Santa Barbara-Goleta, Saturday, November 22, 2014

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DMV Opens Second Lompoc Office to Help Issue Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

By | Published on 11/22/2014

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Under new state law, as many as 1.4 million licenses expected to be provided to previously ineligible drivers

A second Department of Motor Vehicles office is now open in Lompoc in anticipation of the start of a new law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses.

The new Lompoc site at 1601 North H St. is one of four temporary driver’s license processing centers the state opened to meet the needs of Assembly Bill 60, which takes effect Jan. 2. Signs outside this office, which opened Monday, note only driver’s license transactions can be handled there.

Lompoc’​s DMV field office remains open at 209 W. Pine Ave., and can deal with the full range of DMV services. Other field offices in Santa Barbara County are located in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.

In October 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60 into law. The bill, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, requires the DMV to issue driver’s licenses to individuals who can prove identity and California residence plus meet all other licensing requirements, such as passing the driver license knowledge test and behind-the-wheel driving exams.

In anticipation of the new flood of customers, DMV officials recently announced the extension of office hours and added appointment opportunities to support the issuance of original driver’s licenses, including those under AB 60.

“DMV is committed to providing excellent customer service to all Californians,” said Jean Shiomoto, DMV director. “Customers with appointments have much shorter wait times, and now all customers seeking new driver licenses will have extra appointment opportunities.”

The state agency anticipates processing approximately 1.4 million additional driver license applications during the first three years after implementation of AB 60.

Some of the additional services the DMV will be offering include extended Saturday office hours by appointment for all new driver’s license applicants at up to 60 DMV field offices. These include the Lompoc driver’s license processing facility plus the DMV field offices in San Luis Obispo, Oxnard and Ventura. Their Saturday hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting Jan. 3.

New driver’s license applicants will be able to schedule appointments with the DMV up to 90 days in advance, double the current 45-day window.

Starting Dec. 1, all first-time driver’s license applicants must make an appointment to visit their local DMV office.

However, four new driver license processing centers will continue to offer walk-in (and appointment) service. In addition to Lompoc, those new DMV offices are in Granada Hills, San Jose and Stanton. Appointments are recommended.

These additional services will be available to all customers seeking a first-time driver’s license, whether under AB 60 or otherwise.

Customers applying for an original driver’s license will need to provide a Social Security number, proof of identity and legal presence in the state or proof of identity and California residency under AB 60.

The DMV recently posted the list of documents that applicants must bring to the DMV to obtain a new driver’s license under AB 60.

People should be prepared to take the driver’s license exam, complete the application form, pass a vision test and, when applicable, a road sign test. Additionally, customers must give a thumb print, have a picture taken and schedule a future appointment for the behind-the-wheel driving test.

Applicants under 18 applying for an original driver’s license will also need to submit proof they’ve completed driver’s education.

Those issued a driver's license under AB 60 or people under age 21 will receive a vertical card, while others will continue to receive the tradition horizontal card, DMV officials said.

Click here for more information about the DMV or to make an appointment, or call 1.800.777.0133.

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

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Santa Barbara Police Performing More Homeless Camp Cleanups

By | Published on 11/22/2014

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Locals walking past freeway exit ramps in Santa Barbara may have seen large pink or orange signs announcing that the areas have been slated for a cleanup.

The postings denote a 72-hour warning for anyone living or fraternizing in a lesser-used public or private area — typically hidden from sight by fences or shrubbery — to remove their belongings.

If they don’t, Santa Barbara police and a team from the city Public Works Department will remove items for them, likely sendito the dump.

Since February, police have assisted in 26 such homeless camp cleanups, sometimes referred to by law enforcement as “raids.”

That’s 10 more than the annual target of 16, but the increase is the result of a backlog from 2013, according to Lt. Brent Mandrell.

Contract negotiations between the municipal departments and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Work Alternative Program (SWAP), which assigns those convicted of crimes to work sites throughout the county instead of spending time behind bars, slowed cleanups, he said. SWAP crews typically clean with police protection and public works oversight.

Mandrell said 16 cleanups was a department goal, not a requirement, just as the traffic division aims to reduce collisions by a particular number.

Because most of last year’s 18 cleanups occurred late in the year, Mandrell said crews have been making up for lost time.

“Sometimes we do one at a time,” he told Noozhawk. “If there’s four or five or six, we’ll do it in one day. The more you let them go, they just blow up. This is trash. This is needles. This is drug paraphernalia, used condoms, feces. This is really health hazard stuff.”

Years of practice have taught police to post 72-hour warnings, something Mandrell said the department didn’t do until more recently.

Once crews have identified a problem camp, they collect and throw out tons of trash at a time, keeping any items worth more than about $50 and any identification documents so people can pick it up from police property.

Sometimes patrol officers pick the places, Mandrell said, and more often than not the camps are found along Highway 101 on Caltrans property, near Union Pacific Railroad-owned land or in city parks, where trees and bushes are trimmed.

For example, Mandrell said, 800 pounds of trash were cleaned up recently on West Gutierrez Street, another 1,000 pounds of debris were picked up near the Garden Street freeway exit ramp, and camps are always reappearing along the railroad tracks near Las Positas Road and on certain Eastside streets.

“Some of them are just homeless folks, but some of them are narcotics dealers,” he said. “Camps do have an impact on State Street and areas of town. It’s important that we keep up the camps.

“It’s like the broken-windows theory. If you break one window of the house, everyone thinks they can do it.”

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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Taylor Reaume: 7 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

By | Published on 11/22/2014

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There is no denying the importance that a first impression can make. And in today’s tech-driven world, in which impressions can be made in an instant, it’s vital that you are using content that is making a positive and lasting mark on your audience.

If you notice that you aren’t getting the type of traffic that you’d like, it might be time to evaluate the quality of your website. In your evaluation, ask yourself:

» Does the site look physically appealing for viewers?

» Does the site load quickly on different browsers and platforms?

» Does the site offer content that attracts people and sticks in their minds long after they’ve left?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time for an overhaul of your content marketing strategy.

The good news is that there are plenty of options from which to choose when trying to improve your strategy. The bad news is that the multitude of options makes it hard to narrow down the choices that might be best for you. To help with the process, here are the top seven ways to improve your content marketing strategy for your brand, product or service.

View from a Customer’s Perspective

Before you start doing anything with your new content marketing strategy, it might be time to look at your entire approach from a different perspective.

There is the possibility that you’ve been looking at your content strategy for too long as a member of the business. This may lead you to become biased or judgmental to certain parts of your website. In doing so, you’ll lose out on the perception that your viewers and customers have.

To do a better job of viewing your website from a customer’s perspective, be sure to ask plenty of questions and be open to honest feedback from others. If you fail to realize that your audience isn’t interested, or maybe it simply isn’t seeing your content, then you will have an incredibly difficult time trying to maximize your marketing strategy efforts.

Know What You’re Getting Into

If you plan to improve your online content strategy through blind luck, you may want to think again. Instead, you’re going to want to ensure that you put in plenty of research into your content marketing strategy before you get yourself too deep into anything. Reading this article is a great start, but there’s plenty more that you can do as well.

For beginners, look up the keywords that you plan to use and how you think those will be most useful with your specific site. By using a program like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, you’ll be able to create strings of keywords that are likely to bring back the best results for your website.

The more likely it is that someone is going to put in the string of keywords that you have, the higher likelihood that you’ll get visits to your site. Therefore, do enough due diligence beforehand to ensure that you know what you’re getting yourself into before starting your content marketing strategy.

Look for Cohesiveness Across Platforms

Remember earlier when we asked if your site looks good across platforms and on different browsers? Well, if it doesn’t, now is your time to get this figured out. You never know where your audience is coming from when it’s viewing your content. Visitors may be looking with their phones, their tablets or their computers, and there are also plenty of Internet browsers that they could be using as well. This is important because each browser works and functions differently, which may affect how your site runs.

Therefore, you should look for cohesiveness across all platforms for your website. The more smoothly your site runs on multiple browsers, the more likely it is that people will trust that they can visit your site no matter where they are coming from.

Allow Customer Feedback

Your customers want to let you know how you’re doing. If you don’t listen, you’re missing out on a prime chance to learn how to improve and make your company better. Therefore, a great way for you to improve your content marketing strategy is by letting others provide you with feedback.

Not only does feedback give you a better idea of how you can improve your image and what you can do better, but it also will help your SEO rankings. Finally, by having updated content in the form of customer feedback, other people will see that you make a diligent effort to provide the best service that you can for your clients.

Have A Personal Blog

A personal blog is another great way to improve your content marketing strategy. Since search engines like Google give priority to sites that are regularly updated, a blog is a great way for you to continually update your content. In addition, a blog is an ideal way for you to connect with potential clients who are looking to learn more about your business.

Get Social

Social media also take a big piece of the pie when you are looking for important factors for content marketing.

If you have Facebook and Twitter profiles, that’s a good start. However, do something about it and keep your account as active as possible.

Interacting with clients through social media will help to generate traffic to your site, and it’ll also boost your online web presence in the process.

Always Build Trust

No matter what you’re doing, your goal should always be to build trust with your clients. Every blog post, status update and change to your website should have your clients and customers in mind. Your content marketing strategy should be geared for the long run, which is going to require a lot of trust between you and your audience. Therefore, make sure that you continue to do the right thing in the eyes of your audience, and you’ll notice more loyalty on their behalf.

Content is king in today’s online world. But instead of just throwing any type of content out there, you need to have a precise strategy that will work. With the seven tips, you’ll be able to improve your content market strategy and build strong relationships with your audience.

— Taylor Reaume is an e-Business coach and founder of Search Engine Pros. He can be contacted at taylor@thesearchenginepros.com, or 1.800.605.4988. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Red Flag Warning Issued as Firefighters Brace for High Winds in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 11/22/2014

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Sundowner winds with gusts to 60 mph are expected along South Coast and in foothill, mountain areas

A forecast calling for strong “sundowner” winds — coupled with very low humidity — has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch for areas of Santa Barbara County.

Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts to 60 mph, are possible along the South Coast, as well as in some mountain areas, forecasters said.

Humidity levels are likely to drop to between 11 percent and 20 percent.

The fire weather watch — which signals the potential for rapid and extreme fire growth and behavior — will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and continue until 8 a.m. Sunday.

Early Saturday afternoon, forecasters added a red flag warning, which indicates that critical fire weather either is occurring or is expected soon.

The red flag warning will be in effect from midnight until 10 a.m. Sunday, but the overall fire danger is predicted to last into Tuesday.

By Sunday night and Monday, widespread humidity below 15 percent is expected, with the strongest winds, lowest humidity and warmest temperatures expected on Tuesday, county Fire Capt. David Sadecki said.

He said the department has responded to the increased fire risk by boosting its staffing — including adding firefighter, two fire engines and a water tender.

The Montecito Fire Protection District also has increased staffing, adding a brush engine, a patrol truck and a dispatcher, and the Santa Barbara Fire Department was adding personnel Saturday night.

During a red flag warning, Sadecki said, citizens are urged to take appropriate precautions, including the following:

» Report any sign of smoke immediately to your local fire department by calling 9-1-1 (if you call 9-1-1 from your cell phone, you must know your location).

» Use extreme caution when operating spark- or flame-producing machinery in hazardous grass or brush areas.

» Have an evacuation plan in place and identify two exit routes from your neighborhood. If you are asked to evacuate by fire or law enforcement officials, do so immediately.

» Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.

The blustery conditions are due to a weather system passing through the area, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Rain from the system will remain to the north, only coming as far down as San Luis Obispo County, he said.

“On the backside there will be some gusty north winds at altitude, which will push down into the Santa Ynez range,” Sweet said. “As the air goes through the passes and canyons, it accelerates.”

The weather service said the strongest winds are expected below canyons and passes, especially in the foothills above Montecito. Motorists are advised to use caution on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass, and on Highway 101 and Highway 192/East Valley Road through Montecito.

As a result of the red flag warning, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road, will open an hour later than usual Sunday. The garden will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, but the nonprofit facility’s Holiday Marketplace will not be affected.

Winds are expected to diminish Sunday, and sunny skies are forecast through the coming week, including the Thanksgiving holiday.

Daytime highs should be in the 70s, with overnight lows in the mid-50s.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

Noozhawk 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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Letter to the Editor: Thanksgiving Thoughts

By | Published on 11/22/2014

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At this time of our Thanksgiving,
For the lives that we are living,
We share our hearts with special joy,
Each man or woman, girl or boy.

The recipe, which all should favor,
Giving Thanksgiving its special flavor,
Starts with Love twixt we and thee.
That makes this day what it’s meant to be.

So for your 2014 Thanksgiving files,
We bring best wishes and big smiles.
Having you as special friends,
Means our Thanksgiving never ends.

Lynda and Bud Stuart
Santa Barbara

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Community, Chamber of Commerce Gather to Honor Goleta’s Finest

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Businesses, students, a teacher and a Nobel Prize winner are among the recipients recognized at the 65th annual event

A San Marcos High School teacher, a co-founder of a Goleta tech company and a Nobel Prize winner were just a fraction of locals celebrated Friday during the 2014 Goleta’s Finest Awards.

Goletas Finest
Student of the Year Bella Darke, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, thanks the community and her supporters after receiving her award. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

In an evening filled with food, cocktails and formal wear on more than 400 people, a dozen outstanding individuals and organizations took to the stage at Bacara Resort & Spa to accept and thank the Goleta community, along with whoever may have nominated him or her to receive recognition.

The 65th annual event, sponsored by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, held both its presenters and honorees to two-minute speeches, with a piano player on hand to coax folks into following the rules.

Man of the Year Mark Linehan was honored for helping to create Girsh Park and for donating to the city’s public safety fund, and Woman of the Year Kathy Koeper was recognized for her love of volunteering at local nonprofits and for the role she played in connecting MarBorg Industries with the Goleta community.

Attendees gave great applause to this year's Educator of the Year, San Marcos teacher Jamie DeVries, who was recognized for starting the student-run nonprofit organization Kids Helping Kids, which helps fellow kids in financial need.

Student of the Year Bella Darke, a senior at Dos Pueblos High, was honored for academic and extracurricular success in founding the Dos Pueblos Dream Team.

"I'm so truly honored for this award," she said, noting how grateful she was to live in the Goodland.

Alison Bauerlin, co-founder of Inogen, brought home the Entrepreneur of the Year title for continued success and for taking her company public this year, an achievement she said she couldn't have imagined 13 years ago when she and two fellow UC Santa Barbara graduates founded the company.

"It's amazing how many people's lives we've changed," she said. "I'm still on the journey and having a great time."

Goletas Finest
Hollister Brewing Co. received the Small Business of the Year award, one that was accepted by founder Eric Rose's sister. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Student Entrepreneur of the Year Scott Voulgaris was recognized for his startup success of sock company, Fresh Swagg, and consistent contributions to the American Heart Association, Fairview Gardens and Goleta Lemon Festival earned Michele Schneider-Talkington the Volunteer of the Year.

Since he also received worldwide appreciation, Goleta’s Finest bestowed a special recognition award for UCSB professor Shuji Nakamura, who won a 2014 Nobel Prize for his invention of blue LED light.

Nakamura was just the sixth faculty member at UCSB to have won a Nobel Prize since 1998.

Other awards went to Cabrillo Business Park (Large Business of the Year), family-owned Hollister Brewing Company (Small Business of the Year), Isla Vista Youth Projects (Nonprofit of the Year) and SEE International (Global Impact Award).

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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Stabbing in Old Town Goleta Sends Man to Hospital

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Investigators were searching Friday night for the suspect in a stabbing in Old Town Goleta ​that sent a man to the hospital, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

The incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Mandarin Drive and Orange Avenue, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

"There was a confrontation between two males in their early twenties," Hoover told Noozhawk. "One of the males stabbed the other and is still outstanding."

The victim was transported to a local hospital, Hoover said, but the extent of his injuries was not known.

Additional details were not available Friday night

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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Former Laguna Blanca Teacher Gets Jail Time, Probation for Sex with Minor

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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A former Laguna Blanca School teacher who pleaded no contest to unlawful sex with a minor was sentenced Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court to 180 days in jail and three years of probation.

Joseph Beck

Joseph Beck, formerly a drama teacher at the Santa Barbara school’s Hope Ranch campus, at 4125 Paloma Drive, was arrested on Jan. 9. He pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor charges: unlawful sex with a minor, oral copulation with a person under 18 and sodomy with a person under 18.

Beck must serve 180 days in jail, be on probation for three years and comply with other terms of sentencing like registering as a sex offender, according to prosecutor Hannah Lucy.

The victim, who has only been identified as Jane Doe in court documents, is also the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit that alleges the private school and another Laguna Blanca teacher did not properly report the sexual abuse. She was victimized again by Beck a few weeks later, according to the suit.

Both Laguna Blanca and history teacher Martha Elliott were listed in a July 25 lawsuit filed by the young woman and her attorney, Elizabeth O’Brien.

Elliott has declined to comment on the lawsuit, and criminal charges have not been filed against her for not properly reporting a sexual molestation allegation.

The complaint alleges that the student began attending Laguna Blanca in seventh grade in the fall of 2008. She was a junior at the school during the 2012-2013 school year, and Elliott is listed as her 11th-grade history teacher.

That year, the complaint said, the student would take her lunch breaks in Elliott’s classroom with other students. During one of those breaks, she allegedly told two other students she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being sexually molested.

Elliott is alleged to have asked the girl if the molestation had been reported or if she had told her parents, and she said no.

Weeks later, the victim was taken advantage of by Beck, a former teacher she trusted, the lawsuit states, and that she was seduced into performing various sexual acts with him on three separate occasions. According to the suit, she was 17 at the time.

The lawsuit maintains that Laguna Blanca School was negligent by failing to train its employees on mandatory reporting requirements.

O’Brien alleges that her client may not have been victimized again if the molestation allegation had been properly reported.

In court Thursday, she said the sentencing was “closure for the victim and her family.”

O’Brien said the civil case against Elliott and the school is still moving ahead, with trial set for late June.

The victim was reaching out to teachers for help, and “(Beck) took advantage of that vulnerability. Had Ms. Elliot reported as she was mandated to do, this would not have happened,” she said.

Beck is not listed as a civil defendant in that case, O’Brien said.

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

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Court Official Says Jury Turnout as Expected for Ibarra Case in Santa Maria

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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The first week of jury selection for a Santa Maria trial with six defendants has ended with more than 200 people available for questioning from attorneys and another pool of potential candidates lined up for next week in the event more are needed.

The week began with 2,100 potential jurors summoned for the trial of the men charged in connection with the gang-related torture-slaying of Anthony Ibarra, 28, of Santa Maria in March 2013.  The Santa Barbara County Superior Court trial is taking place at the Santa Maria Fairpark to accommodate the large group. 

Six men —  Ramon Maldonado; his father, David Maldonado; Jason Castillo; Reyes Gonzalez; Santos Sauceda; and Anthony Solis — are charged in connection with torture-slaying to Anthony Ibarra, 28, of Santa Maria in a West Donovan Road house. Ibarra’s body was later found in a U-Haul rental truck parked on a street in Orcutt.

Four other defendants — Verenisa Aviles, Carmen Cardenas, Robert Stan Sosa and Pedro Torres Jr. — accepted pleas in the case. 

Ramon Maldonado’s teenage son, Ramon Maldonado Jr., will be tried separately from the others but has been charged as an adult.

By the time the judge dealt with hardship pleas — due to medical problems, financial concerns or pre-paid vacation plans — approximately 230 potential jurors remained when defense attorneys began their questioning Thursday for the trial that could last through March.

“I’m happy with the numbers we got,” said Darrel Parker, court executive officer. “That’s exactly what we planned for.”

Between 149 and 168 people showed up each of the first three days, although 700 were summoned for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Earlier in the week, defense attorney Tom Allen expressed concern about the low turnout. Allen noted Friday that “nobody has answered why only approximately 20 percent has showed up.”

“To have 75 or 80 percent (not show up), that’s extraordinarily high but I don’t know what to attribute it to,” Allen said.

He speculated the unusual reporting location — the fairgrounds, not a courthouse — may have led some potential jurors to identify the case ahead of time.

Judge Rick Brown rejected a defense request for a hearing on the matter.

For several reasons, Parker said, he never expected 700 people to show up the first three days.

First, a number of people requested deferrals even before they were scheduled to report for jury service, Parker noted.

Additionally, court officials recognize that a certain number of mailed summonses don’t reach people because they moved and didn’t file a change of address form for their driver’s license or voter’s registration information. Some reports claim the bad addresses can mean that as many as 20 percent of the summonses don’t reach the person it’s addressed to.

The proximity of the holidays — some local schools have Thanksgiving week off — also may have contributed to more people seeking deferrals than normal, he added.

Calculating the various excuses, he estimated the real rate was closer to 50 percent. Still, Parker said that rates are lower than court officials would prefer.

“That’s a disappointing number, but it’s true around the state,” he said, adding some counties's jury commissioners report no-show rates as low as 35 percent while others have rates as high as 75 percent.

The county and courts don’t have a full-time crew to deal with failure-to-appear cases. But, periodic crackdowns on jury service scofflaws lead to increased turnout, several counties have reported.

“That really does improve your yield,” Parker said.

Those who ignore a call to report for jury service can face their own legal troubles. 

“The court conducts failure-to-appear hearings several times throughout the year where persons who failed to appear are ordered to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court and ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,500,” Parker said. “They will then be ordered to serve on the next date necessary.”

The huge group is required for this case since attorneys on both sides are allowed to dismiss a total of 172 potential jurors through pre-emptory challenges. A number also can be removed for various reasons, or cause. On Friday, nine were dismissed for cause and two were dismissed with pre-emptory challenges, Allen added.

In the event more jurors are needed, Parker said approximately 500 additional candidates are due to report Monday, with some of those expected to be made available for the torture-slaying trial. Another jury trial is scheduled to begin in a different courtroom Monday so some people will be needed for that case.

Parker said he had placed another panel on call “just in case the judge wasn’t happy with the turnout.”

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

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Head-On Collision Reported in Southern San Luis Obispo County

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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A law enforcement vehicle was involved in a head-on collision Friday night on Oso Flaco Road, just west of Division Road in southern San Luis Obispo County, according to emergency dispatch reports.

The incident involving a pickup and semitrailer happened at approximately 6 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Crews from Cal Fire also responded to the scene and reported there was one patient with minor injuries.

The CHP emergency dispatch report said the accident involved a Fish and Game vehicle that may have been on a stop when the head-on collision happened.

Additional details will be reported on Noozhawk when they’re available.

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

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Meg Beard of County Public Health Works to Make Moms, Babies Their Best

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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The dietitian is recognized for her work on breastfeeding and infant nutrition, including creation of an innovative two-way texting program

Sitting across from her college-age niece at lunch six years ago, Meg Beard had a moment of inspiration.

Beard, who works as a registered dietitian and has been breastfeeding coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Nutrition Services for 16 years, had been trying to figure out how to best reach some of the young moms her department services.

Watching her niece respond to text messages from friends while they were out one day together gave Beard an idea.

If the department could use text messaging and cell phones to get out the message about breastfeeding and infant nutrition, they might have better success rates with Generation Y moms, young women who were in her niece's age group.

That's exactly what happened.

Beard has launched what she believes is the nation's first two-way texting program that encourages first-time moms to breastfeed, and is now an integral part of reaching out to families enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, a federal program dedicated to supplemental nutrition and education for low-income families. 

The department started to implement more tech-savvy approaches in the summer of 2011.

When peer counselors followed up with newly-enrolled WIC moms over the phone, the county numbers would often show up blocked, and staff would have a hard time reaching the women.

When they transitioned to cell phones, moms started answering more, and then a text-message system was implemented with the greatest success, Beard said.

Now, WIC moms are enrolled in a prenatal education class, and the texts are part of that class, and start when a woman is in her second trimester through 10 weeks after the babies are born.

The texts, which are in English and Spanish, are automated messages with breastfeeding and nutrition tips, and moms can text back if they have questions or concerns.

Those questions will go to a peer counselor working under Beard, and each counselors works with about 120 first-time moms.

"We try to give them a ton of information. … This is a generation that wants personal contact, they want to listen to someone like them," Beard said.

Most young women have their cell phones close by at all times, and although they may not have a home computer, they likely have a cell phone with Internet access, Beard said.

"With WIC, it's all learner-centered," she said. "You work to meet them where they are."

During the prenatal class Beard designed, participants get access to YouTube videos and interviews with other moms who went through the program.

Santa Barbara County's WIC program serves an impressive number of clients; 19,000 women, infants and children under five years old are enrolled currently. 

That number of clients is even more astounding when the number of staff at WIC is brought into focus, just 42 to service the caseload that outnumbers them many times over.

About 600 women are signed up for the cell service, which two full-time peer counselors manage from four county WIC offices.

The program has gotten Beard some recognition — she won the Santa Barbara County award for employee of the month in October. She'll also have an article about the program published in December in the Journal of Clinical Lactation.

"We think it's the first one in the nation to use technology like this," she said of the county's program.

Besides the benefits for a baby's health, there are other incentives as well.

If women choose to breast feed their children, they receive food benefits for up to a year, whereas women who don't get supplemental food for six months.

That supplemental food can mean a lot to a family with their first baby; under the WIC guidelines, a family of three must make less than $36,000 to qualify.

"That means a lot right now," Beard said of the food incentives for moms.

Since she began working with the county, there's been a growing acceptance of breastfeeding as the ideal source of nutrition for infants, and WIC has put a big emphasis on the subject, Beard said.

When Beard first started with the program, the county had 40 electric breast pumps for loan.  

Today it has 450 hospital-grade electric pumps that are free to loan out to mothers who need them, Beard said.

The department also has seven board-certified lactation consultants, all of whom speak Spanish, up from three that were working when Beard started.

The county has seen its own successes under Beard's leadership, and measures statistics monthly.

When she began her position, only 16 percent of mothers in the program were breastfeeding throughout the first year if their children's lives.

Last month, that number was at almost 40 percent.

"We have some of the highest rates  in the state," she said.

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

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World Business Academy Luncheon Promotes the Power of Safe Energy Project

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Officials outline the nonprofit organization's goals to inform and inspire, with an emphasis on ending nuclear power

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Leaders from the World Business Academy gathered at The Fess Parker on Monday to welcome the community at a luncheon in an effort promote safe energy and raise awareness about the environmental impact and harmful carcinogenic heath effects caused by nuclear power plants on the Pacific coast of California.

“Today is a very exciting day for us,” said Judi Weisbart, WBA vice president of community relations. “It is our second annual Safe Energy Luncheon, and together we have made tremendous strides in one year. We began holding monthly meetings in February and now up to 80 people gather to learn and support one another.”

WBA Executive Director Matt Renner shared with guests what the mission is of the World Business Academy.

“The World Business Academy is a strategy,” Renner said. “It’s a calling, it’s a passion and it’s a dream, but at its core it’s a strategy.”

Renner emphasized the impact that business has on the world and consequences and ideology that can spread worldwide.

“Standing in the future and looking around, I see a world where every person is respected in her or his workplace,” Renner said. “Where they feel good about the purpose of the company they work for. Where the products and services they provide benefit their communities and have a zero or even negative carbon footprint.”

A network of business and thought leaders and concerned citizens are being brought together by the WBA with the goal to create a brighter future that continues to grow.

“There are also hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of seedlings,” Renner said. “These are the young businesses that have a different way of seeing the world and their place in it. These are the leaders, younger and older, who know that they could not exist without the clean air, safe streets, smart students and their well-paid customers.”

During the luncheon, representatives from the nonprofit organization vowed to orchestrate a safer and less costly solution to end nuclear power.

The World Business Academy’s Safe Energy Project, initiated in 1997 to monitor and report on the effects of power plants in the United States, strives to replace California’s remaining nuclear power plants, including nearby Diablo Canyon Power Plant, with renewable energy.

WBA is heavily involved in action against PG&E, seeking an exemption for Diablo Canyon in a decision that will be decide by the State Water Board in 2015 — and the decision not only will affect energy production and water consumption, but potentially cancer rates in the area. 

“The World Business Academy is one of the few organizations in the nation with the facts and the courage to confront this nuclear industry lie — that the radiation released during the normal operations of nuclear power plants is somehow ‘safe,’” said Dr. Jerry Brown, director of the Safe Energy Project. “The good news is that when nuclear power plants close, cancer rates drop dramatically and infant health improves.”

Additional issues with Diablo Canyon and further basis for WBA’s strategy of political and legal action to close the nuclear facility is that Diablo Canyon is “built on multiple earthquake faults in an historic tsunami zone that is at risk for a Fukushima-like earthquake, tsunami and meltdown,” Brown said.

Following Brown was a film that was the opening film for the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, What’s Possible, that showed a window into a vision for the future.

Films such as this and the open dialogue that WBA encourages are part of the community engagement important to attaining future goals.

“We would love for you to have meetings in your homes and maybe listen to the monthly academy’s radio shows and discuss,” Weisbart said. “We want to help you become informed, inspired and connected to us and to the community.”

One of this important discussion points is WBA’s “Clean Energy Moonshot,” a visionary strategy to transition the world’s energy infrastructure to 100 percent carbon-free, nuclear-free power.

Beginning in California, the Moonshot strategy starts with a pilot project intended to achieve carbon-free, nuclear-free electricity for the entire state within 10 years at no cost to ratepayers, demonstrating a pathway for renewable energy that is economically beneficial to local and global economies.

Utilizing an alternative system of microgrids would integrate local power production and distribution to strengthen and gradually replace the massive existing statewide grid and cut California’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 43 percent.

The academy has more than 80 Fellows who contribute intellectual capital and time, including Lynne Twist, Amory Lovins and Deepak Chopra, and the next generation will be a key asset in reaching the path towards a zero carbon energy future.

“Starting in 2015, Millenials will become the majority of the workforce,” Renner said. “On behalf of this next generation, I invite you to engage with your social networks, text your friends, figure out what Twitter is and let’s all work together to make the world work for future generations.”

To find out more about the Safe Energy Project, visit the website by clicking here.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Santa Barbara County Schools Take Time Off for Thanksgiving Holiday Week

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Local students will get some extra time to give thanks over the holiday as most Santa Barbara County schools will take the entire week of Thanksgiving off.

All classes will resume on Dec. 1.

Santa Barbara Unified School District and Goleta Union School District students will be out of class from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28.

Also taking the week off are the Hope Elementary School District, Montecito Union School, the Santa Maria Bonita School District, Santa Maria Joint Union High School and the Lompoc Unified School District.

Barbara Keyani, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, said SBUSD offices will be open on Monday and closed the rest of Thanksgiving week.

"In past years, students missed instruction time when families took the entire week off during Thanksgiving week," she said.

Keyani said the impact is felt by the school district because those absences mean a loss in revenue. 

"By creating a five-day Thanksgiving week, and still meeting the state requirement of 180 days of instruction, the calendar is sensitive to family and school needs," she said.

Other local schools will take time off starting on Wednesday, Nov. 26. 

Bishop Garcia Diego High School, the Santa Ynez Union Valley High School and the Carpinteria Unified School District won't be holding classes on Wednesday through Friday. 

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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Two Men Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Gang-Related Stabbing in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Two men convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in a gang-related stabbing earlier this year in downtown Santa Barbara were sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Javier Hernandez III of Oxnard and Juan Jose Vasquez of Goleta were both 18 at the time of their arrest on Feb. 3, when police responded to reports of a fight taking place on the first block of West Carrillo Street in Paseo Nuevo Mall.

Police said the victim, a 31-year-old Santa Barbara man whose name was not released, had been walking with his companion through the mall when they were confronted by a group that included Hernandez and Vasquez.

Sgt. Riley Harwood told Noozhawk that witnesses heard words, including the name of a Santa Barbara-area gang being shouted, and saw gang hand signs being exchanged between the subjects, and that the victim was followed out of the mall before being stabbed once in the back, which paramedics later determined to be a non-life-threatening injury.

Hernandez and Vasquez were later arrested several blocks away from the scene and taken into custody.

Both were sentenced to eight years in prison Friday v three years for assault with a deadly weapon, a knife, and five years for committing the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Both young men are affiliated with the Goleta 13 gang.

Prosecutor Hans Almgren said Hernandez was searched by police and found to have a knife in his pocket after the attack, and Vasquez was found to have the victim's blood on his hands, so both were charged with assault with a deadly weapon due to aiding and abetting laws.

On Friday, with little fanfare, a quick sentencing took place for the young men in Judge Brian Hill's courtroom.

Family members of the men also appeared, with several weeping openly as the young men sat in the jury box while Judge Hill read their sentence.

The restitution to be paid out is still being determined and will depend on the victim's hospital bills, according to Almgren. 

Both men had 584 days of credit time served at the time of their sentencing.

"I think it's the appropriate outcome," he said outside of the courtroom Friday.

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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Rumors Lead to Early Release for Righetti High Students

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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School officials cancel last periods of class Friday ahead of the weeklong break for Thanksgiving

Unsubstantiated reports and calls from concerned parents prompted Righetti High School officials to send students home early Friday.

The early dismissal kicked off a week-long Thanksgiving break that also will serve as a cooling-down period after a major altercation this week at the Orcutt campus.

“Throughout the day, Righetti High School has received numerous calls concerning unsubstantiated rumors that have affected the learning environment at the campus,” the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said in a written statement Friday.

“Due to the volume of calls and the distraction that these rumors have created, we feel that the best course of action is to dismiss students early for the Thanksgiving break.”

Students were released about 12:25 p.m., with parents, students and staff notified.

The unrest at Righetti began Wednesday with several small fights that led to a larger altercation where students threw food and bottles at deputies. The incident prompted law enforcement officers from throughout northern Santa Barbara County to converge on the campus as school officials implemented a lockdown.

In all, nine students were arrested Wednesday and Thursday for various charges related to the altercations, and sheriff’s deputies said they expect more arrests.

Additionally, students whose actions didn’t rise to the level of a crime could face disciplinary action, ranging from detention to in-school or out-of-school suspensions, district spokesman Kenny Klein said.

Arriving before noon and parked off campus on Friday, one parent who didn’t want his name used remarked, “This is getting old.”

He said parents drop their kids off at school and expect them to be safe.

“This is pretty disruptive,” he added.

Waiting for students to be released, parent Salina Bolden said she has received texts throughout the day, with one saying, “There’s all kind of rumors. Get over here for me.”

“It’s just horrible,” Bolden added. 

She wondered aloud if the school should add metal detectors or take other measures after this week’s incidents.

“It’s unbelievable how some kids have no respect for authority,” she said. “It’s sad.”

As students climbed aboard buses or waited for parents to pick them up Friday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies and California Highway Patrol officers were positioned in neighborhoods around Righetti and conducted regular patrols of the area as a precaution. 

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

Parent Sabrina Bolden waits for the early release of students at Righetti High School on Friday as buses line up to take students home. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Water Service Restored to Goleta Customers After Line Break

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Water service was returned to customers in the Patterson Avenue area Friday morning after Goleta Water District crews worked all night on repairs.

A fitting that connected two sections of 6-inch pipe broke on Thursday and caused a break in the critical high-pressure line, said David Matson, the district’s assistant general manager.

The piece that broke was 40 to 45 years old, as was a high-pressure valve that also broke.

The affected area was north of Cathedral Oaks Road between Patterson and Fairview avenues, in addition to the areas of Twin Ridge and San Marcos Road. Water service was shut off to about 750 customers from 10 p.m. Thursday to 8 a.m. Friday while crews made repairs.

Witnesses told Noozhawk the break was reported around 10:30 a.m. Thursday and the water was flowing into San Jose Creek.

Even though the water main break was discovered about 10 hours before repairs started, the district had to wait for a replacement part to arrive via courier, Matson said.

“Crews worked throughout the night and remain on-site to complete restoration of the road surface and other minor repairs to our system,” he said Friday morning. “We are very fortunate that the location and type of break resulted in no damage to surrounding property and minimal water loss considering the size of the pipe.”

The Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board’s South Coast Conduit, which brings water to the South Coast from Lake Cachuma, is in the vicinity of this transmission line break, but was unaffected, Matson said.

The district expects to have an estimate of the water loss on Monday.

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

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SBCC Appoints New Directors Claudia Johnson and Julie Samson

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Santa Barbara City College recently announced the appointment of two new directors whose positions involve extensive community and business outreach.

Claudia Johnson
Claudia Johnson

Claudia Johnson has been named director of SBCC’s Dual Enrollment Program. One of the largest programs of its kind in the state, Dual Enrollment partners the college with local high schools to offer college credit classes to their students. The courses are held at the high schools and at the SBCC main campus.

Johnson has been associated with SBCC since 2007. As adjunct faculty, she served as instructor, advisor and faculty liaison for the Adult High School/GED program. She also has worked at the SBCC Noncredit Division (formerly Continuing Education) as an instructional support coordinator and project coordinator.

Prior to working at SBCC, she was a lecturer of Latin America and Iberian Studies and Law and Society at UCSB.

Johnson received her bachelor of arts degree in international development studies and Latin American studies from UCLA and earned her master's degree in Latin American and Iberian studies from UCSB. In addition, she served as a Fulbright Research Fellow for the U.S. State Department.

Julie Samson has been appointed director of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The center trains entrepreneurs through theoretical curriculum, practical and experiential application, mentorship, counseling, internships, networking and post-startup support.

Most recently, Samson served as CEO and founder of The Brilliant Edge, acting as a business adviser and entrepreneurship educator to local economic development organizations. Her clients have included the Small Business Development Center and Women’s Economic Ventures.

At SBCC, she served as instructor and student mentor for SBCC’s Enterprise Launch program and developed and implemented new courses at the Center for Lifelong Learning that provided targeted entrepreneurial skills training to the local community.

Julie Samson
Julie Samson

With the Small Business Development Center/Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County, Samson developed and implemented LightBox Accelerator, an online program that simplifies the business startup process and makes it time and cost effective to launch business in 90 days or less.

Samson received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and her master's degree in professional communication, technical writing/training and development emphasis from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

In announcing the appointments, SBCC’s Dean of Educational Programs Melissa Moreno said, “The Dual Enrollment Program and the Scheinfeld Center are two very visible and critical educational outreach arms to our local high schools and area businesses. Claudia and Julie both bring a fresh perspective and wealth of knowledge to their positions and these programs will thrive and flourish under their leadership.”

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Lee & Associates Santa Barbara Relocates to Downtown Office

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Lee & Associates Santa Barbara, one of the three offices of Lee & Associates Central Coast, has relocated its office to 228 W. Carrillo St., Suite A in downtown Santa Barbara.

Clarice Clarke, president of Lee & Associates Central Coast, said the move was necessary to accommodate expansion in this office.

In addition to Santa Barbara, Lee Central Coast includes offices in Los Olivos and San Luis Obispo.

“With the recent addition of staff and brokers, we had been looking for a space where we could further expand and grow,” Clarke said. “We are very happy with our selection, and it will allow us to better serve our clients.”

— Tara Naughter is the marketing manager for Lee & Associates Central Coast.

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Industry Veteran Jean-luc Garon Named General Manager of Santa Maria Inn

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Hospitality veteran Jean-luc Garon has been named general manager of the historic Santa Maria Inn, leaving a similar position at the Radisson Santa Maria.

Garon has been in the hotel industry for 27 years since moving to the United States in 1987. He had previously earned a business degree in his native France. Garon’s career started in Houston, Texas, at the Hotel Sofitel.

He later worked at Capistrano’s Restaurant and Catering, located inside the Mandalay Beach Resort Embassy Suite Hotel in Oxnard and was then a food and beverage director for Boykin Hospitality in Oxnard and in Berkley at the Radisson Berkeley Marina Hotel.

After a successful tenure as the general manager of the Casa Sirena Hotel in Oxnard, Garon received the opportunity to move to the Central Coast to run the Radisson Santa Maria. He oversaw an extensive renovation of the hotel and during his 11 years there the hotel was a Radisson Presidents Award winner six times.

The Santa Maria Inn is a local landmark, treasured for its significant history and its tradition of warm hospitality which continues today. The inn first opened on May 16, 1917. Over the years it has hosted many top Hollywood celebrities and even a United States president.

— D.C. Carter is a publicist representing the Santa Maria Inn.

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Holiday Marketplace at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Keeps Nature in the Season

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Holiday Marketplace, generously sponsored by Perry Ford of Santa Barbara, will be held from 10 a.m. o 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22-23.

Shop, explore and discover in the garden’s beautiful natural setting: shop surrounded by 78 acres of California native plants; explore handcrafted gifts from over 30 artisans; discover the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list.

This year’s Holiday Marketplace features:

» More than 30 artisans with one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items

» Garden Guild gifts made from natural materials

» Earth-friendly creations using up-cycled and local materials

» Edible gifts including chocolates with native plant ingredients

» Native plant gifts and dish gardens

» A display of the latest fuel efficient vehicles from Perry Ford

» Photos with Santa in the garden on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.

» Gift wrapping from Waldorf School students, for a small donation

» Festive carolers and strolling musicians provide holiday ambiance

» Gift bags with local food products are ready-to-go presents

Local artisans will display a wide variety of gift choices and decorative items, including ceramics, jewelry, textiles and leather goods. Stocking stuffers and hostess gift ideas include herbal products, locally-produced olive oil and honey, scented soaps and candles and much more. Check out the Garden Shop for children’s gifts which will spark creativity and learning.

Several artisans offer gifts crafted from native plants. Dan Scott and Gary Kennaley create beautiful wood bowls, carved from fallen trees, some from the garden. Conway’s Confections combines artisan chocolates with native bay or sage. Many paintings and fine art represent iconic scenes in the garden. The Garden Guild crafts and their uniquely whimsical pieces use all-natural materials including beautiful and aromatic wreaths made of native bay leaves.

“Santa Barbara’s savvy shoppers come back year after year to the garden’s Marketplace to start their holidays off with art and nature, mixed with fun and a bit of whimsy,” said Gail Milliken, Garden Shop manager and coordinator of the Holiday Marketplace. “Not only do people find great gifts, but it is a fun day with music and holiday cheer.”

Perry Ford of Santa Barbara will have environmentally-efficient vehicles on display, including the C-Max Energi, and Fusion Energi. And Santa will be on hand to pose for photos with the beautiful garden as a backdrop — perfect for family holiday cards!

To complete this extraordinary experience, music will be provided throughout the event by local musicians Glendessary Jam, James Andrew Clark aka “Ukulele Jim,” Kalinka and Cheers! Quartet.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road in Santa Barbara. Please carpool, as attendance is limited by our Conditional Use Permit to only 205 people at one time.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications manager for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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Gphomestay Partners with Bishop Diego High School, Seeks Host Families for International Students

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Gphomestay has officially partnered with Bishop Diego Garcia High School. We are offering a unique cultural opportunity to families in Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas. If you are interested in making a positive impact on the life of an international student and live within 30 minutes of the school, you may want to consider becoming a host family!

We will have four students arriving for the spring 2015 semester who need host families. There are three boys (one in ninth grade and two in 10th) and one girl (11th grade). If interested, you can fill out our application by clicking here.

All three boys like playing basketball. Li Meng, also known as Kevin, will be in ninth grade and also enjoys singing, reading and playing basketball. He is really excited to join the math club at school. Huang Yuming (10th-grade male) is from Shanghai and hopes to “improve on logical thinking and independent life in America.”

Zhang Yongzhen (10th grade male) wants to major in business administration in college and hopes to join the tennis and international clubs at Bishop Diego Garcia High School. He also says, “If there was a fire in my house, I would save my science books and basketball.”

Li Jin (11th grade female) won third place in an English reading contest at her previous school and likes to study English. She excels with vocabulary and wants to join many extracurricular clubs at school, including volleyball, photography, skiing and the international club.

Host families receive a monthly stipend of $1,200 and have access to ongoing support from a local residential coordinator who can help with coordinating meeting your student upon arrival, keeping you connected with the school community and mediating issues if they arise.

The students come with their own insurance and spending money and typically stay for the academic year. There are also short-term hosting opportunities available. We ask that host families provide three meals a day, transportation to and from school (carpooling or taking the school bus is acceptable), and a private bedroom for their student.

Hosting a student is truly a life-changing experience. Your family will get to experience a new culture in your own home, while helping an international student adjust to life in America. Join the gphomestay family and become a global citizen by hosting an international student!

Contact us at info@gphomestay.com or 781.996.0429 for more information.

— Kelly Russell is a senior marketing associate for Gphomestay.

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Bill Macfadyen: Animal House Takes Stage at Righetti High School, But No One’s Laughing

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 flips a car in a suspected DUI, sizes up a house, attends a teen’s sentencing hearing in a fatal crash, and I get the last word

There were 84,840 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. Six Arrested After Major Altercation at Righetti High in Orcutt

One day after a melee at Righetti High School in Orcutt, authorities were still trying to figure out how the fracas started and why.

Nine students have been arrested so far in the Nov. 19 incident, which also involved one Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy being plastered in the back with a plate of nachos, and a second deputy apparently scrapping with a group of female students and ultimately appearing to knock one down. Cell-phone video of that altercation was dutifully uploaded to the Internet.

As our Tom Bolton reported first, a fight that started just after 12:30 p.m. quickly escalated into what responding law enforcement officers were describing as a “riot.”

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told Noozhawk that the school’s resource deputy was following up on the initial fight when a second fight broke out as a large crowd gathered to watch the show.

Hoover said the deputy quickly tried to detain the primary aggressor in the second fight, but the student allegedly put up a struggle, and he and the deputy both fell to the ground.

At that point, she said, things got ugly, with an ever-larger crowd of students yelling obscenities at the deputy and throwing food, containers and bottles at him.

Hoover said the deputy called for backup as students closed in, trying to kick him. Campus security officers and administrators, meanwhile, were unsuccessfully holding back the mob.

A second deputy arrived and, she said, when he attempted to detain a female suspect, the teenager tried to run.

“Her friends surrounded the deputy and pushed and hit him,” Hoover said. “In the process of defending himself, he shoved the females away and one of the suspects was knocked to the ground.”

In today’s nanny state, isn’t nacho cheese a banned substance at schools? (Kyler Corral photo via Twitter)
In today’s nanny state, isn’t nacho cheese a banned substance at schools? (Kyler Corral photo via Twitter)

Six students were arrested in the incident, with three more arrested the next day. All were carted off to Juvenile Hall in Santa Maria.

Charges include resisting arrest resulting in injury to a deputy, battery on a peace officer, battery on another student on school grounds, assault on a school employee, possession of a knife on school grounds, possession of marijuana on school grounds, and resisting and obstructing officers in the performance of their duties.

Hoover said the knife apparently was found on one of the students afterward, but was not used in the fight(s).

The Righetti campus, at 941 Foster Road, was placed on lockdown, as was nearby St. Joseph High School. There were no apparent injuries to students.

In addition to sheriff’s deputies, officers from the California Highway Patrol and Santa Maria police raced to the scene, as did our Janene Scully, who provided firsthand reports as Tom updated our story from Noozhawk World Headquarters. Tom also connected with numerous Righetti High students who were posting to their social media feeds from their front-row seats. HT to Kyler Corral.

The next day, a phalanx of law enforcement officers were patrolling on and around the campus, and they had to disperse an unusually large throng that had gathered in the main quad area as lunch was ending.

Mark Richardson, superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, said the district will not tolerate such conduct.

“Students who participate in this type of behavior will be disciplined up to and including expulsion from campus,” he said.

Well, that’s an upside-down end to the evening. (Urban Hikers photo)
Well, that’s an upside-down end to the evening. (Urban Hikers photo)

2. Woman Arrested on DUI Charges After Early Morning Crash in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara police arrested a 23-year-old woman in the early morning hours Nov. 16 after she rolled her car in the 2900 block of State Street.

Nicol Sarah Richardson, 23, of Santa Barbara, was issued a citation for driving under the influence after the wreck, which occurred around 4:20 a.m., according to Sgt. Riley Harwood, an SBPD spokesman.

Richardson was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

No one else was hurt in the crash, but authorities say at least one parked vehicle was damaged in the incident.

Looks like this is a hilltop to die on for some residents in the vicinity of Brosian Way, above Cliff Drive west of Las Positas Road. (Cearnal Andrulaitis Architects rendering)
Looks like this is a hilltop to die on for some residents in the vicinity of Brosian Way, above Cliff Drive west of Las Positas Road. (Cearnal Andrulaitis Architects rendering)

3. With Proposed Hilltop Home, Some Santa Barbara Residents Want to Cut House Down in Size

Drs. Grace and John Park want to build a home for their multigenerational extended family on 2.2 acres of vacant land they own on Brosian Way, located in a scenic neighborhood of single-family houses — many of them with ocean views — above Cliff Drive west of Las Positas Road.

Brian Cearnal, the couple’s architect, designed a relatively low-profile, 5,900-square-foot, two-story residence to house John Park, a neurosurgeon with the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Hospital; Grace Park, a physician at Sansum Clinic; their three children; Grace Park’s parents; and John Park’s mother.

As a blueprint, the idea sounds good although the concept takes my own clan’s long-running joke about “forced family fun” to TV reality-show levels.

At any rate, the project exceeds Santa Barbara’s arbitrary floor-area-ratio guidelines for the size of the lot and would require a manmade hill from 4,000 square yards of fill dirt at the rear of the property to lift the house so it, too, could see the ocean. You don’t need to be living here long to know where this is going.

Cearnal made his case to the Planning Commission, which voted unanimously Nov. 6 to grant a coastal development permit. But the agency also punted the project back to the Singly-Family Design Review Board — for a fourth time — to see if those appointees can come up with ways to make the Parks’ house smaller.

Our Josh Molina quoted the all-too predictable blah-blah-blahs from all sides of the issue, but it has been our readers who have taken this story and run with it.

In our comments section are multiple strings of entertaining “discussion” covering the Parks, the architect, the neighbors, the neighborhood, property rights, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, brain surgery, emergency brain surgery, RVs, routes to get to the hospital and much, much more.

I often tiptoe into our comments section dreading what I’ll find, but with this story, it’s been a hoot. Thank you to all who have taken the time to comment.

Click here to add your voice.

4. Teen Driver Sentenced for Death of UCSB Student Struck on Bicycle East of Santa Maria

Marcus Maldonado, the Santa Maria teenager charged in the August death of a bicyclist he hit with the pickup truck he was driving, has been sentenced to formal probation, community service and restitution for his victim’s family.

In a Nov. 14 appearance before Juvenile Court Judge Roger Picquet, Maldonado, now 17, admitted his role in the death of Matthew O’Neill, a 33-year-old UC Santa Barbara graduate student. Picquet had earlier rejected a defense attempt to enter a no-contest plea, pointing out that the purpose of Juvenile Court is rehabilitation and not punishment.

O’Neill, who lived in Carpinteria, was riding a recumbent bicycle on Foxen Canyon Road about 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 when he was struck from behind by Maldonado’s Chevy 3500 dually pickup.

Maldonado, who was 16 at the time, was pulling a horse trailer, which was not permitted under his class of driver’s license. His 18-year-old brother was a passenger in the truck — another violation as, at that age, passengers must be at least 25 years old.

Our Janene Scully — the only reporter in the courtroom — chronicled the emotional testimony from families on both sides of the tragedy.

Afterward, Picquet sentenced Maldonado to formal probation, suspended his driver’s license for nine months, instructed him to perform 100 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $75,000 in restitution to O’Neill’s family.

Maldonado, the son of former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, had been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter plus infractions for driving a commercial vehicle without a license, and for noncompliance with driving terms and restrictions.

5. Bill Macfadyen: ‘Dead Body’ in the Street Turns Out to Be Dead Body in the Street​

The story of a homeless man who was found lying dead on East Victoria Street outside his minivan continued to draw heavy traffic two weeks after his Nov. 7 death, but my column about it drew even more.

Richard Springer, 73, who had been living in his van there for more than a decade, apparently died of natural causes in the 400 block of East Victoria Street, across from Victoria Market.

In a touching display, dozens of neighborhood residents gathered outside the market Nov. 11 to share their memories of the man.

                                                                 •        •        •

By Santa Barbara standards, these waves aren’t impressive. But when’s the last time you surfed with a wind-chill factor of 13 degrees? You might want to turn down your speakers as the background music sounds like someone succumbing to hypothermia. 

(Kevin Cullen 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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Capps Issues Statement on President Obama’s Immigration Announcement

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday released the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will be taking Executive Action to address our country’s failing immigration system:

“Too many families have lived in limbo for far too long. These executive actions will strengthen border security, while ensuring that many families are no longer torn apart by our broken immigration system. These policies are critical for Central Coast families that have been living in the shadows for too long.

“However, the President’s announcement does not mean that Congress can or should continue to shirk its responsibility to address the problems and gaps in our current immigration system through comprehensive reform. Our constituents have sent us to Congress to act and I again call on House leadership to allow us to debate and vote on this pressing issue.

“It has been more than 500 days since the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform package, and while similar legislation introduced in the House has over 200 bipartisan cosponsors, we have not had a single opportunity to debate or vote on it on the House floor. While this executive action is an important step forward, what we really need is a long term solution that includes enhanced border security measures, an earned path to citizenship, a reformed and improved visa system, an expedited path to citizenship for DREAMERS and ag workers, and a new employer verification system. These elements of comprehensive reform would benefit not only Central Coast families but our local economy, as well. That is why I will continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform, because until Congress addresses this vital issue, our nation will continue to be held back by outdated policies.”

Capps is a co-sponsor of H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, a bipartisan House bill that addresses immigration reform in a comprehensive manner. She has signed a petition to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote. In addition, she supports DACA for Dreamers and has met with educators, farmers, service industry leaders, and high-tech industry leaders throughout the Central Coast about the need for comprehensive immigration reform in order to promote a reliable, steady workforce.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Obama at War with Americans

By | Published on 11/21/2014

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Our dictatorial, deceitful president is at war with Americans. He has targeted the military, law enforcement, tea partiers, conservatives, small business and anyone who disagrees with him.

On Thursday, he threw down the gauntlet, once again running roughshod over the Constitution, Congress and Americans by issuing, by decree, the most sweeping amnesty immigration actions in American history. Never mind that the majority of Americans rejected his policies in the November elections and that 48 percent oppose him acting without Congress on immigration. His actions are a slap in the face to legal immigrants and hardworking Americans.

Sadly, President Obama is doing just what he promised in 2008, transforming America. We now live in a lawless, post-constitutional nation with a radical president at the helm.

Is there anyone out there courageous enough to protect Americans by stopping this tyranny? Will Republicans use the power of the purse and others means to stop this insanity? Or will they whimp out?

Don Thorn
Carpinteria

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Association Breaks Ground on Long-Awaited Ice Rink in Goleta

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Fundraising continues as construction begins on the Ice in Paradise project, expected to be completed next year

It’s not a sentence some people were ever expecting to read, but the Ice in Paradise project has started construction in Goleta, and the ice rink is expected to open next year.

The Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association has been fundraising for years, and its board members are ecstatic to finally see dirt moving around the empty lot at the corner of Santa Felicia Drive and Storke Road, near Girsh Park and the Camino Real Marketplace.

“We’ve never given up the dream of making the ice rink a reality,” board president Kathy Mintzer said at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Campaign chairman Jack Norqual joked that he wondered how many of the attendees came just to see if the groundbreaking would actually happen.

Donors have stuck with the organization for years, and without them, and the community support of the project, it never could have happened, he said.

Philadelphia Flyers NHL owner Ed Snider joined the cause after Norqual made a 20-minute pitch in person.

Snider, a part-time Santa Barbara resident, really inspired the group by giving a big gift early, Norqual said.

It’s always been the GSBISA’s goal to make ice skating and related sports available to the Goleta and Santa Barbara area, which it finally can, he said.

The City of Goleta contributed to the project in the form of development-fee waivers and a $250,000 commitment to help buy equipment.

Mayor Michael Bennett gave some credit to passionate local students, including UCSB’s club hockey and skating programs, who commute down to Oxnard for access to an ice rink.

Kathy Mintzer, president of the Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association, addresses supporters during Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony for the Ice in Paradise skating rink in Goleta. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

They made good arguments for the city to support this project, he said.

Many families with children came to the groundbreaking, excited to see where the new rink would be.

For some, the bulldozers signal the end to a long commute south.

Alma Peppard’s twins, Audrie and Dennis, head down to Oxnard three times a week for figure skating. The two are ice dancing partners, and Dennis has started playing hockey as well, she said.

They’ve been making the drive for more than five years, and are excited to have a local rink opening up, Peppard said.

The 46,500-square-foot building is designed to include a NHL-sized rink (200 feet by 85 feet) and a smaller studio rink. It will have an after-school homework center, skating lessons, public skating, and programs for figure skaters, hockey players, ice sports and adaptive ice sports for mobility-impaired athletes.

The association has raised about $7 million in pledges and donations, and secured a construction loan to let work start now.

The capital cost is estimated at around $11 million, so the organization is still fundraising.

The organization just launched a community campaign and buy-a-brick campaign. 

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

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Deputies Arrest Three More Students After Altercations at Righetti High School

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Calm is restored at the Orcutt campus, where multiple fights led to a lockdown and a total of nine arrests so far

Three more Righetti High School students were arrested Thursday, a day after multiple fights drew dozens of law enforcement officers and led to a lockdown at the Orcutt campus.

The arrests came as a video showing a deputy knocking down a girl who was advancing toward him continued to spark mixed reactions on social media sites.

Classes resumed Thursday morning amid an obvious presence of law enforcement officers, some to keep calm on campus and others investigating the altercations that occurred Wednesday.

Two of the newest arrests occurred just after school resumed Thursday, and the third took place before lunchtime, with the student led to the front of campus and put into a parked Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. 

A female student was arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer by means of force. A male student was arrested and charged with assault on a peace officer. In the afternoon, a female student was arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer.

“The Sheriff’s Office anticipates more arrests to follow as evidence is reviewed and suspects are identified,” officials said in a news release, adding that investigators are reviewing video of the incidents provided by various sources.

The trio joined the six arrested and taken to Santa Maria Juvenile Hall on Wednesday afternoon following a series of altercations — first among students and later pitting students against deputies. Some students threw food and bottles at the adults. 

In addition to the officers on campus, deputies and California Highway Patrol officers patrolled the roads around the campus throughout the school day Thursday.

Authorities quickly quelled a mass of students gathering in the main quad area near the end of lunchtime.

Superintendent Mark Richardson said student and staff safety remains the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s number one priority.

“We are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior on campus," Richardson said in a written statement. “Students who participate in this type of behavior will be disciplined up to and including expulsion from campus."

Leaving the campus Thursday, senior Martin Mendoza said one teacher expressed disappointment about the incidents involving Righetti students.

The senior didn’t know what sparked the initial fights that spawned the bigger brawl.

“I think they were just being stupid,” he added.

A video depicting a teen girl knocked to the ground by a uniformed deputy has sparked strong reactions on social media and other websites, with some claiming he acted violently and others saying he was defending himself.

One deputy had what appears to be nacho cheese on the back of his uniform.

Word of the video spread quickly, with students sharing about it upon their release from the lockdown that lasted more than an hour Wednesday.

The Sheriff’s Department expects to conduct a standard review of the actions of deputies involved in the incident.

“As is the case with any incident involving use of force, there is a review process. However, at this point, it does appear that the deputy's actions were justified,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Thursday. 

In a written statement, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and Righetti officials had a second briefing Thursday with sheriff’s deputies and continue to assist in the investigation.

“The day went smoothly with increased administrative and law enforcement presence,” the district’s statement said.

District officials did not say if other students will face discipline by the school for any actions that didn’t rise to the level of a crime but still violated their rules. A spokesman referred questions to the Sheriff’s Department, who said the school would need to answer that question. 

Parents reportedly were updated by Principal Karen Rotondi, and anyone with further questions is urged to contact the high school.

As the altercations occurred Wednesday, some students said they were immediately ordered to their sixth-period class before authorities declared a lockdown and told them to enter the closest classroom.

“Our procedure for a lockdown involves campus notification through the PA (public address system)," the district said. "Students then enter the nearest classrooms. The classrooms are secured and teachers and staff wait for further instructions.”

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

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Goleta Water Line Break Leads to Outage for 750 Customers

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Some 750 customers in the Goleta Water District were expected to be without water service Thursday night into Friday due to a break in a high-pressure water line.

The district planned to shut off service at 10 p.m. to repair the water-line break on Patterson Avenue, said David Matson, the district's assistant general manager.

The affected area was north of Cathedral Oaks Road, between Patterson and Fairview Avenue, Matson said. Also affected were the Twin Ridge and San Marcos Road areas, he said.

Reverse 911 calls were being made to affected residents alerting them to the emergency outage.

District officials hoped to have service restored by 5 a.m. Friday, Matson said.

"This is a high pressure water line with special valves and fittings which were not immediately available in the region," Matson told Noozhawk shortly before 9:30 p.m. " As breaks like this are rare, the parts for the required repair were located this afternoon and arrived this evening via courier.

"Equipment is now being mobilized to the site so that we can complete the repair overnight."

Matson did not provide information on what caused the pipeline leak, or say how much water had been lost.

"Our operations crews will be assessing the system loss overnight as well as the exact age and condition of the pipe that ruptured after they work to restore service and stabilize the system," Matson said. " Given the unique conditions, we were able to prevent damage to the streets and property in the vicinity of the break."

Witnesses told Noozhawk the water was flowing into San Jose Creek.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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

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BizHawk: The Good Lion Cocktail Bar Opens in Former Marquee on State Street

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Santa Barbara Wine Collective opens in Funk Zone, 805 Mobile Oil Change launches and Montecito Beach Club finds niche market

[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.]

The Good Lion cocktail bar will open Friday next door to the Granada Theatre in the former Marquee, where new owners — and a one-month remodel — have transformed the historic space.

Adding lighting, custom shelving, stools and antiques, co-owners and newlyweds Brandon and Misty Ristaino have crafted a menu with custom everything, down to the fresh, local and season ingredients.

The Good Lion at 1212 State St. will host a grand opening at 4 p.m. Friday, where locals are invited to enjoy the cocktails, ambiance and — soon — a small tapas menu in partnership with neighboring restaurant Sama Sama Kitchen.

The Marquee wasn’t on the market, but that didn’t stop the Ristainos, who moved to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles two months ago, from striking a deal and opening in a dream location near arts, culture and downtown.

“We wanted to do a bar that looks like Santa Barbara,” said Brandon Ristaino, who brings 17 years of experience in bartending, hospitality and management to the venture, along with his wife’s background in entertainment.

The Good Lion, which is named after an Ernest Hemingway short story, boasts a piano and is still waiting on an official sign, along with a planned official weekly live music lineup and outdoor patio.

Wine Collective Opens in Funk Zone

A variety of Santa Barbara County wines will soon be available to taste by the flight, glass or bottle at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective in the Funk Zone.

The wine-tasting room opened late last week at 131 Anacapa St., Suite C, in a space that had been slated for an Avelina Wine Co. tasting room before owner and Oreana Winery proprietor Christian Garvin decided to instead open somewhere soon in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Santa Barbara Wine Collective is made up of a group of small producers, each offering a different selection of varietals but all working to producing wines with the same local vibe and focus.

So far, tasters can choose from Babcock Winery and Fess Parker, and coming soon will be Ca’ Del Grevino, Qupe, Sandhi, Jonata/The Paring/The Hilt, according to general manager Alejandro Medina.

He said the collective shares many of the same owners as neighbors Les Marchands, Lucky Penny and The Lark, which plans to open a full-production bakery in the same historic warehouse space that already features a new retail pop-up concept called Bird Dog Mercantile.

805 Mobile Oil Change Launches Locally

A local launched 805 Mobile Oil Change last week, providing a service that brings the mechanic to any customer’s location within Santa Barbara County.

Owner Michael Lange, who is based in Lompoc, said he will drive to change oil, rotate tires, change windshield wipers, polish headlights and provide special 12-point full service preventative maintenance onsite — all while a customer’s vehicle is parked in a lot at work or school, a driveway or anywhere else.

The most popular 12-point under-hood service costs $59, Lange said, and word of mouth has served his business well so far.

Montecito Beach Club Opens

A designer resort beachwear boutique has opened in Montecito at 1235 Coast Village Road, Suite A.

Local owners Joe Mancuso and Paula Davidson hosted a grand opening for Montecito Beach Club earlier this month.

The boutique sells exclusive lines of beachwear for men, women and children, along with custom paddleboards, said Mancuso, who added that the retail store is the only one like it in Montecito.

Lee & Associates Moves

Lee & Associates commercial real estate services firm is moving from its current downtown Santa Barbara office to 228 W. Carrillo St., Suite A.

The move, effective Friday, relocates the firm from its space at 1616 Chapala St., No. 1.

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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After Haggling Over Traffic Signal, Santa Barbara Commission Backs $50 Million Museum of Art Project

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Calling it one of Santa Barbara's iconic destinations, the city's Planning Commission in a four-hour meeting Thursday voted unanimously to support the Museum of Art's $50 million expansion and renovation.

Although commissioners haggled over the height of the planned fourth floor, the removal of two mature coast live oak trees and a change to the Anapamu Street midblock traffic signal, the commissioners said the project overall was positive for the community.

"I am really looking forward to this project," former mayor and current planning commissioner Sheila Lodge said. "I think it is going to be a great improvement."

The 8,000-square-foot expansion is designed to increase gallery space and create a rooftop pavilion that the museum would rent to outside groups to make money. Plans also call for seismic retrofits of the building, parts of which are more than 100 years old. 

The commissioners' biggest concerns, however, centered less on the inside or roof of the building, and more on the changes that would affect the public space outside the museum's walls, on the corner of State and Anapamu streets. 

The project includes a new art receiving facility on Anapamu Street with a freight elevator and a hydraulic lift. Currently, art is delivered from a truck onto a forklift.

The museum will need to move a transformer and remove two coast live oak trees to make room for the hydraulic lift area. Some of the commissioners wanted the City of Santa Barbara to find a place for the trees on public property, possibly in the nearby Central Library plaza. 

The city, however, wanted no part of managing the trees, particularly during a time of drought. 

To accommodate the hydraulic lift and new receiving area, the city wants to install a traffic signal that over hangs over the middle of the street, instead of the traditional signal pole currently in the middle of the block.

The city wants to move the light to hang over the middle of the street so it's visible to oncoming motorists, who might otherwise have their views blocked by trucks stopped at the receiving area delivering art or other items.

The commissioners were concerned that a mid-block traffic mast arm that hangs over the street might be out of character for the area.

"Where the project still falls short is in the treatment of public spaces adjacent to it," Commissioner June Pujo said. "This is an extremely important block of the downtown."

Initially, Pujo said she couldn't support the project with the proposed traffic mast signal.

"I would like to see the applicant and staff take some time to sort out some of the details," Pujo said. "I want to see some of the options of not having a signal mast. I would not like to make that intrusion in the public area of downtown."

Assistant City Attorney Scott Vincent interjected that the commission could not legally tell the city's traffic engineer what type of traffic signal to put in.

It looked like Pujo would be on the losing end of the vote until commission chairwoman Deborah Schwartz worked out a compromise, suggesting that the traffic engineer "exhaust all design possibilities prior to implementing a mast arm."

Museum of Art board member Bob Marshall said the public will benefit greatly from the new museum.

"The experience of visiting the museum will totally change," Marshall said. 

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

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Inmate Recaptured After Escaping at Santa Barbara Courthouse

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Cristian Otey

A Santa Barbara County Jail inmate on his way to court was able to escape Thursday, but was quickly taken back into custody, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Cristian Otey, 41, was scheduled to appear at the criminal court building at 118 E Figueroa St. in downtown Santa Barbara when he made his escape attempt at about 8:25 a.m. , said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

The incident began as Otey was handcuffed and secured to a chain with other inmates, and they were being unloaded from a sheriff's bus, Hoover said.

"Otey managed to escape out of his handcuffs by using a jail made instrument," Hoover said. "He then slipped between a security door and the bus, jumped a fence and broke away from the grip of a custody deputy."

While running away, Otey stripped off some of his jail-issued clothing, Hoover said.

Sheriff's deputies and a University of California police officer gave chase, Hoover said, and apprehended Otey a few minutes later less than a block away, in the 300 block of West Carrillo Street.

Otey was heading to court after being arrested Monday by the Santa Barbara Police Department, Hoover said.

He is facing charges of battery against a non-cohabitating spouse/fiancée as well as an out-of-county warrant for probable/willful harm to a child, Hoover said.

He also is accused of assault with a deadly weapon other than firearm or force likely to produce great bodily injury; inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, an ex-spouse, a cohabitant, ex-cohabitant, or a child’s parent; and disorderly conduct in public while under the influence of alcohol.

After Thursday's incident, Otey is facing new charges of escape from jail and resisting/obstructing a public officer, Hoover said.

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

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UC Regents Approve 5-Year Tuition-Hike Plan

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The cost of tuition could rise every year for the next five years — or not at all — beginning next fall, according to a plan approved Thursday by the University of California Regents.

Officials backed the move by a 13-7 vote at a meeting in San Francisco, essentially abandoning a two-year tuition freeze agreement penned between the UC System and the governor’s office in 2013.

Tuition had been frozen for three years.

Students across the state and some elected officials have already condemned what the UC Office of the President called a five-year stability plan, which would allow annual tuition and student fee increases of up to 5 percent for undergraduates and graduate students over five years, beginning in the fall of 2015.

Increases would depend on the level of state funding the UC System receives, and tuition could rise by the entire 5 percent or stay the same.

By that measure, UC Santa Barbara in-state students enrolling in fall 2015 could see a maximum increase of $610 — a total price tag of $12,802.

Hundreds of students protested the vote outside UCSB’s Storke Tower on Thursday afternoon in an event hosted by Associated Students Student Lobby, a group that aligned itself with the UC Student Association and other UC campuses.

“Under the pretense that this increase will provide stability for the years to come, this vote is indicative of the continuous and systemic disinvestment from higher education by the State of California,” the group said in a statement. “This vote represents a broken promise to current, future and former students across the state. Those in positions of power have not only failed us, but also thrown the prospect of having an educated workforce in jeopardy.”

The local protest followed hundreds of other students who showed up to protest planned hikes Wednesday, when a panel voted 7-2 to approve the plan, with Gov. Jerry Brown and a student regent dissenting.

At that meeting, Brown suggested instead forming a committee to investigate a variety of ideas for reducing UC’s long-term costs. While UC President Janet Napolitano and regents liked the idea, she said the UC System could not hold off the increases.

She has touted the plan as one providing students with low, predictable tuition and more access while also maintaining a robust university financial aid program and investing in educational quality.

Assuming an increase in state support of at least 4 percent, the plan is meant to allow at least 5,000 more California students to enroll over five years, reduce the student-faculty ratio, increase course selection and lessen the time to graduation.

“Despite the level of public disinvestment, its research and academic reputation have been largely sustained,” Napolitano said. “Entire swaths of the California economy — from biotechnology to the wine industry — have sprung from UC research. UC graduates lead the creativity and innovation activities upon which California prides itself.

“With this plan we can invest in faculty. This means we can increase course selection, speed time to graduation, and better support graduate education as well as undergraduate education. But we cannot continue to do these things without additional revenue.”

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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Joe Conason: Fix Decaying Oil Pipelines First for Jobs, Health and Safety

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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With the Keystone XL pipeline stalled again, now perhaps we can look ahead and consider more promising ways to rebuild our energy system, creating many more jobs than that controversial project ever would. No matter where we look, the far larger issue that still confronts Americans is decaying infrastructure, which emphatically includes the enormous web of oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the continental United States in every direction.

When TransCanada CEO Russ Girling touted Keystone as an engine of employment on ABC News' This Week last Sunday, he insisted that its construction would create 42,000 jobs. Not only would his venture create those 42,000 "direct and indirect" jobs, Girling boasted, but also those positions would be "ongoing and enduring" rather than temporary like most construction jobs; he cited a State Department study that drew no such conclusions.

A company spokesman later tempered Girling's pronouncements, more or less acknowledging that they had been grossly exaggerated. The number of permanent jobs after the construction would top out at about 50. With or without Keystone, the national economy already produces about 42,000 jobs every week, so it just wouldn't matter much.

Yet even if Keystone would actually result in tens of thousands of permanent jobs, its expected impact on the environment, health and safety raised grave questions about whether it should be permitted to proceed. But there are pipeline projects of unquestioned value that could create far more jobs for many more years than any of Keystone's promoters ever contemplated.

Rather than a new pipeline for the dirtiest tar-sands fuel, what America needs is a commitment to repair the "leaks and seeps" that have made the old network of pipelines a continuing danger to health and safety, air and water — as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted in a 2013 interview with The National Memo. The labor chief estimates that a serious program of repair to degraded oil and gas facilities would mean at least 125,000 jobs a year — three times as many as Keystone — and they would continue for decades.

In that brief remark, Trumka alluded to an important point: With more than 2.5 million miles of corroding underground pipes, often made of steel or cast iron laid decades ago, the likelihood of deadly and potentially catastrophic accidents increases every year. Fuel and fumes that escape old pipelines every day, along with occasional large spills of petroleum products, pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well.

Using pipelines to transport natural gas and hazardous liquid fuels is generally safer than the alternatives of road and rail, but when pipeline accidents happen, they can be devastating — as we have learned in recent years from the tragic explosions in San Bruno, Calif., that killed eight people and razed dozens of homes, and in Allentown, Penn., that killed five people and destroyed 50 buildings.

Officials in Michigan are concerned about the condition of 61-year-old pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet — and where, if the pipelines failed, a ruinous oil spill could leave the Great Lakes in the same ruinous condition as the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And New York officials worry every day about the perilous state of the city's gas mains, aging and decrepit, which exploded in East Harlem last March, killing and injuring dozens of people and causing millions in property damage.

An investigation by reporters at ProPublica, a nonprofit news service, revealed that over the past three decades, pipeline accidents have accounted for more than 500 deaths, more than 4,000 injuries and almost $7 billion in property damage — numbers that will swell in the years ahead unless repairs and inspections are stepped up drastically. At the moment, replacing only the most dangerously corroded pipes in New York's Con Edison system is estimated to require $10 billion and 30 years of construction.

The upside of this looming threat is that confronting it would create hundreds of thousands of permanent, high-paying jobs while preserving the environment and improving public safety and health. Like so much of the incredible infrastructure left to us by previous generations, the pipelines need to be maintained, modernized or mothballed for the sake of the future. Politicians and their paymasters may prefer to look the other way, but it is a responsibility we cannot escape.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Outdoors Q&A: How Are Sturgeon Weathering the Drought?

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Q: I have a question about sturgeon. Are they being negatively affected by the drought? Since sturgeon have been around millions of years, they must have endured many droughts and so hopefully this drought will not hit them as hard as maybe some other species that are less hardy and more sensitive to changes. Is this true? (Anonymous)

A: That’s an excellent question, but the answer is complicated. According to California Department of Fish & Wildlife environmental program manager Marty Gingras, plenty of sturgeon in California will likely outlive this drought because of the state’s adaptive management of white sturgeon harvest (green sturgeon is a threatened species so harvest is illegal) and protection from poaching.

Sturgeon and salmon are anadromous species, but salmon mature and then die in just two to three years. By comparison, female sturgeon typically mature after 15-plus years, can spawn more than once (though not annually) and can live many decades. These characteristics mean that sturgeon are resilient, but it also means they can easily be overfished. California’s sturgeon fisheries were (with minor exceptions) closed from 1901 through 1953 due to overfishing. Commercial harvest of white sturgeon is illegal and recreational harvest is now managed through area closures, bag limits, size limits and gear restrictions.

Most sturgeon spawn in the Sacramento River and young-of-the-year fish migrate downstream to rear in the San Francisco Estuary. Large numbers of young sturgeon survive the migration only in years with nearly flooding Sacramento River flows during both winter and spring. For sturgeon it is as though 2014 is the eighth straight year of drought. Although a relatively-good “cohort” of white sturgeon spawned in 2006 will soon be harvestable, we expect the fishery to decline substantially.

Adaptive management of California’s white sturgeon through predictable ebbs in abundance is key to conservation of the species and its fishery.

Deer Tag Validation Required from Private Property?

Q: If I take a legal buck on my own property, then tag and process it on site, do I need to get the tag validated since it will require me to transport the carcass off my property? (Ruth W.)

A: Yes. All deer must be validated even when taken on private property. Remember, wildlife belong to the people of the State of California, not to the owners of land where animals live. The law states the animal’s tag must be validated regardless of where taken and may not be transported initially except for the purpose of taking it to be validated (Fish and Game Code, section 4341).

Dorado Limits Higher in California

Q: I went fishing out of San Diego twice this fall. The first time we fished in California waters off San Clemente Island and the second time we fished in Mexican waters. I understand the daily bag limit for Dorado in Mexico is two fish, but can’t find it in the regulations booklet for California. What is it? (Chuck K.)

A: Dorado do not have a specific bag limit in California and so they fall under the general bag limit of 10 fish of any one species with no more than 20 finfish in combination of all species (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 27.60(a)).

When Cancer Treatment Threatens Premium Draw Deer Hunt?

Q: I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer in April and have had chemo for four months. I am doing great and am in good shape to go hunting, but I just found out I must have a bone morrow transplant and it looks like it will be around the time of the premium draw tag hunt. Can I return this tag and still get my points back? Doctors at Stanford are trying to let me go hunting, but it may not happen. (Dennis S.)

A: So sorry to hear about your cancer and the treatments you’re going through! In order to return the tag without penalty, I suggest you contact our License and Revenue Branch at 916.419.7573 immediately. You must return the tag before the season begins along with a letter explaining why you can’t complete the hunt. With some tag drawings there will be an alternate list available with hunters standing by in case of a cancellation. No alternate lists are established for premium deer tags though, so your tag will not be reissued to anyone else. There is a preference point appeal process available. Please go to CCR, Title 14, section 708.14 for the details. And best wishes that your upcoming cancer treatments go well.

Motorized Turkey Decoys?

Q: Are there any restrictions on using motorized or string motion decoys while turkey hunting in California? (Scott C.)

A: No.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Garden Street Academy to Offer Photos with Santa and More at Holiday Boutique

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The Garden Street Academy will host its annual Holiday Boutique from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.

The event is free, open to the public and a family-friendly affair.

The boutique will feature several unique vendors with a wide variety of holiday gifts, photos with Santa, a photo booth, a Christmas tree raffle and holiday treats.

We’re excited to offer professional Santa photos this year. Avoid the lines at the mall, bring your whole family and get a photo with Santa for only $15! We’re also looking forward to the variety of unique vendors this year.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Garden Street Academy scholarship fund, which promotes the school’s vision to offer a progressive independent school experience to families who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

The Garden Street Academy is located at 2300 Garden St. in Santa Barbara. Call 805.680.1536 for more information.

— Angela Bolea is general manager of the Garden Street Academy.

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Jeff Moehlis: Sail Away with Christopher Cross

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Award-winning musician will perform at the Granada Theatre on Saturday night

On Saturday night, if you get caught between the Mesa and Montecito, the best that you can do is to find your way to the Christopher Cross concert at the Granada Theatre, which starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available by clicking here.

You probably know Cross from his Grammy-winning song "Sailing," the Oscar-winning song "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" co-written with Burt Bacharach and others, and his hit "Ride Like the Wind," all of which came within a short span at the beginning of the 1980s. While he wasn't able to maintain that incredible initial string of success, he has continued to release new music since that time, most recently his well-received new album Secret Ladder.

Cross talked to Noozhawk about his upcoming concert. Click here for the full interview.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming concert?

Christopher Cross: The reason I'm touring and continue to tour is that I'm making new music. A lot of people are just familiar with the old stuff, but I've made about 10, 12, 14 albums so far. The new one, Secret Ladder, came out Sept. 12. It's really why I keep touring, to expose the new music.

It's a singer-songwriter show, very much like a Jackson Browne or a James Taylor show. It's a great group of musicians, mostly jazz-trained musicians — piano, bass, drums, keys, sax, two female singers. We do a broad selection of stuff from my albums — the hits that people know and want to hear, but we also do a sampling of songs from all these albums that I've had out, with a little bit of a focus on the new record, three or four songs from that. I've had a hundred and something songs, so it's just a sampling of all those. There's an acoustic section of the show — we break out front and do an acoustic thing. So it's a straight-ahead show. If people like my voice and like to hear me sing my songs, I think it's very satisfying.

It's good also, if you haven't heard this other material — there are certainly some die-hard fans that are there — but if you come just because you've got some romantic connection to "Arthur" or whatever, you'll get to hear all this other music, which is really the point.

I'm not out there selling "Arthur," which is selling just fine.

JM: I understand that you used to live in Santa Barbara. Can you tell me what you remember most fondly about living here?

CC: I have a number of wonderful friends there, certainly. I'm divorced now, but my wife, Jan, and I moved up there because of Mike and Amy McDonald. Mike and Amy moved there and just loved it, and encouraged us to come up there and live, and so we did. My two younger children — my son Rain, who's 25, and my daughter, Madison — were born there, so certainly there's a great fondness for the town for the children being born there and the friendships we made, and the children's friendships.

You know, it's a very idyllic place to live. For me it was a little impractical work-wise, because I was constantly flying or driving to L.A. I think that Santa Barbara's just a beautiful place to live, especially if you live down on Padaro Lane. And you have money and you don't have anything to do. It's kind of that kind of town. It's just one of the greatest places in the world to live, but it's not a great place to make a living.

JM: "Sailing" is an iconic song that people still love today. How did that song come together?

CC: It's hard to tell where songs come from. They seem to be channeled from some other source, and you just happen to be the recipient of that. I think most writers feel that way.

To me it's a song about transition. I think that people take the very literal metaphor about sailing, and it's pleasant for that purpose.

But the song to me is about transition through art. The canvas — it's a painter's canvas, or ballet, or any type of art where you experience transition through interaction with it. So that's what the song's really about. It takes you away to a special place where only art can take you. So that's the meaning of the song. A lot of people just think it's just the serenity of sailing around in a boat. But not everybody has the money to sail around in a boat.

I did have somebody who took me sailing when I was younger. It was a little bitty boat, and there was some nice camaraderie there, and I think maybe that has something to do with why I chose that metaphor.

I joke that if he'd have taken me bowling then it would've been about bowling. The sailing part is a very surface metaphor.

JM: Another of your classic songs is "Arthur's Theme." Can you tell me about the collaborative process for that song?

CC: I was the new artist, and everything had just happened with the Grammys, so I was asked to score the picture, which I had never done but was excited to do. But then Steven Gordon, who wrote Arthur and directed it, was sort of new to the game — this was his directorial debut — and he just felt insecure about having somebody new do the music. So they gave it to Burt Bacharach to do, which is certainly understandable. I wasn't really disappointed, because Burt's certainly a legendary artist. They gave it to him, so I just kind of walked away from it.

But I'd been working on some ideas. So anyway, Burt called me and said that he was going to score the picture, but that they still wanted to work on the title track for the movie — he and Carole Bayer Sager, who he was married to at the time —- they still wanted to write the title song. Would I be interested in writing the title song with them? I was incredibly flattered. I'm a huge fan of Burt's, and I've been influenced by him my whole career, like almost all pop writers have.

So I went to Burt's house — it was kind of heady — but I went to their house in Beverly Hills, and Burt and Carole and I wrote the song with some involvement from Peter Allen, which is a long story. Peter wasn't there, but for the song we used some lyrics from a song he and Carole had written previously — actually, the chorus.

It was just a great opportunity for me to sit with one of the most iconic writers of my generation. Then Burt and I subsequently wrote a song for the Olympics ["A Chance for Heaven"] and a couple of other things. But he's a very nice, brilliant man, and Carole's a great lyricist. It was kind of one of those things when I'm at the house that night and you have to pinch yourself. When I walked in, Burt had two Oscars on his mantle already. So it was a little heady.

But it was wonderful, and they were very happy with the song when we finished it that night. They were talking about Oscar nominations and stuff, and I just thought, you know, this is insane. I mean, I'd just won the Grammys and everything, and I would never in a million years imagined being in that circle, of being eligible to win an Oscar. And of course it ended up being right. But the whole thing was kind of a fairy tale.

— 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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Susan Miles Gulbransen: Speaking of Stories ... Tom Hanks, Joan Bowman and the Late Charles Champlin

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Storytelling must go back to Adam and Eve. Could it have started when he came home to tell her about the big fish that got away?

Taking the art of storytelling through the ages, Speaking of Stories this weekend offers for the first time Personal Stories: Santa Barbara Voices. These stories — written and read by local writers — will be performed by two lineups Friday through Sunday.

They are much like the Moth Radio Hour, a New York City nonprofit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. These true stories draw audiences like a light draws moths.

For 20 years, Speaking of Stories has featured professional actors reading published short stories. In September, it ran a contest for true stories to be read by the author. The result is an eclectic collection of humorous, poignant, embarrassing and touching stories at Center Stage Theater at Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara. Among the two groups are Linda Stewart-Oaten, Jeff Wing, Dan Gunther, Kathy Marden, Michael Russer and, admittedly, myself. Click here for the complete lineup of 20 authors, times and more information.

                                                                 •        •        •

In a world dominated by computers and high tech, the typewriter barely gets a mention any more. Not with award-winning actor Tom Hanks. Since 1978, he has collected typewriters, both manual and portable dating, from the 1930s to 1990s.

According to the Los Angeles Times, he has written a collection of stories to be released at an unknown date by Alfred A. Knopf.

“The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather the stories are something that might have been written on one of them,” he says.

Hanks’ inspiration goes back to storytelling (a familiar theme in this column?).

“I’ve been around great storytellers all my life and, like an enthusiastic student, I want to tell some of my own,” he says.

Hanks has had one of his stories published in The New Yorker magazine recently, “Alan Bean Plus Four.” He gives credit for the inspiration from being around the space program while making Apollo 13 and From the Earth to the Moon. I’d say he’s a good type of writer if inspired by a typewriter ...

                                                                 •        •        •

When local author Joan Bowman’s father, Joe Marinello, died, she joined her two sisters to honor him by creating a cookbook. In the last year of his life, this outstanding Italian cook wrote down favorite recipes for his daughters. They now appear in La Cucina Marinello: Three Generations of Italian Cooking.

This family cookbook was, as she says, “A labor of love for the last six years. My sisters and I wrote it to celebrate our Southern Italian heritage and honoring our dad’s wish to pass our family recipes down to the next generation.”

A Santa Barbara resident for almost 30 years, Bowman is not new to writing and publishing. She was the acting publisher of Advocacy Press, a nonprofit educational publisher, where she revised the celebrated Choices Life Skills Journals for adolescents and published Letters from the Heart for Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara.

The cookbook uses her Ph.D. in human development to write about family rituals and traditions. She and her blogging partner, Rhona Gordon, can be read on their blog, Food and Friendship Santa Barbara, which focuses on the essentials of food and friendship, while celebrating our unique area and its bountiful resources.

Bowman found extra pleasure with the book project when doing signings.

“I am having fun with the book,” she wrote. “People’s reaction to it interests and stimulates me. It’s as if they pick out the most important themes, and from their lens you adjust and see your book in a wholly different light.”

Click here for a sneak preview of the cookbook.

“My identity is hidden behind a Scottish last name, but if you were in my kitchen, that’s another story,” she says.

The book demonstrates her Italian side.

Click here for a related Noozhawk article on Bowman.

                                                                 •        •        •

“A gentleman and a scholar.”

That classic handle sums up the late Charles Champlin, the Los Angeles Times arts editor, film critic and columnist for almost three decades. Champlin died Sunday in Los Angeles of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88.

Even with credentials that any journalist would die for, Champlin was easy to talk to and showed genuine interest in others. He was also a mainstay in Barnaby Conrad’s circle of well-known writer friends, along with Ray Bradbury, Charles Schulz and several others who participated in the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

As a student years ago at the writers conference, I knew Champlin from a distance: head of his nonfiction workshop or on stage speaking. He was many degrees of separation from me, but not for long. One morning we ended up at the same table for breakfast. Conversation came easily.

In the mid-1980s, Paul Lazaurus, co-director of SBWC, asked me to lead my own nonfiction workshop. I was filled with a “newbie’s” doubts for this assignment. Even though Champlin had graduated from Harvard, served as journalist for two of the country’s top magazines, Life and Time, and personally knew endless celebrities, he again sat at breakfast next to me.

Right away he congratulated me on my new role and proceeded to share encouraging words of wisdom full of common sense and integrity. Soon I was calling him Chuck, a name his friends and colleagues used, and knew I had a friend forever. The world without him will not be nearly as classy has it has been.

Noozhawk columnist Susan Miles Gulbransen — a Santa Barbara native, writer and book reviewer — teaches writing at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and through the Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education Division. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Moscow Ballet’s ‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ Coming to Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The Moscow Ballet returns to the Chumash Casino Resort to perform its signature Great Russian Nutcracker in the Samala Showroom at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18.

Tickets for the show are $25, $35 and $45. Children 8 and older are welcome to attend at regular ticket prices.

The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker tells the beloved Christmas story of the girl who falls in love with a Nutcracker Prince — with Russian flair. Praised by The New York Times as “thrilling and expansive,” the 40 impeccably trained Russian dancers leap, spin and lunge as you have never seen before.

Audiences love the Christmas party with magical toys, battles with an evil Mouse King and a journey through the glittering Snow Forrest. Unique to Moscow Ballet productions, Russian folk characters Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden escort Masha (Clara) to the Land of Peace and Harmony where she and the Nutcracker Prince are honored by emissaries from heritages the world over; African, Russian, Asian, European and Hispanic.

Set to Pytor Tchaikovsky’s famous score, Moscow Ballet’s production features lavish costumes, nine hand-painted backdrops with 3-D ornamentation and fanciful, larger-than-life puppets designed by a Russian master.

In 1993, Moscow Ballet toured with the Great Russian Nutcracker for the first time in the U.S. and was welcomed with critical acclaim in cities such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Syracuse, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. The inaugural six-week tour was directed and choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, a former soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet and well-known “Grand Dance Artist,” and it starred principal ballerina Lillia Sabitova.

It also featured the innovative rolling backgrounds first created by a St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music producer. Since then, the annual tour has increased to include more than 100 performances on the tour to cities from San Juan to Calgary, and from New York to California, traveling with two simultaneously touring companies of 40 dancers each.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this Christmastime favorite performed by Principal Danseur Anatolie Ustimov and Principal Ballerina Alisa Voronova, who were both featured in Moscow Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet performance in the Samala Showroom on Nov. 6.

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

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

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Computers, Smartphones, Social Media: UCSB Researchers Examine How Technology Is Changing the World

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Years before smartphones and social media dominated pop culture, two UC Santa Barbara professors seemingly divined the explosive future of the information superhighway and then acted on it in a monumental way.

They founded UCSB’s Center for Information Technology and Society a decade and a half ago to explore an ever-changing and unwieldy topic: how information technologies are changing the world.

The two academics hailed from different fields: Bruce Bimber taught political science, Kevin Almeroth computer science. They still do. Their collaboration is particularly fitting given that an interdisciplinary approach is a hallmark of the research center. Both founding scholars also remain affiliated with the center, which is celebrating its 15th year.

“They were really ahead of the curve, astute forward thinkers who could see how these emerging technologies were going to have huge repercussions for the way our society is organized,” said Lisa Parks, professor of film and media studies and the center’s current director.

 “We bring people together to think about how information technologies — computers, mobile phones, satellites, social media and even the Google Glass — are impacting the way we live, work, solve problems and govern ourselves,” she said.

Research at CITS is currently driven by 44 faculty members from more than a dozen departments across campus that include the expected (computer science, communication, electrical engineering) and the potentially surprising (art, English, sociology).

“One of our sources of pride is how genuinely multidisciplinary we are,” said Parks. “We’ll have a geographer working with an artist and a psychologist at the same time. They are pieces of a puzzle that fit together to investigate big research questions related to technology and society.”

For a project examining Internet freedom across three countries — Zambia, Turkey and Mongolia — scholars from the computer science, communications and film and media studies departments have teamed up.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department, they are studying whether people in those countries can talk freely online and use social media without reprisal. Researchers plan to share their findings with organizations that fight repression around the world.

Another project is attempting to bring affordable Internet access to rural communities in Southern Africa “in a way that is sustainable and scaled to local capacities,” said Parks, who is leading the effort with Elizabeth Belding, a UCSB professor of computer science and the center’s associate director.

“People there make less than a dollar a day and don’t have access to electricity,” Parks explained. “Many have mobile phones and can receive incoming calls but can’t afford talk time. We’ve been partnering with that community in an effort to improve their connectivity.”

Parks has traveled to Zambia with graduate students several times to do field work to evaluate the community’s needs and interests. They shared their information with computer scientists charged with developing the network. One tangible result of the 3-year-old endeavor: Belding’s team has developed a free experimental local mobile phone network called VillageCell that has been piloted within the community of Macha, Zambia. The project is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Through public lectures and programs — more than two-dozen in the past two years — the center shares its research with the campus and wider community. Topics have included the relationship among the mind, brain and virtual reality; the history of air war and drones; and the digital divide, the gulf between those who have easy access to computers and those who do not.

The center also supports an optional Ph.D. emphasis in technology and society that is available to students enrolled in participating academic departments in engineering, social sciences and the humanities. “We’ve placed several of our graduates in really good positions at prestigious research institutions,” Parks said.

When asked how often the center’s projects effect real change in the world, Parks paused before answering. “Every single day,” she said, “in the sense that we are all teaching in the classroom, encouraging new generations of students to think about how our technologies shape our world.”

— Valerie Nelson represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Ken Williams: Real-Life Consequences of America’s Growing Income Disparity

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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[Note: This article is dedicated to the Battered Women’s Shelter, Transition House and Joshua, a 5-month-old baby who died homeless on our streets.]

With a raging debate on the subject of the growing income disparity in our country, and in fact around the world, all but lost in the statistics is the flesh and blood of this story. How does the problem of stagnating, and in many cases falling, wages of workers translate into real life? In one segment, that of those least able to defend themselves and most likely to be traumatized by homelessness are our children.

A new and devastating report published by the San Jose Mercury-News documents our society’s retreat from acting as a community to one in which everyone is out for themselves, and damned the ones who fall by the wayside.

Homelessness among our children is at an all-time high. In 2013, 2.5 million children spent some time homeless. That is an 8 percent increase in child homelessness between 2012 and 2013.

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. With wages still not recovered to pre-recession levels, it becomes harder and harder for those fortunate enough to have a job to make ends meet. With a vengeful Congress rolling back public housing assistance for decades, as well as time-capping how long families can collect public assistance, why are people surprised when the blood payment becomes due?

With the endless Long War bleeding trillions of dollars from our national economy, is it really surprising that money for domestic programs is hard to find? And when the political landscape is strewn with veiled fear and hatred of the underclass and, increasingly, the impoverished tainted middle class, collateral damage that includes our children is a natural outcome.

As a national policy, we have already gutted the African-American communities with a racially tinged War on Drugs. The percentage of Anglo kids using drugs is the same as the percentage of African-American and Hispanic kids using drugs, yet our prisons are crammed full with people of color. For white males, their chances of spending some time in jail during their life is one in 17. For a black man, it is one in three, and for a Latino it is one in six.

Two-thirds of all people in prison because of a drug charge are people of color — two-thirds! Yet it bears repeating that drug usage is equal across all racial groups. The difference is a color-biased and money-based legal system. If you have the money, your attorney can afford to plea-bargain your charges down with sealed records. If you’re poor and uneducated, you end up copping a plea. With a rap sheet upon discharge from prison, loss of voting rights, gaps in employment and a record, what are the chances of landing a decent job?

What are the prospects for children who have been ripped from their homes to live in cars, parks or, if lucky, in big city homeless shelters? The shame cuts deep. Children become worthless in their own eyes. Grades fall, self-esteem plummets and jail is often in their future. For those children unfortunate enough to see their mothers become victims of abuse, another scarring layer is added to their traumatized youth.

There is nothing pretty nor noble about poverty. Homelessness damages, deforms and in many cases condemns our youngest citizens to a lifetime of poverty and/or worse, prison. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know there are solutions to this man-made national tragedy. The first step is to acknowledge there is a problem. The second step is to move beyond our fears that separate us from our homeless neighbors.

All of us also must reject the politics of fear, even if it comes from our own City Council or our congressional and senatorial representatives, or those running for president. They must hear such a loud outcry from us that the politics of fear is replaced by the politics of compassion and reason. By the belief that we are all members of the same community and that we strive for a better world together, or we slide back into a world where the biggest and baddest beast rules all others, and the weak are cast aside. If we are better than mere savages of the jungle, then our children — all our children — need our effort to end this national disgrace. If we do nothing, then that absence of love condemns us before future generations who will question what kind of people turned a blind eye to the welfare of their own children.

We are adults living in a democracy. We have free will. Our children are our country’s most precious resource and its future. If we fail them when they need us most, then no excuse exonerates us. As my D.I. told us enough times in Marine boot camp: Everyone has excuses — especially those who fail.

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

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‘Gone Fishin’ for the Holidays’ Parade of Lights to Brighten Santa Barbara Waterfront

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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On Sunday, Dec. 14, the 29th annual Parade of Lights will brighten Santa Barbara’s waterfront once again.

The festivities take place starting at 3 p.m. and culminate with a bang — a fireworks show launched from West Beach immediately following the boat parade.

Twenty-five to 30 illuminated boats will be decked out to this year’s theme, “Gone Fishin’ for the Holidays,” sure to inspire plenty of festive lights and creative decorations.

To spread holiday cheer landside prior to the parade, families can visit Santa’s Village on the city pier in Santa Barbara Harbor. Beginning at 3 p.m., they will be greeted by elves handing out goody bags, 10 tons of snow to play in, and of course, Santa.

After the Santa’s Village fun, stay to cheer for your favorite boat when the boat parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Best viewing locations include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater and East Beach. Winning boats will receive gifts and cash prizes during an awards ceremony following the parade at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

This year’s event is sponsored by the 2014 Parade of Lights Committee, the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, the Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, the Stearns Wharf Business Association and Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

Bundle up the family and head down to the waterfront for an afternoon and evening of fun at the 29th annual Parade of Lights in Santa Barbara on Dec. 14.

Click here for more information.

— Dominique Samario is a waterfront public information officer for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Community Invited to Thanksgiving Day Service at Christian Science Church

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Area residents who wish to celebrate their gratitude for the ways God has blessed them are invited to come to the Thanksgiving Day church service at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Santa Barbara at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 27.

Those who study Christian Science and worship at the local Christian Science church practice the laws of God that Christ Jesus relied on when he healed the sick, cleansed the lepers and raised the dead.

Similar healings were performed in the Boston area by the church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, following her healing of serious injuries in 1866, sustained after a fall on the ice. Her physician had done all he could for her, so she asked for her Bible. After reading a healing account of Jesus, she felt well enough to get up, completely healed, after which she taught hundreds of others how to heal in Jesus’ name for many years.

Those who attend this Thanksgiving Day service will hear readings from the King James Bible and the textbook Eddy wrote, called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, as well as testimonies given by students of Christian Science who have been helped and healed by reading her book together with the Bible.

The church is a well-known Santa Barbara landmark located at 120 E. Valerio St., between Santa Barbara and Anacapa streets, where ample parking is available.

Children are welcome at the service, and child care is also open for youngsters while their parents attend the Thanksgiving Day service.

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing First Church of Christ, Scientist, Santa Barbara.

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SBCC Theatre Arts Department Names Sara Smith/Phyllis Mailes Scholarship Competition Winners

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The SBCC Theatre Arts Department, in collaboration with the SBCC Foundation, is pleased to announce 10 student recipients of the Sara Evelyn Smith Endowed Scholarships in Theatre Arts and the Phyllis Mailes Memorial Scholarship for Actors for 2014-15.

Selections were made based on essays detailing educational and professional goals as well as two- to four-minute monologues performed in front of a panel of judges.

This year's recipients are Tessa Corrie, Waldo Damaso-Figueroa, Antonio DeNunzio, Natalie Ginsberg, Emma Jolin, Amanda Probst, Nicole Romero, Samantha Wierick, Laksmini Wiyantini and Zammi Zwane.

The Sara Evelyn Smith Scholarships in Theatre Arts were established in honor of a very special woman who spent over 50 years in theater arts education. She acted in numerous productions, taught theater in the Detroit school system, and directed musical shows and youth theater productions for most of her life. Her son, the late Bob Smith, owned KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara, and her daughter-in-law, Anne, was an educator in theater arts and past president of the Board of Directors of the Lobero Theatre.

The Phyllis Mailes Memorial Scholarship for Actors was established by her son, Tim Whitcomb, in honor of her support of the arts.

A total of 10 $1,000 scholarships are determined by the monologue competition held each fall. Any SBCC theater student who is taking at least nine units at SBCC and is currently enrolled in an acting class is eligible to compete for one of the awards.

A scholarship reception was held Tuesday at the Jurkowitz Theatre, at which time the recipients performed their monologues for donors, faculty, friends and family.

— Jessica Tade is the marketing director for the SBCC Foundation.

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Two-Day Maintenance Project on Highway 246 In Lompoc Begins Monday

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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A two-day maintenance project to grind and pave Highway 246 from O Street to R Street will begin on Monday, Nov. 24 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Motorists headed westbound on Highway 246 will detour onto the eastbound No. 1 lane while motorists headed eastbound will use the No. 2 lane.

Cross traffic will not be allowed on Highway 246/Ocean Avenue at O Street, N Street, M Street and R Street. Motorists will be able to make right hand turns from South R Street onto eastbound Highway 246.

Motorists can expect a delay not to exceed 10 minutes. This project will be performed by the Caltrans maintenance team from Buellton.

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

For traffic updates on other state highways in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.549.3318 or visit the District 5 website by clicking here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Bill Cirone: Giving Thanks to Community, Businesses for Support of Our Schools

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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As we celebrate the season of Thanksgiving, we give heartfelt thanks on behalf of our public schools to all the business and community members who supported our local classrooms, families and children in so many ways.

Even in challenging times, it’s clear that we can join hands in partnership and help bolster one of our community’s most valuable assets.

Members of the community help in ways that are impossible to overstate. Parents volunteer in local classrooms. PTA members play invaluable roles at every school. Relatives and friends support fundraisers, and neighbors pitch in at every turn, attending sports events, concerts and plays. That support means so much to the young people who witness it every day and see firsthand that the adults around them value what is happening in their classrooms.

I’d also like to thank the local business community, whose strong support of our schools is evident in ways both large and small.

Businesses have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Teachers Network, a program that recognizes outstanding teachers and spreads successful classroom ideas. That program helps make a difference one classroom at a time, and has demonstrated its worth to local students countywide.

Businesses have also contributed to the invaluable Computers for Families program in the South County and Computer Connections program in the North County. These programs provide low-income students with computers, and help erase the digital divide that separates those with access to technology from those without.

Members of local businesses also help serve as mentors, making themselves available for shadow programs. They pitch in with vocational and career programs at local schools, helping prepare young people for the world of work. Many take part in Career Day programs, and in Principal for a Day, which helps them see firsthand the challenges and accomplishments of our schools, and adding their own expertise as support.

Students in today’s classrooms will be tomorrow’s workforce and leaders. The level of support and the range of resources are both extremely impressive and greatly appreciated.

Of course, a tremendous thanks also goes to all the unsung heroes and heroines in classrooms countywide, who make a difference every day in the lives of the children and families they serve. Teachers embody our society’s belief that universal public education is key to meeting the challenges of a changing world. They strive to make every classroom an exciting environment where productive and useful learning can take place, and each student is encouraged to grow and develop according to his or her talents and abilities.

Our teachers reach out to foster the well-being of every student, regardless of ability, motivation, background, race, or beliefs. Teachers also help inspire students to find new directions in life and reach for high levels of achievement. We are thankful for all they do, and for the support from parents, business leaders, and members of the community that is so vital to their ability to succeed.

On behalf of the entire educational system in our county, I offer thanks to members of our community for their support of our classrooms and schools. This is a fitting time to say “thank you” to all whose help is so very valuable.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.

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One Injured in School Bus Crash in Goleta

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Victim transported to hospital with moderate injuries

A Goleta Union School District bus was involved in a collision Thursday that sent one person to hospital with moderate injuries. (Claire Scholl / KEYT News photo)

One person was injured Thursday when a school bus collided with a vehicle on the Patterson Avenue overpass in Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The accident occurred shortly after 8 a.m., and involved a Goleta Union School District bus.

The bus T-boned a vehicle after exiting the southbound offramp from Highway 101, according to California Highway Patrol Dispatch.

The vehicle that was struck was pushed into another vehicle, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

There were one student on the bus at the time of the crash, and neither the driver nor the passenger was hurt.

One person in one of the vehicles suffered moderate injuries, Sadecki said, and was transported to Cottage Hospital.

Patterson Avenue was closed for a time in the area.

The bus was taking one student to Mountain View School, according to the Goleta Union School District. The student was picked up by a parent and taken to school after the accident, Superintendent Bill Banning said. 

The district will be cooperating with the CHP's investigation of the collision and conducting an internal investigation, Banning said. 

"The Goleta Union School District would like to express our deep concern for everyone involved in this morning’s accident involving one of Goleta Union School District’s buses," he said in a statement.

"The facts as I understand them currently are as follows. A bus transporting one GUSD student was involved in a collision with a passenger vehicle  at the intersection of southbound Highway 101 and Patterson Avenue this morning. Two other passenger vehicles were involved. The driver of the car that was struck by the bus was transported to Cottage Hospital for treatment. Her condition is not available at this time, but her injuries are not life-threatening. The bus driver and student passenger were uninjured.

"GUSD  is concerned for the well-being and safety of all children who are transported to and from school each day. We maintain the highest standards of training and professionalism for our transportation employees and recently celebrated 118,412 of safe driving miles for the period of June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014." 

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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Towbes Group Now Pre-Leasing for New Siena Apartments in Santa Maria

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The Towbes Group Inc. is now pre-leasing its newest apartment community, Siena, located in Santa Maria at the convenient corner of Sonya Lane and Westgate Road.

Siena will feature a gated resort-style community with 211 spacious apartments offering both one- and two-bedroom floor plans as well as community amenities such as a resort-style pool and spa, a fitness center, a luxurious clubhouse, an outdoor barbecue area, professional on-site management and a tot lot play area, and selected units will even be pet friendly.

“We are excited to bring new apartments to Santa Maria plus expand on The Towbes brand, which people have really come to love,” said Danell Dunlap, senior community manager of Siena Apartments. “The resident feedback for our Towbes communities is taken very seriously and we work hard to provide an unparalleled living experience.”

Those looking to rent a home at Siena will have four floor plan types to choose from. All four plan types will feature the same great amenities such as contemporary appliances, private balcony or patio, walk-in closets, energy efficient gas stove, washer/dryer hookups, ceiling fans, and be high speed data and cable ready. Residents will also have assigned covered parking as well as access to a secondary parking space.

For more information on living at Siena, click here or call 805.357.2550.

The Towbes Group Inc. has proven successful track records in the residential and commercial real estate arena. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, The Towbes Group has extensive expertise in development, construction, investment, and asset management. Widely recognized for delivering excellence across all its products and services, the award-winning fully integrated real estate firm has distinguished itself as not only a trustworthy, innovative organization but also as a vital community member.

Under the leadership of Michael Towbes, the company has developed 6,000 residential units and 1.8 million square feet of commercial properties primarily in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. It manages more than 2 million square feet of commercial space, including offices, light industrial and retail uses, and approximately 2,100 residential units. In addition, it is currently developing new homes and apartments in Santa Maria.

More up to date information can be found by clicking here. The Towbes Group Inc. is located at 21 E. Victoria St., Suite 200 in Santa Barbara.

— Sam Carey is a brand manager for The Towbes Group.

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Prison Parolee Arrested on Carjacking Charges

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Antonino Alexis Hernandez

A prison parolee was arrested Wednesday night after he allegedly tried to car-jack a vehicle in Santa Maria.

Antonino Alexis Hernandez, 30, was arrested at about 8:45 p.m. in the area of Betteravia Road and A Street, according to Sgt. Steve Lopez of the Santa Maria Police Department.

Officers were dispatched to the area on a report of a family disturbance with a possible vehicle theft.

Hernandez allegedly entered a work truck used by a city sub-contractor and attempted to drive off with it, Lopez said.

"The assigned driver of the truck contacted Hernandez and prevented him from driving away, by putting the truck in park," Lopez said. "Hernandez struck the driver and then went after him."

Hernandez eventually was detained by other workers in the area, and was taken into custody by officers.

He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of car-jacking, Lopez said, adding that Hernandez had recently been released from state prison.

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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Chris Robinson Brotherhood Coming to the Lobero Theatre on Nov. 29

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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The Chris Robinson Brotherhood will perform at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29. Tickets are on sale now!

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood is touring in support of its latest release, Phosphorescent Harvest. Praised by Rolling Stone as “at once quirky, trippy, soulful and downright magnetic,” it’s the band’s third long-playing album for Silver Arrow Records. As Robinson declares: "We've created a piece of rock 'n' roll here. People can look to us and rest assured the genre is alive and well.”

The CRB (as they are affectionately known by fans) made an immediate impact upon their boldly unconventional debut in early 2011. They would play close to 50 shows over nine weeks in California before ever leaving the Golden State. In fact, they’d wait until 2012 to truly introduce themselves nationally with the release of two sprawling studio albums: Big Moon Ritual (June 2012) and The Magic Door (September 2012), which presented a freewheeling improvisational chemistry, but with songwriting depth to back it up.

The band — Robinson (lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam Macdougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals) — would further develop their identity as a self-defined “farm to table psychedelic rock band” over a 118-show stretch. Late 2013 saw the fruits of this labor forever captured by legendary tape priestess, Betty Cantor-Jackson (Grateful Dead), on the eight-sided limited-edition vinyl release Betty’s S.F. Blends Volume 1, which documented a glorious five night run the previous December at San Francisco’s famed Great American Music Hall.

Only momentarily content with their auspicious rise, the Brotherhood reconvened with producer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks, Devendra Banhart) shortly thereafter to record yet another set of 10 songs that would become the 2014 release, Phosphorescent Harvest.

Where Robinson had been the primary instigator behind the 14 compositions that populated the band’s first two releases, this latest effort documents his burgeoning songwriting partnership with Casal. It also finds The CRB refining its approach within the studio. The two previous recordings were for all intents and purposes cut live and released as tracked. For Phosphorescent Harvest, the band spent the better part of 2013 crafting a tried and true studio album. For many artists this would imply intentional neutering in the pursuit of commercial upside, but in Robinson and company's hands, it meant utilizing the studio to harness their full sonic vision. Indeed, their expansive sense of space and texture has never been so fully realized until now.

Casal expands on the process: "The approach was get to far out sonically, while retaining a certain focus on the central melody of each song. Psychedelia, sonic density, and expanded arrangements were the order of the day, but the songs are strong. This band is all about musical freedom. Boundary dissolving is our ideal. Boundary dissolving and a good ole’ Saturday night boogie."

In an age when so many put their beliefs in trends, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood is committed to something deeper. In Robinson’s words: "We don't make music that can sell iPads. Our music will not sell you a Prius. I like that. Writing songs has always led me to good things in my life. The songwriting saved me through the dark times, and the songwriting makes it that much sweeter when it’s good. Real success can only come in pursuit of an authentic sound. We’re all very committed to this music, beyond money and egos. That’s a unique place to be."

Don’t miss "An Evening with Chris Robinson Brotherhood" at the Lobero Theatre on Nov. 29. Tickets are $28, plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available through the Lobero Theatre box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara or by clicking here. Call 805.963.0761 to charge by phone.

— Jessica Puchli represents Nederlander Concerts.

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SBCC’s CLL Presents Floral Arrangement Show to Benefit Public Art School Programs

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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floral
The Floral Arrangement Show and Marketplace will feature daily floral arranging demonstrations. (SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning photo)

The SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning welcomes the community to view and shop for unique floral displays from Las Floralias and the CLL’s Floral Arrangement Class at the 43rd annual Floral Arrangement Show and Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23 in the Tanahill Auditorium of the SBCC Schott Center, 310 W. Padre in Santa Barbara.

The show, sponsored by the Las Floralias Flower Arrangers of Santa Barbara, will include daily floral arranging demonstrations at 1 p.m.

Succulent wreaths, floral arrangements and calendars will also be available for purchase. All proceeds benefit Public Art School Programs (a $5 donation is suggested).

For more information, email sanroqueflorist@hotmail.com.

Richard Finn, CLL teacher, San Roque Florist owner and member of Las Floralias, will have his work on display. Finn teaches Flower Arranging and Florist Style Designing at CLL. The course teaches students the secrets and techniques of floristry in flowering arranging or western garden style for the home, office, events or competitions. This course will also be offered in the winter term.

Las Floralias Flower Arrangers of Santa Barbara is a flower arranging club with a broad spectrum of members, the majority of whom have taken Flower Arranging classes through the CLL.

CLL fall classes continue through Dec. 13. Winter term class registration opens on Dec. 8, and classes begin on Jan. 12. Classes start throughout the term. Click here for more information.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

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Santa Barbara Dentist Office Offering Free Dental Care on Friday

By | Published on 11/20/2014

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Mountain and Sea Dental at 2780 State St. in Santa Barbara will provide free dental care for those who need it from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21.

"'Dentistry from the Heart' is charity dental help for those who have trouble paying for it,” said Dr. Michael Carley, DDS, at Mountain and Sea Dental.

He said this is done periodically to give back to the community.

Patients are seen by appointment only by calling 805.681.4848.

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Mentally Ill Person in Orange County Sent ‘Suspicious Package’ to Santa Barbara Police

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The suspicious package and letters sent to the Santa Barbara Police Department on Tuesday were sent by a person with mental health issues in Orange County, authorities said Wednesday.

SBPD’s annex building at 222 E. Anapamu St. was evacuated Tuesday afternoon during a six-hour hazardous materials investigation of a suspicious liquid delivered in the mail. It was determined not to be dangerous.

The correspondence that came with the package, and the letter sent the previous week, made references to a terrorist figure and poisonings, Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

The mail was sent to a SBPD detective.

Hazmat crews place a suspicious item sent to a Santa Barbara police detective into a bucket for examination Tuesday afternoon. It was found not to be dangerous. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

With help from the Tustin Police Department in Orange County, where the package was mailed, local police identified the person responsible for sending the package and letter, Harwood said.

“We believe that these are the doings of someone who in mentally ill, so as far as we’re concerned this investigation is closed," he said. "We’re not looking at this as a criminal issue.”

Police won’t elaborate on the liquid sent in the mail, but Harwood said it was a common chemical substance not a hazardous material.

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

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For Young Santa Barbara Family, Habitat for Humanity Provides a New Place to Call Home

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Project on East Canon Perdido Street turns dream of ownership into reality for Pablo Guerrero, Maria Escamilla and their children

[Click here for a related photo gallery]

For Maria Escamilla, the hardest thing about building her home with Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County wasn't lifting heavy beams, working for hundreds of hours on the site, or throwing herself into the numerous jobs that had to be done to make the 12 affordable units of housing come together on Santa Barbara's Eastside.

The hardest thing, she said, was the waiting.

Escamilla and her husband, Pablo Guerrero, applied for one of the units on East Canon Perdido Street in 2012 after hearing about the project from a family member, never suspecting they'd be approved. 

habitat
Pablo Guerrerro works on the site of the affordable-housing development on East Canon Perdido Street in Santa Barbara. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

After hundreds of hours of hard work to build the units along with their neighbors and more than 700 community volunteers, that work finally paid off.

As of Tuesday, the waiting was largely over for Escamilla, Guerrero and their two children, Pablo, 7, and Sophia, 2.

That's when several hundred people gathered to celebrate the completion of the homes, located at 822 and 824 E. Canon Perdido St., that will provide housing for 44 people, including 22 children.

Escamilla and 11 other families gathered to celebrate the completion of the homes built by them and the more than 700 community volunteers who filtered in and out of the site on Santa Barbara's Eastside for over a year.

"I can't believe it," Escamilla said, looking around her new kitchen Tuesday, adding that she never expected to own a home in Santa Barbara.

Guerrero installs cabinets for a living, and Escamilla works part-time at Santa Barbara City College while studying accounting there.

The new space is more than double the size of the couple's current home off of San Pascual Street, where the family of four and Escamilla's mother all share a two-bedroom apartment.

It's tight quarters for the family, and traffic in the area is also a concern, as the children play outside and ride bikes in the area.

Now, both children have a small patio to play in — where 8-year-old Pablo has already planned to put a small basketball hoop — and an off-street driveway that will no doubt become a haven for the children living in the units.

"It's so much safer," Escamilla said. "We're going to have good neighbors we can trust."

Families like Escamilla and Guerrero's were selected for the homes based on their level of need, willingness to partner with the organization to build their new home and ability to pay a zero-interest mortgage. The mortgage payment won't exceed 35 percent of their income.

The homes won't be able to be sold at market value for 90 years, and will stay under affordable housing restrictions until then.

The families also have to go through myriad classes, working to educate them about finances and homeownership.

Last May, in the basement of the Grace Lutheran Church, Escamilla shared the couple's life story with a class of about 50 people, which included their soon-to-be neighbors and their mentors. The class was translated into Spanish for many of the homeowners.

That class topic was on taxes and insurance, and before class began, each family was asked to turn in their "sweat equity" hours, a tally of how much time they'd spent at the work site working on their homes. Each family is asked to put in 250 hours of sweat equity, building their home and the homes of the others in the complex.

habitat
Families gather Tuesday to cut the ribbon on the new Eastside homes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Each family was also asked to share their personal story, and Escamilla shared that both she and Guerrero are from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Escamilla moved to Santa Barbara in fifth grade with her family from Mexico, and went to school locally, graduating from Santa Barbara High School. Her parents decided to move back to Mexico that year, where she met her Pablo, and the two were married in 2005 and returned to Santa Barbara.

With two children in first grade and preschool, Escamilla explained that the home would place them on solid footing.

"We're hoping to provide them a better life," she told the class.

The last work day on the units were in September, and Jon Peterson, Habitat's CEO, celebrated the end of the wait.

"We were able to persevere and get to this day," he said Tuesday..

habitat
Sophia and brother Pablo ride bikes outside their current home. Their mother, Maria Escamilla, says she worries about high traffic in the Westside neighborhood near the home, which is becoming more of a concern as the children become more active. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Peterson said the organization is already looking forward, and two pieces of land have been donated to the organization in Carpinteria, enough space to house another 10 people.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider also welcomed the families on Tuesday, stating that the homes are in a transitional neighborhood currently seeing a renaissance. As for the people who will live there, "their lives are going to be immeasurably improved," she said.

The couple's mentor, Roberta Wilson, handed off the home's keys to Escamilla, who opened it up to the public to view. 

Her two children ran excitedly from room to room, and Escamilla took in her new home, recalling how small the footprint seemed as they were building.

Seeing the finished product, though, is different, and the home seemed much bigger than she expected, she said, recalling the work they put in as a family.

Pablo was able to use his expertise to install the home's cabinets as well as those of five other families in the units, Escamilla said.

The building inspections are imminent, and the family hopes to be in their new home by Thanksgiving.

"We were blessed to be a part of this," Escamilla said.

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

habitat
The family's Habitat mentor, Roberta Wilson, hands Maria Escamilla the key to her home for the first time on Tuesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

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Santa Barbara Museum of Art Plans Rooftop Garden, 4th Floor with $50 Million Expansion

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara Planning Commission will consider the 8,000-square-foot development plan at Thursday's meeting

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art wants to build a rooftop garden with a terrace and pavilion, creating a fourth floor as part of a $50 million, 8,000-square-foot expansion of its downtown building.

Museum officials are scheduled to go before the Santa Barbara Planning Commission on Thursday seeking approval for its development plan. The museum last week erected story poles to show the scope of the expansion, which would reach as high as 59 feet. 

The cost of the project is expected to reach $50 million, including $8 million to establish an endowment for future upkeep of the facilities. The museum, which currently includes galleries, a museum store, a cafe, an auditorium, a library and a children's area, is one of Santa Barbara's most prominent destinations for locals and tourists. 

"Some of our gallery space occupies a structure that is more than 100 years old," museum director Larry Feinberg said in an email to Noozhawk. "So, due to the age of the building and normal wear, the museum faces some critical needs."

Feinberg pointed out that the project calls for seismic reinforcements of the masonry walls, system upgrades and new air conditioning to preserve and protect art work.

In addition, the project includes a new art receiving facility on Anapamu Street with a freight elevator and a hydraulic lift. Currently, art is delivered from a truck onto a forklift.

The museum plans to remove two coast live oak trees to make room of the new portions of the building. One of those trees will be replaced on site, while the museum will plant two oak trees off site at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

The museum moved into the building at 1130 State St. in 1940, before which it was home to the U.S. Post Office. Since 1942, the museum underwent six major expansions. The property is currently owned by Santa Barbara County.

Two basement levels currently used for storage, electrical and phone equipment would be reconfigured for administrative office and conference room use with the expansion plans. The museum's gift show and cafe would be be reconfigured on the lower level. The main level would be redesigned to include a new children's gallery. 

Plans for the museum's expansion include a fourth floor and rooftop terrace. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

"This renovation not only addresses immediate needs of the facility, it also allows us to enhance the efficiency and security of art delivery, movement, and storage," Feinberg said. 

Plans include new gallery space on the upper levels and an 800-square-foot pavilion on the roof, which would boost the building height to 59 feet from the area of 47 to 49 feet. 

The new pavilion is designed so that nonprofits could hold events on the roof, which would be serviced by an elevator. 

Increasing gallery space will allow the museum to display more of its works because "only a fraction" can be on display at any one time, according to the museum. 

Museum officials said the collection spans "more than 5,000 years of human creativity and includes classical antiquities rivaled in the West only by the J. Paul Getty Museum."

"The proposed project will improve the museum's ability to continue to serve the community and contribute positively to people's life experiences," said Trish Allen of Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services Inc., the company representing the museum through the planning process. 

Feinberg said the improvements will help the museum "provide cultural inspiration for generations to come."

The museum holds more than 28,000 objects in its collection. About 33 percent of the visitors are from Santa Barbara County; 10 percent from Ventura County; 17 percent from Los Angeles; 15 percent from Northern California; 5 percent from San Diego and 20 percent from out of state, according to data provided by the museum. 

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St. 

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

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Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against City of Santa Barbara Over Police Press Conference

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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A Santa Barbara court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by 10 people against the City of Santa Barbara and its Police Department for allegedly unfairly smearing their names during a gang-related press conference last year.

The slander and libel suit was dismissed Tuesday, adhering to a city-made motion that the Santa Barbara Police Department, police public information officer Sgt. Riley Harwood and Police Chief Cam Sanchez were exercising First Amendment freedom of speech rights during a news conference touting the department's gang-suppression efforts last November.

Police hosted the media event to highlight successes of “Operation Falling Dawn,” which resulted in 68 arrests — a majority of which police said were gang members or associates.

Authorities said those arrested were responsible for 322 offenses, more than half of them felonies.

Whittier-based attorney James Segall-Gutierrez filed the complaint in August 2013, listing 10 people and accusing the city and Police Department of negligence, slander and libel.

Late Wednesday, the city announced that the Santa Barbara County Superior Court had granted the city’s Anti-SLAPP motion, dismissing a lawsuit brought by Joseph Castaneda and nine other individual plaintiffs.  

An Anti-SLAPP motion, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, allows the court to dismiss a suit in early states if the complaint centers on a defendant exercising First Amendment rights.

“In this regard, the court recognized that ‘criminal gang activity and police operations to suppress criminal gang activity are matters in which the public is interested,'" the city stated in its announcement.

The dismissal without leave to amend awards the city its attorney fees.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne could not be reached for comment late Wednesday, but he previously told Noozhawk the lawsuit was too broad and needed to include more information about exactly what the city or police had done wrong.

Segall-Gutierrez did not respond to multiple requests for comment, either.

The complaint alleged the press conference was an attempt to support the need for a gang injunction, and that injunction was denied by a judge in part because the criteria for gang-related activity was not specific enough.

Plaintiffs listed in the suit are Joseph Castaneda, David Andres Castro, Marci Andrea Estrada, Adriana Marisol Guerrero, Jessica Aguirre Perez and Sergio Sanchez, who previously filed suit in January; and Jason Hernandez, Ruben Rodriguez, Albert Sanchez and Junior Frank Drew.

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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Cinema in Focus: ‘Beyond the Lights’

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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3 Stars — Troubling

Parents’ ambitions for their children often hurt their relationships and damage their identities. Thinking that they are helping their children succeed, their love can be eclipsed by the high expectations placed upon the children, and their highest priorities are placed upon the achievement of goals that were never agreed upon by their children nor modified in ways that allow those children to have a voice. The result is an even more complex parent-child relationship that comes to a head when the child comes of age.

It is this complex relationship that is the theme of Beyond the Lights, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

The two young people whose parents have ambitions for them are Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw as an adult and India Jean-Jacques at 10) and Kaz (Nate Parker). Noni’s mother, Macy Jean (Minnie Driver), had Noni when she was a teenager and desperately needed to prove everyone wrong about her inability to care for herself and her daughter. Kaz’s father, Capt. Nicol (Danny Glover), wanted his son to achieve a greater level than he had achieved by being a police captain. Both are consumed by their adult children’s futures.

The plot thickens when Kaz saves Noni’s life in an experience that brings their two lives together. It occurs in a way that would be a spoiler, so we won’t divulge it, but it is their mutual ability to see the other as they really are, and not as who their parents are trying to make them, that bonds them as they begin to take a more active role in shaping their own futures.

One of the interesting things about the tale is that both Kaz and Noni are people trying to live lives of integrity to their own identity. This is difficult in any person’s life, but it is all the more difficult when parents try to make you someone you are not. We see this most glaringly when Noni, a talented singer and beautiful young woman with a natural modesty, is manipulated to be overly revealing and sexualized not only by her record label but by her own mother as well. In a similar way, Kaz’s father is more concerned with a possible political career for his son than he is his happiness when he tells him that Noni is “not first lady material.”

From the Little League dad to the stage mother to the political patriarch to the pastor’s kid, these cliché relationships downplay the complexity of a parent’s ambition for their child, as it is not easy to identify or navigate. This troubling film shows how parental ambitions can have devastating effects on both the children they are so invested in and the careers they are trying to promote at all costs.

Discussion

» The natural musical talent that Noni demonstrated at the age of 9 months was a gift. How do you think a parent should help a child develop a natural gift? What is the limit to a parent’s involvement? Why do you answer as you do?

» The decision by Noni and Kaz to pursue their dreams in their own way allows them to also love who they will. Have you ever been told who you can love and who you cannot? How did you respond?

» When Kaz defended Noni from the on-stage harassment of Kid Culprit (Richard Colson Baker), he was protecting her right to her own modesty. How can we protect performers from being manipulated or harassed into something that makes them uncomfortable but directors and audiences want it and pressure them into it?

— 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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Six Physicians Join Sansum Clinic Medical Staff

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Grace Park
Dr. Grace Park

Sansum Clinic announced the addition of six new physicians to the medical staff.

“Sansum Clinic has a long history of recruiting the best and the brightest physicians from across the nation, and we are pleased to welcome these highly accomplished physicians to the clinic,” said Kurt Ransohoff, M.D., CEO and chief medical officer of Sansum Clinic.

Grace Park, M.D., Internal Medicine, Pueblo Multi-Specialty Clinic
317 W. Pueblo St., Santa Barbara

Dr. Park recently joined Sansum's Internal Medicine department at 317 W. Pueblo St.

She earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and completed her internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.

Dr. Park was also a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.

Ryan Fante, M.D., Ophthalmology, Foothill Eye Center
4151 Foothill Road, Santa Barbara

Dr. Fante joined the Ophthalmology department at the new Sansum Clinic Foothill Eye Center on Foothill Road.

Ryan Fante
Dr. Ryan Fante

Dr. Fante received his medical degree from the University of Colorado-Denver School of Medicine. He completed his internship at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and his residency at the University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor.

Nicole Stern, M.D., Urgent Care, Hitchcock and Lompoc Urgent Care and Multi-Specialty Clinic
51 Hitchcock Way, Santa Barbara
1225 North H. St., Lompoc

Dr. Stern joined the Urgent Care department, working out of both the Hitchcock Way and Lompoc Urgent Care facilities.

She earned her medical degree from the University of Arizona where she went on to complete her internship and internal medicine residency. Dr. Stern then went on to complete a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Timothy West
Dr. Timothy West

Timothy West, M.D., Neurology, Pueblo Multi-Specialty Clinic
317 W. Pueblo St., Santa Barbara

Dr. West recently joined the Neurology department at 317 W. Pueblo St.

He earned his medical degree from the University of San Francisco, where he went on to complete his internal medicine internship and neurology residency.

Dr. West was also a clinical fellow/instructor at the University of California San Francisco Multiple Sclerosis Center and his interests include Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroimmunology, Transverse Myelitis, Neurosarcoidosis and Neuromyelitis Optica.

Liana Gonzalez
Dr. Liana Gonzalez

Liana Gonzalez, M.D., Internal Medicine, Pesetas Multi-Specialty Clinic
215 Pesetas Lane, Santa Barbara

Dr. Gonzalez recently joined the Internal Medicine department at 215 Pesetas Lane.

She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she went on to complete both her internship and residency in internal medicine.

Beth Prinz, M.D., Internal Medicine, Pesetas Multi-Specialty Group
215 Pesetas Lane, Santa Barbara

Beth Prinz
Dr. Beth Prinz

Dr. Prinz joins the Internal Medicine department at 215 Pesetas Lane.

She earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and completed both her internship and internal medicine residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York, N.Y.

Since its founding in 1921, Sansum Clinic has been improving the overall health of our patients by providing the latest innovations in equipment, technology, procedures and treatments. Sansum Clinic is the largest independent nonprofit healthcare organization between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 180 affiliated physicians, Sansum Clinic provides the full spectrum of healthcare services, from primary care to more than 30 specialties. Sansum Clinic serves more than 150,000 patients (600,000 visits) annually at our 23 patient care facilities in south Santa Barbara County. Click here for more information.

— Liz Baker is a marketing coordinator for Sansum Clinic.

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Jim Hightower: Amazon.com Crushes Main Street, Threatens the Vitality of Communities

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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It's that time of year — the Thanksgiving holiday will be here soon, and we'll gorge ourselves on turkey. And then we'll get to celebrate black Friday (the frenzy-filled shopping Friday right after Thanksgiving, which has actually encroached on Thanksgiving in recent years) and cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving when retail marketers encourage us to shop online). And, if we're shopping online, odds are good that we'll shop on Amazon.com. Maybe we should rethink that.

Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. He has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken and even kill off retail competitors — from giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart to hundreds of small Main Street shops.

If you think "predator" is too harsh a term, consider the metaphor that Bezos chose when explaining how to approach small book publishers to make them cough up ever-deeper discounts: Stalk them "the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle."

Amazon's zip-zip, direct-to-customer Internet business structure ripped right through the segmented system of publishers, wholesalers, distributors, bookstores and big-box retailers — and quickly became a monopolistic powerhouse. Today, this one corporation sells a stunning 40 percent of all new books, up from 12 percent five years ago.

With his market clout, deep-pocket financing and ferocious price-cutting, Bezos has forced hundreds of America's independent bookstores to close, which depletes the economic and cultural vitality of the communities they served. The online carnivore has also devastated the haughty superstore book chains that only a short time ago preyed on the local independents and dominated the market. Borders, the second-largest chain, couldn't keep up with Amazon's pace, succumbing to bankruptcy in 2011. Now, Barnes & Noble, the largest brick-and-mortar bookstore, is stumbling.

But it's not just books, for Bezos has laid siege to the market for nearly all consumer products — and to America's business culture itself, stripping out every value except efficiency and price. From A to Z — appliances to zucchini — Amazon really has become the "everything" store. As a result, books now make up a mere 7 percent of Amazon's total business.

Its explosive sales growth in recent years has come from Bezos' realization that his cheetah business model could be applied to any number of product categories being sold in neighborhood shops and suburban malls. Quietly but quickly, he has been poaching millions of customers from those retailers, captivating them with the same dazzling, deeply discounted prices he used to conquer and remake the book business.

Without actually "being" anywhere and without hiring any sales clerks, Amazon is now a top seller of such consumer goods as baby products, jewelry, groceries, sports equipment, cosmetics, auto parts, pet supplies, luggage, kitchen gadgets, musical instruments, garden tools, etc.

Central to the business plan that Bezos drew up in 1994 was a loophole he'd found in a Supreme Court ruling just two years earlier: If a retailer has no physical presence in a state, it need not collect sales taxes. So, he has emphatically insisted from the start that Amazon's only facility is its headquarters in Washington state. Up until recently, Amazon was not collecting sales tax in 49 states (21 states have now closed the "Amazon loophole").

To understand that impact of not paying sales taxes, let's look at my home state of Texas, where the sales tax rate is 8.15 percent. By claiming to be exempt, Amazon gets a price subsidy of more than eight cents on every dollar of its sales — more than the entire profit margin of most independent shops!

Amazon's devious tax ploy has been key to its ability to underprice our hometown retailers, forcing so many of them out of business. But the tax dodge also shortchanges our communities by eliminating billions of dollars in annual tax revenues that cities and states desperately need for schools, infrastructure, parks and other public services.

Amazon's calculated ruthlessness toward employees, suppliers and competitors must be publicly scorned and rejected. This is going to be up to us grassroots folks. We need to let more people know what's going on behind that jazzy website, for Amazon is insidious, far more dangerous and destructive to our culture's essential values of fairness and justice than even Walmart would dream of being.

To support the locally owned businesses in your community, visit the American Independent Business Alliance by clicking here.

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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Homeless Woman Found Dead Near Freeway in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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A local 51-year-old homeless woman was found dead near the State Street northbound offramp of Highway 101 Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.

The death appears to be from natural causes, Santa Barbara police Sgt. Tom Rauch said.

The remains, found near the Five Points Shopping Center, are in an area frequented by homeless people, who often camp in the bushes.

There is no foul play suspected and there is nothing suspicious about the case, Sgt. Riley Harwood said. 

The woman's name is not being released and the case was turned over to the Coroner's Office, he said. 

Police responded to the scene around 2 p.m. 

No further details were available.

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

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San Marcos Marching Band and Dance Guard Qualify for State Championships

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The San Marcos High School Marching Band and Dance Guard have won their third competition of the season, at Moorpark High School.

With the win they have qualified for the SCSBOA Championships in Division 2A. They are one of 12 ensembles that will compete for the Southern California state title and enter as the four seed.

Their show is titled "The Domino Effect" and features the music of Radiohead. This is the 10th straight championship qualification for San Marcos and they have won five of the last nine. If they win this year, it will be their third championship in a row, something that SMHS or any band in Santa Barbara has never accomplished.

"This will be the greatest challenge of the year for San Marcos, and to come away with a medal of any color would be a huge accomplishment," director Michael Kiyoi said. "The students have worked extremely hard since the beginning of June, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will perform well on Saturday.

"We always want to win, but the measurement of success we live by is putting our best effort in. Whatever the outcome will not matter if we do that."

Championships will be held at Ramona High School in Riverside on Saturday, Nov. 22.

If you are interested in donating to the band, you can do so with PayPal smbandboosters@gmail.com or contact Kiyoi at mkiyoi@sbsdk12.org.

— Michael Kiyoi is the director of bands for San Marcos High School.

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Tara Jones: Doug Margerum Has Lived a Vintage Life

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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When I was 14 years old, I was all arms and legs. I awkwardly walked around with all the grace of a baby giraffe.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure the only reason I was asked to join the older girls’ dance company was because the school of dance I attended rented a space from my parents’ commercial building.

I was that awkward, floppy dancer in the back row of all our productions, and my “sophisticated” post-ballet snack was a toasted marshmallow Pop Tart washed down with Sunny D.

When Doug Margerum was 14 years old, he traveled with his parents to southern France and participated in his first barrel tasting at wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which he collected and stored in his bedroom wine rack.

At 19, on break from attending UCSB, Margerum spent his summer in France with his native girlfriend, learning bits about the industry each year, which added to his wine repertoire.

And in 1981, the Margerum family bought the Wine Cask, then a wine store that quickly expanded to include a bistro.

But Margerum’s heart was always in the wine game, and in the years to come he would buy out his family and pursue his dream of winemaking.

Margerum now serves as owner to the Wine Cask Restaurant, with partner Mitchell Sjerven, and Margerum Wines, as well as winemaker for MWC32, Happy Canyon Vineyard, and Jamie Sloan Wines.

Doug Margerum's path to prominent local winemaker started at a young age. (Tara Jones photo)

Margerum Wines serves the flagship wines while MCW32 is a treasure trove of rare and small production wines that are a true reflection of the artistry in Margerum’s ability to create food oriented wines.

The flagship wine, M5, is Margerum’s homage to Chef Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and is a perfect representation of his signature winemaking style that is both bold and delicate with cola and berry notes that are begging to end up on anyone’s Thanksgiving table.

The Uber Syrah, a co-fermentation of four Syrahs, is as rare in taste as it is in vintage.

If one of the Syrahs harvested for the 2011 Margerum Uber Syrah, one of the top shelf wines at MWC32, is not up to Margerum’s standards, the project does not move forward for that year.

The Happy Canyon Valley wines are the heaviest of Margerum’s creations, and are a true find for one who enjoys a rich dining experience.

Jamie Sloan Wines, Margerum’s most recent winemaking project, is where his love affair with wine is most evident.

The 2013 Aloysius Chardonnay, named for Kim Sloan’s father, is absolute perfection.

And perfection is the quintessential blend of creaminess, green apple, and vanilla, with the smell of fresh-baked bread on the nose.

These days Santa Barbara has become the darling of the wine industry, and Margerum is clearly one of the reasons why.

All of the wine tasting rooms mentioned can be found in the historic El Paseo shopping center on De La Guerra and Anacapa Streets.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at tara@eatthisshootthat.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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UCSB Anthropologist Uncovers Issues of Gender Inequality in Archaeology Journals

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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On an archaeology field trip in New Mexico as an undergraduate in 2006, Dana Bardolph noticed something that struck her as an odd gender imbalance: The professor leading the dig was a men, while the graduate assistant and all but two of the 14 undergrads were women.

Dana Bardolph
Dana Bardolph

“And it just got me thinking,” Bardolph recalled. “Is this reflective of the profession as a whole, or is it an anomaly?”

The question stayed with her, and four years ago she decided to search for an answer. Her findings — generated after digging through more than 4,500 peer-reviewed papers in 11 archaeology journals covering a 23-year period — are published in a recent issue of the archaeology journal American Antiquity.

Bardolph, a Ph.D. student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Anthropology, found that female authors are significantly and consistently underrepresented in American archaeology journals. Indeed, although the gender ratio among researchers is roughly equal, in the journals Bardolph surveyed, female authors account for slightly less than 29 percent of articles published.

“I found that there was no significant difference between any of the regions, any of the journals, so it was really a ubiquitous pattern across the study samples,” Bardolph said.

The results, she and researchers familiar with the paper said, have deep implications not just for women in the field but for the direction and substance of archaeology itself. Bardolph argues, based on feminist theory, that the low rates of publication perpetuate a marginalization of female researchers in academia and demonstrate what she called “a pernicious historical bias with regards to the visibility, recognition, presentation and circulation of women’s writing.”

Bardolph’s adviser, Amber VanDerwarker, associate professor of anthropology and director of UCSB’s Integrative Subsistence Laboratory, said the paper has the potential to catalyze a movement toward greater gender equity in publishing and academia.

“It is hugely significant because there have been articles here and there that talk about this issue of gender equity in the field,” she said, “and none of the studies has done this much data collection and analysis; this is the first study of this scale looking at publication rates.”

Among the articles surveyed in the major journals, Bardolph found 71.4 percent were lead-authored by men and 28.6 percent by women. The regional journals revealed nearly identical numbers. In addition, the data were consistent over time.

While the data demonstrated a clear gender bias, what they didn’t show is the source, said Bardolph, whose specialty is paleoethnobotany, a study of the relationship between humans and plants in the past.

The journals don’t track submissions by gender, so there’s no way to tell if men are being favored explicitly, she said. Other studies, however, have found that men submit papers far more often than women do, with equal rejection rates among the genders.

Amber VanDerwarker
Amber VanDerwarker (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

Based on her research, Bardolph said she suspects the bias is likely a result of authorial behavior rather than editorial or reviewer bias. Women, she noted, are more likely to take on “nurturing” roles in academia and accept positions in smaller teaching colleges as opposed to large research universities with their more abundant resources.

“When you have grad students you can collaborate with, you publish more than you would if you were doing everything by yourself,” VanDerwarker said. “I spent a few years at a teaching college just struggling to keep up with the publication record.”

Another potential factor Bardolph noted is more subjective: braving the sometimes-brutal journal submission process. The anonymity of peer reviewers occasionally engenders harsh rejections. And archaeology, which has long been dominated by men, is no exception.

“I think it’s highly plausible that the issue of rejection ¾ and whether you do decide to revise and resubmit or discard the manuscript — has a lot to do with confidence issues,” Bardolph said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that was in fact the case, that perhaps women were revising and resubmitting less often than men.”

For Bardolph, getting academia to acknowledge gender bias is just one step on a long road to equality. “People aren’t really realizing this sort of inequality is still pervasive,” she said. “My real goal is to bring awareness to the issue and to inspire people to delve more deeply into their particular subdisciplines and continue this type of research so we can continue to explore why these inequities perpetuate and think about what we can do about them.”

— Jim Logan represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Hospice of Santa Barbara Receives $15,000 Grant for Youth Bereavement Program

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce a $15,000 Community Expansion Grant from the National Alliance of Grieving Children/New York Life Foundation to support Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Youth Bereavement Program.

The Youth Bereavement Program provides no-cost grief counseling to students in local middle and high schools related to any issues they are experiencing related to the death of a friend or family member.

“We are grateful for the National Alliance of Grieving Children/New York Life Foundation’s investment in our Youth Bereavement Program,” said Tina Fanucchi-Frontado, Hospice of Santa Barbara's acting CEO. “There are more grieving children than most of us realize – one out of 20 children will experience the death of a parent before they graduate from high school while one out of every seven children will face the death of someone close to them. Our work in the schools helps to normalize feelings for these kids who are grieving; to let them know that they aren’t alone and, in fact, there are many other kids experiencing the same kinds of emotions — emotions and feelings that are natural and part of the grieving process.”

As a part of its Youth Bereavement Program, Hospice of Santa Barbara works in six area high schools, including Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School, Carpinteria High School, Rincon High School, and Los Robles High School at Los Prietos. Hospice of Santa Barbara has four counselors assigned to the schools with five hours per week dedicated to each school.

The grant announcement comes in conjunction with Children’s Grief Awareness Day on Nov. 20. Children’s Grief Awareness Day is designed to help people become more aware of the needs of grieving children — and of the benefits they obtain through the support of others. Children’s Grief Awareness Day seeks to bring attention to the fact that often support can make all the difference in the life of a grieving child.

Grief Reach is a partnership between the National Alliance for Grieving Children and the New York Life Foundation. The goal of this partnership is to provide funds to Children's Bereavement Programs to expand the reach of their programs to include underserved youth populations (18 years and younger). The funds for these grants are generously provided by New York Life Foundation and the oversight and RFP process is managed by the National Alliance for Grieving Children. One hundred eleven Grief Reach grants totaling nearly $4 million have been awarded since the program’s inception in 2011.

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

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Steven Crandell: What You Need to Know about Fundraising ... from the Master, Larry Crandell

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Asking for a favor is one of the most important techniques of fundraising. That’s according to an expert who has helped raise an estimated $200 million for nonprofit organizations as a volunteer right here in Santa Barbara.

(Full disclosure: The expert, Larry Crandell, also raised me.)

But perhaps you’re thinking: Why would someone want to do you a favor if they don’t know you or like you yet?

To answer this, we need to state a basic tenet of fundraising: 

Charitable giving is like romance. It has a lot more long-term potential if it starts with a solid relationship.

And that brings us to the key question for all fundraising:

How do you build a relationship that can lead to giving? 

Of course, Larry has the solution:

» Ask potential donors to do you a favor.

» Get them to like what you do by experiencing it in action.

» Then see if there’s a good fit for giving.

A nonprofit organization that provides a painless opportunity for people to be of service also helps those people learn about its work. Before being asked for money, these potential donors have the chance to become involved in the cause. This is good for both the prospective giver and the nonprofit.

But how exactly does Larry manage to pull off this magic trick — to put the favor before the donation?

One of Larry’s first moves when he begins to help a nonprofit is to find out what kind of volunteer support it has — both from its board and from the community. If the nonprofit is new, he looks to how volunteer support can be developed. Then he helps the organization devise ways for potential supporters to do favors for the cause.

A favor might be simply asking for people's time and attention at a free informational breakfast about a new nonprofit or program. It might be a specific project — like recruiting people to help in a soup kitchen. A potential donor might be asked to serve on an advisory board. And many of us have been asked to engage in an activity such as running or walking in a race to support a cause.

But often the best way to involve people is to ask them to share their expertise. The accountant gives her financial insight. A lawyer gives advice on how to approach a legal problem. A construction company director helps build a home for the under-served. You get the idea.

Another effective approach is to ask a potential donor if their loved one might help. A granddaughter sings the national anthem at a nonprofit event. A son or a daughter is asked to apply for a volunteer internship. A spouse is asked to volunteer in an area where he or she already has skills.

And why does this matter to donors?

Philanthropists who support an organization often take on volunteer leadership roles in which they are asked to fundraise in addition to their own giving. In many cases, board members are a nonprofit’s most important fundraisers. A volunteer asking a favor of another potential volunteer is a beautiful and natural way to grow support for an organization.

Of course, nothing can make people give to organizations they don’t like or donate where they feel no connection to the cause. But asking them a favor can establish a relationship and introduce a potential donor not only to an organization but the people it serves.

In this way, strangers become part of the team. And if they feel like part of the team, they may want to help fund that team’s success.

There is nothing like being needed to inspire loyalty. Ask any mother or father.

(Source: Silver Tongue — Secrets of Mr. Santa Barbara)

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

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Jeff Moehlis: Allen Toussaint, Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Serve Up Taste of New Orleans

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Allen Toussaint has left an incredible mark on music over the years.

As a songwriter, he has penned classics like "Working in the Coalmine," "Southern Nights" and "Fortune Teller." As a producer, he has brought his magic touch to noted recordings by the likes of Dr. John, The Meters and Labelle. He has also recorded several acclaimed solo albums, done horn arrangements for The Band and Paul Simon, and has worked with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Lee Dorsey and many, many more. His honors include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and receiving the 2012 National Medal of the Arts.

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, Toussaint and fellow New Orleans legends the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be performing at the Lobero Theatre.

Tickets are almost sold out, but click here to see if any seats open up.

Toussaint graciously took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Noozhawk about the upcoming show. The full interview, including Toussaint's reflections on working with other artists, his thoughts on various cover versions of his songs, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, is available by clicking here.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming show?

Allen Toussaint: I'm with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which is a delightful place to be. They come out and play about 20 to 25 minutes first, without me, then they call me and I join them and they accompany me on some of my songs for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then they leave the stage and I'm out there solo to play a while myself, then I call them back out and we finish the show off. It's very comfortable, and I hope quite entertaining. It's been going very well.

I've even written a song inspired by them, because I was so taken by them when we performed together before. They inspired me to write a song about them, and I do that song each night with them accompanying me. I love this band. It consists of great musicians and they play that music so very well. And they're quite united — they're all in the very same boat.

JM: I've been listening to music that you were involved with for a long time. I'm particularly a big fan of the couple of albums you produced for Dr. John back in the '70s. How far back do you and Dr. John go, and what brought you together for those albums?

AT: We go back as far as when we were 15 and 16 years old. We played in the studio on recordings. He was always the guitar player, and I was the pianist whenever we were together. He was a wonderful guitarist then, and he still is. Of course, even then he played the piano, but never when I was around, because I was always there to play the piano. Whenever I was around with him when we were youngsters he played the guitar. That's how far back we go.

From time to time, over the years, we'd come together. Then, when it was time for the Right Place, Wrong Time album, Jerry Wexler put us together. I thought that was so fitting and proper, because we're from the same part of New Orleans. It was so fitting and proper that I would produce him on Right Place, Wrong Time and Desitively Bonnaroo, which was the second album we did, which I like even better than the first. But the first one outsold the second one so I have to go with the winner.

JM: Dr. John has been a bit secretive about what the phrase Desitively Bonnaroo means. Are you willing to let us in on that?

AT: I do know what it means to us in our locale, but I insist on letting him be the source of information on such a metaphor. He's the master of those things, as a discipline of Professor Longhair like myself. He's always the authoritative source of information for such.

JM: You must've been incredibly busy during the '70s. Around the same time you produced the song "Lady Marmalade." How did that song come together?

AT: I did three albums with Labelle — two with the three ladies and one with just Patti, the first one being the one that "Lady Marmalade" came together on. That was actually written by Kenny Nolan and Bob Crewe. That's the original song. Of course, it sounds a bit different than what we did, because it was in New Orleans and I put on my own touch.

It was a pleasure to have Labelle into the studio because they brought such theater into the laid-back city of New Orleans. It was more magic.

JM: A little bit before that, you did horn arrangements for The Band. I'm particularly curious about the Rock of Ages album, the live one. I understand that there's a story behind that involving lost luggage. Can you tell about what happened there?

AT: Oh yes, that's an accurate story. They sent the tracks to me in New Orleans, of course before horns, for me to do the arrangements.

And I did all the arrangements in New Orleans, and when I was through and arrived in Manhattan I had one more leg of the trip to get up to Bearsville, around Woodstock. Someone picked up the wrong bag in the airport, and that was the bag with my arrangements.  Whatever bag they left was exactly like the one they picked up, so it was an extremely honest mistake.

When I got to Woodstock and opened the bag, I saw all these strange clothes and strange things that had nothing to do with my music, so I had to get to work right away and start writing from scratch. And it was the right thing to do, because I felt so inspired to be writing the music that goes with that area while in that area. They gave me a cottage out in the trees, no other houses around. A cottage full of windows, and I put on a pair of pajamas and spent a couple of days writing these arrangements, and had a wonderful time.

Of course there were some challenging times as well, because my ear got infected for some reason, and I was having a real problem with that. Robbie Robertson and the guys called a doctor who was dressed like Li'l Abner and brought some very interesting medicine to put on my ear, and the next day I was just about perfect. But I had a wonderful time doing it, and it was the right thing to happen. I'm so glad that my bag was stolen, because the final arrangements were done where and what they should have been.

JM: Did the old arrangements ever find their way back to you?

AT: No they didn't. But I sure would like them to someday find their way back, but I'm sure they won't. It may have been important to me, it may have been trash to someone else, a whole lot of something that meant nothing to them. It meant as much to them as their dirty clothes meant to me.

— 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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Six Arrested After Major Altercation at Righetti High in Orcutt

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Campus is placed on lockdown, as was nearby St. Joseph High School; some injuries reported

A student is arrested Wednesday after an altercation at Righetti High School in Orcutt. (Kyler Corral photo)

Six students were arrested Wednesday afternoon after a major altercation broke out at Righetti High School in Orcutt, where multiple law enforcement officers converged on the campus from throughout northern Santa Barbara County.

Emergency radio traffic indicated a fight that occurred shortly after 12:30 p.m. escalated into what units on scene described as a "riot."

The campus was placed on lockdown — as was nearby St. Joseph High School as a precaution— while Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Maria Police Department and other agencies attempted to control the situation, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

There were reports of injuries, but that could not be confirmed. Hoover said no one was hospitalized as a result of the incident.

Those arrested — four males and two females — were taken to Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, and booked on assorted charges, Hoover said.

Those charges include resisting arrest resulting in injury to a deputy, battery on a peace officer, battery on another student on school grounds, assault on a school employee, possession of a knife on school grounds, possession of marijuana on school grounds, and resisting and obstructing officers in the performance of their duties.

The knife reportedly wasn't used in the fight but was found on one of the students afterward, Hoover said.

She confirmed to Noozhawk that a fight broke out shortly after 12:30 p.m., which spawned at least two other fights.

"How it all started is still under investigation," Hoover said. "There's no reason at this time to believe the two different fights were associated with each other."

A school resource deputy was following up on the initial fight, when another fight broke out amid heightened tension, and a large crowd gathered, Hoover said.

Later, she explained in a news release that while school security officers were escorting the students involved in the first fight to the Administration Office, the school resource deputy observed a physical altercation beginning between two other students.

The deputy intervened and was attempting to detain the primary aggressor in that fight, but the student reportedly resisted and struggled with the deputy, causing both to fall to the ground.  

A large crowd gathered and began yelling obscenities at the deputy and throwing food, food containers and bottles at him, so he called for back-up, Hoover said.

The deputy reportedly was struck several times by items thrown at him. School security officers and administrators attempted to hold the crowd back as the students tried to converge on and kick the deputy, Hoover added.

Another deputy in the immediate area responded to the high school campus and received information about the suspects involved in the altercations. When a deputy contacted one of the female suspects and attempted to detain her, she resisted arrest by pulling her arm away and attempting to escape.

"Her friends surrounded the deputy and pushed and hit him," Hoover said a news release. "In the process of defending himself, he shoved the females away and one of the suspects was knocked to the ground."

Additional arrests are expected, Hoover said. Anyone who has information that may be helpful is asked to call the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office at 805.934.6150 or to leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171.

"The investigation is definitely in the beginning stages," Hoover said, adding that deputies will work to identify other students involved in the fights or throwing items at deputies.

In addition to more than a dozen ground units, a county helicopter circled above the campus during much of the incident,  Hoover said.

"The key here was to get the crowd under control, and to establish calm," Hoover said. "The helicopter just aided in being eyes up in the air to see what was happening and to be able to communicate with everyone here if there was anything they needed to know about."

A video posted on Facebook shows several girls in an altercation with a sheriff's deputy, and one eventually is knocked by him to the ground. 

"I do know it was a chaotic scene," Hoover said, adding investigators will review the video.

"It was a very dangerous situation for these deputies," she said.

A school resource deputy and school security guards typically are on campus on a regular basis. The school has an enrollment of approximately 2,150 students, according to the website.

"The law enforcement that are here are definitely outnumbered," Hoover added. "I'm not sure what happened in that instance, but I feel confident that they were reacting to whatever was happening to them."

Parents arrived Wednesday afternoon to find the school locked down. Staff from other schools also showed up for meetings only to find out about the lockdown. 

"As parents this makes us feel good that this many people are keeping us safe," said parent Andrea Kitchen. "I'm happy to know there's no guns."

At about 1:45 p.m., several school buses responded to the campus, and students began being released from school in groups.

For those who are normally picked up, parents were instructed to retrieve their children at the Your Orcutt Youth Organization (YOYO) Hall in the 700 block of East Foster Road.

By the time they were released, students had seen the video, with one calling it "ruthless."

Many of the students were smiling as they left campus, unfazed by the lockdown and amazed by the number of law enforcement vehicles on and near their campus as parents and school neighbors milled around.  

"I wasn't scared," said Jacob VanMarkhoven, a junior.

"I just think it's ridiculous," added Eric Alvarez, a junior. "The more cops that came, the worse it got."

But not all students agreed.

"I think it's stupid they're blaming the cop," said Christina Jenne, an 11th-grader. "If he saw something, he had to handle it." 

Righetti also was locked down on Oct. 24 after a fight between two students escalated into a larger altercation.

Officials with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District issued a statement about Wednesday's incident, saying, "A disturbance at Ernest Righetti High School that led to a lockdown today started with a fight between two female students. A second fight between two male students then ensued. During the lunchtime fights, food was thrown.

"A SRO (School Resource Officer) was struck by food and requested backup.

"Law enforcement officials responded and quickly restored order. Students were released early to de-escalate the situation."

District officials said school will be in regular session on Thursday. "Security will be increased and those responsible will be disciplined," the district statement said.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene.

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

School buses were dispatched to Righetti High School in Orcutt Wednesday after a major altercation broke out on campus. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Jim Glines Retiring as CEO of Community Bank of Santa Maria

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Community Bank of Santa Maria has announced that James Glines plans to retire as chief executive officer on Dec. 31.

Glines was co-founder and the original president and chief executive officer of the bank when it opened for business on March 1, 2001. He successfully led the bank from de novo status in 2000, to opening with one branch in 2001, to a three-branch operation with over $200 million in assets today.

Although retiring as chief executive officer, Glines will remain active in the bank and will be appointed chairman of the board effective Jan. 1. He will retain a desk in the bank and continue to work in marketing, business development and community relations. He will also be available to mentor young bankers in their career development.

The bank’s current chairman of the board, William Hares, will be retiring on Dec. 31. Also a co-founder of the bank, Hares was the original chairman of the board when the bank opened on March 1, 2001. He served in that capacity since formation in 2000 through today. He will continue to serve on the bank’s Board of Directors as chairman emeritus and chairman of the Executive Committee.

The bank’s current president and chief operating officer, Janet Silveria, will be appointed chief executive officer, replacing Glines effective Jan. 1. She started with Community Bank of Santa Maria during its formation in 2000. She originally served as the bank’s chief financial officer and was appointed president and a member of the Board of Directors in August 2012.

Silveria attended Mount San Antonio College and Allan Hancock College, and is a graduate of Western States Banking School in Reno and Pacific Coast Graduate Banking School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She is a distinguished past president of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Maria, current treasurer for Kiwanis for Kids Inc., and currently serves on that board. She also is a member of the Board of Directors of VTC Enterprises and Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. She proudly volunteers for CASA of Santa Barbara County as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Silveria was awarded a Silver Dunlap from Kiwanis International, and has been named in the Pacific Coast Business Times’ "Top 50 Women in Business" in 2013 and 2014.

She took up residence in Santa Maria in 1983, when she went to work for Hares and Glines at the Bank of Santa Maria. The three veteran bankers have worked together for over 30 years.

“That won’t change,” Silveria said. “I look forward to receiving continued guidance and support from Jim and Bill.”

Silveria emphasizes that she will be following the business plan developed for the bank during its formation, because she helped construct it.

“The succession at Community Bank of Santa Maria is the result of long-term planning by the bank’s board," Glines said. "This was not an abrupt move; it was handled carefully over several years.”

With all three bankers retaining executive positions at Community Bank of Santa Maria, it is expected they will continue to act in a cohesive fashion, resulting in consistent strategies for the bank.

— D.C. Carter is a publicist representing Community Bank of Santa Maria.

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Sansum Clinic, SEE International Provide Free Eye Exams to Veterans, Children and Uninsured

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Many in our community got their first look at the new Sansum Clinic Eye Center at 4151 Foothill Road in Santa Barbara, as Sansum Clinic partnered with Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International to provide free eye exams to veterans, children and uninsured individuals in honor of Veterans Day.

Sansum Clinic’s board-certified ophthalmologists, Drs. Mark Silverberg, Toni Meyers, Ryan Fante and Bret Simon, OD, were joined by more than 30 staff and volunteers who donated their services and time to provide this important care to our community.

Those in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to receive the free eye exams, which included vision tests and eyeglass prescriptions, as well as tests for cataracts and glaucoma. Patients in need of new glasses received a voucher for free prescription glasses at the Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory.

Those who were not able to be seen at this clinic were given information to attend other free vision testing clinics sponsored by SEE International.

— Liz Baker is a marketing coordinator for Sansum Clinic.

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San Marcos AAPLE Academy Launches Cyber-Tutorial Program at Underserved Elementary Schools

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment (AAPLE) at San Marcos High School has expanded its tutoring program to reach four underserved elementary schools in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

It has taken nearly two years to launch this initiative, which hopes to reach 40 to 60 students weekly via online support in the subjects of reading, vocabulary, oral fluency and math.

“Elementary school students will be paired with an AAPLE Academy freshman, sophomore or junior on a regular basis to ensure consistency and an ongoing connection,” said Erik Nielsen, director of the AAPLE Academy.

Nielsen said he conceived of the program because he recognized a need at the elementary school level to support students, particularly those for whom English is a second language.

“Having older kids helping younger students reflects AAPLE’s core mission of instilling leadership and community service skills in our scholars," he said. "We also hope that we are helping to better prepare future AAPLE Academy applicants.”

The tutoring program, which was made possible by support from the Mosher Foundation, is becoming a signature leadership endeavor of the AAPLE Academy. It started two years ago on a small scale with several high school students coaching Vieja Valley’s fourth-grade Math Superbowl team. The team went on to win the 2012 South Coast Math Superbowl competition. Last year AAPLE Academy students coached all, three Math Superbowl teams at Vieja Valley with one of these teams again winning first place in the county competition. In addition to math, AAPLE tutors taught reading weekly and added Adams Elementary School to its roster last year.

“In an effort to reach more students more efficiently, we created a cyber-tutorial program this year,” explains Dr. Sharon Goldberg, who chairs the AAPLE community service committee.

Using iPads at San Marcos High and laptops at Vieja Valley, Hollister, Adams and El Camino elementary schools, students will utilize an internet platform linked to the AAPLE Academy website. Parent volunteers at San Marcos High and teachers at participating schools will proctor tutoring sessions. In addition, AAPLE tutors will receive instructive training educating them on effective teaching techniques for various age groups.

Nielsen explains that when his academy students tutor, they also learn.

“Tutoring the elementary-school-aged students teaches our academy students how to be effective leaders and better communicators — skills that are vital to success in many career endeavors,” Nielsen said.

Instilling a sense of responsibility to the community is also integral to the leadership aspect of the AAPLE Academy.

Now in its fifth year, the Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment at San Marcos High School is designed to offer the most rigorous four-year academic pathway in the county while simultaneously providing hands-on, leadership and service opportunities for a diverse group of the highest achieving students in the district. In addition, the program provides students with a broad spectrum of opportunities to extend and enrich the classroom experience through guest speakers, theater, summer programming and field trips.

Click here for more information.

— Ann Pieramici represents San Marcos High School.

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Pivotal Response Treatment Developed at UCSB Found to Be Effective for Autism Spectrum Disorder

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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When it comes to dealing with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), effective early intervention is key.

“With the large numbers of children now being diagnosed with ASD — one in 68 — it is critical that we find the most effective treatments that will result in the fastest gains in the shortest time,” said Lynn Koegel, clinical director of the Koegel Autism Center and the Broad Center for Asperger Research at UC Santa Barbara.

In a pair of studies recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, pivotal response treatment (PRT) — a protocol developed by autism experts Lynn and Robert Koegel at UCSB — has proved to be effective in giving children with ASD that critical push that will help them as they grow older and require a greater ability to communicate and interact with others. The two studies are the first group-design studies that compare PRT outcomes with those of other available interventions, and demonstrate that PRT results in statistically significant improvements in its outcomes.

“These studies show the effectiveness of PRT in a wide variety of settings and suggest that we can develop much more effective school and home programs when pivotal areas, such as motivation, are incorporated,” Lynn Koegel said.

Based on principles of positive motivation, pivotal response treatment, as the name suggests, finds and targets “pivotal” areas of behavior, the effect of which ripples out into other aspects of a child’s behavior, as opposed to protocols that target and drill individual behaviors and are more time-consuming.

“This results in a much faster, more efficient and cost-effective intervention,” Koegel said. “But most importantly, it speeds up the habilitation process.”

The focus of the research was motivation as the target behavior. Unsurprisingly, a motivated learner is a faster learner in virtually any circumstance. In the case of children with autism, maintaining motivation is particularly important because it enhances the learning those children need to do in the various aspects of their lives, in and out of the classroom. PRT also generates positive feedback for caregivers and teachers.

“In fact, children with ASD will let the parents or teachers know when the teaching isn’t that great by engaging in off-task and disruptive behaviors, but typically developing children — who are more likely to follow social norms — may not,” said Koegel, adding that the PRT protocol can also objectively measure and score the amount and type of responses the child makes.

Additionally, PRT has been found to result in greater levels of the highly sought interaction and connection between parents and teachers and the children with ASD they care for, compared with other available interventions.

“Our research on motivation can help us improve education — through better teaching — for all children,” she said.

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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CHP Begins New SBCAG-Funded Safety Patrols on Highway 166

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The California Highway Patrol will begin new Measure A-funded safety and enforcement patrols on Highway 166 from Highway 1 in Guadalupe to Cuyama.

The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments Board of Directors last month approved the Measure A funds to support these additional CHP patrols on Highway 166.

The Measure A Investment Plan, approved by 79 percent of county voters in 2008, included $3 million for safety improvements on Highway 166. The additional CHP patrols will concentrate on the morning (4:30 to 8:30 a.m.) and evening (3 to 7 p.m.) traffic hours when unsafe and illegal passing maneuvers are most prevalent.

This additional patrol effort, which begins Wednesday, extends a previously very successful Measure A-funded increased enforcement effort on Highway 166 east from Santa Maria to Cuyama. That two-year pilot program resulted in a significant decrease in accidents on Highway 166 through increased CHP presence.

The additional $90,000 in Measure A funds will continue the increased CHP patrol capability on east Highway 166 from Santa Maria to Cuyama and expand it to include west Highway 166 from Santa Maria to Highway 1 in Guadalupe. Increased CHP enforcement has proven to be very successful in addressing unsafe passing and speeding on Highway 166. The extended enforcement program will provide for increased CHP patrol the entire length of Highway 166 through 2016.

“SBCAG is investing Measure A funds to improve safety on Highway 166," SBCAG Executive Director Jim Kemp said. "We’d like to let motorists know there will be increased CHP patrols on Highway 166 to reduce accidents and improve safety. The safest way to travel on this Highway is to follow the speed limit and avoid unsafe passing.”

— Gregg Hart represents the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

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Challenger Little League Baseball Selling Poinsettias to Fund Uniforms, Scholarships

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Challenger Little League is selling poinsettias available in red, white, pink or burgundy. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)

Challenger Little League Division is seeking your help to "gear up" for the upcoming baseball season, starting Feb. 28.

Its annual poinsettia sale is under way, with 100 percent of proceeds going directly toward uniforms and the player scholarship fund so that no child is turned away — everyone plays!

Little League has teams for all abilities. Children and teens with special needs, boys and girls ages 4 through high school (age 22) with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities, play Challenger baseball in Ventura, Carpinteria, Goleta and Lompoc. New this year is the Challenger Senior Division for those age 19 or older.

Six-inch potted poinsettias may be purchased for $10 each by cash, check (made payable to Challengers, P.O. Box 1243, Goleta, CA 93116) or by credit card with purchases online by clicking here. You may phone in an order to 805.681.9165. We may be out on deliveries, so if you do leave a message, please include your name, phone number, address, how many plants you would like and delivery date request.

Current color selection includes red, white, pink or burgundy, while supplies last.

Free delivery will be provided through Dec. 14 between Carpinteria and Goleta with each order.

Donations in any amount appreciated toward our upcoming spring season! A donation receipt will be given to you upon request. We are a 501(c)3 youth sports organization.

Volunteers are always welcome. For more information, click here or email info@gochallengers.org.

Don't forget our Challenger motto: "Same Dream, Same Game." Kids with special needs share the same dreams and desire to be included as any child does.

— Retta Slay represents Little League Challengers.

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Assemblyman Williams Issues Statement on Proposed UC Fee Increase

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, released the following statement regarding the proposed tuition and student fee increases at the University of California of up to 5 percent annually for both undergraduate and graduate students.

"I strongly oppose the fee increase proposed by President Napolitano, and instead I urge the governor to meet with the UC president and legislative leaders to negotiate adequate funding for the UC.

"The prosperity of our state depends on qualified and prepared individuals in our workforce; students alone should not have to carry the financial burden of their education. In order for UC to provide affordable, high-quality education to all students who have earned their spot, we must provide the UC adequate financial resources.

"I have seen unprecedented solidary in my meetings with students, faculty and staff in working toward increased funding from the state. I stand with them and will continue to push the governor and the Legislature to increase funding to our higher education segments.

"Ongoing funding for higher education needs to be prioritized. We should not be forced to choose between increased fees and reduced quality or access."

Jeannette Sanchez is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team Holding Recruitment Meeting Thursday

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team is holding its final recruitment meeting of the year at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20 at 66 S. San Antonio Road.

If you are interested in joining the team and being a part of saving lives and giving back to your community in this way, you are encouraged to attend.

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, click here or email join@sbcsar.net.

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

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Pueblo Radiology Medical Group Reaches 4,000th 3D Imaging Patient

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Since installing the only tomosynthesis (3D mammography) imaging unit in the Tri-Counties two years ago, Pueblo Radiology Medical Group recently tested its 4,000th patient using this state-of-the-art technology.

Tomosynthesis, which is a better form of mammography, improves accuracy in detecting breast disease while reducing the number of false positives and follow up examinations. The 3D images, as compared to the 2D images produced by conventional mammography, help radiologists evaluate the overlapping and complex structures of the breast, especially when there is dense breast tissue, according to Dr. Winifred Leung, medical director at Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging.

The other doctors at Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging — an affiliate practice of Pueblo Radiology — using this technology along with Dr. Leung are Dr. Judy Dean and Dr. Laurel Hansch.

“Large, multicenter trials performed in the United States and internationally have found that tomosynthesis reduces false positives by about 40 percent and increases the cancer detection rate by about 25 percent,” said Dr. Dean, senior radiologist at Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging. “Over the past two years, our Santa Barbara office has mirrored these findings.”

Tomosynthesis outperforms conventional mammography by allowing radiologists to see “slices” of the breast. In the 2D images produced by conventional mammography, overlapping breast tissue can simulate a mass or breast cancer. Seeing the thinner “slices” produced through tomosynthesis allows radiologists to see the breast more clearly, according to Dr. Leung.

“Just as digital mammography replaced film-screen mammography in the early 2000s,” Dr. Leung said, “I foresee that tomosynthesis will replace digital mammography within the next 10 years.”

Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging’s tomosynthesis unit is one of the few units in the United States with the added “C-view” software enhancement, which reduces the X-ray dose for tomosynthesis to essentially the same level as a conventional 2D mammogram.

“Patient health and care is our priority,” Dr. Leung said. “By reducing the x-ray dose as much as possible and avoiding unnecessary imaging, we can help protect our patients.”

Pueblo Radiology of Santa Barbara is located at 2320 Bath St., Suite 113. Santa Barbara Women’s imaging, an affiliate practice of Pueblo Radiology, is located at 1525 State St., Suite 102 in Santa Barbara. To contact Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging, call 805.560.8111.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Pueblo Radiology Medical Group.

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Jackie Ruka: The Pre-Holiday Dos and Don’ts to De-Stress

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Stress is a very common factor is today’s busy world. Between long to-do lists, managing daily expenses and juggling multiple roles we play in our lives, it is no surprise that stress consumes Americans.

Jackie Ruka
Jackie Ruka

According to the 2013 Stress in America survey, most adults do not believe they’re doing a good job managing the demands of life. The good news is that stress and anxiety are highly manageable. However, there are several myths related to stress as well as realistic de-stressors.

People have various ideas about what stress is. For example, burn out from work is less about the hours you put in and more about feeling unfulfilled or lack of interest about the work involved in the job.

By proactively managing our stress and well-being, you can begin to intentionally create meaning and pleasure in your life toward a lifestyle that has you feeling excited about the holidays and new year to come.

Take note to common myths and de-stressors to improve well-being: Ready, set, go!

» Don’t wait for a rare opportunity to meet with friends once a year.

» Do create more realistic ways in which to spend quality time with friends more often.

» Don’t buy a gift to fulfill an expectation.

» Do buy or create a personal memento that depicts meaning, purpose and pleasure.

» Don’t forfeit your vacation days until the end of the year.

» Do schedule vacations and commit to taking all of your vacation days to rest and enjoy life outside of your job throughout the year.

» Don’t linger in old patterns that stunt your potential.

» Do choose to focus on what brings you closer to your desires by going beyond your comfort zone and try something new.

» Don’t use holiday food and alcohol as an excuse to cope with your anxiety and stress.

» Do exercise 30 minutes a day to reduce stress, which actually makes you 2.8 years younger.

» Don’t focus negative energy toward what is not working in your life.

» Do practice what you have gratitude for and write it in a journal nightly. Those who keep a gratitude journal have been reported to be healthier.

» Don’t put off your dreams any longer.

» Do take time each day to accomplish a task that brings you closer to your life’s dream.

» Don’t ignore what your body is telling you.

» Do get a good night rest, every night.

» Don’t wait to buy gifts and rush to accomplish holiday tasks at the last minute.

» Do get organized and start holiday tasks and purchases, by a specific date, to avoid holiday traffic and the mad rush.

» Don’t think I must fight stress.

» Do think of healing as the answer.

» Don’t feel you need to isolate yourself when holiday blues occur.

» Do surround yourself with people who lift you up, reach out and fake it to you make it. We have the capacity to re-train our brains by changing the energy we create within ourselves.

— Jackie Ruka is a lifestyle expert who founded the Montecito-based Get Happy Zone personal development organization. She is the author of the action guide Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life, a Toolbox for Rapidly Activating the Life You Desire. Click here to contact her and take her Fearless Quiz online.

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Man, Juveniles Arrested After Armed Robbery of Santa Maria Gas Station

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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Barrientos
Javier Barrientos Jr.

An adult and two juveniles, all of Santa Maria, were arrested early Wednesday after an armed robbery at the Mobil gas station at 1038 E. Main St.

Sgt. Jesus Valle said officers were called to the scene about 3:12 a.m. The victim reported being robbed by two males, one with a gun and one with a knife.

Valle said that an officer responding to the station noticed a suspicious vehicle leaving the general area and that the occupants partially matched the description of the suspects.

A short time later, officers contacted the occupants of the vehicle in the 400 block of Chaparral Street, according to Valle.

Officers recovered stolen items from the robbery as well as a knife inside the vehicle, and a plastic replica firearm was located in the roadway nearby, according to Valle.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were arrested on charges of armed robbery and conspiracy and booked into Santa Maria Juvenile Hall.

Javier Barrientos Jr., 18, was arrested on the same charges and booked into the Santa Barbara County sheriff's substation with bail set at $100,000.

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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Area Agency on Aging Council Calls for Better Protections for Residents in Nursing Facilities

By | Published on 11/19/2014

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The Advisory Council of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging voted at its November meeting to urge that the 2015-16 state budget under development be adjusted to reflect sufficient staff and resources to protect the residents of skilled nursing facilities through adequate and knowledgeable staffing at the state Department of Public Health.

“The Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council reviewed the recent State Audit Report that indicated that the state Department of Public Health had a backlog of nearly 11,000 complaints regarding care in skilled nursing facilities,” said Amy Mallett, chairwoman of the AAA Advisory Council. “The members support efforts to protect these residents, who are our family members and the most vulnerable elderly and disabled.

“It is unacceptable that the state Department of Public Health is allowed to have residents in such a situation. The findings in this report reveal that the state department has failed to meet its responsibilities.

“In addition, the State Audit Report identified numerous other problems and presented recommendations. While adequate funding may be a problem, it is not understandable why this situation has not been investigated and a Plan of Correction implemented.

“The council urges all citizens to contact their state senator or state Assembly person to seek remedy of this situation. We need to be sure that the residents of facilities are not forgotten and allowed to live in situations that are unsafe and unhealthy. Urge your elected official to demand compliance with the Audit Report recommendations.”

For additional information, contact Mallett or AAA Director Joyce Ellen Lippman at 805.925.9554 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is executive director of the Area Agency on Aging.

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Santa Barbara Council Asked to Take a Swing at Budget Deficit for Municipal Golf Course

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The city's three-member Finance Committee disagrees over how to bring the operations back into the black

Santa Barbara officials are trying figure out how to bring the finances for Santa Barbara's Municipal Golf Course's back up to par.

The city's three-member Finance Committee met Tuesday to discuss the course's ongoing budget deficit, and decided to ask the full Santa Barbara City Council to weigh in.

Finance Committee members — Councilmen Gregg Hart, Bendy White and Dale Francisco — differed over how to bring the operations back into the black, but all agreed the course was an asset to the community.

The committee voted 2-1, with Hart dissenting, to send the item before council next month.

Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Director Nancy Rapp told the committee the course has seen fewer people playing, and those who do come play less frequently.

The course operates on a budget of roughly $2 million a year, about 80 percent of which comes from greens fees paid by golfers.

Play has generally declined 3 to 5 percent per year, and is down from over 100,000 rounds in 1990 to 62,500 rounds during the current fiscal year.

The course has been below its policy reserves since 2008, and could exhaust all fund reserves in the next 12 to 18 months, depending on how many people play during that time, Rapp said.

Golf course funding comes from the city's enterprise fund, which means no tax money is used to pay for the course, and only comes from green fees charged to users.

Whether the city's general fund should subsidize the course's shortfall will be up for discussion at next month's council meeting, which will be held on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

The city has been putting off needed maintenance, and took on a $1.3 million debt to renovate the clubhouse and do other improvements.

Because the local golf market is competitive, changing prices at the course isn't necessarily an option, Rapp said.

"It can price us out of the market pretty quickly," she said.

If play stays flat through 2023, the city might be back into a positive situation, but realistically, it is looking at a $100,000 to $500,000 per year subsidy from the general fund, she said.

"The difficult thing is we really don't what to expect with play," she said.

The City Council will have to decide whether to provide a level of subsidy from the general fund or consider an alternate operating model, such as allowing non-city employees to maintain and operate the course, which would cut back on costs.

Fifty percent of the course expenditures go toward salaries and benefits.

The city could contract out maintenance, golf operations, food and beverage costs, or some variation of any of those, which could save anywhere from $180,000 a year to $424,000 a year.

Rapp said other cities are choosing to subsidize their golf courses out of their general funds, and "we think that's appropriate." she said, adding that Los Banos Pool and city tennis courts receive general fund subsidies.

"We are not to the level yet" of talking about closing the course, she said.

Bryant Henson, a marshal of 10 years at the golf course, said that if the city contracted out, maintenance could suffer. 

"The near future is bright," he said, but a cut in service could make facilities degrade.

Rick Salazny, who uses the course once a week, said the course is an asset to the city, but it needs to be operated in a sustainable way.

"It is a good golf course," he said, adding that the city can't afford to have city workers and remain in the black. "It's an extraordinary amount of money spent for maintenance."

Hart said he doesn't feel like the answer is to fully privatize the course, and noted that the course's restaurant, Mulligans, is doing quite well.

Golf was created as an enterprise fund because it was profitable at the time, he said, but that doesn't seem to be the trend any longer.

Hart assured the public that he wants to keep the golf course open, it's just a question of whether to subsidize it.

White said he's optimistic about golf on the course, and that he's interested in the city maintaining substantial control over the facility, though some services could be contracted out. 

"I would like to see this course breaking even," he said. "I don't think it needs to be a revenue generator for the city."

Francisco, who chairs the Finance Committee, said he thinks the golf course can be self-sustaining, and that if a private contractor does displace city workers, "the idea would not be to put these people out on the streets, but find other positions for them in the city."

"The full council is going to have evaluate this and come to a full decision," he said.  

Francisco agreed that the public needs to be consulted before a decision is reached in June during the city's budget sessions.

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 Maria Adopts Watering Restrictions at State’s Direction; Garbage Rate Hikes to Take Effect

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Watering landscaped areas will be prohibited between noon and 4 p.m. under a Stage 1 plan adopted by the Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night, as a result of the statewide drought and not a sign the area’s groundwater basis is drying up.

The council unanimously adopted the resolution to enact the Stage 1 measures of Santa Maria’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

But the watering restriction is a requirement of the state, which in July adopted an emergency water regulation in response to drought conditions. Based on Santa Maria’s adequate water supply, the city submitted an alternative conservation plan, which the state rejected, saying all urban water suppliers had to meet the regulations.

“We actually have a pretty robust water supply,” Rick Sweet, director of the Utilities Department, said, adding that the city’s healthy water supply stems from past decisions and expenses to import approximately 165,000 acre-feet of water into the Santa Maria Valley. “We like to think that we stored that water in the valley and now we’re pumping some of it out, but not really that much.”

He noted that city residents use about 13,500 acre-feet of water annually. An acre-foot of water adds up to 12 inches deep covering an acre, or 326,000 gallons.

Local residents once used 112 gallons per capita each day, but the daily per capita water use now hovers in the high 90s. Both of those numbers are well below the 160 gallons per day per capita when Sweet arrived more than a decade ago.

“The citizens of Santa Maria have responded quite well to the water situation and shown a considerable decrease in their water usage over the last two years,” Sweet said. 

City staff chose to restrict watering between noon and 4 p.m. since that’s when evaporation, sun and winds are the highest and there’s the largest possibility  for waste, according to Sweet.

The restrictions won’t interfere with those watering large areas of turf, such as Allan Hancock College, school districts or city parks, since they don’t water during those hours, Sweet said.

The new rules don’t apply to agricultural users, he added. 

If someone violates the watering restrictions, the focus will be on education, not enforcement, according to Sweet.

Councilman Jack Boysen praised the Santa Maria Valley’s former leaders for taking steps insulate the area from severe drought situations.

“I can’t say enough about the forward-thinking folks back in the 1960s who had the sense to build Twitchell Dam,” Boysen said of the facility built east of Santa Maria to hold water to recharge the groundwater basin.

“We have an amazing resilient groundwater basin,” Sweet said. “It’s a giant sand pile and when you add water to it, it sinks right through into the water basin.”

A single high-water-yield year with good flows into the Twitchell reservoir the Santa Maria basin would recover within a year, he said.

“It’s an amazing basin and we’re very very lucky,” Sweet said. 

Additionally Tuesday night, the City Council took steps to implement garbage collection rate hikes after a public hearing where no one spoke in favor or against the proposed 3 percent boost annually for the next three years.

The increases are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, plus again on the first day of 2016 and 2017.

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

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Lompoc’s New Police Chief Hosts Coffee Sessions to Connect with Community

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Pat Walsh and his staff are also holding meetings at local churches, with the next one scheduled for Thursday evening

Sitting in a local coffee shop, Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh listened to residents air their concerns and exchanged small talk, the first of two sessions planned Tuesday so he could meet members of his new community.

“A lot of traffic issues came up,” he said of the morning South South Coffee Co. session aimed at introducing himself in an informal setting to people and hearing what worries they had about their city.

Not coincidentally, his agency is implementing some traffic enforcement campaigns to deal with drivers who are speeding and not yielding the right of way to pedestrians.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is to let people know when and where we’re working traffic. We’re not out there trying to write tickets,” Walsh said. “We would just like to change behavior.”

For instance, the department recently announced an enforcement effort over the next two weeks in the 1500 to 2200 blocks of North H Street, following an increase in the number of traffic accidents due to speeding and drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front of them. The “three-second rule” is a good measure of a safe distance between vehicles, police added.

“We’re working that pretty hard because we have a lot of accidents in that area,” Walsh said. 

In addition to the smaller coffee sessions, Walsh and other members of his department are holding community meetings at local churches to build partnerships. The next one is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Nazarene Church, 500 E. North Ave.

He plans to hold similar coffee or community sessions monthly.

“How often do you just get to sit down and talk?”

After all, community members play an important role in law enforcement, he added.

“We don’t do anything without the community telling us. … If we don’t hear that then we can’t help,” he said.

One effort involves reaching out to the Latino community through churches to build a better relationship with law enforcement because gang members often threaten residents that if they will be deported if they report crimes.

“They use their status against them to victimize them,” Walsh said. “That’s just not the case. That’s one of the biggest messages we’re sending to these church groups is that if they’re the victim of a crime we’re here to help them and we don’t care about their immigration status.”

Walsh also wants to launch a mentorship program for youngsters being recruited to join the criminal street gangs.

“If we can interrupt those kids it’s pretty powerful. A lot of them just don’t know they don’t have to go into the gang and they just need an adult to say that,” Walsh said, adding Portland has a successful mentorship program.

He came from the Portland Police Bureau, where he worked for 22 years. He replaced Chief Larry Ralston, who retired after seven years with the Lompoc agency, first as captain and later as chief.

Walsh, 52, also spent eight years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He grew up in Camarillo and Lancaster. He and his wife, Catherine, have two grown children and a grandchild.

Since his arrival in northern Santa Barbara County, another off-duty Lompoc police officer was arrested for alleged domestic violence. The incident marked the third arrest of a Lompoc police officer in 2014.

“I take misconduct — on and off duty — very seriously. I’ve been very specific with my staff. They know where I stand so there’s no ambiguity as to how I will deal with misconduct,” he said.

“It’s not systemic. None of these three cases is related to each other,” he said, adding that department leaders have not hidden the arrests. “I think that’s an important point that people forget to look at.”

He also noted his officers quietly do "incredible stuff." For instance, one found out a family needed something for their kids and purchased the item on his own. Another is working to help organize the Toys for Tots drive at the Lompoc Airport on Dec. 13. His staff was “abuzz” by probation officers’ proposal to partner with police to buy gifts for a disadvantaged families this holiday season. 

When he came to Lompoc as an applicant for the agency’s top job, Walsh, an admitted coffee lover, went to South Side Coffee Co., where he recalled encountering friendly strangers who made an impression on the longtime law enforcement officer.

“I love the community,” he said. “They are so friendly. … It’s been that way since I got here. People are just incredibly friendly, incredibly generous.”

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

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Montecito Water District to Ask County for Groundwater Restrictions, OKs Desalination Plant Research

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Feeling the pressure of its limited water supplies, the Montecito Water District board wants Santa Barbara County to stop issuing well permits for the area, saying it compromises the community’s groundwater basin supplies.

There are 550 parcels with private wells within the district, which includes Summerland and Montecito, and the district has no way to measure how much water is being extracted from those wells.

General manager Tom Mosby suggested a letter to county agencies that approve the well permits, since Montecito is unincorporated, asking them to suspend new well permits during the drought, require water measuring devices on wells that come forward to renew permits and give the district a way to monitor the basin water levels.

“We have very little groundwater available and everybody’s putting straws in,” Mosby said.

The Board of Directors unanimously supported the recommendation on Tuesday, saying it was necessary to get a handle on how much water the community actually uses.

It’s asking the county to do what it probably should have been doing all along, director Douglas Morgan said.

There are so many wells because when the board banned new meters added to the district between 1973 and 1997, it led to a wild west of water, where everyone with valuable land built anyway and drilled a private well.

Mosby believes a moratorium on new wells is in order and wants a way for the district to monitor how much water is being sucked out of the district-area basins. There’s no intention to control how much people draw from their wells, just collect data on the usage, he said.

Adding water meters for measuring purposes could be done on a permit-by-permit basis by appropriate county agencies, staff said.

They are specifically asking the county for ways to monitor the groundwater wells and amount of water being extracted from the basins, with water-measuring meter devices installed and easements offered by property owners so private wells can be part of the biannual basin water level testing.

Statewide groundwater regulation legislation could lead to similar monitoring actions, but Montecito’s situation is dire enough to act now, Mosby said.

From the historic highs of 1998, many of the district’s groundwater well levels and water production amounts have dropped significantly in recent years, below the levels of the last bad drought in the late 1980s into early 1990s.

Some are so dry that the district most likely will turn them off and others have an elevation that’s actually below sea level now, according to a staff report.

The district asked for similar terms in 1990 but once it rained, everyone forgot about it, Mosby said.

Ron Blitzer, a representative of the small Lingate Mutual Water Company, said that community is all installing meters and support this action by the district.

“This is critical — not to have water measures is very short-sighted,” he said.

The board also voted to spend $250,000 on the starting steps of pursuing an independent, emergency desalination plant for district use. The seawater-to-potable-water facility would provide more water during the current shortage, and the district staff want to eventually make it a permanent addition to the water supply.

Consultants already created a feasibility report on possible locations for the desalination plant and the seawater intake facility, identifying the district's own headquarters on San Ysidro Road as a potential site.  

On Tuesday, the board voted to have consultants look into the process of permitting an emergency facility, talking to property owners about easements for the potential seawater intake sites and researching whether sub-surface seawater intake is possible in those locations. 

The two intake locations being considered at this point are the former Miramar Hotel property and property in the Santa Barbara Cemetery. An intake at those sites would require an easement from property owners for underground utilities, district staff said. 

Director Morgan voted against the funding, saying the plan was “going overboard.” He objected to doing fieldwork research at the beaches at this point, saying consultants should examine the public data already available. 

People brought up the possibilities of placing the desalination plant on the Montecito Sanitary District site or trying to join the City of Santa Barbara’s plant, as they have in previous public meetings.

The board is still pursuing those options but needs to move as fast as it can to get emergency water, which includes looking at an emergency plant, director Dick Shaikewitz said.

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’s RV Ordinance Soon May Be Modified to Better Define ‘Excessive’

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Santa Barbara police officers could call two or more recreational vehicles parked on city streets an “excessive” amount — and force them to move — if proposed ordinance changes go into effect.

Two notable updates to an RV ordinance the Santa Barbara City Council approved in 2008 were unveiled Tuesday to the city’s Ordinance Committee, including requests to define the term “excessive” and to eliminate “temporary recreational vehicles.”

City counsel Ariel Pierre Calonne said modifications could reduce the level of discretion police officers have to restrict RV parking with the ordinance, which authorized the city to put up “No RV Parking” signs within 500 feet of schools, child-care centers, churches, recreational facilities and more.

Temporary RV describes any automobile that’s equipped for human habitation or sleeping purposes, something Calonne believed could open the city up to litigation, along with continuing without a clear indication of how many RVs was too many.

The city has been sued over the ordinance before, he said, and a recent ruling by a Los Angeles court deemed a similar ordinance too broad, giving police too much discretion.

“That definition is so broad that it could apply to someone driving through town with a sleeping bag in their car,” Calonne said.

He said the city settled a previous lawsuit, the terms of which allow it to forbid RV parking with minimal signage on the waterfront between the bird refuge and Castillo Street.

The committee unanimously voted to eliminate temporary vehicles from the ordinance but split on whether to follow staff’s suggestion to deem three or more RVs excessive.

Committee chair Randy Rowse and City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss voted to adopt an amendment stating “two or more,” while Mayor Pro Tempore Cathy Murillo said three.

The ordinance amendments will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara City Council for introduction and adoption at a future meeting.

During public comment, resident Diane Duncan, who lives on Cliff Drive and owns three adjacent properties there, said the RV trash and safety problem was getting worse, noting how dangerously close RVs were parking to homes and schools.

On any given day, as many as six RVs are parked, she said, sometimes for 10 consecutive days.

“These RVs pose a serious safety threat to being able to see oncoming traffic when pulling onto Cliff Drive,” she said. “I urge your action to resolve this problem.”

The city could soon face another lawsuit for its RV ordinance, this time related to violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not allowing RVs housing people with disabilities to park closer to churches and hospitals, said homeless advocate Peter Marin.

Hotchkiss sympathized with Marin but said the minority dealing drugs or other illegal things was ruining it for everyone. An RV could also lessen property value for someone who purchased a house, he said.

Marin agreed with Hotchkiss’ point that RVs don’t need to be close to schools, but said limiting where they can park caused the clumping.

“Most of the people in RVs are decent people struggling to get by,” he said. “Many are vets. Many solutions are possible, but no one has sat down and figured out what to do.”

Calonne said ADA rules don’t clearly state whether cities must have RV parking near hospitals or schools, adding that 500 feet away shouldn’t be an insurmountable barrier.

He feared prohibiting all parking near schools would prompt a lawsuit, and Murillo shared similar sentiment.

Rowse and Hotchkiss went ahead anyway, voting 2-1 to ask the entire council to consider prohibiting all RV parking near schools.

“These are people’s lives we’re talking about,” Murillo said, noting she would do research before the issue comes before the council.

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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Goleta Council Forms Ad Hoc Committee for Airport Property

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Goleta officials want to keep tabs on Santa Barbara Airport property that is slated to be sold to — and developed by — humanitarian nonprofit Direct Relief International.

The parcel at 6100 Hollister Ave. is technically owned by the City of Santa Barbara but is surrounded on three sides by Goleta, which is why the Goleta City Council voted unanimously Monday to create an ad hoc committee to monitor development plans.

Council members appointed Mayor Michael Bennett and Councilman Tony Vallejo to serve on the Ad Hoc Santa Barbara Airport Support Property Development Review Committee, which will work with airport and Santa Barbara officials to learn more about the parcel’s ownership, development plans and possible alternatives for any adverse effects.

The idea for the committee, which would disband after findings were presented to council, came from Councilman Jim Farr at a meeting last month.

City Manager Michelle Greene said Santa Barbara officials were open to collaboration, wanting to ensure future development didn’t conflict with Goleta’s interests, although a timeframe for how long the committee would exist wasn’t known.

Goleta-based Direct Relief plans to open a new state-of-the-art facility on the land in 2016, replacing the nonprofit’s existing building at 27 S. La Patera Lane and a warehouse across the street.

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to authorize the sale of land north of Hollister Avenue in the airport’s commercial industrial area in September.

Direct Relief pledged to pay a base price of $25 per square foot of land — between $6.5 million and $8.5 million — for 6 to 8.5 acres of the 15-acre parcel, dependent on final development plans.

At first, Councilman Roger Aceves said he was concerned a committee would bypass the council as a whole.

Vallejo described the committee as more “proactive,” one that could touch base with Santa Barbara before a final environmental impact report was released to the public.

“Really, it is in our city, and we’re the one who’s going to have to deal with it,” Vallejo said.

Farr indicated he wanted to serve on the ad hoc committee to advocate for Goleta — since the land was in the heart of the city — but Aceves nominated Bennett and Vallejo because he said he feared Farr would do more than gather information.

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

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Santa Barbara Council to Take Bridge Discussion to Court, Gets Drought Update

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday looked at the status of updating one of the city's most visible bridges and received an update on the drought situation.

The council voted to move forward to take an eminent domain discussion to trial after an agreement could not be reached with a private property owner, an agreement that would allow the Cabrillo Boulevard bridge to be replaced.

The property sits at 13 E. Cabrillo Blvd. and is the site of the former Rusty's Pizza. Because the building is physically attached to the bridge that is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, the building's owner is asking for compensation for the replacement of the restaurant building and compensation for the easements needed to do construction.

When the bridge is reconstructed, the building cannot be rebuilt on the bridge because it would violate federal guidelines.

The project, largely paid for by federal transportation dollars, will cost $26.7 million, and of that, $4.1 million is the city's responsibility.

The city awarded the construction contract in October, and the contractor is on site.

The city has been in negotiations with the property owner since 2009 and had made two offers to the property owner, according to Bruce Beech, an attorney specializing in eminent domain that has been hired by the city. The property owner made a counter-offer, which the city has rejected.

If the matter goes to trial, it would start a year or more from the time the complaint is filed, which is expected to be next week, Beech said.

Steve Amerikaner, attorney for the Castagnola family, which owns the property, said the family understands the need for the project and support it.

"We've come to a point where we have to rely on the court to determine compensation," she said.

The city agreed to move forward to trial with a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Dale Francisco voting against the item.

The council also got an update on the city's drought numbers.

The National Weather Service's forecasts this winter is for a weak El Niño, and the city is "hoping for the best, while planning for the worst," said Joshua Haggmark, the city's acting water resources manager. Even if a strong El Niño were to materialize, it would not end the drought, he said.

City residents are still conserving water, and the city met its target of a 20 percent water reduction in October. As long as the city continues with that level of conservation, it will have enough water to meet its needs for the year, Haggmark said.

The city is also looking to purchase 4,500 acres of water to meet its needs for the next two years, looking for additional supplies until the desal plant is opened.

A possible aquifer in the Goleta Valley was discussed, and the city is looking into talking with that aquifer's owner as a possible source of water for the city, Haggmark said.

A coastal development permit application was submitted for the desalination plant on Oct. 31 to the California Coastal Commission. The facility is expected to open in the summer of 2016.

The COMB pumping project is on standby, "which is a good thing," Haggmark said, and that all cities on the South Coast are conserving, which means less of a draw on Lake Cachuma.

Recent water main breaks were also talked about, and the city has had five main breaks between Halloween and Nov. 6, four water main breaks and one service connection break.

Aging infrastructure and temperature changes sent the pipes over the edge, Haggmark said, and reminded council that the city has about 40 to 60 main breaks a year.

"It is rather high," he said, because of the infrastructure, which has been delayed on repairs because of the drought.

Because pipes have to be filled with water and tested when they are replaced, the city decided to postpone those repairs until after the drought and will be put in place at an accelerated level after, Haggmark said, adding that the water used to test the pipes still exceed that which is lost in the breaks.

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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CSF Students at Santa Maria High Collecting Canned Goods for Foodbank

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Cans of food that offer hope are being collected to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Honors students of the California Scholarship Federation at Santa Maria High School will complete their three-week “Canned Food Drive” on Friday.

The CSF students, who usually collect 700 to 1,000 pounds of food, plan it as a gift to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Foster Road.

The canned goods have been collected from about 35 classrooms and administrative offices on campus.

CSF President Lauren Hunt believes helping others is an important civic duty.

“As a school, we all wish to help our community and encourage others to give back to their community and neighbors," Hunt said. “We hope to donate an ample supply of food goods to the community to ensure good holidays for everyone in Santa Maria. We understand the struggles of our community, and this is one avenue through which we can give back to the community that supports us as a school."

English language development teacher and CSF adviser Suzanne Rocco said students really understand what “giving back” means.

“With the help of students, staff and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, SMHS’ CSF members will help make the upcoming holiday season a little brighter," Rocco said.

In the past, the students have donated the canned food to nonprofit organizations, including Catholic Charities, Good Samaritan, the Woman’s Shelter and SMHS families.

— Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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Casa Dorinda Honors Montecito Firefighters with $2,500 Donation

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Casa Dorinda kicked off the season of giving this year with a $2,500 donation to firefighters and their families on Tuesday with a fire engine ceremony and many thanks from senior residents.

“It is easy to appreciate firefighters in the midst of seasonal fires, because they are so heroic in the face of extreme tragedy," said Ron Schaefer, president and CEO of Casa Dorinda. "On a daily basis, we see their kindness and quick response to a wide variety of everyday situations that we may all face as we age. Our Montecito firefighters are an amazing group of people, and we hope our small contribution helps those firefighters and their families who have given so much serving others.”

“Casa Dorinda is a community benefit organization and a treasure for Montecito," said Chip Hickman, chief of the Montecito Fire Department. "It is gratifying that they chose to honor our firefighters. We are happy to have such a positive working relationship with so many kind people.”

“We really appreciate our community firefighters. They never fail to help us all when we need it most,” said Timm Crull, president of the Montecito Retirement Association’s Resident Council.

— Toby Ayars is a publicist representing Casa Dorinda.

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Gerald Carpenter: CREATE Concert to Serve Up Sampler of Latest Music

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The UCSB program CREATE — the Center for Research in Electronic Arts Technology — is sponsoring a performance event called "Autumn Waveforms" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19 in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (UCSB Music Building).

David Rosenboom, dean of the School of Music at Cal Arts and a double threat as composer and performer, will be headlining the show with a recent work of his for instruments and electronics.

We will also hear the West Coast premiere of Then, a new piece by faculty composer Curtis Roads, who presented its European premiere in Athens in September. Roads acquired the unique sound material of the work by processing electronic pulses through a Studer analog tape recorder in a feedback circuit.

Those who have followed with rapt attention the successive chapters of the Mayan Cycle, the masterpiece in progress by UCSB faculty composer Jeremy Haladyna, will rejoice that this concert will feature the latest installment of the cycle, Maya Zodiac in its eight channel version, which "takes us through the 13 stations of the Mayan zodiac as it clocks heavenly motions taking over 27,000 years." The performance includes recorded vocals and narration by Los Angeles-based soprano Allison Bernal.

Finally, the CREATE Ensemble, led by Matthew Wright, will design and operate an interactive live composition specific to this concert.

Tickets to this concert are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, with UCSB students admitted free.

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

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John Daly: What You Can Learn from Madonna About Mastering Your Brand

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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I’ve been really focused on creating personal images and branding with my students of late. So, when I heard two radio personalities discussing Madonna, I was fascinated to learn that her dominance of the pop genre is the reason that virtually every performer (male and female) puts her on their Top 10 Greatest Talent list. Nowadays Lady Gaga and Beyoncé get all of the attention, but Madonna was the original that these talented artists used for inspiration. She became a master at creating her brand and message and never lost sight of her goals.

This led me to do some research about Madonna and what drove her success. Here’s what I discovered.

Stand for Something

Madonna declared that she stood for freedom of expression, doing what she believed and pursuing her dreams. In business, marketers call “what you stand for” your Unique Selling Proposition. If you aren’t living a defined message, you are dying a slow death. That’s why Madonna has made defining and redefining her message her No. 1 priority for the last 20 years.

Always Deliver

Madonna believed in always holding up her end of the bargain and delivering on her contracts and commitments. She was born in Battle Creek, Mich. Her good, old-fashioned work ethic came from her solidly Midwestern upbringing.

Look around and you’ll see that every superstar (in whatever medium) has a relentless drive to keep delivering. They may not like the hours, but they know that the work is required.

Be Clear About What You Want

Madonna’s negotiating skills are legendary in the recording industry. She once was paid $5 million by Pepsi for a commercial the company never even ran. They got cold feet. No matter — Madonna still got paid. Madonna gets what she wants because she’s been focused on exactly that from Day 1.

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.”
— Madonna

Be a Work in Progress

Have fun with your brand. Once you’ve set your goal, have a blast getting there. Madonna is legendary for changing her image to fit the times and her own personal journey. Early on, critics tried to pigeonhole her as another big-hair pop act. “Like a Virgin” was her response. She’s gone on to tweak her brand image for two decades.

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”
—Madonna

You’ll need to evolve, too. Your core will stay the same, but your tactics will need to change. 

You may have to dial up some part of your personality to make a mark, or abandon a project entirely. Have the wisdom to know what’s important for your brand. And while you’re at it ...

Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Up for Your Beliefs

“Better to live one year as a tiger than a hundred as a sheep.”
— Madonna

The secret to real respect is to absorb criticism, learn from it if that makes sense. Ignore the ones who aren’t your people anyway, and keep moving forward. Remember, if everyone agrees with you, then you might not be saying anything worth talking about.

Conviction, creativity, and hard work, will never lose their appeal — much like Madonna.

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 to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at johnkeyclass@gmail.com. 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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Judy Foreman: Motorcyclist Carlin Dunne Cruises in ‘On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter’

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The hometown rider and dealership owner is featured in the documentary, which offers a modern take on the 1971 original

The movie theaters in downtown Santa Barbara are typically very quiet on Monday nights, unless of course it’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival season. However, on a recent Monday evening, it was a whole different story.

The 7:45 p.m. sold-out screening at The Metro was anything but quiet. Filling every available seat, a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd of motorcycle fans came out for a special screening of the documentary On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, directed by Dana Brown.

It's not my usual choice of movie, you might be thinking from some of my previous column subjects, but after interviewing Carlin Dunne in his Ducati showroom last week for this column, he suggested that seeing the new movie to better understand the motorcycle world would answer all my questions. He was right.

The first On Any Sunday premiered in 1971 and was directed by Brown’s father, Bruce, who also was at the helm of the surfing classic The Endless Summer. The movie gave the viewer an insider look at motorcycle racing, reaching a wide audience with heartfelt stories of real-life riders and earning Bruce Brown an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary film.

Four decades later, his acclaimed filmmaker son, Dana, directs On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, a modern take on the original, capturing what it means to ride in the United States and globally. Shot in 4K Ultra HD, the action and emotion literally take your breath away.

On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter journeys deeper into the humanity and excitement of the motorcycle culture — across disciplines, passion for the race, the love of family and friends, and the thrill of the ride. Like Formula One drivers, motorcycles have their own distinct culture that is brilliantly photographed in the documentary. Cycling has a strong family connection, which was shown onscreen. Most of the featured superstars and their parents started as young daredevils with a strong affinity for cycling on road and off.

One of the featured cast members is my subject for this column — hometown, award-winning motorcycle superstar (and easy on the eye) 31-year-old Carlin Dunne. With a long history locally and professionally, whenever Dunne appeared on screen he got a big reaction (hoots and hollers) from his fans — men and women, families and friends young and older, who all make up the motorcycle culture as depicted in the documentary.

Dunne and his dad, Trevor, also a world champion, own the Ducati and Vespa dealership on Montecito Street in downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Becoming a part of community events, a beautiful large, sleek and shiny showroom features Vespas and Ducatis, which are known as the Ferrari of motorcycles made in Bologna, Italy.

motorcycle
Santa Barbara motorcycle club in the 1930s.

Ducati come out with new models every few years, and are known for their sexy and edgy appeal. They come in all sizes, finishes and prices, ranging from $9,000 to $65,000. They carry the latest new Ducati The Multistrada. The dealership and service department on site also carry a generous selection of clothing and accessories. Even if you don’t ride and just enjoy the fashion culture of motorcycling, this is great place to shop or buy gifts.

Growing up in Ojai, Dunne started riding as a young boy, a story not dissimilar to most of the featured cast members, including Ashley Fiolek, Doug Henry, Robbie Maddison, Marc Marquez, Brad Oxley, Travis Pastrana, Dani Pedrosa, Kenny Roberts, Roland Sands and James Stewart.

With a tour of the showroom ending, Dunne and I discussed the obvious dangers inherit in motorcycling (I am a mother, after all). I mentioned the stress of driving on Highway 101 and the cyclists weaving in and out of traffic. He laughed and acknowledged that there are a lot reckless people who, with their need for speed, don’t make the best choices. The DMV does require a special license for on-road driving, which he agreed was "very important," especially when you can go up to 200 miles an hour on some Ducatis and your only protection from the road and other drivers is a helmet.

"Like other ‘in the moment’ sports like surfing and auto racing, skill, fearlessness and sometimes luck are a part of the culture," Dunne said, "but ask most moto devotees and their love of blowing off steam and the heightened senses and danger and love of adventure outweigh the risk vs. fun factor for most riders.”

Ducati of Santa Barbara is located at 17 W. Montecito St. and can be reached at 805.884.8443.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Lou Cannon: Voters Elect Republicans But Display Independence on Ballot Measures

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Beneath the crest of the mighty wave that carried Republicans to a near high-water mark in the nation’s statehouses, voters in 2014 displayed an independence that ran against the grain of GOP victories.

For Republicans, Nov. 4, 2014, was a banner day. The GOP took control of the Senate, widened its comfortable majority in the House of Representatives, captured 11 state legislative chambers previously controlled by Democrats and won four additional governorships while losing only one.

Republicans now hold both state legislative houses in 30 states, their highest number since the 1920 elections ushered in a period of GOP dominance after World War I. They have a 31-18 edge over Democrats in governorships, with an independent elected in Alaska by a razor-thin margin.

The election left Democrats in control of both legislative chambers in only 11 states, their worst standing since 1860 before the Civil War. Eight legislatures have divided partisan control. Nebraska, unicameral and nonpartisan, is Republican in all but name.

But while voters were delivering legislatures to Republicans, they largely ignored the GOP party line — or any party line—-- on ballot measures. Voters passed 15 bond issues in five states, raised the minimum wage in four states and advised that it be increased in another, approved environmental measures in seven states, legalized recreational use of marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia, and sanctioned background checks of gun buyers in Washington, where a deadly school shooting occurred 12 days before the election.

The votes on increasing the minimum wage, which Republicans for the most part oppose, were particularly instructive. Voters overwhelmingly approved minimum wage hikes in four states — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — while sending Republicans to the Senate.

In a fifth state, Illinois, voters approved an advisory measure recommending a minimum wage hike to $10 from $8.25 while replacing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, an outspoken proponent of the increase, with Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, who had a history of opposing minimum wage increases but eventually endorsed the advisory measure.

Voters were generous on bond issues, approving in California a record-high $7.2 billion bond for state water supply infrastructure projects and in New York a $2 billion bond for school technology.

They displayed environmental consciousness, passing measures in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Jersey and Rhode Island that allocated substantial sums to environmental projects. In Florida, 75 percent of voters approved a state constitutional amendment that over 20 years will designate an estimated $18 billion for land acquisition to protect the state’s land and water resources, including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitats.

Local voters also contributed to environmental protection. In California, two counties banned hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, a process by which oil and gas are extracted under high pressure. Environmental groups contend that the process contaminates the water supply.

A third “anti-fracking” measure, in Santa Barbara County, lost because of its vague wording and heavy opposition spending by the oil industry. But in Denton, Texas, near the center of the nation’s oil and gas boom, voters approved an anti-fracking measure by a 59-41 percent margin.

The state measures were the achievements of an electorate that was grayer, whiter and supposedly more conservative than the one that re-elected President Barack Obama in 2012. On the face of it, the liberalism of voters on the minimum wage and the environment and their generosity on bond issues would appear to contradict their partisan actions, as well as exit polls that showed skepticism about government spending.

But the apparent contradiction underestimates voters, who tend to make their decisions on ballot measures on their merits without partisan reference, said Wendy Underhill, who tracks ballot measures for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislators.

“The voters may deserve more credit for independent thinking than they are usually given,” she said.

The 2014 midterms were the sixth year of a presidency, in which the party out of power has always done well. With unintended help from Obama, who somewhat surprisingly said his policies were on the ballot, Republicans managed to make the congressional and state legislative contests — in some cases even the gubernatorial races — a referendum on him.

Political demographer Charlie Cook believes Democrats were also hurt by a public perception that the economy has not sufficiently recovered from the Great Recession.

In the legislative races, Republicans ran the table, winning almost all their target races, while losing nothing to Democrats. Republicans won both houses in Nevada and West Virginia, the latter after a Democratic state senator switched parties after the election.

Republicans also won the state senates in Colorado, Maine, New York and Washington, and the state houses in Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Mexico.

They won three governorships in the blue states of Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, as well as the governorship of Arkansas. The sole Democratic bright spot in gubernatorial races was Pennsylvania, where a Democrat ousted an incumbent Republican.

Even in deep-blue California, where Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown was re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term, Republicans claimed a victory of sorts. They won enough seats in both legislative houses to deny Democrats the two-thirds margin they enjoyed after the 2012 elections. This will give the GOP a say on tax issues, which in California require a two-thirds legislative vote for approval.

Overall, Republicans gained ground in every region of the country and now control 68 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers and hold more than 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. After Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008, the GOP won big in the 2010 midterm election. This was followed by legislative redistrictings that in many states favored Republicans. After modest losses in 2012, when Obama was re-elected, Republicans targeted key states in this year’s election and ran sophisticated campaigns in many of them. But since so many chambers are in Republican control, the party could be at or near its zenith.

“It’s hard to see how the Republicans could go higher or the Democrats lower,” said Tim Storey, a political analyst for NCSL.

Looked at from one perspective, Democrats lost more than Republicans gained. Before the election Democrats controlled both chambers of the legislature and the governorship, a so-called trifecta, in 13 states. Now they enjoy this status in only seven: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Republicans control the Legislature and the governorship in 23 states, the same as before the election. The big change was an increase in legislatures split between the parties or with a legislature of one party and the governor of another. There are now 18 such states.

Storey said this division could produce more bipartisan compromise, at least in the states where neither party is in full control. Even if this happens, Democratic losses could make a difference.

In Colorado, for instance, narrowly re-elected Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been trying for months to engineer a compromise on the fracking issue. With the Colorado Senate in GOP hands, any anti-fracking bill is probably dead.

On other controversial legislation, such as voter identification and abortion, GOP-controlled states already have completed much of their agendas. Voter ID is now largely a matter for the courts.

So, too, may be abortion. Since 2010, GOP-controlled states have imposed more than 200 restrictions on abortion. Tennessee may join the list of states with obstructive abortion rules on the basis of a ballot initiative approved in this year’s election that will allow the Legislature to impose additional restrictions. (Two other abortion-related measures on state ballots — defining a fetus as a person — were rejected by voters in Colorado and North Dakota.)

Beyond such hot-button issues, legislatures in 2015 will tackle issues such as education, cybersecurity and prison reform that do not easily break along party lines. The year after midterm elections is often productive in state legislatures, and 2015 should be no exception.

Voters demonstrated both independence and thoughtfulness in the 2014 elections. Perhaps legislators and governors of both parties will follow their lead in the year ahead.

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

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VNHC’s Lynda Tanner Appointed to Board of California Association for Health Services

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Lynda Tanner
Lynda Tanner

Lynda Tanner, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, was recently appointed to the California Association for Health Services at Home Board of Directors.

Her vast experience includes more than 30 years working in the home care industry.

Prior to Tanner’s recent appointment, she served as a member of the Nominating and Hospice Committees of CAHSAH. As a board member she will be responsible for planning, coordinating, managing and directing activities and program for the organization.

Tanner’s contributions to the home care industry include evaluating home-care agencies for excellence in quality of care for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations as a surveyor; serving as chief clinical executive for Sutter VNA and Hospice and providing home care consulting services and education for the Corridor Group.

Tanner currently sits on the CenCal Health Provider Advisory Board, the CHAPCA Board of Directors, the Alliance for Living and Dying Well Board and the Casa Dorinda Board of Directors.

She graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and also holds a master’s degree in nursing administration.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Local Girl Scouts Holding Holiday Food Drive to Benefit Foodbank

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The local Girl Scout service unit will be holding a holiday food drive this month.

On the weekend before Thanksgiving, Girl Scouts from Goleta to Carpinteria will be at neighborhood Vons supermarkets accepting donations on behalf of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara.

Mother-daughter food drive organizers Michelle and Clare Kelly said the goal of the drive is to collect more than 3,000 pounds of food to help make the holiday season bright for local families in need this year.

“I’ve done a food drive with my Girl Scout troop the past eight years,” Senior Girl Scout Clare Kelly said. “It was so much fun that I thought other troops in our service unit might like to participate and help even more people in need. Last year, the whole service unit participated in the holiday food drive and it was a huge success.”

In 2013, 130 Girl Scouts and leaders from 18 troops collected 3,257 pounds of food in 20 hours.

“The goal of last year’s food drive was a ton — 2,000 pounds,” troop leader Michelle Kelly said. “Since we collected 3,200 pounds last year, the girls set a goal of 3,300 pounds for this year.”

On Friday, Nov. 21, six troops will be collecting donations at the Montecito Vons, the Vons on Fairview Avenue in Goleta and the Vons in Santa Barbara’s La Cumbre Plaza. On Saturday, Nov. 22, 16 troops will be collecting donations at the La Cumbre Plaza Vons, the Vons on Fairview Avenue, the Carpinteria Vons and the Vons on Turnpike Road in Goleta.

The programs receiving assistance from the Foodbank include food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school and senior feeding programs. Items needed include olive oil, fresh produce, peanut butter, canned or dried fruit, canned vegetables, canned stew and vegetarian chili, cornmeal, tortillas, canned meats, fruit juice, pasta, rice, beans, tuna, soup, bread, cereal, spices, coffee and tea.

For those unable to make it to one of the five Vons locations, donations can always be dropped off during regular weekday Foodbank hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) at 4554 Hollister Ave. in Goleta. The Foodbank will also accept checks. For every dollar donated, the Foodbank can provide eight healthy meals for people.

For more information about the food drive, contact the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County at 805.967.5741.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through its award-winning programs and a network of more than 330 member nonprofit partners. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank; more than 140,575 unduplicated people of whom 36 percent are children. Last year, the Foodbank distributed 9.3 million pounds of food – half of which was fresh produce. Click here for more information.

The Costa de Oro Service Unit serves all Girl Scout troops from Carpinteria to Goleta, providing support to more than 65 troops, approximately 700 girls and more than 300 adults. Costa de Oro is one of the largest service units in the Central Coast Council, which serves the six counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Click here for more information.

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Real Estate Investment Firm Marcus & Millichap Opens Ventura Office

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Marcus & Millichap, a leading commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, announces the opening of its Ventura office.

The Ventura office marks the firm’s eighth sales office in Southern California, according to John Kerin, president and chief executive officer.

Overseeing Marcus & Millichap’s Ventura office are Adam Christofferson, first vice president and regional manager, and James Markel, sales manager. Gary Cohen joins as a director of the firm’s national office and Industrial Properties Group, along with Brian Johnson, senior associate of the National Multi Housing Group, Parker Shaw, an associate, also with the NMHG, and James DeBuiser, agent candidate with the NOIPG.

“We are excited to launch our new Ventura office with such a seasoned team of commercial investment professionals,” Christofferson said. “Gary Cohen brings over 25 years of experience to our new office. His expertise assisting clients through all aspects of commercial real estate ownership, acquisition, disposition, leasing and management is of great value. Brian Johnson and Parker Shaw are recognized multifamily experts along California’s Central Coast. Together they bring significant knowledge and experience to our clients in the marketplace.

“Our entire team is enthusiastic about the opportunity to add value to clients in the region by leveraging our firm’s investment specialization, financing capabilities, industry-leading research, innovative technology and extensive management support.”

The Ventura office is located at 1000 Town Center Drive. The phone number is 805.351.8796.

— Brian Johnson is a senior associate for Marcus & Millichap.

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Santa Barbara Vintners’ ‘Key to Wine Country’ Weekend Returning in December

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Vintners is pleased to announce the dates and schedule of experiences for its winter "Key to Wine Country" experience weekend Dec. 5-7.

Three days of unlocking exclusive events and offerings at nearly 40 wineries and vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County’s scenic wine country makes for the perfect wine and food lover’s weekend.

Keys to unlock Santa Barbara’s wine country are valid for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and can be purchased online for $100 per person by clicking here.

A sampling of vintner experiences includes a wine House Party at the new Buellton Bodegas, Pinot Noir and Chocolate Pairing at Cambria Estate Vineyards & Winery, Sit-down Blending Seminar at Fiddlehead Cellars, Vineyard Walk with Chad Melville, Food and Wine Pairing Experience with Winemaker Dieter Dronje and Local Chef at Presqu’ile, Sparkling Wine Seminar at Riverbench, Cooking Class and Wine Pairing with Pascale Beale, and Wine Tasting at the Wine Collection of El Paseo.

Additional benefits of purchasing a Key includes exclusive discounts at restaurants around Santa Barbara County, including: Avant Tapas & Wine, The Hitching Post II, Bob’s Well Bread, Bell Street Farm, Sama Sama Kitchen, Autostrada Wood Fired Pizza, Isabella Gourmet Foods, Wine Cask, Full of Life Flatbread, and Cecco Ristorante.

The Santa Barbara Vintners is partnering with Breakaway Tours, Jump on the School Bus, and Santa Barbara Classic Wine Tours to provide all-inclusive transportation packages for many of the featured experiences with pick-up and drop-off in Solvang on Saturday and Sunday.

Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintners, says, “Santa Barbara Wine Country is best explored getting deep into the cellars and vineyards of some of our most esteemed wine properties. Winter is an excellent time to visit; the harvest is over and the winemakers are eager to entertain and educate. With our close proximity to Los Angeles and Southern California, our region provides world-class hospitality, a wide array of outstanding wines, and some of the most beautiful countryside and ocean views of any wine region in the world.”

Looking forward: The Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend & Festival returns to Santa Barbara Wine Country April 23-26. The four-day weekend will include wine maker dinners, winery and tasting room open houses, library tastings throughout the region, wine seminar, and the Vintners Spring Festival returning to the River View Park in Buellton. Tickets are on sale now by clicking here.

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Education Office Celebrating Day of the Farm Worker with Free Event at Santa Maria Fairpark

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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The arduous work of the agricultural worker will be celebrated and appreciated during the Day of the Farm Worker, a free event sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Migrant Education Program and its community partners from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

The celebration will offer free health screenings, free clothing and books, flu shots, blood pressure checks, vision screenings, fluoride varnish for children under age 6, healthy meal demonstrations, physical activity demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, entertainment, and a community agency information fair, including legal and educational services. Food will be available for purchase.

“We all benefit from the wonderful gifts agricultural workers provide to our own families: meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy, seeds, nuts, grains, eggs and much more. It is fitting that we pay tribute to their hard work and accomplishments,” said County Superintendent Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the event. “Local businesses and organizations also benefit from the products and services consumed by agricultural workers and their families.”

The Migrant Education Program is a national program that provides educational, health and social support services to eligible children and young adults from birth to 21 years old. California has more than 124,000 migrant children enrolled in its 20 regions. Region 18 serves Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, which are home to more than 2,300 migrant children and young adults. Also part of the Santa Barbara County is Region 22 of the Santa Maria Bonita School District, which serves over 3,400 preschool to eighth-grade students. Information about whether a child qualifies for services is available by contacting the regional office in Santa Maria at 922-0788 or by asking a Migrant Education Services Specialist at the Day of the Farm Worker event.

“Our nation’s economy depends on the agricultural industry,” Cirone said. “We hope the community will join us in paying tribute to the workers of this vital industry.”

For more information, call the Migrant Education Office in Santa Maria at 805.922.0788.

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

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Ron Fink: Can Republicans Provide Long-Overdue Leadership?

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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To begin this commentary, I will acknowledge that I align myself with the Republican Party's view on how to approach most problems facing the nation today. That said, we need to take a sober look at what faces them in the next couple of years.

Now that the campaigns are over, the confetti has been swept away and all those campaign signs have been tossed in the trash, it’s time to govern.

Many say that the reason the nation’s forward movement was gridlocked was because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t allow any legislation from the House of Representatives to come to a vote in the Senate. This seems to have been a juvenile approach to governing and one that probably cost Democrats the most stunning political defeat in several decades.

In the days following the election, President Barack Obama seemed to be in denial about the outcome. He maintained that he would continue his strategy of circumventing Congress by issuing Executive Orders to implement his partisan progressive agenda. This is no way to reach out following the historic rejection of his administration’s strategy and policies.

Obama’s logic was that Congress wasn’t doing anything. Well, the Reid strategy had been to do just that — nothing. By not sending any legislation forward, Democrats were isolating their president from making any decisions and setting the stage for unilateral action.

So Obama’s complaint that Congress wouldn’t send him any legislation should have been directed at fellow Democrats and not Republicans. I am sure that he won’t have the same complaint in the next couple of years since I am sure that many pieces of legislation will land on his desk. The only question is, will Obama sign them or be an obstructionist?

So, what should Republicans do to get things moving? Yogi Berra once said, “You have to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” The Republican leadership should plot their course carefully or they may not get there either.

Pundits have speculated and offered their guidance, and much of it was fairly sound advice. Senior Republican members of Congress have also added their voices to the discussion, and we should listen to them. The hard-right voices should temper their rhetoric for the moment — confrontation will not work. What’s needed is adult leadership that provides solutions that correct problems and don’t cause any new ones.

The first thing they have to do is start moving legislative proposals to the president’s desk. There are scores of important measures that have stagnated over the last six years. Among them are what to do about Obamacare, the budget, tax reform, economic growth through employment, national defense, and immigration and tax reform, to name a few.

The stock market may be up for the moment, but those in the lower and middle economic class need jobs. The best thing legislators can do is examine the workplace and determine if any of their previous legislation may have caused the loss of so many better-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector. Two areas come to mind: environmental restrictions and taxing new medical device technology.

Another is the international trade agreements that allow the seemingly unrestricted export of manufacturing jobs out of America. Ross Perot, once a candidate for president, said that “sucking sound you hear is American jobs leaving the country” because of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He may not have been much of a presidential candidate, but he was right about this issue.

Putting Americans to work has to be a priority. We need to pay people to work, not sit at home watching daytime TV. The nation’s public infrastructure is in awful shape and major construction projects are needed to fix it.

The tax system is so complex that the average person cannot understand it. Our immigration laws and their enforcement are nearly nonexistent as millions of illegal aliens are allowed to enter undeterred and then remain in our country even after they have committed serious crimes — including the killing of police officers.

The Defense Department is underfunded and understaffed; protecting the nation from people who are intent on destroying our way of life is critical. It is only through a robust military presence that aggression against the United States can be deterred.

Each of these issues and many more deserve some serious thought, and while a bipartisan consensus is important we should remember that during the first two years of the Obama presidency, Republicans were totally shut out of the debate as the Pelosi-Reid-Obama machine created chaos within the government. And it was the Obama administration that refused to negotiate on any issue, and that’s how we got to where we are today.

Maybe Reid got the message. He is allowing a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline project this week. This project will provide many short-term construction jobs and long-term, well-paying oil industry jobs.

We gave them a majority. Can Republicans provide long-overdue leadership?

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

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Tom Donohue: Intellectual Property Has Huge Impact on Society

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Strike up a conversation about intellectual property (IP) at a party and you’ll likely find yourself standing alone. Though it may seem like an abstract concept to some, IP plays an essential role in our culture and economy by driving innovation, protecting consumers, and supporting everything from music, cinema and sports to health, tech, trade and more.

In other words, anyone who’s interested in the hottest new smartphone, the latest blockbuster film, the most promising new drug therapy, the safest toys for their children or the next major U.S. trade agreement is interested in IP — whether or not they know it.

IP is critical to public safety and consumer confidence. Strong IP protections and enforcement are important to preventing dangerous products — such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals or toys — from getting into consumers’ hands. Trademarks give customers confidence that they are buying genuine, high-quality products from brands they trust.

IP is an incentive for innovations that enhance and improve our lives. When artists, inventors or scientists have assurances that their works will be protected and rewarded thanks to IP rights, they are more inclined or able to produce. With strong copyright laws, musicians are more likely to record new albums. Patent protections enable pharmaceutical companies to take on the costs and challenges of putting lifesaving new drugs on the market. Without opportunities for ownership or profit, the incentive to innovate falls.

IP has an enormous effect on our economy. America’s IP is worth $5 trillion. IP-intensive industries account for 38 percent of total U.S. GDP, support 40 million American jobs and drive 60 percent of U.S. exports. Strong IP provisions have also emerged as a key factor in the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a sweeping trade deal that would grant the United States access to booming markets in the Asia-Pacific, adding U.S. jobs and creating more opportunities for industries to export. Such a vibrant and lucrative trade relationship must be built on mutual trust and high standards.

Any issue with such widespread impact and significant ramifications will present unique public policy challenges.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center will host its second annual Global IP Summit, convening leaders from the private and public sectors to consider IP threats and opportunities. All the stakeholders must unite behind efforts to advance commonsense reforms, strengthen IP at home and abroad, punish those who undermine IP rights, and educate the public on its significance.

IP is an issue that we can’t afford to ignore, dismiss or misunderstand. Its impact on our culture and our economy is far too great.

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

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‘Suspicious’ Package Delivered to Police Found Not to Be Dangerous

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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Annex building near downtown Santa Barbara police station was evacuated while crews investigated

Hazmat crews gather in a carport to examine the contents of a suspicious package sent to a Santa Barbara police detective. A chemical substance found in the package was determined not to be dangerous, according to police. (Urban Hikers photo)

After a hazardous-materials response and investigation on Tuesday that lasted all afternoon, a "suspicious" package delivered to a Santa Barbara Police Department detective was determined not to be dangerous.

The incident began shortly after 11 a.m. when city Fire Department crews were called to the Police Department’s annex building at 222 E. Anapamu St. downtown, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.

A detective based in the building had received a package that initial examination indicated might be dangerous, Harwood said.

He declined to describe the substance other than to say it was a chemical, but witnesses told Noozhawk it was a liquid.

Harwood also said he could not comment on any other items in the package or whether there was an accompanying note.

The package was sent from out of town, Harwood said, and came a week after the same detective received a similar package, although the earlier one did not contain any chemical substance.

After Tuesday's discovery, all personnel were evacuated from the annex, Harwood said, and a hazmat crew suited up and entered the building at about 2:30 p.m.

Eventually the package and its contents were brought out of the building, and taken to a carport area away from the street for examination, Harwood said.

Anapamu Street remained shut down between Santa Barbara and Garden streets until the operation ended at about 5 p.m.

Hazmat crews place a suspicious item sent to a Santa Barbara police detective into a bucket for examination. It was found not to be dangerous. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Representatives from the FBI were on scene, but they respond automatically for calls of this nature, he noted. 

A decontamination area was set up in the street to wash down hazmat crews as needed when they came out of the building. 

Bomb squad personnel also responded to the scene, although the substance was not believed to be an explosive, Harwood said.

No injuries were reported. 

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

Santa Barbara City Fire trucks blocked off the 200 block of Anapamu Street during a hazmat investigation Tuesday afternoon. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

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Viewing at Westmont Observatory to Feature Celestial Heart, Owl and Christmas Tree

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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This month’s public viewing of the stars will feature astronomical glimpses of a heart, owl and a Christmas tree on Friday, Nov. 21, beginning after 6:30 p.m. and lasting for several hours at the Westmont Observatory.

The free event is held every third Friday of the month in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit. In case of inclement or overcast weather, please call the Telescope Viewing Hotline at 805.565.6272 and check the Westmont website to see if the viewing has been canceled.

Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor, says he hopes to aim Westmont’s 8-inch refractor telescope at the northern part of the sky where there’ll be a number of open clusters with interesting patterns of stars.

“NGC 225, the Broken Heart Cluster, is a beautiful open cluster that lies some 2,000 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia,” Whittemore says. “To many it does seem to have the shape of a heart. Interestingly, others see a sailboat in this one.”

The public viewing may also focus on NGC 457, the Owl Cluster.

“I have shown this one to the public many times and it’s still a popular target,” he says. “Most people see the owl-like pattern in this distant group of stars that lies some 10,000 light-years away, so its stars must be intrinsically very bright.”

Stargazers may also catch a seasonal favorite, Messier 103, the Christmas Tree Cluster.

“Come and see if you can see the star on the top of the tree,” Whittemore says.

The Keck Telescope is housed in the observatory between Russell Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex. Free parking is available near the baseball field.

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

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UCSB Establishes New Undergraduate Academic Emphasis in Museum Studies

By | Published on 11/18/2014

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In the 1980s, as scholars from various fields increasingly focused their attention on the influential and multifaceted roles that cultural institutions play in society, museum studies began evolving into a full-fledged academic discipline. In response to this development, the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara has established an undergraduate major emphasis in museum studies.

The emphasis draws on the academic expertise in art and architectural history within the department and from several other departments and entities across campus, including art, Chicana and Chicano studies, East Asian languages and cultural studies, geography, history, religious studies, sociology, spatial studies and the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration.

“The museum studies emphasis focuses both on examining the history, functions, practices and ideologies of museums and collections of different kinds as well as on the applications of such knowledge by offering practical training for a variety of museum and related careers,” said Carole Paul, a lecturer in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture and director of the emphasis.

“There are many different types of museums, and they face similar issues and pressures, though there are also challenges specific to each kind,” Paul continued. “Our program is most concerned with art and archaeology museums, but students will have opportunities to explore other kinds of institutions in courses and internships.”

While some museum studies programs are freestanding, according to Paul, because the subject requires a broad understanding of museums and collections and, depending on the institution, expertise in a particular discipline, her department decided to offer the option of an undergraduate degree in art history with this special emphasis.

“There are a number of graduate programs in museum studies, mostly awarding master’s degrees or certificates, offered by colleges and universities throughout the country, and art history departments usually play a major role in these programs” noted Paul. “However, undergraduate programs are more rare, and I know of no others in California, so the emphasis puts our department and UCSB in a unique position to influence both the field of museum studies and the work that is done in museums and related institutions.”

UCSB’s program is wide-ranging, partly because of the broad expertise of faculty members, whose specializations extend from the classical to the contemporary and from art and architecture to visual culture, but also because of the nature of the field itself.

“For example, a museum studies course that I have been teaching, ‘The Grand Tour: Experiencing Italy in the Eighteenth Century,’ explores the close relationship between museums and travel,” Paul said. “Majors in the emphasis will be required to take classes in other departments as well. The courses on public history taught by the history department, for instance, form an ideal complement to our program.”

The museum studies emphasis is designed to help students chart career paths in museums, art galleries, historic preservation, public history and auction houses. In this regard, the relationship of the emphasis to UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum is especially important, according to Paul. “Students enrolled in the emphasis are required to participate in internships, and the museum already has an outstanding internship program.”

The emphasis also seeks to prepare students for graduate programs in art history, architectural conservation, museum studies, art business, art-related law and arts management.

“Many of the graduate programs that exist are aimed at training students for administrative or curatorial work or museum education in a fairly narrow way,” Paul added. “Our emphasis, even at the undergraduate level, seeks to integrate professional practice with a serious engagement with historical and theoretical questions to prepare our students in a particularly thoughtful way.”

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

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