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Los Olivos Mourns Death of Maya the Cat

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The feline, who gained fame for greeting visitors around the small town, reportedly was attacked by a stray dog

Maya the Cat, dubbed the unofficial mayor of Los Olivos, has died after more than a decade fulfilling her role as the small town’s furry and four-legged ambassador.

The petite black-and-white cat apparently fell prey to a stray dog on Sunday and died, according to Muse Management’s Sao Anash, who announced the death in a press release earlier this week.

In a town that once included King of Pop Michael Jackson as a rural resident, Maya became a bit of a celebrity herself.

Maya was a regular sight in the community, spending time at the Judith Hale Gallery, The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, and other spots, including the Los Olivos Post Office.

“Petite yet fierce, she could be wonderfully haughty, preening or bathing in the sunshine, ignoring passersby who bid her a hello,” Anash said. “On other days, she could be disarmingly friendly, brushing herself up against a previously shunned local, calling out with an uncommonly loud meow for some attention.

"In between her walks about town, she could be seen sleeping on her favorite chair inside the lobby of the inn or lounging in the local park.”

Judith Hale, who closed her Los Olivos gallery in 2010 and now is affiliated with Solvang Antiques, said Maya technically belonged to a local resident but rarely spent time at that home.

“There was no corralling that cat,” Hale said.

Maya had her own rules for when humans could interact with her, prompting Hale to put up a sign.

“She did not want to be pet unless she wanted to be pet and you don’t pick her up,” Hale said. “Everything was on her terms.”

Some estimated Maya had fulfilled that role for closer to 20 years.

Rachel Haas of Coquelicot Tasting Room only learned of Maya’s death Wednesday.

“Oh my God. Oh my God,” Haas said, noting that Maya was old and walked more slowly in recent years.

Haas is allergic to cats but never had a reaction to Maya, who demanded her own seat and only accepted attention on her own terms. Yet Haas kept food and water available for the feline’s frequent visits.

“She would purr nonstop,” Haas added.

Maya also became popular among tourists, who would hear stories about the feline greeter from local shopkeepers or winemakers behind a tasting bar. 

Maya’s role as town greeter drew at least one mention in a hotel review online and several paragraphs in a book, Sideways in Neverland, by William Etling, a local real estate broker.

She apparently once had a Twitter account, with her biography noting, “Came for friendly wine tourists, who pet me and give healthy treats. Stayed for the field mice.”

The announcement of her death on social media sites brought a few dozen comments from visitors, former employees and residents who met Maya through the years.

“We can't count the times Maya made us smile with our chance encounters,” Visit Santa Ynez Valley said in a Facebook post. “She has contributed greatly to Los Olivos' charm and warmth, and will be greatly missed.”

At least one person’s comment called for lowering the flag on the pole that sits in the heart of downtown Los Olivos in honor of the cat.

Some thought she belonged to Los Olivos, but in typical cat attitude, Maya apparently acted as if Los Olivos belonged to her.

“She will be greatly missed by the town of Los Olivos and countless visitors who took her photo and were charmed by her fiery little personality,” Anash wrote.

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

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Bureau Finds ‘No Significant’ Camp 4 Environmental Impacts

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Chumash take another step toward placing valley acres into federal trust

A proposed tribal housing development has “no significant” environmental impact on the surrounding area of a parcel near the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians reservation, a federal agency announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” based on the tribe’s final environmental assessment for planned development on Camp 4, a 1,433-acre agriculture parcel near the 138-acre valley reservation along Highway 246.

The Chumash bought the land in 2010 from the late Fess Parker, and has said it wants to build homes there for tribal members.

The tribe has been working to place Camp 4 into federal trust, a move that would effectively remove the land from the county’s tax rolls and from the oversight of the county planning processes.

The BIA finding, signed last Friday, is not a determination of the Chumash’s fee-to-trust application, and cannot be appealed, according to Chad Broussard, an environmental protection specialist with the BIA’s Pacific Regional Office.

A final BIA decision and accompanying notice will come at least 30 days after issuing the latest finding, Broussard said.

In its ruling, the BIA allowed the building of 143 residential units ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, an on-site wastewater treatment plant, roads and other infrastructure after also evaluating environmental comments from officials and the public.

An environmental impact statement is not required, the BIA determined, months after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors slammed the tribe’s environmental review of Camp 4 in a letter to the agency in July, pleading for the area’s oak woodlands and active agriculture.

“What it means is that we’re one step closer to bringing this land into trust,” Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta told Noozhawk. “I think this decision by the bureau speaks very loud and very clear to the legislators up in DC. Just because Santa Barbara County doesn’t think it’s right, doesn’t mean it’s not right. They refused to work with us.”

Because the county has fought the fee-to-trust process, Armenta expects officials would likely appeal a final BIA decision, something he hopes could be determined by the end of 2014.

The Chumash could also bypass the county, since a bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives nearly a year ago. HR 3313 would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Interior to take the land into trust for the benefit of the tribe and other purposes, and outlaw gambling, a main concern for valley residents.

Beyond being referred into the House Committee on Natural Resources, HR 3313 still awaits a hearing on the floor.

Armenta said he expects that to change soon, possibly after the November election.

He said he hopes the county respects the lengthy, federal process the tribe has gone through, and noted he was glad the county's attorneys advised the Board of Supervisors this week that it has no avenue to sue the Chumash over the planned expansion.

The decision to forgo legal action was reached in closed session Tuesday, another disappointment, said Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents the valley.

Farr said she hadn’t yet seen a county notice of the BIA filing, but has requested that the supervisors discuss the latest Camp 4 development with county counsel in closed session at the board's next meeting on Nov. 4.

“Clearly it’s very disappointing, but I think, unfortunately, probably not that unexpected,” she said. “We have been very vigilant on this issue from the very beginning. This is an issue that affects the entire county.”

Farr wouldn’t say whether the supervisors would appeal an eventual BIA decision, but noted it would be a board decision and that most of her colleagues have already publicly expressed their concerns with placing Camp 4 into trust.

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

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Santa Maria Empty Bowls Helps Fill the Coffers for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Hundreds of hungry attendees feast on soup provided by local restaurants; the Santa Barbara Empty Bowls fundraiser is set for Nov. 2

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores ladled bacon cheddar beer soup, using his best courtroom voice to lure hungry attendees with empty bowls needing to be filled.

Nearby, TV news anchor Jeannette Trompeter touted the healthier, although less enticing, chicken noodle soup, telling attendees, “It cures what ails you.”

Flores and Trompeter were two of the soup servers at the 13th annual Santa Maria Empty Bowls event Wednesday.

The fundraiser for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County took place at the Santa Maria Fairpark, where this marked the first time the Santa Maria event has held two seatings for attendees.

“It’s been a wonderful event,” said Judith Monte, North County development manager for the Foodbank, noting the varied sectors of the community to show up at the event.

In addition to community leaders and elected officials, those who attended included groups of office workers and parents with children, showing the broad support for the Foodbank, Monte said.

Organizers expected to serve 800 people during the two seatings, with the first at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m. Soups came from various restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley.

The two serving sessions aimed to address long waiting lines attendees encountered at previous Empty Bowls benefits in Santa Maria, according to Monte.

“We tried to make sure the second seating has the same experience,” Monte said, adding that the soups and bowls matched those of the first hour.

Bowls came from a variety of sources, but Monte said that Allan Hancock College contributed a record number this year.

102214-Empty-Bowls-630.jpg
Empty Bowls attendees get bowls filled with soup served by Judge Rogelio Flores. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

For a donation of $25, attendees selected a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, enjoyed a meal of gourmet soup and bread, and took home the bowl as a reminder of the event’s purpose: to help feed wholesome and hearty food to needy people in the community.

The Foodbank served 60,000 in the Santa Maria Valley last year, Monte said, adding, “That’s a lot of people.”

Because of the drought, the nonprofit organization had to pay $200,000 more to purchase food for its clients this year, Monte said.

Wednesday’s event was one of three held annually to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. 

The 17th annual Santa Barbara Empty Bowls is set for Nov. 2 at the Page Youth Center, 4540 Hollister Ave., with three seating times of 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased for $31 per person by clicking here.

For more information, sponsorship or raffle details, contact events manager Diane Durst at 805.967.5741 x104.

Lompoc’s Empty Bowls fundraiser is held on the fourth Wednesday of March each year. 

The Foodbank also is poised to launch its Thanksgiving turkey drive on Nov. 1.

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.

Empty Bowls
Savannah, left, and Dana Moody make their selections from a variety of handcrafted ceramic bowls at the Empty Bowls fundraiser on Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Candidates for Goleta Water District Board Weigh In on Drought, Billing

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Water agencies are a frequent topic of discussion during the ongoing drought, and the Goleta Water District has drawn attention as being the last local jurisdiction to put water use restrictions into effect and struggling through more than a year of technical difficulties with a new online customer billing system.

Four candidates in the Nov. 4 election are vying for two seats on the water board: Bert Bertrando, Jack Cunningham, Charles "Chuck" McClure and Meg West.

Bertrando and Cunningham are both running for re-election while the challengers McClure and West are local landscape architects, both with experience on local public agency boards and commissions.

Bertrando, a retired engineer and director of La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, has served on the board since 2006. He did not attend either of the candidate forums or respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

Cunningham, a retired United Airlines employee and former airport commissioner, has served on the water board since 1995. McClure has local experience as a contractor, architect and businessman and serves on the Goleta Cemetery District board. West serves on Goleta’s Planning Commission and has experience as a contractor, landscape architect and business owner.

The candidates agree that the ongoing drought will be the district’s biggest challenge in the next four years.

West mentioned the importance of drought planning and digging into lessons learned from the current drought to get prepared for the next one.

“That’s a silver lining to these crises, every time we get better prepared and learn something,” she said.

No new meters are being approved because of the district’s SAFE Ordinance, which triggers water use restrictions once Lake Cachuma’s deliveries are reduced, as they are for the water year that started Oct. 1.

In times of plenty, however, “water meters are issued without apparent limit,” McClure said. “Droughts are cyclical. … Therefore with each drought, well, the drought becomes more severe because we have more faucets and fixtures out in the community.”

McClure believes new meters can only be issued with a sustainable water source, such as desalination, reclaimed water that changes wastewater to potable water or a piping system from the more water-abundant north end of the state.

“People often say that it’s too expensive, it can’t be done,” he said. “Not true — we need vision and goal setting and the perseverance to achieve that goal. We can and will do it.”

Looking into the current drought, the district plans to take more recycled water from the Goleta Sanitary District and deliver it by tanker truck to areas that can use it but aren’t connected to the recycled water system, Cunningham said.

“The infrastructure for recycled water doesn’t reach their property so what we’re going to do is take recycled water to their property and let the use it," he said, "and of course we’ll charge but it’ll free up their usage of potable water which makes it better down the road for everybody.”

Additionally, Cunningham pointed to maintaining oversight of the district’s $32.5 million budget and making sure the fines and penalties for violating water use restrictions are administered properly. The more people conserve now, the better off the district will be for the next drought, he added.

“It sounds like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth because I’m preaching conservation while, the less water that’s used, the less water comes into the district bank account," he said. "That’s not the name of the game — the name of the game is for us trying to live up to our mission, which is to provide an adequate supply of quality water at the least possible price.”

The next big step for the district to cut back on water use will probably be the tiered rate system scheduled for spring, West said, adding that tiered systems have been shown to help cut back water use by making water more expensive or people using a lot of it.

“I’m very committed to keeping water rates low for low water uses like myself and many others who put effort into conserving,” she said.

She supports expanding the rebate programs that encourage drought-tolerant planting and wants to focus on customer service.

“I think a lot of relationships have been damaged with billing issues,” she said. “There’s a long history of the Goleta Water District behaving in ways people don’t like and I’d really like to see a little more effort made in customer service.”

West also wants the district to work more closely with the City of Goleta, saying the two agencies don’t coordinate enough now. She believes her experience with the Planning Commission would help in that regard.

“People are really upset when they’re being asked to let their lawns die and they see a big development going up down the street,” she said. “I think there needs to be a lot better coordination and transparency with the public, why these things are being built during the drought.”

In a more long-term perspective, West supports expanding the reclaimed water lines and looking into a groundwater infiltration program.

McClure said the next drastic step for the district to cut back on water use would be to disallow landscape irrigation, starting with lawns.

“We sincerely hope it does not come to that, but if it should, we must be practical, and exterior water for aesthetics would be the place to make the cut,” he said. “I think the people in the district are responding to the request to use water carefully, though some are still maintaining lawns. The upcoming tiered billing system should help with that.”

However, he does not support “the water police” and fines for people violating the rules.

“I suppose very egregious violators must be reckoned with, but by and large I think compliance should be mostly voluntary unless our situation drastically worsens," he said. "Perhaps it has worsened to the appropriate drastic level, remember I am a challenger not privy to the workings of the agency, other than the meetings I have been attending this year.”

In the long term, the district needs to be proactive about conservation and expanding its water supplies, McClure said.

“I have been writing letters to the editor and talking about de-silting of the reservoirs for years now. Crickets," he said. "Now is the time to dig silt out of the reservoirs.”

He also wants to expand Lake Cachuma’s capacity by gouging out the north and east sides and raising the dam by 1 foot.

He also suggests directing more storm water to the groundwater supply to recharge the aquifer and expand the reclaimed water system.

“Currently, 50 percent of the reclaimed water is sent into the ocean, due to a lack of distribution pipes. That’s sad and should be addressed," he said. "Treat that water one more time and pump it underground and our wells would never run dry.”

All four candidates will be vying for the two seats available on the Nov. 4 ballot to win four-year terms.

“I’d just like to add that, for everyone who hasn’t voted yet — vote for me,” Cunningham said. “I’d like to remain on the board so I can help have these things happen, the aforementioned things.”

West pointed to her long list of endorsements.

“They know that we need informed people who are going to be fair and open to public input and they’ve endorsed me because they think I can do this job,” she said. “I really see in the end, if elected, that there are a lot of opportunities for improvement and I want to look at what opportunities there are for working with the university because their growth is an issue as well, it’s not something the City of Goleta has control over.”

McClure said he is the candidate who wants to encourage conservation and pursue new sources of water for the community.

“The challenge is to create a new, permanent source of water without burdening the ratepayers with large new fees,” he said.

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

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Jim Hightower: Going from One Bad War to a Worse One

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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In 2004, Stuart Bowen of Texas was asked by a friend to take on a difficult and important job, which he did.

Bowen's friend was President George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country's fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the United States to Baghdad — totaling some $14 billion!

The bales of cash were delivered to the care of L. Paul Bremer III, a laissez-faire ideologue who'd been installed by the Bush-Cheney regime to rebuild Iraq as a regulation-free corporate utopia. It was quickly obvious to Bowen that the utopia included no accounting of where the $14 billion went, though during the next decade he determined that "billions of dollars (were) taken out of Iraq illegally." But he couldn't get the Bushites to mount a full-fledge investigation and prosecution.

Finally, in 2010, he and his team got a break, learning that about $1.5 billion had been stolen and stashed in a bunker in rural Lebanon. However, the Obama administration wouldn't pursue this lead. Neither did the CIA, FBI or the Iraqi government.

Then, Bowen was stunned that the U.S. embassy in Lebanon was resisting his own attempts to visit the bunker, actually preventing him from entering that country. When two of his investigators did get into Lebanon, our embassy denied them permission to see the bunker, claiming it was too dangerous.

And here we go again — into yet another war in a wide and tumultuous swath of the world involved in centuries-old religio-ethno conflagrations that Euro-centric Americans don't comprehend and cannot resolve. For a clue about what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, with our high-tech fighter jets, drones and ultimately with our soldiers on the ground in this new war against ISIS, let's remember Afghanistan.

Beginning in the yesteryear of the Cheney-Bush regime, the promise was that our Afghan excursion would promptly dispatch the Taliban, train an effective Afghan military force and create a stable democratic government. But it turned out to be both the longest war in American history and a dismal failure on all counts. After 13 years, more than 2,000 U.S. deaths, nearly 20,000 of our troops horribly maimed and over a trillion dollars spent — what have we won?

Far from defeated, the Taliban is again on the offensive, Afghanistan's elections are a farce, government corruption is rampant, the infrastructure we built is already crumbling, there is no national unity, and more than $100 billion of the money we sent for reconstruction and training was simply stolen by the elites and shipped in suitcases to their foreign bank accounts.

The good news is that our nation's Afghan debacle is scheduled to end this year. The bad news is that it won't — a contingent of U.S. troops will remain, we will keep paying $5 billion a year to sustain the Afghan army and police, and we're on the hook for billions more each year to fund that country's bankrupt government.

So hi-ho, hi-ho — off again we go to Syria, Iraq and beyond to conquer ISIS in what is already being called "a long war." Last year, Bowen's office was formally shut down, with none of the missing cash recovered or accounted for. Remember Bowen's 10 years of frustration as Washington starts shoving new billions of dollars into the morass of its newest ill-defined war. The tab just for the direct military cost of this latest ISIS, et al misadventure will be as much as $22 billion — a year.

How much of our cash for this misadventure will be stolen or "missing"? And just think how much good that money would do if we invested it here in our own people?

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.

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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s Paul Berkowitz to Perform All-Schubert Piano Recital

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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UCSB piano meister Paul Berkowitz will perform an all-Franz Schubert piano recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, in the UCSB Music Building.

Paul Berkowit
Paul Berkowitz

Professor Berkowitz's program will include Schubert's Six Moments Musicaux (1828), D. 780, the Twelve German Dances, D. 790 (1823), the Piano Fantasy in C-Major, D. 605a, "Grazer Fantasy" (1818) and the Three Piano Pieces, D. 946 (1828).

Berkowitz is in the middle of a large-scale Schubert recording project that is likely to become as definitive a vision of the composer's piano works as we are likely to get in our generation. Certainly a coherent treatment of any genre of Schubert's compositions — especially by an artist as sensitive and intelligent as Berkowitz — will be most welcome, for there is much that is baffling about this composer. About the only thing about him that is easy to understand is his enduring popularity.

Schubert's fans form as distinct a group of music lovers as those obsessed with Italian opera. Many of those devoted to classical music — including most of the musicians I know — put Johann Sebastian Bach at the summit of composers. Yet they only aver that Bach is the greatest composer, not the only one.

Many of the Schubertians I know, on the other hand, seldom listen to anyone else: He fulfills all their requirements. They aren't so much music lovers as Schubert lovers. Still, while I have many quarrels with Bach supremacists, when I encounter an ardent Schubertian, no grounds for argument ever present themselves. The Schubertians enjoy an irreducible bond with their idol, and there is nothing to be said about it.

Schubert's music, indeed, inspires little in the way of intellectual activity. You need no educational background or wide musical experience. He is as accessible as Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Mainly, he is a songwriter, whether there are words being sung or not. Emotional simplicity is his strongest suit, and he is best appreciated in these small works, as in his songs. He puts you immediately inside the emotional landscape of each piece, and makes it impossible to do anything but let yourself be carried along. Generally, when a piece ends, we wish it would go on.

Schubert's difficulties with larger scaled works are well-documented. When a musicologist says that the symphonies of Bruckner are influenced by Schubert's symphonies, he is not complimenting either composer, but saying that the works of both are shapeless and sprawling.

It seems to me that Schubert had very little influence as a piano composer. Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann were the movers and shapers there. In the seemingly fundamental matter of thematic development, Schubert usually gets a C-. But, when one musician asked Igor Stravinsky if Schubert's rambling developments didn't put him to sleep, Stravinsky replied, "Yes, but what does it matter if, when I wake up, I am in Paradise?"

Tickets to Berkowitz's Schubert recital are $10 for general admission and $5 for all students except UCSB students, who will be admitted free.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at gerald.carpenter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Laurie Jervis: Spicy Black Bean Soup for Fall Nights, Hearty Reds

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Despite the recent triple-digit heat wave, the Central Coast's version of autumn has indeed arrived. The afternoon light is softer, winds have mellowed and morning temperatures are cool.

The bulk of Santa Barbara County's winemakers have harvested their 2014 fruit in what some are calling as one of the earliest and "quickest" harvests on record. To be sure, some slower-to-mature red Bordeauxs remain on the vine, but will likely see a cellar by at least the end of October.

We mortals are not the only ones to discern the change in seasons: Vines, when picked clean of grapes, enjoy a proverbial seventh-inning stretch and look ahead to hibernation, known in the plant world as senescence.

Once green leaves' chlorophylls break down and the sugars, proteins and starches are transitioned to storage inside the vine for winter's dormancy, the hues of yellow, orange and brown become clearly visible.

Like many others, I view autumn as a vineyard's prettiest season, and spend most of my commutes admiring the contrast between vines' orange and yellow leaves and the bright green carpet of cover crops that sprout between the rows. 

If by day I admire colorful vineyards, by evening I celebrate autumn with a longtime favorite recipe, Zesty Black Bean Soup. 

I first tried this in 1986 at the Off Broadway Cafe, a Captiva Island, Fla., restaurant that, to the best of my knowledge, no longer exists. No matter. I have a torn, ragged paper copy of a March 1987 column by longtime writer Jeremy Iggers, who then wrote about food for the Detroit Free Press. 

In his column, Iggers highlighted this bean soup as one that doesn't result in the gas that creates havoc with diners' digestive systems. 

Some of the more difficult-to-locate ingredients are likely available in Asian or Indian markets, he noted. 

Ingredients

2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil

½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, finely minced

2 tbsp. fennel seeds

1 tbsp. black mustard seeds

1 tbsp. cumin seeds

1 medium onion, diced

½-inch piece fresh ginger root, minced

Six plump cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (or more to taste)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. curry powder

½ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Three 15-ounce cans black beans

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with puree

Juice of one lemon

One bunch cilantro, minced

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: In a large, heavy pot, heat oil slightly and add coconut, fennel seeds, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Saute two minutes, until slightly brown (don't burn). 

Add onion, ginger and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and cayenne pepper. Add beans and tomatoes. 

Mix well and simmer for one hour, covered, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with corn chips. Yield: Six generous servings.

This soup is an ideal match for hearty red wines such as syrah, cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel. 

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

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3 Suspects Sought in Isla Vista Home-Invasion Robbery

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Investigators were searching for three men who committed a "home-invasion style" robbery early Wednesday in Isla Vista, according to UC Santa Barbara officials.

The incident occurred at about 1:45 a.m. at a residence in the 700 block of Camino Del Sur, according to an alert sent out by UCSB.

"Three suspects entered a residence and demanded property," the alert said. "One suspect brandished a knife, and there was a threat of a gun, however, no gun was seen. The suspects were last seen heading towards El Colegio Road."

The suspects were described as a Hispanic male adult with a heavy build and pony-tail, and wearing a gray shirt; a male approximately 30 years old, with a slender build and pock-marked face; and a male white adult, approximately 20 years old, 6-foot-2, with a slender build and a chin-strap beard.

Anyone with any information about this incident or any other crime is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 805.681.4171 or at the following link: www.sbsheriff.org/anonymoustips.html.

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

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Steven Crandell: Funding Locally, and the Story Behind the Well

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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In philanthropy, as in most human endeavors, lasting change is elusive.

But when donors act to replace local dependency with local capacity, they can empower a locally led and stakeholder-supported evolution of service. Responsive growth can become part of a project’s DNA. And change, fed by local needs and local dreams, becomes both durable and flexible.

Santa Barbara County is full of generous people who give because they perceive genuine need. There are many nonprofit organizations that exist to fill that need. But we all benefit — donors, nonprofits and the communities being served — when we ask a simple question: Are we building capacity as well as serving immediate needs?

I believe we can all draw inspiration from an African example. The town of Makutano, Kenya, “transformed itself from a poor, inaccessible and arid ‘outback’ into a thriving hotbed of people-led development,” according to a 2011 report.* Part of the story of Makutano’s success depended on its partnership with a key external funder, the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) working in concert with the Makutano Community Development Association.

The former leader of the KCDF put the key issue beautifully in the following quote, which leads the report:

“Development is the story behind the well ... you can have a community that wants a well to get better water, and most development agencies are happy to just help a community sink a well, get a water pump and say, ‘Hurrah, we have clean water, we have done our job’ ... We were arguing that just getting the well is not enough — because that isn’t the development.

“The development, we were arguing, is the story behind the well; it’s how you get the well that’s important.

“Did you build local capacities? Did you change attitudes? Did you help the community to think differently?

“Did you help them to see that you are not going to be there to repair the well?”

        — Monica Mutuku, founding director, Kenya Community Development Foundation

Here are six factors that helped make the Makutano philanthropy work:

Common Vision and Approach

The donor-community relationship is based on an understanding that residents are owners and agents of their own development.

Harness Local Contributions, Build Local Assets

Encouraging local giving is part of building local infrastructure. And local infrastructure — whether physical, social, organizational or educational — is the key to self-determination.

Build Software and Hardware

This means supporting organizational capacity as well as concrete action plans. Analysis and planning can be funded as well as tangible assets and financial management.

Give Consistently and Consistent with Community Change

Keep your funding at a scale that doesn’t undermine community ownership or overwhelm capacity. Smaller amounts given consistently over a longer term can be very helpful.

Foster Long-Term Sustainability

Mobilize local resources as a means of increasing independence. Use matching funds to encourage other donors to contribute.

Patience

Accept that change takes time and requires multiple participants.

Source: Funding Locally, a guide created by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

* Halima Mahomed and Brianne Peters (2011) “The Story Behind the Well: A case study of successful community development in Makutano, Kenya.” Published by the Global Fund for Community Foundations and the Coady International Institute.

Additional Resources: A 2014 update on Makatuno from PartnershipsInAction, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation

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

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Cox Communications Doubling Internet Speeds in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Cox Communications on Wednesday began doubling the speeds on two of its most popular Internet service packages, Cox High Speed Internet Preferred and Cox High Speed Internet Premier.

These packages represent more than 75 percent of Cox’s high-speed Internet customers. Internet service speeds also will be increased on Cox High Speed Internet Ultimate service package.

The rollout of the new speeds will be completed by Thursday for customers in the Santa Barbara area.

With speeds as fast as 150 megabits, Cox continues to provide its customers with the fastest residential speeds. The increased speeds come on the heels of the company’s announced plans to offer gigabit speeds in all of its markets by the end of 2016.

Cox High Speed Internet Preferred will increase from 25 megabits per second to 50 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Premier will increase from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Ultimate will increase from 100 megabits to 150 megabits per second.

“Internet usage is doubling every two years, and this increase marks the 10th consecutive Internet speed increase in 11 years for our customers,” said Suzanne Schlundt, vice president of marketing for Cox Communications in California. “Consumers are adding more and more devices to their Wi-Fi networks to stream movies and TV shows, download music and share photographs. We’ll continue to invest in our network to offer a broadband experience that not only meets our customers’ needs, but exceeds them.”

Examples of what customers can do with the new speed increases (depending on the service plan):

» Download an email attachment — in less than a second

» Download 10 MP3 songs — in less than a second to one second

» Upload 30 vacation photos — in less than a second up to two seconds

» Upload a video clip up to 35MB — in two to eight seconds

» Download a full-length movie in one minute up to less than four minutes

In addition:

» Cox offers a wide array of broadband service packages designed to suit anyone’s needs, from the casual email user to power gamers and households with multiple family members using the Internet simultaneously.

» All Cox Internet customers receive free cloud storage, and the Cox Security Suite Plus and McAfee Family Protection, a comprehensive package of Internet security tools to help ensure online safety with anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, parental controls and more.

» Cox customers with the Preferred or higher packages have free access to 300,000 Wi-Fi hotspots when they travel to cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., so they can stay connected on the go.

Customers interested in experiencing the new Internet speeds can click here or visit a local Cox Solutions Store to test drive the new speeds.

— Ceanne Guerra is the media and public relations manager for Cox Communications.

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Ed Fuller: Market Conditions Make Now a Great Time to Make a Home Purchase

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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With 30-year fixed interest rates ranging to below 4 percent, excellent inventory of lower priced homes and condos, and the seasonal slowdown in full effect this year, now may be one of the best times in the past six months to make a home purchase.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

While waiting until the beginning of next year may seem like a more convenient course of action, my experience with our seasonal trends notes that many buyers step into the market in January, meaning more competition.

Typically, buyers will drive prices up in the new year as they buy the cheapest home that’s available, and when that one is gone, they buy the next most expensive home. By June, a sizable appreciation has taken place.

Buying now not only secures a long-term future of lower payments but secures an asset whose value will rise with the market.

While the national median home price increased 5.6 percent year over year in September, California’s median home price in September was 7.6 percent higher than a year ago. In the Santa Barbara metro area, September’s median single family home price was 30 percent above the September 2013 median price.

The point is that Santa Barbara tends to experience a much higher rate of appreciation than the rest of the country or even California. That makes this buying opportunity, with the prospect of the economy continuing to expand and add jobs, a potentially significant one when viewed in light of potential future price appreciation and today’s low interest rates.

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at ed@sanroquerealty.com or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Author/Human Rights Activist Stella Pope Duarte to Receive UCSB’s Luis Leal Award

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Author Stella Pope Duarte is this year’s recipient of UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.

Stella Pope Duarte
Stella Pope Duarte

The award will be presented during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Science Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Duarte is the author of the highly praised novels Let Their Spirits Dance and If I Die in Juárez, as well as two collections of short stories — Fragile Nights and Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories.

“Stella Pope Duarte is a powerful writer about Mexican American barrio life in the Southwest and about the role of women in Chicano culture,” said Mario García, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Duarte is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Her novel If I Die in Juárez earned a 2009 American Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. It won the Southwest Book of the Year Award in the Top Pick category, and was named the Arizona Book of the Year in the category of Best in Popular Fiction. The novel also garnered the Foreword Book of the Year award and the Independent Publisher’s Book of the Year award, as well as receiving an honorable mention in the International Latino Book Awards.

Duarte’s novel Let Their Spirits Dance was nominated to Oprah’s Book Sense List and received the AZ Highways Fiction Award. It also was nominated for ONEBOOKAz, a statewide project aimed at promoting literacy and fostering a sense of community.

In 2008, Duarte earned first prize in the 34th Annual Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine for her short story collection Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories.

Born in and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix, Duarte is a recipient of the Women In American History award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in 2013 was selected to be part of the Public Broadcasting System’s production “Makers: Women Who Make America.” Twice awarded creative writing fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Duarte is also the author of Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The Memoir of a Writer’s Soul.

The Leal Award is named in honor of Luis Leal, a professor emeritus of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCSB, who was internationally recognized as a leading scholar of Chicano and Latino literature. Previous award recipients of the award include Demetria Martínez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Graciela Limón, Pat Mora, Alejandro Morales, Helena Maria Viramontes, Oscar Hijuelos, Rudolfo Anaya, Denise Chávez, Hector Tobar and John Rechy.

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

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Dead Bird in Santa Ynez Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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A western scrub jay collected in Santa Ynez has tested positive for West Nile virus infection.

An alert local citizen reported the dead bird to the West Nile Virus Hotline.

This is the only WNV detection in Santa Barbara County this year. No human WNV cases have been reported in Santa Barbara County this year. West Nile virus has been detected in Santa Barbara County in previous years. This year has been a record year for WNV detections in other counties of California.

"This is a particularly late detection that reminds us that mosquitoes and West Nile virus are still active despite the drought and cooler weather," said Kenneth Learned, vector biologist for the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.

The district routinely looks for West Nile virus in adult mosquitoes, in the district's sentinel chicken flocks and in dead birds.

Most people who get infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Some people will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches and recover after a few days to several weeks. However, the elderly and individuals with suppressed immune systems are at increased risk for more serious, and potentially life-threatening illness.

West Nile virus is passed primarily between birds by mosquitoes. Humans, horses and other animals can become infected with WNV if bitten by an infected mosquito. Human-to-human transmission of WNV does not occur.

The public is advised to take the following precautions to reduce the risk mosquito-borne disease transmission: Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and dawn. When outdoors, wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and use mosquito repellants. Ensure that door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair. Eliminate standing and stagnant water to prevent mosquito breeding. Vaccinations are available for horses from your veterinarian.

More information about West Nile virus is available by clicking here. Dead or sick birds can be reported to the West Nile Virus Dead Bird Hotline at 877.968.2473.

— David Chang is general manager of the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.

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UC Santa Barbara Foundation Welcomes New Trustees for New Academic Year

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Five new trustees have been elected to the board of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation, a leadership body that promotes the university by increasing philanthropy, and managing and growing the endowment.

As UCSB’s principal fundraising organization, the nonprofit foundation generates and administers private gifts to the campus, including support for students, research and instruction. It also ensures the appropriate use of all private funds.

Helping to forge links between the professional and business communities and the campus to increase private support for university programs, the foundation plays a critical role in promoting and achieving fundraising goals and priorities. The board consists of philanthropic leaders sharing a commitment to advance UCSB’s mission and sustain its reputation for excellence.

“We are honored and thrilled to welcome these five visionary and dynamic leaders — all accomplished alumni of UC Santa Barbara — to our foundation board,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “Our academic community is continually inspired and uplifted by the tremendous vision, devotion, guidance and philanthropic support of our outstanding trustees.”

Board chair Marcy Carsey added: “Our new UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustees will add another extraordinary layer to our already stellar board. Collectively and as individuals, our members are devoted to advancing the mission of this great university through private giving, advocacy and engagement. This new group raises the bar yet again. We welcome their vision and leadership.”

The new trustees for the 2014-15 year are:

» Robert Ballard ’65 — Professor of oceanography, University of Rhode Island; Earth Science Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB, 1998; Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB Alumni Association, 1985 (Narragansett, RI)

» Elizabeth Gabler ’77 — President, Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment; member, UC Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center Advisory Board; UCSB commencement speaker, 2006 (Santa Barbara)

» Ambassador Marc Grossman ’73 — Vice chairman, The Cohen Group; Distinguished Alumni Award, UCSB Alumni Association, 2001 (Arlington, VA)

» George Holbrook, Jr. ’53 — Managing partner, Bradley Resources Company; member, UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency Director’s Council; honoree, UCSB Engineering Exemplary Service Award, 2012 (Santa Barbara)

» Michael Koch ’89 — Surgeon and partner, New York Group for Plastic Surgery; member, New York Campaign Committee (New York)

“The university is so fortunate to welcome these outstanding leaders to our foundation board,” said Beverly Colgate, executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. “Our trustees bring unique external perspectives to our campus, and we so value their contribution of time, vision and leadership. Our new group of trustees are notably accomplished nationally as well as internationally and we are thankful for their commitment and investment in the university.”

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Max McCumber: Time to Salute the Obscure in Sports

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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One doesn't need a Halloween costume to be acceptably obscure, this time of year or ever. Sometimes all that is necessary is a sports jersey. The same athletic costume worn performing a entirely different task than usual suffices.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

Although its not their primary role, some standing 7 feet or taller on basketball courts have been fair outside shooters. Not Shaquille O'Neal, who could barely sink free throws. I seem to recall a game staged in New Jersey — well before the Nets moved over to Brooklyn, of which the visiting Los Angeles Lakers had all but clinched the victory. In the final minute or so, Shaq fired a shot from the three-point line. I remember broadcaster Chick Hearn half-jokingly saying, "OK, don't shoot the three, Shaq." Whether or not it was an airball has escaped me, but it didn't come close to a swish.

In high school, I threw the shot put and discus on the track team. Most of the throwing event participants are the slowest ones on the roster. As a joke, we sometimes held a throwers 4x100 relay at the end of meets. Vice-versa, a few wiry distance runners tried their hands at the throwing events at some dual meets.

Kids who pitch in Little League baseball are rarely restricted to such activity; it's customary for them to switch field positions. Not so at the big league level, where pitchers are now specialized down to starters, left-handed one-out, set-up and closers.

Which is why the sight of a position player on the mound in an MLB game is regarded as awkward and comical. It only happens if a team is on the losing end of a blowout score, say 16-1, and a prime opportunity to give the bullpen a rest. Then, or a seemingly never-ending affair that lasts 15-20 innings.

Had the marathon 18-inning Division Series game featuring the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals taken place in the regular season a few months prior, a position player would have been more likely to pitch. The Giants' Hunter Pence would be the most amusing one to assume this role. Considering how unorthodox his style of play is, Pence would probably have a herky jerky windup.

One of the most notable position players to record a pitching appearance has been Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs. On a few occasions, Boggs came in relief as a knuckleballer. His stuff may not have been on the same level as R.A. Dickey or the Niekro brothers, but he got the job done.

On the flip side, a pitcher is often the weakest offensive player in a big league lineup. Sure, I like the traditionalist argument against the designated hitter, as the National League lends itself more to strategic intrigue with double switches. Beyond that, though, it's more amusing to see a hurler at the plate with a goofy, upright stance.

In 1967, St. Louis Cardinals hurler Bob Gibson impressively hit a home run. It caught everyone by surprise. Yes, I'd rather see a pitcher bat than just another offensive weapon in the DH spot. However, I would prefer the American League keep the DH and it stay out of the National. This way, if a Junior Circuit pitcher ekes out a hit in an interleague or World Series game, it stands out as something the crowd least expects.

In the World Series this year, the Giants' Madison Bumgarner may not bat in a game if he's not due to start in San Francisco, but he's no slouch. If not for Clayton Kershaw. he would be a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award. Bumgarner is not too bad of a hitter either, with four homers in the regular season.

The mere sight of the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs is surreal enough for someone my age. Since I was born the year after their last trip in 1985, it was something I had never been alive to see before their thrilling victory in the AL Wild Card Game. To me, its akin to the Chicago Cubs appearing in the Fall Classic.

Last but not least, yet another Derek Jeter salute, but I must mention the flip play. What he accomplished against the Oakland Athletics in the 2001 playoffs is an enduring piece of baseball lore due to its obscurity. When else has a shortstop nailed a runner at home from the first base line?

What if athletes were all automatons programmed to stay the same spot and perform the same function repeatedly? It sounds more like a science fiction premise than a sporting event. Sports would be deprived of too much character without breaks in routines.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Fetes Longtime Supporters at ‘Evening in Bloom’

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s second annual fundraiser, "An Evening in Bloom," brought together nearly 250 people on Saturday at Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria for a glamorous evening filled with beautiful orchids, generous supporters and heartwarming stories.

The gala honored local flower growers with deep roots in community involvement, Ed Van Wingerden, owner of Ever-Bloom, and brother Win Van Wingerden, owner of Maximum Nursery and an honorary member of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s board of trustees. The honorees are both longtime supporters of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and also served as auctioneers for the event.

“Each year, our fall fundraiser recognizes people in the community who have made a powerful impact on the lives of young girls, and reminds us why it is important that we each do our part as well,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Ed and Win are outstanding supporters who are dedicated to our mission to grow healthy, educated and independent girls. We thank them for all they have done and continue to do for Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.”

All proceeds supported the organization’s mission to empower girls and women to achieve personal, social, economic and political success and cultivate confident, successful girls.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 700 girls each year through a variety of programs, motivating them to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

Guests were greeted with a red carpet entrance followed by a cocktail reception, dinner buffet, live and silent auctions, and dancing to The Rincon’s later in the evening, in a unique setting among long rows of stunning orchids.

This year’s event co-chairs were Donna Baird of Baird Wealth Strategy Group and Stefanie Herrington, an estate planning attorney at Bartlett & Herrington in Carpinteria. Carpinteria Unified School board president Andy Sheaffer served as master of ceremonies.

Bloom
Former Girls Inc. of Carpinteria member Graciela Rodriguez speaks at “An Evening in Bloom,” sharing her story of how the organization changed her life. (David Powdrell photo)

Ruthie Tremmel, former executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, introduced Ed and Win Van Wingerden and presented the honorees with plaques of recognition. The brothers were honored to be longtime supporters of the organization.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria board president Clyde Freeman recognized Mary Crowley, former president of the board of trustees who served for seven years with the organization. She was presented with a certificate of recognition and Freeman graciously thanked her for the many years of leadership and dedication.

Graciela Rodriguez, a first grade teacher at the Adelante Charter School in Santa Barbara and Girls Inc. alum, shared her story about how the organization helped her discover her potential and opened her eyes to endless possibilities, crediting Girls Inc. for being her lifeline.

“It wasn’t until I received counseling and got involved in Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s teen programs that my life changed dramatically,” said Rodriguez, who shared her struggles with body image as a teenager and her fight with anorexia and bulimia. “Girls Inc. challenged me to make something positive out of my struggle and gave me the opportunity to do so.”

Rodriguez has been part of the Girls Inc. family for 30 years, as a member, employee, and currently a member of the Girls Inc. National Latina Advisory Board. She holds a master’s degree in multiple-subject education and special education. Rodriguez said she feels blessed for the opportunity she has to inspire young children to pursue their dreams and believe that anything is possible, just as Girls Inc. did for her.

“I wanted to share this with all of you to thank you on behalf of girls everywhere for everything you do,” Rodriguez said to the crowd. “As you think about the future of girls and the future of Girls Inc., please remember that the seeds you plant blossom into generations of strong, smart, and bold women. I am a product of Girls Inc.”

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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Santa Ynez Football Teams, Booster Club to ‘Go Pink’ for Cancer Awareness at Friday’s Games

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Boys Will Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a tribute to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School varsity and junior varsity football teams will don pink socks at their game on Friday when they play Pioneer Valley High School.

The game time for junior varsity is 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. for the varsity team.

The Football Booster Club will sell pink cupcakes and run a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds going toward the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic-Solvang Oncology Department. The cupcakes will be donated by the Solvang Bakery.

“They were a huge success last year,” said Charlene Hiatt, Football Booster Club treasurer and coordinator for the “Go Pink” fundraiser. “Last year we had some very generous people paying up to $20 for a cupcake! We’re hoping to see those same generous people embrace our efforts this year.”

Hiatt’s own mother is a breast cancer survivor.

Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz (oncologist) and Mary Fox (manager of the Solvang Oncology Department) were tickled pink to hear that the teams were going to do this again this year. Last year the Booster Club donated $1,500 for oncology programs and services in the valley.

While Hiatt heads up the SYHS Go Pink fundraiser, it is the football players and coaches who are the driving force behind the mission, the pink socks and the theme.

“Some of our current players and coaches have family members who have recently battled cancer," she said. "It has touched our football program personally.”

The teams will take a moment during the game to recognize and support those in their fight against cancer. Both teams want to show their support and do something to help their local community. While the boys are playing hard on the field, Hiatt and the Football Booster Club will work equally as hard off the field selling cupcakes and running the fundraiser.

— Liz Baker is a marketing coordinator for Sansum Clinic.

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Legislature Approvals Proposals to Improve Residential Care Facilities for Elderly

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County is pleased to note that Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have approved several state legislative proposals addressing problems in residential care facilities for the elderly in the recent session.

"Our communities have changed in the past 20 years, including the residents of assisted living facilities,” said Joyce Ellen Lippman, facilitator of the Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County. “As our community has aged, so has the resident population. The population in assisted living facilities has aged, grown frailer and with more chronic and disabling health conditions."

“Needs of senior citizens are increasing due to numerous factors, such as increasing numbers of the old-old, reduced personal incomes due to the continuing recession and increasing health care costs,” Amy Mallett said. “As chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, we support efforts to meet these needs, including improving care for residents of long-term care facilities.”

“Several bills that made it through the state legislative process are of specific interest to the Abuse Prevention Council,” Lippman said.

These bills include:

» SB 1153, authored by state Sen. Leno, gives the State Department of Social Services the ability to ban new admissions at RCFE’s with significant problems

» SB 911, authored by state Sen. Block, increases requirements for staff and administrator training

» SB 1382, authored by state Sen. Block, raises licensing fees by 20 percent

» SB 895, authored by Sen. Corbett, requires Department of Social Services to post inspection reports and the annual inspection report

» SB 2171, authored by state Sen. Wieckowski, creates the first statutory bill of rights for residents of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly

» AB 1572, authored by Assembly Member Eggman, strengthens family and resident councils

» AB 1523, authored by Assembly Member Atkins, requires liability insurance for RCFE licensees

» AB 1899, authored by Assembly Member Brown, calls for a permanent lifetime ban for licensees who abandon residents

» AB 2044, authored by Assembly Member Rodriguez, ensures every RCFE has a manager or designee present 24 hours a day

“These bills, when enacted, will improve care of RCFE residents, which is our goal," Lippman said. “There are still several issues that remain due to bills that were unable to make it through the state legislative process. These unsuccessful bills would have allowed expedited inspections, created an online consumer information system and mandated annual inspections of RCFEs.”

“During the next legislative session, we will work with our local legislators to address these three issues,” Mallett said. “It is important to protect the residents and ensure their safety.”

For more information, please call 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

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Letter to the Editor: Highway 101 Is Just a Ploy

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Are you surprised at Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schnieder and the City Council majority over Highway 101? Choice is not the end game!

The latest uproar over SBCAG and the lawsuit is only the tip of the iceberg with the mayor and council majority.

Cars Are Basic warned voters if they voted for council members and mayors who advocate for street narrowing, taking of traffic lanes, backing "Bulbout Hell," and other anti-car planning that the end game would be "taking" of your option to drive. The city declared open war on auto drivers.

Voters rebelled in 2009 when faced with "Bulbout Hell" and changed the Santa Barbara council majority. The new majority passed resolutions not to obstruct streets and truck routes. The voters falsely believed they won. Thinking they were protected at the 2011 election, they voted for the old tired majority. This old school majority, in open defiance of resolutions of the past council, steam-rolled ahead with anti-car planning.

Business as usual as if the rebellion never happened. Their anger is directed at the public who dared speak against destruction of city streets and free travel. Back came "Bulbout Hell," narrowing of streets and more. Then came the devastating change in the General Plan allowing for high-density overlay and the authority to declare "overriding" issues ignoring CEQA.

CEQA is the California Environmental Quality Act. CEQA is intended to obstruct and prohibit all interests from "despoiling" the State of California. The left has plowed head long into their own brick wall. Their answer? Ignore it. The high density creates ghettos of housing and businesses without critical parking or street access. Congested parking and streets leading to noise, and pollution in "violation" of CEQA!

Senior traffic planner Rob Dayton (as listed by the city directory) has a 15½-year history of distortion and deception regarding transportation issues. Multiple mayors including Mayor Schneider have refused to demote or fire him. It is important the reader understand this is documented history in destroying your freedom of choice.

Joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting of September 2014: Mr. Dayton presented the "City of Santa Barbara Traffic Impact Study," stating the following. The intersection at Cliff Drive and Montecitio Street is completely saturated (as is the traffic load on Castillo underpass). Conditions of one of three primary reasons CAB worked to stop the city's takeover of Cliff Drive. When asked the outcome of the approved high-density infill allowed by the new city General Plan and future density, Dayton's statement was it will significantly increase congestion. Destroying your right to drive is finally revealed as the true intent of 40 years and the council majority.

The city "outed" itself. No longer is there a pretense of "choice" of transportation.

There should be a chill down the spine of every reader who believes in a free society. The openly admitted impacts of this planning (above joint meeting) will create difficult conditions for businesses, making average traffic a nightmare for everyone (not rush hour) and destroy single family neighborhoods. Congestion will significantly increase costs of goods and services, and degrade living. This planning will forever change the very reason people move to Santa Barbara and south county. When informed of the joint meeting presentation, business owners and operators in the city shake their heads and state this is the long-term end of what they do.

Scott Wenz
Cars Are Basic

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PacWest Bancorp Reports Net Earnings of $62.3 Million for Third Quarter

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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PacWest Bancorp announced on Wednesday net earnings for the third quarter of 2014 of $62.3 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the second quarter of 2014 of $10.6 million, or 10 cents per diluted share.

When certain income and expense items described below are excluded, adjusted net earnings are $68.4 million, or 66 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2014 and $63.8 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2014.

"The operating metrics of our third quarter are outstanding," President/CEO Matt Wagner said. "We originated $975 million of loans and leases resulting in annualized portfolio growth of 14 percent. Core deposits grew $269 million during the quarter, with $85 million of such growth coming from CapitalSource division borrowers. At Sept. 30, CapitalSource division borrowers had $193 million on deposit with us and our team continues to have a strong pipeline.

"On the earnings side, we posted a robust adjusted earnings of $68.4 million, or 66 cents per share, that represent a 1.73 percent return on average assets and a 15.8 percent return on average tangible equity. Our credit quality remains strong, with substantial reductions in nonaccrual and classified loans and leases. These strong operating results, along with the asset generation momentum from the CapitalSource merger, position us well for continued growth and success."

Vic Santoro, executive vice president and CFO, said, "Our net interest margin and expense control were strong in the third quarter. Our core net interest margin remains quite solid at 5.64 percent. The third quarter adjusted efficiency ratio at 43 percent held steady with the second quarter. We continue to build capital, with a tangible common equity ratio of 12.2 percent at the end of September."

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Westmont Observatory to Open for Partial Solar Eclipse

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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The Westmont Observatory will open for a partial solar eclipse from 2:15 to 5 p.m. Thursday.

At its peak, the moon will cover more than 30 percent of the sun at 3:30 p.m. The viewing is free and open to the public.

Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor, and two members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit will set up three special telescopes in front of the observatory for the viewing.

“We will have white light scopes, which are equipped with neutral density filters, as well as scopes that will view the sun in hydrogen-alpha, the red line of hydrogen,” he says. “Just for fun, I will also bring a colander from the kitchen to project multiple images of the chunk taken out of the sun onto the wall of the observatory. When viewed this way, these images are a show stopper.”

The moon slid into the Earth’s shadow in April and October, giving us two total lunar eclipses this year. Interestingly, nowhere on Earth will this solar eclipse be a total eclipse.

The observatory opens its doors to the public every third Friday of the month in conjunction with the SBAU, whose members bring their own telescopes to Westmont for the public to gaze through.

The observatory sits between Russell Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex at Westmont. Parking is free for guests, but may be limited since classes are in session.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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Letter to the Editor: A Poem for Election Season

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Election time is upon us. A small, poetic offering — Don Basilio's Aria from The Barber of Seville — to go along with the season.

Let me teach you the art of slander,
So ethereal you scarcely feel it.
Not a motion will reveal it,
Till it gently, o so gently,
Almost imperceptibly begins to grow.
First a murmur, slowly seeping,
Then a whisper, slowly creeping,
Slyly sneaking, softly sliding,
Faintly humming, smoothly gliding.
Then it suddenly commences,
Coming nearer, reaching people's ears and senses.
First a mere insinuation,
Just a hinted accusation,
Slowly growing to a rumor,
Which will shortly start to flow.
What began as innuendo
Soon is swelling in crescendo;
Gossip turning into scandal,
Stopping nowhere, hard to handle;
Louder, Bolder, brazen sounding,
Stomping, beating, thumping, pounding,
Shrieking, banging, booming, clanging,
Spreading horror through the air.
Rising higher, overflowing,
Whipped to fury, madly growing,
Like a stream of lava pouring,
Like a mighty cannon roaring.
A tremendous tempest raking,
A tornado splitting, shaking,
Like the day of judgment breaking,
Pandemonium ev'rywhere!
And the victim, poor accused one,
Has to slink away in shame
And wish he never had been born.

Russell W. Newby
Goleta

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Santa Barbara Transient Occupancy Tax Continues Growth in September

By | Published on 10/22/2014

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Santa Barbara lodging establishments collected and remitted $1.61 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) during September, which is 6.9 percent higher than September of last year.

In total, more than $6.1 million in ongoing TOT revenue has been collected through September, 8.5 percent ahead of this point last year and ahead of the 4.9 percent growth needed to meet the adopted budget.

The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 each year. The fiscal year 2014 TOT budget is $17,641,400.

Click here for additional information on TOT.

— Genie Wilson is the treasury manager for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Goleta Council Discusses Parking Plan, Law Enforcement for Isla Vista Halloween

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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City officials say they're concerned that the threat of citations won't be enough to deter out-of-towners from parking in residential areas

With Halloween just days away, Goleta city officials on Tuesday discussed a plan they hope will control parking issues, but only after a somewhat prickly exchange between City Council members and law enforcement.

The City of Goleta is enacting street parking restrictions in neighborhoods around Isla Vista that have been used in years past as parking for the thousands of out-of-town revelers attending Halloween festivities in the largely student-populated community. For a map of the impacted area, scroll down.

This year, the city is implementing a resident-only permit parking program in the restricted area.  The permits, which will be mailed to the residents, will allow them to park on the street.

Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department Lt. Butch Arnoldi, who is Goleta's police chief, said that a total of 18 personnel will be in the area over the weekend. 

"Citations will be issued and arrests will be made," he told the City Council on Tuesday.

Some friction arose, however, when council members pressed Arnoldi about the towing of vehicles that would be taking place on Halloween weekend.

Because the purpose of the parking restrictions is to avoid disruptions to the neighborhood, Arnoldi said that revelers returning to the neighborhoods to find their cars missing "would raise heck," most likely causing a scene early in the morning. 

On top of that, towing would cause more paperwork for a staff already stretched thin, he said.

"If the car is blocking a driveway or a fire hydrant, then those people will be towed, but our primary purpose will be citations," Arnoldi said.

Citing the parked cars would be the first line of defense, he said, but the citations issued will only amount to $37.50 apiece, which Councilman Roger Aceves countered was cheaper than a cab ride from downtown Santa Barbara to Goleta.

Halloween parking
Planned parking restrictions for Halloween weekend in Isla Vista. (City of Goleta map)

"Thirty-seven dollars to these kids is not going to be anything," Councilman Jim Farr said, adding that he hopes the fee can be raised in the future.

Perhaps most critical was Mayor Michael Bennett.

"I'm sorry it inconveniences people," he told Arnoldi. "We want the inconvenience. We want tows."

Vyto Adomaitis, director of  the neighborhood services and public safety department for the city, assured the council that staff heard their concerns and would act accordingly.

Another area of concern arose when several council members asked about the patrol shifts deputies will be working. The shifts are from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., and if any activity is continuing to take place at the end of the shift, Arnoldi said deputies will be required to stay longer to deal with that.

"We will stay as long as we need to stay," he said. "In the past we've towed anywhere from five to 12 vehicles each night, so that will probably be the same, if not more. ... Every sworn deputy will be working that weekend."

Signs will go up next week letting people know about the restricted streets, and tow trucks will be stationed all around the city as a warning.

Permits for residents will be mailed out starting this week, according to Adomaitis.

"They'll probably start going out on Friday and throughout the weekend," he said.

Permits will be delivered to residents in the area before Oct. 27, and if residents do not receive their permit before then, they should contact the city's Neighborhood Services Department at 805.961.7556.

The permits must be requested by noon on Oct. 31 and should be kept in the vehicles parked on the street until 6 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.

If a vehicle is spotted without a permit on the street, residents can call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher will take the information and route it to a deputy for action.

Road access won't be restricted and the parking lots at Girsh Park and Camino Real Marketplace will be open to the public during daytime hours.

If this year's effort is successful, the city may consider expanding the restricted parking area next Halloween.

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

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Goleta Council Considers Options for Adding Parking Lots in Old Town

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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City officials vote to move forward with discussions to lease or buy certain parcels near Hollister Avenue

Where to add parking lots in Old Town Goleta — and whether to charge patrons — took center stage Tuesday night at the Goleta City Council meeting.

After looking at several options, and disagreeing slightly about when more parking for the downtown area would actually be needed, council members voted 4-1 to direct staff to pursue discussions to lease or buy certain parcels near Hollister Avenue.

City Councilman Roger Aceves voted against the motion in favor of first tackling a better outline for developing the area through the Old Town Revitalization Plan.

The Goleta City Council was also supposed to approve some policy changes to the Old Town plan Tuesday, but tabled discussions to gather more information.

Staff came to the council for guidance after the city’s Economic Development and Revitalization Standing Committee hosted three public meetings on the subject, focusing on where cars could park if spaces are removed from along Hollister Avenue.

Economic development coordinator Jaime Valdez told the council he identified the six most promising parking lots that could be turned into city lots, either through a lease agreement or sale with property owners.

He quoted studies showing a net deficiency of 69 spaces in Old Town Goleta, where residents and customers can currently park in one-hour spaces that often aren’t enforced.

“The Economic Development Committee was really hoping to focus on low-hanging fruit,” Valdez said. “This tends to move really quickly, the real estate world.”

Council members were most receptive to Sites C and D, located south of Hollister, closest to the heart of Old Town.

Site C (5841 Hollister Ave.) currently contains an auto sound shop and is for sale at $1.75 million, and Site D (5827 Hollister) could be leased and shares a corner with Community West Bank and a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department substation, Valdez said.

Council members also showed interest in Site E (5777 Hollister), which shares a lot with Santa Cruz Market and could be leased or purchased.

Those options could offer between 37 new spaces (Site C) to 65 (Site E).

Other potential leased lots included a vacant parcel on Orange Avenue north of Hollister near Natural Café, a vacant lot south of Hollister on Orange Avenue and a Fuel Depot lot at 5755 Hollister Ave. that’s currently leased for three more years.

Valdez said staff hadn’t yet proposed how much the city could charge to park, saying most lot owners would prefer a pilot-parking program instead of entering into a long-term agreement with the city.

City Councilman Tony Vallejo and Valdez agreed Site C would be a lot of money, but Mayor Michael Bennett encouraged them to save cost questions for later.

Vallejo suggested focusing more on finding parking options on the north side of Hollister, a tough street for pedestrians to cross.

“I personally am not in favor of charging for parking for that particular area,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Paula Perotte, who used to work in Old Town.

Business owner concerns with where residents and employees parked prompted the need Valdez said, although he didn’t survey any of them when considering lot locations.

“Parking lots are always very expensive,” Aceves said. “Did we take into consideration the current type of businesses on Hollister and what their needs are? I would think that would be the next step.”

Bennett said he was tired of waiting to fix parking problems, suggesting that by directing staff to look into three sites, more property owners could come out of the woodwork.

“I look at all these as potential opportunities,” he said. “If you provide the parking, they will come. There are challenges no matter what we do. If we don’t do anything, we’re never going to get there.”

City Councilman Jim Farr agreed, noting worst-case scenario would be Old Town having more parking and a slower development.

“I think it’s time,” Perotte said. “Parking has always been an issue.”

Council members directed staff to also look into what charging for parking would look like and different funding mechanisms to maintain lots.

“I understand we all want to start somewhere but we’re not starting with a real plan,” Aceves said. “Now we’re building around (business owners) without their input.”

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

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Council Gets Update on Western Goleta Overpass

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Reducing congestion in western Goleta by adding a highway overpass has been under discussion for more than half a decade, and City Council members got an update on the progress of the project on Tuesday.

Planners have been searching for a way to alleviate traffic congestion at Storke and Glen Annie roads and add another access point across Highway 101, which splits the city in two sections above and below the highway.

Adding an overcrossing would improve emergency response times to the area, while giving more access for cyclists and pedestrians, said Rosemarie Gaglione, the city's interim public works director.

The overpass would have a sidewalk, bike lanes and traffic lanes. 

"Originally, it was looked at as just pedestrian and bike traffic," she said, but for a bit more money, vehicle traffic could be accommodated and could allow development impact fees to be used in the process. 

The city has conducted a feasibility study, and will next work with Caltrans on finalizing the project study report, which looks at different options of where the overpass could be placed.

The three likeliest options are located in the Brandon School area.

One option would connect the Hollister Avenue and Entrance Road intersection south of the freeway to the Calle Real and Brandon Drive intersection north of the freeway.

A second would start at the Entrance Road intersection and connect to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive, and the third would connect Hollister Avenue and Ellwood Station Road to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive.

Two public workshops were held at Brandon School early in the process.

"We blanketed the area with mailers and we promised lots of public interaction," she said.

The project will take two to four years just to go through the design and environmental review process, but remains a priority for the council.

The city has $7 million programmed for construction, but doesn't have enough money available for design of the project, and is looking for possible grant funding.

The cost for the bridge, whichever option is chosen, will be between $22 million and $26 million, according to Gaglione, adding that the city will be fully exploring options for the area.

"We've talked about doing this for years," said Councilman Roger Aceves, adding that city staff must have a shovel-ready project so that they are more likely to be approved for grant funding.

Councilwoman Paula Perotte said she was excited to see an update on the project.

"Whatever we can do to get this going. … It's only going to cost more and more as the years go by, and it's much needed," she said.

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

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Car Wash Conflict for Downtown Santa Maria Resolved

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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A possible roadblock threatening plans to modernize an old car wash within the Downtown Specific Plan area has been removed as the Santa Maria City Council took another step Tuesday to allow the renovation project.

Greg and Sheri Jordan, owners of the East Chapel Street car wash, had sought to upgrade the facility, but discovered the Downtown Specific Plan required conditions they feared would make the project too costly.

In August, the City Council took the first step to allow the modernization project, but delayed the second reading of the ordinance for two months because the car wash’s owners balked about what they feared would be burdensome conditions.

In the weeks since, the Jordans have met with city staff and gained help from Dave Cross with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Commission to appease the concerns. 

“I believe those questions have been answered,” Larry Appel, director of the Community Development Department, said Tuesday night. 

Greg Jordan offered praised for the help received from city staff and Cross.

“Everyone has been stellar,” Greg Jordan said. “They’ve come together and things look pretty good. I appreciate that.”

On Tuesday night, the council approved the second reading of the ordinance creating an amendment to allow the car washes in the area with a conditional use permit. The amendment takes effect Nov. 20, and Appel said he expects his office will receive the application soon after that date.

Councilman Jack Boysen said he applauded the City Manager’s Office and Community Development Department for working to solve the concerns.

“I think this is a prime example of where we’ve run into a situation where we ended up with an unintended consequence and we figured out a way to make it right,” Boysen said, also thanking the Jordans and chamber. “It’s a great partnership we have.” added.

Because of its location within the Downtown Specific Plan and not a commercial district, the car wash project requires a conditional use permit instead of a more basic building permit. Complicating matters is the fact the current car washes in the Downtown Specific Plan area are considered legal non-conforming uses.

The amendment now allows new car washes to be built plus existing car washes to be rebuilt.

“Reconstruction of older, existing facilities could be viewed by the surrounding neighborhood as a positive change,” Appel said in his staff report.

On the other hand, a new car wash in the area could be viewed as negative, he added.

Any car wash project would require a conditional use permit which would include neighborhood notification and a public hearing, Appel said in his staff report. 

“This will allow the city to approve or deny individual proposals based on a case-by-case basis depending on neighborhood impacts,” Appel said in the staff report. “In addition, the five-year sunset clause allows the city to prevent proliferation of too many car wash uses in the Bungalow District.”

In another matter, Phil Alvarado, superintendent of the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, outlined the need for Measure T, a $45 million bond on the Nov. 4 ballot to build a new school and complete projects at 19 campuses.

He told of overcrowded conditions at the district’s schools amid skyrocketing growth in recent years. Most Santa Barbara County schools average a student population of 441, while several of Santa Maria-Bonita’s have topped 1,000. This means a campus like Adam Elementary School has eight shifts to serve lunch to all of its students, he added.

The measure needs more than 55 percent of the voters' approval to pass, Alvarado said.

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

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Santa Barbara Native Riley Berris Takes Over the San Marcos High School Stage

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Berris, who succeeds longtime theater teacher David Holmes, will make her directorial debut with Picasso at the Lapin Agile in November

For her first directorial offering, San Marcos High School theater teacher Riley Berris is introducing the community to Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein.

Students are busily rehearsing for the debut of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which hits the stage in November.

“It’s a short and sweet comment on the connection between science, art and music,” Berris said. “It’s just a very smart play, and I think it’s hilarious.”

Berris, who was a student teacher with longtime theater legend David Holmes before he retired in the spring, took over the theater department this fall.

Upon retirement, Holmes said he was glad to pass the torch to someone he mentored, just as it was passed to him in the 1980s.

Berris is a Santa Barbara native and alumna of Santa Barbara High School, Loyola Marymount University and UCSB, where she recently finished her master’s degree in education and teaching credential.

Like Holmes, she worked with a theater company and pursued professional acting after graduating college and before getting into teaching.

She chatted with Noozhawk during a break in rehearsal this week and seemed right at home directing the students and coordinating with other performing arts staff.

“I am surprised by just how much fun I’m having,” she said.

Berris knew she had big shoes to fill coming after Holmes, but says the students have accepted her, and the classes and directing are going very well.

“I was afraid, for sure,” she admitted.

She teaches beginning acting, stagecraft and play production classes in addition to choosing and directing the fall play, spring musical (it will be Crazy for You next year) and managing the one-act play performances and talent show.

She got to know all but one of the 11 students in the upcoming show last year when she was a student teacher.

“They’re all pretty astoundingly professional and fun to work with,” she said.

A lot of research went into choosing the very first play for fall.

“I honestly read probably 20 plays over the summer,” she said.

Within the first 10 pages of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, she was cracking up and knew she had a winner.

“I think audiences will love the characters we developed together,” she said.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a comedy play written by Steve Martin about Picasso and Einstein meeting in a Paris bar as young men.

It debuts at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and has additional shows on Nov. 14 and 15 at the school's performing arts center. 

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

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Councilman Hotchkiss Shares Community Input on Santa Barbara’s Bicycle Master Plan

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Before the City of Santa Barbara starts its official community outreach for updating the Bicycle Master Plan, Councilman Frank Hotchkiss solicited ideas with an opinion piece printed in local media.

He believes the city shouldn’t lose any parking capacity or driving lanes to make room for bicycles.

Hotchkiss and Councilman Dale Francisco are concerned that the public outreach workshops will only be attended by cyclists and biking advocates so the city would get a “skewed result.”

Hotchkiss received more than 200 responses to the op-ed and presented the results at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He said everyone agreed that the city should work to make it safer for bicyclists but disagreed over how to do that.

In his proposal, the city would focus on specific streets to become designated bike routes without reducing any car traffic.

He presented a map of the downtown core and suggested that some streets become major arterial routes for bicyclists, which would make motorists expect the bike traffic and create a sort of “freeway for bikes,” he said.

The city has narrow roads with no room to widen, so the city needs solutions that make biking safer and more accessible without reducing car traffic, he said.

He also briefly talked about staging separation between cars and bike lanes to promote biking in certain areas of the city.

There were only four public speakers at Tuesday’s meeting, but there’s no doubt more people will come out to give input as the city works to update its Bicycle Master Plan.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was pleased with Hotchkiss’ initiative because it started the discussion, Sam Franklin said, adding that the year-long public input process will hopefully lead to an inclusive plan.

“Biking should be something that people can do without feeling like they’re taking their life into their hands,” said Michael Chiacos of the Community Environmental Council.

Surveys continually show that more people would like to bike but don’t feel safe, he said.

The City Council listened to the report and took no action.

Since the Bicycle Master Plan was last updated comprehensively in 1998, the city has expanded to 40 miles of bike lanes from 13 and added 2,000 new locations to lock a bike, according to city staff.

The City Council voted to hire a public relations consultant to develop the community engagement strategy for the plan update, including interviews, an online survey and meetings with various stakeholders.

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

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47,000 Marijuana Plants Destroyed During Eradication Season in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the results of the 2014 marijuana eradication season.

For the past several months, the Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), the U.S. Forest Service and the California National Guard have been working together to locate and eradicate illegal marijuana grows in Santa Barbara County.

This year, most of the illegal grows were discovered on national forest land by Santa Barbara County Air Support with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Bureau. In all, 10 marijuana eradication operations were conducted resulting in the destruction and removal of 47,000 plants in 18 separate illegal marijuana gardens. The destroyed plants are worth an estimated street value of $131 million.

An additional estimated 18,000 marijuana plants were either harvested prior to eradication or found dead/dying due to the drought. During the marijuana eradication operations, functional high-powered rifles were located in the empty camps used by the marijuana growers.

Large-scale marijuana cultivation is a serious and increasingly widespread problem on public lands in California, including the Los Padres National Forest. These illegal operations threaten the safety of the residents and visitors to the forest, as well as harming the environment. The illegal growers may camp for extended periods of time, leading to large piles of garbage, human waste and the dumping of unregulated pesticides, much of which finds its way into the water table.

Many of these camps are also host to campfires and open flame stoves that are banned in the high-fire danger areas of the forest. The 2009 La Brea Fire, which burned more than 90,000 acres in North Santa Barbara County, is blamed on a cooking fire at a camp within an illegal marijuana grow.

The increasingly large and sophisticated marijuana plantations are very often the work of dangerous drug cartels; forest visitors or residents who happen upon them, may be harassed or assaulted. The growers are usually armed, sometimes with automatic weapons and high-powered rifles, and they have been known to place booby-traps designed to seriously maim or kill intruders.

Over the years, evidence recovered at locations where illegal marijuana grows has been located, indicate that Mexican nationals were living in the gardens and tending to them. Mexican nationals have had an increased presence in illegal marijuana cultivation in the Los Padres Forest, where they grow marijuana and transport it to the Southern and Eastern United States for resale.

The public can assist law enforcement by immediately reporting suspicious activity on forest land such as individuals carrying irrigation tubing, gardening supplies or large amounts of packaged food. If you see someone who seems out of place and may be involved in illegal marijuana grows, do not make contact with them as they may be violent.

Anyone with information is asked to call 805.681.4175 or send a fax to 805.681.4316. You can also send an email to weedinfo@sbsheriff.org. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171. Please provide as much detail pertaining to dates, times, locations (GPS if possible) and subject/vehicle descriptions.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Would Do Far More Harm Than Good

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Every time I see a news report about ISIS and their latest atrocities and military advances, I can't help thinking about how vital it is for us to reduce our dependence on imported foreign oil.

In the last decade, California has tripled the amount of foreign oil shipped in from overseas — 20 percent of that comes from Iraq!

So why on earth would we deliberately choose to deepen that dependence by approving Measure P, which would end up shutting down the onshore oil and gas production that has been safely occurring in Santa Barbara County since the early 20th century? The less oil and gas we produce here, the more we have to import from unstable and war-torn countries with far less stringent environmental regulations than we have.

Measure P is a misguided and deceptive feel-good ballot initiative that will do far more harm than good.

Rhonda Huesgen
Santa Barbara

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Jeff Moehlis: A Massive Attack of Sound and Vision

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Trip-hop pioneers return to the Santa Barbara Bowl

It was glorious sound and vision overload at Massive Attack's return to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday night, with the trip-hop pioneers — originals Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall along with a couple of incredible singers and a killer but mostly anonymous band — showing that they are still relevant over two decades after their first groundbreaking releases.

The show kicked off strong with "Karmacoma," with the band silhouetted by bright lights and the screens behind the stage getting their first workout with rapidly changing footage of the likes of O.J. Simpson, Rodney King, Lady Diana and problem spots such as Kabul. This was followed by the trancey "Battle Box" from 3D's recent project of the same name and featuring the first of many appearances of the evening by the mesmerizing singer Martina Topley-Bird. Here the screens flashed names of presumably made-up (or future?) drugs, along with different dosages.

Next up was the frenetic "United Snakes," with logos of corporations including Walmart, Facebook and AIG rapidly flashing on the screens. Some crazy-bright white flashing lights were synched to the rhythms, arguably fusing hearing and seeing into a single super-sense, while simultaneously making me wonder if I missed the warning for people who suffer from epilepsy or migraines.

A sensory breather came with the deconstructed reggae of "Paradise Circus," sung by Topley-Bird. This was followed by a mid-set heavy on songs from the band's landmark 1998 electronica album Mezzanine, namely "Risingson," "Teardrop," "Angel" in DJ mode because singer Horace Andy apparently didn't make his plane, and "Inertia Creeps."

For the latter, the screen showed timely headlines about celebrities and local stories like the "Gatorboy" mural and toxic lobsters found in Ventura. As an admitted over-consumer of news both serious and not-so-serious, I found it somewhat  unsettling how many of these stories I was familiar with. Do I really need to know about all this stuff?

Mixed in with the Mezzanine songs was "Jupiter," also from 3D's Battle Box project, made more intense by the screen showing an unfolding transcript of a disturbingly clinical discussion about an unspecified aerial attack, presumably in the Middle East.

The band's first album, 1991's Blue Lines, which is credited with launching the trip-hop genre, got its first nod with the last song of the main set — "Safe From Harm" sung by Deborah Miller. Behind her the screen showed a freakout of social media-inspired text including commands to Like, Follow, Accept, Delete and Connect, along with statements like "Privacy is no longer a social norm."

The encore had Topley-Bird back to sing "Splitting the Atom," with the vibe of a twisted Leonard Cohen song and the screen continuing a not-so-subtle commentary-by-example on the silliness of the modern plugged-in age. This was followed by the sparse "Pray for Rain" in only its second-ever live performance, with Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio on vocals. (Speaking of TV on the Radio, they performed a wonderful, diverse opening set of their brand of indie rock.) The show closed with Miller singing Massive Attack's early hit "Unfinished Symphony," its dance vibe contrasting with the text on the screen about refugees from the crises in Iraq and Syria.

Massive Attack's sound throughout the evening was amazing, and the lighting and text-commentaries were clever, over-the-top and thought-provoking. One could argue that there were many meta moments as people shot camera photos and videos — no doubt to send to "friends" — of a show which often seemed to be calling out our obsession with sharing everything.

But this was one show that was best witnessed in person, because the sound and vision overload couldn't possibly be fully captured on a 4-inch screen. Or a concert review.

Setlist

Karmacoma
Battle Box
United Snakes
Paradise Circus
Risingson
Psyche
Future Proof
Teardrop
Angel
Jupiter
Inertia Creeps
Safe From Harm

Encore

Splitting the Atom
Pray for Rain
Unfinished Sympathy

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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New Residence for Low-Income Seniors Breaks Ground in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Low-income Santa Barbara seniors will soon have an additional housing option.

After several years in the architectural planning and permitting process, Community Achievement Enterprise, headed up by its president, Pastor Wallace Shepherd Jr., broke ground this month on a new seniors-only apartment complex on East Mason Street in Santa Barbara.

CAE, a local nonprofit and subsidiary of Second Baptist Church, will be the managing agent for the new development.

The new building, referenced as H. B. Thomas Manor, was approved by the City of Santa Barbara as a project-based voucher, Section 8 development.

The six one-bedroom apartment units will each have a private terrace and will feature energy star-rated appliances. Their  location — close to downtown and other public services — will make travel easier, enabling residents to be less dependent on the use of private automobiles.

“The new residence will contribute toward decreasing the local housing crisis, and hopefully will act as a model for other organizations, businesses and places of faith that have underutilized space," Shepherd said. "It will be constructed on Second Baptist Church property, which has served the Santa Barbara community for over 100 years. Residents need not be members or attendees of the church.”

CAE anticipates project completion prior to summer 2015.

For more information, contact Shepherd at 805.636.8133.

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing Community Achievement Enterprise.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Is Not Right for Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The onshore oil and gas industry has been a part of the Santa Barbara County economy for more than 100 years, and there has never been any evidence of harm to our water supply.

Additionally, experts and scholars agree that Measure P's sloppy language will be harmful to our quality of life by shutting down the onshore oil and gas industry that helps fund our public safety services, schools and other vital services. The oil and gas industry supports more than 1,000 very high-paying, skilled industrial jobs.

Measure P is not right for our economy and is not right for Santa Barbara County.

Please join me in voting no on Measure P.

Donald Dick
Santa Barbara

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Letter to the Editor: My Experience with No on Measure P Focus Group

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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I want to tell you my experience with a Measure P focus group.

The focus group took place at the end of September at the Fess Parker hotel and resort in Santa Barbara. They paid everyone $125 for over an hour to watch No on P commercials. There were about 50 people in a room and two groups, therefore paying approximately $10,000 to watch these commercials and tell them what we thought.

Many people in the focus group had questions what this measure was and why they were watching all these No on P ads and no Yes on P. We wanted to know in more detail what this measure was. We wanted to know if they were going to do fracking in Santa Barbara County.

The lady in charge said she couldn't tell us and that she was only hired by a company to do the focus group. I asked again if they were going to do fracking in the county and this one man in the group said they were only going to do fracking in North Dakota. So I was going to vote no. But once I researched this and found out they will frack in Santa Barbara County, I changed my mind to vote yes on P.

I just wanted to share my experience. If they did that to us on the focus group, how much more they will try to confuse and fool the whole county? I am voting yes on P.

Angela Althen
Goleta

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Santa Barbara Seeks Community Input in Recruitment of New City Administrator

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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In September, the City of Santa Barbara's top administrator, Jim Armstrong, retired. The City Council will be appointing the city’s next city administrator and has hired the executive search firm of Ralph Andersen & Associates to conduct the recruitment.

The City Council is interested in receiving public input and has authorized a community survey. The purpose of this open survey is to gather input from the community regarding the challenges and opportunities that will face the new city administrator, as well as the competencies and areas of experience needed for him or her to be successful. The information will be used in the selection process by the recruiting firm and the City Council.

The survey can be located on the Ralph Andersen & Associates website. Community input is requested by Oct. 30. Should members of the public wish to submit their thoughts in hard copy, they may submit them to the City Clerk’s Office at Santa Barbara City Hall by 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and they will be provided to the recruiting agency.

The survey will ask two basic questions:

» 1. What will be the primary challenges and opportunities for the new city administrator?

» 2. What competencies and areas of personal experience will be most important in a new city administrator?

Click here for the community survey.

— Kristine Schmidt is the administrative services director for the City of Santa Barbara.

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EnergyPartners Fund Awards $119,000 in Grants for STEM Programs in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The EnergyPartners Fund, a committee advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, awarded $119,000 in grants for educational programs focusing on STEM. The grants were presented in early October at Presqu’ile Winery in Orcutt.

Grants from the fund support programs from simple to complex — all with the goal to foster learning and enthusiasm in STEM. While most of the grants went to elementary and secondary schools in Santa Barbara County, a few reached as far as Fillmore and Nipomo. EnergyPartners Fund representatives presented awards to teachers and administrators for equipment including interactive computer projectors, iPads and air quality probes, as well as for programs to support math and robotics teams, teacher training and curriculum development.

For the first time since its inception in 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund awarded two large grants that exemplify the benefit of community-based partnerships. The first of these grants went to support the Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights at UC Santa Barbara. This program supports underrepresented students and their families to gain familiarity with the practice of science, its importance in education, and its promise of exciting career options. At FUSE events, students and their families rotate in 30-minute sessions through three bilingual activities related to physics, chemistry, and biology. The activities are led by UCSB undergraduate and graduate students.

A second grant was jointly funded by the EnergyPartners Fund and Highland Santa Barbara Foundation, Inc. to support Reasoning Mind, a pilot program in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Reasoning Mind is an interactive, computer-based mathematics program designed to engage elementary students in the development of strong critical thinking, reasoning, and logic skills. The focus on deep conceptual understanding and computational fluency prepares students for success in higher level math courses. Implementation in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District began this fall and is expected to impact about 500 students.

Phil Alvarado, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent, applauded the support of EnergyPartners and the willingness of teachers to embrace change.

“Teachers are living in a sea of change with common core standards, a new assessment system, and technology that requires skillful users,” he said. “Since 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund has been key to our STEM efforts by supporting teachers and allowing them to experiment with learning while increasing student engagement. We look forward to our continued partnership with the EnergyPartners Fund — a model of what the corporate world and public education can be when collaboration is student-centered, teacher-empowered, and invested in the workforce of the future.”

To date, the EnergyPartners Fund has awarded more than $850,000 to local classrooms, schools, districts and nonprofit organizations with a cumulative impact exceeding 50,000 students.

2014 Grantees

» Allan Hancock College — Event expenses for STEM Week of Discovery
» American Association of University Women, California Special Projects Fund — One scholarship for an eighth-grade girl to attend camp at UC Santa Barbara
» Arroyo Grande High School — Materials for eight laboratory investigations in AP Biology
» Blochman Union School District — Interactive computer projector
» Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley — Professional development, materials, and competition travel
» Brandon Elementary School — Civil engineering curriculum units
» Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation — FIRST Robotics Team
» Los Olivos School District — Paper circuits that light up as an art project
» Nipomo High School — VEX Robotics
» Ontiveros Elementary School — Engineering kits
» Orcutt Academy High School — FIRST Robotics Team
» Pioneer Valley High School — Air quality monitoring probes
» Peoples’ Self-Help Housing — Two computers and 30 calculators
» Providence, A Santa Barbara Christian School — Materials to support a new elective course
» Santa Barbara Community Academy — Trained teacher with Play-Well TEKnologies 
» Santa Barbara Unified School District — Supplies for six Science Olympics projects
» Santa Maria-Bonita Elementary School — Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
» Santa Maria-Bonita Junior High School — Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
» Santa Maria-Bonita School District — Reasoning Mind elementary math program
» Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum — Three iPads and stands
» University of California, Santa Barbara — Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights

— Lynn Penkingcarn is a marketing officer for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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City Receives Helen Putnam Award for Goleta Prepare Now Program

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The California League of Cities presented the Goleta City Council with the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence for the city’s Goleta Prepare Now program.

The Goleta Prepare Now program is designed to increase the level of overall awareness and emergency preparedness for residents, visitors and local businesses.

“The league is proud to recognize the Goleta Prepare Now program as the 2014 Helen Putnam Award of Excellence recipient in the category of public safety. This award recognizes outstanding achievements by California’s cities and Goleta is certainly deserving of this recognition,” said David Mullinax, regional public affairs manager for the California League of Cities who presented the award at the City Council meeting.

Mayor Michael Bennett said, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award and appreciate the work of our dedicated staff. Because of their efforts, we now have a greater number of residents who are prepared to help in the event of an emergency.”

The City Council has placed a high priority on emergency preparedness and this is achieved through bilingual public education, the provision of emergency preparedness materials and the training of volunteers as well as continuing training opportunities and outreach for program graduates.

This is Goleta’s second Helen Putnam Award. The first was received in 2005 for the city’s role in preserving the Ellwood Mesa.

For more information, please contact Luz Reyes-Martin, management analyst in the city’s Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department, at 805.961.7558 or lreyesmartin@cityofgoleta.org.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.

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To Frack or Not to Frack? Researchers Studying Best Practices for Oil, Gas Development

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Hydraulic fracturing is a polarizing issue, one that will be addressed at the polls in several California counties — including Santa Barbara — in November. Better known as fracking, the process releases gas or oil trapped in shale by injecting water, sand and chemical additives under high pressure.

Chemicals used in the extraction process pose potential risks to water quality, and the industry’s demand for water can create conflicts with residential and agricultural water users as well as ecological communities. However, the overarching problem is a lack of integrated knowledge.

“Right now, a lot of the decisions and debate about hydraulic fracturing, unconventional oil and gas development, are taking place in the press and the court of public opinion with very little data and information informing that,” said Joe Kiesecker, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Conservation Lands Program. He is part of a two-year working group organized under the auspices of Science for Nature and People (SNAP) that aims to change that.

SNAP is a scientific collaboration among UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“There are thousands of news articles that have been written about hydraulic fracturing or fracking but only a handful of scientific papers that seek to inform how and where and what the risk is around it,” continued Kiesecker, who is a co-lead of the SNAP working group.

Consisting of specialists from academic institutions and conservation organizations across the United States, the group, Grounding Hydraulic Fracturing Policy in Science, meets twice yearly at UCSB’s NCEAS. There, group members discuss how they can provide better science on the potential effects of water withdrawals and chemical contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing.

“Hydraulic fracturing can be very contentious and part of it is the lack of information and data,” said Sharon Baruch-Mordo, a spatial scientist with The Nature Conservancy and one of the leads of the SNAP working group. “So that’s exactly where we want to come in as objective researchers and collect information and ask the questions a lot of citizens and regulators are asking.”

Rather than conduct primary research, this interdisciplinary group of ecologists, hydrologists and legal experts is synthesizing fine-scale information from the 48 contiguous states and reviewing existing water use and waste management plans. The group's final report will be used to inform best management practice recommendations for states and countries with emerging fracturing industries.

The History of Fracking

Fracking began as an experiment in 1947, and the first commercially successful application followed two years later. According to the Department of Energy, as of 2013, at least 2 million oil and gas wells in the U.S. have been hydraulically fractured, and up to 95 percent of new wells being drilled are hydraulically fractured. In California, fracking is used to recover oil rather than gas.

“When fracking is done improperly, problems arise, particularly if wells aren’t properly completed,” said David Valentine, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science and an expert in microbial geochemistry. “In that case, there is a high potential for chemicals to get into the drinking water supply or into the groundwater. But if things are done properly, chemicals are released so far down in the subsurface that they’re not going to be coming up any time in the foreseeable future.

“One of the big issues is that every operator does things differently,” Valentine added. “There are big operators and there are small operators, so it’s very hard to maintain the same level of quality in how things are done.”

In Santa Barbara County, a process similar to fracking called cyclic steam injection is being used to access oil in pockets that cannot be reached directly. Both processes use water and chemicals to liquefy the oil in order to make it flow more easily into the well. In addition to the potential for chemical contamination, water use is another issue, particularly in drought-stricken states. For example, in 2010, water use in Texas’s Barnett Shale represented 9 percent of water use in Dallas, one of the 10 most populous cities in the U.S.

Because many of the risks of hydraulic fracturing are still not fully known or quantified, the SNAP working group fills a gap in existing research and policy work. The investigators’ goal is to identify the risks, determine which risks should be priorities and then specify policies that better address those risks.

“We will produce a document that investigates various risk or impact pathways and the types of activities at shale gas and oil sites that could lead to problematic consequences for humans, wildlife and habitat,” said Hannah Wiseman, an assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Law who is part of SNAP’s hydraulic fracturing working group. “We will then, after identifying those potential impact pathways, look at policy options for mitigating those impacts or preventing them from the start and provide some sort of menu of policy options for states as well as other countries to use as potential models.”

Secondary Effects

Another concern, according to some scientists, is the potential for fracking to create small earthquakes. Climate change expert Catherine Gautier, professor emerita in UCSB’s Department of Geography, notes that because fracking pushes water into the ground under high pressure, it creates cracks that can affect seismic activity.

“It’s not the process itself that generates earthquakes, it’s putting the water back into the ground,” she explained. “What happens to the water depends on where it is and what cracks exist where it can come back up. The research is not there to know how fast it will come back and where it will migrate.”

As a climatologist, Gautier is also worried about the secondary effects of releasing methane into the atmosphere, an event largely overlooked in the ongoing fracking debate. “No matter how oil or gas is extracted, there is methane that leaks,” she explained. “Methane is really, really bad for the climate because it has high potential for contributing to the greenhouse effect.”

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the warming effect of methane is 30 to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide, scientists say.

“There is research being done on what happens to the methane, but it depends on whether it can be tracked and the time scale examined,” Gautier added. “If you look at methane over a 20-year period, it’s much more powerful than if you look at it over 100 years. On the other hand, carbon dioxide — the primary driver of global climate change — is problematic at the 100-year time scale.”

Reduction of carbon emissions is important to both the state of California and Santa Barbara County. “Our county has a plan to decrease carbon emissions consistent with the state of California,” said Corrie Ellis, a sociology graduate student and community activist. “These techniques, including cyclic steam injection, are really carbon intensive. Their emissions are not really compatible with the county’s plan.”

While the SNAP working group is careful not to take sides on the issue of fracking, Kiesecker noted that potential benefits in using unconventional oil and gas development exist.

“Clearly the potential is there for reductions in CO2 emissions relative to coal if we can figure out issues such as methane emission,” he said. “The reality is that in the next 20 to 30 years energy demand is going to increase dramatically. And we’re going to have to find a variety of ways to meet those growing energy needs.

“Traditional forms of energy are still going to be in the mix. The debate is really about how we develop those energy resources and where. Any kind of energy development has an impact, so the question is: How can we do a better job as we develop unconventional oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing as well as wind energy or solar energy? All can be done better.”

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

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Moscow Ballet to Perform ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The Moscow Ballet will return to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom for a special performance of Romeo and Juliet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6.

Tickets for the show are $25, $35 and $45.

Alisa Voronova will make her U.S. debut and portray Juliet, while Anatolie Ustimov returns to play Romeo following his 2011 debut to critical acclaim.

Romeo and Juliet is the tragic tale of two lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. The Moscow Ballet pre­miered Shakespeare’s classic love sto­ry in 2011 with bold new choreogra­phy by ballet master Andrei Litvinov. The 2014 North American tour premieres in select cities throughout the U.S. before it arrives in Santa Ynez. Children 8 and up are welcome to attend at regular event prices.

Set to the famous score of Russian composer Pytor Tchaikovsky, the lavish production features all new opulent costumes designed by nationally renowned expert and Moscow ballet resident designer Arthur Oliver. The sets are hand painted and created in the style of the Italian Re­naissance in one of St. Petersburg’s oldest theatrical shops.

The company of nearly 40 award-winning dancers has won over audiences and critics alike. Ron Hubbard of the Twin Cities Daily Planet in Minneapolis says, “When per­formed by masters like these, ballet seems effortless, elegant and easy.”

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this world renowned ballet company when it takes the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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

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

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Lou Cannon: GOP Dominates Legislative Races But Democrats Take Aim at Governorships

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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The last four years have been golden for Republicans in the nation’s statehouses, and GOP fortunes appear to shine brightly in the 2014 state legislative elections. But Democrats have hopes of dulling the Republican luster in the Nov. 4 balloting by taking several governorships away from the GOP.

Entering the election, Republicans have a 29-21 edge in governorships. The GOP controls both legislative chambers in 27 states compared to 19 for the Democrats. Legislative control is divided in three other states.

Republicans are better off than these numbers. Nebraska has a unicameral Legislature that is technically nonpartisan but Republican in all but name. Coalitions favorable to Republicans control the state senates in New York and Washington, even though Democrats have slight majorities in these chambers.

Democrats hope to win an extra Washington Senate seat, which would enable them to scrap the coalition. They are also striving to win the Iowa House, which Republicans now control by three votes.

But Republicans have more opportunities in this year’s legislative elections, said Tim Storey, a political analyst for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislators. GOP prime targets include the state senates in Colorado, Iowa and Nevada and the state houses in Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia, all held now by the Democrats.

History is on the Republican side. Since 1900, the party in power in the White House has never gained legislative seats in the sixth year of a president’s term. A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll put President Barack Obama’s approval rating at a record-low 40 percent, the same as President George W. Bush when Democrats swept the 2006 midterm elections. GOP candidates are also often helped by low voter turnout, which Gallup predicts will be the case this year.

Nonetheless, Democratic prospects are bright in several governor’s races, especially in Pennsylvania, where Democratic businessman Tom Wolf leads incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett by a wide margin. The average of polls by RealClearPolitics, a political website, puts Wolf ahead by 15 percent.

In normally Republican Kansas, polls say that Democrat Paul Davis, a leader of the House of Representatives, is virtually tied with incumbent GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The conservative Brownback cut taxes deeply but was forced to slash spending when anticipated revenues didn’t materialize, igniting a bipartisan backlash.

Democrats are competitive in five other states — Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin — now governed by Republicans.

Republicans are favored to win the governorship in Arkansas, an open race in a state now in Democratic hands, and have opportunities in five other states governed by Democrats: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Of the GOP-held states, Georgia is most problematic for the Democrats because of a state law requiring a majority for victory. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is slightly ahead of state Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, but third-party candidates may prevent either from winning a majority. Deal would be favored in a Dec. 6 runoff because Republican turnout is usually higher in such elections.

The race in Florida between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist — a onetime GOP governor turned Democrat — is tied in recent polls.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has received high marks for fiscally reviving Michigan and helping to rescue bankrupt Detroit but has received a stiff challenge from former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, backed by organized labor because Snyder signed “right-to-work” legislation. Snyder leads by 3.5 percent in the RCP poll average.

Even more disliked than Snyder by organized labor is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who in 2012 survived a union-led recall effort. Nipping at his heels is Democratic challenger Mary Burke, a wealthy businesswoman and member of the Madison school board. Recent surveys show a virtual tie.

In Maine, Democratic state Rep. Michal Michaud is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite. Michaud would be the first openly gay candidate to be elected governor of any state. His task is complicated by the presence of independent Eliot Cutler, who narrowly lost to LePage four years ago. This time Cutler seems cast in the role of spoiler. Recent surveys put Michaud slightly ahead of LePage but well within the margin of polling error.

Maine demonstrates the potential liability to Democratic candidates of Obama’s low approval ratings. Obama overwhelmingly carried Maine two years ago but now has a high disapproval rating among the independents Michaud needs to win. First lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton have campaigned for Michaud, who has not asked Obama to do the same.

Among Democratic-held states targeted by Republicans, Arkansas seems most likely to change partisan hands. The candidates are two former congressmen, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross. Hutchison has led all the way; Ross trails him by a commanding 6.4 percentage points in the RCP average.

Beyond Arkansas, the best chance for a GOP gubernatorial victory in a Democratic state may be Connecticut, where Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland, are staging a rematch of their close 2010 race. Gun control is an issue. After the Newtown school massacre in 2012, the Legislature passed strict gun-control laws that Foley wants repealed. Malloy, slightly ahead in recent polls, has struggled to unite his own party after raising taxes and cutting pension benefits for government workers.

Republicans also have a chance in normally Democratic Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick is retiring. The race pits two 2010 losers, Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost a U.S. Senate race, and Republican Charlie Baker, who lost to Patrick last time. The lead in this race has switched hands several times in the polls.

Party loyalty could be decisive in Democratic-leaning Illinois, where polls show Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn to be unpopular. He nevertheless holds a slight lead over his Republican challenger, businessman Bruce Rauner.

Colorado is another tossup. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been on the defensive in a campaign focusing on a reprieve granted by Hickenlooper to the murderer of four Chuck E. Cheese employees in 1993. Hickenlooper favored capital punishment when he was elected but now opposes it. His challenger, Republican Bob Beauprez, who lost a race for governor in 2006, said he will let the execution proceed if he wins. The two candidates have traded leads in recent polls.

In Hawaii, perhaps the only competitive state in which Obama is not a liability for Democrats, state Sen. David Ige routed Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary. He leads Republican Duke Aiona by 3.6 points in the latest RCP poll average. But the presence in this race of independent Mufi Hannemann adds a note of uncertainty, as does the lack of recent polls.

Alaska, normally Republican, could be lost to the GOP but won’t go Democratic. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell was so far ahead of his Democratic opponent, Byron Mallott, that Mallott withdrew and threw his support to independent Bill Walker. Recent polls put Walker slightly ahead.

Democrats overall stand better chances in governors’ races than in the battle for control of legislative chambers because Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas, while Republican voters are dispersed in smaller towns and rural areas. This helps Democrats in statewide races but gives Republicans an advantage in district elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Republicans won many legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections and padded their advantage in 2011 with skillful but partisan redistricting.

Illustratively, Republicans control both legislative chambers in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states twice carried by Obama in which Democrats are now mounting strong gubernatorial challenges. Storey observes these states are politically similar to Iowa, another state twice carried by Obama.

But Iowa, unlike the other three states, has nonpartisan redistricting. As a result, legislative control is split, with Democrats narrowly holding the Senate and Republicans the House. Both chambers are in play in this election.

National media attention is understandably focused on Republican efforts to win the U.S. Senate, but the state elections may matter more. Regardless of which party controls the Senate, Republicans seem assured of holding onto the House of Representatives. This means divided government in the nation’s capital and the gridlock it produces for at least the remainder of Obama’s second term. In contrast, in a convincing demonstration of federalism, states with single-party control have shown in the past four years that they are willing and able to act.

Republican-run states have cut taxes, limited abortion, tightened voting rules and restricted unions. Democrat-run states have expanded health care under Medicaid, granted in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants and raised the minimum wage. Republican-run and Democratic-run states alike have authorized massive new spending for transportation and higher education and attempted prison reform.

The domestic direction of American government in the next two years will be determined most by the governors and state legislators voters will choose in next month’s elections.

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

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Assemblyman Williams Gets Perfect Rating on Sierra Club California Report Card

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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When it comes to votes on key environmental protection bills, the 2014 Sierra Club California Report Card found that Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, has sided with environmentalist 100 percent of the time.

The group gave Williams a 100 percent score for supporting bills of importance to the environment. Each autumn, Sierra Club California staff advocates review legislator’s voting records for the year on key issues affecting the environment.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a lawmaker who stands up to protect and restore our environment,” Williams said. “I will always be an advocate and fighter for environmental reforms.”

Sierra Club California was established in 1986 to help ensure that the club speak with one strong voice on statewide environmental policy issues before the legislature and state agencies. California is unique among states that it has 13 chapters representing nearly 150,000 members.

Among the bills that Williams is noted for casting the correct vote for the environment is the Single-use, Carry Out Bags (SB 270), which is a statewide policy for restricting the use and distribution of plastic bags at grocery stores and other similar retail outlets. Williams also voted favorably on behalf of the environment in support of Assembly Bill 2188, which would bring together best practices from solar permitting procedures currently used throughout the state to create a streamlined process for the permitting of small residential solar systems.

Click here to view the entire 2014 Legislative Report Card for the Sierra Club California.

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Dos Pueblos Students Participate in First-Ever All-School Lip Dub

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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More than 1,800 Dos Pueblos High School students participated in the first-ever All-School Lip Dub as part of the Macy's $50,000 lip dub contest.

Students showed their spirit by spending their lunch running the halls and following the camera crew managed by the DPNews media team. The event served as a start to the Homecoming week events at the school, and was described as "The most spirit I have ever seen on our campus" by principal secretary Marietta Sanchez, class of 1973.

The school has created two senior class lip dubs in the past, but this was the first time that the whole school was involved. The voluntary lunchtime activity was packed, and students clearly loved the event, as can be seen in the video. Contest rules stated that it had to be one continuous take from one camera, and that provided more challenges for the media team used to blending multiple angles and shots. All entries also had to use the song "Be True to Your School" by the Beach Boys.

The video can be seen by clicking here along with one shot for Brandon Elementary School last Thursday.

Last week the team also completed their third senior class lip dub, which will be released later this week on the DPNews.org site. The seniors chose to perform their event to the song "We're All In This Together" from the High School Musical movies.

Results from the Macy's contest will be announced at the end of the month with three winners among all entries in the nation from elementary to college.

— John Dent represents Dos Pueblos High School.

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Tom Donohue: Elections Have Consequences; What’s at Stake This Year?

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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For better or worse, elections have consequences. That’s good news if engaged voters exercise their civic duty and thoughtfully send qualified men and women to Washington to fix our broken government. It’s bad news if people don’t learn the issues, don’t know the candidates or don’t show up at the polls — potentially deepening our leadership deficit and allowing damaging policies to stand.

Here is what’s at stake in this year’s national elections.

A political system that works. Gridlock and gamesmanship will only come to a stop if we elect leaders who choose constructive leadership. That doesn’t mean tossing aside principle, but it does mean taking a pragmatic approach.

We should pay close attention to what candidates plan to do if sent to Washington — is it their goal to shut the place down or to get something done? Their commitment, or lack thereof, to the hard work of governing and legislating matters, and it should matter to voters as well.

A government that knows its size and role. We’ve seen government pushed well beyond its intended limits through massive, misguided legislation like the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and Obamacare. Rampant overregulation has empowered unelected bureaucrats to reach farther into the lives and affairs of individuals and businesses.

And executive power grabs blur the lines dividing our branches of government. Bureaucracy will continue to balloon if Americans elect politicians who believe that the government knows best. Electing leaders committed to creating a limited, modern and transparent government will give businesses confidence to hire, invest and innovate.

An economy that can grow. We need to elect policymakers who understand that a growing economy is essential to job creation, higher incomes and greater opportunity for Americans. Leading up to the elections, a lot of emphasis has been put on policies to slice up the economic pie into smaller and smaller pieces. What we need to do is grow the economic pie! The right policies on energy, trade, taxes and education could contribute to a strong and growing economy. Economic growth won’t solve all of our problems, but we won’t be able to solve any of them without it.

It’s easy to be cynical in this political environment. Some think that our problems are too big and that our politics are too small. Some wonder if voting is worth the bother or if it will make a difference.

But every vote represents a voice, and every candidate represents a choice. Make yours heard — and choose wisely. Elections have consequences. Visit GOTV.VoteForJobs.com to find the tools you need to vote, whether early, absentee or in person on Election Day.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure Q Is for Questions

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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We are long-term residents of Montecito who care about the educational mission of Montecito Union School and, above all, the safety of the children in its care.

The school is in evident need of upgrading, but Measure Q provides for far more than this: It involves a good deal of new construction, some of which appears to be unnecessary and inappropriate for our community, and which does not address the educational needs of our children. We are concerned that the project’s significant impacts have not been properly addressed, and we expand on a number of them.

The absence of acceptable regulatory review. The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) makes environmental review a mandatory part of the decision-making process. The proposed expansion project at MUS would have significant impacts to the local residential community, public lands (Manning Park) and the YMCA, including impacts to traffic/circulatio/parking elements, noise, air quality, open space, nuisance (odors) and visual resources. The lack of an EIR has been brought up on many prior occasions, but now, even though the Board of Trustees approved the MUS District Bond Master Plan on May 27 of this year, no progress on an EIR or environmental review has been reported.

The funded project would proceed over time in three phases. Notably, the first phase incorporates the construction of the cafeteria/multipurpose building, this in 2015, while the last is mainly devoted to the upgrading and retrofitting of the historic main building, in 2019.

The cafeteria/multipurpose building. This is to be a 6,000-square-foot structure that peaks at 27 feet. It is to sit on the west boundary of the school grounds, above the level of the surrounding residences, and significantly so above its immediate neighbors. The number of meals served per day is conjectured to be 250 per day, significantly more than the number of meals regularly dispensed at present. There are plans to mitigate the effects on theschool’s nearest neighbors of the noise and smells associated with its food processing. However, without formal evaluation, their success will only come to be known over time. The cost of administering the cafeteria function, as against the contracting of food service now in place, has not been made clear.

The high priority that this aspect of the project has been accorded seems hardly consonant with the fact that the provision of a food service, and not a cafeteria, is what the state mandates. The multipurpose nature of the building ensures that the student body, staff and faculty can gather together, something not now possible. It is unclear how this large space will otherwise be utilized and, in the surrounding neighborhood, there is considerable concern about the traffic, air quality impacts, excessive noise and night lighting that can results from additional functions held there. Such impacts of the proposed expansion need to be evaluated and mitigated to insignificance.

Upgrading and retrofitting the main building. In a November 2013 phone survey financed by MUS, in conjunction with a bond feasibility study, voters were “more interested in renovating deteriorating and aging plumbing systems, upgrading inadequate electrical systems and making energy efficiency and water conservation improvements.” Even with this guidance from the community, much of this work is to be delayed until the third phase. It is not at all clear to us why such work, identified long ago, should come under the heading of deferred maintenance.

Traffic and parking. The San Ysidro and Santa Rosa intersection is presently chaotic during the hours that students arrive and depart the school, as is the School House Road curve behind the school. Parking along School House Road, adjacent to the school, is overburdened during school hours. The lack of an adequate shoulder, in conjunction with parked cars, creates a dangerous situation for students and residents alike. The project suggests that the School House Road parking lot is to be eliminated, and more parking added to the San Ysidro lot. Queuing lines, set for the San Ysidro lot, are expected to ease traffic flow at drop off and pick up times, with quite limited vehicle access from School House Road.

The impacts of these proposed changes have not been adequately addressed or analyzed. They should be addressed in an environment document that accounts for air quality (URBEMIS model) and traffic safety. The district implicitly assumes that parent parking on School House Road and surrounding streets will not be a problem, although a circulation analysis has not been presented to address the situation. We are concerned that parents will drop off and pick up children at the already dangerous School House Road curve in order to bypass the San Ysidro queuing lines. It is not clear how this can be mitigated.

After decades of neglect and code changes there is little doubt that much of the improvement work needs to be done. Such work and the expanded wish list needs to be better thought out, independently reviewed via an EIR and discussed openly before being put to a vote.

We are more than willing to support a revised bond measure that will help the school and address the concerns of the community.

Signed,

Barbara Loebman
Stephen Beck
Louise Janis  
John Kelly  
Don Ylvisaker
Judy Blankenship
Kay Stern
Ted Stern
Anna Ylvisaker
Cliff Scholle
Nicola Hesketh

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Phone Scam Targets SCE Customers in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Southern California Edison has notified the Santa Barbara Police Department of a telephone scam that has recently targeted customers in the Santa Barbara area.

In the fraud, victims receive a telephone call informing them that they are past due on their bill and that their electricity will be disconnected if they do not pay over the telephone with the purchase of a prepaid debit card.

Southern California Edison does not demand payment and threaten customers with disconnection of service in this manner.

Customers who receive a suspicious phone call should not provide personal information or payment over the telephone. Instead, they should call SCE’s Call Center at 800.655.4555 to report suspicious activity and to verify information.

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

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Crane School’s Annual Country Fair Saddling Up for ‘Harvest Hoedown’

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Dust off your boots and saddle-up for Crane Country Day School’s annual Country Fair, which embraces a “Harvest Hoedown” theme when it opens its fields to the community on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Offering line dancing, kid-powered game booths and the return of the Haunted House, this year’s fair promises old-fashioned fun and a small dose of fright.

The Crane Country Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the school’s 11-acre campus at 1795 San Leandro Lane in Montecito. Admission is free, and the fair is open to the public, with tickets available on site for booth activities and an impressive raffle.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Haunted House,” said Erin Eberhardt Spence, who is co-chairing this year’s event alongside Crane moms Tasha Marlow and Susan Monaghan.

Crane has incorporated the creation of the Haunted House into its Upper School theater tech curriculum, which means that kids are responsible for conceptualizing and building sets, creating sound effects, engineering scare tactics, designing makeup, distressing costumes and acting in the cast. The Haunted House is kid-friendly and age appropriate, with options to tone down the terror for toddlers.

The preschool set will also enjoy Coyote Cub Corner, with its own petting zoo, toddler bouncy and Wahooo pets, a new addition of electric ride-on animals. Older kids will appreciate the jousting booth, giant slide, football throw, obstacle course and dunk tank. New booths this year include sack races, an old-fashioned candy booth and country line dancing, in keeping with the hoedown theme.

In fact, the day will be filled with music, as well as food. Musical performances will include Crane students, music teacher Konrad Kono, the Figueroa Mountain 4 and the Young Singer’s Club. And there will be food aplenty — those with a sweet tooth will find satisfaction with Scoop ice cream, cotton candy and delicious homemade goods at the Country Kitchen. There are also nearly 200 cakes used as prizes for the cakewalk, if you’re lucky enough to win one.

Conversely, the Healthy Hut will serve vegetarian cuisine while Big Daddy’s BBQ prepares tri-tip, hot dogs and chicken. There will also be tamales and a pig roast, so be sure to come hungry.

Fairgoers are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, which can easily be refilled, at one of several filtered water dispensers provided by Matilija Pure Water Systems.

This is the first year that Crane moms Spence, Marlow and Monaghan have chaired the fair, and they said they volunteered because it’s one of their favorite events at the school.

“The fair gives the children so much freedom and the whole event really represents what the school stands for — the generosity of the entire Crane community coming together to work and play on the safe, open fields,” Marlow said. Spence agrees: “This is a great way to start off the school year.”

Key committee members and donors include the Caleel Family, Erika Delgado, Janet Friesen, Suzanne Garrett, JC Gordon, Linnea Haddock, Emily Jones, Mia Morphy, Mari Powell, Nancy Sheldon and Sarice Silverberg.

For more information about Crane Country Day School, contact the admissions office at 805.969.7732 or click here.

— Ann Pieramici represents Crane Country Day School.

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Three Reported Hurt in Wreck Near Santa Maria

By | Published on 10/21/2014

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Three people reportedly suffered moderate injuries Tuesday in a vehicle accident west of Santa Maria, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision, involving an SUV and a big-rig, occurred shortly after 7 a.m. at West Betteravia Road at Brown Road, the CHP said.

Reports from the scene indicated the three people hurt were taken by ground ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Brown Road was reported blocked for a time by the wreckage.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Water Agencies Trying to Stop Private Water Sales in Carpinteria, Montecito

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Some Montecito landowners are paying to have water trucked in from agricultural wells, but officials say they're depleting the groundwater basin for everyone else

Where there's a will there's a way, and for some homeowners of Montecito, the way to water is through wells in the Carpinteria Valley.

At a time when people throughout Santa Barbara County are letting their yards turn brown to save water during the drought, some Montecito property owners have discovered a way to use as much water as they want, without getting penalized for overuse. 

An unknown, but significant, number of people in Montecito are buying from farmers, who are tapping into wells in the Carpinteria groundwater basin, then trucking the water back to their homes to keep their lush landscapes bursting with color. 

"You have to stop it some time, and the time to stop it is now," said Charles Hamilton, general manager of the Carpinteria Valley Water District. "In the long run, something like this would really be a detriment to the groundwater basin because it can really add up."

Hamilton estimates that private truck companies have hauled more than 500,000 gallons, about 1.5 acre feet, of Carpinteria water out of the city and into Montecito. 

Well owners are exporting water "for personal profit," Hamilton said, and in doing so are depleting the local groundwater basin "to the disadvantage of all other groundwater users" in the area, including the Carpinteria Valley Water District.

But sellers beware: Santa Barbara County is coming after you.

The county has sent letters to four growers in Carpinteria who may have sold water to private landowners, which is a zoning violation.

Extracting water for transport and commercial sale is not allowed in the coastal zone, and still requires a conditional-use permit in non-coastal areas that are zoned for agriculture. 

"It's just not allowed," said Glenn Russell, the county's planning and development director. "It's a form of mining. Whether you are mining water, gravel or other substances, these activities are regulated by zoning for the social good of the community."

Russell said it is likely that there are more growers selling the water to people on the black market.

"Given what I hear about the demand for water to be trucked into the county, I would not be surprised," Russell said. 

No one has a conditional-use permit that allows them to sell water for commercial use, and the zoning violation applies to the property owner selling water, not the truck company or the buyer, he noted. 

Local government agencies are scrambling to crack down on the practice, but doing so is not as easy as it may sound. The county is not actively searching for offenders and is relying on others to report the practice. 

"We're not omnipresent," Hamilton said. "We can't see everything that is going on. The only way we know about this activity is if someone calls us."

Hamilton says he knows which growers in the Carpinteria Valley have sold the water, but he wouldn't disclose who they are.

There are other concerns. The Montecito Water District has no jurisdiction on the importation of water, but can step in if it feels that there are health concerns.

"We are now looking into protecting the potable water supply to the community and are preparing a letter that will be provided to those customers we discover are importing water," said Tom Mosby, general manager of the Montecito Water District. "If we determine that a health threat exists, we can shut off a customer's meter."

Still, some people believe that government officials are out of line for cracking down on the private sale of water.

"I'm saving plants," said John Cook, owner of Aqua Truck in Santa Barbara. "Water has always been a commodity," adding that he's going to continue doing what he's doing. "I have been in business for 28 years, so why do I need to stop now?"

Cook told Noozhawk that his Montecito clients have million-dollar investments in their landscaping, and they are going to do what they need to do. 

"People's landscaping is like their pet dog," Cook said. "Some people go home to pet their dogs. Some people go home to read their newspapers. Some people enjoy spending money on their landscaping."

Cook wouldn't reveal how much he charges to truck in water, but said he is busy with weekly deliveries. 

"It's not like I am making bank on it," he said. 

Cook said government should stay out of it and let the private transactions happen, or practice what it preaches.

"I think the city should lead by example and let all the trees on State Street die," Cook said, to make his point. 

Cook said he delivers water everywhere.

"All of my clients are just trying to save their plants," Cook said. "I don't really blame people for saving their stuff."

Russell doesn't blame people either, but he still wants the practice to stop.

He said the county is working with the four identified offenders to simply stop the process rather than take any action against them.

"We look at it as an opportunity for us to educate the landowners," Russell said. "We do have groundwater basins in overdraft, and we are in a drought."

First District county Supervisor Salud Carbajal noted that as a whole, Montecito residents have worked hard to reduce their water use.

He said he supports landowners who have obtained permits to sell water, but those in the coastal zone should listen to the county and follow the rules.

"What's legal is what's legal," Carbajal said. "It's hard to single out Montecitans just because they have the resources. This drought creates an issue for all us. People need to be doing what the law allows, and if the law allows for certain people to do certain things, they should be able to do it.

"Certainly there are concerns about appropriate permits that are needed, and if somebody is purchasing water or if the water is being sold, appropriate permits and laws need to be abided by."

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

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Sergeant Testifies in Trial for Santa Maria Driver Charged in Death of Teen Pedestrian

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Testimony continued Monday in the jury trial of a Santa Maria woman charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in connection with the death of 15-year-old pedestrian more than a year ago.

Kelsi Lynn Sullivan is charged with driving the car that killed Leticia Hernandez Sanchez, who was crossing Miller Street at Newlove Drive with her brother on June 29, 2013, when she was hit. 

The pedestrians were in an unmarked crosswalk when the girl was hit by a 2000 Infiniti G20 traveling northbound on Miller, police said.

She was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, where she later died of her injuries. The girl’s brother, Lisandro Hernandez Sanchez, then 13, was not hurt.

Police officers testified Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court about their investigation of the accident that occurred at 9:30 p.m. on a clear night and dry road.

Sgt. Jesus Valle of the Santa Maria Police Department noted he observed a shoe scuff near the point of impact.

“Shoe scuffs are marks left on the roadway by shoes when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle,” Valle said, describing a white spot about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

He testified that the scuff mark has “miniscule debris” that indicated it was recent and related to the accident. 

Shoe scuff marks are a very accurate way of determining where the pedestrian was standing or walking at the moment of impact, he added.

“I viewed it close up, and it appeared to be consistent with the outer sole of the type of shoe she was wearing,” Valle said. 

Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu, Valle said the mark was distinct from the rest of the roadway.

“It stood out. … It appeared fresh,” Valle added, likening it to a fresh tire skid mark filled with a rubberized power.

Defense attorney Tom Allen asked about the victim’s shoes.

“They had a lot of scuff marks on them, didn’t they?” he asked, before Valle said the victim’s shoes were older.

Valle also said he talked to Lisandro, the victim’s brother, who was “obviously distraught” at the accident scene.

However, the police officer eventually asked the boy, who had calmed down, to re-create the pace the pedestrians used to walk across the street. 

Police also interviewed the boy days after the accident, and the defense attorney asked Valle if officers determined the youth had fabricated some information.

“During one of the interviews, yes, he fabricated what had happened,” Valle said. 

Judge Patricia Kelly upheld the prosecutor’s objection to Allen’s line of questioning regarding police assessing the boy’s credibility with other statements.

Later, Officer Ronald Murillo, lead investigator, discussed the video to re-enact the accident scene, using Police Explorers to portray the victim and her brother. 

One purpose of the re-enactment was to see if any obstructions or lighting conditions existed at the scene of the accident, he said.

The judge also expressed concern the defense attorney was attempting to re-litigate a motion she ruled on before the trial started.

That matter related to police officers reviewing Sullivan's cell phone, but Allen said he was taken by surprise when the topic came up during testimony Monday.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday afternoon.

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

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Ray LaMontagne Brings Soulful Sound to Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Grammy winner Ray LaMontagne played the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday.

He is supporting his new album, Supernova, and having a lot of fun doing it.

His joy of songwriting was clearly evident as he moved through his set with a soulful rustic sound. Backed by his ensemble, he offered a romantic, bluesy night, excellent for couples under the stars. The toe-tapping, rootsy rock swayed the audience all night along.

Portions of the proceeds from his "meet and greet" packages went to benefit LaMontagne's favorite charity, the National Children's Cancer Society.

This was the third show of six held during this historic seven-day run of shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

— Steve Kennedy is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

LaMontagne
Backed by his ensemble, Ray LaMontagne offered a romantic, bluesy night Saturday. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

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Public Safety Top Concern Among Santa Maria Council Candidates

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Two incumbents and three challengers are running for seats in the Nov. 4 election

Two incumbents on the Santa Maria City Council will face three challengers — including a familiar face plus two newcomers — in the Nov. 4 election, where public safety remains a top priority and the handling of an immigration facility continues to stir up strong feelings.

Four-year terms held by Jack Boysen and Willie Green are up grabs this year. Also running are Etta Waterfield, Tony Coles and Amy Lopez.

The top two vote-getters will win the seats and take office in early December.

Boysen, 65, is seeking his second term on the council and said he first ran for office amid concerns about the city’s direction.

“Our police department, quite honestly, was in chaos,” Boysen said, adding that morale was at an all-time low, training was inadequate and positions weren’t being filled so he provided a strong voice for voices in public safety. “Public safety, even in economic downturns, that has to be our last cut. We really have to ensure that this is a safe city.”

Now, morale is improved, new fire stations are staffed, many police officers have been hired and a new chief has changed the tone of the department, he added.

Boysen also said he hopes to see the city’s permitting process streamlined.

“We need to make it business-friendly, not just lip service,” he said.

Challenges facing Santa Maria include public safety although Measure U, a sales tax hike to benefit public safety, is a big help.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the city of Santa Maria become much more community police oriented,” he said, adding that the city has some work to do when it comes to community development and business development. “I’d like to see us do an overhaul of our Downtown Specific Plan.”

He said that after seven years without action, the city needs to look at the realities of what developers are willing to create in the area.

He is chief financial officer for Good Samaritan Services. Prior to that, Boysen operated a general construction business and worked at a bank. He and his wife of 40 years have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Coles, 45, is a business consultant and legal mediator who said people should vote for him for a couple of reasons.

“It comes down to recognizing the city is in need of new leadership and a change of direction,” Coles said, adding that to continue to operate as the city has been in recent years would cause some “pretty significant trouble.”

Additionally, he said, the city’s leaders need to bring together a “very fragmented” community as it faces challenges in the future.

“Number one, public safety has to be strong,” Coles said. “Not only do we need more feet on the  street and more staff, but we need to develop programs that bridge the gap between the community and our public safety departments.”

Santa Maria also must implement strategic plans and execute the points in that document, he added.

“Right now, our plan is expired. It’s old,” Coles said, adding the community doesn’t agree with it and it’s not been successful. 

The cornerstone of the strategic plan has to be nurturing and developing small businesses, not just retail but also entrepreneurs, he added. Additionally, he said, the city should start to plan for the expiration of the voter-approved Measure U. 

Coles also noted Santa Maria is a diverse community, and “we seem to be struggling with embracing that.” 

Regarding the ICE approval, Coles contended the current leaders ignored what local residents wanted.

“In my opinion the leadership has to be responsive to its citizenship,” Coles said. “That means you have to listen to what they’re telling you. And you have to figure out how to put that into action. “

Coles is married and has two children, an 18-year-old and a sixth-grader.

Green, 80, retired from the Air Force after more than 20 years and later from a civilian job as a labor arbitrator in the grocery store industry. He teaches various business courses on a part-time basis at Allan Hancock College.

He is an appointed incumbent, after being named in February 2013 to fill a vacancy created when Councilwoman Alice Patino was elected mayor. He decided to apply after someone suggested he might be good for the position.

“Number one, whatever I’m involved in I’m totally dedicated to the betterment of the business, the city or whatever it is,” Green said. “I go into things with my eyes open to do the best I can for  the particular job or that particular mission.”

He said he is very proud of Santa Maria’s status as an “All-America City.”

“That’s a very important certificate,” he said. “All-America means that we’re all for each other. It should mean that, I’ll put it that way. A lot of us don’t practice that. If everyone cared the same amount about each other, what a magnificent society that would be. That’s the way it should be.”

Among the biggest issues facing the city in the coming years, Green cites unemployment.

“It’s still a problem area,” he said. “Number two, we have got to find a way to curb the violence and horrible incidents in town. There’s a lot of different things we can do on a  regular basis.”

As for the ICE facility, Green said a lot of folks don’t understand how the agency works.

“ICE, I think, is a check and balance situation,” he said. “I’ll just put it at that.”

Green is married and has three sons plus grandchildren.

Lopez, 39, works for Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services. She has been employed for the county since 1999 and previously worked for two other agencies, giving her familiarity with managing government-funded programs and budgets.

She said she is a product of Santa Maria after growing up in a working-class family so understands the plight of small business owners and the struggles of keeping people employed.

“I’m not a politician. I am a community advocate and a leader,” the 1993 graduate of St. Joseph High School said. “That’s what this city needs. The city needs somebody who understands and who can relate to the population, to hear them and to take their voice to the City Council and to speak on behalf of them.”

In mentioning public safety as one of the biggest challenges facing the city, she noted the recent string of armed robberies in the city.

“Community safety is huge right now,” she said. “People are afraid.”

The city’s leaders need to do everything within their fiscal abilities to add police officers and enhance public safety because it impacts every aspect of the community, she added.

“People aren’t going to want to come  to a city that appears to be unsafe or unattractive so public safety affects that as well,” she said.

Job growth, business development and affordable housing are other challenges facing the city which she said has a number of vacant buildings.

Lopez said she disagreed with the council’s approval of the ICE facility on West Century Street, explaining she opposed the location.

“The people spoke and they weren’t heard,” she said

She is married and has two stepchildren, a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old.

Waterfield, 58, missed winning a seat on the City Council by two votes in 2012.

“I’m the poster child for every vote counts,” she said.

Most recently, she has worked as executive director of the Santa Maria Police Council and previously worked for the Santa Maria Valley Economic Development Association.

She has spent 11 years as a planning commissioner, which has served as her impetus to move into another role.

“I just want to go up to the next level that will allow me to do more and make other decisions that will impact the city of Santa Maria in a positive way,” she said, adding a desire to make a difference is the driving force behind her candidacy.

Public safety remains a top priority, and her role with the police council has given her a different look inside the city’s operations, she said.

Santa Maria is the largest city on the Central Coast — “with that unfortunately comes good and bad,” she said, including a rise in crime.

“We’ve got to make sure that the men and women are well-equipped to handle all of those issues,” she added. “We need more boots on the ground.”

Another priority is related to the housing market in the city where some residential developments stalled by the economic downturn have restarted. 

“I want to make sure the people who live in those houses have a job to go to every day,” she added.

As a planning commissioner who reviewed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility she said the panel’s members were tasked with looking at permitting and zoning matters to make a recommendation to the City Council and had to remove emotions from the decision.

She and her husband have three children and eight grandchildren.

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

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Letter to the Editor: If Measure P Passes, Then What?

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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As a philanthropic advisor with clients in the energy industry, I can fully attest to the impressive contributions these community partners make to our area nonprofits. Nonprofits ranging from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation to the Santa Ynez Valley Fruit & Veggie Rescue — and literally hundreds more — have all benefited from the “giving forward” of our local energy partners.

As voters contemplate a vote to shut down this industry, I ask that we collectively, fully examine and prepare for the economic impacts. More than $400 million per year supports Santa Barbara County through industry taxes, charitable giving and permits. How are we going to replace those funds?

Measure P supporters claim “vested rights” protects existing production, and will not affect current production. In truth, these rights are akin to the county prohibiting two-story homes, and granting those currently living in one to remain — but, the permit(s) needed to upgrade or maintain your second story will now face yet another layer of permitting requirements, without any guarantee of approval.

So you may continue to live in your two-story, but without electricity or plumbing.

Measure P was craftily written. It hooks voters in with the “F” word, having them believe that without such a measure, Santa Barbara County will soon look like a littered, oily wasteland. Really? That’s all that stands between now and then? I’m a born-and-raised SB gal, registered Democrat, a champion for equal rights, school bonds, and lots of things liberal. But, I’m also a champion of economic vitality — for our schools, parks and the hundreds of nonprofits doing phenomenal work, all elements necessary to enjoy this beautiful, robust life of Santa Barbara County.

Again I ask: Where’s the plan? How will we recoup the income lost? If Measure P passes, the truth is our energy industry, as we know it, will no longer exist — and with no alternative energy to adequately replace it.

Before we simply slash and burn, I ask that a collaboration of energy and environmental champions, along with elected officials, commit to developing a cohesive, civil, give-and-take strategic plan. If we don’t, within a few years we will face one whopper of a deficit in our county’s and our nonprofits’ budgets, and as we all know, no good can ever come of that.

Tina Fanucchi-Frontado
Santa Barbara

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Letter to the Editor: Why I Am Voting for Measure P

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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I am voting for Measure P for the following reasons:

» 1. Measure P is about protecting our groundwater from oil industry contamination by banning fracking and acidification processes that mix massive amounts of clean water with hydrofluoric acid and other fracking chemicals, injecting them into the ground under tremendous pressure creating huge amounts of toxic wastewater also disposed of by injection underground.

» 2. In July, California’s Oil & Gas regulators shut down 11 oil field wastewater injection wells because of suspected groundwater contamination. There are over 2,500 toxic wastewater injection wells throughout California, including one just off the Santa Barbara coast.

» 3. A Sept. 15 letter from the State Water Board to the EPA confirmed toxic wastewater from oil and gas operations has been illegally injected into aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water in the Central Valley. That water source is now polluted and forever unusable.

» 4. This is the tip of the iceberg with investigations into groundwater contamination just beginning. If fracking and acidification practices expand as envisioned by the oil industry, there will need to be thousands more wastewater disposal wells. Regulators have allowed disposal of toxic wastewater underground without monitoring fostering industry claims that these technologies are nonpolluting — claims now proven false.

» 5. In August, after years of denial under gas industry pressure, the State of Pennsylvania finally acknowledged that hundreds of private drinking water wells have been contaminated by extreme oil and gas operations.

» 6. Earlier this year, USGS studies confirmed that fracking and wastewater injection trigger earthquakes.

» 7. In 2013, a NOAA scientist documents a 17 percent methane gas leakage rate at Los Angeles-area oil and gas operations. Recent disclosures confirm adverse health impacts of people living near oil and gas operations.

» 8. The Associated Press reported in 2013 that hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastewater from fracking operations at offshore platforms have been released into our local waters.  Do you eat local seafood or swim or surf in the ocean?

» 9. Other documented adverse impacts from extreme extraction processes not spoken of by the oil industry include toxic chemical spills, explosions, well ruptures (BP Deepwater Horizon), noxious air emissions and massive truck traffic.

» 10. Finally, significantly and contrary to what the oil industry would have you believe, Measure P does not prevent industry from taking oil from the ground. What it does do is prohibit the use of acids, carcinogenic fracking fluids and other dangerous extraction processes. When industry develops safe, nonpolluting methods to extract it, the oil will be there for the taking.

» 11. The right to take a resource such as oil from the ground does not and should not include the right to destroy another more essential resource such as water in the process. A significant amount of Santa Barbara County water comes from wells. When the state fails to protect our water quality, our citizens must act to do so, which is what Measure P does.

Please vote yes on Measure P.

Ben Wiener
Carpinteria

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Santa Barbara Will Consider Harsher Regulations on Active Panhandling, Nuisance Behavior

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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The city's Ordinance Committee will discuss proposed buffer zones near such areas as outdoor dining areas, ATMs and public transportation

Tightening up regulations on panhandling downtown while still preserving free speech and other legal rights of the people involved will be under discussion at Santa Barbara's Ordinance Committee meeting Tuesday.

In April, the City Council asked the committee to look at several issues raised by Councilmen Randy Rowse and Frank Hotchkiss, including expanding the hours of the city's sit/lie ordinance and adding a prohibition on sitting or lying in certain places such as planters, railings or statues placed on a public sidewalk.

The council members also asked the city attorney to look into the constitutional implications of expanding panhandling prohibitions within 80 feet of an ATM, an expansion from the 25-foot limit in place now. 

The city's municipal code defines several types of panhandling, including passive panhandling, which could include holding a sign asking for money while not verbally calling out, as well as active panhandling, which would include someone asking another person directly for money or other items of value.  

Both are protected speech, but active panhandling is prohibited by ordinance in certain areas of the city currently, including bus stops or in lines of people waiting to get into a movie theater or other business. 

The Ordinance Committee will consider "expanded safety zones around sensitive locations where captive audiences feel threatened by active panhandling," according to the staff report. The new zones propose buffers near outdoor dining areas, ATMs, admission lines such as movie queues, public benches or seating areas, and on buses or other public transportation.

Earlier this year, the council also asked city staff to look into prohibiting urinating or defecating in public. Those cases are treated as infractions and citations since they're not specifically mentioned in city or state rules — they fall under a general littering prohibition, according to police.  

The city may also explore what actions, if any, can be taken against people who block the sidewalk to pedestrians or use public benches to display personal items or items for sale.

To prepare for Tuesday's meeting, city staff mapped the downtown core business areas and the areas affected by the ordinances, and included ATMs, movie theater lines, public benches, outdoor dining and paseos on State Street.

This map shows a close-up of the 800 block of State Street with the proposed “buffers” from active panhandling that are being considered at Tuesday’s meeting. (City of Santa Barbara photo)

The committee will have to determine whether ample alternatives exist for protected speech, which includes panhandling, in those areas.

Extending the hours of the city's sit/lie ordinance could also present a challenge, and some precedent exists that the city attorney is asking the committee to consider.

For example, a group of homeless individuals successfully sued the City of Los Angeles in 2006 after the city enacted a law that criminalized sitting, lying or sleeping in public in the city at all times.

They won the case by arguing that the law constituted cruel and unusual punishment because their was no shelter space available for them as an alternative, and that the rules criminalized them for being homeless.

Santa Barbara's ordinance would apply to a specific portion of State Street during certain hours, but the court could still find that the expansion of hours "inappropriately burdens those who have nowhere else to sleep," the staff report said.

The council can enact time, place and manner restrictions on protected speech, but must prove that they are neutral to the content of the message, the rules are narrowly drawn and that there are other ample alternatives for communication.

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara City Hall Council Chambers at 735 Anacapa St.

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

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Santa Barbara High School Theatre Presents ‘Big Fish’

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Once again Santa Barbara High School and longtime director Otto Layman (Chicago, Cabaret, SPAMALOT) continues to push the SBHS Theatre program beyond the ordinary with the production of Big Fish, the new Broadway musical that just closed in December 2013.

Otto Layman
Director Otto Layman

While the trickle down for most Broadway musicals from the Great White Way to high school is eight to 10 years, the success of SPAMALOT (whose rights are held by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, the same licensing company as Big Fish) led to the release of the rights to Big Fish much earlier than was thought possible.

Big Fish is a visually stunning show, with great music, and showcases the talents of Santa Barbara High School actors and the professional designers and artists that work with them to consistently produce high-energy, dynamic shows.

Big Fish is directed by Layman, now in his 19th year at SBHS, and the longest tenured high school theater director in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. He is joined by Dr. Jon Nathan (UCSB Jazz Ensemble and multiple productions both locally and nationally) as the music director, Bonnie Thor, costumer (How to Succeed in Business), Jessica Hambright, choreographer (SB SOPA and many local productions), with technical direction by longtime collaborator David Guy, and production stage management by Beau Lettieri.

Big Fish features a talented cast of 30 actors, including Aaron Linker as Edward Bloom, Andrew Gutierrez as his son Will Bloom, Sable Layman as the elder Sandra Bloom and Lizzie Saunders as the young Sandra Templeton.

Big Fish features the music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish centers on the charismatic Edward Bloom, who tells his son, Will, impossible stories of his epic adventures. Edward takes Will through his lifetime of witches, circus performers, a mermaid, and even his friendship with a giant. As Will grows older, he begins to doubt the reality of his father’s stories, eventually coming to the conclusion he doesn’t truly know his father. As Edward’s final chapter approaches, a now newlywed Will embarks on his own journey to find out who his father really is, revealing the man behind the myth, the truth from the tall tales.

Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theater — for an experience that's richer, funnier and bigger than life itself.

Big Fish opens at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Santa Barbara High School Performing Arts Center, 700 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara for a special one-weekend run. Additional shows are at 7 p.m. Nov. 14-15, and matinees at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 and 2 p.m. Nov. 16. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, with $25 orchestra seats available at all performances (an ongoing fundraiser for the maintenance and upgrade of the theater). For more information, call 805.966.9101 x5052 or click here.

In addition, there is a free preview of the show at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12. SBHS encourages local senior facilities, clubs and organizations to contact the theater for more information and free access to the first public performance prior to opening night.

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Valle Verde Welcomes New Executive Director

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Valle Verde announces Melissa Beth Honig as its new executive director.

Melissa Beth Honig
Melissa Beth Honig

In her position, Honig will oversee day-to-day operations of the continuing care retirement community, including residential living, dining, health services and life enrichment programs.

“Providing an environment where older adults can live a fulfilling life in their later years has always been my passion, and I’m excited to create genuine relationships with our residents and team members,” Honig said. “Valle Verde has a great reputation in Santa Barbara, and I’m looking forward to building upon its success.”

Honig has more than 15 years of experience working with older adults in a variety of capacities. She’s worked as an admissions coordinator and move-in coordinator at a number of continuing care retirement communities, and as a laughter yoga leader for adults with Alzheimer’s disease.

Honig is a licensed nursing home administrator and worked with The Green House Project, a program that transformed long-term care nationally. Prior to joining the Valle Verde team, she worked as the vice president of clinical services for ABHOW (American Baptist Homes of the West), the nonprofit senior living organization that owns and manages Valle Verde.

“Having previously working with Melissa at a corporate level, I know she possesses the kind of leadership qualities we seek in an upper-management position,” said Jeff Glaze, senior vice president and chief operations manager at ABHOW. “She has a gift for serving older adults and a passion for sharing her professional experience with the team members at Valle Verde.”

Honig is an honors graduate of James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Va., where she earned a bachelor of science degree in health services administration. She also holds a master of health services administration degree in management and leadership from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

— Dani Row is a publicist representing Valle Verde.

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Five Cases of Whooping Cough Diagnosed at Waldorf School of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Five students have been diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, at The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara within the last two weeks, school officials said.

Cases have been reported at the Early Childhood program, which is housed on the Vieja Valley Elementary School campus, and the Grades campus, which is housed on the site of the Goleta Union School District headquarters in Goleta.

No cases of pertussis have been reported at either Hope Elementary School District or Goleta Union School District schools, superintendents Dan Cooperman and Bill Banning said Monday.

The first case at The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara was reported by a parent on Oct. 10, and school officials contacted the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to get information about the next steps to take, they said in a statement.

Any individuals showing symptoms were required to stay home and see a doctor, and anyone being treated for pertussis was required to stay home from school until a five-day course of antibiotics was completed and verified by a doctor, or be excluded from school for 21 days from the date of diagnosis if any treatment other than antibiotics is used, according to school officials.

“Due to our firm policies, four additional cases were diagnosed after parents requested pertussis tests from their health-care professional because their children displayed early symptoms of pertussis which are similar to the common cold,” according to the school.

They enforce state law that requires students to be immunized before attending school or have an exemption on file. Waldorf “adheres to this law and concurs that the decision to immunize is one that should be made by parents and their physicians,” the statement said.

For the current school year, only 53 percent of Waldorf’s Early Childhood students are fully immunized against pertussis, 16 percent are partially immunized and 31 percent are not immunized, the school said in its statement.

“The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara does all it can to ensure the safety and health of the children at our school,” the statement said. “WSSB continues to work with the Public Health Department, Goleta Union School District officials and Hope School District officials to take steps to ensure the safety of our community during the current statewide pertussis epidemic.”

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

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SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning Launches ‘Look & Learn’ How-To Videos Online

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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This fall, the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning introduces Look & Learn videos, a growing collection of free, short (one to two minutes) online videos of useful how-tos and tips from CLL teachers, all professional experts in their fields.

Videos are available from the CLL website and on the CLL YouTube Channel.

“We are pleased to invite the community to start learning something new right away,” said Andy Harper, executive director of the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning. “With the new ‘Look & Learn’ video clips, curious students can take a minute anytime to learn something useful or fun, and get a glimpse into all the CLL has to offer lifelong learners of every age — there’s something to suit  everyone’s schedule.”

“Look & Learn” already includes 56 one- to three-minute videos where the community can learn a new skill, learn more about CLL teachers, watch selected recorded lectures — and even hear what other students have to say about programs and classes.

Got a minute? Click here to see CLL "Look & Learn" videos for a mini-lesson on a wide range of subjects, such as:

» "Stress Break Techniques" — CLL fitness instructor Lisa Trivell gives a series of simple exercises you can do right in your chair.

» "Knife Skills" — Learn from culinary expert, Suzanne Landry Lemagie how to chop those veggies like a chef, safely and correctly.

» Make sense of modern art in "What to Do When You Go to an Art Gallery?" where CLL art instructor Dr. Ursula Ginder shares tips on how to enjoy works in a gallery.

» Learn to listen in "Four Simple Rules of Good Communication," with CLL psychology and spirituality instructor Jude Bijou, MFT.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

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Michael Barone: Does the End of History Result in Political Decay?

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Francis Fukuyama picked an auspicious publication date for his latest book, Political Order and Political Decay. The news is full of stories of political decay: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ebola; the Department of Veterans Affairs' health service; the Internal Revenue Service political targeting.

Europe gives us the dysfunctional euro and no-growth welfare states. Not to mention failed states in the Middle East and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Critics have lambasted Fukuyama for proclaiming, in the title of his 1992 book, The End of History. That's not entirely fair. His argument there was that the battle of ideas was over since no one had advanced convincingly a superior alternative to capitalism and democracy. Challengers have emerged in recent years — Islamist terrorists, Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's capitalist Communists. But their regimes lack broad appeal beyond the reach of their arms. Most of the world is still bent on "getting to Denmark" — Fukuyama's shorthand phrase for an effective, accountable, tolerant and law-bound society.

Getting even close to Denmark took a long time. In his 2011 book, The Origins of Political Order, Fukuyama surveyed the development from prehistoric times to the year 1800 of the three institutions he argues are indispensable for a decent polity: an effective state, the rule of law and democratic accountability.

The Chinese developed a competent bureaucracy around 200 B.C., but have still not yet embraced the rule of law and have only disorderly accountability (see Hong Kong). In Western Europe, the Catholic Church emerged as a rival to weak states and imposed the rule of law upon them. Democratic accountability grew from England's Magna Carta in 1215 but had made only limited progress in Europe by "Origins'"1800 cutoff date.

The going has remained hard because, in Fukuyama's words, "All good things do not necessarily go together." His three goals are often in tension with one another.

Good things produce bad things; bad things produce good things. China produced an effective state bureaucracy 2,200 years ago and Prussia in the 18th century because they faced aggressive neighbors and needed to fund a competent military. That gave them rule by law, but not a rule of law capable of binding emperor or Kaiser or Fuhrer.

Democratic accountability grew in Britain's distant North American colonies and flowered in a republic, with a Constitution and courts imposing the rule of law and legislatures establishing democratic accountability through universal (white) manhood suffrage. But the young republic's political patronage system meant that America lacked an effective state bureaucracy until the Progressive reforms of the early 20th century.

Moreover, there is the possibility — probability, likelihood, certainty — of decay. Fukuyama is disappointed that the U.S. Forest Service, his paragon of (large-P) Progressive bureaucracy, has decayed because of contradictory congressional commands and court mandates. Too much democracy and rule of law make for an ineffective state.

But there's a bigger problem here. Fukuyama compares Progressive bureaucracy with Taylorite management of assembly lines. Neither factory workers nor bureaucrats are automata. They work better when they have discretion.

Markets discipline manufacturers, but bureaucracies, as Fukuyama notes, decay through intellectual rigidity and regulatory capture. The interests they supposedly regulate use the instruments of democratic accountability and rule of law to get their way over the years.

Despite his broad historical sweep, Fukuyama's diagnosis of decay seems over-focused on the minutiae of current American political battles. Much recent gridlock comes from President Barack Obama's disinclination or inability to negotiate. His two predecessors did better.

Nor, as he acknowledges, do parliamentary systems operate much differently these days. Some governments have managed to scale back unsustainable welfare state commitments. Others, like ours, haven't.

The bottom line is that good things (stable government, lack of defeat in war or major economic collapse) tend to produce bad things (decay of bureaucratic institutions, capture of regulators by the regulated, protracted litigation over needed projects and changes). And conservatives' lament that a government that tries to do too many things ends up doing none of them well rings true.

The lesson I take from Political Order and Political Decay is that getting to Denmark is Sisyphus' work. You can get that stone uphill, with great effort, but there's always a tendency for it to slide down again — and for those who started off at the bottom to pass you later on their way up.

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

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Amgen Bike Race Returning to Santa Barbara in 2015

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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For the third straight year, the city will play host to the prestigious cycling event

Santa Barbara will again serve as a host city for the Amgen Tour of California professional bike race next May, organizers announced Monday.

The eight-stage race, which travels north to south and covers nearly 700 miles, will begin in Sacramento on May 10 and end in Pasadena on May 17.

Santa Barbara will serve as the starting point for Stage 5, which ends in Santa Clarita, on Thursday, May 14.

The 2015 race will mark the third consecutive year that Santa Barbara has been a host city, and the sixth time in its 10-year history.

Two other Central Coast communities — Pismo Beach and Avila Beach — also will serve as host cities — for the second straight year. Stage 4 will start in Pismo and end in Avila on Wednesday, May 13.

The 2015 race will again bypass the city of Solvang, which for several years hosted the time trials for the race.

Here is the schedule for the 2015 race:

» Stage 1: Sacramento

» Stage 2: Nevada City to Lodi

» Stage 3: San Jose

» Stage 4: Pismo Beach to Avila Beach

» Stage 5: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita

» Stage 6: Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)

» Stage 7: Ontario to Mt. Baldy

» Stage 8: Downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena

This year Amgen is also hosting a three-day women's race to be held prior to the men's race. It will be run on Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, in South Lake Tahoe, and Sunday, May 10 in Sacramento.

There also will be a women's time trial on Friday, May 15, in Big Bear Lake.

"The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring," according to organizers.

The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and world champions.

Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers.

More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

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

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Man Pleads Not Guilty to DUI in Crash That Left Pedestrian Critically Injured

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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A 23-year-old UC Santa Barbara graduate accused of hitting and critically injuring a pedestrian last year pleaded not guilty Monday to felony DUI charges in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Brent MacDonald Pella, 23, of Los Angeles is facing charges of one felony count of DUI causing injury and one felony count of driving with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury, with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury to a 24-year-old Camden John Partridge of Fullerton.

He is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 12 for a restitution and settlement hearing, according to Arnie Tolks, who is prosecuting the case for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The incident occurred on Oct. 11, 2013, when the vehicle Pella was driving struck Partridge as he was crossing Carrillo Street near the Bath Street intersection, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Pella was allegedly driving a Hyundai Sonata and attempting to make a left turn from the 900 block of Bath Street onto the 300 block of Carrillo Street when Partridge was hit.

Partridge was treated at the scene and taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Harwood said.

Pella was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and his blood test results showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.11 percent, over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

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

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Assemblyman Williams to Host Water Conservation Summit in Ventura County

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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In partnership with Ventura Water, the City of Ventura and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, will be hosting a Water Conservation Summit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Ventura City Hall, 505 Poli St.

This event will feature presentations and panel discussions with educators, innovators and government officials as they discuss water conservation efforts, the current status of our water, and why it is so important to conserve for the future.

Many agencies and community organizations will also be present to talk about conservation efforts and how the general public can become more water-wise in their residences, businesses, and landscaping efforts. Depending on your water service provider, information on obtaining money-saving devices for household appliances, such as high-efficiency clothes washers and dishwashers, as well as landscaping tools, such as irrigation equipment will be provided. The summit will also be an opportunity to learn about other services offered to residents, such as home water surveys and water-wise educational classes.

“We are in the midst of one of the worst droughts in California’s history,” Williams said. “Although all Californians have been asked to reduce water consumption by 20 percent, more must be done to protect this precious natural resource. Every drop counts.”

Join Assemblyman Williams, the City of Ventura, Ventura Water and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce to find out how you can do your part to combat this severe drought.

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Off-Duty Lompoc Cop Accused of Domestic Violence

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Lompoc Police Department photo of Officer Matthew Lee Hill.

A Lompoc police detective is facing possible domestic-violence charges after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Matthew Lee Hill, 29, was taken into custody at midday on Sunday at a residence in Vandenberg Village, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

Sheriff's deputies went to the home on a report of a domestic disturbance made by neighbors, Hoover said.

"Hill is a detective with the Lompoc Police Department, and was off-duty at the time of the incident," Hoover said. "As a result of their investigation, the deputies determined that domestic violence had occurred, and arrested Hill for assaulting his girlfriend during a fight inside the residence."

Hill was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, and was released after posting $25,000 bail, Hoover said.

Sgt. Chuck Strange, the department's public information officer, referred questions about the matter to Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh.

Walsh did not respond to requests for comment.

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

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Jack Friedlander: SBCC’s Center for Lifelong Learning Completes First Year of Operation

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Santa Barbara City College’s Center for Lifelong Learning recently completed its first year of operation, reporting positive results and response from the community.

Dr. Jack Friedlander
Dr. Jack Friedlander

Launched last fall, CLL was developed by SBCC, along with input from a community task force, in response to the State of California de-emphasizing support for personal enrichment classes.

SBCC has a long and proud 60-year history of offering such courses to the community through its Continuing Education Division, using the names Adult Education and more recently prior to 2013-14, Continuing Education.

During the “Great Recession,” the state directed California community colleges to make personal enrichment noncredit classes the lowest priority in allocating their funds to support course enrollments. The state reminded community colleges that their primary mission is to offer credit and noncredit courses and programs to support transfer, certificate and degree completion, career technology education, and basic skills.

Moreover, during this time period, the state was imposing increased curricular restrictions on the types of noncredit classes that could be offered for state support. These included how the classes could be offered, the minimum number of hours the classes had to be offered, and the accreditation requirement to specify measurable student learning outcomes for noncredit classes and to document student attainment of the learning outcomes.

Given the importance of personal enrichment courses to the community, the college proceeded with the creation of a new self-sustaining entity, the Center for Lifelong Learning that is not tied to state funding regulations.

Two years in development, the CLL was established in 2013 with classes primarily offered at the SBCC Schott Campus and SBCC Wake Campus. In its first year, 2013-14, the CLL reported an enrollment of 7,680 unduplicated (individual) students with total class enrollments of 22,879 for the year. During the year, 1,164 classes ran successfully, of which 115 were new offerings. Operating independent of state support and its regulations regarding curriculum, the CLL was able to offer a significant number of classes that would not have been approved by the Chancellor’s Office for the California Community Colleges because they would not have met its curricular requirements.

The CLL reported a balanced budget with the average tuition fee calculated at $5 an hour. The average class size was 20 students and the five top programs by enrollment were: Dance, Fitness, Recreation & Personal; Arts; Psychology & Spirituality; Crafts (Ceramics); and Crafts: Hobbies (General).

Measure S and the CLL

In order to offer the most effective teaching and learning environment, both the Schott Campus and Wake Campus are included on the list of facilities projects that would be undertaken if Measure S is approved by the voters on Nov. 4.

Built in 1935, the Schott Campus would be renovated keeping the building’s historical character intact and on-site portables would be replaced with a permanent building. Built in 1956, the Wake Campus would be replaced with a modern teaching and learning facility and the 11 portables removed with the space replaced and integrated into the reconstructed facility. During construction, displaced CLL classes would be offered in temporary alternative classrooms and remodeling of both campuses would not take place at the same time.

Renovating and modernizing its aging facilities that are in need of major repairs will enable the college to continue its tradition of offering affordable lifelong learning classes and programs to the community on its campuses.

Achieving the Vision for the CLL

In creating the Center for Lifelong Learning, we envisioned it to be the community’s resource for affordable lifelong learning. The types of courses and programs offered by the CLL would only be limited by the interests and creativity of those who propose classes to teach and what the community is willing to support through very modest enrollment fees. Based on the success it has had in its first year full year in operation, the vision we had in creating the CLL has materialized.

In addition to CLL’s current classes, we are interested in expanding the range of courses offered by more fully capitalizing on the deep reservoir of knowledge, talents, and experiences of individuals who reside in our community.

If you are interested in teaching and/or taking courses on topics the CLL is not offering, you can discuss your interests by contacting Andy Harper, CLL executive director, at agharper@sbcc.edu or Ken Harris, CLL associate director, at keharris1@sbcc.edu or by calling the CLL at 805.683.8148 or 805.898.8137. Click here for more information regarding the Center for Lifelong Learning.

— Dr. Jack Friedlander is SBCC’s executive vice president of educational programs. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Community Bank of Santa Maria Reports 20% Rise in Net Earnings

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Steady growth continues at Community Bank of Santa Maria, with net earnings up 20.22 percent.

The bank’s third-quarter earnings were recently released by Jim Glines, chief executive officer, and Janet Silveria, president and chief operating officer.

Net earnings were $674,736 for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $561,246 at Sept. 30, 2013.

The two executive officers were pleased with the bank’s performance, especially the increase in net profits, and said it was a clean operation with no regulatory issues. On Sept. 30, the bank had no loans that were more than 30 days past due, no loans on non accrual, and nothing in their "Real Estate Owned" portfolio.

Other important numbers were also impressive for Community Bank of Santa Maria. Growth in total deposits was up 6.43 percent when comparing the bank’s total deposits of $167,969,084 at Sept. 30, 2013, to total deposits of $178,767,608 reported at Sept. 30, 2014. Total loans for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2013, were $ 105,194,518 which represents an 11.8 percent increase to the $117,235,364 reported at Sept. 30, 2014. Likewise, total assets of the bank at Sept. 30, 2013, were $187,602,459 and reflected a 6.37 percent increase to $199,549,585 at Sept. 30, 2014.

Glines thanked the loyal customers of the bank.

“They support our style of banking and see that the bank is increasing its asset base and its earnings as the economy continues to show sustained recovery,” he said, and emphasized that the bank has money to loan. “Every decision is made at a local level. No 800 numbers in this bank. Come in and talk to a decision maker.”

Community Bank of Santa Maria opened for business on March 1, 2001, and presently has three branch locations: South Broadway, Oak Knolls and Lompoc Community Bank, a division of Community Bank of Santa Maria.

— D.C. Carter is a publicist representing Community Bank of Santa Maria.

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Capps to Tour UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity & Ecological Restoration

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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On Tuesday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will tour the UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity & Ecological Restoration.

The Cheadle Center focuses on stewardship and restoration of campus lands, as well as the preservation and management of natural history collections.

During Capps’s tour, a fifth-grade class from Franklin Elementary will be present as part of the “Kids in Nature” environmental education program. The center also has collections of plants, animals and algae that provide opportunities to study species distribution, climate, medicine, disease and natural resources.

“The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration provides diverse research and education opportunities for students of all ages,” Capps said. “I look forward to seeing firsthand the important work being done there.”

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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UCSB Alumna’s Gift Will Help Renovate Historic Ranch House at Sedgwick Reserve

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Situated between what were once the two largest Chumash villages in the Santa Ynez Valley and part of the historic 1845 Mexican land grant Rancho la Laguna de San Francisco, the property now known as Sedgwick Reserve has a storied past. Named for its last private owners and residents — artist and rancher Francis “Duke” Sedgwick and family, including his daughter and Andy Warhol “Factory Girl” Edie Sedgwick — its history is nearly as colorful as its landscape.

But it wasn’t the backstory that hooked Linda Duttenhaver on the 6,000-acre expanse now run by UC Santa Barbara. It was her love of old barns that reeled her in. The natural beauty and a desire to preserve it are what keep her coming back.

Duttenhaver, a 1977 graduate of UCSB, fell hard for Sedgwick Reserve the moment she spotted its centenarian barn during her first visit to the site nearly a decade ago. Traveling cross-country to photograph the often-storied old structures was already one of her passions; saving this one, part of her alma mater, made perfect sense. It wasn’t long before she offered to finance its restoration.

The barn project was completed in 2009 and heralded with a barn dance that has since gone annual — the fifth iteration was held this summer. Duttenhaver celebrated anew by making another major gift to the Reserve: $2 million to help renovate the Sedgwick Ranch House, the site’s primary accommodation for visiting researchers.

“The more you’re up there, the more you fall in love and the more you see opportunities to make a difference,” said Duttenhaver, a longtime advocate for both conservation and outreach at Sedgwick, one of seven natural reserves administered by UCSB. “The Ranch House was the clear next step. It will be used to support research activities on the Reserve, to inspire creative and productive environmental work, to attract new researchers and to promote collaborations among scientists and scholars. This will really help continue the mission of Sedgwick, and UCSB, in a meaningful way.”

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang couldn’t agree more.

“Our campus is deeply grateful to alumna Linda Duttenhaver for her visionary investment in renovating the historic Ranch House at our Sedgwick Reserve,” Chancellor Yang said. “This truly magnificent contribution will enhance educational and research efforts at the Reserve. Linda’s ongoing partnership with Sedgwick is helping to advance the overall scientific, educational and conservation mission of the entire UCSB Natural Reserve System.”

Sedgewick
The 1950s-era Ranch House at Sedgwick Reserve will be renovated and modernized for efficiency and usability with a gift from UCSB alumna Linda Duttenhaver.

Sedgwick is one of seven conservation sites administered by UCSB’s Natural Reserve System (NRS) as part of the larger, systemwide UC NRS, which boasts 39 reserves — and more than 756,000 acres — across California.

Situated at the foot of Figueroa Mountain, in an area above Santa Barbara known for its ranches, wineries and rich Native American heritage, Sedgwick’s nine square miles include two complete watersheds and habitats for everything from black bears and mountain lions to pallid bats, golden eagles, tarantulas and some 178 species of moths.

And that’s just a small sampling of the wide array of fauna found on the Reserve, where the vegetation features a rare collection of the region’s most prized plant communities, such as coastal sage scrub, native grassland, chaparral, gray pine forest, and coast live and blue oak woodland.

“There’s a real richness to this place and a real value to this kind of landscape — these big, open, oak woodlands,” said Kate McCurdy, Sedgwick’s resident director. “We shouldn’t take for granted that they’ll be here forever. Certainly it’s about preserving the land, but it’s also about the cultural history of the buildings that are here.”

That includes the Ranch House, which McCurdy described as “one of the most unique and special parts of the Reserve.” The four-bedroom residence serves as Sedgwick’s primary housing quarters for scientists, scholars, students and other professionals whose work requires a stay, whether short- or long-term. With rustic charm and sweeping views from every window — it’s a bright and sprawling place — the 1950s-era house is a crucial component of Reserve operations.

All of which underscores the impact of the upcoming renovation to update the building, making it more energy efficient and more functional for visiting researchers.

“Linda Duttenhaver has a keen interest in improving facilities at the field station to better promote research and educational uses of the property,” McCurdy said. “We are hugely indebted to our supporters, like Linda, who get the value of having land set aside for conservation and learning more about the land itself. This is Linda’s most significant gift to date, providing greatly needed improvements, such as plumbing and electrical upgrades, new energy efficient windows and a modernized kitchen.”

Sedgwick’s biodiversity and unabated beauty are what already make the Reserve a destination for ecological research, scientific investigation and outdoor education for all ages. It is also the only reserve in the entire UC NRS with a telescope, the Byrne Observatory.

The Duttenhaver-funded makeover and modernization will bolster Sedgwick’s popularity with scientists, said Patricia Holden, director of the UCSB NRS and a professor of environmental microbiology at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.

“The UCSB Natural Reserve System is so very fortunate to have as its true friend Linda Duttenhaver, who time and again expresses her deep commitment to Sedgwick Reserve through generously giving to the university on the reserve’s behalf,” Holden said. “Each year, Linda returns to Sedgwick to celebrate her gift of restoring the barn to its original glory. The celebration manifests in a barn dance that draws attendees from throughout the Reserve, the university and across the region. Now, and once again, Linda will give us a great reason to celebrate: Because of her philanthropy, the historic Ranch House will be renovated as a haven and retreat for Reserve scholars. Through all of her gifts to Sedgwick, whether for large capital restorations, programmatically for education, or for Reserve operations, Linda epitomizes the meaning of ‘donor,’ and we are ever grateful for her friendship.”

For Duttenhaver, whose philanthropist father instilled in her a devotion to giving back — and to protecting the environment — she’s simply doing what feels right.

“I just follow my passions,” she said, “which is the advice I always give to other philanthropists. That’s the way you can have the most impact and gain the satisfaction of knowing you are truly making a difference.”

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Karen Telleen-Lawton: Things to Consider Before Helping Son with Down Payment

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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[One in a continuing series.]

Examining your finances takes fortitude. What are your goals and dreams? What can you afford? Here is another question modified from my financial advisory practice.

Dear Karen: Our son is gainfully employed and looking to buy a large house with a friend from college. They’ll operate a co-op, which is very popular in high-priced San Francisco. He has accumulated quite a bit for his age (31), but he still needs help with the down payment.

My husband and I read your response about loaning money to kids. By your measures, I think we’re ready to do it, though we don’t have enough for large gifts for both our kids. How do we think this through?

— Overwhelmed

Dear Overwhelmed: I have to start by assuming the most important consideration: that you can afford to loan or gift him this money. Your own retirement is paramount; you do your kids no favor if loaning them money now risks your becoming dependent on them later.

Given that, there are several ways for you to help him with his goal.

Invest with him in the house. This could be providing cash or co-signing the loan or both. Be listed on the deed. This involves you with your son and his friend in all decisions, for better and worse.

Sell investments and provide the money as a gift. You may want to change your estate planning documents to make it “even” with your daughter.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). You may still have access to one, even if you’ve paid off your mortgage. If so, you can take out a loan and formally loan him the money. This loan likely would reduce the amount of loan for which he can qualify.

Access a HELOC or a new loan and gift him the money. Since you presumably have better credit and a longer credit history, you would qualify for a larger loan at a lower rate. He would be under no obligation to repay, but he could choose to give you annual gifts. Again, you’d likely want to change your estate documents to reflect this. Consider that if he chooses not to give you annual gifts (or can’t — say he loses his job), you may need to sell investments to make your budget.

Overall, it sounds like the cash that he is requesting represents a nontrivial portion of your estate. If you choose to do this, you need to understand your son’s budget and verify for yourself that it is reasonable. He can find a pro-forma landlord business budget on the Internet, put together his numbers and show you how they work out. It should have, for instance:

» What percent occupancy is he assuming?

» PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance)

» Consider any special hazard insurance: earthquake, flood. Is it more or less affordable considering this is a business? If you don't get it and the house is destroyed, what happens?

» Umbrella insurance. This is relatively inexpensive and covers your liability on top of whatever insurance (auto, property) you have.

Finally, you will want to check with your accountant regarding possible effects on your taxes.

Although I’ve thrown a lot of wrenches in your son’s dream, I want to leave you with the bottom line that, approached with open eyes, loaning or gifting money is a good and appropriate way to share your blessings with your children.

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor (www.DecisivePath.com) and a freelance writer (www.CanyonVoices.com). Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Letter to the Editor: Yes, Virginia, There Is Fracking in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Yes, Virginia, there is fracking in Santa Barbara County. Your little friends in the oil industry are wrong.

Contrary to their anti-Measure P propaganda, fracking is legal in our county and they know it. Oil companies have fracked in the past, and they still can apply for permits now. Planning & Development staff will process these fracking applications, and if three county supervisors vote yes, it will happen again.

Their endlessly repeated slogan that “there is no fracking” is a carefully crafted half-truth designed to mislead voters. They are deliberately trying to give the false impression that it is not allowed and cannot happen. Sometimes they are so disrespectful of the truth that they come right out and falsely say that fracking is prohibited.

Measure P is based on the truth that fracking is allowed in Santa Barbara County, and Measure P gives the public the right to stop this extreme oil extraction process before the problems that have affected so many others happen here.

Don’t know who to believe? Call County Planning & Development at 805.568.2000 and ask them if fracking is prohibited or allowed by the ordinances in Santa Barbara County today.

The out-of-town oil industry reportedly is spending more than $5 million broadcasting disingenuous statements like this one in their attempt to trick the public into voting against its own best interests.

Ben Franklin said, “Half a truth is often a great lie.” Let’s not be fooled.

To protect the public’s interest in clean air and water, vote yes on Measure P.

Grace Feldmann
Santa Barbara

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High Surf, Wind Advisories Issued for Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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There are wind and high surf advisories issued for the Santa Barbara County area from Monday through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Mountain areas in Santa Barbara and surrounding counties are expected to have gusty winds Monday through Tuesday night.

The winds will impact mountain areas and the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, in addition to the inland Interstate 5 corridor.

This weather outlook combined with the high surf advisory makes the potential for gale-force winds across outer coastal waters Monday night, according to the National Weather Service.

There is a high surf and rip tide advisory issued for coastal Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties with large swells expected from Monday through midday Wednesday.

Northwest-facing beaches will experience the highest surf, with wave sets estimated at 8 to 14 feet, and an increasing risk of dangerous rip currents.

Coastal areas could be at risk for some minor flooding during the high-tide times.

The weather forecast for the coming week is sunny and mostly clear, with highs starting in the low 70s and rising to the low 80s by Thursday and the warmer weather will drop back down to the 70s through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

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

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Sen. Jackson Helps Independent Living Resource Center Honor Retiring Executive Director Jo Black

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Well more than 60 community members attended the Independent Living Resource Center’s reception Sept. 30 held in honor of retiring ILRC Executive Director Jo Black and welcoming newly hired Executive Director Dani Anderson.

The lively event included presentations highlighting Black’s 30 years of service to ILRC by state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, Hillary Blackerby representing Assemblyman Das Williams, ILRC board president Dondra Lopez, and Eric Friedman, representing First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who announced that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors would be honoring Black during their Oct. 21 board meeting.

San Marcos High School’s Cafe Royale Culinary Program students and chef educator Donna Barker provided catering services at the event.

ILRC's nearly 40 years of strong advocacy and representation of people with disabilities in our communities will continue uninterrupted. The organization appreciated all the community support and feedback.

— Kristyn Barker is an administrative assistant for the Independent Living Resource Center.

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Cinema Italiano Contemporaneo Continues with Saturday Screening of ‘Il Capitale Umano’

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Cinema Italiano Contemporaneo, the 2014 annual series of contemporary Italian cinema, continues at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 with an intriguing film Il Capitale Umano (The Human Capital) directed by Paolo Virzi.

Admission is free.

The film will be shown in Italian with English subtitles.

The screening will be held in the Fe' Bland Forum on SBCC's West Campus, 721 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara.

For the complete line up of this year's screenings, click here or call 805.969.1018. The series is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Heritage Foundation of Santa Barbara, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

— Gabriella Geri-Schooley is president of the Italian Cultural Heritage Foundation of Santa Barbara.

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Valle Verde Serves Community as Exclusive Partner with Meals on Wheels Program

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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For 23 years, the Valle Verde senior living community has been the exclusive provider for the Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels program.

Together, the Santa Barbara senior living community and organization have served more than 800,000 meals to homebound clients in the area, specifically older adults who are unable to leave their house.

Every day, Valle Verde prepares approximately 100 hot meals (including an entrée, two sides, soup, salad and dessert), and offers a variety of options based on the dietary needs of the clients. Because Valle Verde serves daily meals to their own residents, the chef and dining services department have a good understanding of the types of foods that benefit older adults the most.

Thanks to the two nonprofit organizations, more than 200 residents in the Santa Barbara area are guaranteed a hot meal daily, including holidays.

— Dani Row is a publicist representing Valle Verde.

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‘Gone with the Wind’ to Screen for One Night Only at Plaza Playhouse Theater

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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To honor its 75th anniversary, the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria will host a one-time-only showing of Gone with the Wind, the Academy Award-winning film that brought Margaret Mitchell’s bestselling novel of life in the Old South to the big screen in 1939.

Gone with the Wind, produced by the legendary David Selznick, has recently been put through an intensive, high definition digital 4k restoration process that brings it back to its original Technicolor brilliance and includes all the footage seen when it was first released.

“On top of that, it has been returned to its original aspect ratio, which means it will fill our screen perfectly,” said Peter Bie, a member of the board of the nonprofit venue.

There was no "wide screen" projection back in the day, so Plaza Theater moviegoers will view the film just as audiences saw it 75 years ago — much like the shape of your old TV before flat screens came along.

“This new restoration gives an eye-popping clarity to every frame and the soundtrack is phenomenal,” said Bie, noting that the movie will be shown using digital projection, which the theater has been proudly doing for several years.

The wildly anticipated production had its premiere in Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 15, 1939, and most of the stars of the film, including Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) and Vivian Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara), were there along with a million fans, many of whom had traveled across the country to take part in the three days of festivities and to see the picture at the Loew’s Grand Theater. (Tickets were $10 and went to charity.)

Sadly, the black members of the cast were not present due to the Jim Crow laws in effect at the time which would not allow them to be seated in the auditorium with whites. Gable at first refused to attend in protest, but was convinced by Hattie McDaniel, who played the feisty maid Mammy, that he should go.

A fair number of critics panned the film as too long, too melodramatic and with too much of everything and “not much of a story,” but the public ignored them and turned out in droves, driving the movie into the box office stratosphere even though MGM had raised ticket fees to anywhere from a $1 to $2.20, something unheard at the time. It would later play movie houses at lower prices, often proclaimed with the headline “Nothing cut but the price!” It is still considered to be the biggest money making film of all time (adjusted for inflation).

It was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won 10: Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Adapted Screenplay (Sidney Howard), Best Actress (Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel), Best Color Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Art Direction along with two special Oscars. (Clark Gable had been nominated for Best Actor, but the award went to Robert Donat for his role in Goodbye, Mr. Chips).

But the February 1940 Oscar ceremony at the Coconut Grove in L.A. was bittersweet; while waiting to hear her name called, McDaniel and her escort were forced to sit at a segregated table at the back of the room.

She also endured criticism from the black community and other commentators who said she had “sold out” and was no more than an “Uncle Tom” for taking the role in the film, which they roundly criticized for its depiction of blacks and its glorification of slavery and for perpetuating the long-held myth that slaves were happy and content on the plantations of the South. McDaniel shot back by declaring, “I would rather make $750 a week playing a maid than $7 a week being one!”

Following its initial release in ‘39, the movie was re-released several times to theaters over succeeding decades, often severely trimmed for time and in some instances completely reformatted to allow for wide screen presentation, leaving out portions of the standard frame which made for some odd looking scenes.

It first aired on TV on HBO in June 1976 and came to network TV in November of that year after NBC paid a whopping $5 million for a one-time showing broadcast over two successive nights. It was the highest rated TV program presented on a single network at the time with nearly 48 percent of TV households tuning in totaling 65 percent of all TV viewers.

“For many watching then, especially baby boomers, this was the first time they had seen the film and for most this has remained their experience ever since — watching it on TV, usually with lots of interruptions,” Bie said. “We want folks to come to the Plaza, sit in the dark and enjoy the magic of the movie, uncut, in its original screen format, the way it was meant to be seen--on a big screen, with big sound and no commercial breaks.”

Bie explained that the legacy of GWTW is not necessarily that it’s often been called the greatest movie of all time, but that it was such a monumental undertaking for its day, driven by a producer who would not take no for an answer, shot in a brand new color process (Technicolor), a pre-production nightmare of two years that nearly killed the film and a cast with many of the biggest stars of the day. Notably, it goes from being called "Selznick’s folly" to reaping millions of dollars and securing its place in the annals of moviemaking.

“To give you an idea of how far reaching the book itself has been — which by the way, is still in print — I came across a story by a National Geographic writer/photographer who had visited North Korea," Bie said. "He was startled to learn that the book had been read by millions of people in that cloistered, secretive country and discovered that they felt it was very close to their own history of struggle and survival through wars and famine.”

“GWTW is worth seeing on the big screen because of its scope and grandeur. If you’re a movie lover, a film history buff, or you just want to know what all the hype was about, this is the your opportunity to rediscover this epic or see it for the first time. And when you leave the theater I’ll guarantee you’ll have lots to talk about, discuss and debate.”

Tickets for GWTW, which is rated G, are $5 and available online now by clicking here or at Seastrand, 919 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria, during regular business hours. Check or cash only.

Your price of admission also qualifies you for the drawing of two door prizes: Each is a limited edition numbered gift box set containing the movie, several discs about Hollywood’s and MGM’s history, a two-hour documentary on the making of the picture narrated by Christopher Plummer, reproductions of memos from producer Selznick, a 52-page full color booklet and more.

This cinematic landmark also has an epic running time: three hours and 38 minutes with an intermission, at which time the drawing will be held for the door prizes.

The Plaza Playhouse Theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. in Carpinteria. Phone: 805.684.6380. Click here for the website. It’s ADA compatible with wheel chair access. The box office opens at 6 p.m. the night of the film’s showing with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Gone with the Wind screens at 7 p.m. Seating is limited.

— Peter Bie is a board member for Plaza Playhouse Theater.

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Santa Barbara Education Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Service

By | Published on 10/20/2014

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Nearly 80 community members joined the Santa Barbara Education Foundation on Thursday in celebrating 30 years of dedicated service to Santa Barbara’s public schools and students.

SBEF is the only organization in Santa Barbara that raises districtwide support for every one of the 16,000 students in the 22 schools that make up the Santa Barbara Unified School District, raising funds for vital programs including art and music instruction, musical instruments, early childhood education, family and community engagement, college readiness, and intervention programs for at-risk high school students.

The anniversary celebration brought together politicians, Santa Barbara Unified School District personnel, SBEF donors, SBEF-funded program directors, and past and present board members and presidents of the foundation.

Among the guests were Assemblyman Das Williams, Superintendent David Cash, retiring Superintendent Brian Sarvis, district board president Kate Parker and vice president Edward Heron.

Guests were greeted by SBHS ninth-grade student Thomas Everest playing piano in the lobby area, and a small orchestra of five female students from Adams Elementary kicked off the program with captivating sounds of the saxophone, clarinet, flute and cello.

Craig Price, SBEF board president, provided a brief history of the foundation.

“The seeds of this organization were sewn on Sept. 12, 1984, when our school district was faced with severe budget cuts that would have eliminated most, if not all, arts enrichment programs,” Price said. “Over the years, in addition to enhancing these programs, the foundation’s support has helped provide students with playground equipment, library materials, technology tools, musical instruction and instruments, and preschool literacy.”

SBEF
Adams Elementary School students Kelly Garnand (cello), Nicola Parker (flute), Jessica Quiroz (clarinet), Litzy Segundo (clarinet) and Katie Carlos (alto sax) kick off the Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s 30th birthday bash with their music. (Santa Barbara Education Foundation photo)

“The Santa Barbara Education Foundation is about early literacy all the way to college preparation,” said Dr. David Cash, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District. “Over the last 30 years, the foundation has raised more than $128 million to support the education of K-12 students in Santa Barbara.”

SBEF has led successful bond and parcel tax campaigns raising $110 million for much-needed capital improvements and more than $18 million for music, science, art, technology and other programs critical to a well-rounded education.

“In recent years, the foundation has really expanded their efforts,” Price said. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our supporters and look forward to the next 30 years of ensuring excellence in our public schools.”

Margie Yahyavi, executive director of SBEF, offered a brief highlight of the community programs supported by the foundation, including The Academy at Dos Pueblos, Youth Violence Prevention, Mobile Waterford, and SBEF’s summer school program which launched last year for high school students looking to get ahead.

“We are so proud to be part of a community that understands the value of public education,” Yahyavi said. “Our community’s dedication has had a great impact on the lives of students in Santa Barbara — our supporters, the district and especially the program directors. They work so hard to catch those students who are falling through the cracks and give them the tools they need to get a meaningful education.”

To learn more about Santa Barbara Education Foundation and programs it supports, click here or call 805.284.9125.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

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New McKinley School Principal Jackie Mora Has Plenty of Reasons to Feel at Home on Campus

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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With numerous ties to Santa Barbara, educator is looking forward to building on school’s academic success — along with some fun field trips

McKinley Elementary School’s lawn was buzzing with activity Friday as Principal Jackie Mora walked through, greeting students leaving their classrooms, excited for the festivities that would take place that evening.

Friday was the school’s annual fall Kermes, or carnival, and the campus PTA had set up booths selling fragrant posole, tamales and other treats that its members had been preparing in the school’s kitchen.

McKinley teachers had been working for a month on the much-anticipated haunted house set up in the basement, and Mora seemed happy to jump right into school life at the elementary school that serves Santa Barbara’s Lower Westside.

She began as principal on Aug. 27, and is one of four new principals in the Santa Barbara Unified School District this year.

“It’s a lot of learning,” she told Noozhawk, adding that she feels like she’s been embraced by the teachers, parents and students.

Originally from Shafter, northwest of Bakersfield, Mora has connections to Santa Barbara from college; she earned degrees in Spanish and Chicano studies from UC Santa Barbara and returned to get her teaching degree from the school in 2000.

During that time, she was granted an emergency credential to teach for the Los Angeles Unified School District, which was facing a dearth of teachers.

Mora taught first grade in a Koreatown elementary school, and returned to Los Angeles again after getting her teaching credential.

One of the reasons that drew Mora to the job in Santa Barbara was her memories of student teaching at Franklin School, McKinley’s Lower Eastside counterpart. She was a student teacher in second- and sixth-grade classes there, and “that experience really made an impression on me,” she said.

Mora also served as principal of John Marshall Elementary in Glendale and was most recently principal at Sanchez College Preparatory School, a pre-kindergarten-to-fifth-grade school in San Francisco’s Castro District.  

At that school, in the San Francisco Unified School District, Mora said much of the focus was helping kids set goals and plan their futures moving toward higher education.

“It’s the same here,” she said of McKinley School.

Banners lining McKinley’s hallways proclaim “We Are Going to College,” and pennants from dozens of colleges are secured on the walls, sending a powerful message to the 410 students.

Those were put up during the tenure of former Principal Emilio Handall, who helped bring the school out of program improvement — one of only two schools in Santa Barbara County to do so.

Handall, now SBUSD’s assistant superintendent of elementary schools, made significant changes at the campus, and Mora said much of her work will be building on his legacy of great expectations for students.

“They have the ability and the potential to do unimaginable things,” she said.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM, subjects continue to be a focus, and Common Core State Standards are also new at McKinley this year, as with all public schools throughout California. Mora said the teachers are working together to implement the changes.

Mora is excited about the opportunities the students will have this year — the fourth-graders just returned from spending the night aboard the 19th-century tall ships funded by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Sixth-graders will also get to take part in the beloved Science Camp that was discontinued last year because of a lack of funding. The district has made that a priority this year for every school, not just those that could raise enough money to pay for the trip.

Looking ahead, Mora said she’s excited to play her part in the district.

“The reason I’m here is to provide a service to our students and families,” she said.

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

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Casa Esperanza Points to Progress on Financial Stability, Collaboration with Neighbors

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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Santa Barbara homeless shelter reports improvements to Planning Commission, expects new director to be named soon

Santa Barbara’s city council chambers were noticeably subdued Friday afternoon as the Planning Commission listened to how the city’s biggest homeless shelter is getting along with its neighbors, a remarkable departure from the same meeting that took place two years ago.

Casa Esperanza, 816 Cacique St., has long had a tenuous connection with neighbors and businesses in the Lower Milpas Street area. That relationship seems to have calmed a bit, however, based on the lack of public comment at last week’s meeting.

Two years ago, “this room was full of people who were one step away from pitchforks and torches,” commissioner Addison Thompson noted.

“You’ve obviously done something right,” he told Casa Esperanza acting director Joe Tumbler, who has led the organization for the past two months as it searches for a permanent director.

Tumbler outlined some of the major changes the shelter has implemented. The biggest — eliminating the shelter’s free lunch program and day center, and requiring sobriety — appear to have cut down on complaints about troublesome individuals, he said.

He said the organization has worked to raise enough funding to cover payroll and expenses, after its dire financial situation forced the layoffs of its top two positions, including that of executive director.

The shelter is in the final stages of its search for a new leader, and Tumbler said he hopes the new director will have started by Thanksgiving.

Tumbler said Casa Esperanza has a balanced budget moving forward, and that the shelter is actively seeking grants and funding.

The organization has also implemented a homeless-to-housing program that seeks to move homeless people into permanent housing within 100 days.

“In all areas we’ve made substantial improvements to our performance,” he said.

Santa Barbara police Lt. Brent Mandrell was on hand to confirm this. He said Milpas Street calls for service have decreased over the past years and remain markedly lower than the downtown corridor and the beachfront areas.

Mandrell said Casa Esperanza staff have collaborated with police to solve issues, and “we really can see a big difference since the changes they’ve done.”

The shelter’s conditional-use permit requires that it conduct neighborhood outreach and daily patrols, and staff also must check in periodically with the Milpas Area Task Force on complaints.

Dave Tabor, the task force chairman, said the group was formed in 2004, but began meeting regularly again in 2012. Now, the task force meets bimonthly and receives progress reports from the shelter.

Sharon Byrne, director of the Milpas Community Association, said Casa Esperanza’s changes have made a huge difference in the neighborhood.

The MCA even bought the shelter a golf cart to use during security patrols. The shelter even lent the vehicle to the MCA for a recent event.

“That’s a different relationship that we share” than before, Byrne said.

Commissioner Michael Jordan said he was happy to hear that Casa Esperanza is owning up for the tumultuous past.

“That’s a huge step,” he said. “It’s a marked change from two years ago.”

Commission chairwoman Deborah Schwartz said the task force has been a vital vehicle to bring various segments of the community together, to listen and learn.

Former planning commissioner John Jostes was brought in by the city as a mediator for the Milpas Area Task Force and the shelter, a decision that Schwartz said was a significant turning point.

“It seems to me you’ve come through it and out of it to a much better place,” she said.

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

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NASA Satellite Launched from VAFB Helps Reveal Secrets of the Sun

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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IRIS mission delivers key details about sun’s atmosphere, heat, solar wind and solar flares

Scientists are gaining a few more pieces of the puzzle that is the sun thanks to a NASA mission linked to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings, officials said.

Details of the findings appear in the current edition of Science and are explained on NASA’s IRIS website.

IRIS headed to space June 27, 2013, aboard a Pegasus XL rocket that was carried aloft under the belly of a modified L-1011 aircraft that took off from VAFB. The small winged rocket was released over the Pacific Ocean and soared into space.

Since it’s been under way, the mission has revealed how the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun’s constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.

The new information will help researchers better understand how Earth’s nearest star transfers energy through its atmosphere, as well as track the dynamic solar activity that can interfere with power grid systems on Earth and orbiting satellites in space.

NASA's solar mission is featured in Science magazine.
NASA's solar mission is featured in Science magazine.

“These findings reveal a region of the sun more complicated than previously thought,” said Jeff Newmark, interim director for the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA headquarters in Washington. “Combining IRIS data with observations from other Heliophysics missions is enabling breakthroughs in our understanding of the sun and its interactions with the solar system.”

IRIS had one key goal: track how energy and heat moved through a little understood region of the sun called the interface region. That region is sandwiched between the solar surface and its outer atmosphere.

“This research really delivers on the promise of IRIS, which has been looking at a region of the sun with a level of detail that has never been done before,” said Bart De Pontieu, IRIS science lead at Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto. “The results focus on a lot of things that have been puzzling for a long time and they also offer some complete surprises.”

The discoveries have been given colorful names — twisting tornadoes, heat bombs, nanoflares, jets in solar wind and loops.

The spacecraft equipped with telescope is expected to make almost continuous solar observations during its $181 million, two-year mission.

IRIS marked the final Pegasus launch on NASA’s manifest. The small rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. served as a workhorse for lifting the space agency’s, military’s and commercial customers’ various small satellites into orbit in 42 missions since 1990.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter:

A Pegasus XL rocket blasts into space after being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a NASA L-1011 carrier aircraft in June 2013.
A Pegasus XL rocket blasts into space after being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a NASA L-1011 carrier aircraft in June 2013.

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Monday Is Voter Registration Deadline for Nov. 4 Election

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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With Election Day two weeks away, the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election is Monday.

Voter registration forms must be postmarked on or before Oct. 20, according to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.

Additionally, the deadline to register to vote using the online system is midnight Monday.

At the beginning of October, the county reported having slightly more than 192,000 registered voters. Earlier this month, elections officials said they had sent 115,000 vote-by-mail ballots to voters.

Vote-by-mail ballots must be received in the county elections offices by 8 p.m. Election Day, or can be dropped off any polling place on Nov. 4.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Oct. 28 is the final day to request a vote-by-mail ballot by mail, county officials said. However, voters may go to the county election offices to pick up emergency vote-by-mail ballots between Oct. 28 and Election Day.

In Santa Barbara, the County Elections Building is at 4440-A Calle Real. In Santa Maria, the elections office is at 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Suite 115, in the Joe Centeno Betteravia Government Center.

Both of those offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The Lompoc office at 401 E. Cypress St., Room 102, is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

To qualify to vote in Santa Barbara County, a resident must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of California and at least 18 years old by Election Day.

Voters also may not be in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, or on post release community supervision. Anyone who has been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent is not allowed to register and vote.

Voters must re-register if they have moved, changed their names, wish to change their political party affiliation, or if their signatures have changed.

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

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Michael Rattray: Know the True Greenhouse Gas Effects on Global Climate

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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More has been written, discussed, analyzed, voted or acted on about global warming — now demoted to climate change — than most every other worldly subject in the last decade. School teachers and students, company employees around the water cooler, and campaign platform litmus tests have elevated a foregone conclusion that any climate change is bad and is caused by none other than man.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

Now that this universal understanding ripples through all walks of life, the only topic worth discussion is how fast is fast enough for the fix.

But there are a couple of points that are worth a pause before the curtain closes. Let’s start with an understanding of our planet and its evolutionary history. Although earth dates back some 14 billion years, it didn’t have all five key elements for sustained life until 4 billion years ago (our sun, a perfect orbit, gravity, water and those pesky greenhouse gases in our atmosphere). The constant intersection of these vital elements is the cause for the variability of global warming or global cooling.

Looking under the hood, our sun is 330,000 times the size of earth. Its outer surface temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit and, according to NASA, climbing, with heat and light hitting the surface of our planet every eight minutes. Put this in a visual, if the sun were the size of a tennis ball, 10 feet away would be earth, equivalent to a grain of sand! It’s important to put this distinction into perspective because our sun is the single most important variable for all global warming and cooling.

Taking a deeper dive, we need to look at the next layers of our world’s evolution. Although there are many independent nature cycles in play (i.e. the heat balance, the hydrologic cycle, the carbon and nitrogen cycles, the atmosphere cycle, the rock cycle), their dynamics continually create change on our earth, with climate and weather an output of these interactions.

And because we are a multidimensional world, nothing ever is the same: solar radiation penetration, earth’s core radioactive decay, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, continental uplifts, sea floor evolutions and climate oscillation in an ever-changing world. The only thing hotter than the sun is the earth’s core decay, which is closer to 10,800 degrees. Talk about cooking on both sides!

If we look at the last 3,000 years, history tells us that earth has come through three global-warming periods and two cooling periods. Surface temperatures in the Sargasso Sea, a 2 million-square-mile region of the Atlantic Ocean, have averaged 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

There were two global-warming periods before 500 B.C., that raised the temperature 4 degrees Celsius, with a smaller one in 1100 A.D. Of the two ice ages, the last, the “Little Ice Age,” ended in the early 1800s with an average sea-surface temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit. For the last 200 years, the earth has been warming, and the current sea-surface temperature of the Sargasso Sea is just below the 3,000-year average ... trending back to neutral.

But what gets all the news is those nasty greenhouse gases. Our atmosphere is 99 percent nitrogen and oxygen, with greenhouse gases less than 1 percent of dry air. Without greenhouse gases, there would be no life, period! By absorbing and radiating solar energy, our earth has an average temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit; without these gases it would be below zero.

CO2 averages 750 billion tons in the atmosphere, of which 95 percent is part of the earth’s natural carbon cycle and 5 percent an output of burning fossil fuels. Since the start of the industrial cycle, this output has increase sixfold in just the last 50 years. Of the 30 billion tons of CO2 fossil-fuel emissions in the atmosphere, China is the leading producer, increasing about 15 percent annually. The United States produces 5 billion tons, which has been level since 2000. Let me repeat that: Flat.

Any sea-level rise, surface and sea temperature increases in the last 200 years predate the increases in CO2 emissions. This current global-warming period more closely correlates (again) with solar activity. It is estimated that the cumulative impact of CO2 emissions to this global-warming cycle might be in the 1 percent to 2 percent range.

In fact, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, you can review the sea-level rise in the Santa Barbara Channel. Since 1973 to present, the average sea-level increase has averaged 0.04 inches per year, which equates to 0.5 feet in 100 years. However, California continues to support the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report(s) that forecast up to a five-foot increase by the turn of this century.

Now is a moment for a time-out, a pause to digest the facts as they are, not as others want us to believe. We have been bombarded with the “97 percent settled science,” which is not true.

Let’s be clear: Without the carbon cycle, we would not have life. While humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, and our world had little oxygen before plant life.

However, many forms of government have and are taking regulatory, policy and legislative actions to restrict citizens’ lifestyles. California continues to lead the world with powerful laws, strategies and governing mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and an additional 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Every citizen needs to take stock in what’s happening to our country, push back and ask if we have really studied the true causes of this current global-warming period. Then we must hold our legislative representatives to be specific, to “show me” the facts and data that prove man-made CO2 emissions is the major reason for global warming.

Between the very first Gov. Jerry Brown and the current Gov. Jerry Brown, our state has gone from a Golden State to a comatose state. Every citizen needs to get better informed of the consequences of these government intrusions and the cost to society.

Click here for more information from The Petition Project, which has had more than 31,000 scientists signing the petition stating “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

— Michael Rattray is a retired business executive. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Judy Foreman: As Ebola Crisis Spreads, Direct Relief Proving that Partnerships Matter

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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Susan Craven of U.N. Population Fund provides key insights on outbreak for Direct Relief Women, Global Neighborhood Fund

On a recent morning, more than 100 guests from the all-volunteer ranks of Direct Relief Women and Global Neighborhood Fund got together to hear a compelling and timely presentation on the Ebola crisis.

The presentation was made by Susan Craven, director of the Washington office of the U.N. Population Fund, which promotes health and equal opportunity for men, women and children around the world.

With Ebola dominating the news, and now having reached the United States, Craven’s update was a much-anticipated event. The PowerPoint presentation and Q&A was focused on the Ebola outbreak’s effects on women’s health in western Africa and, specifically, the needs of pregnant women and mothers and infants.

The UNPF estimates that more than 800,000 women in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will give birth in the next 12 months. As many as 120,000 of them could die of complications of pregnancy and childbirth, if life-saving emergency obstetric care is not provided.

Craven said that in her travels to the hardest-hit countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, residents say “Ebola is worse than war!”

They feel that, in a war zone, they could touch and feel what was happening to them, she said, but “Ebola is striking in the dark.”

Ebola is also becoming known as the “caretakers’ disease,” she said. Mothers and grandmothers, doctors and nurses and midwives — all on the front lines of the epidemic — are putting themselves in harm’s way to try to confront the outbreak and are contracting the deadly virus themselves.

The educational meeting at The Orfaela Foundation Downtown Center included a multitude of disturbing statistics reflecting shortages of supplies, personnel and facilities. The lack of physicians and sterile facilities, and cultural customs for disposing of the dead, are putting these countries into further chaos, Craven said.

After a prolonged civil war, Liberia has been successfully rebuilding its infrastructure and economy under its first woman president, Ellen Johnson Sirleif. But the country is now experiencing a setback, particularly the progress that has been made for safe motherhood.

Among the goals of the U.N. Population Fund is to help pregnant women deliver their children in a sterile environment. (Direct Relief photo)
Among the goals of the U.N. Population Fund is to help pregnant women deliver their children in a sterile environment. (Direct Relief photo)

Part of the intervention process and nation partnering is for long-term help that includes social guidance in planned parenting with education about birth control spacing and incentives to keep girls in school, which cuts down on teen pregnancy.

Craven said the UNPF is laser-focused on strengthening the health implications for pregnant women and helping them deliver in a sterile environment. Because of a shortage of doctors and hospitals, she said, one in 10 women dies in childbirth and 16 million adolescent girls get pregnant each year.

Haley Jessup, Direct Relief’s development officer, and Connie Smith, a founder of the Global Neighborhood Fund, also spoke to the volunteers about the nonprofits organizations’ work.

“As the world intensifies its response to the Ebola crises, Direct Relief has delivered to West Africa the largest shipment of supplies in its history,” Jessup said.

Jessup closed the meeting with the announcement of an Oct. 30 open house at Direct Relief’s “warehouse by the railroad tracks in Goleta.”

The Global Neighborhood Fund is also open to new members. The all-volunteer collective started four years ago by Smith, Nancy Koppleman and Sandra Tyler is a “giving group” providing grassroots organizations in Liberia with grants. Among the areas served are women’s economic empowerment, early childhood education, gender-based violence, services for women and girls, rural health, rural water and the Liberian Fistula Care Project.

Craven quoted Margaret Mead, who is credited with the saying “never underestimate the power of human individuals to change the world.”

Agencies like the UNPA, Direct Relief and Global Neighborhood Fund have taken Mead’s words to heart. They are partnering with as many countries and agencies as they can to provide funds, personnel and actual commodities like gloves, masks, chlorine bleach, birth control, and dignity kits for women who are giving birth at an alarmingly early age, contracting Ebola and passing it on to their unborn children.

Click here for more information about Direct Relief, or call 805.964.4767. Click here to contact the Global Neighborhood Fund, or call 805.963.1873.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Fury’

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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3 Stars — Challenging

Telling a new story about World War II doesn’t come without some risk of redundancy. Fury is a band-of-brothers glimpse of survival during the last days of Hitler’s reign when he threw every man, woman, child and soldier into harm’s way to satisfy his narcissistic world view. Here we follow a group of men confined to a tank in the final throes of the counterattack on German soil in April 1945, living through their own hell on earth.

The first impression of this slice of history is that the end of the war was among the bloodiest in its seven years of destruction. Tens of thousands of people — soldiers and civilians — died in the last 90 days. Think of facing the loss of life equal to the collapse of the World Trade Center every other day for months on end. Not only were the first responders dying by the thousands, but so were innocent mothers, wives and children who had nothing to do with starting this insanity. In this story, many die to protect a crossroad stop in the country.

Now think about what it would be like to have to fight under these circumstances. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) is a seasoned sergeant who has to maintain the morale and focus of a group of guys who come from varied backgrounds with very different views on the value of life. Add to this the physical reality in which they have to survive — five men living in a space the size of a Volkswagen for days and weeks at a time without bathing!

This is both a bonding experience as well as an exercise in intense tolerance. The fear of eminent death keeps them from killing one another because they realize everyone survives only if they have each other’s back.

Much of this story is told through the eyes of Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a young and frightened new recruit who is thrown into the middle of this battle-weary team at the 11th hour. With so little manpower left, Norman was yanked from his typist job and sent to the front as an assistant tank driver. Having no training or experience in combat, he is almost immobilized with fear, which puts the rest of his team at risk of death.

“Wardaddy” Collier takes him under his wing like an older brother to offer him confidence, but also to instill within him the intestinal fortitude necessary to survive. This includes having to expose him to the unimaginable horror of being forced to shoot a captured German soldier in the back while the German pleads for his life while holding pictures of his wife and children.

Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf) is the moral center of the tank crew. “Bible” recites scripture to maintain any sense of purpose in the midst of this chaos. One of the most poignant moments in the film is when the entire team is faced with almost certain death. He leads his teammates in repeating the lines from Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

“Wardaddy” may be the hardened sergeant holding this ragtag group together, but he also reveals a core of humanity and faith that shows a depth of compassion that protects his charges no matter what it takes. Ultimately, as the team’s leader, he has to face the question of whether he is willing to lay down his own life for the sake of others. What plays out on the screen is the brutal answer to the question seen through the eyes of each of the members of the team.

The building of character is always tested under fire. Fury causes us to remember what others had to sacrifice when faced with the ultimate question of confronting such an unspeakable evil. While most of the world today has not had to experience these horrors, it is a sobering fact that so many in places like Syria and Iraq still do. We can never ignore or diminish the fact that we are all in this world together, and when others suffer in the presence of such evil, we are all at risk.

Discussion

» The atrocity of war brings out both the best and worst within a person. How do you see both in each of this tank crew?

» The darkest moments come when evil is cornered and seems to choose death in order to cause even more destruction. Why do you think this is true or, if you disagree, why do you think this is not true?

» So often when seen from a more objective view, the decision of field commanders to hold a crossroads seems foolish. Why do you think perspective changes once we are out of the situation?

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

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Michelle Malkin: Who’s Afraid of the ‘Rocky Mountain Heist’ Political Documentary?

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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Free at last! I’m silent no more. Now, the story can be told.

Democrats here in my adopted state of Colorado did not want the new political documentary I hosted to see the light of day. They lost. Last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction declaring that our movie deserved the same free-speech rights as a “traditional” (translation: old-guard liberal) news organization.

Rocky Mountain Heist, produced by David Bossie’s Citizens United and directed by Jason Killian Meath, tells the story of how a wealthy quartet of liberal millionaires and billionaires in Colorado — known as the “Gang of Four” — took over the once-red state of Colorado in the course of a decade.

As a conservative journalist in both “old” and “new” media for more than two decades, I’ve used my First Amendment rights to follow the radical left’s money and connect the dots for readers and viewers. The media marketplace has been too long dominated by liberal corporate statists allied with Big Government, cloaked in the pretense of institutional objectivity.

The 10th circuit panel of three judges unanimously rejected speech-stifling arguments that our exposé was somehow an “electioneering communication” subject to onerous disclosure requirements — from which the likes of the Denver Post or Colorado public radio are arbitrarily exempt. It’s “government putting its thumb on the scale,” Citizens United super-lawyer Ted Olson argued in court — treacherously elastic and prone to abuse.

A six-year resident of Colorado, you can imagine my amusement, sitting in court in Denver, listening to government officials capriciously attack our film (which they hadn’t seen) as a “drop-in attack ad” from nefarious, out-of-state interests.

Reality check: The nearly hour-long film illustrates how the Gang of Four coordinated their campaign targets and spending behind closed doors. We report on how they drafted up elitist plans to “educate the idiots.” With commentary from journalists, local and state Republican lawmakers, and even one political science professor (who ironically testified against Citizens United’s right to equal media treatment!), Rocky Mountain Heist traces how the liberal scions and their “Colorado Democracy Alliance” captured the governor’s mansion, the Legislature and two Senate seats.

As I’ve reported previously, CODA spawned the national Democracy Alliance. “Over the past nine years,” the organization brags to potential contributors, DA has “aligned leaders in the progressive movement and political infrastructure” to “achieve victories at the ballot box and in policy fights.” Their agenda spans “social justice,” “climate change,” “voting rights,” gun control, illegal alien amnesty, campaign finance and sustained “strategic investment” to turn red states blue.

Colorado activists in our movie inform voters how Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper pandered to his wealthy patrons and out-of-state special interests. Interviewees enlighten viewers on how Hickenlooper imposed radical laws and regulations restricting economic and personal freedoms on energy businesses, gun owners and entrepreneurs. The deep-pocketed progressive donors funneled gobs of undisclosed money to astroturf groups and a network of liberal nonprofits — all while screaming about the need for “transparency” and the “people’s right to know.” Rocky Mountain Heist shows how the “Colorado model” is migrating to Texas and Virginia, and highlights how liberty-loving Coloradans have been fighting back.

Our documentary, as Olson argued, expresses core “political speech that is at the heart of the First Amendment’s protected activity.” Here’s what’s so rich: So-called “progressive” champions of transparency (with names like “Colorado Ethics Watch”) intervened to try to stop Citizens United and me from educating my fellow Coloradans — and the rest of the country — just weeks before a critical midterm election.

What are the opponents of Rocky Mountain Heist so afraid of? An informed citizenry, an independent media, and conservatives willing to go to the mat for their constitutional rights.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Measure S Missing Steps on Priorities

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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My Santa Barbara County property tax bill shows that I pay $78 a year for an existing “SBCC Bond 2008.” I voted for that one.

The additional bond issue, Measure S, would raise my SBCC Bond taxes to $230 per year. This is probably close to average.

Santa Barbara City College’s Measure S capital projects were not chosen until after the Measure S dollar amount was chosen. This sequence is not needs-based.

Most of us, including government entities, prioritize what needs doing and then quantify. Should SBCC be exempt from such rudiments of good planning? Would it bode well for completion? Staying within budget?

Measure S is not ready for prime time.

Donna Lewis
Santa Barbara

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Annali​ Fuchs of Santa Maria Wins Star Voice Title at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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Annali Fuchs took command of the stage and electrified the crowd with her booming vocals Saturday night en route to capturing the 2014 Star Voice title at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom.

Star Voice, a tri-counties solo singing competition from the producers of the popular Teen Star program in Santa Barbara, featured 12 talented finalists, but Fuchs impressed a panel of judges and blew away the audience with her renditions of “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from the TV show Smash and “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

“This was such a shot in the dark for me, honestly, because I’m so musical theater-based,” said Fuchs, a New York native and current Santa Maria resident. “I really didn’t expect anything. I just thought it would be extraordinarily fun and a great opportunity to meet new people.

“Now, I’m just beside myself because I can now go home for Christmas, I can pay for school and I get to do what I love. This was the best experience.”

Along with the winning the title, Fuchs takes home $5,000 and opportunities to record in a world-class recording studio and open for a headliner at an upcoming concert at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.

Audience text-message voting and the panel of celebrity judges — Jay Byrd of the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment; Erik Stein, casting director of Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts; and radio personality Lin Aubuchon of KTYD — narrowed the field of 12 to the top four performers.

Joining Fuchs in the final four were Luther Richmond of Santa Barbara, Djoir Jordan of Thousand Oaks and Jineanne Coderre of Santa Maria. The remaining finalists included Micaela Board of Lompoc, Joshua Cervantes of Goleta, Andrea Hilbrant of Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara’s Morshid Arpa, Rebecca Broms, Meredith Garofalo, Cassie Kimzey and Roxanne Morganstern.

“I think this year hit some new milestones — the talent level keeps getting higher as more people learn about Star Voice,” said Joe Lambert, the show’s founder and executive producer. “I was absolutely thrilled with the way the show came off.

“The celebrity judges jelled better than any I have ever seen on these types of shows — better than the ones on TV. And the crowd was so responsive to every performer who took the stage. This was a great night for Star Voice.”

Another big winner was Jesus Nava of Santa Maria. He was randomly selected from the crowd, along with two other contestants, to compete in the Star Voice’s Quick Pick competition. He sang a 30-second a capella version of The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” won over the crowd and captured a $700 prize package that included a two-night stay at the Chumash Casino Resort, dinner for two at The Ballard Inn & Restaurant, and gift certificates from Kaena and Larner wineries in Los Olivos.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom is one of the most popular music venues on the Central Coast. Click here to purchase tickets online.

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

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Jeff Moehlis: The Melvins Are Still Sludgy After All These Years

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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The Melvins have been dishing out their sludgy heavier-than-Black Sabbath sounds for more than three decades, and show no signs of compromising or slowing down. Just last week they released their latest album Hold It In, an awesome, diverse set of songs that feature founder/singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne; drummer Dale Crover, who has been with the band through almost its entire existence; and guest guitarist Paul Leary and bassist Jeff Pinkus from fellow cult rockers the Butthole Surfers.

The Melvins — with Pinkus but not Leary on board — will be performing at SLO Brewing Company, 1119 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo, at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Osborne had a quick chat with Noozhawk about the new album and some older Melvins-related history.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: You just had the first show of the tour last night. How did it go? How is the band playing together?

Buzz Osborne: It was great! We had no problems. We played in Sacramento — it was a good show, a good set.

JM: The new album just came out, and I’m curious, how do you view the new album in relation to the rest of the Melvins catalog?

BO: I think it’s good one. I mean, I don’t listen to our records a whole lot, but I know I liked it when I made it. I think it’s as good as anything we’ve ever done.

JM: The new album was recorded with Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus (from the Butthole Surfers). How did their presence stir things up as far as the songwriting and the recording?

BO: Well, you know they’re both really good players. I trusted them to do the right thing, and they did. They added things to the album that we’ve never had before, so that was great.

JM: Have you known those guys from way back?

BO: I’ve known Jeff for several years, and I’ve known Paul maybe five. I’ve been a fan of the Butthole Surfers since the early ’80s.

JM: Just to be clear, my understanding is that Jeff is part of the current tour but Paul is not. Is that correct?

BO: Yeah. Paul might join us in the future but he’s not on this tour.

JM: You’ve released most of your albums on smaller labels, but you did have a short period where you were signed to Atlantic back in the ’90s. How would you describe your major label experience?

BO: Well, we did three albums. I thought they would only do one. So they gave us money to make records, but they didn’t really tell us what to do, so I didn’t have a bad experience. It was fine. I like those records a lot.

JM: So you feel you had a lot of freedom to do what you wanted?

BO: If you listen to the records, I think it’s pretty clear that they didn’t tell us to do anything.

JM: Probably the best-known Melvins album came from that period, the album Houdini. What are your reflections on that particular album?

BO: I don’t like it as much as the other two that we did on Atlantic, but I thought it was good. It was a good major label debut, I guess. There are songs that people like on it. I thought it was OK, but not quite as focused as I would’ve liked. But by and large I’m not complaining. That was a long time ago!

JM: Of course that album had a bit of a Kurt Cobain connection (Cobain co-produced and played on a few tracks on Houdini), and I guess for better or worse you guys are forever tied a little bit to him. (In 1984, Cobain auditioned to play bass with The Melvins, but he was not chosen. The next year, Osborne and Crover played in Cobain’s first band Fecal Matter (with Osborne on bass). Later, in 1988, Crover played on Nirvana’s 10-song demo, most of which was released on their albums Bleach and Incesticide.) How would you describe the Kurt Cobain that you knew?

BO: Troubled. He was very troubled. It’s a sad story. Not a lot of happy memories.

JM: Over the years you’ve done a number of cool collaborations. One that I particularly like is when you played with Jello Biafra. What was it like working with him?

BO: Pretty insane. He doesn’t have much of a filter between his brain and his mouth. He’s not as avant garde as I would’ve liked, but by and large it was a good experience.

JM: I have a question about your songwriting. The music of the Melvins has a lot of complicated time signatures and changes. How do you come up with those, or to you maybe that comes naturally?

BO: We have a lot of simple songs, too, but I don’t know, sometimes it just happens that way. All of a sudden you have this song that’s complicated, but you know it’s good so you finish it.

JM: If it’s good, just go with it, right?

BO: Yeah. I don’t find it to be particularly complicated for me, but I write it.

JM: What are your plans for the near future? Are you guys already thinking about the next album?

BO: The record just came out two days ago, so I haven’t got my heart set on a new one yet. But it won’t be too long. I don’t know exactly, but I’ve always got a lot of new ideas and stuff. What exactly we’re going to do, at this point I’m not sure. But don’t worry, there will be a new one before you know it.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about yourself or the Melvins? Anything that annoys you that people always get wrong about the band?

BO: Well, most of it’s wrong, but that’s OK. It’s not the best journalism — it’s pure fiction. I’m a private person, believe it or not. There’s not a lot of personal details out there anyway, so I
like to leave them as they are. Let people think what they want to be true.

JM: I’m sort of surprised that, as a rock musician, you’re up and about at 9:30 in the morning. Is that your typical schedule?

BO: I get up about 4 in the morning when I’m at home. Last night we were back at the hotel by about 12:30, and I got up about 6. And now I’m driving north to Washington.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Lengthy Extrication Needed in Orcutt Pickup Truck Rollover

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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Firefighters work for 73 minutes to free victim, who was then flown to Santa Barbara hospital

It took firefighters more than an hour late Saturday to free a man from the wreckage of his pickup truck, which crashed in Orcutt, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The single-vehicle accident occurred at about 11:40 p.m. on southbound Highway 135 near Clark Avenue, said Vince Agapito, a Fire Department spokesman.

The Chevy pickup rolled several times before coming to rest on its side about 50 below the roadway, Agapito said.

He said the driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, suffered extensive injuries to his legs, which were pinned underneath the dashboard.

Firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” tool to extricate the man from the wreckage, a process that took 73 minutes, Agapito said.

Typically extrications take 10-15 minutes, he added.

“They basically had to dismantle the thing to get him out,” said Agapito, noting that crews had to remove the truck’s roof, cut off the doors, and pry the dashboard away from the victim.

“The victim was conscious throughout the the entire ordeal of his extrication,” he said.

Once freed, the man was taken by ambulance to the Santa Maria Public Airport, where he was transferred to a waiting Calstar helicopter for the flight to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Details on his condition were not available Sunday.

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

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PathPoint Touts ‘Expect. Employ. Empower.’ for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

By | Published on 10/19/2014

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“I am inspired to become a pizza connoisseur!” Matt says. “I had a great day and I would definitely want to open my own pizza business one day.”

Matt is a PathPoint participant, joining PathPoint in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Disability Mentoring Day in October. Celebrating 50 years in 2014, PathPoint is a local nonprofit organization providing training and support services that empower people with disabilities to live and work as valued members of our communities. 

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Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for 2014 is “Expect. Employ. Empower.” In order to further promote awareness and expand opportunities for career exploration, PathPoint is partnering with California employers and professionals for the month-long celebration.

PathPoint’s South Santa Barbara County Division held last year’s annual Disability Mentoring Day, a concurrent October event, at California Pizza Kitchen in downtown Santa Barbara. Mentoring Day is a way to combine aspects of job-shadowing with career exploration, and also familiarizes the existing workforce to the potential and wide array of interests of people with disabilities. Participants toured the restaurant’s kitchen and storage areas, learning about proper food handling techniques and the products used to make specialty pizzas and dishes.

“We are happy and proud to take part in PathPoint’s annual Disability Mentoring Day,” said Michele Jones, CPK-Paseo Nuevo’s assistant general manager. “Giving others the experience and the joy to do what we love to do is a badge of honor for us.”

Even though PathPoint’s scope of services extends far beyond employment services, staff at PathPoint believe the first step is expectation.

“We expect that people with disabilities, mental illnesses or economic disadvantages can succeed in their goals,” said Cindy Burton, PathPoint president and CEO. “Employment means more than a paycheck; it means purpose and the opportunity to lead an independent, self-directed life. Work empowers us, contributing to increased expectation, and the cycle continues!

“We are so grateful to our community partners who foster inclusive cultures in their company by employing the talents of all qualified individuals.”

As part of the month-long series of activities, PathPoint is collaborating with employer partners to host events in the community to provide career exploration and networking opportunities, two critical aspects of preparing for and finding a job.

October also marks the kick off of PathPoint’s fall 50th anniversary celebrations. PathPoint participants, donors, sponsors, family members, community members and employees will gather to commemorate the special milestone of 50 years of service to adults with special needs Oct. 25 at La Cumbre County Club. Call 805.961.9200 x1100 to purchase tickets.

Click here for more information about PathPoint, or call 805.966.3310.

— Corinne Hayhurst is communications manager at PathPoint.

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Dyslexia Awareness Month Spurs Flurry of Activity to Build Knowledge

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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Santa Barbara Unified School District holding parent education events, hosting Parent Resource Center meetings

Advocate Cheri Rae and education officials were celebrated for their work by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in recognition of October as Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Dyslexia means “difficulty with words” and is very prevalent; the learning disability affects one in five individuals.

“We’ve all read about the stories and research that if not diagnosed early with the support needed for our children early on, it can lead to long-lasting impacts,” First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said.

Rae, who spearheaded the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Parent Resource Center and runs The Dyslexia Project, was given a special shout-out by county and state representatives.

“I think it’s incredibly important when talking about dyslexia awareness to talk about people who bridged the gap between talk and action,” said Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.

Rae has distinguished herself as an involved parent and advocate for children with dyslexia in the school system, he said.

Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dave Cash said the county’s acknowledgement of the issue was a highlight of his career.

The district has a display up at La Cumbre Plaza, Chaucer’s Bookstore and other locations around town with quotes by famous locals who struggled with dyslexia, such as Santa Barbara High School graduates Charles Schwab and water polo Olympian Kami Craig.

The special education department just created its first-ever newsletter that will be shared with parents, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

Rae runs weekly discussions at the Parent Resource Center in addition to helping parents and educators find special education information.

“One in five — that’s a lot,” she said. “Kids are needlessly struggling in school, and these are smart kids who just need to be identified and taught the way they can learn.”

The Parent Resource Center will show The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia at an Oct. 23 open house and discussion about assistive technology for students.

Recently, several people have been asking about colleges that specialize in programs for students with dyslexia and other disabilities, she said.

Some schools specialize in dyslexia and there are mainstream universities with robust programs to support those students, such as the University of Arizona, she noted.

“Many students are not identified and may struggle through school and graduate, with less of a grade-point average than they’re capable of, and once they get to college it’s incredibly difficult,” she said.

“We want to identify kids earlier and support them through school so they can move on and do what they need to do.”

Now that people are using the resource center more, the district and Rae plan on more outreach into the community.

“Doing outreach is a lot better than hoping people come in,” Rae said.

Click here to watch a video about the Parent Resource Center.

The district started a series of talks for parents of students with disabilities this year. The next event will be held in the district office board room at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, at 720 Santa Barbara St., and again at 6 p.m. at Dos Pueblos High School, 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta.

It’s titled “The Role of the Parent Before, During and After the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meeting.”

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

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Diane Dimond: U.S. Response to Ebola Outbreak Does Not Inspire Confidence

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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We have got to get smarter about controlling the ever-widening Ebola epidemic — and quickly.

Ebola is not just a problem for the hotspots of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. And the Homeland Security Department’s new system of simply questioning and taking the temperature of incoming air travelers from West Africa isn’t enough to control this potential pandemic.

Naming a new presidentially appointed czar to coordinate an ill-conceived response won’t cut it either.

This is a modern-day Pandora’s box with deadly, worldwide consequences, and our government’s response via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been pitiful.

At this writing, there are two known cases of American nurses contracting Ebola from a Liberian patient who traveled to the United States in late September and died in a Dallas hospital Oct. 8.

Thomas Duncan did not know he was infected when he flew here. The hospital didn’t suspect it either and initially released him with a temperature of 103. By the time he returned two days later, Duncan, 45, had potentially exposed dozens of people who were then placed in a 21-day quarantine.

As wildly impossible as it seems, however, the CDC never specifically told any of the 75 Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who had contact with Duncan that they should restrict their movements. It took eight days before the CDC had staffers sign a pledge to stay away from public places and mass transit.

Too late. One nurse flew to Ohio to visit relatives and plan her wedding. Sometime during her trip she fell ill with a low-grade fever, called the CDC for guidance, was told she didn’t fall into the “high-risk category” and was allowed to fly home to Dallas. She had Ebola. And now fellow passengers, relatives and others she visited are on an anxious Ebola watch.

A lab worker from Duncan’s team went on a cruise and ultimately self-quarantined herself in her cabin when she realized the risk.

Our nation’s response to the Ebola outbreak has been pitifully lacking focus and coordination. This does not inspire confidence.

How contagious is Ebola? The World Health Organization now predicts West Africa could soon see 10,000 new cases every week. The percentage of infected people who could find their way to the United States keeps increasing, and experts say more cases are surely on the horizon.

The new screening protocols at the five U.S. airports through which most (but not all) West African travelers enter are of questionable value. By the time a foreign traveler makes it off the plane and into the customs area, his or her fellow passengers who might have been exposed are long gone.

A cleanup crew is already on the plane getting it ready for quick turnaround. They could become infected while picking up used paper cups and tissues stuffed in seat flaps. And not to be too dramatic about it, but an infected crew member could unknowingly exchange deadly bodily fluids by simply kissing a loved one. They could cough or sneeze inside another plane — potentially spreading the infection further.

Think about this: As the Ebola threat looms, so does the traditional flu season with symptoms much like, you guessed it, Ebola.

Before public panic sets in and emergency rooms fill up with frantic patients, we need to cut off all air travel from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. We need to flag the passports of citizens from those countries and deny them entry for a period of time. I know this idea has already been dismissed by Washington, but it shouldn’t have been.

Our best bet is to concentrate on isolating the virus where it was born so it can die there. That is the most logical way to fight an epidemic.

Still, some insist we can’t do that. Critics of a travel ban say it could harm the economies of those African countries, as if the outbreak hasn’t already done that. They say a ban would restrict relief workers and medical supplies from getting into the Ebola Zone.

Nonsense. Anyone who wanted to go help could still go via charter jets or military transports. Their return might be delayed by a quarantine for 21 days, but tightly controlled exceptions could be made if they actually contracted Ebola. They could be transported home for treatment much the same as several Americans who contracted the disease were.

More than 4,000 lives have been lost so far in what is the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. This is not a time for discussion about America’s traditionally open borders. It is time to slam the lid tight on this plague.

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

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Mark Shields: Honor the Heroic Nurses Fighting on Front Lines of Ebola Outbreak

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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That terrifying Tuesday morning, now 14 Septembers ago, when terrorists connected to al-Qaeda hijacked jetliners and drove them into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center will be forever with us — just as we can never forget the 343 New York City firefighters who, on a mission to rescue fellow human beings in the burning buildings, walked bravely into the fires of hell to their deaths.

Almost overnight, ambitious politicians everywhere were frantically getting their pictures taken with firefighters, who — in spite of the fact that they were public employees and often even dues-paying union members — had emerged as America’s most popular heroes.

The current Ebola scare in the United States is not 9/11. But once again, we need to recognize American heroes whom we see every day and whom we have too often taken for granted.

Let us begin with Nina Pham, the 26-year-old Texas Christian University graduate who, as a critical-care nurse, voluntarily put herself in harm’s way to treat Thomas Duncan, a stranger from Liberia who would be the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States. The eldest of three daughters born to parents who had immigrated to the United States from their native Vietnam after the war, Nina, according to her medical colleagues, has a single standard for the treatment of those in her care: “What would I do if it were my mom, dad or grandparent?”

As this is written, Nina herself is battling Ebola, while on the airwaves, those who do not know — and who ought to know better — idly and endlessly speculate on whose mistakes caused her infection. Missing is our national recognition of the constant courage and dedication of fellow human beings we sometimes bloodlessly identify as “health-care providers.” Nurses are the firefighters of 2014.

Unlike celebrated Wall Street wiseguys, they don’t spend their time and energy trying to figure out how to move their money into a Cayman Island account to evade taxes. Nurses and hospital workers, after their rent is paid and after the food is put on the table, have precious little money left to spend, let alone to move. They do not do what they do for money or for fame or for celebrity; they do it for humanity.

Nurses and medical workers don’t get asked for their autographs or approached by interviewers for their views on the economy. They do get up every day and they do work long, hard hours — giving of their considerable knowledge, talent and, yes, compassion — to cure the sick, to reassure the fearful and to comfort the dying.

Let us recognize and let us honor these genuine American heroes who walk among us. The next time we see a nurse, let us tell him or her, “Thank you. Thank you for your service.”

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Letter to the Editor: Join the Good Guys Who Support Measure P

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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Join the good guys who support Measure P.

ORGANIZATIONS:

Sierra Club – The Fund for Santa Barbara – The League of Women Voters – Audobon Society - California Nurses Association – Physicians for Social Responsibility – Community Environmental Council – Environmental Defense Center – Citizens Planning Association – Carpenteria Valley Association – Summerland Citizens Association – Santa Ynez Valley Alliance – Students Against Fracking – Change.org – Santa Barbara County Water Guardians – 350 Santa Barbara – Channel Keeper – Santa Barbara Womens' Political Committee

ELECTED OFFICIALS:

State Senate: Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Assembly: Das Williams
Santa Barbara City Council: Cathy Murillo - Greg Hart
Carpenteria City Council: (Majority vote)
Santa Barbara County Supervisors: Salud Carbajal - Janet Wolf

BUSINESSES:

Beckman Vineyards – Kaena Wines – Moretti Wines – Firestone Vineyards – Gypsy Canyon Winery - Terra Sol Garden Center – Healing Grounds Nursery -– Earthbound Herbs SB

AGRICULTURE AND RANCHING:

Shepherd Farms – SB Organics – Las Palmalitas Ranch – Classic Organic Farm and Market – – Winfield Farm – Roots Farm – Earthtrine Farm – Red Horizon Farm SB – Hilltop and Canyon Farm – Tutti Frutti Farms – McAfree Farms, OPDC

CELEBRITY:

Robert Redford: “Chevron destroyed Santa Barbara with the 1969 oil spill. We can't let them do it again.”

ACADEMICS (NOT FUNDED BY OIL COMPANIES):

Catherine Gautier, Prof. Emerita, UCSB Geography Dept. 
Bruce Luyendyk, Prof. Emeritus of Earth Science, UCSB
Allan Stewart-Oaten, Prof. Emeritus of Mathematical Biology, Dep't. Of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, UCSB

​William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara County’s Stand Down Lifts Up Local Veterans with Hope, Services

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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Donations, volunteers fuel third annual, resource-rich gathering at Santa Maria Fairpark

Carlos Madrigal got a huge teddy bear, shoes and much more.

Garwin Weiting’s dog, a Yorkie named Naomi, received veterinary care.

And Shevonne Harris took advantage of services offered before switching roles to volunteer in the clothing area at the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down.

They were among hundreds of former military men and women to receive services and donations during the third annual Stand Down on Saturday at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

“Our hope is you make yourself at home because you’ve earned it,” Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino told the crowd during the opening ceremony. “Welcome home.”

Lavagnino launched the local Stand Down three years ago, rallying donations and volunteers with his aide, Sandy Agalos, whom he credited with turning a “logistical nightmare into a wonderful day.”

Sponsors and donations come from throughout Santa Barbara County, and include corporations such as Raytheon and InDyne; nonprofit organizations like Santa Maria Elks and Santa Barbara Elks lodges, and the Santa Barbara County Cattlemen’s Association; and individuals who just wanted to help. One good Samaritan dropped off 650 pairs of socks while another family offered a few towels.

“This is truly a community effort, and each one of you is amazing,” Lavagnino said.

Several airmen from Vandenberg Air Force Base also volunteered, serving as escorts for the veterans.

Dr. Ruth Corbo checks the microchip of Garwin Weiting's dog, Naomi, at the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Dr. Ruth Corbo checks the microchip of Garwin Weiting's dog, Naomi, at the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The event is funded through the various donations plus a federal grant, Lavagnino explained.

This year’s event added blood-pressure and blood-glucose monitoring along with giveaways of rain coats and boots. Additionally, the event had women doctors for female veterans, increased the number of bus tokens and included an alterations station to make clothing repairs.

The Stand Down was designed to serve up to 500 veterans, but the final number helped Saturday wasn’t expect to be available for a week. While geared toward all veterans, the event targeted special services for homeless veterans, including round-trip transportation from Santa Barbara.

“This year is exponentially easier,” Lavagnino said. “Our volunteers have stepped up in a huge way. ... Now they’ve just taken over their areas.”

Those familiar with Stand Downs held in smaller and larger counties said Santa Barbara County’s rates best for its friendliness and helpfulness.

With the Fairpark filled Saturday morning, Lavagnino said it’s unreal to see the veterans and volunteers.

“I think there’s a pent-up need for a lot of people to let our veterans know how we feel about them,” Lavagnino said. “This is very cathartic for me as well as all of the volunteers. I’ve said it many times, I think I get more out of this than any veteran walks away with.”

The first year, the event aimed at getting veterans various donated items. Now, the Stand Down works to get veterans reconnected to the community and familiar with the services they earned.

Carlos Madrigal, left, was accompanied by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ubaldo Barrios, who toted bags of goodies and a giant stuffed bear that had been given to the veteran. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Carlos Madrigal, left, was accompanied by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ubaldo Barrios, who toted bags of goodies and a giant stuffed bear that had been given to the veteran. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Harris, a Righetti High School graduate who served in the Army from 1983 to 1989, attended the first Stand Down and broke through a barrier of getting help she sought to get her military disability.

“It had been taking forever,” she said, adding Stand Down volunteers set up medical appointments and other steps needed to get approval of her disability within six months.

“Actually when I came I had no intention of getting services,” she said of her time at the Stand Down three years ago. “I was just volunteering because I was so glad.”

After visiting service providers Saturday, she planned to volunteer in the clothing giveaway area.

“This is the best thing,” she said.

Harris said she has encouraged younger veterans to take advantage of the event’s services after getting help herself, saying many don’t even know what they need until seeing what’s available.

“You’ve got all these people here who want to do something, who want to help you, who want to give you services,” she said. “Why not get them?”

A former soldier, Madrigal was escorted around the Fairpark on Saturday by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ubaldo Barrios, who carted a couple of big bags filled with various items, including the giant stuffed bear that already had been named Carlos for its new owner.

They had already picked up shoes, a sleeping bag and toiletries for Madrigal, who enjoyed the attention brought by the bear being carried by Barrios.

“See, what did I tell you, bro?” Madrigal told Barrios. “Carry a bear around with you all the time.”

Ron Herbig of Lompoc attended for the third time with his dog, Juanita Chiquita Margarita.

“I think it’s marvelous, actually,” said Herbig, who served in the Army from 1962 to 1968.

In addition to the help, the Stand Down provided a chance to unite with old friends he hadn’t seen for some time, he added.

But more important, the Stand Down has provided a place to get services while meeting with representatives face to face instead of having to deal with maddening telephone calls, Herbig said.

The help wasn’t just for veterans, but included four-legged members of their families, like Weiting’s Naomi, a Yorkie who received a check-up, vaccinations and ear medication.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Weiting, a Santa Maria resident who served in the Navy on the aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga, during the Vietnam War. “To me, these Stand Downs are just unbelievable. I”m so proud to be a part of it — mainly for the homeless vets who are left behind. They need this desperately bad. To see this kind of stuff go on for veterans is so nice.”

Santiago Salutan’s dog, Toby, also received an exam and reluctantly had his nails trimmed, much to his dismay.

“It means a lot,” said Salutan, who served in the Army from 1967 to 1969. “He’s needed to get his license and some of his shots he didn’t get. I really appreciate it a lot.”

He said he was overwhelmed by the services offered to veterans Saturday.

Dogs also were given flea baths nearby and the owners could pick up a bag of free food.

Inside one Fairpark building, dozens of agencies, nonprofit groups and others set up booths to help veterans with a variety of services.

Hoss Diego represented the Central Coast Amputee and Caregivers Peer Group, which is open to veterans and civilians alike.

“I think this is great,” said Diego, who served in the Army for nine years. “This is really good. It lets a lot of veterans know they’re not forgotten.”

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.

Hoss Diego talks about the Central Coast Amputee and Caregiver Peer Group during the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Hoss Diego talks about the Central Coast Amputee and Caregiver Peer Group during the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Karl Hutterer: Measure P Will Open Door for Alternative Energy’s Long-Term Solution

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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The fight over Measure P is a David vs. Goliath battle. To date, the “No” campaign has raised $5.6 million, virtually all of it from oil companies, much of it from oil giants; the “Yes” campaign has raised barely $300,000, most of it in small contributions from people like you and me.

Karl Hutterer
Karl Hutterer

This gigantic imbalance alone should tell us whose interests are at stake and who is out there trying to buy an election! This flood of money is financing a flood of advertising that is awash in untruths and misrepresentations.

It is not true that Measure P will shut down existing oil production. It is, therefore, also not true that Measure P will eliminate jobs, nor is it true the Measure P will bankrupt Santa Barbara County and cripple fire and police services.

Finally, it is also not true that Measure P is poorly written and will not survive in court, a red herring even the Santa Barbara Independent has swallowed. Measure P was written by a team of highly experienced environmental lawyers and lawyers familiar with the drafting of propositions. It is legally sound.

What is true, however, is that we absolutely need Measure P. Yes, expanded oil production through enhanced recovery techniques may produce some tidy profits in the short run, but those profits will not go into the pockets of poor people in the North County, nor even into county coffers. They will go to the oil companies. Why do you think they are fighting Measure P so hard?!

Yes, expanded oil production will create some jobs, but those jobs will not go to unemployed or underemployed people in the North County, but they will go to people who will come in from elsewhere to do specialized work.

Worst of all, there may well be a boom in the making, but it will be a short-term phenomenon, and what will happen after the boom is over? Go to a place like Taft in Kern County and see what the oil boom has left behind: a devastated town marked by poverty and environmental destruction.

Most of all, however, we absolutely need Measure P, if we finally want to get serious about addressing global climate change. The scientific verdict is in: climate change is happening, and the release of pollutants from fossil fuels is its primary engine.

We no longer can stop the train; it has left the station, but we can slow it down and prevent climate change to take on proportions that would be truly disastrous. However, we have to act now, act quickly and act decisively.

So far, the preferred recovery technique of “tight oil” in the North County has been cyclic steam injection, which produces four times more of the dangerous pollution than normal pumping techniques. That is bad enough.

Far worse, however, is to bet on a new oil boom that will simply distract us from what we must do: concentrate on investing in the development of green, sustainable energy. Doing anything else would truly be fiddling while Rome burns!

The good news is that development of alternative energy would produce local jobs, and it would be an investment in the long-term future.

— Karl L. Hutterer Ph.D. is the retired executive director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and a Community Environmental Council board member. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Cyclists In for the Long Rides During Santa Barbara Century Race

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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Hundreds of bicycles take to the foothills as riders compete along three grueling courses

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Hundreds of cyclists rode through Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Saturday morning.

Riders participated in the 100-mile Santa Barbara Century, which climbs 9,000 feet up Gibraltar Road, or the 100-kilometer Metric Century race. A third race, the 34-mile Foothill course, was a new addition this year, with riders sticking to Montecito, Santa Barbara and Goleta.

All of the courses headed into the South Coast foothills.

The fifth annual event promotes bicycling and raises money for local charities.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P Will Lead to Litigation, and Santa Barbara County Will Lose

By | Published on 10/18/2014

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We have entered the political season. In Santa Barbara County, Measure P is on the ballot. There has been, and no doubt will continue to be, a lot of claims and counterclaims about it. As is always the case in any political struggle, some claims are true, some are not.

A claim made early and often by Measure P proponents is this: “400 communities across the United States have passed similar bans to Measure P.” Measure P supporters have also claimed that none of the existing bans have been litigated. Not only are these claims deceptive — they are flat-out wrong.

So you will know how wrong, let’s dig a bit.

First, some context: The most recent census indicates there are almost 40,000 counties, cities and townships in the United States. If all 400 of the “communities” cited by the Measure P proponents were counties, cities or townships, that would be one thing. But they are not.

The list they tout includes neighborhood groups, school boards and student councils. Obviously, any “ban” (and the word is enclosed in quotes intentionally) passed by these groups is symbolic since they do not have jurisdictional authority over either land planning or oil production matters; therefore, they ban nothing.

Further, almost all of the so-called symbolic resolutions Measure P supporters call bans (exactly 15 of them in California) were nothing more than calls for a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until regulators completed the scientific studies required by Senate Bill 4.

The definition of “moratorium” is significantly different than the definition of “ban.”

You may recall that SB 4 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2013 and set some of the toughest regulations on energy production technologies in the country. However, first it required certain scientific studies to be completed so regulations could be based on facts, rather than hyperbole.

Using the term “ban” to describe a symbolic resolution is pure hyperbole. Other words for hyperbole are embellishment, exaggeration and overstatement. In this context, it means truth-stretching.

The symbolic resolutions — conveniently and disingenuously relabeled “bans” by the Measure P proponents — were collected by environmental activists while seeking support for Senate Bill 1132, a bill that called for a short-term moratorium while regulations and studies required by SB 4 were completed. It is worth noting, the state Senate rejected SB 1132.

There have only been three actual bans passed in California. One by Santa Cruz County, where there is no oil production — again a symbolic action. One by the City of Beverly Hills, where there is historic oil production, but where none of the techniques Measure P would prohibit are being used. So, it makes sense these two have not been challenged.

However, in the third community, Compton, a ban similar to Measure P was adopted, a lawsuit was filed and the ban has been rescinded, for now.

Likewise, in Colorado, where actual bans have been passed by local jurisdictions, lawsuits have resulted. So far, five separate Colorado cities have passed bans. In one, Boulder, there are no active wells within its jurisdiction, making the ban meaningless from the get-go.

In Broomfield, an oil and gas company that had a prior “memorandum of understanding” with the city, sued and won.

In the other three — Fort Collins, Lafayette and Longmont — lawsuits were filed and all three bans were struck down by the courts.

So to recap, there are not 400 bans nationwide. The rhetoric about 400 bans is simply not true. Where actual bans have been passed, they have fared poorly in court.

Why subject the taxpayers of Santa Barbara County to the cost of defending a ban that will most certainly lead to litigation; litigation Santa Barbara County will lose? Vote no on P.

Edward S. Hazard
President, California Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners
Paso Robles

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Lompoc Driver Facing DUI Charge After Hitting School Bus

By | Published on 10/17/2014

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A driver who crashed into the back of a school bus full of students in Lompoc ​Friday afternoon was arrested on suspicion of driving under influence, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP said the bus driver stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Central Avenue and North A Street at 1:25 p.m.

A GMC pickup driven by Guy Barker of Lompoc slammed into the stopped bus, which was driven by Deborah Clark, also a Lompoc resident.

“Due to the driver of the pickup's level of intoxication, he failed to observe that the school bus had stopped in front of him, and as a result the front of his vehicle struck the rear of the school bus,” the CHP said a news release.

The CHP said 26 students were on board the bus at the time of the accident but none of them was injured.

Clark complained of pain to her back, but was not transported to the hospital and decided to seek her own medical care, the CHP said.

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

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Former Doctor Accused of Overprescribing May File to Withdraw Guilty Pleas

By | Published on 10/17/2014

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A court hearing has been set for Dec. 10, when the defense attorney for Julio Diaz is expected to submit the motion

Julio Diaz
Julio Diaz

The defense attorney for a former Santa Barbara doctor who admitted overprescribing powerful painkillers to patients may file to withdraw guilty pleas this winter.

Julio Diaz, who formerly operated a medical practice on Milpas Street, pleaded guilty to federal charges of overprescribing that led to 11 patient deaths in January 2013

He has been in custody since that time.

A federal affidavit accused Diaz of prescribing “profound” doses of drugs, including strong painkillers such as OxyContin, Fentanyl and Dilaudid.

The court has set a new hearing for Dec. 10, for an anticipated defense motion to withdraw Diaz's guilty pleas, according to federal prosecutor Ann Wolf.

"If the motion is denied, sentencing will be held Jan. 7, 2015," she said Friday. "If the motion is granted, the matter will be set for trial sometime in 2015."

Robison Harley Jr., Diaz's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

Two families who lost loved ones to prescription drug overdose have settled with local pharmacies and their pharmacists that filled Diaz's prescriptions in civil court.

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

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Joe Conason: Let Obama and Frieden Do Their Jobs in Battle Against Ebola

By | Published on 10/17/2014

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If the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind, then even the possibility of infection with Ebola should do the same — for all of us. Instead, we seem easily distracted by attempts to blame President Barack Obama and to scapegoat the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Republican politicians and media loudmouths have even demanded the resignation of Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director, because he's refused to endorse a West African travel ban.

They're all dead wrong.

First, Obama is following precisely the correct approach in addressing the outbreak with his order to dispatch American troops to Liberia. The men and women of the medical corps can swiftly set up emergency tented facilities in every Liberian county while security personnel begin to restore order and prevent panicked destruction.

The president didn't foresee this outbreak, but neither did anyone else, principally because every earlier Ebola outbreak had been contained within a few rural villages. His order to send troops isn't popular; nobody likes the idea of sending our troops into danger. He made a difficult choice, but it was a wise one. (Our British and French allies have agreed to do the same in Sierra Leone and Guinea, respectively.)

Why are the unique characteristics and large scale of the U.S. military so vital now? Simply because no other force can adequately handle the logistical and safety requirements of this chaotic, perilous undertaking in West Africa. To take just one example: Both our troops and the local health care workers will need an enormous supply of protective gear, which must be not just discarded but also carefully destroyed after a single use.

More broadly, the effort to contain Ebola needs very well-trained, well-organized and well-disciplined people on the ground — which is to say, an army. Our military personnel are the best in the world and will be able to provide leadership and guidance to the Liberians, organizing local health workers to restore order amid chaos and fear.

Second, the calls for Frieden to resign by Republican members of Congress resemble cheap midterm campaigning, not intelligent policymaking. Although the CDC has not functioned perfectly in the current crisis, its director is certainly the most qualified and experienced figure to stem a threatened outbreak of infectious disease. His expertise is not merely on paper, either.

During four of the worst years of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York, when multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis was taking a terrible toll, Frieden oversaw the program that eventually controlled TB and reduced cases by 80 percent. For five years, he worked in India, dispatched by the CDC to work with the World Health Organization to control TB in that country — where his efforts helped to provide treatment for at least 10 million patients and saved as many as 3 million lives. Those are among the reasons that President Obama appointed him in the first place — and why he still deserves far more confidence than the partisan screamers in Congress and on cable television now attacking him.

Now is the wrong time for politicians and pundits to distract the Pentagon and the CDC from the difficult task at hand, which will require months of intensive struggle. There will be plenty of opportunity for recriminations later, if that seems necessary.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when the country faced what felt like an existential crisis, many public figures, especially Republicans, urged everyone to put national unity and cooperation ahead of partisan bickering. It would be good if, just this once, they would follow their own advice.

What we will need in the months to come is a fresh assessment of our foreign aid programs. We need to understand why our traditional stinginess does both our country and our children a terrible disservice. Our best hope for survival, in the long term, is to notice how small our world has become — and to recognize that protecting our fellow human beings everywhere is the only way to protect ourselves.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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