4, it could be traceable to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg Public Policy Center poll, which found that Republican-leaning voters are much more highly interested — and therefore likelier to vote — in this year’s election than are voters who support Democrats.

Consider this: In the 2012 presidential election, voters ages 18 to 29 were the most Democratic voting bloc by age (60 percent for President Barack Obama) in the electorate, whereas voters older than 65 were the most loyal GOP voters (56 percent for Mitt Romney). The poll found that among voters age 65 or older, 62 percent of them self-identified as highly interested in the 2014 campaign, whereas among the youngest voters, just 20 percent said they are highly interested in this election.

If real estate is all about location, location, location, then national elections are all about turnout, turnout, turnout, which, as of today, looks favorable for Republicans in 2014.

But first, if you would, return with me to the immediate aftermath of the 2012 election, in which the GOP again, for the fifth time in the past six presidential contests, lost the U.S. popular vote.

The Republican National Committee, after a hard-eyed assessment of the party’s problems, delivered a blunt postmortem in March 2013, which urged a renewed outreach to female voters and stated, “We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.” The Republican autopsy was specific: “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.”

That was logical advice, considering that in 1992, Republican President George H.W. Bush (while capturing just 38 percent of the national vote) still won 55 percent of the Asian vote but, by 2012, 73 percent of Asian voters were backing Democrat Obama. And even though Republican President George W. Bush in 2004 won 44 percent of the Latino vote, in 2012 the Democratic president received 71 percent support from Latino voters. In the past 20 years, the share of the national electorate represented by Asian and Latino voters has more than quadrupled, while white voters have dropped from 87 percent of the total down to 72 percent.

Republicans in power, as you may have noticed, did not “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.” With overwhelming opposition from Republicans in Congress to equal pay for equal work legislation endorsed by civil rights and women’s groups, the GOP’s recommended renewed outreach to female voters was not evident.

So if the Republicans do win the upcoming midterms — in which more older white male voters tend to show up than younger and minority voters — then, because the winners do get to write history or to say what an election result really means, the GOP’s most conservative partisans will insist that the touchy-feely RNC postmortem was wrong.

All you need to do, the argument will go, is to give the voters what we gave them in 2010 (when the GOP picked up 63 House seats) and 2014, unapologetically conservative candidates who offered no yielding either on principles or, heaven forbid, to Obama or Democrats. There’s obviously no need for “pandering” to Hispanic, black, Asian or gay voters.

Such thinking and feelings will strengthen that 2016 Republican presidential candidate who condemns political compromise as weakness or even surrender. A 2014 win could well convince Republicans that while the nation continues to change at accelerating velocity (the widespread support for same-sex marriage and the fact that more white Americans, for the first time, died last year than were born), the GOP does not need to change. That would frankly be a 2016 formula for the Republicans to again lose the White House.

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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45 mph Gusts Expected as South Coast Wind Advisory Extended

By | Published on 09/27/2014


Gusty winds will be returning to Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Saturday afternoon, and the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m. Sunday.

Northwest to north winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, with gusts between 35 and 45 mph, the weather service said.

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

Sunday’s forecast calls for clear skies and high temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.

The weather service said a warming trend is expected to push temperatures into the low 80s and then into the 90s by midweek.

» 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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County Fire Responds to Oil Spill in Santa Maria

By | Published on 09/27/2014


A Santa Barbara County Fire Department engine responded to a reported oil spill Saturday morning in Santa Maria.

Firefighters found a small spill, less than one barrel, from a broken underground pipe at the site in the 1300 block of East Battles Road in Santa Maria, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Greka Oil & Gas plant personnel were on the scene dealing with the cleanup, he said.

The call came in at 7:12 a.m.

Sadecki said there was no threat to the environment from the spill. 

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


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Lompoc Man Arrested on Assault Charges; Victim Hospitalized

By | Published on 09/27/2014


A 25-year-old Lompoc man was arrested Friday night after he allegedly committed an assault with a deadly weapon that sent the victim to the hospital with serious injuries.

Antonio Morales Jr. turned himself in at the police station shortly after 8 p.m., according to the Lompoc Police Department.

Morales is the suspect in an attack that occurred at about 6:15 p.m. in the 700 block of East Pine Avenue.

Officers who were called to the scene found a victim who had suffered significant injuries, police said. The victim was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Details on the victim were not released.

Police also did not say what type of weapon was used.

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 Council Discussing Lawsuit Against Caltrans Over Highway 101 Project

By | Published on 09/26/2014


The Santa Barbara City Council has been considering litigation against Caltrans over the Highway 101 widening project, but details of the deliberations are being kept from the public.

The council met in closed session Sept. 16, and Noozhawk has learned that the council initially voted to file a lawsuit over the project’s environmental impact report.

City officials have long pushed for some municipal interchanges to be improved alongside the widening project, arguing that the freeway improvements will lead to more congestion on city streets.

At the January meeting where the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments board voted to move forward with the widening project, City Administrator Jim Armstrong gave a presentation, and said the city projects are critical to the highway interchanges working well.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, a member of the SBCAG board, said she couldn’t support the motion to move forward unless those city projects were included, saying she was worried the funding would never materialize.

After the Sept. 16 closed session meeting, City Attorney Ariel Calonne confirmed to Noozhawk that the council had voted to initiate litigation but he declined to confirm the specific case.

He did acknowledge that the vote was 5-1-1, with Schneider and Councilmen Dale Francisco, Frank Hotchkiss, Randy Rowse and Bendy White voting in favor of litigation, and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo voting against it.

Councilman Gregg Hart abstained.

The council reported the action after the Sept. 16 meeting — the cameras were off and everyone had left, Calonne said — but “they did not announce the nature of the action, defendants or any other particulars,” he added.

If and when litigation is “formally commenced” — with the city filing something in court — the lawsuit’s details will be disclosed, Calonne said.

He said the session was the first time the council had discussed the particular issue, at least since he’s been city attorney. Calonne was appointed to the post in February following the retirement of Steve Wiley.

The council discussed another anonymous litigation item at this week’s closed session, titled with the same Government Code sections, but no reportable action was taken.

Sources contacted by Noozhawk would neither confirm nor deny whether the second closed session involved the same litigation as the first, or whether a lawsuit is proceeding.

In both instances, the closed session items were described identically on the council’s agenda: “That council hold a closed session to consider anticipated litigation pursuant to subsection (d)(4) of Section 54956.9 of the Government Code and take appropriate action as needed (one potential case).”

That code section specifically refers to a legislative body deciding whether to initiate litigation.

In January, the SBCAG board voted to continue the Highway 101 widening project, which will add a third lane in either direction between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. There was some pushback on the project, particularly with the design elements that would eliminate the left-hand highway ramps, that reached all the way to Sacramento.

Schneider is Santa Barbara’s representative on the board, and Hart, in addition to serving on the council, is employed by SBCAG as its public information and government affairs coordinator.

The 10-mile stretch of freeway is the last piece of the South Coast 101 HOV Lanes project that aims to ease commuter congestion between Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Caltrans recently released the project’s final EIR, and has begun the project design and construction planning phases.

The city of Santa Barbara has pushed to have some city-jurisdiction projects move forward at the same time as the widening project.

SBCAG agreed to pursue the projects separately but concurrently with the Caltrans project.

On the city’s wish list are the replacement of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over Cabrillo Boulevard and interchange improvements at Olive Mill Road.

In a Noozhawk opinion piece published before the January SBCAG meeting, Schneider wrote that “Caltrans and SBCAG staff acknowledge that the project as presented will result in increased traffic congestion and other negative impacts on city streets; however, the project’s EIR fails to either address, mitigate or fund any solutions. One of the most glaring and publicized omissions is that of the Union Pacific bridge bottleneck at the Cabrillo Boulevard-Highway 101 interchange.”

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


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Carpinteria Woman Wounded But Alive After Being Attacked By Black Bear

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Emily Miles says 'my life was on the line' when she fought back against the 300-pound animal while walking with her dogs

A fourth-generation Carpinteria woman is recovering after being attacked by an adult black bear earlier this week near her avocado ranch, an experience that she knows could have ended her life.

Emily Miles, who owns an avocado orchard in Ventura County, was walking in Rincon Canyon with her two dogs near the orchard about 1 p.m. Monday when she spotted a black bear on the trail chasing her two dogs and charging after her.

"That's the hike I do almost everyday. It's very normal for me," she said.

Despite the familiar territory, a horrifying situation unfolded as the adult black bear, which Miles estimates weighed about 300 pounds, began to chase her down.

"It was a good-sized bear," she said.  

The animal knocked Miles to the ground, clawing her back and biting her thigh, but she fought back against the animal — actions that may have save her life.

"I gave it all I had," she said. "I knew my life was on the line."

She also knows that she easily could have not survived.

"I really thought, 'This could be the end for me,'" she recalled. "I know that I'm very lucky to be alive."

At the beginning of her hike, Miles had passed the home of a friend, and saw that her car was there, planning to say hello on the way back.

Instead, Miles ended up staggering up to the home after the attack and was driven to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Her back was injured, a rib broken and the bear took a large bite out of her thigh. Miles' husband, Bradley, said the space between the bite marks of the bear's top and bottom teeth were 9 inches.

In the midst of recovering and planning for next month's Avocado Festival — Miles sits on the board of directors — she has been barraged by calls from reporters, from both local and national outlets.  

When Noozhawk spoke with Miles on Friday afternoon, Good Morning America had called her that morning asking for an interview.

"It's been so overwhelming," she said.

Miles and her husband ride horses on the trails near their properties, and own a camp in the High Sierras and said that bears are not something with which they're unfamiliar.

"I've had a lot of bear encounters, but never one chasing me — never in this aggressive way. We see bear footprints and bear scat everyday," she said, adding that she thinks that the drought may be driving the bears even farther into more populated areas.

Janice Mackey of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife said Friday that the department had placed bear traps in the area, but had not caught anything.

The department has launched a campaign to urge anyone who lives or plays in bear country to be safe.

Making noise to warn bears in the area that you are passing through, not running if you see one, trying to appear as large as possible and not approaching cubs even if they appear docile are key, Mackey said. Homeowners should work keep fruit fallen from trees picked up and trash covered.

"Bears are completely motivated by food," Mackey 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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Letter to the Editor: What Would Measure P Actually Do?

By | Published on 09/26/2014


I spent a lot of time recently trying to understand what Measure P will actually do. The conclusion I’ve come to is that it will essentially preserve the status quo and prevent a local oil boom that might result in 10,000 or more new wells.

Here's how I arrived at this conclusion: First, here's a look at the concerns of both sides. The concern of the oil industry seem to be two: 1) existing wells will be shut down and, 2) they will not be able to drill thousands of new wells using the more intense methods now needed to get the oil out. The concern of the proponents of P are three: 1) that too much water will be used, 2) concern about aquifer pollution and 3) climate and air pollution concerns.

Opponents call it the oil shutdown initiative. In order to understand how the county might enforce this, I looked at statements made by the County Counsel’s Office. Opponents of Measure P are saying 100 percent of existing wells could be affected. What does affected mean? Does that mean they'd be shut down or something else, like they'd have to get a permit?

Listening carefully to recordings of the Board of Supervisors meetings and the Planning Commission meetings addressing this issue, I found that Santa Barbara County counsel Mike Ghizzoni was asked about this. He cited the landmark California Supreme Court case Avco Community Developers vs. South Coast Regional Commission. He applied the Avco standard to the Measure P and concluded current production will be allowed to continue.

Near the end of a later meeting, Sept. 3, of the Planning Commission, Bill Dillon of the County Counsel’s Office said that existing wells do not even have to come in and apply for an exemption if they already have a permit. “If they have a vested right and they are sure of it, they do not have to come in” (for an exemption). They do have the option of applying for an exemption just to have that determination if they want to, or have some doubt.

It seems that the shutdown concern of the industry is unfounded, but their second concern is real. They may not be able to drill their 10,000-plus new wells. At the Planning Commission meeting, Santa Maria Energy (one of the 16 companies operating here) states that they have approval for 136 wells on 32 acres but what about their other 4,000 acres and the 7,700 well locations they have planned? This is just one of the companies indicating they plan to ramp up oil production, most of which do to propose to use high-intensity oil extraction.

As for the proponents’ concerns about water use and water and air pollution, some basic research online does validate these concerns. These techniques are water-intensive and thousands of new wells will increase the risk of water and air pollution. We’ve had an extensive history of spills here just due to conventional oil production. High-intensity wells increase the risk of fracturing of well casings and bedrock, and so thousands of new wells would certainly cause environmental damage. In addition, steam injection is the most carbon-intensive form of oil production. It takes a lot of energy to power the injection engines, and that does mean a big increase in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

At this stage I think everyone should be reassured that the attacks on Measure P are unfounded. Oil companies should be reassured they won't be shut down. Despite all the fears, if Measure P passes, pretty much everything stays the same for the foreseeable future. That’s a reasonable compromise, and the County has the latitude in adopting its ordinances to administer Measure P the make sure that the status quo is basically what we will see if Measure P passes. If it does not pass we will probably see a fairly large oil boom.

Helmut Klauer


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Los Alamos to Mark 68th Annual Old Days This Weekend

By | Published on 09/26/2014


The small community of Los Alamos will celebrate Old Days this weekend with the theme of “Bountiful Harvest.” 

The Old West-style community will mark its 68th annual celebration of its heritage with a car show, parade, arts and craft booths, entertainment and a Civil War re-encampment.

The Peddlers Mart and food booths will be set up on Bell Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Also Saturday will be an an All-American Classic Car Show on Bell Street. Entry forms are available by clicking here.

A traditional part of the event, a Civil War encampment, will feature the “California Hundred,” Company A, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry re-enactors who will be in the garden of the 1880 Union Hotel, 362 Bell St. 

Sunday’s “Greatest Little Small Town Parade” starts at 11 a..m. on Bell Street (Highway 135) at Augusta Street and continues west before ending at St. Joseph Street.

Riding in a place of honor is Grand Marshal Carl C. Abeloe, whose father, Carl A. Abeloe, was 1979 grand marshal — the first time two generations, father and son — have been honored, organizers said.

The Abeloe family has lived in the Los Alamos Valley since the early 1900s, and been involved in dry-farming and ranching. 

He attended the first Old Days in 1948. 

He and his wife, Charlene, attended Los Alamos Elementary School and graduated from Santa Maria High School. They were married at the little Presbyterian Church in 1958, and held the reception at The Men’s Club.

Los Alamos Old Days is sponsored by the Los Alamos Valley Men’s Club — a nonprofit group of men, women and families — dedicated to preserving the town’s unique character and hospitality. The club also provides scholarships and funding to local students and organizations, as well as offering its facility at 429 Leslie St. for rent for private events. 

Additional support for Los Alamos Old Days is being provided by Visit Santa Ynez Valley.

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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‘I AM Santa Barbara County’ Training Program Aims to Inspire Tourism Industry

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Local industry employees participate in the first of monthly ambassador classes organized through Visit Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is an original destination, a freeing, romantic, comfortable place offering an authentic experience for travelers and locals alike.

At least those were thoughts that came to mind for about a dozen local hospitality industry and business employees who recently took part in a program teaching them more about the area and how to relay that knowledge to tourists.

There were no wrong answers during Visit Santa Barbara’s “I AM Santa Barbara County” Ambassador Training Program, where ideas and memory of local history were rewarded with M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces.

“As you can see, Santa Barbara has a lot to offer,” said Kate Schwab, director of marketing and communications for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.

As one of three people leading the program’s first class at the Santa Barbara Zoo Discovery Pavilion last week, Schwab next asked participants to jot down what the Santa Barbara brand means to them.

“It’s not a race,” she said. “It’s just candy, people.”

Some of the more than 12,000 locals supported by jobs in the tourism industry paused before writing and calling out answers.

“A lifestyle,” one offered.

“Home,” another said.

Visit Santa Barbara is offering the free three-hour destination-training program on a monthly basis, featuring a guided bus tour from Goleta to Carpinteria and hands-on classroom sessions.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, the Spanish Garden Inn, the Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara Valet, IT company CIO solutions and others sat in pairs at tables taking down interesting facts to spice up their sales pitches.

Who knew Santa Barbara was one of only five Mediterranean climates in the world?

Pictures of landmark South Coast restaurants, businesses and festivals flashed across a projector screen, highlighting beaches, wine tasting, hotels, fine dining, water sports and golf courses.

Even parking lot kiosk attendants are area ambassadors, said Jessica Dietmeyer, Visit Santa Barbara’s industry relations manager.

Katie Titus wasn’t just working in the box office at Lobero Theatre, but also providing hotel and dinner suggestions to visitors.

“We’re really good at that,” Titus said. “We do little things like we give directions to people. We’re helpers.”

Hotel employees noted they do a lot of the same things.

“You are the Santa Barbara brand,” Dietmeyer said. “You’re not just the person who sells the tickets. You’re recommending the next place.”

A lesson in geography, nightlife, family-friendly events and public transportation followed, including a crash course in the local shopping, food and libations scene.

Living artwork — the Chromatic Gate rainbow sculpture and assorted murals — was also highlighted, along with where to get the best panoramic views of the coastline (the top of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and La Cumbre Peak were recommended).

Most of the program's facts focused on the South Coast, with brief mention of the Santa Ynez Valley and no note of North County destinations. 

There were 6.1 million visitors to the Santa Barbara County South Coast last year, according to Visit Santa Barbara. 

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


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David Sirota: A Pension Jackpot for Wall Street — at Taxpayers’ Expense

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Most consumers understand that when you pay an above-market premium, you shouldn't expect to get a below-average product. Why, then, is this principle often ignored when it comes to managing billions of dollars in public pension systems?

This is one of the most significant questions facing states and cities as they struggle to meet their contractual obligations to public employees. In recent years, public officials have shifted more of those workers' pension money into private equity, hedge funds, venture capital and other so-called "alternative investments." In all, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reports that roughly a quarter of all pension funds are now in these "alternative investments" — a tripling in just 12 years.

Those investments are managed by private financial firms, which charge special fees that pension systems do not pay when they invest in stock index funds and bonds. The idea is that paying those fees — which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year — will be worth it, because the alternative investments will supposedly deliver higher returns than low-fee stock index funds like the S&P 500.

Unfortunately, while these alternative investments have delivered a fee jackpot to Wall Street firms, they have often delivered poor returns, meaning the public is paying a premium for a subpar product.

In New Jersey, for example, the state's alternative investment portfolio has trailed the stock market in seven out of the last eight years, while costing taxpayers almost $400 million a year in fees. Had the state followed the advice of investors like Warren Buffett and instead invested its alternative portfolio in a low-fee S&P 500 index fund, New Jersey would have had more than $5 billion more in its pension fund. In all, as New Jersey plowed more pension money into alternatives, its pension returns have routinely trailed median returns for all public pension systems.

It is the same story in other states that have been increasing their alternative investments.

In Rhode Island, Democratic State Treasurer Gina Raimondo's shift of pension money into alternatives has coincided with the pension system trailing median returns. Had the state generated median returns, it would have had $372 million more in its pension system.

Likewise, a Maryland Public Policy Institute study shows that returns from that state's $40 billion pension system have trailed the median for the last decade. Had the state met the median, it would have $3.2 billion more in its pension system — an amount the study's authors note is enough to "award 80,000 poor children with $40,000 four-year college scholarships."

It is a similar tale in North Carolina, Kentucky and many other locales. In short, public officials are spending more and more pension money on high-fee alternative investments, and those investments are generating worse returns than other low-fee investment vehicles.

That brings back the original question: Why are pension funds pursuing such an investment strategy? Some of the answer may have to do with the same psychology that encourages the gambler to try to big-bet his way out of deficits. But it also may have to do with campaign contributions. After all, many of the politicians who have been pushing the alternative investments just so happen to benefit from Wall Street's campaign contributions.

That spotlights a pernicious dynamic that may be at work: The more public money that goes into alternative investments, the more fees alternative investment firms generate, the more campaign contributions are made by those firms, and thus the more money politicians devote to alternative investments, even as those investments deliver poor results for pensioners. It is a vicious cycle whereby the financial industry wins and taxpayers, once again, lose.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Santa Barbara Reaches Deal with TAP Employees After Months-Long Impasse

By | Published on 09/26/2014


After more than nine months without a new contract, the City of Santa Barbara has come to terms on a new deal with its Treatment and Patrol bargaining unit.

The city and the Treatment and Patrol employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 620, agreed on Thursday to a three-year, nine-month labor agreement with the 120 employees in the TAP unit.

The city and the workers hit an impasse in May and met unsuccessfully with a state-appointed mediator in July. The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2013.

The treatment and patrol unit consists of 10 armed peace officers who patrol the city’s harbor and waterfront, 89 employees in the city’s water and wastewater departments, and 21 other types of patrol officers who work at the Santa Barbara Airport and city parks.

Harbor Patrol officers will receive an 11.5 percent salary increase over the the life of the contract, said Kristy Schmidt, administrative services director for the city.

The employees will start paying 9 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. The employees had been paying 3 percent, while the city was paying the other 6 percent on behalf of the employees in addition to the employer contribution the city already paid. 

"These contributions were covered by the city for many years, but escalating mandatory CalPERS employer contributions made that unsustainable," Schmidt said. 

The deal brings the Harbor Patrol officers in line with the rest of the city's public safety officers.

The union membership must still vote to ratify the deal and the City Council needs to vote on the final contract at a public meeting.

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


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Mark James Miller: Cyber-Plagiarism Not as Foolproof as Students May Think

By | Published on 09/26/2014


“Isn’t it funny,” the student’s essay began, “how life itself is not just a fight for survival, but more a fight for mastery? Some people are satisfied with just survival, but others ...”

I had assigned my freshman composition class at Allan Hancock College the task of writing a critical analysis of Jack London’s novel, The Call of the Wild. This particular essay, which focused on the theme of the survival of the fittest, was average in quality, rating only a C. I graded it and set it aside, not knowing the far-reaching implications it was going to have.

I had graded another 10 or 15 essays and was getting near the end of the pile when I came upon one that began, “Isn’t it funny how life itself is not just a fight for survival, but more a fight for mastery ...” Nonplussed, I thumbed back through the papers I had already graded. Soon I realized I had two identical essays, every word the same, except for the student’s name in the upper left-hand corner.

What had happened? Had one student copied from the other, line by line? That seemed unlikely. Then another thought struck me. I typed the first sentence into Google. Less than a second later I was looking at the very same essay at a website that advertises college papers for sale. Two of my students, unbeknown to one another, had purchased the same mediocre essay on The Call of the Wild for $19.95, then turned it in as their own work.

This was my introduction to the brave new world of cyber-plagiarism, the buying and selling of essays from the thousands of sites that offer compositions for sale on every conceivable subject, from anthropology to zoology, available to anyone with Internet access and a credit card. But the price these two students paid was much higher than the money they wasted on the essay. They failed this assignment and ultimately, the class, for now my suspicions were aroused and I subjected the essays they had previously turned in to the same scrutiny I had just given The Call of the Wild. It was no surprise to learn they had purchased other essays as well.

There is nothing new about cheating in college. Yale University Dean Clarence W. Mendell declared in 1931 that cheating was widespread on the New Haven campus. In a 1964 survey, 75 percent of college students admitted to cheating, and a similar percentage was found in 2011. In 1994 the U.S. Naval Academy was rocked by a cheating scandal involving a purloined electrical engineering exam being passed around campus; 24 midshipmen were expelled and 62 others disciplined. In 2007, 34 Duke University MBA students were expelled or disciplined for cheating on an exam. In 2013 70 students were expelled from Harvard University for cheating in a government class.

But the Internet opens up a new universe of opportunities for students to turn in work that is not their own. When I entered the words “College papers for sale online” on Google I got more than 104 million responses!

With titles like “College Essay Writing Help,” “Buy Essays Cheap,” “Same Day,” “Essays R Easy,” these sites encourage students to use their services with promises of good grades, money-back guarantees, and making their lives easier by letting someone else do their work for them. A tagline at one site reads: “Easy to choose — Easy to use — Easy to get an A.”

“You are not in college to just write an essay,” says another. “We know there are other things that require your attention.”

These sites also attempt to assuage any pangs of conscience students might have for such blatant dishonesty with comments of this kind: “Prayers won’t help. Essay Writers will!” Another states: “With the constantly rising standards of paper writing, it becomes more and more difficult to cope with your writing tasks. Let us help!”

The students are also assured they will get away with their cheating. “Our online essay writing company supports 100 percent confidentiality ... By no means will your professor get to know that you are our customer.”

Prices typically start at around $10 per page, although they rise very quickly. At one site a “standard-quality” essay starts at $21.99 per page when 10 days’ notice is given. From there, the price soars to $26.99 for each page of a “platinum-quality” essay, and skyrockets to $48.99 when an essay is needed within three hours.

These sites offer more than just freshman composition papers. Essays are tailored to very specific needs. A first-year, college-level composition on “The Massacre at Wounded Knee,” five pages in length, can be gotten in seven days for $45. Another, on “Women in Business,” at a fourth-year college level, costs $27 if ordered in advance. If none of the papers advertised are what the students are seeking, this site advises them: “If you do not have enough information to complete an essay or dissertation, send us the basic guidelines and we will do the rest.” Another promises, “Just name the subject and the topic, state the number of pages and references, add the details from your task, and you’ll have yourself a masterpiece of academic paper in no time.”

What can be done? Since my baptism into cyber-plagiarism with The Call of the Wild, I have started each semester by including a demonstration on plagiarism in the very first lesson. I show the students how easy it can be to determine if someone has plagiarized an essay, and emphasize how stiff the penalties for it are. But more important, students need to know that writing an essay is not an impossible task. Writing is a skill that can be learned with hard work and study. As a student of mine once said, “Even though those essays gave me headaches, I actually learned how to love this.”

Every student is not going to love writing. But they can be taught how to write, and shown that writing a good essay is not as difficult as they may imagine. Nothing beyond except effort, concentration — and a good-sized dose of honesty — is required.

— Mark James Miller is a teacher and writer, and has been a part-time English instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria since 1995. He is president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, California Federation of Teachers Local 6185, and is an executive board member of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Letter to the Editor: Are Obama, Kerry and U.N. Living on Planet Mars?

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Radical Islam, not climate change, is the No. 1 threat facing the world.

There has been a cooling trend for 10 years, and now there has been a beheading in the heartland of America.

What planet do President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and members of the United Nations live on? Mars?

Don Thorn


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Suspect Sought in Burglaries at Solvang Businesses

By | Published on 09/26/2014


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is requesting public assistance to help locate the suspect responsible for at least three burglaries in downtown Solvang, two of which occurred at the same business.

The first burglary occurred just before 2 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Greenhouse Café in the 400 block of Atterdag Road. When sheriff’s deputies responded, they found the suspect had smashed the window to the business, pried open the cash registers and taken off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Sheriff’s deputies, with the assistance of a K9 unit, searched the area but were not able to locate the suspect.

On Sept. 10 just after 4 a.m., a suspect broke into the Pebble People in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Road. When sheriff’s deputies arrived shortly after, they found the suspect had smashed the door to get in and three jewelry display cases. The suspect took off with an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

Again, sheriff’s deputies searched the area but were not able to locate the suspect.

On Sept. 19 about 3:30 a.m., the Pebble People was burglarized again. A sheriff’s deputy who was on foot in the immediate area heard the alarm go off. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of jewelry before he could be apprehended.

If you have any information related to any of these burglaries, you are asked to contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department at 805.681.4100 or to leave an anonymous tip call 805.681.4171.

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


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Captain’s Log: A Lookout Spot Where I Could Sit for Hours

By | Published on 09/26/2014


When I need to get away and think, while ashore, there is a perfect place for me, and I’m happy to share.

It’s only about a 20-minute drive, up Highway 154 to Camino Cielo. Once there, sometimes I hang a right and sometimes I hang a left. I find just what I need in either direction — spots where I can park, walk out onto the rim, find a good sitting spot and get into my thoughts while looking over our town, the beach, ocean and Channel Islands.

It is perfect, and I recommend it when you need a break.

West Camino Cielo looks out over the airport, Goleta and beyond toward Point Conception. East Camino Cielo overlooks Santa Barbara, the harbor area and all the way down the coast toward Point Dume. Both directions offer expansive views of chaparral, city, beach, the Santa Barbara Channel and, of course, the islands. You can’t go wrong, no matter which way you turn.

A canteen of water and a sandwich provide the staples for this quick trip. I’ve made the trip in a little more than an hour, but ideally it is good to allow a few hours so that the sitting and thinking part can run its natural course.

That bird’s-eye perspective somehow helps clear my head and my thoughts. The scope of the issues I have to deal with are put in perspective by the grandiose viewscape. Nonetheless, that view and that solitude help me think and help me make important decisions. Some of my most important decisions have been made on that mountain and others have been made at sea, well away from shore.

Secluded spots along the rim of the mountain are my favorites. It helps to be away from the road and people when there is some deep thinking and soul-searching to do. So I’ll walk a ways to find the right spot.

Once I sit quietly for a while, the local wildlife get accustomed to me and decide I’m not an immediate threat, so the critters go on about their business. I hear them scurrying through the brush, or flitting between the bushes and trees. Watching the critters live their lives is a wonderful bonus. I love it when hawks soar silently, sometimes below my level on the mountain and I can watch them from above.

Next time you have some thinking, prioritizing or decision-making to do, I highly recommend Camino Cielo. Even if you are limited to your vehicle, there are wonderful places to park and over our wonderful home. But if you can take a walk, it gets even better.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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County Public Works Offers Two Free Hazardous Waste Collection Days

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Tired of seeing those old paint cans in the garage or that old jug of used motor oil in the back shed? Bring them to an upcoming household hazardous waste collection event.

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department is holding two events this fall — on Saturday, Oct. 4 in New Cuyama and on Sunday, Oct. 5 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The Cuyama event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 4 at the New Cuyama Recycling and Transfer Station, 5073 Highway 166. Residents can drop off common household items, including automotive fluids, cleaners, paint, pesticides and batteries, as well as unwanted electronics like computers and TVs. You can even recycle your old CDs, DVDs, and video and cassette tapes.

Participation is free for Santa Barbara County residents. Details are available on the county’s recycling website,

The Santa Ynez event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station, 4004 Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos. The county will accept the same types of items as the Cuyama event, and participation is free for residents in the unincorporated area and the City of Solvang.

At both collection events, residents can also bring unwanted medications and home-generated “sharps” (e.g. needles and syringes). Sharps must be delivered in rigid, puncture-proof containers. Controlled substances, such as narcotics and some prescription medications, will not be accepted.

The county offers free collection events twice a year in the Santa Ynez Valley and annually in Cuyama. For those unable to attend an event or for those living in other areas, numerous collection centers are available throughout the county. Some are operated by County Public Works, while others are run by local cities or private waste management companies.

At the county’s “ABOP” facility, located at the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station, residents can recycle their antifreeze, auto batteries, motor oil, oil filters, and latex paint every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Additionally, all of the county’s transfer stations accept electronic waste year-round during normal operating hours, free of charge for residents.

For more information about local hazardous waste collection programs, call 805.882.3615 or visit the county’s recycling website,


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Santa Ynez Chumash to Host Annual Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Native American dancing, singing and drumming will be on display during the 19th annual Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow at the Live Oak Campground in Santa Ynez.

The two-day gathering will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5.

A gourd dance at noon, followed by a grand entry at 1 p.m., will mark the start each day of the pow-wow, which is the largest cultural event of the year held by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

“We’re proud of our inter-tribal pow-wow because it gives us the chance to share our Chumash heritage with tribal people, who come from different parts of the country for this event, and members of our local community,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “It’s an annual cultural and educational event that means a lot to our tribe.”

The Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow draws members of tribal nations from across the United States to participate in dancing and drumming competitions. Dancing categories include traditional, straight, fancy and grass dancing. More than $45,000 in prize money will be offered. The event will also feature Native American food and crafts booths.

The pow-wow is an annual effort of a committee of Chumash tribal volunteers who plan, organize and operate the two-day event. The committee’s goal is to provide the community with educational and cultural experiences focusing on Native American music, arts and customs while also promoting native self-reliance and pride.

It will be a zero-waste and a non-Styrofoam event, in keeping with the tribe’s commitment to be environmental stewards. Guests are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles, support the event’s green vendors and dispose of trash in the proper receptacle bins.

Live Oak Campground is located at 4650 Highway 154 in Santa Ynez. Admission is free. Parking costs $5. The camping fee is $25. For more information on the pow-wow, call 805.688.7997.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.


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Registration Open for Providence School’s Citywide Santa Barbara Youth Races

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Providence, A Santa Barbara Christian School, sponsors the annual Santa Barbara Youth Races from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 4.

This citywide track meet is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade from any school.

The meet draws hundreds of participants and families to the state-of-the-art track at Thorrington Field at Westmont College.

This fun community event promotes physical fitness and activity. It provides an ideal opportunity for children to be exposed to track and field and for families to enjoy a great day together.

Registration will open at 7:15 a.m.

The cost is $25 online before the event; $30 on the day of the event. Online registration is recommended to ensure a place in the races. Every participant receives a T-shirt and a goodie bag.

Events will include the 50-yard dash, 100-meter dash, 4x100 relay, long jump, high jump and softball throw (shot put).

For more information or to register, click here, email or call 805.563.4770.

— Elaine Rottman is the marketing director for Providence.


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Opportunity Knocks for UCSB Physics Majors Participating in Worster Summer Research Fellowships

By | Published on 09/26/2014


If college students wrote essays about what they did during summer vacation, the six participating in this year’s Worster Summer Research Fellowships at UC Santa Barbara would have amazing stories to tell. These undergraduate physics majors were paid to conduct 10 weeks of research — ranging from astrophysics to biophysics to theoretical physics — under the direct supervision of graduate student mentors.

Senior Ari Kaplan simulated different models and compared them to data generated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where the Higgs boson was discovered. He was looking for the signature of a particular type of decay, which might confirm that supersymmetric particles exist and do not need to be produced in pairs.

Jackie Geler Kremer, a senior, spent her time in a wet lab searching for DNA-templated silver nanoclusters with the brightest fluorescence. She was looking for the best candidates to use for sensing and imaging applications.

Senior Joey Wong examined how heavy metals behave in merging galaxies — information that may offer hints about how the Milky Way and Andromeda will merge in a few billion years.

“This is my first summer involved with the Worster program,” said astrophysicist Crystal Martin, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. She supervised Wong’s research along with graduate student Stephanie Ho. “To me one of the great opportunities that big research universities can offer is not only helping students learn all that is known about a topic but also teaching young people to go out and create new knowledge and answer unsolved questions.”

This summer’s knowledge acquisition went far beyond the classroom. Sylvia Madhow, a junior in UCSB’s College of Creative Studies, learned computer programming and data analysis techniques in Ben Mazin’s astrophysics lab.

“It’s wonderful that they compelled us to examine a much wider set of skills which we really need to be competent scientists,” said Madhow, who worked on a new technique for analyzing the readout from microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) used for astronomy in the near infrared, optical, ultraviolet and X-ray.

“The things we do in lab are not necessarily coupled to what we do in class,” said Mazin, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics who invented MKIDs. “Basically we don’t teach computer programming and data analysis, so programs like the Worster Summer Research Fellowship offer one of the few ways to learn these very important skills.”

Senior Ari Kaplan compared simulated models to the Large Hadron Collider's data. (Spencer Bruttig / UCSB photo)

In addition to discovering the ins and out of teamwork, the undergraduates also learned how to present their work in a professional manner. Throughout the summer, they polished their oral presentations, which required them to hone their public speaking skills and refine their accompanying slide decks.

The practice will pay off when the students present the results of their projects at a public symposium at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 in 1414 Bren Hall.

While developing public speaking skills can be a challenge, junior John Devany felt it worth the effort. He worked in Deborah Fygenson’s biophysics lab analyzing single-molecule microarrays to better understand the process of synthesizing DNA-stabilized silver nanoclusters.

“I’ve learned a lot trying to explain my project in a really simple way,” said senior Philip Saad, who worked with physics professor Joseph Polchinski, also a permanent member of the campus’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Saad studied string theory dualities, which exhibit two seemingly different systems that end up being equivalent on the quantum level.

 The undergraduates were not the only students learning. Graduate mentors were able to expand their teaching skills beyond those required of a teaching assistant. They discovered that a different skill set was required to be a successful mentor.

“It was very rewarding to be a part of the Worster program,” said Alex George, a fifth-year graduate student working with professor Claudio Campagnari, an experimental high-energy physicist who works at the LHC. “I’ve been a TA for classes before, but it was a very different experience helping someone actually doing research at a very high level.”

Fifth-year graduate student Eric Mintun, who works with Polchinski and mentored Saad, agrees.

“It’s a very different skill set to be able to provide useful guidance on a calculation without having explicitly done the work yourself,” Mintun said. “It’s good practice if I end up as faculty one day.”

Bruce and Susan Worster endowed the program that bears their name in 2011. This year’s participants bring the total number of fellows to two dozen. Graduate students whose thesis committees are chaired by physics faculty members are eligible to be mentors to declared undergraduate physics majors. Each team receives $5,500 — $1,000 for the graduate and $4,500 for the undergraduate, who is expected to pursue a senior honors thesis.

“The Worster program is really good because it gives a lot of independence to the students,” said Fygenson, an associate professor of physics and of biomolecular science and engineering, who has participated in previous Worster Summer Research Fellowships. “Because the grad student has to devise the project and the undergraduate has to co-author the project proposal, the Worster program fosters co-ownership and collaboration between the grad student and the undergrad in a way that the other summer research programs don’t.”

Worster Summer Research Fellowships are game changers for many participants. Erica Mason, a 2013 UCSB physics graduate, worked as a Worster fellow in David Weld’s lab in 2012, constructing an external cavity diode laser (ECDL). The ECDL is part of a larger assemblage of components used to ultra-cool strontium so it can be employed in future quantum simulation experiments.

“My experiences in the Weld Lab and the Worster program were very influential in my desire to pursue a future in physics research,” said Mason, who is enrolled in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. “While my graduate program in medical engineering and medical physics differs significantly in application from my undergraduate research in optics and atomic and molecular physics, the process of research and much of what I learned are still very relevant.”

“Worster fellowships are a win-win-win for our department,” said Weld, an assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Our top undergraduates get to participate in the world-class research being done at UCSB; our graduate students get valuable mentoring experience; and faculty get motivated and talented young researchers contributing to the work of their group.”

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


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iGeeks Santa Barbara Launches iPhone Repair Service

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Dan Guerrera
Dan Guerrera

No more does a cracked iPhone screen in the middle of your contract mean you’ll have to shell out hundreds for a repair or a new phone. iGeeks Santa Barbara brings a growing tradition of lightning fast, high quality iPhone repair to this beach front Southern California community.

iGeeks Santa Barbara was founded in 2012 at San Diego State University.

Entrepreneur Christopher Luna knew there had to be a better way to deal with broken iPhones and gained the training and experience needed to become a master technician in repairing any Apple iPhone model.

In 2014, Dan Guerrera learned the trade from Luna and decided to expand the five-star Yelp rated single shop and franchise the iGeeks brand. He continues to train each franchisee, ensuring the high quality, super speedy turnaround time, and low cost associated with the iGeeks name.

Through this decision, iGeeks Santa Barbara was born.

iGeeks is affordable and easy for college students and suburban moms alike. Booking an appointment is as easy as surfing the web and can be done at its website by clicking here.

When you head to their repair clinic, you’ll appreciate the fact that there’s ample parking so customers won’t spend longer looking for a place to park than it takes for phones to be fixed.


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Talk by Historian/Author Jon Meacham to Launch Westmont Leadership Series

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham, presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize winner and contributing editor at Time magazine, will speak about “The Moral and Ethical Leadership of Jefferson and Jackson” at noon Friday, Oct. 10 at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort.

Tickets to the luncheon, part of the Mosher Foundation’s new series on Moral and Ethical Leadership in the American Presidency, cost $100 each and may be purchased online only by clicking here.

Meacham, one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, is known as a skilled raconteur, knowledgeable about politics, religion and current affairs. He understands and analyzes how issues and events impact our lives.

His latest presidential biography, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, is a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Fortune magazine hailed it as “masterful and intimate,” Amazon named it one of the best books of the year, and Walter Isaacson called it, “A true triumph. A fascinating look at how Jefferson wielded his driving desire for power and control.”

The New York Times bestselling American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. Meacham used the seventh president’s unpublished correspondence and other sources to create “an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.”

Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at McCallie and at the University of the South, where he was salutatorian and Phi Beta Kappa. He began his career as a reporter at The Chattanooga Times.

He and his wife live with their three children in Nashville and in Sewanee.

The leadership series features Bob Woodward on Jan. 16, Doris Kearns Goodwin on March 6 and Ron White on May 26.

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


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Wind Advisory Issued for Parts of Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 09/26/2014


A wind advisory will be in effect for Santa Barbara County's South Coast Friday evening into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Northwest winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, are expected, forecasters said.

The advisory will be in effect from 5 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Saturday.

Areas west of Goleta to Gaviota will be affected early on, before a wind shift that will bring blustery conditions to the foothills in and around Montecito, forecasters said.

Highway 101 will be affected, especially in the Gaviota area, as well as Highway 154 and Highway 192, forecasters said. Drivers are urged to use caution and be prepared for gusty crosswinds.

Sunny skies are forecast through the weekend, with highs in the mid-70s near the coast and the mid-80s inland. Overnight lows should be in the low-50s.

There is no rain on the horizon, and forecasters are calling for a gradual warming trend through next week. 

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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Bill Macfadyen: Readers Rush to Read Report of Apparent Drug Overdose at Harbor

By | Published on 09/26/2014


NoozWeek’s Top 5 picks on a petting zoo, investigates a suspected serial molester, trades island fare for pizza, and, oh, yeah, that headline

There were 71,411 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. Woman Dead of Apparent Overdose at Santa Barbara Harbor

A drug overdose is believed to be the cause of death for a 26-year-old woman whose body was found in a Santa Barbara harbor restroom Sept. 24.

Sgt. Riley Harwood, spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department, said the woman was discovered in the restroom at Marina 4, on the east end of the marina, just after 1 p.m.

“We are investigating it as a likely overdose,” said Harwood, who declined to elaborate on the case.

The identity of the woman has not been disclosed, but Harwood said she apparently is not a local. Although a Princess Cruise Lines ship was anchored offshore at the time, with passsengers disembarking from tenders at nearby Sea Landing, the woman was not believed to be a seafarer.

Despite the dearth of details, the report by our Tom Bolton quickly jumped to the top of our traffic queue, and reached Top Story of the Week status in less than 15 hours.

Oh, and I know what some of you are thinking. I’ll pass.

Linda and Brett Marchi have their hands full with Santa Barbara County regulations at their Seein’ Spots Farm in Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Linda and Brett Marchi have their hands full with Santa Barbara County regulations at their Seein’ Spots Farm in Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

2. County Finds Seein’ Spots Farm in Solvang Is Operating Illegal Petting Zoo

A Solvang petting zoo has been notified by Santa Barbara County that it doesn’t have the proper operational permits, and has a limited window of time to comply with its regulations or be shut down.

Linda Marchi and her husband, Brett, bought Seein’ Spots Farm in 2008. In addition to the Marchis, the five-acre property at 2599 Baseline Ave. is home to a menagerie of about 100 animals, which includes miniature donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, rabbits, pigs, turtles and alpacas.

County regulations allow 10 “hoofed” animals per five acres, although Marchi questions why 3-foot-tall miniature donkeys are held to the same standards as full-size, fully loaded horses.

Eric Graham, a zoning enforcement officer with the county Planning and Development Department, said his agency doesn’t go looking for violations but received a complaint about the farm and subsequently determined it was operating illegally. He declined to identify the tipster.

Marchi suspects someone complained out of anger because she began asking for donations to help pay for some of the costs of feeding the animals.

“I have never made money at this,” she told our Janene Scully. “I lose money every month. It doesn’t even come close to paying for their feed and care.”

While most of the animals are miniature donkeys, Marchi also has rescue animals. Ironically, some of those were referred to the farm ... by the county.

“These are all animals no one wanted any longer,” she said. “Most of them are old and have health issues.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to all these animals. If they close me down, I’m going to have to find homes. “

Seein’ Spots Farm is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For now.

Kahuna Grill will be saying aloha a hui kaua to its Paseo Nuevo fans next month, to make way for PizzaRev’s arrival next year. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Kahuna Grill will be saying aloha a hui kaua to its Paseo Nuevo fans next month, to make way for PizzaRev’s arrival next year. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

3. BizHawk: PizzaRev to Take Over Kahuna Grill in Paseo Nuevo Mall

PizzaRev, a Southern California pizza chain known for its “craft-your-own” stone-oven pizza, is moving into Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara.

The restaurant will be taking over the space currently occupied by Kahuna Grill, 12 W. De la Guerra St., in early 2015, according to Monica Rutkowski, spokeswoman for Westlake Village-based PizzaRev.

Kahuna Grill will close Oct. 26, although owner Kelly Brown says a second Kahuna Grill will remain open at Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta.

4. Santa Barbara Man Accused of Molesting 5 Children

A Santa Barbara man has been arrested on suspicion of sexually molesting five children, and authorities say there may be additional victims — stretching back over several decades.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help with their molestation investigation of Joseph Hyde. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)
Authorities are asking for the public’s help with their molestation investigation of Joseph Hyde. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

Joseph Michael Hyde, 63, was arrested Sept. 10 after a two-month investigation, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. Santa Barbara police assisted in the collar.

Hyde was charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child and showing pornography to a child, and remains in custody in County Jail.

Hoover said investigators learned in July that Hyde may have been molesting children over a span of several decades, locally and possibly in Oregon.

Five victims, ranging in age from 2 to 14, were identified in Santa Barbara County, said Hoover, who added that Hyde was acquainted with all five.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division at 805.681.4150 or the anonymous tip line at 805.681.4171.

5. Bill Macfadyen: Suicide Investigation Focuses on Dead Man’s Train of Thought

Yes, the headline I wrote was insensitive. I’m sorry.

                                                                 •        •        •

You know you’ve wanted to do this yourself. I think the guy left too much room, but that’s just me.

(Cihat Aysuz video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Gerald Carpenter: Elite Theatre Looks Toward Elections with ‘November’

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Just in time for the election season, the Elite Theatre in Oxnard (2731 S. Victoria Ave.) will present a new production of David Mamet's 2008 political satire, November.

David Mamet
As someone said of Billy Wilder, David Mamet sees the worst in our politicians, and he sees it funny.

The play, directed by Tom Eubanks, produced by Vivien Latham, and starring Ronald Rezac, David Colville, Laura Ring, John Eslick and Rick de Leon, will run this Friday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 2.

The situation of November — one could scarcely call it a plot — is that incumbent President Charles H.P. Smith is facing a steeply uphill re-election battle in a matter of days, and his poll numbers are as "low as Ghandi's cholesterol." Everyone in the United States hates him. His political advisor comes up with a harebrained scheme that involves the presidential prerogative of pardoning a turkey at Thanksgiving.

To complicate matters further, he has an important speech coming up, and the only person who can write it is a lesbian who holds the speech hostage to President Smith, agreeing to marry the speechwriter and her girlfriend so they can go to China and adopt a baby. Throw in about 200 politically incorrect one-liners, a lobbyist for the turkey industry and a Native American chieftain, and you have the range of November.

But for the fact that Neil Simon doesn't do politics, you would swear this was Neil Simon play; it is, basically, the Simon principal applied to a political sitcom. There are no serious issues brought up; nothing seems at stake but the nearly inevitable job change of a thoroughly corrupt and cynical politician.

Nevertheless, it is very, very funny. It is partly reminiscent of the famous BBC series Yes, Prime Minister, which starred Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington — if you make allowances for the huge differences between British political culture and ours. And there isn't really any likable character in it, only likable actors.

November plays at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.

For reservations, call 805.483.5118.   

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.


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Night Work Scheduled for Hollister Avenue in Goleta Starting Sunday

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Overnight work on Hollister Avenue is scheduled for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 28-30.

Here’s what is planned:

Sunday from 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

One lane of Hollister Avenue westbound between South Glen Annie Road and Santa Felicia Road will be closed. The Goleta Water District’s contractor will be installing new water line connections. A new sewer manhole at the intersection of Hollister Avenue and Marketplace Drive/Village Way will also be created, and a new sewer line connection will be added.

In addition, potholing will be done on Hollister Avenue eastbound between Marketplace Drive and South Glen Annie Road to identify locations of existing underground utilities. One lane at a time in the eastbound direction will be closed with one lane open at all times. Potholing work lane closures are anticipated between the hours of 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Monday and Tuesday

Sunday night’s work on the water and sewer lines will continue between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

On Tuesday, water will be shut down as the final service connection is made. This shutdown is scheduled to occur between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday. Residents along South Glen Annie Road will not be affected. The shutoff will only affect properties on Santa Felicia Drive. In addition, the asphalt repairs will be made to the roadway section at the new sewer manhole location.

Construction along this section of Hollister Avenue is part of the public improvements underway in conjunction with the Westar/Hollister Village project.

The city recently added a Westar/Hollister Village email/text notification topic in our notification system to provide updates on the public improvements related to this project. Register for these notifications by clicking Manage Preferences after clicking here.


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Letter to the Editor: Oil Company Corruption Spreads to Journalism

By | Published on 09/26/2014


A featured story by Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik (Sept. 24) reveals that a piece in the Richmond Standard, “a community news site for that Bay Area locality,” painted a very unflattering picture of 170 activists traveling by train to participate in New York City's Climate Change March, describing them as “boisterous, rude, messy and smelly.”

Objective reporting by a “community-driven-news” source, as the Richmond Standard declares itself? It seems not. The Standard is “entirely a creation of Chevron Corp., which operates a huge and controversial refinery in, yes, Richmond, and presumably doesn't have the same view of climate change as the activists on the train.”

“'The fact that this Richmond site looks like any other community news site is just a masquerade,' said Ken Doctor, media doctor at”

“'The disclosures [embedded in the site] don't go very far to show how news can be corrupted,' says Ed Wasserman, dean of UC Berkley's Graduate School of Journalism.”

Much of Hiltzik's column describes how this publication “reports” matters related to Chevron's Richmond refinery, e.g., the fire that erupted there.

More and more of us are becoming aware of the filth — literal and figurative — this industry group is bringing to our country, our state and our community.

The highly toxic chemically-laced “flowback” fluids brought back up from fracked wells, transported by millions of tanker trucks and disposed of — somewhere — are not subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act. They call this the “Halliburton Loophole.” Recognize the name? Would you like to try a cup? Would you like a bundle of this hazardous material — the federal government won't label it as such — “injected” into the earth near your home?

Our governor has, over time, received millions of dollars from oil/gas companies, notably to support his Proposition 30. In 2011, he fired Elena Miller, director of the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) “after intense lobbying from Central Valley legislators and the oil and gas exploration and production industry” (California Environmental Law) because she was not issuing drilling permits fast enough. Good Will Hunting or a pact with Beelzebub?

In June of this year, a petition signed by more than 50,000 Kern County residents asked the governor to visit them so he could see for himself the impacts of fracking. They wanted Brown to “face the reality that fracking is wasting and poisoning California's water, polluting the climate and endangering families," stated the organization Race Poverty and the Environment. Apparently the governor was in too delicate a condition to actually look at the devastation his policies are creating. Did the “Central Valley legislators” mentioned above Insist he get the view?

Now we find big oil money snaking through our own community, perhaps even into this forum. Did you get a phone call from a source that wouldn't disclose itself asking, on behalf of a “survey”: “Do you have an opinion on Measure P?” If you said you supported Measure P, did you get a follow-up? If you gave a different answer, did another call come offering you $100, $150 to attend a “focus group” about a “ballot measure”?

There are certainly contributors here who make all or part of their living from the oil/gas industry, or who receive compensation in some form from that group or from entities funded by the industry.

Are they telling you there has never been fracking in Santa Barbara County? Venoco Inc. owned up to doing it from 2009-10. Are they telling you there will never be fracking in the county? While it's true that the shale formations here are convoluted in a way that makes the process more difficult than in other areas, it's completely possible that an individual company could locate a “sweet spot,” and drill for what profit it thinks may be had. Measure P protects us from the possibility; big oil is spending millions to keep the option open.

Are the Climate Deniers and Measure P opponents here talking to you about cyclic steam injection — the drilling technology that polluted an entire lake in Canada and boiled to death construction supervisor Robert David Taylor in Kern County?

“All told, more than 12,000 barrels of bitumen seeped to the surface through five different fractures … nearly a dozen kilometres apart. The bitumen seeped into a lake, muskeg and the forest for more than a year, killing wildlife and polluting the landscape. ... The ongoing clean-up job of what amounted to the province's fourth largest oil spill has cost nearly $50 million to date.” (

Measure P will protect us from this possibility; big oil is spending millions to keep this ghastly possibility alive and well.

Yes, big oil is in town spreading big dough around. It's employees and/or supporters, here and elsewhere, are doing their very best, like the adept magician, to point your attention away from what its secret substances can do to you, your family, friends and community.

Measure P protects. Vote yes for it on Nov. 4.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


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Carpinteria Rotary Donates $11,000 to Support School District Music Program

By | Published on 09/26/2014


The Rotary Club of Carpinteria (noon) recently presented the Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Directors with the funds to purchase new band instruments, sheet music and storage shelving for its district-wide "Bands Forever" program.

Rotary Foundation chair Lin Graf and club's past president, Roland Rotz, along with current Rotary president Pat Kistler, past president John Welty and club member Craig Murray, were present for the presentation, on Tuesday evening at the City of Carpinteria Council Chambers.

The final tally given to the district's music program by the Rotarians, which was gleaned from their 2014 talent show, was more than $11,000.

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


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Governor Signs Jackson Bill to Halt Forced or Coerced Sterilizations in Prisons

By | Published on 09/26/2014


Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to prohibit forced or coerced sterilizations in prisons.

Senate Bill 1135 is a response to media reports from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year of unlawful and coercive sterilization of female inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women that were occurring as late as 2010. An inmate advocacy group, Justice Now, helped bring these stories to light.

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

“Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent is unacceptable, and violates our most basic human rights,” Jackson said. “This bill will help ensure that forced or coerced sterilizations never occur in our jails and prisons, and I’m very pleased that the governor has signed it into law.”

“No one should have their opportunity to be a mother taken away or decided for them,” said Kelli Dillon, who experienced sterilization abuse at age 24 while in prison in California. She lives now in Los Angeles and works as a domestic violence counselor and gang interventionist. “This bill will protect the rightful reproductive capacity of women inside prison.”

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

SB 1135 received unanimous, bipartisan support as it moved through the California Legislature. It is co-authored by the current chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, and is a priority bill of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

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


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Death of Lompoc Woman Found in La Habra Remains a Mystery

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Police recover Emma Posadas-Espinoza’s vehicle in Santa Maria

The vehicle of a Lompoc woman found dead in La Habra two months ago has been located in northwest Santa Maria, but the circumstances of her death remain a mystery.

Emma Posadas-Espinoza

The Santa Maria Police Department recovered Emma Posadas-Espinoza’s white, four-door Acura sedan in the 600 block of North Curryer Street, according to Detective Craig Hentcy with the La Habra Police Department.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions,” Hentcy added.

Someone reported that the vehicle appeared to be abandoned and it was recovered July 30, police confirmed this week. 

“It’s being processed for evidence,” Hentcy said.

Officers from his agency traveled to Santa Maria to pick up the vehicle, which appeared to be parked and had no obvious damage.

He said the woman’s son, Gabriel, was notified of the vehicle’s discovery within a short period of time.

The body of the 58-year-old woman was found early July 21 in foliage, with only the feet and a limited portion of the body appearing to be uncovered, according to police in the Orange County city.

Her death is considered suspicious because she was found unclothed behind a carport.

The initial findings at the scene and initial autopsy were “inconclusive” regarding the cause of death. Police are still waiting for the Orange County Coroner’s Office to complete toxicology and other tests.

In the meantime, police are continuing to investigate why the Lompoc woman was in La Habra and how her car ended up in Santa Maria.

“That’s a mystery we’re trying to find the answer to,” Hentcy said. 

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

Anyone with information about the case can call 9-1-1, the La Habra Police Department hotline at 562.383.4358 or Crime Stoppers OC at 800.TIP.OCCS.

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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BizHawk: Jersey Mike’s Subs to Set Up Shop on Upper State Street

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Frontier Airlines will end Santa Barbara-Denver flights, SurfMedia hires two employees and Raytheon building sold to local investor

BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing

The South Coast’s third Jersey Mike’s Subs shop will open on upper State Street by the end of the year.

The restaurant will move into a 1,700-square-foot space in the Loreto Plaza Shopping Center at 3325 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Jersey Mike’s signed a five-year lease to occupy the center, which already houses Gelson's Market, Harry's Plaza Cafe, Chaucer's Books and other retailers, according to Lee & Associates, which negotiated the deal.

The sub shop will be the third in the South Coast region — Goleta and downtown Santa Barbara boast the other two — and the fourth in the county, including one in Santa Maria.

A more specific timeframe for opening wasn’t available.

“Right now we are focusing on bringing our fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs to the Santa Barbara community through this new Jersey Mike’s, along with the Jersey Mike’s that opened in May at 1213 State St.,” said Dan Burrell, a Jersey Mike’s area director for the region.

Frontier Airlines Pulls Santa Barbara Service

Frontier Airlines will discontinue flights between Santa Barbara and Denver beginning in January, according to the Santa Barbara Airport.

The airline company will pull service Jan. 6, eliminating three to four flights made each week from Santa Barbara Airport to Denver International Airport, said Airport Director Hazel Johns.

She said Fresno and Bakersfield would lose a similar service, and that United Airlines will continue offering two flights a day to Denver.

Frontier has indicated the Santa Barbara-Denver flights would return on a seasonal basis for summer, Johns said.

SurfMedia Announces New Hires

SurfMedia Communications has hired Cortis Loukes as its digital marketing director and Angel Pacheco as a new account executive.

Loukes, a Maine native who previously worked at Brensten Education in Milwaukee, Wis., will bring a strong background in online marketing, social media strategy, web design and content creation.

A former seven-year reporter for a local newspaper, Pacheco will bring a solid background in reporting, story development and writing to SurfMedia.

Local Investor Buys Raytheon Building

The Towbes Group Inc. has sold the Raytheon building at 75 Coromar Drive in Goleta to local investor Victor Schaff for $26.4 million.

According to Towbes, the sale is one of the largest commercial real estate transactions in Santa Barbara County this year.

The 120,000 square-foot property is located on a 10-acre parcel and has been home to a Raytheon business unit for more than 50 years.

Towbes Capital Partners, a private equity real estate affiliate of The Towbes Group, purchased the one-story facility as a valuable investment opportunity in 2003.

Located in the Raytheon Business Park, the building was constructed in 1963, with Raytheon as the sole occupant since. The park includes two 60,000-square-foot office buildings and more than 500 parking spaces.

The Towbes Group sold the building in July, with the Raytheon lease in place until April 30, 2019.

Businesses Recognized as ‘Bicycle Friendly’

This week the League of American Bicyclists recognized the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition with a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business award, along with bronze medal awards for Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Rincon Cycles and

With the honor, the local businesses join more than 800 other companies and organizations from across the country trying to transform the American workplace.

REI Santa Barbara and UC Santa Barbara have also previously received awards.

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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Animal-Rescue Groups, Residents Urge Guadalupe to Adopt Spay-Neuter Ordinance

By | Published on 09/25/2014


The City Council votes 4-0 to OK the first reading of proposed rules to stem the number of unwanted cats and dogs; final approval is expected Oct. 14

Representatives of animal-rescue groups from throughout Santa Barbara County joined with local residents Tuesday night to urge the Guadalupe City Council to adopt a law aimed at putting a leash on the overpopulation of cats and dogs.

After hearing from more than a dozen speakers in favor of the Responsible Pet Owner Ordinance, the City Council approved the first reading of the proposed law, prompting applause from the audience.

A second reading is scheduled for Oct. 14, and the rules would take effect 30 days later.

“It’s important to state it does not require mandatory spaying and neutering of pets,” City Administrator Andrew Carter said. “What it does require is if someone wants to not have their pet neutered, to leave open the possibility of allowing their pets to breed, that they need to get a veterinary certificate.

"Basically, the intent there is the breeding pet is getting the proper veterinary care.”

That pet owner would take the veterinary certificate from Santa Barbara County Animal Services — Guadalupe contracts with the county for animal-control services — to obtain a dog license and pay a higher fee for keeping an unaltered canine.

Additionally, unaltered cats would need a veterinary certificate and to obtain a license. The higher fee is meant to cover some of the costs for unwanted pets filling local shelters, Carter said. 

In 2010, the county adopted its responsible pet owner law crafted by a task force. Other local cities also adopted the rules but Guadalupe and Santa Maria chose to take no action, Carter said.

Lompoc didn’t adopt the county law since it has a stricter rules. 

Areas that didn’t adopt the ordinance are seeing a higher percentage of pets at the shelters. While Santa Maria and Guadalupe make up 26 percent of the human population, the area has 36 percent of the population of pets at the animal shelter, according to Carter.

Lisa Kenyon, who lives between Santa Barbara and Goleta, said she has waited for more than two years to come to Guadalupe to speak in favor of the law, saying the city is a key part of reducing the number of unwanted pets.

A cat awaits adoption at the Santa Maria Humane Society. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“This is an uncomplicated, elegant, innovative, easy-to-understand, easy-to-comply with and easy-to-administer ordinance,” Kenyon said. 

Kenyon and Linda Greco, president of the Santa Barbara County Animal Care Foundation, were part of the 11-member task force to create the county ordinance for unincorporated areas. In addition to Santa Maria, Carpinteria also didn’t adopt a similar ordinance.

In coming up with the county ordinance, task force members listened to many perspectives, Greco said, with one common thread being that something needed to be done to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs without punishing responsible pet owners.

In 2009-10, the three county shelters — Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara — accepted 9,236 animals, with more than half of those seen at the Santa Maria shelter, Greco said. Santa Barbara received 2,776 animals and Lompoc saw 1,728.

Five years after the law was passed, the three shelters had an intake of 6,868 animals, Greco added. Santa Maria’s shelter still accounted for more than half the animals taken in by the county while Santa Barbara received 2,367 and Lompoc 1,299.

“As you can see, these numbers have decreased significantly overall in the past five years,” Greco said. “However, the imbalance in the Santa Maria shelter continues. This is concerning only because of the high intake numbers, but the Santa Maria county shelter also has the lowest number of redemption rates, lowest adoption rates, highest euthanasia rates and highest incidents of cruelty.”

Mark Poudrier, a Pacheco Street resident in Guadalupe, volunteers for Catalyst for Cats, a nonprofit organization that traps feral cats, sterilizes them and then returns the felines to their colony. 

“We maintain what is now a stable, feral, unwanted cat colony,” he said.

When he and his wife moved to the neighborhood, they discovered several cats there and set traps. The first year in 2010, they handled 13 cats, then 17 in 2011 and 16 in 2012.

Early on, many of the cats trapped and treated were kittens, but they’re now seeing only a few young cats 

In 2013, they trapped three cats while they’ve treated five so far this year.

“Please pass this ordinance,” he said. “It’s a mindset.”

Randy Fairbrother, who started Santa Barbara-based Catalyst for Cats in 1990, said feral cat colonies typically come from abandoned cats that have kittens and remain wild. 

Driving around Guadalupe, Fairbrother said, she sees dogs “all over,” including nursing canine moms.

“This is an enormous problem for everybody,” she said. “This is not mandatory. It will simply encourage people to spay and neuter their cats. We will have a better community. We will have happier animals, and we will have happier people.”

Jill Anderson from Shadow’s Fund, a Lompoc-based rescue group for pit bulls, senior dogs and other animals, with volunteers working seven days a week, implored the council to adopt the ordinance.

“It is a simple matter of supply and demand. With a northern Santa Barbara County shelter that has nearly a 30-percent euthanasia rate, there is clearly no demand,” Anderson said.

Jill Tucker from the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society noted her organization offers low-cost spay and neutering services. Now in a new facility on West Stowell Road, the organization is providing 270 surgeries a month, she added.

“I want to let the citizens of Guadalupe know that we are here as a resource to provide spay-neuter services,” Tucker said. “It is our intention to make sure spay-neuter services are accessible and affordable for everyone who needs them.”

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 Suffers $400,000 in Losses in City-Sponsored Home Loan Program

By | Published on 09/25/2014


This week, the City of Santa Barbara announced it is on the hook for more than $96,000 after a former employee filed for bankruptcy and defaulted on a home loan through a city-sponsored program. 

The program has suffered some significant setbacks from a handful of loans going into default, and the city has had more than $400,000 in total losses, including the case of a former employee filing for bankruptcy.

The now dormant Employee Mortgage Loan Assistance Program, or EMLAP, was designed to help municipal employees borrow money from the city's General Fund reserves to purchase homes.

The program was initially created to attract and retain qualified employees to the city by helping people live locally on Santa Barbara County's South Coast.   

Currently, the city has 29 loans outstanding for a total of $2.5 million. Forty-two loans have been issued since the beginning of the program in 2001.

The first bankruptcy affecting one of those loans occurred this year, when a former city employee filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to city Finance Director Bob Samario.

Samario briefed the City Council on the issue Tuesday, with a mention of the $96,230 loss couched in a larger budget presentation.  

Because the value of the employee's home was less than the total debt owed on it, the loan was effectively unsecured, he said. 

Samario said the City Attorney’s Office advised that challenging the bankruptcy would not be fruitful, so the city is prepared to "write-off" the loan from the books and charge the loss to the city's General Fund.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filer works with the court to figure out how they will pay off their debts over a period of time, and "it's usually pennies on the dollar," he said.  

The only way the city could possibly recoup some money is if the former employee, who is now working in another city, is unable to pay according to the court's payment plan.

"Unlike other losses incurred by the city, these types of losses are infrequent and unpredictable, and therefore not budgeted," a city staff report stated.

The city had to backfill three other loans after employees sold their homes in a short sale: selling the homes for less than the money owed so the city was not paid back in full. 

Samario said that the city was able to recoup a portion of those loans, but still incurred a total loss of $308,512.

The Employee Mortgage Loan Assistance Program, which Noozhawk has written previously about, was open to all permanent city employees, full or part-time, who were first-time homebuyers and purchased a home on the South Coast.

The last loan was issued in 2009, and Santa Barbara's City Council decided in 2011 to keep the program dormant. At that point, no employees had defaulted on a loan.

When Samario previously spoke with Noozhawk about the program, he noted that when the program started in 2001, “we were in a much different place from an economic standpoint.”

When home prices began to increase, “it was becoming more and more difficult for folks to buy a home,” he said.

This week, Samario said it's important to note that the program made a difference when people would have left the area otherwise. 

"The vast majority of the loans haven't been defaulted on," he said.

With EMLAP, the employee placed a minimum down payment of 5 percent, and the bank provided a first deed of 80 percent. The city would then make up the remainder with a maximum loan of 15 percent.

City participation was limited to a purchase price of $1.25 million.

The city’s loan to employees was based on a variable interest rate tied to Local Agency Investment Fund interest rates, which are quite low, and employees are only required to pay interest for the first five years.

After that, the employee must pay interest and principal and the loan is due at the end of a 15-year period.

“To assist the employee, the city will also pay up to four points to the bank on the employees’ first deed of trust loan, up to $40,000 in order to ‘buy down’ the interest rate on the first trust deed,” the terms of the program say. “The points paid by the city are to be repaid when the second deed (to the city) is refinanced or if the home is sold.”

The city hasn't released employee information about the loans in the EMLAP program, but the city did additionally approve a $500,000 home loan to Police Chief Cam Sanchez as part of his employment contract in 2001. 

That loan is not technically part of the EMLAP program. 

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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Outdoors Q&A: Lobster Season Opens Saturday; Can Hoops Be Dropped Early?

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Q: I know that lobster season opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. If the hoop wet time is a maximum two hours, can I drop my hoops at 10:15 p.m. Friday and pull them after midnight? (George G.)

A: No, attempting to take lobsters is “fishing,” and so if you drop your hoop nets before the season officially opens, you will be fishing out of season. Lobster season officially opens during the first minute of the first day of the season (12:01 a.m. Saturday). The two-hour wet time requirement is designed to require the net to be checked every two hours once it is legally in the water. So this means that even if you legally drop your hoop nets in the water a second after midnight, they must be serviced by 2:01 a.m.

Protocols for Packing Deer Out?

Q: I am preparing for my deer hunt and planning to hike 2½ miles one way into a place to try to harvest my deer. If I am successful, I will need to pack the animal back out by myself, and this may be an all-day sucker. If this animal is large enough, I am probably going to have to quarter it and hump it out. If this is the case, do I take the head and antlers out with the tag on them, then make successive trips back in, or how do people normally do this? I don’t want to take the head out and put it in the back of my truck, risking someone might take it, and then bring another load out and find I have no evidence. Do you have a suggested protocol I should follow? Thanks. (Rick L.)

A: Most hunters in your situation like to bring a small saw to cut the antlers and skull cap from the head as you are not required to keep the whole head of a deer you legally harvest. The law requires that upon taking a deer, you must immediately fill out the tag completely and attach it to the antlers (or ear if an antlerless hunt) and then keep it for 15 days after the close of the season. In your case, the antlers and skull cap could be placed in your locked car in a box or plastic bag until all your meat is hauled out. Depending upon the type of terrain and the size of the deer, many hunters either take out quarters of their deer, or elect to bone it out in the field.

You might also consider using a game-carrier with wheels so that you can keep your game with you at all times while packing it out. Any wildlife officer that contacts you during this process will likely want to check your tagged antlers, but wildlife officers understand that it isn’t always possible to carry the whole deer to your car in one trip.

Ocean Salmon Loophole?

Q: There has been a lot of discrepancy recently due to a bit of a loophole in the ocean salmon regulations. I have been given different answers by a number of people and would like to have it clarified. I live in Santa Cruz, and in the past few weeks there have been a lot of incidental salmon catches in shallow water while targeting rockfish or lingcod. Because it is entirely incidental catch, I don’t see a problem keeping it even though it was caught on a barbed hook. As long as it was of legal size and landed with a net, it should be ok. Of course, if you choose to keep it you would have to switch to salmon-legal gear, but until you did keep one, you can’t prevent one from slamming an iron as you’re reeling up. So basically, if I am targeting rockfish using the appropriate gear, and I catch a salmon while doing so, could I land it using the required net, and if it was 24 inches, keep it and then resume fishing with salmon legal gear? (Azure C., Santa Cruz)

A: You are incorrect about a loophole. It is unlawful to take salmon (north of Point Conception) with a barbed hook, period. No more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. If an angler hooks a salmon while fishing for rockfish using barbed hooks, the fish must be immediately released.

Auto Hook Setter Legal?

Q: I do a lot of fishing in lakes and the Delta. Can an auto hook-setter be used on local lakes and rivers? Please help! (Anonymous)

A: Yes.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Letter to the Editor: The Cruel Irony of Measure P

By | Published on 09/25/2014


We have an enviable way of life here in Santa Barbara County. Its physical beauty includes our beautiful coast and spectacular scenic interior. It is also a safe county, and that isn't any accident.

We have been blessed with well-trained public safety professionals who have been able to rely on having the resources to do their jobs: keeping us safe so we can enjoy what life here has to offer. Unfortunately, this is threatened by the misguided, deceptive Measure P.

Despite what its supporters think, the plain language of this bill will make it impossible for existing onshore oil and gas production to legally continue and will cause its gradual shutdown. When that production stops, so does the tax revenue it generates. Hundreds of jobs will be lost by multitudes of longtime Santa Barbara County citizens.

Local governments in Santa Barbara County, like their counterparts around the state, have been operating on tight budgets, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Loss of the revenue from onshore oil and gas production will blow a hole in the budgets of local government, which will be forced to cut back on public safety and other vital services.

The cruel irony of Measure P is it really does nothing to achieve its stated goal. It will instead inflict very real damage on the capability of our public safety agencies to keep us safe.

I urge you to vote no on Measure P.

Jean Mollenkopf Moore
Santa Maria


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Santa Barbara Elks Lodge Sponsors Ceremony for Two New Eagle Scouts

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 was proud to sponsor an Eagle’s Ceremony for Boy Scout Troop 37 of the Boy Scouts of America-Los Padres Council.

Twin brothers Justin and Matthew Casper were awarded the highest rank of Boy Scouting, Eagle Scout, during a ceremony held at the Elks Lodge in Santa Barbara.

Family, friends and supporting Elks attended the event, which included a ceremony and dinner.

Justin and Matthew Casper progressed through the Boy Scout ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life before achieving the rank of Eagle. They also received at least 21 merit badges, served six months in a troop leadership position and planned, developed and provided leadership to a service project. Both young men have attended a Scoutmaster conference and completed an Eagle Scout Board of Review.

“As I go off to college next year, I feel that the leadership positions I have been in as well as the camps I have staffed have given me the ability to better my management responsibilities,” Matthew Casper said. “I can attribute the commendations I have received at the summer camps I have staffed to the values and skills taught to me through Scouting.”

Justin will attend UC Irvine this semester, majoring in engineering.

“Through merit badges and events, such as space exploration and the rocket trip, I began to see what I had interest in, helping me decide on the career path I am currently pursuing in college,” he said during the ceremony. “The merit badges, ranging from personal finance to emergency preparedness, will provide me with the skills necessary to succeed in my future endeavors.”

The distinguished Eagle Scout Award is the highest award a Boy Scout can achieve. Over the 100 years of scouting, there have been 2 million Eagle Scouts. Currently, four out of every 100 boys who join the scouting become an Eagle Scout.

Boy Scout Troop 37 was established in Santa Barbara in 1963. Over the years many young boys have joined Troop 37. Only 45 have been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

— Teri Conrad is the public relations chair for Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613.


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Foodbank Receives 3 National Grants Through Feeding America, Partner Organizations

By | Published on 09/25/2014


National nonprofit Feeding America recently awarded three grants to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, representing funding from three prestigious national organizations: Costco, Dunkin’ Donuts and Procter & Gamble.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is part of Feeding America’s nationwide network of 200 food banks that lead the fight against hunger in the United States.

Costco provided a grant for the purchase of nutritious food, like chickens for Thanksgiving and fresh produce to help end hunger for one in four residents throughout the county. Dunkin’ Donuts and Procter & Gamble supported the Foodbank’s Healthy School Pantry program, a monthly health fair now held at 16 schools countywide that provides nutritious food, fresh produce, nutrition education and food preparation demonstrations to children and families.

With school now in full swing, it is important that kids receive the nutrition they need to stay focused. Foodbank programs like Healthy School Pantry help achieve this goal by providing all participants with a bag of fresh produce and food staples, a recipe of what they can cook with their food, and a better understanding of how to implement exercise and good nutrition into their daily lives.

With these health tips, local kids can get the nutrition they need to be successful in school and life and help foster these values throughout the entire family unit.

The Foodbank thanks Feeding America and these important sponsors and encourages the community to join them in taking action to end hunger. This month, during Hunger Action month, donations between $10 and $1,000 made by an individual through the Bank of America Give a Meal Match page will be eligible to be matched two to one.

Each donation furthers Foodbank’s goal of transforming the health of working families, children and seniors in Santa Barbara County.

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


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Michael Barone: Controversy Continues in Britain as Scots Vote Against Independence

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Last week, the voters of Scotland, in a heavy turnout and from age 16 up, decided not to disunite what has been arguably one of the most successful and beneficial nations over the last 307 years, the necessarily clunkily named United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was a relatively close-run thing: 45 percent voted for an independent Scotland, just 383,000 fewer than voted for Scotland to remain part of the now-not-necessary-to-be-renamed UK.

Had Queen Elizabeth II not allowed herself to be overheard telling a churchside crowd that Scottish voters should "think very carefully" about the issue, the result might have been closer, as polling suggested it would be.

Actually, something like panic broke out when, days before, a single poll showed the independence side ahead. The leaders of the three UK parties — Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour's Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg — scampered north to Scotland and promised to devolve even more powers from the UK parliament in Westminster to the Scottish Parliament established by Tony Blair's Labour government in 1999.

When the Scottish Nationalist party won a majority in that parliament in 2011, First Minister Alex Salmond immediately pushed for the referendum. With rules that stacked the deck: 16-year-olds could vote, but Scots outside Scotland, including those in the British military, could not.

Scotland's grievance may have been based in nostalgia for Braveheart and the poetry of Bobby Burns. But it was also rooted in opposition to a central government that locals deemed hostile — something like Texas in President Barack Obama's America or New York in George W. Bush's.

Scotland's once world-dominating heavy industries — shipbuilding, steel — were shut down by the 1980s, and many blamed Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Once closely divided between the two major UK parties, Scotland elected exactly one Conservative MP to Parliament in 2010, versus 41 Labourites, 11 Lib Dems and six Scottish Nats.

Salmond painted an alluring picture of an independent Scotland, blessed with North Sea oil wealth and expanding its already large welfare state. But North Sea production is falling and, as Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

Nonetheless, Scotland is not the only region that has been eyeing secession. In Spain's Catalonia, centered on Barcelona, the regional parliament is calling for a secession referendum — which Madrid says is unconstitutional. Italy's Veneto region, like Catalonia and unlike Scotland, more prosperous than its country at large, has supported the secession-minded Northern League.

Americans have a hard time understanding the secessionist impulse. Our own experience with secession resulted in a war that took 600,000 lives in a nation of 38 million. The equivalent death toll today would be 5 million.

And our federal system allows Americans to vote with their feet for states with agreeable public policies. In 1970, my home state of Michigan had 9 million people. In 2010 it had 10 million. In 1970, Texas had 11 million people, and 25 million in 2010.

The United Kingdom has a harder time devolving power and decentralizing public policy because 85 percent of its people live in England. At 7 a.m. the morning after the Scottish referendum's paper ballots were counted, Cameron emerged from No. 10 Downing Street and promised, "Just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues."

That raised the issue dubbed "the West Lothian question," in 1977 by Tam Dalyell, a left-wing Scottish Labour MP: How is it fair to let Scottish MP's vote on policies affecting England when English MP's can't vote on the same policies affecting Scotland?

Barring Scottish MP's from voting on England-only issues might make it impossible for Labour to effectively govern the UK. In the current Parliament, Conservatives hold a solid majority of English seats, but they're a minority in the whole Parliament, forced to govern in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Could a Scottish Labour MP ever again wield the power that Gordon Brown did as chancellor of the exchequer and then prime minister over a 13-year span?

Somehow I suspect the British will muddle through. But the lesson seems to be that, in a decentralizing age, it's hard to get the right balance between national unity and regional autonomy.

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


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Crosby, Stills & Nash Plays to Sold-Out Crowd at Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 09/25/2014


[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Crosby, Still & Nash performed Saturday night at the Santa Barbara Bowl to a very enthusiastic crowd and with a complete sell-out at the box office.

If you're a rocker and middle age, why wouldn't you want to see these iconic rock stars? They have made a name in rock-'n'-roll history, and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than once — once for David Crosby for The Byrds, Stephen Stills for Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash for The Hollies — then for collaborating together as Crosby, Stills & Nash. So going to their concert was a given.

On Saturday night, they started out with some of their mega hits, such as "Carry On/Questions," which was crisp, clean and tight. It showed that they can still harmonize incredibly well after 45 years. Many of their well-known songs were performed just as well, such as "Our House," "Wood Ships" and "Teach Your Children" — songs that we all know and love. They left you wanting more, and at the same time transported you back to a carefree time in your youth. That in itself was worth going to the concert.

There were some slow moments that were not so great, like their lesser-known songs and some of the solo performances. Stills can still play the guitar like no one's business and bring the crowds to their feet, but he is having issues with his vocals. Crosby and Nash are still harmonizing incredibly well together. Nash's performance of his hit song "Cathedral," which was four years in the making, was so beautifully executed that it brought his song to a higher level before a live audience.

One last note, right or wrong: Why can't performers leave their politics at home? We go to a concert trying to escape the world's problems because we love their music, so who wants to hear about Republicans or Democrats or world issues? We're there to enjoy the music, not to be preached to about what they think is right or wrong. If I wanted to hear that, all I would have to do is stay home and turn on the television.

— Gary Lambert is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Housing Assistance Needed for UCSB International Program Students

By | Published on 09/25/2014


As you may know, UCSB will be starting back up for fall quarter next Thursday, Oct. 2, and we are excited to have our students, faculty and staff back to the campus and the surrounding community.

Many of you may also be aware that the local rental housing market has tightened up considerably in the last year due to many factors coming together all at the same time.

Unfortunately, this housing crunch in the area has impacted the international programs affiliated with UCSB. The first is our Education Abroad Reciprocity Program, where we exchange students from other countries with our own students going abroad. The second is the Extension International Student Program, which brings students to the area to take classes both through Extension as well as classes at the UCSB.

Many of these students are here from three months to nine months, and currently are having difficulty finding a place to live. So, we need your help!

If you have a short-term solution where a student might be able to stay in your extra room for up to week or two as they continue to find a more permanent solution, we would be delighted! If you are a recent empty nester or are willing to rent your extra room to a student for three months to nine months, this would even be more helpful.

If you can help these students out, our office, the UCSB Community Housing Office is coordinating the effort to match students with either their short term or long term housing. If you have a short-term solution, please call our office at 805.893.4371 and let us know how many you can accommodate.

If you have long-term solution, we ask that you register your place on our website by clicking here. Once you have done so, go back and place your listing in the database. We are not currently charging for this service to more quickly accommodate this need. Please put cash as the payment option and we will release the listing immediately. Students will then call you to make arrangements to come see your place and meet you. We will also send you some information about how to rent your extra room as a helpful guide to assist you through this process.

If you have questions about either option, please don’t hesitate to call our office 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 805.893.4371. We will be open this Saturday, Sept. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help resolve this for these students in need.

Thank you in advance for assisting us with housing these international visitors to our area.

— Roane Akchurin is the manager of the UCSB Community Housing Office.


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Survey: Brown Holds Big Lead, and Majorities Support Water Bond, Measure to Ease Crime Penalties

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Fewer favor propositions on rainy day fund and health insurance rate changes

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a 21-point lead over Neel Kashkari among likely voters in the governor’s race, and there is majority support both for a state water bond and a proposition that would reduce penalties for some drug and property offenses. Likely voters are more divided on two other statewide ballot initiatives, one that would establish a budget stabilization account — or rainy day fund — and another that would give the state insurance commissioner authority over changes in health insurance rates.

These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, with funding from the James Irvine Foundation.

Brown leads Kashkari 54 percent to 33 percent among likely voters, similar to results in July (52 percent to 33 percent). Brown has the support of 86 percent of Democrats, while 64 percent of Republicans prefer Kashkari. Independents support Brown over Kashkari (45 percent Brown, 31 percent Kashkari, 19 percent don’t know). A majority of likely voters (55 percent) are satisfied with their choice of candidates for governor and 31 percent are not. Democrats (71 percent) are far more likely than Republicans (38 percent) to be satisfied. Half of independents (49 percent) are satisfied.

Less than two months before the election, half of likely voters are following news about the gubernatorial candidates very closely (12 percent) or fairly closely (40 percent). Attention was much higher in September 2010 (30 percent very closely, 51 percent fairly closely) and in 2006, the last time there was an election involving an incumbent (17 percent very closely, 57 percent fairly closely).

Brown’s job approval rating is at 55 percent among likely voters compared with 42 percent two years ago (September 2012). His record-high job approval rating is 60 percent, reached in January this year.

As Californians cope with a severe drought, they will vote on Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond to pay for water quality, supply, treatment, and storage projects. When read the measure’s ballot title and label, 58 percent of likely voters say they would vote yes, 29 percent would vote no, and 14 percent are undecided. Majorities of Democrats (68 percent) and independents (59 percent) support Proposition 1. Republicans are more likely to vote yes (44 percent) than no (36 percent). Majorities across regions favor the bond, with support highest in the San Francisco Bay Area (64 percent) and Inland Empire (62 percent), followed by the Central Valley (55 percent), Los Angeles (55 percent), and Orange/San Diego (51 percent). Half of likely voters (51 percent) say the outcome of Proposition 1 is very important to them.

Underscoring their concern about water, 72 percent of likely voters say the supply of water is a big problem in their part of California — up 11 points in just two months (61 percent July). The survey also asked how Californians would vote if their local water district had a bond measure on the ballot to pay for water supply infrastructure projects. A strong majority of likely voters (67 percent) say they would vote yes. Majorities of registered Democrats (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Republicans (56 percent) say they would vote yes, as do residents across regions. And, when asked the most important issue facing the state’s residents today, 29 percent of likely voters name water and drought, second only to jobs and the economy (32 percent).

“The state water bond is supported by a 2-to-1 margin,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “More and more Californians perceive the drought as the top state issue and their region’s water supply as a big problem.”

Solid Majority Favor Proposition 47

Proposition 47 would require a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony for certain drug and property offenses. It would not apply to offenders with prior convictions for serious or violent crime or to registered sex offenders. A majority of likely voters (62 percent) would vote yes on this measure, 25 percent would vote no, and 13 percent don’t know. Solid majorities of Democrats (69 percent) and independents (64 percent) would vote yes. Half of Republicans (50 percent) would vote yes (32 percent no, 19 percent don’t know). Asked about the importance of the vote on this measure, 42 percent say the outcome is very important to them.

Support for Proposition 2 Falls Short of Majority

Two years after passing Proposition 30, voters are being asked again to address the state’s budget situation. Proposition 2 would establish a budget stabilization account, or rainy day fund, that would include a separate reserve for public schools. Among likely voters, 43 percent would vote yes, 33 percent would vote no, and 24 percent don’t know. The results are similar across parties, with less than half of partisans saying they would vote yes. Across all demographic groups, Proposition 2 has neither majority support or majority opposition. Just 30 percent of likely voters say the outcome of the vote on this measure is very important to them.

At the same time, a solid majority of likely voters (62 percent) say the state’s budget situation is a big problem, and 53 percent say the state budget process is in need of major changes (31 percent minor changes).

“Support for Proposition 2 is falling short of a majority, even though many voters still think the state budget situation is a big problem and believe that California is headed into bad economic times,” Baldassare said.

Half Favor Proposition 45

Proposition 45 would require the state insurance commissioner’s approval for changes in health insurance rates or other charges. About half of likely voters (48 percent) favor this proposition, 38 percent are opposed, and 14 percent are undecided. A majority of Democrats (54 percent) and half of independents (49 percent) support Proposition 45. Republicans are more likely to oppose (47 percent) than support it (39 percent). Among likely voters, 42 percent say the outcome of the vote on this measure is very important to them.

Asked about their views of the federal health reform law, likely voters remain divided: 45 percent view it favorably and 49 percent unfavorably. Among all adults, Californians with health insurance are much more likely to have a favorable opinion of the law than those without (44 percent to 32 percent).

The survey also asked about the effect of the law. A majority of likely voters (56 percent) say it has had no direct impact on them or their families, while 18 percent say it has directly helped them or their families and 24 percent say it has hurt them. Among all adults, Californians with household incomes of less than $40,000 (27 percent) are more likely to say the law has helped them than those with higher incomes (13 percent $40,000 to $80,000, 15 percent $80,000 or more). Latinos (26 percent) and blacks (25 percent) are the most likely to say the law has helped them, followed by Asians (20 percent) and whites (14 percent).

Californians Feeling Better About Their State

Californians are feeling more positive about the state than they were when they cast their ballots two years ago. Today, 43 percent of likely voters say things in California are generally going in the right direction (29 percent September 2012), although 52 percent say it is going in the wrong direction. Asked about economic conditions, 44 percent of likely voters say the state will have good times financially in the next year (29 percent September 2012), while 46 percent expect bad times.

“The mood of the California electorate is much more upbeat today than two years ago," Baldassare said, "and this is a trend that works in favor of the political status quo and incumbents this fall.”

As the legislative session ended with a brighter state budget picture, 32 percent of likely voters say they approve of the way the state legislature is doing its job. Just 22 percent expressed this view in September 2012. The legislature’s job approval rating has changed little this year (33 percent January) despite recent political scandals. Because of the legal problems of some members, legislative Democrats lost the supermajority they gained in 2012. Asked how they feel about the possibility that Democrats would regain a supermajority, likely voters are split: 34 percent say it would be a good thing, 37 percent say it would be a bad thing, and 28 percent say it would make no difference.

Obama’s Approval Rating at Record Low

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating among California likely voters matches the record-low 46 percent he got in January. Not surprisingly, there is a wide partisan divide, with 72 percent of registered Democrats approving and 82 percent of Republicans disapproving of the president’s job performance. Independents are more likely to disapprove (55 percent) than approve (39 percent).

Congress continues to get a low rating, with just 16 percent of likely voters approving of its job performance. These results are similar to those in recent surveys (14 percent May, 15 percent July). How would California’s likely voters like to see this year’s congressional elections play out? Half (50 percent) prefer that Democrats control Congress, while 40 percent prefer that Republicans be in control (10 percent don’t know).

Asked to evaluate the state’s two Democratic senators, 55 percent of likely voters approve of the job Dianne Feinstein is doing, similar to last September (51 percent). Barbara Boxer’s rating is 10 points lower at 45 percent, also similar to last September (48 percent).

More Key Findings

» Happy with the initiative process — Most Californians (65 percent) and likely voters (66 percent) are at least somewhat satisfied with the way the initiative process is working. Large majorities (81 percent adults, 78 percent likely voters) say the state’s voters should make some of the decisions involved in the state budget — as they are in voting on Propositions 1 and 2 this fall.

» Most see immigrants as a benefit rather than burden — A solid majority of Californians (61 percent) and half of likely voters (51 percent) say immigrants benefit the state. Californians are divided on whether securing the border or addressing the status of illegal immigrants should be a higher priority.

» Ready for a disaster? Half have an emergency kit — In the wake of a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, 64 percent of Californians say they are at least somewhat worried about the impact of a major disaster on their households. Half of Californians (52 percent) say they have a disaster supply kit in their households.

About the Survey

Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,702 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones Sept. 8-15. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.6 percent for all adults, plus or minus 4.1 percent for the 1,321 registered voters and plus or minus 4.9 percent for the 916 likely voters.

Click here to view the complete survey.


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PCPA Holding One-Day Costume Shop Sale

By | Published on 09/25/2014


Costumes from PCPA’s extensive warehouse will go on sale to the public from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 18.

Make your unique Halloween costume from select costume pieces that have been used in PCPA's productions. Also for sale will be accessories, shoes, hats and assorted fabric remnants. A tremendous array of unique costumes will be available at great prices.

The Costume Shop Sale will take place at the costume warehouse at 715 Arctic Ave., near Boone and College.

Cash only. No pre-sale appointments. And please, no phone calls to the costume shop.

— Craig Shafer represents PCPA.


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Chamber of Commerc Golf Classic Supports Junior Carpinterian Scholarship Fund

By | Published on 09/25/2014


The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce featured its 17th annual Golf Classic at Glen Annie Golf Club on Sept. 17 in support of the Junior Carpinterian Scholarship Fund.

More than 70 golfers, friends and business members of the Chamber of Commerce came out to support the event, which provides scholarship funding to the annual Junior Scholarship award winners, named each year at the annual Community Awards Banquet, slated for Jan. 24, 2015.

Business sponsors included the Carpinteria branch of Montecito Bank &Trust, the Carpinteria Holiday Inn Express and Lexus of Santa Barbara.

The first-place low net DAC International winners were Dave Stubbe, Stan Lay, Jim Marks and Ryan Kane. First-place low gross Team Montecito Bank & Trust winners were Joe Ballesteros, Danny Contreras, Rich Nahas (Glen Annie general manager), Anthony Castillo and Javier Quezada.

A delicious barbecue dinner and a silent and live auction followed the day on the course, to the tunes of Bonnie & Co.

"We are always delighted to sponsor this event," Castillo says. "When other golf events seem to be dropping out, this outing provides such a great opportunity for mixing business and fun, it just gets better."

Call CVCC events/membership manager,Colin Malloy at 805.684.5479 for information about next year's event.

— Patricia Kistler represents the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Golf Classic
First-place low net DAC International winners, from left, Dave Stubbe, Stan Lay, Jim Marks and Ryan Kane. (Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce photo)


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