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Ron Fink: Should Sexual Predators Be Allowed Access to Our Children?

By | Published on 07/30/2014

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Recently, many local governments have had to revisit and modify ordinances that they had adopted concerning where child molesters, pedophiles and/or other sexual predators could live and hang out. This was after a small group of misguided do-gooders decided that they were much more adept than local government at determining where these deviants should live.

The Lompoc city attorney's staff report on July 15 said: “In the 1990s, federal and state legislatures enacted various laws intended to protect minors from registered sex offenders. At the federal level, this legislation includes Megan’s Law, which was adopted in 1996 and created a nationwide sex offender registry. At the state level, the California Legislature adopted a series of regulations on the day-to-day lives of registered sex offenders, including a voter-approved measure known as Jessica’s Law.”

The state regulates the residency of registered sex offenders and specifically prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park. The state also regulates loitering by registered sex offenders and provides that any registrant who “loiters about any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate” is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The residency restriction is being reviewed by state courts.

So, the Lompoc City Council sought to clearly define the loitering/congregating restrictions, and in 2012 it approved an ordinance — primarily to give police firm enforcement guidelines — that restricted convicted sex offenders from loitering or temporarily residing within 300 feet of a child care center, public or private school, park, an establishment that provides a children’s play area or a public library.

There were other conditions that further defined where sex offenders could live and congregate, and it was these clear definitions that bothered a few people — most of whom lived elsewhere.

These folks didn’t like the rules that Lompoc and other local governments approved, and following lawsuits initiated by a convicted sex offender, California courts made some decisions regarding the ability of local government to establish sex offender rules. Two published decisions determined that state law preempted municipalities from adopting ordinances prohibiting sex offenders from entering local parks.

Our kids and grandkids play in public parks and are now being subjected to a higher level of risk because of the illogical decisions of the California judiciary.

Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 or younger. Treatment of this disorder is largely dependent of the pedophile's acceptance of the treatment protocol — if they fail to follow doctors’ orders, they could submit to their urges and reoffend. And, when they are allowed to congregate with other pedophiles and/or visit places where their victims visit, then there can be both the means and motivation to attack their young victims.

According to the Megan’s Law database, there are 53 registered sex offenders currently living in and around Lompoc; some are listed as transients, some have addresses at the federal prison, but most live in the city limits. You can view their criminal history and find their addresses on the Megan’s Law website by clicking here.

Changing the rules to reduce the restrictions didn’t seem to raise much public concern since only three people spoke during the Lompoc City Council meeting, and they generally supported the changes. Of course, how could anyone dispute the changes since they were essentially directed by court decisions?

None of the council members wanted to make the motion to approve the staff recommendation, so after making the motion, the vote was taken and then Mayor John Linn, speaking for many of us in the community, said of the 5-0 vote: “Universally, we understand (why we have to make these changes), but we don’t have to like it.”

It’s a sad day in our society when a very small group of people, many of whom have been convicted of “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age,” can legally be allowed to expose the most vulnerable in our society to serious mental and physical harm.

Every parent and grandparent must remain vigilant by first reviewing the Megan’s Law website. Then, don’t allow your children or grandchildren out of your sight, teach them not to engage in lengthy conversations with people they don’t know, pay attention to who is around you, and if strangers take an unusual interest in your child or grandchild, move away. If they make an overt move to contact your child, call the police.

Since the judiciary doesn’t have an interest in protecting innocent children from the menace of child molesters, pedophiles and/or other sexual predators, I guess it’s up to us to help ourselves.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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UCSB Professor Studies Mixed Impacts of World’s Largest — and Threatened — Parrotfish

By | Published on 07/30/2014

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In the high-tech world of science, researchers sometimes need to get back to basics. UC Santa Barbara’s Douglas McCauley did just that to study the impacts of the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) on coral reef ecosystems at two remote locations in the central Pacific Ocean.

Douglas McCauley
UCSB assistant professor Douglas McCauley. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

Using direct observation, animal tracking and computer simulation, McCauley, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, and his colleagues sought to understand whether the world’s largest parrotfish is necessary for positively shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The answer, published in a recent issue of the journal Conservation Biology, is yes and no.

“We actually swam alongside bumphead parrotfish for close to six hours at a time, taking detailed data on what they ate and where they went,” McCauley explained. “It was one of the more exhausting but wonderful experiences I’ve had as a field scientist.”

Often more than 4 feet long and weighing in at more than 100 pounds, bumpheads are major coral predators; one fish can consume just over 2 tons of living coral in a year. They are also a threatened species in serious decline across the Pacific. Hunted throughout the region — often at night in sea caves where they sleep — they have cultural significance (i.e., they’re coveted for feasting ceremonies) among many Pacific islanders.

“These large parrotfish crunch off entire pieces of reef and audibly grind them up into sand in their pharyngeal mill — specialized teeth in the back of their throat,” McCauley explained. “You know bumpheads are near when you begin noticing branches lopped off stony corals and golflike divot scars marking the reef.”

McCauley’s research demonstrates that bumpheads exert a complex mix of positive and negative effects on reefs. On the plus side, bumpheads reduce the abundance of fast-growing algae that compete with corals for light and space. Their feeding helps corals reproduce by opening up space on reefs. In addition, when feeding, they can disperse small coral fragments around reefs that can later grow into adult coral colonies, just as birds disperse plant seeds.

Conversely, bumpheads eat coral and this predation reduces its abundance and diversity.

“They can completely consume small coral colonies, and the feeding scars they leave on large corals can be a source of physiological stress,” McCauley said. “The coral skeleton that they grind up and excrete falls also back atop corals as biosediment and this can amount to 50 tons of sediment a year from a school of bumpheads. Sedimentation in other contexts is known to contribute to the smothering of corals.”

The team’s results highlight the diverse effects that species can have on ecosystems, adding a deeper perspective on understanding the ecological role of endangered species. McCauley noted that conservation often tacitly advances the expectation that endangered species must be good for the environment.

“This viewpoint is ecologically misleading,” he added. “Most species do things to ecosystems that we would construe as both positive and negative. Endangered species are no different from their more abundant counterparts.”

McCauley is quick to add that these findings by no means suggest that declining species like bumphead parrotfish are undeserving of protection.

“We can, in fact, strengthen the integrity of the field of conservation biology by being rigidly objective about the observations we make in nature — even if this means reporting occasionally that rare species can damage ecosystems,” he added. “If anything, better understanding the full complement of ways that at-risk species use and affect their environment empowers us to more effectively protect them.

“The case of the bumphead parrotfish is analogous in interesting ways to the African elephant. African elephants are a vulnerable and imperiled species that can be agents of deforestation and reduce regional biodiversity. These effects are particularly strong in areas where elephants have been artificially confined in high-density aggregations. Science that describes how elephants reshape ecosystems can help managers more effectively approach the complicated task of reversing severe global elephant declines while protecting local ecosystems. Bumphead parrotfish are to coral reefs what elephants are to African savannas.”

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Openings Available for CHP ‘Start Smart’ Driving Class in Buellton

By | Published on 07/30/2014

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The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart classes scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their sons or daughters (ages 15 to 20) for this free one-time, two-hour class can make reservations by calling the Buellton CHP area office at 805.688.5551.

The class will be held at the California Highway Patrol office at 166 Industrial Way in Buellton.

Start Smart addresses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers in a way no other program does. Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians.

Some of the topics of this class include collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities, local collision trends and a viewing of Red Asphalt V. This 15-minute film emphasizes the necessity to drive responsibly and the consequences drivers face when they don’t.

For reservations, information or questions please contact the Santa Maria CHP office at 805.688.5551.

— Officer John Ortega represents the California Highway Patrol in Buellton.

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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Discuss Exemptions for Measure P Anti-Fracking Ban

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Amid concerns of litigation, the board asks staff to create exemption rules for the proposed oil and gas production initiative on November's ballot

Santa Barbara County officials on Tuesday considered the possible passage of Measure P, a countywide proposal to ban high-intensity petroleum operations.

Voters will ultimately decide whether the ballot measure is approved this November, but the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors needed to direct county staff to craft certain implementation ordinances, including rules for exemptions. 

After getting an earful from both sides of the oil production and fracking debate, the board unanimously voted to have staff preemptively work on the implementation ordinances. 

While most aspects of Measure P would go into effect immediately, county staff said, supervisors needed to administer exemption provisions.

More frankly put, staff asked supervisors to OK implementing ordinances to try heading off some of the litigation the measure might throw their way.

The county has received at least two serious threats of lawsuits since supervisors voted last month to submit the initiative to ban “high-intensity petroleum operations” to voters in the November general election, county counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino asked whether Measure P explicitly exempts existing operations from the ban, but Ghizzoni said the word “existing” does not appear in the ballot language.

Measure P’s main proponents, the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, showed up in full blue-T-shirt-wearing force to support banning all operations that use methods of hydraulic fracturing, oxidization and steam injection for onshore oil production in the unincorporated areas of the county.

According to the measure, exemptions from the prohibition of development, construction, installation or use of any facility or aboveground equipment could be granted when the ban would violate constitutional rights, constitute an “unconstitutional taking of property” or apply to a person/entity with a “vested right” as of the effective date.

Nearly 30 public speakers took to the podium in Santa Barbara and remotely in Santa Maria, sharing concerns over ballot language that could hurt existing oil operations.

“We do not have the option of changing a word of that ballot,” Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said.

“It does expressly state within the ballot measure that we then are obligated to come up with these implementation ordinances.”

If the measure doesn’t pass, the exemption ordinances don’t matter, she said.

Others called Measure P flawed, a fiscal risk to the budget, job-killer and general waste, since fracking was not an issue in the county.

“I am not surprised that you’ve been threatened with litigation,” said Katie Davis of the Water Guardians, alleging oil-company-fueled scare tactics. “I would ask that the Board of Supervisors and county staff not be intimidated.”

Davis said the initiative would prevent a massive increase in these operations, not disband those in existence.

County staff said 50 percent of 1,200 active area wells use a cyclic-steaming process, while the rest will use one or more of the procedures indicated in Measure P in their lifetime.

The measure was anything but neighborly, according to Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss.

“How would we feel if our neighbors from the north decided to ban one of our means of employment?” he said. “Let’s not set a terrible precedent by being un-neighborly to them.”

Another speaker likened fracking to “environmental molestation of Mother Nature.”

Joining remotely from Santa Maria, Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam asked why ordinances needed to be created before a vote.

Ghizzoni said ordinances could mitigate litigation, noting that the county budget must be augmented and two attorneys added if Measure P passes in November. 

“I think it’s going to be challenging and (be on a) case by case exemption,” he said.

“And expensive,” Adam added. “I think that this thing is really ill-advised.”

The county is self-insured up to $500,000, counsel said, but other insurance might not cover litigation of the initiative.

Ghizzoni said staff wouldn’t know if the county would be covered until it came out of a potential litigation process at the court of appeal.

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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Officials Optimistic About Saving Goleta Beach Park

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Despite Coastal Commission concerns, city leaders believe state panel will allow rock revetment

The fight over Goleta Beach rages on, but the recent turmoil does not faze Goleta City Councilman Jim Farr and Mayor Michael Bennett in their efforts to save the county park.

"You and I are prepared to go to the ends of the Earth," Farr said Tuesday at a committee meeting.

Bennett responded: "Whatever it takes, whatever it takes."

Members of the Goleta Beach Park Standing Committee met Tuesday at Goleta City Hall to weigh in on the California Coastal Commission's recent letter that poked holes in Santa Barbara County's environmental impact report on the future of the popular park.

The commission asked the county for more information and to answer several key questions about its plans to leave a rock revetment in place to help slow erosion of the park and green space.

The letter asked for several pieces of information, including two sets of detailed cross sections of the revetment that show the project footprint in relation to bordering properties.

The commission also asked for a description of the rock to be retained as well as reports that look at “wave modeling, geomorphic interpretation, wave run-up,” and a coastal flooding and erosion vulnerability assessment.

The committee includes interim City Manager Michelle Greene and Planning & Environmental Review Director Jennifer Carman.

The debate centers on the future of the park, the county's most popular beach destination.

Some environmentalists have called for the removal of the rocks to allow for the beach to return to its natural state. They would like the removal of 1,200 feet of rocks, some as large as 8 feet tall and 15 feet wide, buried under the sand, yanked from the beach.

Anne Wells, left, advance planning manager, and Ed de la Torre, Friends of Goleta Beach Park activist, talk about plans for Goleta Beach Park at a meeting Tuesday. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The rocks were installed as an emergency measure a decade ago to prevent the park from major storm damage. During large storm events, the high tide rushes up on the grass, and over the years has slowly eroded the size of the park, which is popular among families and children.

The EIR for the project says that about 2.6 acres, or about 60 percent of the park, would be eventually lost if the rock revetments are removed.

The rocks, however, are now unpermitted. Opponents of the rocks argue that the artificial barriers contribute to the loss of sand, and that over time, the beach will disappear.

The county Board of Supervisors in March voted to leave the rocks and sent a "no-project" alternative to the Coastal Commission.

The commission responded in June with questions. It's up to the county now to answer those questions.

Bennett and others at the meeting said they expect that the commission will ultimately back the county's plans. They cited a recent decision by the commission to allow revetments in other parts of California.

Farr said he expects everything to work out in the end for the supporters of the park.

"Goleta Beach Park is for the people of the Goleta Valley," Farr said. "It's the best opportunity for the people of the Goleta Valley to interact with the ocean. It's a prime point for us to experience nature and the ocean. It is what everyone in the Goleta Valley wants."

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

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Police Lieutenants Claim Retaliation During Dan Ast’s Reinstatement Hearing

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Testimony wraps up on seventh day; decision expected by February but likely sooner

Two Santa Maria Police Department lieutenants claim they and Dan Ast faced retaliation from former and current supervisors for filing complaints alleging corruption and safety issues in the agency.

Tuesday marked the seventh and final day of testimony in the arbitration hearing for Ast, a fired police lieutenant who is seeking to get his job back.

Ast was fired in March 2013 for his role in the fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias on Jan. 28, 2012, as his colleagues tried to arrest him for having a sexual relationship with a teen girl who was part of the department’s Explorer Scout program.

Days before the fatal shooting, Lt. Norm Comé, Lt. James Ginter and Ast filed a complaint with a city human resources representative after unsuccessfully taking their concerns to then-chief, Danny Macagni, in November 2011.

“There were things going on that were illegal,” said Ginter, who still serves in the department. “There were things that were going on that were unsafe. They posed risk to not only our employees but citizens we’re supposed to be serving.”

The three veteran police officers in April filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.

Comé and Ginter testified about their concerns under both the current and former police chiefs Tuesday, but much of the rebuttal occurred behind closed doors because it involved personnel matters.

However, in a written statement, Chief Ralph Martin refuted “all unsupported allegations of misconduct.” City officials said they couldn’t provide any specifics because of the officers’ rights to privacy under the Police Officers Bill of Rights. 

In testifying, the two lieutenants told of profanity directed at them, unanswered emails, less desirable schedules and more after they filed complaints against Macagni.

“The retaliation became worse immediately,” Ginter said of the actions against them upon filing the complaint at City Hall.

“The atmosphere went from bad to worse at the police station,” Ginter added. “The command staff ignoring us outright. Things being said. Things being done.”

He said he thinks Macagni was behind the actions.

“I believe he directed them to mess with us in any way that they could,” Ginter said.

As actions against them continued, Ginter said he emailed the complaint to Santa Maria City Council members.

“When they found out I had done this they were enraged,” said Ginter, who added he received a phone call at home from former Councilman Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant, who had just met with City Manager Rick Haydon and City Attorney Gil Trujillo.

In that call, Ginter said, Cordero told him, “They’re coming after you. They’re going to get you.”

Testimony Monday and Tuesday also mentioned the former police chief approaching the Police Officers Association board of directors, soliciting any complaints against the three lieutenants — or what Macagni allegedly called the three stooges.

“I felt this was another example of retaliatory actions, clearly.” Ginter said.

In all, the three officers found themselves the subjects of eight internal affairs investigations, which they claim came at the former chiefs and other supervisors' urging.

Ginter also told of getting a letter from the city confirming Macagni had retaliated against him. No specifics were given.

Comé, who is on medical leave, talked about about an incident involving an officer who didn’t show up to testify in court. When the public defender contacted him as watch commander, Comé said to go through the District Attorney’s Office, because the department has never accepted phone subpoenas.

“There was no complaint against me. I was morphed into the complaint on the back end because they saw an opportunity to come after me,” Comé said.

Comé said the trio approached the police chief as a group to air their grievances in November 2011.

“It was clear to us the chief was not happy with us,” Comé said.

Some of their complaints include a drunken reserve officer teaching newer officers about assault rifles, falsified timecards, ticket fixing and an “exorbitant amount” of overtime to the point it was a safety concern for officers and citizens.

“My concern was somebody was going to get on the motorcycle after a 20-hour shift and get killed,” Comé said.

A short time later, police commanders reassigned them, removing Ast from his role as chief of criminal investigations but making him responsible for completing investigators’ evaluations.

“How was he supposed to accomplish that based on your knowledge and training?” Ast’s attorney, Jonathan Miller, asked.

“That was one of our chief concerns. We voiced that with the chief and commander. It fell on deaf ears,” Comé said.

Under questioning by Dennis Gonzales, the city’s attorney, Comé and Ginter said the three had not taken their concerns to other local or federal law enforcement agencies.

Days after the shooting in a city employees meeting, Macagni put the blame for the shooting on Covarrubias, Comé said.

“It was made very clear Officer Covarrubias was responsible for the shooting,” Comé said.

Ginter supported Ast’s actions the night of the shooting.

“Had I been there I wouldn’t have changed anything,” Ginter said. “That man did nothing wrong.”

The city’s attorney completed his case just before the lunch break Tuesday, the seventh day of the arbitration hearing which began in early June.

Hearing officer Catherine Harris could make her decision within 60 days or longer. City officials said the decision is expected to be released no later than February.

If the hearing officer rules in favor of reinstating Ast, city leaders said they would follow protocol outlined in the official decision.

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

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Chumash Holding Public Meeting About Casino Expansion

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Locals will get the chance to check out the specifics of a planned expansion at the Chumash Casino Resort — including construction of a new 12-story hotel tower — at a public meeting Thursday.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which owns and operates the casino and resort on its federally-recognized reservation, will host the meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort.

The meeting follows a letter the tribe sent this spring to Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, announcing plans to add 215 hotel rooms, 584 parking spaces, more gaming floor space and other improvements to alleviate overcrowding and circulation issues.

Construction is slated to begin as soon as later this year, and tribal officials are hosting the meeting to present plans and gather input — and likely some complaints — from neighbors of the 190,000-square-foot complex at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez.

Tribal chairman Vincent Armenta said those issues will be answered in a final environmental evaluation for the project — consistent with tribal government rules — and do not need to be brought before the county supervisors for approval.

The tribe has offered to meet with the supervisors to discuss mitigating environmental impacts, he said, and the 30-day public review period for the EE closes Aug. 14.

“It’s important for the public to know that this meeting is not a Q&A format,” Armenta said in a statement. “We are simply collecting comments from the public and will respond to those comments in our final EE. The tribe will make a good faith effort to mitigate all off-reservation impacts and will recirculate a final EE document.”

An overall budget of approximately $165 million has been earmarked for the project that would add to the existing 106 guest rooms and 17 luxury suites at the resort hotel.

The tribe opened the original casino in 1994 in a small building, adding two temporary buildings in subsequent years before consolidated into one complex that opened in 2004.

In the letter to supervisors, Armenta said expansion was necessary because the hotel was dramatically downsized during the tribal environmental review process — a disservice to the tribe’s long-term revenue.

The environmental evaluation, available online by clicking here, shows the tribe's plans to add a new 12-story tower and hotel rooftop pool deck perpendicular to the existing four-story hotel, spanning the East Fork of Zanja de Cota Creek to the existing southern parking structure. 

The tribe plans to construct a new six-tier parking structure adjacent to current parking and to renovate the casino to grow by 60,000 square feet.

Adding more machines to the 18-or-older, 24-hour gaming floor — already boasting 2,000 slot machines, dozens of table games, bingo, poker and more — is not part of plans, since the casino already has the maximum number allowed by the state.

The proposed project would be built over two years beginning this fall, and would create 250 new jobs at the complex that would be able to serve 10,000 patrons per day instead of the current daily average of 8,800.

“Guests of the Chumash Casino Resort will benefit with additional hotel rooms, more parking spaces and more space on the gaming floor,” Armenta said. “The community will benefit by the new jobs created by this project — both during and after construction.”

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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Fiesta Mercados Open at De la Guerra Plaza, MacKenzie Park

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Old Spanish Days kicks off Wednesday with merchant booths and La Fiesta Pequeña

Hoping to beat the afternoon heat Tuesday, a group of high-school wrestlers armed with small paint brushes and a ladder spent the morning putting final touches on a vendor booth for the Santa Barbara Jaycees in De la Guerra Plaza.

The San Marcos High School student athletes seemed to sense the tradition of working in the same space the local nonprofit has occupied during Old Spanish Days Fiesta since 1983, on the north side of the downtown plaza.

Working ahead of a kickoff Wednesday, the teenagers offered up a day of summer to continue the custom and raise money to replace a wrestling mat 40 years past its prime.

The Fiesta mercados are the biggest fundraisers of the year for Santa Barbara Jaycees and other nonprofits and businesses that set up food and beverage booths in De la Guerra Plaza downtown and in MacKenzie Park near Las Positas Road.

Visitors can begin enjoying the fare at 11 a.m. Wednesday, and El Mercado de la Guerra and El Mercado Del Norte at MacKenzie Park will remain open daily through Saturday.

Fiesta will feature extra events to celebrate its 90th anniversary, and the Santa Barbara Jaycees will offer something special, too.

Slushies have been added to an already simple yet successful menu of taquitos, chips and homemade guacamole that’s converted avocado-haters over the years, said Tony Becerra, Jaycees chairman.

“It’s all made here in the booth,” Becerra said. “People have known us for years and years.”

Ice cold lemonade, tacos, churros, burgers and more carnival-type food can also be found, provided by organizations such as Special Olympics Southern California, La Casa de la Raza and Santa Barbara Rugby Association.

In order to buy that new wrestling mat — costing $8,000 to $12,000 — the Jaycees need to sell a lot of guacamole, which shouldn’t be a problem considering the booth typically uses 60 to 80 cases of avocados, Becerra said.

Understanding the sanctity of mercados customs, Becerra said he hopes one tradition will fall this year.

He has a long-standing offer to anyone who requests the booth’s guacamole recipe, guaranteeing the ingredients if a person volunteers to work one shift during Fiesta.

So far, no one has taken him up on the deal.

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 Council OKs $644,000 to Fund Studies for Desalination Plant Reactivation

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Running the facility will cost an estimated $5 million per year, but without it, the city faces a 60 percent drop in water supplies in 2017

Santa Barbara’s desalination-facility permit is considered valid, but the California Coastal Commission and other regulatory agencies are requiring environmental studies before the city’s plant can reopen.

The Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility has been on standby status since the mid-1990s, and needs about $30 million in upgrades (and another $1.8 in preliminary design) before it’s operational again. 

City Council members started the reactivation process in May, and on Tuesday approved spending $644,000 for additional environmental studies and specialized legal services.

There was a concern the plant’s coastal development permit would not be valid, but it appears the city will have to amend the existing permit, not start the process completely over.

Santa Barbara’s desalination facility at 525 E. Yanonali St. is designed to pump seawater through filters to catch the solid matter first, after which pure saltwater is pumped at high pressure through semi-permeable membranes to separate out potable water.

Water is pumped in from an intake pipe three-quarters of a mile offshore, then solid waste is dumped with the discharge from the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant.

With the current schedule, the City Council would consider bids next April and the plant would come online in mid-2016.

The Coastal Commission, which issues the permit, is requiring a biological assessment of the ocean floor near the seawater intake facility, according to acting Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark.

The study will examine impacts from reinstalling the screens and pumps for the intake facility, he said.

Santa Barbara is also funding a water-quality sampling study, which is required by the California Department of Public Health, and a computer modeling study of the desalination discharge mixed with wastewater, which is being required by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

In total, the council unanimously approved $643,959 for additional desalination-related studies and legal support on Tuesday. 

Running the desalination facility will cost an estimated $5 million per year, so the City Council would prefer never restarting the plant. 

However, the city would need significantly above-average rainfall this winter to push back the schedule, Haggmark said.

“It would be a real hit to the finances of the water system,” Councilman Bendy White said.

Due to the huge amount of energy needed, the desalination facility water would also have a much higher carbon footprint than other water sources, he noted.

At the same time the city is dealing with the coastal development permit amendments, it's renewing its permit to discharge wastewater and desalination brine into the Pacific Ocean, Haggmark said.

Santa Barbara’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit allows 11 million gallons per day of wastewater from El Estero and 12.5 million gallons per day of desalination brine to be discharged, but it expires May 13, 2015.

Desalination is written into the city's drought plan, and city staff estimate that Santa Barbara will have shortages starting in 2016 without it. The city will have adequate supplies for the next water year, which starts Oct. 1, only if customers cut their use by 20 percent, according to water staff.

Without desalination, the city is looking at a 60 percent drop in available water supplies in 2017.

“That’s catastrophic for this community,” Haggmark said.

Santa Barbara has declared a Stage II drought, which includes water-use restrictions and drought water rates for utility customers.

So far, the drought water rates have raised customer bills across the board. Since July 1, when the rates took effect, customer bills have increased 3 percent for low water users, 16 percent for moderate users and 67 percent or more for high users, according to a city staff report.

Rates could increase more if desalination moves forward. As part of the reactivation plan, the City Council is studying what water rates are necessary to fund the facility’s capital and operating costs.

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

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Wine Cask Partners with Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara for Etiquette Dinner

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Wine Cask is proud to welcome the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara for an evening of fine dining and social enrichment.

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, children from Mrs. Bock’s Social Manners program will pay a visit to Wine Cask to demonstrate their newly acquired proper manners, which they learned during the club’s summer program.

Wine Cask, too, will demonstrate its socially responsible etiquette through its Charity Lunch Promotion by donating 10 percent of guests’ checks this month, when they mention the local nonprofit organization.

“We are so proud to partner on this great initiative with the Boys & Girls Club to support and help further cultivate the youth of our community,” said Mitchell Sjerven, co-owner of Wine Cask. “A dinner at Wine Cask is the perfect setting for these young kids to practice their very best manners, while getting an introduction to fresh, local, farm-to-table cuisine.”

The children range from 6 to 12 years of age and will apply their sophisticated skills as they enjoy a four-course meal, which will include a savory soup, a fresh garden salad, a chicken entrée and a sweet dessert. During the summer program, students learn table manners and dining etiquette: how to properly place their napkin while eating, when to use the correct utensils and how to drink properly from their glass, among other skills.

“Everyone certainly appreciates how proper manners can make a difference in a child. Courtesy and good social skills acquired during the early years become valuable assets in professional and personal life,” said Vickie Prezelin, executive assistant of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara is dedicated to provide young people with hope and opportunity, a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals and life-enhancing programs.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara has several summer programs kicking off this month. Now through Aug. 15, it is offering its summer camp sessions planned to incorporate High Yield Learning Actives (HYLAs) that aim to reduce the amount of academic loss that long school breaks can often bring. Daily programs include reading activities, character and leadership development, art projects, recreational sports, and health and life skills, among many more. Wine Cask is pleased to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara and support these important initiatives for our local youth.

Join Wine Cask for lunch this month and savor the taste of summer with delicious dishes like the Grilled Wagyu Silron with spring pepper mashed potatoes, or bite into our Filet Mignon Enchiladas with black bean risotto, tomatillo-avocado salsa, Cacique cheese, and sour cream. Relax in the summer sunshine and enjoy lunch at Wine Cask’s lovely courtyard while giving back to the Santa Barbara community by supporting the Boys & Girls Club.

Click here for more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

Wine Cask is located in downtown Santa Barbara in the historic El Paseo complex, and offers the best of all worlds to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner in a stylishly relaxed setting. Our passion is serving great food, providing the highest caliber of service and bringing back the comfort and nostalgia of one of Santa Barbara’s favorite restaurants to our patrons. Wine Cask is located at 813 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara. Call 805.966.9463 or click here for more information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Wine Cask.

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UCSB Receives $499,888 NSF Grant to Research Bugs in Modern Software Systems

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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UCSB Receives $499,888 NSF Grant to Research Bugs in Modern Software Systems

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday announced that researchers at UCSB received a $499,888 grant from the National Science Foundation to research new ways to find and eliminate bugs in modern software systems.

Most work, communication and entertainment done on smartphones and computers now involves using software applications. And increasingly, these applications are web-based and not bound to the computing devices being used, a benefit that comes with a cost — increasing complexity.

Developing software systems is a difficult and error-prone task, and most of the time, developers are not able to find all the errors in a software application before it is released to the users. So, bugs in modern software systems are common, leading to unintended behaviors, security vulnerabilities and crashes.

The UCSB research group is investigating new ways to find and eliminate bugs in modern software systems by developing innovative approaches to software verification, particularly focusing on code that manipulates and updates the data in modern software systems.

“With more and more people using web-based software applications, this funding will support research to make our interactions with these software applications easier, more efficient and more secure,” Capps said. “As technology continues to develop, I am proud that researchers right here at UCSB and all along the Central Coast are working to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge and ensuring that these technologies work for as many people as possible.”

“The funding provided by NSF will enable the group to extend their work on software verification and also develop novel techniques for automatically repairing bugs that they discover,” said professor Tevfik Bultan, who is the principal investigator. “The majority of the funding will be used to hire project personnel (such as graduate student researchers or postdoctoral scholars) to develop novel software verification techniques and implement them in collaboration with me and under my supervision. Some of the funding will be used to buy computers that will be used to implement and experiment with the software that will be developed within the scope of this project.”

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

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Rona Barrett Foundation Announces Start of $3.5 Million Campaign for Golden Inn & Village

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Representatives from the Rona Barrett Foundation have announced the start of an ambitious three-year, community-wide fundraising campaign to raise $3.5 million to complete the construction and furbishing of the Golden Inn & Village and provide seed money for essential programs and services to be delivered there for resident seniors and all seniors from the community.

The GIV will be the first senior housing project in the County of Santa Barbara and the State of California to provide affordable, aging-in place senior care for the Santa Ynez Valley's most vulnerable seniors.

It will be located at the heart of the community at the intersection of Refugio Road and Highway 246 across from the YMCA, Santa Ynez Valley High School, the Christian Academy and El Rancho Market.

For more information, click here or call 805.688.8887.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.

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John Daly: Unprofessional Behavior Could Lose Business and Your Job!

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Times are changing. Social norms have varied in today’s world but that doesn’t mean basic etiquette doesn’t matter. Take Brad Smith, for instance. His company had high hopes for what they thought would be a young mover and shaker. Brad was filled with self-confidence and felt fairly invincible out of the gate. But he forgot that business is really about people and that most of us would rather work with or buy from someone with professional behavior and high standards.

Brad was good about introducing people, but he often substituted a “hello” or nod instead of offering a handshake. When he was busy, he often failed to acknowledge or greet his co-workers unless he needed something from them. His management began to notice and thought it displayed that he was unapproachable and impolite. Their suspicions were backed up when he failed to say “please” or “thank you” for anything.

Brad was an “over-talker.” He was so eager to impress his own opinions that he often interrupted others in midsentence. It’s never easy to not interject, particularly when there is a point to be made. But Brad always pressed on, rudely disrespecting the opinions of others. He often appeared aggressive rather than assertive. In the heat of conversation, he sometimes used derogatory, rude or offensive language. His written communications were filled with slang, which added to the unprofessional impression he began to make on others. Oftentimes he would send emails without subject lines and content full of spelling and grammar errors. Instead of a proper closure, he would sign his emails with a smiley face!

After a few months on the job, Brad got in the habit of walking into someone’s office unannounced. No knock on the door or hello before opening it. Never questioning if it was a good time to talk. He never called or emailed ahead to find a good time to talk. His direct supervisors felt disrespected and often spoke to Brad about calling ahead. But Brad just ignored his boss’ words of warning. Brad also liked to stand over the boss’ shoulder at his desk and read over his shoulder or hang around and listen as his supervisor finished a phone call.

Brad developed a reputation among his co-workers as a gossip who liked to bait others on highly charged topics of politics and religion and then share those discussions to irritate others. He crossed the personal and professional lines on this one.

In meetings, (for which he was frequently late) whether in-house or with clients, he would stop the conversation to take calls, or he would text or check emails. He failed to show genuine interest through eye contact and making an effort to truly listen to others. He was easily distracted and began to lose business. Management began to lose patience and started writing him up because of his behavior.

After three warnings in six months, the company let him go. Is it any wonder that it took them so long?

As you go about your professional career, remember that companies hire for aptitude and work knowledge but fire for behavior. It is something to always keep in mind.

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, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. 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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Dos Pueblos’ Boys Tennis Mix-and-Match Doubles Fundraiser a Swinging Success

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.” — "Wake Me Up," Avicci

At the Dos Pueblos High School tennis courts on Sunday, our annual Boys Tennis Mix-and-Match Doubles Fundraiser finished well, like our historical season this spring. In addition to the hard work of our team, the immense community support of our program carried us through our winning season. Together, we made things happen.

Again, we are grateful to Yogurtland (Amanda Oh and family), which has sponsored us for the upcoming season. Participants came from the three Channel League schools as well as from the various clubs and city courts. Before the tournament started, we had instructors and coaches warm up the players for 30 to 40 minutes. Also, we received generous donations from everyone, even from those who could not play in our tournament.

Every year we honor a Charger enthusiast; this year, we gave a “shoutout” to Ralph and Dale Kistler, longtime DP boys tennis supporters. As for the competition,  “Come on,” “Let’s go” and laughter could be heard from all of the courts. We gave the “mature” players and younger players the option of partnering with a pro. After seeing them play, they could have easily held their own without one.

In some of the rounds on some of the courts, we used green-dot balls (usually reserved for 10-and-under competition). Of course, matches on those courts ran longer than on other courts. We finished the tournament with an exhibition match between our Channel League doubles winners, Patrick Corpuz and Miles Baldwin, and Jeff Villano and Ricky Echanique.

Throughout the tournament, we could also hear cheers and commentary from our little mascot, Alex Casady, proudly wearing his Dos Pueblos tennis shirt. He did go on court to be ball boy for his parents. After the tournament, we enjoyed sandwich platters and cookies from Subway.

I want to thank our team, fellow coaches (Allison Golledge and Alexei Prilepine), Amanda Oh and parents who did major setup and cleanup. I also acknowledge our local instructors, who contributed to our fundraiser: Hughie Stratman, Jeff Villano, Ross Skinner, Ricky Echanique, Alexei Prilepine, Peter Kirkwood, Sammer Aziz and Austin Trevillian.

I thank you all. “We are family.” Way to go, Chargers!

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

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Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team Holding First of Two Recruitment Meetings This Wednesday

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team is looking for new members to fill its next search and rescue training academy.

Those interested in joining this elite organization of people giving back to the community are invited to attend a no-obligation recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. this Wednesday, July 30, or Wednesday, Aug. 27. Both meetings will be held at the Search & Rescue station at 66 S. San Antonio Road in Santa Barbara.

SBCSAR is a volunteer branch of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. This highly-trained team uses specialized training and equipment to handle a variety of emergencies, including high-angle rock rescues, car-over-the-side accidents, downed aircraft, swiftwater rescues and medical emergencies.

SBCSAR is a California Type I search and rescue team and one of only 19 teams in California that is fully certified as a Mountain Rescue Team. In order to qualify for MRA status, a team must pass proficiency tests in snow and ice, rock, and search operations every three years. MRA teams are viewed as the best in the country and are often requested to support search and rescue personnel of other counties.

Team members are men and women from all walks of life and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

SBCSAR's primary jurisdiction is the wilderness and urban areas of Santa Barbara County. As such, team members have the opportunity to visit parts of the county very few ever experience to see the unique beauty of our backcountry. In addition, as part of the Mountain Rescue Association, the team responds to emergencies in other counties, states and national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings National Parks.

As an active arm of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, the team is called to assist on evidence searches, provides medical support for large community events, and is the primary entity to coordinate and carry out evacuations during major disasters such as wildland fires.

Click here for more information on SBCSAR.

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

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Goleta Planning Commission Supports Marriott Hotel Project

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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The Marriott Residence Inn hotel development plan was supported by the Goleta Planning Commission in a 3-2 decision Monday night, which pushes the project to the City Council for final approval.

The 118-room hotel would be located in the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue, across the street from the Santa Barbara Airport.

There is high demand for an extended-stay hotel where travelers stay an average of five to 11 nights, according to developer Bob Olson of R.D. Olson Development.

Olson’s company has pursued a hotel at this location for many years and also owns the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 401 Storke Road, which opened in 2012.

The current project is smaller, with fewer rooms, than the original proposal. In addition to the brand-new hotel, the plans include landscaping and vehicle circulation improvements to the existing Hollister Center on the same parcel.

While representatives from the business community and UC Santa Barbara support the project and want more hotel rooms in the Goleta Valley, opponents object to the site itself, which has archaeological significance to local Native American tribes.

The proposed Marriott project was withdrawn several years ago after the preservationist group Friends of Saspili sued over the Chumash site, and the concerns haven’t gone away.

The project was revised and now includes plans for a sanctuary garden on the property — a place for visitors to learn about the history of Chumash in the Goleta Slough area and for tribe members to meet and reflect, Olson said.

David Stone, an archaeologist working for Olson, said early excavations of the property in the 1920s found — and destroyed — numerous burials in the area but maps indicate any cemeteries are outside the proposed hotel property.

According to the environmental impact report, about 17 percent of the original archaeological site remains today, and the project overlaps with a portion of it.

Under the proposed project, the 10.7-acre parcel would be split, with the hotel built on the undeveloped side.

Land use attorney Marc Chytilo is representing the Friends of Saspili for the second time regarding the Marriott project.

At Monday’s hearing, he called the hotel project “a house of cards that is built upon a lot split.”

The office building is nonconforming with the city’s General Plan and, if demolished, would make room for the proposed hotel, Chytilo suggested.

“We request that (the Planning Commission) deny the lot split and direct the applicant to pursue the hotel project on the entirety of the parcel," he said, "and continue to respect the sensitive archeological resources and spiritual significance of the western portion of this parcel.”

The environmental impact report concluded that the mitigation measures would reduce any impacts to less-than-significant levels, but local Chumash are concerned about the potential loss of cultural resources.

The Planning Commission members voted 3-2 to recommend approval of the revised final environmental impact report and development plan for the Marriott project. The recommendation will go to the City Council, which is the final decision-maker for the project.

The Marriott is one of two new hotels planned for the city, with the 138-room Rincon Palms Hilton Garden Inn going in at the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister Avenue.

With the ongoing drought, concerns have been raised about adding new water service connections, but the Goleta Water District has given its preliminary support for the project since it looks at water use over the long term, according to city staff.

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

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Using Channel Islands as Model, UCSB Collaboration Demonstrates Importance of Historical Ecology

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Sometimes in order to plan for the future, you have to look to the past. That is what more than two dozen scientists from across the United States did when they met at UC Santa Barbara two years ago to participate in the Channel Islands Bio-cultural Diversity Working Group.

Lyndal Laughrin
Lyndal Laughrin, director of the Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which is overseen by UCSB. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

The group’s goal was to use historical ecology — research that focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment over long periods of time, typically over the course of centuries — to demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary research. They employed this approach in order to improve their understanding of long-term changes in island ecology and biodiversity and to assist conservation biologists in guiding ecosystem management. The results of their research project are published in the current issue of the journal BioScience.

Using California’s Channel Islands as a model system, the group’s analysis spans approximately 20,000 years from before human occupation through Native American hunter-gatherers, commercial ranchers and fishers, the United States military and other land managers. The Channel Islands encompass eight land masses, ranging from Catalina Island in the south to San Miguel Island in the north.

The main point of the findings is that all of this history can be used to inform the future.

“The trends show that we are moving into a period of climate change,” said Lyndal Laughrin, director of the Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which is overseen by UCSB. “So how do we take the past and what the present is telling us and prepare for the future? I think it’s important that we are connecting the past to the future using a multidisciplinary outcome.”

Co-owned by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz is the largest of the Channel Islands. The reserve is one of 39 in the University of California’s Natural Reserve System.

“The distant past had a whole different regime with larger islands due to a lower sea level and more forestation as a result of a cooler climate,” Laughrin added. “The more recent historical past was influenced by agriculture and ranching, which changed the islands, and now the changeover from private ownership as well as economic pressures have turned the focus to conservation and restoration efforts.”

Because of their relative isolation, islands make an ideal model to study. While the Channel Islands are not as remote as Hawaii or the Galapagos Islands, they nonetheless provide examples of endemics, species unique to a defined geographic location.

Endemics occur in two different ways. Some are the result of species getting out to islands but dying elsewhere, often due to climate change and loss of habitat. Others are the result of a species losing its connection to the original population so that genetic interaction ceases. The isolated species then evolves with a genetic difference that renders it unique.

Today, the Channel Islands are host to 10 endemic island mammal subspecies, including the spotted skunk found on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands and different subspecies of island fox found on all of the Channel Islands except Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. Of the 271 endemic plant taxa, 44 are single-island endemics and 37 are endemic on the four northern islands — Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel.

According to the researchers, in addition to this natural selection process, climate change and human disturbances have contributed to the current degradation of Channel Island ecosystems. While the need for restoration may be clear, how to go about achieving it is not.

“The strength of this research is the idea of how this whole interaction between the natural world and the human world is built on the past,” Laughrin concluded. “Our job now as conservationists is to combine what we have now with what we need to do, incorporating an increasing human population and anticipated climatic change.”

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Crews Respond to Electrical Fire at Goleta Trader Joe’s

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Santa Barbara County Fire engines responded to an electrical fire at Trader Joe’s in the Calle Real Shopping Center Tuesday morning.

Crews responded to 5767 Calle Real in Goleta for a structure fire call around 10 a.m. and the store was briefly evacuated. 

The small electrical fire was contained to the refrigeration unit so the store has reopened, but one aisle is closed, Capt. David Sadecki said. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

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

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Max McCumber: Baseball Happens Here, But Doesn’t Have to Stay

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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It's an age-old adage: What happens here, stays here. Usually it's an oath to swear by with your pals on a promiscuous getaway to Las Vegas. When used in reference to baseball as seen on television, it undermines the spirit of the event.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

Too often I hear commentators note that, "Not a lot of people outside [insert small market city here] know about how great a player so and so is." Major League Baseball repeatedly claims it has never been more popular. However, every "not a lot of people outside of" remark is a threat to its popularity.

The Oakland A's have an outstanding team this year, with the best record in MLB as of the All-Star break. For them to be outperforming teams with considerably higher payrolls, such as the New York Yankees, proves the game to be healthy. Yet for Oakland to reach the World Series could be catastrophic for TV ratings. Baseball has produced as much parity as ever, but how much has it truly accomplished if not all teams are supposed to generate national prestige?

Unless it's your local team or one from a wealthy market such as Boston, New York, Chicago or L.A. in action, there is little reason to follow baseball. This attitude has become conventional wisdom primarily because it's encouraged by the media. It's not really indicative of what the game has to offer to national audiences.

A Milwaukee Brewers game taken in with a sausage and beer at Miller Park is as iconic a Wisconsin sporting experience as a Green Bay Packers game. The Brew Crew just so happened to have lead the NL Central for most of this year.

The Pirates are a franchise historically significant enough for the Jolly Roger flags waved in Pittsburgh to carry notoriety equal to the Terrible Towels found at Steelers games. Besides, Pirates insignia has influence beyond the diamond. It evokes reminders of the Great One: Roberto Clemente and the humanitarian efforts he inspired.

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ought to be as much of a Denver celebrity as John Elway or Peyton Manning. He may have yet to win a World Series and does play in homer-happy Coors Field, but the display "Tulo" has put on is still impressive. After all, he did obtain the most All-Star votes in the National League this year. Let's hope he recovers in time from his current stint on the disabled list.

During my undergrad years at San Francisco State, I discovered how much of an event a Giants game can be. Unfortunately, with first pitches at AT&T Park thrown as late as 10:15 Eastern, many don't have a fair chance to do the same. A good chunk of viewers miss out on diving catches at third base by the Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, or clutch hits off the bat of Buster Posey.

With so many Dodgers fans here in Santa Barbara, I've heard more than a few complaints about the trouble accessing their games on SportsNet LA. They have every reason to be outraged.

At the same time, except for a few Late Show and 60 Minutes segments, baseball doesn't exist on America's Most Watched Network: CBS. To the game, this is as much of a black eye, no pun intended, as the Dodgers situation. So, too, is the absence of baseball on NBC, as it was a staple of the peacock network for so long.

Ideally, MLB would have Fox, CBS in partnership with TBS, NBC, ESPN and the MLB Network all involved as rights holders in some shape or form. Fox, CBS and NBC would rotate airing the All-Star Game and World Series on their over-the-air outlets. In case you noticed, this arrangement would be roughly similar to the National Football League. Still, it would be entirely in the best interests of baseball.

Instead, the one Game of the Week is just another game on ESPN. A bulk of the national coverage technically exists on MLB Network, but it's not a channel readily available to basic cable. On top of that most of the games MLBN airs are feeds of local broadcasts. Low World Series ratings tend to get blamed on which teams are involved. But I think it has more to do with Fox anchored by Joe Buck as the only production in charge of the Series year after year. That and because its Sunday pre-game shows don't get underway until doubleheaders of NFL coverage are over.

I get that now you can follow every game on your mobile phone, tablet, webcast, etc., and pay up for a subscription to MLB.TV or Extra Innings. You have 162 regular season games a year, played almost every night to choose from. As a result, a network broadcast is more of a draw if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers get in. All of this makes sense from a business perspective.

None of it, though, sounds like anything James Earl Jones recited in his "people will come" monologue as Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams. Nor is it any message I took away from the Ken Burns documentary I was raised on. I have a hard time letting go of such sentiments.

Whether Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum or anyone else tosses it, it's hard to diminish how special a no-hitter or perfect game can be. Unless its telecast only addresses a local audience.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.

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Attorneys Peter Susi, Jon Gura Join Santa Barbara Law Firm of Hollister & Brace

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Santa Barbara bankruptcy attorneys Peter Susi and Jon Gura have joined the law firm of Hollister & Brace.

Peter Susi
Peter Susi

Susi’s practice is limited exclusively to bankruptcy, reorganization and other debtor/creditor-related matters.

Susi has acted as lead attorney on more than 100 Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and served as counsel to Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees on numerous occasions. He also has represented creditor and investor committees in many complex cases, and is experienced in negotiating and documenting complex business transactions and marital disputes and dissolutions involving insolvency issues.

Susi graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1969 and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Susi practiced at the law firms Stutman Treister & Glatt, Danning Gill, Michaelson & Gould, and Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, which became Susi & Gura in 2011.

Susi has also served as an adjunct professor at Santa Barbara College of Law and a volunteer judge pro tem. He lectures regularly to bar associations and certified public accountancy groups as well as to the general public.

Gura is an experienced transactional attorney and litigator, with a strong background in bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, insolvency and real estate matters.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Gura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, District Court Judge for the Central District of California, and practiced at the law firms Irell & Manella, Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern, Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, and its successor firm, Susi & Gura.

 

Jon Gura
Jon Gura

Gura graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California-Berkeley with a bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1996. He then received his J.D. from the UCLA Law School, where he graduated Order of the Coif in 1999.

Gura is active in the Santa Barbara community, having served on the foundations for Santa Barbara High School and Montecito Union School, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Montecito Union School District and as the president of the board of Knowlwood Tennis Club in Montecito.

Hollister & Brace was founded in 1966. The firm’s practice areas include business, real property, including land use, transactions and environmental practice, taxation, oil, gas and minerals, litigation, class actions, estate planning, bankruptcy and family practice.

Click here for more information.

— Marcus Bird represents Hollister & Brace.

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Visit Santa Barbara CEO Joins Governor’s Trade/Investment Mission to Mexico

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Visit California and Kathy Janega-Dykes, president/CEO of Visit Santa Barbara, will join Gov. Jerry Brown on his Trade and Investment Mission to Mexico taking place this Monday through Wednesday.

Participating tourism industry leaders will join a delegation that includes California policymakers and statewide leaders in business, policy and economic development.

During the Mission, Visit California will partner with AeroMexico to launch a multi-platform consumer marketing campaign and travel trade initiative that invites Mexican travelers to book their dream vacation to California. The new campaign builds on Visit California’s recent $1 million advertising campaign, which will be presented to media and delegation members during the Trade Mission.

“Mexico is California’s biggest international tourism market which benefits our State’s bottom-line,” Visit California President/CEO Caroline Beteta said. “The governor’s Trade Mission will help us further expand the direct link between visitors from Mexico and California’s growing tourism economy.”

Visit California invests $1.6 million annually in the Mexico market — an investment that’s paying off as visitors from Mexico spent $2.9 billion in 2013 alone while traveling in the State. Visit California’s Mexico marketing strategically targets travelers arriving by air who spend nearly three times the amount of travelers arriving by ground transportation.

“The Santa Barbara South Coast has always valued and respected Mexico’s significant contribution to the travel and tourism industry,” Janega-Dykes said. “We view this visit as a way to both further strengthen that alliance as well as provide incentives for Mexican companies and individuals to consider doing future business in California, contributing to immediate economic return and long-term revenue opportunities.”

California’s travel and tourism industry is an important economic engine that generates billions of dollars in local and state tax revenue and supports nearly 1 million jobs. In 2013, visitors from across the country and around the world collectively injected $109.6 billion into the California economy.

— Jaime Shaw is the communications manager for Visit Santa Barbara.

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Two Seriously Hurt in Highway 101 Crash in Buellton

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Removing critically injured patient from wreckage took 40 minutes, fire officials say

Two people were seriously injured early Tuesday in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m. on the northbound freeway, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

For unknown reasons, the vehicle left Highway 101, smashed through a fence, and ended up in the 800 block of McMurray Road, east of the freeway, Sadecki said.

One occupant suffered major injuries, and required 40 minutes of "heavy extrication" to be removed from the wreckage, Sadecki said.

A second occupant suffered moderate injuries, and both were transported to local hospitals.

Cause of the accident remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

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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Nicole Romasanta Joins Hospice of Santa Barbara as Director of Volunteers

By | Published on 07/29/2014

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Nicole Romasanta
Nicole Romasanta

Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Nicole Romasanta as its new director of volunteers.

Romasanta graduated from UCSB with a bachelor of arts degree in communications. After graduating, she worked in hotel management.

After six years in the hotel industry, she went on to receive her master’s degree in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology of Pepperdine University.

Prior to joining Hospice of Santa Barbara, Romasanta worked at Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers in Home Supportive Services, as a clinical case manager at Devereux, and as an office manager at Family Practice Medical Group.

She is also a volunteer storyteller at Cottage Hospital and volunteers at the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation on the Program and Executive Committee, and as the Secretary on Board of Directors.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here. Find Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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Utt Construction Honored as Santa Barbara Contractors’ Builder of Year

By | Published on 07/28/2014

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Annual awards recognize association members for their work in a variety of fields, niches and crafts

The Santa Barbara Contractors Association honored its finest at the 2014 Construction Awards Dinner on Monday night at The Fess Parker in Santa Barbara. Utt Construction Inc. garnered the Builder of the Year Award, with Rodney Utt accepting the recognition plaque on stage.

“Thank you to the judges and to my peers,” Utt said. “This business is so much fun. What a great honor.”

The Builder of the Year Award program recognizes exceptional performance in various categories in an effort to promote excellence in construction. Nearly 300 area construction professionals, suppliers and vendors joined together for the festive evening, which included a social hour, a sit-down dinner and the awards program. Eyman-Parker Insurance Brokers and Hayward Lumber & Design Center were recognized at the evening’s Title Sponsors.

Winning projects were judged on the basis of overall quality of workmanship, uniqueness, difficulty of project, green building practices and aesthetics, epitomizing SBCA’s mission statement: “Construction professionals shaping, serving and educating our community with integrity, quality and environmental balance.”

The well-qualified committee of judges included Todd Buynak of Seguro Construction, Seth Hammond of Specialty Crane & Rigging, Melanie Hunter of Stock Design Center, William Wolf of Pacific Architects Inc., interior designer Kristen Spann of The Kitchen & Bath Studio, Stephen Fontenot of Wells Fargo Bank and George Estrella, the City of Santa Barbara’s chief building official.

Estrella was also honored for his 17 years with the city. It was estimated that he had issued more than 49,000 building permits during his tenure.

Board members participating included president Jack Martin, David James, William Mace, Paulo Sitolini, Brian Larowski, Hans Betzholtz, Patrick Foster, Jon Kenney, Mark Magid, Shane Mahan, Robert Mislang and Rodney Utt. Bill Mace served as the Awards Committee chairman.

SBCA 2014 Builder of the Year Rodney Utt, right, with client Peter Kornbluth. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
SBCA 2014 Builder of the Year Rodney Utt, right, with client Peter Kornbluth. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

A partial list of the 2014 Builder of the Year Awards presented were:

» Builder of the Year: Utt Construction

» Industry Professional: Hayward Construction

» Members Choice Award: Young Construction

A partial list of other awards in other categories included:

» Green Building Commercial Construction: Allen Construction, formerly Allen Associates

» Landscape and Hardscape: Schipper Construction

» Outstanding Craftsmanship by a Subcontractor-Finish Trades: D.D. Ford

» Outstanding Craftsmanship by a Subcontractor-System Trades: HiFi Club

» Subcontractor of the Year: Insulate Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Contractors Association was founded by local builders in 1948 for the purpose of discussing common problems and exchanging ideas relating to their crafts. The original association was incorporated as The Building Contractors of Santa Barbara Inc., a nonprofit organization, and has grown to its present size of more than 700 members from its nine founders.

In 1967, the organization changed its name to the Santa Barbara Contractors Association Inc. and is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing the overall construction industry on the Central Coast. The SBCA continually strives to lead the way in innovation, strategic solutions, business opportunities and peer-to-peer networking.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Contractors Association, or contact SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto at 805.884.1100 or email info@sbcontractors.org.

Check back with Noozhawk for a complete iSociety report on the event.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at rrose@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Construction Awards Dinner chairman Bill Mace, SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto and board president Jack Martin welcome attendees at The Fess Parker. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
Construction Awards Dinner chairman Bill Mace, SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto and board president Jack Martin welcome attendees at The Fess Parker. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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Santa Barbara to Celebrate 90th Anniversary of Old Spanish Days Fiesta

By | Published on 07/28/2014

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Five-day festival plans special events to mark occasion, expecting to draw thousands

The 90th installment of Old Spanish Days Fiesta will bring the same spirited events to Santa Barbara, with a few extra treats for the thousands who will visit the area to mark the anniversary this week.

The five-day festival celebrating the city’s origins will kick off Wednesday with La Fiesta Pequeña, tours of the Santa Barbara Mission and Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the traditional food and drink mercados, and more.

Special this year is the tall ship traveling up from Dana Point to dock in Santa Barbara Harbor for the festivities, according to Fiesta spokesman Eric Davis.

Visitors will be able to tour the ship, a replica of the one that originally landed in Santa Barbara, and to learn more about the city’s history on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

“It’s really pretty incredible,” Davis said. “It’s going to be a great year.”

The first-ever Spirit of Fiesta, Lia Parker, will serve as grand marshal of the annual Historic Parade, which departs Friday at noon from the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard and proceeds up State Street to Sola Street.

Davis said a special partnership with the Music Academy of the West would offer two showings — Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. — of the opera “Carmen,” as set back in old Spanish days.

The performances will be at the Granada Theatre, and click here to purchase tickets.

The performances will pay tribute to those who settled in the area all those years ago, Davis said, bringing together talent, tradition and dance.

Based on social media, the 2014 Fiesta could draw the largest crowd it’s seen from out of town.

“I don’t know if it could get much bigger,” Davis said.

A schedule of other Fiesta events, available online by clicking here, also includes:

» Santa Barbara Mission Docent Tours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at 2201 Laguna St.

» Fiesta tours of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

» El Mercado de la Guerra, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in De La Guerra Plaza, Wednesday through Saturday

» El Mercado Del Norte, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Mackenzie Park at the corner of State Street and Las Positas streets, Wednesday through Saturday

» Casa Cantina, noon to midnight in the courtyard of the historic Casa de la Guerra. 15 East De la Guerra St., Wednesday through Saturday

» La Fiesta Pequeña, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Santa Barbara Mission

» La Misa del Presidente, 10 a.m. Thursday at Santa Barbara Mission

» Celebración de los Dignatarios, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Barbara Zoo

» Las Noches de Ronda (“Nights of Gaiety”), 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 8 a.m. Thursday at Earl Warren Showgrounds

» Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour, 7:45 p.m. Thursday at showgrounds

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 7 a.m., noon and 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday at showgrounds

» Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 227 North Nopal St.

» El Desfile Histórico (Historical Parade), noon Friday at the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard up State Street to Sola Street.

» Flor y Canto, 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

» Kiwanis Fiesta Pancake Breakfast, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday in Alameda Park

» 84th Annual El Desfile De Los Niños (Children's Parade); 10 a.m. Saturday, parade proceeds down State Street from Victoria Street to Ortega Street

» Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show, Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Cabrillo Boulevard, west of Stearns Wharf

» Tardes de Ronda, children’s variety show, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the sunken gardens

» Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival, 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Santa Barbara Bowl

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 7 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at showgrounds

» West Coast Symphony 45th Annual Free Fiesta Concert, 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

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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Emotional Testimony Recounts Fatal Shooting of Santa Maria Police Officer

By | Published on 07/28/2014

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Hearing continues for fired Lt. Dan Ast, who is seeking to be reinstated

Sgt. Chris Nartatez testified Monday that he questioned orders from former Santa Maria police lieutenent Dan Ast to arrest a fellow officer suspected of molesting a teenage girl. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

When Sgt. Chris Nartatez was told to arrest a fellow Santa Maria police officer suspected of having an improper relationship with a teen who was part the department's Explorers program, he repeatedly asked former Lt. Dan Ast to spell out the plan, and questioned the urgency in the case that ended with the suspected officer being shot to death.

Nartatez’s offered that emotional testimony Monday during the arbitration hearing for the fired Santa Maria Police Department lieutenant who is seeking to get his job back.

Ast was terminated in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias by a fellow officer at a DUI checkpoint in Jan. 28, 2012.

Covarrubias was suspected of having a sexual relationship with an 17-year-old girl who participated in the department’s Police Explorer program.

While details of the night have come out in reports, this was the first public testimony of the circumstances leading up to the fatal shooting of Covarrubias by his friend.

Nartatez testified Monday that he was “shocked” when Ast told him they needed to arrest Covarrubias that night.

“I said, ‘What’s the rush? Why do we have to do it now?” Nartatez testified.

“It felt like we were just being pushed out the door to go do it,” Nartatez added.

Ast said the officers were wrapping up the DUI checkpoint and needed to act immediately to take Covarrubias into custody, according to Nartatez, who suggested then-Sgt. Mark Norling also be involved in the arrest.

“We got in the car,” Nartatez said, referring to himself and Norling. “As we were leaving the compound, I looked at Mark and said, ‘What are we doing? What’s the plan? This isn’t good. This is not good.’”

Norling, who testified earlier Monday, got out and went to the car behind them to talk to Ast before they left the police station parking lot.

“I basically went back and said there’s an investigation, he’s suicidal, he may know we’re coming …,” Norling said, explaining his questioning of Ast's urgency to arrest Covarrubias at the checkpoint. “I was voicing my concerns about going up there under those circumstances.”

Despite their concerns, the arrest plans weren’t canceled, and the officers proceeded to the checkpoint site just minutes way at Broadway and McElhaney Avenue, where they looked for Covarrubias, according to Nartatez, who choked up with emotion several times during his testimony.

“It was very dark. I could see a group of motor officers standing in the parking lot. I started looking for Officer Covarrubias, but it was very dark so I was depending on his stature,” Nartatez said. “He was shorter.”

Upon reaching the group, Nartatez said he intended to put Covarrubias — his second cousin — in a bear hug and then get help from Norling to subdue the man.

“I grabbed him. We continued walking north. I tried to take him to the ground, and as we were doing that I could hear the gun come out the holster — his gun,” Nartatez said, crying. “The next thing I heard and saw — there was gunshot about two inches from the left side of my temple. I saw the muzzle flash.”

“And then we went down the ground. I was on top of him and we struggled slightly. The gun was to my left. He had his hand on his gun. At that point Sergeant Norling was there. I could see Sergeant Norling place both of his hands on the gun to keep it down on the ground.

"A couple seconds went by, and another gunshot was to the right of my face and that’s when the struggle was over.”

“At that point, I got up, I called on the radio, ‘Officer down. Officer down, we need an ambulance,’” Nartatez said.

He recalled turning to Officer Matthew Kline, who asked if it was “Cova,” their nickname for Covarrubias. Nartatez confirmed the identity of the downed officer.

Nartatez testified that he yelled for help from the other officers, but Kline was the only one to respond.

“The only help that was received was Officer Kline, but that’s not the kind of help I was asking for at that time. I wanted somebody to come help us restrain him, to take him into custody,” Nartatez said.

Ast, who subsequently had arrived on scene, began administering first aid to Covarrubias, who had been shot in the neck by Kline.

Monday was day six of the hearing, which will resume Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday, as Ast attempts to get this job back.

Nartatez claimed as false Ast’s statement that everyone was on board with the intention to arrest Covarrubias that night.

“The only direction we got from Lieutenant Ast was 'for you two to go arrest him,'” Nartatez said.

Testimony on Monday revealed a dysfunctional department in which police supervisors allegedly were envious at the overtime one officers earned, and favoritism allegedly shown by the former chief, Danny Macagni.

The city’s attorney also asked about the relationship between Ast and Lt. Richard “Rico” Flores, who was overseeing the checkpoint and Explorers that night.

“It was not a good relationship,” Nartatez said.

He added that he was aware of the allegations that Ast may have pressed forward with the arrest that night to embarrass Flores.

But Ast has contended he was one of three lieutenants and whistle-blowers targeted by the former chief.

Ast contended after the shooting that the incident involved a five-man arrest team, although Norling and Nartatez testified they were unaware of this.

“I was not aware of a five-man arrest team,” Nartatez said.

Flores, who has since retired from the department, testified in the afternoon about his role that night.

As the shift began Ast didn’t reveal details of the investigation to Flores, who wondered if a parent had complained about treatment of Explorers. Ast asked for a list of the Explorers working that night, tipping Flores that an investigation was occurring.

During a briefing, Flores told his traffic officers about an investigation involving the Explorers, unaware an officer was considered a suspect.

When the city’s attorney, Dennis Gonzales, asked if he had been told it was confidential matter, Flores, responded, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

Later, Flores gave the list to Ast, who told him, “By the way, don’t say anything to anybody about this.”

“That was shocker,” Flores said, wondering why the earlier conversation  in the middle of the traffic bureau didn’t occur somewhere private if there were concerns.

Later that night, Ast told Flores that Covarrubias was suspected in a molestation case in which the victim had been threatened and the officer claimed he wouldn’t be taken in alive.

“I was just floored,” Flores said.

Flores also denied he was part of a planned five-man arrest team, as Ast claimed.

“I don’t know how in the world I could possible be considered part of the arrest team,” Flores said. “That just blew me away when you say that.”

Ast’s attorney, Jonathan Miller, questioned if Flores knew Covarrubias had given the teen rides home alone and was having an inappropriate relationship.

“Sir, you are attacking my credibility and my character” Flores responded. "Absolutely not."

Flores also denied having a one-on-one conversation with Covarrubias, although Ast’s attorney played testimony from an Explorer Scout saying the two men were talking to each other before the checkpoint.

Flores said he was greeting the traffic officers as they arrived for the shift.

Monday's hearing was continued from early June because witnesses remained to testify beyond the originally scheduled five days. Typically these hearings are held behind closed doors, but Ast requested it be open to the public.

Current and former members of the department plus current Chief Ralph Martin, who joined the department after the shooting, took the stand during the first few days of testimony.

In March 2013, Martin disciplined or fired nine officers involved at varying levels in the fatal shooting of the 29-year-old Covarrubias.

Ast, a veteran with the department, filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the city’s Police Department shortly after, alleging he was merely following supervisor’s orders

A hearing officer will make a final decision on the case, and could take three to four months before issuing a ruling.

If the hearing officer rules in favor of reinstating Ast, city leaders said they would follow protocol outlined in the official decision.

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

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Fire Damages Commercial Building in Santa Maria

By | Published on 07/28/2014

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A fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to a multi-story commercial building in Santa Maria late Sunday night, but was kept in check by a fire-sprinkler system, according to the Santa Maria Fire Department.

The blaze was reported shortly before 11 p.m. at 1316 South Broadway, said fire Battalion Chief Rick Bertram.

"The fire was quickly extinguished by the (firefighters) due to the fire-sprinkler system keeping the fire in check until crews were able to make entry," Bertram said.

Police officers evacuated the second and third floors of the building, and fire crews checked for the spread of flames to those areas, but none was found, Bertram said.

Cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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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Bakersfield Man Killed in Head-On Crash on Highway 166

By | Published on 07/28/2014

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CHP is investigating the collision between a pickup truck and a semi tractor-trailer

A 29-year-old Bakersfield man was killed early Monday in a head-on collision on Highway 166 near Cuyama, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash on the rural highway occurred at about 3:15 a.m. near Aliso Canyon Road, and involved a 2000 GMC Sonoma pickup truck and a 2001 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The driver of the pickup, Isaac Chavez, was declared dead at the scene, while the semi driver, Alfonso Flores Moreno Jr, 20, of Bakersfield, suffered minor injuries but declined medical treatment, the CHP said.

Moreno told officers he was headed west on Highway 166 when the eastbound pickup crossed over into his lane and struck his vehicle head-on, the CHP said.

Moreno was wearing his seatbelt and was not under the influence, the CHP said.

Chavez also was wearing a seatbelt, the CHP said.

Highway 166 was closed down for more than two hours in both directions while officers investigated and cleared the wreckage.

The roadway was reopened shortly before 6:30 a.m., but traffic in the area remained slow, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

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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Tam Hunt: Synchronicity As a Signpost to Deeper Meanings

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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We’ve all had them — those moments when something happens that makes you ponder the role of design in the universe, and your own place in the universe. When falling in love, or when struggling with tragedy, or exploring artistic endeavors, these moments can occur frequently.

Are things indeed “meant to be” at some deeper level? Or is the universe just an unfolding of one random event after another with our little human minds desperate to fabricate meaning where there is none?

Synchronicity is the technical name given to the events I’m referring to. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term in his 1951 essay on this topic. A synchronicity is, essentially, a meaningful coincidence. Something happens in the world around us that seems to defy probability and “normal” explanations, and due to its correspondence in some manner with our mindset at the time it becomes a meaningful event.

The classic example is Jung’s own vignette in treating a particularly stubborn patient. He describes his talking sessions with her that delved into themes of her excessive rationality and rejection of any deeper meanings in the universe. As his patient was describing her feelings and a recent dream in which she was given a golden scarab, Jung heard a light tapping on the window behind him. The tapping persisted and Jung opened the window to find a large scarab beetle flying against the window.  He caught it and handed it to her, saying “here is your scarab.”

The scarab beetle is, according to Jung, a classic symbol of rebirth. So the dream scarab and the real world scarab beetle coincided to create a moment of transformation for the patient, who was able to overcome her problems.

I’ve been keeping a list of synchronicities from my own life for a few years now. Many are fairly trivial events that may best be explained as mere coincidence. One example: I bought a game on Amazon as a gift for my nephew. The game had 354 reviews. Right after this I bought Nelly’s song, “Just a Dream” (a great song), on iTunes. It also had 354 reviews. Is there any deeper meaning in these events? I doubt it! But one could stretch to find something if you wanted to.

A second example is a bit harder to dismiss as coincidence. I studied biology in college and I’ve continued to read widely in evolutionary theory since finishing college in 1998. (I’ve also published a few papers in this field since college.) I was reading a book on evolutionary theory and the strange but fascinating topic of bedbug sex came up. Female bedbugs don’t have vaginas — I know, it’s weird! Male bedbugs instead stab their penis into the female’s body, break through the carapace and deposit sperm directly into the body cavity. I shook my head in wonder and mild disgust. When I got home from the coffee shop where I had been reading I turned on my recorded Daily Show with Jon Stewart and, lo and behold, the topic of bedbug sex came up! He showed a very funny and exquisitely weird skit by Isabella Rosellini demonstrating bedbug sex. I had never before heard about bedbug sex and here it came up twice in one day in entirely unrelated contexts.

So what do these two episodes of bedbug sex offer in terms of deeper meaning? Well, I have no idea, but I can speculate a little. I have been thinking about and writing about sexual selection and other mechanisms of evolution for many years. I have developed a published theory that expands Darwin’s ideas on sexual selection. So perhaps I was somehow being encouraged to keep going on this path by my possibly synchronistic experience. It’s kind of a stretch, I know, but not entirely unreasonable.

OK, one last example from my life, as an example of a strong synchronicity: I’ve been to Hawaii a number of times since late 2013, with my primary motivation to buy property here (I’m writing this essay in Hilo). I almost never talk to people next to me on the plane because I really enjoy the quiet time to read or work on writing projects, and because I’m afraid of getting stuck in boring conversation as a captive audience for many hours.

The first trip to Hawaii, however, was with a woman I was dating at the time, so there was less risk in this regard in talking to the person next to us. I struck up conversation on a whim with a woman seated by herself next to us and it turned out that she lived on the Big Island and we learned a lot about the island in our conversation. We all became friends after she invited us to her birthday party that week. I’m still friends with her today and we have hung out many times.

The second trip to Hawaii was a month later, and I was traveling by myself this time. Another woman traveling by herself was in the seat next to me. I struck up conversation on a whim and she was also quite interesting and friendly. She was visiting a good friend of hers who lived in Hilo.

The same day we arrived in Hilo I was having dinner with the woman I met on my first trip and we ran into the second woman, who I’d just met on the plane that day, at the same restaurant, which is one of many restaurants in Hilo! I ended up hanging out with the second woman a couple of days later and we’re still friends, too.

My third trip was a month later. I was again traveling solo and was going for three months this time. I was hoping to finally buy some property after scouting a lot on the first two trips, and also to research a novel I’m working on that is set on the Big Island. This time I was seated next to a guy traveling by himself who seemed to be in his late 20s or early 30s. Again, I struck up conversation; again, this was strange because I almost never speak to people on the plane. Again, we had great conversation and it turned out that he was a traveling nurse going to Hawaii for a three-month contract. We became great friends and had many adventures during my stay.

Anyway, to wrap up: three of three trips to Hawaii yielded good new friends and opportunities to learn a ton about the Big Island. Coincidence may still be a good explanation, but despite my hard-nosed scientific outlook on most things, I can’t help but wonder if mere coincidence may not be the best explanation here.

If we’re looking, instead, at these events from the point of view of synchronicity, the deeper meaning is fairly obvious to me: in some manner the universe seemed to be helping me to make a home in Hawaii. This was the correlation between external events and my mental states that is the hallmark of synchronicity.

We could also look at these events as simply resulting from my excitement about going to Hawaii and a place that I was thinking about making a serious part of my life (I still live in Santa Barbara, but I split my time between Santa Barbara and my place near Hilo; paradise to paradise …).

My excitement made me more talkative and more interested in people around me. Possibly. But it’s also quite unusual that people traveling solo, youngish and interesting, would be seated next to me three times in a row, and would become friends.

I took a fourth trip to Hawaii in mid-2014 and I did not meet anyone interesting on the plane and didn’t even talk to the person next to me. But three out of four is still enough to make me scratch my head.

Explaining Synchronicity

So what’s going on with synchronistic experiences? First, let’s define our term carefully. Jung defined a synchronicity as meaningful and acausally related correlations between outer (physical) and inner (mental) events. A good shorthand is meaningful coincidence. The coincidence is between external events and inner meaning that matches in some way those events or was inspired by those events.

Jung attempted to explain synchronicity through an appeal to the “collective unconscious.” This collective unconscious is described by Jung as either the sum of our unconscious minds held in common by all people or, more intriguingly, as a deeper level of reality that undergirds our physical world. Synchronicities bubble up from the collective unconscious. Synchronicities are a goad to “individuation,” a key part of Jung’s teachings that focuses on finding personal meaning amid the universe’s larger unfolding meaning.

Jung suggested that the correlations between external and internal events had a similar root cause. So while the correlations were not causal — they are “acausal” — there may be a deeper causal explanation for each half of the synchronistic event. Jung seemed to believe that the universe itself was attempting to teach some lesson or insight in offering up these meaningful coincidences.

Another intriguing possibility is that synchronistic experiences are support for the idea that we — you, I and everything around us — are part of a much larger mind. Just as in our own dreams events can happen that skirt the laws of physics or logic, if we are indeed part of a much larger mind, a much larger dream, then synchronistic experiences are the clues. This idea was sketched by the German writer, Wilhelm von Scholz, and mentioned by Jung in Synchronicity.

So What Does It All Mean?

Looking at the bigger picture, and not only my own candidates for synchronistic experiences, synchronicity is perhaps the most compelling reason for me personally to remain agnostic about a higher-level intelligence in our universe. I’m not a religious person. I’m not a Christian and I was a militant atheist for many years. I’ve shifted, however, in the last 10 years to a softer stance on the big questions about God, spirituality and meaning.

I’ve written previously on the “anatomy of God,” describing how I find the evidence and rationale for a “God as Source” quite convincing. God as Source is the ground of being, apeiron, Akasha, the One, etc., that is the soil from which all things grow. The Source is not conscious. It is beyond the dichotomy of conscious/unconscious. It is pure Spirit, metaphysical soil.

God as Summit, a conscious being that may or may not take an interest in our lives or even our planet, is a different matter. The metaphysical system that I find most reasonable — a system known as process philosophy, with Alfred North Whitehead as its primary modern expositor — certainly has room for God as Summit. Whether God as Summit really exists, however, is a separate debate. If I had to bet on it, I’d bet that there is no God as Summit at this point. But I remain agnostic.

The synchronicities that have happened in my life are numerous and strange. They don’t add up necessarily to any compelling evidence for God as Summit. But they certainly do make me wonder.

Turning back to Jung’s famous scarab beetle example of synchronicity we must, to be fair and scientific, acknowledge that the beetle he caught wasn’t technically a scarab beetle; it was, instead, a scarabaeid beetle (common rose-chafer) whose “gold-green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab” beetle, in Jung’s own words. It seems, then, that Jung was exerting some poetic license at the moment he gave the beetle to his patient and in his later description of the episode.

Does it matter that it wasn’t technically a scarab beetle? Clearly it didn’t matter to the patient, of whom Jung claims “this experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism …” Would this have happened without Jung’s poetic license? We can’t know. These details demonstrate that there is a large gray area with respect to synchronicities that each of us must navigate in terms of assigning meaning to particular events.

This criticism aside, we have surely all had numerous synchronicities happen to us that demonstrate my broader points above: there are deep mysteries inherent in reality and we can’t, if we are to be scientific, ignore these mysteries and the dimly perceived world of deeper meanings that synchronicities sometimes highlight in each of our lives.

— Tam Hunt is owner of Community Renewable Solutions, a consultancy and law firm specializing in community-scale renewables. Community Renewable Solutions can help developers navigate this complicated field and provide other development advice relating to interconnection, net metering, procurement and land use. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Judy Foreman: Kristen Cramer Keeps a Global Eye on Her Art Collective Vision

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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In the meantime, talented art entrepreneur crafts magic with ceramics and imaginative bouquets of flowers, fruit, vegetables and more

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On a recent morning in the park adjacent to Pierre Lafond in Montecito’s Upper Village, I met with Kristen Cramer, who, with her young daughter and dog was enjoying the summer weather. She was making floral arrangements for her new business.

One of Shelley Koury’s lead designers and display specialists at Upstairs at Pierre Lafond, a hot house for emerging designers and artists, Cramer was a standout in every way.

She recently went out on her own. I first saw one of her gorgeous floral arrangements from her company, Global Eye, in a unique container on display at Upstairs at Pierre Lafond. I immediately wanted to buy it. Instead I picked up her business card and we set up a time to meet so I could hear about her latest project.

Cramer is now working on an art-based business that starts with the concept of providing locally grown flowers in a handmade vessel. The idea is to provide a beautiful arrangement, grown locally, and support artists while providing a unique and handmade item that will last long after the flowers fade.

“I want this collaboration — between artists, farmers and people who love flowers and art — to grow into a larger concept in which featured artists, making the vessels for flowers, also can show their other art pieces in an online store,” she explained.

According to Cramer, the online store “will include all kinds of art so that it becomes a place to shop for you own home or for gifts.”

She also will continue to do interior design and is hopeful that the artists that she comes to work with can be involved in making custom pieces for clients.

After starting out in art school, Cramer earned a Bachelor in Arts degree from UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. She began working as a floral designer while in school, loved it, and has kept at it for more than 15 years.

After college, she first had the idea to bring together many artists to form one company with its goal to empower artists and provide a space where artists could pursue their creative endeavors and make a living at it.

Cramer found she was good at running a business and wanted to help her fellow art students, so that they could all be successful together. To this end she earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu.

“For many years after graduating, I tried on many hats but could not find the right route for me,” she said. “I designed displays for stores, took and sold photographs as stock, built and designed websites, interior designing and even helped design gardens!”

With no shortage of talent, the young mom and Santa Ynez resident is focused on creating a family of ceramic vessels that are beautiful and useful. She hopes they’ll get used for her flowers and sell in her online shop.

Each week, she also sends out arrangements made from local flowers, many grown in her own cutting garden.

In her arrangements, which I watched her assemble effortlessly, she used herbs, fruits and even vegetables. Her home garden has become the base for many of her arrangements.

She then focuses on what is in season and grown by local farmers. She recently used black-eyed Susans grown organically by Finley Farms, with chocolate sunflowers and mint from her home garden. One of her favorite arrangements included lush hydrangeas from Rancho Sarel.

Cramer is currently sending out highly aromatic roses from Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, whose proprietor, Danielle Hahn, recently received the highly coveted Rosarian of the World Award in New York City.

These latest arrangements will be placed in a series of pots that Cramer loves. The pots are tall, coated in a colored slip and carved. She then glazes them in her home studio in an opaque glaze that mutes the intensity of the colored slip and makes them look like a bit of a rainstorm.

Choosing to live in Santa Ynez with her husband, daughter, dog, a flock of chickens and many hives of bees, Cramer and her entire family love to garden and grow their own veggies, fruit, and grapes; lavender for their bees; and flowers for arrangements.

Global Eye offers a monthly flower subscription service, and bouquets, succulent garden plants, gifts, art and design services also are available.

Click here for more information, or call 805.259.6390.

— 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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Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Elects New Officers

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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Jim Talbott of Santa Maria was elected president of the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens at the annual meeting held in July to serve during the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Talbott has served on the board for three years. In 2013-2014, he served as vice president and chairman of the Planning and Allocations Committee. He is the executive director of SMOOTH, a dial-a-ride service for the elderly and disabled in Santa Maria.

Bob Putman of Nipomo has been elected board secretary and Randy Harris of San Luis Obispo was elected as board treasurer.  

“This year begins with the challenge to work with decreasing federal monies to meet the increasing needs of older persons,” Talbott said. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the needs of senior citizens because funding is declining, and yet the needs are increasing.

“Needs of senior citizens are increasing due to numerous factors, such as increasing numbers of the old-old, reduced personal incomes due to the continuing recession and increasing housing costs,” he continued. “As president of this board, I will work with the board members and the foundation to generate local revenues to address the needs for services for the frail and vulnerable among us.”

The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens serves as the Area Agency on Aging, Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) and Senior Information and Referral Program for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. As the Area Agency on Aging, the agency is responsible for the allocation of monies from the Older Americans Act.

“There are vacancies on the Board of Directors and the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council,” Talbott added. “Anyone interested in working with us to address the needs of senior citizens is invited to contact us and join us in our efforts.”

Click here for more information, or call 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288, 805.541.0384 or 1.800.510.2020.

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

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Overnight Power Outage Planned for Parts of Montecito

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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Some 260 customers in and around Montecito were expected to be without power Sunday night into Monday as a result of a planned outage by Southern California Edison Co.

Crews were scheduled to replaced a switch in the vicinity of San Ysidro Road and Jameson Lane, providing an additional circuit to serve the Carpinteria Valley, according to Rondi Guthrie, an Edison spokeswoman.

“It’s really for enhancing reliability in that area,” Guthrie told Noozhawk.

The outage was planned from 8 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday, Guthrie said.

The overnight hours were selected, Guthrie said, to minimize impacts on some commercial customers in the area, including hotels.

Click here to see Edison’s outage map for additional details.

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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Michelle Malkin: Delphi Workers Obama Robbed Continue to Fight

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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The White House pretended to champion American workers last week with gimmicky initiatives on federal job training and “workplace innovation.” But far from the Beltway dog-and-pony show, a group of American workers ruthlessly shafted by the Obama administration was finally getting some real support — and inching toward justice.

It was five years ago this summer that 20,000 white-collar nonunion workers from Delphi (a leading auto parts company spun off from General Motors in 1999) had their pensions sabotaged as part of a rotten White House deal with Big Labor. Two court rulings this summer have given the victims hope. Their plight must not be forgotten.

Remember when Washington rushed to nationalize the U.S. auto industry with $80 billion in taxpayer “rescue” funds and avoid contested court termination proceedings? Behind closed doors, the Obama administration’s auto team schemed with labor bosses from United Automobile Workers to preserve union members’ costly pension funds by screwing over their nonunion counterparts.

The federally backed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which had the fiduciary duty to represent the best interests of all the Delphi workers, helped sacrifice the nonunion employees at the UAW altar. While union pensions were topped up with tax-subsidized auto bailout funds, nonunion pensioners were left high and dry.

In addition, the nonunion pensioners lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. The abused workers — most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers saw up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.

Last year, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program confirmed what Delphi workers maintained from the start: They were victimized because, in the words of the IG, they had “no leverage.” No crony ties. No deep pockets. No legal representation during President Barack Obama’s closed-door negotiations with Big Labor donors.

As Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, put it, the IG report gave lie to the White House claim that it did not influence the bankruptcy process. “The administration thwarted the bankruptcy process for a politically expedient outcome,” Turner said. Treasury used “their influence to make certain that the outcome was politically desirable to the administration, and the Delphi salaried retirees (lost) their pensions.”

The Delphi workers have fought for five cruel years to force Treasury and the PBGC to disclose the full truth. The scheming feds have defied the workers’ public records requests and withheld more than 7,000 pages of critical emails and documents from the workers, who’ve been mired in time-consuming litigation that has cost millions of dollars.

“For more than four years, U.S. taxpayer-paid government lawyers have taken advantage of every procedural roadblock the law allows to hide emails and other evidence that the court has ordered be given to us,” the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association explained. “President Obama has ignored our direct appeal that he order a review of his Auto Task Force’s handling of our pension plan during the expedited GM bankruptcy directed by Treasury.”

But here are some glimmers of hope: Last month, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington ordered Treasury to cough up documents from Obama’s auto team leading up to the termination of the Delphi workers’ pensions. And last Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow in Detroit ruled that the PBGC can no longer sit on documents requested by Delphi salaried retirees suing for full restoration of their pensions.

Tarnow blasted the feds for their foot-dragging: “PBGC has been under court order since March 9, 2012, to respond to plaintiff’s discovery requests and has only asserted boilerplate objections. Filing boilerplate objections to discovery requests is tantamount to filing no objections at all. The court strongly condemns the practice of asserting boilerplate objections to every discovery request.” In addition, the inspector general for the PBGC has agreed to a request from House Republicans to investigate federal delays on the workers’ pension determinations.

The next time Democrats claim to care about American workers, remember the sacrificial lambs of Delphi, their heartache and their ongoing legal battle against stonewalling bureaucrats. The crony-driven Obama culture of corruption built that.

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

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Susan Estrich: No Simple Answer to The American Way of Death

By | Published on 07/27/2014

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I will readily admit that I have been all over the map when it comes to the death penalty.

As a young lawyer and law professor, I was opposed to it. Actually, it was easy to be against it. The evidence that it was being administered arbitrarily and unfairly was so overwhelming that the U.S. Supreme Court had effectively placed a moratorium on it. When it came back, in the late 1970s, I was there, literally.

The first man to be executed after the moratorium was Gary Gilmore, who wanted to die. The second was a murderer named John Spenkelink, who didn’t. His last appeal, the night before his death, was to the Supreme Court. He needed one justice to sign a stay before midnight to keep him alive. He needed four justices the next morning to agree that the case was worthy of the court’s review and to keep the stay in force.

All the clerks were warned. It automatically went to the circuit justice, who was expected to deny it. Then they could go to one of the two justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, who were absolute opponents, but whose votes wouldn’t get him past morning. Or they could go to one of the votes he would need in the morning, probably Potter Stewart. We all figured he’d go to Brennan or Marshall, and we could go home. He came to us — us being the court’s junior member.

I drove an old yellow Maverick, and the overhead light was broken, so my co-clerk, who went on to become a leading death penalty defense lawyer and scholar, read out loud with the flashlight as we drove over to the justice’s apartment. When we got there, we read it again with him, issue by issue: Was there any basis for concluding that a mistake was made?

We didn’t come up with much, and then he called the other justice “in the middle” and went over it with him, and then we drove back with the unsigned papers and the windows down in case we threw up.

What if we had missed something? What if his lawyers had? We hadn’t read a transcript; we just read the papers. Was he the white guy picked to go first and head off a parade of minorities? Why him?

We got back to the court at 11:45 p.m. and found Marshall, then in his later years, waiting with his pen out. The execution took place the next day.

By the time he retired, Justice John Paul Stevens was among the most outspoken critics of the way the death penalty is administered. We reminisced, decades later, about the care we had taken to review that application. It doesn’t work that way anymore.

Even so, I came to view that, as a matter of principle, a society has every right to punish the worst of the worst. It was the murder of a pregnant woman at an ATM that did it for me — stabbed her in the stomach for some cash. It was a month after my son was born. Get the right guy, and you won’t find me fighting to save him, I heard myself say. And it was true.

The “get the right guy” problem is not insignificant. Most of those on death row are brutal murderers. But no system is perfect, and ours doesn’t aspire to be. So what percentage of error is tolerable when death is the penalty? And just how much are we willing to pay to achieve a tolerable error rate? The work of The Innocence Project, and other organizations, seems to show pretty clearly that it isn’t enough.

Now there is the newest problem. Killing people isn’t so easy. Or rather, as anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer could probably tell you, dying can be very hard. The drug companies don’t want to be a part of the debate by way of making these drugs, states are afraid to disclose what they use, and the last execution took so long that the lawyers filed for a stay.

Did the dying man suffer? They’re not sure. It’s a public embarrassment, or so death penalty opponents are treating it. Is that an argument that we shouldn’t be in the business of killing people? Maybe. I just can’t help but think about how most people suffer in death, and none more than those who are viciously murdered.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Nite Moves Keeps Up the Pace on 25th Anniversary of Popular Summer Race Series

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Run, swim or walk, weekly gathering at Leadbetter Beach pulls in veteran competitors and novices alike

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As the longest continuous aquathon series in California, Run Santa Barbara’s Nite Moves has a loyal following. Every Wednesday evening from May through August, the event attracts locals and visitors alike to run and swim along Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach and Shoreline Park. This year, Nite Moves is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Nite Moves consists of three separate events: a Kids’ Mile run for children ages 5-11, a 1-Kilometer open ocean swim, and a 5-Kilometer run or walk along Shoreline Drive. The races are staggered so swimmers can participate in the run after their swim.

“As many as 65 percent of swimmers go on to run the 5K after the swim,” said Jake Clinton, who co-founded the race in 1989.

Nite Moves has evolved in the years since its founding. What started as a six-week series now runs for 18 weeks. The event originally included a kayak race, but after the first year, the 1K swim replaced the kayaks.

Nite Moves typically draws more than 100 swimmers and more than 200 runners to its athletic events and the family-friendly and social beachside gathering following the races.

Standing at the finish line, one sees a diverse group of participants. They range from highly trained, competitive athletes, to runners with strollers, to walkers there to enjoy the festive atmosphere while getting some exercise, to children crossing a finish line for the very first time.

When speaking to participants, their enthusiasm for Nite Moves is evident.

“I love running outside along the beach, the music and the ice cream,” said Jilli, a regular participant starting this year. “Nite Moves is really the whole package. It’s an opportunity to both exercise and have fun.”

Long-time participant Jayna, who has been running in Nite Moves since 2005, has built friendships with other runners over the years.

“Nite Moves is the only racing I do all summer,” she explained. “I love the food, the beer and the atmosphere after the race, and the opportunity to see my friends and get to know other runners.”

Various bands play live music at the après-race festivities and a rotation of restaurants provides food for hungry runners. McConnell’s Ice Cream and Pacific Beverage Co.’s beer consistently round out each week’s menu.

Clinton described Nite Moves as having “a social aspect, a family aspect, and a competitive aspect.”

“It has gotten a lot of people off of the couch and in shape,” he said. “And it’s a great excuse to be down on Leadbetter Beach on a Wednesday night.”

Registration begins at Leadbetter Beach at 5 p.m. Wednesdays. Vendors’ booths open at 5 p.m. The open ocean swim begins at 6:25 p.m. The running events begin at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets include dinner and a raffle ticket and cost $25 per night or $279 for the season.

Click here for more information or to register for Nite Moves online.

Noozhawk intern Serena Doubleday can be reached at sdoubleday@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Slightly Stoopid Aces Summer Sessions at Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid brought their Summer Sessions Tour to the packed Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday night.

Slightly Stoopid, formed in Ocean Beach, covered a wide variety of fusion reggae, hip hop and punk, including a dedication to the late Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain.

Stephen Marley and Cypress Hill opened the bill on the hot summer evening and joined Slightly Stoopid on stage for the final two songs of the night.

The Summer Sessions Tour will be touring the country throughout the summer, finishing Aug. 16 in Boca Raton, Fla.

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

(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)

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Diane Dimond: Liberating the White House from the Political Money Game

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Let’s face it. We have too many antiquated laws on the books. Our laws often fail to keep up with the times. I mean, do we really need a statute that prohibits rams from trespassing as they have in New Jersey? Or a law that makes it a crime to carry fruit in an illegally sized container as Minnesota recently struck down?

Nonetheless, I would like to propose a new law that would benefit every man, woman and child in the United States. It has to do with how the top leadership in this country operates. Let’s adopt a law that prohibits presidents from engaging in overt political fundraising.

Yes, I know an appearance by a president at a fundraising event ensures a seven-figure take for these events. But, how about we leave the begging for political donations to the U.S. senators and congressmen who are already experts at it?

Let’s free up our president to be ... well ... the leader of all American citizens, not just those who belong to the president’s political party. Let’s emancipate our commander in chief from the mundane election-year hawking for money designed solely to enrich one political party’s coffers.

The end game for the ginned up money, of course, is to eviscerate the opposing party, which only goes to further divide us as a country. If you’ve ever wondered how we, as a nation, got so mired in the us-versus-them mentality we have today, look no further than the smarmy political strategists who spend their days concocting campaigns designed to slime candidates on the other side, everyone who doesn’t think like they do.

As those strategists hope, we the electorate absorb their negative messages and carry them into our everyday relationships. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “I can’t talk to Joe. He’s such a Republican!” If you are one of the rare citizens who truly hasn’t allowed the political spin to infiltrate your daily lives, I congratulate you.

So, let us do all presidents a favor and make it against the law for them to participate in the loathsome game of political fundraising. Let us help elevate presidents above the ugly fray. And while we’re at it, lets extend the political huckstering ban to include their spouses and children, too.

The need for this new legislation came to me in a flash as I was reading about the recent air disaster that took 298 lives in Eastern Europe and the latest war (let’s call it what it is) in the Middle East.

Buried within newspaper stories were sentences like this one in The New York Times: “As smoke billowed from the downed Malaysian jetliner in the fields of eastern Ukraine, President Obama pressed ahead with his schedule: A cheeseburger with fries at the Charcoal Pit in Delaware ... and two splashy fundraisers in New York City.”

At the very time initial dispatches reported there were 23 Americans aboard that downed Malaysian passenger jet (the number was later reduced to one), Obama was belly-up to the counter of that burger joint, which is framed by a cartoon figure on the wall eating a burger three times the size of its head.

White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri was asked if there had been any thought given to cancelling the day’s activities given the grim world events. Her bizarre answer as Obama headed toward those two glitzy fundraisers in Manhattan?

“Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis,” Palmieri said in a prepared statement.

Now look, I don’t begrudge any leader of the free world some down time or a yummy burger with fries. (Although, I do wonder what first lady Michelle Obama thinks about her husband’s dietary choices.) But I take umbrage with a White House staffer thinking we are so mentally fragile as a people that we would be “unduly alarmed” at a president who returned to Washington to take care of business. Does she think the citizens of America are stupid?

Whether there is an international crisis or a humanitarian crisis on our own border to attend to, the president must set his own management style. I understand that. If he wants to handle pressing events while out in the field instead of in the Oval Office, that’s his decision. What I find disgraceful is the offensive image of an American president gallivanting around the country on Air Force One with his expensive, taxpayer-funded entourage hawking for money for his own particular ideology. That’s not leadership; that’s pure unadulterated politics.

Even the White House communications director knows this, which is why cameras are rarely allowed in to film one of these presidential fundraising events.

This is not a partisan gripe. I didn’t like it when Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush hit the mega-money-making fundraising trail either. It diminishes the office of the president to place our top elected official — the leader of the free world — on the podium next to big-money wheelers and dealers. It embarrasses me. It should embarrass our presidents, too.

So, the question: Which political party has enough guts, enough pride in the office of the presidency, to take a bold move toward removing the leader of the free world from the unseemly position of being the big-ticket draw to milk the most lucrative cash cows?

I am an enthusiastic voter, and I would be attracted to the party that sponsors such a bill. I bet other voters might very well see the party that backs such legislation as truly focused on America’s best interest instead of how much money they can raise to taint the opposition. That act has gotten mighty old. And it has resulted in nothing but stalemate in Washington.

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

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Mark Shields: Guns in the Workplace, But Not for Pro-Gun Politicians

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Its official title is the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” and when it was signed by Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the National Rifle Association praised it as the “most comprehensive pro-gun bill in state history.” That’s because, under its provisions, Georgia residents are now able to carry guns into churches, bars and public buildings. Georgia teachers, with a green light from their school board, can carry guns into their classrooms. This may explain why the statute is better known as the “Guns Everywhere” law.

While Christ remains for many the true Prince of Peace, and while firearms in churches do seem wildly inappropriate, you have to concede that it could provide a new definition for the often-coerced marriage commonly known as a “shotgun wedding.” As to the wisdom of mixing guns and alcohol in a crowded public place on a raucous Friday night, 19th-century Americans in Dodge City, Kan., were a lot smarter than that.

But here’s the inconsistency. Those same Georgia legislators who championed the “Guns Everywhere” law “to arm law-abiding citizens in order to confront and to take down, if necessary, armed law-breakers” in libraries or fast-food restaurants exempt one place where Georgians cannot bear arms: the state Capitol in Atlanta — the very place where those legislators work.

Georgia legislators are not alone in voting to keep guns out of their own workplace. Three-dozen states, which, like all 50, have their own concealed-carry laws that permit citizens to carry guns into public places, specifically prohibit law-abiding citizens from bringing firearms into their state capitols, where, incidentally, those very legislators can be found.

Credit goes to Esme Deprez and William Selway of Business Week for capturing this glaring inconsistency, which some might even call hypocrisy on the part of pro-gun politicians, when they interviewed South Dakota Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, who owns 17 firearms, is a dues-paying NRA member and favors the untrammeled right of South Dakotans to pack heat in public places, that is except the state Capitol, where, according to Hickey, “We have the most contentious issues being debated in public policy, affecting people in irate, angrily ways and affecting millions and millions of dollars.”

Here in Washington, within the space of five days, two law-abiding Americans, the press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and the past president of the National Turkey Federation and the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, were separately arrested and jailed after Capitol police found each trying to bring a pistol and ammunition into the Cannon House Office Building, which connects to the Capitol. If found guilty, the sentence could be five years in jail.

Capitol Hill, where Congress spends its time, has become an armed camp with uniformed and plain-clothes security people everywhere. It’s true that in 1998 there was a tragic shooting, resulting in the deaths of two Capitol Hill police officers. But that was 16 years ago, long before four-fifths of the current House members had even come to Washington, and before the strong national movement to expand citizens’ right to carry firearms where they choose.

It’s clear these pro-gun/anti-gun control politicians must believe that more citizens carrying more guns in the community or the workplace will make you and me safer. But somehow these same politicians do not believe those same citizens with those same firearms would make the state Capitol and U.S. Capitol safer places. They believe these citizens could somehow be a threat to them.

If more guns were to make people safer, then the United States — which, with 310 million guns in private hands, leads all nations — would be the safest place on Earth.

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Amid Heat and Humidity, Chance of Showers in Forecast through Monday

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Subtropical moisture pushing up the coast from Baja California is bringing above-normal temperatures and more humidity to Santa Barbara County. As part of the package, the National Weather Service said, there’s a slight chance of showers and thundershowers through Monday.

The weather service said precipitation — if it happens — is most likely to occur in the mountains Saturday night, Sunday and Monday.

A key concern, officials say, is dry lightning that could spark fires in the drought-parched region.

Sunday’s forecast calls for morning low clouds and fog along the South Coast, giving way to partly cloudy skies. High temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s and 70s, and hit the mid-80s in the foothills.

Monday should end up with sunny skies and daytime highs in the upper 70s along the coast and in the upper 80s in the foothills.

The weather service is predicting clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70s to the low 90s the rest of the week — typical weather for Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta, which gets under way Wednesday night.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Three Injured in Santa Maria Vehicle Rollover on Highway 101

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Three people were injured in a vehicle rollover crash on a Highway 101 offramp at Clark Avenue in Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the wreck at 2:59 a.m. and found three hurt individuals at the scene, Capt. David Sadecki said. 

American Medical Response ambulances transported all three to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Two patients have serious injuries and one has moderate injuries, Sadecki said. 

No other details were available. 

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

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Firefighters Extinguish Structure Fire at Goleta Residence

By | Published on 07/26/2014

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Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 500 block of Ripley Street in Goleta early Saturday, but authorities say the blaze was extinguished without any injuries.

The call came in at 1 a.m. and firefighters found a 10-by-10-foot shed fully engulfed in flames in the backyard of a residence there, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Fire spread to a nearby power pole but there was no damage to the home itself.

The fire appears to be electrical-related, since there was an extension cord running to the shed from the house, Sadecki said.

No injuries were reported.

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

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Airman Who Died in Highway 1 Crash Remembered in Memorial Service at Vandenberg AFB

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Vandenberg Air Force Base hosted a memorial service in honor of Senior Airman Nicholas DiBona on Friday, 12 days after he died in a traffic accident on Highway 1 north of Santa Lucia Canyon Road.

“Heavy hearts on VAFB today as we remember SrA DiBona's life and military service. He will not be forgotten,” Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, said on social media Friday morning.

The California Highway Patrol said the July 13 accident occurred at 4:22 p.m. when the 2006 black Subaru was southbound on Highway 1 at a high rate of speed and drifted off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle overturned down an embankment and was not visible from the roadway, the CHP said.

DiBona, 21, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., was sitting in the right front passenger seat and declared dead at the scene.

The driver, Donald W.S. Cox, 21, and another passenger, John C. Rivera, 22, both of Lompoc, suffered moderate injuries, the CHP said.

Both of them also serve in the Air Force, a Vandenberg spokeswoman said Friday, but refused to identify their ranks or units.

The CHP said Friday the cause of the accident remains under investigation.

“At this point, any charges are pending the outcome of the investigation,” CHP Officer John Ortega said.

DiBona was a 2011 graduate of Fuquay-Varina High School in North Carolina and served in the Air Force for nearly three years, according to his obituary. A funeral Mass was held Monday in North Carolina.

"The loss of one of our own is a tragedy, and we are leaning on each other across the base to make it through this difficult time,” Balts said. "The fact that SrA. Dibona's life was just beginning only adds to the sense of loss we feel. Our hearts and prayers go out to this young Airman's family, friends and co-workers."

Coincidentally, Friday’s memorial was the second service this week on the Central Coast in honor of airmen killed in traffic accidents on July 13.

A funeral for Airman 1st Class Andrew Padilla, 22, was held in Santa Maria on Wednesday, 10 days after he died in a car crash in Clovis, N.M. The passenger in a Hyundai, Padilla was ejected when the vehicle rolled over several times early July 13 and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a Clovis Police Department news release.

The driver, Tylan Bolden, 20, who also serves in the Air Force, lost control of the vehicle as it was traveling at a high rate of speed, police added. Alcohol is believed to be factor in the crash which remains under investigation, according to police.

Padilla was from Santa Maria but was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The two deaths with Central Coast connections fell in the midst of the  Air Force’s annual safety capping dubbed 101 Critical Days of Summer. Air Force leaders emphasize safety on and off-duty for airmen and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

The theme of this year’s campaign, “Risk: Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts,” is aimed at reminding airmen to take care of themselves, their families, and their teammates.
 
Air Force officials reminded key factors leading to these fatal accidents include alcohol, speed, distractions, and fatigue, said.

“As you participate in summer activities with your family and friends use what you have learned about risk management,” Air Force leaders told military members. “Plan for the unexpected and avoid unnecessary risks. Embrace safety as the foundation of our core values. Enjoy the warm weather; get out and have fun, but always keep safety in mind.”

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

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Review: DIJO Rises to the Challenge of ‘Ghetto,’ a Holocaust Drama

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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In the Jewish ghetto of Vilna, Lithuania, near the end of World War II, a resident named Herman Kruk kept a diary. Ghetto, by Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, is based on Kruk’s diaries, telling the story of a small group of musicians, actors and dancers whose lives were spared when it was decided they could put on shows for their Nazi captors and for fellow prisoners as a last chance to enjoy themselves.

Using the real music, songs, and snippets of plays they created, their story is told against the horrific backdrop of the Holocaust and the threat that hung over them at all times — transport to the camps.

Ed Giron directs this DIJO production, as well as taking a lead role as Weiskopf, the Jewish tailor who builds an empire in the ghetto, laundering and mending uniforms from the front lines. His energy crackles as the charismatic entrepreneur who is never at a loss for a clever line.

The quality of acting among the large ensemble cast is somewhat uneven, but they have surely put their hearts into this production.

Among the standouts are George Coe as the Nazi commander who delights in cruelly playing with the emotions of his prisoners, Jennifer Marco as the glamorous Jewish singer with whom he becomes infatuated — and who has a fine set of pipes, indeed — and Richard Lonsbury and Pacomio Sun as rebellious young men who take matters into their own hands.

Jerry Oshinsky is Kruk, who serves at times as a sort of narrator. Bill Waxman is musical director, providing some live piano music onstage, but also playing an eccentric puppeteer whose marionette (Maia Mook) gives him a mouthpiece to speak the truth.

Kudos to DIJO Productions for bravely tackling this difficult material, inspiring at the same time as it is heartbreaking. It is ironic to note that while it is challenging in the best of times for artists to make a living, in certain circumstances, art can save lives.

The play runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 10 at Center Stage Theater. Click here for tickets and more information.

— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Police Arrest Suspect in Santa Maria Stabbing

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Santa Maria police arrested a man Friday on suspicion of attempted murder after finding him near a stabbing victim, authorities said.

Police were called to a fight in the area of Church Street and Russell Avenue at 3:12 p.m. Friday and located a victim with multiple stab wounds.

The 34-year-old man refused medical treatment for the non-life-threatening wounds, according to police.

Police said Manuel Calles Arias, 34, of Santa Maria was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

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

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David Sirota: Stadium Subsidies Financed By Pension Cuts

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.

Detroit this week became the most prominent example of this trend. Officials in the financially devastated city announced that their plan to slash public workers' pension benefits will move forward. On the same day, the billionaire owners of the Detroit Red Wings, the Ilitch family, unveiled details of an already approved taxpayer-financed stadium for the professional hockey team.

Many Detroit retirees now face big cuts to their previously negotiated retirement benefits. At the same time, the public is on the hook for $283 million toward the new stadium.

The budget maneuvers in Michigan are part of a larger trend across the country. As Pacific Standard reports, "Over the past 20 years, 101 new sports facilities have opened in the United States — a 90 percent replacement rate — and almost all of them have received direct public funding." Now, many of those subsidies are being effectively financed by the savings accrued from pension benefit reductions and cuts to public services.

In Chicago, for instance, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently passed a $55 million cut to municipal workers' pensions. At the same time, he has promoted a plan to spend $55 million of taxpayer money on a hotel project that is part of a stadium development plan.

In Miami, Bloomberg News reports that the city "approved a $19 million subsidy for (a) professional basketball arena" and then, six weeks later, "began considering a plan to cut as many as 700 (librarian) positions, including a fifth of the library staff and more than 300 police."

In Arizona, the Phoenix Business Journal reports that regional governments in that state have spent $1.5 billion "on sports stadiums, arenas and pro teams" since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, legislators are considering proposals to cut public pension benefits.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is blocking a planned $2.4 billion payment to the pension system, at the same time his administration has spent a record $4 billion on subsidies and tax breaks to corporations. That includes an $82 million subsidy for a practice facility for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The officials promoting these twin policies argue that boosting stadium development effectively promotes economic growth. But many calculations rely on questionable assumptions.

In a 2008 data review by the University of Maryland and the University of Alberta, researchers found that "sports subsidies cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development." In addition, a 2012 Bloomberg News analysis found that taxpayers have lost $4 billion on such subsidies since the mid-1980s.

"Sports stadiums typically aren't a good tool for economic development," said Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson in an interview with The Atlantic. "Take whatever number the sports promoter says, take it and move the decimal one place to the left. Divide it by 10, and that's a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact."

Of course, while stadium subsidies are promoted in the name of economic development, pension benefits are rarely described in such terms — even though the data suggests they should be. Indeed, an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based National Institute on Retirement Security notes that spending resulting from pension payments had "a total economic impact of more than $941.2 billion" and "supported more than 6.1 million American jobs" in 2012.

Despite that, retirement benefits are often the first item on politicians' chopping blocks. Pensions, after all, may support local economies, but they don't result in shiny new stadiums.

In a sports-obsessed country, that makes those pensions a much bigger political target than any taxpayer handout to a billionaire team owner.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Gerald Carpenter: N.Y. Philharmonic’s Alan Gilbert to Conduct Academy’s Festival Orchestra

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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This is the first official year of the New York Philharmonic's four-year partnership with the Music Academy of the West (the unofficial ambassadors like the great Glenn Dicterow have been a presence for several years). We have had the benefit already of the conducting of the NY Phil's assistant conductor leading the Festival Orchestra for Concerto Night, and now the music director himself will step onto the podium to conduct a selection of players from the Festival Orchestra in a fascinating program of works for small orchestra, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Lobero Theatre.

Allan Gilbert
Maestro Alan Gilbert of the New York Philharmonic.

Maestro Alan Gilbert cannot, I think, achieve a higher position in the music world than he has now attained, numbering Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler among his predecessors, he can only go somewhere else. But why would he?

The program he has chosen is like an archeological excavation, starting more or less in the present, the jumping back almost a century to the peak of the "Modernist" era, then back another century to finish on the Classical-Romantic cusp. We will hear Thomas Ades' Chamber Symphony 15 Players (1991), Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 in Eb-Major, Opus 9 (1906) and Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in Bb-Major, D. 125 (1815).

Adès (b. 1971) is a British conductor, pianist and composer. One of his earliest teachers was Paul Berkowitz, who was born in Canada and was then living and teaching in London (he is now professor of piano at UCSB). The Chamber Symphony is a relatively early work, written when he was 20. I haven't heard it yet, so I can't describe it to you, but the works of his that I have heard are quite engaging.

Getting people to listen to Schoenberg is pretty much an exercise in futility, I have generally found. Even when the piece is totally accessible, harmonically, the name "Schoenberg" (he changed the spelling from "Schönberg" when he came to live in Los Angeles) is so fixed in our heads as belonging to the guy who ruined music that we just won't give him a fair hearing. Unfortunately, schedulers try to sugar coat the composer by focusing on the very earliest of his works because they song like late Romantic works, rather than modern.

But if all we get to hear is the dreary Transfigured Night or the dismal Pelleas und Melisande, we will never figure out that he really was a great composer. The Chamber Symphony No. 1 is, in fact, a perfect introduction to the real Schoenberg: no wilder harmonically than Debussy, but shaken free of the morose Teutonic slog of his early compositions (always excepting the miraculous Gurre Lieder).

The risks he takes are in form, not harmony. It is a spellbinder, and besides, Maestro Gilbert holds out the ineffable sweetness of Schubert for those who have stayed in their seats to the end.

Tickets to this concert are $48, and they can be purchased from the Music Academy ticket office at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here. They can also be purchased at the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., or by calling 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

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

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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Seeks Community Votes in ‘Your Favorite Charity’ Contest

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Help the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County continue to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County by voting in KSBY and PG&E's "Your Favorite Charity" contest!

The charity that gathers the most votes overall will walk away with $10,000, and the charity that gathers the most votes per category will receive $2,000 each.

In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank; over 104,500 unduplicated people of whom 44 percent are children. Some of the nourishment programs that help solve hunger are the Brown Bag Program and Picnic in the Park. The Brown Bag Program provides a grocery bag of nutritious staple foods including high-protein items, canned soups, pasta, cereal, eggs, bread and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables to low income seniors, and Picnic in the Park provides free nutritious meals to children over the summer.

In addition to its nourishment programs, the Foodbank also provides nutrition education to foster nutritional independence and health in children. One of these programs is Kid's Farmers Market. Each month the Kid's Farmers Market Program provides fresh produce and nutrition education to children from low-income families at 27 after-school programs countywide. The nutrition education teaches children healthy recipes, how fruits and vegetables are grown, how they are cooked and their nutritional value and importance.

Last year, the Foodbank distributed the food and resources to support 8.5 million meals — half of which was fresh produce. Vote now to help continue providing the award-winning programs to residents throughout Santa Barbara County. And keep voting once a day until Friday, Aug. 1. You can vote for one charity per day per IP address. Click here to vote.

The winner will be announced Aug. 7.

Click here to learn more about Foodbank and its programs.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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Dog Mauled to Death in Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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A dog was mauled to death at a Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter on Thursday after the gates to several kennels were left open, releasing several dogs. 

The incident occurred at the county shelter located at 5473 Overpass Rd. in Goleta. Two of the loose dogs engaged in a fight with Kitti, a 12-year-old Boxer/Pit Bull/Terrier Mix, and Kitti was killed, according to a statement from the county's Public Health Department, which oversees the county's animal shelters.

"An employee accidentally left a kennel gate open, allowing multiple dogs to have direct contact with each other," the statement said.

Kitti had been in the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter since June 12, following an incident in which she attacked another dog, resulting in its death.

"Kitti was being kept in a separate area of the kennel where she did not have regular contact with other animals, and had been designated as a 'dangerous dog' after a hearing on July 1," the county said.

Any dog declared to be a dangerous dog requires the animal be humanely destroyed, the county stated, and Kitti was being held in the kennel awaiting a potential appeal of the finding by the dog’s owner.

"The entire agency is extremely concerned about the incident and is taking immediate steps to review the procedures in place to ensure it cannot happen again," the statement said.

"We take very seriously the need to protect the animals in our care and know that while this was a tragic mistake, it was an unacceptable death of an animal in our care."

The employee responsible is "extremely upset" about what happened and the county stated that once a complete set of facts is known about what happened, they will take personnel actions if necessary.

"We extend deep sorrow to Kitti's owners," the statement said.

Several in the rescue community expressed shock at the event on Friday, including Elizabeth Mazzetti, President of Second Chance Cocker Rescue Inc.

"It's just inexcusable," she said.

Mazzetti said that safety concerns at the shelter have been raised before, and that the dog's owner  "is just devastated."

"All of the volunteers are really upset," she said.

As for the animals, "if there's one place they should be safe, it's the shelter."

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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Captain’s Log: Cruising for Fish, Fun at Santa Cruz Island

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Santa Cruz Island is one of my favorite places in the world and for a number of reasons. Fishing is a big part of my reasons for loving the waters around this island, but the awesome beauty and soul-settling natural spots capture my heart. I love that island.

I run a charter boat, and during a majority of our trips we spend some time fishing. We are blessed with a multitude of fishing options here on the Santa Barbara Channel and around the Channel Isles. I enjoy most all forms of fishing, but I must confess that I have a favorite. I get all excited when we are going boiler rock bassing at Santa Cruz Island for calico bass.

Over the weekend, my charter boat, WaveWalker, made a run to the front (north) side of the island. It was a calm crossing, and we had to stop repeatedly along the way to enjoy dolphins and whales.

Our first planned destination was my spiritual home — Painted Cave. We were blessed that sea conditions were perfect for taking the WaveWalker deep into the cave. Our passengers were completely enthralled. Before entering the long cave, I said to them, “Folks, we are about to enter a profoundly spiritual place.” I was pleased that they really got it and it meant a great deal to them, being spiritual people themselves.

After that we cruised east along the island to get out of the Marine Protected Area (MPA, or a place where no extraction is allowed — in other words, no fishing) that was cruelly imposed on recreational anglers for little reason of need and only driven by desires to preserve rather than conserve.

Once outside of that zone, we brought out our rods and spent some glorious time casting swimbaits (a type of fishing lure) to the edge of the boiler rocks where waves crash over them and catching beautiful calico bass. These fish are tough, fun to fight and absolutely beautiful. They are carefully managed and were legal to keep; however, this group of people believed in letting the calicos go, so it was catch-and-release fishing.

I enjoy boiler rock bassing fishing so much that I put my crew member, Capt. Tiffany Vague, at the helm of the vessel, and I joined our passengers on deck and had a blast making long casts and hooking up with feisty bass. I haven’t had that much fishing fun in a long time.

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

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‘Luminous Sea’ Crowdfunding Campaign Donating 50% of Profits to Ocean Foundation

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Luminous Sea, the latest underwater photography book in the Sea of Light trilogy, is rounding up its crowdfunding campaign on the popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Richard Salas
Richard Salas

The last day that campaign contributors and those interested in the Sea of Light trilogy can pre-order the Luminous Sea book and help the campaign reach its funding goal is next Wednesday, July 30.

Now, in an attempt to help conserve the world’s oceans, 50 percent of the future non-crowdfunding profits from Luminous Sea will be donated to The Ocean Foundation, an organization that works with donors to grow the financial resources available for marine conservation. In addition, the first 1,000 copies of Luminous Sea pre-ordered on Indiegogo will also be signed by Richard Salas, the man responsible for taking the stunning images featured in the books.

“These wonderful creatures have become like family to me,” Salas said. “Doing whatever possible to help conserve the natural habitats of these wonderful creatures is something I am very passionate about, so choosing to donate to The Ocean Foundation was a natural choice.”

Luminous Sea is the third and final book in the Sea of Light trilogy, a three-book series featuring jaw-dropping images of the underwater life along the eastern Pacific Ocean. The 12-inch-by-12-inch coffee table book features over 150 pages of high-resolution underwater photographs taken in numerous locales along the western coast of North and Central America, from Alaska to the Equator.

The Sea of Light trilogy is comprised of three books, Sea of Light, Blue Visions and Luminous Sea. The first two books in the series featured photography taken in the temperate waters near the Equator. Luminous Sea, however, features stunning imagery captured off the coasts of the Pacific Northwest.

Reaching the $45,000 funding goal will allow for the production of Luminous Sea as well as a reprint of the first book in the series, Sea of Light, which is currently sold out. Potential backers of the campaign can choose from a variety of perk levels. Backers who pledge at the $90 perk level will receive one book in the Sea of Light trilogy personalized with their named printed inside the front cover, while those who pledge at the $270 level will receive the entire collection in an Indiegogo exclusive slip case along with an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch print from each book.

To back the Luminous Sea Indiegogo campaign and pre-order a copy of the book before the campaign ends Wednesday, click here. Also, like Sea of Light on Facebook and follow @ASKphotoH2O on Twitter.

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SBCC Receives $7,000 Grant from The Fund for Santa Barbara for Transitions Program

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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California’s recidivism rate clocks in at 67.5 percent. Compare that figure with Santa Barbara City College students who have been incarcerated, and who have completed the Transitions program: a recidivism rate of 5 percent. For these students, education is the only successful intervention, and their experience has shown that their best hope for staying off the streets and in school is working with other students who are making the same transition.

All Transitions students are parolees or probationers. Some are one strike shy of life in “the system.” Others have never known an adult life outside the criminal justice system. College is the last place any of them expect to end up. Thanks to The Fund for Santa Barbara, these individuals are successfully turning around their lives — and their futures.

"I rely on this program like it's my life," said Transitions student Tia Macias, a recovering addict now studying to be a drug and alcohol counselor. "It is my life."

Outside of class time, these students meet weekly to share emotional stories and to motivate and inspire each other to move beyond the past. Program Director Noel Gomez is one of the key reasons these parolees and probationers show up at SBCC. A native of Boyle Heights, Gomez grew up in the gang capital of America in the turbulent 1990s.

"If I'd pledged allegiance to any of these gangs, I would have been dead in two or three days," Gomez said.

So Gomez stayed “out,” got through high school, and against the advice of a school counselor, applied and was accepted to UCSB (and ultimately to Harvard). Gomez's journey is what inspires these students to take what for them is a terrifying leap of faith and join SBCC's six-week summer college-readiness program, Transitions.

As part of the Transitions program, Gomez and his peer advisors teach these students how to navigate the SBCC campus, how to write essays and how to read a syllabus. Just as important, Gomez and his staff of peer mentors (all former Transitions students) teach trust, how to stay out of trouble and believe in oneself.

A college education has become one of the most valuable assets in the United States — a bachelor’s degree is worth more than $1 million in lifetime earnings. Gainful employment is one of the defining characteristics of successful reentry, and successful reentry and readjustment into society ultimately lower the likelihood of an individual turning to illegal activity. And the benefits go well beyond each individual — postsecondary education programs have demonstrated a break in the harrowing cycle of intergenerational incarceration.

“This program is changing lives, families and future generations," SBCC Extended Opportunities Programs and Services Director Marsha Wright said. "And so far, education has proven to be the only answer to the problem of recidivism.”

The Fund for Santa Barbara just granted the Transitions program $7,000, which will help pay for crucial elements of the six-week summer programming.

“Without ongoing funding from The Fund for Santa Barbara, this program would not remain in existence," said Madeline Jacobson, SBCC Foundation board president. "Social change is taking place right here on campus thanks to The Fund.”

The consistency of The Fund for Santa Barbara’s support of Transitions has had a direct impact on the viability and sustainability of this program.

“We are so appreciative that The Fund understands the impact Transitions is having on this entire community, and the long term change it is creating,” Jacobson said.

“After going through the Transitions program I have developed a passion for learning, a passion for education, and I want to further my education and further my career goals,” said Larry Davidson, Transitions student at SBCC. “The program has given me a chance to reevaluate my life and the determination to succeed and become a productive part of society. I have gained a sense of self-worth, a sense of pride and sense of accomplishment.”

Peer counselor Mauricio Isaac, who just returned from a semester abroad in Italy, said: “I never dreamed while sitting in my jail cell that I really could change my life — Transitions changed my life and my mind.”

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the SBCC Foundation.

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Lompoc Theatre Project Holds Board, Committee Elections

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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The Lompoc Theatre Project’s Board of Directors held elections on June 17, with several members gaining new or expanded titles.

Mark Herrier, previously a board member at large, is the new president of the board. He replaces Cecilia Martner, president from June 2013 through June 2014. Martner is now president of the LTP’s advisory committee.

Herrier is also chairman of the Operations and Restoration Committee.

Laurie Jervis, secretary since December 2013, retains that title, and also was elected as chairwoman of the Media and Communications Committee.

Ron Bock was re-elected as treasurer.

Jack Carmean and Steve Stormoen are co-chairmen of the Membership and Volunteers Committee.

The current members of the LTP are Martner, Katie Baillargeon and Barbara Satterfield, as well as founding members Pam Wall, Ken and Carol Calvert, Carol Benham and Brian Cole, first board president.

— Laurie Jervis is secretary for the Lompoc Theatre Project.

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23 Cadets to Graduate from Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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After two weeks of physical and mental challenges, 23 local young people representing six law enforcement agencies will graduate on Saturday from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy at the Dick DeWees Community Center, 1120 W. Ocean Ave. in Lompoc.

The young men and women, ages 14 to 20, will have a final inspection by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown along with dignitaries from the participating agencies at 1:30 p.m. They will receive their certificates of completion at a graduation and awards ceremony at 2 p.m.

The Law Enforcement Explorer Academy is a worksite-based program for young men and women who are interested in the fields of law, law enforcement or public safety. The goal of the program is to educate and involve youth in law enforcement operations, to interest them in possible law enforcement careers as well as to build confidence and responsibility.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Leah Urzua, 17, of Santa Barbara said she will be proud to graduate on Saturday.

“We have learned about teamwork, integrity and how to be accountable," Urzua said. "I know it will help me in my future. I originally signed up for this program for community service hours and found through this experience my passion to be in law enforcement grew.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department sponsors the program and this year had five Explorers participate. The agencies involved in addition to the Sheriff’s Department include the Arroyo Grande Police Department, the Guadalupe Police Department, the Lompoc Police Department, the Morro Bay Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.

Click here for more information on the program.

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

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Santa Barbara Council Approves Proclamation in Support of 2020 A Year Without War

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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After some lively debate, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday in favor of a resolution supporting 2020 A Year Without War.

Year Without War
Professor Joe White, founder of 2020 A Year Without War, presents the proclamation to the Santa Barbara City Council. (2020 A Year Without War photo)

Santa Barbara joins Lompoc and Carpinteria as cities with proclamations supporting this growing global community that is dedicated to ending war in the year 2020.

“In the spirit of ‘Thinking Globally, Acting Locally,’ I commend the local 2020 A Year Without War Committee and their efforts embarking on an ambitious and worthwhile endeavor and hope that many other governmental bodies both locally and around the world also step up and support this group’s goals,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.

The proclamation states: “Santa Barbara, California is a City of Peace and has chapters of many peace-oriented global and national organizations chartered in the city.”

Professor Joe White, founder of 2020AYWW, expressed appreciation to the City Council for their support.

“Having a proclamation of support from Santa Barbara is most appropriate given that 2020 A Year Without War has its roots at Santa Barbara City College, where we launched our social media website in 2012,” he said.

White is chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Santa Barbara City College.

2020AYWW hopes to obtain proclamations from Santa Barbara’s sister cities: Dingle (Ireland), Weihai (People’s Republic of China), Toba City (Japan), San Juan Metro Manila (Philippines), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Kotor (Montenegro) and Patras (Greece).

The organization will continue to obtain proclamations from all governments, churches, and peace groups around the world through 2020.

2020AYWW has more than 10,000 supporters in 125 countries. The nonprofit group is nonpartisan, nonreligious, nonpacifist, not anti-military and not a peace organization. The group is endorsed by many organizations, including the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, the National Veterans’ Association, and Beacon of Hope for Afghan Children’s Society.

For more information, click here. Show your support by joining; click here. Please follow and like us on Facebook.

— Luella Engelhart is the public relations coordinator for 2020 A Year Without War.

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State Lands Commission Completes Recirculated Draft EIR for Proposed 421 Recommissioning Project

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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The California State Lands Commission has completed a recirculated draft environmental impact report for the proposed Revised PRC 421 Recommissioning Project.

The EIR is being recirculated because significant new information has been added to the EIR, including new and revised alternatives and an expanded discussion regarding repressurization of the Vaqueros Reservoir.

For more information about the Revised APTR, how to access the document, how to comment on the project, and who to contact with questions, click here for the Notice of  Public Review.

The CSLC staff will also conduct two public meetings to receive oral or written comments on the recirculated draft EIR. These meetings will be held at 3 and 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15 at the Goleta Council Chambers at City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B.

Each session of the public meeting will begin with a brief presentation on the proposed project and the contents of the EIR, including alternatives, significant environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures. The CSLC staff will then receive comments on the proposed Project and adequacy of the Recirculated Draft EIR.

This information is provided by the City of Goleta as a courtesy. The Goleta City Council does not have a decision-making role at this juncture.

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Shelby Sim Named Executive Director of Visit The Santa Ynez Valley

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Visit The Santa Ynez Valley board president Michael Hendrick, general manager of the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Hotel in Buellton, announced on Friday that Shelby Sim has been named executive director effective Aug. 5.

 

Shelby Sim
Shelby Sim

Sim will be responsible for providing administration in strategic planning, events and member development for the nonprofit destination marketing organization that promotes year-round sustainable tourism in the Santa Ynez Valley communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang.

“We welcome Shelby’s high level of energy and enthusiasm as our new executive director for our rapidly growing organization,” Hendrick said.

Sim was most recently director of business development for the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce for three years. Previously, he worked as branch manager for Select Staffing in Santa Barbara; and in management positions with Maps.com, Fidelity Financial, Paychex Inc. and Delco.

Sim achieved a bachelor of arts degree during his six years of active duty with the U.S. Navy.

He is a founding board member of Contacts N Coffee, a networking group that has grown to over 20 locations across the state of California.

During his limited free time, Sim has served as a driver/educator/host for a Santa Ynez Valley area wine tour company from 2007-13. A native of Santa Barbara County, Sim lives here with his wife, Amy, and three children, who all enjoy outdoor recreation from the mountains to the sea.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this position and eager to promote and bring the world to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley,” Sim said.

— Laura Kath is the media relations director Visit The Santa Ynez Valley.

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3 Santa Barbara Students Make the Dean’s List at California Lutheran University

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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The following local residents were among 745 students who made the Dean's List at California Lutheran University for the spring semester.

» Zachary Torres of Santa Barbara is an undeclared major.

» Rene Silverman of Santa Barbara is a religion major.

» Grace Spadoro of Santa Barbara is a business administration major.

Students qualify for the Dean's List by maintaining a 3.6 grade point average in their academic subjects.

CLU is a selective university based in Thousand Oaks, with additional centers in Oxnard, Woodland Hills, Santa Maria and Berkeley. With an enrollment of 4,300 students, CLU offers undergraduate and graduate programs within the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Psychology and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Members of the CLU student body come from across the nation and around the world and represent a diversity of faiths and cultures.

Click here for more information.

— Karin Grennan represents California Lutheran University.

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Montecito Bank & Trust Reports Continued Asset and Earnings Growth for 2nd Quarter

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Janet Garufis, president and chief executive officer of Montecito Bank & Trust, on Friday announced strong performance and continued growth during the second quarter.

Total assets grew 7 percent from $1.07 billion to $1.15 billion year over year, with deposits up 7 percent to $1.02 billion from $951 million over the comparable period last year.

Total gross loans remained largely unchanged at $540.2 million as compared to $538.2 million from a year ago. Net income was $5.630 million, compared with $5.541 million from a year ago, a 2 percent increase.

“We are pleased that Montecito Bank & Trust continues to grow its balance sheet and increase profitability," Garufis said. "Our strong deposit performance is fueled by organic growth within existing customer relationships as well as an ever increasing number of new customers who have moved their relationships from other local institutions.

"Staying relevant to our customers is at the core of everything we do and we are delighted to see so many of our customers, both new and old, continue to recognize us as the bank of choice. Equally important, the bank’s total risk-based capital of 14.02 percent at quarter end was well above the 10 percent regulatory minimum required to be considered well-capitalized.

"As the economy gains momentum, Montecito Bank & Trust has experienced a meaningful increase in loan production although such growth is not reflected in outstanding loan totals as many of our existing customers continue to de-leverage. Given the strength of our balance sheet and significant liquidity, Montecito Bank & Trust is well positioned and eager to serve the financial needs of our local businesses and investors through a variety of loan products for business expansion, capital improvements, and the purchase or refinance of real estate.”

Montecito Bank & Trust has been designated as a 2013 Premier Performing Bank by The Findley Reports, an independent service which rates all California banks. The Findley Reports has designated Montecito Bank & Trust as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 28 times in its 39-year history.

Now the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties, Montecito Bank & Trust, is an S Corporation founded in 1975. Branch offices are 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; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

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

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Capps Announces $352,000 Grant to Support UCSB Math Program

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday announced that UCSB received a $352,000 grant to support the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, an eight-week STEM program designed to introduce its participants to mathematical research.

Each summer from 2015-17, 12 students will work with two faculty members on original research projects in mathematics.

REU programs have a track record of recruiting women, minorities and students from colleges that lack undergraduate research opportunities. Their goal is to expose and retain participants from these underrepresented and underserved groups in the field of mathematics.

In addition to learning about mathematics and their specific fields of interests, students will learn how to give successful presentations and write research papers, as well as how to pursue graduate studies and engage with the wider mathematical community.

“It is critical that we provide our students with educational opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields,” Capps said. “This program will create an environment where talented undergraduates can explore areas of mathematics that fall outside of the standard curriculum. UCSB and the entire Central Coast community will benefit from the REU program and the skills and abilities of these talented students.”

The project is under the direction of Maria Isabel Bueno Cachadina in the UCSB Department of Mathematics.

"Thanks to the generosity of the National Science Foundation, the UCSB Mathematics Department now has the funding to work with our best and brightest undergraduates over the summer,” said Professor Padraic Bartlett and Professor Maribel Bueno Cachadina from the UCSB Department of Mathematics and College of Creative Studies. “With this grant, we will be able to guide a diverse population of young students through open research problems in mathematics. The payoff — whether measured in terms of its impact on Santa Barbara's own talented students, our ability to attract and work with brilliant students from across the country, or even when measured as an opportunity to expand the boundaries of mathematical knowledge — figures to be immense.”

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

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Bill Macfadyen: Setting the Record Straight About Mission & State

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 takes a back seat but includes a gang injunction ruling, Kenon Neal, sheriff’s intrigue, a suspected drug lab explosion, and Allergan layoffs

Mission & State, an in-depth, nonprofit local journalism initiative, was launched last year in Santa Barbara with high hopes and two years of funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Santa Barbara Foundation and a number of other local foundations and donors.

Startup ventures are notoriously difficult to pull off, and this was no exception. Although the concept was intriguing, the execution wasn’t working. Noozhawk was hired to manage the project, effective June 1. Earlier this week, the Santa Barbara Foundation announced Mission & State’s termination, which came amid implacable opposition from a handful of Noozhawk’s competitors.

After reading the histrionic denunciations that were being spammed around town for the better part of three weeks, I was starting to hate on Noozhawk myself! But then I remembered I had actually written the management proposal, and it was nothing at all like the mischaracterizations.

For the benefit of our readers, I thought I would share Noozhawk’s same vision and plan for Mission & State that I patiently had explained to most of the local news media.

First, a few things to keep in mind:

» Noozhawk was not “given” Mission & State. We approached the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Mission & State advisory committee with a proposal to try to salvage it. After weeks of discussions, and with a unanimous vote of the advisory committee, we were hired to manage it.

» Noozhawk was not given “a pile of money.” We were to receive a very minimal management fee to cover Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton’s work as editor of Mission & State, but the rest of the allocated funding was restricted to the project itself.

» Noozhawk was not a grantee, which in the nonprofit world can sometimes result in lax accountability. We were hired as a vendor, with a contract stipulating the requirements and deliverables expected of us. Although our budget plan sought to stretch Mission & State’s remaining funding over a 32-month period, the contract was for one year. If we didn’t perform — even prior to 12 months — we could be fired.

» Noozhawk fully intended to use its own reporters where possible, but we didn’t then and never would have the staffing to use our reporters exclusively. To claim otherwise is nonsense.

» A partnership between a for-profit news organization and nonprofits and/or foundations is not “highly suspicious.” In fact, it’s quite common — even in Santa Barbara County.



The Ford Foundation made sizable media grants to two of the country’s most influential for-profit newspapers. The nonprofit Oklahoma Watch’s relationship with for-profit media is critical to its success in that state. One of the most cohesive collaborations seems to be the nonprofit Lens Nola and the for-profit WVUE-TV in New Orleans. The former is based in the latter’s news room.

In analyzing Mission & State’s performance, my partners, Tom Bolton and Kim Clark, and I determined there were four deficiencies that needed to be addressed immediately:

Volume

Among the myriad challenges of in-depth, investigative journalism is that it’s time-intensive. Throw in the Internet’s insatiable appetite for fresh content and it doesn’t take long to fall behind. Our plan was to have three tiers of content under way simultaneously:

» Quarterly in-depth projects on major community issues, incorporating multimedia elements, data analysis, interactivity and public engagement. These projects would be serialized over two to three weeks for maximum impact. Public forums, discussions and virtual town halls could provide additional community access.

» Shorter, multisource stories exploring a more narrowly defined aspect of local community issues published as single stories or on consecutive days with a frequency of every two weeks.

» Weekly enterprise stories taking a more in-depth look at a top story of the previous week. Local news operations rarely can go back and dig deeper into a topic, even though traffic indicates intense interest in the subject. These stories would give readers new reasons to engage on issues that already had captured their attention.

Visibility

Let’s be candid: If Mission & State wasn’t being confused with an intersection on the Upper Eastside, it was misidentified as a long-closed downtown bar and grill. Somehow we needed to get more community awareness, and fast.

Noozhawk would provide a major presence for Mission & State on our website, where we knew people would actually see it. We had hoped to enlist partners from other media to do the same.

The Mission & State website would remain online but we believed brand awareness was a more productive strategy — and would position Mission & State to be more supportive of collaborators and less of a competitor.

Viability

Volume and visibility provide a compelling pitch for potential sponsors and donors. We like making those asks. Meeting benchmarks and delivering on project objectives might even compel national funders to consider additional backing for Mission & State. Given such a sizable startup investment, however, to have no plan to attain sustainability was as irresponsible as it was astonishing.

Collaboration

We actually had the highest hopes for collaboration, and were thrilled to have as our foundation the enthusiastic commitment from KEYT and its KCOY and KKFX affiliates — also known as Santa Barbara County’s largest news operation. Both the Santa Maria Sun and the Santa Maria Times also had signaled their interest, although the Times initially was opposed. Even the Daily Nexus at UC Santa Barbara was in.

Our plan was to work with local news media and their platforms, enlisting them to cover in-depth issues from the perspectives and interests of their own established audiences.

By using their own journalists and their own story ideas and their own formats, in collaboration with the Mission & State project, the Mission & State brand would begin to develop a positive identity that would be associated with the endorsement, strength and reach of the media partners.

Mission & State would pay for the content on a freelance basis, but the originating news organizations could “break” their stories themselves, with the understanding that afterward they would appear on missionandstate.org and be offered to other interested media.

For smaller news organizations that might not have the capacity to undertake projects on their own, we thought they could be invited to submit requests that Mission & State could do for them. They would have the benefit of “commissioning” a story without having to pay for it.

We believed the arrangement removed a key obstacle largely overlooked in the initial Mission & State model: pushback from partnering organizations’ sales staffs.

Media sales representatives are not interested in selling someone else’s content; they believe their own product is superior. Under this framework, they would be selling their own material — literally.

So, in addition to being paid by Mission & State to produce unique in-depth content for their own publications, those publications would retain the ability to sell advertising around that same content. I call that a revenue stream.

As I mentioned, I had made this pitch personally to more than a dozen local news organizations, including all but one of the grand total of six that attended the Santa Barbara Foundation’s community forum. At that meeting, only one news executive — KEYT general manager Mark Danielson — spoke in favor of the Noozhawk plan. He was ignored.

The rest were adamantly opposed, although the professed reasons rang hollow and unimaginative. It was an extraordinary display, though, complete with hissing, gasps and liberal use of the F-word — you know, the quintessential Santa Barbara epithet: “for-profit.”

It’s unfortunate that our competitors couldn’t wrap their heads around this innovative concept. Try as we might, we were unable to convince them to even give it a brief trial period to let us prove the legitimacy of this new era of news and how they would benefit themselves.

I’m disappointed for our community; it deserved better. I’m disappointed for Mission & State’s first-class reporter, Josh Molina, who is a far better investigative journalist than is often found in a media market of our size. I’m disappointed for the other top-notch reporters who had expressed an interest in participating with Mission & State, including several at publications opposed to the project. I’m disappointed for the Santa Barbara and Knight foundations, which invested an enormous amount of time and resources — in good faith — to make this concept work.

What I’m not disappointed about is Noozhawk’s effort. My partners and I saw a problem and we provided a solution. Given the limited time and funding remaining, we might not have been able to get Mission & State to sustainability. But we have no doubt we would have gotten it close, at which point the community would have been able to fairly evaluate whether it deserved to live or to die. We’ll never know who was correct, will we?

So what’s next for Noozhawk? With no artificial distraction to divert our attention, we go back to delivering the freshest news in Santa Barbara. And now Santa Maria.

We’ve been experiencing rapid growth in both readership and revenue the last couple of years. Kim Clark’s sales and marketing strategies have enabled Noozhawk to capitalize on our skyrocketing traffic. Under Tom Bolton’s direction, the news team has continually sharpened its focus while becoming even more efficient with our resources.

Our strategic partnerships with KEYT, the San Luis Obispo Tribune and the Ventura County Star have been invaluable, as have our relationships with student journalists at local high schools, especially The Charger Account at Dos Pueblos High.

We anticipate continued expansion in 2014, which already has seen the addition of Janene Scully as our Santa Maria Valley-based North County editor. We intend to use Josh Molina as often as we can until we can figure out how to bring him into the Noozhawk nest full time.

Finally, we’ll continue to pursue pioneering ideas and projects that enhance our community and help keep Noozhawk in the vanguard of next-generation local news. It’s a tumultuous time to be in the business, but there’s never been a more exciting one.

On behalf of my partners, Tom Bolton and Kim Clark, and all of Team Noozhawk, we thank you again for entrusting us with your local news, and for your enthusiastic support and encouragement.

                                                                        •        •

There were 71,372 people who read Noozhawk this past week. I’ve already taken up too much of your time with “long-form journalism” today, so let’s just blow through this week’s top stories.

1. Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction; Police Chief Ready to ‘Accept It and Move On’

2. Kenon Marie (Ramsey) Neal of Santa Barbara, 1965-2014

3. Sheriff Bill Brown Reassigning Election Challenger to Oversee Superior Court Bailiffs

4. Man Burned in Explosion, Fire at Goleta Apartment

5. Allergan Announces Plans to Lay Off 1,500 Employees, Close Goleta Facility

                                                                        •        •

Wave rage in New Zealand.

(Surfing video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options

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

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

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

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

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

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

Thank you for your support.

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

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Begin Again’

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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3 Stars — Thought-provoking

If you want to learn how to swim, at some point you need to get out of the shallow end of the pool. Likewise, if you want to have a successful life with loving relationships, at some point you need to get out of the shallow end of life.

Such is the case with Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a music producer whose career and life are on a slippery slope to oblivion.

Into his life comes Gretta (Keira Knightley), a young starry-eyed singer-songwriter who has been dumped by her boyfriend, Dave (Adam Levine), just as his career skyrockets and beautiful women throw themselves at him. Both Dan and Gretta have become skeptical about the dubious nature of fame as well as the power of money to corrupt talent.

After getting dumped from the music company he founded, Dan ends up in a bar listening to a despondent Gretta struggle to complete a song. In her words, though, Dan senses great possibilities. Through a series of circumstances, Dan and Gretta end up collaborating on a series of songs that they record on the streets of New York and ultimately give away to the public over social media.

Born in despair, both of their lives are reborn, and their talent takes first priority over financial gain. Ironically, their self-effacing new lives attract back their former partners. Having originally fallen in love with their raw talent, they want back into a relationship.

What becomes the compelling core of the story is what lessons they learn along the way. Do they want their old lives back? What defines success? How important are real loving relationships — especially exemplified in Dan's case with his teenage daughter?

There is no in-depth analysis here, or lessons in maturity that are transferable to most people. What we do see, though, is the grittiness of real lives and the struggles they go through to be open and honest with one another. The only heartbreak is that they have no one in their lives from social groups, churches, friends or family who can model good behavior and successful relationships for them. In that sense, this is a troubling indictment of our supposed "success model" in today's culture. Fame and fortune are no substitutes for happiness.

Discussion

» In your own life, what has been the source of your happiness? How did you discover this?

» The disappointments in our relationships often cause us to distrust others. How have you dealt with your own disappointments? Who came into your life who brought clarity?

» Fame and fortune promise so much, and yet the famous and rich people are often self-destructive. Why do you think this is often true? When is it not true?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

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Midwife Mary Jackson to Lead Bonding Workshop for Expectant Parents

By | Published on 07/25/2014

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Renowned midwife and international speaker Mary Jackson will share her wonderful techniques for bonding and sharing with your baby, both prenatally and at birth, during a free workshop titled "Bonding with Your Precious Newborn" from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6 at the Jewish Family Service of Greater Santa Barbara/Bronfman Family JCC, 524 Chapala St. in Santa Barbara.

She will also discuss how your own birth experience can affect and color your baby's experience.

Jackson has been a home birth midwife since 1975. She is participating in cutting-edge research about imprints that occur around the time of conception, pregnancy and birth, and how they affect us throughout the rest of our lives and what it takes to heal from challenges in these experiences.

She has spoken internationally at conferences, elementary, junior high and high schools, colleges, graduate programs, and at hospital trainings for doctors, nurses and midwives.

Jackson Midwifery offers services in prenatal care, home birth, postpartum care, breastfeed support, birth and parenting classes, and more. Click here to learn more.

The event is free and open to expectant parents. RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, call 805.957.1116 x109, email hchadwin@sbjf.org or click here.

— Holly Chadwin is the children and family programs coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.

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Letter to the Editor: Mission & State Was Not a Failure

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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I was saddened by the announcement on Tuesday that Mission and State was coming to an end many months and hundreds of thousands of dollars before it should have. That the announcement came on the same day Judge Colleen Sterne denied the city’s proposed gang-injunction is a bittersweet irony I’ll get to.

I was the founding executive editor of Mission and State. It was an honor to have been selected to start up this noble enterprise and I was even more honored to work alongside the dedicated and passionate journalists I had the pleasure of working with during my tenure, which came to an abrupt end early last March.

I can assure you, everyone who worked with me approached his or her job with the utmost integrity. It is mostly for them, their work, and their legacy, that I feel compelled to address the onslaught of unchallenged misinformation regarding Mission and State, at least as I knew it.

The first thing I want to put to rest is the narrative of failure being foisted onto the community. Publicly circulated attempts to justify the missteps regarding the disposition of Mission and State and to spin its demise in recent news accounts have explicitly or implicitly trafficked in the notion that Mission and State wasn’t meeting its objectives, was “burning” through its budget, that “radical action” was need to save it from failure, that the Knight Foundation had pulled its funding, etc.

This narrative isn’t accurate or fair and belies the hard work and commitment of the journalists who strived to make a difference with Mission and State.

Despite what you may have heard or read, the Knight Foundation had funded Mission and State for two years contingent upon local matching funds, a challenge that Santa Barbara commendably met. That funding wasn’t in question until the recent attempt by the Santa Barbara Foundation to offload the project. It’s also worth noting that the Knight Foundation, according to a report made at an advisory board meeting last fall, was extremely happy with Mission and State’s initial direction and progress. Peer associations such as The Investigative News Network also lauded Mission and State as a model for nonprofit, multimedia digital journalism.

You may have also read that Mission and State was recklessly burning through its budget. Nothing could be further from the truth. The project came in under budget in year one and was operating well below the allotted budget for year two when I left. From what I understand, there is still more than half this year’s budget untapped as of Tuesday’s announcement that the project was shuttering.

Another red herring that’s been tossed out there is that Mission and State had failed to achieve sustainability. Sustainability beyond the two-year Knight Foundation commitment and community match was a primary responsibility of the advisory board, though it never acted on this duty despite being urged to do so and despite funds being slotted for a development director.

We should also keep in mind that the people and entities contributing to Mission and State didn’t donate funds to be used some day, for some thing. They funded a specific project for a specific period of time with the charge that excellent, narrative journalism be pursued during that time. Former managing editor Phuong-Cac Nguyen and I respected these commitments and took that mission seriously.

It has also been suggested that Mission and State failed in its objective to collaborate with other media.

The Mission and State I knew made every conceivable effort to collaborate with local media. Mission and State "1.0" as its initial incarnation has been called, had an arrangement with the Sentinel and Casa that placed stories in those publications on a nearly weekly basis. Casa published our work in English and Spanish. At the time of my dismissal, we were planning to put the entire Mission and State/Casa collaboration in an archive available on both websites.

We placed several significant stories with Noozhawk and The Independent, both of whose participation I solicited regularly and with whom we were increasingly finding ways to collaborate. We collaborated with Pacific Coast Business Times on several occasions and were exploring further investigations into stories of mutual interest. On Edhat, our stories were among the most frequently posted and commented on.

As far as local radio goes, Mission and State reporters made several key appearances on KCLU during my tenure. Early in the year, we discussed an ongoing partnership with KCBX news director Randol White, leading to one of our reporters recent on-air discussion of her excellent oil-industry coverage, the first of what was meant to be many such collaborations. We had an ongoing collaboration with KDB before it was sold and had been discussing ways to work together with Jennifer Ferro, KCRW’s general manager, before the station had even made an offer on KDB.

We not only placed stories with, or collaborated with, every available local media, we also did community-based collaborations with Brooks Institute, UCSB and Antioch including energetic, well-attended forums on pro bono legal services and homelessness. More was in the works. Not a bad track record for the eight months Mission and State had been publishing by the time I was let go.

In my final month at Mission and State, the site had nearly 14,000 visits with 23,000 page views, according to Google Analytics. These numbers had been trending up for several months and while they certainly wouldn’t scare The Huffington Post, they were much admired by peers in our community-based nonprofit segment, especially considering our ripe-young age and that our in-depth stories demanded significant time and attention from readers.

A reader survey undertaken just before my exit indicated a high-degree of community support for what we were doing as did the average length of time spent on our stories, which well exceeded the industry norm.

More important were the hundreds of comments on stories posted our website and the hundreds more generated when our stories appeared on Edhat, comments that attest to the civic spirit of Santa Barbara and the resonating spirit of our work.

The ginned-up narrative of failure does a disservice to that spirit, to the journalists who dreamed up this enterprise to serve an underserved community and to those who made a difference during Mission and State’s too-brief run by helping to stir up energy, discussion, and sometimes outrage over such issues as oil-company mischief, public safety, the county jail system, water use, homelessness, environmental degradation, growth and development, transportation, healthcare, education… it goes on.

Mission and State wasn’t perfect, no start up is, but objective evidence would support the idea that it was on the right track and really starting to hit its stride when a series of unfortunate decisions led to this point.

I was particularly proud of our coverage of the proposed gang injunction. We played a critical role in getting that issue in front of the public, despite the pushback we got for doing so. As councilwoman Cathy Murillo commented on a social-media post about Judge Sterne’s decision to deny the measure, “The coverage from Mission and State brought the subject into the light. The public needed to understand the injunction and its ramifications. So unfortunate that it was mostly discussed in closed session for many months. ... M&S coverage of other issues also to be celebrated! Much to be proud of!”

Indeed. I’m sure a perusal of the excellent work by former Mission and State journalists such as Phuong-Cac Nguyen, Alex Kacik, Sam Slovick, Melinda Burns, Karen Pelland, Yvette Cabrera, Erin Lennon, Natalie Cherot, Kathleen Reddington, Daryl Kelley, Laura Bertocci, Jeff Wing, Joshua Molina and others will bear that out.

I would hope that a small portion of remaining Mission and State funds could be used to keep this legacy of success alive in a digital archive so that future attempts at this sort of community-based, nonprofit journalism, which is surely going play a growing role in journalism, can learn and be inspired by the fantastic model Santa Barbara contributed with Mission and State.

Joe Donnelly
Los Angeles

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BizHawk: Wells Fargo Bank Moving Into Former Blockbuster Building on Milpas Street

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Mission Wealth adds new partners, Santa Barbara County unemployment rate increases and Retirement Benefits Group hires Daniel Sheehan

[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.]

A Wells Fargo bank will move into the former Blockbuster location on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, slated to open in early 2015.

The banking corporation will improve the building at 101 N. Milpas St. before it’s able to open, generating six to 10 new bank teller jobs, according to Wells Fargo spokeswoman Julie Campbell.

The 2,619-square-foot spot, originally built for Great Western Bank, will be the fourth bank branch in Santa Barbara and the 11th in Santa Barbara County, Campbell said. Wells Fargo also has branches in Montecito, Lompoc, Goleta, Buellton and Santa Maria.

“Our goal is to find ways to better serve our customers and meet their financial needs,” she said. “One way we do this is by continuously searching for optimal locations that are convenient for our customers. For example, just this year, Wells Fargo opened our first store in the Isla Vista community, which is helping dozens of college students succeed financially.”

The building at the corner of Milpas and Mason streets has been vacant since January, when the area’s last Blockbuster location closed its doors. The news puts to bed a well-spread rumor that Starbucks was considering the location.

Mission Wealth Adds Firm Partners

Mission Wealth Management has added Andy Penso and Dannell Stuart as its newest partners in the firm, which is headquartered in Santa Barbara.

As advisers and leaders, the company said Penso and Stuart have made significant contributions to Mission Wealth's growth and success providing financial planning, retirement and estate planning, investment advice, tax strategies and more.

Retirement Benefits Groups Hires Daniel Sheehan

Retirement Benefits Group LLC, a retirement plan consulting and wealth management advisory firm, has announced the addition of retirement plan adviser Daniel Sheehan, CFP, AIF, RLP, to its professional staff.

Based in San Luis Obispo, Sheehan will offer retirement plan services and wealth management strategies to clients on the Central Coast and beyond.

Sheehan has more than 20 years of experience working in the corporate financial advisory, financial planning and wealth advisory fields, which provides him with an understanding of financial markets, products and regulations. He will focus on ensuring trustees are diligently managing their personal fiduciary liability and that employees are properly preparing for retirement.

County Unemployment Increases

The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County in June was 5.4 percent in June — up from 5 percent in May and below last year’s 6.8 percent.

California’s unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, one percent higher than the nation’s 6.3 percent, according to information released by the State Employment Development Department.

Job growth was recorded in most industry sectors, with the exception of losses in construction (200 jobs), manufacturing (200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs). The highest growth was in Professional & Business Services, which gained a total of (1,200) new jobs.

Government also saw an increase in the number of positions gained (400 jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showing a gain of (300) new positions.

Although the county labor force dropped by 0.8 percent in June — to 224,200 down from 225,900 in May — it has fluctuated only 2 percent since June 2013, when it was at 228,700. The overall number of employed workers in the county is currently at 212,200 with a labor force of 224,200.

Santa Barbara County came in eighth of the 10 state counties that had below 6 percent unemployment rates in June.

Hardy Diagnostics Employees Earn Certification

Hardy Diagnostics, an employee-owned Santa Maria company, this week announced three of its employees have earned certification as registered microbiologists in pharmaceutical and medical device microbiology with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.

To earn the NRCM credential, Christopher Massey, R&D manager, Kerry Davies Pierce, technical services manager, and Rianna Malherbe, R&D microbiologist/technical support specialist, met rigorous educational and experiential eligibility requirements and passed a comprehensive written examination.

The NRCM, founded in 1958, is a voluntary certifying body which has certified microbiologists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and on six continents. The registry aims to minimize risk to the public by identifying qualified microbiologists, encourage mastery of microbiological knowledge and foster professional pride and a sense of accomplishment in qualified microbiologists. 

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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Local Volunteers Headed to Haiti on Medical Mission

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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A Sansum Clinic doctor, nurses, a pre-nursing student and church parishioners will provide health care and food for people in Port-au-Prince

On Friday morning, Santa Barbara City College pre-nursing student Billy Spencer has two things on his to-do list.

First, he'll take his final exam for one of his summer courses at the community college. Then he'll drive to the Los Angeles International Airport and board a flight for Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

He'll be with a team of about 15 people, which includes a local Sansum Clinic doctor, going to the country for a week to hold a medical clinic for people in need.

Spencer has been on this trip twice before, and the Santa Barbara resident was invited on the trip in 2012 after his father ended up in the office of Dr. Tom Anderson, who works at Sansum Clinic's Urgent Care facility on Hitchcock Way.

Spencer's dad noticed photos on the wall of Anderson's prior Haiti trips — this year's is his 17th trip there — and told Anderson about his son, who was enrolled in San Marcos High School's Health Careers Academy.

Anderson asked Spencer to come along and help on the trip, which was the then-senior's graduation gift.

Now, Spencer is enrolled in SBCC's pre-nursing program and hopes to start officially in the nursing program next spring. 

He's working as a patient care technician at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and said his dream job is to work as a flight nurse for CalStar.

While in Haiti, he will be working with Anderson to treat patients that come into the clinic, which is being hosted in a downtown Port-au-Prince church.

Several local nurses and other residents will also be going, including Oceanhills Covenant Church Pastor Jon Ireland and members of the church, which is sponsoring the trip.

The group will be staying at Child Hope International, a Christian nonprofit orphanage that has a stateside office in Montecito.

Haiti medical
Billy Spencer checks a patient's blood glucose level during his 2012 trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Billy Spencer courtesy photo)

"A lot of the things we treat are like checking people for high blood pressure, giving them enough medication for a couple of months," Spencer said, adding that people view the medical clinics as a primary care setting.

However, sutures aren't out of the ordinary, and working with the patients is very rewarding, he said. 

"I'm able to help as the doctor needs me," he said. 

The reality of the devastating earthquake that took place there in 2010 still has reverberations in the community, he added.

"It's a one-to-one type interaction," he said. "A lot of them still have pain from injuries they sustained in the earthquake, so hearing their stories is so meaningful." 

Chelsey Jones, who is also going on the trip, is an intern at Child Hope International and has been to Haiti once before.

"There's a lack of consistent health care," she said, adding that she expects long lines of people waiting to see Anderson and his medical team.

Those going on the trip who aren't in the medical field will be operating a feeding program for children across the city.

Jones said she's excited for new members of the team to connect with Haiti's culture and the people.

"The people in Haiti have so much joy and are so grateful," she said.

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

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Ryon Memorial Park in Lompoc Has Gone to the Dogs for Annual Shows

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Four days of competition for canines and their owners continue through Sunday

Huge dogs and their human handlers have invaded Ryon Memorial Park, kicking off the annual specialty and all-breed shows that have earned Lompoc a reputation among the pampered pooch population.

Thursday and Friday are specialty shows for the Western Sighthound Combined Specialties, including Irish wolfhounds, greyhounds, Scottish deerhounds, borzoi and Saluki dogs.

Irish wolfhound owner Jim Williams has been coming to the Lompoc event for 15 years.

“It’s just a fun show," he said. "The whole community takes really good care of us.”

Williams hails from Lincoln, near Sacramento. Another friend came from Riverside. Others traveled from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

“We all kind of convene here,” Williams said.

Williams and Ray Kelley of Riverside are partial to Irish wolfhounds. The men own 1-year-old littermates.

Thursday was set aside for the Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast, with 55 dogs competing Thursday for the 67th show and 66 hitting the rings Friday for the 68th show.

“It’s a beautiful spot,” said Judy Hughes of Escondido, the assistant show chairwoman and a club board member. “They’re always so friendly and welcome us here. It’s just become a tradition for a lot of us.”

Ted Krajniak of Henderson, Nev., brought Merlin, a 3-year-old Irish wolfhound. Krajniak began showing at the Lompoc event in 2008 and has returned every year since.

“It’s a well-known show,” he said.

Washington resident Tricia Wiseman took her black-and-white borzoi dogs for a walk as the afternoon wind ruffled their plush, silky coats. Borzois are also called Russian wolfhounds. Part of the sighthound breed, borzoi dogs are quiet. They were bred to run and hunt, she added.

“They’re very easy to live with,” Wiseman said. “They like to run for five or 10 minutes and then they’re big couch potatoes.”

After the specialty events, Saturday and Sunday will be all-breed shows, with a best of show winner to be named at the end of each day.

The event is organized by the Lompoc Valley Kennel Club, and the shows are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.

Action begins at 8 a.m. and continues into the late afternoon. Admission is free for spectators. Assorted vendors have dog supplies along with food and beverages for sale.

In addition to the shows, lure coursing events are planned for Saturday by the Greyhound Club of America, Scottish Deerhound Club of America and Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast. The trials will let greyhounds, wolfhounds and deerhounds show off their skills at Cabrillo High School in Vandenberg Village.

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

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Letter to the Editor: The Whole Picture on Israel-Hamas Conflict

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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As the war rages on between Israel and Hamas, the world needs to understand what is really happening.

In past years, Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon (May 2000), Gaza (September 2005) and Sinai (by 1982), all previously "occupied territory" in order to bring about peace. Unfortunately, in each case the newly acquired territories became bases for new jihad attacks against the Jewish State. Israel reached a tipping point with the killing of three teenagers, and thus today's war.

Why the attacks against Israel? Simply put: "The war against Israel is a jihad for the sake of Islam, and the goal is the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews."

Today, Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is dedicated to destroying Israel and will not negotiate for peace. This violent group conducts suicide bombings, launches thousands of rockets at Israel, and has constructed a labyrinth of elaborate tunnels where Hamas military commanders hide and use as their bases for rocket launchings and incursions into Israel. Hamas' political chief, Khaled Mashaal, lives in luxuriously in Qatar and proclaims Hamas will never accept a cease-fire or Israel's right to exist.

In 1997, the United States officially recognized Hamas as a terrorist organization. So why is our government sending money to the Palestinian government, which includes Hamas?

Other terrorist groups are also attacking Israel. Rockets have been launched from Syria, Lebanon and Sinai, and Iran is providing financial support and weapons. All the different terrorist groups have shared ideology. It is OK to kill civilians for the sake of implementing Sharia law and defeating Western influence. After Israel, the U.S. is next on their list.

How is the world reacting to this war? Shamefully. There are riots in Paris, newspapers are blaming Israel, and worldwide anti-Semitic bias is rearing its ugly head, especially in the United Nations. Shockingly, the U.N., driven by Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has covertly supported and supplied the jihad and allowed weapons to be stockpiled in Gaza schools. Even President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have scolded Israel.

It is time for the world to take off the blinders. Israel is fighting for its survival, and we are all in the crosshairs of this violent ideology.

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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Autopsy ‘Inconclusive’ for Lompoc Woman Found Dead in Orange County

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Authorities are investigating the death of a Lompoc woman whose body was found early Monday in an Orange County community and are seeking information about her missing vehicle.

Emma Posadas Espinoza
Emma Posadas Espinoza

The body of Emma Posadas Espinoza, 58, of Lompoc was found in the 900 block of South Idaho Street in the city of La Habra, according to the La Habra Police Department.

“The results of the autopsy were inconclusive and a cause of death was not determined at this time,” police said in a news release. “Further investigation is being conducted by the coroner’s office to determine the cause of death.”

A man called the department at 4:30 a.m. Monday to report finding the dead body, police said..

When officers arrived, the man pointed out the body in some foliage behind one of the carports.

He told police his dog had alerted on something during a walk in the area Friday, but he didn’t check it out at the time. When the dog again alerted something on Monday, the man investigated and spotted the body, which was covered with foilage.

Only the feet and a limited portion of the body appeared to be uncovered, according to police.

She was believed to be driving a white 2013 Acura ILX four-door sedan with a license plate of 7EDU04.

“The vehicle has not been located, and we are asking the public for assistance with any information which may help our investigation,” police said in a news release.

Central Coast residents who knew the Lompoc woman began remembering her on social media, where one post called her “the most kind and gentle person I have ever met. A truly caring, loving and healing soul."

Anyone with information about the case can call 9-1-1, the La Habra Police Department hotline at 562.383.4358 or Crime Stoppers OC at 800.TIP.OCCS.

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

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Jules Hain, Marie Schlueter Honored as Lompoc Valley’s Man and Woman of the Year

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Bumatay Jewelers, Heather Bedford and D'Vine Wine Bar & Bistro are also recognized at the Chamber of Commerce's annual awards banquet

A woman who remains an active volunteer at age 92 and a grocery store manager who helped start a community kitchen have been recognized as the Lompoc Valley’s top citizens of the year.

Marie Schlueter was named Woman of the Year while Jules Hain was named Man of the Year during the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet Wednesday night  in Vandenberg Village.

“Very worthy winners and a great testament to all they've done for our community for many years,” Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Ken Ostini said. “As they both stated at the presentation, it’s about their love for the Lompoc Valley and helping make it a better place to live.”

Additionally, Bumatay Jewelers was given the 2014 Small Business Excellence Award, and Heather Bedford was recognized as the chamber's Volunteer of the Year.

The Lompoc Economic Development Committee also presented the Economic Vitality Award to D'Vine Wine Bar & Bistro during the event.

Schlueter remains an active docent at La Purisima Mission, serves as the outreach chairwoman conducting tours for local and visiting school children, cares for the Mission animals, and provides outreach for local schools, parades and special communitywide events.

In fact, the morning after receiving her award, Schlueter was at the Mission caring for the animals.

She also is an active docent at the Lompoc Museum, where she has served for more than 20 years, “happily training new docents, leading children’s tours, sharing knowledge of the Chumash Indians and supporting special events and filling in wherever needed and accepting any challenge presented to her,” chamber officials noted.

Schlueter has lived in Lompoc for more than 30 years and has been active in her church in several roles, including as deacon, usher, greets and more.

She is a volunteer at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, working two hours a week and supporting various events to raise money for hospital foundation.

Schlueter earned her private pilot’s license and worked at Douglas Aircraft before World War II and married Harry, her husband of 73 years, one week before the war.

She was a ski patrol member until age 65 and gave up skiing at age 80. She still golfs — when she isn’t busy volunteering for community projects.

She and her husband have two daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The Man of Year has deep roots in the Lompoc Valley, having been born and grown up there.

Hain began working at the Central Coast-based Williams Bros. Market at age 18 as a box boy and climbed the career ladder to eventually be promoted to store manager of Lompoc’s Vons, the successor to Williams Bros.

Chamber officials noted that Hain “over the years has supported with compassion and without fanfare several dozen local businesses, nonprofits, schools, churches, families and children in need and community-wide special events through donation of foodstuffs, merchandise manpower and funds.”

Specifically, Hain assisted with the establishment of the La Purisima Community Kitchen and served food to the homeless alongside his family. He continues to support the program with donations of food.

The store manager has assisted in apprehending shoplifters “who he counseled and ultimately employed at this store,” chamber officials noted.

Hain, who provides his personal time and energy to help local events, “is highly respected throughout the community for his compassionate support for those who are less fortunate and the organizations that serve them,” according to the resolution recognizing him.

He is a husband, father and grandfather, chamber officials said.

Also at the dinner, the city’s Economic Development Committee issued its first Economic Vitality Award to recognize local businesses launching Lompoc into the 21st century. Monthly EVA winners have been named since March, and the committee presented D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro the first of what the members intend to be an annual award.

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

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Santa Barbara Bed Tax on Upswing with Record Tourism Revenue

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Santa Barbara's tourism industry posted its highest numbers in city history last year, revealing that more people are visiting the area and contributing more cash to city coffers.

The fiscal year that ended June 30 posted its highest numbers to date, with $16.82 million in transient occupancy tax, or TOT, coming into the treasury. 

The city's TOT is also known as the bed tax, which is charged by local hoteliers as visitors stay in their accommodations.

The city reached and exceeded its pre-recession levels in 2012, according to city treasury manager Genie Wilson.

In June, the city collected $1.67 million in TOT, a 7.9 percent increase from June 2013, according to a statement issued this week from the city's treasury.

The city said the increase is below the growth rates realized most of the year, which might be due to the fact that there was one fewer weekend day this year than last year. 

Over the past year, the city has collected $16.82 million in TOT, a 14.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Santa Barbara County's South Coast also saw a 7.4 percent increase in the average daily rate and a 3.45 percent increase in occupancy over the last year, according to Visit Santa Barbara, a group that promotes tourism in the area.

“As a post-recession economic driver, tourism has returned with notable force,” Visit Santa Barbara's Kathy Janega-Dykes said in a statement.

People are traveling again and coming to the South Coast, she said, adding that the group is continuing to work to market aggressively to people planning trips.

The tourism industry on the South Coast generates $1.5 billion in visitor-related spending annually and supports 12,000 jobs, according to Visit Santa Barbara. 

The organization maintains they've helped more than double the amount of lodging generated revenue in the area from $28 million in 2010-11 to a projected $59 million in 2013-14.

The group's programs expanded over the past three years with funding from a Tourism Business Improvement District, or TBID, which will help the organization invest in a new advertising campaign and brand identity. 

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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Youth Bands to Bring Music, Fun to Free Meal Program at Chase Palm Park

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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On Friday, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson will be joining over 400 children at the annual Food4Kids Summer Concert Series at summer meal sites throughout the county where children are receiving free, healthy meals.

This is the third of four concerts this summer, adding even more fun and community spirit to these popular and much-needed summer meal programs.

Friday’s “Summer Fun Hawaiian Hoopla” at Chase Palm Park, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., is part of the City of Santa Barbara’s Summer Fun Program — a full-day eight-week program that provides a nutritious breakfast and lunch for over 800 children. Two of Santa Barbara’s most popular youth bands, Awkward and Pernicious Nonsense, will perform, while the kids eat and enjoy games and carousel rides.

Summer should be a time of carefree fun, but it is also when hunger is the most challenging for the nearly 22,000 food insecure kids in our county. With a campaign called Food4Kids, partners throughout the county, including the City of Santa Barbara, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and CAC, are working together to increase participation in the 32 places where children can drop in to enjoy a meal. No Kid Hungry’s national spokesman, Jeff Bridges, who lives in Santa Barbara with his family, has spearheaded the effort.

To make it easier to find out where summer meals are served, families throughout the county can text Food4Kids to 877.877 to find a summer meals site in their neighborhood. The texting program is sponsored by the Arby’s Foundation. The next concert will be Aug. 8 at Monroe Elementary.

"Summer is the hardest time for kids in need, when school is out, and their main source of meals is gone," Bridges said. "We need to make sure the children of Santa Barbara County have the nutritious food they need. The great kids in these bands are doing their part to help all kids have a healthy, happy summer."

— Laura Burton Capps represents Food4Kids.

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Santa Barbara Couple Arrested on Drug, Child Endangerment Charges

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Two people were arrested Wednesday after Santa Barbara police said they discovered methamphetamine and an assault weapon in the couple's Mesa home, all within reach of their 9-year-old son.

Armando Arrayga
Armando Arrayga

Armando Arrayga, 27, was arrested on charges of transportation and possession of methamphetamine for sale and child endangerment, and his wife, Jessica Jasmin Arrayga, 25, was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine for sale and child endangerment, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

After reviewing the case, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office also filed a charge of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony against the couple, along with enhancements for possession of over 28.5 grams of methamphetamine for sale and for the commission of narcotics offenses within 1,000 feet of a school.

The two are married with a 9-year-old son and reside in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara narcotics detectives had been investigating the involvement of the Arraygas in the sale of methamphetamine and obtained search warrants on July 18 for their residence in the 300 block of Loma Alta Drive and their vehicle, Harwood said.

On July 23, detectives observed Armando Arrayga driving his wife and child in their car in the 400 block of West Junipero Street and contacted them. 

Their vehicle was searched, and police said they found 5.2 grams of methamphetamine contained in eight small baggies.

A search warrant was also executed at their home, where police found an additional 133.5 grams of methamphetamine, a scale, a California compliant AR-15 rifle with two loaded 10-round magazines and more than $1,400 in cash, Harwood said.

Jessica Jasmin Arrayga
Jessica Jasmin Arrayga

"The drugs were located on top of a dresser in a room all three family members share and accessible to the Arraygas’ son," he said, adding that the methamphetamine, if ingested, could cause death. 

The total value of the methamphetamine seized was estimated at $2,000.

Both people were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail with bail amounts of $100,000. 

At the time of their arrest, the Arraygas’ son was left in the care of a grandparent, and Harwood said Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services would be notified.

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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David Harsanyi: Are Teachers Underpaid? Let’s Find Out

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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A teacher in South Dakota with a bachelor's degree and 10 years of experience earns $33,600 per year, which is less than the average auto repair worker. This grievance against salary injustice is nothing new, of course, but this particular example comes to us from a new national study by the Center for American Progress, which details the chicken feed teachers are forced to subsist on as they altruistically keep your hopeless children literate.

Teachers are underpaid. In politics and also in everyday life, this is almost universally accepted. Everyone admires teachers. Everyone wants good teachers for their children. And naturally, liberals believe that contrasting these salaries will emphasize the irrationality and unfairness of the marketplace.

But it doesn't. And the first and most obvious reason it doesn't is that teachers actually do quite well for themselves when you consider the economic realities of their profession.

A 2012 study conducted by The Heritage Foundation found that workers who switched from private employment to teaching most often took an hourly pay increase, whereas most of those who left teaching for the private sector took pay decreases. More specifically, a few years back, using Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Compensation Survey numbers, the Manhattan Institute looked at the hourly pay of public-school teachers in the top 66 metropolitan areas in the country. It found that teachers pulled in about $34.06 per hour. Journalists, who have the vital job of protecting American democracy, earned 24 percent less. Architects, 11 percent less. Psychologists, 9 percent less. Chemists, 5 percent less.

It's also worth asking what an average auto mechanic might be willing to give up for the security of tenure. What would a guaranteed pension and a lifetime of health care be worth to a plumber? Considering how hard unions fight to keep these things, I imagine they're worth quite a bit.

Then there is the matter of demand — or lack of it.

According to Andrew Coulson at the Cato Institute, since 1970 the public-school workforce has roughly doubled, from 3.3 million to 6.4 million (predominately teachers), while over the same period, the enrollment of children rose by only 8.5 percent — or a rate that was 11 times slower. Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality found that schools are training twice as many elementary-school teachers as they need every year.

With this kind of surplus, the question we really should be asking is: How are teachers' salaries so high?

The second and less obvious problem with the mechanic-teacher comparison is the snobbish suggestion — thrown around by teachers unions and their allies all the time — that working with your hands is less meaningful or valuable to society than working with kids.

Now auto technicians make an average of $35,790 nationally, with 10 percent of them earning more than $59,590, according to BLS data. According to a number of experts from large car companies, there will be a serious shortage of mechanics in the near future, as demand is expected to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. That's 848,200 jobs, according to USA Today. And judging from the information, mechanics are asked to learn increasingly high-tech skills to be effective at their jobs. It wouldn't be surprising if their salaries soon outpaced those of teachers.

"The bottom line," says the Center for American Progress, "is that mid- and late-career teachers are not earning what they deserve, nor are they able to gain the salaries that support a middle-class existence."

Alas, neither liberal think tanks nor explainer sites have the capacity to determine the worth of human capital. And contrasting the pay of a person who has a predetermined government salary with the pay earned by someone in a competitive marketplace tells us little. Public-school teachers' compensation is determined by contracts negotiated long before many of them even decided to teach. These contracts hurt the earning potential of good teachers and undermine the education system. And it has nothing to do with what anyone "deserves."

So if teachers believe they aren't making what they're worth — and they may well be right about that — let's free them from union constraints and let them find out what the job market has to offer. Until then, we can't really know. Because a bachelor's degree isn't a dispensation from the vagaries of economic reality. And teaching isn't the first step toward sainthood. Regardless of what you've heard.

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

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Alicia Bramble Hired as Asset Manager at Peoples’ Self-Help Housing

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Alicia Bramble has been hired as asset manager for Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

Alicia Bramble
Alicia Bramble

Recently announced by President/CEO John Fowler, Bramble will be replacing Eric Michielssen. However, Michielssen’s longtime service and commitment will continue with PSHH, helping transition the role to Bramble by transferring his institutional knowledge and contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Before coming to PSHH, Bramble was asset/regional manager at National Community Renaissance in Rancho Cucamonga. She was also the associate asset manager at Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles, which provided permanent supportive housing for the homeless in Skid Row.

Bramble holds a degree in sociology from San Diego State University. She earned accreditation as a specialist in housing credit management and as a tax credit specialist. She has also volunteered with United Way at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles where she assisted housing choice voucher recipients with their applications and annual recertification processes.

“Alicia’s impressive work within the affordable housing community in Southern California lends itself to the mission of Peoples’,” Fowler said. “I am confident that she will support the organization’s continued success and long history.”

Fowler adds that some of Brambles’ duties will include real estate property insurance, refinancing, capital needs assessments, and reviewing policies and procedures.

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

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

Click here for more information on Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

— Rochelle Rose is the fund development director for Peoples' Self-Help Housing.

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Spay or Neuter Your Pet at Half the Cost During ‘It’s Hip to Snip 2014’

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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The first 300 dogs or cats to sign up in the month of August will receive half off participating organizations’ already affordable surgery prices. “It’s Hip to Snip 2014” is available to Santa Barbara County residents only.

Pet owners should call one of the following organizations to schedule an appointment:

» Santa Barbara County Animal Services, Santa Maria Animal Center, at 805.934.6968

» Santa Maria Valley Humane Society at 805.349.3435

» Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society at 805.688.8224

It’s Hip to Snip 2014 will benefit your pet’s health, lifespan and reduce dog licensing fees for the life of your dog. By spaying/neutering your pets, it will significantly reduce the risk of mammary and testicular cancer. Help be a part of the solution and keep your pets healthy longer.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society, the Santa Barbara Humane Society, C.A.R.E.4Paws, DAWG, VIVA and the Santa Barbara County Animal Care Foundation are part of the Responsible Pet Ownership Alliance, a coalition of Santa Barbara County animal welfare agencies, shelters and nonprofit organizations working collaboratively to promote responsible pet ownership and ensure that affordable spay/neuter services are available countywide.

Spread the word to family and friends about It’s Hip to Snip 2014. Make an appointment today to get your dog or cat spayed and neutered and take advantage of a great savings and health benefits for your animal!

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Outdoors Q&A: Protecting Wildlife via Highway Fences

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Q: I have been hunting deer and elk out of state for years. Every western state I have hunted has installed game fencing adjacent to highways where big game frequents and/or migrates. Why in the heck doesn’t California do this? I live in Grass Valley and Interstate Highway 49 is always being widened, but never does the work include game fencing or game “underpasses.” I have never seen or read any information coming from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife recommending game fencing along California highways. (Sven O.)

A: We do install game fencing but don’t do it everywhere. Because game fences are expensive, they are primarily installed just along the major migration routes. If designed incorrectly, they can do much more damage than good. Keep in mind that California has more than 2.3 million miles of paved road and it would be impossible to fence all of that no matter how much funding we had available.

According to CDFW Game Program manager Craig Stowers, CDFW has instead focused primarily on routes that migratory deer move through as they are highly traditional and tend to move through the same areas year after year. Then once we identify where those areas are (mostly by finding road kills, but we can also identify through tracks in the snow and/or telemetry data), we work with CalTrans to mitigate those losses. CDFW has found lots of traditional migratory route areas in the state.

Some good examples of this kind of game fencing work include the miles of fencing and under crossings on I-395 from Bordertown up to the Inspection Station just south of the intersection of 395/89, fencing and undercrossings on I-395 in the Bass Hill Wildlife Area just south of Susanville, the work done in the Loyalton-Truckee deer herd area and the work we completed last year in the I-280 area (in conjunction with Caltrans and UC Davis). Our job on that one was simply to catch the deer, which we did. Caltrans engineers and wildlife experts from UC Davis analyzed the movement data of those deer in an effort to modify roadside fencing and existing undercrossings to cut down the number of deer hit on I-280. Regardless of location, it is a very expensive and time-consuming effort, not only to determine where to install the fencing and/or undercrossings, but also to build them.

Underwater Camera to Find Trout?

Q: Is it legal to use an underwater camera to look for trout that may be hiding underneath the creek/river bank? Does it matter if it’s used while engaged in the actual activity of trout fishing or when not in possession of a fishing pole? (Jim B., Elk Grove)

A: An electronic viewing device, such as an underwater camera, would be legal but a non-electronic viewing device (such as goggles, scuba mask, etc.), would be prohibited for taking fish (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 2.09). There’s an exception, though, under the provisions of spearfishing (CCR Title 14, section 2.30).

Keeping a Skunk for a Pet?

Q: I live in Alameda and want to know if it is legal for me to keep a pet skunk? We will, of course, have the stink glands removed for obvious reasons. (Beatrice V.)

A: No. Wildlife must remain wild and cannot be owned. Generally, animals found in the wild in California can never be kept as pets. Only people who qualify for a restricted species permit may possess wild animals, like skunks. Keeping wildlife is prohibited by Fish and Game laws (CCR title 14, section 671) and California health laws due to a high incidence of rabies in skunks in California. All wildlife, even skunks, belong to the citizens of California and cannot be held, domesticated … or have their scent glands surgically removed!

Trolling for Salmon?

Q: This last weekend while fishing/trolling with my husband for salmon, we had three fish on board and needed one more for the two of us to have limits. My question is, do we need to fish/troll with just one rod as one of us has a limit, or may we fish with two rods until we catch one more fish? (Donna S.)

A: You can use two rods until you catch your final fish because boat limits apply in ocean waters. Boat limits are defined as: “When two or more persons that are licensed or otherwise authorized to sport fish in ocean waters … are angling for finfish aboard a vessel … fishing by all authorized persons aboard may continue until boat limits of finfish are taken and possessed aboard the vessel” (CCR Title 14, section 27.60(c)).

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Police Issue 144 Citations During Two-Day Crosswalk Enforcement Operation in Santa Barbara, Goleta

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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The Goleta Police Department, along with the Santa Barbara Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, cited a total of 144 drivers for not yielding to pedestrians during a two-day enforcement operation in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and Goleta on Wednesday.

One driver was arrested for driving under the influence, and two cars were towed for drivers operating their vehicles with a suspended license.

Of the 144 citations issued during the two-day pedestrian crosswalk sting, 65 were in Goleta. A deputy dressed in plain clothes from the Goleta Traffic Unit and several civilian volunteers utilized the crosswalk while uniformed motorcycle deputies watched for motorists who did not yield the right of way to the pedestrians when they were well into the crosswalk.

The enforcement period was held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday to target lunchtime traffic at several locations throughout Goleta. The locations were chosen based on the volume of vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, citizen complaints and documented injury collisions. All of the locations selected had a marked crosswalk but no traffic signal. The locations included Cathedral Oaks and Santa Marguerita Drive, Orange Avenue at Hollister Avenue, Hollister Avenue at Chapel Street and the 5700 block of Hollister Avenue in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The fine for this violation can be up to $175. Drivers are prohibited from passing a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. This offense is especially dangerous because pedestrians are all too often lulled into a false sense of security when a vehicle stops for them. The fine for this violation is approximately $400.

Additional crosswalk enforcement will be conducted in the future. The Sheriff’s Department and City of Goleta hope by conducting and publicizing these operations on a regular basis, motorists will be more attentive and will look for pedestrians.

“While we did issue 65 citations in Goleta, the majority of the motorists observed during this operation properly and safely yielded to pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Sgt. Bill Henebry, the Goleta Traffic Unit supervisor.

Goleta Public Safety Director Vyto Adomaitis said, “By using enforcement operations, we can continue to educate the public on safe driving techniques. Our police department has done an outstanding job in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

The City of Goleta contracts with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for police services.

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

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Randi Rabin: Sons’ Aggressive Play Turns Violent; Father of 3 Seeks Help with Drug-Addicted Wife

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Dear Feelings Doctor: I have two sons, ages 11 and 9. They are always wrestling and being active boys. Lately, I have had to take my youngest to the emergency room twice in the same month. I know that this may seem normal, but it is so upsetting to me. My husband says that they are just being boys!

— Help! in Goleta

Dear Help: Boys will always wrestle and be active. There could be a mutual affray, which happens when children close in age are playing too rough. That doesn’t sound like what is happening here.

The problem is when your boys cross over that line of aggressive play to violence. Sit down with your children and be very clear that hurting another person is not OK. I do understand that accidents will happen. The healthy part of playing does not have to include going to the hospital. Have this discussion with your husband, too, so everyone knows exactly what is expected around this issue. Playing with the intent of discovery and fun is normal; playing or wrestling to inflict pain is not appropriate.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I have been married for 18 years, and for the last two years my wife has been hanging out with the wrong people. I found out my wife was doing drugs. I had found some cut-up straws in the bathroom, and I figured she was doing something she shouldn't have. I am against drugs.

One day she got caught stealing a credit card. The first time, we talked about it; then she did it again, but this time it was from a grocery store. She spent 90 days in jail.

I wanted to leave her, but I had to be strong for my three boys. She told me she was going to change, but I don't see any changes. My boys have a lot of hurt in them because when she got arrested it was in front of them.

Please help me with this issue. In the back of my mind, something tells me to leave, but I can't because I have my boys to take care of.

— Dad in Santa Barbara

Dear Dad: This is a sad thing for you and your boys to witness, and you are right, you need to be strong for them. Your wife seems to have a problem, and if she doesn’t get help, this type of lifestyle will bring you and your family down again and again.

You do not have to leave your boys, but you do have a voice in requesting that your wife leave and get help. Being in jail for 90 days hopefully was an eye-opener for her. If not, and she continues her addictive behavior with no positive changes, request that she be the one to leave, and return only when she is healthy and clean, working a program of sobriety.

Your boys are trusting that you will keep them safe. It sounds like that is just what you want to do. Feel free to write me again when you need to. We will keep discussing healthy, positive choices for you and your family. Good luck.

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

                                                                        •        •

Imagine This ...

You cannot spend five minutes in the morning affirming that all is well and spend the rest of the day proving that it is not. — Ernest Holmes

— 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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Global Wildlife Decline Demands New Conservation Approach

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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In the 19th century, some scholars say the near-extinction of the American bison led to the near-collapse of midwestern Native American cultures. That other civilizations have been affected in similar ways demonstrates the deep interconnectedness between the health of a society and the health of its wildlife.

In a paper appearing today in the journal Science, an interdisciplinary team of researchers that includes UC Santa Barbara’s Douglas McCauley examines how wildlife decline can result in loss of food and employment, which in turn engenders increased crime and fosters political instability.

“These links are poorly recognized by many environmental leaders,” said McCauley, an assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, who offers other examples of this correlation. “The population crash of cod caused the disintegration of centuries-old coastal communities in Canada and cost billions of dollars in relief aid. The collapse of fisheries in Somalia contributed to explosions in local and international maritime violence.”

According to lead author Justin Brashares, associate professor of ecology and conservation in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, the effects of global wildlife declines drive violent conflicts, organized crime and even child labor, necessitating a far greater collaboration with disciplines beyond conservation biology.

“Impoverished families rely upon wildlife resources for their livelihoods,” he said. “We can’t apply economic models that prescribe increases in prices or reduced demand as supplies become scarce. Instead, more labor is required to capture scarce wild animals and fish, and children are a major source of cheap labor. Hundreds of thousands of impoverished families are selling their kids to work in harsh conditions.”

The paper connects the dots between the rise of piracy and maritime violence in Somalia to battles over fishing rights. What began as an effort to repel foreign vessels illegally trawling in Somali waters escalated into hijacking fishing and then nonfishing vessels for ransom.

The authors compare wildlife poaching to the drug trade, noting that huge profits from the trafficking of luxury wildlife goods such as elephant tusks and rhino horns have attracted guerilla groups and crime syndicates worldwide. They point to the Lord’s Resistance Army, al-Shabab and Boko Haram as groups known to use wildlife poaching to fund terrorist attacks.

McCauley and his colleagues note that solving the problem of wildlife trafficking is every bit as complex as slowing drug trafficking and will require a multi-pronged approach.

“What we don’t want to do is simply start a war on poachers that copies methods being used without great success in our war on drugs,” said McCauley, who began this work as a postdoctoral researcher in Brashares’ lab.

The report stresses the hopefulness of addressing the problems of wildlife loss.

“Fixing social problems that stem from a scarcity of wildlife is different — and fundamentally more hopeful — than fixing social problems that arise from other types of natural resource scarcity,” McCauley said. “With money and good politics we can breed more rhino, but we can’t make more diamonds or oil.”

As potential models for an integrated approach, the researchers point to organizations and initiatives in the field of climate change, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United for Wildlife Collaboration. But they note that those global efforts must also be accompanied by multidisciplinary programs that address wildlife declines at local and regional levels.

As examples, they cite local governments in Fiji and Namibia that head off social tension in their respective countries by granting exclusive rights to hunting and fishing grounds and by using management zones to reduce poaching and improve the livelihoods of local populations.

“This prescribed revisioning of why we should conserve wildlife helps make clearer what the stakes are in this game,” McCauley said. “Losses of wildlife essentially pull the rug out from underneath societies that depend on these resources. We are not just losing species; we are losing children, breaking apart communities and fostering crime. This makes wildlife conservation a more important job than it ever has been.”

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Casa del Herrero Inspires Works by Local Artists for Just Plein Air Fundraiser

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Paintings in the form of oil, watercolor and pastel capture the beauty and history of the Montecito property

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The captivating grounds of Casa del Herrero in Montecito were recently opened to the public for Just Plein Air, one of the two big annual fundraisers held annually at the legendary location.

“We only do a few events each year at the Casa because we’re in a residential community, so we try to make the very most out of them and this is the fourth art event that we’ve had,” said Casa del Herrero Executive Director Molly Barker, who has worked with the organization since 2006.

Artworks capturing specific areas of Casa del Herrero were presented by 14 artists in the forms of oil, watercolor and pastel for bid around the gardens, surrounded by orchards and wooded areas and designed by landscape architects Ralph Stevens, Lockwood de Forest and Francis Underhill.

“We are so pleased to be able to welcome the community to this inspiring event,” Barker said. “We are very fortunate to have so many talented artists showing their work, which truly does document the rich architectural and natural history of Casa del Herrero and other significant locations throughout the area.”

A limited group of 150 guests enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon while sipping on libations and enjoying hors d’oeuvres while serenaded by the flamenco guitar sounds of Chris Fossek — whose mother, Priscilla, was one of the participating artists featured at the event.

The classic George Washington Smith estate was built in 1925 for George and Carrie Steedman on 11 acres and features Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, lush and gorgeous gardens and a collection of 13th- through 19th-century Spanish furniture. Guests were led by docents throughout the grounds and home during the event to peruse this one-of-a-kind experience, and were also able to direct questions to the artists about their works and the sites chosen to capture in art.

The Steedmans moved into the house on the day of Santa Barbara’s 1925 earthquake, when much of State Street and the business district were destroyed.

George Steedman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in engineering and was president of Curtis & Co. in 1915, when the company was awarded an ammunition contract from the British government, and Steedman designed a plant that was able to double production.

In 2009, the property was designated a National Historic Landmark — the most prestigious historical designation in the United States — and the estate is one of the best preserved and historically significant examples of 1920s Montecito estates.

The Plein Air artist’s work helps provide an expression of this important moment in time.

“Kind of the theme of the event, the background of it, is that we consider artists preservationists just like we’re preservationists," Barker said. "They capture places in time and preserve it in that way. And our job is to keep this place as close to its original beauty as possible."

Casa del Herrero, House of the Blacksmith, is a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the house, grounds and collection of antiques, books, drawings horticultural records for public viewing with advance reservations and during select events.

Barker shared with Noozhawk the impact of the ongoing preservationist efforts and costs to maintain the property.

“I think everyone can relate to how much a house costs, period. But then to have an old house is another thing," she said. "We have a 90-year-old house. It’s actually built out of antiques — a lot of the shutters, the tiles and so forth you see are all antiques.

“For simply operating costs, we are at about $600,000 a year, but that is truly not enough because unfortunately with a house this old there’s deferred maintenance. It kind of happens to us all, we kind of tend to put this off. Well, we can’t afford to put anything off.”

Support for Casa del Herrero provides critical funding to maintain, preserve and restore the property and grounds. Membership levels begin at $50 for an individual with two guest passes, including a Patron level at $500 and up to the Director’s Circle of the Casa Society for contributions between $2,500 to $5,000 with benefits such as access to one private daytime or evening loggia for 12 guests.

“It’s always important for us to increase our presence in the community to increase our membership levels, to make friends who are willing to give us extra support,” Barker said. 

Artists for the 2014 event included Meredith Brooks Abbott, Whitney Brooks Abbott, Chris Chapman, Nancy Davidson, James Dow, Priscilla Fossek, Rick Garcia, Wyllis Heaton, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Ann Sanders, Richard Schloss, Frank Serrano and Ralph Waterhouse.

“It is such an honor to show my pieces at this extraordinary event, at this extraordinary venue,” Garcia said. “I truly believe that our paintings in some way help to preserve these places for future generations and document how they change — even in the smallest detail — over time.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz

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UCSB Professor Pleads No Contest to Misdemeanor Charges

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor charges — including battery — related to a confrontation she had with an anti-abortion group on campus in March.

Anger management classes could likely be part of the punishment for Mireille Miller-Young, who switched her plea in Santa Barbara County Superior Court this week and will be formally sentenced Aug. 14, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Miller-Young faced charges of grand theft from a person, battery and vandalism based on the March 4 incident, during which prosecutors allege the professor took a protestor’s sign, committed battery on another protester, and then destroyed the sign.

She originally pleaded not guilty in April.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen, who prosecuted the case, said Miller-Young was not offered a plea deal in the case and would receive whatever sentence the judge hands down.

Zonen said it would likely include an anger management component, a restitution fine and community service — not jail time — since Miller-Young has an otherwise clean record.

"It's whatever the judge feels is the appropriate sentence," he said.

Details about the incident were made public by the Christian anti-abortion group involved in the confrontation, which posted a copy of a UCSB Police report on its website.

The altercation occurred as Miller-Young walked through the Arbor near Davidson Library to her office in South Hall, according to the report posted by Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.

Miller-Young told police she was “triggered” by the graphic images of fetuses on posters displayed by the group, whose members approached her with literature about abortion.

The professor told police she found the literature and pictures “disturbing” and “offensive” because she teaches reproduction rights and because she was pregnant at the time.

The report says Miller-Young demanded the images be taken down as a crowd of students gathered, and she then grabbed a sign from a girl’s hands.

One of the girls from the anti-abortion group chronicled the experience in a blog post, which included pictures of scratches allegedly left on her arm by Miller-Young.

Miller-Young has been a faculty member at UCSB since 2005 and did some postdoctoral work there before that.

She will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 14 in Department 2 of Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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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Letter to the Editor: Graffiti Along Highway 101 a Disgrace

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Dear City of Santa Barbara,

Have you never heard of infrared game cameras? Recent tagging along Highway 101 is repulsive.

I can't believe you can't get a grip on this issue. It's on the center dividers, and it's on walls and fences lining the freeway.

I am a fifth-generation local who commutes to work from Goleta to Carpinteria every day, and seeing this ugly graffiti along my early morning and afternoon drives is so depressing.

Lisa Eggers
Santa Barbara

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Tina Fanucchi-Frontado: Hospice of Santa Barbara Honors Latino Grief Process, Traditions

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Latinos in the United States represent a wide variety of cultures. In the Santa Barbara community, Mexican heritage is the most predominant. Someone may wonder why, other than language, Latino programs would differ from other Hospice of Santa Barbara approaches. Well, in many respects they don’t, but as hospice practitioners our counseling and support services must take into consideration the cultural and religious differences in all communities.

Tina Fanucchi-Frontado
Tina Fanucchi-Frontado

Here are some general attributes to grieving that may exemplify the Latino grief and death experience:

» In many Latino cultures, the entire family is involved in making important life decisions, and there can be a strict family hierarchy that should be honored.

» Traditionally, status is ordered from the older to the younger family members, and from males to females.

» Latino males can be less likely to express their emotions and grief.

» Many Latinos embrace religion and spirituality, as well as a belief in the spiritual and psychological continuity between the living and the dead.

» As part of that spirituality, the family may continue a relationship with the deceased person after death through prayer and visits to the gravesite.

» Most Mexican-Americans are Catholic and consider the funeral an important tradition. Services are heavily attended and led by Catholic priests who honor the recently departed. In many communities, the wake is usually held at the family’s home, where loved ones come to strengthen ties and pay respects to the deceased.

» Children are socialized at a young age to accept death as part of life.

» Family members bring candles to church and light them at the altar following the death of a loved one (and often for years to come).

» Although Mexican-Americans embrace death, it is important for them to say goodbye to loved ones with elaborate funerals and long periods of mourning.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is here to care for everyone in the community coping with loss. Our Latino Family Services offer free counseling, support groups and education to help Spanish (and English) speaking adults, teens and children who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one.

To date this year, Hospice of Santa Barbara has served 215 monolingual Spanish-speaking families in our community. With community support, HSB services to the Latino community will continue to grow with each passing year.

On July 10, Hospice of Santa Barbara celebrated its fourth annual Dia de las Comidas in support of its Latino Family Services. Once again, this event was possible thanks to the generosity of Carlos Lopez-Hollis and family.

The Lopez-Hollis family donated a significant portion of the day’s proceeds to Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Latino Family Services from their three restaurants: Cava Restaurant & Bar in Montecito, Carlitos Café y Cantina in Santa Barbara and Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Santa Ynez.

We thank them from the bottom of our hearts and our stomachs!

— Tina Fanucchi-Frontado is the interim chief executive officer for Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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Art for the Masses: NEH Fellowship Enables UCSB Art Historian to Study Capitoline Museum in Rome

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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In 1734, almost 60 years before the Louvre made its debut in Paris, the Museo Capitolino (Capitoline Museum) opened in Rome. Established under Pope Clement XII, it was the first public art museum of international importance and served as the model for such institutions as we know them today.

Carole Paul
Carole Paul (Spencer Bruttig photo)

How the Capitoline came to be — and how it managed to beat the Louvre by more than half a century — is a question being asked and answered by UC Santa Barbara’s Carole Paul. She recently received a prestigious fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will support a book project on the Capitoline Museum as the archetype of the modern public art museum.

“The book will be about the unrecognized importance of this museum and how it changes our perceptions of the history of public art museums,” she explained.

Misunderstanding the history of these early institutions, she added, impacts the way we view museums today and consider what they should be in the future.

“The widespread notion that the first public art museum was the Louvre, which opened in 1793, conveniently associates the moment of origin with the French Revolution,” said Paul, a lecturer in UCSB’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. “But it simply is not true.”

According to Paul, public art museums began to spring up all over Europe, especially in Italy (the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one example), earlier in the 18th century, which places the Louvre farther back in line rather than front and center, as she has shown in a book she recently edited, The First Modern Museums of Art (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012).

“This revision is important because it displaces the motivation for the emergence of this new type of institution from revolutionary politics onto other factors, such as the internationalization of Enlightenment values and the growth of cultural tourism. There was a long tradition in Rome in the 18th century of private collections that became sort of semi-public museums,” Paul said.

One of the most important, she noted, is the collection of the Borghese family, now at Villa Borghese, about which she has written two books and curated an exhibition at the Getty Research Institute.

“Many elite families had these collections,” she continued. “They were among the premier sights for aristocratic European travelers on the Grand Tour, who went to Rome expressly to visit them.”

In the 1770s, Paul said, the wealthy Borghese family of Rome converted their suburban villa on the Pincian Hill into a space specifically designed to display their collection of ancient and early modern sculpture.

“The spectacular redecoration of the rooms, together with the reinstallation of the collection, had the intended effect of turning the villa into one of the most admired and frequently visited attractions for foreign travelers on the Grand Tour,” she said. “Although not a public museum, strictly speaking, it deliberately addressed a larger, more diverse audience, impressing tourists with a dazzling new idea of what a museum could be. Such spaces were designed to stimulate social interaction — well-to-do visitors from all over Europe met and mixed in front of works of art and were expected to exhibit their knowledge and taste in polite conversation.”

These exchanges were a crucial part of the experience, Paul continued, and visitors were as much on display as the objects, for the museum was, in effect, a stage on which they performed an ideal of enlightened civility.

Even earlier, as more and more people traveled to Rome to visit these collections, the papacy saw the potential for using its own art collections to a similar advantage.

“They saw it as an opportunity to exhibit the great heritage of ancient Rome and to represent themselves as enlightened modern patrons of art,” Paul said. “They also saw it as a way to protect their cultural patrimony.”

So began the Capitoline, the earliest institution to manifest the defining characteristics of the public art museum as it has evolved into the present day.

“The scholarly narrative is that public museums really are about democracy and they were brought about by this ‘modern’ form of government,” Paul noted. “But it’s a combination of tourism and Enlightenment values that gave birth to the Capitoline Museum and thus gave birth to the public art museum.

“It’s a fascinating and underexplored history. Working on private collections and thinking about these museums and thinking about Rome over time, I began to realize that we had gotten the story wrong.”

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Brad Tisdale Opens Tisdale Insurance & Estate Services in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Santa Barbara native Brad Tisdale has opened a new business in downtown Santa Barbara — Tisdale Insurance & Estate Services.

Brad Tisdale
Brad Tisdale

The new company helps people protect their family, business and wealth with customized life, long-term care and disability insurance strategies, according to Tisdale, who is certified by the Corporation for Long-Term Care and the Institute of Business and Finance.

Tisdale specializes in long-term care insurance, life insurance and disability insurance for individuals and businesses.

As an independent agent, Tisdale works with clients to offer objective insurance planning, quotes and policy reviews. He helps clients safeguard their cash flow and most prized assets and maximize the value of their insurance dollars.

Before starting Tisdale Insurance & Estate Services, Tisdale worked as the director of insurance services at Mission Wealth Management. He has also worked as the vice president and regional sales director at Long-Term Preferred Care, where he recruited, trained and lead a top sales division.

Tisdale graduated from UC Santa Barbara with two bachelor of arts degrees in political science/international relations and German language and literature. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in sports management from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala.

After graduating from the U.S. Sports Academy, Tisdale worked as the associate athletic director at UCSB’s Department of Athletics, heading all external operations, marketing and advertising, corporate sponsorships, booster relations and fundraising.

Tisdale Insurance & Estate Services is located at 1123 Chapala St., Suite 203 in Santa Barbara. For more information or to contact Tisdale, call 805.690.3874.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Tisdale Insurance & Estate Services.

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Get Oil Out Celebrating 45th Anniversary with ‘Reflections of an Oil Spill’ Art Show

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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"Reflections of an Oil Spill: 45 Years of Art and Activism" is an art show and benefit to be held Aug. 1-30 in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

The show will commemorate the 4½ decades of work to protect the Santa Barbara Channel by Get Oil Out and to honor the efforts of  several “artivists” who combine passion for the environment with art.

The public is invited to a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6. Bud Bottoms, founder of GOO and sculptor of the iconic dolphin fountain at the base of Sterns Wharf, will participate on a panel with other artists and environmentalists. The show will also be part of the First Thursday art walk on Aug. 7.

“Art is a way to reach people in a way that statistics or hard science just can’t match. It can touch to the heart-cords and inspire a deeper connection to nature that will hopefully then lead people to take action on its behalf,” said Hannah Eckberg, past president of Get Oil Out and curator of the art show. “Art can make us want to protect beautiful areas, or see things in a whole new light.”

Other artists participating in the show include Peggy Oki, the Iwerks brothers, Tom DeWalt, members of the Oak Group and SCAPE, and a number of up-and-coming, next-generation artists.

Mavis Muller of Alaska will feature art commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which has left communities devastated to this day. Twelve-year-old Kyle Erickson of Florida will be featured for his display on the oil spill, which won second place in the National History Science Fair competition. A variety of art mediums and perspectives will make this a unique collection.

Proceeds from sales of the art will help fund the work of Get Oil Out.

— Hannah Eckberg is a past president of Get Oil Out.

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United Way of Santa Barbara County Leaders to Get Dunked for a Cause

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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On Thursday, board members, staff and others from the community will have their chance to dunk United Way of Santa Barbara County CEO Paul Didier as well as Steve Ortiz, director of development and marketing.

This lively event will raise funds for United Way’s community programs, which all take place in Santa Barbara County.

The festivities are part of United Way’s giving campaign, encouraging staff to donate to their own organization. This year’s theme is United We Play, highlighting the many ways incorporating play into our lives enhances teamwork, creativity and strategic thinking, among other benefits.

Adding to the fun will be a visit from the Burger Bus, which will be serving food throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Stop by United Way of Santa Barbara County’s offices at 320 E. Gutierrez St. between 10:30 a.m. and noon Thursday to join in on the fun and support your local community!

— Dominique Samario is a development executive for United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Library Summer Reading Program Motivates Thousands of Young Readers

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Children are pouring into local libraries to participate in the annual Summer Reading Program.

To date, nearly 5,000 children throughout the Santa Barbara Public Library System have joined in this year’s science-themed program, “Fizz, Boom, Read.”

Participation in the public library’s summer reading program has increased for two consecutive years. Besides reading books to earn prizes, children can participate in free weekly family events and performances at every library branch.

The Summer Reading Program runs through next Thursday, July 31, so there is still time to sign up.

Why is the Summer Reading Program so great? In the words of one local 8-year-old girl, it’s “because it’s fun to learn more things!” A 10-year old boy says, “It’s a tradition for me.” Other children say of the program, “It challenges me,” “The library helps me be smarter” and “It’s book heaven!” Anyone of any age is welcome to apply for their own library card.

Information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events and programs is available at SBPLibrary.org. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Gwen Wagy is a youth services librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray’s Naomi Dewey Recognized Among Top California Attorneys

By | Published on 07/24/2014

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Naomi Dewey
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Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray attorney Naomi Dewey was recently named a Rising Star by Super Lawyer Magazine.

With this honor, Dewey is recognized of one of the top 2.5 percent of lawyers in California.

Super Lawyer Magazine evaluates outstanding attorneys from over 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of professional achievement.

Dewey specializes in client-focused general counsel and litigation services, working with employers, government entities, private clients, contractors and Realtors.

She is heavily involved in the Santa Barbara legal and business community, having served as Santa Barbara Women Lawyers president in 2009 and on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara chapter.

Currently, she is the second vice president of California Women Lawyers and secretary of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.

Click here for more information about Dewey and the law firm.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray.

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Santa Barbara’s Westside Boys & Girls Club Celebrates Reopening

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Ribbon-cutting ceremony reveals a refurbished gym, a new outdoor patio and a garden

With the cut of a ribbon, Santa Barbara's Westside Boys & Girls Club reopened Wednesday to reveal a newly refurbished multipurpose gym to the excitement of local children and their parents in attendance.

After a year of planning and raising $200,000, mostly from local donors, the Westside Boys & Girls Club showed off its repainted interior, a brick patio area and an education center in addition to the gym. 

James Crook, vice president of the board of the United Boys & Girls Clubs, said he was happy the 47-year-old facility would finally be fully reopened to the children it serves, an average of 200 daily. 

“The only way we're going to change the world is through education,” he said. “It's hard to change the minds of adults. Our job is to reach out to people when they're young and help their education and help them become productive members of society.”

The Westside club has been renovated only one other time since it was built in 1967.

Sal Rodriguez, former executive director for the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, raised $1.2 million in 2002 — the last time it was renovated.

Rodriguez, who has worked with the organization for more than 30 years, said he was proud to see the club able to better serve the underprivileged children of the Westside neighborhood.

“When you look at the demographics of this area, you begin to see how valuable an organization like this can be to an area like this,” he said. “We believe the kids that go through our program become good citizens because they don't forget the good times they had here. That's our goal.”

One of those kids is Matthew Alexander Marquis.

Marquis, 15, who was an honored guest at the ribbon cutting, said he heard the club needed help gathering supplies and offered to help, in an effort to earn his way into the Eagle Scouts. He sent out an email flier and canvassed the community, including members of his church and the families of fellow Boy Scouts.

Thanks to his efforts, the community donated games, two flat-screen televisions, furniture and an LCD projector, among other items. 

“I'm very happy,” he said. “I heard that this is a very disadvantaged community, and I wanted to give back to the kids here in any way I could.”

Major donors included the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara, Dunn-Edwards Paints and the Bohnett family.

Lynda Bohnett said her family has made it a project to help the club, adding that they planned to remodel the kitchen, which she hopes will be done by the first of the year.

The club is part of a network that includes CarpinteriaGoleta, Lompoc and Camp Whittier locations that serve 7,000 kids throughout Santa Barbara County. 

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at skahmann@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Jill’s Place in Santa Barbara Reopens One Year After Devastating Fire

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Owner Jill Shalhoob says she's grateful for loyal customers who appreciate the restaurant's new look after an extensive renovation

Vacation was a rare treat, relaxing time off that Jill Shalhoob earned working six days a week at her Santa Barbara restaurant, managing longtime employees and schmoozing customers who know her as the local butcher’s daughter.

Shalhoob finally found the time last May. She flew out on a Thursday and checked into what was supposed to be a one week’s stay at a beachside condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Her revelry was rudely interrupted early the next morning at 3 a.m. by a frantic text message from a customer who lived near Jill’s Place, Shalhoob’s 27-year-old restaurant at 623 Santa Barbara St.

“The restaurant is on fire,” the neighbor had written in all capital letters.

A two-alarm blaze had ripped through Jill’s Place, gutting the kitchen and causing severe smoke damage to the rest — thankfully when the eatery was empty.

So ended the beach getaway.

Shalhoob was on the first flight back Friday morning, weighing whether she should completely remodel a restaurant with thousands of dollars in damages.

“Having everything stop so suddenly with no plan … that’s kind of disruptive,” Shalhoob told Noozhawk. “I’ve been working my whole life. How do you come back? I had such good feedback from customers. These people wanted this restaurant back.”

Finding her answer, Jill’s Place underwent an extensive renovation before reopening for lunch on May 10 — the anniversary of the devastating fire.

Dinner service followed last month, and loyal locals are once again funneling through the dining room and bar for old favorites and a couple of new menu items.

Jill’s Place is known for its fine cuts of meat, largely because the restaurant sells Shalhoob Meat Company fare. Shalhoob’s father, Jerry Shalhoob, founded that business at the current Jill’s Place location in 1973 before it expanded and moved to the larger space at 220 Grey Ave., where it operates today.

A fourth-generation Santa Barbaran, Shalhoob began working in her father’s butcher shop at a young age before graduating from Santa Barbara High School and then opening Shalhoob Deli & Catering in 1987 as a 23-year-old with zero restaurant experience.

Locals started calling it Jill’s Place, so the name stuck. Fifteen years later, Shalhoob expanded into a full-service restaurant and closed down for a month of renovations.

That was her longest hiatus from work until last year.

“A year is a long time,” Shalhoob said, sitting in the dining room of her restaurant on a recent evening just before the dinner rush. “It was an opportunity to do it the way I wanted. We created a local spot.”

A linen basket that spontaneously combusted in a utility room behind the kitchen caused the fire, Shalhoob said she later learned from investigators.

In addition to a fully upgraded and open kitchen, the Jill’s Place dining area got a facelift customers say makes the restaurant lighter and brighter — new and improved.

“I guess it just feels different,” she said.

A new light-up sign still broadcasts “Butcher’s Daughter” on the wall, and Shalhoob continues to receive a steady stream of hugs from locals who appreciate the reopening.

Shalhoob returns thanks, especially since construction took six months longer than she had originally hoped.

She doesn’t mind coming into work six days a week these days, but she’s thinking about hiring a night manager to take on some of the load.

Noticeably lost in thought — probably reminiscing about that oceanside view — Shalhoob said she’d like to vacation in Maui or back to Mexico sometime this fall.

“I’m due for one,” Shalhoob said, smiling. “Actually, I’m due for two.”

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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Survey: Strong Support for Global Warming Law Tempered by Concerns About Gas, Electricity Prices

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Majorities of Californians oppose increased fracking but favor Keystone XL pipeline

Most Californians support the state’s landmark law mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

More specifically, strong majorities support two aspects of the state’s efforts to address global warming: a requirement that oil companies produce cleaner transportation fuels, and the goal that a third of California’s electricity come from renewable energy sources. But residents’ support declines significantly if these two efforts lead to higher gas prices or electricity bills.

About two-thirds of Californians (68 percent) support the state law, AB 32, which requires California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Strong majorities have favored this law since the survey first asked about it in July 2006, but a partisan divide has emerged on the question. While most Democrats, Republicans and independents favored the law in 2006, support since then has increased 14 points among Democrats (from 67 percent to 81 percent today) and dropped 26 points among Republicans (from 65 percent to 39 percent today). Support has dipped slightly among independents (from 68 percent to 62 percent today). A strong majority of Californians (65 percent) favor the state making its own policies to address global warming.

One explanation for Californians’ consistent support for state action on global warming is that relatively few (26 percent) think that these efforts will lead to job losses. Most say the state’s efforts will result in more jobs (39 percent) or won’t affect the number of jobs (27 percent).

Beginning next year, oil companies in California must comply with the state’s cap-and-trade rules by either producing transportation fuels with lower emissions or buying emissions allowances or offsets. Some argue that this will increase gas prices, while others say any increase would be small. A large majority of Californians (76 percent) favor this requirement, but support declines to 39 percent if the result is higher prices at the pump.

A strong majority of adults (76 percent) favor a state law passed in 2011 that calls for a third of California’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. But support declines to 46 percent if meeting this goal means paying more for electricity.

Summing up, Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, said: “Californians want to see government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but their strong support for clean energy policies diminishes if they have to pay higher electricity bills or gas prices.”

Most Californians say global warming is a very serious (49 percent) or somewhat serious (31 percent) threat to the economy and quality of life for California’s future. Democrats (59 percent) are much more likely than independents (43 percent) or Republicans (26 percent) to consider the threat very serious. Across racial/ethnic groups, whites (43 percent) are the least likely to say the threat is very serious (50 percent Asians, 54 percent blacks, 57 percent Latinos). Also more likely to see the threat as very serious: Californians under age 55, those with only a high school education or less, and those with household incomes less than $40,000.

Reflecting the view that global warming is a threat, 61 percent of Californians say the state government should act right away on its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than wait for the economy and job situation to improve. Support for taking immediate action is lower among likely voters (52 percent).

Divided on Cap-and-Trade, Majority Favor Carbon Tax

Although the state’s cap-and-trade system took effect in 2012, awareness of this program is not high among Californians. Just 13 percent say they have heard a lot about it, while 32 percent have heard a little and 55 percent have heard nothing at all about this system, which sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Awareness is higher among likely voters (24 percent heard a lot, 39 percent a little, 37 percent nothing at all). After being read a brief description, Californians are more likely to favor (51 percent) than oppose (40 percent) the program. Likely voters are slightly more likely to oppose it (43 percent favor, 50 percent oppose). Opposition is highest (66 percent) among those who have heard a lot about cap-and-trade. There is majority support among those who have heard a little (56 percent) or nothing at all (53 percent) about the program.

Under a recent agreement between the governor and legislature, 25 percent of the revenues generated by the cap-and-trade program will be spent on high-speed rail, 35 percent on other mass transit projects and affordable housing near transit, and the rest for other purposes. When asked about this plan, 59 percent of adults and 51 percent of likely voters say they favor it.

State government is relying on the cap-and-trade program to meet the emissions reductions goals set by AB 32, but some argue that another effective method would be to tax companies for the carbon pollution they emit. About half of Californians (52 percent) say they have heard a lot (16 percent) or a little (36 percent) about this type of carbon tax. Awareness is higher among likely voters (64 percent heard a lot or a little). Asked if they would favor a carbon tax, 58 percent of all adults and 54 percent of likely voters say yes.

On other energy policies, overwhelming majorities of adults favor requiring automakers to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of cars sold in the U.S. (85 percent) and increasing federal funding to develop wind, solar, and hydrogen technology (78 percent). Most residents (64 percent) oppose building more nuclear power plants — as they have since the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. A slim majority of adults (51 percent) oppose allowing more oil drilling off the California coast, while 46 percent are in favor. Opposition to offshore drilling was slightly higher in 2010 (59 percent), after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

54 Percent Oppose More Fracking; 53 percent Favor Keystone Pipeline

As debates continue over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at least half of adults (54 percent oppose, 36 percent favor) and likely voters (50 percent oppose, 40 percent favor) oppose this method of oil and natural gas extraction. Majorities oppose fracking in the San Francisco Bay Area (61 percent), Central Valley (56 percent), Los Angeles (55 percent) and Orange/San Diego (55 percent). Residents of the Inland Empire are divided (43 percent favor, 42 percent oppose).

Asked about another contentious issue — building the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from Canada to refineries in Texas — majorities of California adults (53 percent) and likely voters (58 percent) express support. Most Republicans (73 percent) and independents (56 percent) favor building the pipeline, while half of Democrats (50 percent) oppose it (39 percent favor).

Droughts, Wildfires Top Worries About Effects of Global Warming

Is global warming already having an impact? Yes, say 62 percent of Californians. About a quarter (23 percent) say global warming’s effects will be felt in the future, and 12 percent say they will never happen. A strong majority say they are very concerned (40 percent) or somewhat concerned (34 percent) about global warming. Only about a quarter are not too concerned (11 percent) or not at all concerned (15 percent).

Asked about some of the possible effects of global warming in California, majorities say they are very concerned about droughts (64 percent) or wildfires (61 percent) that are more severe. Fewer express this level of concern about heat waves that are more severe (44 percent) or rising sea levels (32 percent). Across regions, residents of the Central Valley are the most likely to be very concerned about droughts (72 percent) and residents of the Inland Empire are the least likely (57 percent).

Most Say Water Districts Should Require Residents to Use Less

In response to an open-ended question, 35 percent name water supply or drought as the most important environmental issue facing California today. This represents an increase of 27 points since July 2011, and the first time in environmental surveys dating back to 2000 that air pollution has not been the top issue. Today, 14 percent mention air pollution, down 13 points since 2011. Amid reports of worsening drought conditions, 54 percent of Californians say water supply is a big problem in their part of the state, 25 percent say it is somewhat of a problem, and only 21 percent say it is not much of a problem. Regionally, Californians living on the coast (52 percent) are about as likely as those living inland (58 percent) to say that water supply is a big problem in their areas.

In yet another measure of their concern about drought, strong majorities of residents (75 percent) and likely voters (70 percent) say they favor their local water districts requiring residents to reduce water use. Residents across the state are in favor, with those in Los Angeles (80 percent) the most supportive.

What do Californians think is the primary cause of the drought? Half (51 percent) say it is natural weather patterns, 38 percent say it is global warming.

“Many Californians are very concerned that global warning will lead to more severe droughts," Baldassare said, "yet most believe that the current water crisis is a result of natural weather patterns.”

Asked about the cause of the state’s current wildfires, 55 percent of residents say they are mostly the result of natural weather patterns and 31 percent say the primary cause is global warming.

The legislature continues to discuss downsizing an $11.1 billion state bond for water projects that is currently on the November ballot. How would residents vote on the measure with a price tag of $11.1 billion? A majority (61 percent) would vote yes (22 percent no), as would about half of likely voters (51 percent yes, 26 percent no). When those who would vote no are asked how they would vote if the bond were a smaller amount, support increases by 8 points for both adults (69 percent yes, 14 percent no) and likely voters (59 percent yes, 18 percent no). Asked how important it is that voters pass the state water bond, 46 percent say it is very important and 30 percent say it is somewhat important (likely voters: 44 percent very important, 24 percent somewhat important).

More Key Findings

» Brown leads Kashkari, 52 percent to 33 percent, among likely voters — In the governor’s race, Jerry Brown has the support of 80 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents, while challenger Neel Kashkari has the support of 70 percent of Republicans.

» Brown’s job approval holds steady — Majorities of Californians (53 percent) and likely voters (56 percent) approve of the governor’s job performance. The legislature’s job approval rating is 38 percent among adults and 31 percent among likely voters.

» Obama’s approval rating stays near its record low in California — President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 50 percent among adults and 47 percent among likely voters. Congress continues to have low approval ratings among Californians (22 percent adults, 15 percent likely voters).

About the Survey

This PPIC Statewide Survey is the 14th on the environment since 2000. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,705 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from July 8-15. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences.

The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.7 percent for all adults, plus or minus 4 percent for the 1,408 registered voters and plus or minus 4.7 percent for the 984 likely voters.

Click here to view the complete survey.

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Santa Barbara Finishes Fiscal Year with Strong Transient Occupancy Tax Growth

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara collected approximately $1.67 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues in June, a 7.9 percent increase over the same month last year.

This increase is below the growth rates realized most of the year, which may be attributable to the fact that this June had one fewer weekend day than June 2013.

June marks the final month in the city’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. TOT revenues finished the year at $16.82 million, representing a growth rate of 14.6 percent for the year.

These year-end results are in line with the city’s revised TOT budget projections used to develop the TOT revenue estimates contained in the recently adopted fiscal year 2015 budget.

Click here for additional information on transient occupancy tax results.

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

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Temps May Hit Record Highs in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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New heat records could be set in Santa Barbara County heading into the weekend, which will warm up because of sundowner winds and a high pressure system.

Previous high temperature records will be most vulnerable Thursday, when downtown Santa Barbara is expected to heat up to 93 degrees and Santa Maria will warm to nearly 80, according to Scott Sukup, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Those highs could topple Santa Barbara’s 82-degree record, set in 2006, or at least match the 84 degrees Santa Maria recorded in 2006.

“It stays pretty warm through the weekend,” Sukup said, noting that temperatures will linger in the low 80s and upper 70s throughout the county.

Temperatures in the Santa Ynez Valley were forecast to remain in the 90s all weekend.

There is a wind advisory issued for the county's South Coast through midnight Wednesday, which is when Sukup says the risk of sundowner winds would begin decreasing. 

Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour were expected, mostly in the canyon and passes areas, he said.

Claiming a place in the record books is less likely this weekend, when Santa Barbara and Santa Maria both simmer back to highs near 80 degrees.

The heat records for Santa Barbara this weekend include 89 for Friday (set in 1979) and 96 for Saturday (1977), according to National Weather Service data. In Santa Maria, the record for Friday is 87 (2006) and 89 for Saturday (1977).

Sukup said locals could expect temperatures to warm up again by the middle of next week, climbing into the mid-80s.

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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Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara Hosts Scholarship Dinner

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara held its annual scholarship dinner at Vista del Monte in the spring.

High school and college students interested in becoming teachers were honored with scholarships.

The evening began with a dinner, followed by entertainment by the San Marcos Madrigals before the scholarships were presented.

— Nancy Knight is the scholarship chairwoman for the Retired Teachers Association of Santa Barbara.

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Illegal Food Vendor Enforcement Planned During Old Spanish Days

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Due to public health concerns stemming from the increasing presence of illegal food vendors around the Old Spanish Days Fiesta parades and venues, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be strictly enforcing state and local ordinances pertaining to roving food vending during this year’s Fiesta.

Violators may be arrested or cited and may have their property, including money, seized as evidence of their illegal activity.

The following is a summary of some of the ordinances that will be enforced; for full descriptions please refer to the respective codes.

Santa Barbara Municipal Code 5.32.040, Permit Required

It shall be unlawful for any peddler or solicitor to peddle or solicit within the city without a permit issued by the tax and permit inspector.

Santa Barbara County Code of Ordinances Section 16-23, Health Permit Required

No person shall conduct, operate, or open to the public any business, occupation, activity or vending machine, whether or not at a fixed location, without having first obtained a health permit.

California Retail Food Code (Health & Safety Code) 114381(a), Permits

A food facility shall not be open for business without a valid permit.

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

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Jury Finds Lompoc Wrestling Coaches Innocent of Battery

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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A judge ruled Wednesday that two former Cabrillo High School coaches were “factually innocent” of a battery charge stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler who claimed they gave him a “beatdown.”

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali's ruling came after a jury found former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles not guilty of misdemeanor battery of a minor on school grounds. The jury also rejected a lesser charge of assault.

The former wrestling coaches initially were charged with three misdemeanors .However, the judge on Tuesday dismissed the two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, leaving jurors to decide just one count.

Immediately after the jury’s verdict Wednesday afternoon, Rigali ruled in favor of the defense attorneys’ motion to find both men did not commit any crime in the case.

The ruling “removes the stain” of the allegations by sealing the records so the charges won’t come up during a background investigation or law enforcement check, according to defense attorney Michael Scott, who represented Johnson.

“That was a good result,” Scott said after the jury’s verdict and judge’s ruling.

Giles attorney, Adrian Galvan from the Public Defender’s Office, said that since the beginning of the case he felt his client hadn’t committed any crime.

He also said he didn’t know what prompted the District Attorney’s Office to proceed with the case. 

“I would say it seems as though the DA’s Office believes the community interest or a desire to make an example out of the coaching staff and pressure from Fabian’s family probably drove his prosecution,” Galvan said referring to the sophomore wrestler who claimed he was the victim of a “beatdown.”

District Attorney Joyce Dudley said she stands by the decision to file the charges against the two coaches.

"We filed these charges because we believed the victim and we felt we had the evidence to prove this unpopular case," Dudley said. "I accept both the Court's ruling and the jury's verdict but I stand by our office's decision to file this case as charged."

Johnson said was glad the facts of the case came out during the trial.

“I’m happy with it,” Johnson said as a smiling Giles stood nearby.

When a sophomore wrestler Fabian got into an off-campus fight on the heels of poor grades and unexcused absences from practice, the head coach told the team captains — Nico, Jose and Kodey — to “deal with it.” On Dec. 9, the three captains said, they talked to Fabian and decided among themselves to hold an unsanctioned ironman that involved each taking a turn grappling with him.

In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco said the coaches spurred the team captains into disciplining their fellow wrestler, telling the jury, “sometimes in life things aren’t as direct and obvious as they appear.”

Greco urged the jurors to “hold these two coaches accountable for putting this chain of events in motion.”

The teen received a bloody nose plus swollen eyes, bruises and scrapes, according to the prosecutor.

But defense attorneys said the prosecutor didn’t prove the two coaches did anything to prompt the team captains to do more than talk.

“This isn’t a cult,” Scott said during his closing argument. “It’s a wrestling program.”

The coach instructed the team captains to talk to Fabian for peer counseling, and didn’t order them to commit an act of battery.

“This was not a beatdown,” Scott said. “This was wrestling.”

As he left the wrestling room where the team captains and Fabian remained, Giles told them not to leave facial marks

“Fabian said, ‘He was kind of laughing about it,’” Galvan said during his closing argument.

At least one team captain also testified Giles made the comment in a joking manner, Galvan noted.

“There is no other reason for Mr. Giles to before you but for ‘no facial marks,’” Galvan said.

The wrestling program that Johnson led was well respected, Scott said, adding the Fabian’s allegations damaged its reputation.

“You can now correct part of that injustice,” Scott told the jurors.

Scott contended Fabian had an incentive to exaggerate about the the ironman. Before criminal charges, the teen’s mom filed a claim against the coaches plus the Lompoc Unified School District.

A “timid” school district settled the civil claim, Scott told the jury, later saying the agency paid approximately $31,000.

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

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Kathryn Bazylewicz Joins Cottage Health System as VP of Marketing

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Kathryn Bazylewicz
Kathryn Bazylewicz

Kathryn Bazylewicz has joined Cottage Health System as the new vice president of marketing.

Bazylewicz brings 25 years of marketing expertise to this executive management role at Cottage Health System. Her leadership responsibilities will encompass strategic, data-driven marketing to include public and media relations, community relations and communications for all hospitals and affiliates within Cottage Health System.

Bazylewicz reports directly to Ron Werft, president and chief executive officer for Cottage Health System.

Prior to joining Cottage, Bazylewicz served as the vice president of marketing and development at Hospital Corporation of America South Atlantic Division based in Charleston, S.C. In this position, she was responsible for the marketing of 10 hospitals in three states.

She has also held director of marketing roles at Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford, Ore., as well as Southern Oregon University, and she was the executive director of operations and marketing for the Consortium for Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education and Training at Michigan State University.

Bazylewicz earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications and a master's degree in public relations with an emphasis in marketing at Michigan State University.

— Maria Zate is the manager of marketing and public affairs for Cottage Health System.

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30-Year Veteran Named New Lompoc Police Chief

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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The City of Lompoc announced Wednesday that it has hired a new police chief who most likely will take the post in September.

Patrick Walsh
Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh, who goes by Pat, has been appointed to replace retiring Police Chief Larry Ralston, who served as chief for two years, City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said in a statement.

Walsh is currently a captain with the Portland, Ore., Police Bureau and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, first serving eight years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and the last 22 years with the Portland Police Bureau.

Walsh grew up in Camarillo and has family on the Central Coast.

“I am very excited to work for the citizens and staff of Lompoc,” Walsh said in a statement. “Lompoc police have an excellent reputation in the law enforcement world, and I look forward to continuing that tradition. I have always enjoyed the Central Coast, and Lompoc has always been one of my favorite places.”

Walsh's current assignment in Portland involves overseeing the Tactical Operations Division, which includes units like gang enforcement, explosives disposal, Special Emergency Response Team, gun task force, crisis negotiations team and air support.

His prior areas of responsibility have included overseeing the department's patrol division, Department of Justice Compliance, and the Office of Accountability and Professional Standards, the statement said.

Walsh also has experience working in narcotics and vice units, including as an undercover narcotics investigator, and street patrol.

“We were blessed to have a talented pool of police chief candidates to choose from, but the consensus of those involved in the interview process was that Pat Walsh was the best fit for the needs of the Lompoc community and for the Lompoc Police Department,” Wiemiller said. “These are exciting times for Lompoc in terms of economic growth and public safety enhancement, and I am pleased to have Pat Walsh as part of our leadership team in the coming years.”

Walsh has a bachelor’s degree in management, communication and leadership from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Walsh and his wife, Catherine, have been married for 29 years, and they have two adult children, Matthew, 28, and Lauren, 24.

The city said it will be completing a rigorous background check, and expects Walsh to start in September. 

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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Victor Dominocielo: Let’s Teach Scientific Literacy at Every Age, Every Opportunity

By | Published on 07/23/2014

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Two scientists from Lawrence Livermore Labs excitedly called James Randi of the James Randi Educational Foundation and said he would have to forfeit the $1 million prize money that he offers for proof of any psychic phenomenon.

In this case, the scientists had “verified” an instance of telekinesis using only the power of the mind. Randi listened to their description and was immediately able to duplicate the trick that had fooled the Ph.D. physicists. Click here to view the video.

LLL is chock full of the best scientists on Earth. It is the poster child for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, which is currently emphasized in our school system. The scientists who were fooled by the magician's trick are outstanding engineers, chemists and physicists in their particular fields of study.

But isn’t there something very wrong with this situation: Ph.D.-level scientists who can’t tell the difference between an astounding brain function discovery and a simple magic trick? My 13-year-old students would have known immediately that they were observing a trick. They might not have known how to explain the trick, but they would have known that it was a trick by simply asking the “What’s more likely?” question: What am I more likely observing, a new superpower of the mind or a magician's trick?

I can only conclude that being awarded a Ph.D. in a scientific field of study is no guarantee of scientific literacy. I can only fault myself and other science educators for producing Ph.D.-level scientists who are not able to distinguish between scientific and nonscientific processes. This is a blatant lapse of basic science education.

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

Instead of being taught a broad understanding of the use of scientific thinking in everyday life, these scientists are the product of an educational system that focuses on the narrow application of laboratory skills. Experimental laboratory skills are certainly very important but not at the expense of ignoring the application of scientific thinking in all areas of life. What is needed is an appreciation and an in-depth understanding of scientific literacy.

Scientific literacy is a functional competency in the methodology of science. In a practical sense, it is comprised of:

» Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the basic tool used to gather scientific information: your brain. This includes common cognitive mistakes and fallacies that influence the gathering of scientific evidence.

» Ability to recognize the difference between scientific and nonscientific processes.

» Ability to apply the scientific process in the observation and examination of evidence.

» Ability to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and methods.

Ask any science teacher about the most important and critical skill in science, and each and every one of us would definitively say “experimentation.” As this rationale became incorporated into our educational system over the last 40 years, experimentation became the be all, end all, must do all, hands-on splinter skill. Sacrificed on the altar of “laboratory experimentation” was the rich history, development and the how and why of scientific thinking in everyday life that is scientific literacy.

“Science education, in its current form, seems to do little to offset pseudoscientific beliefs, and may in fact give students reason to accept science fiction as science fact” (Walker, et. al, 2012).

Every science course at every educational level should be teaching scientific literacy. Even coursework in nonscience courses such as English, history and social studies should include a generalized scientific methodology that can be applied to any question, investigation and the gathering of evidence in any field of study. Questions like: “How do historians gather evidence?”; “What are the hypotheses surrounding the writings of Shakespeare?”; “How do psychologists gather evidence given that people feel, believe and misperceive?”

In sciences courses, after being exposed to the specific experimental methodology in that field, students should learn the developmental history of that science, how mistakes were made and how scientific methodology kept pointing scientists to a more accurate understanding of our world.

The next stage of a deep and robust science education should include how the brain processes information and the strengths and weaknesses of this incredible tool. Understanding the limits of perception, memory and common cognitive fallacies produces a student less likely to fool themselves and confuse their beliefs and emotions with evidence.

Throughout every science class, students should learn how to examine the quality of evidence that they see every day on TV, the computer and social media in the form of advertising that makes unsupportable claims.

Let’s give everyone a good “Baloney Detection Kit,” originally penned by Carl Sagan in his book The Demon-Haunted World and refined here by Michael Shermer.

» 1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
» 2. Does the source make similar claims?
» 3. Have the claims been verified by someone else?
» 4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
» 5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
» 6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
» 7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
» 8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
» 9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
» 10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

There is so much lack of scientific literacy in our world today. Sheer nonsense is given such credibility on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and even National Geographic TV. Everything from ghosts, witchcraft, Bigfoot, space aliens, drinkable sunscreen, magical alternative medicine, crop circles, astrology, psychic readings, pyramid powers, crystals and energy auras are given pseudoscientific plausibility.

Let’s start changing this situation by teaching our children sense from nonsense. Let’s teach our children scientific literacy at every age and at every opportunity.

— Victor Dominocielo, M.A., a California-credentialed teacher for 37 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. He earned his master of arts degree in education from UCSB. The opinions expressed are his own.

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