Santa Barbara-Goleta, Friday, April 18, 2014

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Therapy Bunny Brings a Soft Touch to Local Nursing Home Residents

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Axel Rose, a certified pet volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, makes the rounds in Santa Barbara and Goleta

Easter came a bit early for residents of local nursing homes in Santa Barbara and Goleta when they got a chance last week to spend time with a therapy bunny that is a certified pet volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara.

Tucked inside a wicker basket, dwarf bunny Axel Rose made the rounds at several places, including Heritage House, where he was cuddled by residents.  

Axel's owner, hospice volunteer and animal trainer Andrea Bratt, carried him around to say hello to residents, who each got a chance to pet the small bunny and hold him.

"At first they're a little hesitant. Sometimes people even ask me if he's real," Bratt said of the bunny, who has black rings around his eyes, making them look almost cartoonish.  

Heritage House resident Martha Riel was glowing after getting a chance to hold Axel on the residence's patio.

"I love all little bunnies," she said. "It was wonderful to hold him."

Axel is a rescue bunny from Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter, and is a certified therapy pet. Bratt, who has even trained Axel to do a dance routine, said sometimes Axel is able to connect with hard-to-reach people in ways no one else could.

Bratt became a volunteer while visiting the organization's loan closet, where people in the community can borrow things such as wheelchairs and crutches at no cost.

She was borrowing a wheelchair to help train her dogs when a volunteer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care told her about the program. Bratt went through the volunteer training and her animals, already certified as therapy pets, come with her on visits.

Arlene Stepputat, VNHC's manager of volunteer services, owns a certified therapy cat named Angel who also visits hospice clients and said animals often make an instant connection.

"Part of that is because animals are unconditionally loving," she said, adding that people also benefit from the kinesthetic experience of petting an animal like Axel. "They have a lot to teach us about being present and being still and listening."

She said the organization has four pet therapy dogs, but Axel is the only bunny.

Volunteers with hospice go through extensive training, she said, and the organization has about 120 people who currently volunteer.

Animal volunteers must be certified through an outside organization — dogs through Therapy Dog International and non-canines through Love on a Leash — and also be certified by their veterinarians that they are up to date on their vaccinations and have the appropriate disposition, Stepputat said.

To learn more about volunteering with VNHC, click here to visit its volunteer webpage.

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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Castillos Named Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s Adams School Family of Month

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s Adams Family of the Month program honors hardworking, ethical and socially engaged families who contribute to Adams Elementary School and provide positive role models for their children and the entire community.

The Castillo family is RCSBN’s Adams Family of the Month for April, and at the April 2 club meeting they were honored.

The Castillo/Garibay family typifies the type of parent involvement that makes Adams a great school. Mom Lourdes Garibay, dad Fidel Castillo, fourth-grade student Natalie and first-grade student Karina all work hard to support Adams.

Lourdes volunteers in the classroom frequently and serves as the president of the school’s English Language Advocacy Committee (ELAC). She is also the Adams representative to the Santa Barbara Unified School District ELAC committee. Lourdes is also a board member of the Adams Parent Teacher Association and serves as the group bilingual representative. She has been instrumental in founding and sustaining the English language program at Adams and she has helped many parents improve their English skills.

Lourdes chaired Adams’ first Las Posadas holiday presentation and tamale feed, which celebrated the traditions and lessons of Las Posadas. This event also featured the food and festivities of the celebration and gave our students and all the participants a taste of the delicious traditional foods. Lourdes marshaled the efforts of many parents, grandparents and volunteers to provide tasty tamales, bunuelos and fruit for almost 600 students. Because of Lourdes and Fidel's vision and commitment, Las Posadas will likely become an annual tradition at Adams.

While both parents work full time at their separate jobs, both are highly committed to helping their children learn. Natalie, a fourth-grade student in Ms. Nelson's Montessori class, loves learning, and is very focused and well liked by her peers. Their youngest daughter, Karina, in Mr. Wheeler's first-grade class, was able to bypass kindergarten. Her success is due in large part to the commitment her parents made to read to and with her and Karina has as a result become an Adams “Top Scholar” student in her first grade classroom.

The Castillo family is committed, concerned and helpful, and a wonderful example of the great parent body at Adams.

— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.

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Judy Crowell: San Sebastian, Spain — A Basque Country Slice of Heaven

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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With stunning natural beauty, the beach resort along the Bay of Biscay has become an acclaimed destination

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from San Sebastian.]

San Sebastian, a beach resort located along the Bay of Biscay and bordering the south of France, is an area of north Spain called The Basque Autonomous Community. In other words, an age old struggle for independence from Spain. A conundrum too tangled to even try to relate.

What is clear is that this area of stunning natural beauty has become an acclaimed international destination with major events including the International Film Festival, the Jazz Festival and August’s Semana Grande (Big Week). A spectacular fireworks display and contest are held over the bay each night with parades of giants and big heads each afternoon.

You won’t find many old buildings in San Sebastian. A devastating fire in 1813 destroyed most of the city. In 1845, Queen Isabella II was sent by her doctor to the sea to cure skin problems. The beautiful people and members of the court began to follow, and by 1900 wealthy Spaniards were flocking to this lovely bay and rebuilt city for summer holidays. Soon Queen Maria Cristina made it her summer residence, and in 1912 a hotel fit for a queen opened bearing her name.

Today Hotel Maria Cristina, situated in the center of the city, is still fit for a queen with soaring columns, opulent chandeliers and rich silk brocades. Nearby is another queenly hotel option, Villa Soro, a lovely renovated 19th century villa.

Attractions not to be missed are the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, built in 1897 in Neo-Gothic style; the modern Kursaal, creatively lit at night; the Miramar Palace; the Aquarium, where you’ll scamper in fear through a glass tunnel with sharks on all sides; Museo de San Telmo, paintings in a former 16th century monastery; Monte Igueldo, gorgeous views from the summit, accessed by funicular railway; and Monte Urgull, where you can walk to the top and be rewarded with breathtaking views and an up-close look at the imposing 12-meter-high Christ statue dominating the landscape of the bay.

Known for its Basque cuisine, San Sebastian boasts the most Michelin stars per square foot in the world. So let’s head for the cocinas (kitchens).

Located in Parte Vieja (Old Town), the traditional core of the city, are the cocinas turning out the best, most creative flavors. Imagine a big, rowdy cocktail party with unlimited guests crowding into pubs on both sides of narrow cobblestone alleys. Basically bar-hopping, this tradition is called Txiquiteo (Chi-kee-TAY-oh). Delicious snacks, similar to tapas, called pintxos (PEEN-chos) are being offered everywhere. Anchovies and olives, foie gras and carmelized onions, crab and salmon, all held together by toothpicks — toothpicks counted as you leave to tally your bill.

Be sure to try Bar Martinez, Atari Gastroteka, Bar Ondara and La Cuchera de San Telmo. For a more civilized, sit-down experience, there’s Arzak, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world; Mugaritz, another best in the world; Bar Nestor, for a great bar; and Raviolina for family dining.

After all the pintxos grazing, how about a hike? A glorious half-day hike along St. James Way, over the Ulia Mountain from San Sebastian to the charming fishing village of Pasaia. Once there, you can cross the picturesque inlet by boat and stop at the seafront Txulotxo restaurant for grilled fish dishes or a local favorite, Casa Camara.

The golden sands of La Concha, Zurriola and Ondarreta beaches create a unique promenade and are enveloped by deep blue seas and lush green mountains. Queens Isabel and Maria discovered a slice of heaven more than 100 years ago. You will, too.

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

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Capps to Hold Office Hours at Santa Barbara Farmers Market

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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From 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will meet and greet visitors and customers at the weekly Santa Barbara Farmers Market.

She will be walking around and also spending time at the table with California Tropics, a Carpinteria-based fruit company, to discuss issues important to local residents.

"The Santa Barbara Farmers Market is an opportunity for our community to gather and stock up on the flowers, fruits, vegetables and meats grown and raised by our local farmers and ranchers," Capps said. "And it is also a place to take some time to come together and catch up with our Santa Barbara neighbors. I always enjoy spending time at the Farmers Market, and I am looking forward to meeting and talking with anyone who would like to stop by and say hello."

The Farmers Market is located at the corner of Cota and Santa Barbara streets.

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

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Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North Celebrates 25-Year Partnership with Adams Elementary

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Club members, principals, teachers and other guests with a focus on education gathered on April 2 to celebrate 25 years of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North’s partnership with Adams Elementary School.

The annual meeting at the school highlighted the many programs and personalities featured over the 25-year span of RCSBN’s volunteer efforts at Adams.

2014 Rotary President Stanley Weinstein kicked off the meeting inviting Lucille Ramirez, representing Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, to lead in the invocation. Afterward, two Adams students, Natalie and Karina Castillo, teamed up to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Castillo children and their parents also received the “Adams Family” Award initiated and presented by RCSBN member Tom Jacobs. The award celebrates the volunteer efforts of supportive families whose efforts to give back to the Adams community mirror and support the work of Rotary volunteers.

Dennis Waid, a club member and longtime Adams volunteer, then introduced the many special guests who have been instrumental in the club's partnership with Adams School for the past 25 years. Special guests included Kate Parker, president of the Santa Barbara school board; Lucille Ramirez, County of SB Partners in Education Board; Jo Ann Caines, principal of La Cumbre Junior High and former Adams principal; Kathy Escobar, retired Adams teacher and Rotarian; and Larry Bender, Rotarian from District 5280 in Los Angeles.

All of the special guests took a moment to reflect on the 25-year partnership between Adams School and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North and to offer thanks to RCSBN for its efforts in supporting Adams School.

Community Service chairman Tom Jacobs then took over and highlighted the many avenues of service provided to Adams school over the past 25 years. In the classroom contributions include tutoring, supporting the Computers for Kids Program, and holding an annual Rotary themed essay contest. RCSBN has extended its support to the Library by supplying books for the Rewards Program, donating a book each week to celebrate Club program speaker topics, and sponsoring yearly library purchases from Club donations. RSBN’s efforts at Adams inspired Los Angeles area clubs in Rotary District 5280 to donate 1,000 books to the Library.

RCSBN was also active on the school grounds, planting trees in honor of Arbor Day, creating planter boxes for a garden area, and funding a large play structure with a Rotary Grant. In addition, Club members regularly pitch in on School Beautification Days and other school festivals. Outside the school the club annually sponsors an Adams Chalk Art Square for I Madonnari Festival. Over the 25 years of partnership the club has provided over $65,000 in cash grants to the school.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Adams Principal Amy Alzina presented a strategic plan integrating technology in the Common Core State Standards. She demonstrated how the school’s new 3-D printers and modeling of mathematical concepts have made learning more concrete. The new technological tools supported by the club have enabled students to work to
their maximum potential, nurturing both college and workplace skills.

Alzina stressed that beyond technology, Adams believes in reaching children through cultivating caring relationships, relationships built around trust and developed through work and play. Fostering an environment of success and service is how Adams is creating a winning environment for every student, and in numerous ways for over 25 years, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North has been partnering with the school to realize that goal.

— Terry Straehley is the public relations director for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North.

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Highway 192 Between Ortega, Sheffield to Close Next Week for Utility Work

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Highway 192 (East Valley Road) will be closed next week to allow Southern California Edison to perform utility work.

Motorists should be advised of these closures in the following areas:

» Highway 192 (East Valley Road) will be closed during the overnight hours between Ortega Ridge Road and Sheffield Drive beginning Monday, April 21 through Friday morning, April 25 from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m.

Electronic message boards have been activated to inform the public about this project. Residents will be able to maintain access to their homes during these full closures.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, click here or call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans District 5.

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SBCC Hosting Free Panel Discussion on Media Freedom

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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On a recent trip to China, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with Chinese students about the importance of the free flow of ideas over the Internet and through the media. She stressed that free speech and unfettered access to information strengthen nations and should be universal rights.

In light of current events both in the U.S. and abroad, these issues continue to be at the forefront of public discussions of media today.

On Wednesday, April 23, the Sigma Chi Eta Communication Honor Society and the SBCC Communication Department will be hosting a panel discussion on open access to information around the globe.

This free event will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the SBCC Business Communication (BC) Forum on West Campus.

This presentation is open to the Santa Barbara community and features a panel including Michael Gilbert, a leading USC researcher on digital media, as well as SBCC student panelists from China, Russia and Venezuela. These individuals will all speak on the topic of information access with a specific focus on the dynamic democratization of knowledge via the Internet and the potential for change in the Global City.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Santa Barbara Foundation Honors 2014 Scholarship Award Recipients

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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“I believe being a role model requires a person of character who is willing to share themselves and their abilities with others,” award recipient Emma Andersen said. “It is about being involved and doing good things for the community.”

This sentiment is echoed by all of the Santa Barbara Foundation Spaulding, Fleischmann and Floro award recipients who have followed their passions in their willingness to give back to the communities they live in.

Most have donated their time and efforts to a variety of important issues and organizations, volunteering at Safety Town, the Lompoc Convalescent Center, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Good Samaritan Shelter, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Goleta Public Library, and Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, to name a few. For their great academic success and devotion to community service, each student was given a scholarship award.

The scholarship recipients are beneficiaries of forward thinking individuals whose bequests have a rich history of recognizing and rewarding extraordinary student achievement. In the case of Edward Spaulding, Max Fleischmann and Gwendolyn Floro, their wish to support academic excellence and community service in part contributes to the Santa Barbara Foundation’s ability to support academic achievement through scholarship awards.

“When we focus on education, we move in a direction that gets back to what made our country great — educating our children so that they might take their place as future leaders,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “I am hopeful that through their great achievements, these scholarship recipients will continue to lead all our communities forward.”

Fleischmann Award recipients are students who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance and commitment to community service. A $2,000 award was bestowed upon each of the 20 students.

The candidate from the Fleischmann pool receiving the highest rating from the Fleischmann Subcommittee is also awarded the Spaulding Award. The Spaulding Award carries an additional $1,000 award.

Floro Award recipients are students from the Santa Maria area who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance and commitment to community service. For their efforts, each of these 19 students received a $2,500 award.

The Santa Barbara Foundation recognizes the importance of education and the strength that it brings to communities. Providing students with the opportunity to pursue continued education is key to giving them the skills they need to be productive individuals of this county. Thanks to the generosity of many donors and working in collaboration with the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, last year the Santa Barbara Foundation awarded $1.6 million in student aid. Throughout its history, the Santa Barbara Foundation is proud to have awarded more than $40 million in scholarships and loans to local students.

Award Recipients

The recipient of the 2014 Spaulding Award is Samuel Andrew from Cabrillo High School.

The recipients of the 2014 Fleischmann Awards are: Anmole Ahdi from Dos Pueblos High School; Emma Andersen from Dunn High School; Grace Apostolopoulos from Santa Barbara High School; Foster Campbell from Santa Barbara High School; Kaileen Cruden from St. Joseph High School; Patricia Davis from Lompoc High School; Sara Doyle from dos Pueblos High School; Ivy Hirsch from Santa Barbara High School; Tina Javanbakht from Dos Pueblos High School; Kyle Kovacs from Dos Pueblos High School; Matthew McFadden from San Marcos High School; Laurel Mead from San Marcos High School; Molly Miller from Carpinteria High School; Jorge Moran from Pioneer Valley High School; Emerson Pizzinat from San Marcos High School; Sarah Rich from San Marcos High School; Alex Rickman from Dos Pueblos High School; David Wagstaffe from Santa Ynez Valley High School; and Natalie Wilkie from Dos Pueblos High School.

The recipients of the 2014 Floro Awards are: Marie Aguinaldo from St. Joseph High School; Rebecca Aldrich from Ernest Righetti High School; Angelica Castro from Pioneer Valley High School; Kaileen Cruden from St. Joseph High School; Hayden Downum from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Diana Farfan-Ayala from Pioneer Valley High School; Samantha Galicinao from Santa Maria High School; Enrique Jacobo-Gonzalez from Santa Maria High School; Andrew Kufeldt from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Brad Kufeldt from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Alexis Laggren from St. Joseph High School; Jorge Moran from Pioneer Valley High School; Alyssa Moreno from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Stephany Rubio from Pioneer Valley High School; Kylie Sagisi from Ernest Righetti High School; Nancy Sandoval from Orcutt Academy Charter High School; Hannah Savaso from Ernest Righetti High School; Ciara Smith from Pioneer Valley High School; and Lesther Lem Valenzuela from Ernest Righetti High School.

— Jessica Tade is the communications director for the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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Bill Macfadyen: Shell Shocks Solvang, But Explosive Situation Is Safely Resolved

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Beneath a ‘blood moon,’ NoozWeek’s Top 5 runs off a road, finds a long-lost wedding ring and opens a public market, but it’s Noozhawk’s Tom Bolton who’s No. 1 in our book

Cora Boden, Billy Barbaree and Nick McGilvray are humble, ordinary people who each did something extraordinary. To their clear discomfort but with our community’s lasting gratitude, they were honored for their courage by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Also commended at the April 11 ceremony was sheriff’s Detective Ray Gamboa, who insisted he was only doing his job.

A fifth individual was recognized, however, when District Attorney Joyce Dudley bestowed a Media Award, naming our executive editor, Tom Bolton, its first recipient. I want to take a moment to thank him for work that was no less important, and to say that his colleagues at Team Noozhawk could not be more proud.

For more than a year, Tom had been reporting on Tibor “Ted” Karsai, a sexually violent predator who was being released from custody — in prison and in a state mental institution — after a Placer County judge decided he was sufficiently rehabilitated and could return to Santa Barbara County where he grew up. Dudley put up a ferocious fight but failed to convince the state Supreme Court that there were valid reasons to keep him away. One year ago, he arrived “home,” as a transient, living in an RV and supervised by a private security contractor.

Tom Bolton’s reporting on the Tibor 'Ted' Karsai case earns richly deserved recognition. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)
Tom Bolton’s reporting on the Tibor “Ted” Karsai case earns richly deserved recognition. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

In early 2013, Tom tracked down the mother of the young woman Karsai attacked in 1973 after following her home from a trailer park laundromat on Outer State Street. Now in her 70s and still heartbroken over her daughter’s 1985 suicide, the retired mental-health professional resolutely told her story while making the case that a monster like Karsai should never again breathe free air.

“It’s being released on this Earth,” she said, asserting that violent sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated and inevitably will attack again. “The only treatment is when they pass away.”

Tom’s account of their hours-long interview was powerful, intense and emotionally draining. But his story inspired one of his readers to come forward with a tale of her own, one that caught even veteran detectives and prosecutors by surprise.

The woman, a 54-year-old Orcutt resident, contacted authorities to reveal that she had been raped by Karsai in 1971 when she was just 13 years old. The news was astonishing. Not only had Karsai struck twice, there apparently was a third attack — two years before his first known assault. It sure makes you wonder whether there are others that followed.

The survivor said she would only share with Tom the secret she had kept for decades, and her story also is powerful, intense and emotionally draining. From the time Karsai allegedly raped her during a sleepover with her best friend, his younger sister, until details of her more than 40-year burden tumbled out during the interview with Tom, it’s obvious how transformative her experience was.

“It took me a lot of years to figure out that it had a major effect on how I lived my life,” she confided to Tom. “When I saw the last article, that he (Karsai) was definitely getting out, that was the one that brought chills down to the bone. I couldn’t hold my legs underneath me, and I realized I needed to tell my story.”

In honoring Tom, Dudley credited him with helping the healing process of one crime victim’s family member as well as helping another crime victim come forward. Neither would have happened without the compassion and empathy he extended to two strangers who were revealing the most painful, raw and intimate details of their lives.

Having read and edited Tom’s reporting for nearly 30 years, I can tell you that these two articles are his best work. Thank you to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for recognizing that, too.

                                                                        •        •

There were 77,312 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top five stories?

1. Evacuations End After ‘Military Ordnance’ Rendered Safe in Solvang

Hundreds of Solvang residents and tourists were evacuated late on the afternoon of April 16 after an apparently live, military ammunition shell was discovered in an alley in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive. No one was hurt and the 18-inch ordnance was safely removed and destroyed.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said a citizen called 9-1-1 about 3:30 p.m. to report finding the shell lying amid trash in an enclosed area behind a downtown business. The department’s bomb squad and Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were dispatched to investigate.

After determining that the 105-millimeter shell’s fusing system was still in place and that the device was potentially unstable, authorities ordered the evacuation of businesses, homes and hotels within a 1,500-foot radius of the site. About 700 people were affected, Hoover said.

She said authorities eventually were able to retrieve the shell and transport it to a remote location, where it was destroyed. The evacuation order was lifted by midnight.

Where the shell came from is anyone’s guess, Hoover said.

Dale Weber was one of many Noozhawk readers to send in photos of this week’s spectacular blood moon. (Dale Weber photo)
Dale Weber was one of many Noozhawk readers to send in photos of this week’s spectacular blood moon. (Dale Weber photo)

2. Clear Skies in Forecast for Tuesday Morning’s Blood Moon Appearance

Clear skies may have been forecast for the total lunar eclipse early on April 15, but stubborn coastal fog and haze got in the way for stargazers in some neighborhoods.

The “blood moon” began to emerge around 11 p.m. April 14, with the full effect seen shortly after midnight and lasting a little more than an hour. The celestial phenomenon occurs only during a full moon, when the Earth is aligned almost exactly in the middle of the sun and moon, creating a total lunar eclipse. The reddish appearance is the result of clouds and dust being filtered through Earth’s atmosphere.

If you missed this one, another blood moon will appear Oct. 8, followed by April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

Firefighters carry a car crash victim to a waiting ambulance after a vehicle ran off Tunnel Road in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon. (Urban Hikers photo)
Firefighters carry a car crash victim to a waiting ambulance after a vehicle ran off Tunnel Road in Santa Barbara’s Mission Canyon. (Urban Hikers photo)

3. Three People Injured When Car Drives Off Road in Mission Canyon Crash

Three people survived a Mission Canyon crash after their car drove off a precarious roadway at a particularly sharp turn and tumbled down a steep hillside.

According to county firefighter Paul Christensen, a Mercedes-Benz sedan went over the side about 8:30 p.m. April 13. The car rolled several times before landing about 50 feet below the 1200 block of Tunnel Road.

Christensen said the three occupants — a man and two women — were injured but one managed to clamber up the hillside to get help. All three were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate to minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.

What might have been just another day at the beach for Jenn Birchim, left, led to an improbable reunion for Sara and Greg Lindsay after Birchim found their long-lost wedding ring. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)
What might have been just another day at the beach for Jenn Birchim, left, led to an improbable reunion for Sara and Greg Lindsay after Birchim found their long-lost wedding ring. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

4. Wedding Band Lost in Ocean Two Years Ago Resurfaces on Ellwood Beach

Nearly a year and a half after an Ojai man lost his wedding ring in the ocean off Ellwood Beach, a Goleta woman found it while beachcombing with her children. Even more incredibly, she was able to locate the couple who had figured it was gone for good.

Jenn Birchim and her kids were exploring tide pools and hunting for seashells when she spied what she thought was just a bottle cap. In fact, it was a ring with a distinctive inscription: “My love, my life, my lobster.”

After she brought it home and cleaned it up, she decided to post a picture of it on her Facebook page.

“Let’s see if we can find the owner of this wedding band I found today at Ellwood beach in the super low tide,” Birchim wrote. “There is an inscription on the inside — ‘my love, my life, my lobster’ ... Maybe a lobster fisherman? Pass it along friends! Let’s stoke someone out and return it!”

Facebook fans thrive on these kinds of challenges, and within two days “it had 1,100 shares,” the UC Santa Barbara Community Housing Office employee told our Lara Cooper.

One of those shares made its way to Sara Lindsay, a Ventura teacher who contacted Birchim and listened in disbelief as she described the inscription.

“That’s my husband’s ring,” she recalled exclaiming.

Lindsay said her husband, Greg, lost the ring in the surf while they were at Ellwood Beach with their Bible study group. He didn’t even know it had slipped off his finger until after they had left.

“The guys were playing football, and my husband jumped into the ocean to get the ball, and that’s when he lost the ring,” she said.

“I was pretty upset. He loses a lot of things. ... The ring was in the ocean. We just figured it was gone.”

The Lindsays met up with Birchim last weekend to retrieve their wedding band, and to marvel at the power of social media. As of April 17, Birchim’s post has been shared nearly 32,000 times. 

“They’re super happy,” she said. “It was a fun happy ending.”

Curious locals streamed through the Santa Barbara Public Market to check out the goods after its April 14 opening. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
Curious locals streamed through the Santa Barbara Public Market to check out the goods after its April 14 opening. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

5. Santa Barbara Public Market Opens for Business

Just a few steps from Noozhawk World Headquarters, the Santa Barbara Public Market officially opened April 14. I knew something was different when I arrived at the office that morning because our parking lot was largely devoid of the construction trucks that often had been sloppily clogging it for the last couple of years.

The market complex, built on the site of the former Vons grocery store at the corner of West Victoria and Chapala streets, is part of developer Marge Cafarelli’s mixed-use Alma del Pueblo project.

                                                                        •        •

What’s it take to build a Ford Mustang on the top of the Empire State Building?

(fordvideo1 video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— 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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UCSB Offers Admission to 24,127 for Fall 2014

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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UC Santa Barbara has offered a place in its fall 2014 entering class to a total of 24,127 high school seniors. The prospective UCSB freshmen were selected from a total of 66,803 freshman applicants — the largest applicant pool in UCSB history. The campus expects its fall 2014 entering freshman class to number about 4,510.

Both the academic qualifications and the diversity of the applicant class accepted by UCSB continue to be very high:

» The average high school GPA of applicants admitted is 4.05.

» The average total score achieved by applicants admitted by UCSB on the required SATR Test is 1902 out of a possible 2400.

» Of all applicants admitted, 64.4 percent identify themselves as members of a racial or ethnic minority group. (Individual applicants to UC are not identified to the campuses by race or ethnicity until after admission decisions are made.)

Admission to UC Santa Barbara continues to be competitive. This year, just over 36 percent were offered a place in next fall’s entering class, down from 44 percent last year.

All nine of the UC undergraduate campuses are releasing admissions statistics Friday. The UC Office of the President is posting systemwide statistics on its website available by clicking here.

Applications from 14,137 students seeking to transfer to UC Santa Barbara are still under review, with decisions to be announced by the end of April. The number of transfer applications increased this year by 500, or 3.7 percent. All UC undergraduate campuses except Merced saw an increase in transfer applications.

UCSB acceptance letters were sent in mid-March, and applicants were able to check their admission status via a protected website. Freshman applicants who have been accepted by any UC campus have until May 1 to submit a Statement of Intent to Register.

Led by Chancellor Henry Yang, UCSB officials and faculty and staff members have been working diligently to ensure that the class enrolled this fall is the campus’ most talented and diverse ever. In March, Yang served as the host of three well-attended California receptions, one each in Los Angeles, Irvine and San Jose, for high-achieving applicants. At these events, volunteers from the UCSB campus — faculty and staff members, as well as alumni and students — met with applicants and their family members to answer questions about UCSB academic programs, student life, financial aid and other topics. Receptions were also hosted at several locations outside of California.

“We’re were very impressed by the academic quality of our freshman and transfer applicants and anticipate that the entering class will be the highest-achieving group ever,” said Lisa Przekop, director of admissions at UCSB. “We’ve admitted students who are extremely bright and actively involved in community service and leadership activities. These students will enhance our community and we look forward to welcoming them to campus in the fall.”

The UC system received a record 183,510 applications for fall 2014 — 148,688 from freshman applicants and 34,822 from transfer applicants. All nine undergraduate campuses experienced increases in freshman applicants.

The 2014 freshman enrollment target of 4,510 is slightly lower than last year last year’s target of 4,550. The smaller target is related to an increased undergraduate retention rate. For the same reason, the 2014 enrollment target for new transfer students remains steady at 1,550.

Of all applicants admitted, 78 percent, or 18,539, are California residents. Among those California students, members of underrepresented minority groups (African-American, American Indian and Chicano and Latino students) totaled 5,361 or 28.5 percent, up slightly from 26.8 percent last year.

Of the total number of admitted applicants, 2,875, or 12 percent, are international nonresident students. With the exception of UC Berkeley, the number of international nonresident admitted applicants has increased at every undergraduate UC campus.

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Solvang Nonprofit to Host Workshop on Relationship Between Police and People with Special Needs

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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How those with special needs should best interact with law enforcement — and vice versa — will be the topic of an upcoming workshop hosted by Hidden Wings, a Solvang-based nonprofit that serves young adults on the autism spectrum.

Emily Iland, past president of the Autism Society of Los Angeles who has a son with autism, will show episodes from a new educational film called Be Safe The Movie. Be Safe features seven “case studies” explaining possible encounters people with special needs might face with the law, and how they should respond in situations ranging from an innocent mistake to an arrest.

Run-ins with law enforcement can be especially difficult for those who can’t properly, or quickly, respond. The training uses video modeling to help attendees know what to expect in police encounters, procedures and questions.

Law enforcement officers will be present to take part in the live, situational reenactments, role-playing, games and activities, which provide an excellent opportunity for officers to interact with members of the community.

While the training will be geared toward teens and adults with special needs — from autism to attention deficit disorder to Tourette’s syndrome — the workshop will involve real-life situations applicable to any teenager. In addition, an opportunity to register for the Take Me Home program, a database which allows for the safe return of those who may not be able to communicate vital information to law enforcement officers or first responders, will be available.

Founded in 2009, Hidden Wings is honored to host the workshop, which aligns with its mission to provide a successful transition of people with special needs from high school into the workforce. Iland, an adjunct professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University-Northridge, also designed the movie with parents, caregivers, teachers and high school safety officers in mind.

The event was made possible by a grant from St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Bedford, N.Y.

Please RSVP to Hidden Wings founder Jim Billington at jim@hiddenwings.org, because space is limited. For more information, contact Billington, or Iland at emily@besafethemovie.com.

— Jim Billington represents Hidden Wings.

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Captain’s Log: Temporary Closure of Goleta Pier a Hardship on the Community

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Goleta Pier, at Goleta Beach Park, is a more important community resource than most folks understand. It serves as a recreational adventure, a pleasant place for a walk on the water, a place to study the ocean environs and critters, and a facility for hoist-launching small boats. It is also one of our most treasured local fishing resources. Sadly, the pier was closed after the powerful winter storm of early March, better than a month ago. Even more sadly, it will be some time before it is open.

To understand the important of this spot, it must be known that a great number of subsistence fishers use the popular pier, where they can catch dinner with minimum expenditure. A fishing license is not needed to fish from a pier, so that is another savings for subsistence anglers.

Displacing these folks by closing the pier for prolonged study and repairs is not an easy matter because Goleta Pier is one of the most productive and revered fishing hotspots among all of our coastal piers. The reason is that there is a rock-covered pipeline running alongside it, within casting distance and holding a tremendous population of tasty, nutritious fish.

Besides subsistence fishers, the pier serves as a popular fishing spot for hundreds of recreational anglers, and the boat hoist, halfway along the pier, puts small boats in the water so that boaters can fish and explore nearby waters.

That caught the attention of Ken Jones, president of the United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC). He and this writer have been collaborating on this issue, and we have been in contact with Paddy Langlands, deputy parks director for the County of Santa Barbara. This issue affects the pier fishers Jones represents, and it detrimentally affects business at my own store, Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara.

According to Langlands, after the storm damage was sustained, an engineering company looked at the pier and recommended closure. Now, well more than a month later, the county still awaits a recommendation on repairs. Once that is in hand, the county will go through a process to select and retain a contractor to make the repairs. Even if they use an expedited process to select a contractor, rather than going through a lengthy request for proposals and selection process, the pier will remained closed for at least another month and possibly much longer, because the repairs are substantial and large parts must be fabricated.

In the past, when the pier has sustained damage, there were workarounds to allow the public to walk on and fish from the pier, with only portions being closed while work was under way.

With today’s risk-avoidance mindset, the engineering company simply recommended complete closure. No surprise there. After all, they have no vested interest in keeping it open to serve those who need the pier. Of course, the county doesn’t want someone potentially hurt when it had been recommended that the pier be closed. So it is shut down, whether it is fishable or not.

One might ask why not send the anglers elsewhere. Well, another pier resource is Gaviota Pier, which is also closed for repairs. The only other option is Stearns Wharf, which is generally considered inferior as a fishing destination. Again, Goleta Pier is a magical fishing spot because of nearby habitat, including the rock-covered pipeline alongside it.

— 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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Tee Up with Jim Bower Community Outreach Golf Tournament

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Join the 10th annual Jim Bower Community Outreach Golf Tournament sponsored by the James S. Bower Foundation.

The tournament will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 5 at La Cumbre Golf and Country Club.

The Jim Bower Community Outreach Golf Tournament is administered each year by Santa Barbara’s All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, to date providing more than $450,000 in direct support and financial aid to organizations, including Casa Esperanza, Community Counseling and Education Center, Domestic Violence Solutions, Foodbank of Santa Barbara, Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Mental Wellness Center, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, New Beginnings Counseling Center and Transition House.

We are proud to note that 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.

The $200 tournament fee includes the greens fee, a golf cart, a box lunch, and hors d’oeuvres at the awards ceremony afterward.

To play in or sponsor this event, email mrosespec@aol.com or call 805.560.6185.

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Gauchos Gathering to Sip, Socialize at Annual Taste of UCSB

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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More than 1,000 Gaucho alumni and friends of UCSB will sip and socialize while they discover the Taste of UCSB 2014.

This year’s Taste of UCSB event will feature more than 40 Gaucho vintners, chefs, brewers and caterers coming together to benefit the UCSB Alumni Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support to current and future Gauchos.

Since its inauguration four years ago, the Taste of UCSB event has not only become the premiere gathering of UC Santa Barbara’s annual All Gaucho Reunion, it has become a must-attend for foodies and fine-dining professionals throughout the Central Coast. Discover the taste of coconut ginger cashew butter, clementine and sea salt marmalade from Sweet Lady Cook, classic barbeque from the Country Catering Company and more.

Food, beer and wine aside, the Taste of UCSB will also feature alumni music groups, networking and a silent auction of generously donated gifts to benefit student scholarships at UCSB. Alumni David Courtenay and Hēlo, an alumni folk-rock band based in Santa Barbara, will perform during the event. The silent auction will include exciting items like a beach cruiser bicycle, tickets
Gaucho Wine and Foodie Communities gather for another Taste of UCSB to SeaWorld, a gift certificate to the famous Nobu LA and more.

Attendees can also discover the newest academic innovations with The Passport to Discovery. Visit interactive displays from Geography, Theater and Dance, EAP and the Art Department.

The Uber car service has teamed up with UCSB this year to offer a special Gaucho coupon for one free Uber ride up to $20. Coupon codes are available online by clicking here.

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Adult Volunteers Needed to Promote Library’s Summer Reading Program

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System seeks enthusiastic adult volunteers to visit classrooms and promote summer reading to elementary school students in Santa Barbara area schools.

Volunteers will need to attend one of three training workshops in April to prepare and practice a brief classroom presentation.

During the month of May, volunteers will visit participating schools and present these promotional messages to encourage young readers to participate in the Summer Reading Program. Volunteers must be available during weekday morning and early afternoon hours to participate in this short-term opportunity. Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact their closest library branch for more information.

Three volunteer training sessions will be conducted at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. Volunteers are welcome to choose the training they wish to attend:

» Thursday, April 24, 10:30 a.m. to noon

» Monday, April 28, noon to 1:30 p.m. (bring your lunch)

» Tuesday, Apr 29, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Summer reading is one key to preventing the learning loss that leaves some children behind at the start of the new school year. The 2014 Summer Reading Program, “Fizz, Boom, Read!,” begins on June 10 and runs through July 31. Participant surveys show that many children register for the program for the first time after receiving a classroom presentation. Volunteer outreach efforts are supported by Partners in Education and the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

For more information, contact any branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library or call Lisa Gonzalez at 805.564.5674. Visit the library system’s website SBPLibrary.org to find out about this and other programs at the Santa Barbara Public Library System libraries. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Lisa Gonzalez is a youth services project coordinator for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Santa Barbara Matchmaking Hosting Party to Help Singles Meet Their Match

By | Published on 04/18/2014

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Santa Barbara Matchmaking will host a Meet Your Match Party from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 18 at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 3300 Via Real in Carpinteria.

It's the easiest and most fun way to meet singles ages 30s to 50s.

In February, we enjoyed great success with our very first Meet Your Match Party — a non-intimidating party where singles actually learned something about the person they were meeting. Don't miss your chance to be a part of this upcoming event with other singles from Santa Barbara and surrounding areas.

The event includes one complimentary beverage for each guest, free appetizers, one free raffle ticket at the door (two if pre-paid online), great prizes, and the opportunity to massively mix, mingle, make new friends and who knows what else.

How the event works: Men and women get two cards with five questions on each card. Answer the questions on both of your cards. Your goal is to go find someone and ask them the questions to see if your answers match.

If you have three or four matching answers, collect one raffle ticket each for the prize drawings, then go look for another match. If you have five matching answers, collect two raffle tickets. If you find someone you like, stay and talk for a bit. Throughout your quest you'll meet many new people.

No pressure or embarrassment, no games — just great fun! Click here for more information and to register.

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BizHawk: Lafond Winery Taps Sisters to Manage New Tasting Room in Funk Zone

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Captured Spirit Photography opens downtown, Arlington Tavern adds front dining patio and Patricia Noel Studio reopens in Montecito

[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.]

Lafond Winery will open its first tasting room in Santa Barbara next month, tapping two sisters and Santa Barbara natives to guide the latest venture.

The Buellton-based winery and vineyard, owned by local serial purveyor Pierre Lafond, aims to open the new wine-tasting room at 111 E. Yanonali St. on May 1.

Sisters Mirella Ramirez and Liz Morello will manage the new operation, lauded as a “vessel” to send more visitors up to the Santa Ynez Valley, where the grapes for chardonnay, syrah and pino noir are produced in the Santa Rita Hills.

The Funk Zone location, a former computer repair shop, is adjacent to Lafond’s sister winery and primary label, Santa Barbara Winery, which means guests will get a great view of wine production at the bottling warehouse.

Ramirez, who will manage both the Santa Barbara and Buellton rooms, said the new location will boast work from local artists.

“We’re both really excited,” said Morello, assistant manager of the Funk Zone spot.

Captured Spirit Photography Opens

Photographer and business owner Stacey Byers has transformed a commercial space into a boutique portrait studio and exhibition gallery, recently opening Captured Spirit Photography at 1213 State St., Suite F.

Byers moved to Santa Barbara with her husband last year, and then began searching for a suitable space for a photography business.

She offers custom-tailored portrait sessions, most of which will help people commemorate engagements, anniversaries, pregnancy, graduations or other personal milestones and moments with professional portraits.

“Many photographers in Santa Barbara are shooting weddings or events, but the majority of my work takes place in the studio,” Byers said. “I needed a space that provides clients with privacy during photo shoots, but I also wanted a space that could double as an exhibition gallery. It's been a goal to offer emerging photographers a place to show their work, to host public events and to become a vibrant part of the Santa Barbara community.”

Arlington Tavern Adds Patio

Arlington Tavern in downtown Santa Barbara has opened a new front patio for dining.

The restaurant will also celebrate its two-year anniversary with a special event from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, featuring sips, bites and live entertainment.

Co-owners and longtime friends Chef Ron True and Diego Barbieri will be on hand to welcome loyal patrons and guests to the event and restaurant, located at 21 W. Victoria St.

Patricia Noel Studio Opens in Montecito

Longtime local Patricia Noel has reopened the hair studio bearing her name in Montecito.

Patricia Noel Studio opened at 1253 Coast Village Road, Suite 105, in March, and will host a grand opening from 4 to 7 p.m. May 9.

The former studio located at 2173 Ortega Hill Road in Summerland closed after seven years in January after someone bought the building, Noel said.

Noel’s new digs are larger, cozy and “very luxury,” according to the owner, who has recruited four local and experienced stylists to work on her new team.

StudySoup Named Finalist in Awards Program

StudySoup, an educational platform founded by UCSB alumnus Sieva Kozinsky, has been announced as a finalist for the Cool Tech category in the EdTech Digest Awards Program recognizing it as a new technology solution for education.

StudySoup.com, a Santa Barbara-based startup offering a peer to peer education marketplace for college students to buy and sell study guides and learning materials, in two years has grown to reach 8,000 students at 15 campuses across the country, including UCLA, UCSB and more.

The EdTech Digest Awards Program recognizes outstanding solutions for and the best and brightest minds in education technology — a sector revolutionizing the education landscape.

Xform Computing Inc Earns Investment

Xform Computing Inc., pioneer of the AlwaysOnPC Cloud-streaming mobile Apps and services, this week announced that the company has received an investment from Parallels Inc., a global leader in hosting and cloud services enablement and cross platform solutions.

Xform and Parallels are collaborating across their technical, marketing and product teams to accelerate Xform's AlwaysOnPC platform to address new applications and expand into more global markets and channels. The collaboration also includes an investment by Parallels that will boost the next phase of Xform's growth.

The Xform services and apps use patented technology to host and stream an entire desktop experience, or individual applications to mobile and HDTV devices. Examples include Office suite, email, graphics, video, image editing, as well as Chrome or Firefox browsers with Flash, Java and HTML5, all securely accessible from tablets, smartphones and soon HDTVs.

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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Partnership for Excellence Conference Takes Closer Look at Changing Demographics

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Keynote speaker Manuel Pastor, a USC professor, discusses equity and the future of Santa Barbara County and the country

More than 500 people packed into Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort for Thursday's Partnership for Excellence Conference, the centerpiece of which was a talk that focused on how demographics are changing in Santa Barbara County and across the nation and the opportunities those changes present to nonprofits.

The theme of this year's event was "Co-Creating Our Future: Impacts and Evaluations that Matter," and the daylong conference featured a host of panels, breakout sessions and networking opportunities for those in the philanthropic community.

The conference was started by the Foundation Roundtable with the goal of connecting funders and nonprofit leaders to learn and network.

It was the 21st conference held by the group, which in years past has featured speakers such as Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children's Zone and humanitarian Dan Pallotta.

Ernesto Paredes, executive director of Easy Lift Transportation, called the event "speed dating for nonprofits. This is your chance to really get to know one another."

Paredes introduced keynote speaker Manuel Pastor, who is a professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

Pastor's talk, titled "Demographic Change, Equity and Santa Barbara County's Future," was a funny and engaging look at changing demographics across the country, California and in Santa Barbara County in an effort to help local nonprofits focus on how to best reach people they are trying to serve.

Between 2000 and 2010, the growth rate of Latinos was 43 percent as opposed to the growth rate for non-Hispanic whites, which was 1 percent. Those national numbers present a "pretty big difference," he said, adding that immigration is not driving those numbers as many people think.

What's driving the growth is what's happening with the children of immigrants, he said.

The number of non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans is dropping in Santa Barbara County, while the numbers of Latinos and Asians are growing.

In 2040, the majority of people in the United States will be people of color, he said, but the country is going through changes that California went through in the 1980s.

"California is America in fast-forward," he said, adding that the process was marked by conflicts for the state.

As the population is stabilizing in California, the lessons learned here will be instructive to everyone, he said.

Pastor also said the median age for whites is 42 years old, while the median age for Latinos is 27 years old.

"It's a generation gap," he said. "It helps explain our politics."

As an example, Pastor cited Arizona, which has the largest gap of the whitest older people and the brownest young, and that the state has seen the largest cuts in education and services.

"That generational disconnect between older and young is driving inequality," he said, adding that the population might be less prepared to contribute to a health economy moving forward.

Young people of color "are very aspirational for themselves and the kind of world they're going to live in," he said. "We need to speak to their aspirations not to their anger, and we need to recognize that this is the population that will be moving us forward."

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

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Goleta Sends Letter of Concern Asking State Lands Commission to Reconsider Venoco Project

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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State Lands Commission staff support Venoco Inc.’s project to restart an oil-production well, but the City of Goleta has sent a letter of concern to ask the commission to reconsider.

Venoco wants to start production at the 421-2 well near Haskell’s Beach, which has been shut down since a 170-barrel spill from the pipeline onto the Sandpiper Golf Club in 1994.

While portions of the project facilities are within city boundaries — like the Ellwood Onshore Facility where Venoco wants to process its oil and gas — the project itself is under the state’s jurisdiction.

Venoco plans to process the oil and gas at the Ellwood Onshore Facility, but Goleta would have to approve permits. The alternative, processing oil at the pier itself, has more negative environmental impacts, according to the EIR

Members of the State Lands Commission is scheduled to vote on the environmental impact report and whether to approve the project at a meeting next Wednesday. Commission staff members say the project’s benefits outweigh the adverse environmental impacts and that Venoco has a vested interest in producing oil from that lease.

Goleta residents and council members are worried about the potential for oil spills and extending the life of onshore oil production facilities.

Goleta’s letter to the SLC outlines the city’s concerns and says approving the project is irresponsible without assurances that the piers and wells will be abandoned in a timely manner. The city also wants oil to get processed at Las Flores Canyon if the project gets approved.

Goleta and Venoco tried to reach a settlement agreement on the project with conditions that would go into effect if the project was approved, as a balance of both of their interests.

However, Venoco withdrew its support Tuesday when the city voted to send the letter of concern.

The letter and the agreement, as written, send a conflicting message to the SLC, Venoco government relations manager Steve Greig said.

Agreement terms would have required Venoco to remove the city to consider the project permits and make Venoco remove the piers after abandoning them.

Depending on the outcome of the SLC meeting, the city and Venoco might try to come up with an agreement both parties can agree with.

The SLC meeting is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and will be webcast live.

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

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Review: Elements Theatre Collective’s ‘Aspirations’ Are Well-Realized

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Elements Theatre Collective, Santa Barbara’s progressive theater company dedicated to providing free, accessible and professional quality theater, continues to wow its audiences, and its current offering, Aspirations, A Musical Revue, is no exception.

For the first time, Elements is presenting original material, written and directed by the company’s executive director, Rob Grayson, in the form of a framework of narrative around lesser-known songs from beloved Broadway shows such as Wicked, Annie Get Your Gun, Catch Me If You Can, Once, The Wild Party, Mack and Mabel, La Cage Aux Folles, Baby and City of Angels.

When four friends — two actresses, a director and a composer — gather in New York City to watch the 2009 Tony Awards, they can’t help but do some impromptu performing of their own.

William Simpson is Danny, the host of the party and once-director of the Tonys. He has aspirations of his own, and Simpson gets the lion’s share of laughs with his over-the-top flamboyant portrayal, while also displaying an incredible vocal range. Quinlan Fitzgerald is dynamic as Molly, the young, aspiring Broadway star whose sparkle and sass are rivaled only by her phenomenal voice. Molly and Danny’s ribbing and riffing on each other are priceless.

Anne Guynn and Richard Lonsbury are sweet and down-to-earth as Sarah and Mark, a couple who share a love of Broadway as deep as their love for each other. Mark is a composer and spends most of his stage time at the piano accompanying the others, but Lonsbury has a few moments in the spotlight to share his rich, warm voice. Guynn provides the perfect balance to the wildness around her, with her earnest, though not humorless, manner and clear, expressive voice.

Clocking in at just an hour, this delightful evening of musical theater packs a lot into the time, with this reviewer’s only complaint being that it was over too soon. But you know what they say on Broadway: “Always leave 'em wanting more.”

Remaining shows will be performed at 8:30 p.m. this Friday, April 18, at Better Days Yoga, 7433 Hollister Ave. in Goleta; and at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday, both at Java Station, 4447 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.

All Elements Theatre Collective shows are free, but it is necessary to reserve seats by clicking here.

Elements’ current season, with the theme of "Gender & Sexuality," will close in July with Orlando by Sarah Ruhl. Watch its site for information on dates and venues by clicking here.

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

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City of Santa Maria Rejects CAUSE’s Petition for District Elections System

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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The City of Santa Maria has rejected a petition that would change its City Council elections process, and the rebuked petitioner plans to appeal that decision to a judge.

The Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) submitted a petition last Friday calling for a district elections process for the Santa Maria City Council, instead of the current “at-large” system.

The City Clerk’s Office denied the initiative — and its 5,300 signatures — on the same day, citing technical deficiencies that it said violated the election code, mostly concerning formatting and lack of certain header text on each page.

On Thursday, CAUSE announced that its legal representatives at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund would be seeking a writ of mandate from a judge to compel the city to validate the petition.

“We’re just so disappointed that the city is basically trying to interfere with democracy,” said Hazel Davalos, a CAUSE community organizer and Santa Maria resident. “We really feel like the city is grasping at straws.

“District elections, in our eyes, really would create a better government. It bubbled up as a result of a number of issues we’ve had with the city over the years.”

Davalos said the city historically has ignored neighborhood concerns, which is why CAUSE took up the effort last year and began collecting signatures two months ago.

She said CAUSE had hoped to put the measure on the ballot in November, when a majority of Santa Maria residents would have to vote in favor of changing the city charter.

The mayor and council members are currently elected from an “at-large” process, meaning they can live anywhere in the city.

An election by district would divide the city into four areas containing a comparable number of residents, and each would elect its own council member from within those districts. The mayor would continue to be elected under the “at-large” system.

City officials decided that “close enough” was not enough when it voided the petition for not including a header with the words “Initiative Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters” and for failing to include a required reference to the circulators being 18 or older.

CAUSE’s petition cited circulators who were registered to vote, a right earned at 18.

CAUSE’s action marks the second time the city has gone up against district elections.

In the early 1990s, MALDEF unsuccessful sued the city, claiming the at-large system violated the Voting Rights Act.

A judge eventually sided with the city about 10 years later in 2003, said Assistant City Attorney Philip Sinco, who added that the decision to fight the ruling wasn’t unexpected.

Davalos is worried the delay will prevent the measure from reaching a ballot this fall. The initiative would have called for two districts to elect a council member in 2016, with the two remaining districts electing representatives in 2018.

She pointed to the number of excess signatures — only about 2,700, or 10 percent of the population, were required — as an indicator that residents desire change.

“There’s kind of an old boys’ club right now,” Devalos said. “I think they really feel that this is an attack on the status quo. The rejection shines spotlight on exactly what we think is wrong with city government.”

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

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David Harsanyi: Conservatives Still Don’t Want You to Get Sick and Die

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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The notion that conservatives not only oppose liberal health-care reforms but are vigorously working to deny Americans access is a popular one on the left. If you don't support Obamacare, you are basically endorsing murder. A recent contemptible piece in New Republic, which argues that Democrats should — without any evidence, if necessary — blame the unfortunate deaths of Americans on the rival political party, is perhaps the pinnacle of this brand of absurd demagoguery. Alan Grayson mainstreamed.

Although, it's also the unspoken starting point for many pundits, including The Washington Post's Greg Sargent, who believes he's detected a seismic shift within Republican ranks:

"Republicans remain gung-ho for repeal, and continue to insist Obamacare is destroying the lives of millions, if not American freedom itself. And yet, Republican Senate candidates are increasingly sounding like Obamacare's most ardent supporters in one key way: They are rhetorically embracing the imperative of expanding affordable health coverage to those who need it."

Two small problems with that contention: 1) It is possible to deem Obamacare destructive policy and still support "expanding affordable health coverage." 2) The GOP has been using the exact same rhetoric Sargent points to from the beginning of the debate. And I mean exactly the same.

The majority of Americans believe that Obamacare is detrimental to the health-care system, yet, one assumes, many of them believe extending "health coverage" to everyone is a worthy cause. There are — and I realize this might be inconceivable to some — other systems that deliver affordable, high-quality services and products to lots and lots of people. Presumably, most of you have bought food or clothing without an individual mandate in a highly regulated government exchange? This kind of delivery system may seem excessively chaotic, antiquated or even unfair to you, but it's worth mentioning that the moral objective of those who support competitive markets over contrived technocratic schemes is probably just as good as yours.

Now, Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton's recent comments — "We want every American to have quality, affordable access to health care" — were the grist for the left's proposition that the GOP is in the midst of abandoning its position on Obamacare. But the only possible reason you could believe Cotton's words are, in Sargent's words, "increasingly sounding like Obamacare's most ardent supporters" is that you haven't been paying attention to the debate.

OK, not the only reason. Liberals such as Sargent are trying to create the perception that there is a widespread capitulation among conservatives on the "big idea" leading up to the 2014 midterms. Obamacare, fait accompli. But Republicans (and I think they're misguided) have never argued about the big idea. The GOP has never been able to settle on a set of reforms because of well-known internal differences. Rhetorically, though, Republicans have been using the same exact formulation as Cotton did.

In 2009, at the height of the Obamacare debate, all Republicans were rhetorically embracing the imperative of expanding affordable health care:

Roy Blunt: "Make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American."

The title of a news conference by John Boehner: "Boehner, House GOP Outline Plan to Make Health Care More Affordable & Accessible for All Americans."

Dave Camp at CNN.com: "These and other measures will ensure every American, regardless of income, regardless of where they choose to live, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illness, will have access to affordable, quality health care."

Paul Ryan's plan to replace employer-provided health insurance with a refundable tax credit available to every American was, in essence, a call for universal coverage. Even the more conservative plan offered by the Republican Study Committee promised tax reform that "allows families and individuals to deduct health care costs, just like companies, leveling the playing field and providing all Americans with a standard deduction for health insurance."

Workable? That's another debate. Rhetorically embracing the big idea? Yes.

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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Former County Fire Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union Funds

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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A former Santa Barbara County Fire Department employee who was arrested last summer on charges of grand theft and filing false tax returns during his time as an insurance administrator for his union pleaded guilty on Thursday morning in court and will be sentenced to three years in prison.

Robert Perez
Robert Perez

Robert Perez was arrested Aug. 30, 2013, after a four-month investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Perez, who is retired from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, was charged with grand theft and filing false tax returns, and voluntarily turned himself into the Sheriff's Department. He was subsequently arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

The misappropriation of funds and tax evasion occurred during the time Perez held the position of insurance administrator with the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Local 2046, from which he stole an average of $20,000 a year, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota.

Cota confirmed Thursday that Perez pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft and six counts of felony tax evasion for crimes committed between 2007 and 2012.

Perez, who is 55, took an early retirement before the District Attorney's Office pressed charges against him.

Cota said Perez is receiving retirement monies currently, and that if Perez doesn't volunteer the monies, the firefighters union can take steps to recover the money.

Perez also admitted to a white-collar fraud enhancement, which means  two or more related felonies amounted to a loss of more than $100,000. Because the amount was more than $100,000 — Cota estimates Perez stole around $124,000 from the union — Perez is ineligible for local custody or probation.

A restitution hearing must be held to determine the amount to be paid back to the union, as well as state taxes that went unreported, Cota said.

Cota said he felt the three-year prison sentence was appropriate because Perez had been stealing from co-workers, people who he would conceivably work with during a life-threatening situation.

"There has to be a level of trust between those people," he said.

Perez was in court on Thursday morning, and is being represented by attorney Steve Balash.

"He's a decorated firefighter that screwed up," Balash said. "He always intended to pay the money back."

Balash said Perez ran into personal problems, including needing to help pay for medical issues of family members, including that of his wife, who has lupus.

"He found himself in a bind and the money was there and nobody missed it," Balash said.

Perez is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

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

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Santa Barbara Festival Ballet Ventures Into an ‘Enchanted Forest’

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Balletic spiders swirling and prancing alongside lovingly choreographed moonbeams in a hushed, wooded glade under watchful starlight — where else but in an enchanted forest? And who else but the imaginative and ever-surprising Santa Barbara Festival Ballet?

The Enchanted Forest children's ballet, a short and colorful program, will be performed in full at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage Theater at Paseo Nuevo at 7 p.m. April 24. The ballet will then be excerpted at the Goleta Library at 4 p.m. May 20.

The performances will feature choreography by SBFB’s Sean Crawford and Aimee Lopez, costumes by Cheryl Beasley of Ballet Etudes and sets by Jim Wallace.

“The Enchanted Forest is a one-act ballet I created, and which Aimee and I choreographed,” SBFB co-artistic director Sean Crawford said. “The story includes forest fairies, a wood elf prince who gets into all kinds of wonderful mischief, strange and magical forest creatures and wonderful dancing! This short ballet was written with a little something for everyone, and is entertaining for all ages."

The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet had its beginnings in 1964 when retired performers of the iconic American Ballet Theater, dancers Bob and Carol Hanlin, opened the doors of their dance school on Magnolia Avenue in what is now Old Town Goleta. Under the directorship of Denise Rinaldi, the school has since grown into a recognized conservatory and exponent of the Cecchetti method, accepting students of all ages, and a renowned performing company. SBFB’s yearly Nutcracker at the Arlington Theatre with live orchestra has become a Santa Barbara tradition, now in its 40th year. Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s alums include a Tony Award winner and dedicated dancers in companies all over the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, call the Goleta Library at 805.964.7878, the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet at 805.966.0711 or the Center Stage Theater at 805.963.8198.

— Sean Crawford represents the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet.

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Police Say Injured Cyclist’s Bike Wasn’t Really Stolen

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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'Theft' was a 'big misunderstanding,' according to Santa Barbara police

Police and bystanders were dumbfounded Wednesday afternoon when it appeared an injured cyclist's bike had been stolen after an accident in downtown Santa Barbara.

But it turns out the "theft" was the result of a "big misunderstanding," according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

As the victim, Nathaniel Preston, 25, was being loaded into an ambulance for a trip to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, police looked around for his bicycle.

Several bystanders told Noozhawk they thought the bike had been taken into a store on the 1300 block of State Street for safekeeping, but a search of nearby shops turned up nothing.

Police concluded it had been stolen.

"While the guy was lying on the ground, someone walked off with it," Sgt. Riley Harwood said Wednesday evening.

However, police received a tip Thursday that the bike had been taken by a Good Samaritan to Preston's workplace, Seagrass Restaurant, on East Ortega Street.

"It was erroneously reported as stolen – just a big misunderstanding," said Officer Jaycee Hunter.

The bike actually was turned over to the restaurant's owner, who saw that it got back to Preston, Hunter said.

"All is good," Hunter added.

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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Anacapa Students Cover Bipartisan Foreign Policy Talk to Channel City Club

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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This week at the Channel City Club, the topic presented was the sustainability of democracy in the Middle East and post-Arab Spring status reports.

The discussion on Monday was made in tandem by a team consisting of Leslie Campbell of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs and Scott Mastic of the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Campbell is the director of the Middle East and North African division of the NDI for International Affairs. He joined NDI in 1994 and has been director of programs since 1996.  Mastic joined the IRI in 1998 and became regional director of the Middle East and North African division in 2009.

It was very refreshing to listen to two people from different sides of the political spectrum talk about international affairs without contentious debate. The conversation instead centered on universal values that both of the organizations support. Campbell and Mastic discussed different nations that were a part of the Arab Spring with a hopeful outlook for the state of the Middle East.

When discussing Tunisia, “I am the most optimistic about Tunisia today,” Mastic said at one point.

According to Mastic, Tunisia was a very stable, autocratic society for a long time and the revolts against, and removal of, Ben Ali came as a surprise to many. Although Tunisia is on a relatively solid track to democracy, politics are still intensely polarized between extreme Islamist and more secular views. Mastic also talked about the part the International Republican Institute plays in Tunisia. The IRI helps political parties get organized. They have set up training and consultation programs for political figures. Their programs also include public opinion polling to assist politicians in policy making.

Regarding the question of whether people in the Middle East really want democracy, both Mastic and Campbell agreed upon the answer. The people of the Middle East want something different. They want to move away from their autocratic past and towards democracy. They want to be part of the rest of the world. One of the public opinion graphs Mastic brought showed that Tunisians would rather have an initially unstable democratic society than a stable autocratic one.

Libya, a very oil-rich nation, has the potential to produce as much as the Gulf states, Mastic said. However the presence of many armed extremists make that nation highly unstable. According to Campbell’s statistics, 81 percent of Libyans remain optimistic about their current situation and still believe democracy is the best form of government.

When discussing the situation in Iraq, Campbell stated that “politics in Iraq are much more normal that you’d think.” At the moment, elections for the next prime minister are being held. In the past couple of years, Iraqis are seeing improvements in almost all major issues.

Both organizations are very committed to promoting women’s rights and the role of women in society. Campbell pointed out that 35 percent of the seats in the parliament of Yemen go to women, while 25 percent of the seats of the Iraqi parliament go to women.

The optimism decreased, unfortunately, when the subject of Egypt’s current situation was presented. Campbell gave light to the fact that there are almost no international organizations allowed in Egypt. Mastic and Campbell’s enthusiasm dwindled with recent events in Egypt; both believe it is a very difficult situation. They also believe that Saudi Arabia’s conservatism and its alignment with Egypt makes for a very reactionary axis in the Middle East.

The overall consensus was that while states of the Middle East are taking steps towards democracy, there is still much progress to be made. In the optimistic views of Campbell and Mastic, a sustainable democracy is possible, especially with the help of the international community as a whole.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of both the NDI and the IRI. Both organizations are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, a private non-profit foundation looking for the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions worldwide. The IRI and the NDI have similar goals: to advance democracy and strengthen democratic institutions around the world.

Grace Strelich and Lia Milar are juniors at Anacapa School.

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Community Invited to Celebrate Easter with Calvary Chapel at Sunken Garden

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Everyone in the community is invited to celebrate Easter Sunday at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden, 1100 Anacapa St, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The event is sponsored by Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara and includes live music, a message of love by Pastor David Guzik, and a fun children program for children of all ages.

We will also offer free refreshments after the service.

Please come and enjoy this special time of celebration and love!

Handicap seating will be available.

For more information, call 805.730.1400, email info@calvarysb.com or click here.

— Lars Linton is an assistant pastor for Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara.

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Jacques Habra: A ‘Reality Check’ from Virtual Reality Visionary Doc Searls

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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This past weekend, Santa Barbara had a visit from bestselling author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell. The esteemed journalist draws crowds of hundreds to listen to his latest predictions on where business and technology are headed.

A lucky few from Sonos had a chance to visit with Gladwell in a more intimate conversation. The vast majority engage Gladwell by reading his very popular books or are packing the Arlington Theatre.

Santa Barbara soon will host another author, visionary and speaker in Doc Searls. Like Gladwell, Searls has an uncanny ability to connect dots from the past and present to predict the future. Unlike Gladwell, Searls will be speaking to a relatively intimate crowd of around 100 people and actually engaging in conversation as he responds to “tweets” and posts in almost real-time.

Searl’s resume is arguably as impressive as Gladwell’s, and his insights and bold predictions have been featured in nationally recognized publications.

The lecture, titled “Reality Check: Things You Wish You Knew Five Years from Now,” is presented by the MIT Enterprise Forum and will take place April 23 at the Cabrillo Arts Pavillion beginning at 5 p.m.

Searls is the author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual.

In “Reality Check,” Searls will share his latest insights on very relevant and timely issues including online privacy, surveillance, how advertising is changing and possibly dying, and how the individually powered Internet as we know it will transform in the next few years.

As co-producer of this event, along with Guy Smith of Antioch University, I had the distinct opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with Searls. One of the first observations in listening to him is that you realize his brain is firing in unique ways, connecting individual’s emotions to corporate agendas to broad political policies. One thing is for sure: This planet is becoming more and more connected, reaching an unprecendented level of transparency.

Doc Searls
Doc Searls

What Searls explains is that the individual has more power today than ever before — not just in terms of reviewing a business via Yelp but in actually changing the world. He explains the changing perspective of the individual touch: “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers; we are human beings — and our reach exceeds your grasp … Deal With It.” What Searls expresses in his work is that every post and tweet has meaning and is a contribution to the “data layer” that is driving all facets of policy making and corporate branding.

For the first time in history, big business has discovered that individual empowerment is a good thing. All of that sounds appealing if you understand the new rules of engagement and how to ensure your voice is heard.

The second trait I noticed in chatting with Searls is just how direct he comes across. This is rare in a sugar-coated world where there seems to always be an agenda to sell a recent book or encourage blog visitors. With Searls, you’ll get the perspective front and center because he cares so passionately that the community is empowered and clear on the implications of evolving technology in the government and corporate arenas.

The conversation continues April 23, and I encourage you to participate. As always, dinner is included with registration. Click here for more information and to register.

Jacques Habra is a serial entrepreneur who manages the Noospheric Quantified Fund and volunteers on several community organizations in Santa Barbara, including the Westmont College Foundation board. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara County Economic Summit: Trends, Technology and Theories of Future

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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In addition to the staple economic forecasts, experts will weigh in on the changing nature of work

From the First Agricultural Revolution thousands of years ago to today’s Information Revolution, the idea of work and labor has been defined by technology, with each shift in the progression of machines and scientific knowledge profoundly affecting our society and economy. As our technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, how will we define work and determine the value of labor? Who will benefit most from our advances and how will economy and society shape itself around these breakthroughs?

Peter Rupert
Peter Rupert, executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project.

Those questions and more will be tackled by a panel of experts at UC Santa Barbara’s 33rd annual Santa Barbara County Economic Summit, scheduled from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 8 at the Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.

Presented by the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, the event kicks off with a breakfast reception from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. on the 1200 block of State Street, directly in front of the Granada, followed by opening remarks and a welcome to attendees starting at 8:30 a.m.

An 8:50 a.m. panel discussion titled “The Future of Work” seeks to answer questions about the nature of work today and how it could look in the future. According to panel moderator Russ Roberts, topics on the table include the rise of smart machines and how they might change the nature of work; the U.S. education system and whether it’s preparing students for the modern world of work; and the futures of outsourcing, telecommuting and manufacturing work.

“My goal for the panel is to have a lively, provocative conversation on the central issues facing workers in America,” said Roberts, author of The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity.

The John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Roberts hosts the award-winning weekly “EconTalk” podcast and is the author of three economics novels, including The Price of Everything. He is also the co-creator of Keynes-Hayek rap videos, using pop culture to explain the mechanics of economic philosophies that underlie the modern world.

Speakers on the panel include:

» Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the Sloan School of Management at MIT. The author or co-author of more than 100 articles, case studies and other materials for students and teachers of technology, McAfee studies the ways that information technology affects businesses and business as a whole. He is the co-author of The New York Times best-seller The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.

» Megan McArdle, a Washington-based journalist who writes about economics, business and public policy for Bloomberg View. Her work has appeared in publications such as Newsweek, The Economist, The Atlantic, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Her book, The Up Side of Down, on how to use failure as the springboard to success, was published by Viking in February.

» Lee Ohanian, professor of economics and director of the Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research at UCLA. Ohanian is an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and a frequent columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek and CBS Moneyline. His research focuses on economic crises; in the past year he has advised the U.S. Senate and the California state legislature on the recent economic downturn.

This year’s summit also features Michael Bryan, vice president and senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where he is responsible for organizing the Atlanta Fed’s monetary policy process. Bryan, who is scheduled to speak at 10:10 a.m. about the national economy, currently teaches in the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago.

Peter Rupert, executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, follows Bryan’s presentation at approximately 10:40 a.m. with his own talk, focusing on the local and regional economy. Rupert is chair of the Department of Economics at UCSB and associate director of the campus’s Laboratory for Aggregate Economics and Finance. He has served as senior research adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for 13 years.

Rupert and Bryan will field questions from the audience after their presentations.

The UCSB Economic Forecast Project was established in 1981 by the Department of Economics at UCSB to provide the community with information on economic, demographic and regional business trends. Sponsors for this year’s event include Union Bank and Montecito Bank & Trust.

The summit is open to the public; admission is $200 per person. Cost for UCSB students is $25. For tickets and information, click here, call the Arts & Lectures box office at 805.893.3535 or call 805.893.5148 for event information.

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Launches Eureka! Summer Externship Program

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria has launched its Eureka! summer externship program, and community members are invited to participate in hosting an extern over four weeks this summer.

Eureka! is a five-year, college-bound program that encourages girls to explore science, technology, engineering and math. In the third year, Eurekans are offered an externship, paid for through Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. is currently seeking business professionals who are interested in sponsoring an extern to support, mentor and encourage her as she navigates the work world for the first time. Participating sponsors are asked to contribute a scholarship of $500 at the close of the externship to be used for qualified academic expenses.

Externs will be paired with businesses throughout Santa Barbara County for an experiential work opportunity.

The extern will work 80 hours over four weeks in July beginning June 30 and culminating on July 24. Sponsorship applications are being accepted and are due by May 9.

Eureka! is designed to enable girls to recognize and overcome barriers to their achievement by providing them with opportunities to explore and develop skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to live and succeed in an inequitable world. Through job readiness training, work experience and Eureka! programming, these teens will be better prepared to engage in an increasingly competitive job market.

— Kayla Cherland is the Eureka! Externship coordinator for Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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Investigators Identify, Destroy ‘Military Ordnance’ That Forced Evacuations in Solvang

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Sheriff's Department says it was an 18-inch ammunition shell, but that it's still unclear where it came from

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has determined that an 18-inch ammunition shell was the military ordnance found Wednesday afternoon in a Solvang alleyway but that it’s still unknown where it came from, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Thursday.

After a citizen called 9-1-1 around 3:30 p.m., deputies responded to the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive and found a 105-millimeter shell that looked old, like it had already been fired, Hoover said.

It was found lying among some trash in an enclosed area of an alleyway behind businesses, Hoover said.

Since the device's fusing system was still in place, the Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad and Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team determined the device was potentially unstable and conducted a mass evacuation of 500 to 700 people from several hotels, homes and residences within a 1,500-foot radius of the alleyway.

ordnance
Explosives personnel destroyed the military ordnance with a controlled detonation. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

It took hours since the area is in the highly-populated downtown area of Solvang, and the American Red Cross set up a temporary shelter at the Veterans Memorial Hall.

By 11:20 p.m., the bomb squad and EOD team were able to retrieve the device, transport it to a remote location and destroy it with a controlled detonation.

It’s still unknown where the military ordnance came from, Hoover said, because they can be purchased online even though they are not meant for public use.

These devices can become unstable and dangerous over time, and anyone who wants to safely dispose of one can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 805.681.4100.

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

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Fire Damages Recently Sold Home in Lompoc

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Firefighters need an hour to quell blaze in structure, which was vacant at the time

A Thursday morning fire significantly damaged a Lompoc home that was vacant because it had recently been sold, according to the Lompoc Fire Department.

Fire Chief Kurt Lapitow said emergency personnel responded shortly after 9 a.m. to multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a fire with visible flames at a two-story home in the 600 block of University Drive.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a well-involved blaze on both stories that took nearly an hour to knock down with help from Vandenberg Air Force Base and Santa Barbara County Fire crews, Lapitow said.

He said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, as well as where in the home the blaze originated.

Lapitow said the house was empty because it had recently been sold to someone who did not live in Lompoc but was a county resident.

“I felt really bad when she walked up,” he said.

Initial fire crews were still on the scene Thursday afternoon mopping up, and investigators were called in to assess the damage and cause, Lapitow said.

Due to the extensive damage caused by the fire, the residence was deemed uninhabitable.

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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Howard Jay Smith Joins Santa Barbara Symphony Planned Giving Committee

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Howard Jay Smith
Howard Jay Smith

Howard Jay Smith has been named to the Santa Barbara Symphony Planned Giving Committee.

“I have been a lifelong fan of classical music,” said Smith, vice president and wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley one of the world’s preeminent financial service firms for investment banking, research and portfolio management.

The Santa Barbara Symphony maintains a permanent endowment fund to secure the orchestra’s artistic, cultural and educational programs for future seasons. As a committee member, Smith will help Director of Development Pamela Perkins-Dwyer ensure the symphony’s endowment stays healthy.

His experience in planned giving and estate planning strategies goes beyond his work at Morgan Stanley. Smith has served as chairman of the Ventura County Economic Development Association Board, represented the City of Ojai on the county’s Economic Development Collaborative board and served as a past president of the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce and a past secretary of the Ojai West Rotary Club.

He also helped found the Ojai Film Festival and taught at UCLA Extension.

In addition, he recently completed his third book, a novel titled Beethoven in Love; Opus 139.

He has been named a Business Executive of the Year by the Ventura County Leadership Academy and a Top Regional Business Leader three years by the Pacific Coast Business Times.

Smith graduated magna cum laude from the University of Buffalo and Nanyang University of Singapore with an Ed.M. in administration and a B.A. in Asian studies. He was a graduate fellow at the American Film Institute and holds a certificate in estate planning for financial professionals from the American College.

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

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Zumbathon to Raise Funds for Santa Barbara Festival Ballet

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Rachel McDonald of Fitness with Rachel will sponsor and host a Zumbathon from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 14 in the Multipurpose Room at Hope School, 3970 La Colina Road.

All of proceeds will go to the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit celebrating its 50th year and its 40th year of the Nutcracker at the Arlington Theatre.

Tickets are $20, and include event entry, event T-shirt, free class pass for another Fitness with Rachel Zumba class at Hope School (regular schedule is 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays), and one raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased at the event for $1 each, 15 for $10 or 40 for $20.

This event is limited to 75 participants and is expected to sell out. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or at any Fitness with Rachel class with cash, check or charge.

McDonald is a former dancer with SBFB, and currently an AFAA- and ACE-certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer who holds most of the Zumba format licenses. She has taught Zumba classes locally for more than two years, opening her own business in October 2013.

Click here for more information.

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Goleta Library Hosting Family Game Time on May 4

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System invites adults, teens and families to the Goleta Library for Family Game Time from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4.

The library will provide a wide variety of board games for people to play. They range from traditional games, such as Chinese Checkers, Sorry and Life, to newer games such as Can You Name 5?, Sort it Out and Encore. Operation, for the steady-handed, or Trivial Pursuit, for fact collectors, are other options.

The Goleta Library is located at 500 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta. For more information about Family Game Day, call Allison Gray at the library at 805.964.7878.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System by clicking here for information about library locations, hours, events and programs. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Allison Gray is a supervising librarian for the Goleta Library.

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Crystal Harrell of Santa Barbara Named to Dean’s List at Biola University

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Crystal Harrell of Santa Barbara was one of 1,594 students who were named to the Dean's List for fall 2013 at Biola University.

Biola students are placed on the Dean's List to honor those with a grade point average of 3.6 or higher while enrolled in 12 of more credit units and whose cumulative grade point average is at least a 3.2. This past fall, 25 percent of Biola students achieved this academic goal.

"Inclusion on the Biola Dean's List is an indication that this student is performing exceptionally well in a rigorous academic program," vice provost for undergraduate education Patricia Pike said. "Our Dean's List students are bright, motivated, engaged, competent and personable. They are already demonstrating the characteristics of success that results from applied intelligence and that will support future endeavors in society, community, career and family life."

Biola's grade point average requirement for the Dean's List is one of the highest among Southern California Christian universities.

Biola University is a leading Christ-centered university in Southern California that offers a premier, nationally ranked education within the setting of an all-Christian community. Founded in 1908, Biola is committed to the mission of biblically centered education, scholarship and service — equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. With more than 6,300 students at its Los Angeles-area campus and around the world, the university offers 145 academic programs through its six schools, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D.

Click here for more information.

— Brenda Velasco represents Biola University.

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County Fire Opens Two-Week Permit Burn Window

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Because of the increase in local live fuel moisture levels and the predicted weather forecast, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department is opening a limited permit burn window. This limited permit burn window begins this Thursday, April 17, and expires on April 30.

This two-week window will help facilitate the burning of accumulated cut fuels throughout Santa Barbara County thereby reducing the fuel load during peak high fire season. This will allow an individual with an existing Hazard Reduction, Residential, and Agricultural burn permit the opportunity to burn on allowable burn days. Burn days are declared by the Air Pollution Control District until May 1.

All permit requirements will be strictly enforced including notification of the area fire station prior to lighting the burn pile and the complete extinguishment of the fire by 5 p.m. No new burn permits will be issued during this limited burn period.

This limited permit burn window applies to permit burning within State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and Local Responsibility Areas (LRA) within the jurisdiction of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Please note: These permits are issued for burn piles only and are not intended for the burning of standing vegetation.

Prior to issuance of a permit, all burn sites and piles will be inspected by Santa Barbara County Fire Department for compliance with the appropriate permit conditions. The permittee must contact the fire department prior to starting any permit burn.

Generally, burn days are determined by the time of year and the weather. Burning during months when live fuel moisture levels are high and temperatures are low is preferred. Also, the ability of the smoke to mix with the atmosphere is critical. A high pressure, stable condition is not recommended for burning due to the inability of the smoke to easily dissipate. Predicted high winds can also suspend burning. Burning is never allowed on Sundays or holidays. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Air Pollution Control District work closely together to determine appropriate days for permit burning.

Each day, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department announces on a recorded phone line whether permit burning is allowed. The public can ascertain whether it is a permissive burn day by calling 805.686.8177.

Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to continue to reduce flammable vegetation around their structures, property and roads. Through the Ready! Set! Go! Program, land owners have the opportunity to be educated about issues concerning defensible space and vegetation removal. For information on the Ready! Set! Go! program, click here.

— Capt. David Sadecki is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

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Elder Russell Nelson of Quorum of Twelve Apostles to Visit Santa Maria LDS Stake

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Elder Russell Nelson
Elder Russell Nelson

Elder Russell Nelson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will visit members of the Santa Maria LDS Stake at 908 Sierra Madre Ave. in Santa Maria from 9 to 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, April 20.

In addition to being an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Elder Nelson is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Religion.

Being responsible for the membership worldwide, members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles along with other General Authorities of the church routinely visit congregations throughout the world to help teach and train its over 15 million members worldwide and consist of 29,253 congregations.

“It has been over a decade since our last visit from a member of Quorum of Twelve Apostles” said Darren Hulstine, president of the Santa Maria Stake. “We consider this an honor and look forward to the spiritual guidance the General Authorities of the church always provide us. We invite anyone interested in attending to join us, we welcome you.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in a small log cabin in upstate New York in 1830. According to the National Council of Churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States.

For more information, contact Jeff Lind at 805.441.7530.

— Jeff Lind represents Santa Maria LDS Stake.

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How Much Is ‘Free’ Worth? With SCORE Santa Barbara, It’s Worth a Lot

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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We all know that anything you get for free, especially advice, is usually worth about what you pay for it: next to nothing. But a few exceptions exist, like free concert tickets given away on the radio, a great find at a garage sale, a referral from a happy client, being someone’s guest at an important business function, and the free advice you get from SCORE — the nation’s leading nonprofit business consulting group with chapters all around the country, including Santa Barbara.

What better time to explore “free” possibilities than right after the expenses of tax season?

“We’re celebrating SCORE’s 50th year ‘in business’ this year,” Santa Barbara Chapter Chairman Bob Vitamante said, “with local companies who are taking their businesses to the next level under SCORE’s guidance. SCORE is composed of a cadre of volunteer mentors who have been profitable former business owners, top-level executives and consultants, who’ve retired or just want to help others succeed ‘for free.’”

Organized around wealthy retired and semi-retired entrepreneurs and executives — founders, owners, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs and others who’ve already been successful — with high levels of expertise in finance, managing, running and growing businesses, marketing, sales, advertising and more — SCORE Santa Barbara attracts some of the best “free” business counselors in the country because successful business people tend to retire in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area.

The name initially stood for Service Corps Of Retired Executives at its founding in 1964, but it has evolved to include many active business men and women willing to donate their time to help others succeed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking these are “old rich men and women” who may somehow be out of touch with the current world. They’re not! SCORE Santa Barbara’s consultant pool has attracted some of the highest paid business experts in the country who have served companies like Mattel Toys, General Motors, Neutrogena, Noah’s Bagels, Gillette, Best Foods, Carrows Restaurants, Baskin Robbins, Bank of America, Balance Bar, Jamba Juice, Macy’s Department Stores, Levi Strauss, and Columbia Pictures. And some have been their top executives!

In their past and present lives, these counselors have restructured financial plans, boosted advertising and sales revenues by millions of dollars, developed marketing campaigns that have grown businesses by more than 50 percent, raised millions in IPOs, reduced accounts receivables with targeted information systems and collection processes, successfully grown and trained staffs, helped business owners understand the process of incorporation, helped people assess how to buy a business, and more.

One SCORE client, the owner of Bailey’s Handcrafted Fine Art Framing and Gold Leaf Services in Santa Barbara said he had a complex set of issues related to buying the business.

“My meetings with SCORE counselors proved to be important for my decision making," he said. "I have enjoyed working with SCORE for over five years.”

“One key to the success of any business is finding the right business mentor for your company,” said Gary Kravetz, the chapter’s Marketing Committee chairman, who built and sold Santa Barbara Staffing for a tidy sum of money a few years ago. “Why spend unnecessary cash on a proficient business counselor/consultant if you can get the same quality advice and guidance for free?”

SCORE asks this question of companies on a pretty regular basis, much to the chagrin of their competitors who charge money for similar services.

SCORE’s long-term clients agree. About six of them, including Dons Net Café, a student-run social entrepreneurial business located on the campus of Santa Barbara High School, recently exhibited their businesses at the Santa Barbara International Women’s Festival to a large crowd of attendees. Several also exhibited at the 2nd Annual Santa Barbara Business Expo.

“The Dons Net Café is a successful learning environment and a profitable business at Santa Barbara High School-ROP/CTE that is recognized locally, nationally and internationally,“ Lee Knodel said. “We owe this to our SCORE counselors who guided us through the challenging and rewarding world of entrepreneurship.”

One of SCORE’s core strengths is helping business owners who’ve grown their companies and employee pools to a certain point and need some help getting their business to the next level.

“Some people want to stay with their businesses until they can pass them on to an heir,” Kravetz said. “Others want to build it just big enough to sell it for a profit and retire comfortably. The good news is that those who consult for SCORE have already rolled up their sleeves and done it themselves, so they’re in command of what it takes to get to wherever a client wants to go. We also help start-ups, but not before they’ve got their funding and can actually move forward. The better share of our ‘business’ per se is small to mid-level companies who have been in business for awhile.

“What can we say? Some of us may be retired, but we love business!”

For business guidance and more information, click here or email info@sbscore.org.

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing SCORE Santa Barbara.

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Crews Contain Fire at Santa Maria Motel

By | Published on 04/17/2014

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Santa Maria fire crews responded early Thursday to a fire at a motel on South Broadway.

No injuries were reported.

Battalion Chief Rick Bertram said the first crew to arrive, shortly after 4 a.m., reported a well-established fire in a unit of the structure at 2250 S. Broadway, with heavy smoke and flames visible.

Bertram said crews quickly extinguished the fire and contained it to the unit where it started, but that a unit on each side sustained minor to moderate smoke damage.

The occupant was not hurt, he said, and all adjoining units were evacuated by Santa Maria police.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson 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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Roger Aceves, Janet Wolf Face Off in Forum for Second District Supervisorial Race

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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The candidates discuss the revenue neutrality agreement, budget priorities and other issues at the chambers of commerce-sponsored event

A few barbs were exchanged between Roger Aceves and Janet Wolf on Wednesday in a forum sponsored by local Chambers of Commerce for the Santa Barbara County Second District supervisor race.

Wolf, the two-term incumbent, is being challenged by Aceves, a two-term Goleta city councilman, for the Board of Supervisors seat in the June 3 election. Both candidates have been vigorously fundraising.

On Wednesday morning, they talked about some of the election season’s hot topics in a forum hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region.

Both candidates received the questions ahead of time and had no rebuttals, so there weren’t any surprises.

One of the testiest issues is the county-city revenue neutrality agreement, which was signed when Goleta incorporated in 2002. The city has to pay half of its property taxes and a portion of sales taxes to the county indefinitely, and current leaders want it to end.

Wolf pointed out that the county forgave a $1.5 million loan to the city, which was part of the RNA, and negotiations were done in good faith but had no agreement. Using the RNA as a “political threat” to influence this race isn’t indicative of that good faith, she said.

Aceves said the fight against the RNA “isn’t political rhetoric — it’s a fact of life.”

The laws allow for the county to be made whole after a city incorporates, but the city has paid more than $80 million in 12 years, which he says is far too much. Aceves said that doesn’t include the normal portion of revenues the county takes from every city or the money the city pays for its Sheriff’s Department contract and fire coverage through a benefit district.

Eliminating the RNA is one of the Goleta City Council’s top priorities, he said: “It has to go.”

Neither candidate signed the voluntary campaign finance limits, and an audience member asked whether they supported mandatory limits.

Wolf spoke first and acknowledged the tens of thousands of dollars she’s received from local labor unions in this and previous elections. She’s honored to receive money from the thousands of local employees who work in this county and they get no windfall from their support, she said, pointing to the $50 million in employee concessions to the county since 2008.

It’s not a new issue, and she had this same debate with Dan Secord — who she pointed out in the audience — four years ago and during the Goleta Union school board race before that when a teachers union supported her, she said.

She said she would rather have that than special interest groups like big industry and oil companies — a dig at Aceves, who has received more than $20,000 in donations from oil companies this election.

“Those corporations do not represent the values of the Second District,” she said.

Aceves said he supports campaign finance reform and suggested a limit on how much one source can donate, adding that some counties limit contributions to $1,000 per person or group.

He pointed out that Wolf received $150,000 from the SEIU labor group in 2010 and $80,000 so far this election, with $20,000 reported just four days before the county voted on an employee labor contract with that group.

Both have participated in at least seven annual budget cycles for a public agency, so moderator Peter Brown asked about their budget priorities and whether they support Measure M, the June maintenance-funding initiative spearheaded by Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam.

Brown, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, moderates the Goleta Chamber’s issue and policy roundtable events.

Aceves said he hopes Measure M will send a message of reprioritization to the Board of Supervisors.

Wolf opposes the infrastructure maintenance initiative on June’s ballot, saying it would be a serious threat to the county’s budget. If it passes, the board has to pay $18 million to $22 million more per year for maintenance costs, and it’s “not the time to hijack our budget process,” she said.

Brown also asked if the perceived 3-2 split on the board between South County and North County supervisors is fair, and if anything can be done about the perception. Wolf said 95 percent of votes are unanimous and that all the supervisors work for the betterment of the entire county.

“People can attempt to divide us, but that’s not my style. I won’t go there,” she said.

Aceves said the perception was fair and that Goleta has the same frustrations — and lack of adequate attention — which was one of the reasons for incorporation.

They have common ground in some areas. Both supported an increase in transient occupancy tax from 10 to 12 percent, which the county supervisors may put on the November ballot.

The controversial Goleta Beach 2.0 project looked like it would be a lightning rod in this election, but Wolf and the other supervisors rejected the project and voted to keep the revetment rocks at the county park and ask the California Coastal Commission to permit them indefinitely. Aceves long argued against the county’s proposed project, removing the rocks and putting the park area at risk of erosion, along with community groups like the Friends of Goleta Beach Park.

They’re on the same side now, and both said they would advocate for the no-project alternative to the Coastal Commission, which has the final say.

For closing statements, Aceves said the residents of the Second District want a new vision and new type of leadership.

“It’s time for a change,” he said.

Wolf argued that she is trusted by her constituents after eight years of experience and wants to run again because she cares about the residents and the community. She’s not running “because I have some whimsical idea of being a supervisor,” she said.

The Second District represents about 85,000 residents and encompasses portions of western Santa Barbara, unincorporated areas and a large portion of the Goleta Valley. 

The last day to register to vote for the June 3 primary election is May 19, according to the County Elections Office.

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

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Coastal Commission Sides with County, Developer on Gaviota Mansion Project

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Despite concerns about public access and a precedent that could be set for growth on the largely undeveloped Gaviota Coast, the California Coastal Commission has sided with a developer and determined that a plan to build two mansions west of Goleta is consistent with Santa Barbara County's local coastal plan.

The decision came after several local environmental groups appealed a decision made by the county Board of Supervisors in February, which would allow two large homes to be built on undeveloped land on the eastern edge of the Gaviota Coast.

The Paradiso del Mare project would result in two residences on 142 acres — a 6,000-square-foot home on the coastal portion of the property and a 7,000-square-foot residence on the inland portion.

The property sits west of the Bacara Resort & Spa, and the project was approved by the county Planning Commission but appealed to the supervisors and eventually the Coastal Commission by environmentalists. 

The project was heard by the Coastal Commission last Thursday at its hearing in Santa Barbara.

Environmental groups and the public have raised concerns about the potential for the project to damage a nesting area for white-tailed kites and disrupt a nearby seal rookery, as well as drought-related impacts and limited public access to the beach.

The Board of Supervisors ultimately voted unanimously to allow the project, however, saying that the public benefit would outweigh the drawbacks because the developer must include public-access easements for lateral and vertical access across the property, a parking lot for public use, 117 acres of open space, on-site habitat restoration and construction of a portion of the California Coastal Trail.

Several groups — the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Santa Barbara Audubon Society — and marine mammal expert Peter Howorth appealed the board’s approvals.

However, on Thursday, eight of the 12 commissioners agreed with their staff and with Santa Barbara County staff that the project was consistent with the county's local coastal plan.

The commission found that the county's plan mitigated impacts to seals and white-tailed kites.

Kites are loyal to territories and not individual trees, and there are 300 potential nesting trees on the site with sufficient setbacks, staff said.

The site has been used informally for beach access on its western side — an access point known as Tomate West — and the county found that the beach access proposed on the eastern side of the property would be safer and give access to the same beach area and would even enhance public access in the long term.

The site has been home to extensive oil and gas production in the past, and is zoned for agriculture but hasn't been used for farming in 50 years.

Because of the unique history of the site, and the amount of open space that would be preserved, it would not set an adverse precedent, staff said.

Ellison Folk, staff attorney for the Surfrider Foundation, disagreed, and said that the Paradiso project would be the first of several residential development in the area and would set a precedent.

 Chris Yelich, who is representing the developer of the property, also spoke, and said that "the appellant has definitely had an influence on our plan," noting that improvements to the project have resulted.

"It's been a difficult process over a number of years," he said, urging the commission to support the issue.

Commissioner Jana Zimmer gave extensive comments at the meeting, and said she believes the county "did an excellent job" on the project, but feared it would set a negative precedent for the area.

She expressed concern about growth because of the water line size and capacity to serve additional development, and urged commissioners to look further to preserve Tomate West as an access point for the beach.

"I think the problems are solvable," she said.

Commissioner Mark Vargas took a different view.

With two homes on six acres and 117 acres of open space, "I've never seen anything that good come before us," he said, adding that the access that would be put in would be much better for the public.

Commissioner Martha McClure said the argument that the public would lose access instead of gain it from the developer agreements was a moot point.

"We have public access now that I would interpret as trespassing," she said. 

County residents concerned about development should take it up with the Board of Supervisors to update their local coastal plans to protect Gaviota more, not to penalize developers following the rules, she said.

A list of changes that would be made from the 2005 settlement from the developer was read, which would include not interfering with public access to the beach until construction begins, water use wouldn't exceed the minimum required by the Fire Department, and that a trail at Tomate West would be included in future Naples development.

Yelich agreed to the changes during the commission comments, which raised the concern of some commissioners, who said the public hadn't been properly noticed.

The commission ultimately voted 8-4 on the decision to move ahead.

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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Evacuations End After ‘Military Ordnance’ Rendered Safe in Solvang

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Hundreds were ordered out of downtown homes and business after explosive device was found

Discovery of this military ordnance led to an hours-long evacuation of hundreds of people in downtown Solvang. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

Evacuations orders were lifted early Thursday in downtown Solvang, hours after a potential explosive device was discovered, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

The device, described only as a military ordnance, was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Shortly after midnight, the device was rendered safe by the sheriff's bomb squad and an explosive ordnance disposal team from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Hoover said.

It was at that point that residents and visitors, including many people staying at local hotels, were allowed to return to the area.

Reverse 911 calls were used to help evacuate some 500 to 700 residences and businesses within a 1,500-foot radius of where the device was found, Hoover said.

The evacuation area was bounded by Laurel Avenue, Birch Lane, Alisal Road and Fifth Street, Hoover said.

"The evacuation area has been set up as a safety precaution," Hoover said.

The sheriff's Search & Rescue Team was assisting with evacuations, Hoover said.

A Red Cross Shelter was set up at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building to house those who were evacuated.

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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Hospice of Santa Barbara Throws Volunteer Recognition Party

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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April honors volunteers who give their time in the service of others. In honor of this, Hospice of Santa Barbara thanked its many volunteers at a recent volunteer recognition party.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides volunteer opportunities in the areas of office administration, patient care and mentorship. Volunteers who work closely with patients are required to complete a comprehensive six-week training program and receive ongoing education. The next volunteer training will be offered in September.

“Our services are possible because of the support and commitment of our volunteers,” said Tina Fanucchi-Frontado, interim executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara. “We are so very grateful for their service to the children and adults we serve who are facing a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.”

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 700 children and adults 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 11 local middle and high school campuses to work with children and teens 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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Granada Books Joins World Book Night Initiative to Help Hand Out Free Books

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Granada Books is proud to be one of 2,300 bookstores and libraries across America supporting World Book Night, on April 23, an ambitious campaign to give away thousands of free, specially printed paperbacks to light or non-readers in an effort to promote literacy and spread the love of reading, person to person.

Coinciding with William Shakespeare’s birthday, World Book Night engages approximately 25,000 volunteers nationwide who will give away a half-million free books in more than 6,000 towns and cities across America. Granada Books is participating as a World Book Night book distribution point, and will work with local volunteers that have signed up to be “book givers” and help promote reading by going into the Santa Barbara community and handing out free copies to those without means or access to book.

In Santa Barbara, several local volunteers, including Cheri Steinkellner, Emily Izmirian, Jacey Van Wert and Paul Hixenbaugh, will be handing out books to a variety of local agencies and schools. This is not a random giveaway, but rather a person-to-person, carefully planned outreach. While World Book Night is about giving books, and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so, it’s also about people, communities and connections, and about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways — through the sharing of stories.

To celebrate World Book Night, and the volunteer book givers participating in this year’s initiative, Granada Books is hosting a reception at 5:30 p.m. next Monday, April 21. At that time, the local book givers will have the opportunity to meet each other and receive special recognition from Granada Books, and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider will present an official proclamation in honor of World Book Night to Granada Books at the reception.

The World Book Night picks are written by a wide array of award-winning, bestselling adult and young adult authors, as well as classics, books in Spanish, and books in large print. The assortment of titles is based on diversity in subject matter, age level, gender, ethnicity and geography. The books were chosen by a vote by librarians, booksellers and last year’s givers. More information, including FAQs and links to all social media — including giver experiences and photographs — is available by clicking here.

The World Book Night U.S. titles for 2014, alphabetical by author, are:

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (large print edition) by Jamie Ford
The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Pontoon by Garrison Keillor
Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan
Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee
Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (large print edition) by Maria Semple
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

World Book Night is in its third year in the United States, after launching in the United Kingdom in 2011, and reaches all 50 states, Puerto Rico, USVI and overseas military bases. Volunteers applied online to be givers by stating where they intend to seek out book recipients, and noting which of the special WBN Book Picks they’d like to hand out. The volunteer givers come from all walks of life: they are teachers, book club members, social workers, first responders, local businesspeople, librarians, booksellers, students, parents and more. All of our volunteers for this year are already signed up, but anyone can join the WBN mailing list in order to be notified when the giver applications begin anew next year.

For more information about World Book Night and other upcoming events at Granada Books, please call 805.845.1818, click here or follow the bookstore on Facebook.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Granada Books.

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Junior League of Santa Barbara to Honor Patsy Hicks as Woman of Year

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara is proud to announce Patsy Hicks as 2014 Woman of the Year.

The Woman of the Year is honored by the Junior League of Santa Barbara for her achievements in alignment with JLSB’s mission to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve youth literacy.

Hicks has been active in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for 18 years, beginning in 1996 when she was hired as the Teens for Teens coordinator and served on the museum’s Docent Council. She now holds the highest position in the Education Department as the director of education, a position she has held for nearly 10 years.

As a former English teacher, Hicks is a tremendous asset to the Education Department. Every program and event she develops is imbued with a sense of inquisitiveness and a love of learning. Her aim is to educate our community through accessible, free programming. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is the primary giver of arts education in our community, reaching more than 25,000 students a year.

Hicks and the Education Department have found a direct correlation between art and literacy, and use this connection to enhance all of their art education programs. Not only does the museum provide bilingual events for English Language Learners and their families, it also frequently partners with branches of the Santa Barbara Public Library. From offering homework/artwork classes after-school, to hosting events at the Eastside Library, Hicks and her staff make literacy a primary focus.

Hicks has lead many of the museum’s education programs that involve connecting art and literacy such as Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), STEM Initiative, StoryCorps and The Sketchbook Project. She continues to create bridges between the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the downtown public library and other literacy-driven programming.

Hicks will receive $1,000 from the Junior League of Santa Barbara to donate to the nonprofit organization of her choice. She has selected the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s free family celebration, Dia de los Muertos, to receive the funds.

Hicks will be honored as Woman of the Year at the Junior League of Santa Barbara’s Prohibition at the Polo Fields event on Sunday, April 27. Please join us in congratulating Hicks, 2014 Woman of the Year!

— Leslie Gallant represents the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

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Susan Estrich: Obamacare Shouldn’t Be Repealed, But It Does Need to Be Fixed

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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As I walked into the pharmacy, the technician who has kept track of all of my prescriptions for years was on an endless call trying to figure out who is going to deliver her baby and where.

The good news: Her new plan, which fully complies with the Affordable Care Act, provides much more comprehensive coverage and lower co-pays than the one she used to have.

The bad news: Neither the obstetrician who has taken care of her for the past six months nor the hospital where she had planned to give birth is covered by the plan.

Ouch.

Now, this young woman is really good at dealing with insurance companies. It's what she does all day long — getting prescriptions approved, figuring out why they aren't being approved, going back and forth with doctors and insurance companies about what they will and will not cover. No neophyte, she.

And as I signaled her that I could wait, that she should finish her conversation, she never lost her cool. Me, I would have been a wreck if someone had told me six months into a pregnancy that the doctor with whom I had developed a close and trusting relationship or the hospital that I had always relied on were no longer on my list, and that my choices — within any reasonable geographic distance — basically came down to six doctors I'd never heard of and a hospital I'd never set foot in.

She was not a wreck. But she wasn't happy. Who would be? Six months pregnant and interviewing doctors who are themselves overwhelmed because they are, in fact, on so many plans.

Now that the website is working and the administration is taking credit for hitting its sign-up goal and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (who is hardly the only one at fault for all the "hiccups" or "potholes" or just plain mistakes along the way) has taken her leave, now the hard part starts.

Exactly what kind of care are people going to receive under the Affordable Care Act? And who is going to provide it?

Who knows? Certainly not most of the doctors I talk to.

I walked into one practice last week that has four doctors, and there was a big sign at the front about which doctor you could see based on which plan you are on. Not surprisingly, the most senior doctor was only seeing Medicare patients and people like me, with pre-existing, employer-provided, expensive group plans.

I walked into another practice, and the rule was basically pay as you go. No lines there.

At the hospital where I get tests, there was a big sign advising patients to call a toll-free number to find out whether the plans they are considering would allow them to continue using the hospital. The short answer is that many of them don't.

Welcome to the shakedown period. Welcome to the host of problems that need to be fixed.

While Republicans keep railing against Obamacare, the reality is that it's not going to be repealed, at least not as long as President Barack Obama is in the White House. And if you ask me, not afterward either.

I don't know anyone with a 20-something-year-old on their plan (which you couldn't do before) or with a pre-existing condition (and who, after a certain age, doesn't have some pre-existing condition?) who is yearning to go back to the bad old days when gastritis, not to mention heart disease or cancer, could make you uninsurable. There are many features of the new system that most of us would agree are better than those of the old one.

But not all. The business of what doctors you can see, what hospitals you can use — very big problem. The waiting lines for doctors who accept all kinds of plans — very big problem. The confusion and expense of having a "new" plan that costs more because it covers services you don't need and at the same time forces you to leave the doctors who know you — not so good.
"Mend it, don't end it" used to be the Clinton administration's slogan about affirmative action.

Obamacare should not be repealed, and it won't be. But it needs to be fixed, and that's not a problem the IT guys and girls can solve. So fasten your seatbelts. We're in for some rocky times, and the politicians and leaders who focus on trying to solve the problems, rather than trying to score points off of them, are the ones who deserve our support.

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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Cinema in Focus: ‘God’s Not Dead’

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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4 Stars — Inspiring

With a few notable exceptions, most Christian apologetics are written for the already believing. Almost a thousand years ago, Christian theologians like Thomas Aquinas recognized that belief and thought, faith and reason, are interwoven in such a way that both support the other. Thus when a person experiences the presence of God, it is natural to bring our questions and doubts to the theologians who inform the mind along with the quickened heart. As both mind and heart grow convinced of the love and truth of God, Christian maturity occurs. God’s Not Dead is a recent and helpful example of this apologetic process.

Directed by Harold Cronk and written by Hunter Dennis, Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, the film has an intriguing if somewhat contrived interplay of several lives. To accomplish the purpose of the film, most of these characters become caricatures.

The central character is college freshman Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), who is warned that as a Christian he should not take Professor Radisson’s (Kevin Sorbo) “Intro to Philosophy” class. Unable to change his schedule, he finds himself quickly on a crucible of faith. The professor requires the students to write on a paper “God is dead” and sign their names so the class doesn’t have to waste time with what he considers superstition. Wheaton declines and in retribution is challenged to defend the Christian God in three 20-minute lectures.

The helpful nature of the film is that these lectures and the professor’s responses are believable. Although the topics covered are far more complex than can be presented in a film, the implication is that Christian theologians and scientists have the ability to stand firm intellectually and not just experientially. Although unusually gifted for a freshman student, Wheaton stands up to his professors as, predictably, do virtually 100 percent of his fellow students when their verdict comes in.

The second character is the girlfriend of Radisson, the sincere but romantically manipulated Mina (Cory Oliver). Captivated by the professor’s good looks, she has tabled her Christianity to gain his attention, only to discover the Faustian bargain she has made.

Opposite to Mina is blogger Amy Ryan (Trisha LaFache). A brutal writer who uses others for her own gain, Ryan ridicules Christians while mechanistically entering a relationship with Mina’s brother Mark (Dean Cain), who long ago abandoned his Christian faith in pursuit of wealth. When Mina is diagnosed with cancer, she finds herself alone as Mark now abandons her.

It is this journey by Mina to find herself and Amy to find her hope that reveals two other goals in this apologetic lesson. Mina allowed her desire to be loved by Radisson to become her idol, and Amy created a contract with life until cancer canceled it. Both are lessons well presented.

There are many other nuances to the film we won’t spoil, but it is a film we recommend to all those who experience God or seek to know Him in greater depth.

Discussion

» Christian apologetics is that area of theology that gives a rational basis for our faith. C. S. Lewis is one such apologist. Where have you turned to get your doubts and questions addressed?

» When Wheaton’s girlfriend Kara (Cassidy Gifford) told him not to ruin his and her careers by taking on the professor, she ended the six-year relationship when he did. Did you find that believable? Why or why not?

» The decision to include a Muslim convert to Christianity created a critique of Islam. Do you think this helped or hurt the film? Did you find the violence believable? Why or why not?

» The casual manner with which the Rev. Dave (David A.R. White) provided his care could be seen as a lack of respect for his faith and his work. Why do you think the writers presented him in this manner?

— 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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Ed Fuller: Selling Your Home for the Highest Price

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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An agent may contact you with a potential buyer at a price that sounds good to you. But how do you know that it is truly the market price?

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

The highest sale price is rarely obtained with a private sale. The highest price is usually obtained with maximum market exposure. The minimum marketing your agent should do is offer your property through the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and for a reasonable period of time, even if they have a buyer themselves.

The Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service is not only a compilation of all participating agents' listed properties, but it includes an offer of co-operation and compensation with other participating agents.

Having your property listed in the MLS exposes it to all the agents who are active in our area and their potential buyers.

To get the highest price, time on the market is still essential. The best listing agents counsel their sellers not to consider offers for at least seven days from placement in the MLS. This gives all of the current potential buyers the opportunity to contemplate making an offer. There may be a bit of effort and time required, but that is how you get the most for your property and a true market price.

Realtors have a duty to best represent a client's interest not just by law, but by the Code of Ethics they subscribe to. Be sure your agent is a Realtor.

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

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Thief Makes Off with Injured Cyclist’s Bike

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Crash occurred on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara

A bad day turned worse for a Lompoc bicyclist on Wednesday after he was struck by a car in downtown Santa Barbara.

While emergency personnel were tending to the injured cyclist, someone stole his bicycle, according to Officer Jay Benson of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The cyclist, Nathaniel Preston, 25, was southbound on the 1300 block of State Street when a sedan pulled into the bike lane, knocking him to the curb, Benson said.

The accident occurred at about 1:40 p.m., Benson said, when the sedan's driver, Patricia Lynn Masterson, 67, of Sherman Oaks, was pulling over to check her GPS.

Preston, who was wearing a helmet, suffered what appeared to be minor injuries, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Masterson was cited for unsafe turning movements, Harwood said.

Several bystanders told Noozhawk they thought someone was taking the bicycle into a nearby store for safekeeping, but it turned out it actually was being stolen, Benson said.

"While the guy was lying on the ground, someone walked off with it," Harwood said.

It was described as a black road bike with a checkered pattern on the paint job. Officers were on the lookout for the bicycle, and asked that anyone with information about its whereabouts contact the Police Department.

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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Jeff Moehlis: The Dirty Knobs Returning to SOhO on Friday

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Mike Campbell, guitarist for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, talks about the upcoming show

When I saw The Dirty Knobs at SOhO last year, a band fronted by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' master guitarist Mike Campbell, it was a two-hour show with lots of cool cover songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones and JJ Cale. Plus, there were plenty of amusing obscurities and original songs.

The Dirty Knobs return to SOhO this Friday, April 18, one of the few venues that they visit with any regularity. Tickets are available by clicking here.

If you've seen them before, I bet you'll be back. If you haven't, come check them out. Still not convinced? Read what Campbell tells Noozhawk about the upcoming show. (The full interview is available by clicking here.)

                                                                         •        •

Jeff Moehlis: We're lucky that The Dirty Knobs play somewhat regularly in Santa Barbara. To what do we owe our good fortune?

Mike Campbell: I put The Dirty Knobs together about eight years ago. We were in the studio, and we decided we wanted to go out and play, to try the songs out live. I was talking to my partner Tom about it, and he goes, "Yeah, that's cool, but it might be cool if you stay out of the Hollywood area." And so we were looking for places to play that were kind of under the radar, and we found SOhO. That was one of the first places we played, and we just loved it there. So we keep coming back.

JM: I saw you guys last year, and you did some covers of really well-known songs and some covers of songs that are pretty obscure. How do you decide which songs make it into the repertoire?

MC: That comes from rehearsal. There's a rehearsal coming up. I might start thinking about what might be fun to play. 'Cause, you know, The Dirty Knobs is all about fun, and not having to stick to a setlist. I might hear something on the radio and go, "That'd be good to try," and then we try it out in the rehearsal and if it sounds like fun we keep it in the set.

JM: And what about originals?

MC: It's probably about half original and half covers. It's a good chance for me to try out new songs. Sometimes we play songs that were just written the day before, or maybe the week before, and we just want to see how they perform in front of people. It's a great place to woodshed the tunes.

JM: When you look up The Dirty Knobs online, it's kind of cryptic. Can you tell us who the rest of the band is?

MC: Oh yeah. It's myself — I sing, if you want to call it that [laughs], and write some songs. The other guitar player's a guy named Jason Sinay. He writes a little bit, he sings with me. He sings a few songs and we do harmonies together. We play guitar really well together — we have the same influences and good chemistry. On the drums is a fellow called Matt Laug. We call him Swampfox. Everybody has a nickname in The Dirty Knobs. He's Swampfox, Jason is Ape, because he is kind of an ape. Our bass player, Crawdaddy, his real name is Lance Morrison. He plays with Don Henley on solo tours and he's done a lot of recording. And Matt Laug, the drummer, has played with Slash and he does a lot of sessions around town. [Campbell's name with The Dirty Knobs is Gator.]

The four of us just ended up in the studio, and we really connected as friends and players. So we keep The Knobs as kind of an oasis from all the craziness of the music business. You know, have some fun and play in little rooms with no pressure. A lot of times that's really where the beautiful magic music happens, in a little place when it's spontaneous. That's really, kind of, what we live for.

JM: Do you have any plans to record and release any material as The Dirty Knobs?

MC: Well, that's a good question. I have no specific plans. The only agenda I have is we have done a lot of good recordings that I'm holding. At some point I may decide to share those. But the thing is, I realized pretty early on that I don't really want to put out a Knobs recording as long as I'm in The Heartbreakers. It's just a conflict. Because if I did put out a CD or a record, it would require a lot of promotion and getting involved, and that would take a lot of time away from my regular job. So I kind of decided awhile back that I'm just going to keep working, getting a bunch of tunes, and at some point if The Heartbreakers take a break or wind down, then I can put my full energy into it.

JM: I know there's a new Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album coming out soon. What can we look forward to on that new album?

MC: Well, I can't tell you too much about it except that it's basically finished. They're mastering it. It's an extension of the last album, called Mojo, in the sense that it's mostly 90 percent live on the floor with the band all playing at once. The songwriting has taken a deeper turn. There's some blues-based things, but there's also some things that kind of are jangly or more familiar with what we might have done even on our first album. Some of the new stuff has that kind of energy. So it's a combination of the Mojo kind of blues and a thread of the kind of stuff we've always done. Great songs. You know, Tom wrote some really great songs, and really great words. We're real proud of it.

JM: With the new album coming out, I assume that there will be a tour. Can you reveal anything about what the future holds?

MC: We were going to go to Europe, but we were late getting the record in. We pushed that back probably until next year. So this year, it starts in August. We're going to do the States and a few Canadian shows. I think 30 shows spread over two months, with a break in the middle, the usual type of run that we do when we go across the States. We will be playing a lot of the new album, and a lot of the stuff that we normally do.

JM: You're always welcome in Santa Barbara!

MC: I love that amphitheater up there. I don't think it's on the list this time. There's a lot of stuff on the East Coast. I don't know what the L.A. area shows are. I haven't heard anything about Santa Barbara, but I do hope that we can get it in because I love that spot up there.

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

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UCSB ‘Critical Issues in America’ Series Examines Poverty, Full Employment

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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“The poverty of modern-day America is a scandal rather than a tragedy. There’s nothing natural about it. There’s nothing inevitable about it. If it were, every other industrialized country would have the same levels we do. But they don’t.”

So said journalist Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives, speaking to a large audience at UC Santa Barbara on April 3. His talk, and that of economist Dean Baker, was part of “The Great Society at 50: Democracy in America, 1964/2014,” UCSB’s Critical Issues in America series. The series focuses on Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 challenge to Americans to reach beyond the “rich society” to achieve a Great Society, in which equal rights and opportunity were a reality for all.

As key components of Johnson’s agenda remain unrealized and mired in political controversy and debate, the series examines the aspirations, achievements and ongoing struggles this period in our history helped to launch in light of the challenges facing democratic policy and activism today. It continues this Friday, April 18, with a major symposium on the Affordable Care Act and its historical significance in efforts to make healthcare accessible to all.

“In 2014, nearly 50 million Americans — nearly one in six — live at or below the government-defined poverty line,” Abramsky said. “These lives, brought up against the cold realities of Gilded-Age levels of social inequity, represent one of the great moral issues of our time.”

Despite the myths about upward mobility in the U.S., Abramsky continued, in 2014 ours is a far more unequal and far less socially mobile society than that of almost any other country we could compare ourselves to.

According to Dean Baker, a Washington, D.C.-based economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic Policy Research, joblessness is linked to inequality, and the best weapon in the fight against poverty is full employment.

“There’s no better way to help low- or moderate-income folks than with good-paying jobs, and that means getting unemployment down," he said. "But we aren’t going to get there anytime soon.”

In an April 8 talk titled “The Importance of Full Employment and the Routes for Getting There,” Baker explained the particular circumstances surrounding the recent economic crisis and how they make for a slow recovery.

In contrast to past recessions in the 1970s and 1990s, which were brought about by the Federal Reserve Board raising interest rates to slow the rate of inflation, the recession that started in 2008 was brought about by the housing bubble combined with near-financial collapse, Baker explained. “We had this huge housing bubble that was driving the economy and it burst. It collapsed. House prices plummeted, and along with that construction plummeted. And the consumption that was being supported by the housing bubble also plummeted.”

The housing bubble, he continued, supported consumption by way of the trillions of dollars of equity people had in their homes.

“There’s a well-known economics concept called the ‘housing wealth effect,’” Baker said. “People spend based on the wealth in their homes, and it’s fine as long as the money is there. But then it disappeared because house prices dropped. There’s a huge fall in both residential construction and consumption. And there’s nothing the Fed can do to easily make that up. That was the basis of the recession.”

The steep decline was aggravated by the financial crisis, Baker explained, but the housing crisis was the real basis of the downturn. And there’s no easy way to bring back that demand.

“My calculations are we had roughly a trillion dollars annual demand that would be lost when the housing bubble burst,” he said. “And that’s a lot to replace. The stimulus was about $700 billion, and most of that was spent over two years.

“We’re trying to replace a trillion dollars in lost demand with $300 billion in 2009 and in 2010, and zero in subsequent years. For two years we replace a third of it, and then nothing. That’s the basis of the downturn. That’s why the economy is slow in recovering.”

Despite their disturbing analyses, both Abramsky and Baker are convinced that solutions are well within our grasp.

“The decisions that we collectively as a political body have made over the last few decades — decisions that have resulted in this cascading crisis of poverty and inequality — are one of the great scandals of our time,” Abramsky said. “But precisely because American poverty is largely a consequence of choice, for that very same reason it largely is solvable by our interventions and by our actions. If we can marshal a communal conversation that highlights and centralizes this theme, there are many things we can do — some of them not particularly complicated — that would have a tremendous impact on poverty.”

Abramsky cited solutions that range from adjusting the marginal tax rate (which he noted was 91 percent during the Eisenhower administration and is now somewhere around 35 percent) to the government requiring that banks invest in microcredit systems for low-income communities in exchange for FDIC.

“There are a lot of things we could do if the political will were there,” he said.

Friday’s conference on healthcare and the Affordable Care Act will feature guest speaker Paul Starr, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. He is co-founder of The American Prospect and author of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health-Care Reform as well as the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Social Transformation of American Medicine.

Starr’s talk, which will begin at 1 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Student Resource Building, opens a discussion on “Healthcare Rights and Healthcare Reform” that features reports from the front lines of state and local, official and grassroots efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act.

Among the participants are Mario Chavez, Susan Klein-Rothschild and Janice Rocco. Chavez is director of community relations for St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, a chain of federally qualified health centers (FQHC) in Los Angeles with historic roots in the community health care movement of the 1960s. He will reflect on implementation of the ACA from the standpoint of the health center’s long-standing commitment to achieving a universal right to health care that is affordable, of high quality and provided by people with living-wage jobs.

Klein-Rothschild is a deputy director in the Santa Barbara County Health Department’s community health division, and over the past year she has been involved with the ACA as it related to the Department of Public Health. She will discuss what the ACA means to a local government organization and an FQHC, and will report on the county’s experience in implementing the historic law.

Rocco is the deputy commissioner for health policy at the California Department of Insurance, where she has played a key role in ACA implementation, oversight and public outreach statewide.

An endowed program in the College of Letters and Science at UCSB since 1995, the Critical Issues in America series examines relevant social topics from a multidisciplinary perspective. Previous series have focused on environmental issues and policy reform; media ownership; women, employment and globalization; violence in America; ethnic studies; and marriage and alternatives.

More information about “The Great Society at 50” is available by clicking here.

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Jackson Puts Statewide Drug Take-Back Legislation on Hold

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, announced on Wednesday that, due to a lack of support from some of her legislative colleagues in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, she is shelving a bill this year to create the nation’s first statewide drug take-back program for prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Jackson plans to introduce a bill tackling this same topic next year.

In the meantime, Jackson is amending Senate Bill 1014 to move a bill forward that will reinstate model guidelines, developed by CalRecycle, for local governments wanting to create their own drug take-back programs, so that efforts can continue at the local level.

“I am disappointed that we were unable to move forward with a statewide plan this year, but I am committed to this issue and to helping to solve the immense public health and environmental challenges created by unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs," Jackson said. "I always expected change of this magnitude to be a multiyear effort. I look forward to taking the next several months to determine how to best move forward with legislation next year that will create a statewide drug take-back program.

“Most of all, I look forward to the day when the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry steps up to take responsibility and joins us as a partner in tackling legislation that helps solve the statewide challenges created by unused prescription drugs.”

A response to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, and traces of pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, Senate Bill 1014, as it was introduced in January, would have required drug manufacturers to create, finance and manage a statewide system for collecting and safely disposing of unwanted prescription drugs that people have in their homes.

The bill was modeled after an Alameda County ordinance that was the first of its kind in the country. SB 1014 had the support of more than 100 local government and environmental groups, but faced stiff opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

For the past 15 years in British Columbia, Canada, in a program paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, consumers have been able to conveniently dispose of unused drugs in bins located at pharmacies, where they are safely destroyed.

While some safe drug disposal sites do exist in California, there are only 300 to 400 such sites in the state to serve 38 million Californians.

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

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Victor Dominocielo: The Placebo Effect — It’s Not Just a Little White Pill

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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The typical scientific definition of a placebo is, “The placebo effect is the measurable, observable or felt improvement in health or behavior not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered.” — The Skeptics’ Dictionary (Skepdic.com). The reason that the placebo effect is scientifically measurable is because the gold standard of any research on human beings includes a placebo control group, which is given a sham treatment or pill identical to the pill/procedure being tested but without the active ingredient or actual procedure. The difference between the placebo group improvement and the actual procedure/drug being tested can then be measured.

This is the description of the placebo effect from the research point of view when a placebo is compared to an actual therapeutic procedure. There are a number of excellent articles on the placebo effect at Sciencebasedmedicine.org.

However, the placebo effect takes place whether or not you are comparing it to or measuring it against another pill, potion or procedure. From the patients’ point of view, the placebo effect is a constellation of patient-generated responses to the stimulus of a motivational story and a possibly therapeutic procedure. The more dramatic the story and the more invasive the procedure, the greater the potential placebo effect that is produced.

There is even a placebo continuum of sorts: Sham surgery has a greater effect than a placebo injection, injections have more of an effect than placebo pills, brand-name placebo pills have a greater effect than blank white placebo pills, and taking placebos four times a day has a greater effect than taking placebos two times a day, etc.

Almost any procedure can have a beneficial effect if it is part of a “therapeutic” story. What’s going on is a self-fulfilling prophecy: The healer is telling you that this procedure will make you well and you very much want to be well, so your body rallies, physically and psychologically, to that end and a placebo improvement occurs.

The placebo pills, potions and procedures do not actually affect the intended illness, and the particulars of the various placebo procedures are incidental to any improvement. Test subjects given sham alcohol will demonstrate the effects of being drunk, asthmatics given water in their inhalers will show improvement in their asthma symptoms and subjects who are not lactose intolerant and who are told that they are will produce symptoms of lactose intolerance.

All medical procedures produce a patient-generated placebo effect. Science-based medicine, complementary, alternative, integrative, folk medicine, ridiculous snake oil remedies, etc., all produce a placebo effect. Surgery, stitches, acupuncture, aromas, magically energized water and sugar, alcohol, a cold shower, a slap in the face, cranial massage, rearranging invisible bio-fields, etc., will all produce a placebo effect if the “healer” tells the patient that the placebo will be curative. Even harmful procedures, like swallowing a long, thin cotton sheet and gagging as you pull it out, bloodletting, sticking pins in your skin or frequent enemas will produce a beneficial placebo effect if it is tied to a therapeutic story that gives the patient hope for relief of their symptoms.

So, how does the patient generate this placebo effect? Here are the elements of the constellation of events that produces the patient-generated placebo process:

» 1. Being sick, injured, miserable and in pain causes our natural skepticism to be replaced by suggestibility and hope as we seek any method to relieve our illness or injury. We quickly become willing to abandon the Germ Theory of Disease for invisible energy, magical vibrations and other “forces.”

» 2. We listen to the anecdotal testimony of others who were “cured” by some interesting potion, procedure or exotic folk medicine from another country. Personal success stories are colorful and emotional, and we tend to trust the storyteller.

» 3. The process of treatment behavioral conditioning from childhood tells us that if we go to a healer, take a pill and/or subject ourselves to a healing procedure that we will get better. This is a, “If it worked before, it will work again,” type assumption.

» 4. Many illnesses and injuries heal naturally, but we make a false association between the potion/procedure and our improvement. In a classical Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc thinking situation, we imagine that just because our improvement came after the folk remedy, that the improvement happened because of the folk remedy.

» 5. The drama effect: The procedure or ritual may be painful, risky and spectacular; surgery, bloodletting and stitches are very dramatic. So is acupuncture, moxibustion, enemas, induced gagging and vomiting.

» 6. The physical insult/rally effect: If the procedure includes a physical insult like induced vomiting/gagging, purgatives, bloodletting, needles, surgery, stitches, etc., then the body normally is stimulated to heal itself and overcome the insult.

» 7. The distraction effect: The greater the bodily insult, the more potential there is to distract the patient from their pain and condition. For example, induced vomiting and gagging will temporarily distract you from a headache.

» 8. Once our condition improves, even temporarily, we fall prey to confirmation bias, looking for supporting examples and discounting scientific evidence contrary to our personal experience (“… but it works for me!”). This self-fulfilling prophecy makes us habitually prone to finding what we want to find.

» 9. The confessional effect: Speaking to a “healer” for 60 to 90 minutes who genuinely accepts you and all your bodily ills and is so concerned about you returning to good health feels wonderful.

» 10. Actual placebo improvement: The above process generates some improvement, not because of the particular procedure, potion or pill but because of the effects that this thinking and feeling process has on our bodies: adrenalin release, endorphins, stress reduction, memories of being taken care of by mom, etc.

So, the next and obvious question, harped on ad infinitum by nonscience-based medicine promoters is, “What’s the harm?” Well, if all medical procedures produce a placebo benefit, wouldn’t it be better to use science-based medicine that subtracts the patient-generated placebo effect and actually produces additional patient improvement? Charging patients for their own patient-generated placebo effect is harmful. Claiming that patient-generated placebo effects are produced by invisible and magical forces is untruthful and harmful.

Wasting patients’ time, energy and money and delaying and distracting them from obtaining often critical, science-based medical care (as in the unfortunate case of Steve Jobs) is very harmful. That’s the harm.

— Victor Dominocielo, a California-credentialed teacher for 36 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Marymount Gala and Auction to Celebrate the ‘Best of the American Riviera’

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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With a name that says it all, Marymount of Santa Barbara’s 2014 Gala and Auction, "Best of the American Riviera," will be an event fit to celebrate both the school’s 75th anniversary in Santa Barbara and extraordinary track record of student achievement.

The event will take place Saturday, May 3, and is going to be an unforgettable party at the Riviera Park with an after-party at the El Encanto Hotel.

“Sponsorship and interest in tickets to the May 3 event has already been strong, fueled not only by Marymount’s tradition of throwing memorable gala events, but by exciting and tempting prizes which include exotic trips to places like the Big Island of Hawaii, a soccer player’s dream trip to see Real Madrid in action in Spain as well as easy adventures like an L.A. Getaway with a stay at the Shutters on the Beach, complete with a Kate Somerville Spa outing, and a luxury car,” said Deborah Bettencourt, chair of this year’s gala.

Another tempting staycation to be auctioned is the opportunity to live the country life in style with 16 of your friends at a beautiful Santa Ynez Ranch.

For that lucky lady who enjoys the luxuries of her own city, there is a privileged private party and shopping spree with 11 friends at Saks. The highly respected Oak Group painter and Marymount graduate Meredith Brooks Abbott is creating a painting for the event, a scene taken from Marymount’s historic 10-acre campus on the Riviera.

Following tradition, there will be fierce bidding for a student to be Head of School for a Day and Teachers Treasures, a way for party attendees to support Marymount’s extraordinary teachers known for their ability to give individualized attention and teach in innovative ways. There will also be an online auction full of exciting items, services and experiences.

“Marymount’s annual gala is a great social event and important to the school’s continued success and trajectory,” Head of School Andrew Wooden said. "Marymount alumni are passionate about the foundation they received at the school and credit the school’s JK-8th grade program for setting them up for future success. As an independent, coeducational 501 C (3) nonprofit, the annual Gala and Auction are important events for the school.”

The Paddle Raise at the event will be to reinvigorate the Lower School Campus and there is already a buzz about it.

“There is a tremendous amount of support and love for this school," Wooden said. "It’s wonderful to see.”

“Tickets to the event are in high demand, but available in limited quantities to those who would like to support and celebrate a school that has done so much for Santa Barbara,” Bettencourt said.

She is joined by a group of devoted and hardworking Gala Committee members. A committee that is sure to throw a party that will be “Best of the American Riviera.”

A limited number of tickets to the May 3 event are available by clicking here.

The general public can support the school through the online Silent Auction by clicking here.

— Molly Seguel is the director of admission for Marymount of Santa Barbara.

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Goleta Finance Director Tina Rivera Accepts Job in Hometown of Santa Paula

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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For almost eight years, Tina Rivera has driven more than 100 miles each day to commute to a job she loves in Goleta.

As the finance director, she’s been responsible for keeping the dollars flowing in and out and making recommendations to the City Council about fiscal policy and budget processes.

But that’s about to change as she’s accepted a job with the United Water Conservation District in Santa Paula, reducing her daily commute by 90 percent.

“I’ve always loved working for Goleta, but when the chance came up to work in my own community, I had to take advantage of the opportunity," Rivera said. "I will miss Goleta and look forward to spending more time with my family.”

City Manager Dan Singer said: “Tina has been a tremendous resource for the city. In addition to guiding us through the recession, she has operated with the highest level of integrity, earning eight awards for financial management throughout her tenure.”

The city will be recruiting for a finance director, and an interim finance director has been chosen. John Herrera, CPA, will be joining the City of Goleta’s staff during this transition. He recently served as the interim director in Buellton.

“John’s experience in government accounting and training as a certified public accountant make him uniquely qualified for this position," Singer said. "He’s served in six other communities as the interim director and knows how to get up to speed quickly. We look forward to his help.”

The city has hired Teri Black and Associates to help with the search for the city’s next finance director and public works director. These positions will ultimately be chosen by the next city manager. A search for the right person to fill that position is under way.

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets Donating Proceeds of Holiday Promotion to Foodbank

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets will present a check for more than $2,000 to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Thursday at the Foodbank's Multi Chamber Mega Mixer.

The donation stems from a promotion Santa Barbara Gift Baskets launched in December, featuring a gift basket filled with local gourmet foods.

Twenty five dollars from the sale of each $125 gift basket was collected for donation to the Foodbank to use toward its mission to eliminate hunger by providing food, education and other resources to a network of hunger-relief charities in Santa Barbara County.

Each Foodbank Holiday Gift Basket included a card that informed the recipient that their gift consisted of not only the delicious treats nestled inside, but also a donation of $25 to the Foodbank.

According to the Foodbank, for every $1 it receives as a donation, it is able to purchase $17 worth of food. That translates to $425 worth of food per gift basket purchased, and more than $35,000 for the entire donation.

The Foodbank was not the only organization benefiting from the sale of the basket. Fourteen local businesses were represented among the gourmet contents. Every dollar spent on the Foodbank Holiday Gift Basket stayed right here in Santa Barbara County, supporting the local economy as well as its most needy residents.

Several local businesses chose to send the Foodbank Holiday Gift Basket as their client appreciation gift this year, including Heritage Oaks Bank, Best Western of Carpinteria, and Penfield & Smith Engineers.

“We chose the Foodbank Holiday Gift Basket this year to share a taste of the wonderful local items with some of our clients, both near and far, as well as to do something good for our community," said Julie Miller of Penfield & Smith. "Supporting local business and giving back is integral to building and maintaining great communities like Santa Barbara. We are proud to have been a part of it.”

The Foodbank Multi Chamber Mega Mixer will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Foodbank warehouse at 4554 Hollister Ave. Members and guests of the following Chambers of Commerce will participate in this free networking event: Santa Barbara Region, Goleta Valley, Carpinteria, Buellton, Solvang, Lompoc, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber.

Some of the local food purveyors included Santa Barbara Pistachios, Santa Barbara Biscotti, La Tolteca Tortilla Factory, Santa Barbara Olive Co., Pacific Pickle Works, Shalhoob Meat Co., Jessica Foster Chocolates, Goodland Chai, Ocean Ranch Organics, Burst Marshmallows, San Marcos Farms, Caribbean Coffee, the Santa Barbara Bar and Santa Barbara Gourmet Popcorn. The basket also included a copy of Edible Santa Barbara Magazine.

— Anne Pazier represents Santa Barbara Gift Baskets.

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Community Invited to Celebrate Easter with Reality Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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The community is invited to celebrate Easter with Reality Santa Barbara, at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. this Sunday, April 20 in the Santa Barbara High School Theatre, 700 E. Anapamu St.

There will be a message from Pastor Chris Lazo, musical worship, a free tri-tip barbecue, and fun and games for the whole family.

The free barbecue will follow each gathering, and there will be kids jumpers and lawn games.

Handicap seating will be available.

For more information, email office@realitysb.com or call 805.684.5247.

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Lisa Couvillion, Patsy Hicks Elected to Scholarship Foundation Board

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Lisa Couvillion and Patsy Hicks have been elected to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors.

Lisa Couvillion
Lisa Couvillion

Selected for their unique interests and experiences and commitment to Santa Barbara County, directors establish policy, set priorities, fundraise and are responsible for guiding the Scholarship Foundation’s activities.

Couvillion was born and raised in Montecito. She graduated from Santa Barbara High School before attending the University of Arizona, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications. She later obtained a master’s degree in social work from Tulane University and was employed at Family Service of Greater New Orleans and Douglas Gardens Community Mental Health Center in Miami before returning to Santa Barbara in 2007.

She is an active community volunteer. She has served on a committee at Storyteller Children's Center for the past three years and is currently part of the Lotusland Celebrates planning committee. She also participates with DirectRelief Women and is a member of the Board of Directors at Knowlwood Tennis Club.

Couvillion and her husband, Steve, a retina surgeon, live in Montecito with their three sons.

Hicks has been employed at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for the past 18 years, most recently as director of education.

She spent 15 years working as a junior high and high school teacher at the Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles (now known as Harvard Westlake) and the Potomac School in McLean, Va.

She has served on the Board of Trustees of Cate School in Carpinteria, Crane School in Montecito, the Arts Fund of Santa Barbara and the State of the Arts Advisory Committee for the City of Santa Barbara. She has been a member of the board and steering committee of the Visual Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School since its inception.

Patsy Hicks
Patsy Hicks

She was appointed to the Santa Barbara School District’s Measure H and Measure I committees, which are oversight committees for the use of parcel tax funds in the high schools and elementary schools, respectively. She is also a member of the UCSB Graduate School of Education P20 committee. Under the direction of Dr. Lillian Garcia, this committee works to further the study of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in schools.

She is married to Stephen Hicks and has two adult children.

The Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to inspire, encourage, and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships.  In 2013 the Scholarship Foundation granted $8.1 million to 2,601 students and provided financial aid advising to more than 35,000 students and their parents. Since its founding in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded 34,500 scholarships totaling $81 million. Click here for more information.

 — Raissa Smorol is the development director for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.

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Lompoc Launches Development Assistance Team to Help Developers, Business Owners

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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To further economic development and assist businesses in the development process, the City of Lompoc has initiated a Development Assistance Team.

For developers or business owners thinking about new development projects or with projects already in progress, the Development Assistance Team will offer regular office hours twice a month. Key department heads and division managers in the development process will hold consultations on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at City Hall.

Appointment times are at 9:30a.m., 10 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. The purpose is to help people preparing to submit a development project who need preliminary information about meeting current standards and requirements. Because the Development Assistance Team is not a formal review body, the information given should be considered preliminary. There is no cost for the 30-minute Development Assistance Team meeting.

“This is another business friendly service we can offer to facilitate development in our community,” City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said.

To make an appointment with the Development Assistance Team, please call the Economic & Community Development Department at 805.875.8213.

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CEC Announces Highlights of Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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The Community Environmental Council will host the 2014 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival at Alameda Park on Saturday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event also will include more than 200 exhibitors, a food court, a beer and wine garden, a main stage, and two mini-stages offering music and demonstrations.

“This year, we are really focused on bringing community together, from the farm-to-table dinner to the Meet Your Makers section with local artisans,” said Sigrid Wright, associate director of the CEC and the festival’s director. “We want people to see how they can connect at a local level to help make a global impact, and we’re encouraging everyone who attends to commit to taking small, meaningful actions. The CEC organizes the festival around its five initiatives: Drive Less, Choose Electric, Go Solar, Ditch Plastic, and Eat Local.”

Events to Benefit Two-Day Festival

The Opening Night Reception will be held Wednesday, April 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Seven Bar and Kitchen in Santa Barbara’s locally-brewed Funk Zone, hosted by Earth Day production partner New Noise Music Foundation and featuring live music, karaoke and lots of fun. Tickets are on sale at www.newnoisesb.org. A portion of all proceeds benefit the Community Environmental Council and Santa Barbara Earth Day.

Pop-Up Farm-to-Table Dinner on Saturday, April 26 from 7 to 9 p.m at Alameda Park.

A large community table will be built in front of the main stage immediately after the last band on Saturday evening, and will feature a four-course catered locavore feast. This is the only activity in the park with an admission fee. Organized by New West Catering and Cultivate Events, tickets to Earth Day’s first pop-up farm-to-table meal are $60/person and will feature:

» A hearty four-course menu of local, seasonal ingredients with vegetarian options
» Pairings by Buttonwood Farm Winery and Firestone Brewery
» Live music by local artist Adam Phillips

This limited-seating dinner will sell out before Earth Day. To purchase tickets, click here or contact Kathi King at 805.963.0583 x108. Guests must be 21 years of age to attend. All proceeds benefit CEC.

Festival Zones to Visit

CEC’s Earth Day Festival is broken into zones, each created around a specific theme:

1. Drive Less. Location: near the corner of Anacapa and Micheltorena. Earth Day organizers work closely with the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, MTD bus service, Santa Barbara Car Free and other partners to inspire attendees to come to the event “car-free.” Highlights include:

» Bicyclists can rest easy thanks to a large, secured, free Bike Valet, hosted by Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition and Citrix.
» Check in with an Earth Day greeter at any entrance to claim a Raw Revolution reward
» Head to the Santa Barbara Car Free Check In booth to register for prizes. The grand prize is a pair of round-trip tickets for two on the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Santa Barbara to Portland or Seattle, including roomette accommodations.

2. Public Square. Location: on the west side of the park, along Anacapa. This zone offers an opportunity to get involved with dozens of nonprofits, local government agencies and other public services organizations. Highlights include:

» Elected Officials Booth where citizens can speak one-on-one with state, county and city legislative leaders. A full schedule will be posted by this Friday at www.SBEarthDay.org.
» A scaled replica of the Keystone XL pipeline by 350SB.org to raise awareness about climate change, oil production and fracking.

3. Sports & Recreation. Location: on the west side of the park, near the corner of Anacapa and Sola. Back for its second year, this zone features eco-conscious sporting and outdoor companies that encourage Earth Day-goers to get outside and explore the world we’re preserving. Ways to get active abound in this zone, whether it’s testing out hula hoop skills, practicing karate moves, or talking shop with surfers and skateboarders.

4. Shop Local. Location: on the west side of the park, along Santa Barbara Street. Two zones are located here:

» The Eco Marketplace connects those seeking eco-friendly products with businesses that embrace green consumerism. Sustainable resources and practices combine to create a marketplace bustling with useful goods, including organic seeds, herbal and other homeopathic remedies, clothing made with low-impact and upcycled materials, and solar-powered LED lights.
» The all new Meet Your Makers section boasts a more highly-curated selection of goods, all hand-crafted by regionally-based small businesses with a penchant for sustainable practices. Find unique goods, including artisanal soaps, handcrafted wood, re-styled vintage clothing, and plant fiber stationary.

5. Choose Electric. Location: on Santa Barbara Street, between Sola and Micheltorena Streets. The 16th Annual Santa Barbara Green Car Show hosts the largest assembly of efficient and alternative-fueled vehicles between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is the longest-running public Green Car Show in the United States. Highlights include:

» Free “Ride & Drives” Location: Corner of Micheltorena and Santa Barbara Take a spin in the latest all-electric vehicles, which get the equivalent of 100 mpg, including the widely acclaimed Tesla S, the the Toyota RAV4 EV (the first all-electric SUV on the market) and the top-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, along with other electric and hybrid cars. Ride & Drive filled up fast last year, so be sure to get there early!
» Owner’s Corner with a new Tesla Model S (Motortrend’s 2013 Car of the Year), Tesla Roadster, Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, and more. Local owners display these vehicles, offering a great opportunity to hear about the realities of electric car ownership.
» Local organizations that are greening their automotive fleets, such as ox Communications and the City of Santa Barbara.

6. Live Green. Location: on the east side of the park along Santa Barbara Street. Community members convene to share knowledge on practical ways to live sustainably, including various solar energy services, green builders, and permaculture professionals.

7. Eat Local. Location: on the west side of the park along Sola. In keeping with this year’s theme, Local Roots, Santa Barbara Earth Day has revamped the food section so attendees can not only enjoy more eco-conscious fare, but also can learn more about all the bounty available in the region. Highlights include:

» A Local Food Court where hungry festival-goers will find a greener-than-ever assortment of food prepared by locally-based vendors committed to sustainable practices and organic ingredients.
» The new Homegrown Roots zone featuring farmers, beekeepers, fishermen, and other representatives of our local food system.
» The Roots Stage (near the Food Court) features two days of eco-learning: seed saving, farm-to-fork and grain-to-loaf cooking demos, and discussions on probiotic drinks, sustainable meats, and more. A full schedule will be posted by this Friday at www.SBEarthDay.org.

8. Pledge to Act. Location: at the CEC booth on the west side of the park near Santa Barbara and Sola (look for the green and white striped tent).  Earth Day is hosted by the Community Environmental Council, which offers festival-goers an opportunity to walk away from the festival with a plan of action for their own lives. At the CEC booth, attendees will make a pledge that aligns with one of CEC’s five major initiatives: Drive Less, Choose Electric, Go Solar, Ditch Plastic, or Eat Local. In addition, attendees have a chance to win prizes that support these goals, including a Tesla Model S rental package, a new beach cruiser, a basket of local food, and more.

9. Kids Corner. Location: on the east side of the park, near Sola Street. Kids revel in this eco-education extravaganza organized by LearningDen Preschool and SproutUp, with arts & crafts, musical performances, storytelling, and face painting. Highlights of Kids Corner include:

» Earth Day Family Passport. Families looking to engage kids in the festival can pick up an Earth Day Family Passport at the Santa Barbara Car Free Check In booth (across from Bike Valet near Anacapa & Micheltorena). Kids collect a stamp at each of eight fun, eco-friendly activities, culminating at the SproutUp booth in Kids Corner. Completed passports can be redeemed for a free reusable bag stocked with goodies and a raffle ticket for the chance to win a week-long summer camp with Surf Happens or the Orca Camp.
» Solar Powered Kids Corner stage. Two days of activities on a stage powered by the Solar Roller. A full schedule will be posted by Friday, April 11 at www.SBEarthDay.org.

10. Give Back. Location: at the CEC booth on the west side of the park near Santa Barbara and Sola (look for the green and white striped tent). There’s always something more to learn, and CEC’s staff is there to educate. All attendees are welcomed to give back to CEC for all they do to raise awareness at Earth Day and throughout the year. Festival-goers can also spin the wheel to learn eco-facts and win prizes and watch the big screen for festival announcements and a stream of photos and videos being taken by Earth Day participants.

Live Music on the Earth Day Main Stage

Tap into the rhythm of locally grown reggae, electronic, bluegrass, rock, and instrumental music on the Main Stage, coordinated by the New Noise Music Foundation. A full schedule is posted at www.SBEarthDay.org and in the Earth Day Festival Guide (published in the Santa Barbara Independent on Thursday, April 24). Highlights include:

» Santa Barbara-based favorites like FMLYBND, Spencer the Gardener, Tommy & the Hi Pilots, and The Reignsmen (last year’s New Noise/ SB Independent Battle of the Bands winner).
» Headliner Hot Buttered Rum takes the stage on Saturday night.

Food and Drink

» Food Court. Location: on the east side of the park, along Sola Street. Dig into vegetarian-friendly food from local vendors dedicated to sustainable practices and organic ingredients.
» Coffee Kiosk. Location: on the east side of the park, along Sola Street. Back for a second year, the kiosk features Fair Trade coffee served up by high school volunteers from Dons Net Café. Make the experience greener by bringing your own mug.
» Beer Garden. Location: near the Main Stage. Enjoy delicious, cold beer from Firestone Walker's lineup of 805, Pivo Pils, DBA, Pale 31 and Easy Jack plus a variety of local Santa Barbara wines. Kleen Kanteen reusable steel pints will be available for purchase to reduce plastic cup usage.
» Beer & Wine Gazebo. Location: in center of park on west side of festival. Those looking for a smaller venue to enjoy adult beverages can get pours of their favorite beer and wine during select times throughout the festival.

Partners

This year, CEC is partnering with LoaTree, New Noise Media Group, Oniracom, Plus One Events, Sprout Up, Learningden Preschool, Cultivate Events, and Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to produce the festival. Cox Communications is the lead sponsor. Major Media Sponsors are KJEE, KTYD, KLITE, and Entravision. Other Media Sponsors are SB Independent, Parent Click, Noozhawk, and The Sentinel. Major sponsors are MarBorg Industries, Gold Coast Toyota Dealers, Allen Associates Construction, Amtrak, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, and Classic Party Rentals. Other significant sponsors include Lazy Acres Market, Kleen Kanteen, 1st Solar, City of Santa Barbara, Klean Kanteen, REC Solar, Air Pollution Control District, Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, Verizon, BMW Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Nissan.

As details are announced, the best way to get the most updated information — including schedules, maps and stories — is to go to:

» Find Earth Day on the web at www.SBEarthDay.org, or the mobile site, http://m.SBEarthDay.org
» Like “Santa Barbara Earth Day” on Facebook
» Follow the event on Twitter @SBEarthday and on Instagram @SB_EarthDay
» Call CEC at 805.963.0583 x100.

— Candice Tang Nyholt for the Community Environmental Council.

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SBPD Announces Recipients of 2014 Citizen Extra Step Awards

By | Published on 04/16/2014

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Each year, the Santa Barbara Police Department has its officers submit nominations for Extra Step Awards.

These awards are presented to citizens who display acts of civic heroism and devotion to their community. These acts include saving lives and aiding fellow citizens and police officers in the performance of their duties. The awards are sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara, which hosts a luncheon for the recipients, where they are presented with a meritorious citation.

The luncheon will be held at the Mesa Café at 1972 Cliff Drive at noon Wednesday, April 23.

The following citizens will be receiving the 2014 Kiwanis & Santa Barbara Police Department’s Extra Step Award:

Daniel Green

Green, head of security operations at the Wildcat Lounge, assisted SBPD officers on multiple occasions in 2013 dealing with combative subjects and with alcohol-related, narcotics and DUI investigations. He was nominated by Officer Ethan Ragsdale.

Thomas Eck

Eck, the Santa Barbara High School track coach, prevented a felony fugitive from stealing a van and potentially driving through a crowd of student athletes and spectators leaving a track meet at Santa Barbara City College. He was nominated by Officer Carl Kamin.

William Barbaree and Nicholas McGilvray

Barbaree and McGilvray performed lifesaving first aid, prior to the arrival of emergency personnel, to James Atwood and Ellen Atwood, two motorcyclists who had been struck by a drunkeen driver. They were nominated by Officer Heather Clark.

Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling and Steffanie Colgate

Shaw, Pagaling and Colgate witnessed the hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of Mallory Dies. They pursued the suspect, tried to persuade him to return to the scene of the collision, called 9-1-1 and directed officers to the suspect’s location resulting in his apprehension. They were nominated by Officer Jaycee Hunter.

Scott Houston

Houston came to the aid of an officer struggling in the street with a bank robbery suspect, helping to detain the suspect until additional officers arrived on-scene. He was nominated by Officer Richard Washington.

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

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Wedding Band Lost in Ocean Two Years Ago Resurfaces on Ellwood Beach

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Jen Birchim of Goleta tracks down the owner through Facebook after finding the ring while beachcombing near her home

"My love, my life, my lobster."

Those were the words gleaming from inside a gold wedding band that Jen Birchim held in her hand two Saturdays ago while standing on the beach near her home in Ellwood.

Birchim was standing in the sand when she found the ring, and had been taking advantage of the low tide to beachcomb with three of her four children, searching the sand for beach glass, heart stones and shells, and small treasures.

After big storms hit the beaches earlier this year, much of the area's sand had been pushed away, so the Birchims were exploring rock formations and tide pools.

That's when she saw what looked like a bottle cap.

It turned out not to be a piece of trash, but a wedding ring with a strange inscription.

It wasn't the first time the Birchims had found a ring. While diving at Lake Tahoe, her husband found a platinum ring in the sand under the surface.

With this ring, Birchim decided to take a picture when she returned home and post it with a short message on her Facebook page.

"Let's see if we can find the owner of this wedding band I found today at Ellwood beach in the super low tide," she wrote. "There is an inscription on the inside — "my love, my life, my lobster" … Maybe a lobster fisherman? Pass it along friends! Let's stoke someone out and return it!"

Jen Birchim of Goleta found this ring at Ellwood Beach, and tracked down the owner through her Facebook page.

The post went viral, and two days later "it had 1,100 shares," she told Noozhawk.

Several days later, she was contacted by Sara Lindsay, a Ventura teacher, who had been shown the post that week.

Lindsay found out when a substitute teacher mentioned a post that had gone viral on Facebook.

"She said 'the ring has a really odd description,'" Lindsay recalled. "She read it to me aloud, and I said, 'That's my husband's ring. ... If she hadn't been working that day, I don't know if we would have found it."

The ring had been lost in June 2012, while the Lindsays were visiting the beach with a Bible study group.

"The guys were playing football, and my husband jumped into the ocean to get the ball, and that's when he lost the ring," she said. 

He didn't notice it had slipped off until later after the couple had left the area.

"I was pretty upset," she said. "He loses a lot of things. ... The ring was in the ocean. We just figured it was gone."

Her husband, Greg, got a $20 sterling-silver ring from Amazon as a replacement, and the couple had accepted that the ring was lost forever until the post popped up.

When she told her husband the news, he was "very doubtful," Lindsay said. "He's still pretty shocked."

Last Saturday, the couple drove from their home in Ojai on Saturday to meet Birchim and retrieve the ring.

Birchim walked with them out to the bluffs, and the trio discovered that where Birchim had discovered the ring was relatively close to where Greg remembered losing it.

The white gold band was a bit faded from the time spent in the salt water and sand, but Lindsay said she thinks it adds to the character of the ring.

The couple began dating 10 years ago, and Lindsay said the inscription is a reference to the television show Friends, in which two major characters of the show profess that they'll be together for life.

Lindsay has had people call telling her they've seen her story pop up on CNN, the Today show and other television outlets.

"It's pretty exciting," she said. "We've had people come up to us and say, 'Oh my gosh, you're the lobster ring people.'"

The ring had more than 20,000 shares by this week, and Birchim said the event "really just showed the power of social media in a positive way.

"They're super happy. ... It was a fun happy ending."

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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Singer Leaving Goleta for Poway City Manager Job

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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The council approves his contract and salary, with his start date set for June 2

Goleta City Manager Dan Singer will be giving his 30-day notice on Wednesday after the Poway City Council approved his employment contract and $219,950 salary at its Tuesday night meeting, while Singer was in a Goleta City Council meeting.

Singer, who has been with Goleta since 2005, is scheduled to start his new job June 2.

"I'm really pleased," he said. "It's a really nice step for me professionally. I think Goleta proved a great training ground to move to a larger city with more responsibilities and Poway's a great community with a high quality of life, so I think we'll survive pretty well with making it our community." 

Members of the Goleta City Council will discuss the replacement process during a closed session meeting next week.

Singer was Poway's top candidate during the recruitment process, and the choice became final after the contract was approved by the council. The vote was unanimous, Pomerado News reporter Steve Dreyer told Noozhawk. 

Poway is in central San Diego County and has about 48,400 residents, more than Goleta’s 30,000.

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

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Supervisors Approve Transition Staffing for North County Jail

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Plans for the North County Jail are moving forward, but the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department's transition staffing looks like it will be much more expensive than expected.

Sheriff Bill Brown on Tuesday presented the county Board of Supervisors with a plan to recruit staff over the next four years so people can be hired and trained before the new facility opens in early 2018.

The plan has 124 people, which includes 88 sworn positions, and the county will have to hire 100 people to fill those new jobs.

Shifts in the new jail would have 19 custody deputies on duty during the daytime hours and 18 for nighttime, Brown said.

The supervisors were concerned that transition staffing will cost $5.8 million, which is $1.8 million more than expected, because so many staff are being hired several years before the new jail opens its doors.

There’s no plan yet to find that extra money, budget director Tom Alvarez said. 

Brown and General Services director Matt Pontes said the hiring process takes six months and training can take another eight, so the county needs to start recruiting years before the new jail is operational.  

The county also needs to come up with the annual operating cost for the new jail, which is estimated at $15.8 million.

The actual costs are $20 million with staffing, supplies and contracts, but the Main Jail in Santa Barbara will be reduced to 600 inmates, and some of those costs will be transferred to Santa Maria, Brown said.

Transition costs did increase with the revised hiring schedule, hiring more people earlier, but the operating cost estimates are aligned with the original estimate, Alvarez said. 

Construction documents are being developed for the $96 million jail facility. A state board has approved schematic designs for the 376-bed lock-up, and the project is scheduled to break ground in November 2015.

Ninety percent of the funding comes from state grants, and Santa Barbara County received another $38.9 million for a 228-bed Sheriff’s Transition and Reentry Complex, which will be an additional wing to the jail complex at Black and Betteravia roads outside Santa Maria.

The Main Jail on Calle Real is “Santa Barbara’s version of the Winchester Mystery House,” Brown said, having gone through seven additions and remodels to increase capacity to 1,000 inmates in average-daily population.

The new jail has to be a hybrid of a jail and a prison, since more-serious offenders will be serving time under the Assembly Bill 109 public safety realignment.

Instead of long hallways with barred cells, there will be modules with cells surrounding common areas that have classrooms, video visitation stations and health rooms so inmates don’t have to be moved very often, Brown said.

Architects have given the building’s façade a mission-style look with Spanish-influenced design and red-tile roofs meant to fit in with Santa Maria instead of being an industrial-looking concrete block, Brown said.

Supervisor Janet Wolf questioned some design elements that added to the construction cost without having any functionality, such as a fake bell tower by the main entrance.

Brown defended the $60,000 tower, saying it was necessary to invoke the “iconic” California mission look.

He also said missions were “places of respite for weary travelers” and “redemption and revitalization,” but Wolf countered that if it’s about redemption, she would rather that money go toward a mental-health professional.

During public comment, a member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians said the jail site is on archaeologically significant land. He asked that the county to do additional studies “to protect the culture and history of my people” prior to construction.

Several contractors, construction workers and labor representatives spoke about the construction project itself, with many arguing to use local workers.

The county’s “point of no return” on this project is after it is put out to bid but before the contract is awarded, assistant to the CEO Dennis Bozanich said.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino has held the jail project as a top priority, and said the opportunity would probably not ever come around again.

“When are we ever going to get a chance to get a jail for 10 cents on the dollar?” he said.

The board approved the preliminary staffing plan and operation costs analysis.

The project will come back for more action in the fall, after construction drawings are finished.

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

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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB ‘Spotlight’ Falls on French, Croatian and English Composers

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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UCSB's sensational new "Spotlight" concert series gives new depth and breadth to the term "eclectic." The next installment will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall in the UCSB Music Building.

Peter Racine Fricker
Internationally admired composer Peter Racine Fricker lived and taught in Santa Barbara for many years.

Jeremy Haladyna will host the event, as well as making a major contribution as performer. Admission is free.

The concert will begin with the Sonata for Trombone and Piano, "Vox Gabrieli" by Stjepan Sulek (1914-86), with Elizabeth Cowder on trombone and Natasha Kislenko on piano; followed by the Agincourt Hymn of John Dunstaple (c. 1390-1453) plus the "Pauana de Alexandre" and "Gallarda" from the Tres libros de música of Alonso Mudarra (c. 1510-80), performed by organist Haladyna, after which he will reseat himself at the piano to play the "Pastorale" and "Passacaglia" from Diversions, Opus 95 by Peter Racine Fricker (1920-90).

The afternoon's music will conclude with a performance of the second and third movements — "Andante" and "Allegro non troppo" — from the Trio for Flute, Viola and Cello, Opus 40 of Albert Roussel (1869-1937), with Adriane Hill on flute, Jordan Warmath on viola and Zachary McGee on cello.

Sulek was a Croatian composer, conductor, violinist and music teacher. He was born in Zagreb on the day after England declared war on the Central Powers, making World War I unanimous, and he died in Zagreb 72 years later, having lived a productive and apparently tranquil life through some of the most turbulent times in his country's history. The intriguing and virtuostic Sonata is perhaps the work of his best known outside his native land.

The English-born Fricker is well-known to our community, having been a professor of composition at UCSB from 1964 until his death in 1990, during which time he served several years as chairman of the Music Department. The selections from his Diversions are intended as a preview of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music concert that will occur within the campus-wide "Primavera" festival next week.

Roussel was a great French composer, and the only first-class symphonist that nation produced after Saint-Saëns. The trio is light and informal and very easy to listen to.

— 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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Jim Hightower: Spying by National Security Agency Is Here to Stay

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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On Monday, the Washington Post and the Guardian U.S. newspapers received the Pulitzer for Journalism Public Service for their reports on National Security Agency spying. In light of their hard work, let's recap events of the last year.

Embarrassed and irritated by Edward Snowden's leaks, President Barack Obama charged last year at a press conference that Snowden was presenting a false picture of the NSA by releasing parts of its work piecemeal: "Rather than have a trunk come out here and a leg come out there," he said, "let's just put the whole elephant out there so people know exactly what they're looking at. ... America is not interested in spying on ordinary people," he assured us. The government, he went on, is not "listening in on people's phone calls or inappropriately reading people's emails."

Six days later, a Washington Post headline declared: "NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year." In an internal audit in May 2012 of its Washington, D.C.-area spy centers, the agency itself found 2,776 "incidences" of NSA overstepping its legal authority. As the American Civil Liberties Union noted, surveillance laws themselves "are extraordinarily permissive," so it's doubly troubling that the agency is surging way past what it is already allowed to do. The ACLU adds that these reported incidents are not simply cases of one person's rights being violated — but thousands of Americans being snared, totally without cause, in the NSA's indiscriminate, computer-driven dragnet.

The agency's surveillance net stretches so wide that it is inherently abusive, even though its legal authority to spy on Americans is quite limited. U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the sponsor of the Patriot Act (which the NSA cites as its super-vac authority), said Congress intended that it should apply only to cases directly tied to national security investigations. No lawmaker, he said, meant that government snoops should be able to conduct a wholesale grab of Americans' phone, email and other personal records and then store them in huge databases to be searched at will.

Yet look at what NSA has become:

» The 3 billion phone calls made in the U.S. each day are snatched up by the agency, which stores each call's metadata (phone numbers of the parties, date and time, length of call, etc.) for five years.

» Each day telecom giants turn over metadata on every call they have processed.

» Every out-of-country call and email from (or to) a U.S. citizen is grabbed by NSA computers, and agents are authorized to listen to or read any of them.

» The agency searches for and seizes nearly everything we do on the Internet. Without bothering with the constitutional nicety of obtaining a warrant, its XKeyscore program scoops up some 40 billion Internet records every month and adds them to its digital storehouse, including our emails, Google searches, websites visited, Microsoft Word documents sent, etc. The NSA's annual budget includes a quarter-billion dollars for "corporate-partner access" — i.e., payments to obtain this mass of material from corporate computers.

» Snowden says that in his days as an analyst, he could sit at his computer and tap into any American's Internet activity — even the president's. A blowhard Congress critter called that a ridiculous lie, but Snowden was proven right. In 2005, another analyst did tap into ex-President Bill Clinton's personal email account.

» Asked at a Senate hearing whether his agency collects data "on millions or (even) hundreds of millions of Americans," NSA Director James Clapper said: "No." He later apologized, claiming he was confused by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's question. But when asked by Wyden to correct his erroneous answer in the hearing record, Clapper refused.

» The sheer volume of information sucked up by the agency is so large that as of 2008, it maintained 150 data processing sites around the world.

» The NSA's budget is an official secret, but a Snowden document shows that it gets about $11 billion a year in direct appropriations, with more support funneled through the Pentagon and other agencies.

President Obama recently announced an "overhaul" of the NSA's collection of bulk phone records. The reform may require phone companies to store metadata it collects for 18 months for the NSA's use with the approval from a special court. This might sound reasonable, but it is still gathering bulk data on millions of innocent Americans — by corporations for the government.

And what about Internet, email and other surveillance? The NSA is too heavily vested in its programs; it is not going to give up spying on us.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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John Daly: Your Cell Phone and the Impression You Make with It

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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What does your voicemail message say about you? If I call you and get, “This is James; catch you later,” what kind of impression have you given me? Your message should reflect a professional tone with a concise message. Do you want a potential client or boss to be greeted with “Catch you later”?

I suggest something like, “Hi, this is James. I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now, but if you leave me your name and telephone number I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for calling.”

In addition, I propose checking your ringtones to be sure they are standard. When in the company of a prospective employer or clients, always set phones on silent or vibrate.

It’s important to realize that the people you are with should always take precedent over phone calls or text messages. Some key business phone etiquette to remember:

» Let your voicemail take your calls while meeting with people (business or friends).

» Return all phone calls within 24 hours.

» Do not make or receive calls during business meetings.

» If you are expecting an important call that cannot be postponed, alert the people in your meeting prior to the start of the situation; if and when you receive the call, step away from the meeting and keep the call brief.

» Always be courteous to people within hearing distance and use discretion when discussing private matters. Keep your voice low.

» When receiving a call in a restaurant, always step outside or to a place of privacy.

» Do not use your cell phone for talking or texting while driving unless you have a Bluetooth device.

» Never text while in motion.

» Text messaging while in a meeting should only be used in extreme circumstances and emergencies.

» Never text message during religious services, funerals, weddings, court proceedings or while sitting at a dining table.

» If you receive a text message about an urgent matter, remove yourself from your surroundings before answering.

When I go to meetings, my cell phone stays in the car. If I think I might need it to provide contact information during the meeting, it stays in my pocket on vibrate or turned off. I don’t let anything disturb me unless it’s critical. Then I keep it on vibrate and ask others to forgive me: “I might receive a critical call related to a current project and have to be available. Please understand.”

I certainly understand when others are in that position. But when they’re not, I’m so put off when people with whom I’m at a meeting start taking calls or messages during my time with them. Taking phone calls or texting others tells those you are with that they aren’t as important to you as the person on the phone.

Sometimes we aren’t aware of the negative impressions we create for others. When you are trying to spend quality time with friends and associates or trying to be attentive during a business meeting, remember what a friend of mine told me: “Just because your phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it.” When you are in a meeting or having dinner with someone, if you start texting, those who are physically present with you will feel that you don’t care what they have to say.

Be aware of the unspoken messages you send to people.
Video Phone Etiquette Training
Here’s a super tutorial to use for phone etiquette within a company. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54xYxV1SoaU
John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. To learn more about The Key Class or get  information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, go to www.thekeyclass.com. To get John’s book, click The Key Class.
Follow John on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thekeyclass and Twitter @johnjdalyjr.

What’s More, On Video

Here’s a super tutorial to use for phone etiquette within a company.

(Chester Hull video)

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Register your child for The Key Class today! Just four classes — on table manners, meet and greet, respect and making others at ease with them. For those seeking jobs, we’ll teach how to create résumés and cover letters!

Held from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1535 Santa Barbara St.

Click here to register online, or contact John Daly at 805.452.2747
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John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara Appoints New Community Development Director

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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The Santa Barbara City Council has approved the city administrator’s appointment of George Buell as community development director, following a nationwide recruitment process.

 

George Buell
George Buell

Buell currently serves as the development services director of the City of Oceanside.

As community development director, he will oversee planning and development services, building and safety, and housing and human services. The Community Development Department is comprised of more than 65 employees and a budget totaling $20 million. 

Buell has served as the development services director at the City of Oceanside with a population of 167,000 since 2008. Some significant projects completed under his leadership include the planning and construction of a Traffic Management Center, update of the Housing and Circulation Elements, completion of a Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan, as well as many quality infill projects along the coast and throughout inland neighborhoods.

He has also overseen studies that identified opportunities for procedural and policy improvement to the land development and construction processes.

Prior to this position, he served as the city planner for the City of San Clemente, where he managed the land development process and advance planning activities.

Buell has also worked in the private sector, representing both municipalities throughout California and developers alike.

Buell received a bachelor’s degree in urban geography from California State University-Fullerton and is a member of the American Planning Association.

“George brings a wealth of experience from communities that face issues similar to Santa Barbara," City Administrator Jim Armstrong said. "He understands the needs and land use discussions of a coastal community.”

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

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Two People Injured in Rollover of Horse-Drawn Carriage

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Two men were injured, one seriously, on Tuesday afternoon after a horse-drawn carriage in the Santa Ynez Valley rolled over after the horses pulling the carriage were suddenly spooked and bolted.

Driver Fred Chamberlin and passenger Don Reed were injured around 1:51 p.m. Tuesday while riding on the carriage on a dirt road on the Chamberlin Ranch near Los Olivos, a statement from the California Highway Patrol said.

Chamberlin is the brother of former Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Willy Chamberlin. 

"For unknown reasons, the horses became scared and bolted," the statement said, resulting in the driver losing control and the carriage overturning.

Two fire engines and an air ambulance responded to the scene, where they found the men, one with serious injuries and one with moderate injuries, said Capt. David Sadecki.

Both men were ejected from the carriage, and were treated at the scene by county fire and CALSTAR. 

The men were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and the cause of the incident remains under investigation. 

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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Kat Swift: The Security State and the Gang Injunction

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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What do Deltopia, the Bundy ranch and the gang injunction have in common? Each represents a crackdown by state and federal authorities on local communities for the ostensible purpose of upholding law and order.

In the case of Deltopia, police officers prepped their confrontation with student partygoers by installing CamGuard towers, enforcing noise ordinances and public intoxication penalties, and, in the end, meeting students with a barrage of rubber bullets, flash grenades, tear gas and sound canons.

In the case of the Bundy ranch, federal authorities from the Bureau of Land Management squared off with local ranchers in a dispute over cattle grazing rights on government land that rallied hundreds of armed supporters to the Bundy family.

In the case of the gang injunction, city officials seek to impose a measure that will violate the civil rights of the citizens of the Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara for the ostensible purpose of abating the "public nuisance" posed by Latino youth.

In his discussion of the national security state at the Lobero Theatre this past February, Noam Chomsky pointed out that the government definition of security is one that seems more concerned with eschewing public scrutiny than protecting public welfare: "Those who have worked through the huge mass of declassified documents … can hardly fail to notice how frequently it is security of state power from the domestic public that is a prime concern, not national security in any meaningful sense."

This is evident from the spate of legislation this past decade that has seen the implementation of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the passage of the Military Commissions Act and, more recently, the adjudication of the National Defense Authorization Act. Such legislation has steadily chipped away at the guarantee of due process of the law once enshrined in the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Edward Snowden's revelations of the vast surveillancing powers of the National Security Agency have exposed the reality of intelligence agencies in locked, goose step with ever-expanding executive police powers. Anybody who is concerned with the rising security state should similarly be concerned with the growing powers of local law enforcement agencies — for example, the use of drones and stingray surveillance technology by police departments across the country. The former was employed against a rancher in North Dakota who was found and arrested by federal authorities after refusing to surrender over a stray cattle dispute (a precursor to Cliven Bundy), and the latter has been employed against Latinos in Santa Barbara to monitor and target the cell phone conversations of alleged gang members from the Eastside and the Westside.

When we consider the fact that the Department of Homeland Security decreed the repressive police tactics used to disperse the Occupy movement, we should be very concerned about the coordination of federal agencies with local police departments for purposes of quelling free speech and assembly.

So for instance, the official report describes Deltopia as an "unlawful assembly" and an instance of "civil unrest." To use terms that suggest that Deltopia was an insurrection seems more than a little ridiculous unless authoritarian antipathy to Isla Vista's history of civil disobedience is taken into account. University and local officials failed to consult with students on plans to monitor and control Deltopia ahead of time and this lack of communication no doubt contributed to the ugliness of the confrontation between students and police.

Likewise with the gang injunction. City officials have failed to consult with the Latino citizens of Santa Barbara who will similarly find an armed, hostile police presence in their neighborhoods under the terms of the injunction. As has already been seen in Oxnard, Anaheim and other cities around California, the gang injunction actually increases police violence toward Latino communities under the banner of "law and order." A Latino youth residing in Santa Barbara will have his or her right to peaceful assembly greatly curtailed since the injunction stipulates that for gang members and their associates (and this includes family members, neighbors and friends) the areas they once frequented are now off-limits. Normal activities like visiting a neighbor, going to school, picking up a spouse from work or being out too late after the curfew are illegal for "gang members" and their associates. They are subject to routine police stops and arrest for "violating" the terms of the injunction.

What’s worse, the injunction grants full discretionary power to the police to determine who is and who isn't a gang member. This means that racial profiling becomes the default setting of law enforcement officials since they often have no means to identify a gang member other than cultural markers such as place of residence, style of clothing, tattoos and mannerisms. Youthful misbehavior such as public intoxication and spray-painting graffiti become evidence of gang membership in the eyes of the police, and the unlucky youth so designated will end up in the Cal Gang Database whether or not he or she is actually a gang member. Moreover, gang enhancement policies kick into effect when sentencing Latinos, which means that a Latino teenager can face an additional two to 10 years more than a white counterpart for the same transgression.

Taken all together, the gang injunction effectively criminalizes the entire Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara and thereby preps the Latino community for the same violent police repression tactics witnessed during the Anaheim uprising two summers ago. We the people of Santa Barbara need to seriously consider whether dividing up our city into “safety zones” under what amounts to little more than martial law is really in the best interest of our youth and our community.

— Kat Swift is a Ph.D candidate at UCSB.

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Habitat for Humanity of Santa Barbara County Awarded AmeriCorps Position

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County has been awarded one AmeriCorps member position and is looking for a motivated and qualified candidate to serve locally during the 2014-15 service year, which begins this September.

AmeriCorps, often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, is a network of national service programs that engage more than 80,000 Americans each year in intensive service throughout the United States. National service programs, such as AmeriCorps, are funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Habitat for Humanity SSBC is seeking a driven applicant committed to Habitat’s mission of providing safe, secure and affordable housing for local low-income families. The AmeriCorps member position will serve as a construction crew leader, help with the family selection process, recruit and oversee volunteers, and serve as the neighborhood revitalization assistant. The AmeriCorps member will also focus on increasing outreach to youth and college students in the area.

Accepted AmeriCorps applicants commit to serve up to a year with Habitat for Humanity SSBC and join more than 400 other Habitat AmeriCorps in over 110 communities nationwide. These members are anticipated to serve more than 2,200 families, provide more than 650,000 hours of service and engage more than 225,000 volunteers in local community-building efforts.

Since Habitat for Humanity International partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service in 1994, more than 8,000 AmeriCorps members have served with Habitat for Humanity, helping Habitat to serve more than 20,000 U.S. families, contributing more than 13 million hours of service, raising tens of millions of dollars in resources and engaging nearly 3.1 million volunteers.

Click here for more information or to learn how to apply.

— Alexandra Hamill is the development manager for Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County.

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Deltopia Reveler Pleads Not Guilty; Release Request Denied

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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The young Isla Vista reveler accused of assaulting a police officer during the Deltopia street party earlier this month has pleaded not guilty to charges.

Desmond Louis Edwards, 17, of Los Angeles allegedly swung a backpack full of liquor bottles into the face of a UCSB police officer on Del Playa Drive during the unsanctioned Deltopia street party on the night of April 5.

Edwards, who is being charged as an adult, appeared in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Monday to enter the pleas to felony charges of assaulting a police officer, mayhem, resisting arrest and causing great bodily injury.

Edwards’ request to be released from custody on his own recognizance was denied, but Santa Barbara Judge Thomas Adams did lower bail from $100,000 to $75,000, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron.

She said the lesser bail was granted with specific conditions, including that Edwards stay out of Santa Barbara County unless attending court appearances.

Edwards is scheduled to next appear in court on April 28 for a preliminary hearing setting.

Sheriff's officials have said the incident allegedly involving Edwards in the 6700 block of Del Playa, which led to a swift response from other officers, was one of the triggers for the violence that broke out in the student-dominated community adjacent to UCSB near the end of a long day of alcohol-fueled partying.

The officer required some 20 sutures to close his wound, according to the Sheriff's Department.

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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Pastor Rick Warren to Speak at Westmont Commencement

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and author of the book The Purpose-Driven Life, will speak at Westmont College’s commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3 on Carr Field.

Pastor Rick Warren
Pastor Rick Warren

President Gayle Beebe will give the Westmont medal to longtime Montecito neighbor Annette Simmons and her late husband, Harold, who died Dec. 28, 2013.

Commencement is free and open to the public, but no parking is available on campus. Guests must park their cars at Santa Barbara City College and use Westmont’s free shuttle service to campus, arriving at City College no later than 9:30 a.m.

A total of 367 students will participate in commencement this year, the largest graduating class in Westmont history. Thirty-six percent (132) will graduate with honors, 22 summa cum laude (at least a 3.90 GPA), 31 magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.89 GPA) and 79 cum laude (3.50 to 3.74 GPA). Golden Warriors, who graduated in 1964, will march in the procession and celebrate their 50th reunion.

“Rick Warren lives out his faith on a global scale, serving his own congregation and people worldwide through hundreds of ministries he has established to meet both physical and spiritual needs,” Beebe said. “It’s a privilege to welcome him to campus and award him an honorary doctorate.”

A global strategist, philanthropist, pastor and author, Warren has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations, the Global Health Summit, the Aspen Ideas Institute, TED and numerous world congresses. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Saddleback Church attracts about a 100,000 attendees and offers more than 300 ministries.

Warren graduated from California Baptist University and earned a master of divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.backcrowd.

Harold Simmons, one of the few self-made American billionaires, prospered as a brilliant and creative financier who controlled numerous companies, including five corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As the middle son of rural schoolteachers, he graduated from the University of Texas-Austin in 1952 with a master’s degree in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key.

Annette Simmons, born in Tyler, Texas, graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in education. The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development opened in 2010 at SMU to integrate theory, research and practice of education and human development. She has served on numerous boards, including Dallas Women’s Foundation, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Baylor Hospital and the Crystal Charity Ball, which benefits children and many other organizations in the Dallas area. The ball has distributed more than $82 million since 1953.

In 2007, the Simmonses gave Westmont $1 million for student scholarships and the R. Anthony Askew Chair in Art. In 2010, they donated $1 million to campus improvements.

The Simmonses’ recent philanthropic gifts have benefited the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, Dallas Zoo and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. In 2011, the Dallas-based Harold Simmons Foundation distributed more than $17 million to various charities.

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

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UCSB Sponsoring Symposium on Health Care Rights, Affordable Care Act

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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UC Santa Barbara is sponsoring a symposium on health-care rights from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, April 18 in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Resource Building.

It is free and open to the public.

Paul Starr, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University, will provide a keynote address titled “America’s Peculiar Struggle over Healthcare Reform Then and Now.”

Susan Klein-Rothschild, deputy director of the county Public Health Department, will be among the panelists who report on the local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Starr is a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton on health-care policy. He is co-founder of The American Prospect and author of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform as well as a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine.

The symposium is part of the 2013-14 Critical Issues in America Series “The Great Society at Fifty: Democracy in American 1964-2014.” It is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UCSB.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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Mark Levine Named New Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation Trustee

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Mark Levine as a new Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee.

Mark Levine
Mark Levine

Levine graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He went on to work as a securities analyst in the financial industry before heading to the floor of the Commodity Exchange trading silver and gold for 12 years.

After his retirement, Levine and his family moved to Santa Barbara.

In addition to serving as a Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee, Levine previously served on the board of Child Abuse Listening Meditation (CALM), LifeChronicles and the SBCC Foundation, and he was a founding member of the Center for Successful Aging, where he volunteered as a peer counselor and group facilitator.

He is currently a partner in Social Venture Partners, on the Advisory Board of the Key Class and serves on the investment committees of The Bower Foundation and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 700 children and adults every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

For more information, call 805.563.8821 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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Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Honors Raul Gil, BEGA-US with Community Service Awards

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is pleased to honor local leaders with Community Service Awards for their commitment to Santa Barbara, the Westside and Bohnett Park. Raul Gil accepted an individual award, and Spencer Strom accepted the award on behalf of BEGA-US.

Gil is an entrepreneur and longtime active resident of Santa Barbara. He worked as a staff accountant for the Santa Barbara News-Press and was in the media industry for 30 years. He currently is a team leader for Yardi Systems in Goleta.

In addition to his professional career, Gil is active on the Westside Community Center Workgroup, the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Goleta Valley Toastmasters, the Mariachi Festival Committee, founder of the 805 Basketball Club, statistician for the Santa Barbara High School basketball team and a dedicated supporter of the Bohnett Park revitalization effort. He has been a restaurant entrepreneur for more than 18 years and is the owner of El Zarape Restaurant on the Westside of Santa Barbara.

Spencer Strom, Western territory sales manager, accepted the award on behalf of BEGA-US, a $45 million lighting design and manufacturing corporation with more than 50 percent of its product content sourced in the United States and designed and built in Santa Barbara County. BEGA-US has made product donations in many locations around Santa Barbara, including Westside’s Bohnett Park.

BEGA-US was instrumental in providing the best lighting solutions possible to ensure safe after dark activities at Bohnett Park. The lights have enabled evening activities, including organized youth sports and social meetings with families and friends. BEGA-US has made a lasting positive impact on the Westside community with the new lighting system, making Bohnett Park more accessible and safe for local residents to use and enjoy.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara would like to say thank you to Gil and BEGA-US for their commitment to making Santa Barbara a better place to live.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. each Friday at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort. Members of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara are among our town’s community and business leaders, working to make a positive difference in the world. Click here for more information.

— Laurie Small is the public relations chairwoman for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.

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Raymond Morua Takes Plea Deal in Hit-and-Run Death of Mallory Dies

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Former aide to Rep. Capps pleads guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges, and faces 20 years to life in prison

In a deal with prosecutors, Raymond Morua pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter, hit-and-run and other charges, accepting a fate that will include a prison sentence of 20 years to life.

Morua, a former aide to Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, admitted to charges that he was driving while intoxicated when he struck a 27-year-old woman as she was crossing the street on Dec. 6, 2013, in downtown Santa Barbara.

The victim, Mallory Rae Dies, was taken off life support Dec. 11, 2013, five days after suffering massive head injuries.

According to Santa Barbara police, Morua's blood-alcohol level — 0.17 percent — was more than twice the legal limit at which a driver is considered drunk at the time of the incident.
 
The deal between prosecutors and the defense — which had been hinted at for weeks — was made public in a Santa Barbara courtroom where friends and family of Dies and Morua were present in full force.
 
Dressed in a dark, pinstriped suit but hampered by handcuffs, Morua pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a felony, and to causing great bodily injury, as well as acknowledging his prior DUI convictions in Ventura.

Morua also admitted to a special allegation of fleeing the scene after the crime, which carried a penalty of an additional five consecutive years in prison.

Judge James Voysey explained the plea to Morua, who replied “guilty” after each charge was repeated for court record.

Morua is scheduled to return to court May 28 for sentencing, and is expected to spend at least 10 years in prison before he’s eligible for parole, according to Arnie Tolks, senior deputy district attorney, who prosecuted the case.

 

Matt Dies
Matt Dies, father of victim Mallory Rae Dies, talks with reporters outside the courtroom on Tuesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Morua's defense attorney, Darryl Genis, said he told his client he should expect to serve at least 17 years before being eligible for parole.
 
The original charges — murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death — carried a punishment of 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
 
As part of the plea, Morua also agreed to pay a to-be-determined amount of restitution, submit a formal apology to the Dies family and to participate in an anti-DUI video.

Dies father, Matt Dies, exhaled in relief after the plea was signed, wiping tears from his eyes.

Outside the courtroom, Dies said he was pained to hear the voice of the man who killed his child, noting the family’s push for Morua to speak in a video — made in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving — to prevent another family from suffering.

“It was pretty hard and emotional for me in there today,” he said. “It helps to close a chapter. This is something that will go on obviously for the rest of my life.”

Dies called on Capps’ office to acknowledge that Morua was on the job when he attended a holiday party that evening, an action seconded by Morua’s attorney.

Genis said he was proud Morua accepted responsibility for his actions, adding that he only entered a not guilty plea last month as a formality to move the case to the larger Department 12 courtroom.

“I can tell you that Raymond was crying” while signing the plea, Genis said. “And I truly believe that his tears were tears of remorse.”

Dies said he was “satisfied” — not happy — with the plea and that he would work on a victim impact statement to read during next month’s sentencing.

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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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Brings Home 7 Medals

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Figueroa Mountain
Charlie Papzian, center, presents World Beer Cup medals to the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. team, from left, brewmaster AJ Stoll, brewer Luke Barrett, cellarman Juan Zepeda and president/CEO Jaime Dietenhofer. (Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. photo)

It has been a good week for Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

The three-year-old brewery brought home two medals from the 2014 World Beer Cup and five from the 2014 New York International Beer Competition.

Last Friday, Jaime Dietenhofer, CEO of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., accepted two medals at the World Beer Cup awards ceremony, a terrific ending to a week-long Craft Beer Conference in Denver, Colo.

Along with Brewmaster AJ Stoll, brewer Luke Barrett and cellarman Juan Zepeda, Dietenhofer celebrated the awards: a Silver medal for Davy Brown Ale and a Bronze for their Danish Red Lager.

“We are so proud of our production team,” the overjoyed Dietenhofer said. “Bringing home multiple medals among thousands of entries from established breweries is further acknowledgement of all of their hard work and talent.”

Dietenhofer is referring to the near-5,000 beer entries in the World Beer Cup from 62 countries. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and Firestone Brewery were the only two breweries from California’s Central Coast to bring home medals.

During the same weekend, the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. team found out they had won five medals at the New York International Beer Competition held Feb. 9 in New York City. The competition awarded Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. three silver medals for its Hurricane Deck Double IPA, Hoppy Poppy IPA and Wrangler Wheat. They were also awarded two bronze medals for Davy Brown Ale and Stagecoach Stout.

Click here for more information about the winning beers or about Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

— Kady Fleckenstein is the brand director for Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

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Residents’ Arrangements the Centerpiece of Valle Verde Flower Show

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Valle flower
Residents' arrangements will be on display this Friday for Valle Verde's biannual flower show. (Valle Verde photo)

The flowers are in full bloom, the weather is a perfect 75 degrees and sunny, and a group of area seniors are sharing the beauty of springtime with their friends, family and neighbors.

This Friday, April 18, Valle Verde is hosting its biannual flower show, and more than a dozen residents are expected to participate in the special event.

Each resident and staff at the senior living community is invited to make their own floral arrangements with their favorite plants and flowers.

The arrangements will be as unique as each individual person, and will be on display during the Easter weekend for everyone to enjoy.

 — Dani Row is a publicist representing Valle Verde.

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Lunar Eclipse Causes Spectacular ‘Blood Moon’

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Coastal fog obscures some areas, but others get good view of celestial event

Tuesday's "blood moon" with Mars visible in the upper right. (Anthony Galván III photo)

A lot of eyes were turned skyway late Monday night to catch a glimpse of a celestial phenomenon known as a “blood moon.”

Although coastal fog and haze obscured the viewing in some areas, other skywatchers were treated to a spectacular view of the moon that was pretty much as advertised — a deep copper-colored orb.

The blood moon occurs during a full lunar eclipse, when the Earth’s shadow covers the moon.

The Earth's shadow began moving across the face of the moon late Monday night, with the full effect seen shortly after midnight.

A total lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon when the Earth is aligned almost exactly in the middle of the sun and moon.

The reddish appearance is the result of clouds and dust being filtered through Earth’s atmosphere.

Tuesday’s blood moon was the first of four total eclipses that will occur at roughly six-month intervals over the next 18 months.

The next blood moon will appear Oct. 8, followed by April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

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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Laguna Blanca Spells Entertainment with ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’

By | Published on 04/15/2014

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Laguna Blanca School’s Theater Department is proud to present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a wild musical romp through the hearts and minds of pubescent wonders as they conquer the big bad bee!

As the empathetic, yet polished, Judge Ms. Peretti and her younger familiar counterpart, Olive, muse on the importance of spelling in their lives, the angered but enraptured Vice Principal Panch and multi-talented Marcy Park question its effect on theirs.



Featuring the adolescent transitions of Chip Tolentino, last year’s spelling champ, young social activist Logainne Schwarzandgrubeniere and socially resistant William Barfee, with the addition of the eccentric and far out Leaf Coneybear, the story centers on the rollercoaster of emotions in competition, friendships born, and confidences gained while growing up in the bee.

Using  improv, audience participation and a cast of Laguna’s finest, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will bust your gut with laughter and break your hearts with song. Don’t make us spell it out for you, it will be a hilariously entertaining experience!

Cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Chip Tolentino — junior Connor Curran
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere — freshmen Holly Tobias and understudy Charlotte Thomas
Leaf Coneybear — sophomore Bea Tolan
William Barfeé — freshman Travis Smillie
Marcy Park — sophomore Maddie Sokolove
Olive Ostrovsky — sophomore Valeria Rodriguez
Rona Lisa Peretti — senior Allison Towbes
Vice Principal Douglas Panch — sophomores Pierce O’Donnell and understudy Chandler Aubrey
Mitch Mahoney — sophomore John Puzder
Schwartzy’s mothers — freshmen Joan Curran and Charlotte Thomas
Leaf’s mom — senior Demari Bral ’14
Plus teachers, students and audience volunteers galore!

Directed by Laguna Blanca’s Kate Bergstrom and assistant director Margaret Lazarovits. Musical direction by Ben Saunders, costume design by Rose Ary, poster design by Delphine Anaya and set assistance by Chris Johnson.

This performance will take place at 7 p.m. April 23-26 in Spaulding Auditorium and is open to the public. Preview night is April 23 and is donation only. Tickets are $5 for students and children, and $10 for adults on April 24-26. Please call 805.687.2461 x217 for tickets and further information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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County Supervisors Get Glimpse of Financial Outlook for ADMHS, Public Health

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors received updates on the budgets of each county department last week, including those of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Department, as well as Public Health.

The county's ADMHS Department has undergone some mayor changes, which will be discussed in depth at the board's April 22 meeting.

In the meantime, the supervisors got a glimpse at the departments' financial picture and the $92 million operating budget that employs 338 full-time positions.

Interim Director Dr. Takashi Wada said the department "is now at a stage where we're able to propose a major redesign."

It's an opportune time for the changes because an influx of new funding is imminent — the Affordable Care Act is expanding the number of patients with Medi-Cal funding, and was recently awarded several large grants to expand prevention and crisis services.

In general, ADMHS receives less general fund money than counties across the state, Wada pointed out, which was highlighted in an audit commissioned by an outside company.

Wada said the department is hoping to reduce the length of stay for acute patents as well as readmissions, starting more treatment beds housed at Marian Medical Center and starting the programs commissioned by the grant monies.

Reducing the wait in emergency rooms for patients in need of a mental health bed from 22 hours to nine hours is also a goal, he said.

Jan Winter spoke on behalf of NAMI and the Mental Wellness Center, saying that the changes "will definitely keep our family members out of the hospital more effectively and more humanely."

However, she added that she hoped the county would add more general fund monies to the department's budget.

Wada also briefed the supervisors on the Public Health Department's budget. No service level reductions were suggested for the upcoming year for that department's $75 million operating budget that payrolls 474 full-time employees.

The department did experience a $7.3 million loss in state realignment funding, and staff have been working to mitigate the biggest impacts of that loss , Wada said.

The department's financial status is better than expected, but questions still remain as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

Wada said that keeping newly enrolled patients in the system will be key, and if numbers keep growing, the department may have explore expanding to more space and adding more providers to treat patients.

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

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Santa Barbara Education Foundation Bestows 2014 Hope Awards

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Annual gala features keynote speaker Rob Reich of Stanford University, and recognizes honorees Annette Cordero and Jon Clark

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation honored Annette Cordero and Jon Clark on Saturday night at the 2014 Hope Awards gala.

SBEF welcomed keynote speaker Rob Reich from Stanford University, who spoke eloquently about the role of philanthropy in public education.

The event at the Carrillo Recreation Center Ballroom in Santa Barbara began with cocktails and a silent auction, with starting bids ranging from $10 to $480. Items included tutoring sessions, one-night hotel stays, theater tickets and jewelry.

Overall, the event moved along flawlessly. From 6 to 7 p.m., attendees sipped cocktails and mingled as the silent auction took place.

Students from San Marcos High School assisted with the event, passing out appetizers, clearing plates and serving food.

Shortly after 7 p.m., Dave Cash, master of ceremonies and superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, welcomed everyone, and invited 2014 Teen Star Mary-Grace Langhorne up on stage to sing a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.”

The seventh-grader’s deep and soulful voice quickly captured everyone’s attention.

Then Alex Sheldon, principal of SBEF’s Summer Achievement Program, spoke about the benefits of summer school.

Student Ricardo Leão spoke about his summer school experience, during which the aspiring doctor was asked to point out the parts on a human brain.

Jeffry Walker, executive director of the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN), lectured on the importance of art in education, and showed a brief video that demonstrated the interaction between a student and an iCAN teacher.

Cash supported that notion, saying, “Art is just as important as physics.”

Attendees were then encouraged to indulge in the buffet-style dinner before enjoying the rest of the program.

SBEF President Craig Price welcomed everyone once again and introduced keynote speaker Reich.

His speech was thought-provoking and clearly well researched; however, he admittedly was an odd choice for the privately run education foundation.

Reich argued that private donations exacerbate inequality among California’s public school because affluent school districts are better fundraisers than less affluent school districts.

“Wealthy towns raise more money for their public schools than do poor towns,” he said.

Many attendees seemed puzzled by the speech, considering the nature of the affair, but Reich quickly turned the speech around. 

“You can imagine my surprise when I was invited by a school foundation, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, to give a talk at its annual award ceremony,” he joked. “Your organizers were aware of [my views] when they invited me.”

Reich went on to show his admiration for SBEF’s work, especially when compared to similar school foundations.

SBEF is “already engaged in equity enhancing work,” he said. “[SBEF] directs some of its money to the most disadvantaged students [and] ... works as a political mobilizer.”

The event wrapped up with the awards.

Cordero, a former board member for the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees and an SBCC faculty member, graciously accepted the award, thanking her family and co-workers.

Clark, president of the James S. Bower Foundation, thanked the Bower Foundation team and SBEF, and introduced new ideas to better the future of education in Santa Barbara. 

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

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Santa Barbara Public Market Opens for Business

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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

After the official opening Monday, the Santa Barbara Public Market was bustling with curious passersby looking for a place to grab lunch or pick up some specialty food items.

The market at 38 W. Victoria St. is part of the mixed-use Alma del Pueblo development. The pricey condo units are still being finished, though developer Marge Cafarelli said the second- and third-floor units will be ready for move-in this month.

With a mini-supermarket, bar-seating restaurants and a dozen food shop counters, the market will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., though the times of individual vendors will vary. It focuses on handmade, sustainably-made food, beer and wine.

The 19,400-square-foot space is home to the Belcampo Meat Co., Crazy Good Bread Co., Culture Counter Co., the Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Enjoy Cupcakes, Foragers Pantry, Flagstone Pantry, Green Star Coffee, il Fustino oils and vinegars, JuiceWell, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, The Kitchen (for events and classes), The Pasta Shoppe, Wine + Beer and Santa Monica Seafood.

Many of the vendors don’t have storefronts elsewhere, so the market is their opportunity for one-to-one interaction with customers.

The developers haven’t given details about how many of the 37 residential units have sold, or to whom, but there are several still for sale. One-bedroom units start at $875,000 and there are only two 2-bedroom units, which cost $2.5 and $2.6 million, according to Maureen Futtner, a representative for Alma del Pueblo. 

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

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Santa Barbara Council to Consider Raising Water Rates During Drought

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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The Santa Barbara City Council will consider raising water rates to compensate for higher capital costs and water purchases during the drought.

If the council supports the new drought rate structure — with increases for every city water customer — it will go into effect for June's water usage.

The city has been pushing for voluntary conservation of 20 percent since January but will probably declare a stage two drought with mandatory restrictions in May.

Late-winter and spring rains weren’t enough to change the water supply outlook, according to water resources director Joshua Haggmark.

There has been a 15 percent drop in usage from when the drought was declared, he told the Water Commission on Monday afternoon. January was “off the charts water usage,” so it was critical to have people change their habits, he said.

About half of the city’s water demand comes from single-family homes, and the conservation focus is on outdoor irrigation, according to water supply analyst Kelley Dyer.

Drought rates would have the biggest impact to big water users, since top-tier usage prices would double. The lowest use, Tier 1, would increase 3 percent for residential customers. Commercial and irrigation customers would have a monthly water budget and get penalized with high rates if they go over the allotted amount.

Water commissioners recommended that the council send drought rate notices to customers and hold a June 10 public hearing.

Commission chairman Russell Ruiz said he was disappointed that the city isn’t talking about raising irrigation water rates for people using recycled water. Those customers would be getting the same potable water as everyone else for a year during the recycled water plant replacement, but they would be paying at a lower rate while everyone else tries to cut back on usage, he said.

It is the third consecutive drought year, and Santa Barbara will be relying on water purchases and higher groundwater well production next year and beyond, since the city expects no State Water Project water coming in.

The desalination facility will be critical for the sixth year if it stays this dry, Haggmark said. The City Council is expected to pick a firm for preliminary design services soon and be able to consider a bid for construction and operation in April 2015. On that timeline, it would be operational in mid-2016 at the earliest.

The proposed water rates don’t include capital costs to get the desalination plant back online, which is estimated to cost $20 million.

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

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Sen. Jackson to Judge UCSB Grad Slam Finals; Public Invited to Talk Competition

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson will be among the judges for the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division’s Grad Slam Finals on Friday afternoon at Corwin Pavilion, it was confirmed Monday. The public is invited to attend.

The Grad Slam is part of the second annual Graduate Student Showcase, a two-week series of events that celebrates UC Santa Barbara’s exceptional graduate students. The events range from performances, presentations and poster sessions to tours, exhibitions and open houses — all of which highlight the work of the university’s graduate students.

The showcase’s signature event is the national award-winning Grad Slam, a campus-wide competition for the best three-minute talk about research or other big ideas by a graduate student.

With the advent of TedX, the three-minute talk is rapidly catching on as an ideal format for the communication of graduate research to a general audience. Longer than an elevator talk but shorter than a conference presentation, in three minutes students must encapsulate the central points of their research and convey them in a clear, direct and interesting manner.

Students gain experience constructing a tight professional presentation and delivering it with confidence. They also have the opportunity to practice sharing their ideas with a wider audience, an important professional skill for communicating with employers, granting agencies, investors, CEOs, reporters, policymakers and others.

In its inaugural year last year, the UCSB Grad Slam was honored with the 2013 Western Association of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education. This year, UC San Diego adopted UCSB’s idea, initiating its own Grad Slam competition.

UCSB Grand Slam
Grad Slam Round 6 competitors share a laugh while answering questions from the audience as the judges deliberated. (Patricia Marroquin photo)

Nearly 70 grad students competed in 10 preliminary Grad Slam rounds held last week at UC Santa Barbara. The student presenters came from nearly 40 disciplines across the campus, ranging from Music to Materials; Physics to Film and Media Studies; Communication to Computer Science; and Sociology to Spanish and Portuguese. The talks were entertaining, informative, enlightening, and impressive. Some of the more amusing titles: "Let Them Eat Ketchup" (History); "Kidney Punch" (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology); "How Pizza Explains Yoga" (Religious Studies); "I Have the Foggiest Idea" (Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology); and "What Makes Grumpy Cat More Popular Than the Higgs Boson?" (Dynamical Neuroscience).

After two semifinal rounds this week, 10 students will advance to the finals on Friday.

“The Grad Slam final round is the cream of the crop,” UCSB Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti said, “a window into the groundbreaking research of our very best students, presented in a fun, accessible and exciting way.”

The Grad Slam grand prize winner will receive a $2,500 research award, and two runners-up will each receive $1,000.

In addition to Sen. Jackson, who represents state Senate District 19 (Santa Barbara County and a portion of Ventura County), other judges for the finals will be Denise Stephens, university librarian; Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research; Sarah Cline, professor emerita of history; John Wiemann, professor emeritus of communication; and Gene Lucas, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and former executive vice chancellor.

The public is invited to attend both the two semifinal Grad Slam rounds and the Grad Slam finals. The semifinals will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 in the Student Resource Building Multipurpose Room and from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, April 16 in Engineering Science Building 1001.

The Grad Slam finals will be held on Friday, April 18 in Corwin Pavilion, and will be followed by the Graduate Student Showcase Reception in Friendship Court outside the pavilion.

A complete schedule of events is posted on the Graduate Post’s Graduate Student Showcase page. Read recaps of the preliminary rounds on the GradPost. For more information, contact Robert Hamm, coordinator of graduate student professional development, at 805.893.2671 or robert.hamm@graddiv.ucsb.edu.

— Patricia Marroquin is the communications director for the UCSB Graduate Division and writes for The Graduate Post.

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Race Against Extinction: Cheetah Conservation Fund Founder to Speak in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and widely considered the world’s leading expert on the cheetah, will be in Santa Barbara on Saturday, May 3 to discuss efforts to help the cheetah win its race against extinction.

Dr. Laurie Marker
Dr. Laurie Marker is the founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

The fundraising event will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the gardens of the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St. in Santa Barbara. Established in 1892, the Santa Barbara Club is one of the oldest private clubs in the country. Those who attend will hear a presentation by Marker about CCF current efforts and future plans to save cheetahs from extinction as well as meet a live Cheetah “ambassador” named Tango.

Marker is the author of a new book, A Future for Cheetahs, with photos by wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas. It includes rare images of cheetahs in the wild. Marker has conducted research on cheetahs since 1974. In 1990, Marker left her position with the Smithsonian and moved to Namibia to found the CCF so that she could work directly with cheetahs in the wild and the communities on whose land the cheetahs share.

The cheetah is Africa’s oldest big cat and also its most endangered. Ninety percent of the population of cheetahs has been decimated in the last 100 years. CCF has built a world renowned International Research and Conservation Centre that is comprised of 100,000 acres, a vet clinic, genetics lab, model farm with goats, sheep and cows, livestock guarding dogs, and approximately 42 orphaned or injured cheetahs.

“Saving the cheetah requires that we address everything that’s needed to sustain the cheetah as a species in the wild," Marker says. "That means caring about farmers who view cheetahs a threat to their livelihoods. That means proper management of livestock and being concerned with the health of prey species populations and with habitat loss caused by climate change and aggravated by poor farming techniques. Saving the cheetah is really about making a world that people and wildlife can live in together.”

Marker pioneered the use of livestock guarding dogs in Africa, breeding and training Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to protect local herds so that farmers are not threatened by cheetahs on their land. The CCF has placed nearly 500 dogs since 1994, with about 150 dogs in service at any given time, and placing over 40 dogs last year alone. Farmers who use a CCF dog to guard their livestock report a drop in livestock loss of 80 to 100 percent, and these farmers now are far less likely to kill or trap cheetah on their lands.

Organizing the Santa Barbara event is Kristin Larson, an environmental lawyer with the Santa Barbara law firm Paladin Law Group.

“There are so many great organizations that focus on saving specific types of animals. CCF has developed ways to enhance the entire socio-economic system, which has resulted in fewer conflicts between humans and cheetahs,” said Larson, who has been involved in CCF for many years.

With the help of Africa Inside (an organization specializing in African conservation), the event will feature students from Adelante Charter School in Santa Barbara who will help educate guests on key aspects of cheetah biology, their ecosystem, and their conservation.

“It's pure serendipity that Adelante's school mascot is … you guessed it, a cheetah!” Marker said.

Tickets for the afternoon gathering, which includes hord d’oeuvres, are $125 per adult and $45 per child. All proceeds go to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

— Diane Zakian Rumbaugh is a publicist representing the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

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Michael Barone: Dems Play Politics with Bogus 77-Cent Gender Differential in Pay

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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An economist serving on a second-term president's Council of Economic Advisers might expect to weigh in on fundamental issues, restructuring the tax system or making entitlement programs sustainable over the long term. President Barack Obama once talked of addressing such issues, and Republican leaders such as House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp are doing so.

But that's not what University of Michigan economist and CEA member Betsey Stevenson finds herself doing. Instead, she is defending the use of misleading statistics in support of legislation addressing a minor problem.

The legislation is Obama's latest pay equity measure, which failed to pass in the Senate last week. The misleading statistic is 77 cents, cited repeatedly by Obama as the amount women earn for every dollar earned by men.

When challenged on this by MSNBC's Irin Carmon, Stevenson admitted that the 77 cents figure is misleading. "If I said that 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke," she admitted.

"There are a lot of things that go into that 77 cents figure," she went on. "There are a lot of things that contribute, and no one's trying to say that it's all about discrimination, but I don't think there's a better figure."

Of course some people are trying to say that "it's all about discrimination" — starting with Stevenson's boss, President Obama, and including the political ad-makers preparing to cut 30-second spots accusing Republicans of a "war on women."

So Stevenson is fibbing about that. And when she says, "there are a lot of things that contribute" to male-female earnings disparities, she is indicating that she understands the weakness of using the 77 cents number.

This isn't controversial stuff. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Christina Hoff Sommers writes in The Daily Beast, the 77 cents "does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week."

Those factors are acknowledged in a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report cited by AEI scholars Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs in The Wall Street Journal. It shows that (a) men tend to work longer hours than women, (b) men tend to take riskier jobs with premium pay and (c) female college graduates tend to specialize in lower-paid fields than male college graduates.

As a result, the BLS concludes, women who worked 40-hour weeks earned 88 percent of what similar men did. Single women who never married earned 96 percent of men's earnings.
Stevenson concedes that not all the differential comes from discrimination or sexism. "Some of women's choices come because they are disproportionately balancing the needs of work and family," she told MSNBC.

By "disproportionately," she presumably means that more women than men choose to stay home to care for children. "Which of these choices should we consider legitimate choices," she asks, "and which of them should we consider things that we have a societal obligation to try to mitigate?"

This raises the specter of government bureaucrats intervening in marital decision-making, pushing more husbands to stay home with the kids. Even the Obama administration stops short of that.

The Democrats' problem is that sex discrimination by employers was outlawed by the Equal Pay Act signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 — 51 years ago. To make "the war on women" an issue and rally single women to the polls, the Obama Democrats have had to concoct new legislation putting new burdens on small employers and ginning up business, as the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act's extended statute of limitations did, for their trial lawyer contributors.

Such legislation attacks a problem very largely solved. The male-female pay differential for those working at similar levels has been reduced nearly, but not quite, to the vanishing point. Remaining differences result almost entirely from personal choices by women and men.

Those choices shifted sharply 40 years ago but haven't changed much lately. The percentage of mothers seeing full-time work as an ideal, the Pew Research Center reports, was 30 percent in 1997 and 32 percent in 2012.

By any realistic standard, the equal pay problem is minor, certainly in comparison to the growth-stifling effects of the current tax code and the unsustainable trajectory of current entitlement programs.

But this president, unlike his two predecessors, has chosen not to address such major problems in his second term. And so Stevenson has to defend the indefensible 77 cents statistic.

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

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Westmont Men’s Polo Team Repeats as National Champions

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Westmont College has come out first again in the 2014 United States Polo Association’s National Intercollegiate Championships.

The Westmont men’s polo team (Patrick Uretz, David Samaniego, Tony Uretz and Jake Bergman) has won this impressive national title for the second year in a row.

There are four USPA intercollegiate regions in the country, 23 men's teams and 34 women's teams. Last month in San Luis Obispo, the Westmont men won their Western Region against Stanford 22-3 in the regional finals, qualifying them for nationals as the No. 1 seed.

Just a few days ago at the 2014 USPA National Intercollegiate Championships just out side of Houston, Texas, at ERG Arena, the Westmont men played the first game in the semifinals against Cornell, winning by one point and going on to the national championship finals against the formidable University of Virginia. The Westmont team was ahead the entire game, even though the UVA team kept the score very close. The Warriors eventually won 16-14 in a very-hard fought and exciting game.

The boys found the competition tougher than anticipated. Their sheer determination, excellent riding skills and great teamwork made all the difference in the end. Coach John Westley was extremely proud of his team knowing that going into a tournament to defend a title can be much more difficult than going in seeded fifth. Coach Westley felt more prepared with their game strategies that they had worked on all season and was confident that his boys could change the game up to get the end result they needed. Coach Westley was also confident in fourth player Bergman, as a strong option had one of the starting players gotten injured.

Uretz, the team captain, was awarded the tournament “All-Star Team” award, and Samaniego received the tournament “Sportsmanship” award.

In 2012, Westmont made it to the championship finals game against UVA and lost by a very narrow margin. Last year in the 2013 national championships, the Westmont men were seeded last out of five teams (even though the Westmont team had qualified to play at nationals an impressive seven times in 10 years and had gotten into the finals two of those eight times.)

The Westmont men beat Southern Methodist University the first day, getting into the semifinals and defeating the mighty UVA by two goals, and then beating Colorado State University by three goals in an intense championship finals.

The 2013 national win by the Westmont men was the first time since 1989 that a college team in the Western Region (UC Davis) had won this national trophy.

— John Westley coaches the Westmont men's polo team.

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Wine Cask, UCSB Partner for Dinner and Lecture on Sustainable Seafood

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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This spring, UCSB’s Culture & Nature Series continues at the Wine Cask this Thursday, April 17, with a dinner and lecture exploring sustainable seafood in Santa Barbara.

nature dinner
Wine Cask offers a bounty of locally sourced seafood on its menu year-round, like this crispy skin-on salmon with smoky lentils and asparagus. (Wine Cask photo)

The event will coincide with Earth Day. With a bounty of local seafood available in the Santa Barbara region, how can we take advantage of the many offerings while ensuring we make sustainable choices? UCSB professor Peter Alagona will shed light on the sustainability of seafood while guests embark on a one-of-a-kind, five-course seafood dinner, almost completely from local, renewable sources.

The five-course menu is a feast of seafood, carefully crafted by Chef Brandon Hughes with sustainability in mind. The first course is a seafood trio of Channel Islands Sea Urchin with soba noodles and citrus salad, smoked Hope Ranch black mussels with baby broccoli, crispy shallots, cheddar fondue, and house-cured British Columbia farm-raised salmon gravlax with herb-crusted bagel, cream cheese, pickled onion and watercress. For the second course, guests will dine on California spiny lobster bisque with herb crème fraîche.

The feast will continue with the third course, a Santa Barbara spot prawn salad with mint and cherry tomato quinoa, butter lettuce, fresh herbs and Meyer lemon vinaigrette. For the fourth course, chef is presenting a local halibut "en croute" with wild mushrooms, fava beans and ramp hash. The night will end on a sweet note with dessert prepared by Wine Cask Pastry Chef Rosie Moot, who will whip up a lemon sorbet with shortbread cookie.

To top off the indulgent culinary experience, dinner will be perfectly paired with award-winning selections of wine, courtesy of Margerum Wine Co. Wine pairings will include the Riviera Rosé, Klickitat Pinot Gris, Margerum D Sauvignon Blanc, Alamo Creek Vineyard Grenache and the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

In addition to the phenomenal dinner, guests will learn about sustainable seafood in Santa Barbara from Alagona, from the departments of History and Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author of After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California and an expert on land use, natural resource management and environmental politics in California and the North American West.

Alagona’s lecture, “Go Fish: The Sustainability Edition,” will explore the relationship between our local seafood and the history of the world’s oceans by telling three fascinating stories of human relations with marine creatures, all of which will be on the menu for this wonderful meal. Guests also can look forward to an original surprise performance! As previous dinner series guests can attest to, these pop-up performances have given the UCSB Culture & Nature Series a well-deserved reputation for being entertaining as well as informative and enlightening. This sustainable seafood dinner event on Thursday is the final event of the series this year.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $95 per person, all-inclusive. For reservations, please call Wine Cask at 805.966.9463 or email manager@winecask.com.

UCSB’s Culture & Nature features events designed to highlight the interrelation between nature and the environment and religion, art, literature and other fields within the humanities and arts.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Wine Cask.

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Jeff Moehlis: The Pet Shop Boys Head West

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Concert brings marvelous music and a stellar stage production to the Majestic Ventura Theater

One thing was clear about the Pet Shop Boys concert last Friday at the Majestic Ventura Theater — the creative director/set designer Es Devlin deserves a raise. The visuals, lasers, costumes, flashing lights, backdrops and dancing minotaurs were truly outstanding.

Yep, you read that right — dancing minotaurs, with shaggy mullets no less. Maybe they can return to the area for our next Summer Solstice parade — they would fit right in.

But let's not forget the music. The Pet Shop Boys — singer Neil Tennant and synth master Chris Lowe — have been cranking out infectious dance-pop for decades now, since before today's EDM-loving kids were even born.

There were lots of well-known early Pet Shop Boys songs on the program, with corresponding cool stage elements, including "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" (for which Tennant and Lowe had on what the fashion world calls "wearable sculptures"), "Suburbia" and their breakthrough hit "West End Girls" (both with dancing minotaurs), "It's a Sin" (with a brilliant laser light show), "Always On My Mind" (which ended with graffiti raining on the audience) and "Go West" (for which the dancers were on stilts, including on their arms).

Lesser-known songs were also great fun, and had their own unique and wonderful stage enhancements: for "Leaving," Tennant and Lowe wore (functional) disco ball headwear; for "Love Etc." they were positioned so that images of writhing bodies on a bed appeared to be their own; and for "Domino Dancing," there were dancers with rectangular gold or silver "fur." There were also several songs from their newest album, 2013's fittingly-named Electric, that hold up nicely with the rest of their catalog.

The Pet Shop Boys tell people to "Go West," and it's our good fortune that they took their own advice, playing at Coachella and piggybacking the Ventura show, a show full of amazing music and stage production, onto their trip.

And why wouldn't you? "Life is peaceful there," "the skies are blue" and there's even "sun in wintertime."

Setlist

Axis
One More Chance / A Face Like That
Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)
Love Is a Bourgeois Construct
Fugitive
Integral
I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing
Suburbia
I'm Not Scared
Fluorescent
West End Girls
Somewhere
Leaving
Thursday
Love Etc.
I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too)
Rent
Miracles
It's a Sin
Domino Dancing
Always on My Mind

Encore

Go West
Vocal

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

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New Beginnings Counseling Center Selected as Featured Charity for Bimmerfest

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Bimmerfest 2014 has once again selected Santa Barbara-based New Beginnings Counseling Center as its featured charity for the 15th annual Bimmerfest “Opportunity Drawing.”

Bimmerfest 2014, sponsored by ESS Tuning, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 17 at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive in Pasadena.

“We are excited to welcome New Beginnings Counseling Center as Bimmerfest 2014’s ‘Opportunity Drawing’ recipient,” said Jon Shafer, founder and owner of Bimmerfest. “By helping struggling families regain their footing, New Beginnings Counseling Center epitomizes our goal for the drawing to give back to the community.”

Bimmerfest, a community of BMW enthusiasts, hosts the largest BMW car show in North America. Founded and owned by Shafer, Bimmerfest awards an “Opportunity Drawing” to a selected charity each year. This is the second year Bimmerfest has chosen to recognize New Beginnings Counseling Center. Last year, Bimmerfest raised $5,300 for New Beginnings Counseling Center.

“We are thrilled to be selected by Bimmerfest for the second year in a row,” said Kristine Schwarz, executive director of New Beginnings Counseling Center. “It is gratifying to see BMW enthusiasts share their enthusiasm for our mission — to advance transformation in the lives of individuals and families by providing mental health and supportive services so that we may all lead healthy, independent lives.”

New Beginnings Counseling Center will run the “Opportunity Drawing” table at Bimmerfest 2014, selling tickets for the charity raffle. Bimmerfest guests will have the opportunity to win prizes donated by event sponsors. Raffle tickets will be sold for $5, and all proceeds will benefit New Beginnings Counseling Center.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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Registration Begins April 28 for Summer Credit Classes at Allan Hancock College

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Allan Hancock College is offering 306 summer credit classes at its Santa Maria campus and Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg AFB centers. Classes are either six or eight weeks in length.

Priority registration for summer classes begins April 28; open registration continues May 3 through as late as June 25, depending on the class. All summer classes begin June 16.

The summer class schedule is online at www.hancockcollege.edu; click the Class Search link on the home page. Class Search provides real-time information available 24/7. You can search by term, subject, time of day, location or credits, among other options.

All students register online via myHancock. Click the Student tab, then Register/Add/Drop/Search Classes. For more details, read Application & Registration Information on the Apply & Register home page.

Free print copies of the summer 2014 Schedule at a Glance will be available April 25 at all college locations and local public libraries in the Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys and the Five Cities area, while supplies last. The schedule contains a basic listing of credit and Community Education classes at the time of publication. However, all students should use the online class search for real-time information and details.

New students and those without a user name and password must first apply for admission to the college, which is also completed online. Click the appropriate credit or Community Education admissions application link from the Apply & Register home page.

All California residents pay a $46 per credit enrollment fee. In addition, all students pay a $16 health fee for the summer term. Students attending classes at the Santa Maria campus also pay up to $10 a year for the Student Center fee.

Some fees for qualified low-income students may be waived. In addition, there are many financial aid programs to help students meet college costs. Call the financial aid office at 805.922.6966 x3200 for details or go online to www.hancockcollege.edu and click Financial Aid in the Student Services drop-down box.

Online registration for Community Education (noncredit) classes begins May 3. Community Education students may also apply and register in person, by mail or by fax. For more information, call 805.922.6966 x3209.

For credit class registration information, call Admissions & Records at 805.922.6966 x3248. The toll-free number in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties is 866.DIAL.AHC (342.5242), followed by the four-digit extension.

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Chumash Tribal Elder Reginald Pagaling Approved to Serve on Native American Heritage Commission

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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The California State Senate Rules Committee recently confirmed the nomination of Reginald “Reggie” Pagaling, a Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians tribal elder, to the state’s Native American Heritage Commission.

Reggie Pagaling
Reggie Pagaling

On a vote of 31-0, Pagaling was approved on April 1 to serve as a commissioner on the Native American Heritage Commission.

“The honor and privilege to serve on the Native American Heritage Commission is both humbling and exciting,” Pagaling said. “These are exciting and challenging times, and I’m proud to represent the Chumash tribe as we stride into the future. I look forward to being a contributing member and seeking the wisdom of existing commissioners to succeed at this endeavor.”

Pagaling, 60, is a member of the Chumash Maritime Association and has devoted much of his time to restoring the tribe’s ancient maritime culture. Pagaling has been instrumental in the building of several tomols (traditional Chumash plank canoes) and has co-organized the annual tomol crossing of the Santa Barbara Channel since its inception in 2001.

Pagaling also serves on the Santa Barbara County Local Community Benefit Committee and was elected chairman of the committee in 2010.

The nine-member Native American Heritage Commission was established in 1976 to preserve and protect tribal burial grounds from vandalism and destruction. Commissioners work closely with the public, developers, local and federal agencies, educational institutions and California Native Americans to provide advice and assistance toward the protection and preservation of Native American cultural resources.

“Reggie Pagaling is an excellent choice to serve on the Native American Heritage Commission,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “He is extremely interested in our tribe’s cultural preservation efforts and has played an integral part in helping restore the Chumash culture.”

The Santa Ynez Reservation is located in Santa Barbara County and was established and officially recognized by the federal government on Dec. 27, 1901.

Click here for more information on the tribe.

— Hildy Medina is a public relations manager for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 83) — ‘Drifting’ Mediation Clients

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Dear Nick and Dear Nora:

Herding cattle; drifting longhorns.

Cowboys herd or drive ordinary cattle; I’ve read, however, that longhorns are drifted from one place to another. Mediation clients won’t be herded or driven. It is often possible, however, to drift them from where they are to where they have told me they want to be.

In the last three letters I’ve described how I’ve worked to drift Paul away from his belief that he’s bound by his immediate thoughts and feelings — and toward the idea he has some control over both. Once there, I asked him to consider the possibility that he might be able to make at least a few deliberate decisions about his behavior toward Rose.

I don’t know who drifted whom, but in the last letter I reported the story Paul told me about his friend, Laura, and his parents. They were able to reframe an incident in which Rose used her histrionics to hurt Laura personally and in a way that could damage her hard-earned professional standing.

Laura, instead accepting the part of the innocent victim, deliberately characterized the incident as one where Rose helped her see that she can injure without intent, and that her near-divine power as a physician can be taken from her in an instant. Laura values humility but she hasn’t had many opportunities to feel humble, so she decided Rose had given her an experience she needed and will never forget. While she’s still feeling Rose’s sting, she’s confident she’ll soon be grateful to Rose for the lesson and for the efficient and effective way it was taught.

Paul understands the story is about the power to first seek or create an attitude that can help accomplish a goal and then find a way to discipline oneself into assuming that attitude. By telling me the tale, Paul has created his own psychological template better than any I could have given him. I believe he now has enough confidence in his ability to deal with Rose that he’ll be able to give me some time and room to work with her.

                                                                         •        •

Impasses of Divorce, published in 1988, is one of the few classics in the field. Janet Johnston and Linda Campbell worked with a small sample of 80 very “difficult” divorcing families. They postulated that the causes of impasse fall into three major categories; they divided each into subcategories that served as tentative “diagnoses.” For each diagnosis they suggest one or more interventions.

At the first diagnostic level, impasses are fueled by External Influence. Families, friends, lawyers and judges are the usual suspects. The diagnostic questions have to do with whether there are people with an active influence on the mediation who are not at the mediation table. Being absent for the real process makes it possible to:

» Consider only one version of the facts.

» Consider their own notion of the applicable law — usually what they think it should be.

» Avoid responsibility for the effects of their advice when it is followed.

When mediation is being sabotaged by an External Influence, the treatment of choice is to identify the peanut gallery and invite them to one or more sessions.

I wanted to test the hypothesis that the divorce challenged Rose’s standing in her own powerful family of origin. If so, my second hypothesis was that she and her family colluded to demonize and punish Paul as a way of avoiding the more sensitive and vital issue of Rose’s shame. The term shame is used in different ways and should always come with a definition. Here, I use it to describe a form of social control by which the subject/victim is excluded from the tribe, group or family, usually for a reason over which she has no control. In a primitive setting it means death, and we can all summon up the dread of involuntary exclusion from a group of which we want to be a part — whether we’ve had the experience or not.

Rose’s family role has been to be desirable in a feminine way. Her objectives, fully supported by her family, were to find and acquire a desirable mate, to create a stable secondary family and to produce desirable children. She had it all, but after only two months she turned into a single mother. It wasn’t what any of them had in mind.

The other members of Rose’s family of origin are happily involved in sports and the grease business. It’s a masculine culture, and it doesn’t sound like Rose — as a girl or as a woman — had a chance of being an integral part of it. She was an ancillary project. Can her family find a place for her as a single mother? Is there a place in the grease business for her? Can she learn to like football if she isn’t a cheerleader?

I decided to dive into what could be the source of a long-lasting impasse.

“Rose, I’d like to know more about you and your family. You told me you went to visit them every other weekend and your parents — especially your mother — came to Santa Barbara when you weren’t in Los Angeles with the whole family. Is that right?”

“Yes, pretty much.”

“You told me your parents and your brothers are all furious with Paul, and he’s the subject of ongoing conversation.”

“Yes. I have to hand it to Paul, his thoughtless, inconsiderate, cruel behavior is an ongoing source of new material for the conversation.”

“When you visit them, how long do you stay?”

“I might get there in the early afternoon, stay for dinner and leave for home between 7 and 8.”

“About six hours. Surely you don’t talk about Paul the whole time. How does that conversation start?”

“You have to know my family to understand. When I arrive, everyone will be watching a sporting event. My mom or my aunt might be cooking or making snacks, but otherwise they’ll all be sitting in front of my dad’s huge, gross TV screen with my brothers and their friends. If my mom’s in the kitchen, she’ll ask about how I’m doing and what has happened during the week. Then we go in with the guys. During a commercial, my dad or one of my brothers will ask what Paul has done in the last week. I tell or my mom tells. Then I tell what I did back to Paul. Sometimes they will yell and clap, and other times they’ll tell me what I should have done.”

“Does the conversation stop when the game comes back on?”

“It goes into suspension. There might be three or four commercials or station breaks when no one says anything about me. There are so many commercials and breaks in professional football, I don’t see how anyone can remember what’s going on in the game. Anyway, the subject of my divorce pops back up, again and again. At dinner I get words of wisdom from my dad and sometimes everyone else, including my brothers’ friends — both male and female. People who don’t even know me are telling me how to live my life. It would be awful if they weren’t so funny. Even when my brothers are talking about doing deliciously horrible things to Paul, they’re funny about it.”

“Is your divorce the main topic of conversation when you’re at home?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Overall, is your family’s concern and interest supportive of you?”

“Well … yeah.”

“Do you want to qualify that answer?”

“I guess. I tell them that things are a certain way and I’m a certain way. They support me by saying, ‘It’s OK, Rose; you’re OK, Rose.’ I feel they are there for me as long as my life is completely screwed up, but I don’t know if they think I’ll pull myself together or whether they think I am a big, hopeless loser.” Rose begins to cry.

I ask, “Is there a way you can continue being ‘a mess’?”

“Sure, I fight with Paul. I get him to do stupid things, which isn’t hard. Since this is all on him, I can be as crazy as I need to be to get him to screw up. If I act crazy it’s because of what he’s done to me. I’ve got him, and I think he knows it.”

“OK, say your family wants you to stay messy. How long do you think it can go on? I mean, how many more six-hour visits can there be when the story of your ongoing divorce is the main topic of conversation? Really, won’t they get bored with it at some point?”

“It will be awhile. I might get bored with it before they do, but that’s not going to be soon.”

“So the purpose of mediation for you is to punish Paul — and hopefully get him to react to what you say and do in ways that are stupid, either during or between mediation sessions. Then you can report back to your family with new material for the Great Divorce Conversation.”

“OK, that sounds bad, but after what he’s done to me, he’s very lucky I’m willing to come to this office to confront him here by myself. I don’t think he’d like to have these conversations with my dad or my brothers. So as far as I’m concerned, he better take whatever I have to dish out and be grateful it’s here and not in the streets or in a courtroom.”

“Punishment?”

“Yes! Punishment … until I’ve made him feel as bad as he’s made me feel.”

“How long will that take?”

“As long as possible.”

“Really?”

“No. He doesn’t get miserable in the same way I do. He’s always running at a low level of misery, so it doesn’t show.”

“Rose, I have two things I want you to think about between now and our next meeting.”

“OK.”

“I’m thinking of recommending — maybe insisting — that your parents attend an upcoming mediation session.”

“What?!”

“You said that Paul was lucky that your father and your brothers weren’t here. That’s probably true, but I wonder if it would be good for both of you to have your mother and father here.”

Rose is a good actor. Her facial features and body language say at once: “That’s absurd,” “The idea frightens me,” “You are a fool,” “Well, as long as it doesn’t have to be any time soon.”

“Eventually you and Paul have to figure out how to live your lives apart while raising your child. Then you’ll have to figure out your role in your family of origin — you know, your mother, father, brothers.”

“Role?”

I think this is probably a move that Rose is putting on me. I think she knows exactly what I mean by “role.”

“Yes. Everyone else is involved in the business. They don’t just have jobs. They each have a function they do better than anyone else, and they all like what they are doing. At the same time, each one seems to be recognized by the others for being particularly good at one or more sports, which gets reinforced every weekend. So when they are done with the drama of your divorce, where and how are you going to fit in?”

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t want an answer now or next week. I want you to think about bringing your parents to a mediation session, and I want you to think about what your role will be in your original family.”

“Are you going to ask me these questions in front of Paul?”

“Maybe I’ll talk about bringing your parents to a session. We won’t talk about the other stuff when he’s here.”

“This isn’t fun.”

“Maybe that’s a sign of progress.”

Your friend,
Bucky

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail info@burkefamilylaw.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Returning Home to Lobero Theatre

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, a critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra that has performed well-known classical repertoire and hosted world-class soloists since 1978, will return to its home in the Lobero Theatre after the theater underwent almost a year of renovations.

The Lobero Homecoming Celebration Concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20 at the Lobero Theatre on the corner of Anacapa and Canon Perdido streets.

Music director and conductor Heiichiro Ohyama will lead the chamber orchestra in Wolfgang Mozart’s last symphony, Symphony 41 “Jupiter” K551 in C Major, followed by Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” Opus 55.

“We are thrilled to come back to our home theater and perform downtown Santa Barbara again,” said Joe Campanelli, chair of the SBCO board. “The two charming and joyful symphonies from Mozart and Beethoven portray the celebration perfectly.”

Both symphonies feature lively first movements and intricately-wrought finales that audiences found — and continue to find — immensely satisfying. Mozart’s “Jupiter” has come to be celebrated as exemplifying the ideals of the Classical form, while Beethoven’s Eroica is lauded for pushing the boundaries of that form.

Mozart composed his final three symphonies in the summer of 1788, presumably intending them to be performed in Vienna during the subsequent concert series — though there is no evidence that these performances ever actually happened. The first score to bear the name “Jupiter” was published in 1823, 35 years after it was written. The name originated with the London concert promoter Johann Peter Salomon, who also commissioned Haydn’s 12 “London” symphonies.

As Beethoven worked on his Symphony No. 3 in 1804, he was acutely aware of the symphony’s potential significance. Impressed by the republican ideals of the French Revolution, he originally named the symphony “Buonaparte,” but when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, the disillusioned composer tore up the title page and eventually settled on calling his work “Heroic symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man” — though this “great man” was an idealization rather than a particular person. Now this “heroic” symphony is commonly known by the nickname “Eroica.”

Prior to the concert, SBCO will host a Supper Club. The Supper Club features a hot, buffet-style dinner and wine tasting starting at 5:30 p.m. on the patio behind the Lobero Theatre. It is a place to make new friends, chat with old friends and engage with other chamber orchestra music aficionados. This homecoming Supper Club will feature an Artist Spotlight and live interview with concertmaster Amy Hershberger.

To purchase tickets to the concert, call the Lobero Theatre box office at 805.963.0761 or click here. A 2-for-1 Mother’s Day promotion is available. To order tickets to the Supper Club ($40), call the SBCO office at 805.966.2441.

Click here for more information.

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

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Plaza Playhouse Theater to Celebrate 86th Anniversary with ‘Casablanca’ Screening

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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While most of Hollywood searches for the fountain youth, one aging movie queen is planning a big party to celebrate her 86th birthday and everyone is invited.

 

Oliver Prickett
Oliver Prickett was the original manager of Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater.

Carpinteria’s entertainment stalwart, the Plaza Playhouse Theater, will celebrate its 86th anniversary on Saturday, May 3.

A capacity crowd is expected for the celebration screening of Casablanca, the 1942 film noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

The screening will be preceded by a reception featuring appetizers from local businesses, including Crazy Good Bread Company and Desserts to Die For and signature drinks poured by award-winning Bainbridge Organic Distillers.

Casablanca and Carpinteria,” one may think. “I don’t get the connection.” Well, impress your movie buff friends with this bit of trivia — Carpinterian Oliver Prickett played a waiter at the Blue Parrot, the watering hole in Casablanca, and Prickett was the original manager of Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater.

“We are honored to being carrying on the dream of Ollie’s,” board president Melinda Bie said. “I’m confident that he would be very pleased that the theater he started is in the hands of a very dedicated Board of Directors who are committed to keeping every aspect of the theater arts alive in the Carpinteria Valley.”

Before it was known as the Plaza Playhouse Theater, it was The Alcazar and opened on April 27, 1928. Owner Henry Muller invested $500,000 to build the theater that builder Alex D’Alfonso claimed was “as strong and sturdy as the Rock of Gibraltar.”

The opening of the theater prompted telegrams of congratulations from MGM, Paramount and Christie Films among others to the first proprietor of the theater, longtime resident and actor Prickett (sometimes known as Oliver Blake) of Ma and Pa Kettle fame. (Some of those original communiqués are on display in the lobby.) Opening night at the Alcazar featured a live band and the premier showing of a comedy The Fifty-Fifty Girl. Admission was $1.10.

Admission to the theater’s 85th birthday party is $30 per person or $50 per couple and includes a reception and entertainment prior to screening. Advance purchase is encouraged and tickets may be purchased online by clicking here or by cash or check at Curious Cup Bookstore. Proceeds from the evening directly benefit the Plaza Playhouse Theater. The theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. in downtown Carpinteria. The 86th anniversary celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m., and Casablanca will screen at 7 p.m.

For more information on the screening of Casablanca or the Plaza Playhouse Theater, call 805.684.6380 or click here.

— Melinda Bie is the board president for the Plaza Playhouse Theater.

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American Airlines Raffle Winner Flies with A Different Point of View

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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A Different Point of View, a nonprofit organization known for its innovative use of flight lessons to engage underserved youth in Santa Barbara County, conducted its American Airlines raffle drawing last Friday at the Santa Barbara Airport.

Sandra Leppe, winning ticket holder of two round-trip tickets on American Airlines, is the president of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Ninety Nines.

Second-place winner of a Discovery Flight, courtesy of Above All Aviation flight school, was Julie Janney of Santa Monica.

Third-place winners of a lesson in a full motion simulator, courtesy of Above All Aviation, were Janel and Rene Smit of Goleta.

Jacob Glasson, a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a student with A Different Point of View, drew the tickets from more than 300 entries.

The nonprofit raised $5,000 toward its Aviation Career Program that provides students with intensive flight lessons, leadership and self-awareness training, and opportunities to explore aviation careers.

— Lynn Houston is the founder of A Different Point of View.

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Tam Hunt: Are We Halfway to Market Dominance for Solar?

By | Published on 04/14/2014

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Solar power is on a tear. Cumulative solar photovoltaic electricity production is about to reach 1 percent of total global electricity production, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

In just a decade, solar power has gone from being an interesting pipe dream for greenie types to a mainstream source of power, due to its increasing cost-effectiveness in many countries around the world. This is a remarkable evolution and demonstrates well why CitiGroup recently stated that the “age of renewables” is upon us.

I’m going to even further in this article, however, and argue, as I did recently with respect to electric vehicles, that this 1 percent global solar penetration is far more important than you might think.

Only 1 percent, you say? That’s tiny. Right. But that 1 percent is actually halfway to the goal of market dominance when we consider the recent growth rates of solar and the likely growth rate for solar in the future. Yes, 1 percent is halfway toward market dominance and I’ll explain why below.

Global solar PV capacity, annual and cumulative (International Energy Agency data)
Global solar PV capacity, annual and cumulative (International Energy Agency data)

Ray Kurzweil, an American inventor and entrepreneur, discovered the Law of Accelerating Returns by studying numerous technology adoption curves. The classic example concerns computing power. Moore’s Law holds that computing power will double about every two years for the same cost. Sixty years after Gordon Moore, Intel’s former CEO, made this observation, the law holds true, though we’re actually doubling now about every year. Kurzweil discovered, however, that Moore’s Law is just the latest paradigm keeping a much longer trend going, as the chart below shows.

Ray Kurzweil on the five paradigms of increasing computing power.
Ray Kurzweil on the five paradigms of increasing computing power.
 

So how can 1 percent of all global electricity sales suggest in any way that we’re on the road to a world dominated by solar? Here’s why: 1 percent is halfway between nothing and 100 percent — in terms of doublings of capacity. That is, there are seven doublings from 0.01 percent to over 1 percent and also seven doublings from 1 percent to 100 percent. One double is two, which doubled is four, etc., reaching 128 after seven doublings.

Kurzweil’s best example of the counterintuitive nature of his law is the Human Genome Project. This was a government-funded effort to decode the entire human genome in about 15 years. Well, halfway through the project the effort was only at about 1 percent completion. Many observers wrote off the effort as a failure that couldn’t possibly reach its goal. Kurzweil, however, wrote at the time that the game was won because 1 percent was halfway to 100 percent in the terms that actually mattered: the rate of improvement in sequencing technology.

And he was right. The Human Genome Project finished slightly early and helped to bring down the costs of genome sequencing technologies by orders of magnitude, as well as dramatic reductions in the time it takes for sequencing. We can now pay about $1,000 to sequence our own genome in a matter of days.

Applying the Law of Accelerating Returns to Solar

The average global growth rate for solar over the last five years has been 34 percent. NPD Solarbuzz projects 50 GW installed in 2014, for a growth rate of 27 percent, giving a six-year average of 33 percent. IEA calculates that solar PV will produce 160 terawatt hours in 2014, or 0.85 percent of global demand. Seven doublings of 0.85 percent gets us to 108 percent. So what is the doubling time at 33 percent? There’s a simple cheat formula: 72/growth rate = the rough doubling time. So 33 percent leads to a doubling rate of a little more than two years (2.2 years).

Seven doublings of 2.2 years equals 15.4 years, at which point we would reach a solar penetration of over 100 percent of current global electricity demand by 2029. (Of course, global electricity consumption is going to increase in that time, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll keep my analysis to today’s consumption.)

Will this happen? Of course not. The growth rate will surely slow, as it has already in the last couple of years. This is to be expected: new technologies often see rapid growth rates as they catch on and then the growth rate slows as higher penetrations are reached. If solar continues to grow in coming years at an average rate of “only” 15 percent, we reach about 8 percent of current global electricity demand by 2030. This is good but not great, considering the magnitude of the problems we face in terms of our fossil fuel energy use.

So are we going to see a declining rate of growth, steady growth or perhaps even an increasing rate of growth as solar becomes even more affordable in more and more countries? The IEA report highlights the fact that only about a dozen countries were responsible for the vast majority of solar PV growth in 2013. Will this revolution spread quickly to other countries or will the solar revolution catch on fire around the world? So far, it’s been a European, East Asian and North American phenomenon. Will the rest of Asia, Africa and South America catch up soon?

My hopes are certainly on solar catching fire around the world now that it has become so cheap. And, being as objective as I can, I think this is the most likely outcome, particularly with worries about major fossil fuel exporters like Russia and Saudi Arabia ever present. We can expect Europe’s transition to renewables to find renewed vigor now that Russia has shown increased aggressiveness in its backyard. While the center of gravity in PV installations in 2013 swung sharply toward Asia (China and Japan were by far the largest two markets in 2013), my feeling is that we may see it swing back toward Europe in 2015 and later as policymakers in Europe see the light on increasing their dependence on renewables as an alternative to continue dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

Time will tell what the rate of growth is in future years, but we can rest assured that solar will play an increasingly strong role in power grids around the world now that costs are so low and the stigma against solar is all but gone. It also seems fairly clear that solar power and other renewables are on a path to becoming by far the most prevalent form of power in most countries in the next few decades.

What About the United States?

We can’t forget our own backyard in this discussion. Major investment banks are finally starting to see the potential for solar in the United States, including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. The United States became the third largest installer of PV in 2013, behind only China and Japan. We installed almost five gigawatts of solar, enough to power more than 1 million homes. The United States also regained the top spot in Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index in 2013. Combined with the increasing realization that solar PV is now affordable and natural gas prices are only going up (natural gas is at about $4.50/mmbtu now, sharply up from a few years ago), we can expect to see far more solar in the United States, too. And that’s a very good thing.

As solar reaches higher penetration in various countries and grids, integration issues will become more pronounced. I’m currently living in Hawaii, on the Big Island, where solar penetration is already over 10 percent — perhaps the highest in the world. This is because electricity costs are sky-high here. High penetration of renewables can be managed in various ways but energy storage solutions are the most promising long-term solution. We are already seeing jurisdictions like California, Germany and Japan investing heavily in energy storage so it is reasonable to believe that we’ll see a declining cost curve for storage technologies similar to what we’ve seen with solar. The X factor regarding storage is when this declining cost curve will take effect — in the next few years or further out?

Summing up, under Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, we have reached, after more than 40 years of development of solar PV technologies, the halfway point to market dominance. We are likely to see the second half of this journey take less time than the first half. Cost will probably not be the hurdle as we move forward because we are already at the point of cost-effectiveness, or on the verge, for solar in comparison to alternatives. Rather, integration issues and the stranded costs of existing energy infrastructure will be the larger hurdles.

Far-sighted policymakers should recognize the potential for solar and energy storage to provide a complete power solution in the coming decades, and be very careful in approving new long-term contracts for fossil fuel power production, because ratepayers may very well be on the hook for stranded costs for these new facilities as the solar revolution continues to work its magic.

— 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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