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Letter to the Editor: Was Release of Top-Secret Document an Act of Revenge?

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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The Pentagon recently declassified a document that was once labeled "top secret."

An article in the Jewish Daily Forward, a liberal U.S.-based newspaper, by Israeli investigative journalist Michael Karpin details the report: "In early February, the Pentagon declassified a 386-page report from 1987, exposing for the first time ever the actual depth of top-secret military cooperation between the United States and Israel — including, amazingly, information about Israel's unacknowledged nuclear program." He goes on to express his astonishment: "I have never seen an official American document disclosing such extensive revelation on subjects that until now, were regarded by both administrations as unspeakable secrets."

Many are asking, what were the motivations of the Obama administration? According to the Israel National News, "The Pentagon declassified sections covering Israel's nuclear program, but kept sections on European NATO allies classified, with those sections blacked out."

The timing of the release is suspect also. It happened during a time of heightened tension between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has also been reported that it was released following a Freedom of Information Act application three years ago by Grant Smith, who heads a radical anti-Israel group. How convenient.

I ask you America, is President Obama continuing his "jihad" against Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel? Was the release of this top-secret document politically motivated, and was it an act of revenge? And where is the outcry, especially among Jewish Americans?

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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Teen Driver Sentenced After Pleading Guilty in Fatal Speed-Racing Crash in Santa Maria

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Boy admits to charges under a special program for juveniles and must perform community service warning others against reckless driving

A 17-year-old Santa Maria boy pleaded guilty Friday to a pair of felony charges in connection with a fatal speed contest Jan. 30 and will serve one year of probation and must perform 100 hours of community service warning others about the dangers of reckless driving.

On Friday afternoon, the boy appeared in Santa Maria Juvenile Court for a hearing regarding the charges, originally vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and leaving the scene of an accident.

The teen boy, a Pioneer Valley High School student, is accused of racing with Righetti High School senior Breanna Rodriguez on East Donovan Road, where she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a utility pole Jan. 30. She later died of her injuries.

He stopped momentarily after the crash but left before police arrived. The two vehicles didn’t crash.

Prosecutors agreed to add a felony charge of participating in a speed contest causing injury, and to dismiss the vehicular manslaughter charge. The boy then admitted to both crimes under a special program for juveniles.

“I’ll find him eligible and appropriate for a deferred entry of judgment as well,” Judge Arthur Garcia said. 

Under a deferred entry of judgment, a first-time offender charged with a felony can plead guilty and must complete probation before a Juvenile Court would dismiss the case and seal the minor’s arrest and court records. 

Voters passed the program in 2000 as Proposition 21 to provide an alternative to the juvenile delinquency process for youths who have not had prior criminal troubles. 

The Probation Department had recommended the boy be considered for a deferred entry of judgment.

The judge told the teen that this was his “one and only opportunity to keep your record clean.”

Deputy District Attorney Chrystal Joseph requested that the teen’s community service center on educating others about street racing and why people must remain at the scene of an accident.

The boy’s attorney, Billy Redell, said the family had already been contacted by groups seeking the teen’s participation in their efforts.

“The parameters are fine,” Garcia said. “They sound very appropriate.”

Garcia also agreed to release the teen from house arrest. 

The boy’s license is suspended but the length is pending further research, Redell said. Additionally, the mater of restitution remains open for 90 days, but a representative said the Probation Department was not seeking restitution.

Both drivers involved in the crash reportedly were top students and very active in school activities. 

Redell stressed “what a great kid he is,” and noted he comes from a great family. The boy reportedly hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps by serving in the military.

“He’s a star in the classroom. He’s a star on the athletic fields. He’s a star at home,” Redell said.

Approximately two dozen people, including the boy’s friends plus Rodriguez’s mother and other relatives, were in court Friday afternoon.

At the boy’s first court appearance, Rodriguez’s mother, Isabel, pleaded for mercy for the boy, saying her daughter would not want someone else to suffer for her actions. The mother didn’t speak during Friday’s hearing.

Rodriguez’s family is planning a free barbecue to thank the community, with the event scheduled to start at noon Saturday, April 4 at Preisker Park. 

Additionally some of the girl’s classmates will set up a booth to raise funds for their trip this summer to Uganda. Rodriguez had planned to go on the trip.

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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Jury in Child-Rape Case Takes Just 18 Minutes to Reach Guilty Verdict

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Santos Javier Guevara Oliva faces life in prison without parole, making it the first non-murder case in county history to receive such a sentence

The door to the deliberation room had barely closed Friday afternoon before a Santa Barbara County jury reached guilty verdicts for a man accused of raping and impregnating his stepdaughter, who was 12 years old at the time.  

Santos Javier Guevara Oliva, 35, will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, making it the first non-murder case to receive such a sentence in Santa Barbara County history.

Oliva, 35, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age and forcible rape.

The jury, which deliberated for just 18 minutes, also found true a special allegation that Oliva personally inflicted great bodily injury upon the child in the commission of the crimes.

He will remain in custody with no bail until his sentencing scheduled for May 11.

In 2013, law enforcement officials announced that they had arrested Oliva on charges of molesting and raping a Carpinteria girl. The arrest came after a four-month investigation that led officials to Maryland, where he was taken into custody.

Investigators learned of the crimes on Jan. 23, 2013, after Oliva allegedly sexually assaulted the daughter of his girlfriend, with whom he was living.

It subsequently was revealed that he had gotten the girl pregnant, and she later had an abortion.

He also molested another previous girlfriend's daughter in 2008, and both girls testified in the trial.

Santos Javier Guevara Oliva

Oliva had fled the area when he learned he was to be questioned about the crimes, and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives discovered Oliva was staying at a relative’s home in Hyattsville, Md., where he was arrested on Feb. 25 by federal immigration officers.

ICE stated that Oliva is a citizen of El Salvador and was deported from the United States as an aggravated felon in December 2010.

Oliva was convicted of grand theft and false imprisonment in Santa Barbara in 2009 and was sentenced to two years in prison.

However, at an unknown place and time, he illegally re-entered the United States and took up residence in Carpinteria, law enforcement officials said.

The jury's verdicts were announced before Santa Barbara Superior Court before Judge Michael Carrozzo.

Earlier on Friday, both the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments, acknowledging how difficult the case had been because of the graphic nature of the testimony.

Both the girl who had become pregnant, who is 15 now, as well as the second victim who was molested by Oliva took the stand to describe their abuse.

Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig, who handles many of the sex-crime cases the DA's office prosecutes, said that most cases he deals with do not involve child rape, but rare cases do exist that involve such extreme crimes against children.

"This is that case," he told the jurors. "You don't think that this stuff can happen. You think in Santa Barbara it can't touch us here, but it does and it has."

Both girls were in middle school at the time they were sexually assaulted by their stepfather, he said, and were not fully aware of what had been done to them.

"These girls had their souls crushed. … They had their childhood shattered," he said.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Oliva had had sex with the girl, but differed on whether that would constitute rape, which must included force, duress, menace, violence or fear.

Ladinig argued that Oliva used force to overcome the girl's will when he pulled her pants down multiple times, and the girl responded by pulling them back up, indicating she did not want to have sex with the man,

Force to overcome her will, he argued, doesn't have to be a knife to the throat.  

"She talked about being scared, because this is a person who is an adult, doing unspeakable things to here," he reminded the jury.

The girl testified that when she was being raped "my body was there but my soul wasn't."

She didn't fully understand sex at the time that Oliva had intercourse with her, and discovered she was 17 weeks pregnant when a 3 a.m. emergency room visit for vomiting and other symptoms prompted a doctor to examine the girl.

During the trial, the girl's emergency room doctor also testified, as well as her nurse practitioner, and the detective who interviewed the girl.

Jurors heard disturbing, graphic details about the girl's abortion, which was so traumatic physically it caused her to hemorrhage for days and kept her home from school for several weeks.

"It's hard to have children come in here and tell you what happened to them," Ladinig said. "Bravely did she tell the story of her rape."

"Thank goodness for the U.S. Marshall's Office," Ladinig said of the agency that ultimately tracked Oliva down in Maryland. "He's guilty, end of story."

Public Defender Mindy Boulet also presented a closing argument, acknowledging that it was a very hard case, and one that was not easy to sit through.

Boulet acknowledged that sexual intercourse occurred and that victim did not consent, but that forcible rape could not be argued in the case successfully because force, duress, menace or fear could not be proved on the part of the victim.

"He was never on top of her, he did not pin her down, that would be physical force," she said. "He didn't accomplish this with fear. He took advantage of the fact that she was innocent and naive, which is awful, but not rape."

Boulet also argued that pregnancy did not constitute great bodily injury.

But the jury ultimately disagreed, returning the verdict against Oliva in record time.

In a statement sent out late Friday afternoon, District Attorney Joyce Dudley commended Ladinig and his team "for their zealous prosecution of this predator and applauds all of the local and federal agencies who assisted in bringing this fugitive to justice."

Dudley also expressed gratitude to the two victims, "who bravely testified as to their sexual assaults, ensuring that this sexual predator will never again hurt another child."

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

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Santa Barbara Fire Department Cancels All Burn Permits

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Due to little rainfall, diminishing moisture levels in vegetation and unseasonably warm weather, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department has canceled any and all burn permits that have been issued.

This fire restriction is to ensure the safety of our foothill areas and to minimize the potential risk of a wildland fire within the city limits.

For more information on urban interface fire prevention and what homeowners can do to protect their homes, please visit the Wildland Fire section by clicking here.

— Ryan DiGuilio is an inspector/investigator for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

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Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care’s Second Annual PHorum Provides ‘Perspectives in Healthcare’

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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PHorum
From left, Lynda Tanner, RN, MSN, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care; Kurt Ransohoff, M.D., CEO and chief medical officer at Sansum Clinic; Bob Freeman, CEO at CenCal Health; Fred Kass, M.D., medical director of research and wellness at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic; Steven Fellows, executive vice president and COO at Cottage Health System; and Michael Bordofsky, M.D., medical director at VNHC and president at Santa Barbara Preferred Health Partners. (Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care photo)

Continuing the conversation about the dynamic transformations in the health-care industry, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care hosted the second annual "PHorum: Perspectives in Healthcare" on Thursday evening at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

Local health-care industry leaders returned, participating in a panel discussion about the Affordable Care Act and included other topics such as access to providers and rising health-care costs, insurance gaps and end-of-life care.

“At last year's incredibly successful PHorum, a panel of health-care leaders provided their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that the new Affordable Care Act would pose in our community,” said Lynda Tanner, VNHC president and CEO. “We are thrilled to welcome the panelists back this year to discuss national, state and local issues that impact our local healthcare delivery system in Santa Barbara.”

The impressive lineup of panelists included Michael Bordofsky, M.D., medical director at VNHC and president at Santa Barbara Preferred Health Partners; Steven Fellows, executive vice president and COO at Cottage Health System; Bob Freeman, CEO at CenCal Health; Fred Kass, M.D., medical director of research and wellness at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic; and Kurt Ransohoff, M.D., CEO and chief medical officer at Sansum Clinic. Tanner served as the panel moderator.

Coincidentally, Ransohoff had just returned from Washington, D.C., where President Barack Obama addressed an audience of national health-care leaders on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare.

“President Obama gave a speech about the ACA and what has happened nationally, which I believe reflects what is happening here,” Ransohoff said. “We’ve been very successful in expanding access to insurance. Nationally, the number of uninsured has dropped by 16 million people, or 30 percent, in a little over a year. The ACA worked to expand access and now we are going to witness efforts to control the cost.”

During the question and answer session that followed the panel discussion, Kass addressed the challenges providers faced dealing with insurance limits.

“What we are faced with in regard to cancer medicine are the holes in coverage for therapies and out-patient medications you get at the pharmacy," he said. "We are focused on handling the influx of patients who now have insurance to get in the door, but don’t have the insurance to cover the wide variety of therapies out there now."

More than 250 guests gathered, including representatives from health-care industry partners and organizations, government offices, foundations and businesses along with interested community members. The event kicked off with a wine and cheese reception in the rotunda, and then guests were seated in the Reagan Room. The program commenced with VNHC presenting its Community Partners in Excellence award to Carole Dodero, NP, and Anne White, DO, of Sansum Clinic Rehabilitation & Extended Care. Next was the panel discussion followed by a question and answer session.

“We see great worth in this type of exchange with our community,” Tanner said. “The PHorum was designed as an annual healthcare industry forecast, to present relevant, timely information. We’re grateful for the added value of the experts and audience participation.”

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Woman Airlifted to Santa Barbara with Stab Wounds

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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A 40-year-old woman was airlifted to a Santa Barbara hospital Friday afternoon after suffering multiple stab wounds, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

The victim, whose name was not released, was attacked shortly before 1:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of West Cook Street, Lt. James Ginter said.

Officers and emergency personnel who responded to the scene found the woman with multiple stab wounds to her torso, Ginter said.

She was flown by Calstar helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but details on her condition were not available.

No arrests had been made, and the investigation was continuing, Ginter 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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North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center Holding Volunteer Advocate Training

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center will be holding its Volunteer Advocate training orientation at the end of April in Santa Maria.

This 10-week course will enable you to assist the center in its advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and child abuse.

For further information, please contact Teresa Loya at 805.736.8535.

— Karin Powers represents the North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center.

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‘Wired Wednesday’ at Delta High Treats Students to Lunch, Technology Tips

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Computers are on the lunch menu at Delta High School.

Students have been flocking to “Wired Wednesday,” where they have a chance to practice using tablets, phones, computers and other devices in an academic setting since September.

The informal and relaxed environment takes place during lunch in math teacher Justin Fraser’s classroom. All are welcome and free pizza is devoured. Lessons involve Goggle services including Docs, YouTube and Drive. Microsoft services that are offered by SMJUHSD through Office 365 are also explored.

“The goal of Wired Wednesday is not to make every student an expert in technology (though we would never deny that), but to consistently increase students’ academic interaction with technology," Fraser said. “Technology permeates our students everyday life and is such an awesome tool for education, and not just a tool for checking Facebook and Instagram."

Principal Esther Prieto-Chavez often participates with the students.

“Delta students have enjoyed learning new ways to utilize their Surface RT Tablets during Wired Wednesdays," Prieto-Chavez said. “People might think it’s the pizza that has students attending Wired Wednesdays, but I believe it’s Justin Fraser’s enthusiasm in teaching helpful shortcuts and tips."

— Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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Letter to the Editor: Moving Forward on Women’s Health

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Nearly 100 years ago, when birth control devices — and information about them — were illegal in the United States, Katharine Dexter McCormick steamed across the Atlantic Ocean to procure diaphragms. In order to avoid detection by the U.S. authorities, this courageous pioneer of the women’s movement had seamstresses sew the devices into delicate garments, then smuggled them into the country to distribute to women.

It’s not surprising that the heiress of the McCormick fortune (and a Santa Barbara resident) not only funded the research and development of the first birth control pill, but worked with a dynamic group of women to establish the local Planned Parenthood affiliate. McCormick is one of many in a movement of change-makers who dared to take control over their lives.

The mighty pill, combined with major improvements in reproductive health care, became a driving force in our economy. High-quality affordable family planning services improved women’s health and made it possible for countless millions to finish school, find success in the paid and unpaid work force, and contribute more fully to the welfare of their families and communities.

The Affordable Care Act, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this month, has provided more than 48 million women with access to lifesaving preventive care and a full range of birth control options with no out of pocket co-pay. The ACA is a game-changer for women and families.

Despite the advancements in women’s health care, many politicians — in Congress and in state legislatures — have ignored the positive role health-care access plays in economic growth, the empowerment of women, and strong communities. Instead of supporting public policies with demonstrated widespread benefits, some politicians want the government to make medical decisions that rightfully belong to a woman and her doctor, informed by her personal and family values.

From 2011-13, legislatures in 30 states enacted 205 abortion restrictions, more than the total number enacted in the entire previous decade. A report by the Guttmacher Institute recently found that more than half (57 percent) of women of reproductive age live in a state that is hostile to a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her pregnancy.

We must remain vigilant and protect access to reproductive health care. We must continue to work for common sense public policies grounded in research and science that support personal decision making and the advancement of a healthy generation. Expanding access to contraception and sex education — and protecting access to safe, legal abortion — are critical components to ensuring that generations to come have the power to control their lives and plan for their future.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, remember the struggle, celebrate our advancements, encourage involvement and stand on the right side of women’s history by moving forward — not backward — on women’s health.

Dr. Barbara Lindemann
Professor emerita of history at Santa Barbara City College
Vice chairwoman for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties

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Capps Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill to Give Patients Access to Critical Treatments

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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This week, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia reintroduced a bipartisan bill to give patients with chronic, disabling and life-threatening conditions such as multiple schlorisis, lupis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer affordable access to the newest drug therapies.

The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act would limit the co-payment, co-insurance or other cost-sharing requirements insurance companies impose on patients who require “specialty” medications to treat life threatening or chronic diseases. Capps and McKinley have introduced similar legislation in previous sessions of Congress. Last Congress, the bill received broad bipartisan support with 142 co-sponsors.

Capps and McKinley announced the reintroduction of the bill at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

“The Patients’ Access to Treatment Act will enable patient access to affordable treatments while containing health-care costs,” Capps said. “By requiring coverage of these critical drugs in insurance drug plans, patients will be able to pay for these live-saving medications. I am hopeful that this is the year we can work together to push this commonsense legislation across the finish line.”

“Millions of Americans suffer from chronic and disabling diseases and are unable to afford critical treatments to relieve their pain and prolong their lives,” McKinley said. “Congress needs to show the will to carry out these reforms.”

When insurance companies move drugs into a “specialty tier,” which often requires patients to pay a percentage of the actual cost of the drugs, access to those drugs can become prohibitively expensive. Many of these drugs, especially biologic drugs, have no less expensive generic equivalent, which means patients are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month or go without treatment. This bill would ensure that drugs and therapies cannot be significantly more expensive than other drugs covered by insurance plans.

The bill is supported by a strong cross-section of advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Rheumatology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Arthritis Foundation.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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River Bend Bike Park in Lompoc Opening to Riders for Spring Break

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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At noon this Sunday, March 29, the River Bend Bike Park will open for riding after a brief ceremony to acknowledge the many volunteers that made the park possible.

This bike park was built by the community for the community and was initiated in June 2011. The park is being opened Sunday so it will be available for use during spring break next week.

The grand opening and dedication of the park will begin at noon Sunday, April 19.

This bicycle park has been built for all ages and abilities of riders. It will include four BMX tracks, a cross-country skills course and a jump line with areas for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. This park is a state of the art, free to ride facility that truly involves all skill levels and is one of best in California. This park will be open sunrise to sunset seven days a week. A helmet is required.

The River Bend Bike Park is located at the dead end of North A Street across from the soccer fields and Babe Ruth baseball field.

Detailed Description of the Tracks

» 1. Starter track for first time riders regardless of age.

» 2. The next three tracks are for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders that involve small to large rollers, table tops and banked turns.

» 3. There is a jumpline with small, medium and large jumps with a start hill ranging from 4 feet to 15 feet tall to challenge all riders.

» 4. There is a mountain bike cross-country course with various levels that can involve wood, dirt and rock features to practice riding and balance over obstacles.

» 5. There is a flat and wide perimeter trail around the whole park that can be used for all types of bicycles and age groups. This area can be used as a riding/walking trail while other family members are riding the rest of the park.

For more information follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or click here or call our hotline at 805.620.RIDE (7433).

— Carl Creel is chairman of the Lompoc Valley Motorsports Park Project.

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Mark James Miller: California Federation of Teachers Convention Another Sign of Unions’ Revival

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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More than 600 delegates, staff and guests. Fifty-four different union locals represented, from one end of California to the other.

Speakers as diverse as state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson; State Controller Betty Yee; Assemblyman Jose Medina, R-Riverside, chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee; and educator/motivational speaker Jeff Duncan-Andrade.

Powerful, inspiring singing by the Crenshaw High School choir. Live performance poetry by young poets who aren’t afraid to address subjects others shy away from.

Workshops on topics as varied as racial justice, income inequality, universal health care, the future of adult education, progressive tax policies, union political action, online organizing and community involvement.

Vendors offering union-related wares. Camaraderie, warmth and a general atmosphere of determination, hope and purpose.

All this and much more was part of the 73rd annual California Federation of Teachers convention, held March 20-22 at the Manhattan Beach Marriott.

This year’s convention was marked by a greater feeling of strength and revival than in years past, a sense that people in general are waking up to the importance of unions and the role they play in keeping the U.S. economy vibrant.

As I have said before, unions, like the mythological phoenix, are rising again as union membership increases across the country and awareness grows that without unions, ordinary working people have no voice, are paid less, are treated worse and have fewer benefits than those who are unionized.

“United we bargain, divided we beg” is an old union organizing slogan just as relevant now as it was in the days of the Robber Barons like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

The issue of insurgent unions, as well as attacks on public education and on teachers in general, was at the forefront of the remarks made by Torlakson, who pointed out that the very concept of public education is under attack by groups in the pay of millionaires and billionaires — the “de-formers,” as he called them.

“Teachers are not the problem, they are the solution!” he said, and went on to point out that teachers and their supporters are fighting back and winning.

Saying it is time to stop “teacher bashing,” he said it was time for people to realize that teachers are a “dream team” because “they help students achieve their dreams.” He added that he is “more optimistic now than in the past” for education and for organized labor as a whole.

Torlakson was followed by Yee, who pointed out that California being 46th in spending per student is “unacceptable” when our state is the seventh-largest economy in the world.

“Public education is the great equalizer,” she said, referring to the opportunities public education gave to her as the child of a hard-working but poor immigrant family. “Each child should have the chance to unleash their full potential.”

Yee reminded the audience of what teachers know very well, that no “single size fits all” when it comes to measuring student success. She also addressed a growing problem: That in more and more urban areas, teachers cannot afford to buy homes in the cities in which they are employed, an issue that was taken up in one of the convention workshops.

Another focus of the convention was the success the CFT and the rest of the labor movement are having when it comes to organizing workers.

A recent coup by the CFT came last year when 750 faculty members at West Valley-Mission Community College in Saratoga voted to unionize. Feeling a lack of respect by their district’s administration, as well as the fact that they have not had a raise in 12 years, these teachers joined the CFT, as did the Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, “the largest bilingual school in the East Bay.”

But these are far from the only recent union victories.  

Only last month, Silicon Valley shuttle bus drivers voted to join the Teamsters union. At Temple University in Philadelphia, adjunct professors voted late last year to join the American Federation of Teachers.

In Santa Maria, meanwhile, our own Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College has signed up 261 new members since the latter part of 2013.

Along with success in organizing has come a new sense of militancy. Bloomberg.com reports that “Unions Are Poised For A Comeback” as income inequality continues to grow and workers’ wages continue to stagnate. Oil field workers have walked off the job demanding higher wages. Dock workers have gone on strike.

Workers are aware that since 2009, management compensation has grown 50 percent faster than that of union workers; nonunion workers are left even farther behind.

“For the first time in a generation,” Bloomberg reports, “the labor movement is aligned with millions of Americans who don’t belong to a union but feel marginalized.”

A Harvard University professor of sociology notes, “This is a political opportunity for organized labor.”

All of this is not lost on the delegates to the CFT convention.

“The fight is more than just education — it is a fight for a fair and just society,” CFT secretary-treasurer Jeff Freitas said.

His words were echoed by CFT president Josh Pechtalt, who told the delegates that while last year saw some major successes scored by both the CFT and organized labor, the battle is ongoing. The passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 has brought $13 billion into California public education. Class sizes are being reduced and more students are now enrolled in the state’s community college system.

“But we must keep up our fight against anti-teacher rhetoric,” he said.

The 2015 CFT convention was a rousing success. Delegates left with a feeling of empowerment, and the realization that the tide is turning in their favor.

As Saul Alinsky said long ago, power flows from two poles: From those who have money and those who have people. Unions have people, and in the end, the people always win out.

— Mark James Miller is a teacher and writer, and has been a part-time English instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria since 1995. He is president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, California Federation of Teachers Local 6185, and is an executive board member of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Captain’s Log: Whales Make Friends for Camaraderie and Security

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Whales and dolphins are truly special. Professional captains and crew members who spend enough years at sea and watch tens of thousands of whales and hundreds of thousands of dolphins begin to understand how complex the social web is among the large finned marine mammals. It is pretty amazing what we see.

Pods of same-species whales are the most common sight in whaledom. There is usually a dominant boss that handles navigation, herding and perimeter security. It is typically a big male, and his rewards come at mealtime and during spawning season.

Very odd groupings are rarely seen and are always reason for intrigue and speculation.

For example, a whalewatching (and fishing) boat skipper friend of mine, Capt. Randy Thornton on Telstar Charters out of Fort Bragg, said, “Yesterday I saw a pod of four whales. Two were grays and two were humpbacks. They weren’t simply heading in the same direction and in the same vicinity. They were definitely together by choice. They moved back and forth, slowly across my bow, seeming to be in no hurry to get anywhere. When I came back out for my afternoon trip, I connected with that same pod and they were doing the same thing. One of the humpies was a large male and was definitely in charge of the pod, with all three subordinates seeming to be happy with the situation. One of the grays was fairly small.”

That report was very interesting behavior. They were not actively feeding and had no obvious reason for hanging out together. One thought that crossed my mind was security. If, for example, the whales knew that there were orcas not far away, the grays, especially with one being a young whale, may have sought and received protection from the alpha male humpback.

I guess we’ll never know for sure what was behind that whale behavior that day, but I have come to believe that finned marine mammals have a complex social web that has the capacity to go interspecies and perhaps for the most noble of reasons. I’m extremely careful never to assign human characteristics to animals because I believe that’s what gets us into trouble with wildlife management (management and protection according to the “cuteness scale”). But in this case, interspecies security seems a reasonable speculation.

On our Santa Barbara Channel, we have pods of common dolphins that are at times just a few animals and at times are many thousands of animals. These super pods appear to form up, run together and then break up as routine events in the social lives of these critters. I’ve often noticed that some of the pods travel in a very socially organized fashion. I’ve observed adult, near-dominant males form the vanguard, with the dominant males patrolling nearby and frequently checking the perimeters.

Young males and most females mill about freely with in the perimeter, but the mothers with pups are commonly in a fairly tight-packed nursery unit, positioned so that the entire large pod can guard and protect them. It is amazingly cute to see the little football-size babies swimming and jumping beside mom!

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

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IdeaWork Studios Wins 10 Awards from American Advertising Federation of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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For the second year in a row, branding and interactive agency IdeaWork Studios has been a notable recipient at the American Advertising Federation of Santa Barbara’s American Advertising Awards, held Thursday night in Santa Barbara.

IdeaWork Studios earned 10 awards (including two for Santa Barbara projects), following up on last year’s awards achievement, when it was lauded with eight awards.

The mission of the AAA competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising. Now in its 16th year, IdeaWork was founded in Santa Barbara and represents prestigious clients around the country.

“The Addys are a particular honor,” founder and chief creative officer Jay Schwartz said. “The awards we received represent the range of IdeaWork’s talent, including comprehensive branding, interactive and web development. We’re proud of the work we do — nationally and locally — and honored to be so acknowledged.”

Gold Awards

Jean-Georges Holiday Social Video
International House Hotel Website
Evening Bar Branding Campaign

Silver Awards

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar Branding
Little Park Branding
Le Bernardin Privé Branding
Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer Branding

Bronze Awards

Gansevoort Hotel Group Website Refresh
Allen Construction Rebrand
Hotel Milo Branding

IdeaWork Studios Inc. is a full-service branding and interactive agency with offices in Santa Barbara, New York and Las Vegas. IdeaWork prides itself on being the antidote to the big-agency experience; the team focuses on excellence and efficiency, delivering big-agency quality work, but without the big-agency bureaucracy. IdeaWork specializes in hospitality, nightlife, gaming, and luxury industries. For more information, click here or like them on Facebook by clicking here.

— Amber Rouleau is a publicist representing IdeaWork Studios.

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Kate Voss: Weathering the Dry Spell — How the Drought Harms Californians

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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From wildfires to power grid strains, California’s drought has created issues for residents and municipalities throughout the state. Californians are no strangers to the rigors of drought. In fact, droughts have plagued the area since long before anyone was around to call themselves Californian. But, recent years have brought dry seasons unlike any in recorded history.

In the face of extreme water shortages and a reducing snowpack, many areas of California have been forced to take desperate measures to tap alternative water sources to prevent a host of disasters such a drought can bring.

Crop failure is one of the most immediate problems that occur when water shortages begin to hit an area. In light of depleted water reserves for irrigation, the tapping of ground table water has become widespread, resulting in the destruction of orchards and the depletion of aquifers. On top of the destruction these practices bring, these unregulated water sources can threaten crop quality and even consumer health if not handled very carefully.

Obviously, the threat to crop production will only serve to raise the price of foodstuffs not just in California but across much of the United States, as well as putting a strain on California’s economy yet further.

Of course, crops aren’t the only vegetation that dies when a drought tightens its grip. Grasses and brush begin to dry out very quickly when water supplies dwindle, bringing a whole new and even more terrifying kind of threat — fire. Wildfires are a threat not just to homes but the infrastructure we all depend upon. Extreme heat can quickly destroy power and phone lines, knocking out electricity and communications across vast stretches of the countryside. On top of the stress this places on the power grid, yet more water has to be wasted in efforts to contain wildfires as they occur.

Needless to say, California takes severe droughts very, very seriously. While many areas have already taken to very strict and demanding regulations to fight the water shortages, Santa Barbara has made it this far relatively unscathed. There was even talk at one point about the local City Council declaring a stage three drought alarm. On March 17, the Santa Barbara County supervisors voted against a measure proposed by the Montecito Water District to prohibit the creation of new wells during the drought. Santa Barbara officials have, however, decided to reactivate an old desalination plant. Part of the issue with the plant though is that, historically, it takes so long to get those plants running, that by the time it would be operational, the drought could be over.

The fact that there was even a discussion about declaring a stage three alarm is worrisome to many California residents. A stage three alarm would open a serious can of worms for Santa Barbara residents and businesses alike. While not the highest emergency level (that being four), a stage three drought alarm brings very severe water conservation laws into effect. Landscape watering, both residential and commercial, is immediately restricted to no more than two scheduled days a week (once a week from November to May). Ornamental lakes and other water features may not be filled or refilled (save for preservation of aquatic life already present). While the obvious loss of beautification is unfortunate, the additional risk for fires in confined, populated areas that this can cause are quite serious.

Washing of vehicles is also prohibited during a level three emergency, save for via car wash businesses that recycle water or use a high pressure and low volume system. The cost of such service is guaranteed to skyrocket as demand arises. Also guaranteed to become costly are regulations requiring any leaks in water lines both external and internal, to be fixed within two days’ time or less.

The biggest problem, though, will be the severe limitations placed on potable water provision across the board. Under level three conditions, no new meters permanent or temporary may be placed and activated. Basically, anyone moving into a newly-constructed home or business location may be without drinkable water for an indefinite period of time.

Also to take a hit are repairs to existing water lines and meters and expansion into newly-developed areas due to very strict restrictions on annexation. With these limitations on irrigation of property, vehicle maintenance and supplying of potable water, the people of Santa Barbara may face not only a very highly increased risk of fires and dehydration-related illnesses but they may also experience inefficiencies with their power grid. Wildfires can damage power cables, and the persistent heat can also lead to more energy being wasted powering air-conditioning units. Californians might expect steeper utility bills as a consequence of these circumstances. The drought has created such an energy crisis in fact, that state officials are even purchasing gas from Canadian provinces, and urging lawmakers to follow the example of Alberta energy providers and consider adopting a deregulated energy market.

Fortunately, for the moment, government officials in Santa Barbara and other affected areas of California are confident that sufficient water supplies to function without declaring a level three alarm for the remainder of 2015 do exist, providing at least another 25 inches of rainfall in the duration. For now, we can only hope for the best, and be prepared to make the most of things if and when level three restrictions come.

— Kate Voss is an environmental and technology blogger from Chicago. She focuses her time writing about how to create a more sustainable society and the new technologies which allow this. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Applied Cavitation Leases R&D Space on Castilian Drive in Goleta

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Free Grant-Writing Workshops Offered at Santa Barbara Library

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Two workshops for those new to grant writing will be offered at the Santa Barbara Public Library on Thursday afternoon, April 23.

The classes will be taught by Ganga Dharmappa, regional training specialist with The Foundation Center in San Francisco. Preregistration is required for both workshops, which will be held in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The first session, Introduction to Proposal Writing, will be from 1 to 2 p.m. and will cover the key components of a grant proposal to a foundation. Topics include how the proposal fits into the overall grant-seeking process, what funders expect to see in your proposal and attachments, tips for communicating with funders during the grant process, and additional resources, including sample proposals.

The second session, on Proposal Budgeting Basics, will be from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. Attendees will learn to prepare and present the budget in a grant proposal. This session, geared to the novice grant-seeker, will cover what is included under the “personnel” section of the grant application and how to calculate it, how to determine reasonable costs, what types of expenses are considered “overhead,” and what other financial documents funders will want to see.

For further information about the free workshops and to register, contact Brent Field, reference librarian, at 805.564.5623 or bfield@santabarbaraca.gov.

The Santa Barbara Public Library is a Funding Information Network partner of the Foundation Center, and provides access to the center’s print and online resources. The Foundation Directory Online Professional database, accessible at the Central Library on personal or library computers, provides information on foundation and research funding, applications and guidelines. Aimed primarily at non-profit organizations, information is national in scope and includes current directories, information on specific grants and indexes by topic or organization. The Foundation Center print collection is located at the Central Library for use within the building.

Foundation Grants to Individuals Online is a database of foundation and public charity programs that fund students, artists, researchers, and other individual grant seekers. Free access to both online databases is available inside the Central Library via the Santa Barbara Public Library System web site. Library staff are available to assist patrons using the online system.

For information about library locations, hours, events and collections, visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org or call the Central Reference Desk at 805.564.5604. All library programs are free and open to the public. In compliance with the ADA, for assistance please contact Library Administration at 805.564.5608.

— Brent Field is a reference librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Wine Raffle a Highlight of Junior League of Santa Barbara’s Seventh Annual Gala

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara will be holding its annual wine raffle during the Seventh Annual Gala, presented by Tiffany & Co. at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club in Montecito.

Raffle tickets are $20 for upward of 50 bottles. 

The gala is the Junior League’s highlight event of the year, and the funds raised will further the mission of the league through membership training, programming and other worthy initiatives that help continue our success in bettering the community.

During the gala, we will be unveiling a new focus area — a completely re-imagined focus that will help us dig deeper into the greater needs of Santa Barbara.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Junior League’s Seventh Annual Gala.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call 805.963.2704 or email atoffice@jlsantabarbara.org.  Click here to make an online donation.

Connect with the Junior League on Facebook. Follow the Junior League on Twitter: @JuniorLeague_SB.

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Girl Fatally Injured in Accident Near Santa Ynez High

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Carina Velazquez, 15, was struck by vehicle while crossing Highway 246 near Refugio Road

A teenage girl who was walking home from a school activity was fatally injured Thursday evening when she was struck by a vehicle near Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

The accident occurred at 6:50 p.m. on Highway 246, west of Refugio Road, according to California Highway Patrol Officer John Ortega.

A Chrysler minivan driven by Greta Garofallou, 83, of Lompoc was westbound on 246 when it struck the 15-year-old Santa Ynez Valley Union High School student, Ortega said.

The girl was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries, Ortega said.

The CHP could not provide her name or confirm her death, Ortega said, but Santa Ynez High School Principal Mark Swanitz told Noozhawk that he was notified by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Friday morning that the victim was Carina Velazquez, a freshman at the school.

Carina passed away at the hospital Thursday night with her parents by her side, Swanitz said.

Announcements about the accident and Carina's death were made to students Friday morning, Swanitz said, and counselors were on hand to help students affected by the incident.

Carina had been attending an FFA event at the school, and was on her way home at the time of the accident, Swanitz said.

"We are managing," Swanitz said of the mood at the school. "Obviously, we are caring for students who are here, who obviously are distraught."

Swanitz said he did not know Carina well, but her teachers described her as a "smart, quiet, very sweet, kind and caring kid."

A Facebook page has been set up in Carina's memory.

The FFA program, Swanitz said, "was kind of like her family here at school."

Kimberley Grant, a friend of the Velazquez family, told Noozhawk that Carina's parents and younger brother and sister are "completely and totally devastated" by her death.

Grant, whose daughter is friends with Carina's sister, noted that the family lives just a few blocks from the high school.

The place where Carina was crossing the road has a traffic signal, but Swanitz noted that "it's a bit of a blind corner...and the sun this time of year at that time of day is brutal."

Swanitz said school officials have contacted the CHP to see what can be done to make the intersection safer.

Alcohol and drugs were not believed to be factors in the accident, according to the CHP, which is continuing its investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to contact the Buellton CHP office at 805.688.5551, Ortega said.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk Executive Editor Tom Bolton contributed to this report.

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 Data Show Rise in Response Times and Violent, Property Crimes

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Attached is a summary of response times and recent crime data for the City of Santa Barbara collected by the Police Department and provided to the mayor and City Council.

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response time to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening) calls for service remained within the performance objective. The average response times to Priority 2 (emergency non-life-threatening), Priority 3 (nonemergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service exceeded performance objectives. The longer response times appear to coincide with a spike in total call volume — greater than the previous six years.

Year to date there have been 6,396 calls for service, representing a 13 percent increase compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 12 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013.

» Positive trends: The rates of DUI-, pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic accidents are in decline. Year to date there has been a 24 percent decrease in DUI traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 43 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 40 percent decrease in pedestrian traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 44 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013. Year to date there has been a 61 percent decrease in bicycle traffic accidents compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 21 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.

» Areas of concern: Year to date figures for both violent crime and property crime has increased. Year to date there has been a 23 percent increase in violent crime compared to the year to date figure from 2014, and a 25 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013.

Aggravated assaults continue to be the most common type of violent crime. Year to date there has been a 46 percent increase in property crime compared to the year to date figure from 2014. However, this figure is still 7 percent below that of the same period in 2013, which was the highest of the last six years. A string of residential burglaries has recently beset the city.

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

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Bill Macfadyen: Thanks to One Guy in Los Alamos, Everyone Else Has to Go Around

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 catches up with an improving Grace Fisher, collides with David Crosby, escapes Ebola, and repeats after me

There were 88,843 people who read Noozhawk this past week. Read on for your top stories. Zayn Malik, taking a new direction from One Direction, just missed the cut. 

1. Standoff Shuts Down Highway 101 Through Los Alamos​

A day-long standoff near Los Alamos forced the closure of Highway 101 in both directions March 20, causing a major headache for local commuters and travelers alike.

Acting on reports of a man threatening family members, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies went to a house in the 9600 block of South Highway 101, near Alisos Canyon Road east of Los Alamos.

Ronald Carrari, homebody. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)
Ronald Carrari, homebody. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

As they pulled up, the suspect, 56-year-old Ronald Carrari, barricaded himself inside and refused to communicate. After hours of fruitless attempts to make contact, a sheriff’s SWAT team used tear gas to drive him out.

Carrari was arrested without further incident around 5:35 p.m., according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

He initially was booked into County Jail on charges of making criminal threats and resisting arrest. Hoover said two more charges — possession of an illegal shotgun and possession of illegal rifle magazines — were filed later, and others may be forthcoming.

She said a search of the house turned up eight guns, seven swords, two fighting knives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Highway 101 was closed in both directions for more than two hours during the incident, forcing traffic to make a slow and tedious detour through Lompoc.

Grace Fisher was stricken with sudden paralysis just before Christmas but reports positive progress. (Fisher family photo)
Grace Fisher was stricken with sudden paralysis just before Christmas but reports positive progress. (Fisher family photo)

2. Santa Barbara Teen Grace Fisher Continues Recovery at Colorado Hospital

Grace Fisher, the 17-year-old Santa Barbara High School junior stricken with sudden paralysis in December, has been showing signs of improvement at a Colorado hospital that specializes in brain and spinal cord injuries. Back home, her vast network of supporters is continuing to raise money for her care.

Fisher was hospitalized in Santa Barbara on Dec. 21 for numbness in her extremities. Within hours, she was unable to move. 

Doctors diagnosed her with acute flaccid myelitis, and in late January she was transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. She’s been undergoing an intense regimen of physical therapy, and has regained the ability to eat and speak.

As our Lara Cooper reported this week, Fisher wrote in a March 23 online journal entry that her endurance is getting better, and she can see and feel the progress she’s making during therapy.

As proof, she posted a pair of videos of herself working with a robotic arm and a tilt table.

“One advancement over the past seven to 10 days is my blood tests are normalizing and I haven’t been feeling as sick,” she said.

Making note of her improved appetite, she said “tuna fish sandwiches and Big Macs are my current favorites, although I do mix in enough healthy food to even it out.”​

Fisher’s family — parents Debbie and Bill and sister Emily — have relocated to Colorado to stay close to her side, but friends in Santa Barbara have been keeping the cards, letters and prayers coming.

“It really means a lot to my whole family,” the grateful teen said.

Supporters have been doing a lot more than that, however. Numerous fundraisers have been held to help the family financially, with three more scheduled in the next two months.

The Marjorie Luke Theatre, on the campus of Santa Barbara Junior High School at 721 E. Cota St., will screen The Goonies at 7 p.m. March 27. Admission is free but donations for Fisher’s expenses are encouraged.

Click here for more information on additional benefit events.​

3. Musician David Crosby Identified As Driver In Santa Ynez Crash That Injured Jogger

Rock ’n’ roll legend David Crosby was identified as the driver of a car that struck a weekend jogger on Baseline Avenue in Santa Ynez.

David Crosby called in his own crash.  (davidcrosby.com photo)
David Crosby called in his own crash. (davidcrosby.com photo)

The victim suffered major injuries in the March 22 collision and had to be airlifted to the hospital.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Crosby, a 73-year-old Santa Ynez Valley resident, was driving his 2015 Tesla electric luxury car just west of Mora Avenue about 6 p.m. when he ran into a man jogging on the right side of the road.

CHP Sgt. Don Clotworthy said Crosby was cruising at the posted 55 mph speed limit at the time of the crash, but “driving into the sun.”

The jogger — identified as Jose Jimenez, 46, of Santa Ynez — was flown by CalStar helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of multiple fractures, abrasions and lacerations.

Crosby, who was not hurt in the collision, apparently was the one who called 9-1-1 to report it.

The CHP is investigating the crash, and Clotworthy said alcohol and drugs were not factors.

4. Bill Macfadyen: Suicide Near Freeway, Railroad Tracks Further Snarls Evening Commute

I had something for everyone in my last column: A rush-hour suicide between the freeway and railroad tracks. A month-long spree of neighborhood burglaries. The sentencing of a convicted human trafficker. The saga of the foiled party-bus party with underage kids. And an elementary school principal going on medical leave.

According to anecdotal reader feedback, however, it may have been my J.P. Sears video that propelled me into the Top 5. Apparently, a lot of you are glutens for punishment.

If you missed last week’s video, click here and scroll down.

5. Possible Ebola Patient Reported in Santa Barbara County

A Santa Barbara County woman was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital March 22 after she developed a fever and exhibited signs of Ebola, a lethal, fast-moving virus responsible for the deadliest epidemic in history.

Fortunately for the woman — and for the rest of us — subsequent test results and clinical evaluation confirmed she’s in the clear.

Susan Klein-Rothschild, Santa Barbara County’s deputy director of community health, said local health authorities monitor people who return from African countries in the throes of the Ebola crisis. If symptoms don’t develop after 21 days, they’re usually no longer at risk.

When the unidentified woman fell ill, Klein-Rothschild said, the county took precautions and transported her to an assessment hospital in the Los Angeles area.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: Wall Street Journal Puts Newspaper Thief in His Place.

HT to my good friend, Tracey Taylor of Berkeleyside, the Noozhawk of Berkeley.

                                                                 •        •        •

A basketball trick-shot video in honor of March Madness. Or is it just a trick?

(SlamTheSlammer video)

                                                                  •        •        •

If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options

 

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Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

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» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

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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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Vandenberg Reports 2nd Successful Minuteman Launch

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Crews at Vandenberg Air Force Base ended the work week as they started it — by conducting a test-launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

This week's second unarmed ICBM blasted out of its underground silo on North Base at 3:53 a.m. Friday.

"We constantly focus on the flawless execution of our launch, landing and range missions. Today an outstanding display of teamwork ensured 100-percent mission completion,” said Col. Shane Clark, 30th Space Wing vice commander who served as the launch decision authority. "It's always a privilege to partner with Air Force Global Strike Command to demonstrate the capabilities of our ICBM fleet and crew force, especially with two test launches in less than a week."

The military tracked the weapon’s mock warhead as it impacted in a pre-established test area in the Pacific Ocean, near the island of Guam, approximately 40 minutes after launch.

Another Minuteman test occurred early Monday from the base.

The Air Force conducts the Minuteman test launches to verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. 

The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, at Vandenberg, included airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile heads skyward early Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo)

“An operational test launch requires hard work, months of preparation, and outstanding teamwork between personnel on both bases,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hays, the 341st Missile Wing Task Force Commander.  “These launches are a visible reminder to both our adversaries and our allies of the readiness and capability of the Minuteman III weapon system, and without the dedication of the men and women from both the 576th and the 341st, this test could not have happened.”

Monday’s test involved airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

The two launches involved “a full team effort” between the 576th, and the 90th and 341st Missile Wings, Col. Kelvin Townsend, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, noted. 

“Launching multiple missiles in close proximity to each other adds an extra amount of realism to the operational test mission we fulfill here,” Townsend said. “These test launches occur due to the training and strict attention to detail our people have; resulting in a reliable test.”

The Montana and Wyoming installations are two of three missile bases with crew members standing alert around the clock, overseeing the nation’s fleet of 450 ICBMs.

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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Boys Tennis: Dos Pueblos JV Goes 2-1 for the Week

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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The JV Chargers had a busy traveling week with solid performances in spite of being shorthanded for two matches. They went 2-1 for the week. Each match was also highlighted with great sportsmanship.

On Monday, the team headed to San Luis Obispo, falling 7-11.

Chargers JV coach Ally had her hands full. She was short one player and had to give up a line. The JV fought hard, suffered their first loss and took seven sets — Jason Lee and Landon Brand took three sets. Michael Soto and Davide Gerli plus Kevin Wang and Ryan Mintzer took two doubles sets each. Eddie Park and Lorenz Chen fought for a lot of games. Great effort!

On Tuesday, the team headed to Cate, winning 13-5.

The  JV Chargers overcame Cate with a big win, in spite of having only eight players. Jason Lee and Ryan Hodosy won their singles easily, as did the doubles teams of Ryan Mintzer and Kevin Wang, and Michael Soto and Landon Brand. Lorenz Chen and Eddie Park lost a close one that went to a tiebreaker, and conceded the last set because of Park’s blister. Even with a blister, Park played until he could not anymore.

On Thursday, the team headed to Carpinteria, winning 13-5.

The JV Chargers took three hours to win. Patience and endurance were the key. The singles were on court much longer than the doubles. Thankfully, the air temperature was cooler in Carpinteria than in Goleta, as we could feel a breeze. Although it was hotter on court, most of the players showed no energy fade.

In singles, the Chargers had some marathon sets and took five. The longest and most physically demanding sets came from our line 1, Garret Foreman, who spent nearly three hours on the court in his three rounds, and went 7-6, 6-0, 6-7. In that last set he was down 0-5 and climbed back, but fell in a close tiebreaker. Another two sets came from Christian Hodosy, who went 6-4, 6-2, 2-6. Christian changed how he played in that third set and hit a variety of shots to win 6-4.

The last set in singles came from Jeffrey, who rarely does singles for the team. His big serve and deep groundstrokes paid off in a set win of 6-4.

In doubles, we took eight of nine sets. Some pairs came from behind to take the sets. It was admirable doubles from Kevin Wang and Ryan Mintzer, Jason Lee with Lorenz Chen and Eddie Park, and Michael Soto and Davide Gerli.

The "Happy Feet" Award goes to Soto and Gerli, who kept their footwork going throughout three rounds, and continued off court.

We appreciated the warm hospitality of Coach Bryant, his fellow coaches and team.

In all, an amazing effort. Way to go, Chargers!

Singles Dos Pueblos

Garret Foreman 2-1

Christian Hodosy 2-1

Jeffrey McDaniel 1-2

Doubles Dos Pueblos

Michael Soto/Davide Gerli 2-1

Kevin Wang/Ryan Mintzer 3-0

Jason Lee/Lorenz Chen 2-0

Jason Lee/Eddie Park 1-0

Singles Carpinteria

Bryan Taira 1-2

Jon Cleek 0-3

Jeremy Saito 3-0

Doubles Carpinteria

Juan Hernandez/Adrian Ramirez 0-3

Jacob Ascensio/Francis Aguilera 0-2

Jacob Ascensio/Simon Priest 0-1

Sam Truax/Sammy Gutierrez 1-2

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

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Letter to the Editor: Fossil Fuel Divestment — The Time Is Now

By | Published on 03/27/2015

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Do you have money invested in a company that produces fossil fuels: coal, oil, natural gas?

Do you have money invested in a mutual fund, some or all of whose assets are invested in fossil fuel producers?

Does your local university, your church, your personal, corporate, local/regional/governmental pension fund invest in such companies?

The time has come to agree with the United Nations and withdraw your support for these climate-destroying entities. Remove your personal investment support. Tell your mutual fund, university, church and/or pensions to withdraw their investments, and therefore their support, for exploration, development and sale of products whose use is propelling the planet's temperature rise to a degree and with a speed that plants and animals, including us, cannot long survive.

Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

The United Nations has added its support for this fast-growing campaign: Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), said, “We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue.”

If you have stock or bonds in companies that produce or market fossil fuels, sell them. If you're not sure whether your mutual fund(s) are invested, in whole or part, in such companies, ask a fund representative to send you its prospectus so you may know. (A fund's asset allocation is often available online.)

Ask a representative of your university, church or pension fund for information as to how their investments are deployed. (There may well be organized groups in those institutions already at work on this who'll be glad to help you.) Make clear that you want the institution to rid itself of fossil fuel investments.

At the very least, join organized fossil fuel divestment campaigns. The Guardian, partnering with 350.org, for instance, now has under way a huge email petition appeal to Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Jeremy Farrar and Sir William Castell, director and chair of the Wellcome Trust, asking them to divest their significant portfolios of fossil fuel holdings.

Do your part. Add your name.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Law Enforcement Gearing Up for ‘Deltopia’ Street Party in Isla Vista

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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The unsanctioned event, set for Easter weekend, is expected to draw thousands of revelers to the community near UC Santa Barbara

Hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's violence, local law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the annual alcohol-fueled "Deltopia" street party in Isla Vista next month.

Last year's unsanctioned party escalated into rioting, deployment of tear gas, and injuries to deputies, officers and bystanders, as well as dozens of medical calls.

This year’s event is set for the weekend of April 4, and even though it coincides with the Easter holiday, authorities aren’t taking any chances.

They’re planning for 15,000 young college- and high-school-age people to descend on the densely populated unincorporated community near UC Santa Barbara’s campus.

A Facebook page shows more than 10,500 plan to attend.

Enforcement efforts will resemble those commissioned for the popular Halloween celebration every year in Isla Vista.

That event was rained out in October, forcing costumed revelers to take cover, but UCSB and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officials can’t count on precipitation to put a damper on Deltopia. 

Notable differences for this year’s Deltopia: more officers, no overhead surveillance cameras on Del Playa Drive, and the City of Goleta will implement temporary parking restrictions to limit on-street parking in neighborhoods surrounding Isla Vista.

The parking-permit program worked so well at Halloween that the Goleta City Council decided to use it again.

The city will send two parking permits to residents living between Cannon Green Drive and Storke Road and from Hollister Avenue to Whittier Drive.

Tear gas was used to control crowds and quell unrest during last year's unsanctioned "Deltopia" street party in Isla Vista. (Guiseppe Ricapito photo / UCSB The Bottom Line)

Only vehicles with valid permits can park on those streets from 9 a.m. Saturday, April 4 through 6 a.m. Sunday. The parking program cost the city $10,212 last year.

If Deltopia moves to the following weekend — the event tends to spring up in early April — Goleta is asking residents to follow the same times and procedures.

As usual, county officials have taken the preemptive step of closing Isla Vista's beaches, which was why the party moved up to Del Playa in 2010. The party used to be called “Floatopia,” leaving beaches covered with trash and human waste.

Del Playa will also be closed to parking and motor-vehicle traffic.

More than 20,000 revelers showed up in 2014, with a sizable number from out of town, contributing to the chaos that followed.

Last year, authorities arrested 130 people, issued 190 citations and responded to 520 calls for service — a number that doesn’t include an additional 216 fire and medical calls or Friday night enforcement, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

During the Saturday night disturbance, which led to 17 arrests, 26 civilian injuries and seven officer injuries, deputies called in nearly 100 extra law-enforcement personnel to help with the civil unrest. For context, authorities made just 22 arrests and 116 citations in 2013, Hoover said.

Several hundred officers will be on hand this year, along with UC police officers and emergency personnel, but Hoover wouldn’t say exactly how many.

The surveillance cameras deputies put up along Del Playa last year weren’t being used again. Hoover wasn’t sure if the decision was based on funding or an evaluation of their effectiveness.

“It’s hard to predict what the actual turnout will be,” she said. “We’re hoping that Isla Vista residents will behave. We were very appreciative that UCSB students and Isla Vista residents did not invite out-of-towners to come to Halloween, and we’re hoping that the same sentiment will ring true for Deltopia.”

In a note to the campus community this month, Chancellor Henry Yang said UCSB would embrace the same strategies that made Halloween a success: pushing a “Keep It Local” message, implementing a no-guest policy in on-campus housing, requiring campus parking permits, and providing alternative student events — such as a street fair, movies and a late-night concert at the Thunderdome — on campus throughout the day .

“More than 100 officers, many from our sister campuses, will be on hand to assist with safety and security in Isla Vista,” Yang said. “Our resources will augment those of the County, which also plans to have approximately 200 officers at the ready.

"The county also has augmented its existing festival ordinance to cover unsanctioned festivals in the spring, thereby increasing fines for misconduct and extending noise ordinances.”

UCSB is also launching a social media campaign like the one for Halloween, discouraging visitors by informing them of ordinances, restrictions, penalties and consequences.

Hoover said authorities appreciate UCSB’s efforts, especially those of students and Isla Vista residents who don’t open their doors to strangers.

“The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to not invite strangers to your town and into your residence,” she said. “I’m really hoping that I.V. residents will really step up and set the tone. We discourage people from coming to the area. It will be very difficult to navigate around Isla Vista.”

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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A Year Later, Santa Maria Gang Prevention Documentary Racks Up Thousands of Viewings

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Life Facing Bars screened this month at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and is requested routinely by prosecutors and professors nationwide

Lt. Dan Cohen figured a few thousand people might watch the Santa Maria Police Department’s documentary on gangs.

A year later, the YouTube viewings have climbed to more than 193,000, Life Facing Bars: A Gang Prevention Documentary showed at the San Luis Obispo Film International Festival and the film has attracted interest from law enforcement agencies across the country.

Cohen, a 16-year member of the Santa Maria department, carries the title of producer for the documentary, which tells the perils of gang life using interviews of convicted criminals from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

When they first made the documentary, Cohen figured 5,000 or maybe 10,000 people — “that would be amazing,” he recalled thinking — would see it.

“Just the fact that it’s as big as it is far, far exceeds our expectations,” Cohen said, recalling that he hoped to get a number of viewings from people in the city. “It’s gone way beyond that. And it’s a year old now.” 

He recently heard from the Suffolk County Commonwealth prosecutor in Virginia, who asked to show the Central Coast documentary as part of their gang prevention program. Their film was 12 years old.

“It’s been surprising how much interest we’ve gotten from around the country,” Cohen said, adding that college professors have called seeking a copy to show in their classes. “It’s good that there’s an interest out there. What it really showed me is what a need there is. There’s so many groups and nonprofits and people that just want to share the message of gang prevention.”

The 40-minute documentary debuted in March 2014, with a showing that attracted city leaders, judges and others to the Edwards Stadium Theater. It remains available on YouTube plus other sites.

Police Chief Ralph Martin had suggested entering the movie in the local festival, and Cohen found out it met the criteria for the SLO event. Since it is available on the Internet, the documentary could not be entered in the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The showing at Mission Cinemas in San Luis Obispo on March 11 was followed by a question-and-answer session with Cohen, who holds the title of producer; Matt Yoon, director; and Ryan Wiczek, sound mixer.

Cohen said he was told 700 filmmakers applied to have their productions shown in San Luis Obispo. Approximately 100, inducing Life Facing Bars, were chosen. 

He said he didn’t realize how prestigious it was until he heard the number of applicants.

“That’s a lot of films,” he said.

In December, Cohen announced the debut of the documentary for Spanish-speaking viewers, created in hopes of reaching that vital demographic and fulfilling several requests from all the country. But the numbers of viewings for the Spanish version are much lower so far, numbering fewer than 900.

“It hasn’t taken off as much,” he said.

However, it has been put to use, being aired at a Santa Maria Valley event attended by several hundred people, he said, adding the number of people who viewed the Spanish version may exceed the actual numbers on YouTube.

The project occurred because police officers found that the short video clips of comments from gang members caught audience members’ attention during presentations.

Police knew the gang prevention tale would be more compelling coming directly from gang members.

“They’re going to think he’s the police, he’s supposed to say that," Cohen said. "But when a gang member says, ‘Trust me, I was you and I got hooked into this lifestyle. Stay away from gangs,’ — all of a sudden people are sitting up straight. They’re now intrigued and they’re listening. They bring a credibility when they’re telling the truth.”

Cohen said one gang member in a cell claimed the documentary changed his life. 

“I hear more from the people who are using it than the people who are seeing it,” he said.

Comments on YouTube run the gamut, with some labeling participants as snitches and one person recognizing one of the participants.

“Dang it’s a trip,” one man wrote, who recognized an old best friend’s younger brother who was so good at sports he could have "made it out" of Santa Maria.

“I hope this really sinks in for (people) and save them,” the man wrote. “This is nothing but real stuff they talk about here.”

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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Partnership Hosts Community Workshops on Developing Food Action Plan

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Local leaders and residents from a range of professions participate in three outreach meetings in Santa Barbara County

Making sure the right food is sustainable and available to everyone in need was the focus of a recent community session in Santa Barbara, where stakeholders embarked on the first step toward creating a way to do just that.

Nearly 100 people gathered in the Faulkner Gallery of Santa Barbara’s main library for a two-hour meeting to talk about a joint passion: food.

They came from all professions — from farmers and environmentalists, to city and Santa Barbara County employees — and grouped together in fours to work toward creating a Food Action Plan.

That effort kicked off last week because of a newly formed partnership between local agencies to tackle the food system, wanting to create more access for the hungry, improve the health of residents, secure agriculture resources for the future, protect the environment, and strengthen the region’s economic vitality.

The Food Action Plan partnership of the Community Environmental Council, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the Orfalea Foundation and the Santa Barbara Foundation hosted three community-listening sessions, the first of which was last Tuesday in Santa Maria.

Wednesday sessions were hosted in Santa Barbara and Solvang, spread out so more community members could help develop a countywide food system blueprint.

“We are not looking for consensus today,” said Joseph McIntyre, executive director of AG Innovations Network, who served as facilitator. “All the ideas that come out of today will be part of the mix ...

"Let’s respect our differences. Part of what we bring in here is our unique experience.”

McIntyre has hosted similar workshops across the country in the name of finding a food system to fit each region’s needs.

In Santa Barbara County, for instance, where rich agricultural land produces more than one million metric tons of fruits and vegetables each year, organizers said many families struggle to gain access to affordable and nutritious food. 

Attendees wrote ideas on note cards color-coded to correspond with one of five areas: economic development, agriculture viability, environment and natural resources, health and nutrition, food access and justice.

Local-to-local food access was difficult, one participant said. Another suggested fellow farmers be more specific in their marketing efforts.

Barbara Anderson of the Orfalea Foundation said listening sessions were just one part of the 14-month process, which will also include interviews with community members and taking a hard look at the strengths and weaknesses of the local food system.

A food system includes how food is grown, transported, sold and made available down to food-waste management, said Sigrid Wright of the Community Environmental Council.

At the conclusion of the process, she said, a community-based blueprint could recommend increasing small-scale gardens and farms, improving food literacy, reducing food waste or anything else locals value.

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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Board Discusses Santa Barbara County’s $84 Million Maintenance Backlog

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Dealing with Santa Barbara County's $84 million maintenance backlog was under discussion by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and county staff are uncovering more costly repairs than expected as they've started to address the issue.

The board voted unanimously to receive a report from Roy Jorgensen Associates that included prioritizing the massive list of projects.

In 2013, Jorgensen was awarded a contract by the county to do an assessment of county-owned and operated buildings and parks, and was also commissioned to develop a maintenance plan.

The assessment evaluated about 8.5 million square feet of buildings, structures, and developed space, and about 310 acres of park facilities, about 70 percent of all the county's facilities.

The assessment did not include evaluation of county roads.

That report, presented to the board last May, found that the county's deferred maintenance amounted to about $84 million, and that most of the county's assets were in fair condition.

"If current levels of annual spending to operate, maintain and renew the county portfolio are continued, in 20 years, the FCI rating for the county portfolio will rise to 50 percent (very poor), and the accumulated deferred maintenance will rise to an estimated $1 billion," a staff report said.

The county prioritizes things like HVAC failures, hot water tanks, sewer systems and water lines, and is spending more money on unplanned emergency items.

The board allocated $1.4 million last year to preventative maintenance.

One of the projects the Parks Department allotted money to was a restroom renovation at Ocean Park in Lompoc, restriping of the parking lot and add 11 new picnic tables

"This was really dilapidated and dangerous," said Supervisor Peter Adam, adding that he was surprised that no one had been injured.

Utilities were also worked on at Nojoqui Park, the eastern most parking lot was repaved at Goleta Beach Park, along with a restroom renovation, and Manning Park also saw its restroom renovated.

The General Services Department made some improvements to fire stations in Orcutt and Sisquoc, the Solvang Court Complex and other changes.

Supervisor Salud Carbajal said he went to Manning Park with staff, and commended the improvements.

"I think the community approves them as well," he said.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino asked whether any cities had been approached about turning over parks to the city to save costs; for example, relinquishing Arroyo Burro to the city of Santa Barbara.

Interim Community Services Director Renee Bahl said the county had not been approached by any cities wanting to take over county parks.

Carbajal also said that federal funding was available to do a repaving project in his district, which significantly raised their deferred maintenance 

"We've got to be real about where the high cost priority is," he said, encouraging staff to come up with a sound methodology on how to spend the money in order to get the most bang for their buck.

Supervisor Doreen Farr said the county should look at how to boost revenues, and Bahl said several projects are in the works to add concessions to places that are already developed, such as Lake Cachuma.

"We have amazing spaces in this county, and they're very valuable to the community, and the community might be able to pay in certain ways to utilize them differently," Farr said.

Supervisor Janet Wolf expressed concern about selling parks, and said that would need to be discussed at a future meeting.

Adam responded, "I have three words for you: No higher taxes."

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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Michael Barone: Can Family Breakdown in Low-Education America Be Reversed?

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Our kids, at least many of them, are not doing very well. The reason, Harvard professor Robert Putnam writes in his just-published Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, is the "two-tier pattern of family structure" that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to prevail today.

Starting in the late 1960s, rates of divorce, unmarried births and single parenthood rose sharply among all segments of society. About a decade later, they fell and leveled off among the college-educated, who almost entirely raise their kids in Ozzie-and-Harriet-style families today (except that Mom usually works outside the home).

Among the bottom third of Americans in education and income, however, the negative trend accelerated. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was alarmed that 26 percent of black births were to unmarried children. The rate is about twice that for the least educated third of Americans of all races today.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. Charles Murray's 2012 book, Coming Apart, describes the same phenomenon among white Americans. Curiously, Putnam refers only glancingly to Murray's work. But Putnam agrees with Murray (perhaps grudgingly) that this is bad for the kids involved.

They're careful to concede that single parents have a hard job and that some do well at it. But the data says those are the exception rather than the rule. On average and by a wide margin, children raised in such households do worse in school, have more trouble with the law and make less money and gain less satisfaction in life than those from the stable families of the upper third.

Putnam is troubled by the resulting inequality and lack of upward mobility. He begins Our Kids in Port Clinton, Ohio, where he grew up in the 1950s in a community unequal in income, but egalitarian in manners and mores. Since then, Port Clinton's factory jobs have mostly disappeared and the town seems riven between the gleaming condominiums on the now-clean waters of Lake Erie and gritty neighborhoods where many kids grow up in disorderly homes.

With a corps of researchers, Putnam fanned out across the country and found similar trends from fast-growing Bend, Ore., to the down-at-the-heels Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He tells the stories and quotes the words — often heart-wrenching, sometimes heart-warming — of specific kids identified by first names.

"America's poor kids do belong to us and we to them," he concludes. "They are our kids." The nation as a whole has to do something to help them. But what?

Send them money is one answer. But as the Manhattan Institute's Scott Winship points out, low-level wages and incomes, taking into account proper inflation measures and fringe benefits, have not fallen over the last 40 years. Food and clothing has become less expensive (thanks, Walmart) and most households classified as poor have smartphones, microwaves and big-screen TVs that did not exist in the 1960s.

Like Sen. Mike Lee and other reform conservatives, Putnam would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and expand the child tax credit. Marginal help. He hails the bipartisan support for reducing incarceration for minor offenses and helping ex-convicts. And let's, he says, eliminate pay-for-play fees for extracurricular activities.

Other proposals sound unavailing, like moving low-education households to more upscale suburbs; Section 8 housing subsidies already do that. And Putnam's faith that child care centers and mandatory pre-school can make a difference haven't been supported by research, except for two experiments more than 40 years ago whose results haven't been replicated.

Putnam doubts the chances of "a reversal of long-established trends in private norms," though they're common in history: The gin-soaked mobs of 18th-century London became the orderly Victorian masses. Like most high-education Americans, he doesn't want to denounce people for breaking old moral rules even when that hurts their kids.

The libertarian Murray doubts that government can do much. But he thinks that high-education elites, with their strong family structures, can. They need to "preach what they practice." Bloomberg's Megan McArdle, agreeing, nominates Hollywood for a lead role. Midcentury America's universal media — radio, movies, television — celebrated the old rules.

There are signs this is happening. Teenage birth and violent crime rates have been falling. Younger millennials may be learning delayed gratification and self-restraint. Maybe, as they grow older, divorce and single parenthood will become less common, too. Few kids in broken homes will read Our Kids or Coming Apart. But they already know the story.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara MTD Soliciting Public Input on Proposed Service Changes

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District will hold a series of public meetings in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta and Isla Vista to present proposed bus service changes to be implemented in August and November.

The public is invited to attend any of the meetings and provide feedback on the proposals or suggest other service improvements for consideration as funding becomes available.

The current proposal includes a grant funded weekday morning peak commute hour service increase on Lines 1 and 2, a UCSB funded increase in service on Lines 12x and 24x, service adjustments on Lines 1, 2, 15x, 23 and 25 to improve schedule adherence and the elimination of the Caltrans funded Coastal Express Limited commuter service due to full expenditure of the funding.

More detailed information about the changes will be available at the meetings, at the Transit Center (1020 Chapala St. in Santa Barbara) and on the MTD website by clicking here. The MTD Board of Directors will consider approval of the final service plan for the 2015-16 fiscal year at its meeting on April 28.

Please attend one of the following community meetings to share your comments:

» Thursday, April 9 at 2 p.m. — Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Library, 40 E Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara

» Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m. — Isla Vista Theater, 960 Embarcadero del Norte in Isla Vista

» Tuesday, April 14 at 6 p.m. — Carpinteria Library, 5141 Carpinteria Ave. in Carpinteria

» Wednesday, April 15 at 6 p.m. — Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave. in Goleta

» Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. — MTD Auditorium, 550 Olive St. in Santa Barbara

MTD always welcomes comments and suggestions. Please send email to info@sbmtd.gov, write to 550 Olive St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101, or call 805.963.3364.

MTD provides nearly 8 million passenger trips per year, fulfilling its mission to enhance the personal mobility of South Coast residents and visitors by offering safe, clean, reliable, courteous, accessible, environmentally-responsible, and cost-effective transit service throughout the district.

— Nancy Alexander represents Santa Barbara MTD.

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A Grander Grand Slam: UCSB Graduate Students to Compete in Annual Talk Contest

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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It’s a TED talk on steroids. The Grad Slam, UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division’s national award-winning three-minute talk competition for graduate students, will be marking its third year April 6-17.

Nearly 70 graduate students have signed up to participate in a campuswide competition for the best three-minute presentation about their research or other big ideas. The participants are judged on such factors as clear and compelling presentation; intellectual significance; and the ability to gear the talk to a general audience.

The eight preliminary rounds; two semifinal rounds; and one final round to select a grand prize winner are all open to the public. Panels of judges including local city and elected officials will determine the winners of these rounds, with the exception of one new category, the People’s Choice Award. Prizes, which have been increased in number and dollar amount this year, range from $50 for preliminary-round winners to $5,000 for the grand prize winner. The grand prize is made possible by a donation from Santa Barbara-based Yardi.

In a first this year, UC Santa Barbara’s grand prize winner will advance to a UC-wide competition on May 4 in Oakland where the top prize is an additional $5,000. At the event, hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano, UCSB’s representative will go up against winners from other UC campuses. The event will be live-streamed in the multipurpose room of UCSB’s Student Resource Building.

“The Grad Slam gives the UC community and the general public broad access to the very best of our graduate students, and so to the very best of our university,” said Carol Genetti, dean of the UCSB Graduate Division. “These three-minute talks are fascinating and satisfy our inherent curiosity about the world around us. This year the People’s Choice round and expanded prizes have amplified the excitement, but the crown jewel is knowing that our grand prize winner will be UCSB’s champion in the UC-wide competition on May 4,” she added.

Genetti said the Grad Slam offers graduate students much more than just the chance to win prizes.

“It provides an opportunity for students to practice explaining their work to a non-specialist audience, a skill that will benefit them throughout their professional careers,” she said. “And it is also just plain fun: a great chance to meet people from other parts of the university and to appreciate the extraordinary intellectual richness of our campus.”

Topics for this year’s local competition are all over the disciplinary map. They range from kelp forests to ponderosa pine forests; invasive species to sacred spaces; snail parasites to the slave trade; online learning to malicious software; and gecko-inspired adhesives to transgender identity. The schedule of rounds and speakers may be found at the GradPost’s Grad Slam 2015 page. And more information about the Grad Slam may be found on the Graduate Division’s Grad Slam page.

Confirmed judges for the semifinal rounds include: Paula Perotte, mayor of Goleta; Doug Lynch, executive director of Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet (GEM); Ken Oplinger, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region; Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider; Mona Miyasato, chief executive officer of Santa Barbara County; and Paul Casey, Santa Barbara city administrator.

UCSB’s inaugural competition in 2013 earned the national Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education from the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS). UC Santa Barbara's Grad Slam was such a hit that other institutions, including UC San Diego and UC Riverside, followed suit with their own contests.

UC Riverside launched its Grad Slam last year. Maggie Gover, director of graduate student academic and professional development at UC Riverside, said the Grad Slam requires students to think about how to communicate what they do as graduate students to a diverse audience. “They also are forced to think about why the audience would care about the project,” she said.

“In an environment where higher education is often maligned, I think it is very important for us to be able to communicate why public research universities are absolutely essential. The competition at UCR last year helped our students do that.”

The UCSB Graduate Division’s annual Grad Slam is the centerpiece of its Graduate Student Showcase, events held each spring that are designed to bring UC Santa Barbara's remarkable graduate students out of their labs, classrooms and studios, to give them a spotlight and to celebrate their accomplishments.

For more information about the Grad Slam, contact Robert Hamm, the Graduate Division’s director of graduate student professional development, at 805.893.2671 or robert.hamm@graddiv.ucsb.edu.

— Patricia Marroquin is the communications director for the UCSB Graduate Division.

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Montessori Students Showcase Their Photography in Wildling Museum Exhibit

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Montessori Center School fifth- and sixth-grade students have their photography work on view at the Wildling Museum until May 17.

The exhibit is titled “Through a Youthful Lens,” and showcases the student’s artistic works. Inspired by rotating science camp experiences, the children captured images that moved them and made them wonder about the natural world all around.

Click here for more information about this temporary exhibit.

Montessori Center School at Fairview Avenue has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

MCS is enrolling now for the fall! For more information about the school please contact Alyssa Morris at a.morris@mcssb.org.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.

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Williams Announces $1 Billion in Emergency Drought Funding Heads to Governor’s Desk

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, announced on Thursday the passage of $1 billion in emergency drought funding from the state Assembly.

The agreement to expedite bond and general fund monies will make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies, while considering critical operations to protect fish and wildlife.

In addition to funding emergency drinking water, drought response coordination, water recycling and desalination efforts, the legislation will also provide food assistance to 29 counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

“Fruits and vegetables from California now form over 50 percent of the food we provide and represent the cornerstone of our strategy to use nutrition and food literacy to increase the health of our cCounty. The drought has had a drastic affect across our operations. An increase in the Drought Food Assistance Program is crucial for us to be able to bring in more fresh fruits and vegetables that food insecure families rely on for good nutritional health,” said Erik Talkin of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

"We are grateful to Assemblyman Williams for being a leader in this major effort to support FOOD Share and other California food banks so we can continue to provide the same level of service to the hungry,” said Bonnie Weigel, president and CEO of FOOD Share.

The legislation includes more than $1 billion for local drought relief and infrastructure projects to make the state's water infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events. The package accelerates $128 million in expenditures from the governor's budget to provide direct assistance to disadvantaged communities, workers and populations impacted by drought and to implement the Water Action Plan. It also includes $272 million in Proposition 1 Water Bond funding for safe drinking water and water recycling and accelerates $660 million from the Proposition 1E for flood protection in urban and rural areas.

Most importantly, these funds will provide emergency drinking water, food assistance to severe drought impacted counties, drought response coordination, and water use efficiency grants for agricultural and urban water users.

“While Californians are doing what they can to conserve water, the Legislature has a responsibility to expedite these funds for shovel-ready projects that help our communities,“ Williams added.

— Anett Hurtado is a field representative for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Scholarly Research Journal Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos Moves to UCSB

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Three decades ago, UC Irvine history professor Jaime Rodríguez founded a scholarly journal aimed at spotlighting important research in the area of Mexican studies. After 30 years on the Irvine campus with Rodríguez at the helm, the journal, Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, has moved north to UC Santa Barbara and creative and performing arts professor Ruth Hellier-Tinoco is in the driver’s seat.

The current issue, the first produced under the direction of Hellier-Tinoco, is now available.

Published by UC Press, the journal is a collaboration of the University of California, the UC Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) and la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). It is overseen by two editorial boards — one composed of faculty representatives from each of the 10 UC campuses and another made up of colleagues at UNAM, with associate editors from each institution. Serving as de facto members of both boards are UC President Janet Napolitano and UNAM Rector José Narro Robles.

“It’s a very prestigious journal, and a very interesting setup because it’s binational, bilingual and bi-institutional,” Hellier-Tinoco said. “It has tended to be interdisciplinary and to follow a lot of the political changes in Mexico, and it’s also been heavily into historical contexts. It has varied from issue to issue and volume to volume and has evolved over the years.”

Contributors to the journal hail from universities and institutions around the world, and subscribers include libraries throughout the U.S., Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia.

The editorial office at UCSB operates with a small staff — senior editorial manager, Debra Herrick and assistant editorial manager Claire Ihlendorf Burke, both with doctorates from UCSB in Mexican studies. Hellier-Tinoco acknowledged UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall for his great vision in agreeing to commit funds for the editorial office.

“It is my hope that funding will continue for many years to come,” she said, adding that the UC MEXUS director Exequiel Ezcurra is firmly committed to supporting the journal as it moves into this new era.

“In a related matter, it’s encouraging that Janet Napolitano launched the UC-Mexico Initiative, which is a long-term strategic initiative to enable UC to collaborate with Mexico in many different ways as an ongoing process,” Hellier-Tinoco added. “The fact that she recognized the need for this — the importance of it — hopefully means that funding for the journal will be seen as integral to enabling the UC system to be really connected with Mexico.

“It allows our current undergraduates to be the future generation who will not see Mexico as a separate country but will see all these connections and collaborations in so many ways. As with all scholarship in any field, we are undertaking research to enable us as human beings to understand our world, whether it’s understanding a moment in history that happened 400 years ago or 500 years ago or 1,000 years ago or whether it’s understanding an issue that’s happening right now.”

All of which, Hellier-Tinoco noted, is the business and context of universities.

Currently, the journal publishes twice annually, though this will increase to three per year in 2016, with the addition of a multimedia component in the future. It is the only scholarly publication of its kind specific to the field of Mexican studies. Other journals take a broader look at Latin America or at the Americas in general, but none has the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary focus on Mexico.

“And that’s why it’s so crucial, particularly for UC,” Hellier-Tinoco said. “It’s also crucial for our student body.”

For Hellier-Tinoco to assume executive editorship of Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos is something of a homecoming.

“I first came across the journal in 1994 when I was starting my doctoral research,” she said. An actress prior to becoming an academic, Hellier-Tinoco created a theater piece titled “Aztec.”

“And we were reading many, many historical documents about the moments of coming together of Cortés and Moctezuma,” she recalled. “I became fascinated by Mexican history and decided to undertake research for a Ph.D. So I went to live in the state of Michoacán in Mexico.”

But what brings the journal full circle for Hellier-Tinoco? Alan Knight.

“Alan Knight is a very renowned scholar at the University of Oxford and a professor of Mexican history,” Hellier-Tinoco explained. “I was starting my research, which was looking at post-revolutionary era Mexico. He wrote an article titled ‘Peasants Into Patriots’ that was published in the journal. That’s when I first became aware of it.

“And just last week we asked Alan Knight if he would review one of the articles, and he agreed. So, for me, there’s a personal connection to the journal.”

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

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Hancock Graduate Selected as One of Top 30 Students in California Community Colleges

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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A recent Allan Hancock College graduate has been recognized as one of the top 30 students enrolled in California’s 112 community colleges. Daniela Calderon was one of 30 students from 24 community colleges selected to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2015 All-California Academic Team.

Calderon
Daniela Calderon

“I sat in my car and cried when I realized what happened. I thought of everything before that moment and couldn’t believe how far I had come,” said Calderon, who was a member of Hancock’s Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. “I have always done very well in school and received awards. But for some reason, this one is different. This time is different, and I am different.”

The first member of her family to attend college, Calderon graduated from Hancock in 2014 with an associate in arts degree in communication studies. She had a 3.55 cumulative grade point average. Calderon transferred to California State University-Chico, where she is an organizational communication major with a minor in marketing.

Calderon will be honored during a Phi Theta Kappa awards luncheon in Sacramento on April 7. The mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students, and to provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

The selection of the All-California first, second and third teams was based on scores nominees received from the Phil Theta Kappa judges at the national level. Thirty-one additional students were named to the second team, and 31 to the third team. The Community College League of California sponsors the awards ceremony where all team members receive medallions of honor and a certificate.

Calderon admitted she did not believe the news when she first heard the announcement. She contacted her Alpha Gamma Sigma advisor at Hancock, Mary Alice Majoue, who confirmed the news. Majoue was part of an on-campus committee that nominated Calderon for the award.

“Daniela comes from a challenging family life and worked 90 hours per week while attending Hancock,” Majoue said. “She always had a lot on her plate, but she was always very positive, motivated and put other people’s needs before hers. Now, it is her time to be in the spotlight.”

Calderon had plenty of praise for Majoue and other Hancock faculty and staff.

“I would not have been able to grow without the college and all the help and inspiration I received from people like Mary Alice Majoue, who helped me in the Math Center as an advisor and friend," Calderon said. "Herb Elliot and Rob Meyer put in extra effort to help me overcome my struggles. Last, but certainly not least, Basil Jenkins inspired me more than any other person I have ever met. I will always be grateful to all of them.”

During the awards ceremony next month, a handful of students will be named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-American Community College Scholarship Team. Last year, 12 Californians were selected and awarded generous scholarships.

“To be named an All-American would be the ultimate recognition and acknowledgement of my life. Either way, I am extremely proud and honored to represent Hancock on the All-California Academic Team,” Calderon said.

Calderon hopes to become a motivational speaker after graduation to share her personal story.

— Gina Herlihy represents Allan Hancock College.

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Capps Votes for Bill to Improve Medicare for Seniors and Providers

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Thursday to support House Resolution 2, the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), a bipartisan bill that repeals and replaces the flawed “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) provider reimbursement system that has created instability in the Medicare provider network for years.

Currently, the Medicare SGR formula is used to determine Medicare payments to physicians. The formula has called for across the board reductions in physician payment rates since 2002, which Congress has repeatedly delayed for more than 10 years, resulting in uncertainty and instability among providers and beneficiaries. Without passage of the bill, Medicare physician payment rates would be reduced by nearly 24 percent on April 1 under the SGR.

As a senior member of the Health Subcommittee on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Capps has been a leader on addressing this complicated issue for many years.

“It has been a priority of mine to repeal and replace the flawed SGR formula for Medicare physician payments since my first day in office, so I am proud to vote for a bipartisan compromise that does just that,” Capps said. “Today is a significant step forward in strengthening Medicare and improving the quality of care for Central Coast seniors. This bill is a true compromise, and while I still have reservations about some aspects of the bill, I am pleased that we as a Congress have finally come together in a bipartisan way to move past this flawed policy and better position Medicare for the future.”

H.R. 2 replaces the broken SGR formula and transition Medicare away from a volume-based system toward one that rewards value, ensures the accuracy of payments, and improves the quality of care. In addition to fixing the broken reimbursement system, the bipartisan agreement will also maintain critical funding for health care for low-income children, families and seniors. It includes a funding extension for community health centers, which will ensure that more than 7 million low-income patients have access to health care.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.

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Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care to Honor Sally Hall, Mercedes Eichholz at Mother’s Day Luncheon

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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In honor of Mother's Day, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care will host its 14th annual Mother's Day Luncheon on Friday, May 8 at the Biltmore's Coral Casino in Santa Barbara.

Sally Hall
Honored Mother Sally Hall

Invited guests, many of whom have made this an annual tradition with their own mothers, will gather to recognize two mothers — one living and one in memory — and to celebrate their lives and contributions to the community.

VNHC’s 14th annual Mother’s Day Luncheon will pay tribute to Honored Mother Sally Hall and to Remembered Mother Mercedes Eichholz.

Hall, a native to Santa Barbara, has contributed significantly to our community, and has a strong, personal connection with VNHC, serving as a Board member, volunteer and as an employee for more than a decade in the 1970s and '80s.

She also has served on the board of several local organizations, including Crane School, the United Nations Association, the Junior League, the Montecito Union School PTA, Hospice of Santa Barbara and St. Michael's University Church.

She was the devoted (and hardworking!) wife to the Rev. George Hall, longtime rector of All Saints-By-the-Sea. Together they have six children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Hall is wise, humble, loving and an inspiration to an entire generation of Santa Barbara families, nurses, caregivers, field workers and volunteers.

Remembered Mother Eichholz, known to most as Merci, had a passion for life and art, and a strong belief in giving back. A long way and many years from her birth on a Louisiana cotton plantation, and after a lifetime of experiences here and abroad, she was brought to Santa Barbara County in 1980 by the declining health of her husband, and it was here that her philanthropy blossomed.

Eichholz
Remembered Mother Mercedes Eichholz

She served almost two decades on the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and on the board of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which she chaired for three terms. She gave generously to countless organizations in the areas of social justice, the environment and the arts, as well as to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

She was truly one-of-a-kind, a remarkable blend of keen intelligence, disarming honesty and wit, warm generosity, Louisiana gumption, and determination. Eichholz is survived by her two children, a granddaughter, two great-granddaughters, and her step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Since 1908, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care has been Santa Barbara’s trusted home care expert. Serving the greater Santa Barbara area, and the Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys, VNHC provides high quality, comprehensive home health, hospice, and related services necessary to promote the health and well-being of all community residents.

For more information on Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, click here or call 805.965.5555.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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Marlin Sumpter Named Interim Principal of Cleveland Elementary School

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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At Wednesday night's meeting, the Santa Barbara board of education appointed Marlin Sumpter to serve as the interim principal of Cleveland Elementary School, effective March 31.

Sumpter is the district's former director of student services.

— Barbara Keyani is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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Psi Chi Chapter of Fielding Graduate University Raises $1,800 for Big Brothers Big Sisters

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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With only two weeks to fundraise, members, faculty and psychology students in the Psi Chi Chapter of Fielding Graduate University raised more than $1,800 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County.

This achievement, which includes a $500 match from Fielding Graduate University, sponsors a Big and Little match for one year.

“We are very thankful to Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County for all they do to support the emotional development of children,” said Jeanie Metivier, president of Fielding Graduate University Psi Chi Chapter. “We are thrilled to champion their work and appreciate Fielding Graduate University’s commitment and support of student organizations that make projects like this possible.”

Fielding Graduate University Psi Chi Chapter is a local chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. The honor society is open to Fielding psychology students who have a 3.5 GPA or higher.

The mission of Psi Chi has several goals, one of which is to "promote ethical and socially responsible members and leaders." One way for members to learn social responsibility and leadership is through chapter service projects.

Big Brothers Big Sisters was selected as a service project for a few reasons, primarily because members had clinical or personal experiences with its programmatic results and wanted to support the emotional health and well-being of Santa Barbara County citizens.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is recognized as the single most effective prevention-based mentoring program in the United States. At-risk children ages 6 to 15 are carefully matched with caring adult mentors, who help them reach their full potential trough one-to-one relationships built on trust, friendship, consistency, support and guidance. In a recent national report titled The Mentoring Effect, it has been determined that young people who are mentored show improvements academically, socially and economically. These types of improvements are a direct result of the investment in our most valuable resource, our community’s children, which will lead to stronger and safer communities.

Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program of Family Service Agency.

— Melinda Johansson is the marketing manager for Family Service Agency.

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UCSB Professor/Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura to Give Talk on ‘Invention of Blue LED’

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Shuji Nakamura, UC Santa Barbara professor of materials, 2014 Nobel laureate in physics and inventor of the bright blue LED, will speak at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Tuesday, April 28.

His lecture, “Invention of Blue LED, Laser and Solid State Lighting,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have become ubiquitous, and are favored for their energy savings capability. In addition, their versatility makes them the lighting of choice for electronic devices, smart buildings, vehicles, displays, public areas and industrial and commercial settings. Their durability has led also to their use in inhospitable and off-the-grid environments where artificial light is both scarce and highly necessary.

Yet it wasn’t until recently that LEDs gained widespread use. Since their invention in the 1960s, LEDs, which were initially available in red, then green, orange and yellow, gained popularity as manufacturing methods improved. However the lack of a complete spectrum of colors limited their application, and it became clear that blue, a primary color necessary for white lighting, needed to be developed.

It also became clear that the blue LED was much more difficult to invent than its predecessors. So difficult, in fact, that in some circles it was deemed impossible.

In his public lecture, Nakamura will outline not only the technical challenges that accompanied his quest to create the blue LED but also the obstacles he faced professionally to accomplish what many around him said couldn’t be done.

It’s a journey that begins with Nakamura as a recent graduate, working at a young Japanese manufacturing company in the late 1970s and leads him all the way to Stockholm in 2014 as a Nobel Prize winner in physics. Along the way he has received numerous accolades and is recognized worldwide for his innovations that ultimately paved the way for the white LED light.

Nakamura’s talk will feature live demonstrations onstage and an opportunity for audience members to ask questions. Pre-signed copies of Brilliant, a book by technology writer Bob Johnstone that chronicles Nakamura’s endeavor to invent the blue LED, will be available for purchase at the event.

For more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or click here.

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Jackson Releases Statement on Passage of $1 Billion in Emergency Drought Funding

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, released the following statement Wednesday on the Senate’s passage of emergency drought legislation:

“As most of us are aware, California is in the midst of a very serious and unprecedented drought. While we can’t make it rain, we can help communities undertake projects that best use limited water supplies, improve our water infrastructure and provide emergency assistance to residents suffering from a lack of water.

"Today, we passed legislation that expedites funding for drought relief, so we can work ahead of the normal budget schedule to get this funding quickly into the communities that need it. This is just the beginning of the assistance we will be providing this year to Californians during this historic drought.

'In the meantime, we all must continue to treat our water as the precious resource that it is, and conserve, conserve, conserve.”

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

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

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Ohana Pet Hospital Receives CoolCalifornia Small Business of Year Award from Air Resources Board

By | Published on 03/26/2015

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Ohana
From left, David Garcia, a representative for Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson; Dr. Janis Shinkawa of Ohana Pet Hospital; Jamie Gill; caretaker Laura Quinonez; vet tech Courtney Cedillo; and La Ronda Bowen, Air Resources Board ombudsman. (Ohana Pet Hospital photo)

On the heels of winning the Air Resources Board Climate Leader award in 2013, Ohana Pet Hospital has once again been honored by the ARB with yet another award — the 2014 CoolCalifornia Small Business of the Year award.

Ohana is one of only four businesses in California this year to win this prestigious award.

Four businesses received the Business of the Year award for demonstrating exceptional climate change management practices and emission reductions, while documenting their cost savings, return on investment and benefits received from taking specific actions, the ARB stated in a release. In February, Ohana veterinarians and staff went to Sacramento to pick up their award.

“These small business leaders come from all over California,” Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said. “They are demonstrating that the connection between climate-friendly business practices and a healthy bottom line is both real and positive.”

Ohana Pet Hospital began demonstrating its environmental stewardship in December 2012, during building construction. Led by design consultant Cynthia Grier of EcoLogic Life, the Ohana leadership team implemented green construction techniques including zero emission paints, use of natural and energy efficient lighting, and recycled glass countertops, among other environmentally conscious decisions.

Ohana continues its green commitment on a daily basis through environmentally sound operations such as fully paperless record keeping, using refillable cleaning products procured through The Refill Shoppe, and participating in the “Blue Drapes Project” facilitated by the City of Ventura. The Blue Drapes Project allows veterinary hospitals to reuse blue surgical drapes from local hospitals that were sterilized and untouched by patients.

“Building and operating an environmentally friendly practice was something we were committed to from the very beginning,” said Dr. Janis Shinkawa, Ohana’s medical director and one of four veterinarian owners. “We recently expanded the hospital and ensured that our green practices continued into the expansion as well.”

Dr. Shinkawa and staff member Jamie Gill are both active members of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce Green Task Force, which strives to help local businesses be more green.

In 2014, Ohana Pet Hospital was honored with the Ventura Chamber of Commerce Poinsettia Mid-Size Business of the Year Award and the Women-Owned Business of the Year presented by the Pacific Coast Business Times and the Small Business Administration.

Ohana Pet Hospital is a full-service facility, established in Ventura in 2012 by four female veterinarians — Drs. Janis Shinkawa, Jill Muraoka-Lim, Kate Byrne and Nicci Quinn. In March 2014, they were joined by long time local veterinarian Dr. Donnalee Dorman. The hospital specializes in providing compassionate care and the highest quality medical, surgical, dental and nutrition services for a variety of small animals. The facility also offers holistic services, including physical therapy and acupuncture and recently opened the Ohana Rehabilitation Center facilitated by Dr. Stefanie Scheff. “Ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian and this family of compassionate people are dedicated to caring for and healing clients’ pets throughout Ventura County so that they live long, happy and healthy lives. Ohana is also an industry and community leader in “green” ideas from construction to operations.

Ohana Pet Hospital is located at 4547 Telephone Road, Suite A in Ventura and can be reached at 805.658.7387. For information on the CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards Program, click here.

— Lynnette Coverly is a publicist representing Ohana Pet Hospital.

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Thanks Santa Barbara Auto Group-Porsche for Gala Sponsorship

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara would like to thank Santa Barbara Auto Group, Porsche for their Ruby sponsorship of this year’s Seventh Annual Gala on April 11 at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club in Montecito.

The gala is the Junior League’s highlight event of the year, and the funds raised will further the mission of the JLSB through membership training, programming and other worthy initiatives, which help continue with our success of bettering the community.

In addition to celebrating our 90th year with the gala, we will be announcing our new focus area and fundraising for the Junior League’s programming.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Junior League’s Seventh Annual Gala.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call 805.963.2704 or email atoffice@jlsantabarbara.org.  Click here to make an online donation.

Connect with the Junior League on Facebook. Follow the Junior League on Twitter: @JuniorLeague_SB.

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Survey: Californians Say Their Neighbors Aren’t Doing Enough About Drought

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Few support raising the gas tax, and a slim majority favor legalizing marijuana

Large majorities of Californians say the supply of water in their part of the state is a big problem and that people in their regions are not doing enough to respond to the drought, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California with funding from The James Irvine Foundation.

Two-thirds of adults (66 percent) say the regional water supply is a big problem, near the record high reached last October (68 percent) on this question. Another 19 percent say it is somewhat of a problem (14 percent not much of a problem). Central Valley residents are the most likely to see the water supply as a big problem (76 percent), followed by Orange/San Diego (71 percent), the San Francisco Bay Area (63 percent), Los Angeles (60 percent) and the Inland Empire (56 percent).

Asked about the water supply in their area 10 years from now, 69 percent expect it to be somewhat inadequate (26 percent) or very inadequate (43 percent) for what is needed. The share of residents saying the supply will be very inadequate has increased 12 points since last March.

Two-thirds of Californians (66 percent) say people in their part of the state are not doing enough to respond to the drought (24 percent right amount, 6 percent too much). Majorities across regions, parties, and racial/ethnic, education and income groups say not enough is being done.

What is the most important issue facing people in California today? Residents are equally likely to name water and the drought (23 percent) as jobs and the economy (24 percent). They are much less likely to name other issues (education and schools 6 percent, immigration 6 percent, crime 5 percent).

“The ongoing drought is raising concerns about the long-term water supply,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Most Californians think their neighbors could be doing more to save water today.”

Opposed to Paying More for Road Maintenance, Divided on High-Speed Rail

Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized the maintenance of the state’s roads and infrastructure in his inaugural address. How do Californians view the condition of roads, highways and bridges? About a third (34 percent) say it is a big problem in their part of the state, another third (33 percent) say it’s somewhat of a problem and a third (32 percent) say it is not much of a problem.

Majorities of Californians (53 percent adults, 58 percent likely voters) say spending more money to maintain state roads, highways, and bridges is very important for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California. But when asked about three ways to increase state funding for this purpose, most Californians did not favor any of them. Just 18 percent favor increasing the state’s gas tax, 23 percent favor increasing the vehicle registration fee, and 47 percent favor issuing bonds paid for through the state’s general fund.

“Californians agree with the governor that highway, road, and bridge maintenance is important to the state’s future,” Baldassare said. “But they are reluctant to invest their money in state infrastructure projects.”

The survey asks about another transportation issue: high-speed rail. When read a brief description of the project and its associated costs, residents are divided: 47 percent favor it and 48 percent are opposed. Support for high-speed rail has hovered around 50 percent in recent years. When those who oppose it are asked how they would feel if it cost less, support increases to 64 percent. Just 28 percent say high-speed rail is very important for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California — down from previous years (33 percent March 2012, 36 percent March 2013, 35 percent March 2014).

Half Support Extending Proposition 30 — Temporarily

The share of Californians saying the budget is a big problem is 45 percent — the lowest since May 2007. The survey asks about extending the temporary Proposition 30 tax increases that have helped improve the budget picture. About half of Californians (51 percent) and likely voters (48 percent) favor extending these increases in sales taxes and the income taxes of high earners, which are set to fully expire in 2018. But when those who favor extending the taxes are asked about making them permanent, support drops from 51 percent to 35 percent among all adults, and from 48 percent to 32 percent among likely voters. Regardless of their opinions on the issue, 66 percent of adults and 68 percent of likely voters say state voters should decide whether to extend the tax increases.

Half Favor More Higher Education Funding — If Fees Don’t Rise

With a budget surplus projected over the next several years, the survey asks whether Californians prefer spending it to pay down debt and build a reserve or restore some funding for public colleges and universities. Most adults (56 percent) choose restoring higher education funding. Likely voters are divided (48 percent pay down debt, 47 percent higher education funding).

The governor has proposed increasing funding for California’s public colleges and universities if they freeze tuition and fees for the next four years. When asked their views, 48 percent of adults and 52 percent of likely voters say state funding should be increased only if tuition and fees are not increased. Fewer (28 percent adults, 27 percent likely voters) say the state should not increase funding or that funding should be increased even if tuition and fees go up (19 percent adults, 18 percent likely voters).

Record-High Support for Legalizing Marijuana

As advocates for legalizing marijuana again consider putting the issue on the ballot, support for legalization is at its highest point since PPIC began asking this question in May 2010. Today, 53 percent of residents say marijuana should be legal and 45 percent say it should not. Slim majorities supported legalization in October 2014 (51 percent) and September 2013 (52 percent). Among likely voters, 55 percent favor legalization. About three-quarters of adults (74 percent) who have tried marijuana say it should be legal, while only a third (35 percent) who have never tried it favor legalization. Residents aged 18 to 34 (61 percent) are more likely than older adults to say marijuana use should be legal (47 percent age 35 to 54, 52 percent age 55 and older). Most adults without children under 18 (59 percent) favor legalization. Most parents with children (54 percent) are opposed.

If marijuana were legal, 53 percent of adults say it would not bother them if a store or business selling it opened up in their neighborhood, while 44 percent say it would. Most parents (54 percent) would be bothered.

Brown, Obama Have 55 Percent Approval

The governor’s job approval rating is 55 percent among adults (28 percent disapprove, 17 percent don’t know) and 56 percent among likely voters (36 percent disapprove, 8 percent don’t know). This is down from his record high in January (61 percent adults, 58 percent likely voters) but higher than his rating a year ago (49 percent adults, 52 percent likely voters in March 2014). The legislature’s approval rating has also dipped since January. Today it is 45 percent among adults and 39 percent among likely voters (49 percent adults, 41 percent likely voters in January).

President Obama’s approval rating among adults matches the governor’s, at 55 percent, but disapproval of his job performance is higher (41 percent, 4 percent don’t know). Likely voters are divided (49 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove). Californians continue to disapprove of the U.S. Congress’ job performance. Just 24 percent of adults and 16 percent of likely voters approve.

Half of adults (50 percent) say things in California are generally going in the right direction (41 percent wrong direction), and 52 percent say we will have good times financially in the next year. Adults are more pessimistic about the direction of the nation, with 54 percent saying things are going in the wrong direction (40 percent right direction). Their opinion of the nation’s economic outlook mirrors their view for the state: 53 percent say the U.S. will have good times financially in the next year (41 percent bad times).

Californians Diverge From Adults Nationwide on Key Issues

The survey asks about four other issues being discussed at both the state and federal levels. Compared to adults nationwide, Californians are more likely to:

View health care reform favorably. About half of Californians (52 percent) have a generally favorable opinion of the health reform law (42 percent generally unfavorable). In a national Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 41 percent had a favorable view. The PPIC survey also asks Californians how concerned they are about being able to afford necessary health care when a family gets sick. A strong majority are at least somewhat concerned (51 percent very concerned, 23 percent somewhat).

View global warming as a very serious problem. Most Californians (60 percent) say global warming will be a very serious problem for the U.S. if nothing is done to reduce it, compared to 44 percent of adults nationwide in a recent New York Times/Stanford/RFF poll. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (75 percent) are most likely to see global warming as very serious, followed by blacks (70 percent), Asians (58 percent) and whites (46 percent). Adults age 55 and older (47 percent) are less likely than younger Californians to view global warming as a serious problem (65 percent age 18 to 34, 66 percent age 35 to 54).

Support Obama’s executive order on immigration. A strong majority of Californians (70 percent) support the president’s order protecting up to 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. A December ABC News/Washington Post poll showed support at 52 percent nationally. Across all regions and demographic groups, an overwhelming majority of Californians (80 percent) support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements.

Say the government should do more to reduce income inequality. Asked about the gap between rich and poor, 72 percent of Californians say it is growing — similar to their national counterparts in the January CBS News poll (69 percent getting larger). However, Californians (61 percent) are slightly more likely than adults nationwide (55 percent) to say the government should do more about it. California’s likely voters (80 percent) are more likely than state residents overall to say the income gap is growing — but less likely (51 percent) to say that government should do more to reduce it.

More Key Findings

» Most say they’re paying more taxes than they should: Half of Californians say the state and local tax system is fair, but 57 percent say they are paying much more or somewhat more than they feel they should.

» Top reason adults aren’t registered to vote? Lack of citizenship: When Californians are asked why they don’t register to vote, the most frequently cited reason is not being a U.S. citizen (34 percent), followed by the view that voting doesn’t change things (13 percent).

» A majority favor the Keystone XL pipeline: In the wake of Obama’s veto of the pipeline bill, 54 percent say they favor building the pipeline.

About the Survey

Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,706 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones March 8-17. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences.

The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.7 percent for all adults, plus or minus 4 percent for the 1,427 registered voters, and plus or minus 4.7 percent for the 1,064 likely voters.

Click here to view the complete survey.

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Montecito Water District Board Approves Rate Surcharge, Boosts Rationing By 26%

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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The Montecito Water District board approved a water shortage emergency surcharge Tuesday night, putting the fee into effect April 1.

Water sales from last July through January were about half compared to 2013-14 — very good for conservation, but bad for the district’s bottom line, especially at a time when it’s spending millions of dollars on supplemental water and desalination plant studies.

The surcharge rate can change depending on water sales, but the board approved a starting rate of $1.87 per HCF (hundred cubic feet, or 748 gallons) and a maximum possible rate of $4.16 per HCF.

There was a more organized effort to protest this surcharge and the district received 388 protest letters by the time of the meeting, general manager Tom Mosby said.

Almost 200 people showed up to the meeting, and the board unanimously approved the surcharge.

Unlike so-called drought water rates, the surcharge doesn’t follow the tiered rate structure and charge larger users more money per unit than the lowest users, it’s the same increase for everyone.

At the same time, the board repealed Ordinance 93, the water rationing rules adopted a year ago, and adopted Ordinance 94 to implement the new allocation plan. These rules give a 26 percent increase in water allocations to all customers, including water for outdoor irrigation use for single family residences.

Plenty of people have pointed out the mixed messaging of increasing allocations while still calling for conservation and purchasing supplemental water to keep up with demand.

The district says the surcharge and increased allocations will help the district stay fiscally solvent, with low water sales and high drought costs.  

“Though it helped water supply, higher conservation has reduced revenues to a point where we have to increase rates, which is the purpose of the surcharge,” Mosby said, adding that 70 percent of the district’s expenses are fixed costs.

The district bought enough supplemental water to make a “two-year water supply bridge” until it can boost local water supplies — banking on the fact that it can build and start a new desalination facility.

The Montecito Water District is importing 85 percent of its water through supplemental purchases right now and it’s unlikely that any level of conservation would have avoided those purchases, Mosby said.

The district expects to get no water from its Lake Cachuma allocation or State Water Project next year, as a worst-case scenario plan, so the lack of surface water and groundwater supplies is pushing the organization to desalination.

“The supplemental water is a two-year bridge and takes the urgency off, however, we believe 2017 is the drop-off point — if conditions stay as they are, desalination must be operating by then,” Mosby said.

The $1.87 surcharge is meant to compensate for a 20-percent drop in water sales and depends on the district receiving $2 million in rationing penalties. It already received that much for the 2014-15 year.

This water shortage emergency surcharge is a temporary measure that will end once water supplies have “normalized” and drought-related expenses are recovered, according to the district.

Only a majority protest by district customers would have stopped the approval.

The district already approved planned increases of 16.3 percent in mid-2013 and 7.4 percent every year through 2017-18, as part of its five-year financial plan adopted in 2013.

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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Santa Barbara Mayor, Chamber President Reflect on Modified State of City Breakfast

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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All appeared calm this week in Santa Barbara after the State of the City event was held on Friday.

Mayor Helene Schneider said she was pleased with the event, despite an initial move last year to remove the Chamber of Commerce as the event's host.

The State of the City event is an annual breakfast event, hosted by the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, and gives the mayor and other city officials the chance to talk about city highlights important to the business community.

But the event hit a snag last year when Schneider expressed concerns about the event's accessibility to the public, and said the city would be making a move to break with the business organization.

At the time, the chamber had already secured the venue and more than $10,000 in sponsorships for the event, Noozhawk reported.

“We were ready to go with the event,” Chamber President Ken Oplinger told Noozhawk at the time. “We were very excited to be able to do it for the 15th year. She was very clear this wasn’t up for discussion. We’ll be stepping aside.”

Tickets to the event are normally $60 a piece and include breakfast at The Fess Parker DoubleTree Hotel.  

In February, it was announced that the Chamber would host the event after all, and would allow the public to attend free of charge during the presentation.

About 400 people paid for tickets this year, and several dozen people attended for free to listen to the presentation, which featured Schneider and City Administrator Paul Casey as speakers.

Helene Schneider

Schneider, who provided few details then about how the decision to part with the chamber was reached, said at the time that she wanted to offer free admission to the public.

But some speculated that the move was a jab at the chamber for supporting the Highway 101 widening project, which Schneider has taken issue with.

However, last week's event was carried off seemingly without a hitch.

Oplinger told Noozhawk earlier this week that the chamber was "pleased to open the mayor’s speech up to the public, and had a few dozen people attend for that purpose."

He said paid attendance to the event was on par with last year.

Moving forward, the chamber will be reaching out to the city next week to suggest dates for next year.

Ken Oplinger

Oplinger said the intention is to have a similar event in 2016, "but we want to discuss it with the city now so we can plan accordingly."

Schneider said she felt the event "went very well," and that she'd heard that more than 60 people RSVP'd to attend the presentation part of the event.

"The chamber did offer seats at tables to many of them, with other seats available theater-style for any overflow," Schneider said. "I heard that this aspect was a good way to create more inclusivity and transparency connected to the city’s largest presentation of the year."

She added that she had not had a chance to talk with chamber staff about how the logistics worked out, but said she looks "forward to that conversation."

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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Another Minuteman III Missile Test Set from Vandenberg

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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For the second time in four days, a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled to occur from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch is expected at 3:54 a.m. Friday, and the launch window will remain open until 9:54 a.m.

Minuteman missile tests take place from underground silos on the North Base.

A test occurred Monday from the base, and Vandenberg officials recently noted that technical troubles have delayed ICBM tests scheduled for last year.

Air Force Global Strike Command officials said the purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system.

"Extensive resources are devoted to every launch mission to ensure safety in our local area and downrange," said Col. Shane Clark, 30th Space Wing vice commander and the launch decision authority. "Working with Air Force Global Strike Command, Team Vandenberg is poised to provide safe launch operations in support of this important demonstration of our nation's secure and effective combat ready ICBM force."

The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron based at Vandenberg, includes crew members and maintenance personnel from the 341st Missile Wing of Malmstrom AFB in Montana.

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 County Planning Commission Talks Threshold for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Santa Barbara County wants to develop a greenhouse gas emissions threshold, a point that distinguishes which industrial projects would have significant cumulative impacts and require mitigations.

Having a threshold isn’t required, and there is no cohesive state approach so local jurisdictions are left to their own decisions, county staff member Doug Anthony said. It’s part of the effort to plan for the statewide mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010.

Santa Barbara County could adopt a zero-net emissions standard, a percentage-based reduction from business as usual, or a numeric threshold — which Energy and Minerals Division staff is recommending.

At Wednesday’s county Planning Commission meeting, staff recommended a threshold of 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (MTCO2e/year) to trigger a finding of significant mitigations, which would only apply to industrial stationary source projects.

If projects have significant cumulative impacts from greenhouse gas emissions, they would be required to reduce emissions down to the threshold through onsite and offsite mitigations.

One metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent per year is the unit used to incorporate emissions of seven greenhouse gases into one measurement, based on the global warming potential of the gases, according to a county staff report.

Planning commissioners didn’t make a decision and will discuss it more at an April 9 meeting in Santa Maria.

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District will also discuss the issue, and both groups will make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Every public commenter but one at Wednesday’s meeting asked for a zero-emission standard or a lower level than the staff recommendation, at 1,000 to 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

“I get zero threshold when it comes to dumping trash on the street, so I’m not clear why dumping trash in the atmosphere gets a different threshold,” Sierra Club board member Robert Bernstein said.

The 10,000-level is “too much for a county that prides itself on its environmental record,” said Bill Marks, representing the League of Women Voters.

Ben Oakley, representing ERG California, recognized he was the “lone voice of consent” and opposed the greenhouse gas emission threshold.

With a 1,754 metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent per year threshold, it would capture 95 percent of existing greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources, according to county numbers. It would also allow smaller-emission projects to go through the planning process without the mitigations.

The 10,000 metric ton level recommended by staff would capture 82.4 percent of existing project emissions.

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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Southern California Edison Gives Update on Outages, Santa Barbara Infrastructure Projects

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Southern California Edison Co. offered a rare, detailed glimpse this week into the history of its planned and unplanned power outages in Santa Barbara, including the company’s short- and long-term plans to fix problems.

The Santa Barbara City Council accepted the presentation at Tuesday’s meeting, but officials weren’t sure the company gave the information enough context to put local residents at ease.

Members of the business community were especially difficult to convince, since they have dealt with dozens of unplanned power outages, even creating a petition in protest.

SCE offered to share area-specific statistics while the company works to implement its multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment plan to strengthen a territory-wide distribution grid, serving nearly 14 million people.

Three company representatives took turns tackling questions about upgrades, emphasizing a goal of providing safe, reliable and affordable power.

In 2013-14, SCE invested approximately $6 million in downtown Santa Barbara — a number that should double to $12 million in 2015, said Rondi Guthrie, SCE public affairs region manager for Santa Barbara.

Most of the unplanned power outages between 2012 and 2014 — some 38 percent — were attributed to equipment failure, with another large portion for operational maintenance needs, and a smaller number due to weather.

Milpas and Padre area substations were affected the most, logging the majority of unplanned outages in 2014.

City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss asked whether a backup system would be put in place in case another outage happens soon.

Representatives couldn’t point to any plan, but said reliability saw a vast improvement from 2008 to 2013. Data for 2014 would be available in a few weeks, Guthrie said.

“What do these numbers tell us?” Councilman Gregg Hart asked. “Is this good? Is this bad?”

He learned that SCE ranks its 34 coverage areas against themselves, meaning its districts are numbered from best to worst and not compared to specific standards.

SCE’s reliability-improvement plan aims to reduce outage frequency and duration by installing automated equipment, repairing and replacing circuits, replacing aging cable, installing circuit ties, and increasing its vegetation clearing.

The company will trim 20,685 trees in the Santa Barbara area this year, representatives said, and most of its local money is paying for updates to Santa Barbara substation transformers, which should be complete by the end of the year.

SCE is also hiring five more field crew members for the Santa Barbara district to improve response times and perform more regular inspections.

Hart was happy to hear SCE plans to add a third circuit focusing on the downtown area.

Guthrie outlined SCE’s outreach efforts, which include hosting an event from 9 a.m. to noon April 2 at the Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St., and an “outage school” for business customers on May 5.

The company is also working to match businesses of all sizes with representatives to contact in case of an outage (and vice versa) as part of a pilot program.

Councilman Bendy White called for creation of a regional collaborative — spanning from Carpinteria to Goleta — to lobby for the upgrades to SCE and the state Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the company.

Santa Barbara Downtown Organization Executive Director Maggie Campbell said fearful business owners have resorted to buying electrical generators.

“This has a ripple effect all through the community,” Campbell said. “Downtown Santa Barbara has to remain competitive.”

Opal Restaurant and Bar owner Richard Yates, who started the petition, became emotional when talking about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he and fellow business owners have lost in the past year and a half.

While grateful for the presentation, Yates said, “I would also like to say that we still face some uncertainty. If emergencies come up elsewhere, can we still count on your support and focus?”

Hart suggested a council subcommittee could keep in touch with SCE for updates, but no action was taken.

Mayor Helene Schneider asked SCE to come back to the council in six months or so, since residents want reliability sooner rather than later.

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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Jim Hightower: The TPP Scam — Obama Resorts to Government By Sucker Punch

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Ed, please call home! Edward Snowden, that is: Come quickly; your country needs you.

Once again, the American people are being victimized by a hush-hush blanket of official secrecy, rhetorical dodges and outright lies. This time it's not about wholesale spying on us by our own government, but a wholesale assault on our jobs, environment, health and even our people's sovereignty. The assaulters are a cabal of global corporations and the Obama administration.

Their weapon is a scheme hidden inside a scam. Called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the scam is their claim that TPP is nothing but another free trade deal — albeit a whopper of a deal — one that ties our economy to Brunei, Vietnam and nine other nations around the Pacific Rim. But of the 29 chapters in this deal, only five are about tariffs and other trade matters.

The real deal is in the 24 other chapters that create a supranational scheme of secretive, private tribunals that corporations from any TPP nation can use to challenge and overturn our local, state and national laws. All a corporate power has to do to win in these closed proceedings is to show that a particular law or regulation might reduce its future profits.

This is big stuff, amounting to the enthronement of a global corporate oligarchy over us. Yet it's been negotiated among trade officials of the 12 countries in strict secrecy. Even members of Congress have been shut out — but some 500 corporate executives have been allowed inside to shape the "partnership."

Now that President Barack Obama and his corporate team intend to spring it on us and start ramming TPP through Congress. He recently arranged a briefing to woo House Democrats to support it — but he even classified the briefing as a secret session, meaning the lawmakers are not allowed to tell you, me or anyone else anything about what they were told.

A gag order on Congress? Holy Thomas Paine! The only reason Obama is desperate to hide his oligarchic scheme from us is because he knows the people would overwhelmingly oppose it. So he's resorting to government by sucker punch. It's cowardly ... and disgraceful.

The wonkish, gibberishistic jargon used by the Powers That Be to write these corporate boondoggles they call "trade deals" is toothachingly boring and incomprehensible. Could that be on purpose? Of course! If they wrote these wage-destroying, environment-killing, sovereignty-sucking scams in plain English so we commoners could understand what they're doing to us, they couldn't get away with it.

So the TPP, by far the largest trade flim-flam in history, is written in legalistic gobbledygook and was negotiated by corporate lobbyists and government lawyers. Even Congress doesn't know what's in it — yet the plan is to hustle TPP into law through a super-rushed, rubber-stamp process called "fast-track."

No need to worry about the content, though, for an upstanding new group called Progressive Coalition for American Jobs now assures us that this global deal "will support hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States." Hello, do we have sucker wrappers around our heads? That's the exact same claim that President Bill Clinton and the corporate elite made in 1993 for NAFTA, which siphoned hundreds of thousands of jobs and entire industries out of the U.S.

By the way, who are the members of this "coalition"? Every progressive group I know of is adamantly against the TPP, and no progressive has stepped forward to claim ownership of this PR push for corporatizing the people's democratic rights. Is there a coalition? Who's in it? Who funds it? Nobody's talking because nobody's there. The coalition is a fraud, just like TPP.

Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian that, "Good trade agreements can only be negotiated in the open. ... The U.S. must stop using trade agreements as investment deals for the world's wealthiest corporations and instead prioritize higher wages, safer work and environmental standards and a healthier world economy. Trade agreements should improve the bottom lines of all Americans, not just of American corporations — or else we shouldn't enter into them at all." Now that's progressive.

To join the real coalition of progressives like them who're standing tall against the whole TPP fraud, go to StopFastTrack.com.

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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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing to Hold Lottery for Casas de las Flores Complex in Carpinteria

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing will be holding a lottery drawing April 16 for applicants wishing to live in the all-new Casas de las Flores affordable housing complex, which is scheduled to open in September in Carpinteria with 43 townhouse-style apartments.

Applicant lottery numbers will be pulled individually from a tumbler during the April 16 drawing to be held live at Peoples’ Dahlia Court II affordable housing complex, 1305 Dahlia Court in Carpinteria. The lottery begins at 10 a.m., and applicants, the media and general public are welcome to attend.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 200 households on an interest list for the new apartments. A brief pre-application must be submitted before next Tuesday, March 31, to be lottery eligible. The pre-application and qualification details are available by clicking here. Qualified households’ rent-to-income ratio shouldn’t exceed 40 percent.

Casas de las Flores is currently under construction at 4096 Via Real in Carpinteria, the former site of the Carpinteria Camper Park. Peoples’ purchased the extremely blighted camper park from an absentee landlord more than a decade ago and successfully located replacement housing for the 80 households who were living in very poor conditions on the property. After years of preparation, Peoples’ broke ground on the project in April 2014.

Click here for more information.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

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Jackson Bill to Expand Community College Jurisdiction for Sex Assaults Passes Out of Committee

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that would permit community colleges to extend their jurisdiction beyond their campus borders to discipline students for sexual assault violations passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. The vote was 7-0.

Senate Bill 186 would allow community college districts to use their disciplinary process to expel or suspend students for sexual assault and sexual battery. UC and CSU campuses already have such extended jurisdictions in place. But as a result of current law, community colleges have had little recourse when inappropriate student behavior occurs outside campus boundaries.

“I have heard from community college leaders that this is a tool they would like to have in place so they can keep their students and communities safe. This is particularly important in a place such as Isla Vista, where we have UC students and community colleges students living next to each other, but being held to different standards," Jackson said. “This will level the playing field for all students, regardless of where they are enrolled, send a clear message about sexual assault and help ensure that victims feel safe enough to stay in school.”

This bill is meant to complement but not supersede the criminal justice process.

Last year, Jackson was the joint author of Senate Bill 967 with Sen. Kevin de León, known nationally as the "yes means yes" bill. SB 967 makes California the first state in the nation to define affirmative consent and require institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault.

SB 186 now heads to the Senate Rules Committee.

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

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

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Bill Cirone: Partners in Education Continues to Enhance Young Lives

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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One of the greatest privileges of my position has been working alongside local business leaders who have volunteered their time to help guide, challenge and enhance young lives in our community through Partners in Education.

These members include company CEOs, college presidents and school district superintendents, all with institutional challenges of their own to solve, who still take the time to come together at early morning breakfast meetings to help our local young people. I have been continually impressed by their passion and commitment to our youth.

The group started out as the Community Career Development Council in 1977 and became the Industry Education Council from 1981 to 2000. The following year, the group, now named Partners in Education, attained nonprofit status, with Computers for Families as its top project, and remained steadfast in its mission. Last year, the program celebrated the distribution of its 10,000th computer to a family in need, helping bridge the Digital Divide in dramatic fashion.

When south county schools indicated the need for volunteer support, Partners devised the Volunteer Program, with support from the Santa Barbara Foundation and Orfalea Foundation in 2008. The Volunteer Program has since expanded into Santa Maria and Lompoc in collaboration with the United Boys & Girls Club of Lompoc and the Santa Maria Valley YMCA, through a partnership called the North County Volunteer Corps.

Since these programs launched, more than 130,000 hours of service have been delivered countywide to schools and nonprofits.

The initial mission of the Industry Education Council was to “develop outstanding graduates in the Santa Barbara area.” At each annual breakfast, students who have benefited from the services provided by Partners speak to the group to tell their stories and express their gratitude. This year, Carmina Acebu and John Unzueta rose to the occasion.

Carmina, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, is an intern with Partners, making videos that highlight volunteers and interns.

“Once I completed the seven weeks of job readiness training required of every intern in the program, I was ready to start working,” she explained. “As a videographer and an editor for Partners in Education, I grew so much this past year. ... It’s become a constant reminder in my daily life now, getting to hear stories about volunteering, investing in students’ futures, giving back to the community and creating partnerships that will cultivate something great. Now tell me that doesn’t inspire you to want to do more. I know it has for me. Why else would this once-shy kid be standing up on stage right now?”

She said the people in Partners motivate her constantly to want to give back and help her fellow students, “because who doesn’t want the amazing feeing that comes with contributing to the betterment of the community?”

She added: “There is honestly the truest sense of community with Partners in Education. … These are invaluable interactions that have molded me into who I am today, and are showing me who I want to be in the future.”

Unzueta’s story was different, but equally moving. He was a junior at San Marcos High School when he first got involved with Partners in Education. In introducing him, Director Chelsea Duffy said, “He is someone who has turned his personal challenges — that no kid should have to face — into tools for good.”

Unzueta is in his third year at Westmont College pursuing a degree in economics and business with a minor in biology. His early years certainly did not make this outcome inevitable.

“When I was growing up, education was not a priority for me. In fact, I was the kid that many teachers in elementary school had hoped they would not get,” he told the audience.

He pointed to one encouraging teacher he had at that time: “Mrs. Morse at Hollister Elementary would always correct me when I said, ‘I can’t.’ She taught me to say, ‘I can’t yet.’”

When Unzueta was in junior high, his father struggled with addiction that cost him his job and the family’s home. Things were at a low point, and school remained a challenge. Mentors helped get him through.

“Jamie DeVries, teacher at San Marcos High, showed me that genuine affection and investment in people is where we as humans can find the greatest satisfaction and success in life,” Unzueta said, adding that another mentor, Miguel Milendrez, taught him to be quick to listen and slow to anger.

Among several formative experiences — REACH and Emmaus Road among them — Unzueta cited the Partners in Education Internship Program.

“Structured like a job, you apply, interview and potentially have the opportunity to participate,” he said.

He said Partners taught him about cover letters, resumes and emotional intelligence, helping provide him with the tools and desire go beyond preconceived notions of what he could be.

“Who I am today and how I want to contribute to the world is a culmination of all that this community has invested in me. All of me, has been fostered by all of you,” he said. “Can you please stand and give yourselves, along with your colleagues, a round of applause — because I am thankful beyond words.”

These are just two shining examples of success, and I continue to admire and salute Partners in Education for the work it does on behalf of our young people.

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

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Santa Barbara Sets Heat Record; More High Marks May Be On the Way

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Friday expected to be the hottest day as high-pressure system moves over the region

Santa Barbara set a new high-temperature mark on Tuesday, and National Weather Service forecasters say more records are possible in the next few days.

A reading of 84 degrees was taken at the Santa Barbara Airport on Tuesday afternoon, beating out the record for March 23 of 83 set in 1988.

Temperatures in the low to mid-80s are expected over the next several days along the coast, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Friday may offer the best bet for new records on the Central Coast, Seto said.

Santa Barbara is forecast to hit 83 on Friday, within striking distance of the record of 85 set in 1988, Seto said.

Santa Maria has even a better chance, with a high of 85 forecast compared with the current record of 83 set in 1923.

The Santa Ynez Valley is likely to be even hotter, with highs pushing 90, Seto said.

Offshore winds and a high-pressure system expected to move through the region are responsible for temperatures that are running 15 to 20 degrees above normal, Seto said.

Some mountain areas may see winds up to 20 mph over the next couple of days, but nothing like the gusts that whipped parts of Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. A gust of 79 mph was recorded in the Montecito foothills Tuesday night, Seto said.

No rain is in the forecast for the next seven days, Seto said, although he added that the 90-day outlook shows a 50-50 chance of above-normal rainfall.

Santa Barbara has received less than half an inch of rain in March and stands at 54 percent of normal precipitation for the rain season that began Sept. 1.

Fire officials are warning that the above-normal temperatures and lack of rainfall have heightened the fire danger, and are urging residents to use extra caution.

[Click here for the latest forecast]

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.

High winds Tuesday night shattered a second-floor window at the Westmont College library. A gust of 79 mph was recorded Tuesday night in the Montecito foothills. (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

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Santa Barbara Public Market Celebrating One-Year Anniversary with Spring Fling

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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The Santa Barbara Public Market, which opened in April 2014, is home to 14 merchants. (Santa Barbara Public Market photo)

The Santa Barbara Public Market is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 4.

The community is invited to this free event to commemorate the exciting milestone with special springtime food samplings, cooking demonstrations, family festivities and live music.

The 14 merchants that make up the dynamic collective have worked hard to deliver an outstanding culinary and epicurean experience, and are proud to toast a successful first year of local culture and cuisine.

“The Santa Barbara Public Market is truly a unique experience for everyone,” said Marge Cafarelli, owner of the Santa Barbara Public Market. “It has been fun to watch visitors discover the great synergies that exist across the market, and shop it each in their own way. We like to think of it as 'choose your own adventure' at the Public Market — whatever the experience you’re looking for may be, you’ll find it here!”

Starting at 10 a.m. April 4, the celebration begins in The Kitchen with a visit from the Easter Bunny, along with egg decorating crafts that are sure to be family fun for all ages. The afternoon will be a springtime culinary festival of food tastings, cooking demos and classes. From 2 to 5 p.m., a Tasting Passport will be your ticket guide through the market to experience seasonal food tastings at participating market merchants. Get stamped at each merchant, and turn in your completed Passport for a chance to win prizes throughout the day.

Festivities continue with Santa Monica Seafood fishmongers in The Kitchen at 2 p.m. for a lesson in how to filet a fish and more.

Schedule of Events

Saturday, April 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

» 10 a.m. to noon — Easter Bunny visits The Kitchen and egg decorating crafts

» 2 p.m. — Santa Monica Seafood Spring Cooking Demo

» 2 to 5 p.m. — Food Tasting Passport; sample food tastings from participating Merchants! Get stamps and turn in your completed passport for a chance to win prizes

» Noon to 8 p.m. — Live music

Since opening in April 2014, the Public Market has gained notoriety as a vibrant foodie destination, providing a unique one-of-a-kind experience for the Santa Barbara community-at-large that value handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably made food and wine.

The Santa Barbara Public Market’s One-Year Anniversary Spring Fling is a free event and open to the public. Please click here for additional details, or call SBPM at 805.770.7702.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Public Market.

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Expansion Moves Forward for Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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The City Council rejects — with conditions — a neighbor's appeal of the planned improvement project, including an exterior PA system

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday laid a path for the planned expansion of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History by denying a neighbor’s appeal of the project.

The council voted 6-1 to move the expansion forward while considering concerns brought by challengers of the city Planning Commission’s approval on Jan. 8.

Mayor Pro Tempore Cathy Murillo voted in favor of making the museum ax plans for an exterior PA system — a main point of contention during the hours-long hearing.

Everyone agreed the nonprofit museum should expand, even the appellants.

The issue for a handful of longtime neighbors was whether the museum should be able to install a proposed exterior speaker system, relocate a trash enclosure and increase noise in general.

The appeal came before the council after planning commissioners granted the museum at 2559 Puesta del Sol a conditional use permit amendment and parking modification, as requested in its master plan outlining sizable growth over the next 10 to 15 years.

Those approvals were needed in order to provide less than the required number of on-site parking spaces — net loss from 156 to 155 — although museum officials say the master plan offers a net increase in disabled-accessible museum parking spaces.

After hearing from both sides, the majority of the council members decided a PA system could go in as long as it was tested for noise measurements before it became operational.

The council also opted to preserve the western connector trail and reversed conditions that forced museum stargazers out at 10 p.m. They will be allowed to remain until 10:30 p.m., clearing out by 11 p.m.

Expansion plans include creating a new butterfly garden, renovating the Marine, Paleo and Chumash halls, developing an enhanced bioswale with a boardwalk and overlook, and refreshing the woodland area with native plants.

Mark and Lauren Carey, who live adjacent to the museum on Las Encinas Road, objected to the expansion, with backing from neighbor Richard Solomon, who also dreaded the new PA system, since it hadn’t yet been tested.

Suzanne Elledge, who has worked for the museum planning the project for the past eight years, said the PA system wasn’t supposed to be heard offsite, noting the $30,000 sound wall the museum volunteered to put up near the neighbors’ property.

“If it’s too loud, the system can only be used for emergency announcements,” Elledge said. “I ask you to simply consider: If you can’t hear it, is it noise?”

Dozens of public speakers backed the museum for its economic and cultural value, and another said a PA system was merely a byproduct of living in an urban environment.

Murillo sympathized with neighbors, saying the museum didn’t need a PA system to announce wildfire conditions or closures because the nearby Santa Barbara Botanic Garden doesn’t have one.

The other officials disagreed, opting to deny the appeal, with conditions that will come back for final approval.

With project support, city staff can begin the next part of expansion.

Museum officials hope to annex five parcels of land around the museum site from the county into the city. The City Council and the Local Agency Formation Commission need to approve the annexation, and the council would also have to OK an amendment to its general plan.

Expansion work would begin in 2016, including installation of a new sidewalk along the south side of Puesta del Sol, and the museum would remain open along the way.

Founded in 1916 as the Museum of Comparative Oology, the museum adopted its current name in 1922.

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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Guadalupe Council Declines to Take Stand On Oil Train Project in San Luis Obispo County

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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After hearing from supporters and opponents of the proposed rail spur project at the Phillips 66 Santa Mara Refinery in southern San Luis Obispo County, the Guadalupe City Council decided Tuesday night not to take a stand on the issue.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes Guadalupe, wrote a letter asking the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission to reject a rail spur extension proposed at the refinery on the Nipomo Mesa.

In February, Farr asked council members to endorse her letter opposing the project to build the facilities so the refinery can process oil transported by railcar.

Council members voted 4-1 not to endorse the letter, with Councilman Ariston Julian as the lone opponent. His earlier motion to support Farr’s letter died for lack of a second.

Councilman Jerry Beatty said dangers — some known, some unknown — already exist near the railroad in the city.

“What are we doing about the trains that are currently through the city that could potentially affect our community as a whole right now?” Beatty said, adding the city already has trains with toxic chemicals traveling through the community and at risk of a devastating derailment. “So I cannot wholeheartedly endorse Supervisor Farr’s letter.”

Councilwoman Virginia Ponce noted that several people in the audience chuckled as a train rolled through the city during Tuesday’s meeting, its whistle and travel along the nearby tracks audible inside City Hall.

“We’re just used to it,” Ponce said. “Is it a problem? Could there be accidents? Yes. But I also cannot really endorse the letter because everything that happens in town could be a potential danger.” 

Julian expressed several concerns, including the effect on the area’s crops, the number of unprotected rail crossings around Guadalupe, the potential for damage to the city’s water supply and more.

“This is one we can’t risk when it comes to the population of Guadalupe and the future of Guadalupe,” Julian said.

Before the council members voted, they heard from proponents and opponents of the project.

Jim Anderson, rail spur project manager and the refinery’s maintenance superintendent, said the project would involve extending an existing track and adding an off-loading facility so oil could be delivered via trains, as many as five a week with 80 cars apiece that would travel from the north and south to the site.

He noted the new trains would be similar in size to the trains that for the past decade have rolled through Guadalupe, en route from San Ardo in Monterey County to Southern California.

The 60-year-old refinery that sits on approximately 1,700 acres typically get its product via pipeline, but is seeking new sources to continue processing up to 44,000 barrels a day. 

“This is necessary to keep the refinery full and viable as an operating facility,” Anderson said. 

The new oil trains are more likely to travel from the north, Anderson said, since they plan to get the product from the Midwest and tar sands from Canada.

The draft environmental impact report is being updated and the final should be released soon, Anderson said, urging council members to wait to review that document.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission is expected to consider the project in late spring, he added.

Laurance Shinderman spoke on behalf of Mesa Refinery Watch, a group that formed 18 months ago to oppose the oil train project but isn’t working to shutter the facility.

“We are not special interest activists,” Shinderman said, adding they come from all backgrounds and united for a common cause. “We are residents of the Nipomo Mesa who are opposed to the construction of the intrusive and potentially dangerous Phillips rail terminal project.

“It’s our belief that the crude by rail and the construction of a crude oil transfer station is a horrible invasion of everyone’s lives on the Central Coast regardless of income, race or politics. It’s not a jobs issue. It’s a health, safety and quality of life issue for everyone.”

The same tankers Phillips plans to use were involved in recent explosions across the country and have been called “traveling time bombs,” Shinderman said. 

Joyce Howerton, aide to state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, read a letter from the legislator urging San Luis Obispo County officials to deny the project, citing 2013 statistics that more oil spilled from trains than in the last four decades combined.

“When weighing the benefits versus the burdens of this project, public health and safety must prevail,” Howerton read.

Several speakers opposed to the project represented the Santa Barbara County Action Network and urged the council to endorse Farr’s letter.

Ken Hough, executive director of SBCAN, said transporting the oil by train would be dangerous, with economic impacts occurring for a long time in if an accident occurred.

“You need to choose between the more certain but not guaranteed modest economic boost to your city of an increase in production at the refinery and the less likely but potentially devastating impact of an accident of locally unprecedented proportions,” Hough said. “Please urge the county of San Luis Obispo to deny this project due to the grave risks it would pose to your city, the residents and the visitors.”

Lompoc resident Janet Blevins labeled oil tankers traveling by rail as “a bomb train.”

“If an accident happened here, schoolchildren would die, maybe on their way to school,” Blevins said. 

Dennis Apel said the council should still weigh in on the project even if the trains don’t pass through the city.

Several communities along the rail route have opposed the project.

“A disaster of this sort anywhere in California would be horrendous,” Apel said.

He recalled another Guadalupe train derailment involving Corona beer — the town smelled of beer for several weeks afterward.

“Not that I’m complaining, but Corona beer is nothing compared to what would happen if one of these trains derailed along the rail in our city or anywhere in California,” Apel said.

Guadalupe resident Shirley Boydstun questioned the motivation for those opposing the project.

“Could this be fostered by people in the South County who frequently show themselves as nearly anti-everything?” Boydstun said. “In this case, it seems to the oil industry.”

She noted last year’s Measure P anti-fracking initiative, which was defeated in Santa Barbara County.

Oil production and refining have been job creators in the North County for decades, she added.

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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Sansum Clinic CEO Joins White House for Kickoff of Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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On Wednesday, Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, CEO and chief medical officer of Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, joined President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at the White House for a kickoff meeting of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network.

The network aims to bring public- and private-sector actors together to build on the Affordable Care Act's efforts to move health care toward a system that provides the best care for patients and pays providers based on the quality rather than the quantity of care they give patients. More than 2,800 payers, providers, employers, patients, states, consumer groups, consumers and other partners have registered to participate in the network — approximately 100 of those organizations represented the network at the kickoff event at the White House.

“We commend Secretary Burwell’s efforts to build a health-care system that delivers better care more efficiently,” Dr. Ransohoff said. “Through our work with CAPG and now the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, we are pleased to be contributing to solutions that will improve accountability, patient outcomes and affordability on a broad scale.”

The Affordable Care Act established an ambitious new framework to move the health-care system away from rewarding health providers for the quantity of care they provide and toward rewarding quality. These new models have been put to work in Medicare and have contributed to 50,000 fewer patient deaths in hospitals due to avoidable harms, such as infections or medication errors, and 150,000 fewer preventable hospital readmissions since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act became law.

Secretary Burwell earlier this year announced the ambitious goal of tying 30 percent of payments to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2016 and 50 percent by 2018 under new approaches to paying for health care created by the Affordable Care Act. The network will accelerate this transformation of the nation’s health care delivery system to one that achieves better care, smarter spending and healthier people, by supporting the adoption of alternative payments models through their own aligned work, sometimes even exceeding the goals set for Medicare.

“It is in our common interest to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends our health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people,” said Secretary Burwell. “When government and business work together we can all benefit. Patients can get the right care at the right time, doctors can achieve the best ideals of their profession, and health care can be more affordable for individuals and companies.”

The Affordable Care Act put in place financial incentives for hospitals and other providers to promote quality while making health care affordable. HHS has already seen promising results on transforming the health care delivery system, including:

» More than 400 Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model have generated a combined $417 million in savings for Medicare;

» Initiatives like the Partnership for Patients, ACOs, Quality Improvement Organizations and others have generated a 17 percent decline in the rate of hospital-acquired conditions, $12 billion in health care cost savings and saved 50,000 lives between 2010 and 2013;

» Medicare hospital readmissions decreased by nearly eight percent – translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions between January 2012 and December 2013;

» Through the work of the Partnership for Patients and the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative, early elective deliveries decreased 64.5 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2013, thus improving birth outcomes and meaning fewer at-risk newborns; and

» Doctors’ offices and other providers participating in ACO programs and other Innovation Center initiatives have offered expanded office hours and 24 hour call lines to improve access and support care coordination.

Among the organizations that have set their own goals for rewarding value are the following:

» American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, are committed to working with their partners in the coming years to encourage the development of care delivery models that incorporate a patient-centered approach to care and educate people with cancer and their families about models that improve the overall quality of care.

» American College of Physicians. The American College of Physicians (ACP), representing 141,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), subspecialists and medical students, will educate its physicians about, and promote broad adoption of, the alternative payment model, including the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), the PCMH neighborhood/specialty practice model and ACOs. ACP is committed to continuing to develop numerous tools and resources to help physicians make the transition to these alternative payment and delivery system models and through its High Value Care initiative and its Center for Patient Partnership in Healthcare, will promote ways for patients and clinicians to work together as partners to achieve the highest quality, patient-centered health care.

» Caesars. Earlier this year, Caesars Entertainment launched a bundled payment demonstration project for non-emergent surgical procedures, like hip and knee replacements, with dramatically reduced cost sharing. If the demonstration project is successful, Caesars Entertainment will look to expand this program in its other markets, impacting up to 29,000 covered employees and 23,000 dependents. (Bundled payment models generally group each individual service a patient receives during an episode of care into one payment, aligning financial and quality performance accountability across providers.)

» Cigna. Cigna agrees to the goals set by HHS, including 90 percent of payments in value-based arrangements and 50 percent of payments in alternative payment models by 2018. Cigna will particularly focus on ensuring that physicians providing care to its most vulnerable and at risk customers have an incentive and assistance to provide high quality, value based care. (Value-based arrangements generally tie financial incentives to quality or value.)

» State of Delaware. Delaware has set a goal of having 80 percent of the State’s population receive care through value-based payment and service delivery models within five years.

» Dignity Health. Dignity Health has committed to move 50 percent of its payments to accountable care by 2018, and 75 percent by 2020.

» Rite Aid. Rite Aid will educate its associates about the use of alternative network options that promote improved health outcomes and lower health care costs. It is working with its benefit administration partners to have more than 50 percent of the company and associates medical spend supported by health care access through alternative models by 2018. Rite Aid will also develop unique and innovative programs that aim to achieve many of the same goals as value-based health care, like improving the health of its patients while avoiding costly hospitalizations. For example, the Rite Aid Health Alliance is an integrated delivery model in which Rite Aid pharmacists and health coaches partner with medical providers to help patients, with one or more chronic diseases, better manage their conditions.

— Jill Fonte is the marketing director for Sansum Clinic.

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Awarded Three Gold Medals in Germany

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. recently brought home three Gold medals at the 2015 Meiningers International Craft Beer Awards in Germany for its Lizard’s Mouth Imperial India Pale Ale, Stagecoach Stout and 4th Anniversary Ale.

“There were only 22 awards given to craft beers from the United States and we are proud to have taken home three of those,” said Jaime Dietenhofer, president of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

More than 550 products from more than 20 countries were entered in the 2015 Meiningers International Craft Beer Awards, more than double the previous year. The increased interest and participation in the competition clearly illustrates how much specialties and craft beer segment has grown in the beer market.

With the additional number of entrants came an increase in participation among judges. Almost 50 experts, primarily beer sommeliers and brewers, traveled to Neustadt an der Weinstrasse to judge the blind tasting of numerous classic specialty beers, alongside the "new" craft beers. Only 40 percent of the beers submitted to the competition were allowed to receive recognition according to the rules.

“We are extremely honored to be in the class of so many talented breweries that are pushing the envelope in Europe for craft brewing. We are thrilled to get our European style beers noticed by the European community,” Dietenhofer said. “I just returned from a trip to Germany for a beer festival and to visit a few potential sites for our new brewery. It’s an exciting time to be breaking into the German market.”

Click here for more information about the winning beers or about Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

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Rona Barrett: Where Words Fail, Music Speaks*

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Here’s a question for you that I’m betting will put a smile on your face: What is the very first song you remember?

Got it? Good.

See, you’re smiling, aren’t you?

How old do you think you were? Was it sung to you, or did you hear it somewhere? Is it a song that you’ve carried with you your whole life, or one you can’t believe you still remember? Most importantly, how does this memory make you feel?

My earliest recollection is around 3 years old and it’s not a particular song. It’s music — Rumba music! My parents loved Latin American music, which they played on their old 78 record machine or listened to on the radio.

Just the other day, I heard some groovy Bossa nova music at my hairdresser’s. I couldn’t help but wiggle in my chair because it made me so happy. It also transported me — as it always does — to the early 1960s when I first met my husband, Daniel (cue the swoon).

The late, great Dick Clark is famous for saying, “Music is the soundtrack of our lives.” I agree. Just as there is comfort food, there is also comfort music. And I’m not just talking about soothing music. I’m talking about tap your feet, snap your fingers and wiggle your hips and shoulders comfort.

The BBC certainly knows that music can be comforting. Its show Desert Island Discs has aired continuously since 1942! In a nutshell, the host asks the guest to imagine s/he is a castaway choosing eight songs or pieces of music s/he would take to the island and why. What would be your eight choices? Why?

Now, imagine you are on a different kind of island — an island that isn’t fantasy, but reality. And all of your survival needs are slowly slipping away. Yes, it’s the island of dementia/Alzheimer’s. Would you be surprised if I told you that music has been shown to be an effective rescuer of those who have long been cast away on the loneliest island imaginable?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association California Central Chapter, “Many Alzheimer’s patients can remember and sing songs even in advanced stages, long after they’ve stopped recognizing names and faces.”

The site offers Caregiver Tips to help you create the best at-home musical therapy environment with a list of dos and don’ts, as well as helpful books, iPod help, CFIT (Cognitive Fitness & Innovative Therapies0 and SingFit, an app for smart phones and tablets providing a voice coach to guide the sing-along music. Access all of its resources by clicking here.

The Internet offers a wide array of information and inspirational videos. Just enter the key words “music therapy for dementia patients” and voila! I guarantee you will smile.

Speaking of smiling, “Smile” is one of my favorite songs. Charlie Chaplin’s haunting music and John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons’ poignant lyrics never fail to bring tears to my eyes — yet always compel me to smile.

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

*Thank you, Hans Christian Anderson.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are her own.

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UCSB Library’s Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings Collection Added to National Registry

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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The woman’s voice is faint, low and barely audible as she identifies herself: R.C. Wombough. Such a statement would seem wholly unremarkable if not for the fact that R.C. — Rachel Cornelia — was born 200 years ago.

Captured in an audio recording in 1898, Wombough’s voice is among those immortalized in the Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at the UC Santa Barbara Library. The collection includes nearly 700 recordings from the early 1890s through the 1920s. Deeming it “culturally, historically or aesthetically important,” the Library of Congress has added UCSB’s collection to its National Recording Registry.

“The UCSB Library is dedicated to preserving and making accessible the unique materials in our Special Research Collections,” said University Librarian Denise Stephens. “Digitizing these rare early recordings preserves the voices of America for future generations, and we are grateful to the Library of Congress for enabling even more people to learn about our collective history through these resources.”

According to David Seubert, director of the UCSB Library’s Department of Special Research Collections, inclusion in the registry is a testament to the special nature of the recordings.

“It’s an acknowledgment that this particular type of recording is essentially unique,” he said, “and this genre is an important cultural artifact that should be recognized and preserved.”

UCSB’s collection of vernacular wax recordings consists largely of what might be described as audio selfies of the day — the quotidian sounds of life, including jokes, songs, music and the cries of newborn babies and animals. More than 500 make up the David Giovannoni Collection of Home Cylinder Recordings, which were collected over four decades by Giovannoni, a sound historian, and Donald R. Hill, a professor of anthropology at State University of New York at Oneonta. UCSB acquired the collection from Giovannoni in 2013.

Every year since 2002 the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) and members of the public have nominated recordings to the registry, and 25 or so are selected each year. Recordings can be a single item or group of related items, published or unpublished, and can contain music, non-music, spoken word or broadcast sound.

The registry, which was created as part of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, includes Edison cylinders, field recordings, radio broadcasts, rap albums, live concerts, poetry readings and more. Among the 400 recordings already in the registry are Martin Luther King’s 1965 “I Have a Dream” speech, the first transatlantic radio broadcast from 1925, and Igor Stravinsky conducting his “Rite of Spring” in 1940. The Library of Congress does not have copies of all the recordings; many are housed in collections around the country.

“They’re basically landmarks of American culture,” Seubert said. The UCSB Library has a collection of more than 650 vernacular wax recordings, also known as home wax recordings. In addition to the Giovannoni holdings, the library has roughly 150 other home recordings that will be part of the registry as well. These were produced by everyday people, not record companies or field researchers, and capture the early spirit of the public’s interaction with recording technology.

From its commercial introduction in the 1890s through its demise in the 1920s, the cylinder phonograph allowed its owners to make sound recordings at home. Their audio “snapshots” of everyday life are perhaps the most authentic audio documents of the period: unfiltered encounters with ancestors unburdened by commercial or scholarly expectations. They are among the most endearing recordings of the period: songs sung by children, parents and other relatives; instrumental selections, jokes and ad-libbed narratives; and even the cries of newborn babies and barnyard animals.

The collection also contains larger groupings of cylinders created by the same people and discovered together years later, providing in-depth coverage of the lives of individual families and communities, such as recordings made by William Henry Greenhow, who recorded his mother, R.C. Wombough. Born in 1823, she the earliest-born American woman whose voice is known to survive on record.

Among other holdings in the collection are the oldest known recordings of American vernacular fiddle music, from as early as 1900; speeches commemorating Jan. 1, 1900; singing by a Civil War veteran; and a sales pitch for the Vikings’ Remedy, a wholesome medicine that “cures when doctors fail.”

Wax recordings are among the most endangered of all audio formats: Their grooves are extremely fragile and shallow; the wax on which they are recorded decomposes with time; archives find them challenging to catalog; and collectors shave off their recordings to make new ones.

UCSB’s collection has been digitized and is available online through the library’s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project website by clicking here.

— Jim Logan represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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San Marcos High School Awarded 7 CIF-SS Academic Team Championships

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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San Marcos High School was awarded seven CIF-Southern Section Ford Academic Team Championships on Tuesday.

Boys basketball, girls soccer, boys swim and dive, boys track and field, girls track and field, girls volleyball and boys water polo all had the highest cumulative non-weighted grade point average for their sport.

The seven Academic Team Championships were the most of any school in Southern Section, which is comprised of 575 schools. In addition, San Marcos had the most number of teams in the top five of their respective sports. The runner-ups included boys golf and girls cross-country. In third place were boys tennis and girls water polo. Wrestling took fourth place, while boys cross-country and boys volleyball were in fifth place.

All 22 San Marcos athletic teams had over a 3.0 GPA. San Marcos has been the highest-rated public high school in all of Southern Section over the past six years for student athletes’ GPA.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District was well represented not only by San Marcos but also by Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara high schools. Dos Pueblos won two CIF-SS Ford Academic championships, with its softball and girls tennis programs having the highest GPA in their sports. Santa Barbara High’s girls water polo program also won a CIF-SS Ford Academic Championship. Dos Pueblos had four other programs finish in the top five: girls basketball, girls soccer, boys swim and dive, and boys track and field. Santa Barbara’s girls soccer and girls track and field also finished in the top five of their sports.

In addition, each school can name a female and male Student Athlete of the Year, which must be a senior who has maintained at least a 3.5 non-weighted GPA over the last three years, earned a varsity letter in at least one sport and is involved with other co-curricular activities on campus. San Marcos has named Ashley Julio (soccer, track) and Colin Welsh (football, lacrosse) as their Student Athletes of the Year. Dos Pueblos has named Michael Nam (golf) and Angela Penza (soccer) as their Student Athletes of the Year.

All the championship teams will be honored in an on-field pre-game ceremony at the April 22 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game.

— Aaron Solis is the activities director for San Marcos High School.

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Played Role in Starting Camp Conestoga

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Did you know? Camp Conestoga, for underprivileged children, opened in 1947 with the help of the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

Check back with Noozhawk daily for additional information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

On April 11, the league will hold its Seventh Annual Gala at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club in Montecito. Funds raised at the benefit, sponsored by Tiffany & Co., will further the mission of the Junior League through membership training, programming and other worthy initiatives to continue with our success of bettering the community.

During the gala, we will be unveiling a new focus area, which will help us dig deeper into the greater needs of our community.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Junior League’s Seventh Annual Gala.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call 805.963.2704 or email atoffice@jlsantabarbara.org.  Click here to make an online donation.

Connect with the Junior League on Facebook. Follow the Junior League on Twitter: @JuniorLeague_SB.

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emPower Helping Homeowners Kick-Start Energy Efficiency with LED Lightbulb Giveaway

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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emPower Santa Barbara County is giving local homeowners a helping hand to cut down their energy bills with an LED lightbulb giveaway.

The first 100 single-family homeowners in Santa Barbara County to “like” the emPower Facebook page and submit an email through emPower’s contact page with “LED Light Giveaway” in the message box will each get three free LED lightbulbs for a total value of more than $50.

“Switching out standard bulbs for these new LEDs is one of the easiest things homeowners can do to cut energy use and their monthly bills in the process,” emPower energy coach Jason Scheurer said. “These new generation bulbs cost more, so we wanted to help remove that barrier to get homeowners on their way to the savings that can be achieved over time.”

LED lightbulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. LED lightbulbs even beat out compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in energy efficiency.

emPower Santa Barbara County hopes this giveaway will inspire local homeowners to find out more about how its program is helping homeowners increase home energy efficiency and reduce monthly energy bills.

The county-operated program also offers free home energy site visits through its energy coach service to help identify issues such as improperly operating furnaces, leaky ducts, drafty windows and poorly installed insulation. emPower can further connect homeowners looking to fix these issues, with qualified local contractors participating in the program, utility incentives and low-interest unsecured financing.

Click here for more information.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing emPower Central Coast.

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Make-A-Wish Seeking Spanish-Speaking Volunteer Wish Granters in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It needs more Spanish-speaking volunteer Wish Granters in Santa Barbara County.

Spanish-speaking Wish Granter numbers are keeping pace with the need in Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. However, more Spanish-speaking volunteer Wish Granters are needed in Santa Barbara County.

The final Wish Granter training of 2015 will be held in April in Santa Barbara.Volunteer applications are due April 3.

All volunteers must complete a background check, online orientation classes and in-class training.

Volunteer Wish Granters are the heart of Make-A-Wish. Wish Granters meet with the wish child and their family to learn the heartfelt wish of the child. They go out in teams of two to work with a wish family.

This position requires a strong commitment to the mission of the foundation and a broad set of skills that cross into several areas including: fund development, finance, wish granting and communications. Maturity, compassion, strong communication skills — particularly with children — positive attitude, ability to be resourceful, creative and reliability are absolutely essential. The amount of time required to fulfill a wish varies, depending on the child's wish and the amount of preparation the volunteer needs to create the magic for each wish. Wish Granters must have dependable transportation and must check their email weekly.

To learn more and submit a volunteer application, click here. If you have questions after reviewing the website, call Candice at 805.676.9474 x0.

— Shanna Wasson Taylor is CEO for Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.

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Inogen of Goleta Announces Full Operation of New Manufacturing Facility in Texas

By | Published on 03/25/2015

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Inogen Inc., a Goleta-based medical technology company offering innovative respiratory products for use in the home-care setting, announced Wednesday that its new manufacturing facility in Richardson, Texas, is now operational supporting product manufacturing, packaging and logistics.

The 23,890-square-foot facility was leased in December for a term of approximately seven years for the purpose of expanding manufacturing capacity and lowering the company's average per square foot manufacturing cost.

The company will be converting its prior manufacturing space into office space to allow for the additions of sales, customer service, and billing personnel, as well as other administrative functions.

"We are pleased with the quick ramp we achieved in bringing this new manufacturing facility online," President/CEO Raymond Huggenberger said. "Our goal is a balance of infrastructure growth with cost control through scalable manufacturing, reliability improvements, optimizing asset utilization and reducing service costs.

"This additional manufacturing space has enabled us to begin to streamline our operations to increase production capacity, while at the same time, provide space for our expanding sales, support, and administrative functions as our business grows."

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Dos Pueblos Theatre Company Stages ‘Legally Blonde, the Musical’

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Dos Pueblos Theatre Company, winner of the 2014 BroadwayWorld.com Santa Barbara Regional Award for Theatre Company of the Year, will present Legally Blonde, the Musical April 17-25 in the Elings Performing Arts Center, 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta.

The production will be co-directed by Clark Sayre and Gioia Marchese (who will also be choreographing the show), with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

Follow the sisters of UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority as they re-enact the musical drama of their ditsy, fashion-savvy president, Elle Woods, who does what she must by enrolling in Harvard Law to win back her “serious” ex-boyfriend Warner. Against all odds, Elle wins so much more, including the top rank in her class, respect from her peers, some wonderful new friends and even her first legal case.

Dos Pueblos High School senior Gracie Barker stars as Elle Woods. The cast also features David Jimenez as Warner Huntington III, Parker Sassola as Emmett, Keri Parsons as Vivienne Kensington, Ryan Evans as Professor Callahan and Luana Psaros (winner of three 2014 BroadwayWorld.com awards, including Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical) as quirky hairdresser, Paulette.

Legally Blonde is a story about self-empowerment, staying positive and true to oneself, and battling stereotypes and adversity. Elle herself proves to everyone that being blonde doesn’t mean she can’t set and achieve lofty goals, so long as she stays focused on what she wants and who she is. Even Paulette, who is often simpleminded and exceedingly theatrical, “embodies some very deeply human characteristics and takes Elle in to help her from the very beginning,” according to actress Luana Psaros, a senior at Dos Pueblos High.

Gracie Barker, who plays Elle and is a classically trained dancer, is excited about the many big dance numbers in the show, asserting that “everybody has so much energy and fun with each other on stage that you can’t help but smile.” Co-director and choreographer Gioia Marchese, agrees: “The energy is absolutely infectious. I find myself singing the songs all the time. The audience will have a lot of fun with this one!”

Audiences will also enjoy seeing this ensemble-heavy show, where even the smallest roles are made memorable with their high-energy performances. Roles like Kyle the Delivery Guy, Grandmaster Chad and Kiki the Colorist will keep you roaring with laughter, even when they only have one line! Psaros adds, “Each character is very unique, from the smallest ensemble role to the lead, Elle Woods.” This is clear in both the actors’ work and the musical styles the many characters bring to the stage. Co-director Clark Sayre comments: “With musical styles ranging from baroque to Irish to reggae to pop to pure Broadway, musicians will appreciate the many key changes within songs and students will love the contemporary music that feels like something they would actually listen to on their playlists.”

Despite the company of ensemble roles that audiences will come to love, Sayre reminds us, “the whole show revolves around Elle, so much so that even scenes she’s not in inform us about her journey. Whether we consider ourselves outcasts, underdogs, or just people facing life’s obstacles, Elle’s example shows us that with a positive attitude and great persistence, we can overcome stereotypes and accomplish anything we set our minds to.” Barker says she connects with the character because they are both, “so full of energy and very self-driven in the sense that at the end of the day, sometimes you are the only one who’s going to have to push yourself to get something done. Plus, we both really like pink!” Gracie, like Elle, also relies on the support of her friends and cohorts. “I’ve been in big productions before, but I’ve finally realized how much work putting on a show takes. Costume crew finds and makes outfits for every single person, the carpentry crew builds the crazy amazing set, and so many other people work to get the show on its feet.  It wouldn’t be possible without every single person we have and this may sound cheesy, but I really do feel that we are all becoming one big family.”

Sophomore Liam Strong, who serves as student master electrician, manages his own crew of five students who are responsible for hanging, focusing and maintaining over 200 lighting instruments, as well as doing specialty electrical projects like wiring up dozens of lights around a full length mirror.

“Dos Pueblos High School provides an amazing opportunity to explore the realms of technical theater,” Strong elaborates, “and truly gives me a place to learn real world skills that I’ll take with me into my future career in theatrical lighting. I’m also afforded the ability to work with an accomplished lighting designer, just as a master electrician would in a professional theatre company.”

In addition to Liam’s lighting crew, there is also a marketing crew, carpentry crew, costume crew and stage management team, each with their own student lead.

Joining co-directors Sayre and Gioia Marchese on the professional creative staff are producer/technical director Todd Harper, musical director John Douglas, vocal director Felicia Stehmeier Hall, scenic designer Scott Aronow, costume designer Jennifer Housh, lighting designer Leigh Allen, projection designer Natalie Khuen, sound designer Patricio Rodriguez, properties mistress Naomi Fujita and scenic painter Diane Huyck.

Legally Blonde opens April 17 in the Elings Performing Arts Center and runs through April 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. Legally Blonde is rated PG-13 and contains mature themes and content that may be inappropriate for some children. Parents are strongly cautioned.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, children and seniors (age 65 or older), and $25 for premiere seats (limited availability). The box office is open from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (cash, checks and all major credit cards accepted) and one hour before each performance, or call 805.968.2541 x4670 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased online by clicking here. A small service fee is applicable for all online orders. Tickets may also be purchased by phone or in person at the Granada Theatre box office.

— Todd Harper is a producer for the Dos Pueblos Theatre Company.

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Montecito Bank & Trust Bumps Up Amount of Anniversary Grants for Local Nonprofits

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The annual awards reception, marking the bank's 40th birthday, honors 10 organizations handpicked to each receive $4,000, up from $1,500

In honor of its 40th birthday, Montecito Bank & Trust gave nonprofits more money than usual during its annual Anniversary Grants awards reception Tuesday evening.

Ten bank employee-nominated organizations received a $4,000 donation, totaling $40,000.

Recipients appreciated the sizable bump. Montecito Bank & Trust employees typically handpick local nonprofits to receive $1,500 each, for a total of $15,000.

The charitable enhancement was made possible by the work of dedicated employees, who volunteered more than 2,000 hours in 2014, bank President/CEO Janet Garufis said.

“I want to brag about them,” she said.

Local supporters and employees working in branches from Solvang to Westlake Village celebrated the bank’s 40th anniversary during the 23rd consecutive Anniversary Grants awards reception at Montecito Bank & Trust’s downtown State Street office.

On hand — as always — was bank chairman and co-founder Michael Towbes, who established the anniversary awards program in 1993 to highlight the nonprofit organizations Montecito Bank & Trust employees so fervently support.

MBBT grants
Bob Yost, executive director of the Page Youth Center, accepts the nonprofit's $4,000 grant during Montecito Bank & Trust's annual awards reception Tuesday night. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

More than 200 employees selected nonprofits and then each campaigned for his or hers to win the most votes.

“I never get tired of this event,” Towbes said before handing the microphone over to employees, who introduced awardees and promotional videos produced by Cox Communications.

Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County Executive Director Charles Anderson thanked Towbes for his generosity, which would help the nonprofit serve thousands of women and children in need every year.

He also gave a shout-out to fellow awardees for their own great work.

Other nonprofits receiving $4,000 included the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the NatureTrack Foundation, the Neal Taylor Nature Center, the Page Youth Center, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, Project: Rescue Flight, the Rotary DreamCatcher Playground and What is LOVE.

As a first-time recipient, Neal Taylor Nature Center Executive Director Julie McDonald was excited for the opportunities the award could offer the educational center at Lake Cachuma.

The center was in the middle of a room-by-room renovation, McDonald said, and $4,000 will go a long way.

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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Board of Supervisors Weighs In on Vaccine Exemptions, Physician-Assisted Suicide

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Members of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors found themselves admittedly out of their legislative depth on Tuesday as they struggled to come to a consensus on mandatory vaccinations and physician-assisted suicide, both of which are the subject of new bills being discussed in the state Legislature.

The supervisors were asked to vote whether to support, watch or disagree with Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate a personal belief exemption for those who choose not to vaccinate their children, and Senate Bill 128, which would allow terminally ill people who meet certain conditions to obtain medication to end their lives.

Both bills were co-authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, but officials from the county Public Health Department had encouraged a stance on the vaccine issue, and private citizens had brought forward the end-of-life bill.

The supervisors are periodically asked to weigh in on legislation at the state level by county lobbyists, who represent the county's interests in Sacramento. That discussion sometimes leads to talk about topics that the board has no control over, however, as Supervisor Steve Lavagnino lamented before abstaining from voting on the issues.

With little fanfare, the board easily endorsed AB 226, which would allow fishermen's markets to be permitted similarly to farmer's markets, so that fish could be caught, cleaned and sold directly to the public by those who fish. That item passed 4-0, with Lavagnino abstaining.

The real meat of the meeting came when the board stepped up to the vaccination issue, which has been a hot topic in Santa Barbara County. The item ultimately did not pass, but supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf sent their own letter of support on the issue.

The county has seen a high number of pertussis cases, and even reported its first infant death in January when a child died after coming into contact with an unvaccinated adult.

Public Health Officer Dr. Charity Dean said the law would eliminate the personal-belief exemption, as well as those exemptions for religious reasons. Only children with medical reasons, such as a child who has been on chemotherapy for leukemia, would be exempt from vaccinations.  

Though the number of personal exemptions decreased last year, they are still a concern for health officials. Dean said one public school locally has a 21-percent exemption rate in kindergartners, well below the 95 percent needed for herd immunity.

"[The law] protects vulnerable children, those children who don't have a choice," she said.

About a dozen speakers came to the podium, all of them mothers, many with children in tow.

Supervisor Peter Adam asked county counsel how people with legitimate religious reasons could be forced to immunize their children, and county attorney Michael Ghizzoni responded that he had not researched how defensible that approach would be in California.

Adam said he felt that people with legitimate religious reasons were different than those who choose not to immunize and "leaning on it for reasons of fear and confusion."

"Vaccinations do, in fact, cause injury and death," said Gail Marshall, a former county supervisor, who noted that $2 billion in damages have been awarded to families of children who have been injured or killed by vaccines.

Candace Estav said her child received multiple vaccines in the first year of his life and regressed into autism.

"Our children get 49 shots before they are 6 years old," she said, adding that even the Nuremberg Code on forced medical procedures should be "revisited."

Several speakers expressed concern that the bill would not exempt children being home-schooled because California law requires homeschooling parents to establish a private school in their home and abide by private school guidelines.

Almost every speaker brought handouts to submit to the board, some bringing vaccination records of their own children.

Joy Hoover expressed concern that the bill "leaves the door open to any recommended vaccinations" to come, she said, and not just the 10 shots that are listed by the bill.

After public comment, Dean responded, stating that before vaccines, hundreds of thousands of children had died of diseases such as measles, mumps, polio and others diseases against which SB 277 requires immunization.

"Vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent these diseases," she said.

The most libertarian voice by far was that of Adam, who said that while his own children are vaccinated, the ability to make medical choices by a person for their children "are foundational rights of being an American."

"I don't even want them to tell me to get a building permit," he said. "Having them inject something into my body without agreement, that's something as a society we should be reluctant to do. … It's just Orwellian."

Wolf said she disagreed with Lavagnino's decision to abstain, and said "this discussion absolutely affects our county."

Wolf said she didn't agree with the public speakers who opposed the vaccinations.

"I don't think you're irrational. … I just happen to believe in the many decades of science and the importance of immunizations," she said.

Carbajal said he felt the issue represented "the interest of a few for the interest of the majority," he said, adding he supported vaccination. "I am swayed by the interests of the overall public health of our society and community."

Supervisor Doreen Farr said that while she supports vaccination, she was concerned about the removal of a religious-belief exemption "as a person of faith" herself, and whether more vaccinations would be added to the list in the future.

Wolf responded that she, too, was a person of faith but that "public health trumps religious belief."

That comment prompted Adam to respond.

"With all due respect, the First Amendment trumps public health," he said.

The supervisors also voted 3-1-1 with Carbajal, Farr and Wolf approving support of Senate Bill 128, known as the End of Life Option Act, which is similar to a law passed in Oregon, which allows terminally ill patients that are expected to die in six months to self-administer drugs that would end their lives.

After a half-dozen speakers on both sides of the issue spoke, Carbajal said he lost both parents to cancer and that it "was important that this choice be available" to terminally ill people in the state.

"When we come back from lunch we're probably going to be tackling gay marriage and abortion," Lavagnino joked. "CSAC has taken no position and I'll be in the same boat."

Adam said his father died of leukemia last fall, but that he would not be supporting it because of the potential for abuse.

Farr said she, too, had been touched by terminal illness and is watching her sister endure end-stage terminal cancer. 

"I am in support of this bill," 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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Wind Serves Up Challenge, But Dos Pueblos Tops Cate in Boys Tennis Match

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Under windy conditions at home Tuesday for the second day in a row, the Dos Pueblos High School Chargers prevailed over the Cate Rams in a nonleague contest, 13-5.

The Rams did a creative lineup and stacked some of their doubles.

Leading our singles was Patrick Corpuz sweeping, losing only one game. Miles Baldwin followed with a two-set win, and opening the door for alternate Garret Foreman. Mason Dochterman struggled in his first set but powered through the remaining two sets.

Leading our doubles were lefties Joshua Wang and Bryce Ambrose, letting go of only two games in their sweep. Following them was Quinn Hensley and Vincent Villano, who took two sets. The final set was won by Ameet Braganza and Christian Hodosy, who had to climb from 0-3 to win the set 6-4.

Although they may have felt fatigue from Monday's three-hour match, the Chargers did not show it. They played with great movement and could place their shots, in spite of the wind.

Solid sportsmanship was evident throughout the match.

Dos Pueblos improves to 8-3 and Cate falls to 1-2.

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

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Vegetation Fire in Goleta Foothills Sparked by Permitted Burn

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Blaze in North Patterson area chars 1.5 acres before being contained; no structures threatened

A permitted burn that jumped its containment lines charred more than an acre of vegetation in the Goleta foothills Tuesday evening before being contained by Santa Barbara County firefighters.

Crews were called out at about 5:50 p.m. to the 1500 block of Camino Rio Verde, in the North Patterson area, and found flames being whipped by gusty conditions, according to fire Capt. David Sadecki.

Within 30 minutes, firefighters had stopped the forward progress of the fire, Sadecki said, but crews remained on scene well into the evening doing mop-up.

No evacuations were required and no structures were threatened, Sadecki said.

Four fire engines, a water tender, a hand crew and a water-dropping helicopter were assigned to the blaze.

No injuries were reported

The fire grew to about 1.5 acres, and was a result of "an agricultural burn that happened earlier in the day and escaped its containment lines," Sadecki 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.

A Santa Barbara County helicopter drops water on a vegetation fire that broke out Tuesday evening in the Goleta foothills. Officials blamed the blaze on a permitted burn that jumped its containment lines. (Ryan Cullom photo)

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Pacific Pride Foundation to Honor Dan Bucatinsky, Don Roos for LGBTQ Advocacy

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The Pacific Pride Foundation will host its annual Royal Ball fundraiser from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 25 at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara and will present its first-ever Advocacy Award honoring Emmy winner Dan Bucatinsky and award-winning director/screenwriter Don Roos for their support and commitment to LGBTQ advocacy and the significant difference they have made.

“Don and I are incredibly humbled and honored to be PPF's first Advocacy Award recipients,” Bucatinsky said. “We feel so fortunate to be able to live in California as a legally married couple, raising two beautiful children and value all that Pacific Pride Foundations includes in its mission: to feel included; to feel supported and safe — and healthy — and part of a community. Pacific Pride Foundation is working hard to provide those things in Santa Barbara, a place we've considered to be ‘home’ for almost 15 years.”

This year’s Royal Ball will also be featuring Glee star Jane Lynch as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

Actor/writer/producer Bucatinsky won an Emmy for his portrayal of openly gay character James Novack in the ABC hit show Scandal. Bucatinsky became a bestselling author with his autobiographical tales of parenthood book titled Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?

He and producing partner Lisa Kudrow founded Is or Isn’t Entertainment, which produced the Emmy-nominated HBO series The Comeback, Emmy-nominated Showtime series Web Therapy and Emmy-nominated TLC docu-series Who Do You Think You Are? Bucatinsky currently stars on NBC’s Marry Me.

Roos wrote and directed The Opposite of Sex, which won two Independent Spirit Awards for best first feature and best screenplay and was nominated by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for a Media Award. He also produced the All Over the Guy, an acclaimed gay romantic comedy starring Bucatinsky, which opened the 2001 Outfest Film Festival.

Roos joined Bucatinsky at Is or Isn’t Entertainment and went on to direct all four seasons of Web Therapy. Roos’ screenwriting film credits include Marley & MeSingle White Female, Boys on the Side and directorial film credits include Bounce, The Other Woman and Happy Endings. Roos most recently wrote the pilot for Busted starring Sarah Jessica Parker based on Ruderman and Laker’s account of their Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series on Philadelphia police corruption.

Bucatinsky and Roos first met in 1992 and over the course of their 22-year relationship have collaborated together on a series of successful film and television projects, as well as on the creation of their family. Roos and Bucatinsky were married during the small window of time in which marriage equality was legal in California in 2008 prior to the passage of Proposition 8, the state’s now-defunct same-sex marriage ban, and they have two children together.

Roos and Bucatinsky have helped change the scope of LGBTQ representation in Hollywood through both their presence as openly out celebrities and through their dedication to portraying and depicting LGBTQ characters in their work. Both are exemplary role models and the award celebrates their artistic vision and collaboration in film and television, their portrayal of gay characters, and their inspirational family that represents love, integrity and leadership.

Honorary co-chairs for the Royal Ball include Melissa Etheridge and Linda Wallem Etheridge, Lisa Kudrow and Michel Stern, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall, and Mary McCormack and Michael Morris. Event co-chairs include Joanna Kerns and Marc Appleton, David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Oliver Goldstick and Bud Leslie, Joanna Johnson and Michelle Agnew, and Jamie and Julie Kellner.

The mission of the Pacific Pride Foundation is to advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community; care for people living with HIV; and prevent the transmission of HIV.

Sponsorships and individual tickets are on sale. Individual tickets for the Royal Ball are $300 and VIP tickets are $500. Tables and boxes are available from $5,000 to $50,000. Tickets for the Royal Ball are available online by clicking here or by calling 805.963.3636 x111.

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing the Pacific Pride Foundation.

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Switch to Bigger Planes Will Bring New Destination for Santa Maria Airport Passengers

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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A switch to regional jets from turboprops will mean bigger planes but a different destination — San Francisco, instead of Los Angeles — for United Express passengers using the Santa Maria Public Airport.

SkyWest Airlines, which operates the local United Express flights, is retiring the Embraer-manufactured 30-passenger turboprop craft in favor of the 50-passenger Bombardier-manufactured CRJ200.

United officials reportedly requested the new regional jets fly between Santa Maria and San Francisco and will end the longtime route between Santa Maria and Los Angeles. The new schedule will take effect May 6.

“Actually, I think it’s good,” Chuck Adams, president of the Santa Maria Public Airport District board of directors, said of the pending changes.

“I think it’s really good news,” General Manager Chris Hastert added.

United’s local flights already had been cut back to just two round-trip flights a day between Santa Maria and Los Angeles.

The bigger planes will mean 67 percent more available seats for Santa Maria passengers, Hastert added.

Airport officials also hope the regional jet provides more competitive fares for Santa Maria passengers, especially when adding in the free parking.

Unlike at Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo airports, Santa Maria passengers don’t pay for parking.

Santa Maria currently has two daily round-trip flights to Los Angeles by United Express in addition to three weekly flights to Las Vegas by Allegiant Airlines.

In the fall, SkyWest announced its intention to transition to an all-jet fleet by removing all remaining 30-seat Embraer 120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft (the “EMB 120s”) from service by this summer. 

“We see this as a definite benefit for us,” Hastert said, adding regional jets are quieter, smoother airplanes than turboprops.

The airline credited the EMB 120 fleet retirement, in part, in response to increased costs and additional challenges associated with new federal flight and duty rules for pilots, implemented in January 2014. Those rules establish flight and duty time limits plus rest requirements for flight crews.

Hastert said local airport officials met with United representatives about the looming changes to discuss what made the most sense for Santa Maria and learned of the San Francisco plan.

“United has a much bigger presence in San Francisco than it does in Los Angeles,” Hastert said, adding passengers will have 35 new connections.

While both are large hub airports, San Francisco is primarily served by United and has more connecting flights than at LAX, Hastert said.

“We think this is going to make a good transition for business and leisure passengers,” he added.

The airport once had flights to San Francisco, but the airline dropped the service approximately 20 years ago.

Santa Maria isn’t the only local airport getting the regional jet service and seeing schedule changes. United Express announced earlier this month that the new jet service will start April 7 at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, with flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The switch will mean the loss of six flights to and from the two major airports.

“We’re excited to provide this upgraded service for our customers in San Luis Obispo,” said Greg Atkin, SkyWest Airlines’ managing director for market development. “Not only will they have convenient access to both San Francisco and Los Angeles, but they’ll now enjoy faster flight times, larger overhead bin space, improved reliability, and a quieter, smoother ride with the jets

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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El Encanto Hotel Agrees to Parking Management Program to Ease Neighbors’ Concerns

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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A lack of on-site parking has forced employees to find parking on nearby streets

After months of drama and discontent, the City of Santa Barbara and the El Encanto Hotel are moving forward together on a parking plan that eases tension in the surrounding neighborhood.

The El Encanto Hotel, built in 1918, has created a parking management plan that will stop employees from parking on streets in the surrounding neighborhood and take swift action against employees who violate the hotel's policy.

"Though this has been a difficult journey, I am hopeful that what comes out of it is sort of a renaissance of a relationship between El Encanto, the neighborhood and the city," planning commissioner Deborah Schwartz said. 

The hotel, at 800 Alvarado Place, is surrounded by million-dollar homes in Santa Barbara's foothills. As the hotel has expanded over the years, so has the number of guests and employees. The hotel's first priority is to allow its customers to park cars on-site, leaving few spaces available for employees. The rest must park at a nearby church lot and ride a shuttle in to work, or find other parking options.

Santa Barbara officials in 2004 approved a master plan for the El Encanto, which was cleared for a total of 97 guest rooms after an extensive renovation. One condition was that employees park on-site but, after the hotel reopened in 2013, the city determined there was not enough parking on the property for the 215 employees. The hotel has 100 parking spaces on-site and another 40 at an off-site lot.

The El Encanto has partnered with First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara at 21 E. Constance Ave. to provide 40 parking spaces for employees.

The hotel has agreed to create an Employee Parking Management Plan and communicate regularly with the city. 

The hotel has agreed to document each employee's typical transportation mode, maintain a database of employee vehicle license plates and types of cars they drive, create a list of employees allowed to park on-site and those who intend to park at the lot, and monitor and take action against the offenders. 

Neighbors have complained about the number of hotel employees parking on their streets since the hotel renovated and reopened in 2013. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk file photo)

"Monitoring and compliance will be so critical for this to be effective," Schwartz said. 

El Encanto employees who drive to work must also display a parking sticker so it is easily recognizable if they are parked on the street.

Essentially, the parking management plan forces El Encanto to take a proactive role in managing their employees parking habits, rather than saying that they didn't know whether employees were parking in the neighborhoods. 

The city had considered financial penalties against the El Encanto, but decided that the complying with a traffic management plan was enough. The city's Planning Commission gave feedback on the plan at a recent meeting and the community development director is expected to approve the hotel's plan. 

Although many of the neighborhood residents complained that the hotel has over-expanded, the city was clear that the hotel has a valuable place in the community.

"This hotel has been part of the neighborhood for close to 100 years," Assistant City Attorney Scott Vincent said.

The Planning Commission held a heated meeting last September, but everyone, including the neighbors, agreed that the problem has subsided since then.

"I am very enheartened by where we are today," planning commissioner Michael Jordan said. "I think we have all collectively gotten past the crest of discontent."

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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County Supervisors to Hear Miramar Appeals in April

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The fate of the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows development in Montecito is slated to be decided April 14, when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider two appeals of its approval.

A hearing date was set Tuesday, with the supervisors unanimously agreeing to schedule the sure-to-be-long hearing sooner rather than later.

Caruso Affiliated developers and a Los Angeles couple who own a home near the proposed hotel site on 16 acres overlooking Miramar Beach have filed appeals of the Montecito Planning Commission’s Jan. 21 approval.

A representative for both appellants appeared Tuesday and asked for different hearing dates — not surprising, considering the two appeals were filed for dissimilar reasons.

Richard and Dana Pachulski, who own property on Miramar Avenue, want the supervisors to better examine impacts to parking, traffic and water supply.

The developers want to reverse the commission’s conditioned approval limiting event capacity — from a proposed 400 to 350 — and reducing Miramar Beach Club membership from 200 to 100, since they want to eventually raise membership to 300.

L.A.-based attorney Robert Silverstein, who represents the Pachulski family, told the supervisors the April date wouldn’t work because it conflicts with another case deadline to submit a reply brief for a case. He suggested May 5 or May 12.

Caruso’s executive vice president of development, Matt Middlebrook, requested April 14 or April 21, since developer Rick Caruso would be traveling and unable to attend May 5.

He hoped for timely processing of the appeal to avoid further affecting the timeframe for development, which he said is costing Caruso Affiliated thousands of dollars daily.

The privately held Los Angeles real estate firm has waited eight years for the right combination of financing and approval after buying the property in 2007, and twice receiving approval for past iterations of the project in 2008 and 2011.

The scaled-back project design submitted last fall features 170 guest rooms instead of 186, including 27 oceanfront rooms and suites, and a freestanding presidential suite.

Middlebrook, who highlighted Caruso’s continued communication with Silverstein’s office to try and resolve their appeal, was also concerned a delay would put construction smack in the middle of the county moratorium on grading from October through March.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who represents Montecito, applauded the staff for “trying to thread the needle” before siding with the April 14 pick.

The supervisors will hear the appeals in Santa Barbara on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St.

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 Education Foundation Announces Honorees of HOPE Awards

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The Santa Barbara Education Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2015 HOPE Awards. The honorees include local philanthropists Jim Kearns, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara and Village Properties.

Kearns
Jim Kearns

The HOPE Awards honor individuals, organizations and businesses that have made a significant contribution to public education.

Kearns had a belief that all children in the Santa Barbara public school system should have access to high-quality arts programs. Beginning as an anonymous donor, he funded transformational arts programs at the city’s most economically disadvantaged schools. Today, the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) is in eight Santa Barbara elementary schools.

In 2003, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara gave the initial funds to start the Green Schools Program at a single school in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Through continued support from the Garden Club and the involvement of the Orfalea Foundation that program, now called the School Gardens Program, is the largest such program in the United States serving more than 40,000 students in Santa Barbara County.

A premier local real estate firm, Village Properties understood the importance for a community to have strong schools and well-educated youth and took action, establishing the Teachers Fund to help local K-12 teachers buy needed supplies and books. Since its inception in 2002, the Village Properties Teacher’s Fund has awarded more than $1.5 million to more than 2,600 dedicated teachers; 100 percent of the donations go directly to funding the classroom.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will present this year’s HOPE Awards on Thursday, April 16 at a benefit to be held at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The keynote speaker for the event will be William Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“This marks the first time that a chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities has addressed a group in Santa Barbara," foundation board chair Craig Price said, "and we are both thrilled and honored that Mr. Adams has chosen to speak at our event and to share his unique perspective and thoughts on the importance of public education.”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation is a nonprofit celebrating 30 years of supporting the programs and initiatives of the Santa Barbara Unified School District; raising private funds to provide each student with an innovative, world-class education.

The event is open to the public. For tickets and additional information, contact Jamie Baker 805.284.9125 at jamie@santabarbaraeducation.org, or visit the Santa Barbara Education Foundation website by clicking here.

— Jamie Baker is the development director for the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

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Montessori Center School’s Upper Elementary Students Host ‘Year Long Project Fair’

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Just before spring break, Montessori Center School’s Upper Elementary students (fourth through sixth grades) hosted a "Year Long Project Fair."

Earlier this school year, the students were given the opportunity to self-select a topic of interest to research and present. After many months of hard work, the children presented their projects last week.

We saw extremely varied topics ranging from the history of early Mayan culture to the invention of the GoPro camera.

Montessori
A Montessori Center School sixth-grade student with her project highlighting the science of bees. (Montessori Center School photo)

Along with the research writing the students found other exciting ways to showcase their work through creating project boards, models, dioramas and even games. Some of the aims of the project included supporting research skills, scientific inquiry, creativity and public speaking skills.

“It’s always incredibly rewarding to see how students respond to such large projects like this," said Patricia Colby, Montessori Center School head of school. "Watching them come to completion on such an in-depth project and create such unique ways of showcasing the information is truly inspiring.”

Montessori Center School is very proud of the incredible caliber of work as well as the dedication and ingenuity we saw from our Upper Elementary students.

The school, on Fairview Avenue in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.

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Paving Project on South Glen Annie Road Scheduled for April 6-7

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Westar’s contractor will be paving South Glen Annie Road on Monday, April 6 and conclude work on Tuesday, April 7.

No parking will be allowed on South Glen Annie for those two days. Once the work is completed, the fencing that has been in the middle of the street will be removed and parking will be available on both sides of the street.

Please expect some delays in accessing properties off of South Glen Annie during these two days.

Also, Southern California Edison will be doing work to underground the overhead utilities on Hollister Avenue that will require the closure of one westbound lane of Hollister Avenue between Storke Road and Santa Felicia. Work is anticipated to start this Wednesday, March 25, and is expected to take four to five weeks.

Construction along this section of Hollister Avenue is part of the public improvements underway in conjunction with the Westar/Hollister Village project.

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Cynder Sinclair: Evaluating Nonprofit Programs — Keep, Change or Toss?

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Several years ago, I worked with a youth-serving organization whose board members felt insulted when I asked about their latest program evaluation. Even worse, they were flabbergasted when I asked how often they re-examined their mission statement. They emphatically proclaimed that their mission statement had been the same for 40 years and would never change and they had been offering the same programs for as long.

“We want you to tell us how to be sustainable, not how to change who we are,” they admonished me.

I carefully explained the two aspects of sustainability: financial sustainability and programmatic sustainability. Both parts affect an organization’s ability to endure for the long-term. I assured them that sustainability is an orientation, not a destination. Creating and ensuring sustainability must be a continuous, disciplined process upon which to build an effective strategic plan.

A Nonprofit’s Programs Do Not Exist in a Vacuum

Determining how we fund our programs is just as important as building programs to meet client needs. I’ve heard it said, “No margin, no mission.” That’s a hard concept for many nonprofits to embrace when they feel the only justification needed for programs is client need. Successful nonprofits routinely evaluate their programs for effectiveness, significance and financial viability.

When is the last time you evaluated your organization’s programs? How about your fundraising events? Are any of your programs considered sacred cows that should never be abandoned or changed? Wise board and staff members consistently ask key questions to determine the effectiveness and sustainability of everything the nonprofit does, whether programs, events or policies.

Be Sure You Are Asking the Right Questions

Beloved management guru Peter Drucker said we should continuously ask the same five questions:

» What is our mission?

» Who is our client?

» What does our client want?

» How effective are we in meeting the needs?

» What should change?

Once we finish the last question, Drucker tells us to begin again with the first question of re-examining our mission. Many people are uncomfortable scrutinizing their mission, feeling that it is somehow sacrosanct. In reality, today’s rapid changes affect our clients, their needs, and therefore our organization’s reason for being. Continuously asking the hard questions is critical to ensuring our nonprofit’s lasting significance and sustainability.

Establish a Disciplined Evaluation Process

This article will highlight Jan Masaoka’s practical model for evaluating nonprofit programs as explained in her acclaimed book, Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability. She recommends beginning the process by identifying your organization’s core activities. Most core activities will be programmatic in nature, encompassing your organization’s services to clients. Next, identify those activities that focus on generating revenue such as your annual campaign, fundraising events, donor solicitation, and newsletters.

Once you have your list together, it’s time to evaluate each activity according to a dual bottom line: mission impact and financial return.

Draw four quadrants and label each like this:

» Top left quadrant symbol is a heart, indicating high mission impact and low profitability

» Top right quadrant symbol is a star, indicating high mission impact and high profitability

» Bottom left quadrant symbol is a stop sign, indicating low mission impact and low profitability

» Bottom right quadrant symbol is a money tree, indicating low mission impact and high profitability

Now assign each of the core activities and revenue generating activities on your list to one of these four quadrants. Your goal will be to identify strategic imperatives for each of your activities based on its current impact and profitability as follows:

» Quadrant #1 (high impact, low profitability) — Strategic Imperative: Keep the activities and find ways to contain their costs.

» Quadrant #2 (high impact, high profitability) — Strategic Imperative: Invest in the activities and make them stronger.

» Quadrant #3 (low impact, low profitability) — Strategic Imperative: Close the program or give it away to another organization

» Quadrant #4 (low impact, high profitability) — Strategic Imperative: Nurture the activity and harvest its bounty while finding ways to increase its impact on your mission. Activities in this quadrant are often fundraising events.

Use This Excellent Assessment Tool

Masaoka’s book helps you identify the criteria to use for determining impact, including ways to weight and score each activity. It also shows you how to create a profitability matrix and a process for developing a business model statement to accompany your mission statement. All in all, I highly recommend this valuable book for guiding you through continuous evaluation of your organization’s work.

The most important thing you can do to ensure your nonprofit’s sustainability is to commit to developing and using a process for assessing every aspect of your organization on a regular basis.

— Dr. Cynder Sinclair is a consultant to nonprofits and founder and CEO of Nonprofit Kinect. She has been successfully leading nonprofits for 30 years and holds a doctorate in organizational management. To read her blog, click here. To read her previous articles, click here. She can be contacted at 805.689.2137 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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Free Prom Dresses Available for High School Girls at Assistance League Boutique

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Starting April 11, the Assistance League of Santa Barbara will be open for all high school girls wishing to borrow — free of charge — a dress for her senior prom.

There will be over 500 new and almost new dresses in all sizes, with many from award-winning designers.

The Prom Dress Boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays April 11, 18 and 15 and May 2 and 9, and 16, and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays April 15,  22 and 29 and May 6 and 13.

Be sure to bring you school ID. There is ample parking and a friendly staff will be waiting to assist you.

Dresses are available to all girls attending a high school prom regardless of economic need.

The boutique will be located at 1259 Veronica Springs Road, off Las Positas Road.

— Mary Heron is the public relations chair for the Assistance League of Santa Barbara.

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Scientists Explore New Parameter of Bone Quality That Measures Strength Instead of Density

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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For people taking glucocorticoids such as prednisone, the increased risk of bone fracture is a well-documented side effect. Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and allergies, glucocorticoids are known to cause rapid deterioration in bone strength.

Until now, doctors have been able to measure bone loss — a process that happens slowly, over time — but haven’t had the means for gauging actual bone strength. That has changed thanks to a new hand-held instrument developed in the Hansma Lab at UC Santa Barbara. Called the OsteoProbe, the device uses reference point indentation (RPI) to measure mechanical properties of bone at the tissue level.

A new clinical trial, conducted at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, shows that RPI is sensitive enough to reflect changes in cortical bone indentation following treatment with osteoporosis therapies in patients newly exposed to glucocorticoids. Standard measurement techniques were unable to detect bone changes in this patient population. The trial results are reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

“This new paper is a real breakthrough because it’s the first time it’s been possible to do a longitudinal study of bone material properties in patients,” said co-author Paul Hansma, professor emeritus in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Up until now, medical professionals have been limited to doing bone mineral density studies, which can take a year or more to show bone changes.”

According to Hansma, measuring bone mineral density (BMD) using today’s standard, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) provides only a partial picture. “DXA measures density, which sounds like a material property but isn’t,” he said. “DXA measures how much calcium bone contains but provides no information about bone quality, and it’s not just how much bone you have that’s important, it’s how good that bone is.”The OsteoProbe works similarly to a center punch — the tool that makes a slight indentation on a surface to indicate the correct placement of a nail. It sets a localized reference point at the bone’s surface that enables precise indentation measurements of bone strength. It was developed by Hansma and colleagues Connor Randall and Dan Bridges, staff research associate and development assistant engineer, respectively, in UCSB’s Department of Physics.

The instrument is now manufactured for commercial research applications by ActiveLife Scientific, a Santa Barbara company founded by UCSB graduates Davis Brimer and Alex Proctor. Brimer and Proctor won the campus’s annual New Venture Competition in 2007 and used the $10,000 prize as startup capital.

About the Device

The OsteoProbe measures the bone material strength index (BMSi), which in previously published papers has been shown to be a valuable predictor of bone fracture risk. The index values are similar to percentage scores on an exam. A BMSi of 90 or greater is excellent, 80 to 90 good, 70 to 80 fair, 60 to 70 poor and below 60 very poor. 

A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, demonstrated the device’s ability to successfully detect bone quality deterioration in diabetic patients, independent of BMD. In another study conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the tool successfully distinguished between patients with and without fracture, not only in patients with osteoporosis but also in those with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis.

“Bone fracture is becoming more and more of a serious problem as people live longer,” Hansma said. “It’s exciting that it’s now possible to measure BMSi in living patients and hopefully this can guide physicians in the future in choosing appropriate therapies to prevent bone fracture, especially in elderly people.”

Research Is Ongoing

Exactly how the BMSi relates to the specialized quantities measured by conventional mechanical testing is a focus of current research. In fact, in a recent paper published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang and two of his graduate students used finite element analysis to investigate the link between BMSi and the mechanical properties of bone itself.

“What’s new in this paper is the ability to correlate indentation measurements from patients’ bones to computer simulations that can predict the strength of the bones,” said Yang, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering. “Such predictions are based on the measured material properties of the bone samples. The results open the door to clinical applications in diagnosis and monitoring, in performing orthopedic surgeries and in developing new therapies.”

The paper’s lead author, Kevin Hoffseth, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, noted that the study results suggest RPI could become an integral part in linking clinical results to the mechanical properties of bone related to its health. “Combining theory and experiment with finite element simulations and indentation testing was an effective approach to study bone indentation and failure — and the link to mechanical properties,” he said.

Clinical trials currently underway in some 20 locations are exploring bone health in a variety of ways. One European study is comparing the bone quality of patients in Norway to that of patients in Spain. People in Norway tend to have higher BMD and a greater frequency of fracture than do people in Spain, Hansma noted.

 “That’s the opposite of what it should be if BMD were all that mattered,” he added. “So that means that BMD isn’t all that matters and the hope is that this instrument will reveal the difference in the BMSi between patients in Norway and in Spain.”

Hansma posited that such medical bone diagnostics could become an important feature of future therapeutic treatments.

“Now that it is possible to measure whether bone is good or bad in research studies, we can begin learning what diet, exercises, vitamins and pharmaceutical drugs contribute to making bone good,” he said. “After the OsteoProbe gets FDA approval, individual physicians will be able to use it to help them decide about the best therapeutic treatments for their patients.”

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

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California Caucus Announces Legislation, Budget Action to Strengthen Women’s Economic Future

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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With California at an economic crossroads, and families depending on women’s income more than ever before, the Democratic members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus announced a package of comprehensive legislation and budget action on Tuesday to advance the economic lives of women and the economic stability of the state.

“A Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women,” includes budget recommendations and a series of bills designed to advance women’s economic opportunities as the state emerges out of a serious economic downturn. Democratic members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus have chosen priority legislation around four central pillars: equal pay and job opportunities, access to childcare, family friendly workplaces and building economic security by addressing poverty.

The announcement comes as women’s economic roles are changing. Women comprise almost half of California’s workforce today, and families depend on women’s income more than ever before. The share of women who are breadwinners or co-breadwinners is the highest on record, at 40 percent of American families. Yet, across the nation, women are typically still paid less than their male counterparts, struggle for access to childcare and workplaces with family-friendly policies, and are more likely to be impacted by poverty.

Gender inequality affects the pocketbooks of California women and families directly. California women lose $33 billion in income each year to unequal pay. Single mothers spend 44% of their income on childcare, even as California has cut state childcare programs to the bone. In addition, two-thirds of low-wage earners are women.

After years of budget challenges, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office has projected a $5.6 billion surplus for the fiscal year of 2014-15, and California is in a financial position to invest in policies that improve the economic future of women and the state. More money in the pockets of California’s women is money that flows into our economy, making our state stronger.

“We are at an important juncture for California and California women, a place where we both can make a difference and recognize that a difference needs to be made,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “This isn’t just about the pocketbooks of California’s families, although that’s important. This is also about building a strong future for all of California.”

“Access to quality childcare impacts a family’s economic future,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Garden, vice-chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “The Women’s Caucus is requesting a renewed commitment to child care for all working families in this year’s budget.”

“Women are increasing their role in, and impact on, our economy. It is vital we pursue policies that help ensure opportunity and equality,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

“Although the economy is recovering, businesses are continuing to rely on involuntary part-time workers to cut costs. These workers are frequently women who — in addition to struggling  financially – have to battle unpredictable schedules that make it impossible to balance child-care obligations, schooling and a critical second or third job. Providing predictable work schedules for these families is simple fairness and common business sense,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber, D-San Diego.

“As we enter 2015 with both the biggest budget surplus in recent memory and the highest level of child poverty of any state it is critical we have an honest conversation about ways to reinvest in California’s most important resource, our families and children, ” said Senator Holly Mitchell (D- Los Angeles).

“Women, after enduring historical work-place discrimination and wage disparities, often reach their “golden years” at a considerably higher risk of impoverishment than men. We must repair the state’s frayed safety net and restore recession era cuts to the SSI/SSP funds to help support California’s senior women,” said Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino.

Women’s Caucus priority legislation and budget action:

Equal Pay and Job Opportunities

» California Fair Pay Act — SB 358 (Sen. Jackson)

California women working full time make an average of only 84 cents to every dollar earned by men, and women of color, especially Latinas, face an even higher wage gap (44 cents to every dollar). This bill will help to ensure that women are paid equally when they do the same work as men, and protect workers from retaliation when they inquire or speak out about wage differences at work.

Access to Child Care

» Child Care Budget Request — Legislative Women’s Caucus

The Legislative Women’s Caucus requests an investment of no less than $600 million to be dedicated to the child care system. This investment should be evenly distributed between modernizing rates and increasing slots.

» Raising Child Care Quality and Accessibility Act — SB 548 (Senator de León and Assemblymember Atkins)

This bill would establish the right of child care workers to collectively bargain, support additional training for child care providers and create new child care slots to help close the gap between children who need child care and those who have it.

Family Friendly Workplace

» Fair Scheduling Act — AB 357 (Assemblymembers Chiu and Weber)

Many workers have little advance notice of when they will be required to work, making things like planning for child care nearly impossible. Forty-seven percent of hourly workers know their schedules one week or less in advance, and 69 percent of working mothers experienced fluctuations in their hours in the prior month by an average of 40 percent. This bill will ensure family and financial stability for a vast segment of California’s workforce – those employed by food and general retail establishments with more than 500 employees – by granting these workers the right to work schedule predictability and requiring employers to accommodate employee requests for unpaid time off to attend to any required appointments at the county human services agency.

Building Economic Stability by Addressing Poverty

» Repeal CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant – SB 23 (Senator Mitchell)

This bill would repeal existing state law that denies infants and children $128 in basic needs assistance if the child was conceived and born while a family member was receiving aid unless the parent discloses and can prove that the child was conceived accidentally as a result of failed sterilization, failed intrauterine device or a rape. Repealing the MFG rule doesn’t only make the program more just – it also is estimated to reduce childhood poverty rates by 7.4 percent.

» Restore cuts to the SSI/SSP Program — AB 1394 (Assemblymembers Brown and Thurmond)

Restores cuts to the SSI/SSP program that were made in 2009, and restores the COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment), establishing the individual grant at 112% of the federal poverty level.

A concept paper in support of this legislation, as well as a full list of bills moving through the California Legislature that support women’s economic opportunities, is available at www.StrongerCalifornia.org.

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

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Kayaker Reported in Distress at Goleta Beach

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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A report of a kayaker in distress brought emergency personnel to Goleta Beach County Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County firefighters, sheriff's deputies and other personnel were called out at about 1:50 p.m. after a park ranger reported that a kayaker appeared unable to make it make back to shore due to high winds, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

The kayaker, who was about a mile off shore, appeared to be drifting east, Zaniboni said.

Three fire department jet-skis were launched, and a county helicopter was called in to assist in the search, Zaniboni said.

At about 2:20 p.m. the helicopter crew reported that it had located the white kayak, and the person was sitting on top of it.

Crews quickly determined that the kayaker was not in distress, and was meeting up with his girlfriend farther down the coast, according to Mike Eliason, a Fire Department spokesman.

At that point the rescue effort was called off.

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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Rob Heckman Selected as Deputy Chief for Santa Barbara County Fire

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Heckman
Rob Heckman

Division Chief Rob Heckman has been selected as the new deputy fire chief for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

He will be replacing Eric Peterson, who was recently appointed fire chief.

Chief Heckman has worked for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department for 18 years.

He holds two associate’s degrees from Santa Barbara City College as well as a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from UCSB. Heckman also served as a Royal Marines Commando in the United Kingdom from 1983-1987.

Chief Heckman has served as firefighter/paramedic, engineer, captain, operations battalion chief and division chief/fire marshal.

He will begin his assignment as deputy fire chief on March 30.

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

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Ron Fink: Lompoc Motorsports Park Plan Running Under a Caution Flag

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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For many years, some folks in Lompoc have yearned for a place where they can race cars. Finally, almost three years ago in June 2012, a small group of enthusiasts banded together under the umbrella of the Lompoc Valley Park & Recreation Pool Foundation (LVPRPF), and approached the city council with a proposal to build and operate a motorsports park on airport property.

At the time, they had then-Mayor John Linn in their pocket, but he was ousted by voters in the last election and is now once again the head of the LVPRPF, which he founded.

Every successful project begins with a good plan, and when any developer approaches the city with a project idea, he/she is given a list of things that must be completed before the project can be approved. Let’s call it a checklist for success.

When the motorsports park people came to City Hall, they were treated like all other applicants. However, since they had the former mayor leading the charge, they may have figured they had a fast track.

Let’s try to figure out why they are having problems. Their first problem was that they had an idea, but they didn’t have a plan. It gets worse.

In December 2013, after six months of negotiations, the motorsports park Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and an application for grant funds for an off-road vehicle park to the state Department of Parks and Recreation was the subject of discussion during a council meeting.

Linn was in fine form. Seeing a large audience of supporters he had solicited in the room, he moved the item ahead of another on the published agenda.

When the MOU was discussed, the LVPRPF quickly resolved all of their concerns; but Linn had his own lengthy list of amendments that were clearly aimed at helping the LVPRPF and not at protecting the city. The MOU was finally signed in March 2014.

So, fast forward to last week’s council meeting. Some in the community, including council members, have wondered why so little progress has been made on this project that began almost three years ago.

With the former mayor making many bold predictions regarding the potential business that this project might bring to the city, similar to other grossly exaggerated claims he has made in the past, the council listened to the city staff explain the reasons why the project is behind schedule.

The MOU required the LVPRPF to submit a development plan to get the ball rolling. The first plan they submitted was woefully incomplete and the city returned it with more than 170 specific items to be addressed.

Now, after other incomplete submittals and a week before the council meeting, the LVPRPF submitted yet another version which, according to the committee chairman, described a much larger project than any previous submittal. Their focus also seems to have shifted from the original off-road park to adding a drag strip and go-cart track, which are not part of the grant.

The LVPRPF has suggested that the city’s EIR consultant might not understand a unique project like the motorsports park so they are lobbying the council to be allowed to cherry-pick their own consultant.

The city’s EIR consultant has reviewed and prepared EIRs for many projects that were unique to Lompoc in the past few years. In fact, from conception to a completion, the Campbell Cooler project — the first in Lompoc — was not only analyzed but open for business in less time than it is taking the LVPRPF to submit an adequate development plan!

A solid review is critical to a project like this. The city is obligated to conduct an independent environmental review. The EIR review process includes many outside agencies — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Parks and Recreation — that are all required to critique the EIR.

The public review process will take time, and it could be many months from the time the initial draft EIR is circulated until it is finally certified by the city. Then the motorsports park committee would have to build the project.

Considering the long delay in submitting a complete development plan, the staff has a real concern about financial obligations the city could incur if the project is not completed on time. If the EIR is completed and the project is determined not to be feasible, the city will have no obligation to repay the state grant; however, if the EIR is certified and project construction is started and not completed, the city is on the hook to repay the entire grant.

Time is running out on the state grant timeline; the $1 million state grant stipulates that the project must be completed by December 2016 and all billing completed by June 2017.

Considering the lengthy public review process of the EIR that must be completed, and with the motorsports committee consistently making late and incomplete submittals, it may be difficult to meet the deadlines of the state grant.

Having a good plan in place before the LVPRPF asked for a grant would have made this an achievable dream, and just not another poorly executed proposal engineered by former Mayor John Linn.

— 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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Letter to the Editor: Florida’s Fuehrer

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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A government bureaucrat publicly mentions a verboten subject, is suspended from work by his ruler and required to get a mental health examination before returning.

The USSR under Joseph Stalin? Germany under Adolf Hitler? Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu?

No. The USA, state of Florida, under Gov. Rick Scott.

Sub rosa, i.e., leaving no official paper trail, Gov. Scott made known to state employees that the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” were never to be uttered or written by them while doing state work.

The gag order, of course, was meant to protect Florida real estate from any unfortunate price re-evaluations that might occur as a result of public discussion of the notable dangers to the state posed by rising sea levels — 80 percent of the state's residents live near the coast. Sea level rise is already evident there and further inundation (Miami Beach is only 4 feet above sea level) has been predicted by climate scientists. (Could the gag also have been meant to boost the Republican governor's standing with the Tea Party?)

Somehow, though, longtime state employee Barton Bieber didn't get the word. At a February meeting of a Florida Coastal Managers Forum, “he introduced himself by congratulating other officials on the call for the 'exciting' work they were doing to address climate change” (U.S. Guardian).

Shock! Revulsion! Whispers! People reaching for cell phones!

Not satisfied, Bieber compounded his flagrant disloyalty by mentioning in his official notes of the meeting “climate change,” which had been one of the subjects of the meeting!

At this threat to the peace and prosperity of his constituents, Florida's governor mercifully sidestepped capital punishment; he only dismissed Mr. Bieber from duty for two days, but to preserve some sense of propriety, required as a precondition for reinstatement a medical verification of the dissident's mental health.

Here we have Florida Gov. Rick Scott, potential Republican presidential candidate, a good ol' boy of the South, who apparently feels the need to go even further — and be more secretive — than his brethren in North Carolina, whose legislature has forbidden the use in any state document of any current climate science evaluation as to future sea rise to its shores.

During World War II, there was a popular Spike Jones record and a Disney Daffy Duck animation, whose lyrics went something like this:

“When Der Fuehrer says vee own de vurld und space
Vee “heil,” ffft, “heil.” ffft, right in Der Fuehrer's face.

Not to love Der Fuehrer is a great disgrace
So vee “heil,” ffft, “heil,” ffft, right in Der Fuehrer's face.”

But currently it seems that, other than Mr. Bieber who is now suing the state, no Spike Jones fans have enlisted in Florida's bureaucracy.

It is clear now, though, that in two of our 50 states, truth is not a defense against government decree; official diktat determines what may be recognized by the apparatus. Our (real estate) values must not be compromised.

Here is Kapitalism at its best!

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Jury Begins Deliberating in Santa Maria Torture-Murder Trial

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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After more than 10 weeks of testimony, jurors now will decide verdicts against the six men charged in the 2013 death of Anthony Ibarra

After four months, including more than 10 weeks of testimony, a Santa Maria jury on Tuesday began deliberating the fate of six men charged with killing Anthony Ibarra two years ago.

For more than two hours Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown read the panel the jury instructions for considering the case against the defendants.

The six men, Ramon Maldonado, David Maldonado, Jason Castillo, Anthony Solis, Santos Sauceda and Reyes Gonzales, are charged with murder for the death of Ibarra. They also face a number of special allegations including lying in wait, felony murder, kidnapping and two for gang involvement. Additionally, all but David Maldonado face a special allegation of torture.

Ramon Maldonado also is charged with two counts of witness intimidation.

The 28-year-old was killed in a house on West Donovan Road on March 17, 2013. His body was found several days later in U-Haul rental truck found parked on an Orcutt street.

Prosecutors contend Ibarra was killed due to drug debts owed to a gang. 

“You must decide what the facts are,” Brown told the jury while instructing them about the laws that apply to this case.

Jury selection began Nov. 17 and included eight panels of individuals, or 1,251 people, before the 12 members and six alternates were selected.

The judge noted that trial included more than 600 exhibits plus 38 witnesses.

Deliberations continued until midafternoon, and the panel won’t meet Wednesday, a previously planned dark day for the trial.

Six men stand trial for the death of Anthony Ibarra. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We need to follow the same schedule we’ve been following,” Brown said.

The murder trial has been held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., a schedule that allowed juvenile cases to occur in the afternoon. 

The judge also ordered the attorneys to remain within a 20-minute drive so they are closeby if the jury has a question, asks for testimony to be read or reaches a verdict.

Before the judge began reading jury instructions, he allowed two attorneys — Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen and Michael Scott on behalf of the defense team —  a few minutes each to argue one point of law.

Scott said the defense contended that the six men's attack of Ibarra had ended and that the man had reached a position of safety since he allegedly had put on another pair of boxers.  The defense attorneys argued in the trial that someone other than the six men delivered the fatal blows to Ibarra after the defendants had left the house.

But Bramsen said Ibarra never reached a safe place and noted that several of the defendants were involved in removing Ibarra's body from the house. Additionally, she said it wasn't reasonable that one of the men defense attorneys tried to say murdered Ibarra would have been sent to clean up blood in the house.

The case landed in the jury’s hands after five days of closing arguments.

Because of the large number of participants, the trial is taking place in the Santa Maria Juvenile Court, which was specially renovated for this case. 

If found guilty, the men face sentences of life without parole. 

Also Tuesday, at the main court complex in Santa Maria, the sentencing of Robert Sosa was postponed until June 11. A year ago, Sosa pleaded guilty to kidnapping with a gang enhancement, and is expected to receive 15 years in state prison. Sosa testified for the prosecution.

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 YMCA’s Spring Family Fun Day Features the Easter Bunny

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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It was an egg-citing time at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA’s annual Spring Family Fun Day last Saturday.

Families enjoyed going on an Easter egg hunt, making crafts, playing games, eating a free lunch, and taking pictures with the man of the hour — the Easter Bunny himself. Mr. Bunny obliged his fans by allowing as many clicks of the cameras as they liked.

If you’d like to learn about future egg-citing times at the Santa Barbara YMCA, call 805.687.7727.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Channel Islands YMCA.

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Tom Donohue: The Truth Behind the Labor Agenda

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Both workers and voters seem to be turning away from unions, and big labor is worried.

Earlier this month, Wisconsin, once a union stronghold, voted to become a right-to-work state. This means that union membership and dues can’t be required as a condition of employment. Wisconsin is now the 25th state to offer workers this right, following on the heels of industrial powerhouses Michigan and Indiana, which enacted similar laws in 2012.

Union membership is also on the decline. Less than 7 percent of private-sector workers were union members in 2014, a huge drop from the 1954 peak of 34.8 percent.

It’s little wonder that labor is looking to friends in high places to help advance its agenda. And the administration is all too happy to help. Through federal agencies and unelected bodies like the National Labor Relations Board, the administration seeks to dramatically overhaul labor law in favor of union allies.

Take the NLRB’s “ambush election” rule to significantly shorten the time between a union filing a request for an election and the date the election is actually held. Accelerating the union election process deprives employers of their right to communicate with their employees about the impacts of unionizing. Congress is exercising its authority under the Congressional Review Act to invalidate the rule — but the president is sure to veto any legislation that rolls back the regulation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups filed a lawsuit challenging the rule, and we’ll fight it in the courts.

Another NLRB special is an effort to rewrite the “joint employer standard.” The proposal would upend a clear-cut and long-standing employment standard and redefine who employs a worker, fundamentally altering relationships in the franchising industry and between companies and contractors. To what end? To provide an opening for unionization efforts. For example, under the proposed standard, successfully organizing a single franchise could force the corporate entity to the bargaining table.

Now, workers should have the right to unionize — or choose not to — under clear and fair rules. And business supports legitimate proposals to ensure the health, safety and rights of its workers.

What we don’t support is a politically driven agenda that attempts to repeal the rights of business and tilt the playing field in the unions’ favor. That’s why the Chamber of Commerce is working to fix broken rules and overturn bad proposals and pooling its resources with allies to have maximum impact. And when all else fails — and the rights of business and workers have been trampled — we’ll seek redress in the courts.

Our leaders in Washington should be working to strengthen the economy and serve voters, not do the political bidding of big labor.

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

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Family Atmosphere Gives Players a Development Edge at Brady Tennis Camps

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Marking 25-year association with UC Santa Barbara, Brady Tennis Camps provide personalized tennis instruction and make drills fun

It’s safe to say that the Brady family is all about tennis.

Kevin Brady, director of Brady Tennis Camps, played tennis at the nationally ranked University of Kansas before the program was disbanded, and was an NAIA All-American at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., in 1983. His brother, Kip, was a pro tennis player after an All-American career at UC Santa Barbara, and his sister, Kara, played for national powerhouse University of San Diego.

With all this experience behind the scenes, parents can send their kids to Brady Tennis Camps knowing that their children are getting excellent instruction in tennis for experienced professionals.

During their week at camp, kids work on drills, their strokes and strategy, and each day has a different focus for students. The themes for the days include ground strokes, net play, foot work, strategy for singles and doubles, specialty shots, angles and top spins.

Along with creating focus on different parts of their game, each child has one team that they train with throughout their entire week at camp. While they get time with all the instructors, kids get to bond with their camp family: their teammates and their team coach.

“It’s a family business,” said Kevin Brady, director of 26 years. “Parents feel really safe to have us watch over their kids. Each kid is not just a number.”

As the coaches watch over their team’s progress, each child will get an evaluation from their coach at the end of the camp. The evaluations are meant to help students analyze their own game and growth.

“We try hard to give each camper the personal attention they need,” Brady explained. “We’ve been doing this a long time. Our family is very experienced and can teach in groups and privately, and give more individual attention than just your normal college player.”

Not only will your child get professional, personal instruction, but they will spend their time at the beautiful UCSB campus. Now celebrating its 25th year on campus, Brady is proud of the camp they’ve created.

“We’ve been up there so long now,” he said. “And we keep growing every year.”

This year, the Brady tennis family will continue to grow! Send your child to Brady Tennis Camps for a week of fun tennis instruction and team bonding.

Click here for more information about Brady Tennis Camps, or call 310.798.0333.

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Jackson Sproul of Santa Barbara Receives Army and Navy Academy’s Distinguished Leadership Award

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Jackson Sproul of Santa Barbara has been awarded Army and Navy Academy's General William W. Crouch Distinguished Leadership Award for his performance during the fall 2014 semester.

The award is granted each semester to cadets who serve with distinction in a leadership position of platoon sergeant or higher in the academy's Corps of Cadets. They must also have received a semester grade point average of 3.3 or higher, a Leadership Education Training (LET) grade of an A and a citizenship grade of "Excellent" during each grading period.

"These cadets have exhibited their strong commitment to academic achievement, influential leadership skills, and good citizenship," said Lisa Basista, dean of academics. "Congratulations on this major achievement."

Founded in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy is a private nonprofit institution that provides an academically robust, character-based education for young men, grades 7 through 12. It is the only private boarding school in San Diego County and the only private military academy for high school-age students in California and surrounding states.

— Paige Maslen represents Army and Navy Academy.

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Union Bank Partners with Local Organizations to Host Free Community Shred Day in Solvang

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Union Bank, in partnership with Camino Real Marketplace, NewsChannel 3, the City of Solvang, Iron Mountain, Community Environmental Council and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, will sponsor another free Community Shred Day in Solvang.

The event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building, 1745 Mission Drive in Solvang. The event will be held rain or shine.

Items that can be shred:

» Two “banker box” containers maximum per vehicle

» All types of paper, any color (no need to remove staples, paper clips or rubber bands)

» File folders, any color

» Not able to accept cardboard, common trash, hazardous materials, plastics or metals, CDs, DVDs or binders

This is the fourth year that Union Bank has as led the Community Shred Day. As a responsible bank, Union Bank is committed to supporting local communities and Shred Day is a great event where the public can safely discard — at no cost — important documents, help eliminate the risk of identity theft and keep tons of materials out of the landfill.

— Suzanne Crosina-Sahm is a corporate communications consultant for Union Bank.

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Seeking Silent Auction Donations for April 11 Gala

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Do you own a local business? If so, would you like to donate an item for the Junior League of Santa Barbara’s silent auction at the Seventh Annual Gala presented by Tiffany & Co.?

The gala — April 11 at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club in Montecito — is the Junior League’s highlight event of the year, and the funds raised will further the mission of the league through membership training, programming and other worthy initiatives that help continue our success in bettering the community.

During the gala, we will be unveiling a new focus area — a completely re-imagined focus that will help us dig deeper into the greater needs of Santa Barbara.

Click here to contact the Junior League about a silent auction donation. Click here to purchase tickets to the Junior League’s Seventh Annual Gala.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call 805.963.2704 or email atoffice@jlsantabarbara.org.  Click here to make an online donation.

Connect with the Junior League on Facebook. Follow the Junior League on Twitter: @JuniorLeague_SB.

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Evacuation Order Lifted After Carpinteria Gas Leak Stopped

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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Crane working on railroad tracks toppled power poles; one struck gas meter

Evacuations orders were lifted in Carpinteria Tuesday after emergency crews shut off flows from a gas-line that was broken when a power pole was knocked over, according to the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.

Some residents in the area of Calle Ocho and Calle Arena were asked to leave the area after the break, which occurred shortly before 8 a.m., said Grace Donnelly, a fire district spokeswoman.

Evacuations also were ordered at the east end of the Carpinteria State Beach Campground.

Sheriff's deputies and other emergency personnel went door to door to notify people to evacuate, Donnelly said.

The gas line was shut down and the evacuation order lifted at 9:20 a.m., Donnelly said.

A crane working on the railroad tracks snagged the overhead power lines, causing two poles to topple, Donnelly said, adding that one of the poles struck a gas-meter station, causing a line break.

Crews from Southern California Edison Co. and the Southern California Gas Co. were reported on 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.

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Dr. Peter Rupert to Lead Seminar for Santa Barbara Human Resources Association

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The Santa Barbara Human Resources Association has announced that Dr. Peter Rupert will be leading its April 15 seminar, “Economic Outlook: Findings & Factors That Affect the HR Profession.”

Dr. Rupert has an extensive background in economics and finance, and is chairman of the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara. He is also executive director of the Economic Forecast Project, a role he has held since August 2010.

Rupert will be drawing on this history during April’s seminar in order to educate attendees on economic trends and factors that are likely to affect business and hiring practices for local organizations. The event will have an emphasis on recruitment and compensation, while also touching on the challenges of the long-term unemployed.

The Santa Barbara Human Resources Association and its sponsors offer educational seminars on a monthly basis. Each monthly seminar covers a different topic relevant to the human resources profession, with particular attention to employment law, leadership, public speaking and employee engagement.

Instructions on registering for this event or future events are available online by clicking here. For more information, please email info@sbhra.org.

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Boys Tennis: Dos Pueblos Battles San Luis Obispo, Wins in Games

By | Published on 03/24/2015

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The Dos Pueblos High School Chargers hosted San Luis Obispo on a blustery day Monday in a nonleague boys tennis contest.

Dust was kicking up everywhere. Errant balls flew everywhere. This is our third match where we tied in sets and won in games. This time, we won 89-79 in games.

In singles, the Chargers took seven sets. Patrick Corpuz took two sets at 6-0, and battled in the third round but fell in the set tiebreaker.

Miles Baldwin swept his sets, losing six games, only one less game than Corpuz.

Joshua Wang started well with a 6-1 opening set, but in the second round experienced cramps and was leading 5-2. He fought through them and won the set tiebreaker. In the third round, even after bananas and Gatorade, the cramps came back, but he took four valuable games.

In doubles, we took two sets, one of which was won in a third round tiebreaker, thanks to Quinn Hensley and Vincent Villano. The other set was won by Bryce Ambrose and Mason Dochterman. The Chargers had three other sets that were quite competitive but did not convert, but gained a lot of games.

I am proud of this team, who battled to the end. Even cramps and fatigue will not stop them from competing.

The Chargers host Cate at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Announces 2015 Woman of the Year Finalists

By | Published on 03/23/2015

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The Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) is proud to announce its three finalists for Woman Of The Year: Michele (Talkington) Schneider, Beverly Schwartzberg and Nancy Sheldon.

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

The Junior League will honor all three nominees for their contributions to the community, but only one will be named Woman of the Year at JLSB’s Seventh Annual Gala, “Legacies are Forever,” presented by Tiffany & Co. and held at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club on April 11.

Here are some insights into these three philanthropists:

Michele (Talkington) Schneider

Michele (Talkington) Schneider is passionate about volunteering, motivating others to volunteer and promoting great causes. She is actively involved as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, Fairview Gardens, The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s annual Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge, and has been a longtime Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce ambassador.

Michele sits on the board of the Cox Cares Foundation, she is a past chairwoman of the Heart Walk and was this year’s Cox’s team captain, helping the team come in second place and raising nearly $7,000. She has been deemed “The Lemon Princess,” through her years of supporting the California Lemon Festival in Goleta, where she has consistently raised the bar as a volunteer.

She is actively involved in Old Spanish Days and Fiesta Ranchera. She walked to raise funds for Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County and helped in the preparation of the event.

“Michele is like the Energizer Bunny,” says those who work closely with her. “She is unstoppable in the energy and time she devotes to others. She continuously goes above and beyond for every organization she works with and is a champion for our community.”

JLSB would like to honor Michele (Talkington) Schneider for her philanthropic contributions to Santa Barbara.

Beverly Schwartzberg​

Beverly Schwartzberg has been the Adult Literacy Program coordinator at the Santa Barbara Public Library since 2003, supporting adult learners and their volunteer tutors in the community. She also works as a team member with library staff, the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, and the Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library to develop and promote new initiatives. These include the Children’s Library Campaign, the recent three-year National Leadership Award from the federal Institute of Museum & Library Services promoting reading together, the Big Read program from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many other projects.

Bev holds a Ph.D. in public history from UC Santa Barbara, and has worked in the museum world and as a high school and college teacher.

JLSB would like to honor Beverly Schwartzberg for her commitment to youth literacy and to the Santa Barbara community.

Nancy Sheldon

Nancy Sheldon grew up in the merciless chilly Midwest city of Milwaukee before branching out to the even colder city of Boston, where she received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

She spent 13 years in investment banking with UBS in Chicago and New York before relocating to civilized Santa Barbara with her husband, Mike, in 2001. They quickly started populating the community and now have four children: Max in sixth grade, Kate in fifth and Charlie in third at Crane Country Day School. Eve, at 4 is still making her way through preschool.

Nancy spent the past 14 years in the nonprofit world. Her interests and passions are for helping kids not only survive but thrive in an increasingly complicated world. She served as the preschool trustee on the board of Congregation B’nai B’rith and was head of the Beit HaYeladim Parent Association. She also served on the board of Postpartum Education for Parents (PEP).

Currently, she chairs the capital campaign for MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, and is on the board’s executive committee. She recently joined the Board of Trustees for Crane Country Day School.

JLSB would like to honor Nancy Sheldon for her dedication to Santa Barbara’s youth and for her leadership in the community.

                                                                 •        •        •

Stay tuned for the highly anticipated announcement of JLSB’s Woman of the Year at the Seventh Annual Gala on April 11. Click here to purchase tickets to the gala.

The Seventh Annual Junior League of Santa Barbara Gala is brought to you in part by our generous sponsors: Tiffany & Co., Noozhawk, Joan and Jim Lindsey; Santa Barbara Auto Group; Porsche; UBS Wealth Management, Los Angeles; A Friend of the Junior League of Santa Barbara; Cox Communications; Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; Heritage Oaks Bank; Open Air Photobooth; Sientra; Van Atta Associates/Blackbird Architects; Berkshire Hathaway (Mitch Stark, Kat Perello Hitchcock & Jake Ralston, Kyle Kemp, Dan Encell, Tim Dahl, Sherry Zolfaghari, Paul Hurts, Jason Streatfield, Mark Johnson); American Riviera Bank; acRhew; Cottage Children’s Hospital; OnQ Financial; Medtronic; Susan Burns Associates; Dana Zertuche; Bartlett Pringle & Wolf LLP; and Bella Vista Designs.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call 805.963.2704 or email atoffice@jlsantabarbara.org.  Click here to make an online donation.

Connect with the Junior League on Facebook. Follow the Junior League on Twitter: @JuniorLeague_SB.

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Business Owner Pushes Petition for National Tamale Day

By | Published on 03/23/2015

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Santa Barbara Tamales To Go spearheads efforts to create designated day for food

Richard Lambert knows the idea sounds a bit whimsical, but the owner of Santa Barbara Tamales To Go doesn’t think everyone need be so serious all the time.

He’s leading an effort to create a day to recognize tamales on a large scale — a National Tamale Day, which would be March 23 every year.

The date was chosen partly because it’s after the holiday season, when many Hispanic families typically eat tamales on Dec. 24.

Santa Barbara Tamales To Go owner Richard Lambert is leading an effort to establish National Tamale Day. (Erin Feinblatt / Santa Barbara Tamales To Go photo)

It was also picked because March 23 is Melba Toast Day, and Lambert likes the odds of tamales overtaking the competition. Melba Toast is a thin cracker, more popular many years ago.

He created a petition to establish National Tamale Day late last year, so far collecting nearly 200 of the total 300 signatures he’s striving toward.

“It’s just sort of to remind people how good tamales are,” Lambert told Noozhawk on Monday, which happened to be March 23. “I’m always looking for ways to promote tamales.”

More than 1,200 foods have national days, Lambert said, even moldy cheese (Oct. 9).

Lambert hopes to submit 300 signatures for an official listing to the National Chase’s Calendar of Events, which produces a new book each year and accepts admissions that demonstrate enough interest.

The cause is one the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce is also backing, along with Tucson Tamales Company in Arizona and others.

“They’re incredibly good,” Scott Ericson, chamber membership director, said of Lambert’s tamales. “We certainly want to support his idea of getting a National Tamale Day. It’s starting to take off, as far as signatures.”

Lambert, who was born locally and moved back for good in the 1980s, founded Santa Barbara Tamales To Go three years ago after this local haunt stopped selling them in large quantities year round.

Although he’s always had a knack for cooking, Lambert learned to make and steam tamales enveloped in parchment paper (not corn husk) from a popular Mexico City chef.

All six flavors — three meat, three veggie — feature two black olives, ingredients added in homage to his father, an olive rancher.

With its agricultural base and Hispanic heritage, Lambert believes Santa Barbara could become the epicenter of National Tamale Day, honoring a cuisine that dates back to the Mayans. 

“It’s going to help everybody,” he said of business. “It’s just a fun thing. Who doesn’t like a good tamale?

“This time next year, it’ll catch on.”

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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Guadalupe To Hear From Oil Train Supporters, Opponents

By | Published on 03/23/2015

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Proponents and opponents of a rail spur extension project proposed for the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery in southern San Luis Obispo County are scheduled to make presentations to the Guadalupe City Council on Tuesday night. 

The meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. in Guadalupe City Hall, 916 Obispo St. 

Guadalupe council members previously said they wanted to hear from both sides before deciding whether to support a letter from Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr.

Her letter urges the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission to reject the proposal that would involve rail cars full of oil traveling through the heart of her district, which includes Guadalupe, Goleta and the Gaviota Coast.

The Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery, which has operated on 1,600 acres on the Nipomo Mesa for nearly 60 years, has proposed to add 1.3 miles of new track, an unloading facility and pipelines at the site to transport the crude oil for processing.

In addition to refinery representatives, the council will hear from project foes with Mesa Refinery Watch Group, with each presentation restricted to 10 minutes.

Public Safety Director Gary Hoving also is scheduled to give a presentation before the council will hear from the public and consider whether to endorse Farr’s letter.

Refinery representatives say the rail spur extension will mean five 80-car trains — stretching less than a mile each — will take oil to the plant each week, and are necessary to keep the facility viable. 

They contend it would not mean an increase in storage capacity or product, and would not involve controversial Bakken crude oil, would not boost coke piles, and would not increase volatility.

Project opponents note the recent spurt of train derailments, calling the chance of spills, fires and explosions “real and significant.”

The increased rail traffic also will create air pollution, noise pollution and visual pollution, according to opponents, who contend rail trips will number 520 when including arrivals and departures.

A final environmental impact report is expected in the second quarter of this year, and the project then must go before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission.

Other agenda topics include the closure of the city's only pharmacy, whether to alter the city rules to allow residents to have chickens, and what fees to charge for team use of the City Hall gymnasium and Jack O’Connell Park playing fields.

In closed session, the council will consider the employment/performance of City Administrator Andrew Carter plus his salary.

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 DA’s Truancy Program Helps Keep Children in School, Grand Jury Report Finds

By | Published on 03/23/2015

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Truancy rates among Santa Barbara County elementary school students are dropping, thanks to prevention and intervention programs in place, according to a report made public Monday by the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury.

The 2014-15 Grand Jury chose to look specifically at elementary school programs, and examined the use of the Community Leadership in Achieving Student Success, or CLASS, program which was established by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The program is used at all public school districts in the county, including elementary schools, the report stated.

The Grand Jury previously defined truancy as a student having more than three unexcused absences. Those numbers went up significantly after the truancy prevention program was eliminated in 2008 due to budget cuts, but the program was restarted in 2012.

The report emphasized the importance of a child's attendance on their academic success, which begins in kindergarten.

"Chronically-absent kindergartners perform below their better-attending peers on math and reading skills assessments. These effects are particularly pronounced as absences increase," the report stated.

"In California, fourth graders who missed more than three days of class in the month prior to taking national assessments scored more than a full grade level below their peers with no absences during that period."

The report also stated that parental attitude and participation was key to establishing regular school attendance.

"Some parents seem indifferent as to whether their child attends school regularly," the Grand Jury wrote in the report, adding that students may fall behind as a result and could lead to an attitude of not wanting to go to school, resulting in chronic truancy.

"An early truancy intervention program can educate youth and parents, helping them realize the importance of school attendance. The Jury learned the success of the CLASS program at the elementary level is improving middle and high school attendance," the report stated. The investigation also found that the collaboration among participating agencies and community resources has been very successful in identifying students in danger of falling behind academically. 

The first interaction with the CLASS program that truant students have is when their parents receive a letter, which documents the child's unexcused absences and the relevant laws regarding school attendance. 

If the problem continues, parents must meet with school staff, administrators and ultimately, if the problem doesn't stop, the parents meet with the DA Truancy Mediation Team or an independent panel of district, county and community participants. Cases may even be referred to the probation department or District Attorney's Office.

Few students reach the last step of the program "because several school superintendents utilize local programs to provide students and their parents with counselors and social workers to combat truancy causation," the Grand Jury report stated.

"The CLASS program has created consistency and emphasized parental accountability and consequences." 

The report commended the District Attorney's Office and school districts for working on the program and the Board of Supervisors for funding and supporting the CLASS program. 

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley told Noozhawk Monday that the program has worked to not only make sure children stay in school to graduate high school, "but provides essential services for the underlying social, familial, academic, mental, and physical health issues that are often the root cause of truancy."

These issues frequently place children at risk for committing crimes or being crime victims, Dudley said.

All 20 schools in the county are participating in the program, and while the statewide truancy rates continue to grow, Santa Barbara County has seen its truancy rate fall below the state average since the program was reinstated, Dudley said.

Only 1 percent of truancy cases are referred to the Probation Department and District Attorney for legal action. 

"The number of cases that necessitate court action intervention before getting children back in school remains at less than .01 percent," she said. 

"The 2015 Attorney General truancy report cites the Santa Barbara District Attorney as the leading example in the State of California for truancy programs that achieve the goal of returning children to school without necessitating criminal intervention, Dudley said.

The Grand Jury interviewed several elementary district superintendents, a county probation official and the District Attorney's truancy reduction staff. They also sent out questionnaires to several school districts and looked at their specific plans that address keeping students in school.

The jury has a history of investigating school truancy and previous grand juries promoted intervention programs that are still being used, the report noted. 

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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