Santa Barbara-Goleta, Thursday, April 24, 2014

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UCSB Students Aim to Impress in Pitching Their Business Ideas

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Technology Management Program hosts its annual New Venture Fair, with six of 22 teams going on to compete for cash prizes

Ian Wessen was on the lookout for clipboards, scanning a steadily growing crowd Thursday evening with fellow UC Santa Barbara students who were also “dressed to the nines” for the occasion.

The trick was spotting them before they spotted you, which would mean that one of the more than 200 judges of the 15th annual New Venture Fair had been left idle a moment too long.

The UCSB senior physics major said his team of four was over stage fright at this point, having prepared to give their best business pitch the past 10 months.

Wessen’s Daycasters team competed with 21 other small groups of undergraduate and graduate students in the Technology Management Program fair, a lead-up to UCSB’s New Venture Competition.

The six teams who garner the most nods from judges and mentors of the TMP program during the semifinal round at the Corwin Pavilion go on to compete for cash prizes totaling $75,000 on May 22.

A good reason to please.

“Do you ever turn your lights on during the day?” Wessen said to a judge.

He held up a small, flat and clear circular prism, explaining its ability to redirect sunlight from a window (as an attachment) into a home or office.

New Venture
UCSB graduate student Dayton Horvath, left, listens to questions and advice from a mentor judging Thursday evening's 15th annual New Venture Fair. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“These things are extremely cost beneficial,” Wessen said of the patented technology developed by UCSB physics professor Benjamin Monreal.

Not to mention eco-friendly.

“So are they that size?” asked Andreas Forsland, a local entrepreneur and judge.

“Heavens no,” Wessen said, passing the pitch to senior English literature major Rachel Solomon, who explained the prisms would ideally be 24 inches by 24 inches and on a rotating motor.

Would the prisms be outside or inside? Could they be smaller?

“I like the idea,” Forsland said, offering suggestions based on similar projects he’s seen.

Adrian Arcilla, a third-year computer science major, offered to answer any other questions, and was rewarded with Forsland’s business card.

Many groups of would-be entrepreneurs chose teammates wisely, knowing they might need saving if — God forbid — they couldn’t remember an answer to a question.

Across the aisle, the ShadowMaps team of graduate students was swamped with business leaders wanting to learn about its cloud-based GPS technology that more accurately navigates in urban areas with tall buildings.

“This is one of the best groups we’ve ever had,” TMP program manager Mike Panesis said of this year’s competitors.

He said the six groups with the most votes would find out Monday whether they’re finalists competing in one of two categories — “tech push” and “marketing pull” — to rake in anywhere from $1,250 to $10,000.

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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BizHawk: Oren Glasman Takes Over Ownership of Funk Zone Auto Shop

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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D’Vine Café closes, Hotel Oceana becomes Hotel Milo, and Sarah Clark launches a public-relations firm

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing news@noozhawk.com.]

Local Oren Glasman has taken over ownership of the Funk Zone’s only automotive shop, a move the Goleta native calls a “dream come true.”

Glasman recently bought Imported Auto Services at 227 Gray Ave. in Santa Barbara from Gary Semerjian, a part-time SBCC automotive teacher and UC Santa Barbara alum who will continue working at the repair shop he opened 22 years ago — 20 years spent in its current location.

Oren’s Automotive became the new name of the shop that prides itself on cleanliness and recycling about a month ago.

Together, the locals have more than 40 years of auto repair experience, with Glasman working many years in management at Richard’s Accurate in Santa Barbara.

The former owner said quite a few wineries and breweries were eyeing his space, but that he wanted to keep the business a repair shop, which works mostly on Mercedes, BMWs, other imports and some domestic cars.

They’ve known each other more than a decade, and hope to work together for a long time, too.

D'Vine Café Closes Doors

D'Vine Café at 205 W. Canon Perdido St. closed Thursday after spending 10 years at the location on the corner of De la Vina Street.

Owner David Faiia said he recently decided to sell and found a buyer soon after.

A new restaurant with a new name will take over the location, but Faiia wasn’t sure what.

He closed the café Thursday in anticipation of getting married Saturday, saying he was grateful for his loyal customers. He will go on a honeymoon before deciding what’s next.

Hotel Oceana Becomes Hotel Milo

As of May 1, Hotel Oceana in Santa Barbara will become Hotel Milo under its new ownership.

JRK Property Holdings sold the hotel at 202 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in February to Hersha Hospitality.

Hotel staff said a few upgrades are coming, but no major changes.

Sarah Clark Launches Pressed Agency

Longtime resident and publicist Sarah Clark has recently founded Pressed Agency, a boutique communications agency blending marketing, PR and social media tactics.

Launched in spring 2014, Pressed Agency sets itself apart from other local PR agencies by offering clients national press exposure and strategy similar to a New York or Los Angeles firm, but with the personal client experience and ease of being based in Santa Barbara.

“We take a holistic approach with each client and combine branding, traditional media placements, celebrity seeding, and digital consultation with creative ideas to launch new brands and revitalize established ones,” Clark said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on creativity and strategic vision, giving each client a fresh perspective and driving your brand to new heights. We are your modern day storytellers.”

Clark recently left her position as public affairs manager at Cox Communications, where she was involved with the local community, managing the government affairs, media and community relations for the region. Prior to that Clark, handled the PR for many large national accounts, including Burton, Channel Islands Surfboards and many others.

Pressed Agency’s current clients include Cox Communications, Bragg Live Foods, Carrie Hoffman Jewelry, Art of Craft and ADASA.

Sheer Delights Lingerie and Accessories Opens Saturday

Sheer Delights Lingerie and Accessories will open its doors at 422 N. Milpas St., Suite 2,  on Saturday, showing off a wide array of lingerie, intimate apparel and accessories from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Already an online destination for lingerie, Sheer Delights offers customers Brazilian lingerie, as well as other novelties from South America, such as beautiful handmade jewelry from Brazil and Colombia and more, according to owner Natalia Govoni.

Other one-of-a-kind items available at the boutique include handcrafted cards and garters from Colombia, convenient bra brags, lingerie soap and various Hollywood fashion items. Personalized lingerie styling for all body types will be offered, in addition to a lingerie bridal registry, making it effortless to find that unique item that’ll make any woman feel sexy.

MIYB Space to Host Grand Opening

MIYB Spaces, Santa Maria’s first coworking facility, will host a grand opening celebration on Friday, May 2 at its 429 E. Main St. location.

Nonprofits Women’s Economic Ventures and Spokes will be on hand for the festivities, which begin at 7 a.m. with music from Mega 97.

A photo booth, Dick Dixon Santa Maria-style barbecue and ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow, along with live entertainment, tours of the facility, food, drinks drawings and networking.

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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Dies Family Files Lawsuit Against Capps, U.S. Government

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps

The parents of Mallory Rae Dies have filed a lawsuit against Rep. Lois Capps, the U.S. government and Raymond Morua over the Dec. 11, 2013, death of their daughter.

Matthew and Raeona Dies claim that Morua, the driver who pleaded guilty to fatally injuring their 27-year-old daughter, was on the job as a legislative aide to Capps, D-Santa Barbara, at the time of the accident.

Morua was under the influence at the time of the collision and left the scene, driving at high speeds down to the waterfront before he crashed into a palm tree.

Dies suffered significant head trauma and was in critical condition for five days before her family took her off life support.

Due to prior DUI convictions, he was charged with murder and ultimately pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and other charges.

He faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

In the federal complaint, Dies’ parents allege that Morua was attending the Santa Barbara Independent holiday party as part of his job representing Capps.

He was fired a few days after being arrested.

The office doesn't routinely conduct background checks, and his actions leading to this tragedy were inexcusable, Capps' office said in a statement.

Raymond Morua

Attorney Robert Stoll said the lawsuit claims that Morua was within the scope of his job at the time and place of the accident.

To make a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, someone must show that the damage was done by a federal government employee, the employee was acting within the scope of his official duties, and the employee was acting negligently or wrongly, which caused the alleged damage or injury.

Stoll filed a claim, the precursor to a lawsuit, in December, and normal procedure is to have the House of Representatives counsel decide whether to deny or accept the claim.

It's essentially the same process used by Santa Barbara County.

Capps' office can't comment on pending legal matters, spokesman Chris Meagher said. 

"It is our understanding that no determination has been made relative to any claim related to these events," he said, meaning the House counsel hasn't responded to the claim yet.

Morua had a “long and publicly known history of alcohol and drug abuse and a well-documented public history of operating automobiles while under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” the claim says.

Mallory Rae Dies

He has a driving history of numerous California Vehicle Code violations, and has “caused multiple prior vehicle collisions” according to the claim.

It alleges that Capps and the other defendants hired Morua even though they knew Morua wasn’t qualified to safely drive a vehicle as part of his work duties. It also claims the defendants didn’t properly monitor or supervise Morua.

The family’s complaint alleges negligence by all parties led to Mallory’s death.

Considering his driving history and “dangerous tendencies,” it was “highly foreseeable” Morua would cause a serious vehicle collision resulting in serious injury or death to members of the public, but he was still hired and required to drive as part of his job, the lawsuit alleges.

Dies’ parents want a jury trial, and are asking for general damages, funeral and burial expenses, hospital expenses, economic damages and punitive damages.

The lawsuit was filed in the Central District of California of the U.S District Court.

Stoll filed the case on Monday, a week after Morua pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and other charges.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Local Filmmaker Captures Wedding of Sarah Gore in Carpinteria

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Larry Nimmer happens upon the nuptials for the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore

Larry Nimmer was working diligently at The Lucky Llama in Carpinteria last weekend when former Vice President Al Gore escorted his daughter across the lawn located just in front of the coffee shop.

Sarah Gore and her fiancé, Patrick Maiani, then wed under a historic Torrey pine tree, an unconventional wedding spot for a former vice-president’s daughter.

“I go [to the Lucky Llama] most mornings, and I just happened to be there,” Nimmer said.  

Nimmer has been a filmmaker and TV producer for more than 40 years. His clients have ranged from Michael Jackson to CBS News to Carl’s Jr.

So naturally, as the Gore family passed in front of him, he quickly got up and filmed the exclusive wedding, which relocated down the hill to Crushcakes and Café after the ceremony came to an end. 

In addition to working with many prestigious clients, Nimmer has done projects for many public agencies, including the state of California, and has served on the Santa Barbara County Library Advisory Board.

However, he currently dedicates his time to a new project, Everyone Has a Story.   

Everyone Has a Story is a new free program that archives video stories from everyday people.

The project encourages people to use new technologies to film their experiences and archives them online. Videos can range from family memories to professional experiences to local and world events.

The Gore wedding footage has been useful publicity for the project, Nimmer said.

The video footage can be found on the Everyone Has a Story YouTube page and has since been played on CNN among other networks.

Nimmer’s personal mission statement is “to give people a platform to express themselves” by sharing video stories with the world.  

He started the project about two months ago, and is asking that people interested in sharing their videos send him a link. He will then upload the video to the Everyone Has a Story web page and the Everyone Has a Story YouTube account.

“The project is relatively new,” he said. “I hope that people in the future will be able to upload it directly to the web site. For now, they can send me a link, and I will upload [the video].”

Nimmer hopes the project will expand much further and become a public archive.

“Our hope is that this becomes a big deal, and that we get various public libraries involved,” he said.

To learn more about Everyone Has a Story, contact Nimmer at nimmer@everyonehasastory.org.

Noozhawk intern Allyson Werner can be reached at awerner@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Randi Rabin: Grown Daughter Mad at Mean Mom; Woman Hurt by Gossip About Her Outfits

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Dear Feelings Doctor: My mother is really mean to me. She has been since I was a child. I am 39 years old now, and she still continues to embarrass me when she has the opportunity. I am well educated and the only one in my family with a college degree, but still I am kicked in the knees whenever I am around her. I am so mad.

How can I change her and the way she treats me?

— Just Plain Mad in Santa Barbara

Dear Mad: The scenario you describe here can leave one with a heavy heart, but here’s the good news ...

You are doing the work right now that your mother did not. Sometimes when people don’t know how to show affection or love and have been mad for so long, "mad" is the only way they know how to operate in the world. Generally under that mad there is a deep sadness that has been there all along. It’s a learned behavior that is so deep that it will take awhile to peel away all the layers.

If you are ready today, right now, you will need to let go of your mother being anything other than who she is and who she has always been. The anger you feel today is a natural response to what has been happening throughout your life, and you do not need that dynamic any longer.

Today you are searching for something else. Bless your mother for being and doing what she was capable of, and if possible, tell her just that. Also let her know that you are no longer available for mean, hurtful behavior from her. We teach people how to treat us, and this is your time to be the kind, loving, caring person you need to be in your own life. To try and attempt to change more than one person is a futile endeavor, my friend. The one and only person you do have the power to change is you! It’s a fantastic journey, and you will be great at it.

Good luck, and thank you for sharing your story with me. Keep in touch.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I live in a small community and have a very busy life driving my children to school — each go in different directions! I dash to a workout class just in time for "me" and continue my day in workout clothes.

I heard some ladies talking the other day about how offensive it is to wear sweaty clothing all day long and pick your children up looking like that. I feel so hurt. I do not have time in my busy day to worry about my outfits! I am making dinner and focused on the connections my family and I have.

P.S. I am not making very many friends. Help!

— Hurt

Dear Hurt: What others think about you is none of your business. It’s what you think of yourself that really matters. Would you honestly want to be friends with women who judge you by your outfits everyday? Sounds like an episode of Mean Girls to me.

Like you said, you are too busy taking care of things and people who really matter. Be true to yourself and your ethics. Your path will cross with someone who really will be a friend and actually knows how. Being a good mother and partner is so much more in style than a new pair of Jimmy Choos or a toxic gossip group any day.

You say you don’t have time to worry about your outfits. You really do not have time to worry about women who spend their days wading in the shallow end of human kindness either. When those women approach you; run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.

                                                                        •        •

Imagine This ...

When a thing can no longer offend you, it ceases to exist in the old way. The root of upset is like and dislike. Try to talk your mind out of anything and you will be there all day long! Instead, take a different stance. Begin just watching — only that, just watching. Not taking part in anything else.

When the words “I don’t want that to happen!” come out of your mouth, counter it with, “I’ll be fine with that! Oh, I hope that happens, it would be such good growth. I will be fine with that.”

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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State Lands Commission Calls for Further Work on EIR for Venoco Oil Production Project

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Venoco Inc.’s plans to start producing oil from the Haskell’s Beach pier encountered a major setback Wednesday when the State Lands Commission asked for more information in the environmental review documents.

Venoco wants to restart the 421-1 pier, which was stopped after a spill in 1994 when Mobil still owned it. The oil and gas lease is within the state’s jurisdiction, but many of the processing facilities, such as the Ellwood Onshore Facility, are within the City of Goleta.

City leaders sent a letter to the State Lands Commission with concerns about prolonging the life of the Ellwood Onshore Facility, which is supposed to close after Platform Holly stops producing.

Commission staff recommended that the project be approved as is, but the commission wants to analyze the Las Flores Canyon facility for processing, said Eric Gillies, assistant chief of environmental planning and management for the SLC.

The environmental impact report considered Las Flores, but it didn’t fully analyze it as an alternative to the Ellwood Onshore Facility. Now the staff has to include that information and recirculate the documents for public review, a process that will take several months.

SLC staff hope to get the new draft EIR back to the commission by the end of the year, Gillies said.

They didn’t think Las Flores was a feasible alternative because of environmental impacts from running a pipeline all the way from the pier to the processing facility, about 9 miles, he said.

Wednesday’s decision was welcome news to the Environmental Defense Center, which is representing four community groups that oppose the project.

“The most important thing is not expanding, not prolonging the use of the Ellwood Onshore Facility and making sure the city has the information to make a decision that’s good for everyone,” EDC chief counsel Linda Krop said.

Goleta hasn’t determined whether it’s even legal for Venoco to process more oil and gas at the Ellwood Onshore Facility, and the city is in charge of distributing those permits.

“No one wants (processing) on the pier, and yet that’s the only alternative on the EIR,” Krop said.

State staff will also study pressurization and greenhouse gas emission mitigations in the new draft EIR, she said.

Venoco recently placed a pipeline between the Ellwood Onshore Facility and Las Flores Canyon for some of Platform Holly’s oil and gas and the new pipeline could run parallel to that one, she added.

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

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Santa Barbara Release Photo of Suspect Accused of Using Stolen Credit Card

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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The subject depicted in the attached surveillance photograph used a stolen credit card at a liquor store on Santa Barbara’s Westside on April 13 at approximately 10:30 p.m.

He was seen exiting the white pickup truck pictured.

Earlier in the evening, the victim had her purse stolen during an event in the Santa Barbara Harbor.

If you recognize this person or the truck, please contact Santa Barbara police Detective John Ingram at 805.897.2331 or jingram@sbpd.com, or call anonymously to 805.897.2386.

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

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Group Pushes for Ballot Measure to Ban Fracking in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is behind the effort, with volunteers out in force gathering thousands of signatures

An army of volunteers has been working to gather signatures outside of Trader Joe's and among crowds meandering through local farmers markets over the past few weeks, wearing bright blue T-shirts that read "Ban Fracking in Santa Barbara County."

That's exactly what they're trying to do by gathering the 13,200 verified signatures needed to put a ballot measure before voters this fall in Santa Barbara County, asking them to ban certain oil extraction methods that have been controversial.

The group Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is behind the move, and the ballot language it is proposing wouldn't prevent conventional drilling techniques, but unconventional or "high intensity" techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, acidizing and steam injection.

The ballot measure would only cover onshore oil operations — offshore are within state and federal waters — and only in the incorporated areas of the county. It also wouldn't apply to existing projects.

Noozhawk sat down with volunteer Katie Davis, who estimates she has gathered about 500 signatures, and even signed up someone to gather names during the interview.

Davis said the group is gearing up to have a massive presence at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival this weekend, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at Alameda Park.

"Earth Day is our final hurrah," Davis said, adding that 200 volunteers have gathered more than 13,000 signatures and are aiming for 18,000 so that they'll have enough after the verification process takes place. "When you think about the amount of hours people have donated, it's really amazing."

While the ban wouldn't apply to offshore operations, "we can ban it from the bluffs and beaches," she said, adding that slant drilling that goes horizontally from onshore could be banned under the ballot measure if approved.

The county requires that oil companies notify it if fracking is going on, and since that requirement was put in, no one has come forward to say they're doing it, Davis said.

Even if there's no fracking taking place in the county now, Davis said fracking is taking place offshore and near the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line.

"That is a real risk because you've got proposed wells offshore Carpinteria in Ellwood, and Vandenberg is talking about it," she said. "It's fair to be concerned and want to head it off."

County supervisors could decide to enact the law or put on the ballot in November once they are presented with the signatures.

Several counties and cities in California have already banned the practice, including Santa Cruz and Marin counties as well as the City of Los Angeles.

Davis comes from a business background — she was part of ExpertCity, which was bought by Citrix Online, and her husband, Albert Oaten, also has been involved with several successful startup companies — and said it's not just "crazy environmentalists" who are out pushing for a ban.

Davis argues that oil companies overstate the jobs that would be created, while putting the rest of the economy at risk.

"It doesn't play well with agriculture because they're polluting water, it doesn't play well for tourism because it's ugly and causes smog and risks polluting beaches and water," she said.

The group has raised concerns about water and air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water use for wells during a time of drought, and earthquakes.

"We have coexisted with oil for a long time, and we'll continue to produce oil in this region," David said, "but we can't afford to dramatically ramp up production using these risky techniques."

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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CADA Hosting Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking in Wake of Deltopia Riot

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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On the heels of the Deltopia riot in Isla Vista, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is hosting a town hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, April 29, at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina St. to discuss ways to reduce underage drinking in our community.

The seven-member panel includes District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Undersheriff Don Patterson and an Emergency Room doctor from Cottage Hospital.

The town hall meeting was in the planning stages prior to the riot in Isla Vista on April 5. This incident led to hundreds of arrests, mostly alcohol related, and sent 26 people to the hospital, six of whom were police officers.

“We thought this was a great opportunity to talk about what happened recently in Isla Vista, how it relates to the larger problem of underage drinking in this community and how we can be proactive,” said Ed Stonefelt, president and CEO of CADA.

Additional topics will include details on the TRACE program (legally tracking the origin of alcohol access for youth under 21) and various ways parents and community members can become involved in reducing the problem of underage drinking.

The public is invited to attend this free event and will be given the opportunity to participate in the discussion and direct questions to panelists. CADA is offering child-care, Spanish translation, and dinner provided by the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP to 805.963.1433 x104.

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Rabobank Promotes Arthur Munoz to Senior Vice President

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Arthur Munoz
Arthur Munoz

Arthur Munoz III has been promoted to senior vice president, senior relationship manager for Rabobank N.A.’s Middle Market Division.

He is responsible for providing commercial clients with financial services, including loans, cash management and wealth management products.

Munoz joined the bank in 2009 and has previously held commercial banking roles at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Bank of Santa Barbara.

Munoz is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and holds an MBA from Cornell University. He is also an RMA Certified Credit Analyst.

A 17-year Santa Barbara resident, he enjoys doing charitable work for his community. He is involved with the Santa Barbara School of Squash, Risk Management Association-Tri-Counties Chapter, the Cornell Alumni Club and others.

Outside of work, Munoz enjoys sports, travel and spending time with friends and family.

Rabobank N.A. is a premier California community bank known for personalized service and its wide range of banking, lending and wealth-management offerings for individual, business, and food and agribusiness clients.

Headquartered in Roseville and with more than $14 billion in assets, the bank’s 119 branches, multi-function ATMs, and innovative online and mobile banking services empower customers to bank when, where and how they want. Rabobank’s 1,700 employees take pride in helping to improve their communities personally and professionally.

Click here for more information.

— Jacqueline Guzman is a corporate communications officer for Rabobank N.A.

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California Peace Officers Association Endorses Sheriff Bill Brown for Re-Election

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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The California Peace Officers Association has joined more than 1,100 other organizations, elected officials, law enforcement leaders, community supporters and citizens in endorsing Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown for re-election.

“The California Peace Officers Association represents the totality of the law enforcement profession. Our membership includes sheriffs; chiefs of police; command staff at the local, state and federal levels; as well as rank and file officers," said Chief Richard Lucero, CPOA president. "We take our responsibility of representing the entire profession seriously and have extensively reviewed your request for CPOA’s endorsement.

"I am pleased to tell you that our Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse your re-election campaign for Santa Barbara County sheriff.”

Other supporters include the California Police Chiefs Association, the Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorneys Association, Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and a majority of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

Sheriff Brown’s full list of endorsers can be seen by clicking here.

— Terri Lee Coleman is the communications director for the California Peace Officers Association.

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Peter Murphy Men’s Night Raises Funds for VNHC Mother’s Day Luncheon

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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On April 11, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care celebrated its 12th annual Peter Murphy Men’s Night, an evening where men — husbands, fathers, sons and friends of the women who attend VNHC’s annual signature Mother’s Day Luncheon — get together to collectively raise funds to underwrite the luncheon’s cost and provide support for VNHC.

More than 90 guests in attendance, including many of the VNHC Board of Directors, enjoyed an intimate evening where they learned about the importance of compassionate home health and hospice care services that VNHC provides to the Santa Barbara community.

Thanks to the legacy left by Murphy, the philanthropic group of men raised more than $90,000. Click here to see photos from the evening.

The evening’s festivities were co-hosted by Neil Levinson and Tom Dain at a private club generously procured by Brett Matthews. Levinson serves on the VNHC Board of Directors, and will have the pleasure of honoring his wife, Jill, as the Honored Mother at the 13th Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon on Friday, May 9 in the La Pacifica Ballroom of the Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Murphy, who passed away in 2012 at VNHC’s Serenity House, was instrumental in beginning VNHC’s Men’s Night. For a decade, he was the driving force behind raising nearly $500,000 for VNHC to provide families in our community — including those unable to pay — access to compassionate home health and hospice care. His noble kindness and willingness to help others touched many people during his lifetime. He lived the VNHC mission as someone to whom you could turn to when in need.

The Men’s Night is now named in his memory, with much love and appreciation for him.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Sigrid Wright: Why Earth Day Matters More Than Ever

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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On April 22 — the official, nationally designated Earth Day — my email box blows up. Not just from the usual business of managing our local Earth Day festival, but from the mass of e-newsletters and Facebook posts calling attention to the day. They come from every corner of society. A statewide religious consortium. Elected officials. A local attorney’s office. Some are fluff, others are sincere calls for action, and others call into question what it’s all for.

Sigrid Wright
Sigrid Wright

I ask this question of myself, and of the team that works for months to pull together Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival. The community effort that goes into coordinating our local event — one of the largest, most consistently held environmental gatherings in the U.S. — takes more than 2,000 volunteer hours over the course of months. For dozens of people who feel the importance of carrying this legacy, it means significant personal sacrifice. For the 35,000 people who will attend, it means giving up a day (or two) to gather in Alameda Park.

According to our region’s environmental pioneers, Santa Barbara’s first Earth Day in 1970 was a small but heartfelt affair. Organized as one of the first public activities of the Community Environmental Council, it was part of a nationwide day of “Environmental Teach-Ins,” modeled after the anti-war effort.

That first gathering promoted solutions that we take utterly for granted today. The Environmental Protection Agency did not exist. The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act did not exist. Recycling was not part of our daily public infrastructure. Even the bakery at the first Santa Barbara festival that offered whole wheat bread — symbolizing the beginnings of a health food movement — was considered counter-culture.

Now, a generation or two later, Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival has changed significantly, as has the landscape around us. Some say we are now in the midst of an extinction crisis — what Elizabeth Kolbert calls the Sixth Extinction. We have crossed the threshold of acceptable levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Population, climate change and resource limits are at the root of major systemic stress. It’s been a long time since a scientific study has been released saying that things are looking great.

We have work to do, and part of that work is to support each other and celebrate small victories. (As poet Wendell Berry says: Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.) It may be that one of the most important tools we need now is to build internal strength and resilience. The counter balance to the difficult realities we face is not conjuring up false optimism, but knowing how to stay centered and clear in intention in the face of droughts and polar vortexes and resource conflicts.

This is what I think Earth Day gatherings can offer. Those new to environmentalism are recognizing the magnitude of the situation and need support and perspective. Those who have been at it for awhile need fresh ideas and renewal. We band with others to share stories, to bear witness to the changes around us, and to say “not on my watch.” We look to each other for inspiration, and to remind each other that solutions we can’t even begin to imagine now can emerge with surprising speed.

And here is where I am going to get metaphysical for a moment. The biggest problems of our time aren’t climate change and human-induced collapse of systems. Those are the symptoms of a world out of balance, of people disconnected from nature and each other.

This is why I like to suggest that people take two Earth Days — one to get out into nature, preferably alone or with someone you can be quiet with, leaving behind the twittery technology. And then, on your second Earth Day, gather. Dance with friends, share a meal with your community. Learn how to grow your own vegetables and save the seeds. Dig out your bike with its splashy tires and bring it to the festival for a tune up. Think about plastic and how insane it is that we would turn our remaining oil into bottles and bags that we use for five minutes before throwing them away. That is the disconnected world we are going to start stepping away from.

Yes, there will be hypocrisy. Someone somewhere will drive to Earth Day in a gas guzzler. There will be political posturing. Some company will try to sell you a product you don’t want; some organization will espouse a doctrine you find too heavy-handed, or not enough. But that’s part of the growth of the movement, isn’t it? Not the hypocrisy or posturing or greenwashing, but the fact that with 7.2 billion people now on the planet, we are negotiating our own definitions of what it means to be "environmentalists," or of this Earth.

— Sigrid Wright is the director of the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, which is organized by the Community Environmental Council.

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Jackson Bill to Encourage Affordable Housing Passes Out of Committee

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to prohibit nonprofit affordable housing projects from being charged certain fees or back taxes passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Thursday. The vote was 5-0.

Recognizing the need and public good behind affordable housing, California law exempts non-profit affordable housing developments from property taxes. But some local governments have required some affordable housing developments to agree to annual PILOT payments (payments in lieu of taxes), often equal to the amounts that would be required if they had been paying property taxes. Others have threatened to charge back taxes, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, risking the loss of existing affordable housing.

SB 1203 would prohibit PILOT agreements in the future, while leaving existing PILOT agreements in place. SB 1203 would also make it illegal to seek back taxes from affordable housing developments with existing PILOT agreements.

“In so many parts of our state, including in my district, we are facing an affordable housing crisis where housing costs are out of reach for far too many families. It is even threatening the ability of businesses to recruit workers, “ Jackson said. “We should be doing all we can to encourage affordable housing. This bill will clarify the law and make it abundantly clear that these PILOT agreements are illegal and aren’t consistent with our goal of encouraging affordable housing.”

The bill is supported by The Arc of Ventura County, the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, among others.

Fred Robinson testified in support of the bill in committee on behalf of Harvard Place, an affordable housing development in Santa Paula where his son lives.

“Without affordable housing, my son would very likely be on the streets,” Robinson said. “This bill provides equity throughout the state and encourages non-profit housing corporations to develop these affordable housing projects.”

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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

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

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Capps to Host Community Forum at SBCC on Women’s Economic Agenda

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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From 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will host a free panel discussion and open community forum on the Women’s Economic Agenda at Santa Barbara City College’s Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike Ave.

Women in Santa Barbara County earn only 81 cents for every dollar men earn and less than one-third of elected officials in Santa Barbara County are women. In Santa Barbara County alone, 10.6 percent of employed women have incomes below the poverty line, while only 7.4 percent of employed men do.

The panel will focus on what can be done to narrow these gender inequities, and how improved economic opportunity for women leads to stronger families and communities. Additionally, the panel will focus on the unique circumstances affecting working women on the Central Coast, expanding opportunities for girls and women, and "The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back" from the Brink report.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Lori Gaskin, president of SBCC. The panelists include Danielle Swiontek, SBCC Department of History chair; Catherine Brozowski, the vice president of the Orfalea Foundation; Marsha Bailey, the CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures; and Lois Phillips, founding executive director of Antioch University Santa Barbara.

“We know that when women succeed, America succeeds,” Capps said. “And while we have taken enormous strides toward equality for women, there remains work to be done. We must empower women to be leaders in our community — in our classrooms, in our homes, in politics and in our businesses. I am looking forward to hearing what this group of women leaders have to say at this exciting event.”

Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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Partners in Education Awards Breakfast to Honor Top Students in Career Education

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Nearly 80 diligent students who have demonstrated excellence in career education will be recognized May 22 at Bacara Resort & Spa during a breakfast organized by Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

The annual Student Awards Breakfast also provides Partners in Education with the opportunity to highlight the ways that its three main programs — Computers for Families, the Internship Program and the Volunteer Coordination Program — engage local businesses in efforts to ensure a more prepared future workforce, for our community and the world at large.

The students who are recognized have demonstrated excellence in career education, either through one of 60 paid internships coordinated each year by Partners in Education with local business partners, or through Academy or ROP/CTE courses.

Regional Occupational Program/Career Technical Education (ROP/CTE) classes, administered by SBCEO, provide high-quality career technical education, career education, career development and workforce preparation for about 3,500 high school students each year in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Dr. Richard Fulton, chairman of the Partners in Education Career Education Committee and a member of the county Board of Education, describes internships as “the critical bridge from classroom to career.”

“They are the most effective way for young people to apply the concepts they learn in class," he said. "We hope more employers will be inspired to get involved as a result of attending this event and hearing students’ stories.”

Students from both San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara High School who have completed internships with local businesses through Partners in Education will be featured in videos produced by the ROP media arts class at Dos Pueblos High School. Thanks to a partnership with TV Santa Barbara, the event will be broadcast on community access television in late June.

All guests are welcome at the breakfast, which is scheduled from 7 to 9 a.m. May 22 at Bacara. Presentations begin at 7:45 a.m., with awards being presented throughout the program.

Tickets may be purchased online by clicking here for $30 until May 5 and $40 thereafter. Proceeds help support the event, allowing student award recipients and two family members to attend for free. For more information, click here or call 805.964.4710 x4413.

— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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UCSB’s The Green Initiative Fund Awards Grants for Campus Environmental Projects

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Awarding efforts focused on everything from composting and energy conservation to lighting retrofits and weed management, UC Santa Barbara’s The Green Initiative Fund Grant Making Committee has selected its grant recipients for the 2013-14 funding cycle.

The TGIF committee, composed primarily of undergraduate and graduate students, received 22 applications for various campus sustainability projects from UCSB students, staff and faculty. In the end, 14 projects were selected to receive awards totaling $184,614. The initiatives are expected to produce major environmental savings across campus.

“Since the fund began eight years ago, TGIF has supported more than 90 projects that increase the amount of renewable energy used on campus, increase water and energy efficiency and reduce waste,” said Jewel Snavely, TGIF grants manager and UCSB sustainability coordinator. “The TGIF program empowers students to take direct action and come up with innovative solutions to solve our environmental problems.”

The projects to be funded by TGIF this cycle include:

» Energy Conservation Initiative, $30,000: Funds will pay for 1,000 hours of experienced staff researcher time to assess and implement new strategies for energy-efficient laboratory ventilation in existing and new campus lab buildings. Future savings potential runs as high as $3 million, in addition to energy, water and carbon footprint.

» Art Department LED Retrofit, $25,995: The Art Department’s studios and museum will replace inefficient incandescent lights with 542 LED lamps, which is expected to save 1.5 million kWh of energy, 500 metric tons of CO2 and more than $200,000 over the average lifespan of the higher-efficiency bulbs.

» The First Net-Zero Energy Building for UCSB, $20,000: To make its planned new classroom a “net zero” consumer of fossil fuel, UCSB's Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) will employ photovoltaic energy generation and ground source heating and cooling. Donor funding has been secured for 85 percent of the cost to install the two energy systems; TGIF grant funds will cover the rest. This will be the first “net-zero” energy building in the UC system.

» Office Desk-Side Recycling Bins, $17,900: Funds will be used to purchase 5,000 new recycling bins for offices across campus, a move that will increase accessibility of recycling and, in turn, grow UCSB’s waste diversion rate as it advances toward the UC-wide goal of Zero Waste by 2020.

» Mercury-free Fluorescent Microscopy, $17,581: Aiming to reduce waste and demonstrate the successful use of mercury-free illumination in research and teaching, the NRI-MCDB Microscopy Facility will use its grant funds to replace two mercury arc sources for fluorescence microscopy with solid-state light engines.

» UCSB Energy Management Initiative, $16,137: This project will see graduate students from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management collaborate with university staff to develop a campus energy management implementation plan that, if successful, could reduce energy use in academic buildings by 10 to 15 percent.

» My Tree Keeper and Invasive Species Mapping Project, $15,201: This upgrade to the ongoing Campus Flora project will enhance efforts to develop a campus weed management plan by mapping exotic species that threaten sustainability for the native flora and fauna in UCSB’s natural areas. Two internships will also be funded by this grant.

The additional projects to be funded are: UCSB Housing Energy Conservation Project, $9,200; GIVE Project, $8,375; Lithium Battery Powered Lawnmower, $7,487; Scholarship for UCSB Student to Attend California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, $4,657; Additional Hydration Stations for UCSB Library, $4,241; Vericompost Bin Project, $4,025; and Indoor Compost Bin Project, $3,812.

TGIF was the first student-funded sustainability initiative of its kind — and the first green fee — in the UC system. Created in 2006 by an overwhelming majority vote of UCSB students, the current $3.47 per quarter lock-in fee contributes approximately $170,000 per year toward TGIF. The fee is up for renewal; voting is now underway.

“Voting Yes for TGIF will allow us to continue funding sustainability projects on our campus,” Snavely said. “It’s amazing to see the positive impact that just $3.47 a quarter can have on our campus community.”

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Max McCumber: Searching for Answers in the Playoffs

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Right now it's April going on May, so the early rounds of hockey and basketball playoffs are in process. Since spots are ensured for 16 of 30 clubs in both the NBA and NHL, the do-or-die urgency one would expect from a postseason tournament takes awhile to kick in.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

It provokes me to question the mere playoff concept in sports. How important are playoffs to determine which team is the most worthy champion and better than the rest? What connotations do they truly drum up about the sport? PLAYOFFS!?!?! That press conference outburst by football coach Jim Mora made me think.

No comment on hockey since I'm not as familiar with the game. I do understand, though, that to not qualify for the NBA playoffs, you have to be really atrocious. Think of the L.A. Clippers up until recently. Even teams with sub-.500 records have snuck in, as the Atlanta Hawks did this year. The bottom-seeded, eighth-place team in the conference upending the top one happens infrequently, but to allow such a possibility with over half the teams admitted defeats the purpose.

I find little historical variance in the teams that have reached the NBA Finals. Go from the juggernaut Boston Celtics of the 1960s and '70s, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson and the Bad Boy Pistons in the '80s, the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets in the '90s, the L.A. Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in the 2000s all the way to LeBron James' Miami Heat these days. Ultimately, I am not sure if this is due to a flaw in the playoff structure or a competitive balance problem.

Broadcaster Bob Costas of NBC and the MLB Network, a huge inspiration to me as a baseball fan, is a noted critic of the Wild Card playoff format. While he argued that the hunt for October was better with only two division winners from each league, it's hard to justify penalizing a team for playing in the wrong division. In 1993, the Philadelphia Phillies qualified for postseason action but not the San Francisco Giants, even though the Giants won several more games and second most in all of baseball only to their division foe, the Atlanta Braves. At the same time, the Costas theory holds up in situations like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox jockeying for AL East supremacy circa 2003 and 2004 — when the runner-up can settle for the Wild Card, it lessens the incentive to finish first.

Major League Baseball now has not one but two Wild Card teams in the mix, that meet in a one game, winner-take-all showdown. In theory, it fixes what was broken by placing greater importance on first place than second, if the former gets to bypass the sudden death round. Whether or not it makes sense for the division also-rans to play a do-or-die set of innings if more than one game separates them from the regular season standings is debatable. The extra Wild Card spots have only been around for two years, though, so it's still early to pass judgment.

If you're a purist and deem only the top seeds in the American and National leagues worthy, you would have to go back over half a century — back to when only the original 16 franchises were around, none of them playing at home west of St. Louis, and back to when pitchers in the junior circuit had to bat every game because the designated hitter didn't exist yet. Russ Hodges' "Giants win the pennant" call was so significant because the pennant was all there was when Bobby Thompson hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" of 1951. The Wild Card, division and league championship series are products of expansion and were necessary evils to accommodate growth. No system is ideal.

At least to the owners and league execs, the playoffs are clearly synonymous with money. Games with more at stake than regular season affairs presumably sell more tickets. Billions of dollars are collected from the rights fees networks pay to air the playoffs. More merchandise gets sold when commemorative T-shirts, caps, posters, etc., go on the market after teams are crowned champions.

Beyond the opulence, the championship is integral to the identity of a franchise. To me, the Miracle Mets are just as evocative of 1969 as the moon landing and Woodstock. 1984 is as synonymous with George Orwell as it is to the dominant Detroit Tigers team managed by Sparky Anderson that won it all that year. In Boston, 1918 was a sore reminder, through all the heartbreak, of the last Red Sox title year — up until 2004, of course. Until last season in Pittsburgh, 1992 haunted the Pirates as their most recent playoff appearance and winning season. I was the same age as the Buccos' MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen, only 6, back then.

For some, especially amateur squads, the playoffs are an opportunity to perform in a prestigious venue. Such was the case for the small-town high school basketball team Gene Hackman coached in Hoosiers, once they arrived at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Santa Barbara High girls' hoops team got far enough in the CIF playoffs this year to see action at an NBA arena in Sacramento.

For the fans, the playoffs are de facto holidays. They are the postseason party everyone clamors to be invited to. They are when the adrenaline rush kicks up a notch. When more rides on every last-second jump shot or ninth-inning go-ahead runner in scoring position. They are the ballet recital, opera or Broadway musical put on after countless dress rehearsals. When, for at least a moment, we can forget about any illogical premise behind the teams being there and just enjoy the show.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.

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Common Core, New Funding Formula Get High Marks in PPIC Statewide Survey

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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But many are concerned about districts’ ability to implement these policies

Most Californians favor two historic changes under way in K-12 education: implementation of new English and math standards and a new funding formula that gives school districts increased flexibility over spending and provides extra money for disadvantaged students.

At the same time, most Californians are concerned about whether teachers are prepared to implement the new standards, called the Common Core State Standards. And many residents lack confidence that local districts will make wise use of the money allotted to them in the new Local Control Funding Formula.

These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

“Public support is solidly behind the significant changes that are being made to school funding and classroom curricula this year,” PPIC president and CEO Mark Baldassare said. “However, many Californians have concerns about whether their local schools can effectively implement the new state policies associated with the Local Control Funding Formula and Common Core standards.”

A majority of Californians (56 percent) say they have heard a lot (19 percent) or a little (37 percent) about Common Core, while 43 percent have heard nothing at all. A somewhat higher share of public school parents (65 percent) have heard at least a little about the new standards.

When read a brief description, 69 percent are in favor of the new standards, 22 percent are opposed, and 10 percent are unsure. Views among public school parents are similar (72 percent favor, 20 percent oppose, 8 percent don’t know). Solid majorities of adults across parties favor Common Core — which has drawn opposition in other states. Among racial/ethnic groups, Asians (88 percent), Latinos (77 percent) and blacks (71 percent) are more likely than whites (57 percent) to favor the new standards. Solid majorities across age, education, and income groups are in favor. However, support is higher among those who have heard nothing about Common Core (73 percent) than among those who have heard a lot (59 percent).

Half of Californians (49 percent) agree with the assertion that Common Core will help make education in the United States more competitive globally. A quarter (26 percent) say there will be no effect, and 14 percent say it will make U.S. education less competitive globally. About two-thirds of residents are at least somewhat confident that implementing the new standards will help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills (64 percent) and make them more college or career ready upon graduation (66 percent).

Among public school parents, a slim majority (53 percent) say their child’s school or school district has provided them with information about Common Core, with 37 percent saying that the information is adequately helping them understand how the standards will affect their child (16 percent need more information; 43 percent report receiving no information).

Three-quarters of adults (75 percent) are very concerned (37 percent) or somewhat concerned (38 percent) that teachers are not adequately prepared to implement Common Core. Among public school parents, 80 percent are at least somewhat concerned.

The current state budget gives districts $1.25 billion to implement Common Core. As districts begin to roll it out, some policymakers have advocated for additional money. Strong majorities of adults (65 percent) and public school parents (71 percent) favor providing more funding. Support is lower among likely voters (53 percent).

Majorities Across Parties Favor New Funding Formula

When PPIC asked Californians whether they had heard about the Local Control Funding Formula, just 27 percent had heard of it by name (3 percent heard a lot, 24 percent heard a little). Awareness was higher among public school parents (7 percent heard a lot, 30 percent heard a little). Across parties, regions, and demographic groups, awareness of the LCFF was relatively low, with no more than 5 percent in any group saying they have heard a lot about it.

After hearing a brief description, most Californians (70 percent), likely voters (67 percent), and public school parents (71 percent) say they generally favor the LCFF. Majorities across parties favor it, with Democrats the most likely to be in favor (77 percent Democrats, 65 percent independents, 60 percent Republicans). Among those who have heard of the LCFF, 75 percent favor it. There is also strong support among those who have heard nothing (68 percent).

The LCFF allocates extra money to districts with more English Learners and lower-income students. Californians have long expressed the view in PPIC surveys that school districts in lower-income areas of the state lack the same resources — including good teachers and classroom materials — as those in wealthier areas. Today, 79 percent hold this view, which is consistent with their support of the LCFF. A majority (59 percent) also say they are very concerned that students in lower-income areas are less likely than other students to be ready for college when they finish high school, and half (51 percent) say they are very concerned that English Learners score lower on standardized tests than other students.

As the state implements the LCFF, a slim majority of residents (53 percent) are at least somewhat confident that school districts will use the money wisely. Just 7 percent are very confident. Half of likely voters (49 percent) and 57 percent of public school parents are at least somewhat confident. Two-thirds of adults (66 percent) are optimistic that the academic achievement of English Learners and lower-income students will improve (16 percent a lot, 50 percent somewhat) as a result of the LCFF, while a quarter (25 percent) say it will not improve.

In their implementation of the new funding formula, school districts are required to create accountability plans every three years and seek parent input in developing the plans. The first of these plans must be adopted by July 1. Most Californians (77 percent) say it is very important for parents to be involved in this process. Yet only about half of parents (52 percent) say their district has provided them with information about how to participate. Latino parents (61 percent) are much more likely than whites (42 percent) to say they have received information about getting involved (sample sizes for Asian and black parents are too small for separate analysis). Parents with lower household incomes are more likely than those with higher incomes to report receiving information (62 percent under $40,000; 50 percent $40,000 to under $80,000; 42 percent $80,000 or more).

How interested are parents in getting involved in the development of accountability plans? Nearly all (91 percent) are at least somewhat interested. Similar shares of Latinos (53 percent) and whites (55 percent) are very interested. Lower-income (59 percent) and middle-income (60 percent) parents are much more likely than those earning $80,000 or more (42 percent) to be very interested.

Most Support State Funding of Preschool

Democratic lawmakers are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to include funding for voluntary preschool for all four-year-olds in his 2014-15 budget. Solid majorities of California adults (73 percent), likely voters (63 percent), and public school parents (80 percent) say the state should do this.

Consistent with this finding, 66 percent of adults say attending preschool is very important to a student’s success in kindergarten through grade 12 (22 percent somewhat important). Strong majorities across parties, regions and demographic groups say preschool is at least somewhat important. Among registered voters, 63 percent say preschool attendance is very important, nearly identical to the response in May 2006 (60 percent) — just before voters rejected a June ballot measure that would have taxed upper-income residents to fund universal voluntary preschool.

Slim Majority Say State Funding for Schools Still Inadequate

Most Californians (81 percent) consider the quality of education to be at least somewhat of a problem for California schools. Half of adults (50 percent), 61 percent of likely voters, and 47 percent of public school parents say it is a big problem. Most adults (81 percent) also say the state budget situation is at least somewhat of a problem for schools. Majorities of adults (55 percent), likely voters (62 percent) and public school parents (59 percent) say it is a big problem. Asked which of three funding choices will significantly improve the quality of public schools, 41 percent of adults say we need to use state funds more wisely, 10 percent say we need to increase state funding, and the largest share — 46 percent — say we need to do both.

At a time when state money for public schools is being restored after the Great Recession, is the current level of funding more than enough, just enough, or not enough? About half of adults (53 percent) and likely voters (49 percent) say it is not enough, and 62 percent of public school parents express this view.

Baldassare notes: “Even while the state's economy and budget situation have improved markedly this year, most adults and even more public school parents say that state funding is falling short of the needs in their local schools.”

How do Californians feel about options to raise money for their local districts? Among likely voters, 55 percent would vote yes if asked to vote on a bond measure to pay for school construction projects. This matches the 55 percent majority vote required to pass a local school bond.

If a measure to increase local parcel taxes for public schools were on the ballot, about half of likely voters (48 percent) would vote yes — a level of support far short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a local parcel tax. Asked if they are willing to change Proposition 13 to make it easier to pass local parcel taxes, just 39 percent of likely voters say it is a good idea to lower the two-thirds vote requirement to 55 percent.

More Key Findings

» Brown’s approval at 56 percent among likely voters — he keeps big primary lead. Far fewer approve of the governor’s handling of the public school system (33 percent) than of his overall job performance. The Legislature’s job approval rating is 29 percent among likely voters.

» Just 35 percent give schools high marks for both college and career preparation. Large majorities say it is very important that their local public schools prepare students for college (81 percent) and that career technical or vocational education be part of the curriculum (73 percent). They are more likely to give high marks for college (53 percent) than career preparation (41 percent).

» Half give their local schools good marks. Asked to grade their local public schools, 14 percent of residents give an “A” and 38 percent give a “B.” About a third (30 percent) give their local schools a “C.”

About the Survey

This PPIC survey is conducted with funding from the S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Silver Giving Foundation and the Stuart Foundation.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,702 California adult residents, including 1,190 interviewed on landline telephones and 512 interviewed on cell phones. Interviews were conducted from April 8-15 in English and Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.8 percent for all adults. For the 1,428 registered voters, it is plus or minus 4.1 percent; for the 1,078 likely voters it is plus or minus 4.7 percent; and for the 944 likely primary voters, it is plus or minus 5.1 percent. For the 398 public school parents, it is plus or minus 7.1 percent.

Click here to view the full survey.

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Crane Hosting Author Marla Frazee, Distributor Isabel Baker for Discussion on Children’s Literature

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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Marla Frazee
Marla Frazee

Crane Country Day School is proud to showcase two talented leaders in the world of children's literature in a presentation of books and writing featuring bestselling author and illustrator Marla Frazee with book distributor and reviewer Isabel Baker.

The event will be held at Crane Country Day School’s Cate Hall/Barbakow Family Theater at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28.

Together in a presentation for parents and grandparents of preschool- and early elementary-age children, Frazee and Baker will offer perspectives on selecting books for children and also discuss the creative writing process.

As parents, we know it’s important and enjoyable to read with our children, but the selection process can be overwhelming. Baker, founder of The Book Vine, a successful children’s book distributor, will present the best new children's books of the year and also include classics too good to miss!

Frazee, a bestselling and award-winning children’s book author-illustrator, will share the creative processes behind fulfilling her childhood dream of writing. Frazee’s books include A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, which received a Caldecott Honor Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. She's also written Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus The World's Number One Toy Expert and The Boss Baby, and illustrated many books, including the New York Times bestselling Stars, All The World and the popular Clementine series.

The event is free and open to the community. Books will be sold and signed at the event. A special presentation for teachers begins at 4 p.m. with the general, parent admission beginning at 7 p.m. at Crane Country Day School, 1795 San Leandro Lane.

For more information, contact Debbie Williams at dwilliams@craneschool.org or call 805.969.7732 x105.

— Ann Pieramici represents Crane Country Day School.

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Finalists Named for 2014 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards

By | Published on 04/24/2014

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On the evening of May 9 at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort, Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chair of lynda.com, will ask for “The envelope, please” and reveal the nine outstanding women entrepreneurs who have won the 2014 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

Spirit of Entrepreneurship finalists
The 27 finalists for the 2014 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards. (Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation photo)

The winners were selected from a field of more than 80 nominees in Santa Barbara County by independent judges do not live in Santa Barbara and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts this unique event.

“It is exciting for everyone involved, “ said Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman and CEO of the foundation. “We had an amazing group of candidates this year, and it was hard for our judges to narrow it down to the top three in each of the categories.”

The 27 finalists will be recognized for their achievements at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner.

“These remarkable women range in age from 23 to 76," Feldman said. "That’s why we wanted to tell the community about them because they all deserve recognition.”

One winner was selected by the foundation board and announced prior to the awards: Betty Hatch, who will be honored as the Rock Star: Life Achievement winner for 2014. Hatch was one of the first successful women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara. She will be receiving her award at the gala dinner.

The same evening the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards will also honor high school and college student winners of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition.

Proceeds from the awards dinner will go toward cash prizes, in the form of seed money, as well as scholarships for the winning student entrepreneurs. Several sponsors also contribute directly to the student awards, including Montecito Bank & Trust and lynda.com. This fulfills the foundation’s mission of supporting entrepreneurship at all levels in the Santa Barbara community.

Tickets are available until May 4 and can be purchased online by clicking here and clicking on the Buy Tickets Now button. For more information, email info@soefoundation.org or call 805.682.8380.

The 27 finalists for the 2014 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards by category:

Agricultural/Wineries

» Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars, www.FiddleheadCellars.com
» Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz Wines, www.casadumetzwines.com
» Denise Woolery, Acanthus Landscape Design, http://acanthusdesign.net

Emerging Business

» Amy Chalker, Isabella Gourmet Foods,  www.isabellagourmetfoods.com
» Robin Elander, Global Good Impact,  http://globalgoodimpact.com/
» Pam Tanase, WorkZones, www.workzones.com

Green Business:
» Dr. Sharon Donohoe, Turbine Technology Partners, www.turbinetechpartners.com
» Lacey Grevious, The Refillery, www.the-refillery.com
» Kimberly True, True Nature Design, www.truenaturedesign.com

Health

» Sandra Hirsch, Isolite Systems, www.isolitesystems.com
» Suzanne McNeely, Senior Planning Services, www.seniorplanningservices.com
» Marlo Tell, Marlo’s Massage, http://marlosmassage.com

Media/Communications

» Holley Proctor Malia, Grey Matter Marketing, www.greymattermarketing.com
» Marianne Partridge, The Independent, www.independent.com
» Lorrie Thomas Ross, Web Marketing Therapy, www.webmarketingtherapy.com

Professional Services

» Janean Acevedo Daniels, Law Offices of Janean Acevedo Daniels, www.jadanielslaw.com
» Renee Grubb, Village Properties, www.villagesite.com
» Kymberlee Weil, Strategic Samurai, http://strategicsamurai.com

Retail/Hospitality/Tourism

» Calla Gold , Calla Gold Jewelry, www.callagoldjewelry.com
» Kiona Gross, Curious Cup Bookstore, www.curiouscup.com
» Sherry Villanueva, The Lark/Lucky Penny/Les Marchands de Vin, www.thelarksb.com

Science/Technology

» Heather Gray, Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering, www.gecellc.com
» Michele Hinnrichs, PAT Industries, Inc., www.patinc.com
» Dr. Chandra Krintz, AppScale, www.appscale.com

Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade

» Patricia Bragg, Bragg Live Foods, www.bragg.com
» Anita Chambers, Odulair, LLC, www.odulair.com
» Karen Klein, Karen Klein Life, www.karenkleinlife.com

Rock Star: Life Achievement

» Betty Hatch, La Belle Modeling Agency, SelfEsteem.org, www.selfesteem.org

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are designed to recognize the contributions of women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County to the economy as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition and education of student entrepreneurs.

For more information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards on Friday, May 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort, click here or call 805.682.8380.

— Cathy Feldman is the board chairwoman/CEO for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.

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DUI Suspect in Fatal Crash Has History of Drug Problems, Court Records Show

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Kimberly Ann Kreis, 52, of Santa Barbara is accused in Highway 101 collision that killed 3 people and critically injured another

A woman charged with DUI in a collision that killed three young people and critically injured a fourth has a history of substance abuse, and had been in and out of rehab programs before facing a prison sentence, according to court records.

Kimberly Ann Kreis

Kimberly Ann Kreis, 52, of Santa Barbara, was arrested on DUI charges after her vehicle slammed into the left side of a car that had crashed into the center divider and overturned early Monday on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

Three people were killed — Danielle Nicole Murillo and Jessica Lee Leffew, both 17 and from Torrance, and Brian Adonay Lopez, 20, of Los Angeles, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Erick Hoel August, 20, of Los Angeles, the driver of the vehicle struck by Kreis, was critically injured in the crash.

Kreis, who suffered only minor injuries, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, but reportedly has been released on $100,000 bail.

The CHP has not provided any details about the nature and level of Kreis’ alleged intoxication.

However, Santa Barbara County Superior Court records show several felony charges against Kreis in the 1990s, and document a history of substance abuse.

Court files show that on Dec. 30, 1997, Kreis was arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The transcript of proceedings from Judge Frank Ochoa’s courtroom show that Kreis admitted she was dependent on alcohol.

The records indicate that Kreis had been kicked out of one sober-living program at the time, had been late for periodic drug testing and also turned in dirty tests, leading authorities to believe she was still drinking while in treatment there.

The transcript shows that the county Probation Department was recommending Kreis receive a term of three years in state prison, the upper sentence for the possession charges, because of her history with probation violations and failure to complete treatment programs.

Kreis admitted to relapsing after several treatment programs, including one at the Betty Ford Center and another at St. John’s, and she had been on probation six times from 1992 to 1998, prosecutor Gary Gemberling said at the time.

During the hearing, Kreis’ father, Ray Anderson of Westlake Village, was called to the stand, and was questioned by both Gemberling and Kreis’ attorney, Rick Barron of the Public Defender’s Office.

Anderson told the court that he and his wife had taken Kreis into rehab more than 15 years before to help their daughter deal with substance abuse.

“Kim has lost at least a minimum of 10 years of her life to her addictions,” he said.

After each program thus far, he said, his daughter had relapsed.

Barron himself admitted that Kreis “was no stranger to anyone in this room,” referring to the county’s substance abuse treatment court.

Ochoa eventually agreed with the Probation Department’s recommendation of prison time for Kreis, but it was not clear how much time she spent behind bars.

Another court file features a Jan. 29, 1997, Santa Barbara Police Department report that details the arrest of Kreis after she was discovered with another person at The Franciscan Inn in Santa Barbara with drugs and paraphernalia.

She was on probation from a case in Ventura County at the time, the arresting officer noted, and police found a half-gram of methamphetamine under her shirt and paraphernalia in her purse, as well as two syringes in her car.

Kreis pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to felony probation for three years and 180 days in jail, court records show.

Court records in Ventura County also show that Kries was ordered to a court treatment program there after a 1994 charge.

The investigation of Monday’s wreck is continuing, CHP Officer Jonathan Gutierrez told Noozhawk on Wednesday.

The agency has brought in a multidisciplinary accident investigation team that is doing forensic analysis on the case. It’s the same team that worked to reconstruct the scene of the fatal Montecito car-surfing incident that claimed the life of 26-year-old Allison Meadows in 2012.

Gutierrez said the team worked all day Wednesday analyzing the two vehicles involved in Monday’s crash, trying to determine how they collided and at what angles, speed and other details.

Next week, investigators will be conducting vehicle inspections on both cars, looking at everything from wheels to headlights to “rule out any malfunction of property,” he said.

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

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Sheriff, Challenger Face Off in First Election Debate

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Incumbent Bill Brown cites his record while Sandra Brown says changes are needed in the department

The two candidates vying for Santa Barbara County sheriff in the June 3 election had their first debate Wednesday night, each making the case for why voters should choose them for the office.

Incumbent Sheriff Bill Brown and Sgt. Sandra Brown answered questions at the Goleta Valley Community Center for about an hour, including some from the 75 or so people in the audience.

The forum was presented by the League of Women Voters Education Fund and co-sponsored by the Goodland Coalition and Families ACT.

Questions ranging from the new North County jail, mental health, budget issues, Deltopia and custody operations were tossed to the candidates, who both work for the department but are not related.

Brown started out by saying his department has accomplished much during the 7½ years he's been at the helm, despite some of the worst financial straits ever seen in the county.

Crime rates are near 30-year lows, he said, and the North County jail is on its way to becoming a reality.

The incumbent sheriff also boasted an impressive list of endorsements, from Gov. Jerry Brown to county supervisors Salud Carbajal and Steve Lavagnino.

Sandra Brown said she was hired in 1996 by the office, and has served in multiples roles, including the one she holds now in the Coroner's Bureau.

It wasn't her plan to run, she said, noting that she decided to go for it when she noticed a shift in priorities of the department.

"The focus of our agency has become incarceration and building a new jail. … That's not why I became a cop," she said. 

One of the first questions asked was about Deltopia, the large street party in Isla Vista that occurred earlier this month that turned into a riot.

Sandra Brown said she was working that night and experienced it firsthand.

"It was really a decay of what's going on in our agency. It was poor planning," she said, adding that the situation was understaffed and the department should have known from events at last year's Deltopia that it might be worse.

The department didn't have a mounted unit or a mobile field force unit, which is equipped to deal with large crowds, and staffing numbers were low, she said.

"This was an incident that didn't have to happen," she said.

Bill Brown had a different view, calling it an unsponsored event "fueled by social media."

"This year we had five times more officers than last year," he said, adding that they responded in a prompt way and with courage. No fatalities occurred this year, which he also stressed.

Isla Vista in general was a topic that came up multiple times, and Bill Brown said he's been working with people from SBCC and UCSB and others as well as within the department to analyze what happened at Deltopia

"Most importantly, we're going to be seeking possible solutions," he said.

Using social media as a deterrent against that event is one idea Bill Brown put forward.

Sandra Brown said early intervention is key to heading off problems in Isla Vista, most of which are fueled by alcohol.

If citations are only written at 9:30 at night, "we've already lost the war," she said, adding that deputies must be present when young people are buying alcohol at the store earlier in the day and begin citing then.

Patrol units working as well as foot patrols in the area to stop drugs from out of the area coming in are also key, she said.

"You have to go out there and work really hard," she said. "We need some leadership out there that's excited about the mission."

The candidates were asked about the jail becoming the de facto institution for the mentally ill.

More people are not treated at all or under treated for mental illness, Bill Brown said, adding that those people do not belong in jail. He said mental illness is dear to his heart because it's affected his own family, and that he's worked to institute a jail discharge planner to coordinate inmate releases.

Sandra Brown said the Santa Barbara Police Department has had success with restorative policing, but under Brown's tenure "that hasn't happened."

Partnering with nonprofit groups and giving deputies more resources to deal with the mentally ill would be key, which she said would be looked at immediately if she is elected.

Sandra Brown said that with 18 or 19 custody deputies working with over 1,000 inmates, "they're running from fire to fire to fire in our jail."

"If we want to see good mental-health care, we need to make sure the staffing ratio is increased," she said.

Another problem is that deputies have been taken off the streets to serve in the jail and have not been trained properly, she said.

The new jail will feature an outpatient clinic, a dental clinic and an inpatient facility for 32 beds, Bill Brown said.

"However, this is not a PHF (psychiatric health facility)," he said, and won't take the place of what's needed for people in crisis.

When asked if morale is low, Bill Brown said his department has suffered the worst cuts in its history, while the work hasn't gone away, nor the expectations from the public.

"They're up the job and deliver the service people in this county expect," he said

Sandra Brown took a different angle, saying the department is down 41 positions that are fully funded.

"We're seeing correction deputies working six days a week. … That's a morale issue and a health issue," she said.

In her closing statement, Sandra Brown said she wanted be proactive, not chase problems.

"We need to set up our enforcement and administrations for being problems solvers and forward thinkers," she said. "Make sure you check the right Brown box."

Bill Brown closed the forum, reminding the audience again of his endorsements, and asked voters to re-elect him to "keep Santa Barbara County the wonderful place that it is."

Second District supervisor candidates Roger Aceves and Janet Wolf participated in a forum Wednesday night, also hosted by the League of Women Voters. Click here for Noozhawk's full report.

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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Undercover Officers Issue Citations During ‘Party Patrols’ in Isla Vista

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Undercover police officers crashed some college parties over the weekend in Isla Vista, issuing nearly 40 citations or arrests during so-called state-funded “party patrols.”

Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers on the lookout for underage drinkers dressed in street clothes and then entered parties that were deemed open to the public on Del Playa, Sabado Tarde and other Isla Vista streets.

Officers in those operations on Friday cited or arrested 23 people for alcohol-related offenses, including minor in possession, and another 12 on Saturday night, according to Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, which oversees foot patrol operations.

The party patrol operations were sponsored — and encouraged — by a $50,000 grant IV Foot Patrol received from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC.

The grant requires party-entering operations, but was mainly awarded last fall to target local businesses selling alcohol to minors or those buying alcohol for them, she said.

Although the IV Foot Patrol has conducted party patrols in the past, and since last fall, Hoover said current students might not have been aware of the operations because local authorities have not received the ABC grant for several years.

Typically, undercover officers and ABC agents make initial contact with students in the driveway or street of the college community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara, Hoover said.

Upon contact, and after officers identify themselves, they ask for identification from someone who appears underage.

A minor in possession citation could be issued, or reprimands for any other illegal activity observed.

Officers then track down the owner, renter or party host, especially if a beer keg is present, Hoover said.

“All initial contact with people are in open areas, not inside people’s homes,” she said. “If there’s a party taking place and the public is clearly free to come and go … that’s established by law as a public venue. Police officers, including those undercover, can go into the residences without a warrant. We conceive violations just from viewing things from the outside.”

Punishment can involve a significant citation or other penalties, which can include losing his or her driver’s license.

The current grant, which includes educational classes outlining violator penalties and how to identify fake IDs, lasts through the end of the school year.

Hoover said local authorities plan to reapply for the grant, so she suggested IV residents throwing parties keep their doors shut to indicate a private party.

Officers never knock on closed doors or pretend to be students, she added.

“The ABC grant is an important part of our operations,” Hoover said. “We are very interested in cracking down on businesses and people who furnish alcohol to minors, but we’re also looking at people who hold open parties to the public and don’t have any accountability for who they’re supplying alcohol to. The message here is you can’t just throw a party open to the public, start pouring alcohol to minors, and have no repercussions.”

Authorities believe fewer citations and arrests were made Saturday because word got out about the party patrols the night before.

“We understand that it may not be a popular tactic for party hosts, but our job, our responsibility, is to keep the public safe and to keep the residents of Isla Vista safe,” Hoover said. “Any time you mix minors and excessive drinking you’re going to have bad things happen. Underage drinking leads to sexual assaults, altercations and overall crime.”

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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West Victoria Street Block Party Celebrates Local Businesses

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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First-ever event showcases the New Victoria Theater, the recently opened Santa Barbara Public Market and nearby restaurants

The owner of the bouchon Santa Barbara restaurant was worried about the state of West Victoria Street when he moved in 16 years ago, with the Vons supermarket in disrepair and some less than desirable neighbors.

But Mitchell Sjerven was all smiles Wednesday evening during a West Victoria Street Block Party, which drew a sold-out crowd of about 350 locals to the first of its kind event sponsored by a host of local organizations.

The New Victoria Theater, the recently opened Santa Barbara Public Market and other businesses have redefined the block between State and Chapala streets, and Sjerven couldn’t have been more grateful to see the promising transformation.

“We’re thrilled to see the turnaround of this little block,” Sjerven told Noozhawk. “This should be one of the liveliest blocks in the city.”

Victoria Street stayed open for the event, but merchants happily welcomed everyone inside from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Guests, who bought tickets to attend, started the celebration at the New Vic, enjoying local beer, wine and fare from Olio e Limone, Scarlett Begonia, SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, the Granada’s Marquee events, Arlington Tavern and bouchon — the last two of which showed off new outdoor patio dining areas.

“We wanted to say hello and welcome,” said Kate Schwab, marketing and communications director for Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, one of the organizers.

Visit Santa Barbara, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, the Ensemble Theatre Company and the Santa Barbara Restaurant and Lodging Association also helped spread the word to members.

Block Party
The Arlington Tavern showed off its newly completed patio during Wednesday's West Victoria Street Block Party. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s such a great block between Chapala and State,” Schwab said. “We’d love to have more (block parties).”

After brief remarks from Mayor Helene Schneider and others, guests headed over to tour the Santa Barbara Public Market in six groups according to the color of wristband they received when they walked in the door.

The market at 38 W. Victoria St. is part of the mixed-use Alma del Pueblo development.

Block party attendees strolled past 15 vendors inside the mini-supermarket, which emphasizes handmade, eco-minded food, beer and wine.

Developer Marge Cafarelli was on hand Wednesday, explaining the positive response the market has received from the community since opening to the public April 14.

The 37 second- and third-floor residential units should be ready for residents in May, according to developers, who haven’t said how many have been sold or to whom.

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

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Santa Barbara Police, Kiwanis Club Join Forces to Honor Extraordinary Citizens

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Recipients of the Extra Step Awards are recognized for their heroic efforts on behalf of law enforcement and the community

When Santa Barbara police Officer Ethan Ragsdale saw a fellow officer get “linebacker tackled” by a highly intoxicated man downtown one night, he was worried they would both get seriously injured.

That’s when Daniel Green, the head of security for Wildcat Lounge, came to their aid, according to Ragsdale.

Green has helped police with multiple cases downtown over the years and helps keep the local nightlife safe, he said. Ragsdale was never so happy to see Green as that night in the alley, when he was struggling to handcuff the man.

He was with a newer officer and she got tackled into a wall in the alleyway next to Wildcat. When Ragsdale tried to arrest the man, he also got attacked.

“I think Dan just picked the guy up by his foot and said, ‘So what do you want to do with him?’” Ragsdale said. “Without his aid, I don’t know what we would have done. I probably would have been seriously injured, and the suspect would have fled after injuring two police officers.”

Green was one of the extraordinary citizens honored Wednesday with Extra Step Awards from the Police Department and the Kiwanis Club. These people put in extra effort to help local law enforcement, police Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

William Barbaree and Nicholas McGilvray pulled over at a brutal accident scene after a DUI driver hit a motorcycle carrying two Canadian tourists. James and Ellen Atwood each lost limbs but both survived, thanks to the fast-acting duo who used wreckage from the accident to place tourniquets.

“I’ve never been happier to see two people on the side of the road in my entire life,” Officer Heather Clark said.

Barbaree, a Cottage Hospital surgery tech, and Barbaree, a former Army Ranger, were strangers but worked in sync to help both victims at the scene. They still keep in touch with the Atwoods, who credit these young men with saving their lives. The driver, who was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the collision, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Extra Step
Officer Heather Clark nominated William Barbaree, center, and Nicholas McGilvray for their lifesaving efforts when they pulled over to help Jim and Ellen Atwood of Canada, who were struck by a DUI driver in 2013 while riding a motorcycle down Old Coast Highway near Montecito. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Officer Jaycee Hunter nominated the three witnesses who followed the suspect car after they saw Raymond Morua hit 27-year-old Santa Barbara woman Mallory Dies and leave the scene. Morua has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, great bodily injury and fleeing the scene and will serve 20 years to life in prison.

Hunter, the traffic investigator for SBPD, said video shows Morua speeding up and blowing through a red light on Anacapa Street before hitting Dies, who was crossing the street with three friends.

Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling and Steffanie Colgate were driving in the area and saw the accident. Morua’s car came to a stop, backed up to get around Dies’ body and kept driving, Hunter said.

Shaw shouted out his window for Morua to drive back to the scene, but Morua shook his head, Hunter said.

These three went in pursuit, following him down to the dead-end of Anacapa Street and then down to the waterfront, when he drove down State Street and ultimately hit a palm tree at Cabrillo Boulevard.

A bouncer at the scene got two digits of the license plate, but that may not have been enough to find the suspect if Shaw, Pagaling and Colgate hadn’t followed the car.

“If our heroes hadn’t chased him down, I can’t promise you guys I would have found him,” Hunter said.

Santa Barbara High School track coach Thomas Eck was honored for stopping a man from stealing a van and potentially running over a group of student athletes and crowd of people leaving a meet at Santa Barbara City College.

The man had earlier been confronted and removed from the grounds for stealing a backpack, but he came back and tried to steal Santa Barbara High’s van, which was unlocked and running as Eck loaded equipment in the back, Officer John Reyes said.

“It was a situation on the verge of becoming deadly” when the man tried to put the van into gear and get away, Reyes said.

Eck was able to open the door, wrestle the gear shifter back to park and pull the man out of the van. Several others ran over to help — including Ventura’s coach and San Marcos High shotput coach Juan Carlos Toral — and five people had to pin the man down until police arrived.

Officer Rich Washington nominated Scott Houston, who was the only bystander to help pin down a bank robbery suspect. Washington had spotted the suspect trying to change clothes and chased him when he made a run for it. Washington tackled the suspect and was fought off twice, Officer Kasi Beutel said.

“Mr. Houston here drove up and said, ‘Do you need some help?’” she said.

There were plenty of people on the scene as Washington was fighting the suspect in the street, but only Houston helped pin him down until backup officers arrived. Houston also noticed money exposed in the suspect’s underwear after the fight. The suspect, a prolific bank robber, is awaiting trial for this case, which Beutel said would be his third strike.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Jeff Moehlis: Bryan Ferry Re-Makes/Re-Models Roxy Music Gems

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Singer returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl after performing at Coachella

Bryan Ferry, the sharply-dressed, quivery-voiced singer who has been making amazing music for more than four decades, paid a return visit to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday night, delighting the audience with songs spanning his whole career with Roxy Music and, to a lesser extent numbers wise, as a solo artist.

He was in the area for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival, whose proximity to Santa Barbara continues to make April a great month for music in the 805.

Like the first Roxy Music album and Ferry's career in music, the concert kicked off with "Re-Make/Re-Model," an art rock romp that cheekily references other songs in its outro. Three additional songs from those early days — "Ladytron", "If There Is Something" and Roxy Music's first hit single, "Virginia Plain" — were also on the program, together showing how fully-formed Roxy Music's musical vision was right from the start, and how well their music has aged.

The audience was treated to other early Roxy Music gems, including the hit "Love Is the Drug," "Editions of You," "Both Ends Burning" and "Casanova," the latter off my personal favorite Roxy Music album, Country Life, here toned down a bit from the album version but cool nonetheless.

Ferry and his backing band, a mixed-gender six-piece with two background singers, also nailed the slicker sounds of Roxy Music's Avalon phase, one of the more successful evolutions of a 1970s band into the 1980s, plus the like-minded solo songs "Kiss and Tell," "Slave to Love" and the most recent song on the setlist, 2010's "Reason or Rhyme," which showed that Ferry continues to be a master of smooth and sensual pop music.

The show ended with a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," which was a hit for Roxy Music in 1981 and which nicely reminded the audience of Ferry's strengths as an interpreter of other people's music.

Suave, sophisticated and sharp, Ferry's still got it!

Setlist

Re-Make/Re-Model (Roxy Music)
Kiss and Tell
Slave to Love
Ladytron (Roxy Music)
Same Old Blues (JJ Cale cover)
If There Is Something (Roxy Music)
Oh Yeah (Roxy Music)
Reason or Rhyme
Stronger Through the Years (Roxy Music)
Tara (Roxy Music)
Take a Chance With Me (Roxy Music)
Avalon (Roxy Music)
Casanova (Roxy Music)
Love Is the Drug (Roxy Music)
Virginia Plain (Roxy Music)
Both Ends Burning (Roxy Music)
Editions of You (Roxy Music)

Encore

Running Wild (Roxy Music)
Jealous Guy (John Lennon song)

— 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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Bob Banner: Chemtrails in the Sky in San Luis Obispo

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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I live in San Luis Obispo and went for a walk this morning (Monday, April 21) at 9 a.m. (at 8 a.m. it was a blue sky), and by the time I finished my walk the sky was already filled with chemtrails. I could still see three or four planes spraying their aerosol near sunrise and imagining that thousands of people would look up and see what they would interpret as passenger planes simply emitting exhaust. And that saddens me.

At about 10:30 a.m., that blue sky turned into a milky haze and what is traditionally called a "heavy spray day" from the chemtrail researchers and activists.

I do what I do to alert people, make them aware of certain conditions, policies dictated by corporate interests, have people investigate on their own — sites, articles, video trailers, speeches at the United Nations, excerpts from documentaries, whistleblower presentations — and when I showed two films including dinner recently, the total amount of people seeing those films was 35, mostly women who are very concerned about how in the early morning a sky that is clearly blue and within a couple of hours can turn to a milky haze. They want answers.

The word "concern" is important, and I wish to refer to it occasionally throughout this blog. I also realize we are inundated with issues that have stressed perhaps to the maximum point of human capacity — acquiring data about the collapse of various systems and the emotional makeup to even take in any more concerns. Is it possible that we have reached our limit of what we can become aware of? Is there a point where we simple exclaim, "OK, enough already!"

I do what I do, we all do what we do. I have various email lists that include thousands of email addresses, including the media, to alert people to the many “causes” that happen to be on my radar at the time, or a new interest or passion that a friend manages to entice me to become aware of.

I try to distill certain information to give people enough to create a pause in their usual day-to-day concerns. I also understand that they/we are inundated with normal day to day activities:  like loving a spouse, feeding and housing and giving tenderness and love to their children amid the plethora of car payments, utility bills, insurance (car, home, health, teeth), ad nauseam. It almost appears like a conspiracy to keep many of us locked down and simply deal with money matters so we are not too concerned about what's happening to people outside of our immediate concern.

But through it all, people do get involved in understanding important things like GMOs in our food. They will sign petitions that come across their computer screens or iPads or iPhones, understanding that they ought not to eat junk food (some are even talking about the old wise saying “let thy food be thy medicine”) and learning about Fukushima contamination, gardening with permaculture techniques, drought situations, financial takeovers, more pipeline legal hanky panicky are all read from sources that we respect.

But to return to chemtrails, or to use the more scientific term "geo-engineering," that criss-crossing of trails in the sky that expand to become that milky haziness that you may see in the sky orchestrated and planned from airplanes spewing out aluminum particulates, barium, boron and other chemicals with the intention to reflect the solar rays back into space to give us some more time against intensifying climate change. And if you turned me off or have tuned me out so far I'd highly recommend that you read the report by the IPCC about how it is recommending that chemtrail/geo-engineering keep going with their spray, since they feel that it appears to be a viable way to curb climate change in comparison with the non-events at the various climate change global summits that often times simply do nothing (click here for details).

Just a note about the ridicule factor. Perhaps my mind has hardened over the decades but now I'm used to it. At one time I took all sorts of ridicule as personal attacks. I now take them in stride and in a way I'd better be able to take the ridicule since I have this rather strange proclivity toward studying and reporting on the unusual edges around consensus reality. You may call them fringes, but it all depends on how expansive and inclusive your mind can be. And especially in light of growing concern over more devastation, I sense that I personally need to go to and become more acquainted with those edges or fringes in order to find some real solutions since consensus reality is really not offering many viable solutions, unless they are forced to. As Einstein has said: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." I don't think he declared any methodology how t shift that consciousness so we could absorb the solutions or even allow them into our consciousness.

Water catchment 20 years ago was considered fringe and now our city is giving people credit for installing water catchment devices. Eco-communities were fringe and now more and more people are aware of them and actually we have in this county two cohousing communities that have emerged decades ago and are doing quite well. Permaculture was at one time fringe and now very recently people are applying their strategies and techniques for their shelter, waste, water and garden areas in more harmony with nature rather than forcing an alien system on a natural system.

And community groups are now speaking of mulching, using waste for food production, using mycelia (mushrooms) to assist the soil, water catchment and a plethora of ideas now current that were once considered strange. Even green burials are now being discussed in wider circles rather than the popular and almost obscene process to eliminate the deceased body with pollutants and the incredible waste of energy. (Visit our calendar since we will be screening a film called A Will for the Woods on May 22.)

And on and on.

Some pioneering researchers are dropping other environmental concerns and focusing on chemtrails since they feel its more important than all the other ones. Even if we clean up other areas, if the government is in cahoots with spraying the sky under the guise of aiding in the climate change fiasco and no one is investigating them then what good are all the other concerns. It's not just a matter of adding these chemicals to the soil after they fall from doing their work in the sky but also blocking the sun's rays that are creating more vitamin D deficiencies (click here), as well as going deeper into the rabbit hole of weather modification (see Monsanto's recent acquisition of a weather modification company for $1 billion (click here).

There is obviously a war out there (as well as internally). With all of the stresses of our speedy lives in the developed world, how do we choose how to spend our time on issues that are important to us: signing petitions, joining and supporting various political or environmental organizations, speaking out, organizing new alternative currency models, SlowMoney, Bioneers, writing letters to the editors, buying food that is certified organic (but if it's being sprayed from above with particulates that are affecting our food, what can we do?).

"What can we do?" always seems to be the next question when challenged by some serious accusations or from a new emerging issue. Noam Chomsky once remarked in a documentary interview that he always had requests from the developed world as to what to do, while in the developing world he always heard from people who always knew what to do. Why is that?

Started a Facebook Page

After I focused on investigating a peculiar non-cold cough that I experienced and after some simple Google research it led me to chemtrails, coughing without having a cold was a symptom of many people who were claiming that it had to do with the overhead chemtrails. I put the information on my facebook wall and within days my wall got so inundated with resources and articles and video clips from "friends" that I decided to create a separate Facebook group that was entirely focused on chemtrails in SLO County.

Now after a month it has increased to more than 300 people who are signed in to learn more. When it came time to show the second film about chemtrails called LOOK UP! a number of us asked the APCD (Air Pollution Control District) to discover what they could tell us as well as inviting them to come to our film/dinner gathering. They simply told us that they don't investigate what comes from the sky and that was that. And no one from the APCD accepted our invitation to our film gathering to answer questions.

To learn more or simply see what the concern is all about, look up, get curious and band together with others who are also trying to figure this out. Please join the Facebook page. Also the group is having a booth (No. 50) at the Earth Day festivities in SLO. See the information flier we created by clicking here.

— Bob Banner is publisher of HopeDance.org online and screens films nearly 10 times a month in SLO county and elsewhere, and provides a space where people can communicate their feelings, ideas and activities amidst the myriad of different edgy films. He can be reached at info@hopedance.org or 805.762.4848. The opinions expressed are his own.

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American Riviera Bank Reports Strong Growth and Innovative Technology

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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American Riviera Bank announced Wednesday unaudited net income of $286,000 (11 cents per share) for the first quarter ended March 31. The bank’s focus on building relationships and addressing the lending needs of the community has resulted in strong growth in loans.

In the first quarter of 2014, American Riviera Bank originated $14.5 million of new loans locally. The bank reported $148 million in average loans for the quarter ending March 31, which represents a 14 percent increase from the same reporting period last year. Loan quality remains high with no other real estate owned and no loans past due 30 or more days at March 31.

American Riviera Bank has also experienced consistent growth in deposits; reporting $42 million in non-interest bearing demand deposits at March 31, a 35 percent increase from March 31, 2013. Total deposits reached $157 million at March 31, a $19 million or 14 percent increase from the same reporting period last year.

American Riviera Bank is the only Santa Barbara-based community bank offering its customers the ability to deposit checks by mobile phone. Its electronic banking platform combines applications for Apple and android devices, online banking, bill pay and mobile deposit. There has been significant interest in our mobile banking capabilities, with 78 new enrollees in the first quarter of 2014.

Jeff DeVine, president and chief executive officer, stated, “The bank is excited to deliver this innovative technology to our clients. By offering accounts that combine free ATM withdrawals at other banks nationwide and mobile phone deposits; our clients can truly withdraw and deposit anywhere and at any time.”

American Riviera Bank has $188 million in total assets, and maintains a strong capital position with Tier 1 Capital to total average assets of 13 percent as of March 31, well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well-capitalized institutions. The book value of one share of American Riviera Bank stock was $9.85 at March 31, an increase from $9.36 at March 31, 2013.

— Michelle Martinich is senior vice president and chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.

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Year of Milestones: Eight UCSB Departments Mark Important Anniversaries in 2014

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Four are gold, one is ruby, one is pearl, two are china.

UC Santa Barbara has a lot to celebrate this year. Eight departments are celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2014 with a host of special events and activities.

Among the honorees, mechanical engineering, religious studies, sociology, and theater and dance hit the 50-year mark. The Department of Geography and the Department of Communication turn 40 and 30, respectively; and the Asian-American studies and East Asian languages and cultural studies departments are two decades old.

“Fifty years old is fairly young in the academic world and certainly 30 or 40 years much more so,” said Joel Michaelsen, UCSB’s interim executive vice chancellor and professor of geography. “And yet a number of these departments have grown to be world class, top-ranked departments. I think that’s indicative of the transformation that’s happened at UCSB all across the campus, where we have gone from essentially being a state teachers’ college to being a top research institution and a member of the American Association of Universities in a relatively short period of time.”

The anniversary celebrations begin at UCSB’s All Gaucho Reunion April 24-27. The geography department gets the party started with a presentation by professor Keith Clarke. “Remote Sensing: The Missing Decade” will take place Thursday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m. in 1930 Buchanan Hall. The department open house follows at 5 p.m. in Ellison Hall.

At 10 a.m. Friday, April 25, the department hosts its first-ever Gaucho GeoHunt, which combines elements of scavenger hunts and geocaching to provide a unique way to explore UCSB. Teams assemble at Ellison Hall where they will receive maps before embarking on a campus quest. The department’s 40th anniversary barbecue will begin at 1 p.m. at Stow House. Information and registration are available by clicking here.

According to Michaelsen, the changes in the geography department since its inception have been dramatic.

“The department really helped define what the role of geography is in the world nowadays with all of the geographical analysis and techniques that have become commonplace, like GPS and GIS. The underlying theories and procedures that make those things work were, in many cases, developed here or at least brought into wider applicability,” he added. “There are many other programs, some celebrating anniversaries here, that followed similar paths and redefined their areas of the academic landscape in similar ways.”

The Department of Religious Studies marks its golden anniversary with a workshop for alumni on April 25, at 2 p.m. The “Alumni Panel on Non-Academic Careers” will be led by five program graduates who work outside of academia. On Saturday, April 26, at noon, “The Vietnam Class and Beyond: A Report on War” will reflect on the impact of one of the most popular classes offered at UCSB in the past 35 years. Two other roundtable events will review the history and the legacy of the department. Alumnus Gary Laderman (Ph.D., 1992) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Alumni Awards Dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. in the West Conference Center. For details, click here.

The sixth annual Communication Career Day is also set for April 26 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Corwin Pavilion. In honor of the department’s 30th anniversary, this year’s event will offer students an even greater opportunity to interact with alumni. In addition to three alumni panels — Entertainment, Marketing/Public Relations and First Few Years — speed mentoring will bring together undergraduate students and alumni. Please click here for details.

To honor the milestone of its 50th anniversary, the Department of Theater and Dance presents four events on April 26. At 3 p.m. on the Science Green, the UCSB Dance Company will perform an excerpt from its latest repertoire before going on tour in Italy. At 4:30 p.m. in the Hatlen Theater, a panel of alumni will share their experiences in the profession in “Life after UCSB: What have you done since graduation?”

Evening activities include a reception for alumni, faculty and staff members and students with a special presentation by theater and dance chair Risa Brainin on the future of the department. The reception will begin at 5:45 p.m. in the Theater/Dance Plaza. An open house, where visitors can tour the facilities and pop into rehearsals, will follow at 7 p.m.

Anniversary celebrations continue throughout the year and into 2015. The 50-year-old Department of Sociology began its Ph.D. program during the 1964-65 academic year at the peak of the civil rights movement. In honor of this milestone, the department is planning a series of scholarly and social events, including an anniversary reception at the August meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco. A research conference next February will bring together Ph.D. alumni, past and present faculty members, current graduate students and community members to consider the history of sociology as an academic department at UCSB and its impact on the discipline and on local and national communities.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall. Events are in the planning stages and will be available later in the year on the department website by clicking here.

“Our department was ranked solidly among the top 10 mechanical engineering departments in the nation in the 2010 National Research Council survey,” said department chair Francesco Bullo. “We intend to energetically continue to improve our rankings and our reputation. Mechanical engineering is one of the most selective majors at USCB largely because we offer a vibrant research atmosphere in both our graduate and undergraduate programs.”

The very first department at a major research university dedicated to the study of Asian-American culture and history began at UCSB in 1994. It was the first in the United States to offer an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in that field, and will mark its 20th anniversary with a conference next spring.

“Our founding chair, Sucheng Chan, is leaving UCSB after more than 25 years as a faculty member,” department chair John S.W. Park said. “As a scholar for 45 years in the field, she left an indelible mark on Asian-American studies in general and on our department in particular. In just the past 10 years, our current faculty members have published or edited over a dozen scholarly volumes on Asian-American history, cultural studies, literary theory and immigration studies, and so we look ahead to a very bright future here at UCSB.”

The seed for UCSB’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies was planted 50 years ago with a course in Chinese language and literature. A course in Japanese language and culture followed a year later. These were augmented by courses in East Asian religions taught by faculty members from the Department of Religious Studies. It took almost 30 years from that first Chinese class for East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies to become a department in 1994.

“We started very small and we are growing,” said chair Fabio Rambelli, professor and chair of East Asian language and cultural studies, whose department has been recognizing its 20th anniversary with numerous events this year. “We have been quite successful in developing East Asian languages and East Asian studies here on campus both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Our department is also a hub of everything connected to East Asia here on campus because we have affiliated faculty in many other departments.”

Michaelsen concluded: “The fact that we have a relatively young university makes it easier for us to work across traditional disciplines. Interdisciplinary study is one of our trademarks.”

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Drew Brahos Joins Montecito Bank & Trust’s Wealth Management Division

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Montecito Bank & Trust is pleased to announce that Drew Brahos has joined the bank as vice president and senior portfolio manager, reporting to Peter Madlem, senior vice president and chief investment officer.

Drew Brahos
Drew Brahos

“Drew’s broad skill set in mathematics, economics and portfolio management make him a great new asset to our investment management team," Madlem said. "His 20 years of financial services experience working with clients on their wealth management and investment strategies demonstrates the bank’s commitment to providing exceptional resources to successfully serve our clients. Drew is well regarded in this community for his expertise and involvement in the community.”

Brahos received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a bachelor of arts degree in French from Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. He received a master of arts in teaching mathematics from Duke University and a master of business administration, finance concentration, from the University of Notre Dame. He completed two years of a Ph.D. program in measurement, evaluation and statistical analysis at the University of Chicago as a recipient of the Century Fund full tuition scholarship.

After several teaching positions at the collegiate level, Brahos left academia for the financial services industry, holding positions as financial analyst, senior economist and portfolio manager with both national and large regional banks.

He knows the Central Coast and Southern California well, having spent more than a dozen years with local financial institutions.

“We are excited to welcome Drew to Montecito Bank & Trust’s Wealth Management Division," said Jeff Pittman, senior vice president and director of Wealth Management. "His demonstrated expertise, energy, professionalism and thought leadership complement our commitment to providing our clients with a world class experience. I believe we have one of the finest trust and wealth management teams in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.”

Brahos is a member of Butler University’s Board of Visitors for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a member of the Ventura County Community Foundation’s investment committee. He is a member of the National Association of Business Economists, the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts and the CFA Institute. He lives in Oxnard with his family.

Montecito Bank & Trust’s Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust and estate services for all branch markets. The bank has nine branches located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, and Westlake Village. The bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers including: business loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate finance, SBA loans, consumer loans, credit cards, merchant services, online banking, mobile banking, and cash management. Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is a locally owned community bank founded in 1975. It is known for its ongoing support of the community through unique giving programs like Anniversary GrantsSM and Community Dividends®, which annually gifts $1 million to more than 150 local nonprofits.

— Carolyn Tulloh is the marketing director for Montecito Bank & Trust.

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Ed Fuller: The Top Five Most Valuable Home Improvement Projects for Sellers

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Today's home sellers should focus on curb appeal and home staging above larger-scale home renovations, according to a new national survey of real estate agents and interior designers.

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

Asked to identify the most valuable home improvements for sellers, the experts agreed that minor improvements such as landscaping and painting walls in neutral colors are the most cost effective, and attract buyers faster.

Agents in the nationwide survey agreed that sellers should avoid costly projects prior to listing their home, as the increased sale price may not outweigh the time and money spent on the remodel. Instead, agents and designers recommended spending money on minor renovations that will bring the home up to current market standards while also appealing to the broadest number of potential buyers.

While minor improvements may bring the greatest increases in value for the least dollars invested, in our area, with our exceptionally high prices, the costs of major remodels may have a better return than the national averages as they are a smaller proportion of the final selling price.

According to the survey, the top five projects for sellers are:

» Curb appeal: Creating a strong first impression is imperative as buyers begin making assumptions about a home well before they step inside. A well kept, vibrant, flowering entry will not only invite buyers inside, but will encourage them to make an offer.

» Declutter: This sounds simple, but according to experts, it's one of the most important things a homeowner should do before selling. Remove all personal photos, memorabilia and articles that don’t present a complimentary theme. A clean house feels more spacious and helps buyers easily envision themselves in the home.

» Staging: A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight a home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings.

» Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances: Most buyers are still requesting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Incorporating granite and new appliances can help catch a buyer's eye. But when placing them with dated cabinets, special attention must be paid to the cabinet finish and hardware or they will look out of place.

» Invest in small home improvements: These kinds of projects include updating lighting fixtures, cabinet or door handles, and minor kitchen and bathroom updates. If you are considering major remodeling before selling, both agents and designers agree that you should consult a Realtor first.

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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Cartoonist’s Opus-Inspired Surfboard to Be Up for Bid at Santa Barbara Middle School Auction

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Catch the wave and island vibe at Santa Barbara Middle School’s “Gilligan’s Island” annual dinner and auction at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Rockwood’s Women’s Center.

Berekley Breathed, SBMS parent and renowned illustrator, author, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and creator of the well-loved “Bloom County” cartoon, has generously drawn and painted his cartoon character, Opus, on a surfboard, shaped by Dave Johnson of Progressive Surfboards, that will be up for bid at the SBMS live auction.

This art project began with sixth-grade-inspired Jackson Pollock artists creating the playful base layer of the surfboard with their splatter paint artistry; Breathed then added Opus hanging ten onto the colorful surfboard.

Other event highlights include one-week stays at spectacular beachfront homes in Nicaragua and Kauai, and a stunning freshwater pearl necklace courtesy of Gaspar Jewelers.

Lorraine Lim Catering will serve mai tais and a gourmet Pan-Asian inspired dinner.

Proxy bids are being accepted for all items, including Breathed’s surfboard. Contact Christine Cowles Bergamin at christine@sbms.org.

— Sue Carmody is a community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.

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Anacapa School Troupe to Present ‘Seussical the Musical’

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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Anacapa School’s performing arts department will present Seussical the Musical with performances on May 16-17 at 7 p.m. at the Center Stage Theater in Paseo Nuevo shopping center in downtown Santa Barbara.

Tony Award-winning musicians Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie La Bird and JoJo, a little boy with a big imagination. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

“Dr. Seuss’ stories span generations,” said Salli Eve, the school’s performing arts teacher. “Our Anacapa performers have put together a production that is great fun for Seuss fans of all ages!”

The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including JoJo, a Who child in trouble for thinking too many "thinks." Horton faces a double challenge — not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird.

Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for students. Anacapa School students are free. Advance tickets for the two performances are available by clicking here or by calling Center Stage Theater at 805.963.0408.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC-accredited, college preparatory day school for junior high and high school students in grades 7 through 12. Founded in 1981 by headmaster Gordon Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.

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Two UCSB Faculty Members Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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UC Santa Barbara faculty members Catherine Albanese, the J. F. Rowny Professor Emerita in Comparative Religions; and Anthony Zee, a professor of physics, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Catherine Albanese
Catherine Albanese

Their selection brings to 33 the number of UCSB faculty members who have been so named.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Its members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, the arts and education.

“The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the country, and to be elected fellow is a most prestigious distinction,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “Our campus is honored and delighted that our colleagues Catherine Albanese and Anthony Zee have received such a meaningful recognition from their peers, and we congratulate them on their outstanding achievement.

"Professor Albanese’s expertise and renown in American religious history reflects her distinguished contributions to teaching, to research and to our society. Professor Zee’s extraordinary work in particle theory reflects his distinguished contributions to research, to teaching and to our understanding of physics.”

The impressive 2014 list of fellows features winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; the National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony Awards.

The new class includes writers Annie Proulx, George Saunders and John Irving; actor and director Al Pacino; Nobel-winning chemist Dan Shechtman; computer scientist and Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller; archaeologist Timothy Earle; sociologist Sherry Turkle; and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

The academy also elected 16 Foreign Honorary Members from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Albanese specializes in religion in 19th- and 20th-century U.S., religion and American culture, metaphysical religion in the U.S., and religion and healing. Among her many publications are the award-winning A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (Yale University Press, 2007) and the textbook America: Religions and Religion, now in its fifth edition (Cengage, 2013).

Anthony Zee
Anthony Zee

The president, in 1994, of the American Academy of Religion, Albanese is the organization’s American Lecturer in the History of Religions for 2014. She joined the UCSB faculty in 1987.

Considered a leader in particle theory, Zee also specializes in high energy physics, field theory, cosmology, biophysics, condensed matter physics, mathematical physics. The author of several books for the general public and a textbook on quantum field theory, he received a 2011 Humboldt Research Award in recognition of his contributions to and impact on his discipline.

Zee joined UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Department of Physics in 1985.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” Don Randel, chair of the academy’s board of directors, said in announcing all the 2014 fellows. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity — and responsibility — to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 11, at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

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County Public Health Assists Thousands During Health-Care Enrollment

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department successfully assisted more than 6,000 community members with their enrollment into Covered California.

As of April 15, the PHD estimates that more than 3,900 people were enrolled into Medi-Cal or Covered California during the open enrollment period.

"As we were beginning to develop our enrollment process last summer, we set a lofty goal of assisting 6,000 people in obtaining health insurance. It's a true testament of people’s desire to access health care and the phenomenal quality of our public health staff, contractors and community partners who rose to every potential barrier and made it easy for people to enroll in Covered California," said Public Health Director Takashi Wada, M.D., MPH. "We will now focus our efforts on enrolling those who remain eligible for Medi-Cal and have not yet applied for coverage.”

Covered California’s open enrollment is closed until October with exceptions for a few qualifying life events such as loss of employment insurance, new family addition and a few others, but consumers may still be eligible for Medi-Cal based on income.

To find out more about special enrollment and Medi-Cal coverage please call any of the local Public Health Department Health Care Centers:

» Carpinteria Health Care Center — 805.560.1050
» Franklin Health Care Center — 805.568.2099
» Santa Barbara Health Care Center — 805.681.5488
» Lompoc Health Care Center — 805.737.6400
» Santa Maria Health Care Center — 805.346.7230

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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Santa Barbara Heart Beach Ball to Support Initiative Fighting Childhood Obesity

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association will proudly host the 15th annual Santa Barbara Heart Beach Ball on Saturday, May 3 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Coral Casino.

The event will commence at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and Adult Science Night followed by a silent auction, dinner and dancing.

The Heart Beach Ball will celebrate the American Heart Association’s mission, philanthropists and lives impacted by cardiovascular disease. Proceeds from the event will benefit the AHA’s Healthy Futures Program.

For the second consecutive year, the Heart Ball will highlight the accomplishments of the Healthy Futures Program, aimed to empower and inspire students and their families to lead healthy lives through proper nutrition. Hundreds of  students in Santa Barbara County have already been impacted through the efforts of this program.

As child obesity has tripled in children ages 6 to 17, it is more crucial than ever to raise awareness and bring back the health of America’s children. Currently in Santa Barbara County, only 51.5 percent of children ages 2 to 11 and 16.9 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 ate the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

Dressed in white cocktail attire, Santa Barbara community leaders will enjoy an evening of grandeur and will join the fight against the leading causes of death in Santa Barbara and in our nation.

The event is sponsored locally by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Wells Fargo, BMW Santa Barbara, St. George Associates, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP, Ron and Marlys Boehm, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, MarBorg Industries, Montecito Bank & Trust, Samsum Clinic, John Westwick, Bella Vista Designs Inc., Boone Graphics and Foley Wines.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here or call 805.963.8862.

— Belinda Gordillo is the marketing director for the American Heart Association.

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Santa Barbara Dance Arts to End Its Season with ‘Roaring ‘20s: Remixed!’

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The Arts Mentorship Program and Santa Barbara Dance Arts present "Roaring '20s: Remixed!" at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School.

"Roaring '20s: Remixed!" is Santa Barbara Dance Arts' annual year-end production.

A senior show will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, followed by a youth show at noon Saturday, May 17 and a junior show at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 17.

The Friday evening performance is a special treat as it exclusively features our pre-professional advanced dancers. It will be a stunning display of talent and artistry and a perfect evening of high-quality dance for all ages and dance lovers alike.

Saturday’s matinee performance showcases our youngest dancers who are new to the program and the stage. This adorable display of joy and fun is a memorable moment for these young performers and their families.

In Saturday’s late-afternoon performance, we present our emerging pre-advanced dancers who will be showcasing their diverse performance skills during this high-energy show.

A portion of the proceeds of the show will benefit the Arts Mentorship Scholarship Fund. Since 2004, AMP has given out more than $105,000 in scholarships and created the unique Scholarship Mentor Program. The recipients of all of the dance scholarships have a personal mentor who meets with them once per session for a private lesson and overview of the dancer’s goals and dreams.

Tickets are available starting May 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Santa Barbara Dance Arts, or from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at Marjorie Luke Theatre. Tickets are $22 for general admission, $5 for performers, $16 for students (nonperformers through high school seniors) and $50 for VIP.

Santa Barbara Dance Arts, under the direction of Alana Tillim, is celebrating its 17th year of dance in Santa Barbara. In this pivotal year, we relocated to 531 E. Cota St. Our new home is a 9,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art performing arts center.

In this time of new beginnings, the annual show reminds us of the core of our mission, which is to mentor and expand the creativity of Santa Barbara’s emerging artists. We are excited that our shows not only attract friends and family, but also community members who love dance!

Dance Arts students have gone on to professional universities including Cal Arts, Stanford and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study dance. Notable alumni from SB Dance Arts include: Trevor Dow, a regular on Glee and Jackie Rotman, who started the nonprofit Everybody Dance Now which has been featured on MTV’s America's Best Dance Crew and has chapters all over the world. The qualified staff is comprised of professionals who gently guide students to perfect their craft and teach them to perform.

For more information on Santa Barbara Dance Arts or the Arts Mentorship Program, call 805.966.5299, or click here or click here.

— Kelly Marshall represents Santa Barbara Dance Arts.

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City of Goleta Offering Additional Funding for Community Grants

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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The City of Goleta’s community grant program has gotten a makeover and the results are significant. The city has traditionally offered its Community Project Grant Program, giving away $20,000 to $30,000 annually. The council recently supported a complete overhaul of the program and increased the pot of funding to $71,000.

“There are many organizations that provide amazing services to our community, and it’s clear they need our support to continue filling these needs,” Mayor Michael Bennett said. “I’m thankful that we are able to allocate additional funds to provide even more support through a broader grant program.”

The new program, renamed the Goleta City Grant Program, is now accepting applications for services, programs and events that enrich the lives of Goleta residents. The application period runs through May 19 and provides the opportunity for grants of up to $3,500. The City Council is expected to consider grant recommendations in June for funding that will be awarded in the next fiscal year beginning in July.

The City of Goleta invites nonprofit organizations to apply for the program and continue to help our community thrive. Projects and programs eligible to apply for funding include:

» Civic projects or services sponsored by Goleta community organizations

» Educational programs

» Public services such as senior services, youth programs and health services

» Cultural activities, such as music, art, dance, and recreation

» Goleta-oriented special events

» Regional projects that are a benefit to Goleta

Previous grant recipients include a variety of organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Food From the Heart and PathPoint, among others. With the last year’s grant funding, the ADL was able to offer No Place for Hate, an initiative that supports education to fight bullying, intolerance and bigotry in students and adults. The funding they received also supported the first Diversity Day at Girsh Park.

Food From the Heart used its grant to continue delivering nutritious meals weekly to 200 homebound and ill clients and their caregivers. These families shared the relief in not having to worry about preparing daily meals. One recipient said, “We will forever be grateful for the wonderful food and inspiration you provided due to our need.”

PathPoint is another previous grant recipient. PathPoint provides quality support services for people with disabilities or disadvantages, and has been awarded grants for the past five years through the Community Project Grant Program (now the Goleta City Grant Program). Last year, PathPoint helped 36 disabled or disadvantaged people become employed as a direct result of Goleta’s grant funding.

“[The city’s] contribution truly makes a difference for low-income people with special needs living and working in the Goleta area,” said Cynthia Burton, president/CEO of PathPoint.

Application forms can be downloaded by clicking here or may be picked up at Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B. Questions regarding the program should be directed to Claudia Dato at cdato@cityofgoleta.org or 805.961.7554.

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

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PacWest Bancorp Reports 1st-Quarter Net Earnings of $25.1 Million

By | Published on 04/23/2014

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PacWest Bancorp announced on Wednesday net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 of $25.1 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 of $3.1 million, or 6 cents per diluted share. For the fourth quarter of 2013, net earnings included a $12.2 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, after-tax charge for accelerated restricted stock vesting.

This press release contains certain non-GAAP financial disclosures for adjusted earnings from continuing operations before income taxes, adjusted efficiency ratio, adjusted allowance for credit losses to loans and leases, return on average tangible equity, and tangible common equity ratio. The company uses certain non-GAAP financial measures to provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the company's operational performance and to enhance investors' overall understanding of such financial performance.

As analysts and investors view adjusted earnings from continuing operations before income taxes as an indicator of the company's ability to both generate earnings and absorb credit losses, we disclose this amount in addition to pre-tax earnings.

The comparability of financial information is affected by our acquisitions. Operating results include the operations of acquired entities from the dates of acquisition. The operations of First California Financial Group Inc. ("FCAL") have been included since its acquisition date of May 31, 2013. The CapitalSource merger closed on April 7. Accordingly, CapitalSource operations will be included in second quarter 2014 results from that date.

Highlights

» Net earnings of $25.1 million or 55 cents per diluted share
» Net interest margin at 5.95 percent
» Credit loss reserve at 1.75 percent of loans and leases (excludes PCI loans)
» Credit loss reserve at 115 percent of nonaccrual loans and leases (excludes PCI loans)
» Demand deposits reach 45 percent of total deposits
» Core deposits at 88 percent of total deposits
» CapitalSource merger closed April 7; deposit system converted April 12

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Santa Barbara Council Takes Public Vote in Favor of Proposed Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The case will proceed to trial as scheduled on May 5, when a judge will decide whether to grant the injunction

The Santa Barbara gang injunction will go to trial May 5 as scheduled after the City Council took its first public vote Tuesday in favor of the civil suit, which would restrict alleged gang members from certain activities.

Councilman Gregg Hart and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo argued against the injunction — as did dozens of people during public comment — and urged the council to have the city attorney withdraw the civil case and stop the process.

That motion lost in a 2-5 vote.

The injunction case was filed in March 2011, and it’s scheduled for trial in two weeks. Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne will hear testimony from both sides and decide whether to grant an injunction.

The City Attorney’s Office, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office are the plaintiffs, and while some of the defendants have attorneys, others do not. The list of 30 defendants has dropped to 27 as the city dismissed a few names, and the city is in the process of dropping more, according to council members.

The number of people who still live in town and would be subject to the injunction’s rules is more like 12, Hart said.

Only a judge can add names to an injunction after it’s granted, according to City Attorney Ariel Calonne.

Hart and Murillo argued that prevention efforts are more effective and less divisive to the community. They also said gang crime rates are decreasing and that the injunction could damage Santa Barbara’s reputation and property values.

“I defend my neighborhood as a beautiful and safe community,” said Murillo, who lives on the Westside.

The injunction assumes people will commit crimes in the future, she said.

“I cannot imagine a bigger violation of civil rights,” Murillo said.

Dozens of opponents spoke during the public comment period, expressing the same concerns raised during the only other public meeting last year.

Some said an injunction wouldn’t address any of the root problems of youth violence and that the city should focus its money and energy on prevention and intervention efforts.

“It tears neighborhoods apart and ultimately it tears communities apart. We don’t need to do that in Santa Barbara,” said Tom Parker, a member of Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Commission, which opposes the injunction.

He also said there isn’t evidence that Santa Barbara has a significant gang problem.

“I can think of 16 people who can’t be here today who would disagree with you,” Councilman Frank Hotchkiss said. “The people who were killed.”

Since the injunction would target Latinos as alleged criminal street gang members, community members also expressed concerns about racial profiling and designating a third of the city in the restrictive safety zones.

Several men spoke about their own experiences as teenagers in Santa Barbara and said it was the attention and love of mentors, not punishment, that turned their lives around.

“He showed me somebody cared about me,” Vincent Castro said of youth mentor Matt Sanchez.

During the council’s comments, Councilman Dale Francisco said gang crime rates are down now but they move in a wave, ebbing and flowing over time.

“When people are getting killed in our streets by gang members, we have a gang problem,” he said.

He also disagreed with critics who say the injunction could damage the reputation of areas within the proposed safety zones. 

“This does not stigmatize a neighborhood,” Francisco said. “Murders stigmatize a neighborhood.”

Public comment during this and the previous meeting has been overwhelmingly against the injunction, but council members say they’ve received “a lot” of letters from community members who support it and want to stay anonymous. That fear shows there is still a problem, Councilman Randy Rowse said.

Once it was clear which way the vote was going, most of the crowd left the council chambers and started chanting in the hallway outside.

“Whose streets? Our streets!” they shouted, frustrated with the outcome.

The next hearing date for the injunction is scheduled for May 5 in Sterne’s courtroom of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Noozhawk staff writer 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: Bundy Ranch Crisis a Power Grab

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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What was really behind the Bundy Ranch crisis? Not the protection of the desert tortoises. Was it instead a federal government power grab, greed, acquisition of water and mineral rights, or access to remote locations?

According to Rusty Hill, a Nevada land expert who worked for the Bureau of Land Management, Sen. Harry Reid, Reid Bunkerville LLC and the Reid Family Trust are linked to land surrounding the Bundy family ranch. Rusty claims Nevada is also a secret testing and dumping ground.

Why is Cliven Bundy's land so important? Mr. Hill explains that gaining access through Bundy's land would save Reid and company millions of dollars in construction costs and give them access to remote areas. He further states that in the past, land was strategically taken from people. Indeed, Bundy is the last rancher standing in this area. For information, click here.

Speculation also arises that land in the Bunkerville area contains minerals, especially magnesium dolomite, and water sources are very valuable in this area.

There are other troubling facts concerning this area. Why was a major highway (Interstate 15) built in this remote area? Why did the BLM pay a whopping $700,000 for 10 acres near the Bundy Ranch? Why have standard 640-acre parcels been subdivided and sold, sometimes at no cost or recorded inaccurately?

America, is the Bundy crises just the tip of the iceberg? Will other Western states be treated the same way by the BLM and the feds? Most recently, the BLM is now reviewing the possible takeover of 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma border.

When is enough, enough? Whatever happened to states' rights, private property rights and the rule of law?

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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ADMHS Leaders Describe ‘Culture Change’ as Department Implements Reforms

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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"Culture change" was a phrase that came up numerous times during Tuesday's meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, who heard about changes being made to the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Department.

The department's struggles are well documented, and supervisors wanted to know what department leaders have done since the results of an audit commissioned in 2012 found that the department was poorly run and not adequately serving vulnerable patients.

Changes have been made, such as reducing the wait time it takes for a patient to see a psychiatrist, encouraging department staff to point out problems without fear of being penalized and filling some key vacancies in oversight positions. Those highlights represented the bright spots in a presentation that at times was heavy on clinical jargon.

Dr. Takashi Wada, who has been at the helm for the transformation, said there are still areas where the county can improve. For example, the county still sees a high number of people who use a large amount of services — 222 high-cost beneficiaries who represent a third of claims submitted, he said. The average across the state for high users is about 25 percent.

In September 2012, the board commissioned an audit of the department and worked all through 2013 to implement changes to the department.

"We're now starting to see some results," Wada said, adding that the department has seen some large state grants this year that will help beef up services.

A year ago, "there was really a pretty dire clinical situation" at ADMHS, said Andrew Keller of Tri-West, a company the county hired to look at the problems within the department.

Then, the department was described as "reactive" and "crisis driven," he said, and a culture that needed to change.

Now, the department is trying to shift focus to prevention and early intervention rather than letting patients get to such a level that they end up in crisis services, which cost significantly more, he said.

Wada was asked by the supervisors, including Salud Carbajal, about how to ensure that the department doesn't revert back to its old culture.

"Unless it's self-sustaining, it's a waste of time," Carbajal said.

Wada admitted that "it's still a work in progress," but that the department is committed to seeing culture change.

The department is also moving toward adopting a recovery model, "from treatment to people to treatment with people," said Michael Camacho-Craft, director of clinical programs.

Medi-Cal reimburses for quantity of services regardless of patient outcomes, he said, but the department will be working to measure how patients do in the long run and have metrics to back that up.

The department has been able to drop access to psychiatrist time by 40 percent since starting the improvements, despite the fact that they need to hire six additional psychiatrists and additional clinicians. People are waiting anywhere from 10 to 60 days to see a psychiatrist, staff said.

Ideally, people in crisis would be seen immediately, and others would be seen in a two-week window, which would most likely be accomplished when the vacant psych positions are filled.

"Care delivered when it's needed, even in a pre-crisis situation, keeps the system from backloading," Camacho-Craft said.

Camacho-Craft's position was one that had been vacant for five years before he was hired, which meant clinical programs lacked coordination.

Others said that the community-based organizations that contract with the county for mental health services also have been brought into the process to a greater degree, helping to create more of a spirit of partnership.

A committee of those organizations was formed, including Cecilia Rodriguez of CALM, who said she was surprised when the department was open to the suggestions from the committee.

Before, the department would issue quarterly scorecards to organizations that "felt like a trip to the woodshed," she said.

"It felt really demoralizing," she said. "We want to be accountable but the process of that has profoundly changed. … We feel like partners."

That feeling also seemed to extend to staff.

Carlos Olsen, a therapist for CARES in Santa Maria, said "this is an exciting time" for staff and that input is encouraged from staff for the first time.

A chief of compliance position was also established as a result of the audit, and Celeste Anderson has been in that position for nine months, ensuring that the department is in compliance with state and federal statutes as well as their own policies.

Supervisor Peter Adam said that metrics for improvement "were still inadequate," and he pressed staff about how they'll define clinical success.

Camacho-Craft said recovery will happen "when people return to level of functioning that is meaningful to them."

Adam wanted more of an answer, however.

"I want to have some way to measure the success of the program," he said, asking that staff come back with at least two measurements that quantify success for patients.

"I'd like to cut through the clinical jargon stuff and get it into language that regular people can understand," he said, adding that he wanted to know how many people in crisis are diverted from hospital or jail, which was met with applause from the audience in both North and South County meeting rooms.

About 17 people spoke, encouraging the changes, many of whom have been involved in the mental health community for decades.

Annmarie Cameron of the Mental Wellness Center said she's "participated in no less than four times to reform this department."

"This time we have it, and we're going to get it right," she said, because there are hundreds of people involved, the time is right with new resources and the board is supportive.

Accountability and regular check in will be key to success, however.

"Ask us to come back regularly and report where we are," she said. "The more you ask us to stand behind this the more likely we will succeed."

Rich Detty, whose son, Cliff, died in the county's Psychiatric Health Facility in 2010, said he'd like to know what changes have been made in the PHF, which works with the most vulnerable mental health patients.

Detty raised concerns about patient care, how often doctors check on patients after they are given injections at the PHF and the availability of medical staff during evening hours

"I wonder if this situation has been changed," he said.  "I'd like answers."

Supervisor Doreen Farr said that when she first took office, she was hearing bad things about the department consistently but that those reports have tapered off.

"One of my major measures of success is that I don't hear about ADMHS anymore," she said. "This is really quite tremendous when we think about where we were a few years ago."

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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AJAX Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Marks 65 Years in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The business, family owned since its founding, continues its growth and has a little fun with its new 'penguin mobile'

Making refrigeration fun was a tough task, but somehow a smiling, green-scarf wearing penguin balancing ice cubes on his flipper has done the trick.

That’s the new logo seen zipping around town on the maintenance van of AJAX Santa Barbara Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, a locally owned and operated business since 1949.

The “penguin mobile” was unveiled last year to revamp the brand of the company that in 2014 marks its 65th anniversary.

“Kids love it,” said AJAX owner Christopher Montigny, who took over the business from his father, Bernard, in 2008.

And adults remember it.

All the more reason for AJAX to thank Sidekick Creative for that new design and loyal clientele for keeping the company in business when many others have folded or left town.

More than 3,000 clients in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties — mainly restaurants, hotels and other businesses — rely on AJAX for their commercial refrigeration repair, installation, maintenance and air conditioning needs.

Bacara Resort & Spa is AJAX’s largest hospitality client, while Brophy Brothers is its biggest restaurant.

The business has been family owned from its founding by James Hollander. Bernard Jean purchased it from Hollander’s son in 1992. He then handed the reins to his son, who began working full time shortly after graduating from San Diego State University with an international business degree in 1995.

AJAX anniversary
AJAX owner Christopher Montigny, center, is surrounded by his service team. (Gabriel Knapp photo / Gabriel Knapp Photography)

“It’s too expensive,” the elder Montigny said of why many companies move away.

AJAX made it work by emphasizing customer service and staffing after hours and weekend shifts that mirrored the operations of its customers.

The shop moved from the corner of Cota and Garden streets to its current location in 1998 at the dead end at 401 E. Montecito St. The spot puts AJAX close to 70 percent of its clients, those in downtown.

AJAX also grew, adding management staff for 14 total employees, eight of them technicians.

“It’s something of a testament to who and what the business is,” Chris Montigny said. “Santa Barbara is a tough town to do business in.”

The company has a leasing program, mostly ice machines, and 80 percent of business is refrigeration related.

Sales and leasing manager Mike Gardner said AJAX implemented pricing to compete with the Internet — AJAX charges sales tax on a $2,500 refrigerator, whereas online companies don’t — and pushed quarterly maintenance instead of waiting for something bad to happen to equipment.

AJAX hopes to grow by building clientele, switching to paperless billing and selling equipment in San Luis Obispo County.

If all goes well, the company will soon have a fleet of penguin mobiles instead of just one.

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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County Supervisors Vote to Put Bed-Tax Increase Measure on November Ballot

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Voters will be asked this fall whether to approve a slight increase on taxes paid by visitors who stay in hotels in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County.

The county Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday, with Supervisor Peter Adam dissenting, to put a ballot item before voters that would ask them to increase the transient occupancy tax from its current 10 percent to 12.5 percent, a move that would bring more money into county coffers for general use.

Hotels in the county's unincorporated area currently pay 10 percent in bed tax, while the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Solvang and Buellton pay 12 percent.

The ballot measure would be countywide on the Nov. 4 ballot but would apply only to hotels located within the unincorporated areas of the county and would go to the county's general fund.

If approved, the county would bring in almost $8 million next year, as the tax would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. That's an increase of more than $1 million without the increase, staff said.

The county supervisors were asked to approve a TOT increase to 12 percent or 12.5 percent, and ultimately chose the higher number.

Several public speakers came out to support the item Tuesday, including Kathy Janega-Dykes, executive director of Visit Santa Barbara. She said the group supported an increase to 12 percent, but also encouraged the county to invest in the tourism industry over the long-term.

Mary Harris of the group Visit Santa Ynez Valley, which represents 33 hotels, said the cities of Solvang and Buellton raised TOT years ago, and they've seen no problem in visits, she said.

The TOT in unincorporated area would create a "level playing field" among all hotels in the valley, she said.

Joe Armendariz of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association also said the group supported the move.

Supervisor Adam said he couldn't support the vote without designating where the money would go. Without that, "the money gets thrown in the black hole of the general fund," he said.

"What will make a huge difference is making a commitment to spend the money on economic development," he said. "If it was up to me I would propose a special tax and make a commitment with the money."

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said TOT in the county's unincorporated area was last changed in 1990.

"I don't really want to get into a special tax," Lavagnino said, adding that the two-thirds threshold is hard to overcome.

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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Dos Pueblos Boys’ Tennis Takes Down Royals, 13-5

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High School boys' tennis team played without three starters Tuesday and had to perform with total focus on every court. That they did with a 13-5 win over the San Marcos Royals.

The players cheered for each other between points. The Chargers hit a snag with Kento Perera, who swept, losing only four games. However, the Chargers took the other six in singles.

As for doubles, we took seven sets. Mason Casady and Josh Wang improved to a 38-1 record with a sweep, losing only two games.

I am pleased with the team's performance, as they dug deep to finish this seventh league match.

Our three Ojai participants will head to Thacher on Thursday to represent Dos Pueblos in the CIF Individual Tournament.

Next week is a busy week. We host Santa Ynez on Monday, and then host Ventura in our final league match of the season on Tuesday, and then, for the final match of the season, we head to Westlake on Wednesday.

DP's record improves to 14-2 overall and 6-1 in the Channel League. San Marcos falls to 7-9 overall and 3-3 in league.

» Dos Pueblos Singles: Patrick Corpuz 2-1; Miles Baldwin 2-1;Mason Dochterman 2-0; Dylan Zapata 0-1

» Dos Pueblos Doubles: Mason Casady/Joshua Wang 3-0; Andrew Tufenkian/Ankush Khemani 2-1; Sanad Shabbar/Gary Steigerwald 2-1

» San Marocs Singles: Kento Perera 3-0; Christo Anderson 0-3; Cody Krueger 0-3

» San Marcos Doubles: Oliver Piltch/Nick Leeds 0-3; Owen Lincoln/ Travis Smelley 2-1; Dan Coulson/Matthew Lockwood 0-3

— Liz Frech coaches boys’ tennis at Dos Pueblos High School.

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Jim Hightower: From Farmworkers to NFL Cheerleaders, We’re All in This Together

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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It doesn't take an IQ much higher than room temperature to realize that it's way past time to raise America's sub-poverty minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But let's also pay attention to the millions of people trying to make ends meet on — believe it or not — America's sub-minimum wage.

Some of our country's richest corporations have turned national wage laws into Swiss cheese, riddling them with special loopholes that let them escape paying even today's miserly minimum wage. This amounts to wholesale daylight robbery of restaurant workers, farmworkers, domestic workers, pro-football cheerleaders, taxi drivers and — wait a minute — back up ... cheerleaders?

Give me an N! "Nnnnnn!" Give me an F! "Ffffff!" Give me an L! "Llllll!" What does it spell? Greeeeeddd!

The monster moneymaking machine known as the National Football League is continuing to run an off-field power play against its valuable and highly marketable female team players. Women on NFL teams? Yes, not running plays, but on the sidelines running the synchronized gymnastics and precision dance routines of professional cheerleaders. These women are an integral part of the spirit, entertainment, promotion and financial success of this $9 billion-a-year corporate enterprise.

Yes, super-rich NFL football teams, which sop up billions of dollars in subsidies from us taxpayers, pay peanuts to their highly publicized cheerleading squads. Widely assumed to be a glamour job, it's actually a poverty job that requires long hours of arduous practice, involves frequent travel (at their own expense) for media appearances and charity events, and subjects the women to abusive treatment by supervisors.

Members of the Oakland Raiders' squad calculate that their pay works out to less than $5 an hour, while the Cincinnati Bengals' cheerleaders (who bear the burden of being called "Ben-Gals") are paid about $2.85 an hour — far less than the federal minimum wage — to be worked like mules, constantly abused, cheated and disrespected.

Astonishingly, though, a recent ruling by the U.S. Labor Department says that this does not violate federal law. Why? Because the macho sports industry got its cheerleaders categorized as "seasonal amusement" — a loophole that exempts them from our national pay rules. Side note: The NFL's mascots are considered "employees" of the teams they represent, worthy of a salary of $23,000 to $60,000 plus benefits.

Finally fed up, members of the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleading squad have sued their team's corporate hierarch for gross labor violations. You'd think the billionaire owners of these sports kingdoms would be embarrassed to be publicly exposed as cheapskate exploiters of women. I mean, why wouldn't they just pay $10 an hour, or — what the hell — $100? That's pocket change to them.

Instead, the Oakland Raiders have rolled out their army of lawyers armed with a legalistic bomb called "mandatory arbitration." The lawyers claim that, thanks to the sneaky arbitration proviso tucked into the ladies' employment contracts, the cheerleaders cannot go to court, but must submit any complaints to a private arbiter.

And who would that be? Why the NFL commissioner himself, whose $44 million-a-year salary is paid by the teams' owners! Why would he side with poverty-pay cheerleaders against the regal owners who feather his own nest? He won't, which is why these indefatigable women are not only challenging the NFL's abuse of them, but also the abuse we all suffer from the absurd corporate-rigged system of forced arbitration.

The Powers That Be are trying to transform our Land of Opportunity into their low-wage, plutocratic province. From farmworkers to cheerleaders, we're all in this together — and it's time for us to get together to stop the plutocrats.

To keep up with the cheerleaders' case and see how they are standing up for us, go to levyvinick.com/blog/news.

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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City of Santa Barbara Releases Recommended Budget for Public Review

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara released its Recommended Operating and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins this July 1.

The proposed budget includes a total operating budget of $275.9 million and a capital budget totaling $36.7 million.

The General Fund covers traditional municipal services such as police, fire, parks, recreation, library, and building and planning services with a proposed operating and capital budget of $115.5 million. The General Fund budget includes a surplus of $1 million. Due to growth in transient occupancy tax, sales tax, and property tax revenues, certain services that were cut during the recession are proposed to be restored.

Key services recommended for funding include a zoning associate planner position to improve turnaround times for building permit applications, a police records specialist position to address the backlog of mandatory records management duties, and a part-time park volunteer coordinator. An increase in hourly staffing is recommended to support after-school sports programs, community special events, and inclusion services for children with special needs to participate in recreation programs. Additional hourly staffing is also proposed to improve customer service and programming at the Westside Center, Carrillo Recreation Center, and Parks and Recreation Office counter.

The recommended budget includes additional funding to improve maintenance of street medians and parkways, add children’s materials at the library, reinstate supervised youth skate hours on Saturday mornings, and address deferred maintenance in recreation facilities. A 2 percent increase in funding for community arts and promotion contracts is also proposed.

Recommended capital improvement projects include the refurbishment of the Kids World Playground, renovation of the Cabrillo Ballfield, installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Police Building, and a burn training system for the Fire Department. Additional funds are also budgeted for street maintenance.

During April and May, each department budget will be presented to the council with an overview of revenues and expenditures for the upcoming year, culminating with the council’s adoption of a budget by June 30. The budget document and a schedule of public review meetings are available on the city’s website by clicking here. The budget document is also available at the City Clerk’s Office at 735 Anacapa St., the Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. and the Eastside Library at 1102 E. Montecito St.

— Nina Johnson is an administrative assistant for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Ty Warner Sea Center to Celebrate World Oceans Day

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Create a splash and celebrate World Oceans Day at the Ty Warner Sea Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Get to know funny fish “from here to there.”

Come out of your shell and enjoy Dr. Seuss-styled activities: “If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

For more information, contact Jackie Hunt at jhunt@sbnature2.org or call 805.962.2526 x110.

— Jackie Hunt is a programs coordinator for the Ty Warner Sea Center.

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Fielding Graduate University Named Member of Carnegie Project on Education Doctorate

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Fielding Graduate University President Katrina Rogers is pleased to announce that Fielding’s School of Educational Leadership for Change has been selected for inclusion in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate.

The CPED is a consortium of colleges and schools of education who are working together on a critical examination of the doctorate in education. Fielding one of 87 institutions working in collaboration to redesign the Ed.D. and will comprise the third cohort to join the Consortium.

In a press release from CPED Executive Director Jill Perry, the following was announced:

The executive director of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate is pleased to announce the addition of 33 new member institutions and four additional California State System campuses. Of this new cohort, CPED will have its first international membership with two institutions from Canada and one from New Zealand.

“The expansion of the consortium to a third cohort speaks to the credibility of this faculty-led effort and to our dedication to learn from diverse settings around the U.S. and beyond its borders as a means to develop the strongest professional preparation in education,” stated Jill Perry, the executive director.

The vision of the consortium is to transform the Ed.D. (referred to as a Professional Practice Doctorate within the Consortium) into the degree of choice for preparing the next generation of practitioner experts and school (K-12) college leaders in Education, especially those who will generate new knowledge and scholarship about educational practice (or related policies) and will have responsibility for stewarding the Education profession.

This vision aligns with Fielding’s academic quality and innovation strategic objective about aligning existing degree programs with current market trends and demands of the profession and needs of society.

This initiative was led by Mario Borunda, Ed.D., Fielding interim provost, along with Fielding faculty members Nicola Smith, MDA, JD, Kathy Tiner, Ph.D., and Anna DiStefano, Ed.D.

President Rogers stated, “They are to be commended for achieving this goal, which puts Fielding squarely into a national conversation on the future of education doctorates.”

— Hilary Edwards is the university relations manager for Fielding Graduate University.

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Goleta Rotary Clubs’ Fourth of July Fireworks Event Is in the Works

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Mark your calendars for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks at Girsh Park, because the two Goleta Rotary clubs are busy planning a family day to be remembered for years.

Activities will include games, contest, bouncers, face painting, music, balloons, a rock-climbing wall, volleyball courts and several new food vendors, all of which will make this Fourth of July not only fun but a safe day for all to enjoy.

The Fourth of July Fireworks event is one of Rotary's biggest fundraising events, and all the money raised will be given back to our community in a variety of way — one of the most important will be college scholarships for local high school students to help them with their future higher education.

Everyone can help make this the most successful Fourth of July by attending the Rotary Fireworks at Girsh Park, so be sure to mark your calendar and bring your family, neighbors and friends. As we get closer to the event, we will give more specific information.

In the meantime, contact Goleta Rotary fireworks event chair Scott Phillips at scott@synergyinc.net or Rotary Club of Goleta membership chair David Dart at sbdart@cox.net.

Click here for more information on Rotary Club of Goleta. Connect with the Rotary Club of Goleta on Facebook.

— Lynn Cederquist is publicity chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Goleta.

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I Heart UCSB: Fans Share What They Love About the University

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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It’s the ultimate brag book. Except it’s a website, and it isn’t so much bragging as it is highlighting points of pride.

That’s the goal of “I Heart UCSB,” an initiative designed to give students, faculty and staff members and even people in the community an opportunity to share what they love about UC Santa Barbara.

The love fest will be featured during the All-Gaucho Reunion April 24-27 with a series of events, education opportunities and daily giveaways that celebrate what it means to be a Gaucho. It will continue beyond the reunion, however, with events through Wednesday, April 30, such as UCSB’s Got Talent and a time capsule ceremony.

“We want to start a new campus tradition dedicated to highlighting all the positive aspects of UCSB,” said Mark Shishim, acting director of UCSB Health & Wellness who, along with Associated Students President Jonathan Abboud, is one of the main forces behind I Heart UCSB.

“The theme of this year’s reunion is Discover UCSB, and we’re asking alumni when the last time was that they discovered UCSB. There are things that even for people who graduated 10 years ago weren’t here,” added John Lofthus, associate director of the UCSB Alumni Association.

Lofthus noted that the Alumni Association’s Passport to Discovery will shine a light on the campus’s Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science (OCTOS), EMBODI (Engineering, Medicine, Biology, Discovery, Innovation) initiative and Translational Medicine Research Laboratories (TMRL) and Department of Theater and Dance, among others.

Among other events, TEDxUCSB will bring together UCSB scholars on April 26 to discuss “Energy to Power: Harnessing the Potential of Today for Tomorrow.” Speakers include faculty members John S.W. Park; Petra Van Koppen; Jeffrey Moehlis; Gary Horowitz; Don Aue; and Jason Raley. Information and applications for students to participate as audience members can be found by clicking here.

“We focus on alumni, but we don’t see any difference between students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community,” Lofthus noted. “If people feel they have a connection to the university, they’re Gauchos. This idea of I Heart UCSB is that UCSB is a center of activity for the whole county.”

More information about I Heart UCSB, including a schedule of the weeklong events, is available by clicking here.

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John Daly: What Employers REALLY Want

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Wish you knew how to win the hearts and minds of current or perspective employers? Want to make them beam at the thought of making you a part of their team or hand you that next big promotion?

Every employer seeks unique skills that match a particular job. But they also seek out “universal skills” or “soft skills.” If you don’t have these “soft skills,” you can definitely gain them with training or coaching and mentoring from someone who understands them. Once you’ve got them, you can tailor your job search résumés, cover letters or interview language to highlight them.

What are these magical “employable skills”? I went on a search for them and found them in a list that Drs. Randall S. and Katharine Hansen compiled. The list was culled from a number of recent studies. While I haven’t included them all of them, I’ve listed what I feel are the criticals.

Critical Skills Employers Seek

» Listening, Verbal and Written Communications. A communicator who actually listens and then conveys the information effectively both verbally and in writing.

» Analytical/Research Skills. Your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed. On a résumé, you’d want to stress you possess highly analytical thinking and talent for identifying, scrutinizing, improving and streamlining complex work processes.

» Computer/Technical Literacy. Almost all jobs now require basic understanding of word processing, spreadsheets and email. Let the employer know you are computer-literate on a wide variety of apps.

» Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities. Show you can multitask, adapt to changing work assignments and prioritize. Stress you are a flexible team player who thrives in juggling simultaneous projects.

» The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict. Indicate you are a relationship-builder with highly effective interpersonal skills.

» Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness. Diversity is the biggest issue in the workplace. Workers who illustrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures are prized. State flat-out that cultural sensitivity and building rapport with a diverse workforce in a multicultural environment is a strength.
 
» Planning/Organizing. Ultra important. Means you can design, plan, organize and coordinate projects with deadlines. It also means you know how to set goals and achieve them. Play up the importance of your planning and organizational skills and detail orientation.

» Problem-Solving/Reasoning/Creativity. The ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning and past experiences along with the available information and resources. State that you are a problem-solver who can provide solutions and resolve issues.

» Teamwork. The aptitude to work with other professionally to achieve a common goal. Make a point to illustrate you can build trust with colleagues and customers.

Wondering where you stand on some of the most sought-after soft skills? Take the Employability Skills Assessment  prepared by Dr. Randall S. Hansen.

Next week, I’ll take a look at the “values” employers want in their employees.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Westmont Tops Forbes Magazine’s List of Best ROI Colleges

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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For the second straight year, Forbes Magazine has ranked Westmont College in the top 100 colleges and universities in its survey “The 100 Top ROI Colleges 2014: The Grateful Grads Index.”

Westmont, No. 81, is one of three Christian colleges in the list and just one of eight schools in California, including Claremont McKenna, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Pomona, Mills, USC and Occidental.

In the ranking’s second year, Forbes tweaked the formula to focus more on the rate of alumni giving. Its goal is to measure the value of a college degree by listing the median amount of private donations per student over a 10-year period.

“The idea is that the best colleges are the ones that produce successful people who make enough money during their careers to be charitable and feel compelled to give back to the schools that contributed to their success,” said Matt Schifrin, Forbes managing editor of investing, markets and personal finance.

Westmont’s 10-year median amount of private donations per student is $7,722.

“Westmont receives tremendous financial support from alumni, parents and friends who invest in our mission of rigorous academics combined with deep love of God,” President Gayle Beebe said. “This support helped us achieve a high ranking, and I’m grateful for the many people who believe in our distinctive education.”

In September 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Westmont in the top 100 best liberal arts colleges for the fifth straight year. “America’s Best Colleges, 2014 Edition” lists Westmont as 94th out of the nation’s 248 liberal arts colleges.

In October 2013, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked Westmont among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in its annual list. The report, which named Westmont No. 83, features colleges that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost. Westmont is one of eight liberal arts colleges in California to make the list and the only California member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities to be included.

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

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Victor Dominocielo: Let’s Bring Back Bloodletting!

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The great granddaddy of all medical techniques and treatments is bloodletting. It is the longest running and most widespread medical technique in all of recorded history.

Origins of the technique are attributed to the ancient Egyptians of about 3,000 years ago when it was used to remove evil spirits that caused disease. Some websites suggest that it may have originated in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine from around the same time period. Over the last 3,000 years, bloodletting spread from Egypt to India, the Far East, Greece and through the Roman Empire to most Mediterranean cultures.

A good history of bloodletting can be found on the PBS website by clicking here.

There are two questions that this incredibly prolific procedure brings immediately to mind: How and why did this supposed medical technique captivate and fool the best and the brightest minds of so many civilizations over such a long period of time, and why was it abandoned? Answering these questions will provide important insight into how each new generation understands its relationship to disease and individuals’ proclivity to fool oneself in regards to medical procedures.

As a group, humans are renowned for making medical mistakes. Many civilizations perpetrated the erroneous ideas of the Egyptians, then the Greeks and Romans for over 3,000 years. The “theories” of Spontaneous Generation (life from non-life) and the Four Humors (fluids in the body had to be balanced — the basis for bloodletting) continued until the 1870s!

George Washington, who had access to the best medical care of his day, bled to death in 1799 in response to a cold, developing pneumonia and a swollen throat. Louis Pasteur and others finally proved that Spontaneous Generation did not exist around the 1860s and that disease was caused by germs, not by an imbalance of bodily fluids. As this Germ Theory of Disease became widely understood and accepted by the medical profession, bloodletting gradually fell out of favor in the late 1800s and was finally discontinued by a very embarrassed medical profession.

In addition, the medical profession realized that in hindsight, bloodletting violated the Hippocratic Oath (“First, do no harm”) by actually first harming the patient and then hoping that the body would rally against the harmful insult it received. So the two reasons above — the widespread acceptance of the germ theory of disease, and the realization that bloodletting violated the Hippocratic Oath — are the reasons why bloodletting stopped.

The next question is, “Why did bloodletting persist so long?” If we asked practitioners of bloodletting to explain their rationale, legitimacy and beneficial results, they would have said that bleeding “is a renowned and ancient medical practice that has been improving health for thousands of years.” The most confounding and amazing thing about bleeding is that it did convince the best and brightest minds of many generations and different civilizations that, “It works.”

No matter what your complaint of pain, stress or illness, the drama of watching your life’s blood stream out of your body caused a significant distraction from your medical condition and a significant placebo effect. Patients and the “physicians” of the time were convinced of bleeding’s benefits. How many alternative medical treatments today (homeopathy, aroma therapy reflexology, etc.) use the same argument of “It works” even though there is no scientific evidence of any benefit other than the placebo effect?

Today we scoff at this misguided idea of bleeding, which lacked any evidence and was perpetuated through the millennia by the patient-generated placebo process. Yet we turn around and so easily become enamored of foreign folk medicine practices, like acupuncture, whose legitimacy is explained by stating that it “is a renowned and ancient medical practice that has been improving health for thousands of years” despite using the same basic technology as voodoo in the pursuit of invisible “chi” and the balancing of yin/yang “forces” along invisible “meridians” in our bodies.

So, let’s bring back bloodletting! It produces a slam/bang placebo effect: There is absolutely nothing that dramatizes and distracts a patient from whatever ails them more than watching their life’s blood stream out of their body. With today’s knowledge of wound cleaning and suture repair, we could keep down the infection rate and charge buckets of money for the drama.

Forget those minor placebo therapies like cranial massage, iridology, aroma therapy and bio-field realignment — bloodletting is a real winner! Forget those moral issues about first harming the patient, charging patients for their own patient-generated placebo effect and deceiving patients with magical explanations about invisible body parts and vibrational forces. Bloodletting is a real winner!

If Eastern, Western and other cultures can pursue and perpetuate medical nonsense for millennia, how do we go about making better decisions for our health?

The development of a formalized process to negate the distorting effects of human belief, emotion and wishful thinking in the pursuit of accurate evidence was needed by the different cultures of our civilization. In order for this process to self-correct for the inevitable mistakes that would occur, it had to be based on the simple biology of how all mammals learn — mimicry and repetition over time. Thousands of years of trial and error gradually pointed toward a pattern for success: random subjects, double-blinded experimenters and placebo control groups performing carefully measured experiments, which are repeated over time by different groups in different places and under constant review by peers, yielded stable evidence from which an accurate body of knowledge was built.

Most all fields of study at universities throughout the world use this same basic scientific methodology. The resultant science-based medicine is a worldwide standard. In order for any medical procedure or drug to become part of science-based medicine, only one simple and straightforward criterion must be met: The procedure or drug must significantly beat the placebo effect.

If you have questions about any medical remedies or procedures, look them up on Skepdic.com (the Skeptic’s Dictionary) and Sciencebasedmedicine.org. You’ll find out their history, development and whether or not they can beat the placebo effect.

— Victor Dominocielo, a California-credentialed teacher for 36 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Cox Celebrates Earth Day with Launch of Cox Conserves Heroes Awards Program

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Cox Communications, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, is seeking nominations for environmental volunteers in Cox’s service areas in Santa Barbara. Nominations are being accepted at CoxConservesHeroes.com through 5 p.m. May 21 for volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces.

Three finalists will compete through online voting to be named the 2014 Cox Conserves Hero for Santa Barbara. A total of $15,000 will be donated to Santa Barbara environmental nonprofits on behalf of the winner and finalists.

The winner will receive $10,000 to donate to his or her local environmental nonprofit of choice. The two additional finalists will receive $2,500 for their environmental nonprofit of choice.

Voting will be held in mid-July, with the winners announced in mid-August.

In 2013, Susan Epstein was selected as the 2013 Santa Barbara Cox Conserves Hero. The program launched in San Diego in 2009 and expanded to Santa Barbara and Orange County in 2012. In Southern California, Cox Conserves Heroes has recognized 36 volunteers and donated nearly $140,000 to environmental nonprofits.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications.

Cox Conserves Heroes also takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area; Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson); Georgia (Atlanta); Louisiana (Acadiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans); Virginia (Fairfax County/Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Roanoke) and Washington (Seattle).

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

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Rona Barrett Foundation Announces 2014 Board of Directors

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Rotary Club of Carpinteria Honors Zoe Iverson for Vocational Service

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Rotary Club of Carpinteria bestowed an annual Vocational Service Award to Carpinterian Zoe Iverson.

More than 40 club members and their guests attended the April 17 luncheon meeting held at the Carpinteria Lions Community Building.

Employees of members were also recognized to celebrate those who serve in a variety of vocations.

Award winner Iverson has been able to link the need for clothing in the poorest parts of Africa and other countries around the world to those in the community who enjoy sewing. She and her volunteers, working in a donated space at the Carpinteria Community Church, have made dresses out of clean pillow cases and shorts out of gently used T-shirts totaling 600 garments — so far.

Iverson and her team continue to work on the projects and will take pillowcase and T-shirt donations through the Rotary Club of Carpinteria. Iverson was lauded by the club and introduced by vocational co-chair Michelle van Wingerden.

Donation questions should be sent via email to club member Donna Treloar at dawnuh@cox.net.

— Pat Kistler is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Carpinteria.

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Bibi Taylor: Women Face Challenges in Planning for Retirement

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Women face special challenges when planning for retirement.

Bibi Taylor
Bibi Taylor

Because their careers are often interrupted to care for children or elderly parents, women may spend less time in the workforce and earn less money than men in the same age group. As a result, their retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits and pension benefits are often lower.

In addition to earning less, women generally live longer than men, and they face having to stretch limited retirement savings and benefits over many years. To meet these financial challenges, you'll need to make retirement planning a priority.

Begin Saving Now

To maximize your chances of achieving a financially secure retirement, start with a realistic assessment of how much you'll need to save. If the figure is substantial, don't be discouraged — the most important thing is to begin saving now.

Although it's never too late to save for retirement, the sooner you start, the more time your investments have to potentially grow. The chart below shows how just $2,000 invested annually at a 6 percent rate of return might grow over time, showing the amount you'll have saved by age 65 if you begin saving for retirement at the following ages:

» 20 — $451,016
» 30 — $236,242
» 40 — $116,313
» 50 — $49,345
» 60 — $11,951

Note: This is a hypothetical example, and does not reflect the performance of any specific investment. Results assume reinvestment of all earnings and no tax.

Save as Much as You Can — You Have Many Options

If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or a 403(b), join it as soon as possible and contribute as much as you can. It's easy to save because your contributions are deducted directly from your pay, and some employers will even match a portion of what you contribute.

If your employer offers a pension plan, find out how many years you'll need to work for the company before you're vested in, or own, your pension benefits. Women struggling to balance work and family sometimes shortchange their retirement savings by leaving their jobs before they become vested in their pension benefits. Keep in mind, too, that because your pension benefits will be based on your earnings and on your years of service, the longer you stay with one employer, the higher your pension is likely to be.

Most employer-sponsored plans allow you to choose from several investment options (typically mutual funds). If you have many years to invest or you're trying to make up for lost time, give special consideration to growth-oriented investments such as stocks and stock funds. Historically, stocks have outperformed bonds and short-term instruments over the long term, although past performance is no guarantee of future results. However, along with potentially higher returns, stocks carry more risk than less volatile investments.

A good way to get detailed information about a mutual fund you're considering is to read the fund's prospectus. It includes information about the fund's objectives, expenses, risks and past returns. A financial professional can also help you evaluate your retirement plan options.

Save for Retirement — No Matter What

Even if you're staying at home to raise your family, you can — and should — continue to save for retirement.

If you're married and file your income taxes jointly, and otherwise qualify, you may open and contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA as long as your spouse has enough earned income to cover the contributions.

Both types of IRAs allow you to make contributions of up to $5,500 in 2014 (unchanged from 2013), or, if less, 100 percent of taxable compensation. If you're age 50 or older, you're allowed to contribute even more — up to $6,500 in 2014 (unchanged from 2013).

Plan for Income in Retirement

Do you worry about outliving your retirement income? Unfortunately, that's a realistic concern for many women. At age 65, women can expect to live, on average, an additional 20.3 years.

1. In addition, many women will live into their 90s. This means that women should generally plan for a long retirement that will last at least 20 to 30 years. Women should also consider the possibility of spending some of those years alone. According to recent statistics, 37 percent of older women are widowed, 14 percent are divorced and almost half of all women age 75 and older live alone. 2. For married women, the loss of a spouse can mean a significant decrease in retirement income from Social Security or pensions. So what can you do to ensure you'll have enough income to last throughout retirement? Here are some tips:

» Estimate how much income you'll need. Use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may change dramatically by the time you retire.

» Find out how much you can expect to receive from Social Security, pension plans and other sources. What benefits will you receive should you become widowed or divorced?

» Set a retirement savings goal that you can work toward, and keep track of your progress.

» Save regularly, save as much as you can and then look for ways to save more — dedicate a portion of every raise, bonus, cash gift or tax refund to your retirement savings.

» Consider purchasing long-term care insurance to help protect your retirement savings and income from the high cost of nursing home care.

What's Your Excuse for Not Planning for Retirement?

I'm too busy to plan.

Perhaps you're so wrapped up in balancing your responsibilities that you haven't given retirement planning much thought. That's understandable, but if you don't put retirement planning at the top of your to-do list, you risk shortchanging yourself later on. Staying focused on your goal of saving for a comfortable retirement is difficult, but if you put yourself first it will really pay off in the end.

My husband takes care of our finances.

Married or not, it's critical for women to take an active role in planning for retirement. Otherwise, you may be forced to make important financial decisions quickly during a period of crisis. Unfortunately, decisions that are not well thought through often prove costly later. Preparing for retirement with your spouse will help ensure that you're both provided for, and pave the way to a worry-free retirement.

I'll save more once my children are through college.

Many well-intentioned parents put their own retirement savings on hold while they save for their children's college education. But if you do so, you're potentially sacrificing your own financial security. Your children have many options when it comes to financing college — loans, grants and scholarships, for example — but there's no such thing as a retirement loan! Why not set a good example for your children by getting your own finances in order before contributing to their college fund?

I don't know enough about investing.

Commit to spending just a few minutes a day learning the basics of investing, and you'll become knowledgeable in no time. And remember, you don't have to do it by yourself — a financial professional will be happy to work with you to set retirement goals and help you choose appropriate investments.

— Bibi Taylor, MBA, is a wealth manager for AmeriFlex, 3700 State St., Suite 310, in Santa Barbara. Call 805.898.0893 for more information.

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Tom Donohue: Are We Breaking America’s Promise of a Brighter Future?

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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What’s more American than working to provide your children with a better life than you lived?

The generational promise that the old would make sacrifices so the young can have greater opportunities is being threatened by the crushing burdens of America’s ballooning entitlement programs. These programs will not only saddle our children with massive amounts of debt in the future, but are today crowding out critical investments that will be key to our long-term growth and prosperity.

The costs of our entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — are soaring and unsustainable. In less than 10 years, entitlement programs will cost our economy $3 trillion annually. Not a single major entitlement program is projected to be financially solvent in 20 years. To keep Social Security and Medicare going for another 75 years would take $40 trillion — money that, by the way, we don’t have.

Why is this happening? Demographics are a driving factor. America is graying. Soon one-third of Americans will be retired, and they will spend one-third of their lives in retirement. And while the number of Americans over 65 will jump by 75 percent over the next decade, those of working age will nudge up by just 7 percent — meaning that fewer are paying into the system. Rising health-care costs and poorly designed programs are also big parts of the problem.

Consigning our children and grandchildren to a future of debt is bad enough. Shortchanging investments they will need for our economy to grow and prosper is unacceptable. Today, entitlement programs and interest payments on our debt gobble up 85 percent of all the revenue the federal government collects in federal income and social security taxes. This leaves little left over for critical priorities like reforming our failing public education system, modernizing and maintaining our crumbling infrastructure, and conducting basic research that helps drive innovation.

This is not a future befitting a great nation. Americans have been promised a better, brighter future — and we can still give it to them. By making relatively modest reforms to our entitlement programs now, we can preserve a safety net for the poor, sick and elderly. And we can slow the explosive rate of entitlement spending growth before it drives the nation into insolvency, squeezes out funding for every other important national priority, or forces economy-crushing tax hikes.

We can take steps now to prevent the most predictable crisis in history — or we can wait until reality catches up with us and slaps us with a full-blown catastrophe. It’s up to our leaders to face the facts, step up to the challenge and act now to preserve America’s promise for every generation.

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

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Santa Barbara VisionWalk on Saturday Aims to Take Steps Toward a Cure

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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At first glance, 15-year-old Santa Barbara High School freshman Lily Wash looks like most other teenagers her age. She plays soccer, loves listening to music, is attached to her cell phone and can’t wait to start driving. Yet Lily suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic and progressive disease that affects her peripheral and central vision, making the prospect of driving uncertain.

She hopes to raise awareness for this disease and many other blinding disorders at the fourth annual Santa Barbara VisionWalk taking place at 9 a.m. this Saturday, April 26, at Chase Palm Park. The 5K walk is free and open to the community.

“What’s so exciting about this year’s walk is that the money raised will stay in the Santa Barbara community,” said KC Wash, who is co-chairing the VisionWalk with his wife, Rhonda, and their daughter, Lily, for the third consecutive year.

For the first time in the walk’s history, money raised will impact research currently being conducted at the lab of UCSB biochemist Dr. Dennis Clegg.

Dr. Clegg’s current emphasis is in stem cell research, with a focus on developing therapies for ocular disease. Clegg and his team are in the process of developing a two-layered patch of cells to replace retinal tissue lost from conditions like RP and macular degeneration, making hopeful progress toward saving and restoring sight. Clegg’s research focuses on using stem cells to rescue and potentially replace photoreceptors that are damaged by diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.

Additional research conducted in conjunction with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Southern California is investigating methods of replacing layers of support cells called RPE (retinal pigment epithelial), which would benefit patients suffering from macular degeneration.

“The VisionWalks are important sources of funding for the Foundation Fighting Blindness which supports our research, allowing us to advance therapy from the lab to the clinic,” Dr. Clegg noted.

“We are fortunate to have one of the most preeminent retina stem cell research teams right here at University of California, Santa Barbara,” said Melvin Rabena, director of the California Retina Research Foundation.

His foundation also supports the Foundation Fighting Blindness and brings many of the research findings to the clinical trial stage.

Lily is not the only local teen at risk of losing her sight. Twelve-year-old Meghan Downing, who suffers from Stargardt’s disease, hopes to raise $5,000 through her team, “Meghan’s Posse.”

“Meghan’s disease is similar to a juvenile form of macular degeneration,” said her mom, Pearl Francis, who serves as the Vision Walk media chair. “Stargardt’s affects central vision loss, leaving the peripheral intact,” explains Francis, who says that Meghan takes it all in stride and doesn’t allow the disease to hold her back.

A natural-born fighter, Meghan is working toward her brown belt in karate and she’s also an accomplished violinist, who has learned to play the instrument by ear, since reading sheet music is not an option.

But Meghan is perhaps best known in Santa Barbara for her swimming skills. She’s an honorary member of the UCSB Gauchos swim and dive team, adopted two years ago after swim coach Greg Wilson read about Meghan in the newspaper. Her Santa Barbara swim club shares the UCSB pool, but Wilson commented that he’d never realized Meghan had a disease. Meghan glows when she talks about the support of the team, “They are so great; they have done so much for me. The girls call me and take me shopping, attend swim meets and even violin recitals.”

Meghan’s greatest challenge and wish is to be able to read. She listens to books on tape and counts Harry Potter and The Hunger Games among her favorites.

“I will be very happy when a cure comes out so that I can read. I’d love to act and want to be able to read the scripts,” Meghan said.

The VisionWalk brings the Santa Barbara community together and one step closer to finding a cure. The VisionWalk is a family-friendly event and will include children’s activities, a bounce house, refreshments, live music and more. Dogs and strollers are welcome on the 3.1-mile walk course. Event leaders include family chairs, the Wash Family; medical chair, Joe Vega of ABOC of Eye and Vision Care of Santa Barbara; and media chair, Pearl Francis.

Help “Looking out for Lily” and “Meghan’s Posse,” form your own team, or simply come walk along to raise money and awareness for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Click here for more information. Registration opens at 9 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Chase Palm Park, 323 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

There will also be a golf tournament to benefit the FFB at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 17 at Glen Annie Golf Club; register by clicking here or contact Vega at 805.692.6977.

— Ann Pieramici represents the Santa Barbara VisionWalk.

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UCSB Conference to Examine Labor Movement in America

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Scholars will consider ways to strengthen organized labor and increase its influence in the workplace

The decline of organized labor’s influence in the U.S. can be summed up in two numbers: 35 and 6. The first is the percentage of unionized private-sector workers at its high in the 1950s. The second is the current percentage.

What might be done to reverse that decline will be the focus of a two-day conference this Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, at UC Santa Barbara. Hosted by UCSB’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, “The American Labor Movement: Crisis and Creativity” will begin at 8 a.m. Friday in the multipurpose room of the Student Resources Building. Saturday’s events will take place in the University Center’s State Street Room beginning at 8:30 a.m. The conference is free and open to the public.

“The trade union movement in America is in extremely big trouble, and it requires some new, creative thought,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Professor of History and director of the center. “And sometimes this can be done much better on a college campus.”

The conference will bring together a mix of academics and labor officials for what Lichtenstein described as “freewheeling discussions” and debate on a number of topics in six sessions over the two days.

“They’re trying to find new ways to be relevant, to organize, to raise wages, to stop inequality,” he said.

Among featured speakers are Will Jones, Larry Cohen and Jake Rosenfeld. Jones, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver the keynote address on Friday. His topic will be “Labor’s Vital Role in the 1963 March on Washington.” He will give a separate talk on Thursday at 4 p.m. in UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Theater.

His lecture, “The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights,” is part of this year’s Critical Issues in America series, “The Great Society at Fifty: Democracy in America 1964/2014.”

Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, chair of the AFL-CIO’s organizing committee and founder of Jobs for Justice, will speak Friday at noon.

Rosenfeld, who will participate in a panel discussion beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday, is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington and the author of “What Unions No Longer Do,” which studies labor’s decline and its impact on society. Particularly hard hit are minorities and immigrants, Lichtenstein noted.

“One of Rosenfeld’s most important findings is that when private sector unions decline ¾ and they’re down to 6 percent of the of the whole workforce ¾ the impact it’s had politically is that Latino and immigrant and African Americans have much, much less political voice,” Lichtenstein said. “We’ll have a session about him and his findings and what to do about it.”

The conference is co-sponsored by Jacobin magazine and the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Click here for more information, including a complete schedule and registration.

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Teens Killed in Highway 101 Wreck Were Best Friends

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Two best friends from  a Torrance high school were among those killed Monday in a vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

Danielle Murillo

The seniors from North High School died along with a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles as they were returning home from a concert in Santa Maria. A fourth person was critically injured.

Danielle Murillo and Jessica Leffew, both 17, were seniors at North High. Also killed was Jessica’s boyfriend, Brian Adonay Lopez of Los Angeles.

All three were in a red 2005 Mazda traveling southbound on the highway near Castillo Street at about 12:45 a.m. when the vehicle veered right for unknown reasons and crashed into a guardrail, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The car flipped onto its roof and came to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway.

Moments later, a white 2013 Ford Mustang, also traveling on southbound 101, smashed into the car, ejecting two occupants, who both died.

The Mazda driver, 20-year-old Erick Hoel August of Los Angeles — Danielle’s boyfriend — suffered major injuries and reportedly was in critical condition at a hospital.

The driver of the Mustang, 52-year-old Kimberly Ann Kreis of Santa Barbara, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. She was treated for minor injuries to her chest, back and right knee, the CHP said.

The mood at the North High was somber on Monday. Teacher Julie Shankle said her room is across the hall from an office used by a grief counselor.

“I’ve had to close my door multiple times today because of the crying,” she said. “It’s been a very quiet day.”

Jessica Leffew

On Monday afternoon, students and family members filtered in and out of the home of Murillo’s mother, catty-corner from North High, offering condolences.

“She was really outgoing and positive. She always looked at the bright side of everything,” said Manuel Murillo, Danielle’s father. “It’s just crazy.”

Murillo said his daughter, who played soccer and participated in school plays, was planning to attend El Camino College and later a university and become a forensic psychologist.

Murillo, Leffew and their boyfriends had driven up to Santa Maria for a concert and were driving back home Sunday night, he said.

“Cheryl (Danielle’s mother) talked to her around 10. They were tired, but they were coming home,” Manuel Murillo said. “I guess her boyfriend fell asleep and lost control of the car and someone T-boned them.”

Murillo said he and Cheryl, who are divorced, were waiting to hear from their daughter, but she never showed up, and calls to her phone went unanswered. Then the police showed up at their door Monday morning.

Murillo said the family’s prayers are with August, his daughter’s boyfriend, who was in critical condition late Monday.

A North High student walked up to Murillo and gave him a hug.

“We’ll keep her spirit alive at school,” the student told him.

A group of students walking home from North High after school said they had been close friends with the girls since attending Magruder Middle School in Torrance.

Kouy Chhay, a senior, said Danielle loved to laugh.

“She really liked making people smile when they were down,” he said. “Whenever I’d see her, she’d always say hi and give me a hug, and then she would slap me, like messing around.”

The group of students said Jessica had planned to study nursing at the Southern California Regional Occupation Center — also known as SoCal ROC — in Torrance. Jessica had participated in JROTC during her sophomore year.

Ron Graham, the school’s JROTC instructor, said he remembers her as a well-mannered young lady who knew how to stick up for herself.

“If you stepped on her toe, she wouldn’t sock you, but she’d maybe say, ‘Hey, you stepped on my toe. How about an apology?’ ”

Graham remembers that, even after Jessica quit JROTC, she would address him in the hallway.

“Anytime she saw me she’d say, ‘Good morning, Sgt. Graham. How are you?’ ” he said.

A memorial for Leffew and Murillo will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school, where Principal Ron Richardson sent out a bulletin to families Monday.

“It is very difficult to lose a member of our community,” he wrote. “We are very heartbroken by the tragic loss of two of our students. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families, teachers, classmates and friends.”

[Click here to read more from the Torrance Daily Breeze.]

Carley Dryden and Rob Kuznia are reporters at the Torrance Daily Breeze. They can be reached at carley.dryden@langnews.com and Rob.Kuznia@dailybreeze.com. 

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Goleta Appoints Michelle Greene as Interim City Manager

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The city is working to find replacements for the positions of city manager, public works director and finance director

The City of Goleta needs to replace three of its managers at once, a unique situation for the 12-year-old city.

Michelle Greene
Michelle Greene

City Manager Dan Singer, Public Works Director Steve Wagner and Finance Director Tina Rivera all resigned in the last month to leave for new jobs, so the city is using search firms to find and hire permanent replacements.

The Goleta City Council will appoint Michelle Greene as interim city manager following Singer’s resignation. Greene has worked with the city since 2004, first as Administrative Services director and then as deputy city manager.

She’s the only other employee who has oversight over the entire city’s staff, according to public information officer Valerie Kushnerov.

Singer has headed Goleta’s employees since 2006 and will leave for the City of Poway next month. The City Council met in closed session Monday to discuss Greene’s appointment, and it will be made official with an agreement adopted at the May 6 council meeting.

The city is scheduling a meeting next week with executive recruiting firms to find a new city manager, Kushnerov said.

Singer handed in his resignation the same week that finance director Rivera left the city for a job with the United Water Conservation District in Santa Paula, where she lives. She’s been finance director for almost eight years, and the city has picked John Herrera to fill in temporarily. 

Herrera, a certified public accountant, has served as interim director in Buellton and several other communities, Kushnerov said.

Wagner left at the end of March to become the assistant general manager of the Goleta Sanitary District. Rosemarie Gaglione, the assistant city engineer and capital improvement program manager, has been appointed as interim public works director.

Goleta will use Teri Black and Co. to search for a new finance director and public works director, a process that is expected to take several months. Kushnerov said those positions will ultimately be hired by the new city manager.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Montessori Students Pay It Forward by Donating Books to School in Costa Rica

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Montessori Center School upper elementary students (children in grades 4 through 6) recently donated 70 copies of the beloved bilingual children’s book Vuela, Vuela Mariposa (Fly, Fly Butterfly) to Escuela Catie, an elementary school in Costa Rica.

The book’s author and local Santa Barbarian, Diego Pedreros, visited MCS and presented the book, which highlights the life and migration journey of the famed monarch butterflies that land in our very own Ellwood Butterfly Preserve every winter.

During his visit, Pedreros gifted each of the students with a donated copy of his book. In turn, the children decided they wanted to continue the cycle of giving and pay it forward. By spending student-raised funds they voted to purchase nearly 70 copies of the book for children at Escuela Catie. Each of the students then composed a letter in Spanish that was included with the books.

“There is a deep value in Montessori philosophy placed on the role education plays in the development of world peace and global understanding,” MCS Head of School Patricia Colby said. “Maria Montessori firmly believed there were universal tendencies in humans which, if properly nurtured would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. We at MCS want to nurture and uphold the belief that children can make a difference in the global community. It is our hope that experiences like this will foster a lifelong habit of civil responsibility.”

Since 1965, Montessori Center School has implemented the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching in the Santa Barbara area.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.

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SBCC Senior Holly Highfill Selected as Coca-Cola Academic Gold Scholar

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Holly Highfill
Holly Highfill

Santa Barbara City College senior Holly Highfill recently was selected as a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar.

Sponsored by the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation, the program is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and an independent panel of judges considers outstanding academic rigor, grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

A total of 150 scholars at the gold, silver and bronze levels were selected from an applicant pool of 1,700 students and nearly $200,000 in scholarships are awarded annually.

As a Gold Scholar, Highfill placed in the top 50 and will receive a $1,500 scholarship upon transfer to a four-year university and special commemoratory medallion.

An eighth-generation Santa Barbaran, Highfill has a long-term association with SBCC. She was a dual enrollment student while in high school and has been actively involved in campus life as a full-time student. She has served as president of the SBCC Honors Program, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as assistant to the director of the Political Science Sacramento Internship program in which 30 students shadow state and local leaders at the state Capitol.

Highfill will graduate as an English major from SBCC in May and plans to attend UCLA in the fall.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Santa Barbara Matchmaker to Discuss ‘Sexy Secrets’ at Granada Book Shop

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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Santa Barbara Matchmaking founder Lisa Darsonval will discuss the new book, Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 at the Granada Book Shop, 1224 State St.

Lisa Darsonval
Santa Barbara Matchmaking founder Lisa Darsonval, left, meets with Michelle Jacoby at this month's Matchmakers and Dating Coaches Conference in Sandpiper Bay, Fla.

A professional dating and relationship coach, Darsonval wrote a chapter titled “Secrets to Successfully Brand Your Online Dating Profile” in Sexy Secrets, which recently hit the No. 2 position on the Amazon International Bestseller Lists in the categories of “Love and Romance” and “Sex.”

Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life is a collaboration of 29 dating coaches, matchmakers, psychotherapists and personal coaches who share their secrets. The book was compiled “to make every woman around the globe successful at creating a juicier love life so she can avoid frustration, unhappiness and the worry she’ll be alone forever,” according to the book’s website. “It seeks to unselfishly provide energy to keep the flow moving; to direct you along the right path to success in finding your soulmate.”

“There is no better feeling than knowing I’ve introduced two great people and then watching them fall in love,” Darsonval said.

She has a knack for building confidence and creating enjoyment of the dating process. Helping people through transitions is one of her favorite things to do.

Darsonval said she believes dating should be a dignified process where people treat each other with kindness and care. She knows dating can be frustrating, time consuming and difficult. She said her goal is not only to find her clients love, but to make sure the matchmaking and dating process is easy, relaxing and fun.

In March, Darsonval was a speaker at the Matchmakers Alliance 2014 Matchmakers and Dating Coaches Conference in Sandpiper Bay, Fla., where she discussed why singles events are important. After organizing a series of such gatherings since 2012, she plans to launch monthly singles events called “First Thursday After-Parties” at Blush Restaurant and Lounge, beginning May 1, and her next “Meet Your Match” singles event will be at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on May 18.

Darsonval also writes about relationships for YourTango.com and LavaLife and has contributed to eHarmony.

Darsonval is a member of the Matchmakers Alliance and was recently certified through the Matchmakers Institute in New York City. Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Matchmaking.

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PARC Foundation’s ‘Magic on the Urban Wine Trail II’ to Benefit Youth Programs

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The PARC Foundation’s benefit “Magic on the Urban Wine Trail II” presented by Mission Linen Supply promises to be a fun-filled afternoon of wine tasting, magic with strolling magicians Mark Collier and Chris Ballinger, delicious food and a great silent auction.

The event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27 at the historic Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St.

Appetizers will be created and served by the teens of the city’s successful culinary arts program, which gives youth job skills and helps them to make healthy food choices before they set out on their own for college and the workplace, establishing habits that last a lifetime.

Proceeds from the event will support the Parks & Recreation camp scholarship fund for underprivileged children and the department’s youth culinary arts program.

The list of wineries pouring at the event has grown since last year’s founding event, and now includes Area 5.1 Winery, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards & Winery, Happy Canyon Vineyards, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Kalyra Winery, Oreana Winery, Pali Wine Co., Sanford Winery, Santa Barbara Winery, Silver Wines, Summerland Winery and Whitcraft Winery.

Tickets for the event are $45 in advance or $60 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at the PARC Foundation’s website by clicking here or by calling 805.897.1946.

The Parks & Recreation Community Foundation supports the work of the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department by promoting, preserving and enhancing parks, recreation programs and open space in Santa Barbara for the enjoyment, appreciation and improved quality of life for present and future generations.

PARC thanks presenting sponsor Mission Linen Supply and Montecito Bank & Trust, the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, Casa Magazine, Pacific Western Bank, Bryant & Sons Ltd. and MarBorg Industries for their sponsorship of the event.

For more information, call recreation programs manager Judith McCaffrey at 805.897.1946.

— Summers Case is a marketing coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Renovation Project of Gaviota Rest Areas on Highway 101 Postponed

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The closure of the Gaviota Safety Roadside Rest Areas on Highway 101 scheduled to begin Monday, April 28 for approximately nine months for a major project to improve this facility has been postponed. Caltrans will announce a new date as soon as it is available.

This project will include an extensive renovation to the plumbing systems in two restroom buildings that will include water conservation measures such as low-flow fixtures and faucets that will automatically turn off.

This facility will also receive upgrades to the electrical system and improvements to tile, carpentry, paint, landscape and irrigation systems.

These improvements are necessary due to the 1 million visitors who use these rest areas each year.

The contractor for this $927,000 project is Prism Engineering Inc. of Hayward. This project is expected to be completed in January.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, click here or call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Billy Baldwin Returning as Host of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s ‘Saks & The City’ Event

By | Published on 04/22/2014

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The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer, is thrilled to announce the much anticipated seventh annual “Saks & The City” event to be held Thursday, May 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara.

Billy Baldwin
Billy Baldwin

The event features a James Bond theme and provides guests a “License to Shop” for the latest must have designer brands! Saks & The City offers up a special night to go out and be spoiled with mini-makeovers from Saks Fifth Avenue artists, massages from Santa Barbara's finest masseuses, signature cocktails, music, entertainment, casino tables and more!

Dapper actor and Santa Barbara resident Billy Baldwin serves as master of ceremonies and auctioneer for a unique live and silent auction featuring a dress worn by Katy Perry during her 2014 Prismatic World Tour; a memorable surf experience with Shaun Tomson; a Hawaiian Luau package for 50 guests; a luxury vacation to Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; a stunning 18K Yellow Gold ring from Daniel Gibbing Jewelry; and art by James Paul Brown. Be 007 for a day with a James Bond experience which includes luxury accommodations at Bacara Resort & Spa and secret missions that will take you to land, sea and air! Only the winner will find out!

“I love hosting 'Saks & The City' because it is such a unique and fun event," Baldwin said. "It brings together all the wonderful community members of Santa Barbara to shop, drink and raise money for one of the most important and vital organizations in our community.”

This extraordinary event is led by event co-chairs Donna Barranco Fisher, Vanessa Decker and Sheela Hunt, and a dedicated and hardworking committee.

“I am proud to support the organization’s mission to ensure families from Ventura to San Luis Obispo are provided the assistance they desperately need," Barranco Fisher said. "I encourage those of you that have not attended this event before to please join us! It will be a great evening in support of this critical cause!”

Guests attest one of the highlights of the event is sampling food from local restaurants. This year, attendees will enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Butler Event Center, Chocolate du CaliBressan, Coveted Cakery, India Club, Marmalade, Miso Hungry, Olio e Limone and Olio Pizzeria, Omni Fresco Catering, The Shop Café and Sama Sama. Sipping signature cocktails made from vodka donated by Tito’s Handmade, wine tasting from Zinke Winery and tequila tastings from Paloma Restaurant & Tequila Bar are also on the list of “must-do’s” at the event!

Guests also love the raffle drawing which this year includes a chance to win a Santa Barbara Staycation, a Santa Ynez Getaway, and a wine-rack filled with a variety of 47 red, white and rosé premium wines generously donated by Saks & The City VII event committee members' personal collections. Raffle tickets are $20 for one ticket or six tickets for $100 and are now available for purchase; winner need not be present.

After the event, the Canary Hotel will host an after-party that will donate a percentage of sales from the evening to TBCF and where guests can dance the night away to the beats of DJ Tru. Saks Fifth Avenue will also generously donate 10 percent of proceeds when you shop May 1-3 and mention Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

“We greatly appreciate Saks Fifth Avenue’s support of our organization’s mission to support families. ‘Saks & The City’ generates 20 percent of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s annual revenue. The community’s support of this event is essential so we can meet the needs of families that have a child with cancer living in the Tri-County region,” said Lindsey Guerrero, executive director of TBCF.

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation would like to thank Diamonds Are Forever event sponsor Bobby Ryan and family as well as Goldfinger event sponsors Dr. Robert Kammer and family; Julia Delgado, M.D.; the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation; and Suneva Medical. The following businesses and families are Casino Royale sponsors and include ARDEN; Jim and Vanessa Bechtel; Formigli; IOA Insurance Services Inc., Jon Valois, CIC, CRIS;  Mer James; Pacific Plastic Surgery; Eric and Nina Phillips; Project Dynamics; Technical Glass, TGP, Patrick and Cynthia Murphy; Toyota of Santa Barbara; and John Woodward, attorney and counselor. Special thank you to Joe Newberry Photography and Kim Byrnes Photography; Via Vai for donating food for event volunteers; Mission Tuxedos for suiting up our volunteer firefighters; and major event underwriters including Barranco Fisher, Dr. Robert Kiken, Dr. Jesse Lanzon, Montecito Bank & Trust, Prospect Mortgage and SB Philanthropy.

The mission of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is to provide financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Each year the organization serves over 650 individuals. To learn more about Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation or purchase event tickets and raffle tickets to Saks & The City VII, click here or call TBCF’s Development Director Bryan Kerner at 805.563.4723.

— Lindsey Guerrero is executive director of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

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Capps Pushes for More Federal Funding in Fight Against Panga Smuggling

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The congresswoman and Sheriff Bill Brown meet with federal and state authorities to discuss strategy

Santa Barbara County officials are trying to get continuous funding for the fight against panga boat maritime smuggling. 

Sheriff Bill Brown and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, met with federal and state authorities Monday morning to discuss strategy for stopping the influx of drug- and people-smuggling boats landing on the Central Coast.

There have been 42 landings in Santa Barbara County since 2010, including 20 in 2012, Brown said. The boats used are traditional Mexican fishing boats, typically about 30 feet long, open-bowed and powered by multiple outboard motors.

Capps wrote a letter asking for federal funding last year, and the county got $375,000 for Operation Stonegarden, the collaborative law enforcement effort focused on the country’s borders. She wrote another letter to the congressional Subcommittee on Homeland Security last month asking for $55 million in grant funding for Operation Stonegarden.

“We can’t give our guard down especially given the history of success lately,” Capps said, adding that the panga boat drivers and passengers put themselves at risk with such dangerous conditions, which implies a level of desperation.

Brown said local funding has paid for equipment and overtime for Sheriff's Department employees to work on the task force and panga response effort.

The number of panga landings and interceptions at sea has decreased over the years (only two so far in 2014), but it’s still a threat, Brown said. Law enforcement agencies have seized almost 30,000 pounds of marijuana — worth $71.6 million on the street — and arrested 120 people, he said.

The Central Coast is an attractive location to smugglers since there are more than 100 miles of coastline close to the highway, he said. Boats land on beaches, unload bales of drugs or people into waiting vehicles and “are gone before we know it,” he said.

With more pressure put on Mexican drug cartels, smugglers went from over-the-border efforts to tunneling, having people grow marijuana in the United States and now using boats to get up the California coast, Brown said. They’ve been found as far north as Monterey County, he said.

“As pressure has been put on smuggling in southern areas like San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, they’ve moved further and further north,” Brown said, adding that the marijuana smuggled in by boat gets distributed nationally.

He and Capps reached out to federal agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to share information, spot boats and respond to incidents.

He wouldn’t discuss specific law enforcement strategy from Monday's meeting, but he said some boats probably make it all the way up the coast without stopping while other ones may stop at “some kind of mothership” to refuel or get supplies. Some of the boats go out to sea as far as 100 miles.

The Santa Cruz Islands have been a stopping point for some boats as well. Most land on beaches under the cover of darkness, so they may get to the islands, wait until nighttime and then head to shore, Brown noted.

In late 2012, a U.S. Coast Guard officer was killed when his vessel was rammed by a panga boat. Two Mexican nationals were convicted of murder in the death of 34-year-old Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III.

Horne and other boarding team members of the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut approached the boat in the Smuggler’s Cove area off Santa Cruz Island. They were thrown into the water when the panga boat operator rammed the inflatable boarding vessel, according to the official report on the incident.

When the panga fled the scene after the collision, the outboard engine propeller hit Horne’s head in the water and he died of his head injuries.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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Crooner Bryan Ferry Performs at Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Poster/T-shirt Design Unveiled for Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Each year, there is an artistic competition for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice T-shirt and poster design that is sold as a fundraising vehicle for the festival celebrating the longest day of the year.

Drum roll, please: This year’s winner ― of a sun and moon playing hopscotch ― is by Pali-X-Mano.

The popular playground game hopscotch is in keeping with the parade’s theme, which is Games.

“With the World Cup this summer in Brazil and the popularity of Game of Thrones, Games is a timely subject,” Solstice Executive Director Claudia Bratton said. “A good theme is usually one word, and everyone pictures something in their mind when they hear that word.”

Like past themes Jungle and Circus, Games gives ample inspiration for fun floats and costumes.

“When I was a boy, I loved to play hopscotch with my four sisters back in Budapest,” said artist Pali-X-Mano, a graduate of the Hungarian Academy of Art & Design.

Since 1990, Pali has been an integral part of Solstice, and this is his sixth winning design. He’s also created 27 of the large inflatable creations that traditionally close the Solstice parade. Regarding his name, Pali is Paul in Hungarian, the X is for eXperimental and Mano is “little mischief” in Hungarian.

The hopscotch poster ($20 unsigned and $25 signed) and T-shirts will debut at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park this Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27. Visit the Solstice booth to make masks with the kids and for information about upcoming events including workshops.

For adults, there are 100 percent cotton T-shirts in black and white with the sun on the front and the moon on the back; unisex S-XXXL, $20. There are also tanks in black with the moon on the front; adult S-XL, $20. The children’s shirt is gold and emblazoned with the sun; XS-L, $15.

Or visit the online store by clicking here. Let the games begin!

— Wendy Jenson for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration.

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Santa Barbara Library Hosting Free Presentation on Home Foreclosure

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System is hosting the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County and SurePath Financial Solutions for a free public information session on home foreclosure.

The presentation, in English and Spanish, will be in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 14.

Legal Aid Foundation attorneys Jennifer Smith and George Terterian will discuss California’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights, assistance for homeowners as risk for foreclosure and how to avoid foreclosure avoidance scams.

The Central Library is located at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The presentation will outline the broad spectrum of legal and financial services available to distressed homeowners including legal intervention, loan modifications, bankruptcy filing and housing counseling. Where foreclosure cannot be avoided, homeowners and tenants can be assisted through eviction defense, relocation, financial education, credit rebuilding and referrals for counseling and educational resources.

This program is supported by California’s National Mortgage Settlement Grant Program, which awarded 21 grants statewide to assist Californians affected by the state’s foreclosure crisis.

“The foreclosure crisis has inflicted wide-ranging and deep harm to California homeowners and communities,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “These grants will give homeowners and families the financial and legal tools they need to recover.”

Click here for information about programs, events and services of the Santa Barbara Public Library System. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Christine Gallery represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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The Samarkand Offering Guided Tours of New LifeCenter During Open House

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Samarkand, a faith-based, nonprofit, continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities, invites the public to see its new showpiece — the LifeCenter — from 10 a.m. to noon May 8.

Residents and staff of the senior living community will guide tours of the $4 million building, including the café with indoor and outdoor seating areas; the aerobics/multipurpose room; the wellness clinic and fitness center; the computer lab; office space for the community’s 40 resident-led committees; the studio for the in-house TV channel; and the residents’ clothing/accessories resale boutique.

The third building the retirement community has added to its campus since 2000, the 9,527-square-foot, twostory, Santa Barbara mission style building demonstrates the community’s commitment to remaining in the forefront of senior living. It was designed with significant resident input and reflects Santa Barbara’s passion for environmental sustainability. It features LEED-certified design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions.

Refreshments will be served. For information, click here or call 877.231.6284.

The Samarkand residents and staff is located to 2550 Treasure Drive in Santa Barbara.

— Colette Claxton represents The Samarkand.

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Radius Releases South Coast Commercial Real Estate 1st Quarter Report

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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As we predicted, the combination of limited supply and hungry buyers started the year with a bang.

The first quarter of 2014 was undoubtedly the strongest first quarter we have seen in three years. The 23 commercial sales recorded easily trumps Q1 2012’s 11 deals and Q1 2013’s 14 transactions.

If this pace continues — with inventory remaining low and investors poised to pounce — 2014 could produce the greatest number of commercial sales in the South Coast in more than 17 years.

As we alluded in our 2013 year-end report, one major factor driving this sales activity is the proliferation of 1031 exchange transactions. We expect this practice to continue.

New buyers are absorbing the limited supply, driving prices ever higher and breaking off-market properties loose, forcing sellers to then exchange into new properties and continuing the cycle.

New Development

Several new development projects are beginning to take shape in different parts of Santa Barbara.

» The Alma Del Pueblo Public Market on Chapala and Victoria streets opened April 14 with much fanfare. The market offers a unique shopping and eating experience with an eclectic mix of upscale restaurants and artisanal shops selling wine, cheese, seafood, meat, fresh bread and many other pantry goods.

» In the Funk Zone, the freeway-visible Youth Hostel located at State Street and Highway 101 is now under construction. Several new multifamily projects are also under construction including one complex on the corner of Olive and Canon Perdido streets in which a local developer is building 19 apartment units with ocean views attached to an existing 18,000-square-foot office building. Additionally, the site at 1820 De la Vina St. is being graded in preparation for a 40-unit residential care facility to house Alzheimer’s patients.

» The long-awaited Entrada de Santa Barbara Hotel project is expected to break ground in June, and the Prado Hotel located at 1601 State St. also has undergone a major renovation and is now flagged as a La Quinta Inn.

» The Sevilla condo development project at 401 Chapala St. downtown was completed in May, and all of the commercial units are currently in escrow and a number of the residential units have already sold.

Will the Market Slow Down?

The most logical obstacle to sales continuing at this pace would be a rise in interest rates.

Rates did jump dramatically in May 2013, yet 10-year treasury rates seem to be hovering right around 2.75 percent, and new Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen appears to echo the views of Ben Bernanke, so it does seem unlikely that we will see a sharp jump in rates.

For the moment, it looks like the train may keep rolling unimpeded into 2015.

Commercial Leasing: Santa Barbara Office

There is a palpable shift in the market as vacancy downtown continues to tighten. At the beginning of 2013 the vacancy rate was 6.3 percent. A year later it has fallen to 4.3 percent, causing the average asking rate to climb to $2.85 per square foot gross, its highest level since 2007 before the recession hit. Asking rates remained relatively flat between 2009 and the beginning of 2013 but have been on a steep upward trajectory since then.

Last year was largely about companies like Sonos and RingRevenue gobbling up many of the larger spaces downtown. Now we are seeing a number of tenants in-filling the quality office spaces and leasing various sized spaces, and this has noticeably chipped away at inventory.

This undoubtedly should impact Goleta and Carpinteria as tenants who cannot fulfill their office requirements downtown will open up their parameters in order to stay in the very coveted Santa Barbara market.

Click here to view the full report online.

— Vince Coronado is the marketing director for Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.

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Boys’ Tennis: Short-handed Chargers Net Win Over Campbell Hall

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High School boys' tennis team played Monday without starters Quinn Hensley and Greg Steigerwald but managed to eke out a 13-5 win over Campbell Hall.

The Chargers swept in doubles. Mason Casady and Joshua Wang improved their record to 35-1. Other sweepers included Miles Baldwin and Andrew Tufenkian, who lost only two games, and Alex Yang and Sanad Shabbar. The latter kept us in suspense with a long set that finished with a tiebreaker 7-5.

In singles, we gained four sets — Patrick Corpuz took three and Mason Dochterman, one. Patrick's match with Gilbert Chung (two-star recruit) proved to be a long one. Patrick grinded out that set to take the win in a set tiebreaker 7-4.

The team showed excellent concentration as well as resolve to do well. Both teams displayed outstanding sportsmanship.

The Chargers head to San Marcos on Tuesday for their seventh league match, with a 2:30 p.m. start time.

On Thursday, Patrick Corpuz (singles) and Mason Casady/Andrew Tufenkian (doubles) head to Ojai to represent DP in the CIF Division. Draws will be posted at noon Tuesday.

DP's overall record improves to 13-2. Campbell Hall falls to 8-5.

» Dos Pueblos Singles: Patrick Corpuz 3-0; Dylan Zapata 0-2; Kellen Roberts 0-1; Mason Dochterman 1-2

» Dos Pueblos Doubles: Mason Casady/Joshua Wang 3-0; Miles Baldwin/Andrew Tufenkian 3-0; Alex Yang/Sanad Shabbar 3-0

» Campbell Hall Singles: William Silverstein 1-2; Bryce Pereira 2-1; Gilbert Chung 2-1

» Campbell Hall Doubles: Jack Gerzenshtein/Adrian Detchmendy 0-3; Garrett Elconin/Preston Harvey 0-3; Sam Spier/Daniel Gobel 0-3

— Liz Frech coaches boys’ tennis at Dos Pueblos High School.

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Congressional Candidate Tony Strickland Advances in NRCC’s Young Guns Program

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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On Monday, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced that Tony Strickland has been elevated to "contender" in the NRCC’s Young Guns program.

The program helps provide candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run effective, successful and winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents.

Originally founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Young Guns program supports and mentors challenger and open-seat candidates in races across the country.

Strickland is running in California’s 25th Congressional District.

“Voters believe strongly that the country is on the wrong track because of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s failed legislation, like Obamacare. Tony Strickland has reached the ‘contender’ status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington, D.C., to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington,” said NRCC chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore. “I am confident that Tony will continue to work hard for his district and bring sound, conservative principles to Congress.”

Strickland’s core philosophy is his belief in personal responsibility and creating an efficient, responsible government with low taxes. A former member of the California Senate and Assembly, Strickland has been a leader in California in fighting for lower taxes and limited government. In Congress, his top priority will be reducing the bureaucracy and taxes that are stifling our economy, so we start creating jobs again and lower unemployment.

As a business owner, Strickland is a Partner at Endeavor Public Affairs, a communications consulting firm that advises California companies and nonprofits.

At home, Strickland is a husband of 13 years to his wife, Audra, and a father to two children, Ruby Ruth and “Tiny” Tony.

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Michael Barone: Political Competition, Not Racism, Changes Voter Alignments

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Have the Republicans become the white man's party? Are the depth and bitterness of Republicans' opposition to President Barack Obama and his administration the product of racism?

Those are questions you hear in the clash of political argument, and you will hear plenty of answers in the affirmative if you click onto MSNBC or Salon.com with any regularity. You can find a more nuanced and thoughtful analysis in Jonathan Chait's recent New York magazine article, "The Color of His Presidency."

Chait, a liberal, starts off by noting that the post-racial America that Obama seemed to promise in his 2004 national convention speech and his 2008 campaign has not come into being.
On the contrary, "Race, always the deepest and most volatile fault line in American history," he writes, "has now become the primal grievance in our politics, the source of a narrative of persecution each side uses to make sense of the world."

Many liberals see racism in every criticism of the Obama presidency, even though, as Chait points out, Bill Clinton met with similar and in some cases more strident opposition.

Conservatives, he argues, "dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs." Understandably so, given his description of liberals' "paranoia of a white racism."

Chait defends liberals by arguing that the debates on big government were inevitably produced by the Obama agenda and "there is no separating this discussion from one's sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America."

But he also admits that "advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist." And he seems to ignore the argument that policies that directed large sums of money disproportionately at blacks — like the welfare programs from the 1970s to the 1990s, which the Obama administration is trying to partially resurrect — harm more than benefit their intended beneficiaries.

This is, after all, what House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan was getting at when he lamented "a culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working." The fact that Obama has made similar arguments didn't prevent Ryan from being excoriated as racist by some liberals.

On balance, Chait absolves Republicans (and Democrats) of the charge of racism. But he is one of many analysts, including some conservatives, who have warned Republicans of the danger of becoming a party made up almost exclusively of white people.

That puts them at risk, the argument goes, of becoming a permanent minority in a nation with increasing percentages of Hispanics and Asians and with blacks voting almost unanimously for Democrats.

There's obviously some peril there. Mitt Romney won 59 percent of white votes in 2012, the same as George H.W. Bush in 1988. But with a smaller nonwhite electorate, Bush won 53 percent of the total popular vote to Romney's 47 percent.

History tells us that Republican presidential candidates have never won more than Romney's 59 percent of the white vote except in 1972 and 1984 when incumbent presidents were re-elected in landslides. But history also tells us that until the 1940s (except during Reconstruction), whites constituted nearly 100 percent of the electorate. Southern blacks weren't allowed to vote, and there were few Hispanics or Asians.

The relevant electoral divisions in the past were between groups of whites — Southerners and Northerners, Catholics and Protestants, New England Yankees and Jacksonian frontiersmen.

The parties competed by maximizing solidarity among favorable demographic or regional minorities, while quietly seeking inroads among other groups.

Awareness of minority status tends to produce greater partisan solidarity. Extreme examples include Irish for 120 years after the potato famine, white Southerners for 90 years after the Civil War and blacks since 1964.

That may be happening again. Political scientist Larry Bartels points to research that shows that when independent voters in the West were asked "if they had heard that California had become a majority-minority state," they were more likely to vote Republican by a sizable 11 points.

These days, voters nationally are being told, by triumphant liberals and defensive conservatives, that America is headed toward becoming a majority-minority nation. So whites may become more Republican than ever, not because of racism but because of the dynamics of competitive party politics.

Republicans still face challenges among nonwhites. But Democrats may face similar challenges among whites, and charges of racism won't help.

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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10 Educators in Santa Barbara County Selected to Receive Venoco Crystal Apple Awards

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Ten outstanding educators in Santa Barbara County will receive the 2014 Venoco Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Awards on May 8 at the Education Celebration that is hosted each year by the Teachers Network of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

For 12 years, Venoco Inc. and the Santa Barbara County Education Office have partnered to present these awards to five exceptional educators from the North County and five from the South County. The celebration will take place at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.

The Crystal Apple recipients are chosen for their dedication; instructional and motivational skills; ability to challenge and inspire students; and their ability to interact with students, staff and community members.

“We are so pleased to be able to acknowledge the exceptional work of these outstanding educators,” said county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the program. “They represent the hundreds of professionals working day in and day out to make a difference for the students of Santa Barbara County.”

Each year, school employees, parents and students are invited to nominate educators who have provided exceptional service to students. Crystal Apple winners receive a crystal apple plaque and a $500 stipend, generously provided by Venoco.

“Venoco is proud to acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments of this year’s Crystal Apple honorees,” said Marybeth Carty, community partnership manager for Venoco Inc. “This peer-nominated award allows us to recognize the best of the best, and express our thanks for the daily dedication and faith our local educators apply to the supremely important task of helping our children thrive.”

This year’s Venoco Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Award winners are:

North County

» Elementary Teacher — Gordon (Kenji) Matsuoka, Alvin Avenue School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
» Secondary Teacher — Tina Hughes, Fesler Junior High School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
» Classified Employee — Dennie Upton, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
» Certificated Support Provider — Shannon Lopez, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
» Administrator — Bridget Baublits, Principal, Los Olivos School, Los Olivos School District

South County

» Elementary Teacher — Robert Cooper, Adams School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
» Secondary Teacher — Carolyn Teraoka-Brady, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
» Classified Employee — Leslie Grieve, Canalino Elementary School, Carpinteria Unified School District
» Certificated Support Provider — Rebekah Wagner, Cold Spring School, SBCEO Special Education
» Administrator — Felicia Roggero, Principal, Brandon School, Goleta Union School District

For more information, call Steven Keithley, director of SBCEO Teacher Programs and Support, at 805.964.4710 x5281.

— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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New Beginnings Counseling Center Hosting ‘Comic Relief’ Fundraiser

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Greg Otto
Greg Otto

New Beginnings Counseling Center is kicking off a new annual fundraising effort this May, Comic Relief Santa Barbara.

“We are very excited to be launching a fresh and engaging approach to raising funds to solve some very serious local issues,” said Diane Pannkuk, president of the Board of Directors of New Beginnings Counseling Center.

The event will be held May 8 at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. in Santa Barbara. Three of L.A.’s best-known comedians — Greg Otto, Karen Rontowski and Cary Odes — will perform in two shows at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The agency, which provides mental health counseling, housing case management and safe overnight parking for the homeless living in their vehicles, sees this event as an opportunity for attendees to “experience the healing power of laughter," New Beginnings Executive Director Kristine Schwarz said.

"So much of our work is spent helping people who have significant challenges in their lives," she said. "Laughter is often a defense mechanism used to lighten and defuse a tense or sad situation. Experiencing a good belly laugh, or being able to find humor in some of the more challenging situations in our lives often helps us to develop the capacity to endure traumatic events and eventually move through them.”

The event is fashioned after the improv stage founded in New York in 1963 by Broadway producer Budd Friedman. The iconic red brick wall — originally left behind by the previous Vietnamese restaurant tenants — gave the club its signature and stage time to such comedic legends as Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor and Andy Kaufman.

The use of “Comic Relief” as a means to raise money to change lives began most notably in the UK and Africa in 1985 and in Los Angeles to raise funds to help those in need in 1986.

The inaugural event in Santa Barbara will feature headliners Otto, Rontowski and Odes.

Cary Odes
Cary Odes

“It’s a delight to bring together some of the funniest people I know for such a great cause,” said Odes, whose television credits include Melrose Place and Touched By an Angel.

Odes studied at Second City with improv legend Del Close and then toured the country doing stand-up for more than 10 years. Odes now runs The Standup Workshop in L.A.

For more than 30 years, Otto has appeared all over the world in 60 countries on five continents entertaining at venues such as the Mirage, MGM Grand and the Comedy Store.

He has appeared on many television shows, including Evening at the Improv and Newhart, and on channels Comedy Central, A&E and Showtime, and has shared the stage with Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Dennis Miller, Jerry Seinfeld and many others.

Karen Rontowski
Karen Rontowski

From the Late Show with David Letterman to Sirius satellite radio, Rontowski has a stand-up career that spans more than 20 years and includes performances on Comedy Central, Live at Gotham, the Late Show with David Letterman and Comics Unleashed.

Rontowski has opened for such show biz legends as Bob Hope, Ray Charles and David Brenner, and she is a regular on the Bob and Tom Radio Show.

Tickets and sponsorship information can be found by clicking here or by calling 805.963.7777 x104. New Beginnings is a 501(c)(3) organization. For federal income tax purposes, attendees can deduct as a charitable contribution the price of this ticket less its fair market value.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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Lou Cannon: Obamacare Soars in Some States, Stumbles in Others, But Polls Find Public Opposed

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is finally off the critical list. If Obamacare were a patient we could say that the condition was stable, but with an uncertain prognosis. If the health-care law were instead an army, we might quote Winston Churchill, who described a crucial British military victory during World War II, as “not the end ... not even the beginning of the end but, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Whatever the analogy, Obamacare remains an uncertain work in progress for the federal government and the 14 states and District of Columbia that operate exchanges, or marketplaces, at which the uninsured can enroll for health-care insurance. (Idaho and New Mexico will this year join the list of state exchanges, boosting the number to 16.)

In their first year of operation, state exchanges have varied widely in performance. Covered California, the sophisticated health-care exchange in the Golden State, has despite early struggles enrolled 1.4 million people, about a fifth of the national total. Executive director Peter V. Lee announced last Thursday that Covered California also enrolled 1.9 million Californians in Medi-Cal, the state version of Medicaid, which provides health coverage for low-income Americans.

Lee called the figures “a huge number” and said the enrollees “are part of history.”

Exchanges in at least a half-dozen other states joined California in exceeding their original goals. The Connecticut exchange, Access Health CT, signed up 200,000 peope for health insurance, double the initial estimate. Other exchanges that have performed well overall include Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

In contrast, exchanges in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oregon have completely flopped — although not for lack of trying. All of these states have Democratic governors committed to Obamacare. They have stumbled because of technological hurdles that unprepared state officials have been unable to surmount.

Lack of technical expertise also nearly did in the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, last October. The repeated breakdowns accompanying the federal rollout for a time threatened the existence of the health-care law and eventually led to the resignation of beleaguered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The No. 1 problem of the exchanges that failed was explained cogently by Sabrina Corlette of the Georgetown University Health Policy Center to the Los Angeles Times: “You have government employees who are well-intentioned, good people but who don’t understand software code and basically have to trust that the vendors they hire know what they are doing. There was such a gold rush on the part of these vendors that there was lot of over-promising and underpricing.”

Nationally, the Obama administration claims that 8 million people have signed up for health insurance and 3 million for Medicaid on the various exchanges. These numbers are somewhere between an estimate and a guess. Even Sebelius acknowledges that 10 percent to 20 percent of the sign-ups may not have paid their insurance premiums. A 20 percent-falloff would mean that only 6.4 million of the sign-ups actually had bought health insurance. On the other hand, the Medicaid figure is almost certainly low, given the late spurt in California and other states.

Also uncounted are people who bought policies directly from insurance companies, avoiding the complexity and delay of the exchanges. There could be millions of such people, “hiding in plain sight” as The New York Times puts it. What isn’t known, in addition to their numbers, is how many of them previously had health insurance policies that were canceled despite President Barack Obama’s unfortunate promise that anyone who liked his health insurance policy could keep it.

Much of the mystery about the numbers should be cleared up relatively soon as exchanges and insurers digest the enrollment data. The data has lagged because the administration extended the March 31 enrollment deadline, allowing those who had applied but had been unable to enroll to complete the process without penalty. Covered California did even more, moving its deadline to April 15.

Whatever the final numbers, more Americans now have health insurance than at any time since the Great Recession. The Gallup-Healthways-Well Being Index found that the national rate of medically uninsured dipped to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.5 percent decline since the fourth quarter of last year and the lowest rate since late 2008. A survey by the RAND Corp., confirmed Gallup’s findings and added a surprising twist. RAND found that the largest number of new signups for health insurance — about 8.2 million people — came not from the exchanges but from expansion of workplace insurance, which declined during the recession.

Despite the spurt in insurance coverage, the health-care law remains unpopular. A Gallup survey in mid-April found 43 percent of Americans approve of the law and 54 percent disapprove. This finding, grim as it is for Democrats, may understate the impact of Obamacare as an issue in this year’s midterm elections in which Republicans are favored to hold the House of Representatives and take control of the Senate. A USA Today-Pew Research poll found that two of three of those who consider Obamacare “very important” oppose the law. 

Still, it won’t be easy for Republicans to turn back the clock. As conservative writer Byron York observed in a thoughtful analysis in the Washington Examiner, Republicans face a practical problem now that Obamacare is in place.

“Exchanges are running — many of them badly, but running,” York wrote. “Subsidies are being paid. Insurance companies have changed the way they do business. Medicaid has been expanded. Special taxes are being collected.”

Over time the health-care law could become embedded into the fabric of American life, as Social Security and Medicare did in prior generations. Republicans have no hope of repealing the law over Obama’s veto while he is in the White House. By 2017, even if a Republican is president and his party controls Congress, 24 million Americans will be receiving health care through the exchanges and another 12 million will be covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. The vast and interlocking health care and insurance industries would have a shared interest in preserving the law.

But Obamacare is not yet a done deal. The economic viability of the law depends upon the enrollment of enough young and healthy people to offset the higher costs of insuring those who are older and generally less healthy. Until we know what percentage of these supposed “young invincibles” actually signed up, it’s impossible to determine if insurance companies will be able to offer affordable policies going forward.

There are other potential pitfalls. One of the thorniest is a provision of the health-care law that penalizes businesses with more than 50 employees unless they provide health insurance. Trying to avoid a political firestorm, the Obama administration delayed this provision last year. Small business advocates and some economists would like to see this provision abandoned entirely on grounds that it discourages small employers from hiring, but it would take a change in the law to accomplish this.

Will there be changes in Obamacare? Embattled Democratic candidates trying to defuse the issue in their current campaigns have called for “reform, not repeal,” but it remains to be seen if this is anything more than a campaign slogan. Still, there are small signs that some Democrats may be serious about reform and that some Republicans, despite their high-decibel campaign for repeal, agree with them. Recently, the House passed by voice vote a bill that made a minor change in the health-care law by eliminating a cap on deductibles on small-group health insurance policies.

The preconditions for a genuine congressional conversation on health-care reform would be acceptance by Republicans of Obamacare as the law of the land and acknowledgment by Democrats that it needs improvement. That’s a conversation, if it occurs at all, for after the midterm elections. For now, Obamacare must be content that the sterling performance of a few state exchanges has enabled it to survive. The patient is indeed off the critical list, but he’s still a long way from reaching the recovery room.

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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Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Are You Worried?

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Worry is very much in the air these days. Millions and millions of dollars are spent on anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers each year. Our time has even been called the Age of Anxiety.

But why is that so? We are not in exile, like refugees from war in Syria and violence in Somalia. We don’t live in a harsh dictatorship, like North Korea. We aren’t starving or homeless. We have political freedom, and enough to eat, and clothes to wear. What do we have to worry about?

Well, how many times this past month have we worried about the drought? When rain is forecast, we worry about mudslides. Ninety-eight percent of the reporting on TV amounts to worry about some issue large or small. Then there is the existential threat of climate change. So, when you think about it, there are legitimate reasons for us to worry.

If you look back some 2,000 years to the time of Jesus, you’ll notice that there was a lot to worry then as well. The Jews of that time lived in an occupied country and had no political power. They had to toil long hours to provide food, clothes and homes for themselves and their families, while also paying tribute to the Romans. They came to Jesus with all those worries.

Jesus’ response to them was to say: “I tell you not to worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing.” He goes on to tell them to look at the birds in the sky and the flowers in the field, and they will see that God takes care of all these. He observes that God values humans even more than those other creatures. So it follows that God will do so much more for them. Then Jesus said: “Stop worrying, because God knows everything you need,” and “seek first the reign of God and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you besides.”

Fast forward 2,000 years back to our time and consider whether those words can apply to us and our worries. But how do we just stop worrying when we’re all caught up in cares and concerns? And, if the answer really is seek the reign of God, how do we do that?

We have a clue from Jesus who said: “No one can serve two masters …. You will either hate one and love the other, or be attentive to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

I used to believe that mammon was the devil — an evil force out in the world that tempted us to sin. God was the good force out in the world that wanted us to be good.

I’ve come to discard that way of thinking. Here’s what I’ve come to believe. What if both God and mammon are forces that are within me? You could call those two forces: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Me. There are a lot of times when I have a hard time getting in touch with the Kingdom of God because I’m so wrapped up in the cares and concerns of the Kingdom of Me. For example:

» I worry about my list of tasks to be accomplished today.

» I worry about troublesome relationships.

» I worry about drought and climate change and nuclear weapons.

» The list goes on and on.

It’s exhausting, and what’s really the problem is that all those worries make it impossible to spend much time living in the Kingdom of God.

Could it be that the first step in changing this situation would be to notice just how much time I spend in the Kingdom of Me? Could it be that, if I consciously took a break from my worries every single day by meditating or praying or being in nature, those worries might loosen their grip on my time and energy?

Could it be that taking just 20 minutes to sit in silence each day would ease me into giving myself over to God’s will more — and my will less? Could it be?

And if I began to live — day by day — more consciously, might I learn to place my worries and cares in God’s care? Could it be that eventually everything that passes through my mind and heart and nervous system will also pass through God’s divine presence — consciously and purposefully? Could it be that is how we seek the Kingdom of God — one thought, one feeling, one worry, one decision at a time? Could it be that God will then say to us, “Don’t worry. I know everything you need”?

Mary Becker is a member and homilist at the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, which celebrates Mass at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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Assemblyman Williams Calls Out For-Profit University Abuses

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, joined Sen. Ted Lieu and the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, the Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee to hear from Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education chief Joanne Wenzel and state Auditor Elaine Howle on Monday in the state Capitol.

"These colleges can play an important role in meeting the state’s educational and economic needs,” Williams said. "But the blatant abuses by some within the for-profit sector, which we read about in the news almost weekly, have forced California to focus on the business regulation and consumer protection side of oversight.”

According to Howle, the state's program for regulation of private colleges and vocational institutions has historically been plagued by problems; today's bureau continues to fail in meeting its statutory mandate to protect consumers and enforce the law.

Legislators heard testimony indicating many of the challenges facing the bureau can be tracked to delays in spending authority, inadequate staffing resources and expertise, and an inability to prioritize cases and establish clear and workable procedures.

“Given the large amounts of public money these private and for-profit institutions receive through financial aid and veteran's education programs, a strong oversight structure is necessary to ensure accountability in spending taxpayer dollars,” Williams said.

The primary goal of the hearing was to identify the statutory changes necessary to ensure regulation of schools that promotes student success and supports quality innovative programs, while also preventing predatory practices.

Of the 26 recommendations raised in the hearing background report, committee members expressed strong interest in reestablishing the bureau as a public board, increasing staffing and resource expenditure authority, and requiring degree-granting institutions to obtain accreditation.

— Josh Molina represents Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club Offers More to Summer Sports Camp with The Parisi Speed School

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Tennis and swim camps offer your child the chance to not only help build up sports skills, but also gain confidence in knowing fundamentals of movement.

While we all know that eating healthy foods, exercise, posture, etc. is important for health and wellness, did you know that how you start and stop a motion is just as important?

At the Parisi Speed School, a youth-based performance training program housed at the Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, 5800 Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta, kids learn exactly how athletic movement can affect their performance in a sport.

According to the Parisi School director Rich Alvarado, it’s all about developing hip and core strength.

“Ninety percent of kids have no range of motion (in that area),” he said.

Why?

“In youth sports, coaches aren’t really concerned (with these areas of strength),” he explained. “They’re more worried about if their player is focused.”

Along with not getting enough training in specialized sports, Alvarado also attributes the lack of hip and core strength in kids today with the “awful positions” that kids and teens sit in while they use any technology.

This is the first summer that Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club will be offering summer camps with the Parisi Speed School. The club is offering a half-day Tennis Camp and a full-day Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp.

Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp promises to be a full day of fun for kids. Half of the day will be spent in the pool, and the other half will be spent in Parisi Training.

Parisi Speed School training doesn’t involve simply running. Alvarado assures Noozhawk that any type of athlete will benefit from Parisi Speed School Training.

While Tennis Camp at Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club will not have the Parisi School component available for your child, tennis director Jake Nelson promises that kids will come out of the camp feeling “confident because they are learning.”

“We want to help you increase your skill set and abilities,” he said. “Summer is a unique opportunity — kids have more time to put on the court and have no obligations from school.  We want to have a good blend of fun and learning.”

Tennis camp will also be supervised by certified Parisi Speed School coaches.

With sports camps rooted in increasing special skills and confidence in all kinds of sports, Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club has a fun summer program lined up!

Registration for Tennis Camp and for Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp is happening now! Participants between the ages of 6 and 18 are welcome. If you register by June 1 for Tennis Camp, your child will received a free tennis racquet.

For more information on Tennis Camp, please contact tennis director Jake Nelson at jake.nelson@swellclubs.com.

For more information on Swim and Parisi Speed School Camp, please contact Parisi Speed School director Rich Alvarado at coach.alvarado@swellclubs.com.

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Partners in Environment Recruiting Members to Boost Volunteerism

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Partners in Environment, a coalition of environmental nonprofits that operate on the South Coast, has begun recruiting members in an attempt to boost local volunteerism.

Already signed on to the partnership are Goleta Valley Beautiful, Explore Ecology, Los Padres Forest Watch, UCSB Sustainability, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Bikes and more.

By pledging to post all volunteer opportunities to VolunteerMatch.com, the members of Partners in Environment are creating a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering with an environmental organization.

This central location for searching through environmental opportunities will make it easier for volunteers to find the organization or event that best suits their interests, skills and time commitment. Members also pledge to meet annually to discuss current and future collaborations and opportunities for improvement.

The idea was hatched at the 2012 Central Coast Sustainability Summit by Ben Romo, former director of the Center for Community Education and Partners in Education, from which the Partners in Environment gets their name but to which they are not affiliated. After explaining the model that Partners in Education has implemented with great success throughout Santa Barbara County, Romo asked those in attendance why there was not something similar for environmental volunteers.

A community workshop was held in April 2013 to generate ideas for such a service, and a working group spent the next eight months deliberating those ideas, surveying local organizations to better understand what they needed, and drafting a pledge for members to sign.

All organizations related to environmental, social or economic sustainability are welcome and encouraged to join. For more information about PIE, check out its website by clicking here, or email Zac Trafny at z.trafny@hotmail.com. Be sure to look for the Partners in Environment at Earth Day!

 — Zac Trafny represents Partners in Environment.

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Grad Slam: UCSB Graduate Students Perfect the Competitive Art of 3-Minute Research Talk

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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James Allen, whose research uses satellite imaging to model ocean ecosystems, wins the top prize of $2,500

Aubrie Adams used teacher-to-student emails to highlight the optimal number of emoticons for students to perceive teachers as both competent and caring. Matt Cieslak created an algorithm to analyze wiring in the human brain, comparing imaging of people who stutter with those who don’t.

Adams and Cieslak, graduate students in communication and psychological and brain sciences, respectively, were among 64 three-minute research presentations featured at UC Santa Barbara’s second annual Grad Slam, whose tagline is “Research Worth Sharing.”

But it was James Allen, whose research uses satellite imaging to model ocean ecosystems, who came away with the top prize of $2,500. Allen survived preliminary and semifinal rounds to compete against nine other graduate students in the finals last Friday.

“I needed the kind of practice necessary to do an effective three-minute talk,” said Allen, a doctoral student in the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science. “Grad Slam was the perfect opportunity to get some lessons in that. It was great because one of my goals in the future is to be able to communicate science to the public.”

Runners-up Deborah Barany and Damien Kudela, graduate students in dynamical neuroscience and chemistry, respectively, each received $1,000 for their research. Barany analyzes fMRI data to study the regions in the brain responsible for voluntary action. Kudela’s research focuses on using nanoparticles to deliver clot-accelerating drugs to internal bleeding sites.

A panel of six judges selected the grand-prize winner and the runners-up. The judges were California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and, from UCSB, Gene Lucas, former executive vice chancellor and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering; Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research and professor of physics; Denise Stephens, university librarian; John Wiemann, former vice chancellor for institutional advancement and professor emeritus of communication; and Sarah Cline, professor emerita of history.

“This really showed the breadth of research across campus,” Witherell said. “It’s really great training for these students, not only as they become teachers, but — as one of the students said during the question-and answer period — you don’t really understand what you’re doing until you have to explain it people who don’t do it. I think that is actually something very, very important about doing something like this.”

Overall, more than 30 areas of study were represented, covering a variety of arts and humanities disciplines as well as many areas of science and engineering. Linguistics was represented by two finalists, one who studies the dying languages of Siberia and another who works in Papua New Guinea describing certain languages for the first time.

UCSB’s Grad Slam came about last year as an effort to better profile graduate students and to raise their visibility on campus.

“We wanted to make a more cohesive graduate student community,” said Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division. “We want them to identify with the institution in a meaningful way beyond the boundaries of their labs.”

Last year, the inaugural Grad Slam earned the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education, which is presented annually to one member school by the Western Association of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service. Genetti traveled to Fargo, N.D., in March to pick up the $2,500 award and to give a workshop on how to stage a Grad Slam.

“There were a lot of people who had already started or were thinking of putting on something like Grad Slam,” she said. “We had produced materials about the logistics and what it required to do a three-minute talk and how to handle judging. I also talked about some issues that came up last year and how we resolved them. It was a really productive, fun and exciting workshop.”

UC San Diego held its first Grad Slam this year, modeled after UCSB’s competition, and UC Riverside is also interested in holding one in the near future.

“If we could get other campuses to put on similar events and have it spread UC-wide, that would be wonderful,” Genetti said. “Each school could send two or three finalists to compete in semifinals and finals. I would love to host the first one here.”

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Karen Telleen-Lawton: Whale Feces Yield Big Clues for Marine Biologists

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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One of my favorite cartoons, by retired cartoonist Gary Larson, is about canine poop. In my recollection, two leashed dogs chat while one of their owners stoops to pick up a fragrant pile. “I like to sniff it as much as anyone,” the dog smirks, “but I don’t collect it!”

That particular owner may not have been collecting per se, but the pooch is right about people gathering poop.

At the turn of the millennium, my husband and I spent several weeks gathering frass in the Guanacaste tropical dry forest of Costa Rica. It sounds adventuresome, even romantic, until you learn that frass is insect poop. For this privilege, we paid our own costs plus part of the research cost.

What I’d like to tell that dog is that we collect poop because it has answers.

In the case of the frass, the researchers for whom we volunteered were investigating the intertwined life cycles of flowers and their insect pollinators. They studied whether climate change was affecting the convergence of the insects’ flying and gathering stage with the flowers’ fertile stage. If the flowers bloomed before the insects hatched, pollination would be difficult, at least by their normal pollinator. At that time, their cycles still overlapped somewhat.

More recently I listened to a National Public Radio story reported by Robert Krulwich featuring poop on the other end of the size spectrum — whale feces. It seems marine biologists have puzzled for years over the question of how many whales swam the seas before whaling. In particular, they thought the number of blue whales had been about a hundred times the current number.

The problem with that estimate is that it would require a gargantuan amount of the tiny crustacean called krill that blue whales eat. Krill, in turn, require a large intake of iron — more than is available in the sea.

That’s when Dr. Victor Smetacek, a Danish marine biologist, proposed that the whales themselves provided an extra nutritious “manuring mechanism,” as he termed it, for the krill. Thus the need to collect whale feces. They discovered that indeed whales concentrate iron and excrete it in iron-rich deposits — deposits sufficient to provide for zillions of tiny krill.

Another benefit of investigating whale poop has been learning more about the nutrient cycle of the seas. An Australian biologist named Trish Lavery believes that sperm whales enhance the productivity of the Antarctic Ocean by gathering nutrients, especially iron from animals like deep-water colossal squid.

Lavery and her colleagues measured surface iron deposits by counting the brown patches floating on the water. Eew. But these patches point to an important function as we look at services whales provide and the benefits of slowing climate change. Nature’s “services” is economist-speak, but necessary for those who think animal species need to be providing something to be worthy of surviving.

I sincerely hope no one is measuring what service humans are providing the Earth. But you see, Oh Larson’s dog, that we humans are pretty smart. We’re strong enough to affect the climate of the Earth, and smart enough to measure the effects. We may yet gather the discipline to make changes to avert great catastrophe. We deserve to be on top of the heap.

— 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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The Top Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Beat Them

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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As a personal trainer, I hear every excuse in the book from the hundreds of clients and customers I have worked with over the years. The truth is, it all comes down to your "why."

Why do you want to exercise and eat healthy? Maybe it is because you just had a baby and want to get your body back, or maybe you have a new job and all you do is sit at a desk all day, or maybe you are bored with your current workout routine and need a change. Or, maybe you are entering middle age and know that your metabolism is slowing down and you want to do anything in your power to reverse that cycle.

For me, I want to be around for my kids when they grow up to be adults as I had my kids later in life than most.

So, sit down and reflect on the reason (your "why") you are exercising, and you will find that you make up fewer and fewer excuses and that your exercise and eating healthy become your lifestyle instead of something you dread. Let's go over a few of the top excuses people have these days:

Excuse #1 — Too Busy

To improve your health, the American Heart Association says that two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activities (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) is all you need to squeeze in each week. Or, one hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities (i.e., jogging or running) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Tips

To find pockets of unused time, keep a 24-hour log of one weekday and one weekend day. You'll quickly see pockets of time where you can add in some exercise. Try scheduling it into your PDA or datebook the same way you plan meetings or other commitments. If exercise is a priority to you, you will make time for it.

Make exercise a habit. It takes 21 days to develop a habit. Try working out five days per week for three weeks and see how you feel. I bet you will be craving your next workout and will have more energy for your day.

Excuse #2 — I’m Too Tired

Go to bed a half-hour early and get up early. For many, early mornings are the only time they have to workout. Working out in the early morning also allows you to get it done and not wait until after work when you may find yourself too tired from your long workday or something else comes up and eats up the time you allotted to get your workout in.

Excuse #3 — I Don't Want to Redo My Hair and Makeup

Here is a way you can take care of post-workout primping in five minutes flat with this regimen. Give your sweaty spots a once-over with an antibacterial wipe, and do the same on your face, with an all-in-one cleansing pad. Next, apply a beauty balm, which is similar to a tinted moisturizer. Touch up mascara and use a three-in-one color stick to add shimmer to eyes, cheeks and lips. Lastly, apply a little dry shampoo to the crown of your head to freshen up your hair, and that is it!

When I worked an office job in the Finance Department at Disney, I was also training for the Olympic Trials in the pole vault and had to squeeze in my training during my lunch hour because I had a little 3-year-old at home that I had to get ready for preschool, and the early mornings were too dark to workout at the track. So I slipped out of my career clothes and got into my running clothes, jetted over to the nearest track, blazed through my sprint workout and hurried back to work. I did my version of a sponge bath, sprayed some body spray on and I was good to go. I had a dream and a goal to make it to Atlanta in ‘96, and I wasn’t going to let the inconvenience of a job get in my way. Find your motivation!

Excuse #4 — My Kids Get in the Way

I know kids are usually not with you at work, but if you are trying to get some workouts in during the weekend to get in your 150 minutes of exercise per week, then one way to do it is to have them exercise with you by hiking, walking, biking or playing an outdoor game.

Excuse #5 — I Am Too Fat

As we age, it is typical that we gain weight. We tend to be less active and our metabolism slows down. Especially with a desk job, research has shown that people are less active than people who work part-time or do not work at all and tend to burn about 500 calories fewer per week. Forty-five percent of workers have gained weight since starting their current jobs, a recent CareerBuilder.com survey finds. Twelve percent have experienced a weight gain of more than 20 pounds, while 26 percent have gained more than 10 pounds.

Excuse #6 — I Am Thin Already

Even if you are in a healthy weight range, you may still may have too much body fat percentage — what I call “skinny-fat.” You might have a very fast metabolism, but what you are feeding your body is food that might be unhealthy and can contribute to diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. Everyone can benefit from exercise for their heart and muscles to help prevent falls and help them do everyday activities.

To summarize, learn the benefits of working out and eating clean not only for the benefits of looking your best, but for what it can do for your body from the inside out. If you make small changes every day, you will feel the difference and start to have more energy and vitality. Spend some time to really think about the reason you started an exercise routine and healthy eating in the first place — find your why. Maybe pin up a photo of yourself when you were at your best, or a photo of an idol and look at it every day.

The best time to workout if you have a 9 to 5 job is in the early morning. Go to bed a little early and wake up a little earlier to get that workout in. If you don't get your workout in during the early hours of the morning, you are taking a chance that you will be too tired or life will get in the way.

Good luck on your journey to better health and fitness.

Sue McDonald of McDonald Fitness hosts monthly Online Clean Eating and Fitness Accountability and Support Groups helping people reach their goals of better health and wellness. The next group starts April 28. Click here for more information. Click here to connect with her Facebook page for fitness and health tips, recipes and motivation!

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Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care to Pay Tribute at Mother’s Day Luncheon

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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In honor of Mother's Day and to pay tribute to the important mothers and women in our lives, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care will host its 13th annual Mother's Day Luncheon beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, May 9 in the La Pacifica Ballroom of the Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Each year at this unique spring event, the nonprofit organization honors two mothers — one living and one in memory — and celebrates their lives and acknowledges their contributions to the community. This year, VNHC will pay tribute to Jill Levinson and Barbara Ward Rollerson.

VNHC board member Neil Levinson, together with his family, will honor wife Jill, a local philanthropist. She has dedicated herself to many local organizations and causes, including the Santa Barbara Children's Museum, Crane Country Day School and Lotusland, among others. VNHC is honored to recognize a mother who has selflessly devoted herself to the Santa Barbara community, and her family, for so many years.

The tribute in memory will be bestowed upon Rollerson, who passed away in 1977. She was the mother of Thomas Rollerson, founder and president of Dream Foundation.

"It's a privilege to be amongst a community of kindred hearts who understand the value in compassionate end of life care," Rollerson said. "My mom inspired me to fulfill dreams big and small, and I'm truly honored that this beloved organization has recognized her generous contribution to our Santa Barbara community."

This year's event co-chairs are Jodi Fishman-Osti and Pamela Dillman Haskell, returning to the helm for a second year in a row. The dapper Andrew Firestone will emcee the luncheon festivities and program. A stylish new highlight added to this year's event will be a fashion show, showcasing the latest in spring trends from local boutiques, including Allora by Laura, Bonita, Giuliana Haute Couture, Indian Summers, Lana Marma, Lola Boutique and Lola. The beautiful and talented Shirin Rajaee of KEYT will be the fashion show emcee. Click here for more details on the fashion show.

Guests will enjoy a lovely lunch and have the chance to bid on a number of incredible auction items. The exciting live auction item from Robertson International Travel features a luxury cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 in a top-of-the-line suite with veranda, in a transatlantic passage from New York to London. The journey for two begins and ends with two-night stays in deluxe accommodations at the Four Seasons, embarking in New York City and finishing in London.

Silent auction packages include items such as a Cabo San Lucas getaway to the luxurious The One & Only Palmilla resort; VIP tickets to Ellen, American Idol and Magic Castle with a two-night stay at the Lowes Santa Monica, and much more. To see all of the details on the auction items, please click here.

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the VNHC Mother's Day event is that it is completely underwritten through the Peter Murphy Men's Night, an evening where men — husbands, fathers, sons and friends of the luncheon attendees — gather for an evening of socializing and fundraising to help cover the costs of the luncheon. This year's Men's Night was hosted by Neil Levinson and Tom Dain. The event is named in honor of the late Peter Murphy, a longtime supporter of VNHC, who began the tradition of Men's Night 12 years ago. Peter's wife, Judy Murphy, is the honorary chair of this very special event.

In keeping with the celebration of honoring our mothers on Mother's Day, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care invites the community to visit the Appreciation Garden in honor of Mother's Day on its website. Beginning April 25 and continuing throughout the entire month of May, the public will have the opportunity to recognize mothers, grandmothers, sisters and all the wonderful women in their lives through this online Appreciation Garden. For a donation of any amount, VNHC will include the name of the honored women in their online garden, and also recognize these women with weekly updates on the VNHC Facebook page. To recognize an important woman, please click here.

VNHC would like to recognize the many sponsors that have so generously supported the 13th annual Mother's Day Luncheon. As of last Wednesday, these sponsors include American Riviera Bank, Margo and Jeff Barbakow, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf LLP, Ginny and Tim Bliss, Louise and David Borgatello, Brown & Brown Insurance Services, Carl's Jr. (Andy and Dee Puzder), CenCal Health, Cottage Health System, DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home), Roberta and Stan Fishman, Gail and Roger Haupt, HUB International Insurance Services Inc., Irma and Morrie Jurkowitz, Impulse Advanced Communications, Karl Storz Imaging, Kayne Anderson Rudnick Wealth Advisors, LEGACY (Nancy Kimsey), Barbara and Bob Kummer, MarBorg Industries, Mission Wealth Management, Montecito Bank & Trust, Alan Porter, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Thomas Rollerson and Michael Erickson, Bobbie and Ed Rosenblatt, Sansum Clinic, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Maryan and Dick Schall, the James D. Scheinfeld Family Foundation, Schipper Construction Co., Christopher Toomey, Union Bank, Marlene and Bob Veloz, Venoco Inc., the Volentine Family Foundation, the William E. Weiss Foundation (Merryl and Monte Brown) and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

For information regarding this event, please contact Elizabeth Adams at 805.690.6261 or elizabeth.adams@vnhcsb.org, or click here. At this time, the luncheon is sold out.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Get Paid to Recycle Your Old Refrigerator or Freezer with SCEEP

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The South County Energy Efficiency Partnership, a partnership of Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Co., the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, and the County of Santa Barbara, is hosting a free refrigerator pickup weekend on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All residents and businesses in South Santa Barbara County that want to replace their older working refrigerator or freezer with a more energy-efficient appliance or dispose of a spare are encouraged to register.

In addition to picking up old, working units and recycling them, SCE will also pay $50 for a refrigerator and $50 for a freezer; limit two units per qualifying customer.

Old appliances are dismantled at a recycling center where the metals and refrigerants are removed in an environmentally safe manner.

The refrigerator pickup is one of many SCE programs hosted by the South County Energy Efficiency Partnership to help the region shift toward more energy-efficient technologies.

To participate in the pickup, residents and businesses should go to SCEEP.org to register or call 800.234.9722. SCE will visit the qualifying home or business to haul away the old refrigerator or freezer. Participants will then receive a $50 check in the mail.

Customers who cannot participate on that day can arrange a pickup and receive their incentive by calling 800.234.9722 or by clicking here.

To qualify, refrigerators or freezers must be in working (e.g., cooling) order and between 10 and 32 cubic feet, located at a valid SCE billing address within the SCE territory. Pickup is limited to two refrigerators or freezers per location per year.

Click here for more information.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing SCEEP.

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Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission Oppposes Santa Barbara Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission is appointed by the presiding judge of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court pursuant to the California Welfare and Institutions Code. It has the responsibility and authority to monitor all aspects of the juvenile justice system in the county.

The commission is statutorily comprised of no less than seven and no more than 15 commissioners representing all geographical areas of the county. Their duties include reviewing, examining, inspecting, conducting investigations, holding hearings and making recommendations to the court and to the State of California on the effectiveness and efficiency of the county’s juvenile justice system. The commission has subpoena authority through the presiding judge to assist it in conducting its business.

For the past year, the commission has been studying and gathering information on the proposed gang injunction currently being sought by the City of Santa Barbara. In addition to reviewing many of the court filings by both sides regarding the proposed injunction, we have received presentations by representatives of the District Attorney’s Office, attorneys representing the defendants named within the proposed injunction, former high-level law enforcement officials familiar with gang issues in other Southern and Central California cities, and community-based organizations working with at-risk youth residing in the city. Officials of the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s Office refused to appear before the commission.

The commission also received information on past and current crime rates, arrests of individuals designated as gang-affiliated, and the alleged gang connections of the named defendants in the proposed injunction.

The following findings were made by the commission:

» 1. The constitutionality of gang injunctions is still under serious judicial review in some areas of the state.

» 2. There is little reliable evidence of a serious criminal gang problem in Santa Barbara when compared to other California cities with identifiable and proven criminal gang problems, that   cannot be addressed through existing criminal and juvenile delinquency statutes and adequate law enforcement staffing, training and management.

» 3. There is a plentiful array of both federal and California adult and juvenile criminal statutes available to, and historically utilized by, law enforcement officials to combat criminal and gang    activity.

» 4. The overall crime rates in Santa Barbara, including violent crimes, youth crimes and gang-related crimes, have significantly declined since the injunction was first proposed several years ago.

» 5. The majority of the named defendants in the proposed injunction are already in prison, or have left the gang-life and/or are employed, raising families and otherwise living law-abiding lives.

» 6. There is evidence supporting the fact that gang injunctions tend to move crime problems from the so-called “Safety Zones” to adjacent and nearby low-crime neighborhoods.

» 7. The enforcement of the injunction would likely place significant additional resource and budgetary burdens on the governmental entities within the juvenile justice system, such as the courts, juvenile and adult detention facilities, the Probation Department, etc., which are already meager.

» 8. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that have already been expended by the city and the county in their efforts to obtain this injunction could have been better used in delinquency     prevention programs and enhancing police department staffing levels and training.

» 9. Too much discretion is left to law enforcement in applying the injunction to previously non-enjoined individuals.

» 10. The proposed injunction does little to address the many issues of at-risk youth that make them vulnerable to gang recruitment.

» 11. Instead of seeking to prevent gang and criminal behavior, the proposed injunction appears to extend the reach of law enforcement authorities into activities which would not otherwise be  considered of a criminal nature.

» 12. The injunction’s proposed “Safety Zones” encompass almost one-third of the city of Santa Barbara, thus potentially stigmatizing those major geographic areas and the citizens, especially innocent youth, residing in them.

» 13. These “Safety Zones” tend to create and foster suspicion, fear, dissension, isolation, a lack of community integration, decreased property values and urban decay.

After careful consideration and deliberation on the proposed injunction and the evidence regarding the need for same, the commission reached a unanimous decision, with one abstention, at its meeting on April 10 to oppose the issuance of the injunction.

— Tom Parker is chairman of the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Commission.

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Allan Hancock College Offering Wide Variety of Summer Classes in Santa Maria

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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Get a jump on your fall semester — take a summer class! This summer, more than 160 credit classes will be offered at the Allan Hancock College Santa Maria campus. Many are eight-week classes; others last four or six weeks.

Another 38 summer classes are being offered at the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg AFB centers, and 101 are being offered online.

Details about all summer classes are available at www.hancockcollege.edu; click the Class Search link on the home page. Class Search provides real-time information available 24/7. For details about a specific class, click its blue CRN (Course Reference Number).

Summer classes in Santa Maria include anthropology, art, biology, computer business office technology and information systems, culinary arts, chemistry, dance, drama, early childhood studies, English, film, geography, history, humanities, math, PE, philosophy, photography, paralegal, Spanish, viticulture operations, Spanish and more.

Priority registration for summer credit classes is April 28-May 2. Open registration begins May 3. For registration details, see Admission & Registration Information.

All summer credit classes begin June 16. Six-week classes end July 24, and eight-week classes end Aug. 7.

To register online, click here and log on to the myHancock student portal. Click the Student tab, then Register/Add/Drop/Search Classes.

All California residents pay a $46 per credit enrollment fee. In addition, all students pay a $16 health fee for the summer term. Students attending classes at the Santa Maria campus also pay up to $10 a year for the Student Center fee. Other minimal fees may apply.

Financial aid is available. To see if you quality, contact the Santa Maria campus financial aid office at 805.922.6966 x3200 or finaid@hancockcollege.edu. For more registration information, call the Admissions & Records office at 805.922.6966 x3248. The toll free number in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties is 866.DIAL.AHC (342.5242) followed by the four-digit extension.

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Tropicana Students Package 7,500 Meals for Stop Hunger Now

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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For several hours on a sunny Thursday afternoon, more than 75 Tropicana Student Living residents and staff along with UCSB lacrosse, UCSB field hockey and local youth soccer teams came together to prepare meal packets for Stop Hunger Now.

Tropicana Gardens Café turned into an assembly line to create 7,500 meals of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and nutrients.

"Isla Vista hasn’t been seen in the greatest light the last couple weeks, and we want to show that our students are doing great things here at Tropicana Student Living,” said Dave Wilcox, Executive Director of Tropicana Student Living. “This is just an example of something that they’re doing that’s great for the community and great for the world.”

The 7,500 meals that the Tropicana students and staff assembled will be distributed to Guatemala through Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that ships them to school feeding programs in developing countries.

Stop Hunger Now coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world, with a mission to end hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now’s meal packing program began in 2005, and since then, more than 100,000 volunteers have packaged nearly 30 million meals to feed the world’s impoverished.

— Brendan Langley represents Tropicana Student Living.

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Three Dead in Crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/21/2014

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At least two of the fatalities reportedly were high school students from Torrance

A critically injured patient is wheeled to a waiting ambulance after a crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara early Monday. (Urban Hikers photo)

Three people — including at least two high schools students — were killed early Monday in a crash on Highway 101, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Another person suffered major injuries in the collision, which occurred at about 12:45 a.m. on the southbound freeway at Castillo Street, the California Highway Patrol said.

All lanes of southbound Highway 101 remained closed for several hours following the wreck, the CHP said, leading to major traffic tie-ups in the area.

As of 1:30 p.m., the Castillo Street offramp had been reopened, and all lanes of the freeway were reported flowing again, the CHP said.

The accident occurred when a Mazda sedan driven by Erick Hoel August, 20, of Los Angeles veered to the right for unknown reasons and struck a guardrail, the CHP said.

The vehicle overturned, coming to rest in the middle lane and facing the center divider.

Moments later, a Ford Mustang driven by Kimberly Ann Kreis, 52, of Santa Barbara slammed into the left side of the Mazda, causing two people in that vehicle to be ejected, the CHP said.

The three people killed — a male and two females — and the critically injured patient were in the Mazda, fire said Battalion Chief Lee Waldron.

Arriving firefighters found two victims in the roadway, and two had to be extricated from the vehicle, he said.

Those killed were Danielle Nicole Murillo and Jessica Lee Leffew, both 17 and from Torrance, and Brian Adonay Lopez, 20, of Los Angeles, the CHP said Monday afternoon.

Two of the victims were seniors at North High School in Torrance in Southern California, according to the Torrance Daily Breeze.

School officials in Torrance did not immediately release the names of the students, citing an ongoing investigation, the newspaper reported, but both students reportedly were seniors.

At North High on Monday, a team of grief counselors was on hand to console the students. Principal Ron Richardson sent out a bulletin to families.

“It is very difficult to lose a member of our community,” he wrote. “We are very heartbroken by the tragic loss of two of our students. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families, teachers, classmates and friends.”

Kreis did not appear to be seriously injured, Waldron said.

She subsequently was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, the CHP said.

August was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and was listed in critical condition.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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Santa Barbara Appears to Be Embracing Mobile Ride-Sharing Services

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Local taxi companies lament car services that use part-time, self-employed drivers, but newcomers seem to be expanding the marketplace

Turns out folks traveling around Santa Barbara do like summoning rides using smartphone apps and credit cards.

Santa Barbara’s tech-savvy population has seemingly embraced the taxi-on-demand nature of ride-sharing services such as Uber and LYFT, the latest company — recognizable by its pink mustache-wearing cars — to use cell phones and maps to connect riders with the closest drivers.

Passengers pay a flat or pre-determined rate, touted as cheaper than regular cabs, and can split the cost on multiple credit cards, the only form of payment accepted.

No running meters or tips are involved.

Uber launched locally in October and has grown so popular that this month the company added a fare to the Santa Ynez Valley, with plans to soon expand to Ventura and San Luis Obispo, said Andy Iro, a UC Santa Barbara graduate and local Uber manager.

Uber, which first launched in San Francisco in 2009, hires independent contractors to transport up to four passengers in the drivers’ own pre-inspected cars — an UberX or slightly more expensive black-car option.

LYFT operates in a similar way, except its prearranged-ride platform calculates fares based on a mix of time and distance.

A service of the still-young startup Zimride, LYFT arrived in Santa Barbara in late February, billing itself as a social “your friend with a car” experience, said Katie Dally, a company spokeswoman.

“In addition to the trademark pink mustache on the grilles of drivers’ cars, which acts as a great ice breaker during rides, Lyft passengers are invited to sit in the front seat, charge their phones, choose the music and connect with another member of the community while they travel around town,” Dally said.

LYFT serves streets in more than 30 cities nationwide, about the same number Uber boasted worldwide at the end of last year.

That number hits 100 this month, Iro said.

“The response to Uber in Santa Barbara has gotten global recognition, in terms of how well it’s doing,” he said. “I will say, ultimately, we are looking at expanding literally everywhere. We wouldn’t be doing that if there wasn’t enough demand.”

Meanwhile, traditional cabbies continue logging fruitless complaints about the new services with the City of Santa Barbara and the police department.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said all grievances must be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the transportation network companies and requires that each obtain an operating permit — but not for individual drivers.

Traditional taxi company owners secure a business license from the city, and all drivers need costly permits and meters in their cars.

The state PUC has laid out special rules for the new cars, which include a no-hail policy that cabbies say is ignored.

Police have better things to do than to enforce the regulations, which is why new cars are breaking rules, said Sue Morris, operations director of Santa Barbara Yellow Cab.

She said those cars can charge more during peak times, and they don’t offer the same safety guaranteed by long-standing local operators.

“I’m all for free enterprise,” Morris said. “But why would anyone who works with a taxi company go through paying so much when they can just go out there and basically work for free?”

LYFT and Uber won’t share how many drivers each employs, but Iro hinted that popularity has the company putting out calls for more.

“I think LYFT is purely about this fun community-based experience,” Iro said. “We try to focus on the overall experience, meaning price and luxury. Even though Uber is cheaper, I think the cars are a lot nicer, and all drivers are encouraged to give their own feel.”

Dally noted that LYFT recently reduced its prices by up to 20 percent in all markets, including Santa Barbara.

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

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Rotary Clubs of Goleta Help Girsh Park Get Rolling with Annual Egg Hunt

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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The Rotary Clubs of Goleta were out in force as volunteers helping with this year’s Easter Egg Hunt for hundreds of children at Girsh Park. The soccer fields were covered with thousands of brightly colored plastic eggs that had been stuffed with chocolate surprises.

Families come out each year to watch the children’s laughing faces as they burst onto the field with their empty baskets, eager to collect as many eggs as they can find. Before and after the Egg Hunt, the children enjoyed taking pictures with the life-size Easter Bunny, jumping in bouncers, face painters, arts and crafts, and the accordion musical clown who made the children laugh with her many magic tricks.

This is a family event enjoyed by all age groups, and it was free for all, thanks to Girsh Park and The Rotary Clubs of Goleta.

The Rotary Club of Goleta meets bimonthly at Glen Anne Golf Club’s Frog Bar & Grill Restaurant, 404 Glen Annie Road, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Each dinner meeting includes guest speakers and interesting programs.

If you are interested in learning more about Rotary International and how you can become involved in local and international projects to make this a better world, contact club president Mike Pitts at chilemike@yahoo.com or membership chairman David Dart at davidwdart@cox.net. Guests are welcome!

Click here for more information on Rotary Club of Goleta. Connect with the Rotary Club of Goleta on Facebook.

— Lynn Cederquist is publicity chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Goleta.

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Santa Barbara Montessori School Brings ’20s Roaring to Life with ‘Great Gatsby’-Themed Auction

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Guests go all in at annual extravaganza to benefit 37-year-old Goleta school and its long history of successful local alumni

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The annual Santa Barbara Montessori School Auction Extravaganza is well known for imaginative and innovative party themes, and parents, faculty and the community eagerly await an opportunity to dress up to raise funds in celebration of a worthy cause.

This year’s theme did not disappoint with 1920s-style decorations in tune with the “Great Gatsby,” and guests arrived at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club clad in attire with glam beaded details, flapper fringe, unique hats, elbow-length gloves, fur and other vintage-inspired ensembles.

The mood was festive as guests mingled, sipped champagne and moved about the appropriately decorated ballroom complete with gold and white details and the artistry of local balloon artists from Balloon Affair.

A video production entitled, Happy I Am, that was directed and created by Colin Fitzpatrick, director of the Coryat Media Center, captured the spirit of the organization and the evening’s boisterous mood.

Children from the school were shown in daily classroom activities, joined with choreographed dancing around the school’s Goleta campus that inspired guests for a jitterbug dance contest later in the evening.

The ballroom floor was converted into a dance floor that quickly filled up with energized guests who danced to rollicking tunes from DJ Danny.

SBMS originally opened its doors as The Montessori Children’s Home in 1975. In 1987, the school began an administrative change by expanding programs and adopting its new name. Today, celebrating 37 years, the school at 7421 Mirano Drive in Goleta is the only recognized AMI Montessori school in the Santa Barbara area.

The impressive list of notable Montessorians is of novel proportions and head of school and co-founder, Jim Fitzpatrick, joyously shared some highlights.

“There’s hundreds of Montessori alumni who are recognized for their successes — a sampling includes the founders of Google — Sergei Brin and Larry Page, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Julia Child, Yo Yo Ma, Sean Combs, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jimmy Wales, Sir Ken Robinson, Leo and Tatiana Tolstoy, Taylor Swift, Will Wright, Dakota Fanning, Gordon Ramsay, John and Joan Cusack, Clyde Drexler, Peter Drucker and George Clooney,” Fitzpatrick exclaimed.

“The list also includes Anne Frank and Helen Keller, and we can add our own Bill Pintard, manager of the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball team, who has lead our local college all-star team to a record 16-straight California Coastal Collegiate League championships, and four times the champions of the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas.”

The main objective of SBMS is to provide each student with a specialized curriculum that aims to help children develop within themselves the fundamental habits, skills and ideas needed for a lifetime of social development, creative thinking and learning.

Original founder Dottoressa Maria Montessor was born in 1870 and would become Italy’s first female doctor in 1896. She later developed the concept of individual, cognitive learning fostered in a child-centered environment.

This unique and revolutionary approach to learning adapts to a child’s capabilities by utilizing the changing characteristics and sensitivities of each pupil’s developmental stage and incorporating them into all curriculum areas.

In a Montessori classroom, children acquire knowledge through the use of scientifically designed concrete materials that develop conceptual thinking and lead to abstract thought.

Thus, the child-centered learning process respects individual differences and fosters self-motivation. Students are encouraged by their AMI-certified teacher to learn at their own pace and are free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish.

And, equipped with the freedom to explore his or her particular subject matter, this structure enables the student to reach his or her highest potential and achieve inner discipline, which subsequently enhances the child’s ability to learn by doing.

The innovations of Santa Barbara Montessori School and its programs were echoed in the excitement of an exceptional evening that successfully blended the pomp and spirit of the classic period in American history portrayed in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s acclaimed 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, as guests were already eagerly anticipating next years creative theme for the annual event.

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

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Craig Allen: The Lark’s Continuing Success Has Made Me a Believer

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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I must admit that when The Lark opened last year, I was very skeptical. After all, another premium restaurant in Santa Barbara, especially one with 130 seats located in the Funk Zone, seemed to me to be a big risk. However, the consistent crowds and my recent experience have made me a believer in the staying power of this successful business.

The Lark, located at 131 Anacapa St., is the anchor business in the Anacapa Project. It was named for the overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 to 1968. Doug Washington, owner of the acclaimed Town Hall and Salt House restaurants in San Francisco, was responsible for the design of the interior and exterior spaces, which feature an urban theme throughout, integrating “vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility.” Original lighting, handmade furniture, and a 24-seat live-edge communal table stacked on vintage radiators work perfectly to create a space that is warm yet exciting.

Washington collaborated with Dan Bush Design/Build of Portland and Santa Barbara-based AB Design Studio and Young Construction for this eclectic, interesting design. To me, the décor perfectly blends comfort and casual sophistication to create a very enjoyable experience that is unique in the Santa Barbara marketplace. The string lighting and fire pits in the outdoor area create a soft elegance that invites patrons to linger.

No matter how interesting, cool, sophisticated or exciting the ambiance of a restaurant, if it doesn’t have good food, it will not survive. The Lark certainly does not disappoint in this area, with a very focused, simple but ample menu that offers locally sourced and responsibly grown food from the Central Coast served family-style. On a recent visit, we ordered the fried castelvetrano olives stuffed with goat cheese and rosemary with chorizo aioli ($9), followed by the cast-iron roasted broccolini with black garlic, toasted walnuts and cucumber yogurt ($10). We followed with marinated and grilled hanger steak with charred broccoli, Calabrian chilies, crispy shallots and mint ($17), and citrus-cured Scottish salmon with house-made black‍ pepper Crème fraîche, yuzu, dill, pickled shallot and brioche ($14). Everything was amazing, and the prices are very reasonable given the quality, quantity and presentation.

The Lark also offers a full bar featuring classic, well and craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits (including Cutler’s also located in the Anacapa Project), mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. The comprehensive wine list highlights small Santa Barbara County producers and artisan winemakers from many other regions.

As much as I enjoyed the aesthetic experience and the food, no restaurant can compete in Santa Barbara without superb service. Once again, The Lark did not disappoint in this critical area. Using a team approach, servers were attentive without being smothering, knowledgeable, prompt and polite. In short, the service was truly outstanding. Mike was our primary server and he was fantastic. His passion and enthusiasm were infectious, which further enhanced our experience.

When I first heard about The Lark — the size of the operations, the menu, the price point, the cost, etc. — I was dubious. Santa Barbara is not only a city with a high concentration of high-end restaurants, it is also a relatively small town. Patrons are fickle, and they are reluctant to drive more than a few minutes to go anywhere, even if they really want what the business is selling. Add to this the incredible cost for commercial real estate and you have a very challenging operating environment for restaurants.

The Lark has more than met this challenge, using a winning formula that exceeds expectations for ambiance, food and service, and creating a truly amazing dining experience.

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

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Judy Foreman: Katie and Dominique Gaspar Reset a Gem of a Jewelry Store

By | Published on 04/20/2014

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Following in their parents’ footsteps, daughters take over the family business — but with a signature style that is all their own

On Coast Village Road, the Gaspar name has been associated with fine jewelry and customer service since 1982. The family-run business started by Maria and Art Gaspar was a must-stop for anyone looking for custom fabrication of anything diamond, sumptuous pearls, gold earrings or watches, to name a few of the items that filled the cases of their jewelry boutique.

During the early years of their business, while the Gaspars were juggling work and family, their two daughters, Katie and Dominique, could often be seen scampering around in the back room or behind the counters at the small shop at 1213 Coast Village Road.

In 2013, after one of the great retail runs in the 93108, Gaspar decided it was time to hang up his jewelers loupe. The announcement was met by a collective sigh and a bit of a tear. A closing sale was held, with people lining up down the block for days.

The event brought out just about everyone who had ever done business with A.H. Gaspar Jeweler. People were not just looking  for a piece of bling but to bid farewell to a family that has been at the center of Montecito business for so many years.

I was one of the customers who was sad to see Gaspar’s go. As did so many others, I liked to peak over the dutch door to say hello after grabbing a coffee at the iconic Tutti’s, which became The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Fortunately, my sentimental sadness was quickly replaced when I found out that the now-grown daughters, Katie and Dominique, were taking the reins from their dad and creating their own signature style of a fine jewelry store with a modern twist. 

A familiar face is also on board for the new venture, mom and grandmom Maria Gaspar-Baltieri, whose official title is store manager, marketing and communications director at Gaspar Jewelers and pearl aficionado. When I stopped by the newly renovated Gaspar’s to express my surprise at the turn of events, she told me “people just did  not want us to go.”

The Gaspar girls always had star power and often appeared in ads for the family-friendly A.H. Gaspar Jeweler business. (Gaspar family photo)
The Gaspar girls always had star power and often appeared in ads for the family-friendly A.H. Gaspar Jeweler business. (Gaspar family photo)

Katie’s love of jewelry began as young girl when her parents would bestow upon her rocks, gems and baubles from their buying trips for the jewelry store.

“I recall being mesmerized,” she related, “and would spend hours in my bedroom examining the rocks and organizing the box.”

Brought in after school and on weekends to assist in displaying jewelry and cleaning the cases, Katie discovered her entrepreneurial bent when she set up her own stand of homemade, friendly, plastic jewelry in front of the store in sixth grade. Up until she took a diamond grading course at the Gemological Institute of America when she was 19, she was convinced she would be on the business side of retail jewelry.

As it turned out, she said, “I LOVE diamonds.” So in early 2001, she began working as a graduate gemologist while pursuing her certification.

Her sister, Dominique, a real estate investment analyst for an international asset management company in London, also had the entrepreneurial spirit early on. When her sister approached her late last year about taking over the store upon their dad’s retirement, she was reticent. While Katie had been working alongside Art for more than 10 years, Dominique was always on the sideline. She pitched in during the holidays and when she was home from overseas, but her involvement was mostly limited to online buying and heading up the digital marketing side, including social media.

Katie, left, and Dominique Gaspar exhibited entrepreneuerial prowess at an early age and are putting those skills to use today as owners of Gaspar Jewelers. (Gaspar family photo)
Katie, left, and Dominique Gaspar exhibited entrepreneuerial prowess at an early age and are putting those skills to use today as owners of Gaspar Jewelers. (Gaspar family photo)

Dominique’s role is now primarily focused on strategy and as support for Katie.

“Living in London, I have great opportunity to keep an eye on the European jewelry and fashion trends,” she explained. “Part of our new look is a fresh, younger approach to a younger demographic while continuing to cater to our long-time customer base.”

The sisters have posted much of their products online via social media and their website, www.gasparjewelers.com, but they also offer their products on Facebook, where they are quickly gaining an engaged following.

Both sisters are huge advocates of green, sustainable living. Katie has an AA in Environmental Studies and has worked at local farms and volunteers at her son’s Montessori school.

“Sustainability may not seem like something that immediately comes to mind with jewelry,” Katie said. “It’s not an entire transformation yet, but Gaspar’s has already switched from Swiss- to American-made batteries whenever possible, and is carrying local designer Johnny Ninos from Los Olivos and American designers Mark Patterson and Alex Sepkus.”

They also buy gold that gets recycled and reused. Repairs are also a big part of their business, and they have an on-site goldsmith to design and create custom jewelry.

Just like their father, Katie and Dominique emphasize customer service. The next generation of Gaspars intends to keep the approachable, down-to-earth style of doing  business started by their parents more than 32 years ago.

While they seek to appeal to the contemporary buyer, they’re actively looking for new designers but will continue to carry the classic and traditional jewelry their customers have grown to expect.

Click here for more information about Gaspar Jewelers, 1213 Coast Village Road, or call 805.969.6362 or email info@gasparjewelers.com.

— 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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