Santa Barbara-Goleta, Monday, May 04, 2015

Weather: Fair 55.0º

Noozhawk.com Logo

Developers Spruce Up Historic Timbers Restaurant In Hopes of Making a Go of Troubled Property

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Among revitalization plans for far-western Goleta location are an organic farm, market, restaurant — and respect for past

The building stands strong and alone, a bit imposing but not enough to scare away the various owners who have tried but failed to keep Timbers Restaurant up and running on the western outskirts of Goleta.

Built in 1953, famously with oil-streaked timbers procured from the nearby Ellwood Pier, where a Japanese submarine shelled the oil platform a decade earlier during World War II, the restaurant has seen several iterations over the years. It’s also been intermittently empty — the state it’s maintained since 2005.

A new developer hopes to revitalize the property at 10 Winchester Canyon Road near Highway 101, planning an organic farm for hands-on vegetable picking, a local market, bakery, commercial kitchen and a reopening of the historic Timbers Restaurant.

Montecito resident Sandy Boyd of the former Fresh Choice Restaurant and Espresso Roma Café chains has a lease on the property, and he’s hired Jeremiah Higgins and his team at HJL Hospitality Advisors to get the job done.

Crews began cleaning up the old, vacant dining hall in March and have planted the 2½-acre farm, hoping to open the market in June and the restaurant this fall.

The prospect is exciting to Goleta residents but sounds all too familiar.

“It’s been sort of hot and cold over the years,” said Ron Nye, a longtime historian with the Goleta Valley Historical Society. “Every few years somebody would open it up or say they would. There’s been 100 ideas; it’s just so big.

“It’s a shame something profitable and useful to the community can’t be done. It’s a terrific building.”

Boyd and Higgins have accepted that challenge, and they hope locals will come on board, too.

                                                                 •        •        •

As the story goes, H.C. “Tex” Blankenship bought 20 acres of Ellwood land in 1953 with the intention of building a restaurant. Oil companies were leaving the area and giving away timber from the nearby platform, so Blankenship bought the wood.

The wood used to build the Timbers probably came from the oil pier, Nye said, but no evidence proves it was from the platform that was shelled in 1942 by a Japanese submarine, the first assault on the U.S. homeland since Pearl Harbor was attacked the year before.

Nye and other historians also haven’t been able to back up whether shrapnel remnants are visible inside the timber — another myth — or if its gigantic fireplace is actually made from stones from the Lake Cachuma Dam project, which was completed around the same time.

But the uniqueness of the architecture and materials has landed the building on a “historic resource” list in the City of Goleta’s general plan.

Timber that size — 12 inches by 15 inches — can’t be found anymore, Nye said, noting Blankenship’s vision of creating a theme park or roadside attraction.

“The fact that it used oil field piers in its construction ... that makes it significant because that was an important part of Goleta history,” Nye said. “A lot of Goletans worked in the oil fields.”

For whatever reason, Blankenship never opened his restaurant. He handed the reins over to Sam Velliotes and his family, who opened the Timbers in 1963.

At some point in the ’70s, the Timbers became a popular steakhouse called Ruby Begonia’s Roadhouse — kind of a “hippie hangout,” Nye said.

The restaurant reopened in 1985 as the Timbers, and business was booming when it was purchased 22 years ago by Hoosh Santa Barbara Real Estate Investments LLC, boasting an on-site café and catering company used by United Airlines.

The owner planned to build lodging nearby until the 9/11 terrorist attacks. United Airlines pulled out of the catering business after that, and the restaurant soon followed, closing in 2005.

The owner, who asked not to be named, has held onto the building ever since, understanding its architectural and historic value enough to not let anyone tear it down.

Over the years, he’s had several offers for the property but wasn’t interested in pursuing any of them.

He likes Boyd’s new concept and hopes it works out.

                                                                 •        •        •

Boyd, whose grandparents moved to Santa Barbara the year the Goleta shore was shelled, has had a lease on the Timbers building for a few years while toying with its possibilities.

He started the Fresh Choice Restaurant chain and still operates four locations, although at one point there were 20. His six Espresso Roma Cafés were born in Berkeley in 1980.

Boyd’s vision is to create a farm where you pick your own vegetables, and check out at a kiosk or purchase the produce from the market, roadside “barns” or stands, or from the restaurant. Cauliflower, kale, romaine lettuce, peas, pumpkins, squash, radishes and carrots are already growing.

A corresponding market will sell 100 percent local fare and drink, such as olive oils, honey, wine, beer, pistachios, avocados, citrus and more.

Kids could visit an on-site petting zoo, and barbecue grill pits are also in the works.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Higgins, a longtime restaurant and hospitality veteran who’s helped open more than three dozen restaurants, including local joints like Blush, Savoy and Tonic in Santa Barbara and Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.

He’s still searching for more local food, beer and wine vendors, and encourages any interested businesses to email him at [email protected].

The developers recognize what the Timbers means to the community and are happy to help preserve its charm.

Before long, they hope the Timbers Restaurant will once again bustle with activity and become a roadside attraction that finally lives up to its potential.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Sister Won’t Let Distance, Difficulty Deter Her from Quest for Justice in Jenny Clark’s Death

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Arizona woman to be in court today in Santa Maria to see Benjamin Bettencourt sentenced for felony DUI convictions stemming from 2012 wreck

Erin Parsons has waited nearly three years to see justice for her sister, who died of her injuries a week after the crash of a van operated by a man a jury recently convicted of drunken driving at the time.

This week, the Arizona resident may finally hear the sentence for Benjamin Bettencourt, a Santa Ynez Valley man who was found guilty for his role in the Nov. 24, 2012, crash that led to Jennifer Clark’s death.

On April 3, jurors found Bettencourt guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, felony driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

Bettencourt’s sentencing is scheduled for Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores’ courtroom in Santa Maria. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

As the trial started in early February Parsons said she was committed to ensuring her older sister, known as Jenny, received justice.

“We’re fighting for the truth to be told,” she said. “I’m representing my sister like I know how she would do for me.”

Parsons added that she believed Bettencourt deserved to be punished for his actions.

For most of the trial, Parsons sat in the courtroom’s front row, often accompanied by her husband, Ryan, and other family members and friends, listening as the defense blamed the crash on Clark.

Bettencourt contended Clark, who had a blood-alcohol content of .20, sat on his lap, yanked the steering and caused the wreck. He was represented by attorney, Darryl Genis, noted for vigorously defending his DUI clients.

During the trial, Genis challenged breathalyzer equipment used to measure his client’s blood-alcohol level and contended laboratory workers mishandled the contents.

While the trial reopened the wounds of her loss, Parsons had praise for Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy, who prosecuted the case, calling him “a voice for us.”

She said she also appreciated the work of the District Attorney’s Office, including that of the support staff during her family’s ordeal.

“Their diligent work and their character has been very helpful for my family to get through this,” Parsons said.

Traveling to the Central Coast for the trial gave Parsons, her husband and their sons a chance to visit Clark’s roadside memorial, which sits near the crash site on Highway 246 between Buellton and Solvang.

Clark grew up in San Diego and moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 2004.

At the time of the crash, the 39-year-old served as a physical education teacher at Oak Valley School in Buellton, taught adaptive physical education for the Santa Ynez Valley Special Education Consortium, and coached volleyball.

“She was an incredible person,” Parsons recalled.

Clark “absolutely loved the outdoors,” participating in all sorts of sports, she added.

“She was pretty radiant with her personality,” she said. “She could light up a room with that smile.”

Clark also was known for her sense of humor and “could crack a joke at anything,” Parsons added.

Word of the horrific crash reached Parsons while she was in labor with her second son at a suburban Phoenix hospital.

Clark had been taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major head injuries. A time of celebrating new life suddenly became a moment of mourning a life cut short.

Days after giving birth, Parsons traveled to Santa Barbara, where Clark was being treated for severe brain trauma.

Parsons introduced her unconscious sister to her newest nephew.

“I was able to say goodbye to her,” Parsons said.

Clark died Dec. 2, 2012.

Parsons soon learned that the fatal wreck wasn’t Bettencourt’s first.

He reportedly was involved in a speed contest on Alisos Canyon Road in 1998 when his vehicle crashed, killing 18-year-old Lesley Alejo.

The wreck left Bettencourt a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He was found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, and was sentenced to probation and community service.

When the jury returned the guilty verdict last month, Parsons didn’t just have her sister in mind, noting it also was vindication for Alejo.

“Justice for Jenny is finally served,” Parsons said after the latest guilty verdicts. “God, that makes me so happy to say.”

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: The Drought Disaster Before Us

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Gov. Jerry Brown must act now to defend California against the drought disaster before us.

Delta water must be redirected to agriculture and residential use and non-existent fish left out of the use of scarce water until the reservoirs are filled again by natural rain.

The state must arrange ship and tanker truck shipments of water from out of the state to all points in the state.

California must initiate a crash program of desalination plant construction along the coast to provide water now and in the future for other droughts we are sure to have.

The state must initiate a crash program for reservoir construction to capture more of the rain water now running into the ocean.

We have no idea when the drought will end and, if it does, how long it will take to refill reservoirs and the aquifers.

The steps recommended above may be our only solution. Only time will tell.

Are the politicians in California willing to risk everything on continued inaction?

Only bold actions now will head off the looming disaster.

Concerned Taxpayers I.N.C.

Justin Ruhge
Lompoc

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Sansum Clinic Pediatrician Refutes Claim Doctors Are Refusing to Sign Vaccine Waiver, Outlines Steps

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

While public health officials remain concerned about vaccination rates in the Santa Barbara area, doctors from one local clinic say they will still sign personal belief exemptions, provided the person requesting an exemption brings in the child for an exam and a consultation.

Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)
Dr. Karen Johnson, a pediatrician with Sansum Clinic, notes the challenge of reversing the “fear factor” among a small percentage of parents who oppose immunizations. “It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she says. (Sansum Clinic photo)

Noozhawk received a tip last week that Sansum Pediatric Clinic providers were refusing to sign the Personal Belief Exemption form required for children entering school without the necessary vaccinations.

Local doctors and public health officials have expressed concern over the number of parents opting out of vaccinating their children, particularly in wealthier pockets of the South Coast.

Last month, doctors met at a public forum on immunization, and stated that for about 40 percent of schools in the area, there is excellent immunity, but for most local schools, the rates of immunity need to rise.

Dr. Karen Johnson, chairwoman of Sansum’s Pediatrics Department, spoke with Noozhawk last week and said that while her colleagues don’t want to sign the waivers and would rather that children be immunized, “we do sign the documents under certain situations.”

Johnson said doctors in the department will sign the forms if an appointment is made, and the doctor has a chance to counsel the parent about the benefits of vaccination.

If the parent still refuses, the doctor will sign the form, she said.

“People will fax them in or drop them off at the desk when they haven’t had an appointment in the last couple of years,” she said. “That’s inappropriate.”

The doctors will recommend that families without an appointment have the form handled by another qualified signer, which would include nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, naturopathic doctors or credentialed school nurses.

Johnson said parents can also sign the form themselves under a religious belief exemption.

She said she’s had several people fax in the forms rather than come in for an appointment. When she asked why, she said, they replied that they didn’t have time.

Johnson, herself a mother of four, said she understands but doesn’t think it’s a valid excuse.

Of the thousands of children the clinic sees each year, she said those whose parents have opted out of vaccinations make up a small percentage.

“It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a trend, and Santa Barbara has been identified as one of the pockets,” she said, with areas like Hope Ranch and Montecito compiling higher rates.

“It’s really the wealthier patients who do it,” Johnson said.

She recalled one father who brought in his children for their check-ups but was refusing vaccination. She said she was able to explain each vaccine, and the father eventually allowed the immunizations.

Johnson said doctors must help parents with the “fear factor” about what they have read or have heard from other sources.

“It takes a lot of energy and time to go through and reverse the hysteria,” she said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Reinvogorates Your Home Décor at a Fraction of the Price

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Nonprofit agency builds a business supplying locals with repurposed building materials, appliances

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

If you find something you like or need at ReStore, the retail store selling items for the home and run by the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, it is best to to move quickly.

The Goleta store advertises and sells a lot of its repurposed items online, and those in the know pick up home décor, appliances and building materials (such as windows, doors and countertops) at discounts of 50 percent to even 80 percent.

Ruairi​ Bateson, ReStore manager, explained that, “ReStore has been in Santa Barbara for eight years and in its current location for two.”

Every week the store receives at least 20 drop-offs from as far east as Carpinteria and as far west as Gaviota. The items come from homeowners cleaning out their attics, but also include less vintage items like ovens, washing machines and cabinetry pulled by contractors and construction crews from remodels.

A quarter of ReStores sales are actually doors.

Bateson is particular about what the store accepts — no upholstered items or hollow-core doors, for example.

“They don’t sell,” he explained, “and every inch of the store is precious in a place with high rents like Santa Barbara.”

Even though the organization cuts costs by maintaining a skeleton crew of staff and relying heavily on volunteers, “our costs are high here,” Bateson added.

“We pay Habitat’s second highest rent in Southern California, but you pay for your location by getting great stuff like we do here,” he said of the site, 6860 Cortona Drive near Camino Real Marketplace.

Making every inch in the store efficient is important to Habitat for Humanity because all of the profits from the store pay for both rent and administrative expenses and local housing projects. Another 10 percent of unrestricted funds goes to Habitat’s international projects.

According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the organization is a “nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds with people in need regardless of race or religion” with the vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live ...”

In the past 10 years, Habitat for Humanity has built 19 new homes and housed nearly 70 local residents and U.S. citizens in the Santa Barbara area, as well as repaired another 19 homes through the A Brush with Kindness program, which provides exterior repairs to low-income families that fit within the organiztion’s guidelines.

The most recent Habitat for Humanity building project was on East Canon Perdido near downtown Santa Barbara.

For anyone remodeling a home or even looking to do DIY home improvements — especially anyone trying to make these improvements on a budget — Habitat’s store in Goleta is an important resource. There are great deals on high-end home furnishings, appliances and building materials, as well as a large selection of practical items such as kitchen sinks and faucets.

Good prices, while also helping those in need in one’s own community, makes purchasing these items a winning proposition.

Hidden in the back of a business park, the Goleta based ReStore may be off the beaten path and hard to find the first time, but it’s well worth the effort. Just bring a truck, a tape measure, some creativity and readiness to shop.

Click here for more information about the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday 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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Dale Francisco: With Santa Barbara District Elections Ahead, Beware the Pros — and Cons

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Santa Barbara was recently sued by plaintiffs who accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

Dale Francisco
Dale Francisco

The law is a great example of how powerful interest groups have seized control of politics in California. While supposedly protecting the rights of minority voters, it in fact further empowers the Democratic Party and two of that party’s main allies: labor unions and attorneys.

The California Voting Rights Act was written by two attorneys: Robert Rubin, senior counsel at San Francisco’s Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and director of its California Voting Rights Institute, and Joaquin Avila, a Seattle University law professor and former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF.

In 2001, the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature on party lines: Every Democrat voted for it, and every Republican voted against it. Gov. Gray Davis signed it into law in 2002.

The law targets “at-large elections” — elections in which all of the voters in a jurisdiction vote for all of the members of that jurisdiction’s governing body (for example, up until very recently, Santa Barbara City Council elections, in which all city voters voted for all members of the City Council).

Most small cities and school districts in California have at-large elections, and thus are potential targets of lawsuits filed under the Voting Rights Act.

An interesting feature written into the law is that a prevailing plaintiff attorney is entitled to have all of his or her attorney fees and expenses paid by a losing defendant, but a prevailing defendant cannot recover any costs.

This creates a tremendous financial incentive for Voting Rights Act lawsuits. In 2009, Michael Blood of The Associated Press found that in the first seven years of the law’s existence, attorneys Rubin and Avila had earned roughly $4.3 million for their firms by suing school districts and cities for violating the Voting Rights Act.

Even if a defendant chooses to settle, the costs of such lawsuits can be crippling for small jurisdictions.

Many of Rubin and Avila’s original targets were Central Valley school districts. In 2010, then-Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, introduced AB 2330, which would have given school districts 30 days to respond before attorneys could file a lawsuit, thus allowing defendants potentially to avoid paying attorney fees.

Unfortunately, Arambula’s bill never made it out of committee. (Arambula, the son of migrant farmworkers, later left the Democratic Party and became an independent over his belief that labor unions had too much control over the party.)

The California Voting Rights Act makes it much easier for minorities to claim that they have been discriminated against. They need only demonstrate that there is “racially polarized voting” — meaning the candidates chosen by minorities (such as Hispanic voters) are different from those chosen by the majority.

Here’s an example of how “racially polarized voting” lowers the bar for proving racial discrimination. Cruzito Cruz, one of the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit against Santa Barbara, has run for City Council three times. Cruz has never raised any money for campaigning, and so has never advertised, and thus is virtually unknown outside of his neighborhood.

In the 2013 election, he did best in his home precinct (105 votes) and the adjoining precinct (109 votes). His vote totals in other precincts were much lower.

Since virtually all of Cruz’s votes came from a minority neighborhood, there was, by definition, racially polarized voting. Under the Voting Rights Act, that is automatic proof of racial discrimination. Yet in his home precinct, Cruz came in eighth out of 10 candidates. So it seems unlikely that even with a new Hispanic majority district that Cruz could have been elected.

To avoid millions of dollars in costs, the City Council decided to settle the Voting Rights Act case before it went to trial. The city is now divided into six districts, two of which are “majority-minority” districts — ones in which Hispanics are a majority of the voting-age population.

This is the payoff for the Democratic Party, and the reason that the Voting Rights Act passed the Legislature strictly on party lines.

Let’s compare District 1 (the Milpas area), one of the two new majority-minority districts, and District 4 (Riviera, Upper East and eastern San Roque). The two districts are roughly equal in population. But because District 1 is majority Hispanic, and many of its residents are not citizens, there are only 8,231 citizens of voting age, whereas in District 4 there are 11,369.

The difference in registered voters is even greater: 5,735 in District 1, compared to 10,328 in District 4. Yet each district gets to elect one City Council member. This means that the voting power of each voter in District 1 is effectively twice as great as that of a voter in District 4.

In California, 59 percent of likely Hispanic voters are Democrats and 18 percent are Republicans. Over time one would expect the newly empowered Hispanic voting districts to elect more Democrats. Unfortunately, because most Democratic candidates in California are financed by the public-employee unions, this could mean even greater union control over local politics, which means continued, unsustainable increases in union wages and benefits — at the expense of taxpayers.

How can we fight back? We must reach out to voters, and make sure they understand that continued, corrupt union control of city politics is harmful to whites, blacks, Hispanics — to everyone. A bankrupt California will serve no one’s interests.

Here’s a simple rule when evaluating candidates in this fall’s City Council race: If a candidate has received financial support from the public-employee unions, especially over a period of years, don’t vote for that candidate. Vote for leaders who represent all the people.

Dale Francisco is a Santa Barbara city councilman.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Michael Rattray: Tide Shifts in Favor of Goleta Beach Park, and Coastal Commission Could, Too

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

By far the biggest decision on the future of Goleta Beach Park will be made May 13 when the California Coastal Commission votes on the fate of the park’s current protection.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

In the last 13 years, Santa Barbara County crews installed rock buffers in front of the park’s lawn and its western parking lots. The intent was to prevent major erosion during the awful El Niño storms that many of us pray for today during California’s chronic drought.

This journey to save the county’s most popular park — which draws 1.5 million visitors a year — has been a long and arduous battle that finally can have a long-term solution.

Now with a unanimous 5-0 vote for permanency from our county Board of Supervisors, support from both the county and Coastal Commission staff, and an endorsement from our local Surfrider Foundation, we — hopefully — can get an agreement of “no change” from the Coastal Commission itself.

Among the counter arguments for removing this protection are that the rocks are set in the surf line, scouring our beaches and depriving sand from naturally moving down coast. But these assertions were put to rest by a factual environmental impact report that proved otherwise.

It was finally documented that the rocks’ placement doesn’t impede normal ebb and flow of surf during high tides, but instead they are truly doing their job of protecting landward park assets when needed most.

Next on the list of arguments against the rocks was the threat of sea-level rise.

But again, the EIR found that when or if such rises materialize in the Santa Barbara Channel, any impact on beach erosion would be after 2050, eliminating the need of removing the rocks today.

And, by the way, the NOAA has been monitoring sea-level changes in our channel since 1974, and in 40 years there has been less than an inch of rise, a far cry from the 2 to 5 feet that computer models continue to predict.

With these arguments out of the way, all citizens of this county finally will be able to enjoy this wonderful beach park without the threat of destruction like we have experienced during past winter storms — before the buried rocks were installed.

But we can’t ease up now. Your support in defense of this position is most welcome, either through writing to the Coastal Commission or by attending the May 13 commission hearing in Santa Barbara. The hearing begins at approximately 4 p.m. in the Board if Supervisors hearing room on the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

— Michael Rattray represents Friends of Goleta Beach Park.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Steven Crandell: 3 Ways to Reboot Your Spirit

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Think of it as our human software — the spiritual operating system that orients everything we do. It guides us as we think, work, play, love, create and give. Have you checked what spiritual OS you’re running? Are you happy with its functionality? Would you like to know three ways to update and restart your spiritual self?

The following ideas are ancient and modern, commonplace and mysterious, available and rarely accessed. They can be applied to all belief systems, including atheism.

Breathe

I believe awareness brings connection. And connection brings wholeness and love.

What brings awareness?

Breathing.

To me, it’s a vital sign not only because it keeps our heart beating, but also because it opens our spirit for connection. In a truly wonderful irony, we breathe to keep our body functioning so our spirit can connect far beyond the confines of our cellular structure.

Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh writes that: “Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

And our thoughts connect us to the cosmos — everyone and everything.

Try this: Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowly. Say “Thank you.” (It helps me to think of something about which I feel authentically grateful on the exhale.) Try it three times. See how you feel. Try it five more times. See how you feel. Now try it 10 times. (This will take less than two minutes in total.)

There are many ways that breathing can help connect body and spirit. But sometimes we just need to reverse the negative inertia that can drain our energy so we can direct our own journey in a manner that fits with our most heartfelt values.

Sing

Why do you think everyone sings “Happy Birthday” as a way to celebrate an individual’s entrance on the planet?

Why do faithful folks sing or chant in every spiritual tradition?

Singing transforms language into music. And music is an invitation to emotion and movement. It’s all about connection and community. The vibrations of our vocal chords become vibrations in others’ ears. Feelings become easier to express and understand.

As we hear a good song, the artificial divisions of body, mind, heart and spirit become difficult to keep separate. Do you tap your foot to the beat? Do you want to dance? Does a memory come to mind, revived and made potent by the simplest tune? Do you want to sing along?

Yet so many of us think we “can’t” sing. Or that our voices are somehow “bad.”

This stunts our spirits. When we sing we can find instant connection with the creativity in our own bodies. When we sing with other people, we can feel the instant community that a shared song can bring.

Try this: Find some privacy and then sing your name. To any tune. Make one up. Or just use “Twinkle, Twinkle.” And while you sing, put one hand on your voice box — that’s in the throat area of the neck if you’ve never checked — and the other hand on your heart. You will feel the vibration.

Then put your fingers in your ears and sing again. You will sound different, but you will be able to hear yourself much better.

Then sing a simple song using only the words “thank you” repeated. See how you feel after this. Try it with an understanding friend if you like. Feel their voice as it vibrates in their body. Touch the miracle of another’s voice singing. Then sing along.

Always Have Plan B Ready to Implement

My Plan B is for when things don't work out, for when I suffer, for when my loved ones suffer, for when I feel disconnected and spiritually stuck.

My Plan B is not fancy or complicated.

My Plan B is just to keep trying. No matter what. Learning where possible. Never giving up. I love my Plan B. It’s the ultimate backup.

Try this: When things go badly, think of something you are authentically grateful for. Once you have it in mind, just say, “Thank you.” Say it even though your misfortune may be uppermost in your mind.

Gratefulness can come from the most basic things. That we’re alive. That we have friends. That we have food and shelter. No bonus points for complexity here. The idea is to get a toehold. To keep trying by staying engaged, by staying in relationship with the positive aspects of our lives.

In many ways, our thoughts forge our experience and we mold our thoughts moment by moment through free will. Finding an authentic thank you is a way to exercise our spiritual power to choose integrity, grace and connection.

I often think of the process like this: We go inside to connect outside. We seek our own balance to unite with a balance that transcends our divisions and unites us all.

Our breath, our voices, our ability to keep trying — these are all declarations of our belonging.

Truth is, we humans focus on our differences in blatant disregard for our common biology and experience. Have you ever stopped to consider that we are all sons or daughters, all part of a remarkably long line of humans nurturing other humans?

I believe we just need to let the light of this connection permeate to our deeper selves. That’s why the simple spiritual reboot I’ve proposed can help. It reminds us of what we already have — a shared humanity, a shared legacy and a shared destiny.

— 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 [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Three Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Armed Robbery

By | Published on 05/03/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

An armed robbery involving three men occurred early Sunday in Isla Vista, and the suspects remained at large, according to the UC Santa Barbara Police Department.

The robbery was reported at about 4:30 a.m. in the 6500 block of Seville Road, the department said in an automated alert to the UCSB community.

One of the suspects may have been armed with a firearm, police said.

Residents were advised to stay indoors and avoid the area.

Shortly after 10 a.m., police issued the following update:

“The area of the robbery has been thoroughly searched and checked by deputies and officers,” a statement said. “The suspects have not been located, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation into the crime.”

Additional details on the incident were not available.

Anyone with information about the robbery was encouraged to call UCSB police at 805.893.3446.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Driver Hurt When Vehicle Strikes Utility Pole, Overturns East of Santa Maria

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Minor injuries reported in crash on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road

A driver escaped with only minor injuries Saturday night when his vehicle slammed into a utility pole east of Santa Maria, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on Rosemary Road near East Stowell Road, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

After the vehicle struck the pole, he said, it continued into an agricultural field, where it overturned.

County fire personnel, assisted by Santa Maria firefighters, had to do extensive work to free the driver from the wreckage, Zaniboni said.

The victim, a man in his 40s who was not otherwise identified, was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Alternative Energy Storage Has a Mountain to Climb, Which May Be What It Needs to Succeed

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Montecito’s Bill Peitzke builds on the idea that gravity and railroad tracks are just the right combination to redistribute wind and solar energy

Some railroad tracks, shuttle trains and one steep hill could be the linchpin to solving the world’s renewable energy woes.

The challenge so far lies largely in figuring out how to efficiently store and redistribute the energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines after the sun goes down and the breeze stops blowing.

Bill Peitzke may have the answer.

The longtime Montecito resident has co-founded Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), which aims to store renewable energy while leaving a relatively light environmental footprint and without using any water — a sought-after resource that’s needed for the more commonly used pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

ARES is piloting a project that takes solar or wind energy off an electrical grid and places it into a shuttle train, the motors of which operate as generators to propel the train up a steep hill on a railroad track.

When that potential energy is needed, the parked train descends to the bottom of the incline, where gravity-generated energy is redistributed into the grid.

In that way, Peitzke said, his company is harnessing the power of 100-year-old technology while producing six times more energy than hydroelectric storage.

ARES built and successfully tested a pilot in 2012 on a ranch in Tehachapi, southeast of Bakersfield in Kern County. Now the company is looking to construct the real thing in Pahrump, Nev., a Mojave Desert community near the California border west of Las Vegas.

The first-of-its-kind, 50-megawatt grid-scale ancillary services facility should produce enough electricity to power 50,000 homes, said Peitzke, who serves as director of technology development and has nearly 30 years of experience in the energy business.

Peitzke co-founded the company with San Diego engineer Matt Brown and recently hired CEO James Kelly, a retired Southern California Edison executive.

Before that, Peitzke served as a broker of long-term natural gas contracts and founded Williams Resources Corp. to provide a wide range of energy services.

“I’m passionate about climate change,” he recently told Noozhawk, referring to the lofty renewable energy goals the United States is supposed to soon reach.

In California, 33 percent of electricity must be from renewable sources by 2020 — just five years away.

“That requires a lot of energy storage,” he remarked.

The $40 million Nevada project is going through permitting channels now, although ARES has already struck a deal with the California Independent System Operator to redistribute the energy its trains will produce. The CISO oversees the state’s bulk electric power system, transmission lines and electricity market.

The operation — involving the steepest unmanned traction-driven railroad at an 8-percent grade — will eventually employ 16 people full time in a control room once it becomes fully operational, likely by December 2017.

ARES is already in talks to build similar projects across the country, said Peitzke, who said he is excited to break into a lucrative energy-storage market.

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.

The ARES Tehachapi Pilot Project railroad and vehicle, the steepest traction drive railroad in the United States seen here on a 9 percent-grade track section, aims to store wind energy with its gravity-based system. (Felix Adamo photo)
The ARES Tehachapi Pilot Project railroad and vehicle, the steepest traction drive railroad in the United States seen here on a 9 percent-grade track section, aims to store wind energy with its gravity-based system. (Felix Adamo photo)

(TodaysGreenMinute video)

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Former Colleagues Remember Late Santa Maria Police Chief Aubrey Patterson

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Retired longtime officer, who died last month at 74, served as interim chief in the 1990s

A retired Santa Maria police officer, who served as interim chief for several months in the 1990s, died last month. In spite of his reluctance to take credit, he is being remembered for his role mentoring multiple officers.

The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.
The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.

Longtime Santa Maria Valley resident Aubrey Patterson, 74, died April 22, his family said in an obituary.

He worked for the Santa Maria Police Department for 28 years, starting as a patrolman and finishing as a chief.

Cmdr. Kendall Greene said Patterson’s mentoring continued after the former chief left the police force.

“If it wasn’t for Aubrey Patterson, I wouldn’t be a police officer today,” Greene told Noozhawk.

“Sometimes he was just an ear to which I could vent,” he added.

Patterson shared “invaluable words of wisdom,” and helped Greene learn to deal with disappointment.

“I’m just thankful for the advice he gave me,” he said. “He’s a good man and he will be missed.”

Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant and former city councilman, also considered Patterson a mentor.

“You knew you could trust him and you knew he had high standards that you had to live up to in order to work for him,” he said.

“He was just an all-around great guy,” Cordero added.

Patterson’s friends and former co-workers recalled the retired officer’s love of sports. He played on SMPD’s baseball team.

“He had a great sense of humor, a high standard of work ethic, and he had clear, high demands for the people who worked for him,” Cordero said. “He had expectations and he didn’t hold back in telling you ... I learned a great deal from him and I always felt that I could trust him.”

Patterson also was “an outstanding homicide investigator” when he worked in the detectives’ bureau, he added.

In a cost-saving move, for a time the city made the police chief also manage the Fire Department. At that time, Patterson was named department chief for the law enforcement agency while Dan Shiner oversaw both agencies, according to Cordero.

After Shiner left in 1998, Patterson filled in for several months as police chief until a permanent replacement could be hired. However, his name is not on the official list of chiefs on the department’s website.

Before joining the Police Department, Patterson served in the Air Force for eight years.

While stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Patterson met and married his wife, Mary Sue. They have a daughter, Jeania Ann Reasner, and a son, Joey Patterson, along with three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Patterson also is survived by a brother, Jack.

At Patterson’s request, no funeral is planned.

“He didn’t want a big deal made of his accomplishments in life,” his obituary said. “He also didn’t want a big deal made, he said, when he was called home.

“He wants no funeral. He said he’d like it if his family and friends would remember him once in awhile with a smile and maybe do a favor for someone to try and make their journey just a little better.”

Funeral arrangements were handled by Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary of Santa Maria.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Mark Shields: Voters Prefer Governors Over Senators for President

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

In the past 94 years, American voters have elected a total of two U.S. senators — John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Barack Obama — president. By contrast, before Obama, four of the past five men elected to the White House — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — were either sitting or former governors.

Why the electorate’s preference for governors over senators? Governors have to make tough choices about how to balance the state budget, which the governor then has to persuade reluctant state legislators to pass. Senators instead make tough speeches and then issue a news release endorsing an unattainable — and unworkable — constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

Governors, who often deal with natural disasters and public emergencies, can point to real changes in people’s lives — the opening of a new community college or jobs with employers they brought to their state.

Senators, who speak in their own jargon about “lacking a quorum” or “tabling the motion to recommit” that means nothing to most Americans, represent the Congress, a universally disliked institution, and Washington, an unpopular place.

But because a senator is only one of 100 and accountable only for her or his own voting record, most voters don’t get upset when their ambitious senator misses the hearings of the Subcommittee on Weights and Measures to travel to a county convention in Iowa or to a party dinner in New Hampshire. That’s what senators do; they run for president. And it isn’t as though being in the Senate involves real work or heavy lifting.

The disadvantage for a governor — not as the party’s nominee for president in the general election but in leaving the state capitol to seek that presidential nomination by traveling to the primary and caucus states — is that the constituents, though they may take some home-state pride in all the national attention, want their governor on the job full time.

Consider New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state’s credit rating has been downgraded nine times during his administration. By a 2-to-1 margin in a Quinnipiac University poll, New Jersey voters do not think Christie should run for president. And if he does, 70 percent of his constituents believe he should immediately resign as governor.

Wisconsin voters are only slightly less unenthusiastic about the fact that their governor, Scott Walker, who is at the top of many national surveys, may run for the White House. By a 3-to-2 margin in the most recent Public Policy Polling survey, Dairy State voters do not think Walker should run for the highest office.

His job rating — according to the tally of the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker has been out of state about half the days in 2015 — has dropped to its lowest point in four years. A presidential bid by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would also be opposed by about two in three Louisiana voters.

You can hear the identical campaign case against Christie, Jindal and Walker from Republican rivals for the nomination: “Let’s listen to those who know him best, his home-state voters — who overwhelmingly do not want him to run.”

If you are the presidential nominee, it can be good to be a governor. But the real job of being governor can make it difficult to win that nomination.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Orcutt Schools Roll Out the Red Carpet in Celebration of Inaugural Digital Media Academy

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Tuesday awards night to showcase range and creativity of students’ new technology skills

Complete with red carpet arrivals, paparazzi and stars — aka students and teachers —the Orcutt Union School District will celebrate the first digital media academy with a Hollywood-style event.

The sold-out event set for Tuesday evening at Pacific Christian Center, 3435 Santa Maria Way, will include showings of student-made productions for the first Educational Media Innovation — dubbed EMI, it’s pronounced “emmy” — Awards.

The academy, led by 30 teachers on campuses in the district, aims to provide the digital literacy skills that today’s students need.

“This is where education is moving,” Superintendent Deborah Blow said. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.”

EMI Awards will be given in 10 categories. Six People’s Choice nominees will be chosen by those at the EMI Awards with voting via text messaging at the end of the night. Two Grand Recognition Awards also will be presented.

In all, 18 student productions will be shown, trimmed from a field of 110 submissions.

The 30 participating teachers applied for the district’s inaugural program last fall.

“It just seemed like a really neat opportunity to integrate technology in the classroom,” said first-year Olga Reed Elementary School teacher Nick Spaht, from a classroom with sixth  and seventh grades.

Orcutt Academy Charter School teacher Michelle Clayton said she applied because the program sounded like an exciting opportunity — both for her and for her students.

“It can never hurt to build technology skills in today’s educational world,” she said.

Clayton said students worked in groups of four to create public service announcements.

“The collaborative piece for them was amazing because I really saw kids working together on a final product and it was something they had never done before …,” she said. “There were kids who ended up being the main videographers and the main editors, but they all had a hand in every part of it, which is great.”

Spaht agreed.

“They did a fantastic job with their videos,” he said, adding that his students’ productions centered around character words such as perseverance, trustworthiness, honesty and integrity.

Clayton’s students’ topics run the gamut but center on “kid issues” — belonging, bullying, making a difference in the world.

Spaht and Clayton were able to collaborate since Orcutt Academy and Olga Reed share the Los Alamos campus. They said they plan to make educational videos to benefit both schools.

From camera angles to voice overs to all kinds of software, eighth-graders Liana Clark, Domeneque Remirez and Thomas Cardona, along with seventh-grader Leticia Ruvalcaba, said they learned assorted skills while working on their productions.

The students said they came away with more than technological lessons.

“Teamwork — definitely teamwork,” Thomas said in describing what he learned.

“Trying to listen to others to see everyone else’s ideas,” Leticia added.

“And being more open to other ideas,” Liana said.

It also boosted students’ confidence with technology, they agreed.

“I think, overall when we were making these videos, I think that we got closer together as friends,” Domeneque added.

Their teacher taught them how to use the hardware and software, but otherwise let the students create without interference.

“It was really nice how she made it our video, instead of a teacher video, and how she let it be a reflection us,” Liana said. “It was learning by experience.”

The students also gained an appreciation for longer productions after seeing how much work went into their one-minute shows.

Some of the students confessed to nerves and excitement for the awards night.

“I’m excited to see what all the other students have done throughout the district,” Leticia said.

When she was hired last year, Blow cited the digital media academy as one her goals for the district.

Teachers were equipped with technology and attended training sessions before taking the lessons into their classrooms. Schools also received carts that carry laptop computers for classroom use across the campus.

Not only does the program give some students and teachers new skills, it also provides infusions of technology for campuses, which often had relied on donated — also known as older — computers, officials noted.

“I think that’s why this program has been such a shot in the arm because the teachers and students were ready for some new technology,” Blow explained. “While we’ve done a great job with what we’ve had, it’s nice to get some current equipment in place.”

Next year, more teachers will be equipped and prepped to lead the academy, with the inaugural group serving as mentors while expanding their own skills.

Approved by the Orcutt school board in October, the $300,000 program was not really launched in classrooms until January, so this year’s academy is abbreviated compared to future versions.

Knowing that, Blow said she’s impressed.

“They’ve just blown me away with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time,” she said.

Spaht is already looking ahead to having a full year and expanding his lessons in 2015-2016.

“I’m super excited to see what else we can do with this technology,” he added.

Blow also expects next year to hold two shows since the venue is expected to be standing-room-only with this year’s group of participants Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to be a great evening,” Blow said of awards night. “I know the films that are going to be shown, and it’s going to be such a nice variety of inspirational videos, educational videos, a lot of innovation and special effects and some humor.

“We’re going make people laugh and we’re going to touch their heart.”

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.

Superintendent Deborah Blow brought the digital media academy to the Orcutt Union School District to boost students' technology skills. “This is where education is moving,” she says. “It’s Common Core standards and it’s 21st-century skills.” (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

United Launch Alliance Union Workers Vote To Ratify Contract

By | Published on 05/02/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Company urged Vandenberg AFB employees to approve pact, machinists’ negotiating committee declined to recommend

United Launch Alliance employees represented by the machinists union at Vandenberg Air Force Base and in Alabama and Florida narrowly voted Sunday to ratify the company’s final offer, which union leaders had said they couldn’t recommend.

Union officials said Sunday afternoon that 53 percent of the voters approve the contract, which becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday. While workers at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., voted in favor of the contract, the majority of the employees at ULA’s Decatur, Ala., manufacturing plant rejected it, according to a union Facebook post that later was removed.

The favorable vote means ULA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers avoided a strike.

ULA had urged workers to approve the three-year contract.

“In the coming years, ULA will face several daunting challenges, including fierce competition for new launch opportunities, a government-mandated deadline for an American-made engine, and customer demands for a lower-cost rocket,” said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive officer. 

“ULA has a finite window to secure our place as the spaceflight partner of choice for the next generation of government and commercial customers.”

Bruno also appealed to employees’ own interests.

“We believe the proposed contract is fair, recognizes our world-class workforce, offers our IAM-represented employees a wage and benefit package that exceeds what can be found elsewhere in the communities where we live, and enables us to succeed and secure a future we can all be proud of,”  he said.

Noting “these were tough negotiations,” machinists union leaders said they fought hard for members’ priorities, particularly retirement and medical costs. However, ULA remained firm on freezing the pension plan in 2017, union officials added.

“There are good things and bad things in this offer,” union leaders said in a letter to members, urging them to read the union’s summary and discuss it with their families.

“The contract offer fell short of our expectations and what we wanted to bring back to our members. Therefore, your negotiating committee decided unanimously that we cannot recommend this contract. The final decision as ALWAYS, rests with you, our membership.”

Both sides opened contract negotiations in mid-April.

ULA officials said the proposed contract calls for: 

» A 7 percent cumulative pay hike over the term of the agreement

» $6,000 ratification agreement

» $850 lump sum payments annually for supplemental cost of living, three health care plans with ULA paying between 80 percent and 82 percent

» More related to pension and employer-matched savings plans.

Formed in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin and, as of last fall, employs approximate 850 machinists union members, at Vandenberg and facilities in Decatur, Ala., and at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Vandenberg and Florida are the launch sites for ULA’s Atlas and Delta families of rockets while Decatur is home to the manufacturing plant for the company, which has its headquarters in Centennial, Colo.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Community Organizations Hold May Day Rally in Santa Maria to Protest New ICE Facility

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Protesters say they fear the soon-to-open Immigration and Customs Enforcement office will separate families through deportations

A new Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Santa Maria provokes fear to thousands of families in the Santa Maria Valley, speakers said Friday afternoon while standing yards from a new but not-yet-occupied facility.

“Today, we combat that fear with love and a message welcoming immigrants here in Santa Maria,” said Hazel Davelos from CAUSE, before calling on city leaders to show that immigrants are welcome and treated with respect and dignity.

A coalition of community groups including unions, religious organizations and others gathered near 740 W. Century St. to air their concerns that the facility will lead to separation of immigrant families through deportations. The group numbered approximately 20 people.

Friday evening, about 70 people gathered at the corner of Broadway and Main Street for a May Day rally, noting International Day of the Worker and the role of immigrants in the community.

Drivers in passing vehicles at the busy intersection honked in support of the group, whose members were holding signs saying “No ICE,” “The only ICE we want is in our raspadas” and “Immigrants are workers too.”

Department of Homeland Security officials have said the facility will replace aging buildings at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. The relocated operations have occurred in northern Santa Barbara County since 1996.

Like the Lompoc operations to be replaced, the Santa Maria facility will have “secure space for interviewing and briefly holding individuals who are coming into ICE custody following their release from area jails or prisons,” Homeland Security officials said.

Councilwoman Terri Zuniga attended Friday afternoon’s event, and said immigrants make Santa Maria a vibrant and diverse community 

She pledged to do her best to hold federal officials to their assurances regarding the number of people who will be processed at the Santa Maria site, the scope of the operations and their hours of their operations

May Day
Armed with various signs, about 70 people participate in a May Day rally Friday evening in downtown Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The city’s review of the proposed ICE facility prompted thousands to attend the City Council and Planning Commission meetings in protest in 2014.

Local business owner Tony Coles said diversity fuels economy and noted that the work of many immigrants makes local firms successful.

“Part of diversity is our immigration population and they need to be welcomed in and incorporated into the economic development of our city …,” he said. “Some of the most successful businesses here employ that population. They’re feeding them in restaurants. They’re shopping in our stores. They’re a big part of the business here so it’s time that we embrace our diversity here in Santa Maria.”

May Day is important to labor unions because it represents the formation of the eight-hour workday, according to Juan Cervantes of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

“Farm workers were excluded from the 8-hour day and we’re still being excluded now,” Cervantes said, adding it’s a shame to spend government money on a new ICE facility to process immigrant workers “who have done nothing but look for a better life.”

The national union has made it a priority to protect immigrant workers, he said.

“They are needed for their hard labor,” he said. “They want a job but they want to be part of the community. They pay their property taxes. They pay their taxes for gasoline. They pay all taxes and this is unfair to this community.”

The Rev. Cannon Deborah Dunn from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church said she wants immigrant families to feel welcome.

“At St. Peter’s, when we say everyone is welcome we mean everyone,” Dunn said.

The afternoon event ended with a “unity clap” followed by chants of “Si se puedes” or “Yes, we can.”

“I’m just so disappointed this building exists,” said the Rev. John Dear from the Catholic Church's Monterey Diocese. “Today, we stand together on behalf of the immigrant community to call upon the federal government to do everything possible to make sure this new ICE facility does not detain, process, separate immigrant families who have not committed serious crimes — simply living and working here in Santa Maria.”

He called on local policymakers show immigrants they are “welcome and safe in Santa Maria.”

“Immigrants are a great blessing. In the Christian tradition, they are Christ in disguise,” Dear said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Minor Injuries Reported in Highway 154 Crash

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Single-vehicle accident occurred near Windy Gap

One person was injured Friday afternoon when a vehicle crashed off the side of Highway 154 near Windy Gap, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 2:45 p.m., and the vehicle ended up about 20 feet off the roadway, the CHP said.

Santa Barbara County firefighters who responded reported that they had a single patient who had sustained minor injuries, and was requiring extrication from the wreckage.

Traffic on Highway 154 was stopped in the area for a time, causing a major traffic backup.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Disaster Preparedness Focus of Saturday Event in Lompoc

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Nearly a year after Lompoc neighborhoods were evacuated as flames raced toward the city, residents can learn more Saturday about being better prepared in the event of a disaster like a fire or earthquake.

Disaster preparedness and wildfire awareness will be the focus Saturday at the Lompoc Fire Department’s annual event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Home Depot parking lot, 1701 E. Ocean Ave.

This year’s event will include The Big Shaker, the world’s biggest mobile earthquake simulator which can re-create the intense shaking of an earthquake up to a magnitude of 8.0. The Big Shaker is designed to educate citizens about what can happen inside their homes during an earthquake and how to prepare.

Fire Chief Kurt Latipow noted the trailer’s visit is especially timely due to the massive earthquake that struck Nepal recently.

In addition, Saturday’s event will showcase the countywide “Ready, Set, Go!” Program, a three-step process that allows firefighters to teach homeowners to create their own action plan of getting their property prepped for a potential wildfire.

Being ready before a fire sparks and getting set to flee with the necessary items also will be part of the presentation which will help residents understand the role of evacuations.

“We timed this event with a statewide Wildfire Awareness Day,” Latipow said. “We try to time it so we get the message out as early as possible.”

The event comes just weeks shy of the anniversary of the Miguelito Fire, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in southern Lompoc flames in the nearby hills raced toward the city.

“What we found last May is as hard as we worked getting the preparedness message out there, it’s a natural feeling for people to say it’s not going to happen to me. This is a much different event than our open house,” Latipow said, explaining Saturday’s will provide valuable tips on how families can prepare for evacuations of themselves and pets. 

The event will include 37 interactive displays hosted by preparedness partners such as the American Red Cross, Aware and Prepare, Santa Barbara County Fire, Lompoc CERT, PG&E, Vandenberg AFB Fire Department, the Fire Safe Council, The Gas Company, the Lompoc Fire Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Evacuations Ordered After Car Slams Into Building

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Injury accident occurred on Mission Street near corner of Chapala Street in Santa Barbara

Two buildings were evacuated as a precaution Friday after a vehicle slammed into a two-story structure on Mission Street in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The accident occurred at about 12:40 p.m. on Mission Street, just west of Chapala Street., said Fire Inspector Ryan DiGuilio.

A late-model Volkswagen bug exited the parking lot of a veterinary clinic and, for unknown reasons, crashed into the two-story building across the street at the northwest corner of Mission and Chapala Street that houses a Buddhist center and a tattoo parlor, DiGuilio said.

The driver, reportedly an elderly woman, was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor to moderate injuries, DiGuilio said.

Firefighters evacuated the building, and a single-story building next door at 106 W. Mission St., as a precaution pending an evaluation by a city structural engineer.

The two-story building was later yellow-tagged for limited entry, while the other building was cleared, DiGuilio said.

Mission was shut down in both directions for a time between Chapala and De la Vina Street.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Judy Crowell: High Society Never Goes Out of Style in Newport, Rhode Island

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Salvaged, luxurious Gilded Age mansions along Bellevue Avenue are among the many treasures awaiting visitors to the seaside city

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A favorite movie, High Society starring Grace Kelly, was filmed in Newport, R.I., in 1956, telling the sad story of Gilded Age mansions going down with the wrecking ball, a way of life gone forever. Fortunately, the Preservation Society of Newport County stepped in to rescue, preserve and maintain several of these treasures.

At the top of the list is The Breakers, the 70-room summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Marble House, another Vanderbilt home, is also a must-see. Here the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt and her daughter, Consuelo, can be heard on the audio tour. The monumental artworks and advanced technology of The Elms should be experienced, along with its fascinating Servant Life Tour — a true Downton Abbey precursor. Rosecliff, modeled after a French palace, is the mansion featured in High Society.

All these salvaged beauties are lined up like a string of pearls on Bellevue Avenue, but be sure to go by car. You’ll wear your feet out just touring The Breakers!

You’ll also want your car for the glorious 10-mile drive on Ocean Drive, ending at lovely Castle Hill with its working lighthouse and charming restaurant and inn. Sink into one of the Adirondack chairs for a spectacular sunset view with drinks from the bar and small plates delivered to your chair.

During the filming of High Society, Kelly would sneak away to this secluded beach, climbing down the precarious, rocky incline for timeout and privacy. Climbing back up was so difficult that the staff built a staircase for her. Locals now call it the Grace Kelly Beach.

For walking vistas of the ocean, take the beautiful 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, beginning at The Chanler, bordering mansion backyards and ending at The Breakers. It, too, has some difficult, rocky inclines.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is well worth seeing.

Shopping along Bellevue Avenue and Thames Street (Newport’s Main Street) delights at every corner. No malls along here. Restaurants include Bouchard, again at the top of the list for five-star perfection, wharf side; Spiced Pear, good food with an updated Victorian ambiance; Annie’s for breakfast, lunch and ginger chicken noodle soup; the White Horse Tavern, since 1673, a "bucket list bar"; Muse, by Jonathan Cartwright, for serious fine dining; and The Mooring, an absolute must for waterfront food and spirits.

If you love inns, Newport has many choices: The Francis Malbone House, probably the most luxurious of the B&Bs; Cliffside Inn, in the heart of the historic district; Bouchard Inn, steps from the harbor; and Hydrangea House Inn, a charmer.

For me, if I’m ever lucky enough to return to Newport, there’s only one choice, The Chanler at Cliff Walk. One of the most historic mansions in Newport, it was built in 1870 by John Winthrop Clark, a New York congressman, and is now a luxurious European-style boutique hotel. Guest suites are all individually decorated and are Gilded Age luxurious.

If you’ve never seen High Society, you’re missing something very special. In one of the most memorable scenes ever filmed, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, after imbibing a few in a hidden wall-bar at a formal party and extolling the attributes and foibles of Newport, come bursting through French doors into the blue-blooded crowd hoofing it and singing at the top of their talented lungs, “Well, did you evah? What a swellegant, elegant party this is!” And that pretty much sums up Newport.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Jodi House to Become Service Provider for State of California

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center of Santa Barbara has been selected as one of seven sites statewide to receive State of California funding for serving adults with traumatic brain injury.

Jodi House will receive $120,000 yearly for three years beginning July 1, with the option of an additional fourth year. Supporting adults with TBI, the Jodi House model of care is community reintegration and includes the following services: supported living; independent living skills; employment; information, referral, and care coordination; and public and professional education. The additional funding will allow Jodi House to expand services to best meet the needs of adult TBI population living throughout the tri-counties region.

Traumatic Brain Injury Services of California is a continuum of community services for adults with traumatic brain injury. Comprised of seven providers located throughout Northern and Southern California, each provider supplies or coordinates a variety of Core Services to persons over the age of 18 with a traumatic brain injury. Their mission is to ensure that adults with a traumatic brain injury have the necessary services to enhance self-sufficiency.

Jodi House is the only nonprofit organization in Santa Barbara exclusively serving adults with traumatic brain injuries. Click here to learn more about the community integration services provided at Jodi House.

— Eryn Eckert is executive director of the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Sweetwater Collaborative to Host Two Tours of Water-Wise Residential Landscapes

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Local nonprofit Sweetwater Collaborative will host two neighborhood walking tours of residential landscapes that highlight a variety of water-wise projects.

The homes on the tours have been sites of educational workshops held by Sweetwater Collaborative, in which attendees learned effective strategies to reduce water use in their yards.

“Simple solutions exist to capture and retain most of the rain in our yards, rather than allowing this rain to pick up pollution and run off into the ocean,” Sweetwater Collaborative coordinator Barbara Wishingrad said. “Additional water-saving strategies for the yard include choosing climate-appropriate plants and installing greywater systems and rain tanks. All of these solutions will be shown and explained on our tours.”

The tours will be on May 30 and June 6, in the Westside and Samarkand neighborhoods, respectively. Homeowners, government officials and anyone interested in learning how to save water in the yard are encouraged to attend these tours.

More information can be found on Sweetwater Collaborative’s website by clicking here.

— Eric Torbet represents the Sweetwater Collaborative.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

David Sirota: Democrats Embrace Citizens United in Defense of Hillary Clinton

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Less than three weeks into her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has already accomplished a stunning feat: She appears to have unified large swaths of the Democratic Party and its activist base to support the core tenets of the Citizens United decision — the one that effectively allowed unlimited money into politics.

That 2010 Supreme Court ruling declared that, unless there is an explicit quid pro quo, the fact that major campaign donors "may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt." The theory is that as long as a donor and a politician do not agree to an overt bribe, everything is A-OK.

When the ruling was handed down, Democrats were outraged, and Clinton herself has recently suggested she wants it overturned. Yet with revelations that firms with business before Clinton's State Department donated to her foundation and paid her husband, Clinton's campaign and rank-and-file Democratic activists are suddenly championing the Citizens United theory.

In campaign statements and talking points — and in activists' tweets and Facebook comments — the party seems to be collectively saying that without evidence of any explicit quid pro quo, all the Clinton cash is acceptable. Moreover, the inference seems to be that the revelations aren't even newsworthy because, in the words of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, "there's nothing new" here.

To advocates for limiting the influence of money in politics, this pushback from Democrats is particularly rich (pun intended) coming from a party that spent a decade asserting that Republicans raking in cash from Big Oil and pushing oil-friendly policies was rank corruption. The Democratic defense of their presumptive presidential nominee registers as especially disturbing to campaign finance reform advocates considering the mighty efficiency of the Clinton fundraising machine.

Consider a few undisputed facts that we surfaced in our reporting at the International Business Times:

» While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Bill Clinton was paid $2.5 million by 13 corporations that lobbied the State Department. Ten of the firms paid him in the same three-month reporting period that they were lobbying Hillary Clinton's agency. Several of them received State Department contracts, worth a total of almost $40 million.

» Hillary Clinton switched her position to back a controversial U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement as millions of dollars flowed into her foundation from an oil company operating in Colombia, and from that company's founder. Amid reports of violence against Colombian unionists, she also certified Colombia's human rights record, thereby releasing U.S. aid to the Colombian military.

» Hillary Clinton's State Department delivered contracts and a prestigious human rights award to a technology firm that donated to the Clinton Foundation — despite allegations from human rights groups that the firm sold technology to the Chinese government that helped the regime commit human rights violations.

The same Democratic Party that slammed the Bush-Halliburton relationship now suggests that this type of behavior is fine and dandy, as long as there wasn't, say, an email detailing an explicit cash-for-policy trade. The insinuation also seems to be that journalists shouldn't even be reporting on any of it, if there is no such email.

Is it morally acceptable for firms to pay a public official's spouse while those firms are getting government contracts from the agency headed by that same public official? That's a matter of opinion, and if the Democrats want to now champion the ideology behind Citizens United, that's their right.

What is not up for debate, though, is whether the transactions are significant and newsworthy absent some sort of explicit quid pro quo. Even if there isn't an email explicitly sketching out an exchange of money for policy, campaign finance reform advocates are taking notice and the public needs to know the details of these transactions.

After all, if money is going to so thoroughly dominate politics, Americans at least should be informed about who is paying whom when they cast their vote for president.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Debate at UCSB to Tackle Use of Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

On Wednesday, May 20 at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall, UC Santa Barbara’s College of Letters & Science will present the 2015 Arthur N. Rupe Debate: The Use of Genetically Modified Foods, a free event that will open a conversation on the increasingly polemic topic of genetically engineering the foods that we eat.

This scientifically informed debate about the use of genetically modified organisms in food features Dr. Pamela Ronald, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and co-author of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food, and Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, a senior scientific researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Techonology and co-founder of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Paul Voosen, a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, will moderate.

The Use of Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

The use of GMOs, living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, continues to be a subject of increasing controversy and misunderstanding. Scientists have long been working to alter the genes of crops to boost food production and make them resistant to pesticides, droughts and cold weather conditions.

Proponents say that farmers who grow these crops are able to use fewer environmentally damaging pesticides and that the increased yields of GMO crops are essential to feeding the world’s growing population. Proponents also point to studies that have shown that GMOs are safe to eat.

Opponents say the claims of these benefits are exaggerated, and that farmers growing GMO crops have actually increased their use of herbicides. They also argue that there is no scientific consensus on the long-term safety of GMOs. Questions of the safety, ethics and practicality of GMOs will be up for debate on May 20.

About the Speakers

{phot_right}225px;">

UCSB Arts & Lectures photo

Dr. Pamela C. Ronald is director of the Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation & Scientific Literacy at UC Davis. She is a professor of Plant Pathology, a faculty member of the Genome Center and also serves as Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, California. Dr. Ronald’s laboratory has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa. In 1996, she established the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund, a mechanism to recognize intellectual property contributions from less developed countries. She and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice-submergence tolerance. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award and the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award. Dr. Ronald has written opinion pieces for The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Boston Review and The New York Times and is a blogger for Scientific American’s “Food Matters” blog. She is co-author with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food, which is hailed by Bill Gates as “a fantastic piece of work” and “important for anyone that wants to learn about the science of seeds and challenges faced by farmers.”

Dr. Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientific researcher in the Institute of Integrative Biology at the Swiss Federal University and co-founder of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Her research focuses on ecology and biodiversity, including sustainable farming practices and insect-plant interactions. Her recent work centers around biosafety issues of GMOs and the development of concepts for environmental risk assessment and post-release monitoring of GMOs. She has been involved in numerous research and capacity-building projects in Africa, South America and Vietnam. Her research and conceptual work have contributed to the implementation and shaping of the UNEP Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Through her international work, she has been increasingly involved in broader issues of technology development, working towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and actively contributing to the debate on biosafety, international agriculture and the alleviation of hunger and poverty.

About the Moderator

Paul Voosen is a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. His stories have appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American and GreenWire, with reprints in The New York Times. He has been called “one of the top journalists working today” by Andrew Revkin of The New York Times. A graduate of the M.A. Science Journalism program at Columbia University, Voosen has done graduate level work in geoscience and nuclear physics. He is the recipient of the David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism from the American Geophysical Union.

About the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation

The Arthur N. Rupe Foundation is dedicated to achieving positive social change by shining the light of truth on critical and controversial issues through the support of scholarly studies, education, research, public debates and the dissemination of the results via a variety of media to all segments of the public. The foundation supports numerous projects that advance civil and reasoned public debate at the high school, university and civic level. ANRF-sponsored debates are non-partisan and accessible to a general audience with the intention of educating and exposing audiences to all sides of a particular social issue. It is the foundation’s hope to increase the number of Americans actively involved in debate, as the foundation believes it forms the cornerstone of an informed electorate in a free society. Learn more at www.rupefoundation.org.

The 2015 Arthur N. Rupe Debate is presented by the College of Letters & Science at UC Santa Barbara and made possible by an endowment from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center through their series, The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities, and UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Admission is free and located at Campbell Hall. For more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks lynda.com for its major corporate support of the 2014-15 season.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: Support San Marcos’ Unsung Heroes of the Theater

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Imagine you favorite movie or play without any soundtrack. The Titanic leaving port would be just a ship floating out to sea, The Apollo rocket taking off would be just a lot of noise.

This is for the San Marcos Music Department led by Michael Kiyoi.

This group of young adults give up their summers, their free time after school and sometimes complete weekends to either compete or practice.

These musicians have brought two gold, one silver and and one bronze medals in the past four years in regional championships, and first place in the last jazz festival this past year.

They practice day in and day out, possibly more than the football, baseball and track teams combined.

But they are not funded or sometimes even recognized for their accomplishments by the school, the school district or even school officials.

Please support your local "Unsung Heroes." Come see their Crazy for You musical tonight, admire the actors, the scenery and the director's accomplishment, because they do deserve it, truly. But also, take a moment to "listen" to the music, "hear" the heart of the accomplished musicians playing for your pleasure and support these musicians.

Fred Jimenez
Santa Barbara
San Marcos alumnus, class of 1985

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

SEE International’s Santa Barbara Vision Care Program Moves to New Clinic

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

SEE International, a local humanitarian nonprofit, is proud to announce that its Santa Barbara Vision Care Program clinic has moved to a new location, at 5368 Hollister Ave., Suite 130 (on the first floor).

The program has also expanded its hours and now offers appointments Tuesday through Thursday each week.

Founded in the 1980s, the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program provides free comprehensive eye care for underserved populations in Santa Barbara County. Each year the program serves about 1,400 community members.

“This new location provides the unique opportunity to house all of our programs under one roof, and helps us increase our commitment to serve the local community,” said Randal Avolio, president and CEO of SEE International. “It will support our continued growth and expansion, and provide a better work environment for current and future staff. I think it underscores our commitment to both our patients and our employees.”

The program is open and currently accepting new qualified patients who are unable to obtain vision insurance, and do not qualify for any federal or state-funded insurance programs (Medicare, Medi-Cal, etc.).

For more information on the program or to schedule an appointment, please contact Lara Rich at 805.963.3303 or [email protected].

— Stephen Bunnell is the communications coordinator for SEE International.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Allan Hancock College Offers Free Water-Wise Landscaping Class

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

With Gov. Jerry Brown ordering water use to be cut by 25 percent statewide and tasking Californians to conserve more water, now is the time to learn how to create a smarter landscape. The Central Coast community can learn the basics this summer at Allan Hancock College.

Allan Hancock College Community Education will offer a free Water-Wise Landscaping class as part of its summer course offerings on Wednesdays, June 4 through July 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Santa Maria campus in Room C-35.

The course explores various planting and landscaping techniques to conserve water by as much as 50 percent. Learn how to create an easy-to-maintain landscape using native and drought-tolerant plants. Students will learn about xeriscaping, a landscaping method that does not require supplemental water from irrigation and often utilizes native, drought resistant plants to conserve water (and typically requires less maintenance than traditional landscapes). Drip irrigation practices will also be discussed.

Instructor Julie Andrews-Scott has been an educator for more than 20 years and specializes in teaching students how to make native and water-wise plants work for a better environment in a drought-stricken California. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science and a master’s in cultural aspects of food systems from California Polytechnic State University. Her landscaping techniques, combined with natural pesticide management and sensible water conservation measures, give students the edge over problematic landscaping.

Registration begins May 11. For more information, you may view the summer 2015 schedule of classes online now at www.hancockcollege.edu, then click “Class Search.” Or, see the printed summer 2015 Spectrum Schedule of Community Education, available at all campus locations and arriving in mailboxes beginning May 8.

For more specific questions, call 805.922.6966 x3209.

— Stefanie Aye is a public affairs coordinator for Allan Hancock College.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Cottage Health System Invites Community to ‘Gathering of Remembrance’

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Cottage Health System is holding its annual “Gathering of Remembrance” on Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m. at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, 400 W. Pueblo St.

This is a special interfaith memorial service to remember all adults who have died within a Cottage facility during the last year. The Spiritual Care Department and Palliative Care Team have collaborated to make this a meaningful and healing event for families and friends who have lost a loved one.

This service is also open to any member of the community who has experienced a recent loss and would like to honor and remember the individual.

The ceremony will include a personal reflection by the Rev. Teena Grant, clinical chaplain at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The service will be held in Burtness Auditorium on the sixth floor of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The entrance is at the Bath Street lobby (original hospital lobby facing Bath Street).

Please join us for this very meaningful event. For more information or to RSVP, call 805.569.8373 or 805.569.8386. Directions and a map of the hospital can be found at the hospital website by clicking here.

— Maria Zate is a spokeswoman for Cottage Health System.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara City Fire Department Announces Promotions

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Bryden
Jim Bryden

Waldron
Lee Waldron

Santa Barbara City Fire Department Fire Chief Pat McElroy is proud to announce the appointment of Lee Waldron as fire operations division chief.

Chief Waldron is a 28-year veteran of the department, where he has served as a battalion chief for the last five years. In that role he headed the Training Division and also served as battalion commander of C Shift for the past three years.

In his new role, Chief Waldron will oversee the daily operations of 8 City Fire Stations and 89 personnel.

Chief Waldron and his wife, Deborah, are longtime Santa Barbara residents who have two adult children, Campbell and Mark.

Chief Waldron will be replacing retiring Operations Chief Jim Bryden.

Chief Bryden, a Santa Barbara native, will be entering retirement after more than 35 years of service with the department.

“Jim has been an integral part of this organization and I have valued his counsel and experience," McElroy said. "We all wish Jim and his wife, Bridget, a long and happy retirement.”

Additional promotions within the department include Fire Captain Chris Mailes to the position of battalion chief of the Training Division, and engineers Brian Ricci and Dave Ward, both promoted to the rank of fire captain.

— Gary Pitney is a captain and public information officer for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Capps Introduces Bipartisan Rental Car Safety Bill in House

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

On Friday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina along with Rep. G.K Butterfield of North Carolina and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced a bipartisan bill, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Bill (H.R. 2198), which would ban rental car companies from renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.

While current law prohibits car dealerships from selling new vehicles under recall to consumers, no federal law is currently in place to ban rental car companies from doing the same or renting a car under recall to unsuspecting consumers.

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act would keep unsafe rental cars that have been recalled off the road.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Penn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., introduced identical legislation in the Senate (S. 1173).

The legislation is named in honor of sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck of Ojai, who were tragically killed while driving a recalled Chrysler PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise in 2004. Roughly one month before the Houck sisters were killed, Enterprise received a recall notice that the PT Cruiser had a defective steering component that was prone to catching fire and that it would be repaired by Chrysler free-of-charge. Despite the warning, Enterprise did not get the vehicle repaired, and rented it out to three other customers before renting it to the Houck sisters. The defect caused the car to catch fire and crash head-on into a tractor-trailer, killing both sisters.

This legislation builds on a similar bill first introduced by Capps in July 2012.

“This straightforward, common-sense bill will protect public safety and help ensure that the tragedy that happened to Raechel and Jacqueline Houck will never happen again,” Capps said. “People who rent cars should do so with the confidence that the vehicles they are driving are safe to drive. I look forward to continuing to work with Cally Houck, consumer groups, rental companies, and my colleagues in the House and Senate to make sure this legislation becomes law and unsafe cars are taken off the road once and for all.”

“It's been over ten years since my beautiful, precious daughters Raechel and Jacqueline were killed by an unsafe, recalled rental car,” Cally Houck said. “All of the major rental car companies, and many of the smaller ones, have been working on our side to make the federal legislation named after them the law of the land. They have also adopted responsible policies and are grounding recalled cars until they are repaired. It's time for Congress to act, to protect ALL families from suffering our devastating loss.”

The legislation is backed by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and the Trauma Foundation.

The legislation is supported by all the major car rental companies — Hertz (includes Dollar Thrifty), Enterprise (includes Alamo and National) and Avis Budget (includes Payless) — as well as the American Car Rental Association. Together the companies and ACRA represent virtually 100 percent of the rental car market. The bill also is supported by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, representing the vast majority of truck renting and leasing operations in the United States, as well as AAA and State Farm.

“The American public is overwhelmingly in favor of ensuring that rental cars are safe and free from lethal safety defects,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. “About 95 percent of the rental car industry is also in favor. This is a common-sense bill that should be passing unanimously. The president is eager to sign it. It's time for Congress to get off the dime.”

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara County Students Will Roll En Masse for National Bike to School Day

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

On Wednesday, May 6, Carpinteria will join school children around the country by bicycling (or skateboarding, scootering or walking) to school on National Bike to School Day (B2SD).

As part of the local CycleMAYnia festivities to celebrate National Bike Month, B2SD is supported by the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (COAST, SR2S) program.

Working in conjunction with school parent champions, nearly all South Coast public schools will participate this year. Schools will hold their own B2SD celebrations to encourage more biking and other sustainable transportation modes to school — not just on May 6 but year-round. We invite you to visit area schools as kids ride, scoot or walk in Wednesday morning to report on the fun and positive effects of B2SD.

It’s no coincidence that B2SD is also the final event day in COAST’s four-month Walk & Roll Challenge, in which 56 classrooms (over 1,300 students across 15 schools) are vying for the top Walk & Roll participation rate. Each first Wednesday since February, these classrooms have tallied students that walk, bike or otherwise roll to school. The classroom with the highest average participation rate will win a trip to Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond. Our second- and third-place classrooms will each win a pedal-powered bike-blender smoothie party at their school. Who will be victorious? Click here to see the Challenge results.

On B2SD, some elementary schools will organize “bike trains”: informal, parent-led bicycling groups in which students stop at each others’ houses to pick up more bicyclists along the way to school. COAST urges all drivers to be especially cautious on B2SD and watch for the increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

But the fun and excitement isn’t just for the primary grades. COAST is working with student-leadership team members at Dos Pueblos High School to put on some cool activities for DP’s second annual B2Sd. Live music and snacks will welcome students as they arrive car-free in the morning (leadership members will hold a sign saying “You Could Have Been There By Now!” that those arriving in the line of backed-up cars will see), as well as events at lunch such as bike-blended smoothies, a tricycle ‘snail race’ and a raffle for donated prizes including a new hybrid bike. And over at Santa Barbara High School, Team Soil will perform a high-energy professional BMX stunt bike show during lunch.

And tonight, Friday May 1, COAST will kick off CycleMAYnia by teaming up with Carpinteria Family School, Traffic Solutions and the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to present Carp’s first Family Bike Night (‘Bici Familia’) at the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main School (5201 8th St.), where scores of local families will be treated to a free bilingual safety presentation, bike skills courses, learn-to-ride & bike maintenance areas, free food and low-cost helmets for purchase. We invite you to stop by if you can to report on all the family fun. A similar Family Bike Night will take place (for the second year) at Adams School in Santa Barbara on June 5.

About Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School program was established in response to alarming national trends. In 1969, 42 percent of students in the U.S. walked to school. In 2001, of students between the ages of 5 and 15, that number had dropped to as low as only 16 percent. Less than half of students who live within a mile of school walk or bike there even once per week. Between 1976 and 2004, the percentage of overweight children aged 6 to 11 almost tripled! Studies in some cities show that 17 to 26 percent of morning rush-hour traffic can be school-related. In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.

About National Bike to School Day

The first-ever National B2SD took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school. The event builds on the popularity of International Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country — and the world — each October. Many communities and schools have been held spring walk- and bike-to-school events for years. National B2SD provides an opportunity for schools across the country to join together to celebrate and to build off of the energy of National Bike Month in May.

National B2SD 2014 was held on May 7, and bike-to-school events took place throughout the month of May. More than 2,200 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia participated, an almost 30% increase in schools from 2013. If just half of the students in an average-sized elementary school biked, rolled or walked to school, their impact could eliminate over 39 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the carbon-removing abilities of 1,000 trees!

About the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation

COAST, a local nonprofit membership organization, promotes healthy and green ways of getting around from biking and walking to taking the bus or the train. We coordinate the regional SR2S programs, Santa Barbara Walks programs (Eastside Walks, Walking Wednesdays, Safe Routes for Seniors), CoastalRailNow, regional transit project ASERT and our latest initiative, Vision Zero.

For more information and ways to get involved, please visit www.COAST-SantaBarbara.org or e-mail us at [email protected].

— Barry Remis represents the Coalition of Sustainable Transportation.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Captain’s Log: Abundance vs. Availability of Marine Life

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The science of fisheries management has a brain-burning quagmire, and as luck would have it, the issue is of such extreme importance that if fisheries scientists and managers don’t get it right, their work is pretty much all wrong. I don’t envy them this part of their heads-down, information-crunching work. The issue is the difference between availability and abundance of fishes or any other critters.

As anglers and citizens, we need a working understanding of the issue and know enough about it that we don’t make demands on our fisheries managers that go against what is best — but not always obvious — for our fisheries.

On the surface, it seems simple enough. Availability has to do with how easy they are to catch at any given time and place. Abundance has to do with how many of these fish really exist. Ahhh! But when circumstances make one seem easy, the other can still be perplexing.

To help get good, understandable words and perspective from an immensely experienced professional, I went to talk with Mick Kronman, harbor operations manager at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Mick (make that Capt. Mick) was a commercial fisherman for many years. He skippered open party sportboats for more years. He served as writer and editor for various publications, and he now helps manage the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Mick wrote a book, which I have and highly recommend reading. It is From Hooks to Harpoons: The Story of Santa Barbara Channel Fisheries, ISBN#978-0-615-89704-2, published by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. To order copies, email [email protected].

I asked Mick for his version of something like a Webster condensed explanation of the potential misunderstanding between availability and abundance. His answer was long but helpful.

“One cornerstone of sound fisheries management is understanding the difference between abundance and availability," he says. "Abundance is a primary product of stock assessments, which are directed and undertaken by government agencies like NOAA. Understanding how many of a certain species are swimming in the sea, plus the rate at which they’re reproducing, dying of natural causes, being eaten by other creatures or taken by fishermen — for a few examples — is critical to maintaining sustainable fisheries, both recreational and commercial. Availability, however, is an entirely different matter. Boiled down, it means, ‘When I went fishing at a certain time, place and under certain ocean conditions, did I catch them?’ It is very easy to confuse abundance with availability, and such confusion can cause everything from incorrect public perception to poor public policy. Just because you catch them today, doesn’t mean they’re abundant [editor’s note: Something anglers sometimes get wrong], and just because you don’t catch them tomorrow doesn’t mean they’re not abundant [editor’s note: Something our extreme enviro preservationist friends sometimes get wrong, which leads to economically-damaging MPAs].

"Stock assessments and gauging abundance are difficult. Assessing availability is equally tough — in some part due to the mystery of the sea. Fish have fins and they travel. Where and why is sometimes known, sometimes not. Consider the potential heretical notion, for example, that sardines were not 'fished out' (a crude term related to abundance) of Monterey Bay. Maybe they just moved — a function of availability. The latter notion is not only plausible, but has solid traction with many marine scientists. The key is to keep and maintain an open, critical mind to the abundance/availability concept.”

I asked Mick how important a part of fisheries management this is and how fisheries managers apply this concept to their work. He said, “Managers, of all people, need to be in tune with this duality. After all, it’s their responsibility to conserve fisheries and at the same time make recreation and seafood accessible to the public.”

I had another tough question for Mick. I asked him, “When a boatload of anglers get into a wide-open bite, how do they know if they are experiencing abundance or happenstance availability?” Mick seemed amused and said, “They don’t. And that’s fine. They’re not scientists or managers. Educating them, however, about the difference between abundance and availability will help soften the blow when, on their next trip out, the fish are nowhere to be found.”

In his book, Mick tells the story of a commercial fisherman who caught a huge haul of a certain species of rockfish. He went to the fisheries managers to tell them that there are so many of this species that they should increase the allowable harvest. They told him that actually they were thinking of lowering the allowable harvest, and that while he had found the fish to be available at that time and place, the reality is that they were not at all abundant. It can be a tough lesson.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Lompoc’s 15th Annual Senior Health Expo Slated for May 15

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Lompoc’s 15th annual Senior Health Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 15 at 1120 W. Ocean Ave.

This is a free event.

Various community sponsors include the Area Agency on Aging, Lompoc Valley Medical Center, City of Lompoc Recreation Division, Dignity Health, Cottage Health System, Sansum Clinic and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

For your enjoyment, there will be a free healthy lunch, door prizes, entertainment and a cooking demo.

For your health, there will be cholesterol and blood sugar checks (fasting required), blood pressure checks, skin cancer screenings, vision checks and bone density checks.

For your information, there will be community resources, Medicare information, fraud and scam prevention tips, fall prevention information, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia information, diabetes information, advance directives information and much more.

For free transportation information, click here.

This will be a very fun event while providing health resources and information to our senior community.

— Kathie Palaima is a clinical liaison for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

UCSB Wins 3 Best Practice Awards in California Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Competition

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Fresh off being named the No. 1 public green university in the country, UC Santa Barbara has won three Best Practice Awards in the annual Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Awards competition sponsored by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

UCSB was a winner in the categories of Innovative Waste Reduction, Sustainability Innovations and Monitoring-Based Commissioning.

In Innovative Waste Reduction, UCSB won for its Optimizing Waste Management Services Through Stakeholder Engagement project. With the guidance of custodial staff, a pilot project was designed to improve custodial waste removal efficiency, as well as increase recycling rates by updating the existing waste infrastructure. Among the changes that were implemented, underutilized and outdated waste containers in the 10 buildings were replaced with new containers. Stickers informing users of acceptable items in the waste stream and the service schedule for those bins were also added. The program is expected to result in a 12 percent — or 18-ton — reduction of landfill waste each year and reduce the time needed to service the indoor waste infrastructure.

In the Sustainability Innovations category, UCSB won for the public relations campaign, Action Today for Tomorrow. The goal of the campaign, which included bus advertising, movie trailers and on-campus digital informational messaging, was to increase education around environmental issues and visibility about the University’s achievements in sustainability and goals for the future to both internal and external stakeholders. Other pieces of the campaign included sustainability information posters around the campus; a community lecture series, “Water We Going to Do?”; the annual Central Coast Sustainability Summit; and participation in the Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration.

In the Monitoring-Based Commissioning category, UCSB won for its Chilled Water Loop Optimization project. In 2014, UCSB’s Facilities Management Engineering and Building Automation staff launched a project to improve the efficiency of the infrastructure that supplies air conditioning to many campus buildings. Eight separate chiller plants provide chilled water to the loop, for which the staff developed methods for balancing power for compressors, as well as peripheral components such as pumps and cooling towers. The result of the project is an energy savings of 2.1 million kilowatt-hours each year, or 2.5 percent of UCSB’s total electricity use. That’s a cost savings of $235,000 per year. Southern California Edison provided an incentive of $511,000 to support the project.

Representatives from UCSB will receive the awards at the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, July 20-24, at San Francisco State University. The conference is open to the public and registration will open soon.

CHESC highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. The conference is jointly organized by independent/private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities and the University of California.

— George Foulsham represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Well-Being Coach Dave Mochel Offering ‘Tune Your Brain’ Summer Retreats

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Dave Mochel

Dave Mochel, neuroscience teacher and mindfulness coach, will offer two retreats this summer titled “Tune Your Brain for Inner Peace and Outer Results.”

If you want to thrive more and struggle less, these retreats were designed for you.

Discover how the human brain creates your experience and how simple practices allow you to be more relaxed, resourceful, resilient, joyful and productive. Learn how to find freedom in any situation and reclaim the energy you have been putting into resistance or avoidance, strengthen your self-awareness and relationships and create a daily well-being practice based in mindfulness, kindness, and purpose.

These experiential retreats will take place at La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center in Santa Barbara. The dates for the retreats are June 19-21 and Aug. 9-11.

The cost of tuition and meals is $400. Rooms are available onsite for an additional cost and some financial aid is available.

Space is limited. To register or for more information, go to www.appliedattention.com.

— Dave Mochel represents Applied Attention Consulting LLC.
 

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Cody West’s Body, Car Found in Culvert in Goleta

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Week-long search for missing 22-year-old comes to tragic end with discovery

Cody West's father, David West, center, is overcome Friday at the scene where his son's body was found after a week-long search. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Officials confirmed Friday afternoon that a body found earlier in the day in a cement culvert in Goleta was that of Cody West, who had been missing since last weekend and the subject on an intensive search.

Authorities, family members and volunteers had spent the week combing the area for the 22-year-old Goleta man, who was last seen early Sunday morning leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion in the Lake Los Carneros area of Goleta.

A volunteer who had joined the search found the remains pinned underneath West's vehicle at about 9 a.m. Friday, said Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

She confirmed Friday afternoon the the body was West's.

Hoover had confirmed that the car was West's earlier in the day.

Emergency crews dispatched to the scene found West's silver Audi A4 Quatro sedan upright in the cement culvert north of Highway 101 and east of Los Carneros Road, said Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the county Fire Department.

The body was pinned underneath the rear end of the car, which showed some signs of damage.

The remains were lifted out of the culvert by firefighters at about 12:50 p.m., as friends and family watched nearby.

A body was found Friday underneath a car belonging to Cody West, 22, above, who disappeared early Sunday. Authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that it was West's, but have not disclosed a probable cause of death. (Contributed photo)

A message on the Bring Back Cody Facebook page set up by West's family also confirmed the death:

"Sadly, despite all of our tireless efforts, our dearest Cody has passed away. Our hearts our broken and we will be grieving this terrible loss for the rest of our lives.

"We will be setting up a new Facebook page in his memory and will post more information on how you can help in the coming days."

No probable cause of death had been determined, Hoover said.

The culvert is behind the Los Carneros Business Park and near the Santa Barbara office of the California Highway Patrol on the south side of Calle Real, but is not easily visible.

The Sheriff's Department had roped off the area, and called in its Major Accident Response Team, Hoover said.

"They were trying to figure out exactly what happened," she said.

No foul play is suspected, Hoover said, and investigators were treating the incident as a vehicle accident.

She added that it is unclear how the car ended up in the culvert, or how the body wound up under the car.

Los Carneros Road was shut down from Highway 101 to Calle Real for several hours before being reopened.

About a half dozen of West's friends gathered at the scene, and watched as investigators walked down to the culvert.

As firefighters lifted out a black body bag just yards away, many of West's friends began crying and hugging each other.

Friend Paul Ortega said that the group had been searching for days in the area, but had not found any sign of West.

"It's surreal," Ortega said, shaking. "I don't know what to think or how to process it."

Ortega said that the group had tried to look near the location where West's phone had been located.

"We drove by here many times," he noted.

Another friend, John Jimenez, had also been part of the search party, which had gone from Old San Marcos Road to Carpinteria looking for West.

"We looked for him all week," Jimenez said.

"He was energetic, always positive. The life of the party," Jimenez said of West. "Nobody had anything bad to say about him."

Jimenez said that the Facebook page organized for West had showed the community was ready to help in any way. 

A family member told Noozhawk Thursday afternoon that West's cell phone was pinged and showed it was in the area near the lake in the early morning hours on Monday, roughly a day after he disappeared.

Since then, the phone has either been turned off or gone dead, said Owen Grohman, West's brother-in-law.

The Sheriff's Department had been assisting the family in the search.

"For the past three days, a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter has conducted air surveillance to search for his vehicle," said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Noozhawk Staff Writer Lara Cooper reported from the scene.

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

Santa Barbara County firefighters and sheriff's deputies carry the remains of Cody West of Goleta, whose body was found Friday in a culvert near Los Carneros Road after a week-long search. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Bill Macfadyen: ‘Bring Back Cody’ Search Ends in Heartbreak, Not Far from Where It Started

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

NoozWeek’s Top 5 puts out back-to-back fires in Montecito, including a fatal one; takes a viral video of a cop stop; and revisits Café del Sol and Sizzler

There were 90,868​ people who read Noozhawk this past week — a far bigger crowd than what the Baltimore Orioles drew after one of the most idiotic sports moves ever. Here were your top stories:

1. Extensive Search Turns Up No Sign of Cody West, Missing Goleta Man

Almost a week after he vanished, family, friends and authorities had been unable to find any trace of Cody West.

Have you seen Cody West? If you have any information on his disappearance, call 9-1-1. (West family photo)
Have you seen Cody West? If you have any information on his disappearance, call 9-1-1. (West family photo)

Sadly, early on May 1, his car and body were discovered in a concrete culvert under Los Carneros Road near Calle Real.

The 22-year-old Goleta resident was last seen at 3:30 a.m. April 26, leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion east of Lake Los Carneros Park. His family reported him missing the next day when he failed to show up for work.

According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, West drove away in a 1999 silver Audi A4 Quatro sedan, with a California license plate of 4HAZ784.

“He has not been seen or heard from since,” she said April 27. “His family is concerned about his well-being.”

West was described as 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with brown eyes and short brown hair.

A posse of pals had been systematically driving all over the county looking for him, and a county helicopter had conducted several aerial searches over remote areas, Hoover said.

On April 30, sheriff’s deputies and Search & Rescue team members joined dozens of volunteers combing the area around Lake Los Carneros.

Officials also had been trying to locate West’s cell phone, but it apparently was not transmitting any signals.

Owen Grohman, West’s brother-in-law, told Noozhawk the last signal was received near the lake early on April 27.

On May 1, our Tom Bolton broke the news that West’s car had been discovered in the culvert on the east side of Los Carneros Road north of Highway 101. His body was found underneath the sedan’s trunk.

Authorities closed the area — including Los Carneros Road between Calle Real and the freeway — as a possible crime scene.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 9-1-1.

Friends have set up a Facebook page, Bring Back Cody, to keep the community up to date on the search. 

(Noozhawk video)

2. Elderly Woman Dies in Montecito House Fire

Finding a body is one of the things firefighters dread most when they enter a badly burning structure. That’s exactly what happened when crews responded to a Montecito house fire early on April 27.

Firefighters arrived at the 100 block of Loureyro Road — off North Jameson Lane west of Sheffield Drive — at 7:30 a.m. and found the one-story house fully engulfed in flames, said Geri Ventura, spokeswoman for the Montecito Fire Protection District.

Soon after, the roof collapsed, which she said delayed the interior attack on the blaze.

Crews also were hampered by brush and trees growing against the structure — what Ventura called a lack of “defensible space.”

Once firefighters were able to enter the house, the charred remains of an elderly woman were found inside. Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover later identified her as 88-year-old Lorraine Mathilda Schmerzler.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death is pending, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Montecito firefighters were assisted by crews from the Carpinteria-Summerland and Santa Barbara fire departments.

A tower of smoke from the fire was visible for miles, and the commotion and proximity to Highway 101 tied up the morning commute for hours.

Steamed vegetables, anyone? (Urban Hikers photo)
Steamed vegetables, anyone? (Urban Hikers photo)

3. Amid 70 mph Winds, Firefighters Battle Two-Alarm Fire in Montecito

700 Picacho Lane.

Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, that address floats there — like a Baby Ruth in a swimming pool.

So when I thought I heard a report of a fire at that location late on the night of April 26, I sat bolt upright. In fact, it wasn’t that infamous house but another in the 700 block of Picacho Lane.

Fortunately, the fire — which grew to two alarms — caused only minimal damage as it singed the side of a single-family residence on the property.

It could have been far worse. The blaze, which apparently ignited in a garden compost pile, was pushed toward the house by howling winds that were gusting to nearly 70 mph.

Firefighters from the Montecito, Carpinteria-Summerland and Santa Barbara fire departments quickly knocked down the flames, although several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Three people were home at the time of the fire, but were not injured.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

(Santa Barbara Man video)

4. Video Shows Santa Barbara Officer Knocking Cell Phone from Man’s Hands

The Santa Barbara Police Department has opened an administrative investigation of Sgt. Eric Beecher after he was accused of knocking a cell phone out of the hands of a man who was using the device to record video of an arrest outside a downtown nightclub.

The video was uploaded to YouTube by a user calling himself “Santa Barbara Man.” The clip, apparently taken March 7, shows several police officers around a bar fight suspect who is handcuffed on the curb in front of Velvet Jones at 423 State St.

According to Sgt. Riley Harwood, an SBPD spokesman, the department first became aware of the video when a website called Photography is Not a Crime requested comment last week.

After watching the video with his command staff, Police Chief Cam Sanchez initiated an administrative review, Harwood said.

I could describe what happened in the video, or you can just watch it yourself.​ Based on our reader comments, there’s quite a range of opinion about what you’ll see, as well as the actions of all involved.

5. Warren Butler Opening Event Centers at Old Café del Sol, Sizzler Locations

As far as I’m concerned, it was just a big whup when Café del Sol closed its doors last year. But a couple of buddies of mine swore by the Montecito hangout at 30 Los Patos Way, across from the occasionally malodorous Andrée Clark Bird Refuge​.

Rumors that it would be resurrected failed to materialize, but it will be getting new life — thanks to my friend, Warren Butler, who has opened the new Montecito Event Center at the site.

Butler, who owns the Butler Event Center, a 6,000-square-foot facility at 3488 State St., has been rehabbing the place for the last month.

“We’ve lightened and brightened it, putting in new lighting,” he said. “People love the old Café del Sol, so we won’t change it up too much.”

As with the Upper State Street center, the Montecito facility has room for luncheons, rehearsal dinners and corporate events. Butler said it can accommodate 150 to 200 people.

Meanwhile, Butler also is taking over the long-abandoned Sizzler restaurant at 5555 Hollister Ave. on the east end of Old Town Goleta.

He said the Sizzler site will be similar in size to his original location, which can host 300 to 400 people. But the Old Town center has options for smaller groups, including smaller rooms and a patio.

Unlike Café del Sol, I have fond memories of Sizzler. When our soon-to-be 29-year-old son was just a baby, my wife and I would load him and our Alaskan malamute in the station wagon, get a quick dinner at Sizzler, and then go to the drive-in. Ah, good times, good times.

Click here for more information about the burgeoning Butler Event Center empire.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: 10 Ridiculous Documents Released Through the Freedom of Information Act.

                                                                 •        •        •

Where are the other mothers like her?

(ABC 2 News - WMAR video)

                                                                  •        •        •

If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options

 

Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.

Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily A.M. Report.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Police Data Show 116% Rise in Burglaries, Thefts from Vehicles

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Attached is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening) and Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening) calls for service remained within performance objectives. The average response times to Priority 3 (nonemergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service exceeded performance objectives.

The longer response times appear to coincide with a spike in total call volume — greater than the previous six years. Year to date there have been 9,891 calls for service representing an 11 percent increase compared with the year to date figure from 2014, and a 12 percent increase compared with the same period in 2013.

» Positive trends: The rates of pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic accidents are in decline. Year to date there has been a 29 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 32 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 54 percent decrease in bicycle traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 10 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

A spree of 28 related residential burglaries beginning on Feb. 3 appears to have ended on March 13.

» Areas of concern: The rates of burglaries and thefts from vehicles and crimes classified as other types of theft (larceny other than burglaries, auto theft and theft from vehicles) has risen significantly from the last year, back to the levels seen prior to 2014. Year to date there has been a 116 percent increase in burglaries and thefts from vehicles compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 30 percent increase in other types of theft compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 2 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2013.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Geographer Krzysztof Janowicz to Give UCSB’s 57th Annual Harold J. Plous Lecture

By | Published on 05/01/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The availability of data at a higher spatial, temporal and thematic resolution is changing science and society. Contrary to popular belief, however, this change is fueled by the synthesis of heterogeneous data and not by volume alone.

Interestingly, according to experts, the resulting data universe as a dynamic system of technology and society is barely understood. This year’s Harold J. Plous Lecture, presented by Plous Award recipient Krzysztof Janowicz, assistant professor of geography at UC Santa Barbara, will demonstrate how data observatories can explore this universe, and how semantic signatures enable scientists to study human behavior.

Janowicz’s talk, titled “Exploring the Data Universe with Semantic Signatures,” will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. It is free and open to the public.

A specialist in semantics and ontology as they relate to the ability to search the Internet and retrieve, translate and name geographic phenomena based on their location, Janowicz came to UCSB from Pennsylvania State University in 2011. His work is also relevant to research that involves big data, searching for patterns in large observational or behavioral databases. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Münster in Germany, where he also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Geoinformatics.

Over the past three years, Janowicz has authored 36 journal articles, proceedings and book chapters, as well as several editorials and reports. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited almost 1,400 times, which represents an increase of 500 citations in one year. In addition, since joining the UCSB faculty, he has been awarded 11 grants totaling over $400,000.

The Harold J. Plous Award is one of the university’s most prestigious faculty honors. It is given annually to an assistant professor from the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences who has shown exceptional achievement in research, teaching, and service to the university. Presented by the College of Letters and Science, the award was established in 1957 to honor the memory of Harold J. Plous, an assistant professor of economics.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Experts Predict Strong Employment Growth for Santa Barbara County Economy

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

UCSB Economic Forecast also calls it the 'least affordable county' in California with rising rents and home prices during annual event at Granada Theatre

Everything is looking up in Santa Barbara County, where one economist says employment growth outpaces that of California, foreclosure rates are down and other positive trends put the county and the nation a cut above.

The rest of the world’s economy “kinda sucks,” said Peter Rupert, chair of UC Santa Barbara’s economics department and executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast.

That was part of Rupert’s rundown Thursday during the 34th annual Santa Barbara County Economic Summit at the Granada Theatre, where hundreds gathered for an early morning breakfast and a lesson in economics.

Another forecast is planned for North County next Friday at the Radisson Santa Maria.

Unfortunately for listeners, numbers that are also going up are South Coast home prices and rental rates.

“Santa Barbara is the least affordable county in the state of California,” Rupert said, explaining that just 14 percent of residents can afford the median home price of $677,753.

The cost to rent in Santa Barbara has gone up nearly 35 percent since 2000, he said, with a 29 percent increase in Goleta.

Capital investments for small businesses was the topic of choice for UCSB Economic Forecast keynote speaker Mark Flannery, chief economist and director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Before Rupert shifted into local economics, attendees heard from keynote speaker Mark Flannery, chief economist and director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He talked about where small businesses can find capital and who should or shouldn’t invest.

The forecast then turned to a panel of social media experts, who offered insight into how to best use online platforms to market business in an ever-changing social landscape.

Data shows 74 percent of the U.S. population has social media accounts, said Matt Kautz, director of social media and analytics at Walt Disney Studios. He was joined by Lisa Jenkins, vice president of marketing and client services at Los Angeles-based The Marketing Distillery, and Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle.

Local employment gains have come in industries already embracing social media. Leisure and hospitality and education and health services have seen the biggest gains, but Rupert cautioned that those occupations, like many soon-to-be-created jobs, won’t pay much.

"Most new jobs won’t require more education,” he said. “How we can get more high-paying jobs is always a big question.”

The number of local sales jobs has decreased, while farm and labor workers still account for the highest employment countywide.

Rupert said the majority of the largest industries pay employees less than $40,000 a year.

“We’re going to create a lot of bad jobs, and, by the way, it always happens,” he said.

Potential risks Rupert said to watch for in 2015 included the world’s economy not recovering, cyclical oil prices and impacts from the ongoing drought.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Search Continues for Goleta Man Missing Since Sunday

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Effort focuses in part on Lake Los Carneros, near where 22-year-old Cody West was last seen after leaving a party

The search is continuing for Cody West, 22, of Goleta, who was last seen early Sunday. (Contributed photo)

After nearly five days of searching, there was still no sign Thursday of a Goleta man whose family reported him missing earlier this week.

Cody West, 22, was last seen early Sunday morning leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion in the Lake Los Carneros area of Goleta.

West's vehicle — a silver 1999 Audi A4 Quatro sedan with a California license number of 4HAZ784 — also is missing, according to Kelly Hoover, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

West failed to show up for work on Monday, which is when he was reported missing.

On Thursday afternoon, deputies, Search & Rescue Team members and volunteers were combing the area around Lake Los Carneros looking for West.

A family member told Noozhawk that West's cell phone was pinged and showed the phone was in the area near the lake in the early morning hours on Monday.

Since then, the phone has either been turned off or gone dead, said Owen Grohman, West's brother-in-law.

Searchers also have focused on remote areas of the county, including Lizard's Mouth, Big Caliente Hot Springs, Live Oak Campground, and the general vicinities of the Paradise Store and the Cold Springs Tavern, Grohman said.

"It is plausible in Cody's frame of mind he could have parked his car under some cover and walked away from it," Grohman said in a posting on the Bring Back Cody Facebook page. "He is not an experienced hiker, and could very well be lost."

Grohman said he was not aware that West was having any particular problems that would explain his disappearance.

The Sheriff's Department has been assisting the family in the search, Hoover said.

"For the past three days, a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter has conducted air surveillance to search for his vehicle," Hoover said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Exhibit of Animal X-Rays on View at Santa Barbara Zoo’s Volentine Gallery

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Xray animal
An X-ray of a golden lion tamarin with an oxygen mask is part of the "Animals ... Inside Out" art exhibit on view at the Volentine Family Gallery in the Santa Barbara Zoo's Discovery Pavilion through June 29. The images are for sale. (Santa Barbara Zoo photo)

When the Santa Barbara Zoo purchased a new portable X-ray system in 2013, the staff knew the resulting images would aid in diagnoses and medical assessments of the zoo’s more than 500 animals. What they couldn’t know is that the images would be intriguing beyond their medical use, and even artistically beautiful.

“Animals … Inside Out,” an art exhibit which features 28 radiographs (C-rays) taken of the zoo’s animal residents, is now on view at the Volentine Family Gallery in the zoo’s Discovery Pavilion through June 29.

The images are for sale, and prices range from $60 to $135. All proceeds benefit the zoo.

This exhibit is part of an ongoing series of nature-themed exhibits displayed in the gallery throughout the year, and is free to view with zoo admission. Printed on paper, the majority of the works are 11 inches by 14 inches or 8 inches by 10 inches, with a few larger, including one at 14 inches by 16 inches. The X-rays were taken primarily in 2014, some during routine annual exams, but others to aid in diagnoses or treatment of ailments.

“Animals … Inside Out” includes a view of the forefoot of African lion gingerbread, the head and neck of a Chilean flamingo, the body of a three-banded armadillo, a skull of giant anteater Ridley, the body of a Western chuckwalla, a wing of an endangered California condor, and the foot of an American brown pelican, among others. The image showing the lungs of Chief, the zoo’s Burmese python, is one of 10 separate X-rays needed to radiograph his 9-foot-long body. The wee body of milky tree frog shows a fractured right femur (leg), and the kidney stones of an Asian small-clawed otter look like tiny cauliflowers.

Ling, the zoo’s Chinese alligator, had lesions on the bottom of her foot, but the X-ray reveals there are no issues with her foot bones. The body of rosy boa appears to be surrounded by smoke — actually, the sack used to restrain the snake to avoid using anesthesia. An oxygen mask is revealed on a young golden lion tamarin born in July 2014. An image of the foot of a snow leopard shows its particularly furry details.

“The rosy boa image is one of my favorites, as it shows the delicate inner structure of an animal that often inspires a ‘yuck’ reaction in people,” said Wendy Campbell of the zoo’s Marketing Department, who serves on the Gallery Exhibits Committee. “I think snakes are so cool, and hope that by seeing its bones, others might see their beauty the way I do.”

The endotracheal (breathing) tube, used to assist with an animal’s breathing while it is anesthetized, is visible in an image of one of the zoo’s more recent residents, a laughing Kookaburra. It was taken during the bird’s quarantine exam, which is standard procedure for every new resident, in addition to the annual medical exams performed for each of the zoo’s more than 500 animals.

“This exhibit gives our guests a unique opportunity to view what is usually only seen by veterinary staff, and become inspired in a new way about the beauty of wild animals,” Campbell said.

The images were taken by a Vet Rocket X1 portable digital radiograph system, with a Canon wireless Digital Radiograph detector, purchased by the zoo with funds donated by the Henry Bull, Mericos and Hind foundations, and Citrix Online.

— Julia McHugh is the director of public relations for the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Ken Williams: A Tragic Ending to the Friendship of Two Troubled Souls

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

“Betty” was young, in her mid-30s yet old enough to feel the hot breath of time panting down her back. She was a relatively young woman with flowing blondish-brown hair and a vibrant personality that resonated with her sparkling eyes. Secondly, she was smart enough to know that somewhere her life had taken a tragic turn.

She found herself without employment and broke, living among tragic people who were likewise with limited resources, and calling home a welfare hotel when Santa Barbara still had such resources for those without.

We talked often. She was not used to the crushing poverty that surrounded her — one that replaced hope with despair. Betty was guarded about her life’s journey but usually funny and articulate. Often, I would catch her sitting alone in the lobby with her eyes downcast, lost to the world of what-might-have-beens. At those times, her eyes lost their sparkle and became swamped in a dark sea of sadness. Friendship, other than me as her social worker, all but screamed as a partial solution to her misery.

“Tom,” on the other hand, was used to deprivation and loneliness. When mental illness struck out of the night to cripple, his future was lost to his delusional world. He grew accustomed to a world of lost hope and overwhelming aloneness, and a future held hostage by poverty and closed avenues.

The poor expect little, and they are seldom disappointed in such an outlook on life. His world was one of trying to deal with the multi-hydrate mental health delivery system. Until Betty came along, I never saw him speak to anyone. He would navigate the contours of the hotel draped in his invisible shroud that kept his aloneness intact — until Betty, that is.

The first time I saw them walk through the lobby together, it was somewhat startling. Secretly, I was sure it was a momentary wrinkle in the closed universe that such hotels usually become. But then, I began to see them more frequently together, sometimes simply sitting in the lobby together talking; other times, they would be coming and going in and out of the hotel.

During those brief moments, the sadness that had robbed Betty’s eyes of their joy of life rolled back and the vivacious woman that I had come to know was reborn. Still, there were moments during our conversations that the creeping despair of what she saw as a life imprisoned by poverty and, to her way of thinking, bad choices had robbed her of hope. My encouragements at those times were brushed aside like so much radioactive sage.

I received a call early one morning. Betty had died from a fall off a cliff. I rushed down to the hotel. Sorrow washed like the tide over the poor and mentally ill who called the hotel home. A bitter resignation of defeat clouded the lobby. I saw Tom, but he had simply withdrawn to his old self. No one who knew him could penetrate that shroud that Betty had somehow managed to.

Arrangements were made. Death on the streets, and in the welfare hotels, was a common occurrence then, as it is now. We have become experts at hiding these hidden tragedies from the community at large. We knew how to comfort each other, reach out to those impacted by death, and try to soften the crushing blows. Somehow there were too many deaths, too many ongoing crises that needed to be dealt with: Beds had to be secured for the homeless. Rooms needed to be secured for those living in shelters. Mental health services arranged for those suffering from life’s crushing blows. Medical care secured. Financial aid, and so many other things arranged, so that life could go on for the forgotten poor of Santa Barbara.

Tom quietly continued to steer his day-to-day existence like he always had. But something had changed. A friendship had been offered, and then it cruelly died. Rumors swept the streets that Betty had perhaps not fallen, but had rushed the only solution that she saw possible. Within weeks, Tom came to the same conclusion. I received another early morning call that his lifeless body had been discovered in his room.

Who knows? Maybe in the afterlife, two hurting souls would once again walk, sharing stories, human companionship, easing pain as friends are want to do. Here on planet Earth, a slow burning ache pays homage to two troubled souls who deserved better than what they got.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Fair & Expo in Full Swing

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Festivities continue through Sunday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds

Fun and family abounded Thursday on the second day of the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, which will be in town through Sunday.

The 26th annual event came to the state-run fairgrounds Wednesday, billed as offering something for everyone, from carnival rides and farm animals to live local entertainment and, of course, coveted fair food.

The fair typically draws 45,000 to 50,000 visitors over five days, easily qualifying as the biggest event of the year at the showgrounds, according to Scott Grieve, CEO and general manager of the 19th District Agricultural Association.

“I’m always excited this time of year,” Grieve said. “They just keep coming back.”

Amusement ride lovers can get their fix at Carnival Midway, where more than 30 rides and attractions are rigged and ready.

Kids can ride a pony at the Petting Zoo, enjoy games at the Kid’s Carnival or get a glimpse of the All Alaskan Racing Pigs, which run around a track.

SB Fair
"A Walk on the Wild Side," operated by an Oregon nonprofit that raises its own “ambassador animals” to educate people about the dangers of owning those animals domestically, is a new exhibit this year at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Exhibit buildings for adults and kids are also at the fair, which became a non-smoking event this year in part because of it’s theme, “Let’s Get Mooo-ving,” a take on first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle.

One new exhibit in 2015 is “A Walk on the Wild Side,” operated by an Oregon nonprofit that rescues exotic animals and raises its own as “ambassador animals” to educate people about the dangers of owning those animals domestically.

The Santa Barbara Fair & Expo kicks off again Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. and is also open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, when the fun must end.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for those younger than 6.

Click here for a full schedule of events.  

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Katie Davis: Regulatory Corruption Threatens Climate Progress in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The theme of Earth Day this year was “Stand up for Climate,” but one booth in particular illustrated the difficulties we face in acting on that incredibly urgent call to action when fossil fuel interests are so deeply entrenched in electoral politics.

Many of the thousands of people descending on Alameda Park on April 18-19 checked in “car free” at a booth operated by the Air Pollution Control District, an agency that features an adorable kid hugging a globe on its website and whose worthy mission is to “protect the people and environment of Santa Barbara County from the harmful effects of air pollution.”

Sounds good, but behind the scenes the APCD has been busy setting extremely generous greenhouse gas allowances for new projects, such as oil drilling, that would lead to an increase in greenhouse gas pollution in the county — even if they could convince everyone in Santa Barbara to give up their cars. This is because oil companies have recently applied for nearly 700 new oil wells in Santa Barbara County using steam and water flood injection, the most greenhouse-gas intensive form of oil production in the world.

It turns out that the APCD’s Citizens Advisory Council, appointed by elected officials, is dominated by people who work for oil companies. Just before Earth Day, they voted on a threshold for greenhouse gas pollution preferred by oil companies and that exempts most projects from any local requirement to mitigate emissions. The motion was made by someone who doesn’t believe in climate change and passed by people with a direct conflict of interest in the outcome. That’s right. The APCD lets the polluters decide what level of pollution is significant.

The recommendation of this council was then formally adopted by the APCD board at a special meeting on Thursday, held deliberately when none of the South County supervisors could attend. The North County elected officials voted in one big, pro-oil block, with Santa Barbara and Carpinteria dissenting.

This demonstrates exactly why we cannot trust claims that the oil industry is well regulated. Once the oil industry becomes entrenched in an area, they co-opt elected officials and regulatory agencies through lobbying and campaign contributions. That’s true at a state level, where the Oil and Gas Division of California Department of Conservation is in trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency for permitting toxic oil wastewater injections into groundwater aquifers protected by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and it is true locally, where our air is being “protected” by the polluters themselves.

However, there is also good news and reason for optimism. Santa Barbara County is setting its own threshold for greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources that would apply to most new oil projects in unincorporated areas and pre-empt the APCD threshold. The county Planning Commission is recommending that new industrial projects mitigate greenhouse gas emissions above 1,000 tons (the equivalent of emissions from 200 cars).

While this is higher than the “net zero” increase in emissions recommended by local environmental and community planning organizations and currently used locally by the State Lands Commission, it is far better than the oil-friendly APCD threshold.

Concerned citizens can come to the supervisors meeting at the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara, fourth floor, at 9 a.m. May 19 and ask Supervisors to lower, not increase, emissions. Cities could also choose to set their own thresholds as well, thereby minimizing the damage done by the APCD.

This month Santa Barbara County has an opportunity to become a climate leader. In May, the county supervisors could enact a Climate Action Plan, fund a study of Community Choice Energy, which could dramatically increase renewable energy, and set a low threshold for greenhouse gas emissions from industrial polluters. If all this happens, we could turn Earth Day words into real action — despite the co-option of the APCD by oil companies.

— Katie Davis is a member of the Air Pollution Control District Citizens Advisory Council and chairwoman of the Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Secretary of State Meets with UCSB Students to Discuss Voting Process

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

SOS Alex Padilla has sponsored legislation to create a voter registration program that signs people up when they go to the DMV for a driver's license

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla visited the UCSB campus Thursday to chat with students about voter registration and engaging more students and people of color in politics. 

Padilla, who has served as secretary of state since January, oversees elections and is touring California to talk to students about making the voting process more inclusive. 

The forum was sponsored by the Student Affairs Office of Student Life and Associated Students.

Padilla has sponsored legislation to create a voter registration program that signs people up when they go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a driver's license. AB 1461 has been approved by the State Assembly's transportation committee. 

Oregon has already passed a similar "New Motor Voter" law, and one student said that effort has helped to include more student and minority voices. 

"UCSB is legendary when it comes to voter registration," Padilla told the students, asking how that process worked on campus.

Students said they have permission to go into university dorms and register students as a nonpartisan effort, which they do each year as freshmen move in.  

Within the 24th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Lois Capps, "you have one of the best examples of every vote matters," Padilla said, adding that the district has a mix of political ideologies.

Padilla and Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who also attended the forum, said the students they talked with Thursday were more civically engaged than either of them had been during their university experiences, and commended the students for their involvement.

Before Padilla was elected Secretary of State, he served as a state senator, president of the League of California Cities and was a member of the Los Angeles City Council. 

His parents emigrated from Mexico to Pacoima, Calif., where his father worked as a short order cook and his mother cleaned houses.

Padilla explained that his parents became citizens after he was in office, so he didn't grow up with political conversations around the dinner table.

Many of the students in the circle had similar experiences and said their parents had emigrated from other countries to settle in the United States.

Several said that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama inspired them to get involved with the voting process.

Melvin Singh, external vice president of statewide affairs for the UCSB Associated Students, recalled quizzing his parents for their citizenship tests as a 5-year-old child, but the 2008 election was when his parents got involved in the political process, seeing a person of color take the highest office in the country.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Goleta Leaders Optimistic About Fiscal Outlook as City Council Begins Budget Discussions

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Goleta’s leaders are optimistic about financial plans for the next two years and expect a bump in property taxes from all the development activity in the city. Among the projects are two new hotels that should open for business within the next three years, which will also bring additional transient occupancy tax, or bed tax, to the city.

The City of Goleta plans to add 4.7 full-time positions next year, boosting its workforce to 62, and have an operating budget of $22.9 million, excluding capital improvement projects.

Details will be hashed out in the next two months as the City Council makes spending decisions for the next two fiscal years. The council has to approve a budget in June for the 2015-16 year, which starts July 1.

Spending for the next two years will be flat, with an estimated drop of 0.2 percent next year, finance director Genie Wilson said.

The City Council received $664,000 in requests for community group funding and will have to decide how much money to give out to nonprofits and other agencies. Mayor Paula Perotte said she wants to know the proposed capital improvement budget for next year before the council allocates funding to those programs.

Goleta estimates its law enforcement contract with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will increase $720,000 over the next two years, which is a 9-percent jump.

The contract represents a major chunk of the city’s budget and is estimated to be $8.2 million for the 2015-16 year, with a 2.5-percent increase in the contract cost, according to Goleta’s preliminary budget documents. There is an option to fund an extra detective position, at the cost of $230,000 per year, but the City Council is waiting on more information to see if that position is needed.  

Goleta will pay about $5.3 million to Santa Barbara County next year under the Revenue Neutrality Agreement, which hands over a portion of tax revenues on top of the usual municipal contributions. The agreement was signed when the city incorporated and requires the city to split its property tax revenues with the county in perpetuity. It also hands over 30 percent of its sales taxes every year.

Goleta leaders have tried to renegotiate with the county over the years.

“We’re not the city we could be because we don’t have this money,” Councilman Jim Farr said of the RNA.

Goleta needs to “turn up the heat on this until we get respite from this onerous extraction,” he said.

City Manager Michelle Green said consultants may do more public opinion polling to gauge support for a parcel tax measure augmenting library funding. There was support when surveys went out last year, but not enough to make city leaders confident about a ballot measure. Green said support may be higher in a presidential election year, according to past consultant reports.

Goleta would want the parcel tax to apply to properties within the city and unincorporated areas that are served by the library. 

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Paul Mann: Modern Americana Music Alive and Well at Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

A double bill of live American roots music filled the Carpinteria Plaza Playhouse Theater with near perfect acoustic sounds on April 23.

The concert was one in a series of shows brought to the classic little theater by Ones to Watch Productions. The local production company supports the Santa Barbara Music Foundation, with part of their profits from shows.

Upcoming shows at the Playhouse include the legendary Chris Hillman with Herb Pedersen and the Agape Trio on May 3 and guitarist extraordinaire Robben Ford on June 10.

But last Thursday night it was the Quebe Sisters & the Salty Suites that took over the theater. Well known for its nearly perfect accidental acoustics, the theater is an extraordinary place to see a live acoustic performance.

Opening act the Salty Suites hail from Southern California, and the trio play their own brand of Americana music with fiery passion, witty humor, and amazing vocal and musical skills. The group consists of Scott Gates, Chuck Hailes and Chelsea Williams. Gates on mandolin is a veteran of traditional bluegrass music festivals and possesses incredible vocal as well as picking skills. Hailes, schooled in classical and jazz bass playing and techniques, writes his own music and has teamed with Scott to create their own new material. With his background in bluegrass music and degree in performance, he sings and plays in a way that is uniquely his own. Williams has been writing and performing her own music since she was 13 years old. She began performing on stage as a solo artist at age 17, performing at clubs and coffee shops. The prolific songwriter has written nearly 100 original songs to date.

The Salty Suites performed their own songs with lyrics like “If I die young at least I will die with chocolate on my tongue.” The band played some reworked covers of rock classics like Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Mans Party” and even a song by The Doors. The band wowed the crowd with their hour-long set at the Playhouse.

After an intermission featuring local microbrews and area wines at the concession stand, the Texas-based Quebe Sisters took over the venue. Sisters Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe are all champion violin players in their own right and together sing compelling harmonies, while fiddling away like possessed madwomen.

Critics have said that the Quebes’ unique brand of music has taken the Americana music scene by storm. They perform a unique blend of swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz, swing and, of course, Texa-style fiddling. Together with a guitarist and upright bass player making up the rhythm section of the band, the sisters tore through an amazing panorama of the history of American music. The band interspersed generations of cover music from veteran music with original material that filled the Playhouse with perfectly pitched sounds.

It was another night of pure music wizardry in one of Southern California's premiere acoustic venues.

Click here for information on upcoming shows.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Dons Net Café Teacher, Students Win Big at UCLA Project Echo

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Lee Ann Knodel, the Regional Occupational Program instructor of the Dons Net Café, won the prestigious Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award, announced by the Project ECHO Board of Directors at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management on April 12.

Project ECHO (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hand On) is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing students with vocational and entrepreneurial skills as a way to aid them and educators around the world. The Dons Net Café has a long and distinguished history at the annual competition sponsored by Project ECHO.

“I truly enjoy mentoring the Dons Net Café students and their excitement about business is contagious,” local businessman Teddy Ho said.

Ho, a graduate of UCLA’s Anderson MBA program and head of marketing at Santa Barbara-based Barkback, an online feedback platform designed to improve communications between businesses and their customers, has proven to be a dedicated mentor for the past four years.

Although Knodel was traveling to New York with a group of her senior Dons Net Café students for a National Trade Fair at the time of the announcement, she managed to send a short clip thanking the Project ECHO Program.

Knodel wasn’t the only Don to win praise that evening, however. In addition, a group of three students were able to compete and showcase their newest business, Finding Common Ground, a partnership between Santa Barbara High School and Escuela Agrícola de San Francisco, located in Asunción, Paraguay. The student group consisted of dedicated sophomores Elizabeth Avila and Julia Danalevich and junior Victor Valadaz. Not only did they get to accept their teacher’s award, but they also took second place and $600 for their business plan.

The Common Ground business plan had some tough competition from senior-led teams, but they were well prepared, thanks to their mentors’ help. The Dons Net Café would like to thank not only Ho, but also Chris Morales and Will Freeland of Montecito Bank & Trust and George Rusznak of SCORE for their mentorship and support during the intense competition time.

The Dons Net Café, a Regional Occupational Program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, is a group of 14 student-run businesses that represent a 21-year commitment to inspire students to create positive social and environmental change through ethical commerce and service learning. All profits benefit employees and associated projects, because they believe in “Doin’ Some Good in the World.”

Further information is available by contacting Knodel at 805.963.8597 or [email protected].

— Kris Bergstrom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Outdoors Q&A: Steelhead vs. Rainbow Trout — What’s the Difference?

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Q: I’d like to try steelhead fishing for the first time on the American River. I will purchase a regular California fishing license and adhere to all regulations, but do I have to purchase the steelhead card if I don’t intend to keep any steelhead? If so, why can’t one be fishing for regular (rainbow) trout in the same river without a steelhead card? (Lilly K.)

A: It can be a bit confusing because steelhead trout and rainbow trout are the same fish. Its scientific name is Oncorhynchus mykiss (O. mykiss). The law recognizes O. mykiss found in land-locked freshwater with no access to the ocean as rainbow trout. The law recognizes steelhead trout as O. mykiss fish found in anadromous waters, which are waters with unimpeded access to the ocean where they live the majority of their life and come back to freshwater to spawn. Fishing for O. mykiss in the Lower American River, which is below Nimbus Dam in Sacramento County, is anadromous water and will require purchase of a Steelhead Report Card, even if you practice catch-and-release. The report card provides important data to fishery scientists and requires an entry for each day that you fish and statistics on fish that are caught and released.

Does Sardine Fishery Closure Mean No More Sardines for Live Bait?

Q: I heard in the news last week that the sardine fishery will be closing because it’s been overfished. Is this true? If so, how will this impact sport fishermen who rely on sardines for live bait? What about for fishermen who catch them incidentally on hook and line or who target them on sabiki and similar rigs off piers, jetties, etc.? (Steve C.)

A: The season for the current directed commercial sardine fishery has closed. There will also be a prohibition for next season for the same fishery due to a declining stock, but the decline is not due to overfishing. Anglers will be happy to know that these closures have no effect on either live bait or recreational take of sardine. These catches are not considered as part of the prohibition on directed commercial take. Currently, there is no limit on the recreational take of Pacific sardine (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.60(b)).

Biomass (population numbers) and commercial catch of Pacific sardine have fluctuated since the early part of last century. Over the past couple of years, the biomass of Pacific sardine has been declining. These fluctuations and the recent decline are primarily due to natural large scale changes in oceanic temperature, and studies show that biomass has fluctuated on a decadal scale for thousands of years. For more information on management of the West Coast Pacific sardine stock, please see the Pacific Fishery Management Council website.

For more information about Pacific sardine history, research, and management in California, please visit the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Pacific sardine website.

Spotting Abalone for Friends While on Probation?

Q: I was cited for an abalone violation for failure to tag immediately out of the water last year (I went up to my car to grab a pen and ran into a ranger). My probation states 12 months of no fishing. Would it be legal to still go out with my buddies and spot abalones for them? I would obviously not carry an abalone iron. (Jingsong W.)

A: No. The law defines take as “hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill, or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill” (FGC, section 86). If you are helping your buddies by spotting abalone for them to harvest, you are pursuing and hunting for abalone, which constitutes take.

Black Bear Claw Necklace?

Q: I have a necklace that contains black bear claws that were legally taken in Wisconsin a couple of generations ago. They were part of a rug until it fell apart from age and moths. I would like to pass it along to my grandson as he is involved in Cub Scout activities. It would be a gift being passed down from one generation to another. Is it legal for him to possess it in California? In keeping with the scouting traditions, I want to make sure we are doing things legally and properly. (Robert S., Texas)

A: Yes, you can give this family treasure to your grandson but Fish and Game Code, section 4758, prohibits the sale or purchase of bear parts in California.

— 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).

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Maria Organizations Plan May Day Rally to Protest New ICE Facility

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Officials say employees are expected to move into the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility on West Century Street by summer

Community, faith and labor organizations will speak up for the rights of immigrants and workers Friday on May Day at the new — but not yet occupied — Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Santa Maria and hold a rally downtown.

The events will mark May Day, the international day of the worker and day of the immigrant, with the press conference taking place in front of the nearly-completed ICE facility at 740 W. Century St. in Santa Maria. Later Friday, a May Day rally is set for the corner of Broadway and Main Street, starting at 6 p.m.

Organizers say the facility has brought "fear and frustration" to immigrants in Santa Maria and are calling on city officials to ensure ICE officials do not use the site “to detain, process and separate immigrant families who have not committed serious crimes and are simply living and working among their neighbors in Santa Maria.”

Groups participating in the events include CAUSE, Frente Indigena, United Domestic Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5Councilwoman Terri Zuniga and the Rev. Deborah Dunn.

“They will also be calling on local policymakers to show immigrant communities they are welcome and safe in Santa Maria by taking meaningful actions to repair the relationship between immigrant families and local civic institutions, from city hall to the school district to the police department,” said Hazel Davalos, community organizing director with CAUSE.

The facility is new for Santa Maria, but the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in North County are not. 

The Santa Maria ICE facility will be used for interviewing people coming into ICE custody, not as a detention center, according to Homeland Security officials. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Since 1996, ICE has operated from older trailers on Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex property. The existing facility has become outdated for the approximately dozen employees who work at the site, Department of Homeland Security officials said.

The Santa Maria location also will have easier access for the public and law enforcement agencies.

Workers are expected to move into the new facility by early summer, according to Lori Haley, a Homeland Security spokeswoman.

“We’re looking forward to it becoming operational,” she said. 

Like the current facility in Lompoc, “the new location will have secure space for interviewing and briefly holding individuals who are coming into ICE custody following their release from area jails or prisons,” Homeland Security officials said.

Federal officials note the new facility is not a detention center and will not have overnight holding or bed space. People expected to stay in ICE custody will be transferred to a detention center.  

In 2014, thousands attended city meetings and urged Santa Maria officials to reject the facility.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

David Harsanyi: Of Course Democrats Deserve the Blame for Unrest in Baltimore

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

If a person happens to point out that Baltimore's criminally inept government has been run exclusively by Democrats since 1967 (with one Republican mayor since 1947) and features not a single city councilor who isn't a liberal, he may be called a lazy apparatchik. Because not everything, you see, is reducible to mere party politics.

Now, if an economic renaissance sparked by the progressive policies of Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had lifted Baltimore from poverty, I imagine Democrats would be eager to claim credit for the accomplishment. Entire political debates are predicated on the effectiveness of partisan ideas. We blame presidents for recessions they probably have little to do with, yet according to liberal pundits, the party overseeing a city riddled with poverty, failing schools, high crime rates and racial tension bears no responsibility for what's happening.

The president disagrees. Sort of. After a night of violence and looting in Baltimore, Barack Obama spoke to the press and said that "we, as a country, have to do some soul-searching" — by which he meant "they," as in conservatives, need to get on board.

Obama said that solutions to mend Baltimore's suffering are sitting right there in Washington — unpassed because of ideologically inflexible Republicans.

"And there's a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now," Obama claimed before going on: "Now, I'm under no illusion that out of this Congress we're going to get massive investments in urban communities, and so we'll try to find areas where we can make a difference, around school reform and around job training and around some investments in infrastructure in these communities and trying to attract new businesses in."

What piece of legislation have Republicans obstructed that would have helped keep families together in Baltimore — right now? Which proposal would have created jobs to turn the city around? What law has Obama lobbied for that would have made Baltimore's police department — which has been answering to one party for decades — more compassionate or effective? Is there a criminal-justice reform effort that Obama's been spearheading all these years that we've all forgotten about?

Yes, the war on drugs is a disaster. But Democrats are complicit in that war, too. And Democrats are also in charge of a city school system that has huge failure rates, despite the fact that Baltimore's school district also has consistently ranked in the top five among the nation's 100 largest school districts in spending per pupil. Like most big city districts, there is no accountability. It's Democrats who consistently sink conservative education reform ideas (ones that in many cities are popular among African-American parents) for their union patrons.

For that matter, when did the president ever offer comprehensive legislation that would have brought "massive investments" to inner cities or reformed how government functions in urban communities? Was it when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House? Or was it after?

As Obama noted, the citizens of Baltimore (and all of us) have an alternative. They can care more, just as he does.

"But that kind of political mobilization, I think, we haven't seen in quite some time," he explained.

Rather than resort to counterproductive violence — the kind of violence numerous leftist pundits were justifying — Baltimore can vote for candidates who reflect and act on their concerns, candidates who will demand the police be accountable to civilian oversight. There are African-Americans in elected office and power positions throughout the city, so surely, there is no active racist faction undermining the ability of blacks to participate in democracy. Right now, they need better Democrats in Baltimore.

Where does the blame for the civil unrest lie? In plenty of places. Some of those places have absolutely nothing to do with politics and can't be fixed by any Washington agenda — imagined or otherwise. The tribulations plaguing cities such as Baltimore are complex, having festered for years. But does that excuse the bungling of Democratic Party governance? Does it change the fact that massive amounts of spending have done little in the war on poverty?

And if Democrats claim that they are uniquely sympathetic toward the poor and weak, that welfare programs can never be reformed, only expanded, and that perpetually pumping "investments" into cities is the only way to alleviate the hardship faced by citizens, it's more than fair to gauge the effectiveness — not to mention the competence — of those allocating and overseeing those policies. Because Republicans may be horrible, but they aren't running Baltimore.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Free Fair at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to Focus on Heroin, Bullying and Mental Health

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital will present its annual Mental Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2 in Burtness Auditorium.

More than 20 nonprofit community agencies will be participating and providing free information to the public.

The free event will educate the community about services that are available for those affected by mental illness. Local mental health professionals will present lectures (see list below), and educational information and self-assessment tools will also be available.

The Mental Health Fair takes place in the month of May to commemorate National Mental Health Month. The event is sponsored by Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Psychiatric Services.

Lecture Schedule

» 10:30 a.m. — Paul Erickson, M.D., "Heroin in Santa Barbara: How Big is the Problem?"

» 11:45 a.m. — Yvonne Ferguson, M.D., "Let’s Take Bullying By the Horns"

» 1 p.m. — Janet Osimo, UCSB, "Mental Health Issues Among College Students"

— Maria Zate is a spokeswoman for Cottage Health System.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

City Crews to Replace Water Main on East Yanonali Street in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Santa Barbara Public Works Department will begin construction to replace the water main in the 100 block of East Yanonali Street, between Anacapa and Santa Barbara streets, beginning May 4 through May 18.

The 100 block of East Yanonali Street has recently experienced repeated water main breaks. As a result, this water main replacement project has been accelerated to minimize further disruption to the area.

Businesses and residents in the immediate vicinity will have uninterrupted water service for the majority of the project. Local businesses will remain open, but traffic will be detoured around the 100 block of East Yanonali Street.

Construction will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please contact Matt Ward, water distribution superintendent, at 805.564.5414 with any questions.

— Matt Ward is the water distribution superintnedent for the City of Santa Barbara.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Urban Bistro Nuance Opens in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Discover Nuance, the new urban bistro that brings the finest in local, seasonal craft food to Santa Barbara’s eclectic Funk Zone Art District.

Nuance
Nuance is set in the boutique Hotel Indigo at 119 State St. in Santa Barbara, where guests can dine and sip cocktails on the outdoor patio. (Nuance photo)

At the helm is Santa Barbara Chef Courtney Ladin, who combines her globally inspired cuisine with the best in locally sourced Farmer’s Market ingredients. Set in the boutique Hotel Indigo at 119 State St., guests can dine and sip cocktails on the outdoor patio, while soaking in the ocean breeze from the Pacific, just two blocks away.

“Growing up in Santa Barbara has fostered a sense of community, family, culture, and commitment to sustainability from an early age that inspired my passion to be a chef,” Ladin said. “Food is what brought my family together every evening, and to bring that shared sensibility of delicious food and vibrant conversation to Nuance is a dream come true.”

The Food

Chef Ladin is committed to working as much as possible with local purveyors and winemakers, offering a menu dedicated to the seasons of Santa Barbara’s Farmer's Markets and wine country. With the distinctive feature of a wood-burning oven in the kitchen, Ladin’s playful, approachable preparations showcase the flavors and quality of each element on the plate.

Favorites include: Wood Oven Fired Focaccia with fennel seed, dried Calabrian chili, extra virgin olive oil; Beef Tartare, pickled hon shemiji mushrooms, Fresno chili, mustard greens, hen egg emulsion; Pan Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, strawberry rhubarb jam, pistachios, petit mâche, and toasted brioche; Mary’s Organic Roasted Chicken, Harissa honey lacquer, sweet corn pudding, fava beans, pickled Fresno chilies, charred baby leeks; Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta, Straus Family Dairy, local citrus & Madagascar vanilla.

The Chef

Chef Ladin blends her native California style with the cultural fusion of her Armenian and Russian heritage, ensuring each dish at Nuance is a crafted union of the best in locally sourced, globally inspired cuisine.

Born in Los Angeles, and raised in Santa Barbara, she learned from an early age the love of cooking from her family and how it brought everyone together. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, she pursued her culinary dream and moved to San Francisco to attend Le Cordon Bleu.

Ladin spent the next five years training in Maui, Hawaii working for award winning Chefs Cameron Lewark and Lee Hefter at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Restaurant, as well as at Capische Restaurant under renowned Chefs Christopher Kulis and Brian Etheredge, protégés of Thomas Keller at Bouchon. Courtney returned to Santa Barbara, where she has worked as both a private and executive corporate chef, putting her love into the food, and her passion into every aspect of life in the kitchen. 

The Drink

Nuance’s robust Bar Program is led locally by Santa Barbara mixologist George Piperis, with consulting Beverage Directors Julian Cox and Nick Meyer, the brilliant bartending team behind some of Los Angeles’ best bars. Nuance’s bar menu features handcrafted cocktails and artisan spirits that strike a balance between inventive libations and classic favorites.

The Vibe

Set in a boutique hotel in the Funk Zone, Nuance plays on its unique surroundings, thanks in large part to artistic partner, local Santa Barbara artist Sean Anderson. Anderson has collaborated with Ladin to infuse an original artistic design element to the restaurant to visually inspire guests during their visit, together with Chef Ladin’s food, creating a totally unique culinary experience. The name Nuance derives from the restaurant’s integration of cuisine, art, music and community culture. These are all subtle nuances that lend to the overall experience.

Nuance is the collaboration between Chef Courtney Ladin and Managing Partner, Bill Chait of Sprout LA, the restaurateur behind some of Southern California’s most award winning chefs and restaurants.

About Nuance

Experience Nuance, an urban bistro that brings the best in local, seasonal craft food to Santa Barbara’s eclectic Funk Zone Art District. Sample the creations of Chef Ladin’s globally inspired cuisine made with the best in locally sourced Farmer’s Market ingredients. Nuance’s full bar features handcrafted cocktails that strike a balance between inventive libations and classic favorites. Set in the boutique Hotel Indigo at 119 State St., the original artistic design infuses the restaurant’s integration of cuisine, art, music and community culture that lend to the subtle nuances to the overall experience.

Call 805.845.0989 or visit nuancesb.com. Follow Nuance on Facebook here or Instagram @nuance_sb.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Nuance.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

UCSB Scientists Develop Technique That Measures Frequency of Radiation Emitted By Single Electron

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The microwave oven has been around for almost 80 years. When it heats food or liquid, the frequency of electrons increases but their energy slows down due to their own microwave emissions. Until now, scientists have only been able to observe this phenomenon in a group of electrons.

Monreal
Ben Monreal (Matt Perko photo)

However, Project 8, a collaboration of 27 scientists from six institutions in the United States and Germany, has for the first time been able to detect the frequency of radiation emitted by an individual, orbiting electron. The group’s findings appear in the journal Physical Review Letters.

“One of the reasons our result is exciting is that it gives us a new way of capturing electrons to use as a back door into studying neutrinos,” said Benjamin Monreal, an assistant professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Physics. “We hope it will lead to a measurement of the neutrino mass, which is currently one of the last remaining unknowns in the Standard Model of particle physics.”

The second-most abundant particles in the universe, neutrinos lack an electric charge and are produced by the decay of radioactive elements. They come in three varieties: electron, muon and tau, each with a different, still-unknown mass. While the differences between the mass of each type of neutrino can be calculated, scientists at this point in time only know the range into which measurement of these masses will fall. Once refined, the technique developed by Project 8 has the potential to make the first direct measurement of the mass of the neutrino.

Previous electron detection and energy measurements required enormous spectrometers to measure radiation. Project 8 collaborators may have changed that. Not only were they able to detect emissions from a single electron but they did so using a tabletop instrument.

The team built a small apparatus to contain a single high-energy electron in a magnetic field containing krypton-83, a radioactive isotope that produces electrons as its nuclei undergo beta decay.

Electrons from the radioactive decay move extremely fast, at 20 percent of the speed of light, and spiral in a magnetic field. Each electron emits a signal that can be measured very accurately using radio waves.

Called cyclotronic radiation, this effect was predicted more than 100 years ago but has only now been observed one electron at a time. In fact, the team was able to witness the activity of more than 100,000 single electrons.

“We were able to trap an electron for about 10 milliseconds, which doesn’t sound like very long,” Monreal said, “but it’s actually taking a little 30-kilometer journey going around and around in circles. Nobody’s ever been able to zoom in on a single electron before.”

When the electron bumps into a gas molecule, it jumps and loses a fraction of its energy, which in turn increases its frequency. This sequence of events produces a characteristic chirp, which can be seen when frequency is plotted against time.

“We were able to take a single electron and see it scatter 20 times and measure every little energy change,” Monreal said. “Sometimes we could see it changing directions slightly.”

According to Monreal, Project 8 has found a new use of basic electromagnetism. The equation used by the investigators was first published in 1904. “It’s very, very old electromagnetism that we’re just pushing to the edge of the smallest charge that you can see with it,” Monreal explained.

“We have a new tool for studying radioactive decays,” he added. “For the future, the decay we’re most interested in is tritium, which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Every time it decays, it emits an electron and a neutrino and you can detect those electrons. One day our instrument will be able to measure those electrons. If you can measure electron distribution precisely enough, you can figure out neutrino mass, which we’ve been talking about for 80 years now.”

Measuring neutrino mass may be the ultimate goal of Project 8, but the team’s method also has the potential to be used for environmental monitoring of nuclear fuel.

This research was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Sansum Clinic on Foothill Road Hosting Free ‘New to Medicare’ Presentation

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

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

The "New to Medicare" presentation will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 9 at the Sansum Clinic at 4151 Foothill Road, Building A in Santa Barbara.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help new beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program,” said Jim Talbott, board president for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

Even those who currently have Medicare coverage could benefit from this detailed overview.

Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance, Part D prescription coverage, Medicare and employer group health plans and retiree health plan considerations.

HICAP is pleased to partner with the Sansum Clinic in presenting this important information to the community.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company or health plan. The presentation is a service of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, HICAP with financial assistance, in whole or in part, through a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medical services, the federal Medicare agency.

For more information about the "New to Medicare" presentation and to reserve a seat, call the local HICAP office at 800.434.0222 or 805.928.5663, email [email protected] or RSVP online by clicking here.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Harding University Partnership School Students, Staff to Spend a Day at UCSB

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Harding University Partnership School, which since January 2010 has been partnered with UC Santa Barbara and in particular UCSB’s Gevirtz School, will bring the school — students, teachers and many parents, too — to the UC Santa Barbara campus on Friday, May 15 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This will be the sixth annual visit for Harding to UCSB. This year’s sixth graders will have been coming to college for every year of their Harding experience. Students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade will take part in activities aimed specifically for their grade levels and designed to enhance the curriculum they have been studying in their Westside school.

“Although UCSB is not far away in actual miles it can seem very distant from the Harding community,” Acting Dean Merith Cosden of the Gevirtz School says. “By attending UCSB for even just a half day, it makes it seem possible they can return when they are old enough to enter as full-fledged students. This annual visit isn’t just about education, it’s about promise and hope.”

The events during the day include several new programs. Students in Grade 1, for instance, will take part in “Into the Woods: Explorations in Storytelling,” and have a chance to create and share their own story. This activity will be led by Professors Judith Green, Diana Arya, and Andrew Maul, all faculty who study literacy and discourse in the Gevirtz School. Grade 2 students will have the opportunity to visit the Davidson Library and learn about the world through paper and digital maps at the Map & Imagery Laboratory, the largest imagery collection in any academic library in the country. This activity will be led by Librarian Jon Jablonski.

And Grade 4 students, under the direction of Professors Norah Dunbar and Dana Mastro, will tour the Communications Department’s research labs and learn about nonverbal communication, taking part in a demonstration on deception detection.

These new programs include returning programs in which students visit the Robertson Gym, the science education classroom in the Education Building, the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, and the Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF) at the Marine Science Institute.

The historic Harding School — whose students are nearly 95 percent Hispanic, more than 90 percent economically disadvantaged, and more than 60 percent of its pupils are English Language Learners — has been involved in major changes over the past six years. These efforts were punctuated by the January 2010 announcement of an unprecedented partnership with UC Santa Barbara.

The Harding University Partnership School is a place of joy, excellence, and international focus. Of particular distinction for the neighborhood is the University School’s status as an International Baccalaureate Program, making it the only Santa Barbara elementary school currently pursuing this highly acclaimed approach that emphasizes 21st century skills and international mindedness.

The stellar teaching staff is assisted by graduate level teacher candidates from UCSB providing greater support for students at every grade level with the latest research-based practices. Faculty researchers and UCSB undergraduate tutors partner with teachers to deliver the latest evidence-based instruction.

— George Yatchisin is the communications coordinator for the UCSB Gevirtz School.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Local Autism Expert Dr. Tom McCool to Participate in Pentagon Autism Roundtable

By | Published on 04/30/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

On Tuesday, May 5, Dr. Tom McCool, Ed.D., president and CEO of the Qualified Applied Behavior Analysis Credentialing Board in Buellton, will participate in the Autism Roundtable sponsored by the Department of Defense.

The DOD is seeking input on the Department of Defense Autism Care Demonstration, an initiative expanding Autism healthcare under the TRICARE benefit that went into effect July 25, 2014, and continues to Dec. 31, 2018.

Dr. McCool will provide news about two behavior technician credentials issued by the QABA Credentialing Board, including the organization’s educational, supervisory and ethical requirements for individuals providing direct behavioral therapy for children with autism.

“It’s hard for many people to believe, but more than 85 percent of the individuals providing direct care behavioral services in classrooms, group homes, and employment programs have no formal credential or license,” Dr. McCool said, “and with the growing need for a qualified work force in this area, our credentials demonstrate a professional level of expertise.”

The QABA Credentialing Board was founded in 2012, and has continuously worked to professionalize the occupation of “autism provider,” and expand the qualified work force available to properly serve the expanded numbers of children who need specialized behavioral services.

Dr. McCool joined the board in October 2014, and is guiding the organization in an accreditation process under two nationally recognized accrediting bodies: American National Standards Institute and the National Commission on Certifying Agencies.

From 2005 to 2014, Dr. McCool served as president/CEO of the Eden Family of Services, based in Princeton, N.J., and from 1996 to 2005, Dr. McCool served as the vice president of development and government relations for The Devereux Foundation nationally.

From 1985 to 1996, he was the executive director of Devereux California with responsibility for Clinical, Residential, Educational/Vocational and Recreational Programs for 235 children and adults who have a developmental disability.

Dr. McCool is a founder of the National Commission on Accreditation of Special Education Services and a founder of the National Association of Residential Providers of Services for Adults with Autism. From 2012 to 2015, Dr. McCool served as president of the National Association of Private Special Education Services. For more than 30 years, Dr. McCool has been a member of the Autism Society of America.

Individuals who seek more information about the QABA Credentialing Board can click here or call 805.691.9367.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Residents Speak Out About Traffic Safety Near Santa Ynez High School

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Dozens of concerns and suggestions arise from a brainstorming session with the superintendent

Concerned about the morning traffic around Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Patti Stewart doesn’t allow her children to walk to the campus.

“People say I’m crazy,” she said, but added that she has armed her freshmen about the need to remain hyper vigilant.

“You have to cross that street like a ninja,” she said she told her children.

Personal stories of traffic troubles and a laundry list of suggestions for improving safety around the campus arose during a 90-minute meeting Wednesday night moderated by district Superintendent Scott Cory.

Ideas ranged from the costly — foot bridges or underground tunnels — to the manageable — more safety lights and signs, or what Cory summarized as additions to make the intersection “visually loud” to drivers. Other ideas included increased education of students and improved traffic flow on campus along with beefed-up enforcement and lower speed limits. 

“There are no bad ideas at this point,” Cory said at the start of the brainstorming sessions while noting that some ideas may seem reasonable while others may seem unreasonable.

Cory had already received many ideas before Wednesday night’s meeting and heard more from the crowd of approximately 40 people who attended the session, and shared a nonstop list of concerns and suggestions. 

With the list compiled, Cory said he intends to create a smaller task force to tackle the ideas with state and county officials to make the improvements a reality.

One problem, which Cory said school officials are aware of and are working to stem, is the flow of students and adults darting across busy Highway 246 to El Rancho Market. Security officers are positioned at key times to direct the pedestrians to cross at the traffic light. 

“We’re trying to ramp up all of those pieces in the short-term as we look for a long-term solution as well,” Cory said. 

SYHS safety
Among those who attended Wednesday night's traffic safety meeting regarding Santa Ynez Valley Union High School were school board member Bruce Porter, left, and Rona Barrett, right, who spearheaded the development of the Golden Inn & Village across from the campus. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Spurred by the death of Carina Velazquez, who was struck by a vehicle while she walked across Highway 246 on March 26, the traffic safety discussions focused on the entire area around the campus. 

In addition to physical improvements, Cory said he expected solutions would include more education of both students and community members. 

“In talking to the Highway Patrol, 90 percent of all the citations that are written in the valley, 90 percent go to us,” he said, referring to local residents versus tourists.

A distracted driving presentation for seniors is planned, and school officials are already looking at more events for the next school year. 

Pedestrian safety measures in Santa Maria and the South Coast also were cited as possible solutions, such red lights for all vehicles to allow pedestrians to cross or a system to allow pedestrians a head start of a few seconds before vehicle traffic gets a green light.

Ninth-grade student Zane St. Andre Jackson said he and his mom had discussed more signage signaling the upcoming school zone and creating a gradual decrease in the speed limit near the campus.

"It just feels so odd slowing down from 55, suddenly, to 25," he said.

Chris Burtness, a school board member, mentioned recently seeing a speed indicator sign permanently placed near a San Luis Obispo County elementary school, flashing if a driver is going too fast.

“Boy, it catches your attention,” she said. “If you’re in a school zone and supposed to be going 25, and you’re going to faster, it lets you know.”

The busy intersection of Highway 246 and Refugio Road is only going to see more vehicle and pedestrian traffic with the addition of the Golden Inn & Village now under construction on the final empty corner of the intersection. The Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA and a private school sit on the other two corners at that intersection.

School grounds workers already removed some bushes at the intersection of Highway 246 and Refugio Road. Additionally, a white fence now sits on the corner, a recent addition to ensure bicyclists or pedestrians don’t inadvertently fall into the culvert.

Currently, only one crosswalk is placed at the intersection, but Cory said he had talked to state officials about adding striping to the other three segments.

Some parents asked for more sidewalks. Another suggestion centered on extending the incomplete bike path to Santa Ynez. One idea focused on adding barriers on the corner to ensure vehicle traffic makes a wider turn and doesn’t cut the corner. 

“That’s a lot of amazing suggestions,” Cory said near the end of the meeting.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Two Arrested After Drugs, Weapon Found at Santa Maria Motel

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Flavio Delabra

A large amount of narcotics, cash and a firearm left behind when a customer checked out of a motel led to the arrest of two Santa Maria residents on Wednesday.

Santa Maria police were called at 11:43 a.m. to a motel in the 200 block of South Nicholson Avenue, where they saw a suspect flee in a vehicle.

Lt. Mark Norling said officers were summoned after customers checked out of the hotel, but left behind a large quantity of a controlled substance, cash and a firearm.

“As officers were arriving on scene, they learned the suspects had returned to the hotel and attempted to break into the room,” Norlling said. “An officer saw the suspects fleeing the area in a vehicle.”

Other officers followed the vehicle, conducted a traffic stop, and took the suspects into custody without incident, but reportedly at gunpoint.

During the investigation, police seized approximately one-quarter pound of suspected methamphetamine, a large sum of money, and a firearm that had been reported stolen.

Dawn Karen Bischoff

Flavio Delabra, 41, of Santa Maria was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for alleged weapons and narcotics violations, police said.

Dawn Karen Bischoff, 52, of Santa Maria was cited for suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and later released, police added.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Sheriff Awards Medals of Valor to First Responders of Isla Vista Shooting Rampage

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Santa Barbara County, UCSB law enforcement officers and dispatchers are recognized for their work to help stop Elliot Rodger in May 2014

It's been almost a year since the tragic murders of six UC Santa Barbara students in Isla Vista, and on Wednesday, the law enforcement community commended the first responders who ran toward the bullets flying that night and helped save the lives of many others.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the University of California Police Department gathered to honor those in their ranks who responded to the murderous rampage of Elliot Rodger on May 23, 2014, in the Isla Vista community.

Authorities discovered that Rodger had killed his two roommates and one of their friends in his Seville Road apartment before driving through Isla Vista, shooting at pedestrians and bicyclists, and hitting people with his car.

“Within eight short minutes, three additional young victims had lost their lives, 14 people were injured, four sheriff’s deputies were involved in shooting situations, and the suspect had killed himself,” stated an investigative report on the incident that was released earlier this year.

Sheriff Bill Brown reminded the crowd in attendance at the Isla Vista Theater on Wednesday that a whole host of people worked together to help stop Rodger.

He awarded the Sheriff's Medal of Valor to Sgt. Brad Welch and Deputies Adrien Marquez, Brian Flick, Jorden Walker and Wayne Johnson. It was an award that Brown has awarded only once before during his time in office.

The Medals of Valor were all given for their actions that night, which started when Marquez heard what was going on from his post at Del Playa Drive and El Embarcadero.

"Without concern for his own safety and without any cover," Marquez fired at Rodger as he drove by, Brown said.

Marquez was able to relay crucial information to Welch, Flick, Johnson and Walker, who went to Little Acorn Park, Brown added.

As they looked west, they spotted Rodger's vehicle behind the International Market, where Rodger was reloading his handgun. Rodger began driving toward the men, firing at the deputies. Welch, Flick and Walker returned fire, one of them wounding Rodger in the hip.

Brown said Johnson showed "immense restraint" by withholding fire after one of his fellow deputies stepped in his line of sight.

Communications dispatchers Matthew Paine, Lindsay Hedricks, David Washington, Angelena Renshaw, Rachel Chester, Shannon McLeod, Jessica Smith, Amanda Quinionez and Susan Farley all worked that night and received the Sheriff's Unit Citation during Wednesday's ceremony.

Renshaw answered the first 9-1-1 call that night, and within minutes, calls began to pour into dispatch reporting shots fired and people down.

The center received more than 100 calls in the next half-hour, and the dispatchers worked to remain calm throughout the event so they could coordinate law enforcement and fire activities, Brown said.

The Sheriff's Lifesaving Awards went to Deputies Patrick Genovese and Kenneth Rushing for actively performing CPR or other lifesaving first aid to an injured person to save their lives.

Genovese was one block away from the Alpha Pi sorority house when shots were fired, and arrived at the house to find three young women on the ground. Placing his hands over the multiple gunshot wounds of Bianca DeKock, Genovese was able to stop the bleeding and she survived. 

He instructed bystanders to check the pulse of the other two women, Veronika Weiss and Katherine Cooper, who both died of multiple gunshot wounds.  

Rushing found a male victim lying face down in a yard on Sabado Tarde with a single gunshot wound and applied direct pressure, and the young man was transported to the hospital and survived. 

Members of UCSB's police department were awarded police valor citations for their service that night, when they also ran toward Rodger's gunshots. Sgt. Daniel Wilson, Corporals Gregory Pierce and Jeffery Lupo, and Officer Tyler Oldread were recognized Wednesday. 

Isla Vista Foot Patrol responders were given the Sheriff's Unit Citation Award: Deputies Justin DiPinto, Neil Gowing, Wayne Johnson, Patrick Genovese, Karen McCormick, Bradford Smith, William Coffman, Brian Flick, Kim Fryslie, Adrien Marquez and Jorden Walker and Sgts. Marc Hammill and Brad Welch.

Detective Joseph Schmidt also received a Meritorious Service Award for his work as the lead investigator in the case, which had 17 separate crime scenes, and the resulting 64-page investigative summary that was issued to the public. 

Special Enforcement Team Medic Debbie Lux, Deputy Christopher Gotschall, Detective Adrian Hernandez, Lt. Brian Olmstead, Detective Matthew Fenske, Detective Tyler Yeates, Sgt. Gregory Sanders and Sgt. Christopher Corbett also received the award for performing lifesaving measures on a Santa Barbara police detective who had a heart attack while responding to help with the investigation.

UCPD Sgt. Matthew Bly and Officers Daniel Crawford, Michael Little and Robert Rogers were all awarded the public safety meritorious service citation. Sgt. Antonio Borrayo was given the award posthumously, as he passed away from natural causes.

UCPD dispatchers John Blake-Lobb and Lindsay Straub were also awarded for exceptional service. UCPD Sgts. Rob Romero, Ryan Smith, Rory Sheehy, Detective Greg Smorodinsky, Corporal Matthew Stern and Officer Darren Miller were also awarded with public safety meritorious unit citations.

During the ceremony, Brown read the name of each victim who perished that night, followed by a moment of silence.

A commendation bar with the inscription "Isla Visa 2014" will also be awarded to every public safety employee who responded to the incident or played a role in managing it afterward, according to the Sheriff's Department. 

Brown commended the first responders who engaged in two separate gun battles with Rodger, and said their quick thinking that night prevented the deaths of many more people.

"Your remarkable efforts have now become a part of history," he told them.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Chamber Unveils 2015 Goleta Magazine Highlighting New Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Community and business leaders gather for an after-hours event focused on the nearly complete facility, expected to open in July

Goleta leaders and business owners celebrated the opening of the new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital a little early this week, since the local hospital is the centerpiece of this year’s Goleta Magazine.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce unveiled its annual 56-page magazine during an after-hours event Wednesday, where lovers of the Good Land gathered at the recently renovated Goodland Hotel for local drinks, fare and networking by the pool.

Attendees stood less than a five-minute drive from the nearly complete new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, which is set to open its doors to the public in July.

The two-story, 152,000-square-foot building just south of the current Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital at 351 S. Patterson Ave. could receive its certificate of occupancy in May and begin hosting open house events for community members in June.

Goleta Valley Chamber President/CEO Kristen Miller revealed the cover of the 2015 Goleta Magazine during the launch party, thanking everyone who helped put the publication together.

“What a perfect place to party,” she said.

Goleta magazine
Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Vice President Arie Dejong addresses attendees during Wednesday evening's unveiling party for the 2015 Goleta Magazine. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

As an exclusive guide to living and playing in the Good Land, Goleta Magazine provides information about local businesses, real estate, tourism and more.

Hospital Vice President Arie Dejong extended thanks as well, mainly for the staunch community support shown to his team.

He highlighted some features of the new facility, including more than doubling the size of the existing Emergency Department with 20 rooms instead of the current eight.

“We just can’t wait to open that to you,” Dejong said.

The new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital will replace the original, which was built in 1966 but did not meet new state seismic safety standards. It has been open and operating throughout construction.

Completion follows years of delays for the $126 million project, which will boast 52 beds with private rooms, compared with the 122 beds in semi-private rooms the current hospital is licensed to serve.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

City of Santa Barbara Installs Stoplights at Intersection of De la Vina, Arrellaga Streets

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The lights are expected to be turned on for drivers by Thursday morning in a move city officials hope will reduce the number of collisions

Santa Barbara's most dangerous intersection now has stoplights, a move city transportation officials hope will reduce the number of collisions.

The intersection of De la Vina and Arrellaga streets was the location of 12 collisions in 2013, 11 of which were vehicle-vs.-vehicle and one that involved a car hitting a pedestrian, making it statistically the most dangerous intersection with the most collisions, according to the city. 

Crews have been installing the lights since early April and drivers should see the lights operating for the first time Thursday morning, said Derrick Bailey, supervising transportation engineer for the City of Santa Barbara.

"It was really bad," he said of the intersection's collision record.

The next worst intersection, at Carrillo and De la Vina streets, clocks in at 10 collisions and already has a stop light, Bailey said.

The De la Vina and Arrellaga intersection has a lower traffic volume, but Bailey said many of the collisions there have to do with the proximity to the Highway 101 on- and off-ramps at Arrellaga and Castillo streets. People "are taking chances" to get to the ramps, he said. 

Santa Barbara keeps a collision database that is constantly updated to look for patterns or trends, Bailey said. 

"This one really stood out," he said.

The light will be timed for people to make the light if they are driving just over 25 miles per hour through the surrounding blocks. 

"We don't want people to speed up to feel like they have to make the light," he said.

The total project cost is $173,000, which includes the new streetlights and the traffic signals themselves, and $140,000 of that came from Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration.

The city came up with the remaining funds.

To deal with traffic volumes in the area from the light, the city installed a four-way stop at Arrellaga and Bath streets​ last week, which is one block away from the new stoplights.

Bailey said that one-way streets like De la Vina present a challenge for planners, but there would be a lot more gridlock without them.

"It's a challenging trade-off between mobility and safety," he said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Domino’s Pizza Delivery Driver Files Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Inadequate Pay

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

A Domino’s pizza delivery driver has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging he isn’t paid minimum wage considering miles traveled, targeting a family-owned franchisee with 10 locations in Santa Barbara County.

Oxnard delivery driver Derek Gibbins claims Ventura County-based Hishmeh Enterprises Inc., a franchisee that owns 70-plus Domino’s locations in California and Arizona, is violating federal wage and hour laws by failing to adequately reimburse drivers for their automobile expenses, resulting in costs that reduce pizza delivery drivers’ net pay below minimum wage.

The class-action lawsuit was filed this month in U.S. District Court’s Central California district by three out-of-state law firms: Paul McInnes LLP and Weinhaus & Potashnick, both of Missouri, and Watts Guerra LLP of San Antonio, Texas.

Attorney Jack McInnes of Paul McInnes LLP told Noozhawk the firms are trying to get the word out to other Domino’s drivers, who could be entitled to money if a settlement is reached.

Hishmeh Enterprises owns three Domino’s locations in Santa Barbara, at 1808 Cliff Drive, 617 N. Milpas St. and 3006 State St.

The company also owns locations at 185 S. Patterson Ave. in Goleta, 1039 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria, 1655 Mission Drive in Solvang, 1098 E. Clark Ave. in Orcutt, 713 E. Main St. in Santa Maria, and two in Lompoc at 3734 Constellation Road and 700 North H St.

Anyone who delivered pizzas for those or other Hishmeh locations in the last three years is entitled to opt into the case — a number McInnes estimated at well more than 3,000.

He said Gibbins began working at Domino’s in May 2013 and still does, delivering orders to customers in his own vehicle and being reimbursed cents on the dollar per delivery instead of per mile traveled.

Drivers should be paid the Internal Revenue Service business mileage rate of 57.5 cents, said McInnes, who has represented other delivery drivers over the years.

He said the delivery reimbursements don’t pay to fill up the tank or account for car maintenance.

“The important thing to remember is we’ve been fighting for delivery drivers for a long time,” McInnes said of the three law firms. “Drivers are getting the short end of the stick. We feel like it’s a good cause.”

Representatives from Hishmeh Enterprises did not return requests for comment.

McInnes said anyone who wants to get involved or learn more can visit the firm's website by clicking here.

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Boys Tennis: Dos Pueblos JV Finishes Season with Tough Match Against SBHS

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

What a way for the Dos Pueblos High School JV boys tennis team to finish the season, with a close and competitive match Wednesday with Santa Barbara High School's JV by snagging seven sets, with SBHS winning 11-7.

In singles, we had Garret Foreman, Jeffrey McDaniel, Kevin Wang and Davide Gerli.

The Chargers took four sets. A long battle ensued in the last round when Foreman outlasted William Belfiore in a tight set and took another long set in the second round. McDaniel had a long set in his second round loss against Tyler Greenwald. Wang and Gerli also took a set each.

In doubles, the Chargers took three sets. Jason Lee and Ryan Mintzer took two of their three sets. Ryan O'Gorman and Yanick Koster dug deep to pull out a 7-5 win in the first round.

We are proud of the JV Chargers for their top-notch performance this season. We are also impressed with the sportsmanship between the two teams and their coaches.

Dos Pueblos JV Singles

Garret Foreman 2-1 (2-6, 7-5, 6-4); Jeffrey McDaniel 0-2 (5-7, 2-6); Kevin Wang 1-2 (0-6, 2-6, 6-3); Davide Gerli 1-0 (6-0)

Dos Pueblos JV Doubles

Ryan O'Gorman/Yanik Koster 1-2 (1-6, 5-7, 7-5); Jason Lee/Ryan Mintzer 2-1 (2-6, 6-2, 6-3); Michael Soto/Landon Brand 0-2 (1-6, 4-6); Eddie Park/Lorenz Chen 0-1 (0-6)

Santa Barbara JV Singles

Tyler Greenwald 3-0; William Belfiore 2-1; Aman Atakeev 0-3

Santa Barbara JV Doubles

Jake Sutton/Isaac Kershner 3-0; Max Mercurio/Andrew Tebbe 2-1; Dylan Brown/Ben Bird 1-2

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Police Department, Kiwanis Club Honor Citizens with Extra Step Awards

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Seven Santa Barbara men who helped their fellow citizens and law enforcement officers were honored by the Kiwanis Club and Santa Barbara Police Department on Wednesday at the Extra Step Awards.

Each of them was nominated by a member of the Police Department, in a tradition that started in the 1970s and has now spread to 10 other Kiwanis Clubs, Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

Jorge Montano helped officers investigating a violent robbery and false imprisonment case at the apartment complex where he is manager, in the 700 block of West Cota Street. Sgt. Shawn Hill nominated Montano for his help with Spanish interpretation and access to his office for police interviews, Harwood said.

Joe Clemens was nominated by Detective Brian Larson for his quick thinking in getting video of suspects and the getaway car during an armed robbery of a downtown jewelry store.

Frank Lopez, the owner of Santa Barbara Towing, was selected for having “consistently provided outstanding, reliable service to officers and citizens,” Harwood said.

Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, left, poses with the 2015 Extra Step Award recipients, including, from left, Frank Lopez, Moises Medina, Daniel Burkhalter, James Baugh, Austin Vierhus and Jorge Montano. They were recognized by Police Chief Cam Sanchez and Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara president Cory Sherman, at right. ​(Sgt. Riley Harwood photo / Santa Barbara Police Department)

James Baugh and Austin Vierhus were able to recover property stolen from Baugh in a burglary and helped with the suspect’s arrest, according to police.

Harwood said Santa Barbara citizen Daniel Burkhalter rescued a fellow employee at Blenders in the Grass while she was attacked, perhaps saving her from a sexual assault. Burkhalter fought with the suspect which let the woman escape, police said.

The SBPD has recently focused a lot of efforts on Lower State Street and recognized Moises Medina, owner of La Aroma de Havana Cigar Lounge at 411 State St., for his help providing eyewitness accounts of criminal activity in the area. He was nominated by community services liaison Charles Reed, who works in the city’s restorative policing program. 

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Gerald Carpenter: Westmont Orchestra, Choir to Preview Program for Italian Tour

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Westmont College Orchestra and Choir, including 120 student musicians, faculty and staff, are making a whirlwind tour of Italy May 12-23.

Wetzel
Soprano Emmalee Wetzel will sing with the Westmont Orchestra and Choir in four local pre-tour concerts.

They'll be playing concerts in Rome, Florence, Cremona and Venice (kind of makes you wish you'd stuck with those lessons, doesn't it?). The tickets are bought, the reservations are made and the schedule is fixed, but before they leave, the young musical voyagers will try out their tour program in four local concerts, two in Santa Barbara and two in the Los Angeles area.

This "Spring Orchestra Concert" will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30 in the Page Multipurpose Room on the Westmont campus, and at 7 p.m. Friday in First Presbyterian Church at State and Constance streets.

The musicians will repeat these concerts, with some variations, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 10 at Saint Peter’s by the Sea Presbyterian Church, 6410 Palos Verdes Drive South, and at 7 p.m. Monday, May 11 in West Valley Christian Church, 22450 Sherman Way in West Hills.

Conducting the combined orchestra and choir is Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship at Westmont. The programs will include solos by soprano Emmalee Wetzel, pianist Aaron Wilk and bassoonist Paul Mori, who conducts chamber ensembles and coaches the wind and brass sections for the orchestra.

“The program," Shasberger says, "will include selections from Franz Josef Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with choir and orchestra, choral selections of contemporary American composers and orchestral selections including Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, and music from the film score for Gladiator.

Tickets to the Santa Barbara concerts are $10, with students admitted free. Admission is free to both Los Angeles-area concerts, but donations will be welcomed to offset travel expenses for the 120 student musicians. For more information, please call the Westmont Music Department at 805.565.6040.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

San Marcos High Raising the Curtain on Spring Musical ‘Crazy for You’

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The San Marcos High School Performing Arts Department presents the 1992 Tony Award-winning romantic musical Crazy for You, based on the 1930 musical Girl Crazy with a book by Ken Ludwig and featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin. Crazy for You is directed by Riley Berris.

In this hilarious tale of boy meets girl, Bobby Child (Ryan Ostendorf), the son of a wealthy banking family, struggles to make it in the world of show business. Sent to foreclose a theater in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, Bobby falls in love with Polly (Lana Kanen), the tough and spunky daughter of the theater owner (Kellen Romano).

After realizing Bobby came to foreclose the theater, Polly rejects him. Bobby attempts to save the theater by putting on a show with his charismatic dancing showgirls (Courtney Morse, Carly Johnson, Emma Inglehart, Kaitlyn Griswell, Sommer Fox, Brooklyn Snyder, Avery Sorenson and Olivia O’Brien) and comedic local cowboys (Geoffrey Lambeth, Ricardo Leao, Ryan Diaz, Adam Childs, Jace Wright, Eli Wright, Kai Kadlec and Nick Slaughter).

Under the guise of the world-famous Hungarian director Bela Zangler (Jason Gonzalez-Larsen), Bobby tries to win Polly’s affection while avoiding the town’s saloon owner, Lank Hawkins (Michael Libera), who will do almost anything to make sure the show does not go on.

With classic Gershwin songs such as “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Slap That Bass,”  “I Got Rhythm,” "They Can’t Take That Away from Me" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It," this performance’s mix of energetic tap dancing, stunning vocals and eccentric characters makes this show an adrenaline rush not to be missed!

“Having worked under David Holmes on one of the most dramatic and tense musicals of our day last year, I decided to go in another direction to bring light and laughter on to San Marcos' stage," Berris said. "This piece has such an amazing collaborative team of artists. It has been such a blast working with two insanely talented choreographers (who the kids love!), the amazing Carolyn Teraoka-Brady on vocals, and wonderful Michael Kiyoi who conducts the orchestra. This show will be visually exceptional, and is as funny as it is heart-warming. I am so happy to have chosen such a fitting play for our group of students.”

Crazy for You plays at 7 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday, April 30-May 2, and May 7-9 at the San Marcos High School Theater, 4750 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.

Tickets are $14 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 with a Royal Card. Buy tickets at the door, online by clicking here or by phone at 805.967.4581 x5568.

— Diego Neira is a senior production crew student at San Marcos High School.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

United Way of Santa Barbara County to Honor Individuals, Organizations at Annual Awards Celebration

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

United Way of Santa Barbara County will host its 92nd Annual Awards Celebration at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Montecito on Wednesday, May 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.

This annual dinner will recognize local organizations and individuals for contributing to the community and UWSBC activities, such as Fun in the Sun, United for Literacy and the Financial Empowerment Partnership.

A total of 25 awards will be given to those who have played an instrumental role in the success of UWSBC’s 2014-15 annual campaign and community programs. Awards will be given to local volunteers, as well as businesses, schools, organizations and the individuals that lead them for their outstanding support of UWSBC and its numerous programs.

The night will include dinner, music, dancing and the focal point of the evening: the awards ceremony.

“These award recipients represent what is best about our community,” said Paul Didier, CEO and president of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “It’s amazing what individuals and organizations can achieve when their energies or focused on a common good by creating opportunities and empowering others.”

This year’s award winners include:

City National Bank — “Best New Campaign”

In 2014, City National Bank raised close to $12,000 in personal pledges and corporate support for UWSBC. The team also delivered backpacks and school supplies to children at Franklin Elementary, volunteered as Lunch Bunch Mentors to Fun in the Sun scholars and participated in the Day of Caring.

A dynamite seven-person team — Leo Hamill, Amber Ortiz, Annamarie Cole, Roy Martinez, Susan Rogers, Brian Kerstiens and Norma Wall — are no strangers to giving back and can frequently be found investing their time and energy to community improvement across Santa Barbara. City National Bank will also be a sponsor for the upcoming 22nd Annual Alexis de Toqueville and Leadership Circle Reception aboard the Channel Cat. Thank you City National Bank for your generous support!

Chuck Mertz/Lockheed Martin — “Community Impact Individual and Organization of the Year”

Under the leadership of Chuck Mertz, Lockheed Martin and its talented team of engineers have provided Fun in the Sun scholars with the opportunity to experience the field of engineering through hands on experiments and activities. Because of a Day of Caring work project at Isla Vista Youth Projects (IVYP), Mertz noticed the classrooms were in need of newer computers that would facilitate early learning with the students. Mertz and Lockheed Martin donated refurbished computers to the young students of IVYP, allowing them to use Lexia for the first time. Lockheed also made a similar donation of computers and desks to Franklin Elementary School, allowing the younger students to learn with Lexia and other computer based technology.

Montecito Bank & Trust — Most Outstanding Employee and Corporate Campaign

To choose the winner for the Most Outstanding Employee and Corporate Campaign, UWSBC looks at the commitment of the organization’s management, employee contributions, corporate donations, involvement in volunteer activities such as Fun in the Sun, leadership circle contributions, team building and fun events. This award examines more than 10 different criteria that make a workplace campaign successful.

Montecito Bank & Trust epitomizes this award as it continues to be a vital partner in programming offered to the community by UWSBC. Employees are encouraged to work with local populations in need and the personal engagement goes unrivaled. Montecito Bank & Trust's total employee volunteer time throughout 2014 exceeds all other banks combined. In addition to their volunteer efforts, Montecito Bank & Trust raised over $41,000 during their 2014 United Way Campaign.

Event sponsors and underwriters include the Four Seasons Resort, Montecito Bank & Trust, Floral Ambiance and Citibank.

Click here for more information.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Cate School’s New Admission Building Receives LEED Platinum Designation

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Cate School's new admission building, the Class of 1985 House, has received LEED Platinum certification — the highest possible rating — by the U.S. Green Building Council.

It joins seven other LEED-certified buildings on campus and is one of only 157 Platinum-certified commercial buildings in California.

To receive the designation, the building had to meet rigorous standards across six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and the design process. In order to obtain credits in each category, the school worked with local contractors Hartigan/Foley to carefully plan the function, design and construction of the building.

"LEED measures everything from power and water usage to indoor air quality to recycled waste in the construction process," says Kevin Hartigan, who oversaw the project. "To get Platinum designation, you have to hit a homerun in each section."

Cate's admission building was constructed on an east-west axis to maximize natural light, and outdoor lighting was reduced. Ventilation and filtration systems keep indoor air clean, and recycled materials, nontoxic materials and sustainably-harvested wood products were used. Wastewater is reclaimed and treated on-site, and xeriscaping reduces landscape water use. An electric vehicle charging station sits outside, and solar photovoltaic cells supply 100 percent of the building's energy needs and more.

"We are excited to be completely off-the-grid," says director of admission Charlotte Brownlee, class of 1985. "Working in a LEED-certified building has actually heightened my awareness of my own energy consumption in daily life."

In order to earn LEED certification, Cate and Hartigan/Foley submitted a detailed application and documentation of compliance with the rating system; the number of points the project earned determined the level of certification.

Cate's administrators are gratified that the designation will serve as tangible recognition of the deeply rooted ethos of sustainability at Cate.

"It's a representation of the school's continued commitment to green building," Headmaster Ben Williams said. "From individual structures on campus to a school-wide recycling program and local, organic food in the dining hall, our community works every day to lower its impact — always mindful of the connection to the land we call home."

— Sarah Kidwell represents Cate School.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Junior League of Santa Barbara Thanks Outgoing President Michelle Piotrowski for Her Service

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Junior League of Santa Barbara thanks Michelle Piotrowski for her outstanding year as 2014-15 president.

Piotrowski
Michelle Piotrowski

This year the JLSB celebrated its 90th anniversary.

“It has been an honor leading the JLSB through its 90th year of service," Piotrowski said. "We are so grateful for all the support provided by the Santa Barbara community, JLSB members and sustainers and look forward to the next 90 years!”

She studied math at the College of William and Mary and graduated in 1994 with a bachelor of science degree. She has been on the board of JLSB since May 2012 and was elected president in May 2014, a volunteer position she juggles with her full-time job as a program manager for Insurity.

Some highlights from Piotrowski’s year as JLSB president:

» Rummage, the fall fundraiser that raised more than $45,000. Multiple people at the event expressed how happy they were to have it back and how it made a difference in allowing them to purchase gently used but needed items at value pricing.

» Seventh annual Gala Presented by Tiffany & Co was one of the most successful on record raising over $94,000 for the JLSB

» JLSB welcomed 52 new members who partnered with Storyteller Children’s Center to renovate one of their classrooms.

» New focus area: Improving the lives of at-risk young women by educating & empowering them to reach their full potential while working to end exploitation and injustice in our community.

» 11 volunteer-based community impacts projects, including the Hero’s for a Day at La Patera Elementary, a reading field trip for the children of Storyteller at the Sea Center and Dr. Seuss event at the Downtown Public Library.

» Community assistance funds. We are proud to be almost doubling the amount of the grants we will disburse this year to other local non-profit organizations that share our vision.

Training

Part of the foundation of JLSB is training its over 200 members to be better volunteers and grow both personally and as philanthropists. This year JLSB increased the number of trainings offered to members by 50 percent.  

JLSB sent members to several Association of Junior Leagues International Conferences to learn best practices, meet other league members and form support networks across the 292 leagues in the USA.

With such an exciting and productive year, Piotrowski is certainly Leaving her Legacy on the JLSB. Thank you for your dedication and service as 2014-15 president!

The Junior League of Santa Barbara is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

For more information about JLSB, call 805.963.2704, click here, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @JuniorLeague_SB.

— Heather Hambleton is the communications coordinator for the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Driver Injured After Vehicle Veers Off Highway 101, Catches Fire in Santa Maria

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Man transported to the hospital with moderate injuries after exiting the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames

One person was taken to the hospital after a vehicle veered off Highway 101 and caught on fire Wednesday morning in Santa Maria.

The accident involving a Nissan Rogue occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. north of Main Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.

For unknown reasons, the northbound vehicle went off the highway, struck a call box, continued into the trees — which were flattened — and crashed through a fence before tipping on its side along the edge of a flood control channel, CHP Officer Charles Hoops said. 

The male driver, whose name wasn’t available, got out of the vehicle before it caught on fire and became fully engulfed in flames, Hoops added. 

The driver was taken by American Medical Response crews to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment of moderate injuries, Hoops said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Henry Schulte: Lacking Leadership and Common Sense, Our Country’s In Shambles

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

It’s been awhile since my last article, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t written any. I have dozens that I simply haven’t submitted. Every time I write one something else comes up that makes my last one seem old news. I just can’t keep up with what a mess this country is in right now and our lost role as a world leader. We have rapidly become the guy who gets the sand kicked in his face.

On the home front this year, Obamacare is emerging as the tax-sucking giant most of us knew it was. It’s hard to believe we’ve allowed this corrupt law to ever pass. Taxpayers are kicking in small fortunes, some large fortunes, to make a law that was destined to failure forced to try to work. After spending billions, it’s still covering fewer than those it was supposed to cover, and those who signed up are now paying more than the coverage they had before.

How much do we have to sacrifice before we make this debacle go away?

And the Internal Revenue Service was hired, at our expense, to pull the money from our pockets to fund this health coverage Obamanation. But the IRS can’t even help taxpayers with their returns. It was reported the IRS hung up on 8 million calls, probably much more in truth, and they whine they don’t have enough money to operate efficiently.

First of all, no government agency operates efficiently, especially that one. And it’s even more frightening they’re in charge of our money with Gestapo powers and no oversight. Don’t do what we do, do what we say, or else. Which presidential candidate will step up with the guts to push through the flat tax or at the very least put the IRS in its place?

Where does one even begin with overseas and the obvious war on Christians? There are those who argue to let them fight their fight and leave us out of it. And there’s some merit to that. But the world is intertwined.

Case in point is Hillary Clinton’s latest oops that her foundation forgot to account for $145 million from a uranium company in Canada, and now Russia owns 20 percent of American uranium and Bill Clinton gets paid $500,000 to give a speech in Russia about what? Now these dots may not connect, but President Barack Obama has allowed old Vladimir Putin to run amok over Ukraine. Hmmm? Interesting that all of the above players are also cut from the same ideological cloth. And if I got any of my facts wrong it doesn’t matter because tomorrow they’ll change anyway.

However, the point being, to say let them wipe themselves out over there won’t work when we have top officials in our country playing footsy with the very people who hate us and are trying to kill us. Like the Ebola virus, the infection will spread and spread and ultimately make its way to our shores in a big and deathly way. We better hurry and flex our muscles and show we’re still the boss or that little junior varsity ISIS team will be scoring touchdowns at the expense of American lives just down the street. Like in Solvang. Solvang?

As a side note, my feeling about all those who want to travel over there and join ISIS, I say let them. Buy them the ticket. That way all those nut cases will be in one place when we bomb 'em. We won’t have to waste as much ammunition. But of course, this is assuming Obama will eventually grow a set and let them know we’re back.

While the world is in a death spiral, he’s giving speeches about the critical mass we’re facing over climate change — the same speeches, by the way, that Al Gore gave some 20 years ago, and none of those dire predictions have come to pass. But our commander and wimp won’t accept that a bunch of idiots are slaughtering innocent Christians every day while he’s preaching fear that the end is near because it’s raining too much on one coast and dry on the other. Maybe he’s waiting for the once so-called global warming to heat up the Iraqi desert to the point where the bad guys will just fry up and he won’t have to deal with it.

And just a few more points about back here at home. We used to have laws and they were enforced and when you did something wrong you went to jail. That’s not the case anymore. Unless you kill someone, and even that’s questionable, you can rest assured not much will happen to you. New York is looking to decriminalize some laws, including urinating in the streets, littering, excessive noise, drinking alcohol, disobeying parking signs — sounds like Santa Barbara. And just when I was writing this, Baltimore blew up. Obama, the first half-black president, in office for six years, is blaming Congress for not doing something about it. When it comes to blame he has the guts to not take any.

There’s so much wrong and getting worse. America and the world are going backward. The Middle East is a land of savages. One beheading should be enough to turn anyone’s stomach, but those killers are making it a drive through. European countries are being swarmed with refugees, which using a cliché is a huge recipe for disaster. You can already see the impact of the Muslims in France and England and the Turks in Germany.

And we have our own problem here with the massive flood of people from the south. This kind of unfettered incursion will not be able to sustain itself and you can attach all the pretty ideological language you want to it. But the reality is, it’s an invasion and if we tried the reverse on Mexico we’d all end up in prison. There would be no free handouts or coddling or diaper changing. Mexico is so corrupt it makes Chicago look good (almost) and they blame us for everything anyway. Enforce the damn border!

As always, I can rant all I want, but what is the solution? The answer is quite simple: leadership. We the people elect politicians not to make careers living off our dollars but rather to strengthen and protect and make this country as good and as safe a place as possible. When half the politicians want to do nothing more than keep taxing the people and giving those taxes away and squandering the rest on self-preservation, well, that’s not a good policy. Stop with the political games, unite and care about the people and the country that voted for you.

And the one way to get things kickstarted (I know, cliché) is common sense. I wish someone would start using it.

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara High School Racing Toward Construction of New Track, Field and Stadium

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Santa Barbara High School is gearing up for a major facelift, as planning for the renovation of Peabody Stadium nears completion.

The project is designed to update the 90-year-old facility with a new concrete grandstand as well as an artificial turf field and synthetic track. Construction is scheduled to begin as early as this fall, as long as critical fundraising targets are met.

“This is a once-in-a-century project,” SBHS Principal John Becchio said. “Peabody Stadium is the largest classroom on campus and benefits all our students, whether they are athletes or not.”

A wealth of literature supports the connection between physical activity and the health, emotional well-being and academic performance of students.

Currently, the use of Peabody Stadium is extremely restricted due to the facility’s age and deteriorated condition. Built in 1924, the grandstand does not meet building or accessibility codes. The asphalt track is hazardous to run on, and the grass field is so delicate and costly to maintain that it is off-limits at all times except for football, soccer and lacrosse games. The P.E. department at SBHS has only limited access to the facility, and the school has not held a track meet on campus since 1996. The school rarely allows community groups to use the sensitive natural grass field.

The Peabody Stadium renovation will include a new grandstand that maintains the style and feel of the original one, but meets modern standards of safety and accessibility. It is also centered on the 50-yard line for better viewing. The project replaces the grass field with durable artificial turf, which will save 1 million gallons of water each year. The asphalt track will be replaced with a synthetic surface that meets CIF regulations and will allow SBHS to host track meets at the school. The design retains important traditional elements of the stadium, such as the pathway known as the Walk of the Dons that students take to the field for graduation.

“Renovating this facility allows us to open the doors of our stadium not just to our school community but to Santa Barbara as a whole,” Principal Becchio commented.

All SBHS students use Peabody Stadium for physical education classes and athletics, as well as for school-wide functions and graduation. Once renovated, the facility will also be available to neighbors and other community members during non-school, daylight hours.

The $12.7 million project is being funded through a partnership between the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School. Drawing on Measure Q2010 bond funds and a grant from the State of California for seismic mitigation, the school district has committed $7.7 million to the project. The foundation began raising the additional $5 million needed from private donations in the fall.

Capital campaign chair Greg Tebbe announced that the foundation has raised $2.7 million of its $5 million goal since the beginning of the school year.

“We are tremendously encouraged by the enthusiasm for this project,” Tebbe said. “Santa Barbara High School is a cornerstone of our community, and it’s been amazing to meet Dons of all ages who treasure the school and want to help keep it strong.

“We are so grateful to the individuals and businesses who have helped us clear the halfway point. We need to maintain our fundraising momentum so we can begin construction on time and complete what will become an incredible resource for our school and our community.”

If fundraising goals are met, the Peabody Stadium renovation project will begin construction in November and be completed in time for graduation in 2017.

— Katie Jacobs is the director of development for the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Construction Worker Killed in Fall at Chumash Casino

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

A construction worker died Wednesday afternoon in a fall from building scaffolding at a construction site at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the casino at about 12:30 p.m., and quickly determined that the victim had been fatally injured, according to fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

The worker fell two to three stories from scaffolding while working on the casino-expansion project, Zaniboni said.

He suffered major trauma and was declared dead at the scene, Zaniboni said.

A Chumash spokesman identified the victim Wednesday night as David Goldsberry, 45, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

He was a subcontractor working for the Tutor Perini Building Corp., which issued the following statement:

"Tutor Perini is deeply saddened by the loss of life that resulted from today's incident at the Chumash Casino Resort. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. David Goldsberry.

"Mr. Goldsberry was an employee of SME Steel Contractors, a subcontractor to Tutor Perini on the project. The company is investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and is fully cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation."

Goldsberry's death was under investigation by Cal/OSHA as an industrial accident, Zaniboni said.

Chumash Chairman Vincent Armenta also issued a statement:

"We are very saddened to learn of the tragic death of Mr. David Goldsberry. We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Goldsberry's family, friends and coworkers."

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: Where Is Global Outrage Over Persecution of Christians?

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Today, we are witnessing the persecution and genocide of Christians worldwide.

According to Open Doors 2014 World Watch List, the top 10 countries where Christians face violence are North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.

Not surprisingly and overwhelmingly, the driving force is radical Islam. Sadly, the genocide is occurring to such an extent that Christianity is becoming extinct in areas it began.

Even in America, Christians are being targeted. Their religious freedoms are being eroded and laws are being passed to criminalize them.

Where is the global outrage over the persecution of Christians? Our own president won't acknowledge the threat of radical Islam or the genocide of Armenians and others by the Turks 100 years ago. Where is the outrage by our church leaders, aside from the pope and Franklin Graham? Why is the U.N. so impotent on the issue? Is it because so many Islamic nations are in control?

It is time to face reality. The world, including America, must understand that silence is always the ally of those who commit genocide. It is time to act.

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Williams Releases Statement on Governor’s Executive Order to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, released the following statement Wednesday regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order to reduce greenhouse gases:

“I'm thrilled with the governor's announcement. The goals in his executive order are ambitious but critical. Achieving a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 will help us avoid the worst effects of climate change, and place California’s leadership as an example for a strong international agreement on climate change.

“I applaud the governor’s attention to California’s need to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. This executive order motivates the Legislature to pass strong measures on these issues. To that end, I look forward to working with the governor on Assembly Bill 645, which establishes a 50 percent renewable energy target for 2030.

"This, being one of my priority bills, just cleared two major policy committees in the last two weeks and moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. I am proud to be a part of a continued movement to reduce our carbon footprint.”

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Central Library Hosting Tours for Parents

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Santa Barbara Central Library will host three library tours for parents during the month of May.

During each 25-minute tour, library staff will review available books, music, film and digital materials. Participants will be made aware of the various collections for parents and learners of all types.

Families are encouraged to participate in a regularly scheduled library program before or after the tour. Interested parents, caregivers and children should meet at the fish tank in the Children’s Area of the Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. on any of the following days and times:

» Wednesday, May 7 at 10 a.m. (before Wiggly Storytime)

» Saturday, May 9 at 10:30 a.m. (before Bilingual Storytime)

» Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. (after A.R.F!)

The library tours for parents are a result of a collaboration with the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Family Resource Center and will focus on library offerings for children with learning challenges. Library materials can be used to support a variety of learning styles. Spanish translation is available and all are welcome.

No reservations are required. Participants may call 805.564.5674 for more information.

This program is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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

— Lisa Gonzalez is a project coordinator for the Santa Barbara Central Library.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Children’s Oral Health Summit Set for Friday at CenCal Health in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The second Children’s Oral Health Summit, featuring medical and dental providers, public officials, and members of the Children’s Oral Health Collaborative, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 1 in the CenCal Health Hart Auditorium on 4050 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Experts in the field and public officials will be presenting 10 years of information about dental disease rates and the impact of prevention strategies to improve children’s oral health in Santa Barbara County.

The summit is geared for health professionals, school and community leaders, medical and dental providers, nurses, members of the philanthropic community, and public officials.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring together all the key players who will share what they have learned about children’s oral health in recent years, and to make plans for moving forward in this county to improve the oral health of all our children,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office is part of the collaborative.

Participants will learn about local concerns and hear from experts about the larger health impacts that poor oral health has on children. They will also discuss the role of pediatric medical providers in providing oral health assessment, some promising methods to prevent or stabilize dental risks in young children, suggestions as how to develop and sustain a community oral health program, and an understanding of cultural differences and approaches to counseling families of different cultures.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Susan Fisher-Owens, associate professor of pediatrics and of preventive and restorative dental sciences at UC San Francisco, and Dr. Irene Hilton, a consultant with the National Network for Oral Health Access.

Local presenters will include Dr. Betty Lane, executive director of the Santa Barbara-Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation; First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal; Dr. Mark Maddox, chief medical officer of CenCal Health; and MaryEllen Rehse, Oral Health Program manager for the Santa Barbara County Education Office Health Linkages program.

The summit is sponsored by the Health Linkages program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office in partnership with Santa Barbara County Children’s Oral Health Collaborative, First 5 Santa Barbara, the Community Action Commission, KIDS Network, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Direct Relief International, and the Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation.

Further information is available from Naoko Gamble at the Health Linkages program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. She can be reached at 805.964.4710 x4453.

— Kris Bergstrom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Friday to Mark Reopening of Goleta Beach Pier

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Goleta pier
Goleta Pier has reopened after parts of the 1,480-foot span were damaged during a storm in March 2014. (Santa Barbara County Parks photo)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at noon Friday, May 1 to commemorate the reopening of the 1,480-foot Goleta Beach Pier.

Portions of the 1,480-foot pier had been damaged when it was struck by powerful waves and a sailboat during a storm in March 2014. Repair work to handrails and decking and major structural repairs, which included the replacement of eight pilings, was completed by Schock Contracting Corp. of Santa Barbara.

The $277,000 project was funded by the County General Fund. The pier reopened to the public last Friday, a week ahead of schedule, and can now be enjoyed by pedestrians, fishermen and boat hoist patrons.

“I want to thank the Coastal Commission for approving the necessary emergency permits to repair the pier and county staff for their diligent work in seeing this project through to completion,” said Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “The Goleta Beach Pier is a vital resource to our community and especially to the anglers who use the pier for fishing. I look forward to seeing the pier reopened and used again by the public that frequently relies on it.”

Wolf will speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

Goleta Beach Park is the most heavily visited park in Santa Barbara County, hosting 1.5 million residents and visitors each year. This free park provides critical coastal access and recreation opportunities to residents of all income levels. Parking at Goleta Beach County Park is free and the pier offers pedestrian and vehicular traffic, boat hoist access, and is one of the only places in California where one does not need a license to fish.

Since the closure of the Gaviota Pier in March 2014, the Goleta Beach Pier is the northernmost access point to the Gaviota Coast and Point Conception for boats and other watercrafts.

Click here for more information on Goleta Beach Park and other county parks.

— Lael Wageneck represents Santa Barbara County Parks.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Righetti High Basketball Standouts Matthew and Aaron Laflin to Sign with UC Merced

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Matthew
Matthew Laflin

Aaron
Aaron Laflin

The Laflin family scored a two-point slam dunk with both brothers signing to join the UC Merced Basketball Program next week.

Righetti High School standouts Aaron and Matthew will make the commitments at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 on campus. Both earned scholarships, grants and will receive financial aid, according to Athletic Director Joe Graack.

The brothers say they are “excited and can’t wait” to continue their basketball careers and educations at UC Merced.

“I want to thank my coaches and teammates for pushing me to be the player and person I am today,’’ Aaron Laflin said. “My parents deserve all the credit throughout this process because of their dedication and support.’’

Matthew Laflin agreed.

“I’d like thank our parents and family for everything they have done for us,’’ he said. “Their unconditional love and support have been amazing throughout our high school careers. I’d also like to thank our coaches and teammates for driving us to get better every day.’’

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Cuyler Gabriel of Santa Barbara Accepted to Cornell College, Offered Scholarship

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Cuyler Gabriel of Santa Barbara was among the students admitted to Cornell College for the fall 2015 semester.

Gabriel was also offered the Founders Scholarship.

One of the 40 "Colleges That Change Lives," Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, is a national liberal arts college with a distinctive One Course At A Time curriculum. The One Course schedule provides students the chance to dive into their studies, focus more intensely on the disciplines of their choice, and learn authentically with the unique freedom to shed the confines of the traditional classroom to study off-campus, pursue research, or accept an internship — all without missing out on other classes.

Cornell has been recognized by numerous publications for the value its education offers and for academic excellence. This year it was named of the 100 best values in liberal arts education by Kiplinger's, one of the "Best Value Schools" among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report, and one of the 100 Affordable Elite Colleges by Washington Monthly.

Ninety-three percent of Cornell graduates earn their degrees in four years. In 2013, Cornell was named one of the 25 colleges with the best professors by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Click here for more information.

— Jamie Kelly represents Cornell College.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Capps Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Patient Care, Support Nurses

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

On Wednesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Rep. David Joyce of Ohio reintroduced the bipartisan Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act, a bill that would improve patient care and support nurses in health care facilities.

The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083) would require hospitals to implement a staffing system that ensures an appropriate proportion of registered nurses on each shift and in each unit of the hospital to guarantee high-quality patient care. These plans would be developed by the individual institutions through a committee structure with strong nurse participation.

“Safe staffing levels are crucial to not only nurse retention, but to patient outcomes,” Capps said. “We must promote nurse staffing practices that lead to safe and healthy work environments, which in turn lead to improved quality of care for each and every patient. As a former nurse, I am proud to work on this important public health issue with my colleague Mr. Joyce.”

“My wife is a full-time nurse, so I know first-hand how important it is that we maintain safe staffing levels so patients can get the care they need and deserve,” Joyce said. “This legislation will make care safer and better for every patient that needs it, that’s why this is a bipartisan issue.”

Appropriate staffing levels allow nurses the time they need to make patient assessments, thoroughly complete nursing tasks, respond to health care emergencies, and provide the level of care that their patients deserve. Additionally, proper staffing levels also increase nurse satisfaction and reduce staff turnover, an important priority given today’s nursing shortage.

The bill does not set a specific nurse-patient ratio for hospitals to meet, but rather provides flexibility to tailor nurse staffing to the specific needs of each unit based on factors including how sick the patient is, the experience of the nursing staff, available technology, and the support services available to the nurses.

More specifically, the bill requires Medicare participating hospitals to create a staffing committee, made up of at least 55 percent direct care nurses, charged with developing unit-specific nurse staffing plans. This approach treats nurses as professionals and empowers them to have a real decision-making role in the care they provide.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Ken Macdonald: The Big Blob in Our Pacific Backyard, and Its Local Impacts

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

It sounds like a creepy entity from a cheap horror film, but it is very real and it is in our oceanic backyard: A giant “blob” of warm water that appeared a year and a half ago.

The blob first showed up in satellite images in late 2013. By October 2014, it had splatted against the West Coast, and it split in two last month, with one blob off the Pacific Northwest coast and one offshore from Baja and Southern California, extending into the Santa Barbara Channel (see image below from Science, sciencemag.org).

The blob started out more than 1,000 miles across and 300 feet thick, and it contains water about 2 degrees to 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual. Why is this important?

The warm water is acting like a lid, suppressing upwelling. This means that nutrients normally re-circulated to the sea surface by upwelling are stranded down deep.​ As a result, the entire food chain, starting with plant plankton, suffers.

Populations of small schooling fish are low (especially California sardines). This is probably one reason why we are seeing a record die-off of sea lion pups in our waters (another reason is that the sea lion population has doubled since 1990, causing more competition for available food).

Other strange things are happening, too. Tropical species such as pygmy killer whales are showing up in Southern California waters. Large numbers of velella velella (related to jellyfish) are showing up in the channel.

Seabirds (such as the Cassin’s auklet) have been dying off. There is growing concern that the seasonal salmon run, which supports a multibillion-dollar industry, will be seriously affected because juvenile salmon headed into the Pacific may find very little to eat.

Why is this happening? A huge blob of warm water appears — is it global warming rearing its ugly head?

Climatologists are not unified in their opinion. About a third think it is probably related, a third say they don’t know and a third doubt that it’s related. (So if there is a conspiracy among climatologists to push a global-warming agenda, they aren’t hanging together very tight on this one!)

Macdonald graphic

At the same time that we are seeing unusually warm water on our side of the Pacific, it’s unusually cold on the Japan side. This pattern is typical of what is called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO.

This phenomenon was first documented in the late 1990s, and its causes have remained a bit of a mystery. Like the El Niño/La Niña pattern, PDO can turn our West Coast upwelling off and on, but PDO’s effects are largely confined to the northern Pacific, and act over longer time scales (decades rather than years).

This particular incarnation of the PDO seems to be associated with a huge ridge of high atmospheric pressure parked along western North America. This high pressure ridge has suppressed winds that normally would trigger upwelling of cool, nutrient-rich waters. The ridge also has contributed to our drought by fending off rain storms.

To summarize: Instead of having normal winter rain; coastal upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich deep water; and cool coastal temperatures, we have had little rain and a huge warm water lid that shuts off upwelling and raises seasonal average coastal temperatures well above normal.

I have not been able to get an answer yet to any of my queries about why we are stuck with this ridge of high pressure, and whether the ridge causes, or is caused by, the PDO.

Because of the reduction of upwelling in the Santa Barbara Channel, I am concerned about the whales that visit our waters. Right now, gray whales and their calves are migrating from the warm lagoons of Baja up to the Gulf of Alaska and beyond. They don’t feed here, they’re just passing through. (It’s a good time to see them!)

But the humpback and the giant blue whales do come to our waters to feed in spring and summer; the big blues on krill, the humpbacks on schooling fish as well as krill. A few have already arrived, and I do hope that it is not slim pickings for them.

So, for many reasons, I hope the ridge and the blob move out soon!

F.Y.I.

Thank you to Rachel Haymon, a professor emerita in the UC Santa Barbara Department of Earth Science, for assistance on this article.

— Ken Macdonald is an oceanographer and professor emeritus in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Earth Science. He has been affiliated with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and has led deep-sea dives up to 15,000 feet in the submersible Alvin. He is a naturalist for Channel Islands National Park and the Channel Islands National Marine SanctuaryClick here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

UCSB Scientists Make New Discoveries About Specific Protein, Its Effects on Cell Division

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The human body is a cross between a factory and a construction zone — at least on the cellular level. Certain proteins act as project managers, which direct a wide variety of processes and determine the fate of the cell as a whole.

One group of proteins called the WD-repeat (WDR) family helps a cell choose which of the thousands of possible gene products it should manufacture. These WDR proteins fold into a three-dimensional structure resembling a doughnut — an unusual shape that allows WDR proteins to act as stable platforms on which large protein complexes can assemble or disassemble.

A new study conducted by scientists at UC Santa Barbara reveals a novel function for WDR5, a protein known for its critical role in gene expression whereby information encoded in genes is converted into products like RNA (ribonucleic acid) and protein. In cells, WDR5 is a subunit of a five-protein complex. Mutations in members of this complex can result in childhood leukemia and other disorders affecting numerous organ systems in the body. The UCSB team worked with WDR5 in cultured human cell lines. The results of the study appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

“We found that when two cells divide, WDR5 is localized to a very interesting cellular structure called the midbody,” said lead author Jeff Bailey, a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB). “In the past, although associated with cell division, the midbody was considered ‘junk,’ but that has changed in the last decade. Now the midbody is believed to be important during stem cell differentiation.”

When a stem cell divides to produce a differentiated type of cell like a skin cell or a neuron, stem cells retain the midbody while differentiated cells do not.

“This suggests that the midbody has important functions,” Bailey explained. “Also, when the midbody isn’t cut correctly, the cells can re-fuse, creating one cell with two nuclei. This is thought to be part of what happens when a tumor forms.”

Ma Bailey
UCSB associate professor Zach Ma, left, and UCSB graduate student Jeff Bailey. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

Conducted in the laboratory of MCDB associate professor Zach Ma, this new work involved the fusion of WDR5 to a green fluorescent protein molecule called EGFP.  Although dense material within the midbody thwarts conventional methods of protein detection, the fluorescence of EGFP tethered to WDR5 revealed its location during cell division, or cytokinesis.

The researchers were surprised to find WDR5 in a part of the midbody called the dark zone. “It was very unexpected,” Bailey said. “The presence of WDR5 outside the cell nucleus gave us a clue about its function, which we tested,” Ma added.

The scientists found that not only did the protein localize in the midbody, it also contributed to abscission, the separation of two daughter cells at the completion of cytokinesis. In addition, WDR5 promotes the disassembly of midbody microtubules, the major structural components of the midbody that must be cleared before abscission can occur.

When the investigators artificially reduced the amount of WDR5 in cells, cytokinesis was substantially delayed and more cells failed to divide properly. “When histology is performed on a tumor, pathologists look for cells that have two nuclei,” Bailey explained. “This can indicate that cells within the tumor are failing to properly finish cytokinesis.”

Because a single protein can perform several distinct functions according to its location within a cell, it can be challenging to study one function without disrupting the others. Guided by previous structural studies, however, the UCSB team identified surfaces of the WDR5 “doughnut” that may be specific to its role in cell division.

“We have shed some light on the role of WDR5 in cytokinesis,” Ma said, “which may in turn help us better understand the diverse array of physiological as well as pathological events related to malfunction of these proteins in the process of cell division.”

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Foundation Releases Quarter Report of Donor Contributions, Charitable Investments

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

To keep the community connected to the important work of the Santa Barbara Foundation, a quarterly report is being released to provide the public with timely information about donor contributions and charitable investments.

The report released Wednesday highlights the activities of the foundation and its donor partners during the first quarter of 2015.

“This new report is designed to share with the community the totality of our work. Every day we use our expertise to advise organizations, build partnerships, develop resources and steward millions of dollars that serve our county and beyond,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “As a community foundation we want to keep the public current on foundation activities, but more importantly, we want them to recognize the many ways we may be able to serve them as a community resource.”

The report states that together with its donors, the foundation distributed $7.7 million in grants in the first quarter. In total 542 grants were awarded to 337 organizations. Just over $3 million of these charitable investments went to support health and human services and $6.5 million in grants went to support Santa Barbara County nonprofits.

Other areas featured in the report include foundation-sponsored events and focus areas. It was reported that approximately 450 people attended events offered throughout the entire county.

“Whether informing the public or gathering community input, these events are part of the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector,” said Jan Campbell, senior vice president of philanthropic services. “Every meeting we convene is an opportunity to connect with stakeholders.”

The first quarter report may be downloaded by clicking here. The foundation will publish each quarterly report in the month following the end of each quarter. The second quarter report is scheduled to be released in July.

— Judy Taggart is the director of communications and marketing for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Jodi House to Celebrate Art of Healing with First Thursday Event

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center of Santa Barbara and Artists for Trauma (AFT) are celebrating the launch of their new partnership by co-facilitating an adaptive painting workshop and traumatic brain injury art show during Santa Barbara’s First Thursday on June 4.

Jodi House will host the open house at its 625 Chapala St. location, with wine and hors d'oeuvres, while works of art created by survivors are showcased.

Volunteer artists will collaborate with adult trauma survivors during the event to facilitate empowering recovery experiences for survivors through the process of artistic engagement.

— Eryn Eckert is executive director of the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Caesar Franco Shares His SBCC Story in Support of Campaign for Student Success

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

For as long as he can remember, Caesar Franco has loved being on stage. Whether playing a small part in a play, being part of an ensemble or acting in a short film, he stays involved with the theater as much as possible.

Majoring in theater arts at Santa Barbara City College has provided Franco with the opportunity to fine-tune his craft, working with great directors and having, in his opinion, some of the best acting experiences of his life.

At first, Franco was not sure he wanted to pursue college after high school. But realizing an education would open doors for his future, enrolled at SBCC.

Now, he remains impressed by the welcoming atmosphere, and is happy to be surrounded by positive students all working toward similar goals. In pursing an education, Franco is making his family proud, as well as himself.

“What I love best about Santa Barbara City College is the caring professors and the dedicated students I have met,” Franco said. “From my time at SBCC, it has become really clear to me how important my education is, and how necessary my degree will be in the future.”

Franco shares his SBCC story in a short video available by clicking here.

Just like Franco, there are many SBCC students pursuing their passions — everything from nursing to culinary arts to mathematics.

During the month of April, the SBCC Foundation is running its annual Campaign for Student Success, and is seeking the broadest possible participation from the community. Funds raised during this time enrich the academic experience.

When you support the campaign, you invest in students — the future of Santa Barbara. Make a donation today by clicking here.

— Jessica Tade is the marketing director for the SBCC Foundation.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Williams Bill to Expand Crisis Care Services for Youth Passes Health Committee

By | Published on 04/29/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Assembly Health Committee unanimously passed Assembly Bill 741 by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, which would create a category of licensing in state statute for children’s mental health crisis residential centers.

“Kids experiencing emotional and behavioral crises should stay close to home and their support network to receive services,” Williams said. “This practice reduces emotional distress and the risk of recurring hospitalizations.”

Statewide, inpatient psychiatric facilities currently have fewer than 70 beds for all children age 11 and under. The absence of inpatient residential services combined with the dwindling number of beds has become a critical issue.

This bill would allow Medi-Cal to cover services provided to children at social rehabilitation facilities in addition to the adults currently served. This licensing category provides a much larger and more comprehensive continuum of care for children.

“No child in crisis should have to wait for three days in a hospital emergency room before an inpatient psychiatric bed can be located four hours from the child’s home,” said Carroll Schroeder, executive director of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services.

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Casa Esperanza Shelter Moving Forward on Merger with People Assisting The Homeless

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

With the consolidation to begin July 1, officials seek assurances from the Santa Barbara council that the city's rent agreements and other contracts will be honored

A merger is imminent between a local shelter and a regional organization that works to house thousands of homeless people each year, a move that its proponents say will help keep the shelter on a successful path.

Casa Esperanza, at 816 Cacique St., a 100-bed shelter that expands to 200 beds in the winter, soon will be merging with, People Assisting The Homeless, or PATH.

PATH is a 30-year-old organization that has facilities in 22 cities from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

The merger between the two organizations is expected to begin July 1, and will begin to develop a local board of directors.

On Tuesday, PATH CEO Joel Roberts and Casa officials Jessica Wishan and Joe Tumbler came before the council to ask for assurances that the city's rent agreement and other contracts would be assigned to them once the merger is complete.

The council passed the item 6-0, with Mayor Helene Schneider absent.

Last fall, the council received a report on the shelter, and they reported at that time that they were in negotiations with PATH.  

They also reported that they were refinancing their mortgage and making other financial improvements, according to Sue Gray, community development business manager for the city.

The city has been assured that no changes will occur to services at the 100-bed sobriety based center once the merger is complete.

Casa
Casa Esperanza Managing Director Jessica Wishan and Acting Director Joe Tumbler listen as PATH CEO Joel Roberts speaks Tuesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

PATH will be able to provide technical expertise in grant writing and program management, Gray said.

Three of Casa Esperanza's current board members will join the PATH board, and the remaining board members will form a local advisory committee.

Tumbler, who has been volunteer acting director of Casa Esperanza for the past eight months, said that one of the understandings the shelter has with PATH is that the shelter be self-funding on its own merit, and in exchange for that, all funds raised in Santa Barbara will be used for local programs.

Part of the shelter's path to sustainability has been renegotiating bed rates with contracting agencies, like Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.  

Tumbler said the shelter is hoping to renegotiate full funding for beds contracted by Santa Barbara County during their upcoming budget process.

Roberts also addressed the council, and said the organization is excited to have Casa join their efforts.

Moving people off the streets into housing is a priority of the organization, he said.

"In the last two years, we have literally moved 4,200 people off the streets into apartments," he said.

Roberts said the organization has experts in mental health, veterans and other specialties, which allow them to raise more money, and that PATH is able to provide numerical outcomes of reducing homelessness.

"We're very excited," he said, adding that when the Casa board approached the organization a year ago, "we felt like this might be the time because Casa brought a positive relationship in the community and are financially stable."

City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss asked about limited housing resources in Santa Barbara, and if other communities where PATH is located could also be used to house Santa Barbara's homeless.

"Yes," Roberts said, adding that VA resources could be expanded in the county, and that there are ways to leverage resources. "Homelessness is not just a city problem."

Roberts also said he expects to continue the sobriety-based program and will not bring back the lunch program, two items that previously had caused issues with neighbors. 

Council members said they had seen real improvement since the changes had been made.

"It has not been easy, but everyone has worked hard to make this happen," Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said. "I am really glad to see we're coming into a clearing of sorts."

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara School Board Appoints Gabe Sandoval as New Cleveland Elementary Principal

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Gabe Sandoval

Santa Barbara High School Assistant Principal Gabe Sandoval was appointed as the new principal of Cleveland Elementary School on Tuesday night by a unanimous vote of the Board of Education.

Sandoval has worked at the Santa Barbara Unified School District since 2008 and taught at the Santa Barbara Community Academy and then Adams Elementary before moving to his assistant principal position at SBHS in 2012, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

Cleveland Elementary Principal Cynthia White left in March due to medical issues and former district administrator Marlin Sumpter is serving as interim principal for the rest of the school year. 

Sandoval previously taught elementary school at the Lodi Unified School District and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific, in addition to his multiple subject teaching credential, administrative credential and Cross Cultural Language and Development certificate, Keyani said. He is also fluent in Spanish.

“I look forward to becoming a member of this strong school community,” Sandoval said in a statement after his new job became official Tuesday night, calling it a “sincere pleasure and honor.”

“I’m excited to embrace the diversity of the school and develop relationships with the students, staff and parents," he said. "Through collegial partnerships I hope to provide a culturally engaging and challenging academic environment that raises the educational performances of all students.”

He will start his new position July 1 with a salary range of $96,427 to $108,998, Keyani said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Police Will Test Body Cameras, Consider Equipping Officers

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Santa Barbara Police Department has plans to test body-worn cameras for officers and then decide whether to move forward with a full-scale program, Chief Cam Sanchez told the City Council on Tuesday. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is testing similar cameras, but no other agencies in Santa Barbara County are currently using the cameras, Sanchez said. 

The cost of the cameras are between $600 and $900 each, and the department has not budgeted for the cost. 

"We're going to be evaluating this very heavily in the following months," he said. "We believe they're important for the community and the Police Department."

Sanchez confirmed that an investigation was ongoing on the officer suspected of knocking a phone out of a bystander's hand, but would not give any more details.

Police officials also updated the council on property crime rates, police department staffing and party buses. 

Deputy Chief Frank Mannix said the department is seeing a slight increase in violent crime. There is also a significant increase in property crime — a 60 percent increase since last August — which represents a "disturbing trend for us," he said.

The department sees an average of 132 property crimes per month, but the past three months have yielded higher numbers: January saw 146 thefts, 136 occurred in February, and 149 took place in March.

Mannix said that he felt that Prop. 47 has had an effect, the law voters passed in November that reduces some non-violent crimes to misdemeanors from felonies. 

"Shoplifting used to be a felony," he said. "Now that crime has been decriminalized to a misdemeanor."

Capt. Alex Altavilla talked about residential burglaries in the city, a total of 26 this year, many of which have been in the San Roque, Riviera and Bel Air Knolls neighborhoods.

He encouraged neighbors to call and report suspicious activity.

"If they think something looks out of place, we would prefer to have them go ahead and call," Altavilla said.

Some citizen observations have lead to huge breakthroughs in the cases, he said. 

The City Council also got an update on efforts to hire more Community Service Officer positions, slated to patrol the downtown corridor. People urged the department to move forward with filling those positions quickly, during public comment. 

All five of the CSOs will be attending a police powers training class and should graduate by the end of May, so they can start working downtown.

Capt. Gilbert Torres said four new police officers graduated the academy April 10 and are in the department's field training program. They are expected to start patrol duties in August.

The department is still working to fill vacant positions for officers, dispatchers and parking enforcement. The department is a seeing a 47-percent decrease in applications for officer positions, Torres suggested that it could be partly due to national news stories about policing, citing civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.

The SBPD is also competing with other city and county agencies. "It's very competitive," Torres said. "It's a difficult job and its getting more difficult as time goes on."

After a question from Councilman Frank Hotchkiss, Torres said that the department will be issuing a training bulletin on the new sit/lie ordinance, which goes into effect May 22.

"The sooner the better, I think," Hotchkiss said.

The department is authorized to hire 144 sworn employees, but after subtracting the number of officers that are injured, in field training or on leave, there are about 118 officers showing up to work each day, Mannix said.

Three beat coordinators have been removed from their beats and reassigned to patrol, but Sanchez said his goal is to return to the five beat coordinators when staffing is increased.

Sanchez also said that the city's one school resource officer was promoted to detective, and the position will not be filled right now

"On the Eastside I have no beat coordinator," he said, adding that Santa Barbara High School may have an assigned part-time officer that will also work the Eastside neighborhood. 

"We're hoping we can resurrect it in the fall," Sanchez said of the school resource officer position.

Sanchez also mentioned the recent incident of underage drinking on party buses, and told the City Council about the recent meeting held with local charter bus companies and the California Public Utilities Commission. 

The department will also be distributing posters around town reminding young people not to drink or disobey the law during prom season.

"It's just a friendly reminder that they are underage," he said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee Calls for Moratorium on Private Well Construction

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

With the city on track for a Stage 3 Drought designation in May, the Santa Barbara City Council soon will consider banning construction of wells on private property within city water district limits.

The council’s ordinance committee unanimously voted Tuesday to forward that decision on to the full council in the coming weeks.

The Public Works Department recommends officials amend city municipal code to place a moratorium on private well construction inside its service area while the area struggles through its fourth year of drought.

Without enough rain, city staff said a Stage 3 Drought was planned for next month, the highest level of drought response.

“Groundwater is a very important water resource for the city, particular during droughts, when our surface supplies are limited,” water supply analyst Kelley Dyer said.

Groundwater is also the city’s only available potable water supply if deliveries from the Santa Ynez River become disrupted.

An amended ordinance would prohibit construction or replacement of water supply production wells when a property is or “can feasibly be served” by the city’s water supply system, the boundaries of which overlie Storage Units I and III of Santa Barbara’s groundwater basis and portions of the Foothill basin.

In addition, staff suggests the City Council repeal a section of code Dyer called outdated, since it allowed a new well to be constructed without obtaining a permit in an emergency. 

The moratorium is expected to ensure water users adhere to conservation rules, prevent misuse of groundwater and to stop parallel use of groundwater and city water system supplies.

City Councilman Randy Rowse, chair of the committee, asked if there were any examples of those who could feasibly be served deciding not to tap into the city system.

Santa Barbara currently owns and operates water supply production wells in groundwater basins, with an extensive network of groundwater monitoring wells measuring water levels and water quality.

The city is the sole pumper from Storage Unit I, but there are other private water pumpers in Storage Unit III and the Foothill Basin.

“We’re not currently seeing a rush on groundwater permits,” Dyer said, adding the city hasn’t issued a permit the past few years and had granted only 10 or 15 the last 25 years.

She said other agencies have seen permit influxes after raising water rates, however, which Santa Barbara is set to do July 1.

City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss wondered how the city could enforce the ordinance, whether it violated private property rights and if a sunset clause should be added — something staff was against.

Dyer said well drillers would be notified as part of outreach, noting that well drilling was a very visible activity the city has an economic stake in.

“I believe this is a prudent move considering our drought situation,” City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Boys Tennis: Dos Pueblos Comes Out on Top Against San Marcos, 11-7

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

It was a little breezy and very warm throughout Tuesday's league match between the Dos Pueblos High School Chargers and the San Marcos Royals. The courts were quite heated up with the incredible play of both teams.

Inspiration, determination and guts led the Chargers to the 11-7 win. Last time, we went 9-9 and won in games. We knew the battle would be very tough.

One singles player had a sore knee and had to play doubles. When we started the match, we could not predict the outcome, except that it would be very close. We went 4-2 in the first round, then 3-3 in the second round. By the third round, all we could do was wait and see.

In singles, Mason Dochterman took two sets, one from Lars Scannel and the other from Derek Tilton. Quinn Hensley and Chris Lane each took a set. We counted four in singles.

In doubles, we got a nice surprise from new pairings. We took seven sets. Joshua Wang/Vincent Villano swept, losing only three games. The other sweepers were Miles Baldwin/Bryce Ambrose. The seventh set came from Ryan Daniel/Ameet Braganza.

I am very proud of our team, who performed so well in this rebuilding year. We finish at #2 in Channel League.

Dos Pueblos improves to 14-5 overall and 6-2 in league; 14-5 is our best record ever in a rebuilding year.

On Monday, we begin the singles part of the Channel League Individual Tournament hosted by San Marcos. Two rounds will be played. The first round will begin at 2:30 p.m.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Community Mourning Loss of Longtime Santa Barbara Teacher Isabel Hernandez-Sibayan

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The 35-year Santa Barbara County educator, most recently at Adams Elementary School, dies after a battle with pancreatic cancer

Longtime Santa Barbara teacher Isabel Hernandez-Sibayan passed away Friday, and the education community is mourning the loss of a passionate educator who worked tirelessly for the children in her classes.

Hernandez-Sibayan was a teacher in Santa Barbara County for almost 35 years and most recently worked at Adams Elementary School, where she taught kindergarten for four years.

The school community rallied behind Hernandez-Sibayan when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by hosting fundraisers and printing up “I Heart Mrs. Hernandez” shirts.

“She was my best friend and mentor and godmother to my daughter,” Adams Principal Amy Alzina said. “It’s been hard on our team and our staff and family. It’s hard also to see her go through so much pain.”

Hernandez-Sibayan was a founding teacher at the Santa Barbara Community Academy, where she taught for about 16 years, and before that, she taught at Harding University Partnership School and San Roque School, Alzina said. She also served as president of the teachers’ union.

The Santa Barbara Community Academy is where Alzina met her, when they taught kindergarten together and Alzina eventually — with the mentoring of Hernandez-Sibayan — became principal.  

“She could just spark that love of learning and reading in any child,” Alzina said, adding that Hernandez-Sibayan would tutor students and teach full-day kindergarten classes for free at the school because she believed students needed as much learning as possible. “She just gave 1,000 percent to every kid.”

Santa Barbara Community Academy staff show some love for Isabel Hernandez-Sibayan, who was a founding teacher at the school. (Facebook photo)

Hernandez-Sibayan loved being in the classroom and didn’t put in for retirement even after the cancer diagnosis, though she was in her mid-50s, Alzina said. She did leave when she got ill, more recently, Alzina said.

“When you think of teachers and how much they sacrifice and give for children, you think of Isabel,” Alzina said. “She’s just the best teacher ever.”

Hernandez-Sibayan is survived by her husband, Max, and six siblings.

“She loved her children like they were her own. She was absolutely loving, so generous,” said her sister, Phyl Hernandez. “Since last year and when she got sick, we have had nonstop calls and messages, and so much love pouring in from this community.

“She enjoyed life and that was one thing she did say, ‘I had a good life.’ She felt truly blessed and thankful for everyone, all the love and prayers.”

She was trilingual (speaking English, Spanish and French) and taught English as a Second Language classes, Hernandez said. Over her teaching career, she taught students in private and public schools, from kindergarten to the high school level.

“She was everything to me,” Hernandez said. “I’m the youngest of the siblings and she was one of my best friends. She raised me along with my other siblings — she was primarily my guardian and she actually was my teacher.”

The first official teaching job Hernandez-Sibayan had was replacing a teacher at La Purísima Concepción Catholic School in Lompoc, and her youngest sister was a student in her class.

“I truly, truly miss her and am blessed that we got to spend some of her last days together,” Hernandez said.

The family is planning a celebration of life event in May that will be open to the community. They also established a memorial fund at Wells Fargo in Hernandez-Sibayan’s name, where donations can be made in lieu of flowers. Alzina said Adams Elementary is also accepting donations and cards which will be given to the family.

Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dave Cash called for a moment of silence to recognize her at Tuesday night's meeting. 

"Isabel Hernandez was a teacher’s teacher," he said in a statement. "She nurtured our youngest learners with patience, kindness, compassion, and a wonderful sense of humor. Isabel joined the district in 1996 and taught at Harding School. In 1999 she taught next door at Santa Barbara Community Academy. Then, in 2010, Isabel joined the staff of Adams Elementary School. She was a mentor teacher. At one point, she was the president of Santa Barbara Teacher’s Association. Generations of kindergarteners probably still remember the wonderful teacher who encouraged them, who taught them how to share, how to play nicely with one another, and how to recognize numbers and letters. She was the teacher who dried their tears on that very first day of school."

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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Meeting Set for Wednesday to Gather Traffic Safety Ideas for Area Near Santa Ynez High School

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The death of a student who was struck by a minivan near the campus has prompted Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District leaders to schedule a meeting to assess what can be done to make the Highway 246 and Refugio Road intersection safer.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Little Theater on the Santa Ynez high school campus.

Superintendent Scott Cory said the purpose is to capture and compile safety concerns regarding the busy intersection near the high school campus.

He hopes to appoint a focus group to work with the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and Caltrans to explore the suggestions offered at the meeting. 

“Both the short- and long-term solutions lie in a multipronged solution involving education of the public and students about safe driving practices, enhanced enforcement of traffic laws and possible physical improvements to the intersection,” Cory said. “I believe that we will wind up with a safer intersection on the other side of this process.”

Santa Ynez freshman Carina Velazquez died hours after she was struck by a vehicle as she walked home from an after-school activity March 26.

Greta Garofallou, 83, of Lompoc was driving the minivan west on Highway 246 when it struck the 15-year-old girl just before 7 p.m., according to the CHP.

Days later, crews significantly pruned or remove shrubbery on the northwest corner of the intersection to allow better visibility for Refugio Road traffic turning onto westbound Highway 246.  

Cory said the improvements were made although the corner was not considered a factor in the accident.

While the accident that led to Carina’s death remains under investigation, the loss prompted discussions about making the area safer for pedestrians.

“The community has been very responsive to the situation, demonstrating a strong desire to get involved in order to be a part of the solution,” Cory said.

For several weeks, the high school website has had a message from Principal Mark Swanitz urging people to email safety improvement suggestions to Cory and noting the district had launched discussions with state and county officials about boosting pedestrian safety around the campus.

“While it’s too early to tell what might result of those conversations, nothing is off the table — including the long-hoped-for possibility of a footbridge, sidewalks, curbs, railings, speed limit reductions, changes in signage, LED-lit crosswalks, and more,” Swanitz said.

The SYVUHS Parent Teacher/Student Association will host the meeting while Cory will serve as facilitator.

Elizabeth Farnum, a representative from Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr’s office, is set to attend, he added.

Cory said CHP Lt. Kurt Kruse, sheriff’s Lt. Shawn O’Grady and Caltrans officials have been responsive to the situation.

This is the latest traffic safety effort undertaken in the Santa Ynez Valley. A grassroots group has targeted safety improvements for Highway 154, especially near the intersection with Roblar Avenue, and formed a Facebook group to unite those concerned about traffic-related trouble spots in the 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.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Jim Hightower: ISDS a Corporate Cluster Bomb to Obliterate Our People’s Sovereignty

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The Powers That Be are very unhappy with you and me. They're also very unhappy with senators like Elizabeth Warren, activist groups like Public Citizen, unions like the Communications Workers of America and ... well, with the majority of us Americans who oppose the establishment's latest free-trade scam.

Despite its benign name, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a cluster bomb of legalized "gotchas" that won't bode well for the vast majority of Americans and for our small businesses.

TPP empowers global corporations from Brunei, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and seven other nations to circumvent and even overturn our local, state and national laws. Those moneyed elites are upset that rabble like us oppose their latest effort to enthrone corporate power over citizen power, and they're particularly peeved that we've found TPP's trigger mechanism — something called "Investor-State Dispute Settlements."

That's a mouthful of wonky gobbledygook, isn't it? Indeed, ISDS is an intentionally arcane phrase meant to hide its democracy-destroying impact from us. It would create a system of private, international tribunals through which corporations (i.e., "investors") could sue our sovereign governments to overturn laws that might trim the level of corporate profits that — get this — they "expected" to make.

These tribunals are not part of our public courts of justice but are totally privatized, inherently biased corporate "courts" set up by the United Nations and the World Bank. A tribunal's "judges" are corporate lawyers, and they unilaterally decide whether the protections we've enacted for workers, consumers, our environment, etc., might pinch the profits of some foreign corporation.

This mess all started when the Dr. Frankensteins on our Supreme Court created a monster by declaring that a lifeless, soulless corporation is a "person." But the corporate giants thought, "Why stop there?" So now, another coterie of Frankensteins is trying to transform multinational private corporations into "nations." The secretly engineered Trans-Pacific Partnership magically endows private profiteering corporations with sovereign rights equal to those of real nation-states.

Under TPP, a "corporate nation" — unlike individual citizens of real nations — could directly compel the U.S. or other countries to alter their laws in order to increase corporate profits. Of course, the Frankensteins dismiss such concerns as an "irrational fear," claiming that no corporation would actually be able to force a country to change its laws.

To give you a look of what this is going to look like, let's take a peek at what other corporate-written trade deals have done to the laws written in the USofA.

Remember that these Frankensteins say that no corporation outside our country can change our laws. Really? Well, just ask "Flipper" the dolphin. While not yet able to confront a nation directly, corporations can get their home governments to sue in the World Trade Organization to overrule another nation's laws. That's what happened to our "dolphin-safe" tuna labeling law. Most Americans oppose tuna fishing with nets that also catch and kill the loveable Flipper, so we have a law encouraging dolphin-free fishing methods. Tuna packers that comply can put "dolphin-safe" on their labels, thus giving consumers a marketplace choice. Free-enterprise at work!

But some Mexican fishing companies got their government to complain that our label discriminates against their dolphin-slaughtering methods — and a World Trade Organization "compliance" panel ruled that our label is a "technical barrier to trade," essentially overruling a law that We the People enacted.

And now, if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is approved, foreign corporations won't have to get their national governments to intervene, for they will become governments. Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the other revolutionaries of 1776 would upchuck at this desecration of our nation's democratic ideals — and so should we.

For the lowdown on this and to join today's rebellion against the aristocracy of corporate elites, go to www.citizen.org/trade/.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

John Daly: Gratitude Is Really Just an Attitude

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

The other day I was preparing a talk with one of my classes about gratitude and its importance. I was chatting on the phone with my friend and associate, Carol McKibben, and we were bouncing around our thoughts about why gratitude plays a large part in individual success stories.

As a result, Carol wrote the article below for her own blog, and, with her permission, I wanted to share it with some additional thoughts of my own.

A Grateful Attitude Brings Success

We’ve all experienced it. After a dinner party, no note is sent. (Well, he was busy, and the dinner wasn’t that elaborate.) The solicitous email gets no reply. (Again, he was busy, and didn’t feel like chatting.) A driver gives way to him at a place where there is no clear priority; the courtesy isn’t acknowledged.

A person holds a door; the recipient breezes on by with no word of thanks. On holiday, a couple gives the smallest and most worthless amount of money to those who have provided them services. The snotty teenager rails at the parent who scraped and saved for her.

The failure to give thanks beats at the heart of the sense of despair and gloom that is so pervasive in our society today. Much of what plagues us can be tracked back to ingratitude. So, how can an attitude of gratitude bring about change while being unthankful can carry lethal results?

Gratitude vs. Ingratitude

» Grateful people believe they have more than they deserve, while ungrateful folks believe they deserve more than they have and that the world owes them.

» A grateful person is loving and seeks to help others. An ungrateful person is bent on helping himself only, often willing to blame everyone else around him for his situation and sometimes prepared to get what he needs unlawfully or unethically.

» A grateful person feels a sense of fulfillment. One filled with ingratitude has a sense of emptiness.

» A thankful person is content. An ungrateful person is full of bitterness and discontent. Psychologists have reported that years of counseling with people who are chronically depressed, frustrated or emotionally unstable are those with little gratitude, regardless of the external circumstances that might appear to provide an explanation.

» A person filled with ingratitude sets himself or herself up for disappointment when others fail to perform according to his or her expectations. But a thankful person has no room for self-destructive emotions.

You might have heard that one of the characteristics that we can change is our attitude. Being grateful or ungrateful is a choice. Seeing the glass half-full or half-empty is a choice

I learned a long time ago that I enjoyed life a whole lot better when I was thankful for what I had in my life.

Rather than blame others, feel sorry for yourself or deciding to be disappointed with everything around you, change your attitude. Make a decision to be grateful for what you have.

You’ll find that when you do, others will respect and like you better than someone who displays a selfish, uncaring attitude.

Try it. You’ll see how success will find you if you do.

                                                                  •        •        •

Carol is so correct. Gratitude is an attitude.

I know from personal experience. As some of you may know, when I was a child, my mother raised my brother and me single-handedly.

At one point, we lost everything and lived in poverty. Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, my diligent mother with her two young boys, pulled together to make a living.

Through hard work, my mother eventually was able to get a great job and get us out of the literal ghetto in which we lived. All the while, she taught us to be grateful for what we had.

That attitude stuck with me, and when I graduated from high school, I was determined to be successful, and I knew that an attitude of thankfulness to others would help me get there. I’d seen it work for my mother. I knew it would work for me, and it did beyond my wildest dreams — ending up with six businesses simultaneously and a lovely home for my wife and family.

I am grateful for it all and the attitude of gratitude that my mother taught me.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Extensive Search Turns Up No Sign of Missing Goleta Man

By | Published on 04/28/2015

E-MAIL PRINT COMMENT Share

Cody West, 22, was last seen early Sunday leaving a party, according to the Sheriff's Department

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies are investigating the disappearance of a Goleta man who was last seen over the weekend.

The family of Cody West, 22, reported him missing Monday, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

West was last seen at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion in Goleta, Hoover said.

He reportedly drove away in a 1999 silver Audi A4 Quatro sedan, license 4HAZ784, Hoover said.

"He has not been seen or heard from since, and did not show up to work on Monday," Hoover said. "His family is concerned about his well-being."

An extensive search by family and friends on Tuesday turned up no sign of West, according to his mother.

"We searched all of Goleta for him yesterday, as well as parts of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, to no avail," Juliet West told Noozhawk Wednesday morning. "We have had no clues, no sightings of him or his car.

"We are praying that he is alive and will be found soon."

Deputies also have been attempting to locate West, Hoover said, and have been assisted by a county helicopter that has conducted an aerial search over remote areas of the county.

Anyone with information about West's whereabouts is asked to call 9-1-1, Hoover said.

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

Share

Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk